Dare to Bare: Finding a Waxing Place in Nashville

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s hot below the Mason-Dixon! Hot weather means you will likely be showing a little more skin this summer to stay cool, which means no more “I’m just going to be in jeans so I don’t need to shave my legs” excuses. You know you have that one friend who was always willing to share how long it had been since they shaved and wore it like a badge of honor.

I found the experience of finding a waxing place in a new city similar to my experience looking for hair salons. In D.C., I had a girl that I absolutely adored and let me tell you the relationship you have with your waxer is a special bond. Let’s be real, this person is probably “getting to know you” on a whole different level. When I moved to Nashville I was borderline appalled by what people think they can charge for a wax. Yeah, I’m looking at you businesses that charge $83 for a wax! That wax better come with champagne or wine because that is insane.

Despite my preconceived biases against going to European Wax Center from my days in D.C. I decided to check out the one here in Nashville and I’m happy I did. First of all, based on my research, they offer the cheapest prices in the city. Also, I have never had an appointment take longer than 20 minutes and their product recommendations are usually spot on. I have yet to have a waxer that I did not feel comfortable with or struggled to communicate with during my appointment.

For those of you that are still students, they offer some great discounts and package deals that are well worth considering. So ladies…and gentleman…head to European Wax Center and dare to bare silky smooth skin!

 

 

July Fourth in Nashville

We were so lucky to have our friends in town from Ireland this weekend to celebrate the Fourth. After reading numerous blogs, magazines, online forums, etc. I decided to purchase the general admission tickets for the George Jones Museum rooftop. For $25 a piece, this was a steal! We were basically front row to the fireworks and got to enjoy live music leading up to the festivities.

Before heading over to George Jones, we took our friends to the Wild Beaver since Tequila Cowboy’s bull has been out of commission for the past few weeks. With a little bit of liquid encouragement, our buddy hopped on the bull and tried his luck. For those of you who don’t know, Wild Beaver is a karaoke bar off the main strip downtown. If you have ever been to a karaoke bar in Nashville you know that the vast majority of the singers are extremely talented. It is Music City after all! After getting our fill of the Wild Beaver we walked over to George Jones to get our wristbands for the roof.

My only complaint on this near perfect night was the service at George Jones. I used to waitress and I find myself always being extremely cognizant of servers and bartenders. When my husband and I ordered our beers the bartender said, “Okay, that’ll be $12”. We paid her $12 and she then looked at my husband as if he didn’t pay enough, and put the tip jar under his nose. This gesture was so unbelievably rude that I was completely taken aback. She genuinely did not move the jar, or her gaze until we tipped.

I have never experienced something like that before at any bar or restaurant. Then to add insult to injury, the next bartender we had was also incredibly rude. Now, don’t get me wrong, if we had been some belligerent drunks, who hadn’t tipped once, stumbling over ourselves and screaming, I think rudeness would have been appropriate; however, we were polite and stone cold sober.

It took every ounce of energy in both my husband and I not to request to speak with a manager. Quite frankly, after last night’s experience, I doubt we will return to George Jones again unless it is to see the fireworks. But all-in-all, aside from the terrible service, this was an excellent location to view fireworks in the city and I would recommend giving it a look next year. Just be aware that you may be dealing with some very unhappy bartenders as you wait.

 

Review: Husk Nashville

Husk

It’s no secret that Nashville is becoming a foodie town. About a month ago, we had friends in from D.C. who were so excited to explore the Nashville food scene and especially a Sean Brock restaurant. My friend was determined to get reservations at Husk Nashville, an “ingredient-driven cuisine that begins in the rediscovery of heirloom products and redefines what it means to cook and eat in Nashville.”

After some wheeling and dealing with OpenTable (which seems to be a recurrent problem!), we were able to get dinner reservations. Husk is located in a beautiful, old Victorian-style home in Rutledge Hill. For those looking for rehearsal dinner or a dinner event location, this place is sure to impress. The room pictured above is where our table was located and I think this space would make a very nice intimate rehearsal dinner location.

Husk is not your average weekend dinner spot. This is definitely a place I would recommend for family coming into town, client meetings, or an anniversary dinner. The food is excellent and I am happy we were able to experience this place with our friends.

The wait staff was incredibly knowledgable about the food and drink pairings, which I always appreciate at a restaurant because I would prefer not to order a beer if it is going to entirely ruin the taste of the food I selected. We started with the charcuterie plate which was a small, but exactly what you would expect at a restaurant like this. I guess that has always been my personal beef with “fancy” restaurants. Why am I paying $20 dollars to eat two bites of food? Maybe that is just an indication of my unrefined palate.

After asking the waiter for his recommendation, I selected the Catfish with English peas and potlikker. Everything in the dish paired incredibly well together, and given the size of the meal, I could have definitely ordered one more.

The menu at Husk changes frequently and offers those looking for a true culinary experience in Nashville a great venue to do so. If you are a foodie and a Sean Brock fan like my buddy Matt, this place is definitely worth a look.

Looking for other good restaurants to try in Nashville? Nashville Lifestyles published this list of Nashville’s 50 Best Restaurants. So get out your sharpie and start crossing them off!

 

Photo Credit

Breakfast Dates are the Best Dates: Five Daughters Bakery

Last night I was craving something sweet, but unfortunately we had nothing in the kitchen even remotely capable of fulfilling my sweet tooth. My husband and I decided to get up early and head over to Five Daughters Bakery in 12 South before work to get our sugar fix.

After our weekend in Atlanta, I guess we were both craving more gourmet donuts. The best part about living in Nashville is going to these extremely popular tourist places during the week when there are no lines. We walked right in and up to the donut counter, which is nearly impossible on a Saturday or Sunday.

This local bakery is probably most well known for their 100-layer donut, which is the perfect mix of donut and croissant. ALSO, you probably saw that Hayley Williams, lead singer of Paramore, used the bakery for her 100-layer wedding cake in February.

The selection at the bakery changes frequently, so today I opted for the maple glaze and vegan chocolate, and my husband got the vanilla creme and King Kong (a maple glazed donut with bacon!).  He was a little disappointed that the oreo donut was not there, but he is slowly getting over it.

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The donuts are delicious, but boy are they rich! I thought I would be able to handle at least half of my second donut, but it is not in the cards today. We took the donuts home to continue our breakfast date with some French press coffee. These donuts would no doubt be good with a regular cup of joe, but the French press coffee definitely makes all the difference.

If you are visiting Nashville in the coming months I highly recommend stopping by the bakery, but be strategic about when you go! If you arrive on a Thursday try to get there in the afternoon and stock up on donuts for your stay, or maybe choose to go later in the day on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Regardless of when you go, you certainly won’t regret paying this Nashville staple a visit.

Weekend Adventures: Atlanta

One of the hardest parts of moving away from home is leaving your family and friends behind. Fortunately, we have friends who live in Atlanta that we got to see for the first time this weekend. First and foremost, “Hotlanta” is an appropriate nickname for this southern city. IT.IS.HOT! Regardless of the heat, it was an amazing weekend catching up with friends from home and experiencing their little slice of Georgia.

For those of you who may be venturing to Atlanta this summer I wanted to recommend a few food and beer places that we thought were pretty awesome. On Friday night, we went to the BeltLine, which is essentially a giant walking/running trail connecting various neighborhoods in Atlanta. There are a bunch of restaurants off the path, and we stopped by a  place called Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall for a few drinks. This restaurant is dog-friendly which is why our friends love it because they can bring their dog, Riley, and sit outside on the lawn area. The outdoor layout is really neat and has a bunch of picnic tables and lounge chairs for those looking for a more laid back vibe. Based on first impressions, it seemed to be a pretty popular watering hole for those looking for a few drinks after work.

On Saturday morning, we headed to Sublime Doughnuts. Disclaimer: I’m not a huge fan of food photography, because quite frankly, I don’t think most people care what I am eating, but these donuts were worthy of a picture! I opted for the classic nutella and the hubs picked up a reese’s peanut butter cup donut.

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How awesome does that look?!

After walking off our donut coma, we went to check out Ponce City Market. I would highly recommend checking this place out, especially if you are trying to please people with a variety of appetites. The food was great, BUT the best part was The Tap On Ponce. Their beer selection was diverse and had something for everyone, and they even bottle their own beer. So cool! The shops at the Market were also very nice. They had a lot of boutiques and a few of the classics like West Elm and Anthropologie.

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After going home to regroup, we went to the Olde Blind Dog Irish Pub to watch the U.S. play Colombia in the third place game for the Copa. Unfortunately, the U.S. lost 1-0, but the Guinness and shepherd’s pie were enough to ease my sorrows.

Our food journey came to an end Sunday morning at Murphy’s. The food was excellent, but I would recommend calling ahead to make a reservation. We made a reservation on OpenTable, but when we arrived they said they do not use OpenTable for reservations so we had to wait about 20-30 minutes. Despite the wait, the food is farm-to-table and definitely worth waiting for.

I can’t wait to head back to Atlanta, but maybe we’ll wait until Fall when it’s not a thousand degrees 🙂

 

 

Sunday Musings: Communication is Key!

It was so great seeing our friends this weekend in Atlanta. They are getting married in March and it was really nice being able to learn more about their wedding plans and give some (hopefully) helpful pre-marriage advice. Our friend’s fiancée found one of those online questionnaires that I am sure you have come across called, 70 Questions to Ask Your Significant Other Before Getting Married, and started going through the list with him a few weeks ago. His initial reaction to these questions was not one of enthusiasm, but I think there is some merit to these “getting to know you before I invest in our life together” questionnaires.

We have friends that are in serious relationships and married that fall on all levels of the spectrum. My husband and I have always been good communicators by nature, but even our very talkative selves really benefited from having a third-party ask us some tough questions before we got married.

Maintaining open lines of communication during particularly trying times is not only difficult, but it can be emotionally exhausting. In my opinion, this is when communication is most critical in a relationship. One of the best pieces of advice that have been shared with us, and that I shared with our friends, was the following:

Think of both parties in a relationship as different countries. Let’s say I’m Spain and my husband is Russia. When my husband describes something to me in Russian, it is likely I will misinterpret some aspect of what he is saying because I am from Spain. To eliminate this issue of things being lost in translation or misinterpretation, it is on me as the listener to say to my husband, “What I am hearing you say is ________,” and for him to either confirm that I am hearing him correctly, or clarify his message. This dance of “do you understand what I am saying” continues back and forth, until each party understands the other’s message. It may seem ridiculous, but this method can keep escalating emotions at bay, and lead to more productive conversation.

I wanted to share this little nugget today as my Sunday musing, because frankly, it’s something I need to be reminded of in my own relationship. So regardless of if you are in a relationship, or just dealing with someone in general, it’s good to keep in mind that we are all speaking our own language, and sometimes our words can get lost in translation.

If you have any marriage advice you’ve found extremely helpful, I’d love to hear it!

Communication

Photo Credit

Why You Don’t Need a Travel Agent

I’m taking a half-day from work today and heading to Atlanta to see some friends who recently moved to the area. I’ve only driven through Atlanta so I can’t wait to actually experience the city like a local with my friends. The blog is going to be a little quiet this weekend as a result.

I traveled a lot as a kid. Every summer, we would either hop in the car or hop on a plane and head somewhere new. This summer ritual led to my current love for travel. Growing up, my parents relied on a travel agent to plan most of our adventures, and while our trips were extremely organized, I never understood why they just didn’t plan them themselves.

When I was living in Europe I got my first taste of planning my own trips and was surprised by all my friends who would only go on planned trips through tour companies. If you think you need a tour company or travel agent to see the world you’re wrong. Here are some tips and tricks to plan your own trips and save money:

  1. Do your research! While skimming the Internet, I’m sure you have seen itineraries posted from tour companies enticing you to pay them thousands of dollars to take you on a trip. Save your money and use their itinerary as inspiration. The beautiful thing about planning your own itinerary is you call the shots and are not a hostage to the preplanned itinerary of a company.
  2. Play around with your flights. Many people use travel agents to score good flight and hotel deals, but playing around with Kayak.com,Priceline.com, or Hotel Tonight will snag you similar deals, but you have to know your airport hubs. A flight from New York or Philadelphia to Europe is going to be significantly cheaper than some other major airports. Instead of booking a flight from Nashville to Iceland, research what airports are running deals to Iceland. For example, Baltimore has been running a special to Iceland for a while now and booking a flight from Nashville to Baltimore to Iceland will save you a couple hundred dollars.
  3. Prioritize your spending. Traveling costs can add up quickly if you don’t prioritize how you want to spend your money. Do you want to spend your money eating at the most exclusive restaurants in Paris or would you rather spend your money on museums and the opera? Is a luxe downtown hotel your priority or are you happy roughing it at a campsite for a few days? Every traveler is different. To save money when I travel abroad I almost always opt for an airbnb rental or a hostel.
  4. Speak with the locals. A travel agency or tour company can certainly offer you their take on what to see and do on your travels, but there is no better resource than a local. A local is going to save you money by telling you what is a waste of time and what is worth seeing. Not to mention, they will likely have good recommendations for restaurants and bars outside of the touristy areas that will likely save you from overpaying.
  5. It will be, what it will be. Many people use travel agents to take some of the risk out of traveling. Travel agent or not, anytime you travel you run the risk of a flight being cancelled, a hotel not meeting your expectations, etc. These things happen and can be easily mitigated. My husband and I had numerous flight delays the last time we went to Italy. Consequently, we missed our two-night stay in a hotel in Lake Como. Luckily, we had travel insurance on our flight and we able to talk to the hotel manager to get our money back on the hotel. Sometimes it just takes some wheeling and dealing, but you can usually get your money back.

You know yourself and your travel habits better than any travel agent or travel company, and taking ownership of your travel plans will make it more enjoyable. So take the plunge, and be your own travel agent on your next trip!

Cinque Terre

*my husband took this photo in Cinque Terre, Italy

12th and Porter

12th and Porter, a music venue/bar/restaurant near the Gulch, closed its doors February 28, 2015 and was reopened in February 2016 under new ownership. Since I am a recent transplant to the area, I have only seen the venue under its new ownership. My husband and I went to see The White Buffalo in April, and it was an incredible show; I highly suggest you check them out if you’re into any kind of loud raspy folk rock. Believe it or not, this was the first show we have been to since we moved here.

12th and Porter reminds me of a place in DC called the 9:30 club. It has a similar setup on the inside and the same feeling of intimacy with the band on stage; however, 12th and Porter is much smaller. My husband is a HUGE White Buffalo fan, and when I found out they were coming to Nashville I immediately bought tickets.

The venue has a restaurant and bar that is separate from the actual venue space. Interestingly enough, the stage is just one room over from the restaurant, so I imagine patrons of the restaurant can easily enjoy the music from the restaurant side without the extra expense of buying the tickets. The stage side has its own bar, which did not get crowded at all during the show. I was a little surprised by this because it’s a pretty small bar, but the limited number of people in the venue probably creates a decent ratio.

Since April, I’ve been skimming their site for the next familiar artist we can go see. In the meantime, we plan on heading there for dinner one night to check out their food. Overall, the beer was cold, the music was life changing (hubby made me say that), and I would highly recommend seeing an artist there.

To give you an idea of how close we were to the stage, check out this video we took from the concert:

Have you been to 12th and Porter? What show did you see?

 

How Going Vegan Made Me a Better Cook

Since I was a little kid, I’ve loved to cook. When I was little, my cooking consisted mostly of ramen noodles and baking pre-made cookies. I’ve come a long way since those days. A year or so ago, I was having a lot of digestion problems and my doctor recommended that I eliminate dairy, gluten, etc. and keep a food journal to write down how I felt after eating certain foods. The food journal lasted all of a day, but I did notice a huge difference in how I felt when I decided to follow a vegan diet.

I was strictly vegan for about 9 months and I absolutely loved it! Now, I would consider myself a flexitarian. My husband and I try to eat vegan at home, but recently we have been eating more vegetarian meals. Becoming vegan truly changed how I cook. Due to the restrictiveness of a vegan diet, I learned how to become extremely creative in the kitchen. Many of the cooking swaps I learned while being vegan I still use today.

Being vegan also helped me really think about the food I was putting into my body. As they say, “Your body’s a temple” and you SHOULD treat it that way. Focusing more on a whole foods, plant-based diet keeps my skin clear, maintains my weight, and all around gives me more energy.

I would highly recommend a vegan diet for anyone who is experiencing digestive problems because it truly gets you back to basics. Being vegan helped me learn that I have a slight dairy intolerance. Yes, I do still have an occasional sundae from Elliston Soda Shop, but trust me, I hate myself afterwards. Banana ice cream has become my new favorite ice cream to experiment with at home and definitely satisfies my sweet tooth.

For those considering going vegan or just trying it out for Meatless Mondays, I would highly recommend the following sites to get you started:

If you don’t feel like cooking vegan at home there a few great vegetarian/vegan restaurants in Nashville that are worth a try! I would highly recommend Avo, Coco Greens, and Wild Cow. And if you need some more inspiration to get cooking, check out my Pinterest boards: Vegan Breakfast, Vegan Lunch, and Vegan Dinner.

What are your favorite vegan/vegetarian spots in Nashville?

Walking Playlist: Podcast Edition

Centennial Park

After my injury, I gave up on running and started walking when I could. Centennial Park is my go-to walking spot in Nashville. To easily pass the time, I listen to podcasts on my walks. If you’re in the market for some new podcasts, here are some of my favorites.

Serial: I find Sarah Koenig’s voice extremely relaxing for some reason. The creators of this American Life created the Serial podcast and Season 1 followed the Adnan Syed case. This case hits particularly close to home because I grew up about 20 minutes from where this murder happened. The podcast leaves you in a constant state of, “He’s innocent! No,he’s guilty!” The most recent season followed the Bowe Bergdahl case which was equally as interesting.

Undisclosed: The State Vs. Adnan Syed: I was pretty depressed when Serial’s coverage of Adnan Syed ended. I stumbled upon the Undisclosed podcast to get my fix. The podcast is more of a legal look at the case, but provides a lot of good information from three lawyers who have/were intimately involved with the case. To be candid, I don’t think it is as good as Serial, but it will satisfy your depression once you finish Serial.

Myths and Legends: In college, my favorite elective was Greek and Roman Mythology. This podcast is a great retelling of many stories you will remember as kid and some you have never heard of. The podcast covers everything from Greek mythology to some of the famous Disney stories that we are all familiar with. They are a little over a half hour long making them great for a quick walk around the park. For all the men out there, my husband loves this podcast as well!

10% Happier with Dan Harris: I picked up the “10% Happier” book by Dan Harris a few months ago. The book was excellent and I have really enjoyed listening to his podcast. On the podcast he interviews a variety of people on their experiences with either meditation or mindfulness. So far, the most interesting one I have listened to was his interview with Rivers Cuomo. The Weezer frontman has been meditated since he was a kid and still finds time to meditate over an hour a day! #lifegoals

Guys we F*****: I was very skeptical of this podcast when a friend suggested it to me about a year ago. Quite frankly, it did not seem like something I would be interested in, but I gave it a try anyway. The podcast is done by comedians, Krystyna Hutchinson and Corinne Fisher, from New York City. Almost every episode discusses a sexual escapade by one of the girls. Be warned this is an EXTREMELY graphic podcast. Personally, I found the first year of the podcast to be hysterically funny. I like that it provides a safe space for women to discuss what is often considered taboo topics. I listened to about a year’s worth of podcast and have since deleted it from my feed. If you haven’t listened to it yet, I would recommend trying it out. If you can handle it, great, if not, delete it.

I’m in the market for new walking podcasts, any suggestions?

Image found here