a couples shower for baby H!

A handful of our friends offered to throw us a couples shower in Nashville last weekend, and it couldn’t have been a more perfect evening shared with Craig’s family, many of his high school friends (who have become my friends as well over the years), and some of our favorite Atlanta friends who made the trip up. We had delicious Martin’s BBQ at our “Baby-Q”, as well as some of my current favorite desserts — cookie cake and Krispy Kreme donuts… yum!

We feel so loved, and we are now on our way to being more prepared for her arrival, thanks to the many thoughtful, helpful, and fun gifts we received! We’re so grateful to have such wonderful friends to throw this shower in our honor, as well as everyone who came to celebrate baby H with us that night.

Our fabulous hostesses (and host) — some of the best friends we could ask for::

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How cute are these koozies?! 
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Our shower ended up being a “4th of July lake trip” reunion of sorts, so we had to get the traditional group photo with so many of those we’ve spent the holiday with over the past decade or so.
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Cheers to baby Hayes!
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a very merry christmas

I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas/Hanukkah/anything else you may celebrate! We had a really wonderful week off work visiting Craig’s family and several of our friends in Nashville and then heading back home to Atlanta to spend some time with my family. I just love this time of year — especially the lights, music, food, and fun. For me, it’s a season of giving, spending time with those you love, and being thankful for our great, many blessings.  Here’s a recap of our holiday week…. it’s hard to believe it’s already over and that we’re focusing on the coming new year!
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Early Christmas dinner at Craig’s grandparents’ house with his little sister and his brother’s girlfriend… and Coco who was not interested in smiling for a photo.
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The lights in the Cottonwood neighborhood in Franklin put the Atlanta neighborhoods to shame. So many festive houses!
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Happy Hour @ Urban Grub with one of my besties
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Christmas with the Sims family in ATL (notice Riley is much better than Coco is at posing for photos…) 
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Yep — this was my Christmas night dinner! 
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One of my favorite Christmas traditions is hosting a big dinner at our house every year for our family and my SIL’s parents who live in town. It’s so fun getting together with them, and we just love the chance to host everyone. My dad always fries a turkey, and this year, Coco got a prime spot for carving. 
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As part of dessert, we served some of the icewine I brought back from Napa (which is actually made in Canada). It’s super sweet, but it was fun to share. 
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Here’s looking forward to what 2015 has to bring!!

wrapping up wedding season

Congratulations to our friends Courtney and Joey! They got married last Saturday, and it was such a fun night spent celebrating the newlyweds. The ceremony and reception were held at Piedmont Estate in Buckhead. Previously known as the restaurant Anthony’s, the venue is a big antebellum house (rumored to be haunted) that they’ve now turned into an event space. It is gorgeous! Once you enter the gates to the property, you’d never know that you’re smack dab in the middle of Buckhead (right on Piedmont Rd).

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Courtney was a stunning bride, and Joey was a very handsome groom. The ceremony was short and sweet, but the love and absolute joy that they shared in that moment was so evident.
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YUM. Turkey burgers with brie and pesto. I could have eaten 15 of these. 
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Cheers to Mr. and Mrs. Swafford! We adore you guys and wish you a long lifetime of love, joy, laughter, adventures, many blessings… and some kids! Hope you’re having the most fabulous honeymoon (and 30th birthday, Courtney)!

nashville recap

You are probably tired of hearing about birthday celebrations, but I don’t care! hehe just kidding. We had such a fun weekend celebrating Craig’s birthday and Auburn’s win (not even going to talk about that UGA disappointment) in one of our most favorite cities. Nashville has so much to offer, yet we rarely get to take in much of it because we’re always visiting for a short amount of time and have lots of people to see while we’re there. I think we need to plan a trip back sometime to play tourist in Craig’s hometown. We did manage to squeeze in a tiny bit of time wandering downtown and taking in the beautiful weather from the rooftop of Rock Bottom Brewery, though, so I’ll take that for now.

We got to spend a little time with Craig’s family in Franklin, which included this delicious homemade cheesecake.
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And then, for the first time in our 8+ year relationship…. I got to ride in his beloved Super Sport! It was an exciting moment in time. This gal is an “antique” and was the best car ever, from what I’m told. Craig’s grandparents have been babysitting her for the past several years, and I’m glad I got to take a quick joy ride in it before he sells it…. and speaking of, for anyone in Nashville area, it’s for sale!
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We got in a little time downtown at sunset. It was the PERFECT weather for happy hour on the rooftop!
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And we had some honky tonk adventures.
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My bestie came in town from NYC. Yay!
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Saturday, we literally spent 12 hours watching football. All of our teams won except for Georgia, the team we actually came to Nashville to watch play Vandy. A very disappointing loss, indeed. We still managed to have a good time.
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For gameday, Craig wore one of my grandfather Bop’s Auburn shirts that he recently inherited. I know Bop was smiling down on us about Auburn’s big win AND Craig’s choice of shirt for the day!

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The Batman Building in all its glory
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MMM… nothing beats waffle house for birthday breakfast! When did they start making waffles with their logo on them?
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It was a most fun weekend with Craig’s family and several of our favorite friends. Thank you to everyone who made Craig feel extra special, and especially to those who helped us celebrate all weekend. There’s not a much better way to celebrate another year, right?

celebrating 31

October 20th is a pretty special day in our house. Craig turns 31 this Sunday, so he gets a special little post all to himself! I bet he’s blushing as we speak.

I promise not to be too mushy, because I know Craig just looooves when people do that for all the world to see, but I wanted to give him a shout out while we’re in Nashville for his birthday this weekend, because he’s pretty awesome.
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He cooks dinner! (And sometimes, he even helps clean up the mess he’s made while cooking said dinners.)
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He builds and fixes things!
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He’s the sweetest dad to Coco, and I know he’ll be even better with our non-furry children one day.
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He likes organizing cookouts and bus outings to football games for us and our friends to enjoy.
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He humors me and is generally just along for the ride (like driving a total of 3 hours just to go pumpkin picking or pretending to be attacked by a fake bear for our family’s entertainment on vacation).
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He’s not afraid to dress up like Santa, a redneck, or a pilot from Top Gun in the name of a good time.
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He loves my family like his own.
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I don’t know what I did to deserve it, but God graced me with the most incredible best friend and husband I could have ever asked for.
I hope you have the HAPPIEST of birthdays, Craig! I love you more than you’ll ever know!
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super chase is one!

Our friends have the most adorable little boy, Chase. It’s been so much fun watching him grow from a teeny tiny baby into a walking, “talking” one-year-old this past year. Over the weekend, we were invited to celebrate his 1st birthday at the park with a superhero-themed party — costumes encouraged. I’ve never seen so many crime fighting babies!

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The birthday boy with his dad and mom::
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Batman + Robin!

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Some of the most adorable superheroes (and a princess)::
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Smash cake::
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It was a BIG hit::
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Uncle Chris + Super Chase::
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Best friends + their babies::
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Lots of superheroes showed up to celebrate::
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Proof of a good party::
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Happy Birthday, little guy! We are excited to see what the next year brings you!

cabo san lucas birthday trip:: part 2

The guys spent Sunday golfing at the course across the street, so we picked out prime seats at the pool and stationed ourselves there for 8 hours. And of course we treated ourselves to some salty dogs and ritas at the swim-up bar.

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The Hilton had such wonderful service. Each day at the pool, someone walked around with a wooden cart and handed out the tiniest, cutest popsicles I’ve ever seen. We chose coconut. What a refreshing treat after being out in the sun all day!
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One of my favorite dinners was at Fenicia, an Italian restaurant at the resort.  We sat poolside and had the prettiest view as the sun set over the ocean and reflected onto the pool. 
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They surprised me with a birthday dessert (one night early).
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After dinner and drinks, we did a little night swimming. The perfect way to end a wonderful day!
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8.26.13 — happy 30th birthday to me! The day was absolutely perfect from start to finish — minus one thing. Craig was taken prisoner by Montezuma’s revenge of some sort, and he sadly had to stay in bed the entire day. I hated leaving him inside while we enjoyed our last day of the trip, but I’m thankful that he at least got to enjoy the first few days with us. For those wondering, he’s mostly better now. That Montezuma is no joke.
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For my birthday dinner, we were driven on a golf cart to the nearby Las Ventanas Resort. It was one of the neatest, most beautiful resorts I’ve ever seen. Cacti everywhere, white pueblo-style buildings, and an infinity pool that looked like it flowed right into the ocean. We ate at The Restaurant and had the most gorgeous view. It was a most perfect meal — all of us agreed it was one of the best we’ve ever had.
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Aside from Craig’s illness, our trip was one of my most favorite that we’ve ever taken. We didn’t do much other than relax by the pool, eat fantastic food, and take in the gorgeous views at the beach, but that was exactly how I wanted to celebrate my birthday. I’ll always cherish the family trips we take, and this was no exception. Can’t wait till our next one!

cabo san lucas birthday trip:: part 1

We just returned from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in celebration of my 30th birthday (and my dad’s 58th birthday, too!). My parents are so incredibly generous to have treated us to this trip, and I will always be grateful for these family trips we’re so fortunate to take together.

Our trip got off to a rocky start in Atlanta when our flight was cancelled almost immediately upon getting to the airport. After a lot a bit of griping and complaining, we were moved to the next flight out to Dallas and then onto Cabo… which left us with about 5 hours to kill. We managed to pass the day away with mimosas and a most delicious lunch at One Flew South, which is the fanciest airport restaurant I’ve ever seen.

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After a full evening of travel, we arrived in paradise!
(This photo was actually taken on our way home — I just loved the giant letters on top of the airport.)
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We chose to stay at the Hilton Los Cabos, which is in the “corridor” between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, so we rented a van to have our own transportation (I hear cab rides are rather pricey there).  On our way to the resort, we stopped at Mi Casa in the sleepy town of San Jose del Cabo for dinner. The restaurant was really neat — lots of small, colorful rooms, a big outdoor seating area, and a beautiful shop with all sorts of Mexican-inspired trinkets and art.
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We had the most yummy, fresh margaritas at dinner, and then when we arrived for check-in at the Hilton, we were greeted with frozen strawberry ritas! That’s what I’m talking about, Hilton.
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Saturday morning, we woke up to this. It’s the most gorgeous view I’ve ever seen from a hotel balcony. We seriously lucked out with the location of our rooms — almost top floor and smack dab in the center of the building, giving us the perfect view of the pool and ocean.
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I was so worried the week leading up to the trip because of the weather forecast — 60% and 80% chance of rain the first two days. But after a couple quick showers the first two mornings, we had nothing but beautiful sunshine the rest of the trip.
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We didn’t get to see it up close, but that giant fenced-in area is where they were burying sea turtle eggs, which should hatch this fall. 
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I’ve never seen so many aloe plants in my life.
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Our one trip down to the beach.  The first day, the water was so rough that every time it hit the rocks, it would spray up probably at least 20 feet in the air. Quite a sight. The sand was really coarse and sort of hard to walk in, so we stuck to the infinity pool for the rest of our stay. It was closer to the waiters anyway.
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The most perfect day. The infinity pool was incredible!
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This was the view coming out of our rooms. I love the contrast of the bright clay roof with the blue sky, palm trees, and mountains. 
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This is as close as we got to Land’s End, the famed rock formation out in the ocean. We went into Cabo San Lucas just once for dinner, and that was enough for me. I’m not a fan of being harassed by salespeople as we walk down the street, so we decided we’d prefer to stay by the pool at the Hilton instead. I’d have loved to take a boat ride to see Land’s End closer, but maybe next time! 
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Dinner at 12 Tribes at the Casa Dorada Hotel. Best tres leches cake and churros ever. Craig tried to lick the plate.

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We may have ordered a second helping of this — and extra ice cream.
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That covers the first half of our trip! I wish I could share every photo, but you’d be here all day. Check back soon for the second half — and a post about one of the best dinners we’ve ever had.

hola, 30!

I’m 30 and celebrating in Mexico with the 5 people nearest and dearest to me. How in the world did that happen (turning 30, I mean)?

Growing up, I’ve always thought of 30 as a pretty big milestone for which to have accomplished various things in life. When I was in middle school, I made a book about my life (past, present, and future). Let’s see if those predictions ring true. At the ripe old age of about 24 (which I must have thought was ancient back then), my future self was living in Woodstock, GA (funny, right?), married with TWINS (even funnier), and owned a clothing store called Ziggy’s. I was quite ambitious.

Although I don’t own a clothing store or have twins who are 6 years old, there is no doubt in my mind that my life at 30 is more than I ever could have imagined or hoped for.  I’ve been married for over 4 years to the love of my life and we’re building a pretty awesome life together, if I do say so myself. I’m so loved by family and friends, and I love them all just as much in return. We have the funniest, most adorable puppy who never fails to bring a smile to our faces. I have not one, but two jobs that give me a purpose in different ways. I’ve gotten to travel the world and have a travel bucket list that’s still a mile long… I have no doubt I’ll get to cross off many of those items over time.  I count my blessings every day, because sometimes I just can’t believe I’m living the dream. Here’s to a new decade — I am so excited to see what it brings!

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ringing in 30!

Last weekend, my darling husband and sweet, sweet sister-in-law and brother threw me the most amazing 30th birthday party! I am one lucky lady. They’ve spent the past couple months talking and planning and planning some more for this special bday bash, and I couldn’t be more thankful. It was evident all the thought and preparation and creativity that they put into the party, so I had to share. I truly couldn’t have planned a better celebration myself — it was perfect!

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Koozies, Mad Libs, a photo guest book documenting my 30 years, and fun little pony pens! Why ponies? I’d been asking for some details about the party for weeks, but of course they would give no information. Craig finally told me that there would be ponies at the party, and it quickly became a running joke. I’m glad they followed through. 🙂
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How cute are those goggles? PS — Publix makes a delicious cookie cake. Watch out, Great American Cookie Co. 
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Coco’s sweet face even made an appearance at the party! 
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I am obsessed with these giant balloons and can’t wait to use them for whatever party I host next. Although I hear it’s not easy to transport them once blown up… 
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I am so glad we got this photo of most of the girls. I love my friends like family, and all of these girls are so special to me!
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Best hosts and hostess, and also best family. Couldn’t ask for anything more with these three.
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Love these gold balloons, too.
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It really was the best night and the best way to ring in 30 (a tad early).  They even had my favorite pizza-making friends, S & J’s Pizza, cater the party. It was a huge hit, as always. I am so thankful for amazing friends to celebrate with, and even more thankful for the most thoughtful, generous husband, brother, and sister-in-law for making me feel so special! Now on to Cabo this wknd to continue the celebration with my family!