Friday, February 24, 2017

Favorite Authors



I'm a reader. Always have been, always will be.

And over the years, I've been so thankful to not only have been exposed to amazing work over the years (thanks, Mom!), but I've had fun exploring different authors, genres, and works as well. But when it comes down to it, I have my favorites. :)

So, who are my favorite authors?

Neil Gaiman

I’d have to say that Neil Gaiman is my favorite fantasy author by far. I love the way he crafts characters and settings, as there’s a certain magic to them that comes off the page.

My favorite by him is Neverwhere (which, by the way, is getting a sequel!!).

V. E. Schwab

Second to Neil Gaiman in the fantasy department would have to be V. E. Schwab. She does write books for young adults under her second pen name Victoria Schwab, but I haven’t delved into those yet (but want to at some point!).

The way she puts together a story is phenomenal, and the way she crafts each character and their motivations gets me that much more invested in her work. Her superhero thriller Vicious is one of my favorite books of all time.

Jane Austen

If you asked me to pick one favorite “classic” author, I wouldn’t hesitate one bit in telling you that I love Jane Austen.

My favorite of hers is Pride and Prejudice, and while that’s a favorite of many others, there’s a good reason for it. It’s an excellently crafted romance with strong female (but still very much feminine) characters, and it’s just a wonderful read in general. Plus, Mr. Darcy is the very best.

Roald Dahl

As a child, I don’t think I devoured more books from a single author than I did from Roald Dahl. You want fantastic settings and whimsy? Go read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and its sequel, The Glass Elevator

C. S. Lewis

Last, but absolutely not least, my all-time favorite author in general: C. S. Lewis.

And my all-time favorite work of literature has to be The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, not only for it being so well-written, but for it being instrumental in my faith (and if you want to know more about that, check out my “How I Became a Christian” post here).


Who are your favorite authors? Let me know down in the comments! :)
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Monday, February 20, 2017

A Nashville, TN Food Guide



Nashville is an important and special city to me, and not just because I grew up forty minutes south of the city. I spent a TON of time in Nashville growing up, whether that was for various field trips when I was in school, or actually living and going to college there briefly.

As such, I know a thing or two about food to eat over there. Sure, Nashville is the center of country music, but it’s also a great hub for all kinds of great cuisine. I’ve lived in Tennessee all my life, and I still don’t think there’ll be a moment where I will have visited every eatery in Nashville.

So, what are my all-time favorites? (Just like the Franklin food guide, I will be listing by lunch/dinner and coffee [and also dessert!] places, as well as local places only.)

Lunch/Dinner
  • Cantina Laredo - I love this Mexican restaurant in the Gulch mainly for its mole burritos. (Mole - pronounced “moh-lay” - is a sauce made from chocolate, and it’s phenomenal)
  • Loveless Cafe - Nothing beats Loveless biscuits and fried chicken.
  • Hattie B’s Hot Chicken - This has become a Nashvillian staple in recent years, and for great reason: this is the best hot chicken place in Nashville by far. I’ve only been there once, but I really liked their hot chicken tenders and pimento mac n’ cheese.
  • Otaku Ramen - This. ramen. shop. is. the. best. I’ve had some of the best girls’ nights out here!
  • The Flip Side - Do you like Chicken Parmesan? Or, do you just like really great breaded chicken? Now, do you like an extensive choice of toppings for said chicken? Then this place is for you. I spent my 25th birthday lunch with my girls at this restaurant with adorable 60’s inspired decor. It was phenomenal.
  • Fido - This is a classic and cute place in Nashville's Hillsboro Village. I love the atmosphere and their breakfast-for-lunch offerings, but you can't go wrong here.

Coffee/Dessert!
  • Barista Parlor - Best. coffee. in. Nashville. The original location is located in East Nashville towards Gallatin, but there’s also a location more central to Downtown in the Gulch called Barista Parlor Golden Sound. The former is a converted auto mechanic shop, the latter is a converted recording studio. Both have great coffee and homemade pop tarts and other goods.
  • Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams - I only just had this ice cream last year…around my 25th birthday, actually. But, guys, if you like homemade ice cream (and want to try some unique flavors), then I can’t recommend this place enough. Their goat cheese and cherries ice cream is fabulous.
  • Las Paletas - Homemade popsicles. Need I say more?


And that, dear readers, is my Nashville food guide! Have you ever been to Nashville and/or tried any of these local places before? Do you have any favorites? Let me know in the comments! :)
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Friday, February 17, 2017

Pre-Spring Thoughts

It's feeling less and less like winter all the time.

It's 69 degrees as I write this...hardly winter weather. But while this is normal for Tennessee, I can't help but wonder when we'll have consistent Spring weather. Because, honestly, I'm over the cold, and I'm looking forward to the sunshine and warm rays.

So, all this begs the question: what do I love about spring?


  • The colors. It's not even March yet, and I've been seeing more blue skies lately. Bluer skies and green grass aren't mandatory for me to enjoy the weather, but it certainly does help.
  • The candle scents. Bath and Body Works always releases fruity and/or baked good scents around springtime. You can bet your bottom dollar that I'll be shopping those sooner than later.
  • The flowers. I guess this is cliche, but something about being able to see (and smell!) flowers after so much dry weather makes me super happy.
  • The stuff to do. My hometown has a fantastic festival that comes around every April. Plus, there are vacations to be had (some coming up very soon for me!), coffee outings at cute places to enjoy, and more reasons to get out and enjoy the great spring weather. And let's not forget the holidays, too!
Sure, there's stuff about Spring to complain about: more bugs, specifically. However, the pros far outweigh the cons, and Spring is a just another way that I can enjoy God's creation. And I can't complain about that one bit. :)


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Monday, February 13, 2017

Places I Would Love to Go



I tell people that I have a perpetual case of wanderlust.

If I’m not going someplace, I’m dreaming of where I want to go next. Whether I will actually go to these places is unknown, but I don’t want to put it out of the realm of possibility. Plus, if I do go to these places I dream about, it’ll be fun to look back and say “I’ve been there” after dreaming for so long.

So, what places do I want to visit?

Japan

I’ve always wanted to go to Tokyo, and I’ve always loved Japanese culture, whether it’s been through anime, the food, or anything else. In Japan, I’d also like to go to Kyoto or Osaka, or even Tokyo Disney.

Australia

Australia’s been on my mind lately. If I were to visit, I’d want to stay in a huge metropolitan area (like Sydney or Melbourne) and take day trips to the outback and see Ayer’s Rock and the like.

I think this comes from my being obsessed with "The Rescuers Down Under" as a kid and watching that opening eagle scene over and over. (If you haven't seen that movie, it's adorable and very well animated. Plus, it's Disney. You can't go wrong with Disney.)

Amsterdam

I’ve been to this country’s airport many, many times while trying to connect to other flights to other places. But lately, I’ve been wanting to check out this city outside its airport’s walls.

Spain

Last, but certainly not least, I would love to visit Spain; specifically, Barcelona.


It all started with a Spanish class I took in high school where one of our assignments was to put together a travel package for a Spanish-speaking country or city. I chose Barcelona, and I remember having a blast researching this city with such rich history. So, I’d love to see this city for myself and what it has to offer. 

What places would you like to visit? Let me know in the comments! :)
(Also, a  quick note before I go: the photos in the graphic are ones I pulled off Pinterest. Credit goes to each photo's respective photographer.)
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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Stranger Things


One night last summer, my mom and I were browsing Netflix, and I suggested that we watch a little show that people had been raving about called “Stranger Things.” Boy, oh, boy, were we in for a ride.

We were so hooked, we finished all eight episodes of the series in two nights.

Here's a spoiler-free plot synopsis: Stranger Things is the story of four best friends. One of those best friends goes missing. The town gets involved in his search, but what they find is far from what they expect.

Now, I normally don’t like horror. I usually stay away from things that may keep me up at night or anything with jump scares. I also stay away from horror just because I’m not a big fan of the stories behind them; I usually walk away from a horror movie thinking that the story was written around scares, not the other way around.

However, Stranger Things is a different ballgame entirely.

For starters, it’s centered around kids who are not only portrayed by talented actors, but are also extremely relatable on-screen. Not only are they having to deal with all the typical middle and high-school stuff, but they are also having to deal with the strange things going on in their hometown that may or may not be of this world. As a viewer, I really get a sense of what the main characters feel, and I’m rooting for the good guys to win the entire time.

(Speaking of main characters, I especially love the way they portray strong female roles in this series. There’s a reason why both leading actresses were each nominated for Golden Globes.)

Then, at the end of the day, it’s just a great story. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to have a well-written story in the face of TV that’s felt shallow or, at the very least, repetitive. Though Stranger Things is inspired by 80’s movies, it doesn’t feel like it rehashes them. If anything, it’s a tribute to them. And let’s not forget that soundtrack (which, by the way, The Clash’s song “Should I Stay or Should I Go” is a HUGE part of the show…my fellow fans will know what I’m talking about). And though it does get intense at times (thanks to the show's main monster), I don't mind it in the long run.


Season 2 doesn’t come out until Halloween. Until then, I may or may not go buy a box of Eggo waffles. 
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Friday, February 3, 2017

Franklin, TN Food Guide



My hometown has some great food. I may be slightly biased, but I consider it the truth.

I’ve had friends ask me about various places to eat whenever we go out, and while I absolutely love exploring a place and seeing (and eating) what they have to offer, there’s nothing like visiting the tried-and-true restaurants from my childhood onwards. That’s the nature of hometowns, after all; they’re familiar and reliable.

So, to keep things streamlined, I’d like to list my favorite places for breakfast, lunch/dinner, and coffee in the Franklin, Tennessee area. Also, I limited my lists to local places and franchises, not just big-name chain restaurants.

Breakfast
  • Scout’s Pub: Best. Huevos. Rancheros. and Coffee. EVER. (Their fish and chips are great, too!)
  • Puckett’s Grocery: You truly can’t go wrong with anything on the menu here, but their coffee and breakfast is especially great.

Lunch/Dinner
  • Puckett’s Grocery: Great lunch and dinner here, too, including Meat & 3 options. My favorite item is the hot chicken sandwich.
  • Puffy Muffin (lunch only): Great casseroles, quiche, and soups. Definitely try their soups and their iced ginger tea at least once.
  • Meridee’s Breadbasket: I LOVE their London Fogs, their crescents (heated croissant sandwiches), and their Wild Rice Soup on Fridays.
  • Koi Sushi and Thai: Great Thai + Japanese food all around. I love their fried rice and their sushi with Thai Iced Tea.
  • Umi Japanese Restaurant: Great Philadelphia roll.
  • Oscar’s Taco Shop: And old favorite of mine, I love their bean and cheese burritos, shrimp tacos, and carne asada quesadillas.
  • Tito’s Mexican Restaurant: Another great Mexican place, I love their Nachos Mexicanos. When you go, definitely try their Chori Queso; it’s a white cheese dip with spices and Chorizo sausage. It’s out of this world.
  • Gray’s: This is an old pharmacy-turned-restaurant that has a cool industrial aesthetic that I love. I recommend their chicken salad sandwich with avocado.
  • Tupelo Honey: This place has quickly become a new favorite. They have an extensive menu from brunch foods to lunch foods to the most buttery biscuits this side of town.

Coffee

  • Frothy Monkey: Excellent lattes. I can’t even begin to tell you how many girls’ days and nights I’ve spent here.
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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

January Favorites | 2017

Hello hello!

It has been a hot minute since I've done anything remotely close to a "monthly favorites" roundup. I'd have to say the last one has been a Mondays are for Music post, and that's just for favorite songs.

So, I wanted to change that. This year, I want to consistently share my favorite things with you, from Bible verses to travel to beauty to whatever else, on a monthly basis.

Before we get into the favorites, though, I need to mention that none of these links are sponsored. I mention specific brands, but hey, certain brands just work. (Or, as we say down south, if it ain't broke, don't fix it ;) ).

With that, let's get right to it! Here's what I loved in January.

Beauty

January Beauty Favorites | 2017



This month, I experimented with various eyeshadows/palettes, but I’ve been having a lot of fun with makeup in general lately. I’ve also gotten back into using highlighters, which I’d been meaning to try again for awhile...I LOVE this blush/highlighter set from Too Faced.

Then again, Too Faced makeup is awesome. There's a reason why it's the only brand of makeup I've been obsessed with, at least eyeshadow-wise.

Hair

I got a haircut this month, which is always a great time, but this particular appointment, my hairstylist surprised me with curls since we had extra time.


So, as you may have figured, curling my hair has become a new favorite. To curl my hair on my own, I use the Bedhead by Tigi Curlipops 1 inch clampless barrel with Bedhead’s Masterpiece hairspray (which I have been loving since high school…it smells like sweet tarts!). 

Music

I’ve been into a wide variety of music lately, from dance to rock to pop, including some classic rock.

Here’s my top 5 songs for the month:
  1. Now and Later - Sage the Gemini
  2. Paris - The Chainsmokers
  3. Working for the Weekend - Loverboy
  4. Shape of You - Ed Sheeran
  5. I Got You - Bebe Rexha

Also…yes, I still love my record player. :) 

Places



I will never not love that place.

Bible Verses

Last, but certainly not least, I want to share with you my favorite Bible verses. I’ve never added these to a list of favorites before on this blog, and I think it’s high time I do so. My faith is such a huge part of my life, and I want to share as much of my walk with God with you guys as I possibly can.

But anyways, these two verses in particular resonated with me this month:

"For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” 
- Isaiah 41:13

“Fear not, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” 
- Isaiah 41:10




What have been your favorite things this month? Let me know in the comments! :)
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