'the girl in plaid' Made Editor's Pick!

It was your typical afternoon at work when I received a new message from my etsy shop. To my surprise, it wasn't my regular inquiry I was expecting. Instead, it was a special note from Lindsay Hartfiel, editor-in-chief of Native Foreigner magazine telling me she wanted to feature one of my products in her upcoming issue (insert girly jump & scream)!

Native Foreigner Editor's Pick

Native Foreigner is an online publication where inspiration lives.. whether you've been affected from a trip abroad, and need guidance incorporating those experiences in your life at home, or if you want to connect with other like-minded travelers, you should definitely consider adding this to your reading list. 

View the current issue (iPad version available too), and make sure you check out the girl in plaid on page 8!

Finding Happiness is Havana

This past weekend Corey and I decided to escape Atlanta and drive south to visit his lovely parents. Weekends in the city are great, but sometimes I need the simpleness of south Georgia. The fields of cotton, the rows of pecan trees and the white farm houses, dotting the two lane drive to Bainbridge, GA make me smile.

Growing up, I was only a passerby of small Georgia towns, as we made our way to the pan handle of Florida. It was not until I met my husband, did I get to see the charm that these small cities hold. On this trip to south Georgia, we ventured another 20 minutes south to the quaint town of Havana, Florida.  We spent the day wandering through antique shops, admiring the local artwork and enjoying the cafes.

Just add sweet tea and this porch is perfect.

I fell in love with this dresser at one of the local antique shops. A little makeover and she would be the perfect feminine bedside table.

This kitchen cupboard gave me a great idea for an upcoming project -replace wood doors with screen to display my antique dishes.

Antique dishes like these gorgeous mint dessert plates. Finds like these are perfect for dressing up a table at wedding and baby showers.

and best of all was getting to spend time with family.

What a wonderful weekend away.

Atlanta Spotlight: Terminal West, The Helio Sequence

I am always keeping my ears open for new music, and immediately fell in love with The Helio Sequence when I heard them as an opener six years ago. The band is a duo of friendly guys who are incredibly talented. Drummer-keyboardist, Benjamin Weikel, is literally always smiling, and singer-guitarist, Brandon Summers, can jam out on the harmonica (if you don't find the harmonica cool.. think again) like nobody's business.

Helio Sequence - Terminal West, Atlanta

Last weekend, some friends and I went to see them play at Terminal West. It's been four years since they've graced Atlanta with their presence, so you can imagine my reaction when I heard the news! Terminal West is a completely renovated part of the King Plow Company, and a newer music venue here in town. I had an enjoyable first experience. They know how to run an organized show and more importantly, keep their guests happy with a great beer selection. What I mean by "organized" is that the show actually started on time, which is completely unheard of in the music biz. I was a happy camper!

The guys even worked their own merch table after their set ended. I got to chat with them as I scored my new vinyl. I made you a free Spotify playlist of their new album so you can see why I'm such a big fan (my fave: track 2)!

Planning the Perfect Girls Day

I am beyond blessed to have amazing siblings. Sadly, all three have moved away from Georgia and visits are far and few between. A few weeks ago, one of my sisters called with good news, she was coming to spend an entire weekend with me! I kept waiting for the real reason- a friends birthday, a football game- but she really was just coming to see her sis. To let her know how excited I was, I planned our perfect girls day in Atlanta.

You can plan the perfect girls weekend anywhere, but if you live in Atlanta, these are some of my favs:
Gym: Buckhead is full of great boutique fitness studios like Pure Barre, West Coast Workout and Blast 900, so there is always something new to try.

Green Smoothies: Whole Foods has the 'greenest' smoothies to-go, but you can also find greens at Ardens Garden and R. Thomas.

Shopping: My favorite boutiques include stores in the Shops Around Lenox like Fab'rik, Peachtree Battle shops like Festivity and anything on the West Side.

Nails & Spa: Nouvelle is unlike any nail studio in Atlanta, providing a high-end nail salon experience. My favorite facial and massage is at Sweet Samba.

Dinner: I could write a book on Atlanta restaurants, but for our girls weekend, we went to Barcelona for wine and tapas. It's always fun to share!

Comedy: Whole World never disappoints. Grab a beer or cup of wine and enjoy the show.

Thanks sis for the best weekend ever. A, you're up next!

Winter Running Must-Haves

Don't let the cold weather get in the way of your outdoor runs.. your legs still work, right!? Cardio is extremely important, so I try my hardest to fit it into my regular exercise routine. If the treadmill isn't your cup of tea like me, you shouldn't let winter interfere with your favorite park or trail.

Here are my running must-haves this winter season:

 running in cold weather

ColdGear can get expensive. I have an infatuation with Under Armour, and their compression leggings and longsleeve crew are great! TIP: Make a TJ Maxx or Marshalls trip.. always my first go-to place for workout gear.

On a number of occasions, I've had throbbing ears once cold weather hits. Add headphones to the mix, and it gets even worse! Invest in a headband to protect your ears. Lululemon's brisk run headband does the trick.

I always need to be working out to a beat, so an armband for my iPhone is always by my side. Need some new workout tunes?

Lastly, and most importantly, eat breakfast before your morning run so you feel fueled. Running on an empty stomach is no bueno.

Build your own Pallet Bed

My favorite part of our home is the screened-in back porch. It overlooks a sea of trees, our very own cabin in the city. To give this room more seating for gatherings and to create the perfect lounging spot, I created my custom pallet bed for under $100.

I wish I could claim the design as 100% my own, but I am thankful for the many talented bloggers who give gals like me inspiration. Thank you Prudent Home for this amazing easy-to-do design. Visit their site for complete instructions.

I did make a few adjustments to fit my space. I painted my pallets white and used 36" metal rods for the side handles, which I spray painted bronze to give a uniform look. I used a twin mattress from my parents attic and bought a waterproof, bug proof mattress cover from Tuesday Mornings.  Here are all of my building materials:

Pike's kindly gave me their used pallets, but they were rough and dirty. Before I painted, I scrubbed them down and gave the sharp edges a sand. Pup helped me pick which sides should face front (the sides he didn't chew). I strongly suggest finding two identical pallets with planks wide enough to fit the base of the caster wheel. Trying to level out and join two mismatched pallets took some blood, sweat and a few swear words.

And that's it - your very own pallet bed.

Best Birthday Breakfast | Stuffed French Toast

This past weekend was my man's birthday, and he deserved an all-star style breakfast. Enter... stuffed french toast! If you aren't salivating enough already, this isn't just ordinary stuffed french toast. What you are about to witness is a recipe for pumpkin french toast stuffed with blackberry caramel mascarpone.

I found this delicious concoction in Bobby Flay's recipe box. I slightly altered a few ingredients I didn't have on hand because they weren't everyday staples for me. I also popped these bad boys into the oven to make sure they cooked through at the end.


  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 12 ounce package fresh blackberries
French Toast:
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 3/4 cups milk, plus more if needed
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, divided
  • 8 slices day old challah, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups mascarpone, at room temperature


Smash fresh blackberries with a fork. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over high heat and cook, without stirring, until amber brown (about 8 minutes). Slowly whisk in the warm cream, and cook until smooth and slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract. Add blackberries to sauce. Let come to room temperature.

French Toast:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together the eggs, sugar and salt in a large baking dish until smooth. Add the pumpkin puree, ground spices, milk, 1/4 cup of the heavy cream, and whisk until smooth.

Let bread soak in the custard mixture for 2 minutes until the bread is completely soaked through.

While the bread is soaking, heat 3 tablespoons of the butter and 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Cook slices of bread until golden brown on top and bottom, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove, and place on baking sheet. Repeat process with the butter, oil and remaining 4 pieces of bread.

Place bread in oven for about 8-10 minutes to finish cooking all the way through. 

Combine the mascarpone and remaining 1/4 cup of heavy cream in a bowl, and mix until fluffy and smooth. Fold in a few tablespoons of the blackberry-caramel sauce.

Remove the French toast from the oven to assemble. Top 4 slices of the toast with a large dollop of the blackberry-caramel mascarpone and some of the blackberry sauce. Cover with the remaining 4 pieces of toast and drizzle each with extra sauce.
Now, stop drooling already and go make your own!

Post Chocolate Update

 mugs of chocolate with Andrea Cooper
Congratulations to the 19 thousand Hot Chocolate runners this weekend. I came in 1,836th place! Time to start training for real now.

Overall it was a great event. The race was well organized, the weather was unusually warm, they had tons of volunteers and to top it off, the course through Grant Park was gorgeous.

Just like Ally posted about having a gym buddy, having a running buddy makes race day even better. A race buddy keeps you on pace, pushes you harder than you would alone and gives you the confidence to keep going when you want to stop.

Now that the 15K is complete, what's next and who wants to join?

Rock N Roll Half
Iron Girl Tri
Dirty Spokes Trail Run

Healthy Avocado Snack

There is nothing more embarrassing than grumbling tummy noises when you're sitting in a meeting at work! It's obviously time for a snack, but don't head for the vending machines, or break room leftovers! Avocados are a good source of healthy fat, and will hold you over until dinner. Avocados by themselves can taste a little bland, so I pump it up with some flavor by making a homemade salsa mixture. Try this simple recipe for a healthy, satisfying snack.

Serving size: 2
  • 1/2 avacado
  • 1 roma tomato
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 of a medium onion
  • salt/pepper 
Step 1: Cut your tomato in half, and scoop out the inside like the picture below. Then, give it a rough chop, so you have large chunks.

Step 2: Throw your tomato, cilantro, and onion in a food processor. You can also finely dice all ingredients if you don't have one. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Step 3: Cut your avocado in half. You can save one half for a snack for the following day by preserving the half with the seed in the refrigerator (the seed helps preserve it better). Take your salsa mixture and scoop a generous portion in the divot where the avocado seed lived. I sprinkle a tiny bit of pepper over my avocado for some extra seasoning.   

Don't have time to make some homemade salsa? Your local grocery store should offer something similar premade.


New Year New-trition

As we all begin working at our new year's resolutions, many of us including myself, attempt to track calories. Whether it's to ensure proper nutrition for training, to lose weight or to stay healthy, there are many benefits to seeing what you eat day to day.

My favorite calorie tracking site is Daily Burn. They also have an app. You search for the food, choose the quantity, the time you ate it and you're done. Surprisingly this simple concept is still difficult for me to follow through on - the weekend comes and goes and I have forgotten all about tracking. While chatting about this dilemma with Ally one morning, we created Sweet Tooth Confessions.

It's an even more simple way to stay on track with nutrition. You only track items not on your diet. This way you can see where your weaknesses are and how much you are really cheating. It may seem like a bagel here and a sugar filled appletini here, but when you see it all in one snapshot, it's easier to understand why you may have missed your end goal.

I think this concept works so well for Ally and I because we make it a competition. Having to show Ally my pizza eating contest results on Monday morning keeps me in line.

Click here for your own sweet tooth confessions printable.  You may need to change the print orientation to horizontal for best results.

For an added benefit, I mark days I worked out as well.

Looking forward to seeing your results!

DIY Ribbon Wands

Now that all of the big stuff is booked for my wedding, it's time to focus on all of those little details. My venue doesn't allow any type of confetti or flower petals, so I made ribbon wands for my flower girls. Who didn't like ribbon dancers as a little girl? For my two flower girls, this project only took a whopping 20 minutes and cost $15.. THE easiest project I've ever done.

  • 4 rolls of satin ribbon *I used various widths for variety [Joann Fabrics - 3/8" and 5/8"]
  • 1/2 inch x 48 inch wooden dowel [Home Depot]
  • Hot glue gun
  • Candle
Step 1: Unravel all of your ribbon. Fold to find your middle point, and cut in half with scissors. Repeat for both pieces, so you now have a total of four strands of ribbon in each color.

Step 2: If you didn't have your handy dandy Home Depot guy cut your wooden dowel in half for you, use a hand saw to cut it in half.

Step 3: Mark one end of your dowel at 3/4". Use your hot glue gun to attach your ribbon vertically at your 3/4" point. Don't be afraid to overlap, and don't worry if your glue starts getting messy. I used a total of 8 strands per ribbon wand.

Step 4: Your ribbon wand will be VERY long. Since the girls are only 4 years old, I shortened the ribbon to about 28-30" in length. Carefully use your scissors to cut to desired length. I mixed mine up so they were not all even. 

Step 5: Take a leftover piece of ribbon and hot glue it horizontally around your wand. This will cover up any mess you've made, and create a clean look.

Step 6: So your ribbon edges do not fray, seal them using a lit candle. Carefully wave the ribbon back and forth until it starts to shrivel. Immediately remove and you will feel a hard, melted edge, and the edges are now sealed. Keep ribbon about 1" above the flame, and follow this process one strand at a time.

Callie's New Year's Resolutions

I think the new year is one of my favorite times of the year because I love dreaming up goals. Without goals to focus on, I tend to wander around with no purpose and have difficulty making decisions. However, there is a fine balance between setting too many and not setting enough. Ally challenged me to focus on my top 5. I went with tactical goals that have clear actable steps, so I am sure to complete them by December 31st!

What I love more than setting goals, is hearing other's goals and helping to achieve them. Sometimes you just can't do it alone. Share your goals with us below and you are well on your way to building your very own cheering section.

Best of Luck,

Ally's 2013 Goals

Happy 2013, everyone! Sticking to your new year's resolutions can get really tough, but I strongly encourage you to get motivated, and set some goals for yourself - big or small! Here are my top goals that I want to accomplish throughout the year: