Monday, July 30, 2012

The Power of Habit

I've been reading a lot lately, but mostly books related to marketing for work.  I read an article about The Power of Habit in the New York Times, and it intrigued me.  I decided to read it, even though I wasn't sure how applicable it would be to my job.

I was wrong.  In fact, after I read it, everyone at work wanted to borrow it!

The Power of Habit is all about the science behind how habits are formed, and how we can change them.  Ever wonder how some people can quit smoking cold turkey, while others end up smoking their whole lives?   Ever wonder how some people fail at diets and stay obese, and others undergo incredible transformations?

This book is just fascinating... and it really made me a bit more introspective.  For example, I have always had issues with portion control.  I eat too much, too fast.  It started when I went to West Point, and we only have 15 minutes to eat.  We used to say, "Eat now, taste later!" as we hurried off to classes.  Well, I gained weight consistently from that point on, with the exception of my semester in France where I ate more slowly to fit in, and a year in Iraq where I made working out a part of my daily routine.

The more we learn about our habits, the more easily we can change them.  I learned that my brain creates habits so that I can make fewer decisions later on, keeping my brain alert and ready for other more "urgent" decisions.  So if I ate four slices of pizza, I would continue to eat four slices of pizza because my brain said so... until the day I experimented by eating that pizza with a knife and fork to slow down.  I ate TWO slices and was full.  You have to make a conscious effort to stop yourself from succumbing to built-in habits!

I'd recommend this book to anyone... smokers, those trying to lose weight, marketers, curious intellects, or those trying to change their lives.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Nashville Zoo at Grassmere

My friend JH, her daughter EH, and dog Cookie were passing by on a long road trip, and they decided to crash at my apartment along the way!  It was a hot weekend, but I really enjoyed spending all day Saturday with them.  (I visited them last November in Texas... remember?

We woke up bright and early and got some breakfast at Dotson's Restaurant, then headed to the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere.  It was incredibly hot, but we wanted EH to get a chance to see the animals.  She loved the fish in the small aquarium the best, but she also got a look at the elephants and giraffes.  (Giraffes are still my favorite zoo animal!)

Love the fishies!

Then, after a little nap, we went to the swimming pool at my apartment complex.  EH is such a water baby!  It was so fun to see her try to swim.  Even at 18 months, she is fearless about it, and she's always love bath time.  I was also impressed by her sign language; she is too young to do more than babble, but JH has taught her some ASL for "more", "please", "all done" and even "bath" that really made it easy to know what she wants.

Swimming with Aunt Aubrey

We also had some funnel cake at the Bluegrass Upon the Harpeth festival we happened upon in downtown Franklin.  It was all so exciting for EH, and she had a blast.

I'm sad I only had a day with them, but they'll be back through for one more night on their way home.  Can't wait!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Katy Perry: Part of Me!

So after work on a weekday, I grabbed some Pinkberry, hid it in my purse, and went to see Katy Perry: Part of Me at the movie theater.

I thought it would be a fun romp, considering how much I've always loved her music.

Instead, I cried and cried.  Katy's movie isn't just a backstage pass to her concert tour and a timeline of her career like an E! True Hollywood Story.  It has raw emotion, and it is clear that Katy isn't playing a part, just being herself.

What made me cry?  Watching Katy's marriage end as her career is taking off, over the course of a year.  Watching her as she describes the dream lifelong relationships she wants, stresses about making it work across such distance but making huge effort, and then falling apart as thousands of fans are waiting to go on stage.  Some people watch their favorite singers and imagine what it's like to be them.  When I watched this movie, I KNEW what it was like to be Katy.  Because I went through the death of a marriage at the same young age, after the same huge hopes, and felt those same emotions.  As the tweens around me sang along and smiled, I wiped away tears as I saw Katy's pain.

But I also saw her resilience, and it all made me love her even more.  She, and her music, help me face every day... whether celebrating the good or persevering through the bad.

Monday, July 23, 2012

#ProjectRunway is back! #TeamVen

I know I used to recap every single Project Runway episode, but now I watch them online... so it's not a regular, weekly thing!

This year is the 10th Anniversary of Project Runway, and the latest contestants were thrown in headfirst!  The 16 designers were forced to do a  runway show in Times Square right off the bat.

I think that weird hair is a theme this year in designers (afro, dreads, long in front, leopard, partial shaved, etc.); it's like they are really trying to make themselves stand out from the get-go, versus their designs.  First-episode strategy?  Intimidating their fellow designers?  Perhaps.

My questions always is, CAN THEY SEW?  (Despite whats-her-face Anya who won despite her inability to sew last year.  VIKTOR WAS ROBBED!)

My first impressions of each designer (because in the first episodes you barely get to know them):

  • Buffi wants to be Betsey Johnson.  Her designs all looked like Betsey.
  • Gunnar's designs look very Marc Jacobs, with a minimalist flair.
  • Lantie looks like a Real Housewife of someplace.
  • Elena will find a job at House of Gaga.
  • Kooan is a goober who could dress a harajuku drag queen.
  • Melissa loves black... but I am sure they will force her to use color!
  • Ven's homework pantsuit was stunning and tailored, wearable... will he be my Viktor this year?  I think he may be a contender, off the bat.
  • Christopher is the nervous, sweet college dropout with some stunning, classy sketches. If he can really sew like that, I see potential!
  • Alicia will be the menswear as womenswear person... if she can make good pants, she'll wow them like Kimberly did last year.
  • Beatrice lacks sewing skills, and she's nervous about it. She says design comes naturally to her.  She loves knits, which if you can sew them can do great things.  Maybe she can drape?
  • Raul does menswear, but I love his feminine looks.  They look very antique-y.
  • Andrea calls herself the grandma at 58, a fashion professor.  
  • Sonjia didn't really make an impression on me.
  • Fabio is a "freegan" who dumpster dives for his food at supermarkets.  Huh?  "Freegan"?!
  • Dmitry called Buffi "loud, like her look"!  Ha!  Quiet and a former ballroom dancer.  Designs seem architectural but simple.
  • Nathan made no impression on me either.

Oh, I missed Tim Gunn!  And I wanna go to MOOD!  And this token bitchiness between Christopher and Gunnar?  Dmitry called Buffi's look "diarrhea".  Yup, we're back in the workroom.

And now, the runway...

The Dark Knight Rises

Hello, friends.

Do yourself a favor and go see The Dark Knight Rises.  For real.

Sign me up for that Christian Bale - Anna Hathaway - Tom Hardy - Marion Cotillard - Joseph Gordon-Levitt sandwich.  Seriously, I'd marry it.

Too many spoilers to discuss.  Just know that you won't be disappointed.  And if you are, it's because you decided it was hipster and chose to be.

Better just to sit back and enjoy the 3 hours of intensity and Christopher Nolan genius... even if the casting looks like an Inception sequel, minus Leo.

Do it.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Oaklands Historic House Museum

I love history...  and like my Dad, I'm especially fascinated by the Civil War.  I was invited by a coworker to check out Oaklands, where his Civil War reenactment group was doing a "living history" day.

If you like historic homes, and you're in the Nashville area, you have to check out Oaklands Historic House Museum.  It is simply one of the best house tours I've done, because it is a unique home (you can see the inner structure and how it evolved over time) and has so many pieces original to the Maney family that lived there.  I didn't get to see the whole house, because it was a special 30-minute tour (normal tours are just $10 and last an entire hour), so I may come back again if Dad wants to go.  The Battle of Murfreesboro/Stones River battlefield is also nearby, so they'd be a great combo to see in one day!

The Maney family actually watched part of the battle from their 2nd story window, and many famous Southerners stayed at the house over time, including Jefferson Davis and Braxton Bragg, who apparently hid out for the entirety of a battle in the home.  What a loser!  (I did a paper on him in college...)

There's so much to do and see in Middle Tennessee!  (No rhyme intended...  but you ought to visit sometime!)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Food About Town

I haven't been blogging about all of the restaurants I've been experiencing in the area, so I wanted to post a running list of places I've eaten.  Some of these were carryout, some were working lunches, some were dine-in.  All of them are worth trying, because I don't see the point in posting restaurants that aren't good!  :)

Burger Up- Best burger in Nashville, in my humble carnivorous opinion!  There's a location in 12 South (a trendy Nashville neighborhood) and one in Cool Springs.  They have unlimited fries, homemade ketchup, and gourmet burgers; I had the Woodstock, with bacon, Tennessee white cheddar, Jack Daniel's maple ketchup... and I added a fried egg to it.  Phenomenal!
Burger Up on Urbanspoon

Sambuca- I ate lunch at this Gulch restaurant, and it was great!  The Buca Beignets are a must-order appetizer, and the Shrimp & Crab Dip was good too.  I had a personal-sized pizza, the Cosmo topped with vodka sauce, gouda, portobellos, Canadian bacon, Italian sausage, and goat cheese.  Um, yum!  I would love to go back and try their cocktails, as well as perhaps some of the other small plates and entrees available in the evening.
Sambuca on Urbanspoon

Copper Kettle- Southern food has certainly grown on me.  (And caused my waistline to grow.)  But this restaurant was top-notch.  It wasn't until I came to Tennessee that I learned what a "meat & three" is, but for this working lunch I had the phenomenal Monte Cristo sandwich.  OMG.  Amazing.  We also sampled their desserts; the coconut cake was my favorite.  I can't eat this kind of heavy, rich food often, but at least I know where to go!

Porta Via- If you like pizza that is more European-style, this place is great.  One of their locations is right by my office, and it came highly recommended by a coworker.  I tried their namesake pizza, and it was great!  Fresh mozzarella and toppings really made it a unique pizza.  It's not the normal thick, American-style slice covered in cheese and sauce, but I loved it nonetheless.  I would like to try dinner there, and one of their pasta dishes sometime.  Though they did give me a gelato sample!
Porta Via Italian Kitchen on Urbanspoon

J. Alexander's- Everything here tastes amazing.  From the drinks to the salads to entrees... I try something different every time, and it's always good.  I think the Flirtini is my favorite drink, and the Croque Madame my favorite dish.  Even though it's a chain, it doesn't feel that way.
J Alexander's on Urbanspoon

Bricktop's- Another chain without a zillion locations, you can't go wrong here.  I've been for both lunch and dinner (there's a location around the corner from my work), and prefer the dinner menu.  You have to try the flatbread, since it's basically a signature.  And get a cookie skillet for dessert!

Urban Flats- Love this Gulch restaurant!  Went there for lunch, because you can choose things that aren't too heavy.  My friend LD got me hooked on flatbread, and the options here are great!  Drinks too... prime location in 12South and worth stopping by.

I'm sure this is only Chapter 1 of many as I eat my way through Nashville/Franklin.  I'll let you know what I find!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ted... that movie with the raunchy bear.

I've been a movie-watching fool, I know... but that's summer!

Duke and I went to see Seth MacFarlane's new comedy, Ted... (you know Seth from such gems as Family Guy) also starring Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis.

It's offensive.  It's ridiculous.  And it's kind of funny.

I mean, it starts off as this sweet little story... a lonely boy wishes his bear could be his best friend, and the wish makes the bear come to life.  But what happens after the adorable boy and bear grow up?  It's kind of this sweet romp about growing up and what it means.

But it's also vulgar.  NOT for those people who are easily offended.

I can't remember the last time I was in a movie theater where so many people were cracking up hysterically.  It was the perfect movie to see on a Friday after a full day at work, the perfect movie where you don't have to really think.  (Thanks to my pal VB for suggesting it!)

I didn't want to spoil the cameos, but there are a few, and they are memorable and fun.  If you're in the mood for a laugh, and you like things like Family Guy, you should check it out.  Expect to scratch your head at times, as randomness abounds... but it's nice to see something brainless every so often.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Wrong Foot

I subscribe to a lot of magazines... but there's one that I will pay a premium price for, year after year, because it always inspires me in some way:  O Magazine.  I read it cover to cover, and I just fill with ideas and thoughts!

In June, Oprah did an incredible interview with Deepak Chopra (in India, because she's Oprah).  I've never read any of Deepak Chopra's books, but I find that I'm fascinated by the idea of finding balance in life, experiencing spiritually (but not religiously), and simple philosophies about the good in people and the world.  (Kind of like my post about mudita.)

There was a story Deepak told within the article that I couldn't get out of my head:

"I went to a monastery in Thailand... I shaved my head and walked barefoot. My head monk asked how it was walking. I said it hurt without shoes. And he said, "It hurts in the foot that's down, but the one that's up feels really good - so focus on that one.  And I realized that all pain and pleasure is where you put your attention."

Pain and pleasure is where you put your attention.  WOW.  It made me think a lot about not just the physical woes in life, but the emotional ones.  In something so simple as the act of walking barefoot, the monk focused on the relief he felt when he picked up the foot, not the opposite foot hitting the bare ground.... and in that simple act of optimism, he found pleasure in spite of near-simultaneous pain.

How many times have we given up on something because it "hurt" us, when if we'd had a bit more optimism and focused on the positive feelings, we might have gained something?  How many times have we avoided discomfort, when the avoidance may have denied us something pleasurable and good?

I think the monk has the right idea.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Arrington Vineyards

Duke and I had one final day to spend together, so we packed up a picnic and headed out to Arrington Vineyards.  Founded by country star Kix Brooks, this beautiful winery on a hill was the perfect place to pass a lazy afternoon.

We tasted wines, bought a bottle, listened to the jazz music (part of their music in the Vines program), and ate a sweet picnic meal on the property.  I even caught a quick nap under the trees!

It was the perfect way to spend a day... we know we'll be back there in the future!  Relaxing, low-key, and all in the middle of beautiful scenery.  Plus, with the exception of wine, it's free!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Cheekwood Treehouses

It has been raining cats and dogs here in middle Tennessee, and we needed it!  It was so dry during the 4th of July that fireworks (aside from the professionals) were banned outright for fear of fires.

Weather forecast ignored, Duke and I decided to head out to visit Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art.  There was an incredible treehouse exhibit going on (continues through September 3rd), which had seven creative, interactive outdoor "houses" based on works of literature.  Fortunately, we had the sun on our side as we explored the grounds (and the art museum in the mansion) and enjoyed the gorgeous grounds.

Statue garden?

The Jolly Roger
The Walden treehouse (the most traditional of the exhibit) and a nearby stone cottage really inspired us. I've always wanted a treehouse, and we both love the look of wood and stone.  It's fun to talk about what kind of pretty places we build in our imaginations!  (The houses nearby the gardens were also really fun to look at... lots of interesting architecture to take in!)

Walden Treehouse

Stone Cottage

As we finished up our visit, the rain started to come down.  I drove us to Centennial Park, so Duke could see the scale replica of the Parthenon there.  It's really impressive, and I think he was pleasantly surprised!  We didn't get to go inside because they were closing, but we may return sometime.

Then it really started to pour rain, so we ended the evening with a shopping trip to Cool Springs Galleria and a delicious dinner at J. Alexander's.  We were going to watch a Netflix movie at home after, but instead we got caught up in TLC's "Undercover Boss".  Anyone else seen/love that show?  Funny and touching at once!

Not a bad way to spend an unpredictable weather day in Nashville!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

I have a thing for vampires... have I shared this before?  Not all vampires... I don't do Vampire Diaries and I quit watching True Blood (though I've read all the books).  For a while I read the Black Dagger Brotherhood.  But I love me some Anne Rice, some Joss Whedon Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and the graphic novel series that came out after show), and other vampire fare.  I even enjoy a little guilty Twilight every so often.

Weird for a chick that doesn't like horror, right?

Anyways, I really wanted to see Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.  I've been a fan of the writer who came up with the mashup novel since he did Pride & Prejudice & Zombies.  Plus, Tim Burton was involved!  Win-win.

This movie got slammed in reviews, and after I saw it, I had NO IDEA why.  Because if you go into it without being overly serious, it's a really good time.  I kind of thought it was hilarious and dark at the same time, and a well-executed film.

But seriously, critics... what's not to like about Abraham Lincoln wielding a silver-tipped ax and taking out the undead while uniting a nation?  Hello.  If you like some fangs and action, and you're able to laugh off the obvious historical inaccuracy, see the movie.  It's fun.

And to echo what a few historians have said, something ridiculously fictional like this will lead people to want to know more about Lincoln, his wife Mary Todd, and even the Civil War... I support anything that gets people involved in history!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Say yes.

The other night, as I was lounging in bed reading a magazine, there was a knock at my door.  I couldn't imagine who would be knocking on my door at 9 p.m....

When I got there, it was my neighbor and his pal.  They wanted to know if I wanted to go chill at the pool until it closed at 10:30 p.m.  I told them thanks, but no thanks, and shut the door.

As I crawled back into bed, I wondered why I'd said no.  Wouldn't it be a nice idea to get to know my neighbors, to make friends in a new town, to step outside of my comfort zone?

So I changed into my suit, grabbed a towel, and met them down at the pool.  They were surprised to see me, but we all talked until the pool closed.  I really enjoyed myself, and the water felt so good in the heat.

The whole thing really made me think about how "set" we become in our routines and ways, and how many times we say "no" to opportunities when they don't fall into our comfort zone.  What are we missing?  As the old adage says, you can sleep when you're dead.  It's probably a good idea to try new things... you might have a little fun.

The next time that someone knocks on your door, why not take a chance?  Unless it's a salesman.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


I have been very excited to see Pixar's latest feature, Brave, ever since I saw the previews.  Since Duke is a huge Pixar fan, I waited anxiously until his visit to see the movie, but allowed myself to read some of the articles about the film.

Wow... so many people slammed Pixar for the movie, saying it lacked plot, had an anti-feminist/feminist/gay agenda (seriously guys?  KIDS movie), and more.  But I went into it with an open mind.  (Except that I got stuck watching it in 3D... I always prefer 2D because I think the colors are more vivid, and 3D seems gimmicky to me.)

I loved it.  I laughed, and I cried.  Sure, there were the cheap kilt-joke laughs.  And the animation was in a different style than previous Pixar endeavors.   But I loved the mother-daughter story, which is what tugged at my heart.  It was so familiar to me, so relatable, and I wished I'd seen it with my Mom!

You should see it.  I'm getting it on Blu-Ray as soon as it's released!  And between Merida and Katniss, I feel the need to take up archery...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Workin' on my fitness...

Franklin Family YMCA
I was totally rocking my New Year's resolution to get back in shape... until I started job interviews, traveling, and moving to a new state.  Happily, I only gained a few of the pounds back, but I definitely noticed a huge change in muscle tone compared to when I was working out regularly.  Not cool!

One of the first things I did when I moved to Franklin was join the YMCA.  What I really love about it is that my membership grants me access to all of the Middle Tennessee YMCAs, so I can go to classes wherever whenever, nearer to work or nearer to home, shower after Nashville 5Ks, etc.  Plus, I can walk across the street to the Y from my apartment complex!

It's been blazing hot, even though I work out in the morning before work, so I haven't been running as much.  Instead, I've actually started SWIMMING in the lap pool inside the Y.  (There are outdoor lanes too!)  I'm not a natural swimmer.  I mean, I like the water... but I'm not fast or strong at it.  In fact, the first day I swam, I could only manage 10 laps (500 yards) but I'm adding laps every time I swim.  I'm hoping to build up the ability to swim about 30 laps, at which point I might be able to do some cool interval workouts.  I haven't swam laps in over a decade, but it feels so good to be in the water.

I'm also really enjoying the classes that the Y offers... I tried a Zumba class, but I really like the Les Mills Bodypump class.  Les Mills Bodypump is a group barbell class, which is an hour of working different muscle groups.  I really felt like building muscle would help me in terms of fitness, and Bodypump is great.  Between swimming and Bodypump, I was sore in muscles I didn't know existed.  I like having both strength and cardio in my workout routine; I do Bodypump 2-3 times per week.

I've still got a long way to go, but I can't complain when I have such a great workout facility on my doorstep!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Beer, Roller Derby, and Fondue... WINNING.

My man Duke Silver is in town!  Woohoo!

We have had so much fun spending time in both Franklin and Nashville, helping him get to know my new digs.  We saw Pixar's latest movie, Brave (we both LOVE Pixar!) and spent all day Saturday in Nashville.

I drove Duke through The Gulch, 12South, Music Row, and down Broadway to give him a little overview of the city.  I think he liked it!  I love the neon on Broadway.  We had a great, light lunch in the Gulch at Urban Flats, then shopped around a little bit before a visit to Yazoo Brewery.

Duke loves beer, but especially loves the art of brewing.  We've done home brews before, so I wanted something beer-related on the agenda for his visit.  Yazoo does brewery tours on Saturdays, and they do a great sampler in the taproom to get to know the beers.  I loved the Hefeweizen!  I'm not even a beer enthusiast, but I could drink that regularly.  They even stock Yazoo at my local Publix, which is great.  (Currently you can get Yazoo in Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi.)

Yazoo Brewing Co. on Urbanspoon

Then we headed to catch some roller derby bouts by the Nashville Rollergirls!  Yup, I knocked another item off my Before I'm 30 list.  It was less flashy than I imagined (darn movies and books) but still excited.  Lots of falls and pushing, and I figured out the rules pretty quickly.  Woohoo!

We ended the night with a fantastic fondue dinner at The Melting Pot.  I mean, amazing!!!  I love their blackberry sage lemonade, anything with cheddar cheese, and the flaming turtle chocolate dessert fondue.  I'd found a coupon in a recent circular, and we both loved the meal.  They even take a free photo of you!  Cheesy, but a great way to cap off the night.

Melting Pot on Urbanspoon

Can't wait to have more adventures with Duke while he's here.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Magic Mike

Yes, I went to see Magic Mike.  My friend JK came into town, and we went giggling into the theater, ready to drool over Channing Tatum in all his shirtlessness.  And even though most of the theater was filled with women, I actually felt like the movie was seedy and gritty enough to appeal to men in the audience too... and it had some cred in being directed by Steven Soderbergh.

Truthfully?  It was just okay.  I mean, I could watch Channing Tatum dance around all day... and Matthew McConaughey was just incredibly and convincingly sleazy.

This movie reminded me of another star-studded scandalously-themed movie... Boogie Nights.  I think both Mark Wahlberg and Channing Tatum are great leading men in the films.  Both movies are kind of dark and more about the pitfalls and dangers of the respective industries.

P.S.  Could someone please make a YouTube video that just cuts together all of Channing's solo dances?  Thank you.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Roku ... A new way to watch TV!
I've nearly cut the cord on cable.  I went from satellite TV with a DVR to the most basic cable (included with my internet), plus my Roku boxes.

What's Roku?  It's a device that connects to your wireless network and streams video via apps... anything from news to subscription-based services like Hulu Plus, Netflix, HBO Go, and Amazon Prime Instant Video.  You pay for the box, and then it's just whatever you want to subscribe to or watch.

I've found that I don't even watch the cable TV, since I don't have a DVR.  I catch up on my network shows on Hulu Plus, watch the latest DVDs via a 1-disc Netflix subscription, and watch BBC costume dramas free with my Amazon Prime membership.  I watch significantly less TV (goodbye, Bravo and the Housewives!) and find I read a lot more.  It's been a healthy switch for me, and it's significantly cheaper... Hulu and Netflix combined are costing me $15/month, and my basic cable service is $10/month.  Compared to satellite, it's a steal...  plus I'm much less addicted to the boob tube.

Have you ever thought about cutting the cord on your TV?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Fairfield Glade

My family spent a gorgeous (albeit HOT!) summer weekend at Fairfield Glade, near Crossville, Tennessee.  Mom & Dad were able to golf, and it was only a short two-hour drive from Franklin for me!  Fortunately, Sissy was able to fly out and join us, so it was a great reunion.  We cooked family breakfasts in our kitchen each day, and explored the surrounding area.

A few activities we enjoyed:

The weekend went by too quickly!  I can't wait for our next family vacation... Christmas in New Orleans.  :)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Arkansas BBQ

Wish I'd taken a photo like this awesome blogger...
My business travels recently took me to Arkansas... someplace you'd never know was a huge hub for business!  Since Walmart and Tyson are headquartered in Arkansas, TONS of companies have outposts in the area; basically, anyone who would ever have contact with those two companies has an office.

Business travel isn't glamorous.  Because air travel isn't glamorous anymore.  You fly, get a rental car, stay a night in a hotel, and eat at whatever restaurants are on hand.

I don't know what I expected from Arkansas, but I do know what I liked... Whole Hog Cafe.  President Bush (W) ate at the one I went to, and the Pulled Chicken Sandwich I had was top notch.  The tables have six kinds of sauce on them.  It's so good that Fodor's "Don't Miss" list for Arkansas... so good thing I visited, right?  It's won Arkansas Times' reader's choice for best BBQ since 2001, without missing a year.

I had the pulled chicken sandwich, and it was Southern heaven.  All I can say is, YUM.  Finger-lickin' yummmmmmmm.

Business travel isn't glamorous... but at least that means you can lick BBQ sauce off your fingers.

Whole Hog Cafe on Urbanspoon
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