travel:: a charleston affair

Last weekend, we traveled to Charleston, SC to celebrate our friends Casey and Connor at their wedding, and what a fun weekend it was! We and about 25 of our friends stayed on Folly Beach and made a long weekend vacation out of it. I don’t know if it could have possibly been any hotter and more humid, but at least we had a beach to spend our days at. ūüôā

While we were out on Folly or at wedding festivities most of the time,¬†I just love visiting the Charleston area — it’s such a beautiful, fun city with so much to do. We had the best time celebrating our friends, and it also served as our “last hoorah” before baby Hayes makes her debut in less than 2 months. I may be tired with slightly swollen feet, but it was one¬†for the books! Congrats, Mr. and Mrs. Warfield!

[lunch on Folly Beach]
[welcome party in Mt. Pleasant – such a fitting name for the setting]
[kicking off the wedding weekend with the bride]
[beach day with the groom]
[rehearsal dinner at the Country Club of Charleston – such a beautiful view!]
[out and about in Charleston]
IMG_9542[wedding reception at the Carolina Yacht Club]
[Mr. and Mrs. Warfield]
[our last wedding and big outing before baby H arrives!]

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).

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.


YUM. Turkey burgers with brie and pesto. I could have eaten 15 of these. 






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)!

6.6.13… and this makes four!

Four years ago today, I married my best friend. How has it already been that long? Sometimes, it seems like yesterday. ¬†I’m not going to claim that my husband is better than everyone else’s husbands, because quite frankly, that’s kind of rude. But he is the best husband I could have ever asked for, and I love him more and more every day. Instead of a long, sappy post that only he would appreciate (hopefully he would!), here are some of my favorite memories of our adventures over the years. And to celebrate our 4th anniversary, we’re off to the family beach house in St. Augustine (where we made it official) for the long weekend with some friends!

It all started in the summer of ’05. We were such babies then::


3 years later led to a ring::

And 7 months after that, we were married in St. Augustine, one of my favorite places in the world::

We honeymooned in Peter Island::

And we became home owners in April 2010::

We made it through year #1 and returned to St. Augustine to celebrate::

Puppy made 3 in January 2011::

We have spent many, many afternoons tailgating and cheering on the Dawgs and Tigers::

Craig turned into a real live Santa Claus::

We’ve traveled near and far, but one of our favorites will always be Lake Tahoe::

We celebrated my brother’s engagement on the beaches of Costa Rica in April 2012::


And then we celebrated Craig’s 30th at his favorite spot in Nashville, The Stage, in October 2012::

And by Thanksgiving 2012, our puppy Coco was all grown up::

In May 2013, we celebrated my brother’s wedding and gained a sister to complete the Sims family::

We’ve gone so many places and done so many things, and I am ever so thankful for all the memories we have made together. Craig, I love you so so muches! You are my best friend, my rock, and my everything. I look forward to many, many more anniversaries and adventures with you by my side! Motown + Craiggers 4 Life!

andrew + lauren tied the knot! part 4:: wedding + reception

“I love you more than anything in the entire world… yes, even more than Riley.”

Lauren was a stunning bride, Andrew was a quite dapper groom, and the wedding ceremony and reception were “them” to a T. As I’d mentioned in the previous post, the ceremony was held at the¬†Georgia Museum of Art, which is on the UGA campus. They married in the Grand Hall, and it was just that — grand with a long aisle, high ceilings, sweeping white curtains over floor-to-ceiling windows, and a huge, dramatic painting along the wall.

Lauren’s older brother Brett officiated the ceremony and did a beautiful job. Lauren and Andrew wrote and recited their own vows, and I have to hand it to them, because I never would have made it through that at my own wedding. It’s funny…. I knew it would be a glorious and incredible day, but I never imagined what it would be like to actually hear my little brother sounding so grown up, professing his undying love and adoration for his new wife in front of everyone important to them.¬†I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house when they finished.



The reception was held downtown at¬†Farm 255¬†— ¬†yet another fitting piece of the day, as it was where they had their first date. Farm is a farm-to-table restaurant, and Andrew is known among friends as quite a foodie and an excellent cook, so this location was perfection. ¬†Inside, the room was literally glowing with hundreds of candles as we dined on a Southern feast of roasted chicken, local organic vegetables, collards, and shrimp and grits (I don’t eat shrimp, but the creamy grits were to die for). ¬†The wedding cake was red velvet, and there were cupcakes, too! Sweet tooth seriously satisfied.¬†Outside under strands of white lights, the fabulous¬†Shimmer Band¬†played and guests danced the night away.




















They had the reception venue until 2am, so they staged a fake exit earlier in the evening, complete with a Chinese wish lantern send-off. I’d never seen these in person, and it was so neat! There were tons and tons of giant, glowing lanterns floating off into the night in celebration of Andrew and Lauren’s marriage. It was truly one of the most magical and beautiful things I’ve ever seen.¬†

Last weekend was one of the best weekends of my life, and I’ll remember it always. We’ve officially joined families with Lauren’s, and we couldn’t be happier. Lauren is the sister I’d always hoped for, and I’m so happy that they have found their happy ending together – but really, it’s just the beginning! Cheers to many, many years of memories to come!

andrew + lauren tied the knot! part 3:: the big day, pre-wedding

The Big Day — May 18, 2013

Andrew and Lauren started dating toward the end of college and then moved to Atlanta upon graduation. Our family quickly grew to love Lauren, and I know we’d all agree that last weekend’s wedding was just a formality, as she’s been a part of our family for a long time. ¬† Together with them, we’ve gone on so many family trips, had too many delicious dinners, celebrated Christmas Eve at her parents’ house with all of her family, and shared countless memories. Lauren has become a sister to both Craig and me, and I’m forever thankful that they found each other and have now officially become husband and wife.

I’m also so honored to have been a part of Lauren’s bridal party with her 6 very best friends. It’s been so much fun helping Lauren plan their wedding for the past year, hosting and attending wedding showers in their honor, going on her bachelorette trip to Vegas, giving her wedding advice, and finally, standing beside her while she married my little brother.¬†I wouldn’t have traded this experience for the world. So without further ado…. enjoy my view of Andrew and Lauren’s wedding day.

It started with the Presidential Suite at the Hotel Indigo. Yep, we fancy. Lauren got the suite for all of us girls to get ready in on Saturday, and it was way to start the day. Our moms and her grandmother joined us, and Lauren’s sister-in-law Sam (who is an amazing makeup artist) brought her talented friends to turn us all into pretty, pretty princesses. It’s a good thing that suite was big, because within about 5 minutes of their arrival, the place was a zoo filled with hairspray, makeup, mimosas, and girls in matching bathrobes.





Most of the other photos need no description, but this one is special. Lauren tied this locket with one of her favorite photos of her little brother Bryan onto her wedding bouquet. Her family lost Bryan in high school, but he was ever so present the entire weekend. 



Andrew and Lauren had their “first look” before we headed out on a trolley to take pictures around town (which was SO fun, by the way). The entire wedding party and our parents were invited to watch from inside as they got their first glimpse at each other in the garden just outside the hotel. Seeing Lauren walk up to Andrew and tap him on the shoulder, and him turning around to gush over her dress and how stunning she looked…. it was unbelievably sweet and special.


We spent the afternoon riding around town on the trolley, drinking champagne with cute stripey straws, and posing at the Arch (which is the entrance to the beautiful North Campus, where we also took photos), the Last Resort mural, and Farm 255. ¬†I think it made for a really memorable and fun day for the bride and groom to spend time with their parents and closest friends before their wedding. If I were to go back in time to my wedding, I think I’d do the same thing!


The famed Arch leading into UGA’s North Campus



I love this colorful mural outside of Last Resort — one of everyone’s favorite restaurants in Athens

Stay tuned for the final installment tomorrow!

andrew + lauren tied the knot! part 2:: welcome reception

In true Andrew and Lauren fashion, they wanted everyone coming into town for the wedding to be included in the festivities and fun on Friday night, so they planned a welcome reception at one of the BEST spots in Athens — the Georgia Theatre rooftop. For those not familiar with the venue, GA Theatre opened as a concert hall in 1977 and has been home to performances by the B-52s, REM, Sting and The Police, and so many other famous acts. In 2009, a fire tragically gutted the famous and beloved building that so many of us have countless memories of during our college years. It reopened in 2011 and while I haven’t seen the inside of the theatre, I think the rooftop makes the venue infinitely better than it once had been. Views of downtown Athens, a great breeze, and a fun bar made for the perfect welcome reception!

Lauren and Andrew had their name in lights!

I had the honor of creating a slideshow to share with everyone at the party. Andrew and Lauren didn’t want to see it in advance, so it was fun to see their reactions. I’m such a sucker for wedding slideshows.¬†




My mom’s family, minus a few who couldn’t be there. I’m so glad we got to spend quality time with our Florida family last weekend!


Lauren’s brother, sister-in-law, and one of many bffs


Almost Mr. and Mrs.!

andrew + lauren tied the knot! part 1:: bmaids luncheon, rehearsal, and rehearsal dinner

Andrew and Lauren’s wedding weekend took place in the beautiful city of Athens, GA, which is where they met and went to college at the University of Georgia. All of us who attended college in Athens have a special love for the city,¬†and it was so much fun to share that with our friends and family last weekend.

Lauren invited the girls to a bridesmaids luncheon at what is likely many peoples’ most favorite restaurant in town — Last Resort. Everything I’ve had there is amazing, and they have a bakery case full of cakes that are to die for. So needless to say, we were excited to eat! She gave us the most fun gifts, including matching bathrobes to wear the morning of the wedding (with squirrels and giraffes on them!). And then she treated us to manicures at a nearby spa…. we definitely enjoyed it, but I don’t know if the other spa patrons did. ūüôā¬†It was so nice to spend the day with each other before the busy weekend got underway.


Mimosas, presents, crab cakes, and a frittata – yum!




The bride and her maids

We loved our festive robes!!

Lauren and her family

Manicures at the spa


The wedding ceremony would take place at the Georgia Museum of Art, which is located within the UGA campus. After the rehearsal, we had dinner at a steakhouse downtown called Porterhouse. We kicked off the festivities with tons of food, 50 of our closest friends and family members, and toasts that were sweet, funny, tearful, and full of advice and praise for the happy couple. It was a wonderful way to start the celebration of two of our most favorite people and the love they have for each other.




Lauren and Andrew’s wedding party

The Rehearsal Dinner

Lauren surprised Andrew with his groom’s cake. He had a slight obsession with ALF when he was younger, and it was his 2nd birthday cake.
We have the cutest photos of him with his ALF doll, and it was the cutest surprise for the wedding. 




McClow ladies


A funny poem from some of Lauren’s bridesmaids


A Few of My Favorite Things, Wedding Edition (24)

This week’s post is more special than most — it’s the wedding edition! Last weekend, we spent Thursday – Sunday in Athens, GA celebrating the marriage of my brother Andrew to his now wife, Lauren. It was a glorious, amazing weekend filled with so much love and laughter. We’ve been talking and thinking and planning for so long that it’s hard to believe it’s all over. Thank goodness for lots of cameras and large memory cards to document everything — I took 780 photos in 3 days! Here’s a quick glimpse at some of my favorite moments from the weekend. Many, many more to come.

[Lauren + Andrew had their name in lights!
The weekend started off with a welcome reception at
the famed Georgia Theatre rooftop after the rehearsal dinner.]


[beautiful bridesmaids dresses hanging in the bridal suite]


[a trolley ride around Athens for wedding party photos]

[sneak peek at the gorgeous bride and groom]


[chalkboard art at Farm 255, the reception venue]

[favorite candid of the night. pure joy and fun.]

[FINALLY – my husband dances with me!]


[wish lantern send-off. so incredibly beautiful and magical.]

a seaside affair, part II::

Travis + Anna’s wedding day in Seaside!


I loved the font and slanted text on their invitations and programs.


Such a gorgeous setting for a ceremony.

Here comes the beautiful bride!

Anna’s wedding colors were coral and turquoise – the bridesmaids matched the ocean perfectly.

Our very own starfish! I took mine home.

Reception at Bud and Alley’s


Mr. and Mrs. Bussey!


They had some of the most delicious food I’ve ever eaten at a wedding.
Tenderloin, scallops, GIANT crab cakes, cheese grits, collards… mmm.



Somehow, we ended up across the street at the BBQ food trailer with the bride and groom after the after-party.
I love this photo of them dressed to the nines…. eating half-frozen corn dogs while the rest of us chowed down on some late-night BBQ.

Anna + Travis, thank you for including us in your special weekend! It was a trip I’ll always remember. Cheers to you!

a seaside affair, part I::

Last weekend, we took a trip to Seaside, FL for two friends’ wedding. We and our friends rented 3 cottages right in the middle of “town,” if you can call it that because it’s so small. We had the most amazing time — gorgeous weather, pretty houses, great seafood (and food trailers), a beautiful wedding, and the best group of friends. I did come to the realization that I have a problem, though. I officially take an obscene amount of photos, especially when weddings and vacations are involved. I took 200 pictures last weekend, for crying out loud! There are far too many favorites to share, but here’s a glimpse at Travis + Anna’s wedding weekend!

Our pretty yellow cottage with bright blue doors and 4 balconies and porches.
With views of the ocean and only a 1-minute walk to everything in town.


The Meltdown…. I had the exact same thing for lunch 2 days in a row, and I contemplated getting it on the 3rd day.
I love a good grilled cheese — and add bacon to that, and you have my heart!



Beautiful, beautiful beach. Our playground for 3 days.


Shameless plug…. the La Totale¬†Bag¬†from Stella & Dot is the perfect beach bag.
Water bottle holder, lots of pockets, wipeable lining, and waterproof on the outside.

View from the top!



Craig got his oysters at the Great Southern. 

Hanging out with the bride at Bud and Alley’s.




Why can’t we do this every weekend? I need to win the lottery.

Because there were far too many photos from the actual wedding, stay tuned for part 2 this week!