a graduation weekend, atlanta in may

Atlanta skyline

A little over three years ago, my friend Bailey told me she was thinking of applying for law school and asked if I thought she was crazy. She had already completed a master’s degree and was working in her field before she realized she could do more meaningful work in a court room. Law school is a beast of its own, and B was looking at all the ways her life could change if she went down this road. It was a huge decision and I remember admitting that I thought she was definitely a bit crazy for going back to school, haha! But I said then, if anyone could do it, she could, and I would be waiting patiently for our invitation to graduation.

For three years, I watched Bailey push through difficulties with all her bravery. Classes were tough, but she was unsurprisingly up to the challenge. She took the best opportunities available for summer work and internships, making impossible decisions to split her time with her home, husband, dog, friends and family – and living out of state for two or three months for her job. I saw her on amazing new adventures and also heard from her on the nights she felt exhausted or lonely. She studied around the clock, gave every day her very best effort, and was careful to take time to rest and recharge. In short, she is an inspiration, and I’ve never been so proud to call her my friend. When that invitation finally came in the mail, I actually burst into tears in my driveway out of happiness for her. She did it!

Georgia State University School of Law graduation invitation

Some of our Wyndham hotel points were set to expire soon, so I found a pet-friendly hotel on the outskirts of Atlanta that was halfway between everything we’d be doing over the weekend. We drove down after work on Thursday so we could get up bright and early for graduation Friday, and actually ran into our crew as we were parking the car that next morning. A lot of happy tears were shed, pictures were taken of the happy graduate, and we got a firsthand tour of the Georgia State campus. It was sunny, there was live music playing on the streets of Atlanta, and Bailey had the biggest smile on her face. I wish every Friday morning felt like this one.

Georgia State University School of Law Commencement and Hooding Ceremony program

Bailey after graduating

Bailey and Jordan after graduation

Bailey and Jess after graduation

Jess kissing Eric's cheek selfie

After graduation, we all headed to Ponce City Market in the heart of Atlanta. I know Ponce City Market is an ATL staple because of how often I see friends online there, but it was my first time visiting and I think the concept is amazing. Whoever had the idea to turn the old Sears, Roebuck & Co. factory into a gigantic, upscale, open-container-law space with dozens of restaurants, bars, dessert spots, and shops – the city owes you one. We celebrated with pizza and pasta at Brezza Cucina and spent the afternoon walking around the market.

Ponce City Market

Bailey laughs while enjoying pizza and prosecco

I’m a big fan of King of Pops‘ popsicles and always get one when I see a cart around Charlotte, so I had to contain my excitement when I saw there was a King of Pops Bar tucked away in one of the corners of the market. I went with a Prosecco Pop and am now petitioning for all glasses of wine to be served with a popsicle dropped inside. We also rode one of the original freight elevators (left over from when they made washing machines inside the building) up to the rooftop to visit Skyline Park, where they have carnival rides and one of the best views of Atlanta I’ve ever seen. Is this living my best life?

King of Pops Prosecco Pop

Friends sliding down a long metal slide

Jess and Eric selfie overlooking Atlanta skyline

Eric and I headed back to the hotel to let Ollie out and take him for a walk. We found the nearest sidewalk to walk down and ended up in quiet cul-de-sacs full of vacation homes serving nearby Six Flags. There was a Waffle House up the road and the weather was nice, so we decided to just walk to an easy dinner later and have an early night.

We woke up Saturday morning and headed west for a home-cooked breakfast with Bailey’s family at her aunt’s house. Her uncle enjoys guitars and vinyl records, so naturally, Eric made a new best friend. In addition to bossing out a law degree the last few years, Bailey and her husband Jordan are in the process of restoring and renovating a historical home in Dallas, GA. You know, in their spare time. They’re sharing some of the progress on Instagram, but we’ve been dying to see it in person and wanted the full tour. From the original architecture, to the wooden floors, to the stained glass windows and the antique doorbell, I’m in love. It’s absolutely stunning and will be so incredible when they are ready to move in.

215 Confederate Avenue Dallas GA restoration

Bailey’s family threw a graduation party Saturday night that was the definition of perfection. Catching up with some of her friends and family we haven’t seen since their wedding several years ago, meeting new friends and family members, eating delicious food, laughing until my sides hurt, dancing around the pool, and watching B enjoy it all felt like sheer joy.

selfie overlooking the lake backyard

law school graduation cake

One of the most precious parts of my friendship with Bailey is that we have lived in different states for the last seven years, yet we have figured out how to continue to be true friends to each other through the distance. The miles have inevitably made our friendship stronger in the long run, but it can be really difficult to be so far away from each other. On the other hand, it also makes weekends like this one feel more special than I can put into words. She has been nothing but fully supportive of everything crazy we do, so it was really nice to support her and Jordan through their last few crazy years.

Bailey and Jordan dancing in the dark

You’re going to be an amazing lawyer B, and I can’t wait to keep cheering you on along the way. Only a few more weeks until you smash your bar exam and you’re finally, completely, and officially #legallybailey! We are all so proud of you.

Bailey and Jess laughing