R&R + LINKS...

Well, I'm going to take this week for the team friends. It's been a rough and tough week. But I'm thankful! I'm thankful it's Friday. I'm thankful for friends who are incredible listeners and have an arsenal of good advice to share. I'm thankful for my mom who tells me she loves me everyday without question. I'm thankful that a new week (that includes a holiday!) is ahead that will offer an opportunity for better times. I'm going to take this long weekend to rejuvenate my spirit with some good exercise, time with friends, and a little R&R. I hope your weekend is just as relaxing. See you here next week... :)

Everything is this store is at least 40% off this weekend. Another pair of my favorite $20 jeans is on my list...

I can't wait to read more about "What She Knows For Sure... "

16 recipes, healthy and filling recipes, that pack well for lunch...

I might have read this quote 20 times this week. So very helpful...

The before and after of this bathroom... Beautiful.

Delectable, because lots of chocolate is involved.

An absolute must for me this fall. So cozy.

Blue suede shoes. Classy ones...

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Monday's post was very summery and today's post is very fall-like. Sorry for the big jump, but I am SO ready for fall!! I love fall for so many reasons- one of them being the re-emergence of the big black bag. I tend to see more of these types of photos online around this time of year and it so excites me! I love a big black tote/bag and fall is when I love them even more. They look more sophisticated to me against a chunky sweater or jeans with a jacket then with a strappy summery dress. But that's just my opinion...

These are a few of my favorite looks along with some black bags that have caught my eye. I dream of the day my budget will allow for the ever-so-classic Celine or Sophie Hulme tote, but in reality I am eyeing a few budget-friendly, yet fashionable and quality bags for this fall. I'm especially loving this bag (in black) and this bag... We'll see which one wins... :)


Images 1/2/3/ 4: Photo by
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I always get excited when I find a beautiful restaurant to show and tell you about. But I am especially excited about this one! Unlike the other restaurants I've featured, St. Cecilia is here in Atlanta! This is my most favorite restaurant in Atlanta at the moment - which is evidenced by the fact that I've been four times in the last six months or so. It is so gorgeous and the food is so good! I've got a few recommendations for you if you ever eat there, but let's start with the interiors first... The space was designed by Meyer Davis, a NYC design boutique that specializes in high-end residential and commercial interiors. My favorite thing about this restaurant is that it is both elegant and comfortable at the same time. Statement lighting, modern seating, and geometric fabrics and flooring are seamlessly integrated with rustic hardwood floors and antique furniture. The huge windows let in the most amazing lighting during the day while making the space extra elegant at night. I just adore it...

Now for the food. The menu beautifully marries seafood and pasta. The menu changes daily, but the consistent items I love are the charred octopus (don't knock it until you try it) and the whipped warm ricotta. The ricotta is served with the best and freshest bread you will ever have in your life. The various risottos and corn ravioli are also favorites of mine. Their specialty cocktails are almost too pretty to drink and the desserts... my gosh. If you ever try the dark chocolate mousse, let me know what you think. So good!

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At this point, I don't think I've done a series of outfit posts without wearing an all-black outfit. Black clothes make up about 50% of my closet, so not featuring an all-black outfit would be a misrepresentation of my wardrobe. Ha. This dress is the most comfortable, casual and versatile black dress I own at the moment. It's super soft and thin (but not quite see-through), so it's perfect for these final hot days of summer. I have worn it alone, with a jean jacket and with a blazer. It's actually marketed as a beach cover-up, but I've dressed it up with heels and have dressed it down with flip flops. I heart it. Lucky for me, I got the dress, those equally comfortable and versatile heels, and that clutch all on sale earlier this summer. Nothing like a good outfit that is less than full-price! Lucky for you, all of those things are still on sale... Enjoy. :)

Dress: J.Crew (on SUPER sale) | Clutch: Madewell (on sale) | Heels: J.Crew (on sale), love this pair, too (on sale) | Necklaces: Gorjana, here and similar here | Bracelets: Gorjana, Stella & Dot | Rings: Gorjana | Watch: Michael Kors | Lips: NARS Fire Down Below | Sunglasses : Dolce & Gabanna


Images by Paula Coldiron
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Well what a week! It's been a good one friends... Max was scheduled to have a second surgery yesterday for a crazy gum disease he has (the reason behind my need for this cocktail last weekend), but the vet came up with another and cheaper course of action. Thank God! I got a chance to catch up with some girlfriends I hadn't talked to in years. Lots of work got done. And I'm ending the week in bed on a crisp set of clean sheets, a sweet glass of wine, and a stack of September issues. I'm thankful- and ready for fall. Ha. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Enjoy the links!

I've been trying to practice meditating. It's so hard!! But this site has been quite helpful...

A friend's new site and proof that hard work pays off. So happy for her!

The sun is serious business people... Here's proof. Amazing.

49 skills every modern woman should have... Loved this.

It's tailored, classic, and perfect for fall.

A beauty of a home in Brooklyn...

A great perspective on blogging...

Generosity at its finest...

New to my blogroll... Pretty.

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Figs get a bad wrap sometimes. I know so because I've contributed to that reputation. They aren't the prettiest on the outside, but they are really beautiful and sweet on the inside. Don't judge a book by its cover they say... :) I actually had my first date with figs just a few months ago at a restaurant that served this amazing fig and prosciutto pizza. It was DELISH! Since then, I've wanted to learn more about figs and develop more of a relationship with them...

So an event that happened this past Saturday called for a good cocktail. I'll explain more about that on Friday... I to make something simple, sweet, girly, and different. I walked past a big bunch of these figs at the grocery store later that day and thought that a fig cocktail would be perfect to try. The color is girly, they taste sweet, and I found this simple recipe to bring that all together. The cocktail turned out to be all of those things plus some! The combination of the fig puree (which takes 2 seconds to make), the additional sweetness from the honey, and the effervescence from the ginger ale make for the most tasty combination. Then you get that hit from the vodka that tops it all off! It's so good and one of those things that I could see myself serving at a little dinner party for my girls...

Here is what you need and what to do: (makes 2 cocktails)

Fig Puree

1 cup fresh figs, rinsed & halved
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons water
Juice of half lemon

1 1/2 tablespoons fig puree
1 tablespoon honey (more or less depending on the sweetness of the puree)
2 oz ginger ale
1.5 oz vodka (or more to taste)
2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1. To make the puree, add all of the puree ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth. You can make this ahead and store it in the refrigerator, or use immediately. Note that this makes enough puree for about 4 cocktails and keeps in the refrigerator for a few days...

2. To make the cocktail, add the fig puree and honey to a shaker. Stir it together with a spoon until it is well combined. Add the remaining ingredients and top with ice. Shake well and strain the mixture into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a few figs. 


Images by me
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So I thank God for rain. If it weren't for rain, I wouldn't have thought of the next theme - or having a theme at all- for my next set of outfit posts. Rain was in the forecast on the day of the photo shoot, so I had to think of an alternate plan which obviously had to involve a space inside. The first place that came to mind was The Optimist, one of my very favorite restaurants in Atlanta. The food is outstanding and the design (by designer Smith Hanes) is breathtaking. So thanks to the possibility of rain, the simple theme of "Fashion Meets Design" was born and I am so excited about it!! I wanted the photos to be a blend of some of my current fashion favorites and the beautiful interiors of the restaurant. I think my amazing photographer captured both perfectly, which is why I heart her... 

This first outfit is an outfit that was full of surprises. I found this Tory Burch sheath dress on sale for 40% off online and thought it would be perfect for work. I've never owned a Tory Burch dress before, or any of her clothing for that matter, so I literally measured myself with a tape measure (imagine that...) and hoped that I ordered the right size. Well I did. Not only does it fit perfectly, but it's almost like the people at TB knew my exact measurements. I never get that lucky when I order things online! It's a very tailored dress that is the perfect hue of navy and is extremely comfortable. I paired it with these nude pumps - 'cause nude goes with everything right?? I purchased them online during the Nordstrom Anniversary sale and they are surprisingly comfortable, too! I know I keep harping on comfort, but that is my #1 priority these days... :)

Dress: Tory Burch, similar here, here and here | Pumps: Kate Spade | Clutch, J.Crew, similar here and here | Watch: Michael Kors | Bracelets: J.Crew (old) | Stacked Rings: Banana Republic, similar here | Nails: OPI Bubble Bath | Lips: NARS Fire Down Below


Images by Paula Coldiron
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Whew!! What a week! I actually mean that in a good way. This was just one of those weeks where a lot of things got done. I wrapped up some big projects with work, spontaneously booked a girls trip for later this year, starting planning another trip for my upcoming birthday, started reading this good book, and made some progress on my bedroom makeover. In the midst of all of that, I somehow managed to make it to bed by 10:30 each night! The only thing I haven't done is make big weekend plans. Perhaps that's a good thing. I'd love a little downtime. I hope your weekend is fabulous. Enjoy the links and I will see you next week!

I'm so glad you found this post to be helpful! Let me know if you try the product!

Ten great organizational habits to establish before 30... Apparently I'm a bit behind.

I've read this beautifully written essay three times. So optimistic...

A quick and easy way to get great inspiration for your decor...

S'mores & ice cream smashed together. Heaven.

A pretty vintage before & after...

A beauty of a bathroom...

Simple, affordable & stylish...

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THE FACTS: I have been looking forward to this day for almost a year and it is finally here! I FINALLY found an all-natural deodorant that works!! Perhaps that's not the most exciting thing in the world, but I have my reasons for my excitement...

About a year ago, my doctor found a lump in my left breast. That moment when she asked, "Do you feel that?" was one of the scariest moments of my life. After a mammogram and an ultrasound, it was determined that the lump was just really dense tissue - which apparently is a common occurrence in women in their 30s who have not had children. Anyway, since then I have been diligent about my monthly self-breast exams. My heightened sense of awareness has also made me research whatever else I can do to stave off breast cancer - or any cancer for that matter. Of course my diet is one thing I've worked on. The other is changing my deodorant...

There are several studies out there that suggest that the parabens and aluminum in deodorant can cause breast cancer. Even though several of the studies have been inconclusive, it's just common sense to me that these two very unnatural things that I had been using use each day in high dosages (I was using a men's deodorant!) can't be good for the body. So I set out on the journey for a good natural deodorant that actually works. After several misses, I finally found a hit!

THE RESULTS: After reading Joanna's brilliant post on natural deodorants, I decided to purchase the travel size of Lavanila's Pure Vanila deodorant. I started using it on a weekend to avoid any potential embarrassments at work. I wore it during a long walk that weekend and during Pilates. I did perspire, but had zero odor. I wore it to work the following week. I perspire when I am nervous and I sometimes get nervous in meetings and just in general conversation. Those are the situations when my old deodorant took vacations. Well, Lavanila stayed on the job! Let me state again that I still perspire, but not nearly as much and there is no sweaty-smelling odor! It doesn't stain my clothing and even more importantly, I have not experienced any skin reactions. I was quite worried about that, but luckily I've been ok! I've only tried the Pure Vanilla scent, which doesn't smell quite like vanilla to me, but still smells good. Overall, I'm thrilled!

Have you tried it or any other natural deodorants??

*not a sponsored post

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{The location of my next set of outfit posts! I can't wait to show you how the pics turned out! Stay tuned! } 

Hi there! I hope you had a lovely weekend! That is exactly how my weekend went. Lovely... I shot my next set of outfit posts, shopped, napped, treated myself to some good ice cream, and had Sunday brunch with a good friend who has practically known me since the day I was born. It was just a good summer weekend. Speaking of summer, here is a quick little roundup of some of my favorite summer moments... Fall is my favorite season and I am so looking forward to it, but I have to say that this summer has been quite fun... 

{Dinner with some besties at Taqueria de Sol. If you are ever in Atlanta and love Mexican food, please stop by there. Your soul will be happy... }

{Sneak peek at my newly updated master bathroom!!  I still have a few more things to do, but I am thrilled with it so far! I'll show you the reveal soon! }

{I made this watermelon salad for a dinner party and the guests loved it! Just throw some cubed watermelon, blueberries, blackberries, and mint into a bowl. Toss it with the juice of a lime and let it chill in the fridge for about an hour. It's so good and refreshing! }

{ I went to Ikea for the very first time on Saturday. I know! I'm so late to the game. But oh boy... They have SO MUCH STUFF! I was completely overwhelmed by everything from the parking to the people to the numerous products. But I loved it. I'll definitely be going back - just not on a Saturday. Ha. :) }

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Happy Friday!! I hope you had a good week! My long week is over and is thankfully ending on a great note. I've got a great two days of relaxing, hanging out with this amazing lady, and more relaxing ahead and I couldn't be more ready! I think I'll also be turning a few books backwards on my bookshelves. I adore that idea... Anyway, I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Kim & Kanye aren't two of my favorite people, but their new home is quite beautiful...

How to hang a gallery wall with these - not nails. My walls have been saved!

Renee Zellweger's lovely farmhouse is on the market... Are you interested??

This is literally one of the most beautiful food blogs I've ever seen...

A dark attic turned into a bright bedroom... Pretty.

30 cute looks for 30 days - by Olivia Palermo.

Breakfast in the form of a popsicle...

Simple style for the side...


Image by Sarah Sherman of Smitten Studio
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Well last week, I had the desire to jet off to London for a good meal. This week, I'd love to jet off to Victoria, British Columbia. That is in Canada, which based on my visit there as a young child, is quite lovely. Victoria is where Pigeonhole Home Store is located. I absolutely love the outside of the store - so much so that I'd probably go into it no matter what was inside. It just so happens that they sell and curate beautiful antiques. Good product styling in a store makes a buyer want to buy something they didn't know they wanted or needed. I could totally see myself feeling that way if I was there. The store opened only six months ago. From the outside looking in, I think they are in for quite a fun ride... :)

Images via Tara Hurst
Photography by Kelly Brown
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So if you asked me to name something that I eat every single day, you might be surprised at one of my answers. Would you know that one of my answers would be cream cheese?? The full fat kind. I LOVE IT. Every morning, I layer it on top of grainy warm toast and have it along with my morning smoothie. It's just kinda my thing. But I honestly love cream cheese on lots of things, especially on warm banana bread, muffins, and cornbread. And of course I love cheesecake... 

But I'm quite picky when it comes to cheesecakes. Of course the crust has to be crunchy/crispy and slightly sweet. I like the filling to be creamy instead of fudgy or spongy. You know what I mean?? This no-bake (two of my favorite words in the summer) cheesecake meets all of my requirements and it could not be any easier to make. The crust is sweet and buttery and the filling is creamy with light hints of lemon and vanilla. It's a refreshing, really good and cool-to-the-taste cheesecake that can be made in a cool kitchen for a last minute summer party. It really doesn't get any better than that... :)

Here is what you need and what to do:

20 sheets graham crackers (about 2 packages)
11 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
2 8oz packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Add the graham crackers to a large plastic resealable bag. Take a rolling pin or meat mallet, think of a current frustration, and beat the living daylights out of those graham crackers! Ha. Crush them until they turn into fine crumbs. :)

2. Add the crumbs to a medium bowl. Stir in the sugar and stir. Pour in the melted butter and stir until the mixture is well combined.

3. Press the crumbs into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Spread it about 1 1/2 inches up the side. Use the bottom of a glass or measuring cup to press the mixture evenly in the bottom of the pan. Chill the crust in the freezer for 10 minutes.

4. To make the filling, add the cream cheese to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until the cream cheese is smooth. Slowly add the sweetened condensed milk. Stop the mixture a few times as you add the milk and scrape down the sides. Add the lemon juice and the vanilla. Beat until everything is well-combined and the mixture is smooth.

5. Pour the filling into the crust. Smooth the top of the cake with an offset or rubber spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm - about 3 hours.

Just a note: The longer the cake sits in the fridge, the greater the chance for the crust to stick to the pan. So I don't really recommend making this and storing it overnight. It's best when it's made on the same day you plan to eat it...


Images by me

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So here is the current scene as I write this post: It's Thursday night (last night), I'm in bed- and ready for bed, a glass of crisp white wine is nestled on my nightstand, and the rain is hitting my bedroom window. It's creating the most beautiful and comforting sound. After a week of dealing with a crazy workload, a broken A/C, and just feeling a little overwhelmed with life, I am so completely thankful for this quiet moment. I am also thankful that the only two things on my calendar this weekend are my first Pilates class in almost two months (Lord help me) and dinner with a good friend where I will partake in more good wine. That.Is.It. Other than that, I plan to ring in the month of August by chilling in my pj's with my hair pulled back in a scrunchie. Yep - a scrunchie. I have no shame. I hope your weekend is just as wonderful... :)

I'm currently reading this book, which is making me appreciate everything I already have even more...

Mary- Kate & Ashley Olsen designed this wedding dress. I surprisingly adore it.

A feature wall that was done entirely by hand. The girl is crazy talented I tell ya...

You could have an amazing closet like this for a mere $34 million...

How to properly layer ingredients in a blender. This so works!

A lovely haven in the Hamptons...

Chocolate chip cookie shots... Oh my.

Thirty really good things to know...

A look I'm loving for fall...

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