city guide: atlanta

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Now that we've been calling Atlanta home for over a year I thought it would be a good time to put together a little city guide of sorts. Not a comprehensive list by any means but just a few of our favorite spots that would be perfect to explore if you only had a day or two in the city. Forgive, my feeble attempts at painting. Birdie and I have been painting together a lot lately and I suppose you could say I got inspired to give it a try!

- Sublime Doughnuts: Kevin and I consider ourselves donut conossieurs and we have tried our fair share from all over the US (California, NYC, Boston, DC and across the south) but nothing, absolutely nothing compares to these.
- Atlanta Botanical Gardens: We actually own passes now because of how much we've enjoyed coming here. In the summer there's a beautiful splash pad in the children's garden which is a blast for the kids no matter what time of year you go. Even on a frigid day they have a great indoor exhibit complete with a cacti garden on the roof!
- Jeni's Ice Cream: Let me just tell you this - it totally lives up to the hype. Every flavor combination is impeccable and I really think they have the best cones around! It's in the Westside Provision District too so you can spend an entire afternoon exploring all the cute shops and restaurants around.
- The High Museum of Art: We've been here a few times and they always have a really memorable exhibit in addition to the fantastic mainstays. And we've always found really convenient street parking even on weekends.
- Le Fat: Out of all the restaurants we've tried in the city Le Fat completely stole our hearts. The atmosphere is to die for (inside and out), the service has been so warm and attentive every time and the food... Let me just say that I have rarely experienced such exciting and new flavor combinations. It will be a meal to remember! I promise! Make sure to try the Bo Luc Lac - insane!
- Chrome Yellow Trading Company: This is both a coffee shop and retail store and the perfect way to spend a weekend morning. Come in and share a cup of coffee and scone and then drool over all the beautiful wares they have including some of my favorite brands like Ace & Jig and Pendleton.
- The Merchant: I've many times completely lost track of time inside this charming store. They have everything from stationary, to home decor to bath products and everything is so well curated and beautiful. Their staff is so warm and helpful too and I'm always itching to pay them another visit and see what's new!

And here are just a few more places you may want to visit:

to eat:

- Krog Street Market: full of amazing vendors and places to eat
- Superica: delicious tex-mex fare
- Julianna's Crepes: most gorgeous, secluded spot in charming Inman Park
- Shake Shack: obviously
- Taqueria Del Sol: my favorite tacos
- The General Muir: a perfect brunch spot with the best sandwiches around!
- Lusca: amazing seafood and a beautiful setting

to shop:

- Seed Factory: the most darling children's store
- Ponce City Market: an amazing new shopping development that has everything, literally!
- Brick + Mortar: for one of a kind vintage pieces
- Paris on Ponce: amazing selection of unique shops

to see:

- Piedmont Park
- Martin Luther Kind Jr. Historic site
- Atlanta Beltline
- CNN Center

a day at serenbe

Monday, October 12, 2015

As I mentioned last week we spent Teddy's birthday at the beautiful Serenbe. My first question when I came across this place was: what is it?? I will do my best to answer that for you though I will say that it is best to just GO. There's really no way to perfectly describe something like Serenbe. It is a community, it is a farm, it is restaurants, a spa and inn, it is a lifestyle. There are beautiful homes for purchase. There is the most darling "general store" I have ever seen full of produce grown right there on the farm. There are gorgeous horse stables and a picturesque farm complete with everything from goats to baby bunnies. The land goes on for miles and miles with little gravel roads leading you to at times an outdoor theater or should you take another fork in the road a beautiful gazebo overlooking a pond. The beauty of this place is breathtaking and you feel the generosity of the hosts everywhere you go. 
We chose to eat lunch at one of their restaurants on-site but you could technically go there and not spend a dime. Serenbe was built to be an oasis from the city and a place to reconnect with nature and the ones you love and it serves that goal perfectly. We left feeling like we had created some unforgettable and priceless memories for our family. Needless to say we already can't wait to go back!

working with the littles

Friday, October 9, 2015

Recently, Pregnancy & Newborn magazine asked several working mamas and myself to share our thoughts regarding work/life balance when little ones are involved. You can check out the current issue to read what everyone had to say. There is some great advice there from some of my favorite bloggers and fellow Atlantians! 
We had the pleasure of working with our favorite, Morgan Blake, on these photos to offer a little glimpse into what a typical workday looks like for us. I will be honest and say that no, normally I do not look this nice but I figured I would get a little dolled up for once ;). The kids however, are wearing what they normally wear (Birdie pretty much lived in that romper all summer long - soooo easy). 
I have been working from home for over five years now and three of them I worked with a baby or babies around. I worked on a five year project for a non-profit that just wrapped this summer. It was bittersweet to see all of our hard work come to an end and say goodbye to something that was a part of my life for that many years but at the same time I looking forward to future possibilities including going back to school. It wasn't always easy trying to be a working mum but in the end I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be at home with my babies when they needed me. I am no expert on the subject by any means but I did learn some things in the process and I thought I would share them here in case they may be helpful to any fellow mamas doing the same:

- Be flexible. I am an obsessive type A and in a traditional office setting I would have periods during the day of extreme productivity where for three or four hour blocks I worked without taking a break or being distracted. Obviously, this is impossible with little ones around so I had to learn to work in more manageable segments of an hour or two when they were napping or playing. And I had to learn that being interrupted was just the nature of the beast.
- Find a schedule that works. I wish I was one of those morning people who has showered, made coffee and gone for a run all by 5:30 am. Unfortunately, I am not. Instead I've learned that I prefer to work late into the night after the kids are in bed. I would always save all the important work for nighttime when I knew I wouldn't be interrupted and could work as long as I needed to. For a long while there I was going to bed at one or two am. On those occasions if I got lucky and got both of them to take a nap at the same time I often would take a nap as well to make sure that I was functional. 
- Ask for help. This is probably the most important piece of advice I could give. All the organizing and planning in the world will not prevent you from the inevitable burnout because it really is impossible to give 100% to both your work and your kids. When Teddy was around two months old I realized that I wasn't going to be able to keep going the way I was. We hired a nanny to come twice a week and relieve me. It did wonders for me. It made me look forward to being with the kids when I was done with work and it made me look forward to being able to work in solitude. And we were able to do it in a way that was affordable!
- When we moved into our house last year we had the luxury of dedicating one of the bedrooms to an office space. It was wonderful to have a room where I could keep all of my documents and supplies organized and to have a desk that was designated for work. However, I learned that sometimes in order to get things done I would have to answer emails from the sofa while the kids played next to me or read over paperwork while at the dinner table. It's not in my type A nature to work this way but as I say, flexibility is extremely important. 
- Lastly and most importantly - give yourself a lot of grace. You are doing something that is practically impossible so as long as the work gets done and the kids are loved you are doing great! Don't worry so much about doing things the "right" way. My mum would always say to me when I was getting down on myself "you just need to survive right now, do the best you can and move on, this stage will be over before you know it." And honestly, as time went on and the kids grew and matured things would get infinitely easier. You will eventually find a groove and lifestyle that works for everyone. 

I hope you will find some of this helpful. I don't have the answers and being a parent and trying to fulfill your own career needs and obligations is one of the toughest things any of us will navigate. I truly believe that we are all just doing our best and all we want is to provide for our family and love our family. In the end that's all that it comes down to so no matter how somebody goes about doing that they are a hero because each situation is unique, full of complications and hard decisions and I so much respect everyone's journey. Sending you all my love and as one of my favorite mamas, Glennon Doyle Melton, always says: "I love you. 10 hours till bedtime. Godspeed."

wisdom from the classics: anne of green gables

Thursday, October 8, 2015

illustration by Anna Bond

I couldn't think of a better book to profile this month than Anne of Green Gables. This book is so near and dear to my heart, I almost feel as if Anne (with an "e") is a real person. The very best bosom friend. It's one of those books that I cannot wait to share with Birdie one day soon. So without further ado:

“I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

“It's been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.”

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”

“Well, we all make mistakes, dear, so just put it behind you. We should regret our mistakes and learn from them, but never carry them forward into the future with us.”

“Life is worth living as long as there's a laugh in it.”

“After all," Anne had said to Marilla once, "I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”

“Oh, it's delightful to have ambitions. I'm so glad I have such a lot. And there never seems to be any end to them-- that's the best of it. Just as soon as you attain to one ambition you see another one glittering higher up still. It does make life so interesting.”

“Why must people kneel down to pray? If I really wanted to pray I’ll tell you what I'd do. I'd go out into a great big field all alone or in the deep, deep woods and I'd look up into the sky—up—up—up—into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness. And then I'd just feel a prayer.”

“Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive--it's such an interesting world. It wouldn't be half so interesting if we know all about everything, would it? There'd be no scope for imagination then, would there?

“It was November--the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds, deep, sad hymns of the sea, passionate wind-songs in the pines. Anne roamed through the pineland alleys in the park and, as she said, let that great sweeping wind blow the fogs out of her soul.”

“Some people go through life trying to find out what the world holds for them only to find out too late that it's what they bring to the world that really counts.”

“When I left Queen's my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road. I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it. I don't know what lies around the bend, but I'm going to believe that the best does.”

“I've done my best, and I begin to understand what is meant by 'the joy of strife'. Next to trying and winning, the best thing is trying and failing.”

L. M. Montgomery