12 south in nashville

The trendy, reinitialized and reused 12 South neighborhood on the southeast end of Nashville stole our hearts.  We knew it would based on the brands and restaurants that have taken up residence in this area.  But man even if that fair warning, we were floored by its appeal.


just got back from a super last minute trip to nashville.  really enjoyed it, and managed to check off every food spot on my [realistic] list.  the ones that fell to phase two will have to wait until another round of tennessee time, and i'll manage to slip in something related to country music while i'm at it...because this trip did NOT include such! Just food. Food.  Food.

some peaches from the ever-so-cool farmstand in the 12 South neighborhood

some peaches from the ever-so-cool farmstand in the 12 South neighborhood


A few photos from my time in Annapolis last weekend.  The sun tried to come out, but all in all it was a dreary, gray weekend.  Luckily Annapolis left a colorful impression despite the monochromatic weather.

the H I G H L I N E

Since it opened in 2009, I knew the High Line was going to be a favorite spot for me, but it wasn't until this most recent trip to New York that I fell in love!  I credit the sunset timing, the company, and the WEATHER.  But man, it was perfection. Here are just a few highlights.

sag harbor

Thoroughly enjoyed my time in New York a few weekends back---spent time on Long Island and in Manhattan but the most beautiful of times was probably my day gallivanting around Sag Harbor with a fellow preservationist. It was a gorgeous day and I got to see some exquisite historic fabric. I'll share the pretty bursts of spring below as well as one pretty solid example of adaptive reuse.  


Thinking about how incredible Berkeley was-- loved wandering around the campus and streets, eating my heart out at one of the best places in the country, and relishing in the W E A T H E R.  You know, Texas A&M played Cal last year in Regionals, and it got me wondering about west coast baseball and west coast life.  I bet we could manage . . .


Thank goodness that no-wine phase is behind me---for a year or two, red wine would [like clockwork] give me a killer headache after just a glass, and wake me up beyond belief at 4am every time.  That torment is behind me, and lucky for me the fun things we learned on our honeymoon and the culture of wine, its country, the fertile lands, etc make me so so happy that I can't get enough knowledge.  For now, I'm just perusing photos from our California trip to get me going, inspired by the idea of conjuring up another trip in the next year or so...

Below are just a few highlights from Sonoma (via iPhone since the camera was long gone by this point...)  I loved the small village/square---reminded me a TON of Oxford, Mississippi, believe it or not. Love the pony being walked like a dog.  Love that there are hundreds of wineries within a 10-minute drive of town, and LOVED our airBNB in Sonoma...the cutest little backhouse that came with a surprise bonus: a sweet garden with produce EVERYWHERE.

plans for france

As the weather warms up here, I can't help but think of summer travels in my past--and the most noteworthy is certainly the times I hopped on a train solo and explored smaller towns in the countryside of France. As Austin and I look ahead to our crazy lives and everything that seems to fly by in a calendar year, I realize it's never too soon to start planning our trip so he can finally see some of Europe.  So to start, I should pull out those photos (thank God they're not all gone forever) and reminisce.

missing marseilles

After seeing Anthony Bourdain's latest Parts Unknown episode on Marseilles, I had to revisit an old post because it renewed some satisfaction in the travel department. After hearing Mr. Bourdain's take on the gritty city, I was quite proud of my 21-year old self for exploring this beautiful Mediterranean city all by myself….

Who wouldn't miss Marseilles, France? Well duh, but my memories of a quick trip to Marseilles resonate deeper than most because it reminds of an empowering time. Sure, I was a college girl who decided to hop on a train on a whim one Saturday morning and just go south. But beyond that solitude, I remember getting off the train and just looking for the highest point in the landscape. Well when playing this game in Marseilles, you see something quite iconic, quite the landmark--so when I told myself to steer my legs that way, I don't think I realized what I was challenging myself to do. But I did it. It happened to be a hot, humid day and I recall taking a sweaty selfie of myself at the top of this mountain (long before selfies were "cool") and being so proud of myself! The chapel at the top is pretty special and floods of people were entering to check it out, but I was more mesmerized by the view from the top. Being used to South Carolina flat land, I was pretty awestruck by the perspective, surrounded by the gorgeous blue Mediterranean Sea, amazing architecture, and incredible terrain. Marseilles, I will be seeing you again--even if just for a few hours, I want to revisit that time my 21-year-old self conquered mastered many layers of solo strength.

macaron goodness

It seems to me that boutique bakeries go through phases: there was the cupcake craze, then cronuts, then macarons, but I'd say the macarons are staying put…anyway I have a bowl of eggwhites resting in my fridge (leftovers from homemade ice cream fun) and they're aging to perfection to get ready for some almond meal and macaron-making. In the meantime, I'll just relish over the memory of Thomas Keller's macarons at Bouchon, perfectly packaged like all good things in small packages...


Austin and I try to count our blessings daily, but one blessing is the generosity we experience from new friends we encounter. This stroke of sweetness is precisely what happened when we met the loveliest couple in College Station. They're incredible people, ambassadors for the university, and amazing folks to have in the community. In addition to this, as soon as I got to know them they felt like family! That's perhaps why it was easy to accept an invitation to their vacation home in Carmel while on our honeymoon.  The tail end of our trip was such a treat as we were given a locals' tour of the amazing Carmel-by-the-Sea and the surrounding areas.  The weather is ABSOLUTELY SHOCKING it's so perfect. The sights (regardless of the weather) are completely spectacular, and the village is the most charming formula of incredible architecture, adorable eateries, art galleries, and community activities. Carmel is, without a doubt, AMAZING. Thank you so much to our dear friends for letting us come crash with them for two days, two of the best days in California FOR SURE! 

bouchon bakery ~ yountville, ca

Anything that Chef Thomas Keller touches is golden. And Bouchon Bakery is no different. It was pretty much a lifetime highlight to venture to Bouchon and explore the amazing things that this guy has done in Yountville, California. The quaint streets are filled with droves of stylish folk, aspiring to cross things off their ambitious culinary bucket list.  My sweet aunt had gifted us a certificate for a mini shopping spree so we went to town and collected all sorts of goodies to enjoy our whole trip!  This place is just so sweet, and we plan to go back for sure! 

french laundry culinary garden!

No words. Just memories and photos. I am so in love with everything The French Laundry represents, and though being graced by an opportunity to enjoy lunch or dinner service wasn't in the cards this first trip to Yountville, I know it will happen one day. I must admit, the ultimate consolation was gallivanting around The French Laundry Culinary Garden that resides right across the street, and brings so much joy to people's lives each day. AHH I WANT TO GO BACK.

chez panisse ~ berkeley, california


I can't even begin to explain how big of a dream it's been to go to Chez Panisse. A wedding gift from our dear friends made this dream a reality during our much-delayed honeymoon. The staff, ambience, attention to detail, and incredibly-executed food yielded the most amazing experience. It genuinely felt once-in-a-lifetime while we were actually still in the moment, still there. Seriously, with every bite and every moment that went by, I recall reminding myself how special this was, how important this place is, and how memorable it would be. Alice Waters is a hero, and I finally got to taste and witness firsthand one of the [many] reasons why.  Austin adored the duck, I adored the pasta, but we fell head over heels in love with the rocket salad with house-made pancetta and figs. Insanely good. 

tis is ireland

This is Ireland. Or more appropriately, "Tis is Ireland." For the two-ish weeks that I spent in Ireland with a crew of preservationists, I was often overwhelmed by the sights and sounds, smells and sweeping views--and I'd remark that I felt like I was in some commercial for Ireland tourism. "Tis is Ireland..dot com"  Still to this day I say it often. But this was one of those views that got me to act so silly.  Can't wait to go back. One day. 

gelato elsewhere

Considering gelato has been on the brain quite a bit in the last week, I couldn't help but scan through my old photos of the incredible ice cream I've knocked out in Europe. Naturally I've always taken photos of the food I indulge in. So I found way too many photographic samples from Paris, and a couple from Italy.  I think my all time favorites always end up being in the nutella or pistachio family…how Italian of me. I'd have to say Berthillon is the best in France and Grom is the best in Italy. But I don't care who is best, we're all winning here. 

Somewhere in Paris

Amorino Gelato, Paris

Berthillon, Paris 

Grom, Florence

paris memories

SInce a darling little girl I used to keep is now a teenager exploring Paris with her mom this month, I figured I'd pull out some old memories from seven years ago when my bestie Beth and I studied in Paris. This time abroad was by far the most important experience in my early twenties because it instilled in me an independence that yielded a passion for travel, culture, and knowledge, either solo or in the company of someone else. I cannot wait to take Austin to Paris--hopefully during a 30th birthday trip. But in the meantime he just gets to hear about it every four hours or so, on average. 

rickwood field

I finally got to go to a place I’ve had on my bucket list for about a decade. Rickwood Field always came up in my research as the oldest ballpark in the country. When I was preparing to write a graduate thesis on historic ballparks, this landmark became a household name for Austin and me. Austin landed here a couple months before me when he toured with his team. So I made the detour on my own which in essence is always best—visiting a historic landmark like this is better done solo—it’s like a religious experience for me and that realization plus my camera-in-hand attitude yields a long, thoughtful afternoon of gawking. I was greeted by the nicest gentleman on the planet, a preservationist alike who got a Masters in History (American Studies) at UAB, and who is one of two staff members in the “Friends of Rickwood Field” Foundation. The man is perfect for this job. He generously spent a long time talking with me about the ballpark, its history, their preservation efforts, and what’s ahead. I am absolutely in love with their approach. I can’t wait to go back and hopefully one day I can attend their special anniversary game they do each year, where the Barons return to play a game that is themed around a certain year in time. Love that. 

square books ~ oxford, mississippi

FInding the token independent bookstore in any town I'm visiting is one of the first items on my to-do list. I love the feeling of being surrounded by books and book lovers, and quite often the store itself has just as much history as the town. Oxford's Square Books is no exception--it is a legendary landmark in the town and in the region, as so many important authors make a stop here during book tours. I love the feeling of the original Square Books, but the vintage collection and food collections at Off Square Books spoke to me most. Then of course there's Square Books Jr---it's simply a little empire in this tiny town. I adored Square Books.