Friday, October 28, 2016

highlands, nc mountain weekend bachelorette

 recently we celebrated my bachelorette party in highlands, north carolina and I just have to share some of the sweet photos that I took. I actually didn't take that many photos because I think we were too busy having fun! I wanted a farmhouse mountain weekend with changing leaves, pumpkins, and wine and my sisters could not have done a better job executing the vision. highlands, north carolina is a gorgeous place and was the perfect destination.

these little white pumpkins stole my heart!

we stayed at this gorgeous farmhouse - trust me, the photos on vrbo do not do it justice. every room was well appointed and beautifully designed. the whole main level is full of shiplap with tons of seating and spaces to hang out.

my sisters were very sweet to gift everyone these sweet LL bean bags full of goodies! I just can't get enough of all the plaid.

pumpkin bread, salted caramel apple cider {for mimosas}, and caramel apple suckers were just a few of the basic fall snacks we noshed on.

and then these little babies made their debut - apple gummy bears soaked in caramel apple vodka. these were so unbelievably yummy, we couldn't stop eating them. I don't know how my sister did it, since everyone that I know who has tried to make alcohol-soaked gummies has failed.

on saturday, we got coffee at buck's in town and headed out to dry falls to check out some picturesque mountain scenery.

then we headed back to town and did some shopping. we stopped at old edwards inn for lunch at madison's. old edwards inn was seriously a dream that I couldn't even begin to capture behind the lens. the outdoor wine garden was something out of a movie and also had a 1.5 hour wait with no reservations, so we dined inside. such a beautiful place!

for those of you that read frequently, the bachelorette book club was a huge hit. we didn't actually have a discussion with book club questions - but it was a common ground that all of us shared and we found ourselves referencing the book all the time during the weekend. if you've read in a dark, dark wood - you know that the girls lose cell phone service as they get to the house and the same thing happened to us. it made for a perfectly spooky weekend with great friends!

after lunch, we stopped at another wine bar and the rest of the day was a blur. after a few glasses of wine, I neglected my camera. we all went to dinner and then stopped at a few bars, the ugly dog and the lost hiker. the following morning, we stopped at the cupboard cafe for brunch on the way out of town. it was the quintessential fall weekend and I had such a great time with my family and friends! highlands, north carolina is a must-visit fall town.

Monday, October 24, 2016

charleston cheese dip

with fall in full swing, this is a recipe you definitely need to bookmark! I'm sure many of you have a short list of tried and true crowd pleasing appetizers or tailgate sides, sausage cheese balls and chili cheese dip are always a hit for me. these are the items I will make on repeat during football season, and I would say that it's rare to come about a new recipe that I love so much to add it into the rotation. charleston cheese dip is just that! 

my sister made this dip a couple times at her house, once for her boyfriend's dirty 30, and I knew I had to get the recipe. I made it for our housewarming party, and it was devoured in about 30 minutes. luckily, I was able to snag the absolute last bite. next time, I'll make two servings!

have you heard of charleston cheese dip before? 
what is your tried and true recipe for tailgating or parties?


-1/2 c. mayonnaise
-8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
-1 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
-1/2 cup grated monterey jack cheese
-2 green onions, finely chopped
-1 dash cayenne pepper
-8 butter crackers, crushed, such as ritz
-8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
-bagel chips, for serving


1. preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. in a medium bowl, mix the mayonnaise, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, monterey jack cheese, green onions and cayenne pepper.

3. transfer the mixture to a shallow baking dish, such as a 9-inch pie pan.

4. top the mixture with the cracker crumbs and bake until heated through, about 15 minutes.

5. remove the pan from the oven and top with the bacon. serve immediately with corn chips, crackers or bagel chips.

recipe from trisha yearwood

Friday, October 21, 2016

atlanta home tour: back patio

being that we're well into fall, it's high time that I talked about our back outdoor patio! I think the whole concept of outdoor furniture is sort of funny, that the summer is the peak selling season when in reality, we didn't sit outside this summer at all. it's just too hot in georgia! so now that fall is underway, we are definitely enjoying a cocktail outside frequently.

stephen got his prized traeger grill and enjoys cooking on it while I am just trying to keep the bird feeder full and the plants watered. we just need to spruce up the empty side wall and this outdoor space will be complete. I haven't decided just what to do with this wall... only time will tell.

while we do love this furniture, I would not recommend spending the extra money for the rocking chairs. they don't really rock well enough to make it worth it in my opinion.

rug / target, similar
all patio furniture and pillows / spring haven collection from with gray cushions
garden stool / bed bath and beyond

Monday, October 17, 2016

halloween at our house

as it turns out, we are already over half way through october! which means it's time to change my door wreath, among other things of course. we've been sporting our 'house divided' wreath for auburn and texas a&m and I swapped it out for a few weeks with our halloween wreath.

I have a fun and easy trick for you guys today - I could go crazy buying tons of wreaths, a wreath for every month and every holiday. probably not the best financial investment for us at this time, but it's tempting. instead, I buy seasonal wreaths like the colorful one you see below and then add a holiday sign from the dollar store that complements. so after halloween, I can just remove this little halloween sign and we're back to a plain fall wreath.

Friday, October 14, 2016

atlanta home tour: guest room updates

stephen recently went out of town for the weekend and I was busy spending time with family that happened to be in town. I also had some down time, which of course, I filled with home shopping and decorating. I started with scott's antique market but much to my surprise, was a fruitless trip. I decided to hit homegoods, at home, and kirkland's after the scott's buzzkill.

I love our guest room, but there are some things that are still in need of a little TLC. our lamps had to go, they were old ikea lamps that my cat had pretty much broken from knocking off the nightstands so many times. I picked up some new lamps at homegoods, which are just beautiful. I also scored a shaggy rug and new wall art. our guest room is definitely on its way to becoming a cozy little haven home-away-from-home kind of guest room.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

what I read in september

sooo it's the first time I've read more than one book in the same month in quite some time. woo! both books happened to be written by the same author, ruth ware - but I definitely enjoyed one more than the other. have you read both of these books already? I feel like everyone has and I'm looking forward to seeing the movie. I also can't wait to see girl on the train soon! linking up with jana and steph, looking forward to seeing what everyone read last month!

lo blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. the sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque north sea. At first, lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. but as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. the problem? all passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…{}

my take: A
I'm probably the last person on earth to read this book, but I'm glad that I did. it's a unique premise and the plot left me guessing until the very end, which kept me going. trust your gut, and maybe don't trust others.... my takeaway :) at the end of the book, I kept thinking "don't trust anyone!!" but luckily, this book has a good and fair ending. if you can only read one book - definitely choose this one over in a dark, dark wood.

in a dark, dark wood by ruth ware
what should be a cozy and fun-filled weekend deep in the english countryside for a bachelorette party [aka hen do] takes a sinister turn in ruth ware’s suspenseful, compulsive, and darkly twisted psychological thriller. when writer leonora is invited to the english countryside for a weekend away, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. but as the first night falls, revelations unfold among friends old and new, an unnerving memory shatters leonora’s reserve, and a haunting realization creeps in: the bachelorette party is not alone in the woods. {}

my take: B
I just couldn't help the fact that my own bachelorette party is quickly approaching and will be hosted in the mountains of north carolina. I had to read this book - and I sent a copy to each attendee with a note about our bachelorette book club! I figured it would be a quick read, and it was. I plan on using the notes in the back of book to prompt book club discussions, I'm definitely looking forward to bachelorette book club (even if I get made fun of)! sooooooo one amazon reviewer called this book "a scooby doo mystery" - and I don't really disagree. it was pretty light on substance and there were quite a few times I thought the plot was a bit of a stretch. I actually think this will make a great movie, because the level of drama is quite high for real life relevance. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

cookies and cream cookies

work potlucks. all in favor - say I? I am a huge fan of work potlucks. they give me an excuse to bake things that I can not keep around the house due to my basically-non-existant-willpower. we haven't had a work potluck in quite some time, but we had one recently and of course, I wanted to try a new recipe. I thought about making these yummy pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies, and then I decided on the healthy route of broccoli salad [then realized it wasn't that healthy]... and then, I seriously finalized the decision with cookies and cream cookies.

maybe it's because I am a huge fan of the cookies and cream candy bars? I could just inhale those and I'm not even a packaged candy bar person. so yes, out with the broccoli and in with the cookies. let me just say that I have never tasted a cookie dough better than this one. people were flat out raving about these cookies, I even got a marriage proposal based on these cookies. I think this recipe may make it into my rotation of holiday cookies!