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Monday, April 30, 2012

Lemon Yellow

Sorry my posts have been sporadic lately.  I hula-hooped the music city half marathon on Saturday (it went very well) but it was a time intensive process and the week leading up to it was chaos. I'll have more information about the event later this week.

On Saturday night two of my sweet Nashville friends got married. The ceremony and reception was beautiful, and I wish them both the best for a happy life together. I was too tired from the race to take any pictures of my reception outfit, but I was feeling much better the next morning and was able to capture what I wore to the wedding brunch. I was feeling sunny- so I went for one of the brightest summer dresses I own.

The brunch was held at a downtown Nashville hotel that has a rotating restaurant on top. So while I was stuffing my face with waffles (complete with strawberries and whipped cream) we were slowly making our panoramic rotations. According to the staff, the restaurant turns once every 30 minutes.  Nashville is such a pretty city - and even more so from so high up!

Oh and the flowers, courtesy of the bride and groom's leftover centerpieces. Which were beyond beautiful. BEYOND.

Please ignore the gross marathon feet. Thank you.

Shoes: Lucky Penny from Anthro
Glasses: See
All photos by Steve Cross

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cats: Dirty Kevin

At the end of last summer, a sweet long hair orange started visiting my backyard. At first it was infrequent. I would catch the cat snoozing in my tree or sleeping in my garden bed. I couldn't help but notice how beautiful this cat was. When I went over to pet it, it started purring and following me around the yard. Since then, Dirty Kevin has been a daily fixture in my back yard.

But Dirty Kevin wasn't always known as Dirty Kevin.  At first, I called this cat BabyGirl. Because of the long hair and extreme filth, I thought this was little kitty was a lady. And thus, the erroneous name lasted until a few weeks ago when my mom noticed BabyGirl having "her" way with a gray tabby in the back yard. After further investigation, wouldn't you know it? It's a boy!

I don't believe that Dirty Kevin is a stray. He is always well fed, but poorly cared for. He goes to his owners for food but comes to me for treats and love. The poor guy is always so dirty and matted, and it just breaks my heart that  his owners don't take better care of such a good thing. I just hope this sweetie keeps visiting.

Dirty Kevin joins me for my Sunday morning coffee

Monday, April 23, 2012

Midwestern Mom

Saturday was rainy, so I spent most of it curled up in pajamas. But Sunday required that I get all dressed up. The Hooping for Hope team had our pre-race dinner (the marathon is next Saturday!) and I always like looking good for that awesome group of ladies.  It was a perfect opportunity for me to break out the Midwestern mom dress I purchased during the winter.  Throw on a belt, some tights for warmth, and the trusty old red boots and I was good to go.

Dress: Modcloth
Belt: ??? super old
Tights: Betsey Johnson
Shoes: Old Red Boots
Photos: All by Steve Cross

Friday, April 20, 2012

Food Friday: China Cottage

When I frist moved to Nashville, one of the things I found hardest to deal with was the lack of decent Chinese food.  New York and Boston have more than their fair share of delicious, authentic, non-americanised Chinese food joints and I was spoiled. No one in Nashville was able to recommend a place for me to try- I felt defeatist.  The few that I tried tasted boring to me. I needed flavor. I needed spice.

Then I discovered China Cottage.

Located in an unassuming strip mall in Rivergate, next to a Hobby Lobby, lies the only place in Nashville I will go for Chinese food.  A friend of mine who is originally from Malaysia organized a dinner here one night (he also said it was the best Chinese food he's had- and I trust him) and I was hooked.  Every dish I ever tried here has been delightful.
Teriyaki Beef Skewers

Crab Rangoon

Steamed Dumplings
My favorite appetizer is the teriyaki beef skewers.  The meat is seasoned beautifully and is incredibly tender.  It falls apart in your mouth. In addition, it doesn't taste overly salty like most teriyaki things you get.  Also, dumplings. They aren't the best I ever have, but they serve their purpose.  Soft dough and sweet sauce.

Mongolian Beef

House Special Duck

Mu Shu Pork
Sometimes I get in a rut and order the same thing. Over and over.  And at China Cottage that is the Mu Shu Pork.  Their pancakes are light and sticky and perfectly complement the cabbage, egg and pork mixture.  My other recommendation would be the Mongolian beef. It has a sweet flavor and its the same tender beef as the teriyaki skewers.

Optimistic Fortunes
The staff is friendly and prompt.  The family that owns (?) the restaurant has a lovely young daughter of about 7-8 years old that is always in the waiting area.  She is treat. I always enjoy having a conversation with her on my way out.  On my last visit she showed me her new leapfrog learning laptop and proved that she can tell time. She has also sung happy birthday to a few friends of mine.
It is a drive to Rivergate, but when you want some good Chinese food, China cottage is the only place to go.
China Cottage on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hello old friend

This past weekend was the first time I took out my bike in a very long time.  I have to admit that I haven't been good about showing the little lady the neighborhood.  We took advantage of a lovely afternoon to bike the Shelby Bottoms greenway and crossed the pedestrian bridge over the Cumberland to two rivers park.  I'm itching for another ride.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hang Time

I have a new addition to my back yard. I finally purchased a hammock.  There are two trees in my back yard that are the perfect distance apart- and they just looked naked without something hanging in between them.
An afternoon hang
Even Dirty Kevin is getting in on the action!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Outfit: Garden Rose

This past week my parents were in town visiting from New York. We decided to use the talents of Mr. Steve Cross and take a family portrait.  Of course, this was a perfect time for me to sneak in an outfit shoot.

I got this dress in the early winter and only wore it once. I've been waiting for the weather to be perfect so I could bring it out, since the fabric is fairly light. Pairing it with some ankle length leggings made it a perfect fit for a cool spring day in Nashville.

Oh and the hair! My mom loves new beauty products and constantly purchases fun things to try. To my benefit, she brings them down with her for me to experiment with.  I used her ceramic curling iron, the first time I ever used a wand of its type.  I loved it! I like how it turned my wavy hair into perfect ring curls (and I didn't even burn a finger).

Dress: Modcloth
Tights: Who knows ?! (old)
Shoes: Nine West (old)

Does anyone out there use a ceramic curling iron? If so, can I have some recommendations? I'm really looking forward to getting one of my own and trying this out.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Food Friday: Jeni's Ice Cream

In honor of my parents visit, I will review the place that I believe that keeps bringing my parents back: Jeni's Ice Cream. Ever since they opened up a location a 3 minute drive from my house on the east side, I have been severely addicted. The store is located in the Walden Center off Eastland next to my other favorite local spot, the Silly Goose.

On a completely non-flavor related note, I love the clean design of the shop.  All the flavors are handwritten on a chalk board behind the freezer case. There are nice seating options an the tables always have small glass jars with fresh flowers on them. Should you take a lady/dude on a date here? Yes. Yes you should. Everyone likes ice cream. 


Every time I go in here I try to sample some new flavors.  The staff is super nice and they always let you try whatever you want.   I try something, I get hooked on it, order it for weeks in a row, and then move on to something else.  I even had a sundae once and it was delicious. I love anything with hot fudge and home made whipped cream. Here is a list of flavors that I have/am obsessed with:
  • Goat Cheese and Fig
  • Bangkok Peanut (think spicy)
  • Hummingbird cake
  • Savannah Buttermint
  • Brambleberry Crisp

Don't you want to go get a tasty treat right now?

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The visit!

Being a transplanted New Yorker living far away from family, one of my favorite things is when my Mom and Dad come down to visit and stay with me in my house.  I had the good fortune to play host to them this past week as they enjoyed their spring break and I took a few days off of work to get in some good quality family time.

Tulips from my Mom's garden in New York. She traveled with them wrapped up in the car all this way and they still look absolutely perfect!

Saturday was jam packed.  Mom decided to walk the 8 mile hoop-walk with the Hooping For Hope girls, and she kicked major butt. It was such a special treat to be able to train with my mom, since she won't be around to see the marathon this year.

Hoop-walking was followed by cooking. Lots of cooking

Fresh Matzoh Balls

And what parent trip isn't complete without some form of home improvement project.  I'm not the best at knowing/remembering what needs to be done for my house, but thank goodness my Dad is the best at that stuff. He came down with all the supplies needed to re-stain my deck.

As you can see, not a pretty color to start. But after sweeping, power washing, and a good scrubbing, the deck was ready to paint.


Look how shiny and dark it is! The picture below is a half/half of the staining processes. We finished the stairs on our way out and did some errands for a bit and came back to a lovely dried deck that will look great for the next two years.

Notice the cat peeping.

The best part of the day was cuddling on the couch with my parents. We don't always agree on what to watch on TV, but it doesn't matter. Even Special Agent Dale Cooper got in on the sweet couch loving and snagged a quick cat nap.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


My parents have been in town visiting (more on that later) and we were looking for a few good activities to do in between all the errands and home improvements that we had planned. I'm a member at the Nashville Zoo and we usually go. But they have a special "exhibit" called DinoTrek going on now for about another two months. 

Basically you walk down a forest path and well painted moving dinosaurs pop out and roar at you (or in one case, spits water all over you).  This is no doubt for younger kids.  There were a few terrified small zoo visitors that day. Despite the cheese factor, we really enjoyed DinoTrek.

The entry fee was $3 for members and $4 for non members. Really worth it. Don't you want to take pictures of all you friends being savaged by a T Rex?!

Also, dinosaurs have all different sorts of names now.  I was really into Dino stuff when I was a kid and knew all the big guns. Living in New York meant I also got to visit the Dino Hall at the Natural History Museum a few times a year.  But man, times have changed. I recognized the face but not the names of most of these giants.  More heads where the butts should be? (I'm looking at you brontosaurus).

What is a trip to the zoo without visiting the lovely Lorikeets? They liked my sweater and my necklace and landed on me without even bribing them with nectar. They really liked this necklace, because when I got home the string snapped and the beads went flying all over my bedroom. Worth it.

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