The past year was a difficult one personally.  The loss of my mother-in-law to cancer and the continued decline of my dad to early-onset Alzheimer’s were not things that my husband, Nick, and I expected to face in our twenties.  (You can read more about how I deal with grief here and here.)  On top of that, Nick’s intense trial schedules meant that he billed more hours in one year than I thought humanly possible.  So it was a year of many tears, not a lot of sleep, and very late dinners.  But here I am, stronger and wiser in the new year.


 In spite of the personal, national, and global turmoil, there was still a lot of good in 2016.  It was one hell of a travel year for us, including awe-inspiring hikes, beautiful golf courses, and some incredible meals. We were overwhelmed with love and support from friends and family.  I continued to find my way professionally as a photographer, cooking class teacher, and blogger.  And I launched this new blog!  Those are the parts I want to focus on and remember, so I’ve put together this “year in review” to record some of the highlights.  I mostly did this for myself as a practice in gratitude, but I’ll also consider it my Christmas card substitute.  Lord knows I don’t have my life together enough to get real ones in the mail.



Andaz Papagayo Costa Rica
Road to Hana Maui
Maui Luau
Savannah, Georgia

Clockwise from top left:


January | Andaz Papagayo, Costa Rica (read more here)

April | Road to Hana, Maui

April | Spanish moss canopy in Savannah, Georgia

April | Family luau in Lahaina, Maui


Marsland wedding
French Broad @ Montreat

Clockwise from top left:


May | Marsland-Farmer wedding in Raleigh, North Carolina (photo by Callie Pitts Davis)

June | French Broad Chocolate in the creek in Montreat, North Carolina

June + November | Montreat, North Carolina


Rome, Italy
Camogli, Italy
San Fruttuoso
Milan Duomo

Clockwise from top left:


July | Rome, Italy (read about our hotel here)

July | Camogli, Italy (more on our Italian Riviera stay here and here)

July | San Fruttuoso, Italy (here’s how to get there)

July | the top of Milan’s Duomo, Italy


Black Mountain

Clockwise from top left:


August | Family grilling in Black Mountain, North Carolina

February, June, August, November | Visiting my dad at Black Mountain Neuromedical Treatment Center

August | Flower picking with my nephew in Black Mountain, North Carolina

August | Ice cream making and ukulele playing with my little brother at the “barn house” in Black Mountain, North Carolina


Bi-Rite Market SF
Big Sur, California
San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge
Pebble Beach

Clockwise from top left:


November | Flowers at Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco’s Mission District

November | Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California

November | Nick’s early 30th birthday present: a round at Pebble Beach

November | Big Sur, California


Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
Johnston Canyon Banff

Left to right:


December | Chateau Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

December | Frozen waterfalls of Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park, Canada


Not pictured: 

June | bachelorette party at Lake James in North Carolina

July | quick trip to Las Vegas with a friend in the travel industry

November | Nick’s work trips to DC + NYC



Costa Rica golf
Pebble Beach Golf Links
Spyglass Hill Golf Course
Kapalua Golf

Ansley Golf Club, Midtown & Settindown (our home courses)

TPC Sugarloaf

Four Seasons Golf Club at Peninsula Papagayo (pictured, top left)

TPC Harding Park

Kapalua (pictured, bottom right)

Pasatiempo Golf Club

Poppy Hills Golf Club

Spyglass Hill (pictured, top right)

Pebble Beach (pictured, bottom left)


Favorite meals

Petit Crenn SF
Saltyard Atlanta
The Florence Savannah

In Atlanta:


Saltyard (pictured, middle)

St. Cecilia


While traveling:

The Florence, Savannah (pictured, right)

Mama’s Fish House, Maui

Da Paolo, Camogli, Italy

VUN, Milan


Petit Crenn, SF (pictured, left)

Frances, SF


Bakeries + treats:

Back in the Day Bakery, Savannah

Leoda’s Pie Shop, Maui

Tartine Bakery & Manufactory, SF

8ARM, Atlanta


Balcony garden

My little, west-facing balcony garden has lots of pots with my “plantas” (as I call them).  Here’s what I grew this year:


Flowers | gardenias, zinnias

Vegetables + fruits arugula, strawberries, sungold tomatoes, sweet peppers, broccoli (greens), kale

Herbs |  sweet basil, Thai basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, mint

(I also have an avocado tree, two lemon trees, and a serviceberry bush, but they aren’t producing yet)


Professional highlights

South x Saints
Wing-Turner Wedding
Baby Jack Newborn Photography

(Second photo down on the left is by Jamie Clayton Photography, and bottom right is by Tulle & Grace Photography.)


  • I catered an 80-person wedding!  
  • I was guest chef for a styled shoot featured by Style Me Pretty Living.
  • I cooked for the Lady Locavores fundraiser for Community Farmers Markets and a Sunday Supper fundraiser for Meals on Wheels Atlanta.
  • I co-hosted a series of Sunday Suppers with Erika of Southern Souffle.
  • I got paid to photograph brides and babies and belts and bottles and business owners.
  • I taught cooking classes and led farmers market tours at a variety of venues.
  • I designed business logos, wedding invitations, and maps.


  • Nick took his first depositions!
  • Nick had two legal articles published about insurance coverage.
  • Nick billed *hopefully* the highest number of hours he ever will.


Taking the time to write all of this down reminded me that we have so, so much to be grateful for.  In her diary, Anne Frank said, “I don’t think of all the misery, but of all the beauty that remains.”  I hope to channel that sentiment going forward.  Thank you for being a part of the beauty in 2016!  Stay tuned for my 2017 intentions and my new favorite goal-setting tool (hint: there’s going to be a giveaway!).




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