Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Pfunky Griddle

Nashville has amazing restaurants (in fact, we were just written up in the Huffington Post yesterday!). However, I often get in a routine and go to the same few (but delicious) restaurants as if Nashville wasn't saturated with good eats. Today, my brother Peter was in town and suggested we meet at The Pfunky Griddle. 

I love this place and had completely forgotten about it. Pfunky Griddle is a small restaurant tucked away in an old house, but it is such a fun breakfast spot, especially for when you want to linger and talk for a while!

You order pancake batter and toppings, or eggs with mix-ins, and there is a griddle on your table so you can hang out and talk while you're creating your delicious breakfast for yourself! We all tried several varieties…and they did not disappoint! 

We enjoyed a great meal with Peter and Brielle, and its looking like they will both be moving to Nashville in the near future :) If you get the chance, I highly recommend The Pfunky Griddle for a non-traditional, but festive breakfast out!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Some days you are the bug, some days you are the windshield...

...this weekend in DC I was the bug. I had high hopes for a fun weekend full of reunions, but the norovirus had other ideas. After two days of throwing up and miserable dehydration, one cancelled flight and tons of cancelled plans, I am finally [hopefully] about to get on a plane for Nashville.

It's been a rough few days and I am thankful for my friends here...but I will be extremely excited to be back in the good ole Grut.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

"Live Every Week like its Restaurant Week"...

…is a quote from Camille Cannada regarding this week. It is National Restaurant Week, so of course Nashville participated and we took part wholeheartedly. I ate out every night, which was delicious and wonderful…except for my bank account is certainly feeling the damage right about now.

Monday Camille and I had a little date at Chago's. It was a new place, and it was good mexican and $3 margaritas, but it takes a lot to win a spot in my fave mexican places.

Tuesday, we made reservations for Midtown Cafe with all of the roomies and two fun friends, Amy and Anna Claire. It was delectable, every single bit of it.

Wednesday, I introduced my school friends to Tacaria del Sol, which is a trendy taco place in 12th South.

Thursday, my dear friend Lucy was in town, so her mom treated us to my favorite mexican, Local Taco, complete with pitchers of margaritas and lovely conversation.

I wish, for the sake of my wallet, that I was having a low-key, eat-at-home weekend, but I am hopping on a plane in a few short hours to visit friends in DC for the weekend, where I will undoubtedly eat plenty more delicious food.

Have a lovely weekend, and make sure to participate in restaurant week before it ends Sunday!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Quizzing Out

For several reasons, I have been into these fun little online quizzes lately. Some have just happened onto my computer screen, and others I have sought out because I am currently in an Assessments class where we discuss any and all types of quizzes and tests. So, here are a few favorites for you to try out!

My family LOVED this dialect quiz over Christmas. We all got different places, except for poor Jonny, who's British accent could not be detected by this quiz.

I love personality tests. I really like this version of the Myers Briggs, because of the way you can rate yourself on the scale. Per usual, it told me it was extremely extroverted, but my overall personality type is ENFP.

I stumbled across this quiz that predicts how large your vocabulary is, which is both embarrassing and awesome. Try it and find out how many words you know!

Last but not least, this quiz that tells you what city would be the perfect fit for you. It said I should live in London, which is funny because I have certainly been missing the euro-lifestyle lately. 

So, enjoy quizzing out for a few minutes!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Connecting? Are we really?

It is a little bit sickening how much I depend on my phone. This was brought to my attention yesterday when i took my broken, unable to text phone to Verizon. The lady told me I had to wait a day before I could upgrade to a new one. You would have thought she punched me in the face by the way I responded. 24 hours without texting. It should not be that big of a deal.

So, I was left with no choice but to wait a day. And, yes, it was annoying. And, yes, texting can be very convenient. And, yes, I am thankful for technology.

But it was extremely refreshing not to be able to text. It has quickly become such a normal part of society. From the 8 year old I babysit I messaging off his iPad to my 87 year old grandmother sending "Love u" texts off her ancient flip phone, everyone is texting these days. 

But when something happens and you suddenly can't, it causes you to stop and think. I had to actually make an effort if I wanted to communicate with someone. I left a handwritten note to tell my roommates what was going on. I prayed a lot more yesterday during my free moments. I was certainly a safer driver. I paid more attention in class. And when I needed to make plans with a friend, I called him and we chatted about our days rather than just a simple "Meet us at 630 tomorrow for the concert" text. In my break between classes, I engaged with the girls around me rather than asking my roommates what was for dinner. In a lot of ways, not be able to text made me way more connected. It made me be present. 

After all, the name of this blog and a mantra that I try to incorporate into my daily life is "wherever you are, BE ALL THERE". I am not anti-texting or against technology at all, but I just think we need to take a step back and see if it is helping us or just giving us a screen to hide behind? I got the new iPhone today (!!) so I can text again. And yes, it is nice. My best friend is spending the year in china and I hadn't talked to her in three days which felt like forever. But she is in CHINA. Halfway across the world. It is incredible that we can communicate at all, but three days is not that long considering just a few years ago we would have had to wait weeks, maybe even months for a letter to arrive in order to communicate between American and China.  So, that does not mean I need to ignore everyone around me to text her all the time just because we have the luxury of texting. 

I think that I need to challenge myself to use technology to connect. Does that mean texting sometimes? Absolutely. Does that mean texting while I'm sitting at dinner with friends? Probably not. That is all I am saying...I am thankful for what technology gives us all, but we need to make sure we use it for just that. Connecting with others. And not as a way to avoid connecting with where we actually are.

 That's my rant and I hope it at least makes you think.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Special Ministry

Since returning to Nashville this past summer, I have had the unique privilege to be a part of the Special Needs Ministry at Christ Presbyterian Church. My parents have been involved for a few years because it is headed up by their dear friend, Gigi Sanders. I have the utmost respect for her and her caring, compassionate heart that inspires her to reach out and show love to these families. While I am certain it is a blessing to the families and children with Special Needs, it is a blessing to those of us who get to volunteer and develop relationships with these precious kids.

This summer, I was able to be a part of the Very Special Bible School, which was a three day camp for Special Needs kids. My buddy that week, William, who I absolutely adore, has remained my buddy for Sunday School this year.

During the school year, Special Saturdays occur each month so that the parents of the kids with special needs can have a break, and we entertain, play games, read Bible stories, do crafts, and eat snacks together for a few hours. It is exhausting in the best possible way. I usually get to be William's buddy for Special Saturdays too, but I have come to know and love lots of the kids that attend regularly. 

I just love this ministry for so many reasons. First of all, it is reaching a group of people that, even by churches, are often ignored. Second of all, it is, like so many service opportunities, just as much of a blessing to those serving as it is to those being served. Thirdly, it is, in my opinion, refreshingly wonderful to build loving, long-term relationships with people whom you serve alongside. 
This ministry is incredible and I am grateful to be able to a part of it.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Pinewood Social

I have been dying to try out Nashville's new hipster "Gentleman's Club", so I was delighted when I got invited to a surprise birthday celebration for my friend Susan there last night.

Firstly, it was fun because any surprise party is always nerve-racking. Susan, who celebrated her 24th birthday yesterday, was completely shocked and has the best surprised face! Her boyfriend, Matt, had planned the whole thing and even had her sister in town to surprise her. So, that was a recipe for a fun night regardless.

Secondly, we were all excited to see what Pinewood Social was all about. At first we sat around a table and caught up as we waited for the surprise, but after Susan's arrival, half of us went to bowl. The lanes were vintage and had really neat decor, which was nice considering I am terrible at bowling.

The only con was that the workers were really strict about how many people could be at the table, how many people could bowl, etc. We all agreed that in a few months when they have those kinks worked out, it'll be even better. Until then, we had a wonderful night of hanging out, eating, drinking, bowling, and celebrating together!

I would highly recommend Pinewood Social, its a fun atmosphere and definitely a cool space. And this is just one more reason why I love Nashville!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Cheers to the New Year

I kinda hate New Years Eve. I feel like its always a lot of stress and hype and money and planning...all for just a so-so night. This year I was excited to hear some friends were throwing a huge house party, so it was easy, but still a fun excuse to get dressed up. It was a successful evening for sure, and the photobooth was my favorite part! 

Camille had five friends in town and the plumbing suddenly broke around 7pm on the 31st, so we thought the night was headed down a bad path. Fortunately, things turned around when we ordered pizza and popped champagne! And then at the party, it was fun seeing so many random friends and ringing in the new year together. 

Cheers to 2014!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy 2014

I was discussing life with a dear friend on the phone the other night and telling her that this was the first year in a while that I feel like I know what to expect. Sure, a million unforeseen things could happen. And maybe this year will bring more plot twists than any year before. But I guess having recently signed a year lease and knowing I am in a two year graduate program, I feel pretty settled for the next year. That being said, there is a lot I hope to do and many adventures I hope to have in 2014. This quote seems like a good one for me right now.
And though I am sure everyone has plenty of hopes and goals for themselves, I hope that you, my friends and family, surprise yourselves in wonderful ways in 2014.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013: A Review

This year has been eventful, hard, challenging, and cheerful. Its amazing to look back on the last twelve months. A lot has changed. A lot has happened. And I am very grateful for the loving people in my life. So, as a fun little activity, I decided to pick 12 words that most accurately depict the last 12 months of my life.

January: Cold
It was a cold January. I remember shivering with chills as I had the flu and dreading the return to snow covered Wald-Michelbach. I made it back and, after three solid months of snow, the students had finally lost interest and I was tired of constantly being chilled to the bone. It was a cold month and I remember spending mornings, afternoons, and nights not wanting to leave the warmth of my cozy bed in my little German apartment.

February: Lonely
They say experiements in aloneness are good for the soul. And looking back, I would agree, but the feeling of lonliness hurts. It always struck me at the strangest of times. I left a lovely weekend with Kate and Lisa on February 1st and I did not see friends/English speakers again until mid March. February brought tears and lonliness, but also time to ponder and be alone. It was a lonely, tough month.

March: Adventure
After a long two months, visitors (aka my best friends) arrived in March and the fun and adventures ensued. I traveled more this month than any other in my year abroad, which is saying a lot! And the adventures were delightful, for the most part. From sledding the ski slopes in the Alps to getting lost in Slovakia, from seeing Mumford and Sons in Florence to nearly freezing to death in Poland, March was a fun filled month of never ending adventures.

April: Exhaustion
I maintained the crazy travel schedule and the visitors for the better part of April, but by that time, I was in a state of pure exhaustion. I was tired of dealing with various languages and various currencies. I was sick of constantly being on the go. I was missing all the alone time I had grown accustomed to. And, in all honesty, I think my body was shutting down from lack of sleep and lack of warmth. I needed the spring and I needed it badly.

May: Beautiful
On the first day of May, I boarded a plane to America for the first time in five months. I wasn't actually going home and my stay was only a few days, but that weekend was a beautiful celebration. Eleanor and Kevin's wedding was a dream. The rest of May, to my surprise, followed suit. I took a train to the south of France, which quickly became one of my favorite places in the world. The smells, the markets, the language, the food, the people...all of it is simply beautiful. Spring finally reached Odenwald, and, as promised, it was beautiful. And, to close out the month, I saw the beautiful Beyonce perform. May was beautiful.

June: Quick
I was worried that it would be a tough two months after returning from Eleanor's wedding, but it could not have flown by any faster. June was gone in the blink of an eye. Most of the month was occupied by visitors and travels, with trips to Switzerland, Sweden and the South of France all packed in. I spent countless nights with my two German guy friends, but also loved the visits from Loin, Elisa, and Eleanor and Kevin, showing them my stomping grounds and proudly displaying that I could finally speak German.

July: Bittersweet
July was an interesting month. I was sad to say goodbye to my sweet students and the life I had established in Germany, but I could not wait for America. It was stressful packing up to move across the world alone, but it was a sweet reunion when I landed in Nashville. It was wonderful to be welcomed by so many friends with parties and a girls trip to see all my Wake friends, but I was sad that my year long adventure had come to an end. It was glorious sleeping in my own bed again and waking up to my moms homemade rolls and my dads foot rubs, but I did miss the idenepdence and alone time I had grown accustomed to in Wald-Michelbach.

August: Restful
This was my respite before going back to the grind. I was living at home, relishing in the fact that I had nothing to do. I slept in everyday and really just took some time to process all that I had seen and done before I moved into my next venture. I spent some time at Lake Michigan with my family, which was relaxing as always. I felt like I took the month to rest and recover. August was good to me.

September: Scholastic
Returning to academia came easier than I anticipated. Sure reading long articles and preparing for quizzes isn't my favorite pass time, but learning about counseling and studying how to help people is intriguing. I quickly dove into the school mindset, making friends with classmates and attaining respect for my professors came easily.

October: Busy
October was incredibly, incredibly busy. From moving into a new house and throwing a bachelorette party two days later, to midterms and the tragic, sudden death of a friend, to some of the busiest work weeks, I felt like I did not get to catch my breath this entire month. Some people love October, I just felt like it was all I could do to keep my head above water. I took a trip back to Wake and reunited with college friends. I wrote more papers than I can count. I tried to get settled, but most of all, I just tried to manage the busyness enough to get through it all.

November: Blur
November was a blur. I was busy with school, work, friends, family and everything in between. The month flew by as one activity ran into the next. Days merged together as I tried to accomplish everything I needed to do. I often felt there were not enough hours in the day, which is quite the contrary from how I had been feeling the previous year. November was full to the brim, so much so that It is hard to pinpoint what even occupied all those hoes and days!

December: Combination
The final month of 2013 brought quite a variety. From cramming for finals to shopping for gifts, I felt like this month encompassed it all. It started off busy, but the break was restful and relaxing. I loved having the whole family in Nashville for Christmas, but, as always, I wished it would have been longer. The days after Christmas were relaxing because I had little responsibility, which was a nice change of pace. December combined restful days and sleepless nights. It combined fun celebrations and frustrating work days. Nashville saw both snow and 70 degree weather. All in all, the combinations that December brought were the perfect way to close out a year that had brought countless types of emotions and experiences!

2014, be good to us!