Always Aubrey: August 2016

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Review: Martha & Marley Spoon

Disclosure: I purchased my own Martha & Marley Spoon deliveries for two weeks, and I was able to use a promo code to get an initial discount.  My opinions and photos are my own!




HOW IT WORKS.
Like other meal kit services, you go online and decide on your meal plan, based on number of dinners per week and whether they should feed two or more people.  Then, up until just under a week prior to your shipment day, you can select your menu or choose to skip a week.  Depending on what meals you choose, some of the other options might not be available.




WHAT YOU GET.
You get a box filled with ingredients, color recipe cards, and cool extras (I got a reusable tote bag in my 2nd box!).  I liked that the ingredients were sorted into labeled brown bags by meal, aside from the meats.

COST.
We chose the option to have two meals for two people each week, which came to $12 per person.  This price can go down under $9 if you orders more meals and larger sizes.


We cooked:
  • Chicken Paillards with Pickled Peach and Arugula Salad
  • Broiled Beef Stir Fry with Broccoli, Rice & Sweet Onion
  • Gluten Free Pasta with Tomato, Feta and Baby Arugula
  • Sirloin Filet & Potatoes with Spinach & Warm Vinaigrette


OVERALL REVIEW.
If you've read my reviews of Blue Apron and Plated, a lot of this sounds familiar.  Meal kits in general for me give you variety, convenience and time savings, as well as portion control help since I'm cooking two servings for two people.  Martha & Marley Spoon also delivers on these attributes!

Here is what I liked and disliked about my experience with Martha & Marley Spoon...
  • Fast and easy.  Martha & Marley Spoon is faster/simpler to cook than the other meal kits I've tried.  Dan liked that there were fewer dishes (he dislikes that my Plated meals generate a lot of cleanup), and it seemed like there were fewer ingredients.  Each of the estimated cooking times were less than I was used to with other services.
  • FRESH.  Martha & Marley Spoon's produce was fresher than any other meal kit I've tried. You could get a box on Tuesday and stick it in the fridge, then cook it on Sunday and the greens were still fresh and not slimy.  With other kits I rush to cook them within a few days, but Martha & Marley Spoon.
  • Best recyclability.  This kit was the most recyclable, so if you're concerned about meal kits not being green, this is a good one for you.  You can even collect and save your packaging to ship back to Marley Spoon for recycling!  It had less plastic and packaging than other kits.
  • Surprises & delights!  There were great things to read in each box, and gifts like a handwritten note or a tote bag.  It was beautiful, much like a Martha Stewart magazine.
  • There were some mistakes.  I got the wrong recipe card for one of my meals (no sweat though, as the recipes you order are available online).  I also got pasta that was not gluten-free for a meal that was designated gluten-free.  I thought that was strange; we aren't gluten-free, so it wasn't a big deal.  These types of things
  • The flavors/recipes weren't our fav.  Dan didn't enjoy these meals as much as others we've tried.  I felt like the simplicity was nice, but I could throw these together with a quick trip to the store.  I didn't feel like I was making something that would be hard to put together on my own.  Other meal kits have encouraged me to try some new flavor or cooking technique.  There's also no dessert option, like there is with Plated.

I think the ideal Martha & Marley Spoon user is someone who wants simple, unprocessed meals for her family.  She wants to receive help with her meal planning without a lot of packaging waste.  She likes uncomplicated flavor combinations and values freshness in her produce.

We chose not to continue Martha & Marley Spoon.  We will continue to try more meal kit services, while maintaining our subscription to our favorite, which as of this writing is Plated.  (We usually order two meals and a dessert each week.)


Disclosure: I purchased my own Martha & Marley Spoon deliveries for two weeks, and I was able to use a promo code to get an initial discount.  My opinions and photos are my own!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Budgeting Bloggers: August 2016

I was bitten by the shopping bug in August!  I ordered a ton of stuff, spent a lot of money, and I have no idea why I was so big on my retail therapy this month.  But I like it!  Don't judge me, I also hit up Forever 21 for some staples and couple of trendy pieces.  I wanted a kimono, and I found a maxi dress and tee I also loved.  I also stocked up on basic peplum tops, which I rock for work on the regular.



  1. Alfani Tummy-Control Skinny Pants in Black and Navy ($40 each):  Love these pull-on trousers!  I actually think I'll be donating my old Limited Exact Stretch pants and converting over to these for the future.  They have a ton of color options, two length options, and the stretch is nice.  They'll be perfect for business trips too.  I got one lighter colored pair that I didn't think I'd wear much, so I returned it.
  2. Swim Sexy The Captain Polka Dot Underwire Bikini (originally $72, paid $50):  Confession, I didn't have any bikinis.  I love my one-piece retro maillots, and I rock them regularly.  But a friend mentioned this site to me, which caters to curvier girls, so I was able to find a good fit that I love, just in time for the beach.
  3. Stitch Fix Shirt ($68):  See my Stitch Fix recap here.  I love this shirt, because it looks like TWO shirts!  Just saying.  They can send me a zillion of these and I'll hoard them.
  4. Forever 21 Sleeveless Peplum Top in Magenta ($18):  Peplum are my fav, and this sleeveless one works well under a blazer for work.
  5. Forever 21 Peplum Top in FuchsiaOliveIvory ($15 each):  I got this top in two colors, then went back for a third.  OMG it's my favorite thing to wear right now!  It looks great over a pencil skirt, jeans, or trousers at work.  It makes me feel good to camouflage my tummy area too.
  6. Forever 21 Floral Print Kimono ($15):  I wanted a kimono because it's on trend, so I wore this on my beach vacay.
  7. Forever 21 Graphic Tee ($11):  I got sucked in by the emojis. It's ridiculous, and I'm okay with that.
  8. Forever 21 Floral Maxi Dress (sold out - similar, similar, $23):  I wore this dress to the beach, because maxi dresses are the best.
  9. Matty M Maxi Dress ($20 via Costco):  Beach vacation impulse buy, because I thought I'd want another maxi before I left.  I was right, I wore this one too!


$332 spent -  $21 sold = $311 total spent in August

Quarter Budget: $500 - $196 in July - $311 in August = -$7 remaining


Even though I now have no budget for next month unless I sell some items, I did return a lot of things.  I returned a third pair of Alfani pull-on pants, and a swimsuit.  I ordered a couple of dresses form Unique Vintage, but I ended up returning them.  Same with one Forever 21 shirt, I returned them for store credit and got ALL THE PEPLUM TOPS.  But I've actually been feeling warm in the office (and everywhere) and don't have many short-sleeve tops.  The peplum looks really profesh and also good under a blazer or cardigan, which you know is my uniform of choice.

I LOVE the Alfani pull-on pants, and kind of want a capri and more full length colors.  They remind me of some Stitch Fix pants my coworker got, but you can buy two for the price of one of those pairs at Macy's.


What did you buy this month?

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sunday Lately: Doing, Appreciating, Designing, Humming, Expecting

Photos on my desk at work, reminding me of my family!

DOING...
I'm doing a better job of networking and seeing friends.  I went to a networking event this week for people in my industry (focused on women) and on Friday I went to an after-work house party at a coworker's.  Next week?  Girl date with some local friends that I don't get to see that often.  Grad school ate into my social life for a while, but now I am pushing myself to get out there more, vs. staying home all the time with my laptop and Netflix binges.

One of my best friends just moved away from here, so that will be an adjustment.  She stayed with us for a couple of nights, the last of a very full summer of guest room guests!  She snapped this photo of our guest room when she was with us.




APPRECIATING...
I'm appreciating my kitties. Because they are snuggly!



DESIGNING...
I've been doing a lot of web design work for DAR lately!  Right now I'm in domain name issues purgatory (this happens every time I do a big redesign, y'all, I'm the worst) but here is my new chapter DAR page if you're curious about what we do and what I've been working on!  Someone recently told me that DAR is like girl scouts for grownups, and it's kind of true.  Lots of parallels!

HUMMING...
I'm humming the Hamilton soundtrack EVERYWHERE.  I just can't stop listening.  Lately, "Satisfied" is my fav, but I can't get the rap bits down.  It's to the point that I'm reading the awesome biography upon which the musical was based.  (Sidenote: I love biographies.)  How can I love a musical so much that I haven't seen yet?

EXPECTING...
I don't know what to expect lately.  I'm just kind of taking it as it comes!  I saw this awesome "quote" recently that is kind of my new mantra:

source



THIS PAST WEEK...
  • On the Blog:  I blogged about my trip to the Outer Banks, both what we did and what we ate.
  • On Twitter:  It's yet another test weekend for the new Titanfall video game, and I HATE that my husband plays it.  It's not the game itself, but the strong vibration of the controller that literally keeps me awake at night even if it's in the other room.
  • On Instagram:  Kitten pictures of my babies, including this precious one of Bear.
  • On Pinterest:  I don't need more clothes, but I am loving florals right now.



What are you up to this Sunday?

Sunday Lately is a weekly linkup hosted by the Blogger Tribe. We e-hang out every Sunday, sharing a small glimpse into the last week of life in our own worlds. 
Sunday Lately with Blogger Tribe

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Outer Banks: Eats

No trip recap for me would be complete without some info about the FOOD we ate, right?  I will say this, the Outer Banks in summertime is packed.  There are big lines and crowds at the grocery, and often a wait for restaurants at mealtime.  You can kind of circumvent this by cooking some meals and being on the early bird side of dinner.

We arrived in town at a weird time, so we went to TimBuck II, a nearby shopping and restaurant complex.  We tried to go to North Banks Restaurant and Raw Bar, but they don't serve the full menu in between lunch and dinner times.  So we ended up at Bubbie's, a little divey burger joint.  I actually got to eat two burgers, since a friend and I each gave each other half of a burger.



We ordered the Hawaiian Bubbie, with cheddar, Canadian bacon, pineapple, and BBQ sauce, and the Jalapeno Poppin' Bubs, with cream cheese, pepper jelly, and jalapenos.  (The photo below has them split!)  They were both really tasty.  Our group overall loved the jalapeno burger the most, to the point one of the girls made her own version of it when we got home!  The fries were crispy and excellent too.  Bubbie's has a really great fast food burger, kind of like Five Guys.  The prices are good, and they have milk shakes and other items too.  I grabbed a hot dog at a later occasion, and it was good too.  While the service was a bit slow/inattentive, I really couldn't complain overall.  It was someplace I'd eat every day for a cheap, dependably good bite to eat!



One thing that blew my mind was the BrewThru.  It's a drive-thru where you pull into a sort of car wash/garage type building, filled with coolers and cases of beer, wine, and liquor.  You order it from your window and they put it in your car.  I'm just not used to this sort of thing, and it's awesome!



Probably my favorite eating experience in the Outer Banks was the two trips we made to Duck Donuts.  OMG.  One of the best donut experiences I've had!  First off, the line is out the door.  You may wait an hour.  Bring some water and wear sunscreen, because you have to be dedicated!  You get a form and fill out what you want your donut order to be: Coating, Topping, and if desired, Drizzle!  Yes, every donut is custom ordered.  And the prices are really pretty reasonable too, just over a buck per donut.



Our favorite breakfast/eat-it-warm donut was maple frosting with bacon topping.  I also had strawberry with raspberry drizzle, blueberry with blackberry drizzle, peanut butter with salted caramel drizzle, and vanilla with rainbow sprinkles.  I think that the bacon donut and the fruity-frosting donuts were my favorite overall in the end, but GOSH I would eat a donut from there every day if I could!



One evening, we finally went back to North Banks Restaurant and Raw Bar to give it a fair shot during meal hours.  It's a tiny, dark place, and you have to exit the restaurant to use the public restrooms nearby.  That said, the place was crowded (usually a good sign) and we found a seat at the bar so we wouldn't have to wait.  I ordered a Pineapple Smash cocktail, which was vodka, St. Germain, fresh lime juice, and pineapple chunks.  The price was kind of like Nashville, $10 for a fruity mixed drink, but it was pretty good.  Again, I knew I was in tourist town.



I was really impressed with our bartender.  He lived full-time in the area and knew his stuff.  He helped make recommendation, even tossed an extra crab claw to my friend so she could try it, as it wasn't on the platter we ordered.  The bartenders aren't just bartenders; they really know the menu, and they steam the seafood themselves in a steamer behind the bar.  The portion sizes are large too.  I liked their hush puppies, which were served with a jalapeno butter.



I ordered a crab cake, because I like them a lot.  The remoulade was delicious too; I ate the whole thing.  Really fresh!  It came with really excellent potatoes (seriously!) and succotash.  I don't even like succotash, and this one was good.  I also took a picture of my friend's seafood platter (and she started with oysters, legit), because it's totally impressive.  While some of the reviews were mixed on this place, we felt it was one of the best meals we had in OBX.  You just have to sacrifice a little ambiance and accept that this is one of those little hidden gems.



We did drive further south to Bodie Island, and on the way back we stopped for lunch at Miller's Waterfront Restaurant.  Because of the dunes, I didn't see a ton of waterfront restaurants, so we chose this one to take in the view.  I started with a beachy blackberry lemonade cocktail, which earned me a souvenir plastic cup.  Woohoo!



We had hush puppies and hot crab dip to start.  These hush puppies were even better than the other ones we'd had before.  Wow.  And the crab dip was delicious and cheesy too.



I wasn't that hungry after that, so I decided to get a popcorn shrimp basket.  I'm used to these "basket" type meals being on the smaller size.  HOLY COW.  This basket was enormous!  I could not physically finish it.  But it was delicious, and everything was perfectly, well, fried.  Tiny little shrimps looking so cute too.  NOMS.



As you can see, my bikini bod was well fed during my time in the Outer Banks.


Have you been to the Outer Banks?
What's your favorite vacation food?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Outer Banks: Beach Wedding Vacay

I had a quick getaway to the Outer Banks recently for my friend's wedding.  Since Dan couldn't go with me, I traveled with a couple of friends of the bride!  We stayed in a condo in Corolla, North Carolina... what a cute place!  I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a beach bum... sand isn't my fav.  But the sunsets on these beaches were amazing, and we made good use of the pool at the bride's vacation home!


There was a good deal of pool time... but I avoided sunburn by staying in the shade and wearing sunscreen!  The bride, my friend V, had the genius idea of renting a big vacation home for the wedding, but staying in it all week and having friends over to hang out and party.  Unlike most weddings, where you barely get to spend time with the happy couple, this one was one long pre-party leading up to the big night!




Since one of V's friends was an OBX aficionado, we also did a drive of the coast down to Nagshead.  We saw dunes, and even a lighthouse.  We also ate seafood and shopped at beachy boutiques.



As for the wedding itself?  Perfection.  Sunset on the beach, barefoot, then a big party!  So much fun, and so laid back too.  Everyone had so much fun that half the guests ended up in the pool, no joke.  Tons of dancing too, all in celebration of two really great people and families coming together.


My roomies, a.k.a. new friends!

First dance, the groom had already changed back into shorts! OBX style

For someone who isn't into beaches, I sure had a lot of fun for the three short days I spend in OBX.  I told Dan I'd love to go back... maybe someday!

My thoughts on an OBX vacation...

  • Nagshead/Duck/Kitty Hawk/Corolla are only about a 2 hour drive form Norfolk Airport, so I was able to fly Southwest (with a connection) for a decent price.  Woohoo!
  • Rental cars seem to be a must, and the grocery stores are ALWAYS packed.  So if you're road-tripping, pack some food to bring with you!
  • Most people rent beautiful houses (some with pools and private beach access) for a week, so you can relax and do activities at your leisure.  And having a tent to put over part of the pool for some shade?  Money.
  • The ocean is cold.  I've been spoiled by my relatives in Hawaii into thinking that ocean water can/should be clear and warmer.  But that doesn't mean it isn't worth getting your feet wet!
  • Things I wish I could have done: Wild horse tour/viewing, paddleboarding on the Sound side (fewer waves), seeing the Dunes park, more beach time, more Duck Donuts!  (Don't worry... I'll be covering the food later!)




What's your favorite beach?

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunday Lately: Planning, Loving, Reading, Wishing, Feeling.

It's Sunday morning, I'm sitting in the living room while Dan sleeps, and I'm watching Botched by Nature in the background as I type this.  I'd love to be able to blog more ahead of time, but it just hasn't worked out lately!  There's so much to do.  But I figure, there's no better time to get back into it than the present, right?

PLANNING...
I'm planning my upcoming weekends!  There are some festivals and events, we don't have Labor Day weekend plans, and we have our Canada vacation coming up too.  My friend came over with her Happy Planner and we had a little planning party, so I'm enjoying that still.  I'm also meal planning, as we're trying Marley Spoon for a couple of weeks to see how we like it compared to Plated.  But I still love Plated...  it pushes me to try new things, like making my own ricotta cheese!




LOVING...
I'm loving looking back at the photos of my whirlwind trip to the Outer Banks.  I went out there for three quick nights for a friend's wedding, and I'll be blogging about it soon!  But for now, the pretty pictures on my phone make me smile.




READING...
I just finished (truthfully, in ONE DAY), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.  I loved it.  Even though I thought it was a bit weird to read the play script, I shouldn't have been worried.  I was transported back to how I felt during the original book releases.  I remember going to a midnight release party for the fifth book, reading the last book during Army training... it was magic. And I really loved getting back into that world!  I'll probably add the screenplay for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them to my queue too, even if I see the movie.  Or I'll binge it right before the movie.  We'll see.  Follow me on GoodReads if you'd like to see what I'm reading!



WISHING...
I'm wishing for less rain!  I know that the world probably needs the rain or whatever, but I'd love for it to be swimming pool weather for a few more weeks so I can take advantage.  We really didn't take advantage of our apartment pool enough this summer, so after my beach trip I'm determined to enjoy it more.


FEELING...
I'm feeling a bit drained.  I've been doing a lot of stuff for DAR, side gig writing, and work.  I've also had a ton of houseguests last month and this month, so cleaning and keeping the guest room clean add to the workload a bit.  I keep saying I'm "flipping" the room because that's what it feels like.  But the perk?  I got to spend quality time with my DAR friends.




THIS PAST WEEK...
  • On the Blog:  I blogged about my latest Stitch Fix, which meant I got a new shirt for my closet!
  • On Twitter:  I tweeted the best diet tip I ever found online.
  • On Instagram:  I made my crowd favorite orange chicken when I had a guest this week.
  • On Pinterest:  I pinned a weekend guide to Key West because I think we'd really enjoy a getaway weekend there!

I leave you with one last photo that my friend snapped at one of our DAR events this week...  I don't feel like Wonder Woman, but I do know that I have a wonderful, full life.  I've read that if you hold a "super" pose for a bit, it helps you feel energized and confident.  So I need to pose like a superhero more often and own it!



What are you up to this Sunday?

Sunday Lately is a weekly linkup hosted by the Blogger Tribe. We e-hang out every Sunday, sharing a small glimpse into the last week of life in our own worlds. 
Sunday Lately with Blogger Tribe

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Stitch Fix Review: 11th Fix

Disclosure:  I paid for my own Stitch Fix; all opinions are my own.  If you're interested in trying Stitch Fix, I'd love for you to use my referral link so I can get $25 towards my next Fix!



Now that I have a Stitch Fix every quarter, you don't get these updates as often...  but this was a fun Fix for sure!  I was caught off guard that a Fix was coming, so I hadn't been updating my Pinterest board a lot.  But my stylist still knows my style, so I was happy with how she styled.  :)

The statement necklace that Stitch Fix sent me, the Bay to Baubles Kimberly Crystal Bauble Collar Necklace (say that ten times fast) was pretty, but I had some trouble with a sticky clasp.  I also have been wearing more delicate necklaces lately, so it didn't feel like a keeper this go-round.  Returned.
Kimberly Crystal Bauble Collar Necklace



I was really torn about this Kut from the Kloth Sinclaire Button Front Blouse.  I really loved the colors and print, but for a see-through, polyester blouse, I just couldn't justify the cost.  If I had loved everything else in the Fix, I would have kept it though.  Returned.


Kut from the Kloth Sinclaire Button Front Blouse



I wanted to love the Brixon Ivy Levi Ponte Dress.  The stripes!  The pleats!  It is SO my style, and in a fabric that I really love.  It even had pockets, match made in heaven!   But when I put it on, the straps and pleats fell at awkward positions.  Great in theory, not great on me.  Boooooo.     I wanted this dress so badly.  Returned, with sadness.

Brixon Ivy Levi Ponte Dress



Spoiler alert, I only kept one item in this Fix, the Market & Spruce Evella Boatneck Top.  I really love how it looks like a chambray top layered with the shirt.  It's like cheating.  I had to have it, because it's super versatile.  Basic, but wonderful!

Market & Spruce Evella Boatneck Top




I've had my eye on the romper trend, so I was excited to see the Tonette V-neck Romper in my Fix.  Unfortunately, the zipper was a bit too short for what I needed.  I could have put it on with a struggle, but I don't want to keep anything that is a struggle!

Tonette V-neck Romper

Overall, even though I only kept one item, I still enjoyed this Fix.  It pushed me to think about prints and things I don't normally wear.  I think I'll continue these quarterly, moving one up earlier if I need the help getting some new things in my closet!



Disclosure:  I paid for my own Stitch Fix; all opinions are my own.  If you're interested in trying Stitch Fix, I'd love for you to use my referral link so I can get $25 towards my next Fix!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Snapshots: 1st Wedding Anniversary

On August 1st, Dan and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary!  Since it was a fun trip down memory lane, I figured I would share a few personal snapshots here from our date night.

We started off with a quick visit to the park where we had our wedding ceremony, The Park at Harlinsdale Farm.  I put my wedding dress on initially, but it was rainy and super hot, so I decided not to wear it that night after all.  But it was still special!



Then we had an amazing meal at the restaurant that hosted our wedding dinner, Red Pony.  We saw our server from the wedding, received custom menus that wished us a happy anniversary, and really soaked up the place.



We finished the night with cupcake versions of our wedding cake, from The Sweet Stash.  (Our entire cake was devoured last year, so we didn't freeze anything!)  The bakery sells cupcakes at the Nashville Farmers Market, and they usually carry the almond vanilla "wedding cake" flavor that we had for our wedding.  I picked up a couple of them, added our Bear & Bourbon wedding toppers, and we enjoyed a literal taste of our wedding, a year later.



I don't think we'll necessarily do this as a tradition year after year, but it was really fun to kind of relive the sequence of our wedding.  I think that it helped us kind of soak it all in slowly over the course of an evening, and we were really focused on one another (no distractions!).  We noticed a lot of details, for example in the restaurant, that we hadn't noticed in the blur of the wedding day.  We talked really candidly and reminisced, and I think we both remarked on how special that day was for us, and how perfect.

Happy Anniversary, Dan!!!
I'm grateful to have you.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, & Sevierville

Dan and I spent our 4th of July weekend in the Smokies, along with my parents.  We stayed in Sevierville (hometown of Dolly Parton) and explored the adjoining towns of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.

On our first morning in town, we headed to Great Smoky Mountains National Park to hike the Trillium Gap Trail to Grotto Falls.  The place was packed; get there early, because everyone had the same idea for the holiday!  It was a good way to burn some calories and enjoy the mountains.


That night, we had dinner and a show at Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede.  It's kind of a rite of passage if you make a trip to a wholesome, family-friendly vacation town like Pigeon Forge (or Branson, Missouri where the other Dixie Stampede is).  Dan was probably not as mentally prepared for this extravaganza... There is no alcohol, you are served food, including soup, with no utensils, and there's an odd North vs. South storyline that is not historically representative of just about anything.  If you get too caught up in any of that, you won't like it.  But if you like rodeos and animals, this is kind of fun.  I enjoyed the horses, pigs, and things like that!  It's pricey, and the food is just okay, but you won't leave hungry and it's very family-friendly.



Afterwards, we headed to The Island, which is a kind of Downtown Disney-type place.  Total tourist trap, with a Margaritaville, Paula Deen restaurant, and Moonshine store.  But it was clean, pretty, and not a bad place to hang out!  I saw they have an Escape Game there, which is something I really love, so I wish we'd had time to do that as a family.



Our favorite touristy stop during the trip (Dan's fav for sure) was the awesome Aquarium of the Smokies.  So many great things to see!  Mom loved the sea dragons.  Dan loves aquariums, especially, sharks, sea turtles, and rays.  The layout was great, and while it was crowded, you could still go at your own pace and enjoy the animals.  It was nice to have the air conditioning on a hot weekend, too!  It's not cheap, but it's worth the cost of entry.  I even ran into my boss and her kids there!


I think my favorite meal during the weekend was at Applewood Farmhouse Grill.  You get to start with apple fritters, after all!  It was a cute restaurant, and the food was good.  Kind of reminds you of a Cracker Barrel in terms of the offering (I got chicken and dumplings) but in a good way.  Really friendly waitstaff and good service, and we had no trouble or wait to get a table even on the holiday weekend.


Apple Fritters!!!

We really had a great time over 4th of July weekend here in Tennessee.  It took us about four hours to drive there from Nashville.  I sometimes take for granted how much I get to see my parents versus when I was in the Army; it's nice to be able to see my folks even for just a weekend.  I wasn't sure that Dan would be into the whole Smoky Mountains touristy stuff (it was PACKED with people, and traffic was a challenge), but I think the aquarium was perfect for him.  There's probably something for just about anyone in those three towns!


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