Three Days in Nashville

We took a little trip up the road to Nashville over Spring Break for some sightseeing and retail therapy (mainly me). I had big plans to go to some local eats, but our schedule didn’t match up this time, so I’m saving them for our next trip. We started out at Shake Shack:

Then visited the Tennessee State Museum:

 

The capitol:

The Supreme Court building:

And then wandered through The Opryland Hotel (where we stayed):

And had dinner at Jack Daniel’s Barbecue:

The next day we visited the Nashville Zoo:

 

 

Checked out the exhibits at the Frist Art Museum:

 

Went to Opry Mills:

And ended the day with gelato at The Opryland Hotel:

And finally on our last day, we slept in:

Then went to Nordstrom to get some Spring sandals and new sunglasses for me:

And then headed home!

It was a relaxing, easy trip. We only live about two hours from Nashville, so we can go up and back in the same day, but it was fun to stay a little longer and enjoy more of the city. The boys love museums, so we spent a good amount of time at both the Tennessee State Museum (which is free), and the Frist Art Museum (which is free for kids). Staying at The Opryland Hotel was perfect for the boys, there is lots to see (and lots to do, there is a massive indoor water park that we didn’t do this time), tons of places to eat, you could just stay there the whole trip if you wanted. The only issue I had with the hotel is that you do need to pay attention to the resort and parking fees, as it does increase the initial room rate quite a bit. Our room was very nice, but be prepared to do quite a hike when you get there initially, as the resort is spread out. Also, make sure to walk through the hotel at night to see the lights:

It’s gorgeous! Happy travels!

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Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! We have had a very relaxing Spring Break! We spent a few days in Nashville, did some hiking on one of our local parks, watched movies, read quite a bit, did some spring cleaning, and enjoyed no rain for several days!

Thoughts on cultivating a growth mindset.

A week of outfits.

The one skillet lemon chicken and orzo I made this week.

Preventing jet lag.

A woman’s work is never done.

How to start a meeting effectively.

Another cookbook to add to my wishlist.

Styling your nightstand.

And finally, the spring backpack I’ve had my eye on.

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Friday Favorites

 

When J gets up before all of us, makes his bed, and starts reading…we know it’s daylight savings week. Spring Break is here! The boys had a pre-break yesterday when their school shut down for the potential of bad weather. The joys of living in the South in springtime….and it isn’t even Spring yet! Here are some of my favorites from the week.

A living room transformed.

The secret to smooth foundation.

An acrylic paint guide.

Soothing, simple and chic…all the words I love in a space!

Salad in a jar work lunch.

Arm sculpting routine.

Loved and laughed my way through the forever 35 podcast this week.

Salad for dinner.

Becoming obsessed with serums.

On embracing rejection.

Inspired weekends.

A raincoat to brighten up cloudy spring days.

And finally, a mango smoothie with turmeric to combat the allergy inflammation!

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This and That

B and I started out our weekend with a Friday lunch at a local pizza place:

Earth and Stone pizza. Y’all. Their pizza is so good! Check it out:

And I indulged and got a Piper and Leaf sweet front porch tea:

Then we headed to The Deep and picked up graphic novels for B and then to Ulta so I could pick up some items I had run out of and I got shade matched for the new NARS sheer glow I’ve been wanting to try:

It’s even better than I was expecting it to be! It matches my skin flawlessly and stayed on all day (note: I was also wearing Beneft 15 hour primer).

On Saturday, J had a birthday party at Spirited Art:

Which has an awesome color wall:

Then we headed to the library to pick up some books we had on hold:

 

And find a couple of extra ones as well:

And then on Sunday the sun finally came out and we spent as much time outside as we could:

And now it’s back to school and one more week until Spring Break!

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Friday Favorites

My daffodils survived the cold! I love seeing them bloom each year, it’s been several years since I planted these bulbs and they always reflower. My goal this fall is to plant soms additional bulbs with the boys’ help.

A rain jacket for all seasons.

How to pot a plant without drainage holes.

A functional and chic entryway.

A book list here and a book list there.

A filter for your shower? Where will technology take us next?

Great summer sandals that I’m on the hunt for on our next Nashville shopping trip.

Perfect summer pajamas.

Stovetop cake.

Cool Moms and Young House Love…two new podcasts on my list.

And finally, that end of winter look.

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Mobile Ordering at Disney

 

On our last Disney trip we tried out Mobile Ordering for the first time and had such a great experience I had to share! A lot of people haven’t used it before, so from a “not at Disney right now” standpoint it can be hard to see why it’s beneficial. There are several benefits that make it a must use on our future trips. First, you can set up an order before you get to your lunch location. We selected our lunch order from Flame Tree Barbecue will on the Maharajah Jungle Trek in Animal Kingdom. The boys were writing down information in their Wilderness Explorer Guides while we set it up. For many quick service restaurants you can order it in advance (like several hours or even the day before), and then you just a tap a button when you are headed towards the restaurant and they will prep it for you.

Second, you get to avoid lines. After standing in line at Disney nothing is more stressful than having to stand in yet another line to get food, and having your kids suddenly unable to decide between chicken fingers or chicken nuggets. You’re able to walk to the restaurant and grab a table first, and sit and wait for the order to pop up as ready on your phone. Then you go have one or two people grab it while everyone else can sit at the table.

Third, it’s relatively new so people tend to not use it, or not realize they can so it’s super fast. It’s like the fast pass of food. We have literally walked by a line thirty people long and grabbed a Dole Whip that we’ve mobile ordered. So use it now before everyone else has it figured it out!

Lastly, you can specify exactly what you want or don’t want on the food, and it’s on a typed list. This is helpful with our food allergies. It takes less time to select items you want or don’t want on a sandwich than having to list it all out in person, and we have found the menus to be pretty customizable. The other thing I really like is it automatically emails you a receipt, so there is no having to keep up with paper receipts (they do give you a paper receipt as well when you pick up your order):

Overall, we have had a great experience with mobile ordering, so I would recommend trying it out! It is also compatible with the Disney dining plan at many locations now, making it an even better value! Happy Disney traveling!

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Current Reads

Besides reading my textbook for the new course I’m teaching this fall, we’ve been reading a whole bunch of books around here, so I thought it would be a good idea to update our current reading list and reviews!

In December I read (my heaviest reading month of the year because I’m off work for several weeks):

One Day in December. Good romantic read, it got a little tedious towards the end, but if you like the movie Serendipity (which is one of my all time favorites), then this book is definitely for you.

Where the Crawdads Sing. Set in North Carolina, the tale of a girl who grows up in the marshes it runs parallel to a modern day mystery. Absolutely amazing, perfection. You must, must read this book, just prepare to not be able to put it down once you start.

Less. The story of a middle aged man, who upon learning his previous partner is to be married, says yes to all of the speech requests he received and sets off to travel the world. This was okay, I thought it was going to be more about travel, and it was more of a romance of love loss, and love rediscovered.

The Mystery of the Blue Train. An good Agatha Christie read, that if you liked Murder on the Orient Express, you’ll like this one.

In January I read:

Why Didn’t they ask Evans? An excellent Agatha Christie read that threw me off completely. I thought I had it figured out and I was wrong!

The Library Book. I discussed all about this book in a previous post. It is absolutely lovely, and I love to mix in nonfiction with fiction reads.

The Nightingale. Set in France during WWII this is the story of two sisters during the German occupation of France. Oh my goodness. This was incredibly captivating. It is sad, heart wrenching, but a powerful story.

In February I read:

The Proposal. Set in LA, this is a fun romantic fiction that supports the power of friendship and the power of food (two of my favorite things).

Oishinbo: Sake. These manga are a fun insight into Japanese food and culture. I’m steadily working my way through all of them.

The Storytellers Secret. Set in India it follows the paths of a grieving woman and her Grandmother’s tale that she has never learned until now. It is so incredibly well written that I stayed up extra late several nights to complete it.

And the boys wanted to share their current favorite series!

A just finished ALL and I mean ALL of the Percy Jackson series, including the original series and The Heroes of Olympus. The stories are based on mythology (Greek, Norse, Roman, etc….he said it really covers all of them). Mythology was one of my very favorite subjects in school, so I’ve loved discussing the stories with him!

And J, well he has read over 500 books or chapters within the last six weeks. He did wonderfully with his school’s reading program and we are so proud of him! To encourage his reading, I bought him Henry Huggins, because the story is about a boy and his dog. I thought he would like it, but he didn’t just like it, he loved it. Of all the books he’s read, this is one of the first that he really discusses without any prompting at all.

Happy Reading!

 

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Disney Packing Guide

Traveling with two kiddos, often, I’ve got our packing down to almost (almost!) an exact science. I find especially when we get close to leaving on our trips that I am most stressed about forgetting something. Not that you can’t purchase items at Disney, but I like to be prepared. I do want to preface this with the fact that we almost always drive to Disney, so we have a little more room to bring extra items, like snacks and water bottles. However, if you do fly there are several good grocery services (and Amazon if you have Amazon Prime) that you can order items to be delivered to your hotel. Today I’m sharing my packing lists (you can download it here: Disney World List), and a few other essentials for our trips!

Most of our trips start out like this:

Packed in to our SUV, with headphones on, backpacks with essential items, and lots of snacks. A few of my favorite items that make road trips easier are packing cubes to divide out our items in suitcases, easy to access thermoses for the boys, and kid friendly headphones for their devices or DVD player. We usually separate the trip into two days on the way down and then drive all the way back in one day. I also have a trusty collection of Vera Bradley bags that I use to corral items throughout the trip. We’ve added more things to the list through the years (especially medicine, it can be expensive at Disney), but the items above are our tried and true! Happy planning and packing!

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Winter wind down wardrobe update

We are on that cusp of Spring. Some days it’s almost seventy, other days it’s in the thirties. A forty degree temperature swing, in one day, is not unusual here in the South. However, I’ve got Spring on the brain, and I’ve been shopping for that in between time, and that one week of glorious temps before it nosedives into summer and is 100 degrees.

First up, is this super versatile cover-up from Social Threads:

Wear it as a swim suit cover in deep summer, or as a skirt with a perfect Tippi sweater from JCrew in Spring.

Second, a sweatshirt/sweater from Social Threads paired with a jean skirt from Madewell:

The jean skirt will wear well into summer, and the sweatshirt is a perfect layering piece for the chilly mornings of Spring. I’ll be wearing it with my favorite slip on sneakers.

Next up, literally my work uniform. I already owned all these pieces except the sweater, so I bought it on sale for less than twenty dollars. Seriously.

Finally, I know you’re going to think I’m crazy, but yes a jacket. We are about to roll into baseball season, and it swings between freezing and burning hot. I desperately needed a jacket to roll with the temperature swings, and I’m hoping this will do it. This is my “go to green” I have three other jackets in this color. Paired with water repellent work out shoes, and fun sunglasses, this updates my typical weekend leggings and tank combination.

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