Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Cocoa Tree

            As a child, I was never a fan of hot chocolate.  Or hot drinks of any kind for that matter.  I don’t know what it was but they just never appealed to me.  Even after a long day of sledding or an afternoon on the ski slopes, I would opt for a glass of water over a hot cocoa every time.  But as I’ve grown up and my palate has gotten a little more mature as well, I have found that I actually kind of like the stuff (especially with some peppermint schnapps mixed in for a little something extra J).  Which is why I was very excited to try out a little hidden gem in the Germantown area of Nashville called The Cocoa Tree.

            The original Cocoa Tree was started in 2003 in Franklin, TN just outside of Nashville and there is a pretty neat story about how it all got started so check out their website if you’re interested.  And then after you read the story, go there.  Immediately.  And get the Passion Hot Chocolate with homemade marshmallows.  Okay, you don’t have to get that one, I am certain that everything there tastes uh-mazing, but the chocolate raspberry combination in the Passion was pretty much to die for.  In addition to the hot chocolate, the Cocoa Tree serves homemade truffles (my fave was the salted caramel) and other chocolates and that are equally lust-worthy. 

            So if the winter chill is starting to settle into your bones and you’re in need of a little pick-me-up, The Cocoa Tree is just the place to warm your chocolate-loving soul.

Friday, January 21, 2011

P.S. It snowed...again!

Last night brought another round of snow to the Nashville area and as usual, the city all but shut down.  The Metro school district is closed for their umpteenth snow day this year and Nashville is a beautiful, albeit slippery, winter wonderland!

Saw this teeny tiny snowman on the way to school yesterday...brightened my day just a little bit :-)

Grilled Cheesy Goodness

I am fully aware, perhaps too aware, that the end of grad school is coming and soon I will be joining the world of young professionals who have the freedom to indulge in happy hours and enjoy the feeling of money coming into their bank accounts rather than just flying in the opposite direction.  But it recently hit me that I only have a few more months here in Nashville.  Weird.  It feels like I just got here and have been here forever all rolled into one.  So in order to calm some of the panic that set in when I realized that I only have a few more months in this fabulous city, last week some friends and I decided to have a very Nashville weekend.  Our holiday weekend included dinner at Burger Up and a night out in the Honky Tonk but the highlight was definitely our lunch at the Grilled Cheeserie Truck.

            The Grilled Cheeserie Truck is exactly what its name would suggest.  It is a truck that drives around town serving grilled cheese to hungry Nashvillians and the only way to find the truck’s location on any given day is to follow its whereabouts on Twitter.  Genius.  But this isn’t just your average street vendor.  The grilled cheeses are nothing short of gourmet and paired with their homemade old fashioned tomato soup and an Abita root beer….I mean come on, is your stomach growling yet or what?  After reading through the many different variations of the classic grilled cheese on the menu, I settled on the Melt of the Moment, (or the daily special).  It was a grilled cheese with pesto, chicken, and sun dried tomatoes.  Uh YUM.  And not only did I love the food, but I loved the whole community atmosphere that this truck creates.  People gather along side the truck and greet one another like old friends.  They pet each other’s dogs and exchange opinions on which is the best grilled cheese.  The whole experience is just so Nashville.  I have often described Nashville to out-of-towners as a big city with a small town feel and our afternoon at the Grilled Cheeserie Truck illustrated just that.  So the next time you come into town, be sure to stalk the truck on Twitter and get yourself some melted cheesy goodness.

As for this weekend, Mama Ball is in town and I couldn't be happier!  Happy Friday y'all!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Coop Dogg

            Last week I introduced you all to the little snuggle pup that recently came into my life.  And since it has been exactly two weeks since the furry man moved in with me and he has already gained 3 ½ pounds, I figured I would share an update before he very quickly grows out of this puppy stage (though I’m fairly certain he will be a cuddly lap dog even at a hefty 70 pounds which is just fine with this mama J).  So far in his short little life, Cooper has enjoyed two snow days, a city-wide snowball fight (he was not a fan), and many play dates with his big sister Riley.  He is slowly learning the rules of the house and working really hard on learning to use the bathroom outside.  He is no longer afraid of the hair dryer or the washing machine and though he is still too chicken to attempt the descent down the 20 stairs to our front door, the little stoner pup is definitely starting to come out of his shell!  

Snuggle pup

Playing with Riley

Poor guy...his mama made him wear a sweater :-/

Open your eyes Cooper!

Monday, January 17, 2011


            One year ago today, in an effort to procrastinate and avoid doing homework, I started this little blog.  Because I was unsure of whether anyone would even enjoy my ramblings or if my writing was any good, I blogged in secret (with the exception of a few loyal readers...aka my parents).  But as I got a little braver, I decided to come clean and slowly share the blog with you all.  And I am so glad I did.  You all have given me such encouragement and you have no idea how much I appreciate all of my loyal readers.  So much so that I get seriously giddy every time an email pops into my inbox saying that one of y'all has posted a comment.  Like perma-smile on my face kind of giddy.  So thank you to everyone who has stopped by, shared a sweet word, and maybe even passed on this little URL to a friend.  You rock my world.
            So in the spirit of the new (blog) year, I thought I would share a few oldies but goodies with you (well, at least I think they are goodies).  Here are a few of my favorite posts from the past 12 months!

My Friend Bubba

Is this real life?!

The Flood

What Makes You Happy?

A Special Goodbye

Sister Weekend


Homecoming Bliss

Sticking Out the Gray

Thanks for reading! 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My Last First Day

            Well my bag is packed and my first day outfit is all picked out…for the very.last.time.  Tomorrow is my very last first day of school (and yes, I am sure about this…no chance in hell that this girl is going back for her PhD).  And though there is a teeny tiny part of me that is sad and a little bit scared that the real world is inching dangerously close and the end of grad school is in sight, for the most part I am excited and very much looking forward to the end of school.  After 18 years, this whole homework thing has gotten a little old.  

            And because the end is nearing, I have started to hear that unsettling question that I answered relentlessly during my senior year of college…"So what’s next for you?”  But this time, instead of confidently spewing my perfectly crafted answer that I am heading to grad school to pursue the career path that I am certain is perfect for me, I am utterly uncertain.  I have absolutely no idea where I will be come August.  But I’m okay with that because the beauty is in the unknown.  Along with the anxiety that accompanies uncertainty (at least in my life) comes the hope of new possibilities and I can’t wait to see what the next year will bring.  But until then, I am living and loving this moment as my puppy love snuggles at my feet and the city of Nashville is quieted by snowflakes (!) outside my window.

Hope you're having a happy Tuesday and, if you're living in the South, a happy snow day!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

When Can I Move In?

Some of my loyal blog stalkers may recall my post from a few days ago about my family’s stellar trip to Lake Placid over the Christmas holiday, but there was one highlight that I left out of that post because I felt it deserved a little space of its own.  On the second to last night of our trip, we headed over to the Lake Placid Lodge for dinner in their casual, living room-like dining area, known as Maggie’s Pub.  And can I just tell you…we devoured every ounce of food and atmosphere in this place.  The Eagles/Vikings game that night…well not so much.  But that is beside the point.  The Lake Placid Lodge is the only hotel on Lake Placid and it is absolutely gorgeous.  It is hard to believe that it actually burned to the ground in 28 minutes just five years ago due to a fire set by a disgruntled former employee.  But it has certainly bounced back and it is a really spectacular place (wow…haven’t used that adjective in a while).  From the plaid wallpaper and fireplaces in every room, to the antler chandeliers and cozy leather couches with cashmere throws…Lake Placid Lodge, clear out a room cause I’m moving in.  And if my description doesn’t have you hooked, maybe these glimpses of the lodge will help. 

I plan on being swept away to this place by my ruggedly handsome husband someday.  Just putting that out into the universe J

Thursday, January 6, 2011

In Love

            Well, the party is over and though Christmas break was wonderful and I soaked up every second of time with the whole family (reunited for the first time in 6 months!), this girl is not sad to be back home.  I got back in Nashville just in time to welcome a new man into my life.  That's right people, I am in love.  His name is Cooper.  He enjoys eating leaves, sniffing the floor, and snuggling with his favorite giraffe.  He weighs just 13 pounds and is pretty much perfect.  Minus the fact that he woke me up at four in the morning today just because he wanted to play!  But for the most part he is a shy little guy and just loves to snuggle.  The women at the adoption center called him their little stoner puppy because he was so mellow.

I want to squeeze you.

Blogger puppy :-)

First trip to the vet!  Clearly not amused by his camera happy mama.  Don't worry, I will be back with more pictures soon because I am pretty much obsessed!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Finally Defrosted

            I'm am home from the surprise family vacay and happy to be back to temperatures that are actually meant for humans, not eskimos.  Because those -4 degree temperatures were a little tough for this pseudo-Southern girl.  But don't get me wrong, the trip was fabulous.  I was smitten from the moment we pulled up to snowy Lake Placid.  Have you ever been to Lake Placid?  Because if you haven't, you should go.  It is seriously straight out of a movie.  From the snow-covered trees that look like they've been dipped in cake frosting to the cozy, lakeside restaurants filled with laughter, warm candlelight, and great red wine...I'm in love.

            And despite my first instinct to admire this magical little town through the windows of our warm hotel in an effort to keep my body temp above freezing, the activities that my parents had planned were too hard to resist.  Snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, ice-skating, bobsledding, snow shoeing, downhill skiing, and dog sledding all made their way into the itinerary.  Needless to say, I'm gonna need a vacation from the vacation!  But it was SO worth it.  I mean, who goes bobsledding on the Olympic course and gets to ride in a dogsled!? 

Cross-country skiing is hilarious...especially when everyone is really bad at it!

Everybody trying to be number typical :-)

 Yeah these kids are absolutely insane.

I mean seriously...insane.

Loved these dogsled pups.

P.S. Happy New Year!  I have a feeling that 2011 is going to be great year.