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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NYC Marathon Training: Weeks 1-4

It’s true that I’ve never really considered this blog a “workout blog” per se but I do happen to upload quite a few running related items.  When I first started the blog, I had planned to create this quasi food/lifestyle/workout theme and share certain runs and races to keep myself accountable.  As you will note, this has fallen by the wayside but there is no time like the present to get back on that wagon.  I’m going to attempt to make note of my training and random thoughts along this journey to 26.2.

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Week 1 – July 18-24 (and 7/16)

Saturday 7/16 9 mi (Montrose loop @ 8:40 pace)
Monday 7/18 – 
5 mi (8:18 pace) in Fairbanks prior to departing
Tuesday 7/19 – Hike steep/slow 4 mi in Denali
Wednesday 7/20 – Walk (transport 6am-9pm)
Thursday 7/21 – Run 6 + hike 3 + walk 3
Friday 7/22 – 3.8 run + walking around town
Saturday 7/23 – Walk + transit (watch said ~ 8 mi)
Sunday 7/24 – 10 min bike + 45 min elliptical

Thoughts: I considered taking this week easy since I never really gave myself a true break after the Brooklyn Half.  Eh, it was a so-so week, making do with the territory I had.

Week 2 – July 25-31

Monday 7/25 – 45 min elliptical + kayak
Tuesday 7/26 – 40 min elliptical + squats + 1 hr stand up paddle
Wednesday 7/27 – 30 min bike + 15 min elliptical + 3 hour “bushwack” hike
Thursday 7/28 – 60 min bike + 2 hr stand up paddle
Friday 7/29 – 40 min elliptical + 4 hr kayak
Saturday 7/30 – transit/off – only steps around Stika
Sunday 7/31 – 11 mi (9:00 pace) along my old XC trails.  Meghan was nice enough to run with me and my slow pace on the condition that I didn’t complain (especially about how much I had eaten on the trip).  She didn’t exactly say all of this but I know she doesn’t like the complaints.  Man it was struggle city out there but that’s another long run in the books.  I worked to focus on the landscape instead of my running and was shocked at how rivers and ponds that once were scattered along the trail are practically non-existent.

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Thoughts: Well, vacations are fun but not always conducive to 1) maintaining your figure and 2) your workouts.  I have found myself to be somewhat of an all or nothing gal (not good, I know) and let’s just say that coffee with copious amounts of half & half with dessert three times a day for at least 1-2 weeks does nothing for my running.  That being said, it was interesting to see how reliant or obsessed I can be on my routine.

Week 3 – August 1 – 7

Monday 8/1 –  Swim 30 min – I was working from home but wanted to wake up and get the 700+ emails sorted before chaos ensued.  Swimming midday was good but I never feel like I accomplish much (probably because I’m flopping around unlike Katie Ledecky or Missy Franklin)

Tuesday 8/2 – 4-6 miles of walking + evening Intervals. ~ Speedwork: Meghan and I ran with California Republic in East LA at 8pm.  I normally don’t workout this late (or in the evenings at all) so it was sure going to be interesting.  Total miles 5.5 with 4×1200 thrown in.  The goal was 1) marathon pace 2) 1/2 marathon pace 3) marathon pace 4) 10K pace and no one followed.  If I ever run a 7:10 marathon or 6:58 1/2 marathon…yeah maybe in another lifetime.

I realized my goal now is to 1) NOT BE STUPID and 2) NOT GO OUT TOO FAST.  That should save me some trouble down the road.

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Wednesday 8/3 – 2 miles round and round with NP_LAX + burpees thrown in.  6 mi later in the evening with one helluva hill (thank you for bringing down the average pace), which left me wondering how I ran all of those hills in high school.
Thursday 8/4 –  Yoga x 2. Was feeling ever so sore and decided to use my flex day to stretch.
Friday 8/5 –  12 mi (9:00) pace.  Started the first 7 with my friend Sarah and sister Meghan in Altadena and then slogged through another 5.  The quads were shot but it was a better pace than last week so that’s a success! Fueled with a Honey Stinger waffle pre-run and acai gel mid run.
Saturday 8/6 – Bachelorette weekend in Palm Springs >> 2ish mile hike (around 5,000 steps for the day)
Sunday 8/7 – 10 holes of golf

Week 4 – August 8 – 14

Monday 8/8 – 3.5 mi shakeout run in the evening (after a red-eye and minimal sleep the previous weekend).  Well this was somewhat disappointing.  I felt like a hippo (though my sister reminds me that hippos run fast) logging around the lower part of Central Park.
Tuesday 8/9 –  Intervals with the track crew. 5 miles (1 mi warm up – 1×1600 + 2×800 + 4×400 – 1 mi cool down)
Wednesday 8/10 – 3 mi trot around NP.  I was planning to fit in 3 during the 5:30 workout but didn’t get my butt out of bed in time.
Thursday 8/11 – 9 mi around 8:56 pace and … PHYSICAL THERAPY!  Lots of insight and readjustment and so grateful for NY Custom PT.
Friday 8/12 –  Biked 2.5 to the Brooklyn Bridge + 2.5 Jog with the backpack (not smart) + mini NP workout (I half-assed it) + walking around and around looking for apartments.

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Saturday 8/13 –  14.8 mi (8:34 pace) Ran from 18th and 1st up to 72nd and down along Summer Streets with some stop and go into Brooklyn.  I probably should not stop as much but they say just to get the miles in…right?  Best part was getting ice cubes in Brooklyn to put in our sports bras and my hat. Genius plan. Fueled with 1/2 Honey Stinger Waffle and 1/2 Banana – mini cliff sample about 6ish miles in and NUUN for the win.
Sunday 8/14 – Couple of miles jogging before Brooklyn Mile (6:21).  Hot and humid and all the possible speed.

Thoughts: Marathon training is tough.  Fitting in all the workouts + strength + stretching is tough.  I haven’t even done all that I could or should but the goal is to enjoy the process and it’s going alright thus far.  Now onto weeks 5-8!

“It’s supposed to be hard.  If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it.  It’s the hard that makes it great” – Tom Hanks, A League of Their Own. 

Alaska Travels: Cruising to Sitka

All good fun must come to an end and today I share the last of my pictures from Alaska.  Although, I do have to say while Monday and Wednesday’s posts provided a wonderful (biased of course) look at the state, nothing beats getting out to explore on your own!

IMG_8718After wrapping up the land portion of Un-Cruise on Friday, we took a tour of Anchorage and had dinner with a couple my mom knew when we lived in England for a short time.  They have moved around a lot in the last twenty years and are now locals of Alaska and loving it.  They selected the Moose’s Tooth as the destination of choice and boy was it crowded – must mean they are doing something well.  With unique beer brews and delectable [pizza] pies, I’d give it double thumbs up.

On Saturday we woke up bright and early (hello 5:30) and headed off to Juneau via flight.  The actual Un-Cruise cruise wasn’t set to depart until after 5pm so we checked our bags in and went off to explore the state’s capital in the rain.  After two weeks in the mist I can safely say I would not last long in the northwest.  I love my sunshine, even if it’s humid sunshine.

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We also took a bus out to the Mendenhall Glacier and then walked around the park a little bit.  The rain pants and rain boots allowed Meghan and I to wade through the water and get closer to the falls but were not exactly the most comfortable to power walk in.  Duly noted.

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^^ On the bus back to the hotel where our bags were staying we saw a bear! Correction: I saw a bear and my dad missed it by a smidge.  Hello bear and sorry dad.

By 4:30 we were were at our orientation and by 5:30 onboard, taking off from Juneau, and en-route to Stika.  We met the rest of the 70 or so passengers, enjoyed some nice bubbly and cheese and settled in for the week ahead.

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Every morning Meghan and I woke up around 6 to “workout” on the elliptical and stationary bike.  I honestly don’t know how I managed to use the elliptical so much in college because it can get quite monotonous…

We also participated in the morning “stretch” class led by one of the guides.  I use quotes here because 15 minutes of very light stretching doesn’t really cut it for most people.  There was some disappointment since they used to have a yoga teacher/masseuse but in the end, Un-Cruise needed someone who could actually help in other ways onboard.

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^^ Here’s the family mid-hypothermia dance

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Our activities ranged from skiff (boat) tours around the bays or coves, searching for wildlife, kayaking, standup paddle, bushwacking (hiking without a trail), or shore pokes (mild walks).  Overall Un-Cruise did a pretty solid job of avoiding disastrous weather, rearranging certain activities and cruise routes so that we wouldn’t have to deal with too much rain the entire trip.  Of course weather is never in our control and we just had/have to make due with what Mother Nature provides. << Something that’s always good to remember rather than get frustrated by.

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^^ Day 1 was spent in Glacier Bay National Park with some more excellent views of the local ice packs.  Sadly enough global warming’s impact is quite evident and I only fear what the next 10-20-50+ years will bring.

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^^ Personal floatation device (aka PFD) was a must on most outings and obviously made for a very attractive look.  You know for the amount of time I spent in rain pants, I’m surprised it hasn’t caught on as the next fashion trend.  Maybe I’ll catch a glimpse during the fall Fashion Week.

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^^ Oh yes.  The meals.  There were three square meals a day with buffet-style breakfast and lunch, a gourmet sit-down dinner and yes, dessert + coffee came with all three.  They actually had a beverage station so the coffee was optional but I decided to have tea and coffee at all three meals.  Despite the fact that I switched to decaf starting at lunch, that weeklong decision made for a TERRIBLE caffeine withdrawal upon my return.

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^^ From a shore walk to a bushwack adventure. Plenty of vegetation to see and walk through.  Much different in comparison to my usual NYC posts, right?  No concrete in this neck of the woods.

IMG_9176 IMG_9179 ^^ By far the best cookie of the week.  Certainly about the 10th cookie too many for the trip (they make a different batch every day for lunch…) but that doesn’t mean it still wasn’t delicious.

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IMG_8841By Saturday it had been one full week on the water and it was time to disembark in Stika.  We left with a few more friends and definitely some good stories and plenty of pictures to look back upon.

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Alaska.  It’s been real.  Until our next adventure.

“To travel is to live” – Hans Christen Anderson