3 days in Nashville!

I’ve been wanting to make a trip to Nashville for a couple months so when my boss said they needed someone to cover a class for two weeks in Nashville I jumped at the opportunity!! My schedule ended up being pretty full but I did get three full days in the city!

My company provided lodging and I was actually in Hendersonville, TN about 25 mins outside of downtown Nashville but it wasn’t that bad of a commute. However I have decided that if I had a choice or plan my own trip to Music City its best to stay as close to downtown as possible. Parking was absolutely overpriced, more so than any other city I have spent time in! On my last night there I parked for 45mins to catch the sunset off the pedestrian bridge and it cost me $15, I did find that parking in a few of the parking garages in the Gulch are free for the first hour and then not to expensive after that. So I would highly recommend staying downtown or close enough to grab and uber or lyft which there is no shortage of throughout. The whole area is very walkable as well.

Ok I must confess I’m not exactly a fan of country music and defiantly not anything from the last decade. I grew up with Tim McGraw and the Dixie chicks but outside of that it all sounds kinda silly to me, Hopefully I don’t offend anyone! So my trip to Nashville is everything you can see/do besides the Honky Tonk bar scene.

I’m a huge fan wandering off the beaten path and finding all the neat untouristy things a city has to offer. Of course I like to see the main attractions and what all the people are talking about but I feel you really get to know a city by picking one or two main attractions to see then letting the rest of the day happen organically. One thing I couldn’t pass up was the Nashville wings located in the Gultch. It’s a beautiful pair of intricately painted wings on the side of a building that people line down the street to get a picture of. I thankfully was one of only three people to visit this on a Thursday evening! I kinda wish I had a different outfit on and did a different pose but I’m thankful that I was able to find a stranger that would at least take my picture since I was rolling solo. One of my favorite things about my time n Nashville was all the awesome street art, it was everywhere and so neat! I would plan a trip back just to seek out all the murals!

Of course I can’t leave a city without visiting the local farmers market, they are my absolute favorite thing to do and see everywhere I go. The Nashville farmers market so far is my favorite market stateside, I made three visits and saw new things each time. I loved all the fresh produce and the smell of fresh strawberries filled the air, there were fresh flowers, meats and cheeses and pastries. At the end of the market was a greenhouse with all sorts of plants and trees and I hated that I couldn’t take them all home! In true Nashville fashion there was live music, fresh lemonade and a coffee truck. as well as an amazing food truck that you can read about in my Nashville food post! The market is located within the bicentennial park and capital mall, its a lovely park with great views of the state capital and the walkway is lined with a great timeline of Tennessee’s history. Parking is limited though and I had a hard time finding a spot on Saturday due to it being their busiest day.

I had fun exploring all the little areas and neighborhoods outside of downtown, Hillsborough Village is a hip little area with some great shops such as Pangaea and Posh. There is also the very popular Pancake Pantry and Jeni’s ice cream. I also enjoyed an area a little south of downtown, there is some great street art including the “make music not war” mural, a great floral war as well as the “I believe in Nashville” and the great stripped wall outside of Reese Witherspoon’s boutique DraperJames. I also stopped at five daughter bakery and just enjoyed walking the streets here.

On my Sunday I enjoyed a great service at The belonging Co, very spirit filled, great worship and the staff/volunteers were very inviting. I enjoyed the sermon greatly and loved how they seemed to really care for their community. After church I found myself in Greece, well I was in Centennial park but a life size replica of the Parthenon resides there. For $6 you can go inside to the art gallery and also see the massive gold statue of Athena. The Park boasts a lovely duck pond, walkways an open field for picnics and playground for the kids. There was also a food truck on the afternoon I was there.

I’m a big fan on supporting local business owners and small businesses that give back to their communities. I happened to follow a few Nashville owned businesses on Instagram so of course I had to stop by their shops and pick up a few goodies and Two of them happened to be on the exact same street. The Shine Project employees local teens and also helps with college funds as well as being a great Girl power and self love influencer. I follow Ashely on both her @theshineproject page and her clothing page and she is just overall an amazing woman that changes lives and encourages other through her testimony, you should defiantly check her out! they had all sorts of handmade jewelry, tshirts, banners and a few cute bags. Another great shop I stopped at is Project 615, they sell all sorts of tshirts and tanks with fun sayings and Nashville sites printed on them. They donate 100% of their profits to the community and help with housing and other needs. I also follow them on the gram and they do have some great sales on things each week!

In my short stay I was able to cover pretty much everything outside of the honky tonk that Nashville has to offer. I really enjoyed my time in Music city and I hope to venture back sometime soon and explore some of the other hidden gems it has to offer! Hopefully this helps you plan your adventure and feel free to ask for any other tips or anything!

Nashville Eats!

I had some pretty amazing food on this trip, I always use TripAdvisor and Pinterest to make a list of the top rated food stops before any trip and then also check out whatever looks neat on my wandering.

When I landed on Sunday I was so hangry and then took a wrong turn after trying to find a specific restaurant and ended up in the Gulch. I hadn’t pre planned anything in this area of town so I just picked the fist place I found and ended up at Burger Republic. I not a fan of being sat at the bar but that always seems to happen when I travel alone. The service was really great, the bar tender was super helpful in explaining how the menu works as well as suggesting a great burger called the Tennessee and some garlic bacon fries! But the real treat was the amazing chocolate peanut butter milkshake, it was truly in the top 3 of the best milkshakes I’ve ever had! I was also told by multiple people that their adult milkshakes are on point!

On my first day off I had fried pickles and an amazing baked Mac & cheese with Hot chicken at the Stillery. Up stairs they have a first come first serve seat yourself deal going on and while service wasn’t the greatest the atmosphere was fun and I did enjoy the live music. They do have a more formal dinning area downstairs.

Another highly recommended food stop is Edleys Bar B Que. they have several locations and I stopped for lunch at the one in Edgefield. I ordered the Brisket plate a sweet tea and it was mouth watering! SOOOO good! I got there right before lunch hr. and thankfully because the people were lined out the door soon after I arrived.

I have a major sugar tooth and I found some great places to satisfy it!

First stop was five Daughters bakery and their 100 layer doughnuts are more like a cronut which I love! They have a couple locations in the Nashville area as well as one in Atlanta. I loved the adorable design of the shop, fun bright colors and a great outdoor space to enjoy in the sweetness. They offer a wide variety of flavors including some gluten free and vegan options!

A very highly recommended spot was Jeni’s splendid ice cream. I drove by the Hillsboro village one night and saw the enormous line out the door and down the street and decided to pass.  But I happened upon them again at the farmers market with no line, they do have several locations and a brand new one in Charlotte! They have all sorts of flavors including frose and some rather interesting ones like sweet corn. I opted for a fresh in house made waffle cone filled with The darkest chocolate and butter cake and despite the fact that I think more melted and dripped on me then I actually ate, it was decadent!

I visited the Nashville farmers market several times and on Saturday the grilled cheeserie was parked and serving lunch. I had several friends recommend this food truck and it did not disappoint! I actually tried hunting it down again before I flew home! I ordered the grilled pimento Mac and cheese and Oh my goodness it was soooo sooo tasty! I highly recommend them and you. An find out their daily locations on the website!

My last stop on the way to the airport was another doughnut shop because I do love me some doughnuts! This place was called the donut den, I had seen pictures of red velvet doughnuts and I couldn’t pass that up. Unfortunely they didn’t have red velvet when I stopped but they did have an amazing apple fritter!

This is just a taste of what Nashville has to offer, hopefully I can come back soon and continue the music cities culinary experience!

New month, New Goals!

Happy August my peeps!

As we start the 8th month of 2018, I am taking some time to reflect and reestablish what my purpose is. I’ve been trying to keep going big, travelling more and trying to see how much I can grow my Instagram but then becoming more and more frustrated that I don’t have followers. I was listening to the podcasts  and reading the blogs and it just seems like I sit at my same 460ish friends(thanks to all my loyal amigos!)

I think it hit me most on my last trip I just took to Nashville, It was actually a business trip but I had a three day weekend to myself in the city. I found myself just doing things that the Instagram world would like! I did all this research as to what was most popular in Nashville and what was getting the most “likes”. While I did enjoy the trip I kinda had an eye opening moment when I was editing photos, “why am I doing this?” well I talk to myself like I’m my own home girl so it was more like “Gurrrrrrl what are you doing? what is the end goal here?”

I started this whole thing with the goal of being sponsered to travel………… I think? I’ve relized that I never exactly had a final goal, Which isn’t all that rare for me. I’m extremely ADD so when I look back at all my life, Im all over place but that is truly who I am Just Me. But since aprilish I’ve lost that part of me and have tried to conform to the world blahhhhhh I hate saying that but I can’t lie. I follow some amazing people and I look forward to seeing what thay are up to each day, they seem to have it all figured out, they get paid to do all this stuff and go to amazing events. In my head I was like “thats what I want” I mean who doesnt want to not have a boring 9-5 career?

So I decided I needed to up my fashion choices, get into makeup and stop buying store brand items, adios great value! I mean thats how you get a brand deal right? You gotta spend money to start making money? But even after all the prepwork and stuff it takes some people years and thousads of followers before they get a paid deal! Sorry its not that I’m not patient, I just relized thats not me!

Long story short, While I love seeing what Noelle and Rachel do every single day on the gram(they are two of my fave people that I havent ever meet lol) I am much more comfortable and happy chillin in my Old Navy, MAYBE some mascara and my nikes from the outlets! I’m me, I’m no size 2 or 4 or even 12, my hair stays in a bun 90% of the time, I’m too loud somedays and silent on others, I’m team save yourself for marriage, I dance like there is no tommorow and I love serving and hanging out with God above all! From this day forward I’m going to be unpologetically me, I may not not have thousands of followers but Jesus had 12 and look what he was able to acomplish! I may have to pay for my own groceries but thats life and just like they say in “he’s just not into you”  Those instagramers are the exception, they rest us are the rule.

Am I going to stop travelling? Absolutly not! But I’m going to do it my way and take pictures of what I want, eat where I want and maybe not document every second and actually be present in the moment! While it would be super awesome for someone to pay me to travel, I also love the fact that I can say “hey i worked hard for that getaway, I earned it!”

What I am planning on doing and my new goals include spending more time following what God wants me doing. I’ve been feeling him pull me towards a specific group or season of life and I whole heartedly want to persure him and that project. I trust his timing, his word and his promise more than anything else in this world. Ive always said I was a world changer but didnt know how I’d do it but that season is fast approuching and I am so very excited to start working and hopefully have something to share with you all soon!

The Cliffs of Moher

After all my research and planning I kinda became overwhelmed by all the things I wanted to see and do in Ireland. I had a few days alone before my friend arrived for the holiday so I chose two day trips, both through Paddy Wagon tours. My first day was an amazing trip to the famed cliffs of Moher. We started out pretty early but the bus was super comfy and the driver John was entertaining. Our first stop was a bar at maybe 9am haha welcome to Ireland! I must admit, though I am over 50% Irish I don’t drink 🤦🏻‍♀️ and to my surprise they served only “Irish” coffee and hot chocolate, regular coffee but with a shot of Baileys lol

Our journey took us down the wild Atlantic way, a super beautiful but insanely curvy rd down the western coast of the Emerald Isle. It was raining the entire time but it was still so mesmerizing!

Before lunch we stopped at what they call the baby cliffs for a quick photo opportunity.

We stopped for lunch in a cute little town before heading to the main attraction of the day.

After half a day of talking about “the cliffs” we finally made it there. The weather was terrible!! The wind was so intense I had to hold on to the railing at times, the temperature was below freezing and the rain was miserable. But I can’t even begin to explain the beauty I saw that day, I had no doubt even in the most terrible weather why this is Ireland’s most visited sites.

There is about 5km of trails along the edge of the cliffs and I hope to return soon and in better weather to explore!

There is an entrance fee but through paddy wagon it was included in the tour price. They have a little museum and cafe as well as a gift shop and a little chapel.

It was so muddy and I was absolutely soaked to the bone but it was an amazing experience!

We made a few quick photo stops including a stop at a castle before heading home to Dublin.

I highly recommend if you are in Ireland to use Paddy Wagon for all your tours. They have very comfortable busses most including WiFi, the drivers are super entertaining and very knowledgeable and it was just a great time with great people!

London on the cheap

London is known for being a pricey city to visit but don’t let that deter you from visiting. I spent a couple days in jolly ole London in January and my goal was to spend as little money as possible.

1. It’s always cheaper to travel in the off season, I was there in January so I got a pretty decent deal on a hotel. I wasn’t in the city center but I knew with my budget that was out of the question! I stayed at The Wellington, a neat pub that had several rooms upstairs. It was right next to Waterloo station in the southbank area which is just across the river from city center. I normally book everything through Expedia or hotels.com but they had a special so I booked this one directly from the hotel.

http://www.wellingtonhotelwaterloo.co.uk/

2. Everyone wants that perfect 360 degree view of the city from the Shard but you can get that same view and not pay the £23! The Sky Garden is FREE and offers the exact say view as the Shard. You have to book your day and time a week in advance but it’s tots a freebie! There are two restaurants in the Garden one being a cafe type with coffee and snacks and a sit down restaurant that of course cost money but the garden and the beautiful views don’t cost a pence.

https://skygarden.london/

3. Save some money on transportation and make sure you grab an Oyster card, It knocks the normal £4 something tube rides to just £2 something. You can spend a fortune on transportation in London so plan out your days and activities. The city is also very walkable and most times it’s actually quicker to walk then it is to mess with the tube or busses.

4. If you’re a foodie like I am but don’t like to spend a ton on meals than the many markets London has to offer are going to be your best friend. Camden and borough markets are both great spots for some amazing food and pretty cheap. I really enjoyed Camden Market not only for the great Mac and cheese but it’s just had endless allys of shops and goodies, this is also home to the Cereal killer cafe and chin chin labs. Borough market was much smaller but I got some great pastries and local honey that is so yummy!

5. Most museums throughout the city are free! Take advantage of some amazing art and history without emptying your wallet. Tate modern, V and A, the natural history and many more are waiting to be explored. This is a great way to spend an afternoon or get out of the weather.

6. It’s not permitted to take pictures in Westminster Abby whatsoever so in my opinion it’s silly to pay to tour. Instead attend a prayer service, they are free and most nights at 5pm. You get to sit and enjoy the choir and prayer and admire the main chapel. The only disadvantage is that you don’t get to tour the entire building but when on a budget the main chapel makes the cut and it’s breath taking.

7. Another great way to save money but see all the main attractions is to get the London Pass. One price gets you into everything and at a fraction of the cost if you did them each individually. Check it out!

https://www.londonpass.com/

Careful planning and schedules can save you time and tons of money when traveling in London!

Bucket list moment!!

I was held captive in Atlanta well Marietta, Ga this past week for work. While I usually love traveling for meetings, I’m from Atlanta so I was unenthused and hoping for a new city to explore. The meeting was actually very informative and re energizing, I have recently hit a lull in my current position as a facilitator and was considering ways out haha

As stated before I’m very ADD so of course there were moments of boredom so I started looking for things to do after the sessions. It took everything in me not to squeal with excitement when I saw cirque de soli was in town!! I grew up watching all the shows on tv and it has always been a dream of mine to go! What was even more awesome was the theme luzia, being dropped on the streets of Mexico. I love all things Hispanic and their amazing culture. Soooo I had to go, I even lucked out and got a sweet discount and front row seats! Come on now that was an #icant moment. 

I super hyped and could not wait to get into the big top, I finally made it though security and all that stuff and found my seat.

How on earth am I supposed to see? I was like literally part of the stage! I could touch it from my seat, I was well that went from an amazing decision to a horrid one real quick. The people beside me were also concerned they had made a terrible mistake as well lol 

The show starts and of course I’m mesmerized, and they removed all the flowers thankfully! The show was amazing more then I could have ever imagined! Being so close made it so the performers interacted with me! One guy even came and sat by me and put his arm around me for a few mins while he watched too!


I’m hooked and can’t wait to see the next show, hopefully they will be near charlotte the next go around! If you get the chance to see any of their show jump on that opportunity, I highly suggest front row!