Emily Goes to Nashville

Howdy, y’all!

I am Emily! Phillip is my super awesome brother, and Kelsey is my lovely sister-in-law!  I am so excited to be a guest on Kelsey’s blog today! I currently live in Wisconsin, just outside of Milwaukee with my husband Jon and our sweet little 14-month-old daughter, Evelyn! At the end of March, we met up in Nashville for a few days over my spring break. I have never been there before, and it was at the top of my bucket list! Our trip was way too short, and I really hope we can go back there someday soon.

Jon, Evie and I drove down a day before everyone else arrived. We started off by going to dinner at a BBQ restaurant called Peg Leg Porker. It was fantastic!  It was the type of place with lots of lights, free smells, and a really big bar at the front.  Lots of my friends recommended this place, so I knew we had to try it out.  I got the pulled pork plate with mac and cheese and smoked green beans…yes, SMOKED green beans! The pork was delicious…nice and tender!  The hot sauce that came with it was fire! (In a good way)…I actually used up the last of their hot sauce supply for the night, so I felt really lucky! The mac and cheese was okay, but honestly nothing to write home about.  But those green beans!  I could have eaten a whole bowl of those myself…the smokey flavor was out of this world!  They were also cooked in bacon and the flavor was nothing like I have ever had before with green beans.  If we get back there someday, I will most definitely be going back to Peg Leg Porker!

The next day, Phil, Kels, Mom, Natalie (my sister) and her boyfriend Dave arrived! We went to lunch at a live music bar on Broadway called Tin Roof.  Again, this was a highly recommended restaurant from friends of mine who have been to Nashville a few times before.  What lured me in was their talk of the “world famous queso dip.”  Of course, that was the first thing I ordered! If you don’t know me, I am the queso queen! It is my weakness, and if it’s on the menu, 9 times (okay probably 10) out of 10 I will order it.  The queso dip at Tin Roof  was great! It was nice and hot, and what I loved about it was that it had fresh jalapenos on top.  The tortilla chips were also served warm, and they were nice and crispy. For my lunch entrée, I ordered the Mexican street corn quesadilla.  WOW was that flavor good! It had a few different cheeses inside, black beans, roasted corn, and a super yummy spicy drizzle on top with fresh cilantro.  The quesadilla had a great amount of spice, but it wasn’t too overpowering.  I would have loved some more of that drizzle on the side for extra dipping, though! Overall, lunch was very good, and I would definitely visit there again!

After lunch, we went next door to The Boot Barn!  I always wanted an authentic pair of cowgirl boots, and my birthday was the following week.  On the drive down to Nashville from Wisconsin, I put a bug in Jon’s ear that I wanted to get some boots for my birthday present.  When we went into the store after lunch and yes, a few drinks (wink-wink), I knew it was time to try on some boots!  The first pair I saw, I fell in love with.  I looked at some more, but I kept going back to the first pair.  After walking around in them and begging my husband for them, I walked out of the store with my brand new, BEAUTIFUL blingy boots! Let’s just say I spent the entire rest of our trip with sore feet because I broke them in with all the walking we did.  But it was worth it!

The rest of the afternoon, we spent at the 2nd floor bar of Honky Tonk Central getting our drink on.  It was truly a BLAST!  One of our high school friends who lives in the area met up with us there and it was so great to catch up! Kelsey ordered us all a bottle of vodka infused whipped cream and it was AMAZING! It was mocha flavored and so delicious!  It was fun passing that thing around between all of us.  I felt like a little kid sneaking in shots of whipped cream from the fridge!

Next, on to dinner!  We all went to a cute Italian restaurant called Moto Cucina + Enoteca.  This is also a place that was recommended by a local friend who resides in Nashville. The vibe in the restaurant was dark, but upscale and classy. There was a huge wine cellar that was all window, so we could see bottles of wine shelved from floor to ceiling! We started out with a truffle arancini appetizer.  Arancini are risotto balls that are deep fried. They were delicious! Crispy outer coating, and a cheesy gooey inside. For my entrée, I ordered the Cacio E Pepe, which was fresh house made spaghetti with parmesan and pepper. It was outstanding!  In fact, the entire dinner was so delicious that we didn’t get to snap any pictures!

April, Emily, Evie, and Phil

This whole day was my absolute favorite day of our Nashville adventure.  We had so much fun catching up, exploring the city, eating great food and enjoying each other’s company. I can’t wait to get back there someday! Thanks for reading!

obx

with the pandemic upsetting some of our plans, extra time was then suddenly available for some spontaneous activities. phillip and i decided to take advantage and road trip to the outer banks of north carolina. i’d say for about a year now we’ve considered vacationing there but only recently made it happen and are so glad we did.

rather than the standard day-by-day format for my travels, i’m going to do a little something different and share our trip with you by category. so, if you mostly care about what we eat, you can focus there. if you’re more interested in what we did, that’s all together for you, too. enjoy!

the lodging

even though phillip and i knew we wanted to go to the outer banks, we hadn’t yet really planned on where we would stay. well, the good news is that aaa came to the rescue. my mom was browsing through their member magazine on one of her visits and found a quick blurb about the sanderling resort in duck, nc. she didn’t have to do much convincing, as we quickly agreed to splurge on a couple of nights at the four-star resort.

even during the pandemic, the sanderling did not disappoint. it’s hard to complain when you are within a two-minute walk of the beach or when the bar is just a few steps away from the lobby or when you have the perfect view for a sunrise or when the concierge provides complimentary s’mores packs to roast in the fire pit or when the staff takes extra measures to ensure the common spaces are clean. i can only imagine how the service is elevated when restrictions are not in place.

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louisville – day 3

after our busy friday, we all slept in a bit and then walked the couple of blocks for a starbucks fuel-up for the day. we sipped on cold brews and frappuccinos and pumpkin spice lattes, and i think it’s pretty clear which of us in the family has their selfie game down to a science. 🙂

on our way out, dad could not resist getting a few pictures with the horse. like many towns, these statues are all over louisville with different designs. could you find them all?

since our breakfast was pretty light, we hopped in the car to eat at another favorite spot you just don’t see in the south, skyline chili! i first heard about skyline from my friend bank when he used to make it for us in college, and it’s one of the places you must eat at if it is nearby. kind of like grater’s. 🙂

we inhaled our chili dogs and pasta dishes in record time, savoring each bite since who knows when we’ll have it again!

after lunch we strolled around and took in the gorgeous weekend day. the sun was shining, folks were out and about. it was a fine day indeed, made even better when we stopped in at the eagle for a round of drinks al fresco.

like i said, saturday truly was our chill day of the trip, so we continued our fast food eating tour that night at raising cane’s for some chicken and over at white castle for some greasy mini burgers. gotta love ’em!

the day wrapped up as we lounged at the hotel, enjoying each other’s company and watching some good ‘ole fashion college football. one more day to go!

staying busy

extra time at home these days has created extra opportunity to tend to things i’ve neglected.  these could be things i’ve wanted to do or, just as easily, things i have avoided.  either way, there is no time like the present, and i’ve tried to balance rest with productivity over the past several months.

this post includes snapshots of some crafts we’ve done, foods we’ve tried, or activities we have enjoyed.  with so many circumstances being less than desirable these days, it’s important to find that silver lining and focus on the things that can still bring a smile to your face.  🙂

first, no project can start off without the perfect beverage to set the mood, right?  right!  whether a summer fad, an old standby, or a new favorite, here are some of the tasty treats we’ve concocted recently.

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with thirsts quenched, phillip and i have tackled countless improvements and chores around the house.  one of the most labor-intensive yet rewarding has been the transformations in our yards.  over several weekends now, we’ve nursed our variety of rose bushes, mowed that grass, potted some impatients, moved some shrubs, laid out some pavers, and spread some mulch.  we also got to watch some birdies build a nest on our front door for their five chicks.  maybe we do have green thumbs!

and when it’s too hot to work outside, we take things inside to do stuff like paint mason jars to hold all our flours

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and turn a tired footrest into a charming stool

and clean up some silver from my grandparents

and craft a sign for our nephew’s playhouse

the first official craft in our craft room. 🙂

and hang up some frames.

might be time to change out that trio of pics, lol.

now, i think all that hard work deserves a reward, and you all know by now we are self-proclaimed foodies.  take a look at some of the eats we have treated ourselves to lately.  disclaimer:  none of it is healthy, lawlz.

if you’re interested in any of the recipes or locations mentioned above, you can easily find the link below.  and if there is an at-home must-try you think i just cannot live without, leave a comment to let me know!

memphis, the blues city

hello all, kelsey’s dad here.  it is my honor and privilege to be a guest blogger again.  this past weekend was my birthday and as a gift i was given the dream of being the guest duckmaster as the peabody hotel in memphis, tennessee.

as kelsey will tell you, one of my favorite sayings is “complete home run.”  i use this when anything or any place is spectacular, worth the time, worth the money, etc…as you read this blog, when you see COMPLETE HOME RUN, you can “take it to the bank” – it was worth it.

friday night we arrived at the peabody hotel in memphis.  tori was completely surprise to see our best friends mark and kathleen (from dallas) when we arrived.  our kids had arranged for a special birthday cake to be in the room as a celebration for me and for mark (his birthday is later this week).  COMPLETE HOME RUN, kids!  the chocolate cake was delicious.

now, saturday was a full and fabulous day!  mark had done the research for all the festivities, so we started at breakfast only a block from the hotel.  we took the ultra exclusive vip route through the alley to the bon-ton café.  COMPLETE HOME RUN.  whatever you do, be sure you order the big sammie.  COMPLETE HOME RUN.  while at the bon-ton, we struck up a friendly chat with locals hart and sarah.  hart is a third generation memphian, so it’s obvious that he should work for the chamber of commerce up there.  i told hart we were in memphis just for a short time and were looking to “blow it out.”  he kindly obliged and provided a complete list of “what to do and where to go” during our stay.

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atlanta saturday

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my group of friends is starting to become co-mingled, folks from college and folks from work.  with that, we have different allegiances to our alma maters, the main rivalry being between uga and georgia tech.  a heated conversation came up at lunch last week over which town, atlanta or athens, is more fun to explore and enjoy.  so, to give both cities a fighting chance, we decided we would spend a saturday in atlanta and then a weekend in athens.  things started with a day in atlanta this past saturday.  let’s see how things shook out!

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