Little Slice of Heaven 

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We just returned from almost a week down in St. Augustine, FL, which is my personal little slice of Heaven on Earth. My mom’s parents have had a beach house in South Ponte Vedra since before I was born, and we’ve made a lifetime of memories there.

Craig and I love the area so much that we got married there and had our rehearsal dinner at the beach house. I love that the city itself is quaint and steeped in history. And the beach, while not quite as picturesque as the Gulf (in my opinion), is wide and filled with pretty shells. The house sits right on the beach, which is my absolute favorite, especially now that we have a kid in the mix. It’s usually completely empty, so it seems like we’re on a totally private beach, except for the occasional passerby. Not to mention that it’s so easy to run back into the house to grab things when needed or put her down for a nap and go back to the beach with the monitor while she sleeps. 🙂

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We try to make a trip down once a year, so this was Leighton’s 2nd time there. We brought my mom again and also invited Craig’s parents to join us because they’ve not yet gotten to experience the beach with Leighton. This was our longest stay yet, at almost a week, and it was the perfect amount of time… long enough to make the 6 hour drive worth it, but not so long that we were tired of being there. I already wish we could go back.

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Most of our days were spent soaking up the sun, sand and waves, hunting for seashells, taking walks, and keeping L occupied with a variety of toys and a baby pool on the beach. She did surprisingly well with the sand, but she was not a fan of the ocean… usually running from it saying “nooooo!” as the tide came in each time.

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My grandmother and several other family members live nearby in Jacksonville, so we made a day trip over to visit with them. She took us to her beautiful country club for lunch; the food was delicious and Leighton enjoyed playing with my cousin’s daughter Addy who got to join us. It’s always a treasure to spend time with Nana — I just wish we had a chance to get down there more than once a year.

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Our favorite dinner out was at Cap’s on the Water. It’s just down A1A from the house, and it sits right on the water, which always provides a pretty sunset view. They just reopened after damage from Hurricane Matthew last fall, so our timing was pretty lucky. Most of their seating is outside underneath giant oak trees, and their seafood is fresh and so good.

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We also spent a couple evenings walking around downtown, peeking in shops, eating dinner, pointing out horses to Leighton, and, of course, getting ice cream. All good beach trips need to include lots of ice cream, right?

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A family beach trip was just what we needed to relax, recharge (especially after a very busy month or so prior), and enjoy each other’s company. Leighton was on her best behavior, and she absolutely loved spending day in and day out with her grandparents (just missing my dad, but she did see him a bunch the weekend before we left). This past week was filled with laughter and so many sweet memories that I will cherish forever. I’m so thankful to have this special place that continues to be the backdrop for some of my very favorite moments.

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travel:: Napa, Sonoma, SF (part 3)

For our final day of our California vacation, we drove down to San Francisco. After two days of visiting wineries and vineyards on a pretty packed schedule, it was a nice change of scenery and pace — although I’m already itching to go back to Napa… 🙂

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SAN FRANCISCO:

We stayed at Hotel Adagio in Union Square, which aside from the delay with check-in, I really liked. Cool vibe, modern rooms, and they randomly upgraded two of our friends to a suite with a huge rooftop patio overlooking the city… just wish we’d had more than one afternoon to take advantage of it!

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Upon arrival, my first request was stopping by the instagram famous Mr. Holmes Bakehouse for some baked goods. Churro and chocolate croissants and a tasty apple pie pastry that didn’t make it more than about two blocks past the bakery. I do love a baked good.
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After a couple miles of HILLY walking, we landed in Fisherman’s Wharf for lunch. The area mostly seems to be filled with tourist traps, I’m sure The Franciscan Crab Restaurant was one of them, but we wanted seafood, and it seemed much less offensive than Joe’s Crabshack. The bubbly was refreshing, the seafood was good, and we had views of the sailboat-filled bay while we ate.
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After lunch, we went on a search for a cable car station and got a pretty view of the Golden Gate Bridge while we waited to board (along with 50,000 girl scouts who were in town that weekend). You really couldn’t beat the weather in SF that day!
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Seriously, how lucky did we get with this room upgrade?! Incredible city views, mini bar happy hour, and the best friends… not much more you can ask for on the last night of vacation.
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Trip took the job of being our fabulous bus driver to and from Napa, so when he requested drinks at Tonga Room, we happily obliged. It’s a very similar vibe to Trader Vic’s (we have one in Atlanta that my old coworkers and I have fond memories of) — except this place has a pool in the middle of the room and it rains from the ceiling!
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We’d originally had plans to head over to Sausalito for dinner at a fun place called Bar Bocce on the bay, but we ended up just wandering into a fancy little Mexican place called Colibri in Union Square. Although the eight of us were crammed at two tiny high top tables because we walked in without a reservation on a Saturday night (oops!), the food was some of the best we had the entire trip. It’s always a nice surprise when the random places you find end up being a win.
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We got up waaaaay too early the next morning to make the long flight back to Atlanta, but I couldn’t get on that plane fast enough. We had the most amazing time and it was a much-needed and welcomed vacation…. but nothing beats coming home to my baby girl! It’s amazing how much you can miss someone after just 5 days. My mom was so incredibly gracious to keep Leighton for us at our house, and I’ll be forever grateful to know she’s always in the best care when we’re away.

After writing these posts and reliving our trip, it’s hard to not already start dreaming of where we’ll go next time with our travel buddies!
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travel:: Napa, Sonoma, SF (part 2)

SONOMA::

For our second full day of wine tastings, we chose to head to Sonoma to see what that area had to offer. Sonoma County is about twice as large as Napa County, but it has less wineries, so we found that we spent a good bit more time traveling between each location. The scenery was beautiful and we found ourselves up in the hills and off the beaten path for most of the day.

B Wise Vineyards was another incredible way to start the day, and for me, nothing else topped it. We had another private tasting set up, and our host Josh was, just like our other hosts, very knowledgeable, welcoming, and passionate about what he does. Our tasting took place inside a cave that actually once served as the owners’ home until they built their permanent home on the property. It’s still set up like a working home and was so neat to spend our morning in.

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We enjoyed cheese, meat, and olives (which are grown on the property) while we tasted six different red varietals… and I wanted them all. We ended up taking home more wine from here than anywhere else, and I cannot wait to open up a bottle when they arrive. The Cabs and Pinots were outstanding, and we also picked up a great table wine for the low low price of $30 (which seems like a steal in comparison to most of the wines we’d been tasting on this trip).IMG_1246

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Did you know that winemakers often plant rose bushes at the ends of the rows in their vineyards? They do this because a rose bush will show signs of sickness more quickly than the grape vines will, and it’s easier/faster to diagnose the problem. Genius and so pretty, too!
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We stopped for lunch in downtown Sonoma and had another meal that did not disappoint. OSO is located right on the main square area, and Denise came through once again by suggesting we call ahead with our order to save time. We were always on a strict time schedule, which she thankfully kept us on to make sure we hit all of the spots we wanted to visit. I ordered the Achiote Chicken Sandwich (avocado, red onion, lettuce, pepper jack cheese, jalepeno aioli) and a Blood Orange Margarita, which was a nice respite from wine tasting. The sandwich had such an interesting combo of flavors, and I ate every single bit of it. I just wish we’d had more time to hang out and enjoy more of the menu! IMG_1273

After lunch, we drove waaay up in the hills to Stone Edge Farm. The setting was so serene and quiet that I think we all really would have preferred to take a nap instead. Our visit started off a little slow with a slide show and a tour of the property, but our sweet French host more than made up for it with a gorgeously set table that looked like something out of a magazine, olives and olive oil made by them, meats and cheeses, the most amazing butter crackers, and of course, fantastic wines to taste. They’re currently in the process of building a beautiful outdoor kitchen for events and dinners, which would be pretty neat to come back for. Any foodie would love this place and their mission.
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To round out our day in Sonoma, Denise scored us a reservation at Scribe, which is apparently hard to do because it’s become so popular with the “millennials.” I’d say she was spot on with that opinion… the place was quite busy, and I think we were some of the oldest people there. BUT — we were set up at a big table on the patio overlooking the palm tree-lined driveway and vineyards, the weather was perfection, and they served us several small plates of beautiful and delicious food to snack on with our wines. I don’t feel like we learned much at all about the wines or Scribe itself, but it was a nice way to cap off our day and just relax with our friends for a bit. 
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For our final Napa dinner, we headed over to the Oxbow Public Market downtown, thinking we’d just pick up some pizza or something simple (and cheap) at one of the food stalls. Instead, we ended up at Kitchen Door, which is one of the restaurants at the market and came recommended by our server at Scribe. Most of us did end up with pizza after all, and it was just what we needed. Thin and crispy, cheesy, and full of pepperoni — yum! We couldn’t help but get some ice cream cones from Three Twins Ice Cream afterward, too. The peanut butter cup was a unanimous favorite.

I think if I had to pick favorites, I love the Napa area more than Sonoma, but B Wise (in Sonoma) was my favorite winery and tasting. Italics was a close second. I was highly impressed with all of Denise’s recommendations, because all but one of them provided a private tasting with very personal service, and we saw almost no one else on any of our tours. It pays to have someone with knowledge and connections to the industry helping you plan your trip. This is by no means an inexpensive vacation, especially if you plan to buy wines along the way, but we had such an elevated experience that I think it was worth every penny. Next up, a day in San Francisco!

travel:: Napa, Sonoma, SF (part 1)

As you probably gathered from my instagram feed, Craig and I just returned from the most incredible trip to wine country with three other couples, some of our most favorite people. This was our first real non wedding-related vacation together since Leighton was born, and it was much-needed! I’ve been dying to go back to wine country since my girls trip almost 3 years ago, and I’m so happy we decided to make this trip with several friends. We spent 2.5 days in Napa/Sonoma and then headed to San Francisco for a full day of touristy stuff before flying home Sunday. I took way too many photos (surprise!) and have so many things to say about everywhere we went, so I’ll do ya a favor and break this up into a few posts. Hopefully anyone who might be planning a trip to wine country will find these recommendations helpful!

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We flew into SFO and immediately hit up In-N-Out Burger before what ended up being a very long drive up to Napa, thanks to a lot of traffic and some strange connections between interstates in the city. Just a side note — the burger hit the spot, but their fries are pretty lackluster.
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After driving for what seemed like forever (thanks to Trip for piloting #datbus for us!), we made it to Napa and went straight to Mumm for a champagne tasting. It did not disappoint! Gorgeous farmhouse setting, our own private patio, tasty bubbles, and a relaxing hour or so after traveling all day. We were surprised to find out that they make a Pinot Noir as well as a Sparkling Red, which we all decided would be perfect for the holidays. 
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We had dinner downtown at Oenotri — good pizzas, pastas, and wine (including several $750 bottles that we definitely did not order), and a busy, festive atmosphere. It was the perfect way to end our first day of vacation.

Thursday’s full day of tastings and tours started bright and early with our amazing driver/wine country concierge, Denise. We used her services last time upon recommendation from a friend, and they are so very worth it. She chose several of the wineries for us and booked our tastings/tours at each venue, gave us recommendations for meals, and then drove us around Napa and Sonoma in our rental van. She’s super knowledgeable about the area and vineyards, and I’d highly recommend using a service like hers if you’re ever taking a trip there.

Italics was our first stop of the day, and after seeing the tasting room, I wasn’t sure anything would top it the rest of the trip. The tasting room is set back in a cave, which is on top of a hill overlooking their property. As you can see, it’s not a bad view. 
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There are a number of hallways running through the caves, which house their barrels of wine. Once built out for their needs, caves are a lot more cost-effective for wine storage because they naturally stay at a low temperature (I think somewhere in the 50-60 degree range).
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This room was so stunning — I didn’t think there was any way we were special enough to do our tasting in there. Alas, we were. 🙂 The wines were excellent (all reds, other than the one white blend we tasted before going into the cave). We planned to collect bottles at each of the wineries we visited and ship back a case of 12, so it was hard to not just buy every option they had at Italics. (Well, let’s be honest — the price per bottle is really what kept us from buying them all.) Our host, John, was welcoming, knowledgeable, and totally not stuffy, which we all appreciated. Even after visiting 7 other wineries by the end of the trip, this was absolutely a highlight of the trip for us.
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Denise set up a really special tasting for us with the owner (Barry) of Tamber Bey Vineyards — at his home, set in the middle of one of his vineyards! Tamber Bey (named for two of Barry’s horses) does have a venue for regular tastings/tours, which is amid an amazing-looking equestrian facility, but you can’t beat being invited into someone’s home to learn about and taste the wine they make. Barry set up our tasting at a table on his back patio overlooking the most dreamy backyard gardens. I’m pretty sure we would have missed our next appointment if Denise hadn’t pulled us out of there, because I could have stayed all day. The wine was so good that Craig even requested we buy the Chardonnay, and he has always been adamant that he does not like white wine.
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We ordered lunch from Yountville Deli, which we ate in the van on the way to our next stop. I have been dreaming about my turkey/brie/avocado/bacon sandwich on ciabatta bread for almost a week now. Our third stop of the day was Aonair, or as I like to call it, the “dudes winery.” All four of the guys on our trip loved this place, and I can’t really blame them. Our host was really laid back and took us on an informal tour of the winery and caves, then let us hang out on the huge back deck of the cabin to enjoy our wine (while sitting in chairs made from wine barrels). We all agreed it would be the perfect spot to watch football in the fall. Also, his dog, Pedals, was seriously adorable.
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Rounding out our first day was Charter Oak Winery. The winemaker’s wife is a very talented artist and was actually the one to give us a tour of the property and lead our wine tasting. Her larger-than-life paintings of cityscapes are really colorful and full of life. She paints 3 cities on top of each other, and, as she told us, her style is unlike anyone else’s in the world. I’d love to have one of these in our home, but one that we saw was going for a quarter mil, so I don’t think that’ll happen anytime soon. I liked the cottage feel to the property and really liked her Zins, which we didn’t have a lot of on this trip. 
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When we came to Napa the first time, our favorite meal was lunch at a place called Farmstead in St. Helena. It was pretty much a requirement that we go back for dinner this time. I guess I was too busy eating and talking to snap any photos, but I can assure you it was as delicious as the first time we went a few years ago. 🙂 I could have eaten a dozen of their beignets with bourbon caramel sauce!
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Meanwhile, back in Atlanta…. Leighton was busy doing this:
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 Napa truly is a must-visit if you enjoy wine. Even though we were on the go the whole day with multiple venues to visit, it’s hard not to feel relaxed and happy while sipping incredible wines and taking in scenery that is absolutely stunning at every turn. Add in some of our favorite travel buddies, and it makes for a trip of a lifetime. Next up, Sonoma!

a weekend of celebrations

What a weekend! We co-hosted a couples wedding shower on Saturday for one of my dearest college friends, Karen, and her fiance, Matthew. They are getting married in April, so several of the other bridesmaids and I planned a co-ed gathering to celebrate them one last time before the big weekend. We hired The Blaxican food truck to cater the party, and it was such a big hit! I could eat that jalapeno mac n cheese every day, I think.
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Because we were hosting the shower at our house and we knew there would be a lot going on till late in the evening, Leighton got to spend the night with Grandma for the first time ever! My parents just recently renovated part of their basement and moved some things around so that they would have a proper nursery for L and her soon-to-be cousin. It sounds like both L and my mom had the absolute best time, and I can’t wait for them to get to do it again. I know we have the fondest memories of getting to spend the night with our grandparents, and I’m excited that Leighton will get to have these memories, too.
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The partying continued throughout Sunday with both a birthday party and a baby shower. We celebrated our friends’ little boy turning two with a construction-themed party at their local rec center. Leighton could have stayed on that playground ALL DAY if we would have let her. It was so fun to see several of our friends and their little ones, but man… chasing after a toddler on a playground is not the best way to try to get in some quality conversation with other adults. 🙂
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I did get some lovely adult time later in the afternoon, though! One of my first friends at UGA and a fellow Springbluff dorm resident, Anna, is having her first baby next month. Some of her girlfriends and her sisters hosted the most lovely shower at St. Cecilia in Buckhead. The food was to die for (you have to try their braised short rib agnolotti!), and Anna was showered with the most adorable little boy clothes and new-mom essentials. I wrote in her card that it was hard to believe that we’ve been friends for almost 16 years now. We met as “babies” our freshman year of college, and now we’re having (or have) babies of our own. I’m so thankful for these long-lasting friendships!
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It was a whirlwind weekend, but one of the most fun because it was filled with friends, great food, and happy celebrations. So many great things to come in the next month!

Leighton @ 18 Months

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Height + weight: 25 lbs 2 oz

Milestones: Leighton is really starting to pick up on new words and lots of animal sounds, which are our favorite party trick to show off these days. A couple of our favorites are her impression of an elephant (which involves throwing her arm up in the air like its trunk) and her take on “meow” when asked what a kitty says — she says “ma?” as if she’s asking a question every time. She also thinks it’s funny to instead answer “uh-oh” every time we ask what an animal says… her sense of humor is really starting to flourish. 😉

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We’ve been working on “please” and “thank you,” and it’s starting to pay off! Just last month, she has started saying “teh-to” when someone gives her something she wants, and it has been completely unprompted! I’m continually so amazed at the things she’s starting to comprehend.

She has 12 teeth and you’d have hardly even known when her molars came in. I am so thankful she has been an easy teether so far!

Likes: She loves walking up and down our street and collecting rocks from our neighbor’s mailbox garden. She has a new obsession with shaved ice from my parents’ ice machine and would carry around a cup full all day long if we’d let her.

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Leighton LOOOOVES snacks… so much so that we had to put a lock on the pantry doors. Otherwise, she’d eat to her heart’s content all day long and help Coco gain about 20 extra pounds as well. She also likes watching and helping me when I make her sandwiches for lunch, so she’ll pull a kitchen chair over to the counter to assist. It’s about time she started pulling her weight around here…

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The DVD player we bought her for Christmas has become a life saver for us while in the car, and the Baby Einstein videos are her favorite. She’s so much happier to hang in her car seat during errands or a longer car trip, and it has saved my sanity. I like that she also seems to be learning things while she’s watching. It’s a win-win.

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She has really taken to “reading” books the past few months, both right when she wakes up and before bed. We have board books and flap books strewn all around the house, and they have really aided in her learning animals and some household items (like clock and chair, which she will run and point out over and over again).

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Dislikes: Being told no / not getting her way… which now result in her banging her head into the wall or floor and saying “uh-oh” while crying and being mad at us. It’s such a weird thing to do, but we’ve found that she’s not the only kid out there who does this. Hoping it’ll pass soon…

Being sick. Although this is really more of a dislike of mine and Craig’s. She got a double ear infection in late February, along with a cold and cough. Aside from a high fever and glazed over eyes, she was still acting like her usual rambunctious self, though, so I’m thankful she seems to have a high tolerance for pain.  As with any parent, we just hate seeing her sick.

She also still hates having her face wiped after eating and acts like a total maniac when we try to put her on the changing table.

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Other fun stuff: In the past 3 months, we celebrated Christmas, New Year’s and Valentine’s — all of which were infinitely more fun this year now that she’s able to interact and participate in some of the holiday fun.

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One of our favorite things is when we ask her where someone (usually Coco) is, and she throws her hands up by her face as if to say “I have no idea!”. It’s absolutely adorable, and I’m going to be so sad when she stops doing it one day. Her mean face has already become much less prominent these days, which is probably a good thing, as she took to doing it to people in public, like our servers at restaurants and the nice folks checking us out at the grocery store.

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She is such a little environmentalist in the making. Any time she sees a piece of trash on the floor, she’ll stop what she’s doing and find the nearest trash can to throw it away. We crack up over this, because she just started doing it all on her own. At the park recently, she found a food wrapper on the ground and immediately tried to take it over to a light post (which she thought was a trash can) to throw it away. She also loves putting dirty laundry in the hamper or taking clean clothes out of the dryer. Makes mama proud to see that she has such a helpful little spirit!

Leighton’s BIG personality just continues to blossom with each passing month. She loves big and also has quite the temper. She’s stubborn and sassy, but she’s also really sweet and loving. Her bff is our neighbor Emmy, and it’s a true blessing to have become such great friends with her parents. I hope Emmy and Leighton (or “Late” as Emmy calls her) share a friendship that will last for years, even if we no longer live down the street from each other. Coco is L’s furry best friend, and she absolutely adores her. Thankfully, Coco must feel at least partly the same way, because she’s so very tolerant and patient with our little toddler tornado.

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We took a weekend trip up to Franklin in early March to visit Craig’s family and celebrate his brother Chris’s 24th birthday. It’s important to us that Leighton gets to spend a lot of time with her TN family so that she’ll grow up not only knowing and loving them, but also having a lifetime of fond memories like we did with our grandparents (and great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins). Most of the weekend was spent just hanging out at home, eating way too much delicious homemade meals, and playing at their neighborhood playground with L. It was perfect!

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It’s amazing to me that she’s already at the halfway mark to two years old. Time truly is a thief, but I really can’t complain, because she’s growing and learning, and she’s healthy, safe, and so happy…. everything I hope and pray daily for. It’s bittersweet seeing her grow and change so quickly, but I’m so thankful I get to spend the majority of every day with her, just soaking it all it. Happy 1/2 birthday to my baby girl and tiny best friend!

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Halfway to TWO!

Leighton is 18 months today — halfway to being a two year old! I just can’t believe it. I have an 18 month update coming next week after we have her check-up at the pediatrician. In the meantime, I couldn’t wait to share some of my favorites from the mini session I did with her this week.

We went to Whittier Mill Park, one of my favorite hidden gems for photo sessions, to get some fun shots of how much our girl has changed since her one year session in September (and our family holiday photos in October). I think the most noticeable difference is that she’s finally getting some hair! Hallelujah! The park is tucked back into a neighborhood just a few minutes from our house, and we love to visit the playground here when the weather is nice. She is getting so brave — climbing the stairs on the jungle gym all by herself and choosing to slide down the biggest slide there. Her personality is growing by the day, and we love her more than we ever thought possible. Enjoy!

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Atlanta Food Walks

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(photo courtesy of Atlanta Food Walks)

For Christmas, my mom was given a really fun, thoughtful gift from our family friend –  tickets to Atlanta Food Walks, a walking food tour through downtown Atlanta. Our friend asked if I could join mom for the outing, so I happily obliged. 🙂

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We met at Paschal’s and our lovely tour guide, Ashley, started off with some history about Atlanta and the Civil Rights Movement. Did you know that Paschal’s is the unofficial headquarters of the CRM? She and our guide-in-training shared so many interesting stories about the city’s history, much of which tied in with food and the restaurants we would be visiting. i won’t spoil any more tidbits for anyone who might want to take this tour, but I will share more photos, because of course I took some at almost every stop.

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(photo by our tour guide, Ashley)

We had the most delicious, moist and crispy fried chicken at Paschal’s (which was Dr. Martin Luther King’s favorite, and I can see why), yams, chicken gravy, and dressing. Even after going to seven restaurants/food stands, the chicken was definitely one of the most popular items among our tour group.

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Smoke Ring, which we’d actually been to once a few years ago, served up a large plate of BBQ samples and a strawberry lemonade moonshine cocktail. Mom tried pork belly for the first time, and I think everyone cleaned their plates at this stop.

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(photo by our tour guide, Ashley)

We walked a couple miles to Arden’s Garden and tasted a couple juices as well as “cheesy” kale chips. I also bought some Fuzzy Kisses… any guesses as to what those are?
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Sweet Auburn Curb Market was our last stop, which included 4 food stand “tastes” — Grindhouse Killer Burgers, Just Add Honey (a boutique Southern tea shop), Metro Deli (soul food, including a really tasty hoecake), and Miss D’s Pralines (so many amazing sweets).
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My mom and I loved our afternoon spent together being touristy, learning some really neat things about the city’s history, and eating our way through Downtown. The tour guides were wonderful and so knowledgeable, and everything we tasted was fantastic. I highly recommend this for both visitors and locals. We can always stand to learn more about our great city, right?

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(photo by our tour guide, Ashley)

A Woodland Chic Baby Shower

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Last weekend, I co-hosted a baby shower for my brother and my sister-in-law, who are expecting their first baby in April. It’s hard to believe that we’re that far along in our lives that my little brother is about to become a dad (!!), but I was honored and so excited to be a part of throwing this shower for them. I joined forces with her two childhood best friends, who are some of the sweetest, most fun and creative ladies I know.

The chosen theme was woodland chic, and we hosted at my brother’s in-laws’ beautiful home, which looks like an art gallery (her dad is a very talented, self-taught artist). We had so much fun running with this theme, and I think it turned out beautifully. We incorporated a trail mix bar for guests to make party favors, and we used the cutest little teepee to hold gifts, and it’ll later be added to baby boy’s nursery.

I photographed the shower, and I couldn’t resist sharing some shots with y’all. The little woodsy details sprinkled throughout were some of my favorite parts, but the absolute best part was being surrounded by about 45 of their closest friends and both of our families to celebrate them and their little one on the way. He is already so loved, and I just can’t wait to become an aunt soon!!

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love is all you need. vday 2017.

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I’ve had so much fun planning little things for this Valentine’s Day, because let’s face it, holidays are just a lot more exciting when you have a little one to celebrate with. I may have gone slightly overboard picking out some goodies for her, but it’s just so much fun shopping for her, and Target just has a way of suckering me into buying something cute every time I enter its doors. She is obsessed with her little toaster oven for her kitchen because the toast flies out and onto the floor when the timer goes off. I particularly love her ladybug raincoat (Cat & Jack does it again!), and the flamingo hooded bath towel. And I thought those felt flowers were so cute to give her for Valentine’s because they’re indestructible, and now they’re adding some color and sweetness to her kitchen. She got some more thoughtful goodies from several family members… she’s one loved little lady!

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I had big plans of making all the heart-shaped things on Tuesday, starting with pink pancakes for breakfast. They tasted delicious and were definitely pink, but next time, I need to invest in a heart-shaped pancake mold or just use a squirt bottle filled with batter to draw hearts on the pan. Leighton didn’t seem to mind, though, so I’ll call it a win.

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After hearing about a cute little French flower stand that would be set up at the Westside Provisions District, L and I took a little field trip to pick out some fresh blooms for my mom, who is also known as one of L’s bffs and her favorite babysitter. She’s so gracious with giving so much of her time to help us with watching Leighton so we can work and also have a little fun… so some surprise flowers seemed appropriate on the day of love.

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Craig and I decided a couple years ago to stop doing a nice dinner out on VDay… after all, who really likes paying too much money for a pre fixe menu and having to sit at tiny two-top tables that are so close to the next table that you may as well be sitting with those strangers?? 🙂 We’ll usually do our dinner out prior or just afterward, because we always love an excuse for a date night. I was unfortunately down for the count with a fever on our scheduled date night, so that’ll have to happen later…  but I did get some pretty flowers a little early to brighten my day. 🙂

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Instead of going out, we invited my mom over (dad’s out of town for work) and had a little family dinner date. We made heart-shaped chicken parm with pasta and finished up with skillet s’mores. Y’all. They’re they easiest, most bang for your buck dessert ever! I could practically bathe in that chocolatey, marshmallowey goodness. Hope you all had a lovely day, whether it was spent celebrating with a loved one, your galentines, or just hanging on the couch with a pint of ice cream!

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