Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Food For Thought

While perusing my daily websites, I came across an interesting article this morning on MSN discussing the healthiest and not-so-healthy fast food/sit down chain restaurants in America... seeing as we are a "convenience-oriented" society and are constantly on the run with our family and friends, it's nice to know that some of the chains are taking an active stance to ensure Americans continue to strive against obesity and the health issues associated with this disease including heart disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol just to name a few.
Top Winners (companies that scored a B+ or higher): Chik-Fil-A, Subway, Jamba Juice, Au Bon Pain, Boston Market, Cici's Pizza, McDonald's, Taco Bell, and Wendy's
The Bad Seeds: Baskin Robbins, Carls Jr, Dennys, Dairy Queen, Ruby Tuesday, Chili's (this explains why I was fat in college), Uno Chicago Grill, Chevys, On the Border, Romano's Macaroni Grill, Baja Fresh, IHOP, Outback, TGI Fridays, and Applebees

For those of you who try to be health-conscious like me, there are also a number of books out on the market to help you make smart decisions when eating out and when you're at the grocery store, and I particularly like Eat This, Not That. It's a book that breaks down food by restaurants, types of food categories (i.e. chips, yogurt, pizza, etc.) and shows you the smart choices you should be making to save added fat, calories, carbohydrates, and sodium (other important nutitional information is included as well)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Get Up and Start Drinking

This is it... the day a lot of my friends (AKA beeshes) have been looking forward to for months now- we're leaving for the BEACH this afternoon to celebrate my best friend's bachelorette weekend in Seaside, Florida. We're staying at my roomie's beach house thanks to the fabulous Alcorns who always make sure we have a home away from home (thanks Bob and Marie!) and I just can't stop thinking about how much trouble we're going to get into- haha! Somehow trouble always finds our group of friends no matter where we are and I'm sure this weekend will be everything I'm expecting and MORE! Our bags are packed, our cameras are ready, and 15 of us are ready to get on the road- Bev, this is going to be one for the books I assure you of that.

Julie and Meg have done a fabulous job planning this celebration and I know we've got some special treats in store for best friend, too!! I know I need to get back to work today so I'll make this short- "IT'S SEASIDE THURSDAY BEESHES, GET UP AND START DRINKING!!" For those friends out there not traveling with us, please pray for a safe trip - weather may get kinda scary today!! Have a great weekend and I promise tons of pictures ASAP =)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Germantown Cafe

Another great local restaurant here in Nashville is one of my favorite places for Sunday brunch, Germantown Cafe. Nestled in the quaint little village of Germantown, which is close to Bicentennial Mall in downtown Nashville, this restaurant offers a relaxing, but sophisticated atmosphere and some of the best original dishes in town... Not only do I love getting up for church on Sundays here lately, but even more fun is when we venture to new and exciting dives for tasty treats. Everything is made-to-order and piping hot when it's delivered to your table. This is the 3rd time I've been there and the food is impecable each time I go... the staff is friendly and the environment is perfect for a relaxing meal. This time I opted for something different (if you know me well, you know I usually find one thing I like at a restaurant and stick to that)- I ordered the Sausage and Cheese Omelet which was fantastic... not the healthiest thing on the menu, but I figured if I can't splurge on dessert right now (since I gave it up for Lent), I might as well enjoy something else instead.

Germantown Cafe is also notorious for their crab cakes benedict, which my partner in crime had and he promised they were as good as the server told him they would be... I've also had the chicken salad sandwich as well as the french onion soup and I'd order both again in a heartbeat! Anytime I check out a Nashville newspaper or magazine, there is another write-up of the hometown favorite so if you're in the area and looking for a new place, stop by- you can even walk through the beautiful neighborhood and see the gorgeous houses now that spring is finally here!!

Very reasonable prices too- entrees for brunch range from $5 to $12

Friday, March 20, 2009

Lebanon Birthday Fun

Me and the Birthday Girl!!

Last Friday night I made the trip to good ole' Lebanon to partake in my friend Jenna's birthday celebrations... it's funny when people think of Lebanon they really misunderstand just how much fun you can have and I always love going to hang out with my friends I rarely get to see =(.

We started the night off at Los Compadres- which I assure you, is hands down the best Mexican restaurant there is... the margaritas are stout, the cheese dip is amazing, and the atmosphere is just as entertaining because you never know who you will see in the bustling metropolis and home of Cracker Barrel- haha! Then we went to Old Neighborhood Bar and Grill and had some fun with my favorite bar game Photohunt (no this is by no means kid friendly), but still fun nonetheless- let's just say you want me on your team for this game friends- I am the champion!
Afterwards, we headed to Jenna's favorite bar, Blu Moon, and had one heck of a time singing karaoke, playing pool, and taking way too many pictures. I had so much fun and can't wait to bring some of my Nashville friends to Leb to show them what the fuss is all about...
fun at the MOON!!

me and double d- love you david!
billy, me, and sam

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lucky Charms!

Happy St. Patrick's Day Friends!! Today marks the annual celebration of Paddy's Day, which celebrates Saint Patrick, one of the patron saints of Ireland. For those of you who do not know, is it the national holiday of Ireland, and is widely celebrated all over the world, including here in the U.S, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. St. Patrick's Day is a holy day of obligation for Roman Catholics in Ireland, as well... for us that like to dress up in our festive gear and drink green beer, this holiday gives an excuse to eat Irish food, and try some interesting new flavors of drinks including Guiness dark beer and Bailey's Irish Cream, too! Another fun tradition in larger cities are parades... the first being held in Boston in 1761.. other large parades include New York City, Savannah Georgia, Dallas, Chicago, and Seattle, just to name a few. In the past, blue, not green was the color long-associated with St. Patirck, but since green is most widely-associated with Ireland, the Irish people created the slogan "wearing of the green", meaning to wear a shamrock on your clothes. Now there is your history lesson for the day!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Urban Flats

In an effort to branch out in my local Nashville, I have really been attempting to eat at different restaurants instead of continuously going to the same places I've gone for years... so far I've been doing a great and this past weekend I tried out a new establishment in the Gulch, Urban Flats. As a restaurant that focuses on flatbreads baked in their signature hearth oven, the atmosphere is extremely contemporary and "urban", but still laid back and casual. We had a really great bottle of Cabernet wine, and munched on Lobster Mac and Cheese and Beef Tenderloin. I was surprisingly taken back by how inexpensive it was, as well- entrees/flatbreads/sandwiches range from $8 to $14... great for a girl's night on the town or a romantic rendezvous with your significant other - try it, you'll like it!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

Today, Friday March 13th, is my parent's wedding anniversary! Some people may think Friday the 13th brings bad luck, but believe it or not, 13 is my mom's lucky number, her birthdate, and her anniversary, too. My parents are the ideal role models in my life and I couldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for their unending support and love. They have gotten me through some of the most difficult times and have celebrated with me when I have reached exciting milestones in my life up to this point. They do everything together and I can only hope to be as fortunate as them when I decide to get married one day =)
My Parents and I Last Summer on Vacation

Aren't They Adorable??
At Carlos and Charlie's in the Bahamas- OH WHAT A DAY!!

Thanks again Mom and Dad for everything you do- I love you both and thank God everyday for blessing me with your love! I love you the most...OXOX


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Reunion Weekend in Knoxville

This past Saturday, Meg and I made the journey to Knoxville to visit my best friend and soon-to-be bride Bev. Meg had already planned on visiting her parents that weekend, and together my 2 musketeers got together and conned me into going (which you know wasn't difficult whatsoever)... all you have to mention is friends, shopping, food, drinks, and VOLS basketball and you can count me in for the fun!

We started out our day o' fun shopping for bridesmaid shoes for Bev's wedding, which is fast approaching at 1 month and 14 days - I can't believe her and Christian will be saying their vows so soon, but I can't wait for the fun Memphis weekend. We finally lucked out and found the perfect bridesmaid shoes at Off Broadway, too... then we shopped all around town and I spent money I didn't need to- I am horrible at making impulse buys (maybe a new year's resolution for next year???). Then we got ready and headed to the Alcorn's for wine and appetizers downtown and had a girl's dinner at Oodles in Market Square- so yummy for anyone that hasn't been and very reasonably priced! Afterwards, we headed to Side Street Tavern (a local hangout bar in Knox)... hating to admit it, but I had a little too much to drink so I was sent home fairly early- as they say, "When in Rome" =)
At Oodle's for Dinner with My Girls

Car Ride to Side Street- Photoshoot Time

Then Sunday morning, we got up and headed to the VOLS/BAMA boys basketball game- it was actually the first game I had been to since they redid Thompson Boling Arena and I have to admit I was really impressed! They did a great job with the renovations and it looked amazing inside- it was a great game with a buzzer shot winning goal by BAMA, but we had a great time just the same! Thanks for a fabulous time in Knoxville Bev
Our New LED Screens- How Pretty!!
Courtside After the Game- Showing Our VOL Pride!

Happy Birthday #26 Ladies

Since I was slammed at work yesterday, I hope you'll forgive me Jenna, but I just wanted to take a chance to wish you a Happy Belated Birthday... you are and continue to be one of my closest friends and I am so thankful you are in my life! You are a fantastic woman and one that I am blessed to know- you're a great listener and someone I can always count on, in good times and in bad, and you can ALWAYS bring a smile to my face! Thanks for always being there for me with an open heart and I can't wait to celebrate your birthday festivities Friday night in Lebanon... OXOX- Love you Jenna Bain Vaughn!!
Celebrating My Birthday Last Year at Big Bang

At My Annual Christmas Party- Isn't She Cute??

And another important birthday today is Miss Amber Dale!! She also turns 26 and will be celebrating in style this weekend, even though I can't join in the festivities... Amber I met through Hurt in college and have become extremely close friends, partly since I practically lived at her apartment for almost 2 years- Amber is an incredibly caring and supportive friend and would do anything for her friends- she is a constant source of strength for me and I rely on her advice a lot- I couldn't make it through my work days without her either! Thanks Amber for always being a great friend and looking out for me- I love you!!

At Sam's for Weekly BOARD MEETING
At the Box Seat in Hermitage... Her and Luke's Favorite Place-Haha!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Board Game Night!!

What happens when you bring 11 competitive people together for board games and combine it with beer?? TROUBLE! This past Friday night, we all got together at Ryan and Rachel's house for Board Game Night... and had more fun than any of us could've possibly imagined. We started the night out playing Catchphrase and divided the teams Girls vs. Boys- knowing how smart we all are, the boys thought they'd play it safe and continiously choose the "Sports and Games" category, but that's where they went wrong - to put it nicely, we killed them. We decided to do the best out of 3 games, and needless to say us girls won ALL 3 games. The boys didn't mind their punishment though, which consisted of shotgunning beers (classy, I know)... afterwards we tried out the old Twister and had lots of laughs twisting and turning like pretzels- what a great night with some of my best friends!! We'll be doing this again very soon. Enjoy the pics
Our Little Family... Aaron, Meg, and Me Boys Locked Us Out... So We Played Outside
I Love These Ladies (Meg, Lauren, Rachel, and Me)

Boys Punishment =)
Cleaning Up Can Be Fun!
New Kids on the Block Dance MovesTwister Fun Begins.. Looks Innocent Enough
Ryan Made Us Stay in Our Positions FOREVER

Sorry Rachel!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Defying Gravity

Today started out like any normal day until the email gods at Gmail officially made my day... being a regular attendee of musicals and plays that frequent the Tenneessee Performing Arts Center aka TPAC, I get emails of upcoming shows all the time in my inbox, which I usually delete, but not today - today is the day I found out that my favorite play, WICKED, is coming to Nashville in September!! Being the mess that I am, I called my Mom immediately to tell her the good news, even though she said she had found out weeks ago and thought she had told me... what's funny is we had planned to take a weekend trip later this year to go see the show in Memphis because I didn't think it would ever make it to Music City- I'm so happy I was wrong!
WICKED is the most amazing spectacle to watch- I was lucky enough to get to see it on Broadway when I lived in New York City, and I've been wanting to see it again for 4 years now. Of course tickets don't go on sale til late May/early June, but you can bet I will be there singing my heart out because I'm one of the people that has the soundtrack and knows each and every song... my advice is to run, not walk to see this show- I promise you won't be disappointed and you'll learn about the real story behind the Wicked Witch of the West!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Debut of Britney's Circus Concert

Last night in New Orleans was anything but ordinary - it was the debut of Britney's comeback concert and it was her first time being back on stage in front of thousands of sscreaming fans in almost 5 years... oh how I wish I could have been there! Even worse, I've got some of my good friends who are making the roadtrip to see her perform tomorrow night in Atlanta and I can't go. Yes, what a sad, sad day in the life of Natasha. I'll just have to wait until everyone posts their pics so I can see just how much amazingness I missed out on... the funds are a little too low these days with my hectic schedule, so I couldn't see shelling out $400 on tickets, hotel, gas, food, and alcohol just to see my Britney (maybe I should've taken donations or something earlier). Of course being the stalker that I am for celebrity websites, I got online this morning and couldn't wait to see pictures of last night's show... apparently for critics, she didn't bring her A-game, and they were quoted saying she looked to be a little nervous and uneasy, but I think anyone in her shoes would be having those emotions- she has a lot to live up to and she is being watched under the microscope very closely... all in all though, I think the fans were pleased and were excited to see her looking toned and happy to be back doing what she loves. I've included a few pictures of her incredible show costumes, as well!

The New Bachelorette

I think our prayers have been answered... it seems like every woman (and some men that were forced to watch the show) wanted this to happen, and last night ABC announced that Jillian Harris will be the brand new bachelorette! The 29 year-old interior designer from Canada will debut the new season on May 18th. Apparently everyone just couldn't get enough of her northern accent, her savvy fashion sense, and her outgoing and fun personality. I think ABC couldn't have made a better selection - and I know all of my Nashville friends and I will be reuniting for our weekly Monday nights to cook dinner and drink wine, too!


Monday, March 2, 2009

Tonight's the Night

This isn't just another Monday, nor is it just another "Girl's Dinner Night" with some of my best friends here in Nashville, but tonight IS THE NIGHT... it's the showdown finale of this season's "The Bachelor" on TV. I know we've all been glued to the TV for weeks now watching as Seattle Jason narrowed it down from 25 to the final 2 and I am VERY interested to see what happens. Not sure how many of you out there have heard all the rumors flying around, but from what I hear we are in for one good show... all 3 hours of it are airing tonight on ABC. The first 2 will be the actual finale, and then the last hour is the "After the Final Rose". If it were up to me, I'd go back and rewind Jason's decision and him and Jillian would live happily ever after (all the ladies out there know what I'm talking about because she is amazing), but that's not going to happen, so now my money is on Melissa- granted she has a secret family that doesn't want to be seen, but she is sincere and sweet and you can tell she is great with kids, which is a huge priority for Jason since he's a single dad. Then there's crazy Molly- we all liked her at the start, but after late night camping, crazy golf games, and her wacko family that don't show affection, I'm pulling for the cheerleader/teacher ALL THE WAY! Everyone at my house tonight will definitely be on "Team Melissa" I can assure you of that. At least there's always another season of "The Bachelorette" to think about- and I've got one great guess as to who it may be... Jill!! I'm ready for our Mexican Fiesta party tonight, too- Ole!
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