Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Budgeting Bloggers: October 2015

I did a lot more shopping in October; the fall weather made me want to relook my wardrobe and ensure I have what I need to keep warm in my chilly office.  Ever since I discovered some "mixed media" tops in my Stitch Fix, I've been on the hunt for them.  So I definitely picked up layering and faux layered pieces in order to stay warmer and also effortlessly put together.

  1. Merona Open Layering Cardigan in light grey heather (originally $23, paid $18):  I was looking for a comfy open cardigan, as layers are key in the fall.  I bought this one in both heather and black, but the dark color of the black made the appearance of bulk so I returned it.  I like the "mullet" cut (lolz) in that I don't have tons of fabric making my backside look larger, and I still get the swirly layered look in front.  There was a 25% off sweater sale, and I got free shipping with my RedCard.
  2. Merona Favorite Cardigan in gold heather (originally $23, paid $18):  I've ALWAYS had a mustard colored cardigan.  Always, in my book it's a basic.  And then after a while, it falls apart from wear.  I've repaired them in the past to the point of no return!  So this is a hole in my closet I've been trying to fill since last fall.  And if I find a mustard ponte knit blazer, I will cry tears of joy and BUY THEM ALL.
  3. LOFT Spacedye Relaxed Mixed Media Top (originally $45, paid $27):  I loved this top on Fran, and as you can tell from my past Stitch Fix posts, I'm really into comfy tops that have visual interest/layers, so I can throw them on with jeans or pants and make it work for a business casual setting.  I honestly hadn't considered LOFT for a while, and now I don't know why!  Given that with sales you can get the tops for much better prices than I've been paying via Stitch Fix, it actually tempts me to quit my subscription knowing I've learned where to find things on my own/via reading blogs and following favs on Instagram.
  4. LOFT Button Back Mixed Media Top (originally $45, paid $27):  This top has a great button back detail, without having to button/unbutton it for wear!  I like that it seems unexpected, and it is super comfortable to wear.  These tops are ideal for my chilly office and unpredictable fall weather.
  5. LOFT Stripe Relaxed Mixed Media Top (originally $45, paid $27):  In pure Aubrey fashion, I got the same top in two colors/patterns.
  6. H&M Earrings ($4):  I needed some gold toned studs, and I liked that these were cheap and came in varying sizes to match whatever I wear.  Simple and easy.
  7. Merona Button-front Slub Shirt ($12):  This basic tee was so soft, and it incorporated my favorite fall color (mustard).  I figured it would be great under some of my quilted vests in chillier weather, as well as for under my new mustard cardigan!  It's definitely a keeper, and I won't hesitate to buy more in the future.
  8. J. Crew Factory Printed Pencil Skirt (originally $85, paid $20 via Poshmark):  I had a $5 credit on Poshmark, so I was randomly browsing and found this skirt brand-new with tags.  I bargained for it and got it for $20.  It may be very "blogger circa 2013", but I think it's a great piece that I can try to style for work.
  9. Stanzino Long-Sleeve Dress in Navy and Zipper Dress in Burgundy (usually $30 each, $18 and $17):  I bought these super-cheap long-sleeve dresses to use for work meetings and DAR events.  I honestly expected to have to return them, but they're not bad for cheapies!

Overall, I got a TON of stuff but still didn't break the bank.  Next month, I have my Stitch Fix coming in, and I'm contemplating buying a leather bag/tote on Etsy...  While I love designer bags, I just haven't found the durable everyday bag that I want, so I'm nervously considering custom!

$198 spent -  $3 sold = $196 total spent
$154 savings

Total 2015 YTD Spending: H1 $970 + Q3 $368 + October $196 = $1534

Don't forget to check out the rest of Fran's Budgeting Bloggers here,
and shop my Poshmark closet!

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Honeysuckle

A coworker of mine mentioned a new Franklin restaurant, The Honeysuckle, that opened near the mall within the last month or so.  It's where the Pie in Sky pizza restaurant used to be.  While my initial thoughts were that it's a bizarre place to stick an upscale restaurant concept, there are others nearby that seem to do pretty well, including J. Alexander's, Stoney River, and Wild Ginger.  So my friend Lauren and I decided to give it a try.

Image Source: The Honeysuckle Facebook

The inside of the Honeysuckle screams "upscale hipster" to me.  It's like they ordered from a catalog of reclaimed wood and custom booth seating for the skinny jeans set.  I'm not complaining, it's just such a transformation from the previous restaurant, and it's right by the mall and all the chains.

It wasn't crowded for weekday lunch, but that's likely because it hasn't caught on yet with the Cool Springs corporate set.  Once they get wind of it, I'm sure there will be Corporate AMEX bankrolled meals in spades.

I was craving a burger, so I ordered their angus burger with a fried egg and bacon, my favorite way to eat a burger.  One of the reasons I chose the burger was because it came with their duck fat fries, because duck. fat. fries.  And I definitely loved those fries!  Perfectly crispy.  The burger was alright, but not as good as the local Burger Up location.  There was also a bit too much bun, which impacted the burger experience.  That said, they nailed the egg.  It was absolutely perfect!

Lauren had the Oyster BLT, which also had the same "too much bread" issue happening.  They probably should have hollowed out the bread a little like a po' boy, because it made it difficult to tackle.  She ended up eating it more like an open-faced sandwich, since the bread was also starting to get soggy.

My only beef with this place (other than to much bread to meat ratio, which is a first world problem) is that the service was... off?  The best words to describe our server would be sullen and distracted.  The restaurant wasn't crowded, but he was a disappearing act.  We wanted to ask some questions, since the place is new, and every time we tried to catch him for a second he would turn his back and leave us.  It was almost comical!  Water refills were a little slow to come too.  Again, distracted and sullen waiter didn't show us much love.  That kind of behavior may fly in a super swishy 12South joint, but in Williamson county you need to be a little more smiley and sweet to please the residents.  Just a tip!  The host, in contrast, was an adorable hipster sweetheart.

Overall, I'd probably come back here if my coworkers wanted to, or to sample their cocktails on a date night with Dan.  I feel like I need to give it another shot, maybe some charcuterie or an evening visit.  It still feels like it belongs someplace else (like downtown Nashville for Franklin, for example) given the style and target market.  But maybe this is catering to the Cool Springs executives and Williamson county families looking for a date night meal away from the kiddos.  We'll see!

The Honeysuckle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, October 23, 2015

Preview: Wine Down Main Street

Recently, I was invited to a media preview at City Winery to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of Wine Down Main Street, an annual charity event held in Downtown Franklin to benefit  Boys & Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee.  Since its inception in 2001, the event has raised nearly $1.5 million, becoming one of the organization’s most successful fundraisers.  And the locals love it too; Wine Down Main Street has been voted “best charity event” in Williamson County for eight consecutive years.

As part of the preview, I was able to sample some bites from several top chefs that will be featured at the main event, as well as a selection of wine, beer, and spirits from Lipman Brothers.

City Winery

Chef Jason La Iacona from Saffire brought a delicious beef short rib bite, served on butternut squash puree, French lentils, a bourbon-barrel aged maple vinegar glaze (say that ten times fast), and pickled radish topping.  I was just at Saffire last week and had an absolutely amazing chef’s special pork ragu, which Chef Jason admitted he took home for his own dinner.  I love it!

Chef Kristin Beringson from City Winery offered two bites, one beef tartare, the other a beer cheese stuffed arancini.  The arancini was fantastic; can you add it to the Crush Hour bites menu soon, please, Chef Kristin?  I would have eaten twelve if I didn’t feel like everyone else deserved to have one.

Saffire and City Winery, representing!

Chef Maneet Chauhan from Chauhan Ale & Masala House brought her twist in Texas chili, a lamb keema rajma chili.  It was spicy and warm, perfect for an unseasonably cold day in Nashville.  I wish I could bring some home!  Chef Maneet was the sweetest person to talk to (I want to keep her forever), and I am so excited for her craft brewery project, Mantra Artisan Ales, to open next month!

Spicy Lamb Chili

Lipman Brothers brought some of their wine labels, which I hadn’t seen before.  I sampled their Hidden Jewel wines (tasty!) and their Saturday Night Red.

They also brought Old Hickory whiskey and their popular Hap & Harry’s beer.  But the one that got me excited?  Heroes Vodka, a veteran-owned vodka with sales benefiting AMVETS.  As an Army veteran, this kind of product gets me excited, because it allows veterans to fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams while giving back to their own community and causes.  Well done!

This year’s event will be held on Saturday, November 7, from 7:00 – 10:00 p.m.  My favorite storefronts along Main Street in historic downtown Franklin will open their doors to become wine stations;  Lipman Brothers is generously offering a selection of more than 170 wines! In addition to the wine tastings, the street will be lines with bites and tastes from some of the best restaurants and chefs in Middle Tennessee.

General admission tickets for the event are $85, and I believe they sell out nearly every year. There is also a limited supply of $125 VIP and $200 Premium VIP tickets. All proceeds from ticket sales benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee’s youth development program. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

Thank you to City Winery and Bread & Butter PR for organizing the preview!
The main event is sure to be great.

View from City Winery upper patio


For more than 112 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee (BGCMT) has enabled all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens. Annually, more than 2,800 youth walk through the doors of the seven Middle Tennessee Boys & Girls Clubs locations in both Davidson and Williamson counties. The Clubs always put kids first by providing a safe place, professional caring staff, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Priority programs emphasize academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles.  To learn more visit or follow organization on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Leiper's Fork Yard Sale

A couple of weekends ago, I drove out to Leiper's Fork to check out their annual yard sale.  It was actually more of a flea market, which I found to make for some really fun browsing!

Parking was only $3, and you found a little bit of everything...  from used clothes/baby gear of typical yard sales, to pickers' findings, to crafted items.

I like old stuff.  I can't quite figure it out, but I love knick-knacks.  I don't feel like my collection or apartment is particularly curated; it's more just random stuff I pick up while we're out and about.

Oh, and Danny from Ellie's Old Fashioned Doughnuts was there!  I picked up a dozen, of course.  Such a pleasant thing to be a part of the Franklin community and start to see people you recognize around town and in the area, right?  It's a sweet town we are living in for sure.

I did end up buying a few items at the sale; I found two cake pedestals for a song (I couldn't pick a color, so I negotiated for both) as well as an Italian "beware of cat" tile and an old Yuengling tray.

I put the Yuengling tray on our bar cart, and I picked up a couple of gifts for people in my family too.

 Overall, I really enjoyed visiting the yard sale, and I'd come back again next year.  It's not like an enormous flea market or anything, but perfect for a couple of entertaining hours.  The sale is on a field, so since it rained I wore my Merrell shoes and it was a smart move.  The parking is lawn parking as well, with lots of folks to guide you where to park.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Tupelo Honey Cafe - Franklin

Disclaimer: Dan and I were given a free meal (minus alcohol and gratuity) from a limited menu as part of the restaurant's soft opening.  We were not asked to review our experience in exchange for our meal, and all opinions are my own!

When I heard Tupelo Honey Cafe was opening a location just five miles from where I live and work, I was PUMPED.  Dan and I ate at the original in Asheville on a trip back in 2013, and I really loved it.  I randomly saw something on social media to enter to win tickets to attend a VIP opening event; when I didn't win that, I was given a chance to make a reservation for their limited soft opening.

The restaurant is located in the space on Meridian Blvd. in Cool Springs that used to house Bosco's.  The area is a popular place for business travelers and folks who work in Cool Springs, so I think it will do well with the lunchtime crowd, plus weekend family hordes.

They've definitely transformed the space.  It's so much more bright and open than Bosco's was!  There's a beautiful bar, and I was impressed by the bar menu...  Not only were there a TON of cocktails, but their beer menu (draft, bottle, and can) was extensive.  Dan brews beer for a living, so it's not easy for a "chain" to get his seal of approval on the beer list...  Tupelo Honey not only offered local craft beer, but harder-to-get beers and out-of-state craft too.  Very nice!

Since this was the soft opening, our meal was free, minus any booze.  I noticed that different tables received different menus, in order to help put the new kitchen and waitstaff through their paces.  We had a 12:15pm reservation on a Saturday, so I was a little surprised to receive a brunch menu.  But if you know me, you know I will eat breakfast foods to my heart's content no matter the hour.

We were given one choice of small plate to start; we chose the Appalachian Egg Rolls.  I highly recommend these.  Filled with pulled pork and pickled onions, I devoured mine; I don't even like eating onions, and I couldn't help myself here.  And they were huge.  That said, the price ring on these was $11, as much as some entrees, but I'd argue you'd be satisfied to eat 1/2 or even one of these and split the rest.

Biscuit porn.  Just because.  These are some of my favorite biscuits in the Franklin area.  Fresh jam too.  Solid, and I didn't leave any crumbs behind.

I chose to have the Tupelo Genuine Country Breakfast, because it seemed pretty classic, and I wanted to try the potato cracklins.  The potatoes were amazing.  Eggs and bacon were tasty too, but these potatoes are the star of the show.  Love.

They requested that we order different entrees, but that was not an issue given the awesome choices.  Dan selected the Southern Fried Chicken BLT.  This HUGE sandwich consisted of buttermilk fried chicken breast, maple-peppered bacon, and fixings.  He chose macaroni and cheese as his side.  HUGE portion sizes, and the bite of mac that I stole was good too.  Dan has been disappointed by restaurant mac 'n' cheese in the past, but he really liked this one.

We also peeked over at the table next to ours, which got a different menu, and I definitely saw things that I want to try sometime too!

And since a shared dessert was on the menu, we split the delicious banana pudding.  I have a feeling we're going to be visiting this place pretty regularly!  Can't wait to get back for some more Tupelo Honey.  Special thanks to our server, Lucas, who was an excellent guide to the new place.

The restaurant begins serving dinner TODAY through November 1st, with lunch service beginning on November 2nd.  Expect a crowd, because people will surely show up in droves.

Tupelo Honey Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, October 16, 2015

Mack and Kate's

Sometimes I go out to eat, take photos to review for the blog, then forget about them.  In fact, blogging in general lately has taken a backseat to work, schoolwork, housework... lots of things with WORK in the name!  And when I do have spare time, the siren call of the TV gets me every time.  Oops.

Recently, before she headed out on a long trip, Lindsey and I went to dinner at Mack & Kate's, a place I'd been before with coworkers for lunch and knew was a solidly good local restaurant choice.  We needed to break up our routine of Puckett's Boathouse and Mellow Mushroom.  This restaurant is set back in a shopping area adjacent to apartments and condos, not on the beaten path for non-locals.  I love that their menu is seasonal and locally sourced, though it seems that's everywhere in Nashville these days.  The decor is adorable, kind of like everything was purchased at a Southern Living shabby chic shop.

To start, the wine list is good and the server was able to give me solid recommendations.  I chose a cabernet to drink, and we munched on the tiny dinner rolls provided.  The butter that came with them was so good!  For my main course, given it had been chilly and drizzly, I settled in for the House Meatloaf.

I opted out of the green beans, which led to a heftier potatoes portion, which I definitely didn't mind!  It was a good meal; not mind-blowing, but hearty and warm on a cool night.  I prefer other dishes I have had during their lunches, including their awesome mac and cheese.

Lindsey had a meal of BBQ spiked filet of beef, served with gorgeous Brussels sprouts.  I couldn't resist sharing a photo.

What sold me on my recent dinner was ending with dessert. So many options! We chose a pumpkin pie slice for a chilly fall days and the whipped cream on our pie was sooo good. I'm still thinking about it.

Mack & Kate's is always a safe bet for a good lunch or dinner. I definitely recommend that you make a reservation if coming in for dinner, because it does fill up and the pace of service is on the slower side as tables don't turn over in a rushed manner.  Not only that, but people like to linger!  It's a favorite for locals purely based on location alone.

Fall/Winter 2015 Menu

Mack and Kate's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, October 12, 2015

Weddings, weddings, weddings!

I usually try to spend my weekends catching up on blog posts, but lately our weekends have been busy...  attending weddings!  We actually attended three other weddings within two months of our own, and it was a blast being on the "other side" of the festivities and seeing how different ceremonies and receptions could be.

A few weeks after our wedding, I attended my cousin A's bridal shower in Indiana.  It had a Tiffany's theme and so many special touches!


That same day, I went back to meet up with Dan to attend my friend D's wedding, in my hometown in Indiana.  She and I had known each other since middle school, and it was so great to see her family and celebrate.

Photo Booth Fun

Later in September, we headed back to Indiana to celebrate A's wedding.  It was so pretty, and even more awesome that I got to see a ton of my extended family.

More photo booth... Dan is holding a mustache over his beard and it just doesn't work.

Lastly, a week later in October, we attended the nuptials of my friend Lauren.  It was the first Jewish ceremony I'd attended, and I thought the traditions and chuppah were so beautiful!  I even danced my first hora.

So yeah, this fall has been a wedding-related frenzy for us on so many happy levels!  It's been like living in a TLC episode of something, but in a good way.  It has also given me a good chance to wear dresses I don't always get to put on, and to practice wearing my hair down because that's a fairly recent development for me.  Baby steps.

You know one thing I love about going to weddings with Dan?  It feels like every time we hear a couple say their vows, it takes us back to our own.  I don't think I felt this way before we got married.  I tend to have my hand on Dan's, and think about the words being said...  it's almost like in my head I'm renewing my commitment too!  You can't help but feel joy when you're attending a wedding.  It's just one of the happiest days you can create for yourself and share with others.

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