Need-to-Knows for the Nashville Novice

Statistics show just under 100 people move to Nashville each day, and with all the place has to offer, this comes as no surprise. The city has everything – rich culture, diverse cuisine and more musical talent per square capita than any other place in the world. Whether you prefer hopping from honky tonk to honky tonk down Broadway or immersing yourself into history, Nashville promises to keep you satisfied and planning out your return as soon as you depart.

Where to Eat

Brunch is a must and my top pick for starting your day off on a high note is The Southern.  The portions aren’t huge but that’s just fine because it saves room for more indulgences later in the day like ice cream from Jeni’s. If you’re in the mood for more of a grab and go meal, check out the Frothy Monkey.  With a few locations around town, this is the perfect spot for a morning pick-me-up minus all of the frills (and lines).

Nashville might be known for its country music connections, but there’s another thing synonymous with the city that’s gaining popularity: hot chicken. For those of you brave enough to try it, this now basic food group of Nashville can be found in restaurants across the city but there are a few recipes that stand out above the rest: Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack and Hattie B’s.

It’s probably hard to go wrong when it comes to dinner options, but here are a few places to consider. If you’re craving a casual vibe, give South a try (along with their Lavender Lemonade). For a slight step-up, sip from mason jars while enjoying slow-cooked BBQ and local talent at Puckett’s Grocery. If you want something a tad more upscale, look no further than Husk, brought to you by award-winning chef Sean Brock. The Crispy Chicken Skins, though perhaps not the most appealing by name, are truly phenomenal.

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Where to Drink

There are 51 bars along Broadway that keep the beer flowing and the music bellowing. A few of the staples along the route include Tootsie’s and ACME Feed & Seed (both with rooftop views), Honky Tonk and Rippy’s.  Another favorite of mine is Big Shotz on 2nd Ave., right off of Broadway and a little less crowded during the day with awesome drink specials and incredible entertainment.

Nashville’s burgeoning brewery scene is also worth exploration with the likes of Tennessee Brew  Works, Yazoo, Czann, Fat Bottom, Jackalope and Tailgate – just to name a few.  For those of you who prefer the lighter drafts, I’d highly recommend Tailgate’s Watermelon Wheat.

If you’re bold enough to stand in line for anywhere from 30 minutes up to two hours, The Patterson House speakeasy is well worth the wait. The low-key environment transfers you back to the prohibition era as soon as you pass through the curtain.

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Where to Shop

The 12th South neighborhood offers a blend of chic, yet electric shops and eateries – plus plenty of Instagram backdrops. Ranging from Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James to holistic pet shop Wags & Whiskers, this up-and-coming neighborhood has something for everyone (four-legged friends included).

Venturing back to the heart of downtown, you’ll find a plethora of shops and an endless selection of boot stores like Boots & More and French’s. Muse Inspired Fashion is an adorable and somewhat affordable boutique on 2nd Ave. that is also worth a gander.

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What to do

If music is your thing, then you’re definitely in the right place. Rewind through musical history with a tour of Studio B – you may even get a chance to play Elvis’ piano. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Jonny Cash museums are also a must. No trip to Nashville is complete without a visit to Opryland or the Ryman and here’s a hint: if you’re going to be in town for a few days, wait to book your tickets and keep monitoring until the timing gets close before you purchase your tickets as new talent gets added to the line-up regularly. You never know who will be in town so it’s worth waiting for the best schedule! For a more intimate sitting, The Listening Room gives you a a front row seat to raw, unadulterated singer-songwriter talent.

If you’re in town to party, add a little exercise to your day with the Nashville Pedal Tavern. Biking through the city streets will make you feel better about all of the beverages you’re consuming (only you will still be drinking while doing it so maybe the purpose will be defeated but who cares, you’ll still have  fun).

If you’re looking for something more relaxing, stroll through Centennial Park and check out the Parthenon. Visits to the Cheekwood Botanical Garden or Belle Meade Plantation are also in order – plus, the latter even has wine tasting!

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Sure, Nashville is known as a center of musical talent, but the city has so much to offer and will keep you coming back for more.

 

 

 

Sorority Recruitment Style Reenactment

I’m channeling back to the sorority days at USC with this ensemble. Back in college, I basically lived in everything pink and green and given that recruitment is getting started on campuses across the country, it only seems fitting.

These adorable Lilly shorts were purchased on clearance and Belk for just $42. Labor Day is always a great opportunity to score summer styles at steep discounted rates, so start stashing that spending money aside now.

The top was a Charming Charlie Spring item that I was able to pick up in July for just $10. Both the necklace and bag were also #CCstyle finds. The bag is the perfect size to carry around your life and never seems to get dirty despite the white color.

I decided to play down the style with a pair of white Keds, but the outfit could be a tad more formal with a nice pair of sandals or white wedges.

Major retailers are in the midst of summer markdowns but if you’re patient, they’ll only get better in the coming weeks. A bunch of states also offered Tax Free shopping this past weekend, but there are still a few coming down the pipeline like Connecticut and Maryland. Maybe it’s worth making the trip;)shortsPicshorts

Freedom, fireworks & fashion

One of the genes passed down from my beautiful momma is a love for all things navy. Fortunately, the trait comes in handy this time of year because I’m never short on patriotic pairings.

At first glance, this tunic looks red, white and blue, right? It’s not, but with a few accessories and a dose of American pride, the eye will see what it wants. The red lining is actually a bright fuchsia! It was just $29.99 at T.J. Maxx. The necklace was on clearance from Charming Charlie’s and the earrings came from Wal-mart at a cost of $3. The cream-colored bag is the most expensive item at $34, but I couldn’t resist when it came to my doorstep via StitchFix!

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Another outfit brought to you by T.J. Maxx. This anchor and lobster tank was under $20 and the linen shorts were just about $30. The shoes are by far the best part – red Cole Haan boat shoes for $29 at Costco and retailing at upwards of $50! The cooler was a clearance rack Marshalls find at the price of $12.

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I repurposed the festive shawl from Memorial Day, this time pairing it with red instead of blue. The nail polish was Sally Hansen’s Miracle Gel and if you’ve ever tried it, you know how the name came about.

Hope y’all had a happy holiday with your favorite people!

xoxo

Memorial Day Mix-up

Hope y’all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend and managed to soak up some sunny rays!

I’m trying, for the life of me, to get better about using the clothes I already own and styling them with different accessories for more mileage instead of buying new pieces.  Thanks to an insistent need to buy new things, I haven’t had too much luck sticking to that seemingly lofty goal but for now, baby steps.

My first attempt came in the form of a simple navy dress from Charming Charlie, paired with an American flag inspired shawl from Hamrick’s for Memorial Day.  Thanks to the versatility of the shawl, the two pieces could be dressed up, or dressed down, just by adding a few simple accessories.

Patriotism was in full force with the dressed down approach.  The causal look was played up by a pair of white Keds (available now for 40 percent off at Hamrick’s).  The red, white and blue necklace, along with the white rope bangles, were also found at Hamrick’s.

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For a more chic look, the shawl can be transformed into a scarf.  I paired it with a floppy blue and white striped hat from Ross.  Although the selection is getting slim this year of year, if you’re still looking for a similar style hat for those sunny days, Ross would be a great place to look first.  This one was only $7.99!  The red loafers also came from there.  Keeping with the theme of cheap finds, the red bracelet was just $3.00 from Hamrick’s.  The clutch came from StitchFix and though a bit out of my normal price range, I didn’t have the heart to send it back.

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What tricks do you have for repurposing certain styles?!

 

Rompin’ Around Town

I love the classy look of this navy and floral romper from Canadian fashion designer, Katherine Barclay. Just $24.99 at T.J. Maxx, the piece bottoms up the front offering full coverage with only a small opening at the top, a belt for better shaping, and the essential for any romper – pockets. It’s sleeveless but also looks great with a cardi on top for chillier days.

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Print

For any denim lovers out there, you’ve gotta find these heels. The sandal straps are a light denim and the base is tan. Only $19.99, also from T.J. Maxx.

I’ve moved away from big bags lately but the print paired well with this coral crossbody and it didn’t take long for the love to be rekindled. It’s just so handy to throw everything into a big bag!

Happy Shoesday Tuesday, y’all!

Orange you glad the week is almost over?

This Jessica Simpson dress is named Cherry Cherry but the only connection I can draw is that of a non-ripe version of the fruit and even that’s a stretch. It’s a spot-on shade of orange for any Auburn or UVA fan, and pairs perfectly with colors equally as vibrant. I opted to tone it down with navy.

Retailing at $89, this dress was picked up at Ross for just $29. My office is located right around the bend from Ross, TJ Maxx and Marshall’s, so needless to say I usually try to eat lunch at my desk to avoid the temptation of a mid-day shopping adventure. On this particular day, I failed. But at least it was a good deal!

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The necklace and earring set are a few years old but tend to be one of my frequent go-to combos because of the versatility of the color.

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The bracelet came from a Today Show Steals and Deals a few years back but again, always seems to be something I gravitate back toward. The clutch is a recent purchase from Charming Charlie.

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The flats, also found at Ross, were only $12 and felt worn-in immediately. Super comfy and ease to slip on and off. On a side note, please pay no attention to the weird coloring of my feet. It was my attempt at Jergens Natural Glow Tanning – great product but not such a valiant effort on my part to blend it in. Lesson learned. Have y’all ever tried it? Would love to know the secret to better blending!

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Winter Beauty Woes Solved

For those of us on the East Coast, it seemed as though we might sneak through the winter months unscathed by Mother Nature but alas, she’s about to remind us that she’s been here all long, just waiting to be reacquainted.

Hopefully many of you are still tracking against your new year’s resolution of getting/staying in shape (and not a resolution drop-out like me!) but it’s important to remember that during this time of year, there is more to take care of than just your muscle.  The cold temps and harsh winds can do a lot of damage to your skin, hair, etc., so it’s better to be proactive.  Here are a few of my favorite products:

Face:

It’s beneficial to apply moisturizer on a daily basis all year long, but the practice is especially vital when the wind is all too often whipping in your face.  I recommend Eminence Bright Skin Moisturizer, packed with 30 SPF.  I was inspired to try Eminence, a hand-made, organic line, because of Today Show host Tamron Hall and have been thoroughly impressed.

The 30 SPF is another key here.  Just because it is cold does not mean the sun has stopped emitting harmful rays!  If you elect to go with a non-SPF moisturizer, just make sure you top it off with an SPF lotion.

Lips:

Keep those smackers smooth with a lip balm or moisturizer.  You don’t need anything fancy, even drug store products like eos lip balm or Chapstick will get the job done.  Though not as cost-efficient, I do recommend LipSmart – another natural product that’ll keep you lips healthy and hydrated.

Skin & Hands:

My hands are constantly feeing for moisture, so I keep a bottle of lotion sitting next to my desk at all times.  Even for parts unexposed during the winter, like arms and legs, it’s good to stay well-lathered.

Eos body lotion is as awesome as its lip balm and does not come with a hefty price tag.  I was lucky enough to come across an entire eos gift pack on post-holiday clearance at Target for just $2.99 (originally $8) that included body lotion and hand cream.

Another go-to natural product is Dr. Scheller Hand Balm; it leaves your hands feeling smooth and not greasy which is often an issue with many hand cream varieties.

Nails:

Nails can be extra brittle due to the dry air this time of year, especially if they’re not painted, so it’s a best to reinforce them with a nail strengthener.  I prefer Sally Hansen – cheap and gets the job done!

Hair:

Some experts recommend a deep condition at least once a week in winter months.  I never have the patience to put on the conditioner, wait for it to absorb and then rinse it off awhile later so I opt for a leave-in conditioner instead.  It’s a 10 is my absolute favorite.

Throwing on a beanie is always another quick and easy layer of protection.

Stay warm, lovies!

Holiday Gift Ideas under $20

Believe it or not, there are only TWO shopping Saturdays left before Christmas.  As much as I love this time of year, I hate how fast it flies by.  Time is starting to run out for all of you on-line shoppers (unless you’re Amazon Prime members, of course).  If you still plan to place an order and/or snail mail gifts, just take into consideration that some modes of shipping still require 7-10 business days.

Chances are your calendar is also filling up with holiday parties and gatherings with your friends, meaning there is less time to shop around or wait in the never-ending lines at the register.  In need of a gift exchange item, small gifts for your girlfriends or just a little something extra for under the tree?  Here’s a few ideas under $20 from Ross & T.J. Maxx that will help you get in and get out of the store fast:

Blanket Scarf

We couldn’t get enough blanket scarf this season and that won’t change as the wind whips harder and temperature drops lower going into the winter months.  Typically, this cold-weather accessory will run you about $22+, unless of course, you check out a discount retailer.  The scarfs on the left are from TJ Maxx and go for $19.99, the one on the right is from Ross and costs $12.99.

Delicate Laying Necklace

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Another big trend this season is layering delicate necklaces, regardless of metal (i.e. a short silver necklace paired w/a rose gold drop).  I’m loving the selection at T.J. Maxx, like this Mia Fiore for $19.99.

Kate Spade Tumblers & Mugs

What girl doesn’t love Kate Spade?  This Tumbler, priced at $9.99 and retailed at $15.00 encourages ladies to make headlines; a gift especially appreciate for PR pros like myself (hint, hint friends).  The mug runs for $12.99, compared to $20.00.  Both were spotted at T.J. Maxx.

Monogram Everything: Candles & Cups

Look around on any fashionista’s IG page, and you’re bound to come across a gold-trimmed monogram cup like this one – found at T.J. Maxx for $3.99 (compared to $6.00).  These sweet-scented monogram candles are also a perfect gift (and price) for just $2.99 (compared to $6.00 at Ross.

Inspirational Notebooks

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Know someone that likes to write, make lists, etc.?  Then consider one of these.  From scriptures to words of encouragement, this notebooks make a great gift and are super cheap ($3.99 at Ross compared to $6.00).

Picture Frames

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Another gift you can never go wrong with – a picture frame!  This particular selection from Ross are also adorned with positive sayings, giving your recipient the option to fill the frame or leave it as is.  Prices range from $4.99 – $7.99.

Clutches

Clutch

I’m obsessed with this gold clutch ($12.99) from T.J. Maxx but convinced myself to leave it on the shelf in case you wanted it instead:)  Great gift that can be used throughout the holiday season.

Slippers

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These Jessica Simpson slippers from Ross feel so comfortable, come in a variety of colors and styles, and only cost $12.99 (compared to $20.00).

Happy shopping!

XO,

CC

Shopping my own Closet

In anticipation of a move a few years back, I boxed up most of my life, including fall and winter clothes aside from a few staples and backed them away at my parents’ house.  Eventually, I forgot about all of the boxes and added to my cold seasonal wardrobe with new clothes (and more new clothes).

We had been storing the clothes at a second home that my parents own and just recently got word that it will be rented out, so it was time for me to finally move “out,” which meant going through everything and either keeping, donating, or chucking the items in storage.  Much to my surprise, I uncovered four huge bins of fall and winter clothes – items I had completely forgotten about over the past few years.

Going through the buckets felt like I was shopping in my own closet – being reunited with some of my favorite pieces and coming across items that still bore tags.  With all these “new” items back in my possession, I decided one way to curb the shopping habit (esp. during this holiday season when I’m constantly in the stores) would be to rediscover gems I already own.  So, starting today, I’m trying with all of my might to turn to clothes I already have instead of buying new clothes for the rest of the winter.  Let’s see how long this lasts!  I was able to get rid of bags full of clothes that will be donated, but I still have way too much clothing and there’s no sense buying new when I have perfectly good old!

Have you ever made it a point to “shop” your own closet instead of going to the store to buy things?

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I bought this Polo sweater a few years back from the Polo outlet store. You can get some great deals on sweaters there if you wait until the holidays are over – typically Jan. or Feb. when the store is trying to make room for the Spring collection. I paired it with a gingham button-up purchased at TJ Maxx for $19.99.

DIY: Tacky Christmas Dress

A few years back I asked my mom if I could borrow one of her sweaters for RVA’s first SEC tacky sweater party.  Her response? “I don’t own any tacky sweaters.”  The reality?  She was a kindergarten teacher for 35-years so of course she has a closet full of tacky attire!  While the snowman sweater sufficed for the first year, I knew I could come up with something better the next time around.

I went to work making my now go-to tacky holiday party ensemble.  A trip to Ross and the Dollar Store gave me everything I needed.  I found a simple red dress on the clearance rack for about $5 and grabbed a few bags of bows and garland at the Dollar store.

I hot-glued each individual bow onto the skirt of the dress and then did the same with the garland along the base of the dress, sleeves and neckline down through the back.  A few hours and a bunch of burns later, the dress was complete.  Next, I took a plain headband and topped it off with a few bows.  To accessorize, I made a bracelet out of ornaments.  Side note: the first year I made the mistake of using glass ornaments, whoops!  Needless to say, I switched it up after that.  I found cute green, silver and red bow earrings and a ring at Charming Charlies, too.  For under $20 in total, my holiday outfit was complete.

Last year I even added light strings to the skirt for some extra flair.  Three years later, most of the bows have stayed on but I do tend to leave a small trail whenever sitting is involved: )

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