The “Honeymoon” Mansion

Thank you to Lake Oconee Living for allowing me to feature the “Honeymoon” mansion. 


Four dramatic Doric columns make this grand home on the south end of Madison’s historic district a quintessential example of the Greek Revival style built in 1851. The entire house is 5,000 square feet.

This home, known as the “Honeymoon” mansion, was owned by the Godfrey-Candler-Hunt family. If you know the history of Atlanta, this house was home to Charles Candler the son of the founder of Emory University and the nephew of the man responsible for Coca-Cola’s early growth.

This home has gone through some significant changes and renovations thanks to Jimmy Stanton of Stanton Home Furnishings. Mr. Stanton calls “Honeymoon” his second home, as he splits his time between Atlanta and Madison. He purchased the house three years ago and since then has made this historic home quite the statement piece in Madison.

As you enter the front door, you are welcomed by a two-story entrance foyer that reminded Mr. Stanton of the entrance from Grey Gardens. It was one of the elements that drew him to the home. To the left and right of the entrance foyer are two parlors designed to imitate day and night. The dark parlor is one of Mr. Stanton’s favorite rooms.

As you move towards the back of the house, there is a secondary foyer with a sitting area and dining room. The back of the home has a butler’s pantry and cozy kitchen. Personally, I loved the dining room and all the books in the fireplace.

As you exit out one of the back doors, you move into a beautifully manicured property of five acres. The back of the property includes a pool and pool house, which was originally the garage and potting shed, as well as a firepit and outdoor dining area. The pool house is another favorite room to the owner.

Upstairs boasts four bedrooms, all with a diverse style and stunning views.

The renovations took all of two weeks to complete, including a complete renovation of the kitchen and pool house.

All the floral work in the home was designed by Zeb Grant Design. All of the Christmas floral decorations were sourced from the property and were designed to meld together traditional and modern.

Holiday Gift Guide: 25 Travel Gift Ideas Under $25

There’s a reason $25 is such a popular dollar amount for gift exchanges and gift cards. It’s just the right amount to afford a present that’s worthwhile to the recipient without putting a strain on your wallet.

At this price point, there are some crowd-pleasers you can purchase for a friend or coworker. If you know they are into travel, check out this list of things I love to treat myself to and bring along when I’m on the road.

Related: Holiday Gift Guide: The Best Travel Gifts Under $10

Packing Cube Set

The one thing every traveler desires is more space when they are packing, and that is where packing cubes come in handy. Plus they make packing and unpacking a breeze once your traveler arrives to their destination. This cube set from Amazon is a budget-friendly option.

Dry Bags

Dry Bags come in extremely handy when traveling. I use them a lot like packing cubes, but I also keep one in my backpack at all times in case an unexpected rainstorm comes. I throw my electronics and camera into it to ensure they stay dry.

Face Mask

Traveling takes a toll on your skin when you travel thanks to the change in environment, lack of sleep, and usually dehydration. Treat your traveler with an assortment of face masks. I always take a face mask with me on my trips to help give my face a little TLC.

Kissable Color

In addition to treating your travelers face, also treat their lips. Burt’s Bees lip care is one of my favorites! Plus now that they come in colors, it replaces my lipsticks when I’m doing very compact traveling.

Carry-on Cocktail Kits


These pocket-sized kits are the ultimate treat to toast to the next adventure. This kit includes everything you need to create a Moscow Mule, one of my favorites, mid-flight, but it also comes in Bloody Mary, Gin & Tonic, and Old Fashioned.

Postcards & Calendars

If your traveler is a fan of snail mail during their travels, then these postcards from Anderson Design Group are just the thing they need. I, personally, love the Southern Design kit and the build your own. This city map set from Rifle Paper Co. is another favorite of mine. I also can’t get over the Rifle Paper Co.’s calendars, and I look forward to getting one every year.

On the Go Game Pad

This notebook is full of classic games like hangman and dots and boxes will help pass the time on flights or long road trips (in the passenger’s seat, of course).

Emergency Kit

You never know what the road will bring so having a first aid kit on hand is very helpful. I really like this one because it is a good size and comes pre-stocked with plenty of supplies.Travel Humidifier

Travel Humidifier

Another one of my travel essentials is a travel humidifier. This one converts a water bottle into a humidifier, which is super helpful in the winter months when the air is much dryer.

Tile Mate

Tile Mate is a handy racker if your traveler tends to lose things!

Bottle Cap Tripod

No need to travel a bulky tripod around, when you can add this bottle-top pod to the top of your water bottle.

GorillaPod

Another alternative to a bulky tripod is a GorillaPod. I do not travel anywhere without mine, and I absolutely love it!

Solar Charger

Depending on where your traveler is going a solar charger could be the perfect gift! This charger is compact enough to function anywhere you want, and it is suitable for a wide range of occasions like flights, parties, BBQ and other outdoor activities. Plus it comes in multiple colors.

Bluetooth Speaker

One of the best ways to make friends while on the road is music. It’s a language everyone understands. So treat your traveler with a portable Bluetooth speaker that they can take anywhere with them and share their tunes with their new friends.

Travel Adventure Map

This scratch-off map is the perfect way for your traveler to keep track of all their adventures.

Travel Wall Art

Another fun way to document all of your traveler’s destinations is with wall art. I particularly like these luggage tag posters.

Language Guides

Language guides are a handy thing to have for when visiting a new country. I really enjoy the Lonely Planet phrasebooks as they make it easy to use when on the road.

Travel Pillow

Travel pillows are a great companion for those super long flights. There is nothing quite like landing and having a crick in your neck.

Travel Necklace

Anyone who loves to travel has a small obsession with world maps. This world necklace makes for the perfect gift for the traveler who wants to keep the world close by.

Compression Socks

I have found the older I get, the more my feet swell when I travel on long flights. Compression socks have become a life-saver. I love these colorful socks because if you are going to wear them, they might as well be fun!

Travel Steamer

If you have a traveler who hates wrinkles, then you need to treat them to a travel steamer. This one is perfect for compact travel needs and heats up quickly! It’s the perfect companion when you aren’t sure if there will be an iron available.

Travel Hairdryer

Not every destination has a hairdryer, which is a complete shame. I use this one when hotels do not have one available. It’s very compact and includes ceramic technology to fight frizz.

Daypack

Daypacks come in very handy when touring a new place. This one is super lightweight and has plenty of space for your guidebooks and cameras.

Hydration Pack

Depending on the types of activities your traveler enjoys, a hydration pack is a very useful thing gift. I use mine for day hikes and those very long, hot days. This pack is compact and holds a 2L bottle.

Gift Card

An Amazon gift card or one to their favorite store is always an easy go-to. I love getting gift cards because I can purchase exactly what I want when I need it.

Why Travel Matters

It is no secret that I believe the greatest gift you can give someone is the gift of travel. The act of getting outside your home or local sphere to experience new places, new foods, new people, and even new languages is part of human nature. We were designed to explore.

Related: Travel is My Love Language

The most important reason, to me, of why I travel is the connections we make. Thanks to traveling I have friends in multiple states and contries all across the world. People that I have met either over a pint of beer in a local pub or have spent a week alongside them wondering their country. We have shared our likes and dislikes, the similarities and differences between our homes. And what did a learn over these discussions? We are not all that different after all.

“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, To gain all while you give, To roam the roads of lands remote, To travel is to live.” // Hans Christian Andersen

Traveling also provides a sense of freedom. Travel comes with its time of stress and anxiety, but it also provides the option to unplug and experience leisure time that we normally don’t experience at home. Time on a flight, for me, is when I catch up on my latest novel instead of my emails. Travel provides you the ability to do the things that you want to do, when you want to do them, at your own pace with no pressure from anyone but yourself. How often do we get that option at home?

Related: How to Manage Travel Anxiety

Travel is also an extreme challenge. You are purposefully putting yourself outside your comfort zone. No matter where you go, there will be no sights, smells, and all around assault to the senses. But once you concur your new environment, you will feel a sense of pride like you have never felt before.

Finally, travel teaches us humility. There is nothing like walking into a third-world country and seeing poverty to the magnitude face-to-face. When visiting countries of the second- and third-world, try stepping outside the lush environment of the resort life to experience the authenticity of the country. It’ll help put your problems into perspective, and realize just how thankful you truly are for the opportunity.

 

Why does travel matter to you?

How to Manage Travel Anxiety

Most people in the world dream of travel, but travel anxiety is also very common. If you suffer from travel anxiety, I have a secret for you…I do too.

There are trips where I’ll be perfectly okay as I prepare and then other trips where I have a full-on panic attack as I pack my bags. However, it is something I acknowledge and work to combat every time I prepare to leave home for an extended period of time.

Since I know I’m not the only one who suffers from anxiety; I want to share some of my tips to help you overcome, so panic attacks and anxiety don’t put a damper on your travel plans.

Dealing with Travel Anxiety before You Leave

Remind Yourself WHY You Want to Travel
Whenever you start to feel the anxiety rise, stop and take a deep breath and picture yourself in your destination. Imagine yourself having the time of your life without any anxiety. Picture yourself dreaming the life you want to live. These positive affirmations will calm you down. Can’t do it yourself? Have a friend or family member talk these positive affirmations over with you.
Meticulously Plan
Anxiety often stems from feeling like you’re not in control, so try to stem it by taking your trip planning to the extreme. Anyone who has ever traveled with me knows I like to have everything planned to the hour. That can cause stress for some people, but for me, the focus provides that sense of control that often doesn’t accompany travel.
Find a Community
You need a support system to help you travel and to help you manage your anxiety. Find a group or two you like and connect well with the other members, and integrate yourself into the groups by lending advice as much as you ask for it. These groups will be there when you need them most.

Dealing with Travel Anxiety on Your Trip

Form a Routine
Travel can be stressful, and it’s often the lack of routine that increases the chance of anxiety. To create the sense of control, form a routine while you are away that is similar to your routine at home. Set your alarm every day or go to the same cafe for breakfast. Small things that you can control will help.
Leave Your Comfort Zone
Repeated exposure to your fears is better than avoidance. Don’t let your fears prevent you from living your life. I get that it’s scary, but once you step outside your comfort zone you’ll be so proud of yourself, and you’ll want to do it again because you know you can. Travel provides an excellent outlet for tackling several fears at once, and when it feels overwhelming just try some calming techniques and try again.
Avoid Your Triggers
We all have triggers that heighten our anxiety. Before you leave, make a list of those things and try to minimize your exposure to these while you are away.
Don't Compare Your Experiences
It’s super easy to get beat down when we look at our friends travel experiences. Social media gives everyone a sense of inadequacy, but don’t let those feelings lead to anxiety. Everyone is putting their best selves out there, including you. And also remember, as much as you desire someone else’s life and adventures, there is someone out there who desires to have your life and your adventures. Because you are awesome!

Related: 31 Incredibly Useful Tips Every Anxious Traveler Needs To Know

To be honest with you, travel has brought me a sense of freedom. Do I still suffer from anxiety? Absolutely. But, I think travel has been the one thing that helped me conquer my fears more than anything else. Travel is terrifying, but it also challenges you out of your comfort zone more than anything else and once outside your comfort zone you realize you can do whatever you want whenever you want.

 

Happy Travels! What’s something that has helped you manage your travel anxiety?

Saturday Down South: TAMU 2017

Texas A&M is quickly becoming the game I attend almost every year (2014 & 2016), but this year I won the chance to go out to Texas to see Alabama play at Kyle Field. Bucket List Item: ✔️, as Kyle Field marks my 5th SEC stadium.

My Dad and I flew out to Houston to travel with Tide up to College Station. We arrived in Texas on Friday afternoon and attended a party with the local alumni chapter. We had some great BBQ and got the chance to meet some of Alabama’s greats.

Sweater // Cami // Jeans

On Saturday morning, we got up early, loaded the bus and made the hour and half ride up to College Station. I have to say Texas A&M fans are the absolute nicest, and their campus is pretty impressive. We opted to participate in the national alumni tailgate to take advantage of the AC before we headed into the stadium. Our seats were located at the top of the stadium, but it offered a great view of the corps marching through campus.

Alabama Jersey // Jeans // Watch // Boots (similar) // Sunglasses (similar)

The game was a nail-biter, but we brought home the W.

My Everyday Makeup Routine

To be up front, beauty is not something I would consider myself an expert. I can book the cheapest flight with the best and plan a killer trip itinerary, but ask me the difference between a BB Cream and CC Cream or what you use certain brushes for, and I’m going to look at you like a deer in the headlights.

What I have found though, despite not knowing everything, is the products that work for my face and make me feel the prettiest. After all, isn’t that all makeup and beauty products are for? With that said, I would call myself a Neutrogena, Almay, Bare Minerals kind of girl.

Step 1: Face Wash

I shower almost every morning, so when I start my makeup routine, it’s with a clean face. I always wash with plain old Dove soap. I find it is gentlest on my skin. I have used other face washes in the past to help out with my acne, and my favorite was the Neutrogena Deep Clean Cream Cleanser. I also use the Neutrogena Makeup Remover Wipes at night before I go to bed.

Step 2: Moisturize & Prime

After I dry my face, I always apply a moisturizer and an eye cream. I absolutely love the Hydro Boost line from Neutrogena. It hydrates my dry areas but doesn’t make my oily areas too much of a mess. Plus it is lightweight!

After I moisturize I apply my primer. 90% of the time I don’t wear primer as I don’t really see a difference between when I wear it and when I don’t. My go-to primer though is Smashbox Photo Finish Primer. I find that when I do wear it, I look less “shiny” on those hot summer days.

For concealer, thank you dark circles, I use CoverGirl Invisible Concealer.

Step 3: Face

After my primer and moisturizer have dried, I apply my BareMinerals foundation. I love the powder foundation over the liquid, as I find it provides me more coverage, its lighter weight, and my face doesn’t feel oily by the end of the day. After my foundation, I apply BareMinerals bronzer and blush. For my blush, I go back and forth between the colors “Glee” and “Beauty” depending on what I need.

Step 4: Eyes

My eye makeup is my favorite part of the routine and the one I change up the most! My go-to palates for eyes is by Almay. I love how they have palates by eye color and style. I use the Everyday Neutrals the most, but also enjoy the Smoky Eye or Party Bright for nights out. I also use Almay’s eyeliner and mascara. For mascara application, I start with the Mega-Volume Mascara on the top lashes then finish it off with the One Coat Multi-Benefit Mascara. I find this combination provides me with the thickest and longest lashes.

Step 4: Final Touches

After I finish everything, I will run a quick dusting of BareMinerals Mineral Veil to help set everything and then I’m out the door!

Step 5: Lips

Like with eyes, I like to change up my lip color on a regular basis. My favorite brand for lipstick is Revlon, and my go-to is “Mauve It Over” in Matte. It goes with everything, so I never have to worry about clashing.

Brushes

I use several different brushes throughout my makeup routine. Below are my favorites:

 

What is your favorite product in your makeup routine?

Saturday Down South: Vanderbilt 2017

Alabama and Vanderbilt have one of the longest histories of playing each other. Only two other old foes have lined up against Alabama football more times, Mississippi State and Tennessee. I was particularly looking forward to this game since these schools don’t play each other every year, and because it would be my 4th SEC stadium. (Bucket List Item: ✔️)

We drove up to Nashville on Friday evening and check into our hotel, which was right across the street from Vanderbilt University. After checking in, we headed out to grab some dinner at a local restaurant. We opted for The Row only a couple of blocks from the hotel. If you are looking for tasty food, a great atmosphere and live music, then you need to check this place out.

On Saturday morning, we all got up and headed to campus. We walked around for a bit before heading to the official Alabama Alumni tailgate. Thank the Lord it was inside with AC because it was HOT! After enjoying some of the other games for the day and some delicious Dreamland BBQ, Dad and I headed into Vanderbilt Stadium.

Dress // Watch

In the week leading up to the game, Vanderbilt declared they REALLY wanted Alabama, and they got Bama. The score ended up being 59-0. It was a great experience to check Vanderbilt Stadium off my list.

Next stadium on my list is Texas A&M.

The Queen City of the Great Lakes {Buffalo, NY}

Buffalo, New York is generally not a popular travel destination, it definitely was not on my list, but bear with me as I try to convince you to add this up-state city to your list. My opinion changed after I spent seven days exploring this city and the surrounding areas.

Buffalo Park Systems

Frederick Law Olmstead designed and built the first park and parkway system in the U.S. in Buffalo, and some claim it was his best work. The Buffalo Olmsted Park System is comprised of six parks, seven parkways, eight landscaped circles and several smaller spaces. These parks also surround many of the city’s museums.

Architecture

Buffalo is home to rich architecture, and the residents are working hard to maintain this part of their history. You have the Ellicott Square Building, built in 1896, on Main Street was once the largest office complex in the world, and other interesting buildings located downtown.

Up next, Buffalo is home to seven different Frank Lloyd Wright constructions—Chicago is the only other place with more of Wright’s works. I had the chance to visit his Darwin Martin House, which was built between 1903 and 1905. This house has undergone incredible changes and is well on its way back to complete restoration.

Gardens Galore

Are you a fan of gardens? Then you need to head to Buffalo during the summer months to join Garden Walk Buffalo, the nation’s largest garden walk. This event is comprised of over 400 private gardens and they are something special!

My favorite part of exploring the many neighborhoods of Buffalo, though, was the brightly painted houses. Who doesn’t want a hot pink house?

Buffalo is also home to Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Garden.

Niagara Falls & Lake Erie

Niagara Falls is a true natural wonder that amazes millions of visitors each year. Take a gander at this natural wonder on the US side with Niagara Falls State Park or head over the border to Canada for another perspective. (Read about my visit to Canada’s Falls here.)

Don’t have time to visit Niagara Falls? Head to one of the parks along the Buffalo River for an evening stroll or dinner and catch a glimpse of Canada on the other side of the river or the Buffalo Main Light, which was established and lit in 1833 and deactivated in 1914.

So, have I convinced you? Is Buffalo now on your bucket list?

 

Niagara Never Stops

Niagra Falls. A destination on just about everyone’s bucket list and a natural wonder of the world. Niagra Falls is the collective name of the falls that lie on the border of the United States and Canada, but it actually consists of three different waterfalls. Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls. Almost 3,160 tons of water flows over Niagara Falls every second, which produces the highest flow rate of any waterfall on earth.

Journey Behind the Falls

There are multiple ways to see Niagara up close and personal; I opted for the Journey Behind the Falls, which is on the Canadian side of Horseshoe Falls. This tour takes you 150 feet down and provides you the opportunity to walk through a maze of passages behind the tour, with the pièce de résistance being the observation platform at the bottom of the 13-story falls.

My hood didn’t do me much good, but getting soaked was totally worth seeing this natural wonder.

Niagara Parks

Niagara Falls Canada is part of Niagara Parks, an almost 35-mile long park, bordering the Niagara River. This park is made up of a Botanical Gardens, Butterfly Conservatory, Niagra Glen and more. It is worth exploring this park as you spend your time in Ontario.

Night Life in Niagara

Conclude your time in Niagara with dinner on the veranda of Queen Victoria Place Restaurant for stunning views of the falls at sunset, and be sure you stay for the falls to turn on the lights.

Is Niagara Falls on your list of places to visit?

The Mile-High City { Denver, CO}

To celebrate my birthday this year, my mom and I took a trip with Pack Up + Go and crossed a new city and state off our bucket lists, Denver, Colorado. We had always heard good things about the city, and we were excited about exploring a new location.

Good Food

One of our clues from Pack Up + Go was to arrive with an empty stomach because there was a lot of good food, and they were not wrong. We felt like we ate the whole time we were there, which was totally okay by me.

Our first stop after checking into our hotel was the Appaloosa Grill, per the recommendation of our concierge, located only a few blocks from the hotel along the 16th Street Mall. The restaurant boasted an expansive drink menu and delicious food. We highly recommend the Bison Sirloin and Ravioli.

On Saturday, we felt we ate the whole day. We started off the day with breakfast at Snooze, an AM eatery, in Union Station. According to one of my coworkers and our Pack Up + Go itinerary, Snooze is one of the IT places to eat when you visit Denver. We were instructed to get there early, and thanks to the time zone change, getting there at 7:00 AM before the lines was easy to do. We were able to enjoy a relaxing breakfast on their patio and watch Denver wake up. Mom got the Breakfast Pot Pie and I tried the OMG! French Toast. We were not disappointed by the western breakfast chain.

For lunch, which ended up being brunch, we headed to Historians Ale House. This restaurant came as a recommendation of my coworker, and we seriously enjoyed their bottomless mimosas. They also served up one of the best burgers I have had in a while. We topped off the day with sunset views, apps and drinks at the Peaks Lounge.

On Sunday, we grabbed a quick bagel breakfast at Bruegger’s Bagels before we explored a little more. We grabbed a quick snack after our morning excursion at The Denver Central Market. We finished out our time in Denver with lunch at Ale House for views of the city and delicious cider.

Now, let’s talk about the desserts, and ice cream specifically. Several of our Uber drivers shared their favorite ice cream shops, so, of course, we had to try them out. We started off with Milkbox Ice Creamery located in Union Station, then tested out Little Man Ice Cream. Our personal favorite was Little Man, which is conveniently located to Ale House.

Good Views

With the backdrop of the Rockies, Denver offers some pretty spectacular views. To start off with, you have the capitol views over the city. Did you know if you stand on the 13th step on the west side of the building you are at exactly 5,280 feet above sea level? It’s pretty cool to stand at the exact mark that got this city its nickname. But note, you can’t go inside the capitol building on weekends.

The second set of spectacular views is the Denver Botanic Gardens. It’s a pretty escape from the hustle of the city that offers some unique landscapes from what we are used to in the southern United States.

As mentioned above, Peaks Lounge offers some pretty views of the Rockies at sunset. You definitely want to get there early to grab a seat by the windows because it does get crowded. It’s a popular location for visitors!

The last place to get some spectacular views is Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater. Our itinerary suggested coming here for sunrise, but we opted for later in the morning. It was still a spectacular view and totally worth the excursion outside of town.

 

This weekend would not have the same without getting to spend some quality time with my mom. Thank you, Pack Up + Go, for a fun weekend to celebrate my birthday.

What is your favorite thing to see or do in Denver?