Friday, April 27, 2012

Nashville visitors

Because we love Nashville so much, we are always excited to introduce our city to first time visitors.  This past weekend we were lucky enough to have my Dad, Cindy and Alex (not a first timer) for a visit.  Alex and I started our Friday afternoon with lunch at one of East Nashville's new hotspots- The Pharmacy: Burger Parlor and Beer Garden.  It was a gorgeous afternoon and we enjoyed our visit at one of the picnic tables in their big outdoor area.  They have a large and very reasonably priced beer selection and lots of burger options to choose from.

lucky bucket ipa (yum!) and red rye something-or-other

classic burger + sweet potato fries

After lunch we headed home to meet Mike and await the arrival of the others. We had a  nice evening grilling and eating on the deck followed by an entertaining game of Guesstures. 

Saturday morning we were up early (thank you Ellie) for a run and some homemade doughnuts.  I brought everyone into the clinic to show off some of what I do every day.

mold room... those are lungs ;)

thanks Dad for the super attractive pics ;)
We walked around Vandy for a quick campus tour, had a picnic lunch and tried not to freeze to death.

college campuses have such weird statues

Our next stop was downtown for a few of our favorite Honky Tonks.

at legends

at legends

honky tonk row

edge of town

$1 PBRs at laylas... that were actually $2.50- lame.

shuffleboard tables

shuffleboard champ pose?
We finished the night with dinner downtown and were up early on Sunday to fight the lines at Pancake Pantry (for more eating!).  Alex headed out for his drive home a little after breakfast and the rest of us spent an afternoon picnicking at Arrington Vineyards.

It was a great weekend and we hope for more visitors again soon :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lazy Weekend In

Between our busy spring travels and weekend visitors, we decided to keep last weekend (more like a week and a half ago now.... falling behind as usual!) very low key and relax around the house.  The weather was perfect- warm with blue skies and plenty of sun.

giant front yard flowers
I was too lazy to get out the real camera so I took advantage of the fact that Instagram finally exists on Android!

We started our days at the gym as I was finally getting over my never ending cold and wanted to jump back into a regular routine.  Our Opry Mills mall finally opened back up (almost 2 years after the flood) so we joined the rest of Nashville Tennessee to enjoy the fabulous sales. 

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night dinners were grilled outside and we spent most of our evenings on the deck.

Mike picked up some fun beers to try including my personal favorite that I haven't had in months.


In true meemaw/peepaw fashion, we played lots of two person card games.

Ellie's ideal life would be us spending every second of the day outside with her so she was pretty pleased with the evening events.

Sunday we pulled out our road bikes for the first time this year and drove out to Natchez for a ride.

hah i'm a dork
We filled up on a yummy brunch at a new-to-us place, ran some errands, washed the cars and then spent another relaxing evening grilling dinner and catching up on our DVR (anyone else obsessed with New Girl?). 

because every post needs multiple pics of the golden

I'm usually the go-go-go type so it was a nice change of pace.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

NYC! Final Part

I had intentionally left off breakfast plans for Wednesday assuming we'd go to one of the places near our hotel, but we both woke up craving another bagel from our Monday morning stop: Ess-a-bagel.  Our plans for the day weren't as structured as the other days as we wanted to explore everything nearby.  We began our morning with a walk down fifth ave through all of the beautiful churches and amazing shops.

random pretty church #1

random pretty church #2

couldn't quite convince hubs to buy me anything here
Our first stop was into FAO Schwartz.  The store was ridiculous and we spent far more time wandering through it than you might expect from a couple without children.

showing off the big candies.... after I threw all the sweet tarts on the ground- oops
Of course I had to embarrass Mike and make him wait in line for the Big Piano with me.

why didn't mike light up his keys?

lego lady liberty

I learned this is not monty python as I thought...

mike and captain jack
We continued our childish morning with a trip to Dylan's Candy Bar.  We avoided paying the $13/pound for candy because we stumbled upon another macaron shop along the way.

just as yummy as they are pretty

mongo candy store
Afterwards, we headed up to explore some more of Central Park.  Along the way we found the Met and took pictures of the famous (well to Gossip Girl fans like myself) steps.

the met
The amazing lakes and castles caused me to fall even more in love with Central Park.


so pretty

favorite spot in nyc
We ate a delicious burger, fries, and concrete (milkshake made of custard) with marshmallow sauce after fighting the line at the famous Shake Shack.

burger photo here as I ate mine too quickly for a pic
A little bit of rain and a very tired husband resulted in a trip to the American Museum of Natural History.


I actually enjoyed the museum more than I expected.  We didn't have too long so we sped through all of the exhibits we were most interested in: dinosaurs and mammals.

I finally agreed to let the boy rest his feet at this point before our early pre-theater dinner.

A quick subway ride during rush hour brought us to our dinner reservations at Casa Nonna.  We each opted for the pre-theater prix fixe option and were obsessed with every course.

Our first was unfortunately devoured before we remembered we wanted to take a photo but it was still worth remembering.  I had my first cavatelli (ricotta dumplings with braised rabbit ragu- I know... rabbit... I tried not to think about it) and M was nice enough to share a few bites of his amazing pumpkin gnocchi with me.

best chicken parm ever... ever.

M's swordfish

gelati and mini cookie things

After we were stuffed completely we made our way through times square to the Minskoff Theater on Broadway to see The Lion King.

Sadly, they don't let you take photos but I have to say it was one of the coolest things I've ever seen and would highly recommend it to everyone.

Our plans for eating Junior's Cheesecake afterwards were trumped by exhaustion so we called it a night after the show. 

Thursday was our last day in the city.  I had plans to cover all of Central Park on my morning run.  I took along a map and managed to run all the way to the north end and around many of the lakes for a total of 7 miles.  It was so pretty and relaxing and I stopped to capture a few of my favorite spots with my cell camera.

everything was in bloom

the "mall" lined with huge elm trees
I grabbed some easy breakfast on my way back and we packed up our stuff to check-out.  We were lucky enough to get stuck in an elevator on our way out and spent 10 minutes waiting to be rescued.  Not the best way to leave?

We hurried over to Times Square to get our last taste of new york pizza at John's Pizzeria.  The restaurant is housed in a converted church that was built in 1888.  The five-story stained glass remains and the place is the largest pizzeria in the country.  We followed our pizza with a trip to Crumbs for cupcakes.  I'd been dreaming of this place since I first heard about it years ago.  The cupcakes were SO pretty and we picked two to share on our way home.

so many flavors
Our final stop of the trip before catching a cab to the airport was to the Times Square Visitors Center.  I'm so glad we decided to stop in because they had the former Waterford New Year's Eve ball complete with fake countdowns and light shows.  It was so cool to see it up close.

We also saw the new year's eve "Wishing Wall."  I didn't realize this before, but people can write their wish on colorful pieces of paper to be dropped as the confetti on new year's eve!  I thought that was such an awesome tradition and liked reading some of the wishes.

nye confetti
I didn't leave a wish but I think it would probably be for a return trip to this fabulous city.  It's been a week and Mike and I are still reliving different parts of our vacation and saying how much fun we had.  We think it was one of our best trips ever.

For this trip, I spent tons and tons of time planning every detail.  I researched lots of restaurants with awesome reviews, made the appropriate reservations and as a result we loved everywhere we ate (many of which I'm still dreaming about...).  I planned to hit the hot spots at "off" times and we hardly ever waited for any of the major attractions.  I grouped the places we wanted to go by location and brought along maps and subway/walking directions between each one.  Because of this we were able to cover tons of ground, see everything we wanted in a few days, and never feel completely lost or overwhelmed.  I definitely think this was the only way to tackle New York for a first-timer like myself and it was completely worth the work for the great vacation we had!