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!

montana – day 3

with a whole first day of newly found confidence, we woke up saturday morning ready to take on the day.  i mean, i could just feel it was going to be a good day because it was loads easier to put on my boots.  🙂  once i got the rest of my gear all situated, the group decided to start things off together at the white otter lift since it was within skiing/snowboarding distance of the cabin.  in theory it sounded like a great idea, because this lift would take us up to a run that would get us to base a lot quicker than trekking through the snow.  plus, the crew felt i was ready for the white wing run, and i didn’t want to disappoint.

long story short, here is how things went on the white otter lift and white wing run.  i got onto the lift all by myself no problem.  i enjoyed the scenic and quiet ride up the lift.  i completely ate it when i got off the lift, one ski popping off but my energy still intact.  i watched as the crew, one by one, shooped down the very steep entrance from the lift onto the run.  i also observed, with much trepidation, as phillip made his way down as well, slowly but surely.  i took a big gulp of “i have to get down some way” reality, mustered all the spirit i could, and launched myself down the hill.  i’m not quite sure what happened, but the result was a quintessential wipeout right in the middle of the run.  the struggle was real one attempt after another as i tried to get my ski back on and get myself out of the way.  eventually i righted things and after a few more confidence-crushing falls, i shuffled my way to the finish line.  when i finally found phillip, all i could say was, “well, that is the least amount of fun i have had this entire time.”

there was good news out of this, though:  that i recognized what my abilities were and were not and, as such, spent the rest of the day back at bear basin.  phillip was a patient and positive cheerleader throughout the windy afternoon as i worked on weaving and faster turning and getting all the fresh mountain air that i could.

ultimately my goal for the second day of skiing was to end on a high note, and i think these pictures are evidence of just that.  🙂

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the wedding chronicles | decision #6 and decision #7


about a month ago my mom and i took my bridesmaids kari, jamie, and sarah out to go shopping for their dresses here in atlanta.  we fueled up with an energizing breakfast at the local flying biscuit and then headed to the salon to see if we’d have any luck.  i was certainly hoping that would be the case considering that sarah was moving back to california and that football season would easily get in the way of scheduling more appointments that worked for everyone.  i’ll spoil things right now and tell you that with a group of supportive girls around me, we made easy work of finding looks that flattered everyone.

tiaras for everyone!

now, before i get into all the juicy details about the bridesmaid dresses themselves, let’s talk about another wedding decision that oftentimes goes hand-in-hand with them:  the wedding colors.  if i’m being honest, my ideas about the colors for our wedding have changed nearly a countless number of times.  first it was oxblood and sage (inspired by a wedding magazine article), then it was pretty yellow roses that caught my eye at church, and then a pale pale green i thought was certainly the way to go.  this was all fine and well until kari, jamie, and sarah all started trying on dresses for me and i realized my color vision was a little off.  although the pale and dusty green i picked out was pretty in my mind, in person it didn’t quite match what i was picturing.

thankfully the salon had rows full of dresses and i was grateful the girls didn’t mind trying on dress after dress.  sometimes that’s what you have to do to figure out what you like and what you don’t like.  plus, seeing a dress on your body can be much different (and sometimes much better) than how it looks on the hanger.  i mean, you might as well try on as much as you can while you’re there and make the most of your time!

when shopping with your bridesmaids for their dresses, here are a few bits of advice.  if you and your girls are anything like me and mine, many of them (if not all of them) have different body shapes.  what this means is that a single style might not work best for everyone.  now, if your vision is for all the girls to wear the same dress, just know you might hit some snags in this regard.  and, if that is the case, it’s extremely common these days for girls to wear different style dresses that complement one another and oftentimes also the bride’s dress (such as the neckline or cut or fabric).  this can help your bridesmaids feel their most beautiful because they’re in a dress that makes them feel comfortable and confident.

next, unless you want everything uniform, maybe entertain the idea of putting the girls in different shades of the same color or even different colors altogether that go with your overall theme and vision for your wedding day.  this one is totally personal preference and all i’ll say about my girls is that they look like perfect angels in gorgeous shades of blush.  🙂

and finally, as mentioned in previous posts of the wedding chronicles, remember that the decision is ultimately yours as the bride.  it is extremely kind to be sensitive to your girls’ preferences and opinions (and i’ve always appreciated when i’ve been treated this way as a bridesmaid), but it is your wedding day after all and that’s what is most important.

dc – day 3

so, i know you all have been dying to find out how i spent my last day in dc, yes?  i thought so!  sunday we lounged about lazily (no surprise there) before we strolled back down to the eastern market area for more eats.  we were meeting up with my college friend ann for brunch and to, of course, sit outside.

we found ourselves dining at matchbox, and it was a wonderful choice.  when you’re tucked in among dozens of other restaurants on 8th street, you’ve got to make sure you are doing something unique and impressive to first get people in the door and then, secondly, to keep them coming back.  matchbox has quite a varietal menu, ranging from their well-known pizzas and crusts to their simple and classic bistro dishes.  the staff was quite friendly and attentive, and i expect it’s a great spot to come after a long day at work.

between bites of cinnamon rolls (evan stole the middle roll, i was so jealous!) and shrimp and grits, we did all the catching up that three wonderful women can do.  again, it is such a treat to get to spend time soaking up the sun and having sparkling conversation with people so near and dear to your heart.  it was the perfect last meal before my trek home, and i only hope it isn’t too long before i find myself back up there.

we exchanged bittersweet goodbyes after paying the bill, and then evan and i somehow ended up back at the market stands to discover more treasures.  i swear, there was some invisible, magnetic pull that dragged us back over there!  evan was on the hunt for vases and flowers, and i had no trouble helping her spend some hard-earned cash.  warning:  i am the best and worst person to shop with, all at the same time.  if you like something and it would make you happy have, i will encourage you to buy it, and in every color.  and if it’s on the expensive side, i’ll easily sway you by reminding you that you make money to spend money.  seriously, ask evan and my brother’s fiancée kari.  they will testify!

our attention was caught by a vendor with a few tables of items that appeared to be quite a mish-mash of different odds and ends.  he politely welcomed us and said to let us know if we have any questions.  i personally have a very eclectic style, so many of the things i suggested to evan were met with a polite “no.”  that’s alright; different strokes for different folks!  her eyes finally found a tall pewter vase.  “it would be perfect for the hallway table on your landing!” i exclaimed.  see how i did that?  you have to be able to picture yourself living with it, exactly where it would go.  we knew that one was coming home with us, but we continued to rummage around in case anything else leapt out at us.

and then there they were!  these strange, hand-carved vases in mustard yellow and cream.  i jumped over to evan in excitement to take a closer look.  “evan, they’re just so cool!  and unusual!”  yes, they were both of those things.  evan looked a little hesitant, but then the vendor made her an offer for the three vases that she just could not refuse.  “wrap them up!” i said “we’ll take them all!”  again, if you do not want to spend money, do not go shopping with me.  that is the first and only warning you will receive.

“well, now we need flowers!”  we made our way to the south hall market to find the perfect flowers for these perfect vases.  the selection at the blue iris flowers stand was just stunning.  evan showed the assistant the pewter vase we were filling.  she asked for the vase, grabbed some beautiful pinky-orange roses, disappeared behind the counter, and returned with them cut and arranged just perfectly.  how fabulous!  we also grabbed a bunch of sprightly dandelions for the hand-carved vases.

“okay, we have to get home before i spend more money!”  we hustled back to the house, dropped our things, and spent a good thirty minutes arranging and rearranging everything.  we leaned the cutting boards against one another, stacked some books, shuffled around the vases, stood back, and ah!  it was perfect!  i know people say money can’t buy you happiness, but i’d say we were pretty overjoyed.

by then it was nearly two o’clock.  well, my flight left at three, just a short hour later.  we raced to get my things packed and then thrown in the car.  why is it that time flies when you are having so much fun?  i guess i’ll just have to be back again soon!  and i can guarantee you’ll find me writing about my next trip here before too long.

dc – day 2

saturday morning we lounged around in bed, trying to convince ourselves to get our day going.  we eventually freshened up and made the lovely walk to the eastern market area.  the weather was just GORGEOUS.  i could not get over how beautiful it was, and i counted myself quite lucky that we were able to spend the day outside in the sunshine, catching rays and just enjoying everything around us.

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