Nashville ~ The City of Music & Murals

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Another trip in the books and what an adventure to the south it was!  I had actually visited Tennessee once before {girl’s trip to Graceland and the Peabody w/ my grandma, mom, and sister} but that was all the way across the state in  Memphis.  Nashville had been on my “to-do” list for some time and since Lindsay was dying to escape the cold for her birthday, off to “Nash-Vegas” we went for a good time.

We flew out Thursday and it was possibly the worst flight I’ve ever had.  I had a drunk passenger who wanted to have a life chat and then get touchy feely.  In retrospect I really should have said something to the flight attendant rather than suffer the two hours of firmly telling him to stop and keep to himself.  Mostly I was worried they would turn the plane around and just wanted to get to Nashville.  I know this might be more on the personal side for the blog but I want to remind women that they need to speak up, especially if they feel uncomfortable.

We finally arrived to our Airbnb around midnight and it was off to bed.  Our home base was named the Cleveland Cottage and was quite possibly the cutest thing I have ever seen.  As a matter of fact, when I saw it, I was inspired to look into design classes and set the seed for my own organization side project.

I think the entire recent southern charm/Pinterest/hipster movement was encompassed in that cottage.  We had a loft, a record player with plenty of country and hits from the prime record days, a range of books for display and reading pleasure, and a faux fireplace that would turn off and on with the swipe of your hand.  If you are looking for a place to stay, DEFINITELY check this place out!  Oh, it’s also a mile or so from one of the tastiest Mexican restaurants called Mas Tacos.  What more reason do you need?

We had a slow start to day 1, allowing ourselves to sleep in (jokes on me there…my body won’t sleep in), attempting an ab workout, getting ready, and transporting ourselves (via  Uber) to breakfast at Biscuit Love located in the Gulch.  Even though it was a Friday, there was already a line to get into breakfast.  As Lindsay waited in line, Annelise and I grabbed some coffee across the street from Kellebrew.  HANDS DOWN BEST VANILLA ICED LATTE! The reason?  Who knows but I have a feeling it comes from that homemade syrups.  I also snapped a photo of the delicious looking cinnamon rolls but restrained from purchasing since it’s a no-sweets zone for me right now.

Luckily for us, the line moved quickly and we soon were eyeing all of the wonderful southern soul food options.  Rumor is the bonuts (biscuit donuts) are a hot commodity but again, Annelise and I were out of sweets commission this weekend.  Guess I’ll have to go back!  Each of us ended up with some form of biscuit – fried chicken for Lindsay, gravy for Annelise and grits + eggs/bacon for me.  All in all the biscuits were alright – not the best I’ve had but certainly not the worst. Tip: The grits are where it’s at.

After breakfast Annelise headed back to the Airbnb since she had to work 😦  Lindsay and I took our time walking towards Vanderbilt and soaking in the sunshine.  I’m 99% sure Lindsay saw Hunter Hayes coming off of Music Mile but can’t confirm since I had my head in the clouds.  We also ended up in Centennial Park where the only authentic replica of the Parthenon is located.

From the grounds of Vanderbilt to the Frothy Monkey for a quick latte (seriously best turmeric latte to date) and then a walk down 12th Ave to Draper James.  If you haven’t heard of Draper James, it’s a lifestyle brand created by Reese Witherspoon and talk about Southern style and charm.  It also happened to be located near some of the murals Lindsay had on list!  Unfortunately Lindsay was in a boot so we couldn’t walk too much but I would recommend creating your own walking tour in Nashville to see all of the sights and sites!

After a short stop and rest at the Airbnb, it was time for a NIGHT OUT ON THE TOWN! For those of you who know me, I don’t usually go out and when I do, it’s once in a blue moon.  But in Nashville, you suck it up and dance!  We started the night at Acme Feed + Seed where there was live country music on the first floor and a packed house.  Dinner was in order and after getting our respective BBQ platters, we headed to the roof to sit.  Guess what?  I had another stupid drunk guy encounter.  This time, one guy from a bachelor party decided to walk over and start eating our fries.  No pickup line, no flirting, no questions.  We were not impressed and those sweet potato fries were the best part of the meal! Yep, the ribs and brisket were a bit of a disappointment so my recommendation would be to go for sides.

BBQ: ACME Feed & Seed ~ Martin’s ~ Monell’s (Germantown w/ family style food)  ~ Rippy’s ~ Edley’s (bonus: it’s near Jeni’s ice cream!) ~ Hattie B’s (hot chicken and considered by a lot of critics to be the best fried chicken in the country)

We stayed around for some staged music and live music and then walked down the strip to HonkeyTonk Central.  This hot spot has three different floors with bars and bands on every floor!  If we had played a betting game (dare I say drinking game) with every bachelor and bachelorette parties that we passed, we would either be rich (or very very sick).

BARS/SOCIAL SCENE: Patterson House (speakeasy style w/ great drinks) ~ Winner’s, Loser’s ~ Rebar ~ Tootsie’s ~ Paradise Park ~ Tin Roof ~ Honkeytonk Central ~ Crazy Town ~ ACME

By the time we got around to Tootsie’s (one of the most popular and well-known) it was almost midnight and we were ready to call it a night. Not to mention the length of the line outside the popular honky-tonk had us a little deterred.  So while we didn’t actually go into Tootsie’s, the picture counts, right?  One of our uber drivers told us that some people spend upwards of 4+ hours in that joint so maybe it is worth taking another trip down south one day.

Day 2 also started off to a slow start and despite the late night, I woke up too early and so I set out for a run.  It was refreshing to get out and stretch my legs and (attempt to) work off the late night garlic rolls.  We headed out to brunch around 10:45 and soon found ourselves faced with a very long line at Pancake Pantry.  My hanger was starting to emerge and so we walked to Fido and waited for about 20 or so minutes for food. Fun fact – EVERYONE brunches.

Post brunch, we walked and shopped – I spent more than I needed to – and we took a trip down to the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum.  This is a definite must do when in Nashville because it provides you with a full perspective of country music from start to finish and hey, it’s Nashville, the city of music!  Also, I would hope that you actually like country music if you are in Nashville…otherwise that’s a you problem. 😉

After a couple of hours of wandering through the museum, we adventured off to another part of town to walk and shop (something new and different…mostly window shopping this time).  We picked up another cup of coffee and then called it an afternoon around 4:30.  All of us needed a nap or chill session before one last night in Nashville.  Around 6 we met up with a couple of my friends who happen to be in town!!  One is an old family friend (Mia) and another is a friend’s sister (Lauren) from home.  Turned out they became great friends while working at Vanderbilt last year and all because I was a mutual connection on Facebook!

We met up at Mas Tacos, a quasi hole in the wall restaurant that was absolutely DELISH!  One can never go wrong with Mexican food – that is for darn sure.  I ordered elote (Mexian street corn), horchata, plantains, and a pulled pork taco.  Other solid recs include the chicken tortilla soup and chicken carne tacos.  Heads up – it’s cash only but have no fear, there is an ATM!

After partying ways with Mia and Lauren, we watched UNC beat Duke at a local sports bar and then headed home to pack.  It was in bed by 10 making it a successful night and a fabulous trip!

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“Country music is the people’s music. It just speaks about real life and about truth and it tells things how they really are.” – Faith Hill

Year 3 In New York City

Another post that’s better late than never.  The past year was spent traveling, running, and exploring all of New York – sounds a lot like year #1 and #2, right?  To be honest, there wasn’t too much change.  I continued to work for an awesome company, expanded my friendships within November Project, and squeezed as much out of my free time as possible.  As I mentioned on the 31st, I learned a little bit more about myself, appreciated my body thanks to the I Run This Body movement, and learned when to let go.  This last bit was tough in the sense of FOMO and friendships, but I realized (through many discussions and Elite Daily articles) that we can’t do it all and there comes a time in our lives that makes us realize what and who is important.

But here’s a look at what made my third year in New York City so wonderful and memorable.

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Travel Check : Portland, Maine

Almost three months have passed since my trip to Portland, Maine and while I still can picture the delicious food we ate (yep and yep) and beautiful views we had (Instagram again for the win), most of the details are slowly slipping away.  To be honest, I think I’m drafting this simply so I can it to my travel list.

My friend Lauren is much better at the details and will probably have a must-see and do post published in no time, even though it took us 3 months to do so. (I’m pretty sure I had drafted an email to myself with all the bucket list restaurants and then the draft disappeared…maybe it was meant to be)

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Last October, a few friends and I decided to take a trip up to Portland, Maine to explore the outdoors and eat our hearts out.  Lindsay and I are on a “need-to-do” east coast bucket list and Portland just so happened to be one of our destinations!  Sadly we didn’t make it to Acadia National Park, so I guess that’ll have to be another trip down the road.  For now, enjoy the Top Things to Eat & See in Portland, Maine!

Explorations

  • Back Cove Running Loop (sunrise photo above): A 3.6mi loop perfect for a morning stroll or jog.  Since this trip was a week before the New York Marathon, I had about 8-10 miles scheduled and wanted to build up an appetite before our day of eats.  Lauren and I rambled around Portland, around this quasi-inlet, and back through a small farmer’s market.  Our friend Abby located a local spin studio to sweat it out, which was also an excellent find.
    • As mentioned above, we didn’t get a chance to explore the Acadia National Park and subsequently missed out on all the excellent hiking Maine has to offer.  Of course, we did walk our fair share along the streets and local shops, so we’ll call this trip a Portland-dense adventure.

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  • HOLY DONUT – A VERY popular donut shop that is centered around the Maine Potato.  Open daily 8 am and features top-notch fried confections, making millions per year! {Maine Potato, Dark Chocolate, Sweet Potato, Vegan, etc}

As you can see, we went for the full sampling selection and yes, using the bottom right picture for scale, the donut is THAT BIG.

  • Silly’s – Eclectic hole-in-the-wall place that is very vegetarian-friendly and excellent for brunch carbo-loading.  The prices are prime and the portions are even better!  Highly recommend the Berry Me In It + Eganator for a sweet and salty combination.
  • The Standard Baking Co – Breads and goods make from scratch.  There should be no other way.
  • Blake Orchard Juicery – When you are in the need of a detox from brews and baked goods.

I highly recommend taking a picnic or picking up a top-notch lobster roll {Bite Into Maine}, walking/running along the water, or just sitting and staring out into the distance.  Maybe live a little and do all of the above.

  • Where there’s a brewery (or two…or three…or four), there’s a way.  We visited three different breweries for tours and tastings and had a blast!  I’m not usually the one to booze throughout the day let alone the weekend but it was fun to uber around and sample some local (and not to mention popular) hops.

Last but not least, the Maine feature – lobster rolls or as Lauren likes to say LOBSTAH.  Here at Eventide you can find one of the top lobster rolls in town (and on Eater’s 38 Essential American Restaurants).  This place is usually packed, especially on the weekends so expect to wait.  Always smart if you decide to go at 3pm like we did or are willing to stick around or even go for a walk.  They take down your cell # and give you a text when a spot is about to open up.

Do note that these rolls are different from Long Island lobster because they are served chilled and chunky.  I personally would stick to something out of NYC but that’s just my city snobbery.

With that, another travel recap in the books.  Anything you think we missed in Maine?

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“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” – Mark Twain

Happy Centennial to the National Parks Service!

Hip hip hooray because it’s the National Parks Service BIRTHDAY!  Whether you realize it or not, national parks come in all shapes and sizes and today is the day that this grand organization turns a whooping 100 years old.  Growing up I was fortunate enough to spend time in the great outdoors from Mammoth Lakes to Yosemite and even Crystal Cove in Laguna Beach, all of which I greatly miss while living back east.

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Celebrating Pride, Ice Cream, and One Hot Half

It’s a well known fact that a weekend away or in a different environment does the mind and body good.  I started off the weekend with a five mile race in Central Park, put on by the Front Runners in partnership with New York Road Runners.   As I noted Friday, we had created our own November Project tag for the event and as you can see below, showed up in full force for the race.  We had 64 finishers, the men’s team finished 11th overall and 2nd in our division, and the women finished 7th and 1st in our division!!! BOOM!

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^^ Check out all those people ready to run and celebrate Pride weekend!

So I admit, I talk a big talk but never really follow my own advice.  I swore that I was going in feeling sore and not even sure I wanted to “race”.  I needed to take a break and not run or race for awhile and didn’t really follow that.  I thought “sure it’s hot and humid and only 8:15 but five miles can’t be so bad, right?  Harlem Hill isn’t that bad, right?”  Well, turns out I was competitive with myself yet again and ended up running 38:07 (7:38 pace).  I reallllllly need to work on actually training and not jetting out like a bat out of hell on race day.

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^^ I couldn’t stay for the group photo this year but look at those hooligans.  What a good looking and fierce group!

Immediately after finishing the race and consuming the popsicle that was handed out (yes…think ahead folks to next year – popsicles at the Pride Run = amazing), I ran back to Equinox to shower and meet Lindsay at Grand Central in order to travel up to Connecticut.  Lindsay had found a half marathon in Fairfield and while I declined to officially sign up, I did agree to tag along and even run the last half with her.

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^^ Yes.  A beach day was EXACTLY what we needed.  This beach (Jennings Beach) took us about 2.5 miles and an uber ride to find but was oh so worth it.  The water was crystal clear – as clear as the Atlantic Long Island Sound (thank you Lauren ❤ ) will get in Connecticut – and the sand was much cleaner than that of Rockaways or Long Beach.  It also felt VERY much like a suburb beach.  I don’t know why it felt that way, but I could definitely tell we were out of New York City.

In the end we only spent a few hours on the beach since we didn’t want to get too tuckered out from the sun.  After after a few hours of sun and surf, we walked to dinner, ate with the early crowd, picked up some ice cream and headed back to our AirBNB.  Shall I mention that we brought down the average age of the dinner crowd about 50 years?  I mean, they really could have offered us an early bird special at that point.

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^^ AND I MADE A FRIEND

Sunday morning we both woke up bright and early and started to prep for the day ahead.  I have come to accept the fact that I just don’t “sleep in” and my body automatically wakes up between 5:30-6.  Sounds find during the week but on those days that you want to just lay around.  Wait, who am I kidding, I can’t even sit still long enough to do that.

Anyways, we were out of the door at 6:45 and off to the starting line (Jennings Beach).  Again, transportation brought to you by uber.  No this isn’t a sponsored post but I wouldn’t be opposed. Hint hint uber.

Lindsay picked up her bib and then I headed off to meet her around mile 4.  It was quite refreshing to jog and not have to look at my watch, my pace, or even listen to music.  I was more focused on the sights and taking pictures of all the fancy schmancy houses and people on Vespas that I saw.

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Once I saw (and almost missed) Lindsay at mile 4, I ran out to mile 8 and once she came around we wound our way back along the course to the finish.  Let me just say, mega props to runners to compete in such gnarly conditions because at only 75F, it was brutally hot for the runners.  I can’t even imagine anything more than that.  Thankfully a lot of the neighborhood had put out sprinklers and extra water stations for the runners.  But, at least three runners were not so lucky and were being attended to within the last 3 miles.

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^^ Perks of finishing by the ocean – automatic ice bath.  Too bad I wasn’t wearing a bathing suit and didn’t have a towel with me.  I would have totally been swimming all afternoon long.  After stretching for a bit, we called an uber (yep, uber again), went back to the AirBNB to shower and hit up a brewery before going back to the city.

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It was very sweet of our AirBNB host to drive us to the brewery, but turns out she dropped us off at the wrong one… Since that spot felt a bit sterile and didn’t serve food (both no-nos), we took an uber back to the one we had in mind – Two Roads Brewing Company.  As you can see, it was quite an indulgence.  Maybe not the best post-race food for one’s stomach but we hadn’t eaten much afterwards and I guess my mind said “GO BIG”.  Cue “Assimilation fries” with a fried egg as well as an “eh” Cordon Bleu grilled cheese.

See I have this problem if I purchase something, I have the need to finish it – no waste.  Well, I was able to power through my food but wasn’t able to finish the flight of beers.  It was my fault for selecting the wrong brews or just not going with my gut instinct and ordering a regular size of the Lil Heaven IPA.  Lesson learned.  But, when we realized the remainder of the beers weren’t going to be consumed, we called an uber and made it to the train station JUST in time for the 2:51 Grand Central bound train.

Two Roads Brewing Company
1700 Stratford Ave, Stratford, CT 06615
Hours: Tue-Fri: 12-9 ~ Sun: 12-7 ~ Mon: Closed

I swear, the minute we entered Grand Central, it was like a mad house and the peace and serene feeling of being in the suburbs had vanished.  Nothing like pushing your way onto a crowded and humid subway platform to say welcome home.  The rest of the afternoon was spent lounging and watching the latest season of Orange is the New Black as well as the Olympic Trials. Just 39 days until Rio!! And about 590 until South Korea…if you’re counting.

What were you up to this weekend?  What sport (if any) are you looking forward to in the Olympics?

“Everything in moderation, including moderation” – Julia Child

Summer 2016: GOMO not FOMO

> FO·MO – Fear of Missing Out: anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website. <

This four letter word has been phenomenon for who knows how long and was officially incorporated into the Oxford dictionary in 2013.  It’s something that our society, especially my generation, needs less of.  Much less of.   I’m sure it has been around for ages but thanks to the various forms of social media, has had more of an impact in recent years.   We have so many stimulants in society that keep us thinking about what we should do, should work on, should look like, places we should travel to, and on and on.

Sure, sometimes having certain images circle around social media can have a positive effect – you can get inspired to try new meals, plan trips, or get out and about.  Unfortunately it can also become a detrimental factor in making you feel worse about what you already do and that’s not cool.  A fun company called Eventbrite, which enables people to create invites online, is leading the charge on this GOMO mentality, considering it the new FOMO. So today on the first of June, I make a pledge to filter out the FOMO in my life and I hope I can encourage a few to do the same.

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How does that work?  First start by writing a list of things that you enjoy and would be happy to do in your free time.  Now set the seed and make it happen!  Bring friends or go solo but now is the chance to carpe diem!  Of course the next part of that is to commit to your plans and not comparing them to others.  Remember, you do you.

This summer, instead of sitting around and having said FOMO, how about trying GOMO or Getting Out More Often?  There are plenty of ways to stay busy during every season and thankfully summer is one where we can really get out and play.  Thank you also to summer Fridays, which will allow me to hopefully escape the city or at least soak up some rays in Central Park.  Here are some other ways I plan to get out more:

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np on gma

  • find some sun and surf
  • enjoy an ice cream cone
  • find the best lobster roll in town
  • make some new friends
  • hike outside of the city

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(click picture or here to link to Outdoorfest’s website!)

  • go to Gallow Green (again) because fancy floral rooftops = winning
  • see a musical
  • attend a summer BBQ/hang-out
  • turn my phone off at least once a week and/or weekend
  • be happy with myself and the decisions that I make

For other ideas around New York, check out the I Love NY website.  More summer fun around NYC ideas from 2014 >> Part 1 and Part 2.

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So now I’m committing to the world wide web.  I will truly do my best to staying in the moment, not letting myself get wrapped up in other people’s trips, travels, excursions, or pictures.  Instead, I’m going to encourage myself and as many people as possible to seize the day, the moment, the hour, and do more of what pleases me!  Who is in??

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P.S. If you are curious about starting your own event, definitely check out Eventbrite as they support ticket sales as well as other features like discounted options for non-profits!!