Sunday, April 2, 2017

Travel | Nashville, TN

We just returned from our week long trip to Nashville, Tennessee and I left smitten by the city. Guys, the houses there are gorgeous! Every street we drove through I was oohing and ahhing. The weather was beautiful for the most part. There were some days of rainy/stormy weather but it was typically in the evening and we were already exhausted from being out all day. Worked out just perfectly.

I've been wanting to visit Nashville for some time now. Especially in the past five years where I've grown to appreciate country music. Then with the show Nashville, I wanted to see some of the spots in the show.

When we started planning out our trip, I was fortunate enough to have a friend who lives in Nashville and able to impart her wisdom of good places to eat and visit. Made the planning part pretty easy! We stayed in a rental in the 12 South Area which turned out to be a great location. It was a quick drive from downtown and there were lots of restaurants and shops in walking distance. Reminded me of South Tampa Hyde Park area for any Tampa readers.

Typically, when I do my travel posts, it's usually a photo dump of everything. This time, I thought I would type it out for you of the things we did and places we ate.

Things to Do: 
You can't do Nashville without visiting the country landmarks...

  • Country Music Hall of Fame
  • The Ryman
  • The Grand Ole Opry
  • Johnny Cash Museum
  • Bluebird Cafe - We didn't really go in to this place, but I did go drive by to see it.

We did a little historical/museum visits.

  • Andrew Jackson's Hermitage
  • Nashville Parthenon
  • Belmont Mansion and University
The weather was beautiful so we wanted to take advantage of it and be outdoors. 
  • Cheekwood Botanical Gardens
  • Radnor Lake State Park
  • Centennial Park (The Parthenon is located here as well)

Places to Eat:
This was probably the best part of the trip. Honestly, I could have titled this post, "Eating our way through Nashville" because we ate like it was our last meal each time. Even as I type this and think about some of the restaurants, my mouth is watering and I want to go back.

  • Flip Burger Boutique - The burger was delicious BUT the Nutella Burnt Marshmallow milkshake stole the show for me. 
  • Butchertown Hall - Chips and Queso
  • Taco Mamasita - This place had your not so typical tacos which I was pleasantly surprised with. 
  • Hattie B's Hot Chicken - I am not a big fried chicken fan or eating any chicken off the bone really. However, this chicken was too good not to have. 
  • The Loveless Cafe - Biscuit heaven. 
  • Box: Bongo & Bakery on 10th - I had a falafel sandwich with beet tzatziki sauce which was delicious. Their cookies were so so good. I had a chocolate pretzel cookie and was talking about it hours after. Ha. 
  • Frothy Monkey - We stopped here a few times during our stay to grab some coffee and had breakfast once. That was just as great!

For the Sweet Tooth!
It wouldn't be a post of mine if it didn't include a dessert selection. Lucky for me, there were so many choices within walking distance!
  • Las Paletas - They had quite the selection of popsicles. We got our popsicles and walked over to the park across the street for a nice little stroll.
  • Jeni's - Ice Cream Shop - This was not your typical selection of ice cream. One of the flavors I chose was a Salted Peanut Butter with Chocolate Flakes. It was light tasting and good.
  • Five Daughters Bakery - They had a small selection of cronuts and some other pastries. Again, delicious. 
  • Legato Gelato - This was not in walking distance but a quick drive.
  • Olive & Sinclair Chocolate - The cutest little shop that makes their chocolate in-store. 

Another great trip in the books!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Life Groups and New Friendships

In honor of GFC's Beautiful Bible Study Spring semester starting yesterday, I thought I would share about my experience in joining a life group and the value in being a part of one.

I started attending the Monday night life group last Fall. I was feeling really drained emotionally, physically, and spiritually and I felt that I needed some more Jesus time in my life and wanted to get more connected to my church. We'd been attending this church for about 9 months, but hadn't really gotten involved. (It's a large church and easy to get lost in the crowd, especially when you are introverts like we are.) I'd heard time and time again, that the best way to get connected in a large church (or any size church for that matter) is by joining life groups/bible study groups.

Well, I finally made the leap (huge leap) and went on a Monday night to try it out. Leading up to the evening, all the anxiety kicked in and it crossed my mind to just go home instead of turning on the road to get to the church, but I didn't give in. When I entered the sanctuary I was greeted by a couple ladies who welcomed me, had me fill out a name tag and sat with me a group of ladies at a table.

The rest was history. 

These ladies made me feel welcomed and part of the family. I created relationships, friendships through this group which has opened up other relationships through the ones created from this life group. We have provided each other support and words of encouragement in this thing called life through table conversations, prayers, texts, etc.

One of the friendships that has formed as a result of this life group is with this lovely lady, Ashley.

This bottle of sunshine has been such a pleasure to meet. She was my lifesaver during the women's conference from saving me seats each day to introducing me to other ladies at church. She will send me a text or two throughout the week just to say 'hello and hope that I am having a great week'. While it may seem like nothing, this small gesture, taking out the time of her busy week to send me a text, has been huge in just making me feel special and loved. That folks, is what this Christian life is all about.

Okay, enough of the gush talk.

I am so thrilled that this semester we will be doing a bible study reading Lisa Bevere's Girls With Swords book. Y'all already know, since the conference, I've been slightly obsessed inspired by Lisa Bevere. I'm really looking forward to reading this book this semester!


Sunday, February 5, 2017

GALentine's Soiree 2017

Yesterday, I hosted my first GALentine's party with some of my fave gal pals. I've seen these sorts of shin-digs on pinterest and blogs for years and always wanted to host my own. I had some ladies over to enjoy chocolate fondue and wine.

Here are some pics of the details.

So, those who know me, KNOW that anything kitchen related is NOT a strength of mine. The good Lord blessed me with a husband who is a great cook and baker, so I do not mess with all that non-sense. See, because when I do, something is bound to going wrong.

Chocolate fondue.

I followed this recipe, STEP BY STEP. While it was in the sauce pan, it looked great. Once I transferred it to the fondue pot is where things took a turn for the worst. It was my first time using the fondue maker because I bought it specifically for this night. When I set it to "warm" it made the chocolate bubble, which you don't want happening! I immediately turned it off but there was no turning back, y'all. The chocolate began to separate and it got very oily. Then it started looking not so appetizing. I was so thrown off by the oil. Where in the world did the oil come from?! There was no oil in the recipe. EPIC FAIL. See picture below.

After several SOS texts to the Mr. from not only me, but friends who were cracking up, he came home to the rescue with more chocolate from the store and re-made the chocolate.

I am still trying to figure out what went wrong. We have a couple theories...

1) I bought the wrong kind of chocolate. I bought chocolate chips instead of the baker's chocolate bar.
2) The dang fondue maker made the chocolate bubble which caused it to separate.


In the end, we had a great time, chatting, eating and drinking some red wine! First time in the books. Can't wait for future ones.