December 31, 2014

2014 in review

2014 is just about over, but before the New Year starts I wanted to reflect on some of the things that have happened in my life this year. Overall, 2014 was a really successful year


And here is a photo collage with some of the design projects and photo sessions my company has had in 2014. It's been such a great year for VKV Communications LLC too and I am beyond grateful.

How was 2014 for you?

Happy New Year!!

December 29, 2014

Eating in ATL {The Optimist}

If you ask for a spectacular seafood restaurant in Atlanta, chances are that someone will recommend The Optimist, a fine seafood restaurant in West Midtown. I've been hearing about this place for years, but just never made the time to visit until a few weeks ago. It. Was. Incredible.

Now that I am a pescatarian, this may turn into one of my go-to restaurants because they have a ridiculous amount of seafood options that all sound so delicious. This time, I decided to order the fish and chips (bottom of photo above) with a side of charred broccoli and the hushpuppies. My fish was cooked perfectly, and although the fries were a little thick for me they were really good. The hushpuppies were the absolute best! They are cooked and flavored like beignets, yum! So if you like hushpuppies and/or beignets, you must order these! 

I also really enjoyed the charred broccoli with feta. And my friend ordered the swordfish (top of photo above) with a side of brussels sprouts with bacon which she said were also delicious.

The Optimist also has a section on their menu called "Opportunities," which changes daily. These items are small portions of really creative pairings from their raw bar. My friend ordered one that included scallops and pears (above), yum!

I'm so excited to go back (maybe for my birthday)!

December 27, 2014

A Woman's Place is in the House and the Senate Sweatshirt

Both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were really fun days for me and my family. I ate good food (entirely too much), caught up with family members, and exchanged gifts. Of the gifts I received, one of my favorites is the sweatshirt I'm holding up in the photo above. I spotted this sweatshirt with the words, "A WOMAN'S PLACE IS IN THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE," on Pinterest back in the summer and I sent the link to my boyfriend requesting it as a Christmas gift...and he delivered! As a political junkie and feminist, I love this sweatshirt's message and the design that makes it wearable with just about anything. 

I shared it on my personal social media pages and had several people ask me where they could order it, so I thought I'd also share it on my blog. My sweatshirt was ordered from Wicked Clothes and the quality is really great. The sweatshirt may be available other places, but I cannot verify that it will be a quality product.

They sold out, but should be back in stock soon.

I've already worn mine three times!

December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! This is one of my favorite holidays for many reasons, and I am so grateful that I am spending another Christmas with my family. Last night we had our annual Christmas Eve party and it was so much fun! I wore a sequin green/blue dress from Forever 21 with tights and low black pumps. Getting ready for this family dinner party is always a ton of work and can be somewhat stressful, but all of that fades away when our family comes into our home to celebrate.

My teenage niece (above) has been spending the past few days with us and it's been like having a little sister around. We'll be spending Christmas Day at my uncle and aunt's home and maybe seeing a movie together! I love the happiness that holidays bring and I hope you have a happy and safe holiday as well! 


December 22, 2014

Prive Hair Salon in Atlanta {review}

I reviewed another hair salon in Atlanta a while back, and I've had people ask me for other recommendations around the city. So I tried a different salon in Midtown, Prive Hair Salon,  that I had heard great things about and my review is below!

First of all, I went to the salon with my hair naturally curly. I always think this makes it tougher to straighten. One of my best friends goes to this salon and the stylist, Tre'/Treana does her hair so that's who I scheduled my appointment with.

 I arrived at the salon about ten minutes before my appointment, but only waited a few minutes before my hair was shampooed and conditioned. The salon is clean and wasn't really crowded. They play current music and the vibe is pretty relaxed.

This salon does an incredible job at shampooing and conditioning. They really take their time, use multiple conditioners, and interact with you to see if you feel like your hair is clean and itch-free.

Afterward, I sat under the dryer with a deep conditioner in which made my hair feel extra soft. Once my hair was washed and conditioned, Tre' used a blowdryer and brush to do the initial straightening. She did it section by section which is the way I do it at home. Then, she applied a heat protectant before using a hot comb and flat iron to straighten my hair. She calls this the "silk press" and it definitely made my hair silky. She finished off my style by curling the ends of my hair, which I usually don't do but I had seen some of her other curly styles on her Instagram account and wanted to try it!

Tre' got my hair very straight and soft, which is all I ever ask for!

Here's the full list of stylists, but I can only speak for two. As I said, I went to Tre' (above) because my friend recommended her, and really loved how my hair turned out. I have friends who have gone to Attallah, and their hair always turns out really nice as well.

You have to contact the stylist you want to do your hair, and I do wish they displayed some of their work and prices on the website. Tre' charges $60 for a wash and style, but other stylists' prices may vary.

See the salon's policies here.

Although I don't plan to straighten my hair much in 2015 (more on that later), I will definitely go back to Prive to have my hair done and would recommend it to friends looking for a hair salon to try in Atlanta.

December 20, 2014

2014 Atlanta New Year's Eve Events

Last year's #NYE post with events in Atlanta received over 10,000 views, so I had to do another one for this year! In a city like Atlanta, of course, there are lots of events going on. Here's what I've gathered so far that seem like really fun and affordable events! Per request, I've also included the prices of the events if those were available.

Check back for updates & additions, and leave a comment if you have more suggestions on how to bring in 2015!


Church Services/Celebrations

Dining & Drinking


Other Events

Other ways to celebrate
  • Meditating on the new year and creating a vision board/goals list
  • Watching NYE celebrations on TV from the warmth of your home
  • Fun activities with friends/family to countdown
  • Themed date night
  • Hosting your own NYE party
  • Working out into the New Year
  • Babysitting (earning money as you enter the New Year)
  • Service projects
  • Doing good deeds for others to make their New Year special

Regardless of the way you choose to bring in the New Year, I hope it's a fantastic night for you! 

December 17, 2014

VKV Prints {Life Is Peachy & Sparkle Notepads}

These past few days have been a time for me to relax and recover after an extremely busy semester. I took five classes and worked, making every week pretty interesting. I'm very proud of how I did in my classes, and I am so grateful for a break from school and work for the next few weeks. 

One area of my life that has not taken a break is my communications company. November and December have been busy with photo sessions, graphic design projects, and new additions to my company. One of those new additions is VKV Prints! One of my freelance designers and I have been working on this idea for the past few months and it's great to see it come to life. We've designed multiple notepads and other prints to sell on my company's website. We'll be rolling them out two at a time, and have so many exciting designs to share.

Our first two designs are the "Life Is Peachy" Notepad and the "Don't Be Afraid to Sparkle" Notepad. Since we live in Georgia, the "Peach State," this design has been super popular, and I really love it too! The notepads come with 50 sheets and are the perfect size to keep on your home or work desk. 

I use notepads all of the time so I thought this was a great product to launch first for VKV Prints.

Both of these notepads are available to order here for just $10 each, and will be available until they sold out! We have a few of each left.

I appreciate all of my readers for supporting my projects and dreams, it's always exciting to share updates on my blog and get your feedback!

December 14, 2014

Eggplant Parmesan

While I was home for Thanksgiving break, my family went to an Italian restaurant for dinner one night and I ordered eggplant parmesan. This was my first time ordering this dish from any restaurant, but since it was one of the few meat-free items on the menu I decided to try it. This was the best vegetarian meal I have had yet! It reminded me so much of the heartiness of chicken parmesan + meat lasagna, but I still felt so great after eating it. After that meal, I wanted to have it again but make it myself because this will be another one of my winter break go-to meals.

I used the recipe by Alex Guarnaschelli from Food Network. Her video and post is a perfect explanation of how to easily make this dish. The only things I did differently were that I didn't add sugar to my sauce, I used olive oil for frying, instead of basil leaves I used baby spinach, and I used shredded mozzarella cheese. 

I took some photos while I cooked to show you how mine turned out!

P.S. I've been eating like a pescatarian for 9 months! 

December 11, 2014

New Year's Eve fashion {shoes}

I do have some outfit options for New Year's Eve, and I'm glad my first NYE fashion post was helpful! I'm happy to keep sharing my picks for NYE fashion including (dresses, outfits for guys, accessories, and now shoes). I am such a fan of glitter and sparkle all year round, but I think it's necessary for NYE night. But I also know and understand that heels aren't always a reasonable shoe option and can leave your feet in pain at the start of the new year if you have them on for too long. So I've also included a few flat shoe options as well. Here are my NYE women's shoe picks, all under $100!

Leave a comment with your favorite one & happy shoe shopping!

December 08, 2014

2015 Promises to Myself

I didn't plan to post this until later on in the month, but I already have friends asking how I'm setting goals for 2015. So here goes! I'm doing "promises to myself" again like I did in 2014. This method worked really well for me because I printed out my promises, shared them on my blog, and figured our how to get them done throughout the year. Even though 2015 will be impossible to completely plan for, it always helps to set goals and make promises to yourself. Here are my 2015 promises to myself, and below I have a blank copy you can use!

And here's a clean copy for you to use if you like this format too!

Set yourself up for a great new year!

December 05, 2014

Holiday Dress Fitness Challenge

Image via 30 Day Fitness Challenge

I can't believe this is the final fitness challenge of 2014! I have loved these monthly fitness challenges and I know some of you (through emails and comments) have loved them too.  This one is from 30 Day Fitness Challenge's website, and is called the "Little Black Dress" challenge to help you fit into that LBD. With Christmas, New Year's Eve, and other holidays & celebrations approaching I thought this challenge would be perfect to get into my holiday dresses. 

This challenge is a good blend of planks, triceps, mountain climbers, bridges, squats, lunges, jumping jacks, and more! So, you'll never get bored. I just finished doing Days 1-5 and I'm feeling it. 

Let me know if you decide to participate!

December 03, 2014

Eating healthy after Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving food was so good, but so bad for my fitness goals. And I know I'm not alone. The past few days have been dedicated to switching back to healthy food choices and putting down the macaroni & cheese and pie. 

My suggestion for trying to eat healthy after a holiday break such as Thanksgiving is to ease your way back. Start by having fruit smoothies for breakfast while you enjoy Thanksgiving leftovers for lunch and dinner. Then, try having a healthy lunch as well. Eventually you will run out of Thanksgiving leftovers and making the transition back to eating healthy will be easier.

Another suggestion: take the healthy leftovers from Thanksgiving and use them for healthy meals. For example, you can use leftover turkey to go with salad or fresh vegetables.  Or, you can use leftover vegetables to go with eggs for breakfast. I prefer these methods, but I have friends who prefer to detox after a holiday full of heavy eating, and that is understandable as well.

Here are a few of my recent healthy meals

Organic arugula salad from one of my favorite restaurants, with shaved parmigiano reggiano and drizzled with lemon vinaigrette

Brussel sprouts, using my go-to recipe!

Baked sweet potato, chopped up grilled salmon (I thought about making it into a patty, but was too hungry for all of that), and a blend of sautéed collard greens, mustard greens, and kale. My mom cooked the greens and they are always so good, and such a healthy side.

I cooked this salmon in a skillet with olive oil and used the following to season it: black pepper, basil, oregano, garlic, drop of mustard, and lemon juice. I'm normally not a mustard-eater, but a drop of mustard/honey mustard is such a great way to season salmon in a unique and delicious way.

Spring mix with carrots, onions, tomatoes, cucumber, and salmon on top. Then I drizzled it with lemon juice and honey, so good!

And then I added some grilled corn to my salad!

Fresh vegetables are my favorite, when they're available! This basket includes cucumber, corn on the cob, and bell peppers.

This is vegetable soup my mom makes every year! I can't give away her secret recipe, but it does include a tomato base, chopped carrots, corn, and peas, and ground meat (but she made mine using veggie crumbles). I am freezing some of this soup to enjoy throughout the month.

I hope healthy eating is going well for you! I'll be posting the monthly fitness challenge later this week.


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