Things I Learned in January

I learned quite a few life changing, earth shattering things this month.  Not really.  But they are fun!

MOST importantly.

Kate Middleton (Duchess of Cambridge) {<–Imagine that part said in a Julie Andrews voice} apparently likes Haribo sweets.  AS DO I!  I’m obsessed with gummy candies and buy them WAY too frequently.  She also has a cocker spaniel (I grew up with a cocker spaniel).  Can you even handle the similarities?  I sure can’t.

Check it out HERE.

This goes in the “remembering things I had forgotten,” category.

I grew up with MLK as LJK day – as my bestie reminded me recently.  Here’s an article.

L= Lee.  Like The General.

J = Jackson.  Mr. Stonewall himself.

K =  King.  As always.

Only the Commonwealth of Virginia even HAD such a day.  And they didn’t change it to simply MLK day until 2000.  2000!!  Sometimes Scott makes fun of me when I imply I’m from the South.  Being raised by Midwestern parents (and living ages 2-6 in Michigan) can make one’s husband believe you have nothing Southern about you.  But then a little gem like LJK day pops up.  Take that, Scott!

When in doubt, just be do your thing.

We had Stu and Leslie over a few weeks ago and in prep for their arrival I was trying to figure out what music to play. They always have great, chill, cool music on at their house.  Ray LaMontagne, etc. So I tried to replicate that, because I thought that was what they liked. But I’m clearly not as chill and cool as them because it wasn’t really working for me.  And I kept wanting to change the song cause it wasn’t…right.

As I mentioned yesterday (Eric Church obsessed much?)  Scott and I always listen to country music.  Within 15 minutes, Scott took over as DJ and had country music playing and I was so much happier and relaxed.  And Leslie said, “Oh, I always know I’m going to hear great country music when I’m over here!”  Umm.  Truth.  Of course I should just play what we like and makes us most comfortable so we can focus on our friends, not the music, right!?  That’s what makes our home feel like US.  If we are comfortable, they will feel comfortable in our home.  I’m a hospitality major who over-analyzes, can you tell?  Anyways, this really applies to SO many things in life.

Show up. Even if it’s just for the ceremony, not the party.

Our dear friend got married last Sunday evening in DC.  Scott and I didn’t have the time to take Monday off, so we knew we couldn’t make it to the reception.  I was debating if we should make the trip at all since it would just be for 30 minutes and wouldn’t even get to talk to the bride and groom.  And we would miss the party!  Well Scott, in his infinite wisdom said, “You show up for your friends.”   So we did. Have I mentioned he is a better person than I am?

Good thing, too.  Cause I got Tony’s!

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But the best part was getting some great time with my parents, our VA friends and some of my lifetime friends at the wedding ceremony.

photo(2) And I AM SO GLAD WE DID.  It’s such a special thing to witness your friends getting married.  So LESSON: just show up for what you can, even if it’s just the 30 minute ceremony.  Congratulations, Ryan and Brittany!  Thank you for letting us share in your special day.

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Beer Gardens and Casino Concerts

Back in October Scott and I decided to do a tour of the Northeast in one day.  We started in New Jersey, made our way through Manhattan to Queens and finally ended up in Connecticut.  All for A-list things of course.

Dear Billy turned 30 and celebrated at a Beer Garden in the middle of Queens.  IMG_2900

It was a beautiful warm day to be outside with friends, eating German food and drinking beer.

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There was a lot to celebrate that day, besides Billy’s birth, of course.  I had just accepted my new position and was starting to tell people. IMG_2902

This guy was newly engaged and asked the guys to be groomsmen in his wedding.

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Does anyone else notice this phenomenon? You ask someone to take a photo for you and you get your phone back with at least one selfie you did not expect?  Scott (and friends) are notorious for this.  I’m sure half of the photos on my phone are Scott selfies.  I digress. IMG_2903

And lastly, my dear husband had surprised me with concert tickets to see Eric Church! Be still my heart.  IMG_2904

AND he had somehow coerced our friends who live in Connecticut to go to the concert with us and give us a place to stay for the night.  Which BONUS, meant we got to see their new home in Connecticut!  I say coerced because most of our friends up here aren’t big country music fans.  But Rick and Dana stepped up and we all made the trek from Queens to Mohegan Sun (such an interesting experience) for the concert.  IMG_2912

Scott and I broke out our new boots from Nashville for the occasion.IMG_2917We are equally obsessed with Eric Church.  We’ve been listening to him non-stop since we were just little engaged younguns. He’s our go to for car trip music, cooking music, grilling out music, working on the house music, getting ready music…basically anytime we need to listen to music together.IMG_2920

We had to miss his concert in NYC (we were in Nashville) so that is how we ended up at the ever-so-interesting Mohegan Sun.  What concert is complete without animatronic wolfs looking over a casino?

But that didn’t really matter.

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Because we got to see Eric Church live.IMG_2939

And it was amazing.  Everything I wanted it to be.  He is such a rock star.  And I love knowing every song (read: singing along to every song) at a concert.  IMG_2942

I also loved the style of the camera work.  It was mostly black and white and pretty artistic.  Since most people end up watching the big screen anyways, why not make it artistic?IMG_2964 IMG_2989I hope these Connecticut friends enjoyed their first country concert. IMG_2922 We enjoyed having them there!  And are glad they are still friends with us after seeing us geek out with cowboy boots, flannel, and much jumping around when Eric came on stage.  (Eric and I are on first name basis).IMG_2923

Nashville, Tennessee

To celebrate our third anniversary, Scott and I hopped a flight and went to Nashville for the weekend.

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We dropped our bags and went right downtown when we arrived.  Its a quick flight, so even though we worked a full day, we were able to get a full night out.  And a full, college-style night out always beats a full day of work.

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Honky Tonk Central!  That was the name of the bar…not my description of downtown Nashville.  Although it works both ways.
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Hint to future Nashville-travelers.  The really good bands come on at 10:30. I would recommend getting to a honky tonk (bar) a bit earlier so you are guaranteed a good spot – or a spot at all.  Scott and I saw a ton of people waiting in line outside as the night went on, so we just stayed put.  And it was totally worth it.  We saw 3 different bands, which got progressively better.photo-193

On Saturday we had biscuits and gravy and walked around the downtown area.  photo 2-20

We test drove some boots.photo 1-20 And hats.photo 4-18 photo 3-19

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We walked the pedestrian bridge.photo 3 photo 1And then we got down to work eatin’ and drinkin’.  Nashville is so popular right now, so everybody had a list of restaurants we needed to try.

Acme Feed & Seed is three stories tall and has a great open space on the 3rd floor overlooking the river and the pedestrian bridge.  And cute coasters.

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Puckett’s was a great spot for lunch and it was still slammed at 2:00 pm.  I had the fried chicken and you should too.

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After lunch, we hopped around some of the honky tonks downtown since we only saw one the night before.  Hint: they all start to repeat the same songs after awhile.  It’s a good time nonetheless.

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We explored a new area of town and had dinner at a nice restaurant named Josephine’s.  Thats about when we started dreaming of opening our own restaurant in New Jersey.  There just aren’t any great restaurants of the caliber of Josephine’s or the quality we got used to in NYC.  Fun to dream, right?

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On Sunday, we had a late flight, so we explored the Vanderbilt campus.  After a phenomenal brunch (blue cheese biscuit eggs benedict!!! Praise Jesus!) at The Southern.

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We have good friends who went to Vandy so we had to stop in.  It was a beautiful little campus.  I kept commenting on how quiet it was.  We only saw a handful of students and it was a gorgeous Sunday afternoon.  Virginia Tech would have had at least three pick up football games, people laying in the sun and lots of sweatpants-clad groups making their way to lunch.  Scott informed me that a lot of very smart people go to Vanderbilt so they were probably doing work in the library.  I tried not to read too much into his implications about my own alma mater.  Ahem.photo 5Right off the campus there is a scale model of the Parthenon.  I’m not even kidding.  How come Rayna James never visits that on the show Nashville?? (Sarcasm)

photo 2On the lawn nearby there was a small festival with live music, food trucks and lots of puppies.  Korean tacos?  Delicious and spicy.photo 4

That is what we loved the most about Nashville – was the constant music. Next time we go, and there will be a next time, we will be sure to get tickets to a place like the Bluebird Cafe or Ryman Theater (the original Opry location).  That way we will see original artists, instead of the covers that they do at all of the honky tonks.  But these are our lessons learned.  And I’m not complaining.

Oh, I also recommend staying downtown.  We were at the Gaylord Opryland.  We spent so much in taxis getting back and forth.  So book early.  And my last piece of advice is to learn all of the words to “Rockytop.”  You would hate to have a microphone thrust in your face and not know all the lyrics to every verse…in Tennessee.  Heavens.

He’s Gone Country

My husband ‘went country’ a year or two into our dating.  He was raised in Jersey, then went to college in Rhode Island. Not a lot of opportunity for good ol’ fashioned country music amongst all of the Bruce Springsteen.

Then he met me.  And mocked me for being a country music fan.  Then he fell in love with me, spent a lot of time around me and had no choice about the country music in his life. And from there, the following happened.  (Apparently this is a common occurrence for dating couples.  Our pastor even mentioned it in a sermon…)

1. You let your girlfriend play country music while in the car together.

2. You make one of your radio pre-sets a country station to impress your girlfriend.  You even tune to this station when she is in the car to further impress her.

3. You find yourself tuning into the country station even when she isn’t in the car.

4. You are a full-fledge country fan that wears flannel to country concerts.

Scott Josh Turner

This past Saturday night, Josh Turner came to the little concert venue in town.  Scott found the concert and suggested we get tickets. I am so glad we went.Josh Turner

A date night was just what we needed after Scott’s crazy work schedule for the past few weeks.  He got home after I went to bed most nights.

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And going to a country concert in our hometown was just what I needed after feeling a bit isolated and out of my element in my new home.Josh Turner 2We had a ton of fun, rocked out in the balcony and made friends with grandmas in line for the bathroom.  I guess that was just me. We may have been on the younger side of the age spectrum.

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Josh put on a great show. His baritone is out of this world.  I mean, its hard to believe that his wife gets to listen to that all the time!

We had a great time and now I *really* want a pair of cowboy boots!  (Scott almost got me a pair for Christmas – before I even mentioned wanting a pair!  The man is seriously good.)

S and R Josh Turner