Baylee’s Cap & Gown

My beautiful baby girl. She had all her high school requirements met and earned her associates in Pre-Nursing in December of 2019. She headed off to University of North Georgia in January of 2020. She is currently taking her second semester at UNG and has been accepted into the nursing program there. She starts her Nursing School (BSN) in the fall.

I am one proud mama!

We did these photos before graduation, but I just realized I never shared them here. These are my favorites!

XOXO

-S

Escape Rooms for 2019

So we started 2019 with and escape room and finished it with an escape room. We tried our first one in Orlando at the beginning of the year and were hooked.

Our first escape room was at The Escape Game in Orlando. We almost escaped The Heist. We had to choose the room based on my back brace as we really wanted to do Prison Break…but The Heist was more suited to me because I couldn’t bend or twist. The Escape Game is right next to Cooper’s Hawk Winery…so be sure to check that out while you’re there too! You won’t go wrong!

Next up was Situation Room in Macon Georgia where we faced Red vs Blue. We accomplished our goal here though!

Next stop Escape Artists in Warner Robins. We tried The Cabin here…it was more of a mystery than an escape…but we scheduled at the last minute and just had to roll with what was available for our large group.

We made a day trip to Savannah to try the Escape Company where we escaped the Speak Easy. It was a lot of fun. They even have a bar where you can have a drink before or after your escape room. We went on a Sunday though and sadly the bar was closed.

On the way to Miami for our Christmas cruise, we headed back to the Escape Game in Orlando and escaped Prison Break. This I think is definitely been our favorite of the year. And yes we went to Cooper’s Hawk Winery afterwards to indulge in food and wine!

Blayne was in town, and he has missed out on all the escape room fun, so before he heads back to college tomorrow, we had to hit up Situation Room for Stellar: Re-loaded. One day we will have all 4 kids in one…but Baylee has to work today.

If you haven’t tried an escape room…get out there and do it! One key, for us over 40s bring your readers so you can see!

XOXO

-S

North Georgia Exploration

What do you do when you have a long weekend?  Well this long weekend, I rented a tiny house in Clayton Georgia and headed north to get a sneak peek of the fall colors.  I do think it was a little early for the full leaf changing, but when I get an extra day off of work I take full advantage of it.

Before we could hit the road Saturday, Perry played in Region Tournament…We had to leave before it even ended, we headed to Atlanta to drop Baylee off at the airport to head to meet up for her cruise…we dropped her and headed north east to get to our weekend getaway started.

We rented Little Red Roof, a brand new tiny house in Clayton Georgia. They have some specific house rules, like no shoes worn in the house, which just tickles my fancy. We are a shoeless house, so it makes me happy to see like-minded folks. I know it may seem silly to some, but my OCD just cannot stand the idea of shoes/germs on my floors and wearing down my wood finish and carpet…Our hosts were Andrea and Curtis. Their tiny house, was just perfect in every way. House listing

Up to $55 off your rental

Dinner Saturday night was at Universal Joint in Clayton. They are know for burgers and live music. While I’m not huge on loud music, I do love a good burger, so decided to check it out.

So it hasn’t rained in over a month in Georgia and guess what 80% chance of rain on Sunday…the day to hike Tallulah Gorge. So we let the anti-rain dance to commensurate. Hoping and praying for the best weather.

Rain dance didn’t work and it poured off and on until after noon or so. We had a quick breakfast and figured we’d drive up to Black Rock Mountain State Park and see what we could with the fog and rain. Rain stopped for a little while and we were able to get some photos of the fog in the mountains.

I wanted to check out Minnehaha Falls, but wanted to do it when the sun wasn’t too high, the cloudy skies were perfect so I could get the right exposure that I wanted on the water…a nice motion in the water as it falls over the rocks.  The hike to Minnehaha is only .2 miles, so it is very doable.  It is located off of Bear Gap Rd near Lake Rabun.  You depart the trailhead at the green diamond and number 147. The drive there was beautiful around Lake Rabun…all the houses and two story boat docks were phenomenal.

So the big thing I wanted to see was Tallulah Gorge.  Tallulah Gorge is one of the 7 natural wonders in the state. It is a must see! There are multiple trails there, but with my back, I had to just listen to my body and see what it could do as the day went on.  If you want to hike the gorge floor, you MUST get a permit.  

There are only 100 given out every day, so you need to arrive early!  My plan was to hike the easier hikes and see how I felt. Today though there were no permits given out because of the inclimate weather.

The easiest of the all is the Shortline Trail. It is 3 miles, but is paved.  This trail can be accessed from Terrora Circle Road.

Then next up is the Inspiration Loop Trail. It is 1.5 miles round trip; it is mulched with exposed rocks. This trail is accessed on the Interpretive Center Road.

The North and South Rim Trails are 3 miles total and take about 2 hours to hike. It is a mulched trail with exposed rocks.

The North Rim is accessed behind the Interpretive Center.  It is approximately ¾ mile one way with some incline and stairs. The trail has six scenic overlooks

1. Inspiration Point is the best southern view into the gorge.  Gorge depth is 900+ feet

2.View of Oceana Falls with Bridal Veil Falls at the far end of the gorge

3.View of L’Eau d’Or (pronounced Ladore) Falls, top of Tempesta Falls, and Hawthorne Cascade and Pool.  Gorge depth is 350 feet

4.View of L’Eau d’Or Falls, Hawthorne Pool and remains of Water compressor plant used in building the Dam

5.Good view of Tallulah Falls Dam (completed in 1913) and upper portions of the Gorge

6.View of upper gorge and southern view to Hawthorne Pool and Overlooks 2 and 3. Gorge depth is 250 feet

The South Rim Trail is accessed opposite side of the gorge from the Interpretive Center.  It is approximately ¾ mile one way with some incline.  The trail has five scenic overlooks

1. View of Hawthorne Pool, North Rim Trails overlooks 2 and 3, top of Tempesta Falls and down Gorge to Hurricane Falls.  Gorge depth is 350 feet

2.View of Hawthorne Pool, Tempesta Falls and Pool.  Gorge depth is 400 feet.

3.View of Hurricane Falls and Pool, Devil’s Pulpit outcrop below, and the interpretive center across the gorge.  Gorge depth is 500 feet

4.View of Hurricane Falls, Oceana Falls, Caledonia Cascade and North Rim overlook one. Gorge is 650 feet

5.View of Celedonia Cascade and the Wallenda north tower area.  Bluff to far right is approximately 1000 feet high.

I really wanted to go to the suspension bridge in Hurricane Falls Trail Loop…but had no idea if I could make it.  The Hurricane Falls Trail Loop has 1,099 stairs to the gorge floor…to get to the suspension bridge isn’t all the way down though. This is the trail you take to get to the gorge trail…and need a permit to go on the gorge floor.

Honestly I’m not even sure which trail we did…we did the stairs all the way down to hurricane falls and some of North Rim trail…my legs were jello and I was super thirsty. There are fountains along the trail, but are not functioning so make sure you bring water with you.

After our hike, we hit Goats on the Roof for some homemade ice cream…it was pretty good and servings were HUGE!

For dinner, yes I planned ahead.  I always look for Farm to Table restaurants before I travel anywhere.  The last thing I want to do is eat subpar food.  I made reservations at Fortify Kitchen and Bar in Clayton for 7:30pm.  Hoping that would give us enough time to see what we wanted to see and get back and showered and dressed for dinner. We had the special shrimp lettuce wraps for our appetizer and I had the pork chop and hubby had the lamb. Both were large portions and very tasty.

Monday morning we woke up and had to check out of the house by 10 a.m.

We had two little friends that looked to have be dumped by someone the day before. They even hopped in the van while we were loading it up…had to scoot them out and then we were on our way. Our host had no idea where they came from.

There is so much to see here, that really a few days isn’t enough to do it all, but if you know me, you know I will squeeze in everything I can.

I could not have come all this way and not visited a winery…after check out it was breakfast at the Dillard House. It is family style dining. You get a TON of food, my favorite was the cinnamon roll!  The Dillard House has been family owned since 1917.  They served locally sourced items and have won multiple awards in the Southern Living Magazine.  The views from the Dillard House were beautiful mountain views.  They are a full service resort…They also offers horseback riding and stables where you can visit their animals.  While there will be no horseback riding for me…I did enjoy visiting their beautiful grounds and animals.  

After breakfast and a visit of the grounds at the Dillard House, we were headed to Tiger Mountain Vineyards at 2592 Old Highway 41 in Tiger Georgia. But they were not open…so we changed our plans.

We went back to Black Rock Mountain State Park to the lookouts to get some more photos. It was very different without all the fog from yesterday!

After that we headed to 12 Spies Winery for a little wine tasting. We did the 10 tastes for $15 and hubby and I split it. My favorite was the sangria…it’s a blend of 5 different wines. The grounds were really pretty too.

After a little wine tasting and exploring, it was time to hit the road to make our trip home.

As we were driving down 441 I saw a sign for a tallulah gorge lookout…so we detoured to check it out. It was pretty but really not worth the detour as there were a lot of power lines in the view. There was a cute little store to buy souvenirs and local goods.

As we got closer to home, we were ready for dinner, so we stopped in Macon. We ate at Ocmulgee Brewpub. I had the Juliette Burger and this burger has moved up to my number one burger of all times. It is topped with a friend green tomato, bacon, onion, lettuce on a freshly baked bun…has a special sauce too! It won the best burger in 2018 and I know why!!

We are home and showered, ready for my next adventure…

Tomorrow morning…another adventure if you want to call it that-L5/S1 injections again…last round before nerve ablation.

XOXO

-S

Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk

Today photowalks took place all over the world. It is free, but they ask you to donate to The Springs of hope Kenya Orphanage, an organization that feeds, houses, educates, and empowers young orphans so they can grow up not just to survive but succeed. I led the photowalk in Macon, Georgia. I had a longer walk planned, but with this being my first walk I’ve ever led, I overestimated how long we could walk. With 17 people and each having their own photographic ideas, it took quite a while to walk even a mile. After our walk, we hit up Oliver’s Corner Bistro in Macon for brunch.

Street photography is one of my favorites, so today was really nice! Hanging out with 16 other like minded people was great.

If you would like to check this out in the future here is the link Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photowalk

XOXO

-S

Thalia’s Senior Session

Thalia and my girls have played volleyball together for years and my hubby also coached her! I have captured many moments for her and her sister throughout the years. She and her family are near and dear to my heart. Her mama and I have talked many of hours while watching practice, matches, or just having a girls night out.

Thalia is a senior at Veteran’s High School. She is very involved in clubs, band, sports and well smart as a whip. Thalia completely rocked her session!

And when there’s a motorcycle in the alley you’re shooting in, you get close, but don’t touch and get a fun photo!

XOXO

-S

Birthday Day Trip

If you know me, you know I’m always up for a trip to see, experience and of course find that next photo spot. On my birthday, it was no less. We woke up early, they gave me all my gifts, got a quick breakfast and headed to our first stop High Falls. When we got there, I asked 3 different people how to get to the Ruins and got three different answers; none of which turned out to be directions to where I wanted to go. Both girls agreed to let me take some photos of them for their senior photos…but within 10 minutes of arrival, they were hot and complaining, so I just gave up on the senior photos…and did what I wanted to do. The girls headed to the car to get a change of clothes since they were hot. Hubby and I continued to venture through the trails and I photographed the falls. A lot has changed since I went there last…a lot was roped off and you could no longer get to a lot of the cool spots.

Here are a few photos of the falls, the dam and some other interesting spots there.

After we left high falls, we headed by Indian Spring State Park because there was a bridge I wanted to photograph. There was a family there doing a session, so I went to the backside (although not as pretty) and got a shot of the bridge.

As we headed to lunch, we saw the sign for Fried Green Tomatoes in Juliette, so we detoured there and decided to have lunch there. Low and behold line was extremely long and both girls had to work in a few hours, so we hopped back in the car. Juliette is such a quaint town though and I would love to go back to explore it more some day.

We stopped for lunch at our planned location at Oliver’s in Macon. One of my favorite Macon restaurants! Had some bubbly and chicken salad on a croissant and I was happy! Then the girls wanted to stop at Scoops, so we obliged. I mean who doesn’t want ice cream on their birthday?

After ice cream we headed home so the girls could get ready for work.

For dinner, hubby and I headed to Bodega Brew for Latin Night in downtown Perry. We also scoped out some alleys in Perry for some new portrait session locations for me since I have 4 senior sessions coming up!

So all in all a pretty great birthday!

XOXO

-S