Monday, May 30, 2016

memorial may

this year I had the opportunity to do something entirely different to commemorate memorial day and honor the service men and women of this great country. Carry the Load is a non-profit dedicated to restoring the true meaning of memorial day. Carry the Load provides active ways to honor the countless military, law enforcement, firefighters, and rescue personnel who dedicate their lives to keeping our country safe. the specific event that I participated in was the carry the load relay,  a bi-coastal relay event throughout the month of may leading up to Memorial Day. 

there are quite a few retired service members on my work team and that's how I found out about this cause. we joined together to form the atlanta relay team from piedmont heights to buckhead, a 5.5 mile walk. we carried three flags during our walk: the American flag, the POW MIA flag, and the Carry the Load flag. some of us added weight to our backpacks to signify carrying the load of friends lost in combat. what compelled me to sign up and donate for the cause, other than to support my colleagues, was the story of how Carry the Load started...

Friday, May 27, 2016

georgia roadtrip: the palace of the south

a few weekends ago, we took a weekend trip to macon for the USTA state championship tennis tournament that stephen was playing in. we found ourselves with a couple of hours to spare on saturday and decided to check out the palace of the south, the historic johnston-felton-hay house near mercer university. oh my gosh, where to start? 

we didn't make plans ahead of time and luckily arrived at the hay house just before the hourly tour started. I definitely recommend checking out their tour hours before you go since you are not permitted to wander the house without being part of the tour. our tour guide was very hospitable, given that we had to depart the tour early for one of stephen's matches. if you find yourself in macon, georgia - you absolutely must spend an hour touring this amazing italian-inspired historic home.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

moving down memory lane

last week after work, while stephen was at tennis practice, I spent some time packing up the apartment by myself. as I packed up, I was all of the sudden flooded with moving memories from over the years. I packed a few boxes, ate a lean cuisine, and poured myself a glass of wine. it was almost as if I were back in dallas, many years ago, packing myself up as young(er), single, twenty-something. years later, and there's still no shame in my lean cuisine + wine game.

Monday, May 23, 2016

georgia roadtrip: macon, the heart of georgia

we made the hour and a half trek down to macon last weekend for stephen's state tennis tournament. I am all about making use of down time and exploring so I did a little research on macon before we left, but we hadn't decided on any plans. we had a few extra hours on saturday and luckily the best of both worlds happened for us: stephen's team won their matches that day and we got to check out an antique market, a historic home, and I made a pit stop at a darling shabby chic market. can't ask for more than winning and exploring in the same weekend!

Friday, May 20, 2016

moving announcements

I would like to dedicate this post to my fiancé. while we rarely disagree, this topic has been contentious. what's the hot topic might you ask? none other than... moving announcements.

I mentioned a few days ago that we are closing on our first home in a few short weeks. I've been so excited to pick our moving announcements and mail them to our family and friends, aka ensure a steady flow of christmas cards this holiday season. stephen, on the other hand, subtly suggested that I could just text our new address to our friends. ok, is this functional? yes. is this fun? no. so I went on my merry way and ordered announcements from tinyprints. stephen, if you are reading, I used a 20% off coupon. 

do you guys send moving announcements? ...any occasion for a printed card or stationery, sign me up, I love it. in case you find yourself moving on up - here are my favorite moving announcements, all of these can be found on and

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

the monogrammed dish towel

it's a great day for a sneak peek!! I've mentioned it briefly a few times lately... we are in the process of buying a home and we close on june 1st. we are nearly overwhelmed with the amount of craziness that has passed and the craziness that is still to come, from packing to moving to buying new furniture. did I mention that I have a girls' trip planned in the middle of all this? genius move on my part since it means stephen will be doing lots of moving for us by himself. don't worry, I am definitely pulling my weight with the packing.

I just so happened to receive the cutest monogrammed dish towels from marleylilly and just had to show them off in my new kitchen, even though we haven't officially moved in! hehehe... sneaky, right. for any etiquette sticklers out there, I know, I know... rules dictate not to use your married monogram until you are married. but I just couldn't bear to order these pretty towels without my new monogram. I'll take my chances :)

Monday, May 16, 2016

meatless monday: portobello tacos

a few weeks ago, I met some old coworkers at bartaco and was super impressed by the vegetarian taco lineup. typically, I order a fish taco but there were too many exciting veggie options to go with my old standby. I couldn't choose between the cauliflower and the portobello, but ultimately went with the portobello. it was impressively good and of course, I wanted to recreate the portobello taco at home!

this recipe is a mix between that bartaco portobello taco and skillet fajitas. I always used to make chicken skillet fajitas before I went vegetarian, oddly enough, I would usually only eat the vegetables anyway - the addition of portobello mushroom strips just takes it one step further. the cojita cheese (crumbly mexican cheese) is the icing on the cake! it's interesting that I've never cooked with cojita before... I can't wait to top my next batch of guacamole with a healthy dose of cojita, yummy and pretty.

Friday, May 13, 2016

a day at the dallas arboretum

spring is synonymous with brightly colored blooms. it's the time of the year that gardeners wait for year-round. one of the best places to take in the sights of spring is a botanical garden or arboretum. I'm a huge fan of the atlanta botanical garden and was thrilled to check out the dallas arboretum last weekend to shoot some engagement photos.

I went to high school in north dallas and lived in the city after college, but those days, I wasn't exactly hanging out at the gardens on the weekends. I'd been a couple times over the years but was really excited to check it out again as it's been over five years since I moved from dallas. what really struck me about the dallas arboretum was how communal the space was. everywhere I looked, there were people having picnics on the lawns of the garden. nearly half of the people were dressed up for a special occasion. tons of photography sessions were taking place. you could just feel the buzz of spring all around.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

top 10 travel toiletries

this is my first week of being home after two weeks of straight travel, from jacksonville to dallas to newark. the easiest thing about packing for me is my travel toiletry bag. I leave my clear TSA-friendly bag under my sink all ready to go at any moment and over the years of both domestic and international travel, its contents have become tried and true.

and to be honest, this post is brought to you by an extremely loud elevator at a radisson inn in freehold, new jersey.

of course, there are the practical requirements such as a spare pair of contacts and antiperspirant, which are must-haves. BUT... the number one most-used item in my travel bag is earplugs. I find myself sleeping with earplugs in most hotels because, although I can fall asleep at the drop of a hat, the sound of hotel air conditioning definitely wakes me up. and seriously, in my last hotel, the constant sound of the elevator was not unlike a steady freight train. I mean who can sleep through that? not me. so, let's get to it.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

weekly reading, volume 8

happy weekend! I am all too happy to be back home after spending the past week in four different cities. I just got back from a work trip in new jersey to support the launch of the new e-class. oddly enough, I have spent four out of five of the last cinco de mayos in new york/new jersey. this year was pretty awesome since we found a low key spot with BYOB. no complaints here.

if you didn't catch my stop last weekend in dallas to shoot my friend's engagement photos at the beautiful dallas arboretum, check them out! I am in love with how they turned out and I can't wait for my own engagement photos this summer.

we had a great time in dallas and although I was only there for roughly 24 hours, we had enough time to check out a few spots that I'd never been downtown and in deep ellum. if you are looking for an adorable and sophisticated, but not stuffy, place to grab a drink in downtown dallas - do yourself a favor and check out a newly-opened hotspot called the mitchell.

image via

outside of travel, it's been a whirlwind in my world. some very exciting news... we went under contract on a townhome a few weeks ago and are closing in just 3 short weeks from now. I can't wait to share more as we move in! and wow, the home buying process in general, just wow. enough to warrant a vacation on its own.

during my travels, I picked up a few magazines: hgtv, better homes and gardens, and real simple. so much inspiration. I am also super happy to say that I finally finished reading before I go to sleep by s.j. watson. it's been a long time since I finished a book, girl on the train to be specific. next up, the good girl by mary kubica. let me know if you've read anything great lately!

enjoy your sunday, I hope it goes by verrrrry slowwwly for your sake and mine :) happy mother's day to all the mommas out there, I hope you get to spend time with your mother or at least someone else you hold dear today.

Friday, May 6, 2016

engagement: elizabeth and aaron

 last weekend, in between work trips in florida and new jersey - I made a pit stop in good ole dallas, texas to catch up with one of my favorite friends from high school and shoot her engagement photos. elizabeth and I went to undergraduate school together and lived in dallas for a few years afterward. about five years ago, we both decided to leave dallas and go to business school. she at texas tech and me at georgia state, and this is when we sadly split ways in pursuit of onward and upward. I absolutely had a blast shooting these engagement photos and am grateful for a friendship that has lasted over the years and the miles. 

 elizabeth and aaron are both very photogenic and not to mention, the unbelievably gorgeous backdrops of the dallas arboretum made for a secret garden spring vibe that made me ecstatic behind the lens. the colors, the weather, and the dynamic between elizabeth and aaron all came together to create the perfect afternoon.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

bridesmaid proposals

I was so excited to host a brunch recently to ask my sisters and stephen's sisters to be a part of the big day and I wanted to think of a sweet gift to mark the occasion. I wanted to think of something that the girls would like and would also be a nod to the wedding to come. 

first, I found these gorgeous floral mini champagne labels on etsy from joie labels and had to have them. (the ladies at joie labels were amazing to work with and I highly recommend.) next, I decided on a voluspa candle because they are amazing and I never buy them for myself because they are pricy! this macaron scent is super yummy. I also love the lychee scent, it's so hard to choose. I've been seeing these adorable matchboxes around a lot lately, especially at the cute gift shop at krog street market. I found these white and gold cheers! matchboxes online and picked up the starfish during our easter trip down to the beach. the starfish symbolizes the location of where we are getting married. 

we had such a fun time at brunch, it was really nice to spend time with just the ladies in the family. I love giving gifts and am looking forward to lots more gifting to come!

Monday, May 2, 2016

meatless monday: avocado chickpea salad

I love trying out new vegetarian recipes, but with how insanely busy it's been around here lately, trying new recipes has just not been a priority or even really an option. drinking arden's garden juice for lunch and eating pre-made raviolis for dinner has been sufficing. no complaints here honestly, the juice is healthy and quick and the ravioli is vegetarian and quick. however, when my coworker sat across from me enjoying her avocado chickpea salad and said it only took five minutes, I perked up.

the best part is that not only does it only take five minutes, it also only requires about five ingredients. a simplistic, healthy, quick, yummy, vegetarian meal is where it's at. this salad is delicious, light yet filling all by itself or you can top a croissant with it, like a vegetarian chicken salad alternative.