5 Tips for Taking the Perfect Passport Photo

People tend not to look their best in identification photos, and the worst part is the results are with you for years. To ensure you get the best picture possible, follow the tips below.

  1. For clothing, wear a solid color shirt in a color that compliments your skin tone. Don’t wear white or black. Additionally, pick a v-neck or scoop neck for the neckline. Lastly, avoid scarves or turtlenecks – you don’t want to seem neckless in your photo.
  2. Wear makeup, ladies! I’d recommend using an oil-absorbing face powder or a photo-finish primer to help prevent the glare from the harsh flash. Also, to help combat the flash add some bronzer and blush to those cheeks, so you don’t look washed out.
  3. Let your hair down! Your hair acts a natural frame of your face so utilize it. Style it, and bring a brush with your to keep your flyaways at bay. Men, consider getting a haircut a week before taking your photo.
  4. Keep your shoulders down and back, and stick your chin out an inch or so farther than you usually hold it. No one wants a double chin.
  5. Teeth are not allowed in passport photos. Practice your smile in a mirror before taking your picture, as you don’t want it to look like a mug shot. Just think of something happy as your smirk. 🙂

There are several options when it comes to taking a passport photo. You can opt to take it at home, but there are several rules to follow to ensure the State Department accepts it with your passport application. I chose to go to a local business to have it taken like FedEx, UPS, or a drug store. It was easy to do and ended up costing about $15.


What are your tips for ensuring a perfect passport photo?


2018 Reader Survey

Happy Friday! We did it; we survived the first week back after the holidays.

One of my biggest goals for 2018 is to continue growing the community around this space. Thus, the time has come for me to conduct my first reader survey! (Eek!) I really want to hear from you so you can continue to enjoy this space as much as I do. Grab your favorite beverage (because it’s Friday!) and pretty please with a cherry on top take this short survey for me!

Thank you in advance!



Anything I left out of the survey that you want to comment on, I want to hear from you?


2017 Year End Review

It was the best of years. It was the worst of years. 2017 was one of the most challenging years of my life. It had moments of joy, but a large number of heartache moments as well. Here are some of my favorite highlights from the year:

The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new. // Socrates

  • My brother got engaged!
  • I bought my first house.
  • Continued to grow this space. (Thanks for your help!)
  • I traveled the most number of miles ever in a single year, approximately 33,000 miles.
  • And I crossed a bunch of items off my bucket list!
  • Countries Visited:
  • New States Visited:
  • Alabama Football Games Attended:
  • Books Read: 37


January kicked-off with Georgia’s first “snow” storm of the year, which ended up being full of ice. I spent the majority of the month working on this little corner of the internet, getting it revamped and set some goals for the year. The Tall Man and I also adventured to The Windy City for a very short trip with his work, and my mom and I headed over to Anniston, Alabama for Southern Exhilaration’s first sponsored post. (If you are ever in the city, be sure to check out Hotel Finial.)

bean there, done that

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February was a pretty chill month. It started off with the Falcons and Patriots playing each other in the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, my team lost and The Tall Man’s won. There were the trips to North Carolina to see my guy, and then some quality time with friends. The short month passed quickly.


In two words, March was an emotional roller-coaster. It started off with a trip to Raleigh, but this time my whole family joined me. Not only was it my dad’s birthday weekend, but it was also one of my brother’s best friend’s wedding. We played in Durham around the wedding schedule. I also celebrated one of my best friend’s bachelorette parties with a food tour around Atlanta. Unfortunately, the end of March brought a lot of unexpected changes and heartbreak.


April and May were not easy months for me. I decided to take a slight hiatus from this space and worked on figuring out the next steps of my life. Despite the heartache and feeling utterly lost, life moved on. In April, I celebrated a friend’s wedding, spent some time with my best friend drinking wine and shopping, traveled to Santa Monica with a work trip, and concluded the month with a trip to Birmingham to see my smarty-pants brother graduate with his masters.

to everything there is a new season | ecclesiastes 3:1

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May brought a lot of travel. I started off with a trip to New York for my third National Geographic Photography Workshop. I always love the opportunity to explore new parts of this city. The following weekend, I hit the road to Rochester Hills, Michigan for a quick work-related trip, and then headed to the beach for a week of some serious R&R.

Meet me in New York. 🗽 #NewYorkCity #NGExpeditions 📷: @meghan_leighh

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June was a busy month of house hunting, job searching and getting my feet back under me. I kicked off June with a trip to Connecticut for work and to visit some family. It was a relaxing time, and it felt good to spend some time with my aunt. For Father’s Day, we surprised my dad with an outing to TopGolf.

Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whaleship in the world, can be found at Mystic Seaport.

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July was a very low-key month when it came to traveling. I did manage to get in a weekend visit with my best friend and head to Tuscaloosa for an alumni meeting. My family also celebrated my brother’s engagement! 🙂

nubivagant (adj.) // wandering in the clouds; moving through the air.

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August was a busy month. The month kicked off with a week-long trip to Buffalo, New York for a client meeting that included a day trip to see Niagara Falls. I also celebrated my 29th birthday with a surprise trip to Denver with my mom and Pack Up + Go. (If you are a planner looking for a little spontaneity, then you need to check out this company.) Then ended the month with a whirlwind trip to northern California for a friend’s wedding and to Chicago for a conference.

birthday (noun): nature’s way of telling us to eat cake. 🎂 #29andfine

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September equals the start of football season! My brother and I were able to attend the Alabama vs. FSU game at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and then my parents and I headed to Nashville to see Alabama take on Vanderbilt. (Roll Tide!) I was home for basically the whole month, so I put a lot of energy into this space.


The biggest and best of October was purchasing my first home! I made the offer on October 3rd and closed on October 30th, so the whole month revolved around all that goes into becoming a first-time homeowner. I also managed to get in a couple of trips, including a trip out to Texas with my dad for the Alabama vs. Texas A&M game. And thanks to Publix, I was able to up my culinary skills with a six-week class through their Aprons Cooking School.

and so a new adventure begins… ?

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The theme of my November was boxes. I spent the majority of the month unpacking everything I own and getting settled into my new home. My family had a quiet Thanksgiving at home, which was exactly what I needed after a crazy two months.


December was an exciting month! It kicked off with a trip to Madison, Georgia to do a feature on their “Honeymoon” Mansion. December also brought Atlanta a lovely dusting 10 inches or so of snow. The month concluded with my whole family in town to celebrate the holidays.

all the heart eyes for the architecture in madison, georgia 😍

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Thank you for being a part of 2017. Stay tuned for some exciting happenings in 2018! #2017bestnine

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What was your favorite part of 2017?

If you haven’t already, please find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and/or Bloglovin’!

Southern Experiences

A Quintessential Southern Town {Madison, GA}

Located in the historic heartland of Georgia sits the quintessential southern town of Madison. Only an hour from Atlanta and an hour and a half from Augusta, this city has built a name for its self as being one the South’s Best Towns and World’s Most Beautiful Towns. It also boasts one of the largest historic districts in Georgia.

Spared during Sherman’s “March to the Sea,” this southern belle of a city is filled with antebellum charm. The town was established in 1809 and named after the US’s 4th President, James Madison. Madison grew in fame with its reputation as “the most cultured and aristocratic town on the stagecoach route from Charleston to New Orleans,” but got its wealth from the town’s cotton-boom heyday from 1840-60.

Antebellum Beauty

Madison boasts nearly 100 antebellum homes along its tree-lined avenues, many of which are in beautifully restored condition.

Related: The “Honeymoon” Mansion

Heritage Hall, also known as the Jones-Turnell-Manley House, was built in 1811 and served a private residence for 166 years until 1977. It is now maintained by the Morgan County Historical Society and is one the most visited tourist attractions in Madison.

Fun Fact: Look for the window etchings. Daughters and granddaughters of Dr. Elijah Evans Jones used the windows to check the legitimacy of their diamond engagement rings. 

Barrow Academy

Madison has a rich history of education. Barrow Academy is one of only two New Orleans cottage-style houses in the city. The house was constructed in 1840 to be an academy for boys, but when the Civil War broke out, it became a makeshift hospital for all of the injured soldiers that arrived into Madison via train.

Additionally, this property is home to the oldest structure in the town that initially served as a slave house.

Churches of Madison

Religion was a large part of Madison’s establishment. Each domination was provided an acre of land by the by the Inferior Court of Morgan County in 1825, and to this day the original buildings still stand.

Church of the Advent was built in 1844 by the Methodist Church and is currently home to the congregation of the Episcopal faith.

The Madison Baptist Church, organized in 1834, formerly worshiped on the site of Calvary Baptist Church on Academy Street and moved to its current location on Main Street in 1858 after the completion of the building. All the stain glass is original to the building.

Right next door to the Baptist Church is the Madison Presbyterian Church. This building was built in 1842 by skilled architect and mason, Daniel Killian, after the congregation had worshiped in homes and the courthouse for 21 years. Be sure to visit the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center to see the original communion set that was stolen during the Civil War. It is stunning, as are the original stain glass windows.


What is your favorite antebellum city?

Southern Experiences

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.