A Girls Weekend in Nashville

First of all – Nashville is SO fun and such an amazing place for a girls weekend get away. I got to spend the weekend in Nashville with a best friend and we had the BEST time. It was my first trip to Nashville. We did the perfect amount of planning – which was not much at all. We got to see all the sights, and eat all the food, and drink all the drinks and laugh and dance! It was just perfect!

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I flew into Nashville early on a Friday morning. This worked out perfect because we had all day to explore. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express – Downtown and the location could not have been better. It’s on Broadway, but it’s a few blocks away from the bars and nightlife. It was easy to walk to restaurants and bars, but when we wanted to be done with that scene we could get away. It was also in walking distance to the area in Nashville called the Gulch which has lots of good restaurants.

After first arriving we decided we would walk to the Gulch for breakfast at Biscuit Love. I had heard all the good things, and was ready for some biscuits, but we were not ready for the two hour wait. We were starving so we ended up having brunch next door at Bar Louie, which was good but not the amazing biscuit I had been dreaming of.

After brunch our first stop was to take a tour of the historic Ryman Auditorium. The Ryman is known as the “Mother Church” of country music and it was the original home of the Grand Ole Opry. It was really neat to see all the history of country music that has been made there. Miranda Lambert’s pink guitar was one of my favorite things on display. I would love to go back and see a show there sometime. (P.S. hope you love selfies because there are A LOT OF THEM).

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After the tour we walked down Broadway to check out the sites. We ended up stopping at Acme Feed and Seed for drinks and to check out the roof top scene.

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Our next stop was to take an Uber to the 12South neighborhood. This is where Reese Witherspoon’s store Draper James is located. And the iconic “I believe in Nashville” street art is here as well, so we had to take the obligatory tourist photo. We stopped in a few other cute stores in the neighborhood, before stopping at the Filling Station for drinks to cool off.

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We headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. Dinner was at Whiskey Kitchen. It came highly recommended, and was a quick walk from out hotel. We sat at the bar and the food and service was really great.

From dinner we went to The Listening Room. I LOVED this place. If you are into country music (maybe even if you’re not) this is a must visit place in my opinion. The night we went, there were Nashville songwriters performing the songs they had written; many of them were hits from big stars and it was really neat to see them performed by the artist who had written the songs. It’s the kind of place that you never know who you might see, Keith Urban showed up and performed there unexpectedly not too long ago.

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We ended the night here and headed back to our hotel to rest up for a another big day. Our first full day in Nashville was a busy one! Check back later this week for the rest of our trip.

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#WanderlustWednesday

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Glass Beach

Kauai, Hawaii

#hanapepebay #seaglass #hawaii

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Friday Favorites -My Southeast Wish List

When I have approximately two million things to do and no time to get them all done, I like to further delay everything by creating more lists. One of my favorite list to make is places I want to go.

Living in the southeast is great because there are so many beautiful places to see that are just a short drive away. I’ve never actually been to any of these places, they’re just tops on my list of weekend adventures.

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Blackberry Farm

Walland, Tennessee

Located about 30 minutes south of Knoxville, TN in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. This place looks absolutely stunning. They host the VIP’s of Nashville’s country music scene quite often; Maren Morris was there earlier this summer. It is well known for it’s food and wine selection and they have a huge variety of activities to chose from as well. The views of the Smoky Mountains and the relaxing atmosphere don’t look to bad either.

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The Greenbrier

White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

Known as America’s Resort, the Greenbrier opened in 1778 and has hosted 27 of the country’s 45 presidents. The history at the resort is reason enough to visit. There is a Bunker at the hotel that was once a Cold War fallout shelter, and a top secret relocation place for members of Congress. Tours of the Bunker are available to guest. The spa and long list of available activities look great too!

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Old Edwards Inn and Spa

Highlands, North Carolina

Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Old Edwards Inn is known for its amazing spa. I would love to spend a weekend checking out the town of Highlands and enjoying some relaxation time at the spa. They have a beautiful golf course if that’s your thing. I can imagine it’s beautiful here anytime of year, but how pretty would it be in fall to see the leaves changing in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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Westglow Resort and Spa

Blowing Rock, North Carolina

I love to visit Blowing Rock. The town is so cute, and easy to walk to lots of good restaurants and shops. Westglow is located right outside of town. The spa here looks phenomenal. If you follow country music, Eric Church and his wife were married here. It doesn’t hurt that this is just over an hour drive from my house.

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Primland

Meadows of Dan, Virginia

Primland is a beautiful resort located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. You can stay in an actual luxury tree house, with stunning views of the mountains. I’m sensing a theme here, apparently I’m in need of a weekend away in the mountains to relax and unwind and enjoy some spa time! Yes, please.

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Mother Earth Motor Lodge

Kinston, North Carolina

I’ll finish with something completely different. Kinston, NC is not somewhere you usually think of when you think of a great weekend getaway. Now famous, Chef Vivian Howard opened the Chef and the Farmer in 2006 and since then Kinston has seen a huge revitalization. Mother Earth Motor Lodge is a step back in time to Kinston’s glory days. Mother Earth Brewing (the hotels sister company) is just a few blocks away. How fun would it be to stay here and eat at the Chef & the Farmer and check out the town.

How lucky am I that all of these trips are just a short drive from my house? It’s funny to me that almost all of these are in the mountains, as I’m typically a sand and saltwater girl! Now to get the time and money to go check them all off the list! What destinations top your list of local places you’d like to see?

#WanderlustWednesday

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Venice, Italy

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Friday Favorites -Summer Reading List

I am loving my Audible subscription. I have “read” so many more books since joining. I spend a lot of time in my car commuting and we’ve been on several weekend getaways and Audible has been just perfect for the car rides. My boyfriend and I have enjoyed listening to some books together on road trips. This is coming from someone who would never listen to books on tape when they were popular because I thought they sounded too boring, but I’m hooked.

So what have I been listening too? Remember I am in MBA school, so some of these books were for school and some were for fun.

img_3419I’m Not Lonely if You’re Reading This Book

I’ve been listening to the Bobby Bones Show in the mornings on my drive to work for a few years now. I really enjoy the show and at this point I’m fairly convinced I am basically BFF with the entire crew. When Bobby announced he was coming out with a second book, I thought what better time than now to read the first one. This was my first Audible purchase, and I really enjoyed it. Because, I listen to Bobby on the radio so often, and he reads the audio book it felt more like listening to his show or podcast, and made me think I could be into audio books. The book is a memoir of Bobby’s life growing up poor in Mountain Pine, Arkansas, and his story of success despite it all, through hard work and determination.

img_3423The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron

I’ll admit I only read this one because my Econ professor kept going on and on about what a good read it was. This books covers the entire story of the Enron scandal. It introduces you to all the major players at Enron and gives the background on how they were able pull off the greatest scheme in American history. The greed is absolutely astonishing. If you’ve ever wondered how the company was able to get away with the scandalous behavior for so long, this book will answer all of your questions. Admittedly though, I only listened to all the number crunching bad behavior in the first two thirds of the book to get to the last part…how did they get caught and what happened to all these greedy people? There’s also a documentary made from the book, if that’s more appealing to you.

img_3420A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership

If you follow the news at all, you’ve heard about this book and all the drama associated with the author, James Comey. Comey served as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and was deputy attorney general under President Bush, before being named the FBI director in 2013. I thought the book was a very interesting read. He gives his own personal perspective of what was going on behinds the scenes in the investigations of the Bush administrations torture policies and the Clinton email scandal. He makes himself a real person who was vulnerable to mistakes, but attempted to give the country his best with his service.

img_3422An American Sickness

Another, if we’re being honest I only read this for MBA school. However, that being said I cannot recommend this book enough. The author is a former emergency room physician and former healthcare correspondent for the New York Times. Shes takes you behind the scenes of the American healthcare system, and gives an eye opening perspective on what has happened to healthcare in our country. As someone who has spent the last eight years working in hospitals I was even surprised by much of the book. While I do believe that she uses the most outrageous examples of negligence and greed in her book, the fact remains that all the examples she uses are true. It’s a great read if you want to be a more educated consumer of your own healthcare.

img_3421Fail Until You Don’t: Fight, Grind, Repeat

So, back to Bobby Bones. Don’t mind me, I’m just over here fan girl-ing. I liked the first book so much that, I went back for more. This book covers Bobby’s own success mantra – Fight. Grind. Repeat. I think it is a great reminder that most successful people don’t get lucky. They work their tails off. He gives great examples of wildly successful people who have failed their way to the top, they just never quit showing up. I couldn’t have come across this book at a better time for my own personal reasons. It was a quick read and I really enjoyed it.

img_3418When Life Gives You Lululemons

This book is from the author of the Devil Wears Prada. Remember Emily, the trusty assistant that got the shaft on the trip to Paris fashion week? Well she has moved to L.A. and now runs her own personal image and branding business. The book centers on Emily and her new life. She has landed a client of a lifetime just in time to rebuild her struggling business. I enjoyed the book, it is narrated by Laura Benati and I thought she did a great job. It was fun to reconnect with the characters from the past. This would be a great summer beach read.

Amazon is offering 66% off a three month Audible subscription for Prime Day July 16! 

#WanderlustWednesday

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Neuschwanstein Castle

Bavaria, Germany

 

 

Road Tripping From Vegas to the Grand Canyon – Part 3

So, it turns out taking two MBA classes in summer school and having a full time job is actually, like, really time consuming. So here we are with the final leg of the trip!

We woke up bright and early and had breakfast at the hotel before it was time to board the Grand Canyon Railway. The train leaves from Williams, AZ and goes to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Right before you get on the train there is a cowboy show. The cowboys also make their way onto the train too.

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The train ride take a couple of hours, and honestly I was shocked by what you see on the way there. For the most part it is surrounded by evergreen trees and some areas have big grassy fields. For whatever reason, in my mind I thought it would look like a desert. Our seats on the train were in the caboose, so it was fun to be able to go out on the plank at the end of the train to look around. The cowboys made there way through the train and there were also musicians that came through the car. We had access to snacks and drinks in our train car as well so that was really nice. Overall I really enjoyed the train ride, it was very relaxing.

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We saw a quick glimpse of the canyon on the train ride in, but when we got off the train we were still surrounded by trees so we still hadn’t had a chance to take it all in yet. We walked to a bus stop after we got off the train and took a bus to the rim. The bus made several stops so we were able to get lots of different views. Y’all this place is unreal. I don’t care how many pictures you have seen, the pictures cannot do it justice. It is an absolutely amazing place.

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After the bus tour we walked around a bit, there are a few shops that we checked out, and we had lunch at the Arizona Room. Just an FYI, if you’re planning a trip to the Canyon, pack a water bottle. There are signs everywhere advising you to drink because of heat related illnesses that are common there, but there is NO water for sale anywhere. The park is trying to cut back on littering so they have water stations where you can fill up bottles everywhere, but you have to buy a $15 dollar souvenir bottle if you don’t bring your own. Also – you can buy all the sugary drinks in plastic bottles, just no water. Just Saying.

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We spent the night at the Maswik Lodge. There are only a few hotels to choose from on the Canyon rim and they fill up quickly so you have to book your trip pretty far in advance. It was so cool to spend the night on the rim. We watched the sunset, which was amazing. The canyon changed colors as the sun went down, and it was absolutely beautiful. The night we were there the moon was bright and full so we were even able to see a little of the Canyon late at night. We had diner in the dining room at El Tovar. El Tovar is a really neat historic hotel and the food at the restaurant was great. The restaurants and shops were all within walking distance once we got off the train, so after dinner we walked back to our room. If I get the chance to go back to the Grand Canyon in the future I would love to go on the mule ride to the bottom, but they typically book up months in advance.

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The next morning we got up and had breakfast before heading out to take in more views of the Grand Canyon. We walked around and took another bus to different parts to take in all the views. It was so beautiful. That afternoon we boarded the train back to Williams, AZ. After the two hour train ride we had another long ride. We loaded up the car and were off to Phoenix. We spent the last night of our trip at the Marriott at the Phoenix airport. We had an early morning flight home from a great trip.

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If you missed it see Part 1 and Part 2 of the trip here.

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#WanderlustWednesday

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Florence, Italy

#duomo #viewfromthetop #giottosbelltower

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Road Tripping from Vegas to the Grand Canyon – Part 2

I loved Sedona. It is absolutely beautiful there. Everywhere you turn there is another stunning view. We started our day walking around the downtown area and doing some shopping. It was mostly touristy shops but there were a few nice stores as well. Then we checked in for our Pink Jeep tour. The Pink Jeep tour was SO much fun! Our guide was great, he was a Sedona native and made the experience so awesome! We chose the Broken Arrow tour which is a crazy off road experience down Broken Arrow Trail. We bounced all around in the jeep and at some points it felt like we would bounce out, but it was a blast. We stopped at several different places to take pictures and walk around. Each place we stopped had amazing views.

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Thank goodness for seat belts!

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The pictures really don’t do this place justice. It is so beautiful and literally every direction you turn you are surround by these amazing views, each formation a little different than the others. After our Pink Jeep tour was over we asked our guide where we should have lunch. He suggested Mariposa, so that’s where we went. It was realllly good. But the view was even better. It has the most amazing outdoor space with the most incredible 360 degree views.

We made one last stop at the Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona to take in the views and then we were headed back to Williams, AZ. It was finally time to see the Grand Canyon! After arriving in Williams we spent the night at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. We had tickets for the train to the Grand Canyon bright and early the next morning.

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Stay tuned for the last part of the trip, where we finally made it to see the Grand Canyon.

If you missed part one of the trip check it out here.

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