5 Reasons Why I Fell in Love with Nashville

before i dive into best things to do, eat and see in music city, i wanted to take a step back and let you know why i fell in love with this city over a mere 4 days. like if it were an option with our jobs right now, b and i really may be on the next flight to nashville and here is why.

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1. the people. i have never had so many people come up and talk to me out of the blue. sure it was a little small talk but it just felt right. i felt so welcomed. some locals would give us tips and others would make little jokes to us as they walked by. nashville has that community feel and southern hospitality trait down pat. it makes me want to do better and get to know those around me (whether it be in the grocery store or the park or at a coffee shop). the locals were also proud of where they were from and their southern roots.

2. the culture. i love the boots, the lingo (ya’ll), the church on every corner (beautiful churches), the food, the energy and the die hard country music. i read a quote somewhere in downtown nashville that said something like country music is not solely about the artist or the melody but it is about the way you feel. i love that. some people are logical and have profound thoughts. i feel every thing. country music makes me feel alive, happy and grateful. country music is the soul of nashville.

3. the weather. four seasons but fairly mild four seasons. i love the fall leaves and the rain while we were there. then the sun came out the last day and it was glorious. it is not california but i really enjoyed the variety.

4. the faith. these are god loving people and i love how proud they are of this knowledge. i feel sometimes like it is looked down upon to talk about religion in california but in tennessee it is always talked about! most all little boutiques we went into had quotes about faith or god or heaven. there is also a beautiful stone church on every block. nashvillians wear their faith on their sleeve and i love that about them (no matter if they belong to my church or another church).

5. the greenery. b and i read that it is estimated to rain about 50% of every day in nashville, which equates to beautiful lush landscape. driving on any free way we saw rolling green hills. coming from a california drought, it was a nice change of pace.

i loved most everything about the capital of tennessee. and maybe i fall in love too quickly but nashville showed me a different way of living.  a simpler way of living.

Umbrella Weather

today, b and i are headed for an impromptu getaway to nashville. we literally just decided last week to take some much needed time off and  head to music city. nashville has been on my wanderlust list for some time and my curiosity has increasingly grown while watching nashville the show. we are excited to have some good southern bbq, line dance the night away and rock out to country music. i have been monitoring the weather report and it may rain during our time there so all i can think about is grabbing a cute umbrella to stay dry. here are my favorites!

 

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don’t forget to follow along on instagram where i will be over gramming  our adventures in this southern state!

weekend recap

this weekend b headed home to the salty city to attend a friend’s wedding. i was left for a solo weekend at home. it was fairly uneventful but sometimes those are the kind of weekends you need every once in a while. a weekend where you eat cold cereal for dinner. a weekend where you adjust the air conditioner to your desired temperature. a weekend to remember how much i love spending my weekends with b.

on thursday night, before b left me, we headed to rooster t. feather’s comedy club in sunnyvale.  i actually bought tickets many months ago via groupon and they were getting ready to expire so we figured it was now or never. besides the cost of tickets, which was $12 for 2 through the deal, rooster t feather also requires you to purchase two menu items per person. not to worry, we indulged in popcorn, nachos, a hot dog and cherry coke. food was like any ball park because you weren’t there for the food, you were there for the experience/ entertainment. it was a fun night and i really enjoyed 2 of the 3 comics we saw.

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 saturday afternoon, i headed to the movie theatre to see “meet the mormons”. it is a great film documenting the lives of 6 mormons across the world. i really really enjoyed watching the different stories and learning what being a mormon means to others. if you do not know a lot about the mormon religion, i strongly encourage you to attend this movie. it lays out the basic foundations of our religion and is available at movie theaters across the country. one of my favorite quotes from the movie was “i’m not perfect , but i’m perfect at trying.”

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one of the perks of b being gone (there are very few) is i get to bring out the lipstick. b is not too fond of lipstick and prefers the nude lip. this wine colored lipstick screamed fall to me and i was glad i got a chance to rock it!

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and sometimes i just like pouring through cook books for hours. i find them inspirational and thought provoking. of course this is a barefoot contessa cook book. we all know my obsession with ina…
oh and that ring is my temporary wedding ring while mine is being cleaned and rhodium plated.    it is a little weird looking down and seeing a big bow but think it is the perfect temp to hold the place of my wedding ring.

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cheers to another restful weekend.

what did you do this weekend?

currently

reading: the vacationers. i am about 50 pages in and am not truly captivated yet. the book is about 300 pages so i would have thought i would be hooked by now. will keep you updated as the story progresses. it does make me yearn for a trip to mallorca.
i also recently finished “the one and only”  by emily giffin. now that book sucked me in. but more like a gossip girl or 90210 show sucks you in. it was a little bit of a soap opera but, sometimes my mind just wants to unwind and romantic novels tend to take me to a different state of being. who is with me? have you read any life changing books? i will still attest that “me before you” was one of the best books i have read in a little while. it changed my perspective on life. the characters were so real and identifiable. i cried when it ended and still think about it often.

craving: a crisp fall day sipping apple cider. don’t get me wrong this indian summer has been nice but i think i am ready for a change of pace. here is a great recipe for homemade apple cider.

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dreaming of: our new home. we signed a lease yesterday on a house. it is still in the area (only about 4 miles from where we currently reside) but we are so excited to be able to live in a home with a garage and a yard. it is a lot larger than our current apartment so all i can think about right now is how to position all our furniture and what more we will need to  fill the space. we finally have space! b and i are over the moon.

have my eye on: this coat from hm. i do have a good selection of coats but what is one more to ring in the new season? and it is such a great price point. we will be traveling to colorado and utah for the holidays so that is just another reason i need this coat in my closet. or can we count that as two more reasons?

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 what’s on your mind?

#cityweekly – foods for fall

i love eating seasonally and nothing says tis the season like pumpkin bread and apple cider.
this week, emily and i decided to round up some great fall foods for your taste buds to enjoy this season in silicon valley and dc.

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butternut squash soup @ bistro maxine (palo alto) – i was never much a soup fan growing up but then during college something changed. i began to love soup. maybe because it was so cold and it seemed like the only thing that would warm up my body besides hot chocolate. maybe i started to become less picky. maybe i never really gave soup in sunny southern ca a chance. whatever the reason i have come to love certain soups, butternut squash being one and french onion being another. bistro maxine makes both of these options exquisitely. the creaminess and flavor of the butternut squash soup is just divine and puts me in a cozy mood instantly. you won’t want to miss this soup when the weather starts to turn chilly!

pumpkin macaron @ chantal guillon (palo alto) – macarons are one of my favorite treats and chantal guillon provides the best assortment! i love this charming cafe that serves macarons with tea. now the pumpkin macaron is not officially out yet this season but i was assured by the shop owner that they will be providing them at their shop 10 days before halloween. mark your calendars for october 21! i know i will. i have yet try a macaron flavor that i do not like.  also note that a thanksgiving pecan macaron will be coming to the shop in november. oh my!

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fall cupcakes @ frost (campbell) – this cupcake factory won cupcake wars a couple of years ago so you know it will be worth every bite. frost is always creative and comes up with some of the most out of the box flavors for every season. this fall, frost introduced apple crumble, carmel apple and pumpkin spice cupcakes. yumm. i personally love the apple crumble for the extra streusel that is sprinkled on the frosting.

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pumpkin ice cream @ tin pot creamery (palo alto) – remember this #cityweekly about my favorite ice cream shops in the bay area? it is not only one of my favorites but is a finalist for the martha stewart american made contest! if martha and i are both in love with this shop it is further evidence that you better head on over to tin pot asap! this season, tin pot is offering pumpkin flavored ice cream which is delicious (but all of their flavors are perfection really). don’t forget to devour your pumpkin ice cream in a waffle cone for an extra sweet crunch.

apple pie @ palo alto creamery (palo alto) – my mom makes an apple pie every thanksgiving. it is probably my favorite of the 4 different types she makes. i love the flakey crust and sweet apples. i love when it is topped with vanilla ice cream. i love when the apples squirt out a little juice. although palo alto creamery is still not mom’s, it is a competitor and really hits the spot. it has all the great components and the diner atmosphere makes it feel that much more authentic and all american.

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don’t forget to head on over to 20somethingfashion to read about emily’s dc picks!

what are your favorite fall foods in your city?

 

The Perfect Fall Salad

lately I have been obsessed with all things Ina Garten. you know barefoot contessa? i really think she can do no wrong. every recipe she shares is so flavorful yet simple. this is my favorite style of cooking. it would be a dream cooking alongside her. we would swap dinner party stories, measure everything to a tee and dance to her barefoot contessa jingle.
when b’s parents came to town I knew it was the perfect opportunity to go all out and try some more of ina’s recipes. we tried her lemon chicken, overnight waffles and roasted butternut squash salad. all were delectable if I do say so myself but the one that stood out to me was the salad. i loved it. b who is not a squash lover loved it. b’s parents couldn’t stop raving about it. it had all the right ingredients (not too many of them) and can be thrown together quite easily. it is the perfect fall salad.

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Recipe:
Ingredients

1 (1 1/2-pound) butternut squash, peeled and 3/4-inch) diced
Good olive oil
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons dried cranberries
3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 ounces baby arugula, washed and spun dry
1/2 cup walnuts halves, toasted
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the butternut squash on a sheet pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes.

While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.

Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, the walnuts, and the grated Parmesan. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

**i will say we substituted arugula for spinach just because we are spinach salad lovers. i am sure either work great.
another bonus is butternut squash is in season so Trader Joes has them available at a killer deal!

what do you think makes a good salad? what are you favorite recipes for fall?

#weekendinpolaroids

this weekend we stayed local and lounged around. it was a weekend of cuddling, indian food, lds general conference, grocery shopping & motorcycle riding. it was a weekend to enjoy each other’s company and listen to latter day prophets. it was a weekend to celebrate fall .even though the weather here is still in the high 80s and not feeling at all like fall. hello indian summer / ca heat wave.

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we did venture south to san martin on saturday afternoon where we navigated my very first corn maze and picked up some pumpkin decor. our apartment is now a bit more decorated for the season.

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besides hitting up local parks on sundays, we also love taking a ride on b’s motorcycle. it is a fun way to get out and feel the wind through your hair. i feel at peace and a little liberated on the back seat of b’s bike.  i have my best thinking sessions on the back of that bike.

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cheers to the first weekend of october. you were much needed.

what were you up to this weekend?

 

A Bay Area Inspired Welcome Basket

my mom is the most thoughtful person I have ever met. she loves to make everyone feel comfortable and appreciated. she buys all my favorite cereals and breakfast items even if I am only visiting for one day. she calls me several days ahead of my visit to see what she can make for dinner in the evening. she makes welcome baskets for guests full of late night goodies. and most importantly she welcomes everyone into her home with a big hug. she is the quintessential hostess.

i am working on this attribute because i admire it so much. when b’s parents decided to come visit us I knew this was the perfect time to put my hostess skills to the test. besides the amazing restaurants and recipes we indulged in (as you may remember I revolve all good trips around food), i thought it would be nice to surprise them with a small welcome basket full of california goodies. i had to welcome them to the bay area in style, you know?
i also felt terrible that we were not able to host them at our own apartment since it is a one bedroom and rather small and thought some goodies in their hotel room would make it feel more homey.

i grabbed ribbon and a basket from the dollar store (score!) and filled it with some tasty local treats.

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And, of course you have to include a fun rhyming note. I was inspired by emi of the well traveled wife. she always creates the most darling notes for every occasion.

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what are your favorite gift basket goodies?

A Day at Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park

last weekend, b’s parents came to visit. they have come a few times before but always with b’s siblings so it was fun to hang out with just them and be on a double date the whole weekend. b’s parents have been to san francisco a number of times but had never been to golden gate park. b and i love golden gate park and knew they had to see it (remember it is on my top 5 parks in the bay area?). golden gate park is so vast and has such an assortment of activities it was hard deciding what to show them. stow lake kept coming into my mind every time i started to plan the weekend so that is exactly what we did.

it was a blustery day in the city when we arrived but there was no turning back now. i think the overcast weather actually helped it be less crowded and easy to find a parking space (score).
we arrived in the afternoon and headed to the stow lake boathouse where we decided on a large peddle boat that would hold 4-6 people. the peddle boat cost $34/ hour but really one hour is all you need. the boathouse also offers electric boats and row boats (last time b and i rented a row boat he did all the work so he insisted we get everyone involved with a peddle boat). the peddle boats are rather slow and don’t pick up speed even if you peddle as fast as you can. it was a calming pace though and allowed us to really take in all the scenery. i really wish i had brought my nice camera but was a little skeptical bringing it on a boat.

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the lake is one large loop with many beautiful bridges that you get to pass under. there were also a plethora of geese, ducks and seagulls so bring some bread to feed them. b’s mom had come prepared with a granola bar, which entertained us for a good 30 min. the geese would eat right out of your palms. b was in heaven. the ducks were less adventurous though so we had to throw them their food.

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after we finished boating, we decided to stay in the park and grab some soft serve ice cream. i had heard wonderful things about twirl and dip and knew we had to try it (we were about to try it many months ago but realized they only accept cash and we were out of luck so this time we came prepared). twirl and dip is known for their frozen yogurt dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with salt. it was really tasty but a little hard to eat since the hardened chocolate on top is quite thick (granted i had it in a cone so a cup might have worked better). i would say it is worth the mess though. the salt sprinkled on the rich chocolate was delectable. twirl and dip also offers different types of sundaes that all looked tasty as well. b’s dad had a sundae and loved every bite. next time we go i will be sure to try a sundae.

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after our sweet treat, we thought it would be fun to explore the rose gardens (also located in the park). unfortunately, the road to the garden was blocked off and we tried a few different routes with no luck. it was a bit of a bummer but i will just keep it on my bay area must see/do list.

what are your favorite things to do in golden gate park?

linked to : local adventurer

#cityweekly – Best Pizza in Silicon Valley

#cityweekly is back. my apologies, for the random hiatus. emily and i have both been busy and then my blog was being reconstructed but it is all water on the bridge now. we are back and giving you the best of the best from coast to coast.

i recently read delancey, which is a great story about a recently married couple who opens up a pizza cafe together. the author goes into detail of the research process involved with opening up  a restaurant and how her husband went near and far to sample the best pizza around the country. she also talked about what her husband thinks makes a pizza highly rated. do you think it is the dough or cheese or sauce? he claims the dough. this got me on a pizza kick.

so this week we are talking best pizza in silicon valley and dc. i love pizza however, don’t eat it a lot because of the calories. but sometimes all your body wants is the comfort of fresh dough and melted cheese. sometimes there are days when calories should be thrown to the wayside.

below are my picks for the best pizza in silicon valley. don’t forget to check out emily’s blog for the best pizza in dc!

pizza list

delfina (locations in sf, burlingame and palo alto) – i have eaten delfina at  the burlingame location and palo alto location. both experiences were wonderful. i love this place. i love their menu. i love their staff. i love their decor. and i love their pizza. you can taste the freshness of their cheese and toppings in every bite. i have tried the margherita and prosciutto pie and really loved both for different reasons. i have also tried delfina’s chicken salad nicoise which is a great entree if you are not in the pizza mood. it was incredibly flavorful and filling. i would also recommend ordering an appetizer of burrata. oh my goodness their burrata is to die for and i crave it every day. the bread on the side of burrata is perfectly toasted and delfina soaks it in olive oil before serving. yummmm

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blue line pizza (locations in mountain view, campbell, burlingame, san carlos and daly city) – another great pizza shop with multiple locations for all to enjoy! blue line offers both deep dish and thin crust style pizzas but be warned the deep dish takes a little longer to cook. some people claim it is the best deep dish in the bay area though so it may be worth your wait depending on your crust preference. their deep dish is a corn meal crust if that sways you. i really enjoyed the white pie and pesto chicken!

bibo’s (san jose)  – bibo’s is ny quality pizza! the slices are large. crust is crisp and thin so you can fold it in half.  the owner is from new york. what more could you ask for?  bibo’s has also perfected the sauce to cheese ratio to give you maximum flavor. i would recommend checking out bibo’s when you want a simpler pizza with 3 toppings or less. it is a smaller place so i always opt for pick up.

terun pizza (palo alto) – terun creates neapolitan style pizzas just the way i like it. all their toppings are fresh and high quality. i am actually devouring the san daniele pizza as i type this. that is how much i love this place. the prosciutto and large shavings of parmesan cheese covered the whole pizza. i also love the hint of truffle oil i tasted in the crust. terun is the place you go if you want to feel like you are in northern italy again. viva l’italia.

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pizzetta 211 (sf) – according to delancey, this is one of the top 3 pizza places in the bay area and i would have to agree! pizzetta offers tasty thin crust pizza with farm to table toppings. they switch up the menu weekly to ensure all the ingredients in the pizza are in season. pizzetta is also very creative with their toppings and offer a variety like I have never seen at most pizza places. farm egg and asparagus on a pizza? yes please.

and of course if you are in the city there is also tony’s, which is the most famous of them all. i have heard amazing things but am sorry to say i have not had the opportunity to go so did not include it in my post. it is on my list though so will let you know what i think when i go!

what do you thinks makes an award winning pizza?
what are you favorite pizza spots in your city?

linked to : local adventurer