All About Tara

I’m Back!

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It has been over 18 months since I’ve written and I am ashamed! Don’t worry, I have a perfectly good excuse – I got MARRIED and I had a baby!

What a difference a year makes, right?

Let me give you the rundown.

I learned that I was pregnant in January 2015, the week of my 37th birthday. I’m the youngest of three siblings and the first to have a baby. It was kind of a big deal. I was a mess! I mean seriously. I was shocked. I was upset. I was scared. You were expecting me to say “excited”and “happy” right? Don’t worry, I get there eventually.

I made my first doctor appointment six days after my 37th birthday. It was the 5th of February. That was the day my boyfriend popped the question. Yup, baby and engagement within two weeks! Talk about overload!

My family was overjoyed! I would be the first to wed in addition to bringing forth the first grandchild in the family. Honestly, my head was going to explode.

My Mom instantly began to send me photos of wedding dresses. In my mind, we would remain engaged for about a year or so. I could see my daughter teetering down the isle with help from her grandparents. A September wedding. Not too hot, not too cold. Small wedding, less than 100 people…

However, my soon – to – be husband wanted to get married before the baby arrived. I wanted to respect his request and I knew that  I could n0t plan a wedding in 7 months while working full time and being pregnant. Walking down the isle preggers was NOT an option for me.

So we set a date for May.

I cancelled it.

We set another date and decided to go to the justice of the peace.

LE sigh.

Four months after he asked me to marry him, we got hitched. Meet Mr. & Mrs. Charles Washington!

My parents and us, June 26th.
My parents and us, June 26th.

Three months later, my precious little girl arrived, Aubree Olivia Washington.

Aubree Olivia @ Six Months
Aubree Olivia @ Six Months

Marriage and motherhood are beautiful. I have discovered so much about myself that I didn’t know existed. I prayed for patience a long time ago, but God truly tested me on that test as soon as I became engaged! Haha, I laugh at so many situations now. I have been pushed and challenged in ways I never thought I could be. From complicated child birth to name changes, the past year and a half has been a blessing for me, despite how it may seem.

I went from traveling the country and building a business to working for someone else and shying away from the social scene almost instantly.

I am a new person. I was an extrovert social butterfly. I am now a semi-introverted semi-social MOM. I am at a place where I am ready to complete my purpose. Motherhood was always a part of my story. I see life so differently now and that is okay. I have many plans for this blog from sharing recipes to my travels with the family.

I hope that you will come along for this journey! Thank you for reading. Have questions? Leave me a comment and share the love!

~Mrs.

 

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All About Tara

Happy New Year!

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“Where have you been stranger? I haven’t seen you out in a minute!” “Did you delete your Facebook account? I can’t find you anywhere! “ “Do you still plan events?” “Are you still with that guy?” “ I haven’t seen you in my timeline in a while, are you okay?”

I’ve been asked a series of these questions more times than I would have liked over the past six months. I did many amazing things in 2014. I spent much of my time traveling, visiting family, working on my financial freedom, re-learning the corporate workforce and reading. I’m proud that I took some time away from the social scene to work on building a healthy relationship with my life partner. In 2015, I will focus on my personal and professional relationships.

It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you decide to unplug yourself from the social norm that consumes so much of our time. 2014 was my year of epiphanies. Each year, I have highs and lows, we all do. A self-proclaimed social media junkie, I did the unexpected and decided to keep my private life, private by spending less time watching television, Tweeting, Instagramming, party hopping and Facebooking. I decided to invest in myself, my relationship, and my family. Listen, TIME isn’t on our side and we MUST be purposeful in steps in life.

Today is January 1st and few things are different from yesterday. What is different is our mindset. We choose where we go from here. We chose how we will impact the next 12 months. We choose how we will treat others and set the examples for others to see. I wish you success in your journey for 2015!

From my heart to yours,

Tara Holland

 

P.S. Shout out to my brother (@stellarwayne) for the video new year inspiration!

 

Business

{Business Tips} Prepare for 2014!

Happy Fall Season!

This is the time of year where the leaves change, the temperature changes and smart business owners and entrepreneurs begin to prep for the 2014 season. I want to share with you some website and apps that can help you to be productive as you plan out the first quarter of the new year.

WorkFlowy

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WorkFlowy.com is my new favorite iPhone app and website for creating organizational lists. As a “Creative Consultant” I come up with ideas in my sleep. With WorkFlowy, I am able to create concepts and break it down in steps. One of my favorite features is the use of #hashtags.  I came across this website from MRW WEB DESIGN that breaks down WorkFlowy in the best way.

Wunderlist

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Wunderlist is a clever way to get stuff done! With Wunderlist, you have the option to generate sub-tasks, due dates, notes, reminders, and even recurring tasks. Think Evernote but with a more clean design, IMO. The newer version also has Facebook integration, e-mail alerts and is available for Android, iPhone, and Windows.  This app has a free option and a paid option for Wunderlist Pro 2.0.

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Pocket Informant 

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I don’t know about you but I put everything into my calendar or my life is in shambles. Be it a lunch meeting, travel or a hair appointment. My calendar helps to organize my life! Pocket Informant is a clever app that incorporates tasks, notes, your contacts, email, and more. Pocket Informant offers organization in a modern way.  This amazing app is only $15/year but offers a free 2 week trial.

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Trust me, invest now and thank me later.

What are your favorite tool, website, or app that keeps you on track? Share it in the comments below and cheers to Productivity!

~T~

Business · Event Notifications

{Exclusive Invite} Pampered Pearls at Iwi Fresh!

I’m excited to work with my great friend, Miss Lucy on her first Blogger event, taking place on Sunday Sept. 22nd! This special event will be a relaxing afternoon of mixing, mingling and spa services!

Please join Lifestyle Blogger, Miss Lucy (@Lucy_Pearl) of LucysPearls.com at iwi Fresh Day Spa in Castleberry Hill. Iwi Fresh Day Spa offers organic, handmade products and spa services ranging from skin, hair and nail care to body massage, wax and threading. Come meet Lucy and her blogger friends while indulging in specialty priced spa services, cake pops by Sweet Bites Boutique, photography from Kevin Taylor Photography, complimentary wine and more, all while wearing your favorite pearls (if you like)!

Choose from 4 customized pampered packages, especially priced for you as a guest, aka Pearls! Check out the Pampered Pearls page to RSVP! Early ticket holders receive a special gift bag and space is limited!

Pampered Pearls Design

Business · Community Service · Event Reviews · Personal · Philanthropy

Plywood Presents, The Conference for Social Innovators

 

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I have been researching local non-profit organizations to support throughout the summer. This week, I was blessed to attend Plywood Presents at the Buckhead Theater on Wednesday and Thursday in Atlanta, GA. I first learned of the Plywood People while visiting one of my new favorite local shops in the Castleberry Hill area, The Boxcar Grocer. I was instantly intrigued and in my normal nosy way, I took to Google and did my research on the organization. Instantly, I wanted to be a part of Plywood People as a volunteer.

Plywood People, is a local 501(c)3 that supports social entrepreneurs¹ and provide relief to the poor and underprivileged  through education and implementation. Plywood hosts events, conferences, and retreats to help social entrepreneurs pursue their ideas. On Wednesday, Plywood Presents welcomed over 400 people to Atlanta for a two day conference that featured 12 presenters like Brad Montague, the Creator of the YouTube sensation, Kid President and Father Gregory Boyle of Homeboy Industries.

The entire experience was a life changing one for me. I met some of the most creative innovators, entrepreneurs and supporters of social change that inspired and motivated me! I admit, I’ve struggled with my true purpose in life over the past three years. I cannot say that I have all the answers, but I can say that I’m in a more concise state now, then I have been in the past few years. I’m a constant work in progress and that’s okay. Here are a few of my takeaways from the conference:

1. How do we do more with what we have? – A question posed by Grace Kim, Director of Partnership at GOOD/Corps

GOOD is a social networking website for “People who give a damn.” Grace presented this question and it was explosive! I don’t know about you but I have some pretty awesome resources within myself. I have a strong network, a great personality, excellent business skills (if I do say so myself) and a heart to change the world. What if we took a few of our many skills and used it for good? Imagine how much we could impact our city, state and world.

2. Speaker Nathan Williams, Founder of Kinfolk Magazine listed 8 things that were a success for his start-up business.

I won’t list them all but my favorites were (a) Try Not to Please Everyone, (b) Create “the master list” Time Yourself  and (c) Swim in Wild Water.

(a)  Try not to please everyone. I am so guilty of this! I over commit to many things and have a hard time saying no. This is no bueno! In business, everyone isn’t going to like your idea, attend your events, or like your designs and that’s okay. What you do isn’t for everyone. Once you realize that, you will be much better off. Don’t take it personal, just stick to your guns and politely move on.

(b) Create “the master list” will hold you accountable. My mother used to tell me to write things down and I, of course, ignored her but NOW I find it to be mandatory. Create a master list and within the list create categories like Immediate or Delegate. A key point that Nathan Williams also mentioned was to “Time Yourself.” Consider that for a moment. We can easily get distracted by the world when we have a list of tasks to complete. Use your smart phone or a mini timer to sit in your office from time to time. Turn it on when you have a pressing task to complete and it will hold you accountable to get ish done!

(c) Swim in Wild Waters. This was the speakers way of saying take time to unwind in your own way. I don’t swim but I love the water. Take a 24 hour time-out to float down the Chattahoochee, get a hotel in the city and let your cell phone battery die on purpose or send the day at the spa. Work hard but also play hard. Take mental days off to rejuvenate yourself so that you can be better at what you do.

3. Think Big, Start Small and Keep Moving – Charles Lee, CEO of Ideation

Don’t let your dreams die. If you have a crazy idea, don’t think negatively like “I can never pull this off!” Take your amazing ideas and start small to make them a reality. Make a list. Do your research. Ask the right questions and take action steps. Charles Lee said, “Brainstorming meetings are neat but they are also unproductive!” Sometimes we talk and talk and talk about an idea but we spend so much time talking that it never gets done. Keep moving! Don’t take amazing ideas to your grave, leave your mark on the world!

Here are a few images that sum up my experience at the conference. Please, click on each link in this post, learn more about the businesses and how you can become involved with one or more of these organizations!

Cheers to changing lives!

~T~

¹A Social Entrepreneurs adopt a mission to create and sustain social value. They pursue opportunities to serve this mission, while continuously adapting and learning. (reference- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_entrepreneurship)

Event Notifications · Exclusives!

{Exclusive} Thread Count at East Lake Urban Farm

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As you know, I am a pretty big foodie, but what you may not know is that I’m passionate about increasing awareness for sustainability and supporting local farming. I was raised in an agriculture state, Delaware. My grandparents had farms and I prefer to cook using fresh produce from local farms or local markets. A group of awesome individuals created ThreadCount, a “unique, bi-monthly vendors market that links you to the latest happenings with local and national artists, designers, fashion, music and eats.”*

The next ThreadCount takes place on Saturday, July 20th in the East Lake Community Gardens & East Lake Urban Farm. These dope folks created this special event to raise awareness around sustainabilitycraftsmanshipdesign, and agriculture to our local community to encourage them to get involved and be more aware and active. I absolutely love this concept, idea and purpose!

In addition to the artist market, there will be a Wine & Cheese Tasting and Private Farm Tour! Woo-Hoo! Wine + cheese + art + wine = dopeness!  Get $5.00 off if when you use the promo code  WordOfMouthATL, Click on the following link to purchase tickets or to RSVP for complimentary access into the market > http://threadcount.eventbrite.com 

Check out their VIMEO trailer then check out what the amazing duo of LeahandMark had to say about the last Thread Count: http://bit.ly/12F3qt4, finally follow #ThreadCountATL on Twitter @CreativeCompCards and @POPUpATL and I hope to see you there!

Quote reference*

Cheers to awareness and local support!

~T~

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All About Tara · Food Creations · Food Reviews

Rosemary Sweet Potato Fries

Hi, my name is Tara and I’m a dineaholic. I am not afraid to admit that I have had a slight addiction to Smashburger’s Rosemary Sweet Potatoes and Baja Black Bean Burger. After a long workday, it is so convenient to stop at a fast food burger joint and spend a few dollars on my favorite black bean combo. But over the past few months, I have been pinching every penny and cutting back on my dining out activities. Healthy eating is important to me and cooking is like my hobby. So today I prepared a quick at home version of Rosemary Sweet Potato fries. Check out my quick video on Vine!

Super Easy Sweet Potatoes with Rosemary

Seasoning snap shot.
Seasoning snap shot.

This recipe is for one but if you can increase the amount of sweet potatoes for more people

1-2 Medium Sweet Potatoes

2 tbsp. coconut oil

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. sea or kosher salt

1 tbsp. of fresh rosemary

1 tsp. honey (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Clean and scrub your sweet potatoes and slice into potatoes into thin strips. Soak cut potatoes in cold water for at least 15 minutes. I read in a similar recipe on RealHousemoms.com that mentioned soaking the sweet potatoes can make them crispier and I have to agree! In a separate bowl, add your coconut oil (a way healthier and tastier option then EVOO in my opinion), smoked paprika and sea salt. After you have drained your sweet goodness, add the potatoes to the oil mixtures and give the bowl a few shakes. Coat the sweet potatoes, sprinkle the cinnamon and smoked paprika over the potatoes and give it one more toss.

Add the potatoes on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 5-7 minutes on each side, until golden brown. I like my fries a little crisp and I have a gas stove so I push it to about 7 minutes, flip and cook for an additional minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with fresh rosemary, drizzle some honey over the fries, mix and wait about 2 minutes before indulging.

Enjoy!

~T~

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Tossed in coconut oil and seasonings

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Golden Rosemary Sweet Potatoes.
Golden Rosemary Sweet Potatoes.