Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cheesy Corn & Rice Casserole/Rocky Road Cheesecake

Saturday night, my lovely parents invited us over (Meg, Aaron, Jeff, and I) over for a summer-time cookout and game night... we did this a few months ago with some of our friends and couldn't wait to let my Mom and Dad in on the fun! We headed to Murfreesboro late that afternoon and let the boys work their magic on the grill, serving up some very tasty hamburgers and hot dogs (FYI: this was my first experience with Bubba Burgers and wow-they're great!). I made a cheesy corn and rice casserole and Meg made a decadent Rocky Road cheesecake... gotta love Kraft for their splendid and oh-so-easy recipe ideas!!
Needless to say, the food was delicious, but the company was even better -- as usual, the girls dominated in Catchphrase (smoked them, really) and then we all got warmed up for Wii action and Guitar Hero -- by 1:30AM, we were all exhausted and had to go to bed even though my parents were ready for more!!

Hope you try these recipes... they are really easy and fun for any occasion!

Cheesy Corn and Rice Casserole (both pictures courtesy of Kraft Foods)

Casserole Ingredients
1/2 cup Chive & Onion Cream Cheese Spread
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups cooked instant white rice
1 can (15-1/4 oz.) corn with red and green bell peppers, drained
1 cup KRAFT Mexican Style Finely Shredded Four Cheese, divided
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

Directions
PREHEAT oven to 375°F
Mix cream cheese spread and egg in large bowl until well blended
Stir in rice, corn, 3/4 cup of the shredded cheese and cilantro
POUR mixture into greased 1-1/2-qt. baking dish
Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used more like 3/4 cup of cheese on top)
BAKE 20 to 25 minutes or until cheese on top is melted and lightly brown
Rocky Road No-Bake Cheesecake

Cheesecake Ingredients
3 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, divided
2 pkg. (8 oz. each) Cream Cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
3/4 cup JET-PUFFED Miniature Marshmallows
1/3 cup chopped PLANTERS COCKTAIL Peanuts
1 OREO Pie Crust (6 oz.)
Directions
MICROWAVE 1 of the chocolate squares in small microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1 min; stir until chocolate is completely melted; set aside
BEAT cream cheese, sugar and milk in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended
Add melted chocolate; mix well
Gently stir in whipped topping, marshmallows and peanuts
Coarsely chop remaining 2 chocolate squares; stir into cream cheese mixture
Spoon into crust
REFRIGERATE 4 hours or until set
Store leftover pie in refrigerator

Monday, June 29, 2009

Ham and Poppyseed Rolls


Last summer, my good friend Ryan introduced these tasty sandwiches to us at the beach, and now that it's summer (with 90+ degree heat for the past 13 days!!), I thought this was a perfect time to indulge in this mouthwatering recipe once again... these are the easiest things in the world to make and I promise your favorite people will be begging for more -- not only did we have them for our picnic dinner Friday night, but ate them between our pool sessions on Saturday, too!
FYI: the picture included here is one I found online; unfortunately, my camera is having "issues" and I'm praying that it's only a malfunction and not broken since I have too many vacations coming up to not have a working camera to document the fun (keep your fingers crossed for me PLEASE!!)
Ingredients
1 package rolls (I used the Sara Lee dinner rolls- 12 pack)
1 package of sliced ham
1 package of swiss cheese(sliced)

Sauce/Dressing
1/2 stick of butter
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp yellow mustard
1 tsp chopped onion
dash salt
dash pepper
2 tbsp poppy seeds
Heat the ingredients listed below in the microwave for 30 seconds and then stir

Slice the rolls in the middle so you have a top and bottom. Layer ham and cheese it the bottom half. Replace the top half. Pour heated ingredients over the top of the rolls. Bake at 350 until heated through (about 10-12 minutes)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Life Lessons and Quotes (Series Post #1)

As I mentioned in a previous post, my friend Cami inspired me to keep a journal with all my favorite quotes about 3 years ago... since then, everytime I find quotes/sayings/lyrics I enjoy or speak to me, I write them down--sometimes to email to friends and family just to let them know I'm thinking about them, sometimes when important people in my life are having a hard day, or sometimes even including them with Thank You/Birthday cards. I recently found a wesbite I have started following where people can upload picture quotes and I've started saving these in my computer. Each week, I promise to have at least 1 post (hopefully more) dedicated to these quotes, which may correlate to things going on in my personal life, my friends, family, etc., or when I find one that is particularly moving to me... enjoy blogging friends!

We are usually so tied-up in the mentality of 'what am I going to get out of this' but shouldn't we be trying to give more of ourselves --forget the selfishness and DO GOOD

The most successful people in life are the people truly experiencing life, taking chances, and not sitting back to see what happens... they write their own future and don't take NO for an answer


I couldn't agree more--don't do something halfway, go all the way and pour your heart into each and every single thing you do... I think this makes life worth living

The King of Pop

Yesterday was a sad day in the entertainment world as we lost one of the greatest icons the world has ever known... I know most people have very strong opinions about the personal life of Michael Jackson, but you have to admit, he not only shaped the world of POP music, but of all genres within the music industry -- he was THE King of Pop, and I doubt we'll ever see another music icon like him. When I think of the legends, 4 names come to mind: Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, John Lennon, and Michael Jackson. These individuals did something for music that noone else has been able to replicate and I know I'm thankful for their contributions.

I got a little emotional last night when I had heard the announcement that Michael Jackson had in fact died of cardiac arrest after being rushed to UCLA Medical Center after suffering (what they think to be) a massive heart attack. I think for me it was like I lost a bit of my childhood since I had grown up listening to his music from the time I was young. After dinner with my friends at La Paz last night, I couldn't help but turn on the TV to watch Larry King Live cover the developing story... even more interesting is the outpouring from fellow celebrities and their shock as to the tragic events that unfolded yesterday. Definitely a travesty and one that will hopefully be explained after the LA County Coroner performs an autopsy today-- I know a lot of rumors are circulating about prescription drug overdose and his dependency on medications, but I hope people focus on the amazing accomplishments this talent delivered to not only us in America, but all throughout the world... truly one of the most talented individuals to walk the earth and I don't think anyone can doubt that for one second.

My heart goes out to his children and his family most importantly. I know this whole ordeal will be played out over the next few weeks and what will surely be very public information, but they are in mourning and hopefully the media will respect their wishes during this very difficult time. I'll be listening to his music and reminiscing about all the routines I did with his music when I took dance oh-so-long-ago.... and just because I can, here are a few videos from You Tube with some of my favorite MJ songs
















Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Restaurant Week Comes to My Beloved Nashville

Yes, it's true... Restaurant Week is coming to Nashville this summer and the countdown is on!! For those of you bloggers who don't know what Restaurant week is, it's a celebration of food in the City and select restaurants throughout Nashville offer discounted 3-course dinners for either $20.09 or $30.09 (depending on the specific locale you choose). Sponsored by Nashville Originals, here are the details to note for the tasty fun:
When: June 29th through July 5th (FYI- some of the restaurants are closed on July 4th so make sure to check their websites for possible closures)
Where: TONS of new eateries have signed up this year including... The Acorn, Cabana, Fido, Flyte, Germantown Cafe, Jackson's, Jimmy Kelly's, Mafiaoza's, Mambu, Noshville, PM, Rumba, Sunset Grill, Tayst, and Zola (others are listed on the website with special menus to choose from)
Why: This is a fantastic opportunity to try some of Nashville's hot spot eateries for a fraction of the price AND you get a 3-course meal for a fraction of the normal price (appetizer, entree, and my personal favorite -- dessert!!)

Even better, the Nashville Originals website offers discounted gift certificates for its member restaurants as well as recipes from local-area favorite chefs so you can bring their fantastic food to your own dining room! Bon Appetit =)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Laughing So Hard Never Felt So Good

What a weekend!! I'm completely exhausted and am considering myself in "detox" mode... Knoxville was fabulous and I am so happy I got to spend some much-needed quality time with my 2 best friends -- and the boys of course!!

Friday night, Jeff and I got into town and headed to Soccer Taco (our favorite Mexican) for some tacos and margaritas and then got ready to meet everyone at Rooster's for some fun! After tequila shots, late night nachos, and a few beers, we headed home for a restful night's sleep -- little did I know what I was in for Saturday morning...


The Three Musketeers Together Again (Meg, Bev, and Me!)
Jeff and I at Rooster's (Old Stomping Ground in Knox)


Me and Crawford (My Favorite Easter Egg-haha!!)


What do I enjoy doing on my days off?? If you said yard work, no that's not too high on my list either, but sometimes you have to take one for the team -- that morning, we got started on Jeff's Knoxville house's landscaping and 'manicuring' the lawn. Between Jeff, Kaye (his Mom), and I we got a lot accomplished on the house and it really made a difference. Now we just need another weekend to finish up the backyard before football season rolls around the corner...

Afterwards, we joined up with Meg and Aaron for my favorite for lunch -- LONG'S!! Oh it had been forever since I had gotten to indulge in good a old fashioned hamburger and milkshake, and just as always, the pharmacy didn't disappoint. This was Aaron's 1st trip to Long's and he was definitely impressed!! Then the boys decided they needed "guy time" to watch golf and relax on the couches out of the heat so us girls layed out for as long as we could stand, which was only about 2 hours because the humidity was horrendous! The tanning will have to wait til next week again unfortunately =(


My favorite picture of the weekend... my friends know and love one of our favorite words- when I saw this license plate, I just had to take a picture!!

And even more importantly, the restaurant I have been waiting for months to go back to -- PASTA TRIO (yes, it sounds like this weekend trip was all about the food-haha). Last time we were in town it was closed, but thankfully Bev made reservations for us for Saturday night... definitely my favorite restaurant in Knox and if you've never been, I promise you're totally missing out. We had a few stumbles along the way -- the AC as out, they only had 1 server for the night, BUT we made the best of it considering we had 6 bottles of wine between 7 people (yeah you can imagine how much fun we had!!) Poor Jeff though... he got to "cool off" when Christian accidentally spilt a glass of wine all over him - he was such a good sport though and at least it was white!! Then, we went to Meg's parents loft for dessert and wine as they were entertaining the Knoxville Art Heritage Society... so much fun and we met some very interesting people, too!
Look at his shirt... poor baby!!

Then Sunday morning, we got up and took Mrs. Kaye to brunch at Wokhay (very similar to Pei Wei) and then headed back home because Jeff just had to see some more of the U.S. Open -- it's funny how much I used to think watching golf was boring, but once you watch it, you get hooked. The final round is being played today and I can't help but check what's going on at ESPN online; he'd be so proud =) And even better, we got to round out our weekend by going to see The Hangover last night, which was AMAZING!! Right along the same lines as Old School and Wedding Crashers, if you are looking for a funny movie where you literally laugh the entire time, this is the movie to see. I kept having people tell me how funny it is so I had pretty high expectations, but I assure you, it's as good as everyone says... I am officially now even more in love with Bradley Cooper and can't wait to add this to my DVD collection as soon as it comes out- GO SEE IT!!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Happy Father's Day

This afternoon, Jeff and I are headed to Knoxville to spend some time with our friends for a relaxing weekend getaway to east TN... probably won't turn out to be quite so calm since I'll be spending all weekend with my 2 best friends, but I can't wait -- reminds me that football season is right around the corner and plenty of roadtrips to see our beloved VOLS will be reconvening very soon indeed!!
In more important news, this Sunday is Father's Day... this year, I took myDad to a Nashville Sounds baseball game last Sunday (FYI- we had to go last week because they are out of town this weekend playing in another city). We had so much fun together -- just spending time with each other is so important to him, and baseball is his favorite sport, so I thought that better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than with "Dan the Man". We definitely had our fair share of beer and hot dogs, got a little sun with the gorgeous weather, and watched a few grand slams!!



Thanks for all you do Dad- I am so lucky to have you in my life and even luckier to be your daughter... I love you so much and absolutely savor every minute we get to spend together!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Keeping Me In Line

Ever have those days where it seems like everything goes wrong?? I know I do, and this week has made me think A LOT about my personal and professional life... I tend to get extremely overwhelmed by my career -- could be due to the constant multiple deadline submittals to clients, numerous industry conferences to coordinate, advertising to finalize with vendors, presentations to create for internal project managers, etc. (I'm getting flustered just thinking of what all is on my weekly to-do list).
Does everyone feel this way at times?? Please tell me I'm not alone. These days, it's hard to complain when I'm busy at work because I know there are thousands (maybe millions) of people that would be ever-so-thankful for a job right now so I must keep my negativity to a minimum, but at least I have my blog as a way to write about my troubles just in the attempt to keep me sane -- for this, I am very thankful!
It's on this day, I am writing a list on here just to remind myself about how much God has blessed me...
1. I have a family that is extremely close and supportive of everything I do
2. I am healthy and keep active by working out 5 times a week (definitely my way of venting out the bad in my life-- I love my iPod mixes-haha)
3. I have a fantastic career and have some incredible work friends (Courtney, Jenn, Jacqueline- don't know what I would do without you each and everyday)
4. I am financially stable and able to support myself
5. I have a boyfriend who is truly my better half -- he is always telling me how great I am and is genuinely interested in everything I have going on... always willing to listen to me when I get down, or when I am celebrating my accomplishments
6. I get to travel to fun places and go on exciting vacations (NYC and the beach are only weeks away!!)
7. My faith -- no matter how bad of a day I am having, all I need to do is pray and God always has a solution to my problems
8. My amazing friends (and roommate expecially)... I am surrounded by the most incredible women in the world. Without them, my life wouldn't be complete and it would most certainly be a lot less entertaining
Alright, enough bickering -- I already have a smile on my face again! Sometimes, all it takes is for me to sing a song that my Mom and I always sing and I know everything is gonna be alright! Happy Wednesday... countdown til I see Best Friend in Knox, 2 days =)




Thursday, June 11, 2009

BBQ Porkchops and Cheesy Stuffing Cups

I'm not sure if it's the slowing economy or my desire to save money for all these upcoming travels I'm venturing on, but lately, I have been cooking up some very tasty dishes (if I do say so myself) - I have to admit that most of my "home cooking" stems from recipes I find on Kraft, but I always add a little something extra to make them my own. The other night, I treated Jeff to a southern-style dinner consisting of BBQ porkchops, cheesy stuffing cups, and salad (that's the nutiritonal dish I needed to balance out the other two components-haha)... recipe and pictures below (not to self: I need to get better about taking before and after pictures of my dishes so I have something to brag about when my endeavors turn out well)
All the Ingredients for a Tasty Dinner for Two =)


BBQ Porkchops:
3 bone-in porkchops (make sure to get bone-in; way more flavorful and soaks in all the juices)
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 cup BBQ sauce (I use Sweet Baby Rays Honey BBQ- sweet and tangy)
1 tsp. soy sauce (I use Kikkoman less sodium)
1 tsp. garlic (I use the refrigerated kind in a can)

Cook chops in hot oil on medium-high heat for 5 minutes (flipping to make sure each side is cooked)
Pour soy sauce, garlic, and BBQ sauce over chops; cover skillet and then cook on low heat until sauce is heathed through
Serve and enjoy!!


Cheesy Stuffing Cups:
1/2 stick butter (I use margarine)
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 1/2 cups water
1 package Stove-Top for Chicken
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 egg (beaten)

Preheat oven to 350
Melt butter in large skillet and add celery; stir and let cook for 5 minutes until crisp
Stir in water and bring to boil before removing from heat
Stir in Stove-Top mix, cranberries, egg and 1 cup cheese - then mix together
Spoon into greased muffin cups and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until stuffing cups are heated through/cheese is melted


My Finished Dinner (FYI- it was even better the next day for lunch!)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Start Spreading The News...

Yes, I am singing this song - the poor people in my office had to listen to Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" this morning because I got the best surprise last night from my beloved Jeff...

He is taking me to NEW YORK CITY for my birthday!! Technically, we're visiting the week before my birthday because I'll be venturing to Rosemary Beach with my Mom during my celebratory week (yes, it's a week long this year because I'm getting so old), but why not start early - we leave exactly a month from today!!
It was the sweetest thing: he bought me a birthday card and wrote a sweet letter inside telling me how much he loves getting to experience life with me and how he wanted to do something special for my birthday which is why he wanted to take me to my favorite city- he said my face lights up when I talk about NYC and how much I loved living there and he knew it was the perfect place to take me for a long weekend getaway adventure!

Talk about budgeting now - I've got to plan our itinerary (Jeff's never visited Manhattan before so I want to take him and do some of the touristy things), get my wardrobe in check, and save loads of money for the shopping extravaganza that's about to take place... oh how Bloomingdales and H&M are literally calling my name - oh la la, I'll be daydreaming until we leave!! And just to think, I was actually dreading turning 26 this year- HA!
Things to Do Before Trip:
1. Plan PERFECT restaurant experiences (Zagat, this is why you're a lifesaver)
2. List out specific hot-spots to locate come celebs (i.e. Whitney Port, Diddy, Beyonce/Jay-Z)
3. Workout like there is no tomorrow (because I'll be eating my Frozen Hot Chocolate from Serendippity, and Brunch Feast from Norma's)
4. Learn to Love Cereal for Dinner (no eating out for this lady!!)
5. Remember how to hail a cab without getting run-over
6. Update my knowledge on the subway system... oh how I missed you street performers
7. Pray that the new Sex and the City movie has started filimg again so I can stalk SJP
8. Recall that I'll be paying too much for dinner and drinks, but the atmosphere will be well worth it - note to self, cash only =(

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Kings of Leon

My recent music infatuation takes the name Kings of Leon and interestingly enough, their newest album happens to be their THIRD release (I had no idea!!) Always wanting to support the locals, what's even better is that the members of KOL hail from the hills of Tennessee and they're all related.. talk about natural family talent!! They've been on the road touring for 5 years and have created quite a following under their southern and garage rock genre... I have friends who saw their last Nashville concert at the Municipal Auditorium last fall and said it was amazing! Most importantly, I found out last week that they will be headlining a concert at the Sommet Center on Friday, October 16th... the boyfriend and I will most definitely be in line early on Saturday, June 20th so we can get our tickets!!


One of my favorite songs... Use Somebody!



Monday, June 8, 2009

More Winery Fun... Arrington Vineyards

Another Summer Saturday down in the books and you can only imagine how much fun we had while visiting Arrington Vineyards this weekend... first of all, I need to thank my fabulous roommate for inviting Jeff and I to join in on their fun date night! We packed our perfect picnic dinner of chicken salad sandwiches on ciabatta bread, homemade broccoli salad, cheese and crackers (to compliment our wine of course) and my homemade strawberry cheececakes... we had QUITE the spread let me assure you!
Ryan and Rachel had visited the winery before so they knew what to expect, but I have to admit it was a little bit different than the places we visited in Napa... what a fabulous place to take your favorite person on a beautiful summer night! We laid on the lawn with our blanket, enjoyed wine tastings inside, and listened to the house jazz band - I can't wait to go back and visit again!!
Our Little Nashville Family... Jeff and Me, Aaron and Meg, and Rachel and Ryan
The Ladies... We Love Our Wine Nights!!
Oh They Love Each Other!! =)

Sampling Our "Home Grown" Wine

Take Me Out to the Ball Game...

This past Friday was my first turn for our weekly "Date Night"... Having to work with a $25 budget may sound easy, but it was actually quite hard because I was really trying to be creative and not only have dinner, but have entertainment for our night of fun on the town. After a few days of planning and asking friends their opinions, I decided to grill out all-American style food at Jeff's house: I made hot dogs, the big gameday-type pretzels with cheese dip, chips, and then bought Cracker Jacks since it went along with my little theme - he didn't know what we were doing exactly, but when we started eating I told him there was more and he finally put all the pieces together and guessed we were going to the Nashville Sounds baseball game!!

Tooting my own horn a bit, Jeff was really excited that I had taken the time to put a lot of thought into my date and make it special... with the money I saved by cooking at home instead of eating at the game, we got to enjoy some beers which is always nice. The weather was perfect and our seats were 2 rows behind the Sounds dugout- all in all, we had a great time!! Such a fun place to go with friends, too - just watch out for all those high-flying foul balls =)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

100 Things About Me

While perusing through countless blogs the other day, I noticed a few bloggers had taken time to write down things that make them unique, and I wondered if I could think of 100 things about myself... of course I wanted to try it out for myself so here it goes:

1. I was named after 2 people... Natasha (after Natalie Wood, the famous movie actress- her actual name was Natasha) and my middle name is Carol (after my grandmother)
2. I am a perfectionist and like my life to be well-organized
3. I have an addiciton to Starbucks - although now I only let myself get coffee during the week and spoil myself on Sundays with a grande nonfat white chocolate mocha (no whip)
4. I could eat cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner - I love it!!
5. Summer is my favorite season.. swimming pools and laying out, eating al fresco at my favorite places, vacations to the beach, AND my birthday- what could be better??
6. I have an obsession with coats AND purses- I have way too many
7. My favorite thing to shop for growing up was school supplies- there is nothing like freshly sharpened pencils and binders to get you excited for school!!
8. I love to paint- I don't get to do it nearly enough, but when I'm stressed out, nothing relaxes me more than letting my creative juices flow
9. I am an only child... and everyone knows I definitely know how to show it =)... I can be a bit selfish at times, but slowly I have learned to share extremely well (tooting my own horn here!)10. My favorite color is green- such a happy color!
11. I keep a quote journal with all my favorite quotes- sort of a diary, but when I write thank-you notes, emails, cards, letters, etc. it's always nice to throw one in for the people I love
12. My mom are like identical twins- people ask me ALL the time if she's my sister... it's kinda scary, we talk alike, act the same, make the same gestures- yes I know, W-E-I-R-D!
13. I don't have one reret in life- I believe everything you do was a reaction to where you were at that point and it molds you into the person you are today
14. I am the most optimistic person you will ever meet- there is ALWAYS light at the end of the tunnel
15. A recent new talent I discovered was calligraphy- I have started doing invitations for my friend's weddings and I find it to be extremely therapeutic- who knew my handwriting could make me extra spending money?? =)
16. I can't wait to own a home- the money I now spend on clothes will sufficiently be put into Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware stock
17. My favorite flowers are tulips and hydrangeas
18. I am a Blackberry-aholic... I used to make fun of these people and I've officially joined the cult- it is the most addictive thing EVER invented
19. My dream job is to run an Advertising Agency in NYC- too bad I passed up my job offer, but you never know... I may make it back there one day
20. My first trip to Europe was to Spain last year- I can't wait to go back (a new trip is currently in the works for next summer- keep your fingers crossed for me PLEASE!)
21. My favorite food is pizza- pepperoni, sausage, and mushroom
22. I have been to 39 of the 50 states- not bad, huh??
23. My parent's took me to Las Vegas for my 21st birthday... oh so much fun!!
24. I love to workout - I'm a YMCA guru and doubt I will ever cancel my membership
25. People watching in the airport is one of my favorite things to do on trips... you never know what you're going to see!!
26. I don't eat anything white- mayo, sour cream, alfredo, cottage cheese, potatoes - GROSS
27. I have promised myself I will run in the Country Music 1/2 Marathon next year
28. I am obsessed with high heels- being 5'4", you rarely see me in flats
29. My weakness is my sweet tooth... I gave up desserts for Lent this year and that was the hardest thing I've ever done
30. I want a puppy (a golden retriever or silver lab to be exact)
31. My favorite movie is Love Actually
32. I have recently become obsessed with blog sites devoted to cooking and recipes
33. My blood bleeds orange- GO VOLS!!
34. My favorite singer is Britney Spears (yes, I am a teeny bopper)
35. I have been planning my wedding since I was in college... I know EXACTLY what I want
36. I have lived in Tennessee and New York
37. I can tell the make and model of cars at night just by their headlights (go ahead, try me)
38. People told me when I was little that I looked just like Shirley Temple
39. My grandparents wear matching outfits EVERYDAY (and yes, I hope to be just like them)
40. My favorite band is Incubus
41. I went skydiving for my 23rd birthday and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life so far
42. The next country I want to visit is Italy- I am DYING to see the Coliseum in Rome
43. My nickname in college was "trash" (and no, I'm not ashamed because it's not associated with any trashy behavior)
44. I am the most competitive girl you will ever meet... everything is a competition
45. My mom and grandmother are my role models
46. I only read feminine girly books and magazines
47. My biggest pet peeves are when people don't wave thank you in traffic when you let them over and when people have extremely rude manners
48. I took dance lessons growing up from the time I was 3 until I was 14
49. I designed my sorority's tshirts in college- I have QUITE a collection
50. Halloween and Christmas are my favorite holidays

HALF WAY THERE!!

51. I never leave the house without putting on chapstick or lipgloss
52. I love spending time alone
53. One day, I hope to have 3 children (2 boys and a girl)
54. My favorite piece of jewelery is my David Yurman green amethyst ring
55. My favorite ice cream is from Marble Slab- sweet cream with strawberries and chocolate chips
56. My mom and I both collect aprons
57. I've been told my numerous people that I am a "movie buff"
58. I cheat when playing flip cup with my friends (and they all know this)
59. My favorite alcoholic drink is a gin and tonic
60. One day I hope to own my own event planning and staionery boutique
61. Both of my ex-boyfriends recently moved out of the country... hasta la vista!! =)
62. I love monogrammed EVERYTHING
63. I sing in the car everyday
64. My favorite day of the entire year is the 2nd Saturday in May - STEEPLECHASE
65. I love to shop online
66. I could never give up drinking sweet tea
67. I can recite any line from the movie Titanic- I saw it in the theater 8 times
68. I have my children's names picked out, but it's a secret so no one can steal them =)
69. I am a reality TV show junkie
70. Dresses are my favorite thing to wear
71. Out of all my friends, I am the one who always has her camera ready
72. I met my best friends in college because we were all members of Delta Gamma
73. I will never turn down a dare
74. My biggest fear is dying
75. The only fish I refuse to eat is salmon- gross
76. I almost died as a baby because of my asthma
77. I have had my heart broken once
78. I log-on to People and US Magazine everyday at work- gotta pass the time somehow
79. I have more albums than anyone I know on Facebook- I think it's around 95 now
80. My nickname as a baby/toddler was "fat tatty"
81. I love to doodle
82. I am a workout-aholic... if I don't go at least 4 to 5 times a week, I get really mad at myself
83. I recently started going to church on a weekly basis and am looking forward to joining Brentwood First United Methodist in the mext few weeks!!
84. I don't believe in love at first sight
85. I have started collecting cookbooks- I don't make a lot of the more difficult recipes in them, but I absolutely love the pictures and like to put my own twist on some of the recipes
86. I still work at my first job after college... 3 years and going strong (and believe it or not, I found the listing for my position on Nashville's Craigslist-haha)
87. My hair will NEVER (and I should probably repeat NEVER) be my natural color... think very dirty blonde- plus, I joke about going dark, but I'd probably chicken out
88. I love to sing and make up my own words to songs
89. My mom still cuts out coupons for me to use at the grocery store =)
90. I have a SLIGHT addiction to Facebook, and have now joined Twitter so watch out!!
91. I am OCD when it comes to having my closet organized
92. I hate it when people have chipped fingernail polish- it drives me crazy!!
93. Forever 21 will be the death of me... I just can't seem to stay away from that store
94. When I need "me" time, I venture to the tanning bed... not the best use for relaxation, but it makes me feel thinner- LOL
95. I have full conversations when I'm asleep (or so I've been told)
96. When I was little, I wanted to be a corporate lawyer... I'm just not that good at lying =)
97. My favorite smell is Clean Cotton
98. I love my boyfriend more than I ever thought I could love anyone... he is the most caring individual I have ever met and makes me SOOO incredibly happy- I am a very lucky girl
99. I was raised as a Democrat, but as I get older, I normally side with the Republican party
100. My boyfriend and I are on a mission to try out as many restaurants in Nashville as possible- we try out at least 1 a week... no more chain restaurants!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

A Taste of Everything Nashville

Last Friday Jeff and I had our very first "surprise date night" (see my previous post for the background of the game)... he came and picked me up and of course I was dying to know where we were going, but he was good about not spoiling the surprise - keeping with our constant need to try new restaurants in Nashville, he drove us to Charlotte Pike (the Sylvan Park area) and arrived at Miel Restaurant, which interesting enough means "honey" in Spanish.

A somewhat new bistro in the area, they opened their doors in October 2008 and Chef Jimmy Phillips has embarked on his culinary journey with the belief that each dish should touch all five senses. Miel uses local products for their flavorful dishes, enabling more nutrients to be digested because they are consumed closer to picking time (I NEVER knew that was important to chefs!). Even better, the restaurant is small and the service was impecable- you can definitely tell are there to impress and the plating of your food can't be beat- it's more of a piece of art and we were both a little intimidated to dive right in.


Ratings
Food - was a strong B (I had the Fudge Farms Pork while Jeff ordered the Lamb Tenderloin- and yes, his was better)
Service - definitely an A (hard to beat)... the wine list was pretty large for such a small restaurant and we enjoyed the Buehler Vineyards Cabernet (it was amazing!)... I'd say this place is definitely worth checking out for a romantic date night with you and your favorite person (they have outdoor seating as well, for those nice summer nights we're finally getting to experience)
Then Sunday night, we met my parents for dinner at Saffire, which is located within the Factory at Franklin. The neatly exposed kitchen and incredible bar took precedence over the open and ecclectic atmosphere, but we really enjoyed our experience there- who knew a restaurant as trendy as Saffire would be nestled in Franklin?? Definitely took some investigating for us to find it, but I'm so glad we did!

We started off with the Lobster Empanadas and Bam Bam Shrimp appetizers (both were VERY tasty) and then each of us had a different entree so we could all sample the goods (hands down, the Loveless Pork Chop was the best- it was huge and oh-so-tender!). And of course, what meal is complete without dessert? We couldn't choose just one so we tried the Key Lime Tart, Chocolate Pecan Pie, and Creme Brulee (definitely go with the tart!)

Ratings
Food - A (extremely tasty with lots of interesting ingredients and sauces)
Service - B (took a bit longer then expected and the restaurant wasn't busy at all)
Atmosphere - B+ (ecclectic, open, trendy)

As an FYI- for those of us still wanting to enjoy our nights out at restaurants, Saffire offers 1/2 price bottles of wine on Sundays so you can enjoy for half the price- not too shabby!!
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