things i love right now.

just some things i'm currently swooning over...

i just imagine throwing in a blanket + a picnic and riding down to the park...

who wouldn't want to throw a summer soiree serving drinks out of this?

i have the matching pot-holders, so i need this, right?

perfect for a weekend getaway...


born this way.

while i'll admit i do have a gaga guilty pleasure, i can't stop listening to this version of "born this way" - beautifully harmonized by little big town. enjoy...


atlanta weekend done right.

jeff had a show in atlanta this past saturday, so we decided to make some mix cd's, load up the car, & road trip south to make a weekend out of it. i was in charge of showing him all of the cool places in a short amount of time, so here's what i chose as my atlanta hot-spots...

i make sure to hit up this spot at least once every time i head home. their biscuits are so fluffy and yummy, and what's not to love about brunch? smoked salmon scramble? yes please.
{i personally enjoy the midtown location, right near piedmont park}

i know i'm a little bias because it's my home state, but this aquarium really is awesome. from beluga whales to whale sharks, it's a party under the sea.
oh - and jeff has a not-so-small obsession with penguins. so we hung out with them for awhile (and i've never seen him so happy!)

right next door is the world of coke.
this very interactive experience takes you on the coca-cola journey of the last 120 years. highlights include a 4D movie and "taste it" - samples of over 60 coke products from around the world.
{tip: a "pemberton place pass" gets you into both the aquarium & the coke museum with a discounted price - get it online to avoid lines!}

snack at the varsity.
"what'll ya have?" is a famous phrase in the a-t-l. known for their chili dogs, onion rings, and the ever-so-popular frosted orange, the varsity has been serving customers since 1928 as the world's largest drive-in restaurant! jeff and i shared a frosted orange (think: dreamsicle in a cup) as an afternoon snack. yum-o.

dinner at two urban licks.
this has recently become one of my all-time favorite restaurants. i first went back in january when i was in atlanta for apparel market with work, and i knew that i just had to bring jeff here. from their unique wine barrel program to the fiery open kitchen in the middle of this warehouse-turned-super-trendy-and-vibey-space... i feel like i'm in restaurant heaven. oh, and the food? amazing. i especially loved our sweet-and-spicy calamari appetizer and our creme brulee dessert.

late night dessert + drinks at cafe intermezzo.
this place has been my jam since high school. i love the vintage euro cafe vibe. the desserts are incredible (there's a pastry "tour guide" that explains them by the case each night). and the beverage book is full of hundreds of choices that pair beautifully. we shared the oreo cheesecake (my fav) and a white chocolate oreo mouse cake (it was fantastic). i had a glass of wine and jeff had an old fashioned, which were perfectly divine.
and this was post-six-flags by the way (see below)...
{oh - and the peachtree rd. location is the best!}

so another highlight of our weekend was the gig jeff had. he plays with matthew west, who just so happened to be performing at six flags over georgia saturday night. i grew up going to six flags, but never before have i seen the park from a VIP-view...
first, we went to the employee entrance, and had free parking. (and avoided that chaos that is an amusement parking lot)
then, we're escorted to the backstage area - with air conditioned trailers and catering galore.
while jeff sound-checked, my friends allie & garrett met us and we rode a few rides the old fashioned way (aka waiting in line).
but once the band joined us, we were escorted around the secret back streets of the park in an air conditioned van right up to the back of each ride, then brought up to the top of the line and given priority access. a lot of roller coasters in not so a lot of time... i could get used to this.

then the guys played their set and i watched from side-stage, as the sunset turned into the georgia night sky.

it was a great weekend, making memories and living life with some southern charm.

but tell me -- what did i miss?
what are your favorite atlanta places that we should hit up next time?

tuesday tunes - parachute.

{please excuse my major lack of blogging - and even missing a tuesday tune last week - yikes! boot camp has taken over my life this month. for humorous recaps of our crazy boot camp musings - check out lyndsay's blog...}

ok. now on to this week. i'm super excited to tell you guys about parachute. they are one of our newer mocha club artists, and these guys are so talented. i got my hands on their newest album, the way it was (out may 17), and cannot stop listening to it. seriously, every song is great, and it is very well done (and very radio friendly!)
these new nashvillians (recently relocated from virginia) have a very devoted following, and it's only growing by the day. with their debut album, losing sleep, under their belt, they've been opening for plain white t's this spring, and will be out with goo goo dolls this summer. their first single, "she is love" was even featured in an ad by nivea skincare last year (random...but cool.)

the first single off the way it was, "kiss me slowly" was co-written with Lady Antebellum's Dave & Charles and was just released last week. i promise it'll get stuck in your head...
(another favorite to check out: "something to believe in")


tuesday tunes: grace potter.

i don't have a ton of time for today's tune - but just enough to tell you about the lovely grace potter {and her band the nocturnals}.

this homegrown vermont band has made themselves a national act, known for amazing live shows. with their 3rd album recently released (self titled grace potter & the nocturnals) you get a feel of the wide variety of songs these guys can do - from blues to reggae to classic rock.

and i'm kinda obsessed with her song "paris (ooh la la)"...


recipe: {healthy} blueberry pancakes

i don't know about you, but i'm always looking for new breakfast recipes. i'm a creature of habit and tend to stick with my same 'ol routine most mornings.
but today was a new day - i recently found this healthy blueberry pancake recipe and decided to give it a try.
i was a little hesitant because of the lack of wheat, oil or sugar - but the blueberries provide a little something sweet, and the consistency from the ground oats is perfect!
they really were super yummy.

- 1/2 cup rolled oats (gluten free oats)
- 1/2 cup cottage cheese (i know, weird - but it's in place of oil & adds protein!)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp stevia
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup blueberries
{coconut oil to grease pan}

put rolled oats in food processor {i use my magic bullet!} & blend oatmeal to a fine powder.
add remaining ingredients, except blueberries, & blend until batter forms (about 10 seconds). heat skillet to 300 degrees and grease generously with coconut oil to prevent sticking. pour batter into a hot skillet, making 4 pancakes and add your blueberries. cook until lightly brown and then flip over and cook the other side until lightly brown.

top with syrup {i use trader joe's agave/maple blend} & ENJOY.


tuesday tunes - hillsong united.

it's no secret that i love hillsong united. they're my favorite worship music, hands down. i mentioned them when i talked about brooke fraser. i have posted videos a few times.
hillsong united is a group of australian lovelies "committed to writing songs that speak truth, create a unique sound, connects with churches, individuals and ultimately connects people everywhere with God."
you'd think after so many successful albums, they'd just run out of good songs. but, they came out with another stellar album last month that i continue to listen to and love.
it's titled aftermath, and reflects every season of life. and i'll just let them tell you about it...

note: favorite songs include "like an avalanche", "bones", & "search my heart" - listen over at itunes.



i may have made a terrible mistake.
i signed up for a 5:15am boot camp 4 days a week for the entire month of april. (it was a groupon special for niki g fitness - so we got a killer deal.) oh- and it's outside at a park about 25 minutes away. so that means my alarm goes off at 4:30am. yup, FOUR-thirty.
fear and doubt and just plain exhaustion were the emotions running through my mind around 9pm last night when i set my alarm. what am i doing? it's hard enough for me to get to the gym in the 6 o'clock hour! {this sister loves herself some snooze button.} but, knowing that all across town 6 of my close friends were setting their alarms, too, gave me some encouragement.
i prayed for God to give me rest and energy in the morning, and closed my eyes.
we could do this thing.

and here i sit, boot camp class #1 complete. yes, it was early. yes, it was hard. (maybe i felt like i was going to puke.) but on my drive home i couldn't help but feel stronger. not because i am awesome. but God really met me this morning. He reminded me that He wants to make me stronger. He wants to develop discipline and self-control in me.
so i'm using this new morning schedule to be more diligent and disciplined all around. i'm making/eating a healthy breakfast (versus my usual throw-a-waffle-in-the-toaster and shove it down in the car on the way to work.) i'm taking time to read, pray, and be still each morning (which, sadly, a lot of mornings i skip because i "run out of time"..) i'm giving up some "treats" during the week to practice more self-control. (read: wine & chocolate - 2 of my favorite things - ouch!) i'm going to bed early (super weird for this night owl.)

i'm not expecting any miracle transformations, but if i walk away from april just the slightest bit stronger physically, emotionally, & spiritually... i will consider this month a victory.

i'll keep you posted...

{oh - and i can't stop singing "stronger" in my head...}


i ♥ sunny saturdays in the spring.

i've mentioned before that when the weather gets warm, one of my favorite things is to throw a blanket, a good book, and some snacks into a backpack, hop on my bike, and head a few blocks over to east park and enjoy the great outdoors. with a view of the skyline (LOVE!!) and some breezy 70 degree temps, it couldn't get more perfect.


recipe: fruit pizza.

we recently had a pizza-party themed going-away party for a friend and i was in charge of dessert. so in keeping with the theme, i found my old recipe for fruit pizza.
y'all, i had forgotten how yummy these are! and super easy, too.

here's the recipe:
- 1 pkg sugar cookie dough
- 1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese {i get low fat}
- 1/4 c. powdered sugar
- 4 oz cool whip {i get fat free}
- fruit of choice {i chose kiwi, blueberry, strawberry}

spread cookie dough on large, lightly greased pizza pan & cook according to package directions.
meanwhile, mix cream cheese, powdered sugar, & cool whip together until it's smooth.
wash & chop fruit and set aside.
once cookie cools, spread cream mixture and top with fruit.
{i like to chill it in the fridge for a bit to keep it all fresh!}