Monday, September 28, 2015

Budgeting Bloggers: September 2015

Welcome back for another round of Budgeting Bloggers!  Closing out this quarter, September originally shaped up to be an expensive month...  but I was really good about returning a bunch of things I didn't love, so it worked out well in the end.



  1. Stitch Fix Box ($202 for all five pieces):  Revisit my Stitch Fix recap here!
  2. Harry Potter Gryffindor Cardigan (originally $45, paid $34):  I was looking for a sweater to toss on at home and at work when I'm chilly, and this was super nerdy but also fit the bill!  It's subtle, so if you're not into Harry Potter you probably would just think it's a sweater with a school crest or something.  It is sooooo soft that I've worn it a bunch already.
  3. Doctor Who Timelord Tank Top (originally $25, paid $1 with a deal):  This was sooooo cheap I just had to include it.  I feel like it's a top I can wear under a blazer for work and be an incognito nerd.

$237 spent -  $0 sold = $237 total spent
$129 savings

Total 2015 YTD Spending: H1 $970 + July $28 + August $103 + September $237= $1338

In September, I felt like an online shopaholic compared to recent months.  Tons of boxes coming to the apartment!  But just as many were returned.  I also know that in this transition season for weather, I'll be wearing some things I haven't touched in a while.  I turned all my hangers backwards last night, so I can track what needs to go and what I'm wearing.  (When I wash clothes, I place them back on the rack with the hangers corrected.  It's an easy way to see what you wear and what you don't over time!)

One item that I bought and returned was the Madewell Zip Transport Tote, the brown/black one with the shoulder strap.  I was thinking I would take advantage of a 20% off coupon to get this version of the tote, because my one complaint about the Madewell Transport Tote that I currently carry is the lack of zipper.  The leather on my tote is so soft now, because I carry it daily as the brown+black combo matches everything.


Sadly, the zip tote's straps were not to my liking, and the smaller size felt like a downgrade from my current tote.  My plan had been to get the zip tote then resell the one I currently carry.  If they made the new tote with pockets in brown+black, I'd buy that in a heartbeat, but they've chosen solid colors there.  Total Goldilocks (or rather, Golditotes) experience.

If anyone has seen a brown+black zip tote somewhere, please let me know!
And don't forget to check out the rest of Fran's budgeting bloggers for September!



Thursday, September 24, 2015

Fifty First Kitchen & Bar

Almost a year ago, my friends MM and MC and I got together to eat at Union Common, where we shared a bunch of plates and had a ball.  Recently, we decided we were long overdue to play this game again, and we picked the new Fifty First Kitchen & Bar in the Nations neighborhood in west Nashville.  Once again, we chose well for our feast.

Quote of the night: "Is it gluttonous if we order one of everything on the menu?"  "Absolutely not."

Fifty First Kitchen & Bar

According to the website, Fifty First is a "seasonally focused neighborhood restaurant with technique rooted in rustic Italian cuisine."  There's ample parking, though I will warn against wearing heels as the lots are gravel/uneven.  There's a large porch, and the inside feels very much like a dark, hip bar set in an old house.  It's intimate and comfortable at the same time, so you'll see people wearing anything from street clothes/jeans to dressy attire.  Very Nashville, I'd say!

You'll have to excuse the poor photo quality; sexy mood lighting and votives are not the best for iPhone snaps!


The menu at Fifty First is printed daily, though I noticed a lot of the items reflect the ones on their website; that said, it wasn't identical, so I applaud the chef for basing the day's menu on what is in season and what's inspired for the day.  We started with charcuterie, selecting the chicken liver pate (served with warm rye bread and an apple-vanilla delicious jam), galantina (spricy pork shoulder), coppa (dry cured pork shoulder), salami finocchiona (dry cured salami with fennel), with the meats served with some green beans and accoutrements.  For cheese, we had the cave aged gouda (raw cow) and mona extra-aged (sheep and cow), served with flatbread and honey.





The charcuterie was amazing.  We had to try every combo... bread + cheese and bread + pate and bread + jam and cheese + jam and cheese + honey and on and on...  YUM.  We had to ask for more rye bread, as there wasn't enough for the pate, and PATE WAS THE BEST.  All caps.  Seriously, we were bowing down to the excellent pate in its superior flavor and smooth texture.  It was amazing.  I want to feed it to my future babies.

We consulted our server before making our next move.  We'd initially decided to order one of everything on the menu, but then the charcuterie menu came and we knew we had to make some cuts.  With her help, we cut the number in half and ordered six of the day's twelve menu items.

To assist with our feast, the server/kitchen staff paced us with a few courses at a time.  We started with the buckwheat sourdough focaccia, served with olio verde and marigold ricotta.  I'm a big bread fan, so I LOVED the pure simplicity of this.  I would eat it every day if I could.




After the focaccia, the grilled octopus arrived, served with romano beans, arugula, and preserved lemon.  We also had the tomato panzanella, with goat feta, watermelon, and moscatel vinaigrette.  Everything was tasty.  Octopus was something new for me, and the taste was mild but good.  The way it was plated, I don't think most people would have realized what it was.  The panzanella was yummy too.




But honestly, these were not the rock stars of the evening, because of what came next...

One of my favorite dishes of the night was the radiatore nero, with rock shrimp, chiles, guanciale, and charred tomato.  The pasta was soooo fresh, and a beautiful black color from the squid ink.  The shrimp were delicious and cute (can I say that and keep my wannabe foodie card?) and the spicy kick to the sauce was on point.  This arrived with the octopus and panzanella, and I honestly couldn't focus on the others because I was obsessed with the radiatore.  Good pick, dear server.  We salute you!




And then there was MEAT.  We ordered the lamb & pork sausage served with field peas, roasted peppers, and vin cotto.




We also had the grilled PRB steak, served with AMAZING lamb fat potatoes, lobster mushrooms, and balsamic.




Um, delicious.  I think the sausage was a clear favorite for the table.  We actually had to wait a little for these courses, because our ticket was misplaced in the kitchen; our server topped off our wine gratis, and the chef brought the food out with apologies.  But the thing is, we didn't even notice the delay!  We were so blissfully enjoying a break in our gluttony, knowing we had more ahead...  but I'll take any excuse to pay our compliments to the chef, because he was really fantastic!  (You're awesome, Tony Galzin. Bravo.)  In fact, our service was pretty amazing the entire time.  We never wanted for anything, the servers cleared the many courses quickly and even brought us lots of fresh silverware throughout the evening, all swiftly and adeptly and without complaint or looks of "are these people still eating... MORE?!"

MM and MC aren't huge on dessert, but I am... so we ordered one:  peach semifreddo with pecan crumble and white peach-thyme compote.  So this dessert didn't knock my socks off like a few of the other dishes, but it was still tasty.  Peaches are about gone for the year so I had to take advantage; the peach and pecan combo was soooo yummy.  I think I would have eaten a bowl of the crumble and compote and then skip the semifreddo itself.  But it was good... I mean, we ate the whole thing if that tells you anything.




The moral of this story?  Eat at Fifty First Kitchen & Bar, before it's impossible to get a reservation.  You don't have to share dishes like we did, as the portions are ample enough that you could split charcuterie and some small bites, then have a couple of individual courses.

That said, splitting a zillion dishes with friends is my new favorite way of eating.  For example, we each had two drinks, and with all the courses and everything, our split came to about $60 each.  (Plates and charcuterie ranged anywhere from $4 to $32... choose your own adventure.)  And while I know that this isn't cheap by any means, did you look at everything we got to try?  See photos above AGAIN.  You can do way worse damage than that in Nashville and get a lot less great food, let me tell you.

Eat all the things, friends.  Eat all the things.


Fifty First Kitchen & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
(so new, I had to ask Zomato to add it)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Thoughts on Remarriage



As some readers of this blog may know, I was married fairly recently.  What newer readers may not know is that this wasn't my first time.  It's just not something that people talk about, despite the statistics.  For example...
  • 41% of first marriages end in divorce, and most of those happen at 24 years of age or younger (raising my hand, pretty close)
  • People wait an average of three years after a divorce to remarry (raising my hand, again pretty close)
But this post isn't about the stats, or justifying my own decisions and actions in life.  It's about remarriage in general, and why it can be a perfectly normal, perhaps unexpected, part of life.  Because when you Google a topic like "thoughts on remarriage", you get a lot of judgmental and analytical views on the religious aspects of it, whether it's adultery, whether you should feel like a terrible human being.



And because I was guilty of Googling this when I was contemplating remarriage myself, it was extremely disappointing to find a lack of support out there for something that, realistically, was going to happen to tons of people.

It was also disappointing that there wasn't more of a celebration that people might be able to find love again, after going through something pretty darn terrible.  In my mind, people who get married WANT forever, and just because the first attempt is a bust doesn't preclude them from deserving to find it someday.


actual screenshot from my Google search, 1st page of results

Divorce SUCKS, y'all.  I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, because nothing in my life has felt so final or so permanent, with the exception of death.  Marriage is a wish and a hope, divorce is a finite end.  And no matter how good your intentions are going into a marriage, sometimes it isn't going to work out.  I don't respect people who are flippant about marriage, or divorce.  You don't want to be Kim K/Chris Humphries, you want to be Amy Poehler/Will Arnette.  But I do respect my fellow "divorce survivors" because it's an experience often marred with guilt and sadness and sometimes shame and embarrassment and feelings of utter failure.

But you know what?  Life goes on.



Damn skippy.  Because when you get divorced, initially you're feeling like this...



And people will make offhand comments about your divorce, single-ness, etc.
and make you feel like this...



Things that suck about remarriage...  I don't think there are a lot of things that suck (other than mean people), but I definitely felt some little moments of anxiety.  Like the fact that I had to dig up my divorce decree to get the legal paperwork done.  Or when people would assume it was my first wedding and try to give me all of these wedding tips and marriage advice, while in the back of my mind I was thinking about the years I was married before, or the professional counseling I'd already received.  They meant well, but it's challenging to just grin and bear it when you're anticipating diving into it all and irrationally scared you could screw it up all over again.  Because in case you didn't read it before, DIVORCE SUCKS.



Things that surprised me about remarriage...  People were excited for me.  They were authentically happy I had found love again, and they wanted to support our wedding and send gifts and celebrate.  I guess after my depressing Googling, I'd assumed that it would be a sort of non-event for anyone but me and Dan and our close family.  While a small wedding is what we wanted for ourselves, I'll admit that after having a big first wedding I was a bit gun-shy at the thought of doing it all again.  I felt a little guilt about my parents spending all that money on the first one, even after all these years.  But everyone was generous and loving.  It gave me renewed hope that this was a fresh start, not a do-over.  REPEAT: Remarriage is a fresh start, not a do-over.  Treat it that way!

I found the Jim to my Pam.

Things that make me optimistic about remarriage...  I was an ugly person at times in my first marriage, especially towards the end.  I was younger and more selfish.  I cared a lot more about what other people thought of me.  I wasn't ready, to be honest.

I believe that my first marriage, and my divorce, have made me a better partner overall, because I'm trying even harder as I know what's at risk.  I'm more deliberate and intentional.  Someone might judge me for saying that and not trying to put that energy into the first marriage, but hindsight is 20/20 and it took time to take me there... if something doesn't work, you don't repeat the same reactions and behavior.  You do it better.

And I felt better the day of my wedding to Dan than I had in years.  Possibly EVER.  I didn't see anyone else except for him that day, and in my head I saw us having kids and traveling and growing old together.  I saw my future, and it was clear to me, and nothing else mattered.  I still feel like that.  I cared so much less about the wedding this time, and so much more about the marriage.

These were two of the happiest, most optimistic days of my life.  That is evident and I'm not ashamed.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, BE YOU.  Make yourself vulnerable and open to love.  Don't self-impose guilt or restrictions on yourself as punishment.  Use your past mistakes and behaviors to make you a better person as you continue to grow.

And to my fellow divorcĂ©es, there's absolutely nothing wrong with getting remarried.  There's no shame in it, you should still celebrate your love and happiness.  The people who matter will be supportive and love you.

Life's just entirely too short to skip out on your own happiness.

Get it, girl.


P.S.  Check out my tips on what NOT to do when your friend is divorcing... because it's not something easy to navigate, and it helps to have people who can understand!





Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday Favorites, v. 18


I'm back with my favorite things on the Internet this week!  


Disney princesses as velociraptors.  I really enjoyed Jurassic World.


This flower girl thought she was "the bride" 
o when she was told to kiss the groom, she did what she had to do!


Eugene from Buzzfeed is one of my favorite Internet people (read this article about him).  I really love this video, because I could see my Mom and me doing something like this... except she doesn't have a strong accent, so most of my Korean imitations are of my grandparents.


I know the photo isn't the best... but I LOVE a Hot Brown sandwich, and this Hot Brown Casserole is calling my name.  It's also reminding me to buy some more Lactaid pills.  Must make.




What if we treated teachers like we treated pro athletes?  This gave me LOLZ.


+  I am obsessed with my Levenger Circa/Arc by Staples notebooks for note-taking and organizing, so it's nice to read I'm not the only digitally-savvy internet lover who also has a thing for handwritten notes and paper!

+  Watch people explain their childhood AIM names... mine usually had my high school acronym and a reference to running in them.  Then when I got to college I used that school's acronym.  I obviously wasn't going for longevity.  (Sidenote: remember crafting awesome Away messages?!)

+  They put a preschool in a nursing home, and it's the sweetest thing ever.

+  These photos of some of the last remaining Chinese women with bound feet are not easy to look at, but they're fascinating.

+  Flashback:  Around this time last year, I rode an ATV for the first time on a trip to Colorado.  Check out the photos where I hit the MUD!




Monday, September 14, 2015

Mangia Nashville

Dan's family is Italian.  I have learned that this is very important, and that he will never let me forget the time he was downtown in Nashville looking for spaghetti and I suggested Demos' and he hated everything about it.  (In fairness, I'd never eaten there, and it was the only spaghetti I could think of near Broadway that wasn't Sbarro.)  I heard about Mangia Nashville from a work friend, and I knew it wasn't just an Italian meal, but an experience...  so on a whim, I e-mailed to see if they had an opening on the weekend after our wedding.  Reservations are required! They did, and we decided to make it a celebration of our first week of wedded bliss!


We attended near the end of their summer menu, and they make seasonal updates throughout the year.  We arrived on time, and we were seated family style at one of a few large tables set up at Cool Cafe, their current location.  (Word on the street is that they're moving at some point, so keep up on their Facebook page!)  We were seated with other guests, which was very fun... we even ended up sharing bottles of wine with our tablemates.

I loved the antipasti!  While I don't like olives (and made Dan eat some of my fried olives), I LOVE risotto and mozzarella.  The housemade focaccia was delicious too.  Everything is served family style, so you pass dishes around and take your portion.  It reminded me of dinner at West Point in a really positive way, because we ate family style at meals too.  I may have to try to make risotto cakes at home.


The seasonal salad was really interesting, since it combined fruits and tomatoes.  Definitely a summer dish!  I'm not a salad person, so this was a nice alternative for me.


My favorite dishes were definitely the pastas!  Seriously, I can't even describe.  I want to eat them all the time.  The bolognese was delicious and the orrechiette was awesome.  By the time we got to the entrata, I'd had a lot of wine and didn't even remember to take photos.  But I remember the chicken was moist and delicious, and Dan loved the roasted veggies.


Oh, and the other thing I forgot to mention... there's dancing.  There's singing.  I remember belting out "Summer Nights" from Grease at one point.  And a women's conga line.  Nights at Mangia Nashville feel like attending a wedding reception with a bunch of strangers, but everyone ends up leaving as friends.  It's an event, in every sense of the word!  The creator of Mangia, Nick, has made Friday and Saturday nights a true celebration.

The desserts were top notch.  The panna cotta was incredible, and I ate it all.  Everyone took delicious zeppole home, one of my favorite parts of the night.  NO ONE is making ricotta doughnuts this good in Nashville, and Nick did it first!


We paid about $170 for two, including a bottle of chianti and tax.  When you think of all the courses (not all pictured here, because, well, wine) that is honestly one of the best deals in town.  I recommend it for larger groups of friends and family who aren't shy, couples who want a celebratory date for a birthday or anniversary, or just for a splurge.  There were event people who came by themselves, befriending others along the way.

This experience definitely had Dan's seal of approval; in fact, he remarked that he'd love to bring his (Italian) best friend there, which is very indicative of what he thought of the meal!

Mangia Nashville Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday Favorites, v. 17


I'm back with my favorite things on the Internet this week!  I keep using the "save link" function on Facebook, and I've realized that I use that function a LOT to go back and look at stuff.

I love Korean hanbok (traditional outfits) and this designer has translated the hanbok to more everyday RTW standards.
I'd love to buy one of these looks!


If you're a Harry Potter nerd like me, one fan's incredible alternate story (basically, what if Voldemort had picked Neville instead of Harry as the subject of the prophecy?) is well worth reading.  So good!


People who hate cats meet kittens.  Just watch.



These "Strong Female Character" prints are awesome!!!
Buffy and Leslie Knope and Liz Lemon for me.


We talk a lot about the human and financial costs of war, but what about the costs to our history as humans?  These 20 monuments have been lost, but hopefully not forgotten.



This may be a branded commercial/effort, but that doesn't make the result any less sweet when this Mom learns why her husband is not in his seat for their daughter's recital.  Have a Kleenex ready.


+  Two women from my alma mater recently finished Ranger School (first time ever!), and I couldn't be more proud.  I wrote on Facebook that I have no claim to their accomplishment, but I am fiercely supportive and excited just the same.  There has been a lot of negative media and commentary about it, so I'd encourage you to read more than one source, watch the actual media conference footage, and CELEBRATE this feat!  I love this one and this Buzzfeed on women in combat.

+  This barber gave free haircuts to kids who would read books to him.  Awesome!!!  And then when a this boy asked his mailman for junk mail to read, the mailman gave him books.  LOVE seeing people encouraging reading for young kids.

+  I really want to make these pumpkin pie cupcakes.

+  I like this piece on whether marriage should feel like "hard work";  good food for thought for a newlywed on her 2nd marriage!

+  I think I'm an ambivert, neither a true extrovert nor introvert.  It makes life interesting and challenging.

+  This open letter to a former best friend is really poignant, I believe, for 30-something women.  As we get older, we require fewer friends and we put up with less b.s.  We don't want people in our lives who constantly take or don't bring value.  But that doesn't mean we don't miss and love the people we were once much closer to... because there will never be a replacement for them in our hearts.

+  Flashback:  Three years ago, Lindsey and I spent a weekend in Nova Scotia, and it was incredible!  Here's the first of three posts I did from that trip.  One of my favorites of all time.



Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Visitor's Guide to Franklin

I've lived in Franklin, Tennessee for over three years now, and it's a wonderful place to be!  If you're a Gilmore Girls fan, imagine Stars Hollow dropped into Tennessee, complete with town square festivals.  Franklin has a rich history, including a significant Civil War battle site, and its population (and property values) has absolutely exploded in the last 30 years.  It's a great place to live that consistently wins "Best Southern Town" and other magazine contests.  It's located about 15-20 minutes south of Nashville, and it's well worth a visit if you're in the area!


Downtown Franklin:  The heart of Franklin is its downtown, which is constantly changing and bustling.  You can eat at local restaurants, shop small boutiques, and walk around its historic blocks.  There are also a bunch of festivals that take place downtown, from bluegrass to craft beer to seasonal events.  My favorites are Pumpkinfest and Dickens of a Christmas.  Be prepared to park and walk, because tourists descend for these events and traffic is truly gridlock!

Pumpkinfest and Dickens of a Christmas

I'd also recommend that you check out The Factory and two nearby parks: Park at Harlinsdale Farm and Pinkerton Park.  The Factory has unique shops, and it is also where our farmers market is every Saturday (along with my favorite Ellie's Old Fashioned Doughnuts!)  The parks are nice just to walk around and get a little exercise.



Food: For Southern food, hit up Puckett's or its Boathouse, with the Boathouse offering more seafood and fish options.  For more upscale (but still jeans-friendly) Southern, Saffire in the Factory is really great too, with a fabulous bourbon selection.  For a high end, seasonal menu experience, Red Pony Restaurant (where I had my wedding dinner!) is fab.  For coffee, visit The Frothy Monkey, set in an old house.  For drinks, Gray's on Main and Cork & Cow have unique cocktails, while JJ's Wine Bar offers wine by the taste to sample across a broad range.



History:  If you're a history buff like my Dad, you've got to check out the trio of Civil War sites in town, especially since they have a discounted combo ticket:  Carnton Plantation,  Carter House, and Lotz House.  Carnton is my favorite, but Carter House has a fascinating story too.  If you want to venture even further on the history path, Stones River Battlefield in Murfreesboro or James K. Polk Home in Columbia are both within 40 minutes of Franklin.

And if you're in town at the right time, you might catch the Tour of Homes, when you can explore both old and new homes that aren't usually open to the public.  Many are private residences, and the locations change every year!



Just outside...  Not far from Franklin are two more drivable and beautiful spots:  Arrington Vineyards and Leipers Fork.  Arrington is our largest (to my knowledge) local winery, with Kix Brooks sometimes pouring tastings behind the counter as a part owner.

Leipers Fork is an adorable village near Franklin, which is basically only about 2-3 blocks long but full of charm!  There are tons of shops with antiques, one-of-a-kind pieces, and other country and crafted items.  There are also a few restaurants, including the original location of Puckett's Grocery, thought it's a little different from the rest.

Doesn't this list make you want to come visit Franklin right away?  I love it here, and you will too!


Monday, September 7, 2015

A Visitor's Guide to Nashville


Since I've lived in the Nashville area, the past few years, I get a lot of folks who ask for my recommendations on what to see, do,  and eat when they're in town.  I usually draft up a list off the top of my head, but my friend Krista made a list on her blog recently that inspired me to do the same!

Hattie B's

If you want a literal taste of Nashville...
  • Eat HOT CHICKEN.  This is what Nashville is famous for, not BBQ or anything like that.  I haven't been to the original, Prince's Hot Chicken, but I really love Hattie B's.  Both serve varying levels of spiciness.  The west side location of Hattie B's has less of a line and free parking, if you want to avoid the crowds.  Because when it's about hot chicken, there are lines.  That said, it's on the menu at lots of local spots, and if it's classic then it's served with pickles on white bread.
  • Eat Southern food.  Especially if it's not prevalent where you live.  Try one of the Puckett's locations for a sure bet, where you can often enjoy some live music too.  Two classics still on my list to try?  Monell's and Arnold's Country Kitchen.  For BBQ, hit up Edley's Bar-B-Que, in either of it's locations.  For fancy Southern, get a reservation for Husk, Sean Brock's SoBro spot.  Or try The Southern downtown.  And if you see a sign that says "Meat & Three", what that means is you pick one of the daily main "meats" or dishes, then pick three sides... or two, or whatever floats your boat.
  • Eat brunch.  In the Gulch, try Biscuit Love Brunch and order their "bonuts", which are biscuit donuts.  Yes, they're as amazing as they sound.  The Copper Kettle has a great buffet of the beaten tourist path, or you can tuck in for the buffet in the heart of downtown at Kitchen Notes.  Or, venture into the country for the classic Loveless Cafe.  No matter where you go for brunch (except Kitchen Notes, which takes reservations), go early or be prepared to wait in LONG lines.  I still haven't made it to MarchĂ© Artisan Foods (or Margot, for that matter) for brunch in East Nashville.  Goals, people!
  • Eat fancy.  For steak, Kayne Prime.  For sushi and fusion, Virago.  For Italian, Moto.  And they're all on the same street!  If you're craving an upscale, delicious cocktail, The Patterson House is an unmarked Prohibition-style spot that fills up fast, but its pricey mixed drinks are worthwhile!
  • If you're craving some staples... get burgers at Burger Republic, pizza at DeSano Pizza Bakery, and people tell me Rosepepper Cantina is good for Mexican fusion.  Favorite food truck: The Grilled Cheeserie.  Asian food isn't Nashville's strong suit, but there are ramen places popping up so I hope that is the next trend!
If you feel like browsing, here's my blog rollup of Nashville food posts, or check out my reviews on Yelp!

The Parthenon

If you love museums...


CMA Fest

If you love music...
  • I could have listed The Country Music Hall of Fame as a museum, but it's part of the overall music experience.  It's pricey but very nice, and they have moved Hatch Show Print under the same roof which is another classic.  There's also now a Johnny Cash Museum downtown too.
  • If you want to hear live music, there's TONS everywhere.  Just walk up and down Broadway!  I enjoy catching some music at Acme Feed & Seed.
  • If you plan ahead, you can catch some great concerts.  Bridgestone Arena has tons (as well as hockey games for the Nashville Predators), but my favorite venue is Ryman Auditorium.  You can tour the Ryman when there aren't events.
  • CMA Fest and other events also bring people to town, and if you don't mind the crowds, they're pretty fun!  I recommend buying tickets a year in advance though, because it's a big event for tourists and out-of-towners to come into the city.

In general, there are some great restaurants and boutiques in a few different neighborhoods in Nashville...  12 South, The Gulch, East Nashville, Germantown, and Hillsboro Village to name a few!  It's a town of many small enclaves and pockets, so you definitely have a lot to explore.  There are so many places, you could spend weeks here and not feel satisfied.  I've been here over three years, and there are still a ton of places we need to go!

And I haven't even touched on Franklin (where I live) or the surrounding areas yet...  I'll save that for another guide, another post.

What are your favorite places in Nashville?
Where would you most like to visit?




Friday, September 4, 2015

Wedding: Announcements and Thank You Notes

Last wedding post, you guys!  :)

Since we had such a small wedding, we wanted to send announcements out to folks who would want to know (you know, outside of it being Facebook official and stuff).  Basically we sent them to our Christmas card list, so we could make them a part of the celebration!  We used Shutterfly and I stacked discount codes to get a good deal.

I chose the Sparkling Union tri-fold card to share photos and a quick note about the ceremony.




For our Thank You cards, I used the Embellished Frames design and left the back side writeable for a custom note.  I tried to make them tie together with look/script fonts.  I really liked using photo cards to share our ceremony pictures.  The only downside to photo Thank You notes is that we received a bunch of gifts in advance of the ceremony, so it took us a few weeks to get photos and printed cards back.  That said, I was told that etiquette says I have a year after the wedding to write thank yous for the gifts (someone told me that, I swear!)...  so getting them out 4 weeks after the wedding isn't too bad, right?






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