Anthropology Inspired DIY Holiday Wreath

now i don’t mean to jump the gun on christmas. i am a firm believer in holding off till after thanksgiving to give thanksgiving its’ time to shine but i had to share this fun diy anthropologie inspired wreath that is perfect for the holidays.

i have been lusting after this anthropologie wreath for years.
yes, years. i actually pinned this wreath two years ago.
i have been on the hunt for a similar wreath (because this is my most favorite wreath i have ever seen) for a more budget friendly price for two years. wow.
then i finally decided i just had to make it.

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and although it may not be exactly the same. i think it is pretty darn close and it kept my wallet (and my husband) happy. total cost of this wreath was about $20.

what you will need:
1 styrofoam wreath from michaels*
lots of thick, fluffy white / cream yarn
hot glue gun + glue
red and white striped ribbon for the bow (or any pattern + color you prefer)

*i have also used dollar store wooden wreaths as a base for homemade wreaths in the past but was at michaels and a styrofoam (over by the floral department usually) wreath did the trick. either will work great.

i started off by wrapping the wreath with the yarn so you did not see the styrofoam. then came the time consuming part — making 30 pom poms. i made them all by hand using this tutorial and decided i would need about 3 different sizes to fill in the wreath.
side note… i just found out there are actual machines you can buy to make pom poms and they look relatively affordable so i think i may have to invest.

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so grab a comfy seat and put on your favorite show (mine being gilmore girls) because making 30 poms poms could take 2-3 episodes depending upon how diligent you are. i tend to get a little distracted by lorelai’s one liners.
and see that roll of yarn up there? i liked that kind the best because it was easy to make the pom poms look fully like cotton balls or sheep skin.

after the pom pom creation, i placed them around the wreath and started gluing with my hot glue gun. once everything was firmly glued, i tied a bow and glued that onto my wreath as well.

once completely dry, hang your wreath. unless your door is made of metal like mine (just figured that out and so we need to get something besides a typical nail to hang — any suggestions?). who makes a metal door anyway?

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oh and while you are enjoying watching gilmore girls and creating pom poms don’t forget to indulge yourself with some warm hot chocolate! this is hello kitty pink hot chocolate. it is not very rich but satisfies my sweet tooth and my girly need for everything to be cute.

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weekend recap

you know those people who can instantly make a day fun and happy? that’s what these two do for me.

i have the opportunity of teaching the four year olds at my church on sunday with keri.  it is always the best part of my weekend. i love hearing their crazy stories and feeling their endless energy. one of our darling students will be going to another church and will no longer be able to attend our class on sunday. she is the light of our class. she is everyones friend. she makes me instantly happy with her whispered secrets and contagious smile.
keri and i decided to take her to ice cream as a little send off on saturday. she requested bubblegum flavor so off we went to baskin robbins.  i love this little one and am so happy i was able to teach her and feel of her love.

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isn’t she darling? some kids have old souls and i think she may be one of them. she can connect with people of all ages. we are three peas in a pod (three can happen sometimes right?).

and then there is my darling friend keri that i thank the heavens for. we are so much alike but different. i cherish the days of christmas party planning and co teaching. you may remember she was the friend who got me to participate in our church’s talent show. every girl needs a keri as her friend.

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so saturday was filled with christmas lights, target runs and a girls afternoon with the two best.

for sunday we decided to host an afternoon of games + brunch with three other couples.
can you tell i love hosting? i love the planning that goes into it with the menu and decor. i love opening our home and creating memories. i love strengthening friendships.

and i swear i always forget to take a picture of the yummy food. i guess i am just too excited to start eating! i decided to try two new recipes (one paula deen and one ina) this time around and think one was a hit.  can you guess which one?

yes, ina. always ina. the paula recipe was pretty good but for some reason it has the entree served cold and i think i would have preferred it hot.

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oh and can you believe those flowers up there are made from coffee filters? my sister and her husband made them for me for my birthday a couple years ago and i use them all the time. so pretty and a little less fuss than real flowers. and with us leaving for the holiday, i didn’t want flowers to die while we were gone.

all in all it was a great weekend with great friends and one amazing husband. i love this time of my life. i am soaking up every moment because you never know when things could change (i feel like our lives are ever-changing).

just call us silicon vallians

okay i think it is completely official that we belong in silicon valley.
but let’s not get ahead of ourselves on why just yet. let’s talk about what a lovely november  weekend we had.

saturday morning i woke up with a craving for waffles and pancakes and french toast oh my.
finally settled on french toast since i had a honey wheat baguette to use. but to make it just a little fancier (and more fattening) , we decided to replace milk for heavy whipping cream and add a couple of tablespoons of honey to the batter. it was heavenly. the baguette style bread + heavy whipping cream is the wow factor. do you guys have any secrets to spicing up french toast?

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oh and don’t be fooled, those lovely blooms were not arranged by me (i wish). i actually coordinated an event at work and we had left over centerpieces so i took a couple home to freshen up my dinning room. i would strongly suggest karen of huckleberry designs for all your flower needs in the bay area. she was a doll and so artistic. she also worked really well within my budget.
she inspired me to perhaps take a flower design class. it is so amazing what great florists can throw together with a drop of a hat and i would love to learn at least a couple tricks of the trade.

okay, so you obviously are thinking how on earth are they silicon vallians? most people around the world adore flowers and eat french toast. but that is not why.

after breakfast, we headed to the chevy dealer to test drive the spark. we have been researching electric cars for a couple weeks because of the great leasing deals you can get and my commute to work is really wearing on me (i am talking 15 miles = 1 hour and that is ridiculous.)
we test drove the leaf last week and enjoyed it a lot more than we ever thought we would. in order to make a sound decision, we had to look at the competitors and so we happened upon the chevy dealership this sunny saturday morning.
you guys this sounds a bit crazy because we have two functioning cars and b swore he would never lease a car in his life but we fell in love and are now proud owners of a 2015 chevy spark.
and seriously proud.
it is like a clown car in size and adorably funny looking (similar to a pug puppy in my mind) but it is quick and fully electric! i will have to go into more detail of the benefits of an electric car in another post but after weeks of debating we are completely happy with our decision (and carpool lane here i come).

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and if you aren’t from silicon valley than the reason this is so huge is i would say about 40% of silicon valley residents drive gas efficient (volts, prius, fiat, smart car) or electric cars. going green is pushed pretty heavy in california.
and we are now a walking stereotype of silicon valley.

and there is no better way to celebrate our new purchase than with in-n-out and pedicures.

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how was your weekend?

weekend recap

this weekend we settled into our new place.

our two days consisted of many trips to target and costco for various needed items (christmas lights of course being one of them ha) and hosting our first dinner party!  it is starting to feel like home and i really love that feeling.

saturday morning started off with an early morning donut run to stan’s donut shop in santa clara (less than 2 miles from our home which could be dangerous). it was actually my first time going to stan’s and it won’t be my last. the line was a bit long for 8am on saturday but it was worth it! we tried old fashion, buttermilk and sprinkles. they each tasted so fresh. i loved watching the baker prepare the donuts to be cooked.

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what is your favorite donut flavor?

i have been in a complete baking mood as of late and decided to make these pumpkin cookies. and although mine did not turn out as pretty as hers they were just as delicious. b is pretty particular about his cookies and he kept on coming back to them so i know it was a recipe to save for future use. we ended up giving away most of the cookies to our neighbors as a way to introduce ourselves and not gain 5 pounds ha. warning lots of butter and shortening in these babies!

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then sunday morning i was craving these pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes. emily of cupcakes and cashmere has never steered me wrong with a recipe before and this time was no exception. the pancakes were heavy and rich. i couldn’t eat more than two but i enjoyed every bite. b said it was like eating cookies for breakfast in pancake form.

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so i totally forgot to take a picture with all the amazing food on the table but wanted to document our first dinner party in some way. there are still some items i need in my kitchen to be the perfect host (like charger plates and more of one type of place mat) but that will all come in due time.
it was the first time i got to use my table runner from the oh joy christmas collection and i think it may be a staple for all dinners in the next coming months. i love the neutrality of the piece but paired with the right decor can look holiday-esque.

it was a lovely evening full of laughs, pumpkin cornbread and homemade jeni’s ice cream.

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yes, pumpkin cornbread. made from the box a la trader joe’s. you just add eggs, milk and oil and you have yourself some delicious pumpkin cornbread. it does not have a strong pumpkin flavor – the spices are what really sets this apart from your traditional cornbread. i usually make cornbread by scratch but i just had to try this trader joe’s creation and it was a gem. everyone was asking me for the recipe so i had to spill the beans. it had more of a cake like consistency than corn bread but it was wonderful. no butter or honey needed.

how was your weekend?

A Weekend Full of Boxes

this weekend we officially moved into our new home. it was a daunting task but we had so much support from our friends and mothers that the move went seamlessly. we loaded up the truck and unloaded into our new home in about 2 hours! that my friends is success.

we were so lucky to have our moms fly out and help us unpack and organize. moms truly are heaven sent. it reminded me just how much i miss being around these two amazing women.

we are loving being in a bigger space and having a garage and washer / dryer! who knew those two things could make such a difference!? we have never had any of these things our whole 3+ years of marriage and so i feel like we are finally moving on up.

another bonus with being a home dweller? the garden!
we scored with a garden already flourishing with lemons, oranges, tomatoes, rosemary and some kind of cousin of a grapefruit.

and look at the size of our lemons! they really rip you off at the grocery store.

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yes, our lemon tree produces lemons the size of a nerf football.

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we are getting more settled and realizing that we do not have enough pieces to furnish a home. i am hoping to check out some estate sales and go about furnishing that way. anyone have any tips on finding good estate sales and how to bargain? will keep you posted on my findings!

these two women bring me so much happiness. i love them both so dearly.

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how was your weekend?

Franklin, Tennessee

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i had heard franklin was a darling town about 20 minutes outside of nashville that was not to be missed. it is where most of the country singers choose to reside. and i can completely see why. main street was lined with beautiful brick buildings on either side. there are a variety of boutiques  to browse and a good number of restaurants. b and i loved wandering the streets and browsing the home decor shops.  i think i fell more and more in love with this town with every step down main street.
the main street area reminded me a little of palo alto but definitely more southern and old fashioned. with all the vintage shops around it almost felt like we had traveled back in time. you could feel the slower pace mentality of those around us and everyone was extremely friendly.  boy, was it beautiful.

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i think there was a beautiful brick church on every block. it made my heart so happy. we also went to the factory at franklin , which is a couple miles before you hit downtown. the factory had a great selection of antiques. i loved perusing the shops and dreaming about what furniture we would fill our home with if we lived in franklin. i have never seen such a grand selection.

oh and besides the country singers, guess who else  lives in franklin. dave ramsey!
dave ramsey is a financial advisor that hosts his own radio show and has written countless books. b listens to him religiously.  dave ramsey is to b as lisa vanderpump (real housewives of beverly hills) is to me. it was incredibly exciting to even think about seeing him in person.

dave hosts his show throughout the week at his office in franklin. we were hoping to catch a show but, unfortunately good old dave was out of town. and b was very bummed. but we decided to make the best of it and still go to his office for a free cookie (best cookies of my life — thanks martha!) and see what it would have been like to watch him live. we ended up running into the director of the video portion of the show and he offered b a tour of the studio. b got to sit in dave’s chair and press the button dave uses to hang up on people! he was on cloud 9. we learned some secrets of the show and couldn’t be more thankful for the lovely director who was so friendly to notice us gazing through the window. it was definitely one of the highlights of b’s trip. he even claimed it may have been better than seeing dave in person because he sat in dave’s seat and for a second felt like dave ramsey.

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i was so happy b was so happy. b then insisted we search for dave’s house. we found it on google but it looked like it was located in a gated community. we were a little apprehensive about driving all the way there if we would just be turned away but trekked on. and to our luck, the gate was open due to contruction! we were able to enter the stunning community and lust after each and every home. dave lives next door to leann rimes so you can imagine how beautiful every home was (and realtively affordable when you think of the cost of the homes in the bay area). below is dave’s home located on the highest hill overlooking all of franklin.

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franklin was so lovely and i am so glad we made the trip out there. i think if we were to really move to nashville, that is the town we would hope to live in. it would be a hard decision because i really really love nashville too but the family oriented living in franklin is so enticing.
until next time, franklin!

a magician and his bunny

this weekend was a productive one.
we checked 1.5 things off of our fall bucket list & started packing up our apartment for our move next weekend. but packing is long, tedious and boring so let’s move on to the fun fall list.

b and i attended a halloween party at our church. we (mainly i) thought long and hard about our costumes for this weekend. i didn’t want to have to spend too much money but wanted to be creative. i promised on my fall list to create a costume for halloween and so create we must. we shopped around thrift shops and walmart and came up with a magician and his bunny!

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yes, i realize he should have worn a top hat so he looked more like a magician and less like hugh hefner and a bunny. we couldn’t find a top hat we liked for the price and decided him being in a tux rather than a robe would be a strong indicator. the guests at the party were split on who we looked more like ha.

i got to hang with some of the cute kids i teach on sunday which was my favorite part.

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the .5 point i gave myself was attending a halloween party instead of hosting one. i truly wanted to host a haunted dinner party but with this move happening the day after halloween it just didn’t seem like it was in the cards. i do plan on hosting a house warming party though so maybe that can count toward accomplishing my fall bucket list.

and sundays are for long walks. this charming house in palo alto made me remember why this time of year is so treasured. i can’t wait to truly decorate for the seasons once we have a home. i am already telling b what christmas lights he will need to put up.

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how was your weekend?

Guide to Nashville: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream

so i know you may be sick of hearing about nashville but i only have two more posts. i swear.
and technically this ice cream gem i am about to share with you was founded in columbus, ohio.  so we’re good?

jeni’s splendid ice cream is just that. it is splendid. the flavors are unparalleled and i love the consistency. we went here on a whim in east nashville because the shop itself looked so darling. then they said there was no limit on tasting so i tried almost every single flavor. and let me tell you, it was so hard to decide on just two in my cone! there were so many fun holiday flavors like sweet potato with torched marshmallows, buttercup pumpkin, and middle west whisky egg nog.  then there were their signature flavors like salty carmel, savannah buttermint, sweet cream biscuits with peach jam and goat cheese with red cherries. yes i tried all these flavors and more. and yes i loved every singly one of them. jeni’s is that delicious.
and now to the good part, jeni’s splendid ice cream has shops available in charleston, atlanta, nashville, new york city, chicago and columbus. but wait it gets better, many whole foods and specialty markets sell jenny’s ice cream by the pint. i just went to their website and found out that about 10 grocery shops fairly close to me sell jeni’s. it is a miracle! i plan on picking up a pint tomorrow night & will let you know how the selection is.

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oh & since i was there for forever sampling, i got to talking to the sales associate and she mentioned that a jeni’s shop will be coming to la! hope the next stop on their list is silicon valley. i am crossing my fingers.

have a great weekend ya’ll!
yes, ya’ll.

 

 

36 Hours in Nashville

although 36 hours is nowhere near long enough to spend in music city, i have put together a city guide of the best things to do, eat and see while exploring nashville.

nashville’s southern hospitality, acclaimed country music, green hills and shrimp & grits stole a piece of my heart. i advise all those in love with southern states to take a trip there.

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DAY 1

4pm: drinks + bowling at pinewood social (downtown) – after a long flight to the capital of the volunteer state, there is no better way to get your blood pumping and your body energized then heading over to pinewood social for bowling and drinks (great mocktail options since i do not drink alcohol). pinewood social has  six reclaimed wood lanes from an old bowl o’ rama in indiana. bowling ain’t your thing? well not to worry. pinewood social also offers billiards and karaoke! this adult style playground is not to be missed. b and i love to bowl and play pool so this was the perfect activity for us to do while it was pouring outside. if i lived in nashville, i think it would be a dream to rent the space and host a party. pinewood social has such a great atmosphere.

7pm: dinner at husk  (downtown) –  husk’s first location was in charleston and they have since opened a second location in nashville. i love love love charleston. it is one of my all time favorite cities in the states so hearing that this restaurant was associated to charleston, i had to try it. husk is located in a home on a hill away from the hubbub of broadway street. their motto is “a celebration of southern ingredients” and it was a celebration indeed! husk has a farm to table ever changing menu and offers slight twists on good old fashioned southern dishes.  b and i really enjoyed the shrimp and grits. husk topped the dish with an egg yolk which i especially loved. their whole menu sounded amazing. i just wish i had a spare stomach and bank account to try it all!

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9pm: live music & line dancing at wild horse saloon (downtown) –  you cannot go to music city and not listen to live music on broadway street! and you especially cannot not go to the wild horse saloon. wild horse is located in the heart of downtown and one block down from broadway street (broadway street is the reason they call the city nashvegas i think. there are musicians lining the sidewalks and you feel a little like cattle walking by. and i am sure it never truly sleeps).  wild horse saloon is a great place to take in the city and its’ musicians. they offer live performances most nights and the crowd is always enthusiastic. this place is huge and offers entertainment for people of all ages. b and i enjoyed line dancing the night away to the live music (wild horse offers line dance lessons on fridays every hour or so). i just wish i had some cowboy boots now…
do note, wild horse saloon has a $6 cover charge.

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DAY 2

9am: breakfast at fido (west side) – you know your favorite coffee shop that serves great breakfast too? that’s fido in nashville. fido offers a variety of different breakfast sandwiches, french toast, pancakes and scrambles. it has all the basics and then some. i am not usually a lover of wheat pancakes but was told by one of the employees that i had to try them. i was sure happy i did. they were some of the best pancakes i have ever had. fido offers bananas and blueberries to be baked into your pancakes which i am sure is delicious but i had to stick to the original for my first time. the bagles were soft, the portions were generous and the prices were moderate. fido is one of those places where you hope to be a regular because you could get used to eating their assortment of breakfast items every day. their hot chocolate was also a winner! oh fido, i need to come back for you and try the sweet potato french toast. yummmmm

11am: tour the grand ole opry (east side)  – you have to take a tour of the grand ole opry while in music city. that’s like going to la and not seeing the chinese theater. so much history! this is where many country music super stars have performed and countless tv shows and movies have been shot. it is where legends and contemporary chart-toppers performing country, bluegrass, folk and gospel come together. it is a place where country musicians hope to be welcomed as a member someday.
the tour is about a hour long and blake shelton narrates about half of it (on a video screen, don’t get your hopes up). i really enjoyed seeing all the different dressing rooms (including the one where juliette and rayna met for the first time on nashville) and standing on the stage where so many i admire have preformed. i hope to see a show in the grand ole opry next time around but for now learning the history of the famous venue will do.

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1pm: lunch at the farm house (downtown) – it may be a little daunting finding parking in this neck of the woods but once you sit down at the farm house all your worries will subside and your mouth will be watering. the farm house offers all the classic southern dishes. we enjoyed a pork bbq sandwich, white cheddar mac + cheese, brussel sprouts with bacon and  apple cake. my mouth is watering just thinking about it all. i am sometimes weary of having bacon in my dishes because it is usually not cooked enough. i did request the bacon to be extra crispy and farm house delivered. literally best brussel sprouts of my life. are they still considered healthy if they are smothered in bacon?
every dish was extremely flavorful. i think i may have even liked the apple cake more than apple pie! i need their recipe asap. my compliments to the chef at farm house.

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2:30pm: take a walk around bicentennial capitol mall state park & the parthenon (downtown) – the bicentennial capitol mall state park offers many monuments to gaze at and history to read. it also offers a beautiful view of the capitol building. b and i loved walking around and learning more about the roots of this great state. we then had to check out the parthenon. i mean who knew there was a replica of the ancient greek parthenon in the great state of nashville? i sure didn’t. i have not been to greece yet so not sure how it compares but i will say  it is huge! it was a little hard to decide what angle to take pictures from because it was so large. i enjoyed walking along the side of the parthenon and gazing at it from a distance by the lake. nashville is beautiful!

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7pm: dinner at etch (downtown) – now circle back to where you parked for the farm house and this time eat at its’ neighbor restaurant, etch. etch was my favorite meal of the whole trip. boy was it a treat. i loved reading over the menu and envisioning how each entree would taste. the waiter said it best when he said, ” the chef at etch does not do traditional well. she always has to give each dish a little flare.” and i guess i prefer the flare! we enjoyed the octopus & shrimp bruschetta (b does not love octopus and was completely scarfing down this appetizer), cobia, lamb and a chocolate pretzel bar. my taste buds were dancing with every bite in my mouth. i wish i could go back today and experience this meal all over again. obviously i love everything in this guide but if you were to pick just one place to eat, please make it be etch.

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9pm: live music at the bluebird cafe (west side) – if etch was my favorite eatery, blue bird was my absolute favorite thing to do. okay so let me give you a little background on the bluebird cafe for those of you who don’t watch nashville. the bluebird is a small cafe located in a busy strip mall. but don’t let that fool you because this is where garth brooks and t swift (to name two, there are many more) were discovered! can you believe that? the bluebird is supposed to be like a recording studio were talking and videos are not permitted.
there are 20 tables and 10 bar seats available to be reserved. so you can see this place is tiny. i woke up early two days in a row a week prior to our trip in hopes to reserve seats. but to my dismay, tickets sold out in 15 minutes! maybe it was a fluke but i couldn’t believe it. i couldn’t let that stop me though. the bluebird offers 14 church pew seats on a first come first serve basis. we got to the cafe around 7:30pm for the 9pm show and there was already quite a line for the standby seats. i was getting a little worried but knew we had to try (note it was rainy outside where we were waiting ah). we waited in line for 1.5 hours and had amazing luck. we were able to snag seats at a table because people who had reserved the seats had ended up not showing up. thank the heavens.

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we listened to james slatter, jimmy robbins and jon nite perform for almost two hours. it may have been my favorite concert to date (to be fair, i have been to less than 10 ha). these three went around in a circle introducing their songs and what inspired them. there were grammy nominated songs played and songs cut by garth brooks and blake shelton. it was incredible to hear the story behind the song and get a glimpse of the talent behind the big name stars. it really made me fall in love with country music. i always liked it but now i love it. my heart was so full hearing these musicians sing.
**do note, it is $12/person entrance fee + each person person must order one item off the menu. i indulged in a slice of lemon cake and b opted for chips & salsa.

DAY 3

9am: breakfast at marche (east side) – this european style cafe serves up some great breakfast dishes and freshly made pastries. i loved the croissant french toast. the flakiness of the bread combined with the sweet maple syrup was the perfect match. and when i said marche offers freshly made pastries i mean they have an onsite pastry chef who bakes all the delicious croissants, scones, muffins and cookies you see in the back of the store. take one of these heavenly items to go because their entree portions are so large you will not have room to eat it at the table!

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11am: walk around gaylord resort (east side) – this resort is huge! there are many conferences hosted there because it is almost like a mini city. it reminded me of vegas style resorts but without the heavy smoke and with more natural lighting and greenery (which i prefer). i loved the architecture on the inside of the resort. it felt like you could have been at a plantation or in down town charleston all at the same time. i also loved all the little shops. it was a sight to see.
**you can of course stay on site so you get to experience this lovely place every time you head to your room but it fills up rather quickly and the prices vary.

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so when are you going to nashville?

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.