Year In Ten Pics

>> Click on photos for the corresponding post <<

Ok maybe twelve pics... :)

For my last post of 2012 (gosh this year flew by), I thought I would go back through my posts and photos I took during the year and pick out some of my favorites. These photos make me smile, they remind me of what makes me the happy and they remind me of things I didn't know, really, really appreciate or love just a year ago. Things like...

Photography. I learned so many new things about it this year and I know I won't put my camera down for as long as I live. Photography truly inspires me to look at things, simple things, in a totally new way. 

New friends- like Marianne, MelissaErica, Anna and Michelle- lovely bloggers that I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time this year. Plus the virtual friends I have met through blogging who are really some of the most supportive people I know. 

Food. I love food. Can you tell?? I've always loved it, but our relationship went to a whole new level this year. I spent lots of time researching recipes and reading lots of cookbooks. That may be strange to some, but I loved every minute of it. 

Charleston, South Carolina. I went there for the first time this year and I'm going back there with my entire family this summer and probably every summer after that. It's beautiful and the food is phenomenal - the recipe for the perfect vacation. 

Blogging. I knew blogging would be fun when I wrote my first post over two years ago. But this year I feel like it took me to new heights. I have learned things, like all of the above (and how to make a 60 second chocolate cake), that I know I would know ZERO about if it weren't for blogging. I wouldn't have people like you that stop by, support me, and inspire me to write, take photos and fire up my stove or oven each week. Thank you...

I can't wait to see what's in store for 2013. I'm quite excited about it and look forward to sharing more happy moments with you.

Cheers. Happy New Year my friends...

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Holiday Highlights...

Hi there! How's it going? Are you still enjoying the holidays?? They are still going on for me, but I wanted to drop in and show you a few highlights of the last few days. Next year is right around the corner, which got here entirely too fast, so I have been savoring these last few cold days of the year by reading books and magazines, watching movies that I have seen 100 times, napping here, eating lots of bad food that tastes really, really good and spending time with family. Christmas Day was lovely and Santa was a sweetheart to everybody. I got this cookbook that I am reading as if it were a juicy novel (so good) and my mom is still gleaming over that airbrushed painting my brother did for her (that would be him in the last pic). Mom and I shopped and I beat her in Scrabble, which NEVER happens. The horrible letters I drew like "Z" and "Q" actually helped a girl out this time... :)

I'm easing my way back into blogging and will be back next week. In the meantime, you can certainly find little snippets of my days on Instagram!

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Wishing You...

So, can you hear me screaming over here? Today is my last day of work for lots of days, Christmas is four days away, my Christmas shopping is done, the menu menus are planned and I'm about to spend lots of time around the people I love the most. I'm so very excited! 

Before I sign off for the holidays, I want to wish you and your family the safest and happiest holiday. I hope it is filled with tons of love, fabulous food (couldn't leave that out) and relaxation. 

See you soon my friends!

Image via
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Loving: Amanda Nisbet Design

Just taking a little break from holiday decor to bask in the beauty of these gorgeous interiors by designer Amanda Nisbet

Clean lines, a mix of modern and traditional elements, that headboard and wallpaper in the bedroom and that lighting in the kitchen... Love.

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Good Eats: Christmas Morning

Our Christmas morning breakfast has been the same for years, which is:

Grands cinnamon rolls. Out of the can. With lots of icing on the top and my dad's coffee on the side. He's got his coffee down to a science. 

The goal is always never to eat more than one cinnamon roll. But I always fail at that. Always. 

We eat the rolls as we go through the gifts we just opened. I'm always making sure I don't get icing all over everything. I sometimes fail at that, too. :)

I'm pretty sure we will have Grands again this year. It's just our ritual. And I love it.

But even though we have our ritual, the arrival of the holidays always inspires me to see what else is out there - ya know, just in case I want to try something new to go along side the cinnamon rolls.

These are just a few things that got my attention.

Those bacon pancakes. Wow.

What is your Christmas morning breakfast?? Do you have a ritual? Do share... 

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Weekend in Five Pics

Christmas tree of lights at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens (ABG) | Sneak peek at my new home office decor | Pinecone garland at the ABG | Christmas tree made entirely of live poinsettias at the ABG | My fur baby Max and his prized possession during the last few weeks

Hi there... I hope you had a good weekend. Other than a good nap on Sunday, my weekend was pretty packed, yet wonderful. This weekend I...

 Finally saw the last Twilight movie. Why yes, I'm a Twilighter. And yes, I could totally see it again. 

Went to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens to see their Christmas lights. I don't know about you, but I turn into a little kid when I see really good Christmas lights and these are some of the best lights in the city. If you are in Atlanta or around Atlanta, I highly recommend a visit. I only took a million pics, so I'll share more with you later...

Styled my desk in my home office. I apologize if you are tired of seeing Dyptique candles everywhere, but I just purchased the candle last week and I totally see what all the hype is about. The smell is intoxicating even when it's not lit. 

Walked out of Target empty-handed for the first time. That never happens. Ever. They didn't have what I needed and somehow I walked out without buying something that I wanted, but didn't need. 

Had dinner at Sotto Sotto, which is probably one of the BEST Italian restaurants I have ever been to. I ordered a huge plate of fresh seafood pasta. I usually have leftovers when I eat out, especially when I eat pasta. But there wasn't a single thing left on my plate this time. So very good.

Refrained from watching too much news. I was in tears Friday night as I watched the coverage of the tragic event in Newtown, CT and I could hardly bear it the remainder of the weekend. I am just baffled. Completely baffled. I will not lean to my own understanding, but pray that God gives all involved comfort and the strength to overcome the insurmountable obstacles that lie ahead. I will hug my family a little tighter when I see them over the holidays and thank God that I'm able to do so.

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Inspiring Styling + Links

Whew!! This week was a bit of a whirlwind and I'm quite glad to see it come to an end! Whirlwind weeks seem to make the days go by faster. Before I know it, Christmas and 2013 will be here and I must say that I certainly look forward to it! So what's up for the weekend? I plan to finish up my Christmas shopping (I swear I will finish this weekend), check out some of best Christmas lights in the city here, try out a new Italian restaurant and get a good nap or two in between. Can't wait...

I've got some good links for you today, so I hope you enjoy! Have a great weekend and I will see you next week!

Loved this creative video on how to style a bed...

I wish I could trade my current kitchen for this one designed by my friend Melissa. Quite lovely...

This home in the new issue of Lonny is beyond beautiful. That bedroom and bathroom- sigh...

She made 450 sq ft look amazing...

My two new favorite pieces of internet real estate: This blog and this blog.

The perfect little personable gift...

So true!

Use code WISHLIST and get 30% of your entire purchase at J.Crew online! Free shipping, too!

Image via
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Holiday Home Tour: Tracey Ayton

Since the holiday season began, I have been on the hunt for the perfect home tour to share with you- one that is inspiring, fresh-looking and beautiful. Well the other day, I stopped by the blog of talented photographer Tracey Ayton. When I saw her holiday home tour, my first thought was, "Wow." Tracey is one of the best photographers out there and I am always in awe of her work - so much so that I have featured it a few times here on the blog (here and here). You know how much I love "simple" style, so I was instantly drawn to her holiday decor. It's simple and stylish with a beautiful dog to go along with it. Gotta love that...

So pretty right?? I love the small tree in the basket and I bet that Anthropologie candle smells fabulous.  

Be sure to stop by her website and blog to see more of her beautiful work!
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Holiday Cocktail: The Cranberry Claus

Thanks to you, my wonderful readers, the holiday cocktail I posted last year was very successful. So I thought I would make it a little tradition here on the blog to post an annual holiday cocktail.


I wish I could take credit for the recipe, but I actually found it on one of the last few pages of the December issue of InStyle magazine. My idea of a good drink is something that colorful, simple, different and most importantly, extra tasty. This drink meets all of those requirements. The puree makes the drink sweet and slightly tart. The burbon adds that extra little kick and offsets the tartness of the cranberries. Oh so good. The puree can also be made ahead of time- which I love.

Here is what you need and what to do:

(makes 1)

2 oz light-syle burbon
1/2 oz St. Germain liqueur
2 oz cranberry puree 

Cranberry Puree
1 12 oz bag frozen cranberries
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 orange, zested

Add all of the ingredients for the puree to a small saucepan. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Your house will smell amazing...

Remove the cinnamon stick and pour the mixture into a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. Strain the mixture into a bowl and chill in the refrigerator. 

To make the drink, fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add all of the ingredients for the drink to the shaker. Shake until your fingers feel like they are going to fall off, about 15 seconds. :) Strain the drink into a slightly frosted martini glass and garnish with cranberries and sliced oranges. 

TIP: The puree can also be used a base for a cranberry mimosa. Just add a little of the puree to the bottom of a champagne glass. Top it off with your favorite champagne!

Update: I'm sharing this recipe with Natasha at Schue Love! She is hosting a Holiday Recipe Party, so be sure to stop by!

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