This is it!

This is it!

Today marks the first day of my last full month in Athens, and we’re making every effort to knock off items on our bucket list and live up life in the Classic City. I sure am going to miss it here.

Any suggestions of what we must do/eat/see that we might not have yet? They are so very welcome!

Here’s a photo from a recent item checked off the list: World Famous. Shortly after this photo I may or may not have gone gah-gah over their Chicken & Waffle Club. Trust me… it’s worth a splurge.


Merry Christmas from the Carnes!


Christmas is here once again!

And this year, I am so thrilled to send a bit of Christmas cheer with these wonderful Christmas cards. Gosh – I’m thankful to have creative friends. Flashback to a few months ago when Caroline Fausel (a friend from college and fellow medical school wife) and I began to chat about what I’d like my Christmas card to look like. I sent over a Pinterest board full of ideas and shared with her that the fabulous Rustic White Photography would be taking our family photos this fall.

Caroline created a ton of options for our card to let us choose our favorite. We wanted something simple, with a bit of sparkle – and she rocked it! Plus, she was a joy to work with (all while being a mom to a precious little girl and traveling with her husband for residency interviews).

I may be a bit behind on actually printing and mailing them with such a busy season, but at least we can share them here with you all!

Caroline Fausel Paper Co. does awesome work and can be found on Etsy and Facebook, so check her out. Thank you, Caroline! Appreciate your help! And a huge thank you to Rustic White Photography for this photo and so, so many more!

(PS: for a little throwback, you can also find the in-laws Christmas card and our Happy New Year card from last year here!)

Charleston: Character & Color

Over the course of the semester, we’ve had the chance to visit some pretty great places for Chip’s 4th year of med school (still having a hard time believing we’ve gotten to this point in the process!). While his time away for a few months hasn’t always been easy, I have loved being able to join him for some days here and there in some awesome cities!

A few weeks ago, we visited Knoxville for the weekend after hearing endless recommendations during his month there to come back when the leaves were changing. Early one morning, we devoured some Tupelo Honey Cafe biscuits before heading to the Smokey Mountains to hike. If you haven’t done either of those things, you must! Get in your car and take a day trip. You won’t regret it.

And going back a bit further in the semester was his month in Charleston. I got to visit for a bit to work during the days, then explore the city at night until Chip finished with work. This counted as our “beach trip” for the year, and although we didn’t get to do much relaxing on the beach, we certainly saw some amazing sunsets! I loved the character and charm of “The Holy City.” There are so many textures and colors to be found. Here are some of my favorite shots from the week:

Charleston door blue

Charleston door secret gardenI loved happening upon this little “secret garden” of sorts.

Charleston door pipe

Charleston door front

Charleston door Pink  Charleston door eagle

Charleston beach wood

Charleston beach pier

Charleston beach sand

Charleston beach bird

Charleston beach ground

Charleston beach couple Lauren

Charleston beach bushand

Charleston beach blue pink Lots of beauty in these cities close to Georgia. While I absolutely love Athens, it’s always nice to explore a new town. Can’t wait to see where the next adventure takes us!

A Trip to Cades Cove

Fall is just amazing. A couple weekends ago we took a trip to hike in the Smokey Mountains during the prime time for changing leaves. Per a few recommendations for some gorgeous views, we circled Cades Cove to hike Abrams Falls. Cades Cove is a loop of awesome landscapes and views, with old churches and trails to hike. It certainly did not disappoint!

Cades Cove Landscape

Cades Cove Chip

Cades Cove Flowers   Cades Cove Lichens

Cades Cove Leaves

Cades Cove Abrams Falls

Cades Cove Water

Now I’m ready for another mini-vacation! Where is your favorite place to go for the weekend?

The blog’s got a mini-face lift

You may notice something new and fresh about mason jar moments today. Yes, today’s the day that the wrinkles are smoothed away a bit and the blog’s getting a mini-face lift.

It felt like about that time to pull out the lovely blue mason jars from our wedding and create something special for the place that I get to document the little joys of life.

This morning, a friend and I were discussing how there is “a lot of life coming soon.” Isn’t that so true about so many seasons? With applying for medical residency programs with Chip, there are so many unknowns in the future. It’s a lot of life coming at us… 5 years of life, in fact.

There are so many great things, but big, ole’ scary things too. I want to know every step of the way. Instead, I’m just learning about a lot of patience, trust and being where my feet are.

However, throughout every season, one thing has always remained constant: my desire to create. From plaster painting as a little to pursuing photography now, creativity in my life is like honey to my hot tea. A necessity. It gives me the chance to preserve a season of life for myself and others in a way I couldn’t otherwise. Each creative endeavor reminds me of a specific time, place or event.

And that’s what I love about mason jars. In their most common form, they’re intended to preserve. The definition of which is: to maintain something in its original or existing state.

I want to preserve this season of life. Preserve it for the next season… so that I can always look back to where I’ve been and keep it on a shelf for a rainy day or for some perspective. And ultimately, I want to preserve the joys of this season because come this time next year, I’ll have a whole new set of adventures to pursue in an entirely new city… and I want to do that joyfully too.

So today, I’m remembering this:

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

Thankful for that truth today and always. Here’s to a new season of preserving life’s little joys with you. Thanks for sticking around!

Mason Jar Moments Blog Header

The Farmer’s Market “Flavor”

For most people, going to the grocery store is just a dreaded task. However, for me, I welcome shopping for food with open arms. You may remember my description of grocery stores and markets serving as a sort of stress reliever for me. I find it weirdly exciting to walk into a store with a list of goodies to bring home for the next dinner. And on top of it, I typically end up buying much more than I needed or expected. I’m a sucker for a good deal.

But in an effort to soak up every bit of Athens in this final year here, we’ve been incorporating my love of food shopping into every free weekend we have at the Athens Farmer’s Market. There is just something special about the local food, local people and local flavor of Athens that you can’t find anywhere else.

And the color… oh it’s lovely. Here are just a few photos from our most recent visit of some of the best and brightest of colors.





I just love it. Fortunately, the market lasts well into the end of the year because the weather down south is so warm for so long. I’m super thankful for that. I’ll take any spare moment of stress-free roaming at the farmer’s market with a fresh squeezed juice I can get.

What is your favorite way to spend a free weekend?

Made a new friend

I made a new friend tonight…

The sky looked like this:


And anyone in the southeast knows that this much blue is quite rare for this summer.

So I ventured out to meet this one:

Horse Head On

At first she was frustrated at me that I hadn’t brought her a treat. She stamped and whinnied, but then she became more interested in my camera than anything.

Horse Head

Horse Tree

Horse Eating

And she was quite pretty. After a while of modeling for me, she went along her merry way. Who knows, maybe we’ll meet up again later this week with some of her friends. There were probably about 8 of them in the field munching away on grass.

It was just another little reminder of the need to seek beauty and peace in nature from my Instagram yesterday.

See you soon, sweet friend!

“Swanderson” Wedding Weekend at the Duke Chapel

This past weekend was quite the celebration. I don’t take two days off of work for just anybody, but if you knew Katie and Scott, you’d understand why their wedding was touching, a blast, and full of lots and lots of dancing. They sure do know how to throw a party.

Katie is one of my best friends from high school and is a “forever” friend. Much to our dismay, I had never visited Duke University (where they went to school) before, but now I think I’d like to go back. It was pretty great. Not to mention the Washington Duke Inn, Duke Chapel and The Cotton Room were absolutely amaze. Here’s a little recap and some photos from the long weekend away!

My trip began with a walk from the WaDuke to grab lunch. I think I’ve realized I don’t mind eating alone at restaurants. It’s kind of nice sometimes, actually. And certainly allows for some great people watching. While it was a little bit farther of a walk than I expected, it was well worth it and quite pretty.

Swails tree

My destination was NOSH. And boy did I seriously nosh. When I saw online that its tagline was “Eclectic Foodstuffs,” I was sold. It had a precious little NOSH “bike-cart” out front.

Swails Nosh

And little did I know I had actually chosen out of the blue one of Katie’s favorite Durham meals. A portabella burger and curried couscous. And I found Waldo. What could be better?

Swails restaurant

We bacheloretted and rehearsed. And I saw the Duke Chapel for the first time. Y’all, this thing looks like it should be in Europe. It’s phenomenal.

Swails Duke Chapel

Swails rehearsalAnd the “bowquet” I created from gifts at Katie’s brunch bridal shower made its grand appearance.

Swails bowquet

Later, people said lots of nice things about Katie and Scott as we chowed down on some North Carolina BBQ at the rehearsal dinner. It was held at the Durham Arts Council, which was a seriously cool venue.

Swails flowers

Swails deer

On the morning of the wedding, I explored the property at the WaDuke before anyone else was awake. It is amazing – and huge!

Swails Duke post

Swails WaDuke sign

Swails WaDuke flower

Swails WaDuke carts

And last but certainly not least, we celebrated the marriage of two insanely kind-hearted and loving people!

Swails Wedding Dance

Swails Wedding Table

Katie and Scott, it was such an honor to be a part of your wedding weekend. Thank you so much for including me in all of the festivities! So excited to come back for a visit to Duke in the hopefully near future!

Just Keep Swimming

SwimmingShe’s a swimmer, allright. The pool is officially finished, and she’s officially obsessed. After the test run at the river, she hopped right in.

You can see an Instavideo from her first morning in the pool here or search on Instagram for @LaurenLCarnes.

By the end of the day, this is where you could find her.

LoungeOr hereSophie Sleeping Now if only we could get some sunny days instead of endless rain, we could wear her out like this all the time.

A River Day

Sometimes you just need to take a day to enjoy yourself. On Friday, we did just that. I took the day off to celebrate Chip finishing step 2 of the boards (read: the 2nd hardest – next to step 1 – test he will ever take; one that consumes months in advance of constant studying, leaving room only for meals and the occasional puppy belly rub or trip to DQ for a Blizzard).

One thing we’ve wanted to do for a while is to get Sophie to the river. Typically days-off revolve around entertaining her. Honestly, sometimes I think it’s bizarre how much we love this little creature.

But since the in-laws are building a pool in the backyard currently, we want her to be fully ready for some swimming action when it’s finished. We know she loves the water from our beach trip last year, but it’s been a while!

Don’t worry… she loved it, as you can see:

Sophie in water

And enjoyed the view with her daddy. Just a boy and his dog:

Sophie & Chip

Y’all, I’ve got the prettiest dog in the world. Isn’t she so stately? She was posing for the camera.

Sophie individual

We couldn’t stay for long, or else we might have frozen in that water, but she had a blast. Shake it out, Sophie.

Sophie shaking

Now, she’s passed out on her bed and hasn’t moved a muscle since we got home. Weekends on “vacation” at the grandparents always wear her out. Not so good for the grandparents, but awesome for us. 🙂

At least we know she’ll be fully ready to dive in when the pool is finished later this week just in time for the 4th of July!

What’s your favorite thing to do on a day-off?