And just like that, it's Christmastime!

This holiday season has absolutely flown by and I really don't know how next week is Christmas! I went from zero to 60 in the last week - I'd done pretty much nothing Christmassy to doing a whole lot in a short time. And it was lovely :) 

Last week, I went to Garden Lights, Holiday Nights at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens (ATL Bucket List #25)  with coworkers. It was so much fun and absolutely got me in the holiday spirit. Something about a spiked hot chocolate and shiny lights will do that to you.

(I found some Indiana corn in the gardens)

Over the weekend, I wrapped all of my Christmas gifts and packed them up for my trip home next weekend. I love, love gift giving but really, strongly dislike wrapping them. I rush through it and don't like to measure and it just isn't my scene. Duke and Sam entertained me (or more accurately, I entertained them with my poor skills), while we listened to Christmas music. It made the whole experience much livelier. 

On Saturday night, Chris and I went with his mom to Murphy's for dinner and a gift exchange, then back to the gardens to see the lights again. Even the second time through, they did not disappoint. They were lovely. 

On Sunday, a few of my friends and I went to lunch at Mary Mac's Team Room and the Nutcracker at the Fox (Bucket list #70 and #109), which I hadn't seen since I was really young. I didn't know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised. The whole time I just kept thinking about how athletic they all are - those legs! Impressive. 

To wrap up the weekend, Melissa and I exchanged Christmas gifts. And, of course, drank hot chocolate. 

And now, here we are, just one week away from the merriest holiday of the year. 

I hope your holiday season has been full of cheer!

{mountain weekend}

This past weekend, Chris and I went up to Cashiers, NC with dear friends, Katie and Austen, for a mountain getaway. The weekend was just perfect.

{obviously needed road trip snacks. current fav: perfect bars. SO GOOD}

Friday, Chris and I went to dinner before they got in to celebrate a few milestones from the fall.

Saturday morning, we went to the grocery bright and early to get food for the weekend and grabbed coffee at a cute local shop. I'm loving almond milk lattes with mint - the almond milk makes it taste like a treat, but you avoid a lot of the sugar of seasonal lattes. It's a win win :) 

{really happy about the coffee}

After that, we ate breakfast then bundled up for a hike. 

The views were beautiful. 

After that, we ate chili, watched football, had more coffee and wine and great conversation. 

The weekend reminded me how important it is to get out of the city. 

I love Atlanta, but every time I leave, I remember how much more deeply I breathe when I'm not confined by pavement. How well I sleep where the stars shine a little brighter. And how much I love being away with dear friends.

I hope you had a great weekend!

carolina weekend

This past weekend, Chris, Melly and I drove to Clemson to meet friends for the UNC game. We rented an adorable lake house in Seneca and drove in to campus to tailgate and go to the game.

It was my first actual Southern football game (I've tailgated before but never gone in. Not quite sure how I made it four years without attending one!) and it was so much fun. They are truly a production!

From the company to the weather, the weekend was absolutely perfect. Minus a Tarheel loss, that is!

PS: Right before the game I snagged this dress from Anthro on a major sale. It's not online anymore but if you're looking for a good fall dress, look for it in stores. I kept calling it a naked dress because it's so light and airy. :)

an atlanta weekend: full of places and people I love

Last weekend the forecast said rain, rain, rain. But the days rolled on through - sunny and beautiful for every minute, which was absolutely perfect, because my mom was in town and we had a lot to do!

Thursday night, Chris and I kick started the weekend with a date to the Dekalb Farmers' Market (Bucket List #105). He'd never been and it's kind of the equivalent of Disney World to me - so it was high time we took a trip.  

We bought tuna, asparagus, purple potatoes and wine and went back to my house to cook&feast. It was such a good dinner and I'm always blown away by the freshness and price of the market. 

For dessert I made this cookie cake, which was insanely tasty. If you're in the baking mood, bake it ASAP :)

Friday morning, I worked and then took the afternoon off so Duke, Sam and I could head to the airport to get my mom. From there, we hit the ground running with a walk in the Morningside Nature Preserve near our house and a night on the Westside. We ate dinner at Bartaco, walked around Westside Provisions and played cards at our house with Melly and Chris. 

Saturday morning, we had coffee at Octane and went on a mission to find the Bellwood Quarry. I recently added it to my Atlanta Bucket List after Sam saw it named as "something you need to do in Atlanta but might not know about." It sits between Bankhead and the Westside and, as it turns out, does not want to be found.

To simply enter the property, we found an abandoned road, which was blockaded by a barbed-wire fence. My mom and I climbed around and my brothers went over - navigating broken glass and the wire. After that, we hiked for about an hour - through an odd mix of city trash, abandoned buildings, fields and nature so pure you'll forget you're anywhere near Atlanta. That is, until you turn the corner and see the skyline. 

Had I been alone, I'd have quit a lot sooner. But with my mom and brothers alongside, we were all determined to get to the quarry. 

Upon arrival, we realized it was absolutely worth the work. The quarry was gorgeous - I wish the pictures did it justice. Sitting below hundreds of feet of rock walls, the calcite-rich blue and teal water was majestic. 

After we left the quarry, we returned home to shower off burrs, bugs and some poison ivy. And then, we all agreed it was time to feast. 

We headed over to Souper Jenny for lunch, then did some boy friendly shopping, which culminated at the Home Depot, where we bought a ton of plants because my brothers are slowly becoming horticulturalists.

Saturday night, we got carry out from Yeah Burger and played at my house - rearranging furniture and trying to mix up our sun room.

Sunday, we got up early for breakfast before the crowd at Highland Bakery and hiked at Lullwater. After that, my mom and I did some non-boy-friendly shopping, then thrifted with them in the afternoon. Sunday night, we went to church (showed my mom Grace Midtown for the first time!) and then had dinner at Whole Foods. 

Monday morning, we got coffee & breakfast at Belly then took my mom to the airport. I kept thinking: didn't we JUST pick her up!? But now that I look back on all we did, I realize exactly why it felt like a whirlwind 48 hours! 

Thank you, mom, for an amazing weekend! Come back soon please!