my (our) first real Christmas tree

November 28, 2016 Woodstock, GA

Here are a few quick photos, in succession, of the day I (we) got my (our) first real Christmas tree. (It was a bigger deal for me.) As a kid, I always alwayyyyyys wanted a real Christmas tree. My mom would pull out the fake one every year after Thanksgiving, and I'd regularly ask why we couldn't get a real one. I wanted to be in one of those cars we'd pass on the road toting a Christmas tree atop the hood. The idea that people actually had real trees in their house during the holiday season blew my mind. We didn't even have real plants! (okay, maybe one... I distinctly remember knocking it over and blaming my brother for the mess. Come to think of it, maybe that's another reason why we couldn't have a real Christmas tree.) My mom said that since there was nobody around to lug the tree in the house, and trim the tree, and lug the tree out of the house after Christmas was over, we'd have to settle for the fake one. She also didn't want to deal with the mess.

Well, Mom, it only took me about 20 years, but I finally linked up with someone who was willing to lug the tree in the house, trim the tree, and lug the tree out of the house after Christmas is over. I love it, and by "it" I mean the tree. It's everything I'd hoped it'd be (still talking about the tree here), and even though it left a big mess when we brought it in the house, it was all the way worth it. Did I mention this was a big deal for me?

It's worth noting the original plan was to chop a tree down ourselves. There are quite a few tree farms in North Georgia that host people who want to cut down their own Christmas tree. Unfortunately, we're experiencing a severe drought this season, so all the trees at Berry Patch Farms were too dry. And thanks to the wildfires that have spread throughout the Southeast, we didn't really have much to choose from in terms of tree types. Still, we picked this baby out and I couldn't be happier, even if we did bring it home by default. 

Now if we could figure out how to get the dog to stop drinking water from the tree stand...

we mostly have this first-world shopper's mentality

November 25, 2016

Picture it: Atlanta, 2007. I was working as a sales associate at my local Macy's, and I took a look at my schedule for the month of November. Everything was cool until I saw my arrival time for the day after Thanksgiving. That's what I had always called it: "the day after Thanksgiving." I was scheduled as a store opener, which meant I had to be there at 5:45am. I was a college student at the time, and I didn't even has classes scheduled before 10am, so the thought of having to be at work that early threw me off. But... I was a college student at the time, which means I couldn't afford to not go to work, so I got up and had my first taste of the shopping madness that occurs on the day after Thanksgiving. 

By the same time next year, I had landed a full-time desk job, but I was still working part time at Macy's (again, I was a college student livin' on a prayer - without student loans). One of my Macy's coworkers mentioned how all associates were required to work on Black Friday - no exceptions. Someone else asked "what's Black Friday?" and I quickly put two and two together before she explained how the day after Thanksgiving is basically a shopping holiday.

It made sense. When I would visit my family in Michigan for the holidays, my sisters would always get out early that Friday and shop the morning away. I always went because 1) I'd never turn down the chance to hang with my sister, and 2) duhhhh, shopping. I can still remember the 90's television commercials raving about the great "day after Thanksgiving" deals. Deal! Deals! Deals!


Now it's commercially known as "Black Friday," and man is it a whirlwind. I'm over it.

Jams of the Month

November 17, 2016

I know it's November. I know we're so deep in November that Thanksgiving dinner prep is already underway, however, this October Jams of the Month playlist is too good to keep to myself. I must share.

It's been on rotation, heavy, for the past couple days, and it will likely continue to be on rotation well through the rest of the month. It's loaded with a bunch of Indie artists I had never heard of before (and a few I had), and that's arguably the best part of the playlist.

Give it a listen: while you're cleaning, while you're studying, while you're reading, while you're setting the mood... ;)

Thank me now.

a girl’s first love is her father

November 10, 2016

Everything keeps moving as it normally would when you lose a loved one. The sales person still greets you when you walk into the store, but she doesn’t look at you with the sad eyes. Your job keeps functioning normally, even though you had to leave early to grieve. Your co-workers feel a tinge of pity when they find out what’s going on, but the feeling is fleeting, and they return to their business. People call and give their condolences, and they hug you and kiss your face when they see you, trying to provide as much comfort as possible. It helps a little bit, but not much. The ones who have been through similar situations insist they know what you’re going through. They insist. They say they know.


I knew something was wrong, but I ignored those feelings. When he called a few weeks ago, randomly, I felt slightly worried. But he didn’t answer when I called back, so I assumed he called on accident. Then he didn’t respond when I called on his birthday, and he never returned my voicemail. I wonder if he ever listened to it. I wonder if that was the last thing he heard me say. I’ll never know.
They say a girl’s first love is her father. I lost my first love on November 10, 2014 - four days after his 58th birthday.

Ponce City Market

November 3, 2016 Atlanta, GA

Darnit, Ponce City Market. I had high hopes for you. People have hyped you up and painted you as one of the best spots around Atlanta, and honestly? You just didn't live up to your reputation. The food hall is nice, but a bit over-priced, and with stores like Madewell and West Elm, you weren't created to help my pockets.

I'll give you another try soon. Maybe to check out the rooftop bar when the buzz dies down or to use the location as the start of my leisurely beltline stroll.

You've got good curb appeal, though. I'll definitely give you props for that.

part five of our home buying journey

November 1, 2016 Atlanta, GA

We've come to the end of the road.

I've shared our experience with pre-qualifications, house hunting, up-front costs, appraisals, and now it's time to talk about closing.

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