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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hairs cut.

About every two months or so I need to get my bangs trimmed. Well things kept popping up and life got busy and before I knew it I was pinning those suckers back with bobby pins every single day.  That is no way to live ladies. So not cute on me. I looked at my hair, realized it was long and the ends were dead so I figured I should go and visit my good friend Lauren (see sexy redhead) at Cashmere Salonspa and get the whole works.  Lauren is a fellow hula hooper and I was lucky enough to be on her training team two years in a row.  She is the only person I know who looks fabulous (including cute hair!) at 8am on a Sunday.

Lauren and Lauren

I must say that my Lauren always does an amazing job.  I walk out of her chair feeling like a million bucks. Maybe its because she always curls my hair with a round brush? Or that her shampoo massage skills are killer? Or that she knows what I want my bangs to look like with out me having to explain anything?

The master at work

Because Lauren is a good hairdresser, she gave me some recommendations on some products to keep my hair looking as good as she makes it.  Honestly, my hair is curly, dry, and has a tendency to feel like straw in the summer. Lauren recommended that I wash my hair less, which trust me, I can do. Also, she suggested that I try some GOOD shampoo and conditioner to add some moisture and shine.  I'm not one to splurge on hair products (I buy whatever jug of shampoo or conditioner is on sale at Costco), but I figure I should do something nice for my hair.

Bumble and Bumble options

Lauren suggested some Bumble and Bumble products that have a lot of moisture in them that would really do wonders on my thick hair.  After smelling my options, I decided to go for the Creme de Coco that smells exactly like coconut and the beach. I have been using these products for the better part of a week and I must say, Lauren was right!  They are thick and potent so you only need a little drop to lather up your whole head. I also smell amazing and can't stop twirling my hair in front of my nose.

If you are in Nashville, give Lauren a call and get some pretty hair!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Food Friday: Back To Cuba

This Saturday night it was my turn to plan a date for the boy. I wanted something exotic, in my price range, and something that he has never had before. We crossed the river and went to Back to Cuba!

I am far from an expert on Cuban food. I know I love rice, beans and plantains.  When those goodies are the sides on any dish, I'm pretty much guaranteed to like it. When I lived up north, I had Cuban food pretty often, my favorite being Habana Outpost in Brooklyn (mostly for how cool their outdoor seating is). I didn't even know there was any Cuban in Nashville until friends took me to Back To Cuba a few years ago. We have ONE Cuban place in Nashville to my knowledge, and thank goodness its pretty tasty.
Steve anticipates Cuban goodness

Back to Cuba is a cafe and not a restaurant.  It is very small, with just a hand full of tables.  Nothing is fancy, don't expect tablecloths and linen napkins. You order your food at the counter, they hand you a ticket, and you pay that ticket at the register when you are done eating.  When the food is ready they find you and bring it out to your table.  This process is a tad bit confusing, I had been there before and forgot the process. Also, some ladies came in after us and couldn't figure out how things worked.  But friendly diners are quick to offer tips on the ordering process.

We started out by munching on a beef empanada.  The crust was perfect, golden, light and flaky.  Inside the meat was deliciously spiced.  I can't remember the last time I had a fresh friend empanada. Oh! We ordered one and split it but I could have easily eaten my own.

Did I mention the juice? Back to Cuba offers a wide variety of juices as well as milkshake options.  I felt guilty ordering a milkshake with my meal, so I opted for juice. I ordered the guanabana and the boy ordered the mango. I first had guanabana juice in Costa Rica and fell in love.  I ordered it at least twice a day and wanted to even take some home on the plane. I rarely ever find guanabana at restaurants, but  when I do I have to order it. I highly recommend taking a chance on an ugly looking fruit!

For dinner we ordered two entrees and split them. I'm personally a big fan of food sharing, this way everyone gets to taste something new and delicious.  First up is the skirt steak with chimmichurri sauce served with rice, beans and tostones. The meat was well done- I prefer it more on the rare side, but hey, I forgot to say that with my order so its my fault.  The chimmichurri had just a tad bit of heat that worked well with the nice sear on the steak. There tostones might have been my favorite. I never order them because I never like them as much as friend plantains, and they tend to be dry and greasy.  BTC's tostones had FLAVOR and minimum grease. Oh, the beans were ok. Not much to say on those. But the rice is pretty tasty.

The other dish was flash fried white fish in a spicy mango salsa with salad, rice and friend plantains. I have never met a fried plantain that I didn't like, and BTC's are no exception. The salad was just some pieces of iceberg lettuce and a tomato slice. Very boring compared to how flavorful everything else was. The fish was my personal favorite and a meal standout.  Listed as a special, we didn't really know what we would be getting. "Salsa tropical" sounded delicious.  But the sauce was mango bits and whole bunch of spice.  It had a lovely kick, much spicier than the steak.  I put that sauce all over the rice and it was so delicious. Oh, and the fish was fried perfectly. Once again, not greasy and very crisp.

Back to Cuba is worth it.  Hell, its the only Cuban place in town! Take someone on a date there and you won't be disappointed.
Back To Cuba Cafe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hot Dog Monster

One of the best thing that I got from Vicki's indoor yard sale (besides the dresses, shorts, and picture frames) was the HOT DOG MONSTER.  This is a painting that Vicki and her husband Will did for their personal enjoyment and it hung in their living room for a while.  They redecorated, and there was no more room for the HOT DOG MONSTER. 

Seeing it leaning up against a wall, I couldn't go home with out it. Vicki even convinced Will to sign the piece to make it more "official" art. Now all I have to do is find a space in my home that is worthy of such awesomeness.

Everyone is a critic

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cynthia's 5k!

My friend from college Cynthia is a pretty cool chick. She runs Boomerangs, thrift stores in Boston where proceeds go to fight AIDS.  She also has a sweet blog on Vice What I Found at Work Today, chronicling all the inappropriate stuff that gets donated. Plus, she is also one of my fashion inspirations.  She can make anything look cool. ANYTHING. The is the queen of huge glasses and clashy-matchty fashion.

But this fine lady is also doing the AIDS Walk 5K in Boston.  If you help support her, she will send you an awesome present. Give her a word or phrase, and she will paint you her interpretation of it on an LP sleeve. I said "Maury Povich" and this is what I got:

Help support this fine lady and get a great piece of art in the process.  Also, if you are in Boston stop by her shops and buy some things and help stop AIDS.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Boy Scout Buisness Casual

I've worn this skirt in a post before, but that outfit was not office appropriate.  This is my take on how I can wear my flamingo skirt to work and not look like a total crazy while doing so. I went for a blue palate with just a touch of yellow in the shoes and scarf.  This little silk scarf is one of the many that I inherited from my grandmother.  She had such wonderful taste in scarves and I try to use them as color scheme inspiration.  I think this outfit makes me look like I work in the Boy Scout's business office. All I need is a few merit badges.

Belt: Old
Shoes: Lucky Penny from Anthro
Scarf: Grandma's
Glasses: See
All Photos by Steve Cross

Friday, May 18, 2012

Food Friday: Five Points Pizza

Now, I'm a New Yorker. I make no apologies for that. I'm loud, I have road rage, I know my bagels, and I know my pizza. Nashville's pizza scene has baffled me.  There are immense amounts of pizza places in Nashville, but they are all parts of major chains.  We have the Papa John's, the Pizza Huts, the Domino's. These are basically places that I don't think actually make what I call pizza. I'm a personal fan of the mom and pop type places that serve you by the slice and have Italian Ices for when you are done.  No place in Nashville does it like that, so I've tried every "respectable" pizza place looking for a reasonable alternative.

Now my favorite fancy pizza in Nashville goes to City House. Filled with fancy meats and cheese, it is heaven. But it is also not NY style greasy pizza. Eastland Cafe makes a similar one that is great for happy hour, but is not down home enough.  Mafioza's is getting closer. Their pizza is greasy, floppy and the two for one slice deal jam packs the place every Tuesday night. But, its crowded and not in my neighborhood.

Close up of the goodness

When Five Points Pizza opened up in my neighborhood hangout spot next to all the bars- I was so excited.  The promised New York Style Pizza by the slice. There is the missing component! The drop in- one slice please- grease-leaking-through-the-paper-bag type pizza I missed from home. Now honestly, the pizza by the slice is a tad misleading, as this is more of a traditional restaurant than a pizza joint.  I have never ordered a single slice here nor has anyone I've ever gone with although they clearly offer it on their menu.

Steve is a pizza creeper

The pizza simple put, is pretty darn good. I wouldn't go as far as to say it tastes exactly like New York pizza, but who cares, we aren't in New York and this stuff is good! The Garlic Knot appetizer is huge and can be split easily among four people. Also, they are so filling they can count as a meal. The tomato dipping sauce has just the right amount of tangy. 

As for the pies, they offer a good assortment of options. The classic style Old World is exactly what you would expect and the Pizza Bianca is my favorite white pizza south of the Mason-Dixon. I LOVE white pizza and theirs has so much garlic on it! Gives it a great kick. On our most recent trip we tried a pie that doesn't seem to be on the Internet menu- but it had capicolla, pepperoni, olives and banana peppers. Ung. I loved it.

The only not-so-bright spot in this local eatery is the spotty service.  I've been there between 5-8 times and most of the time the service is great.  But, on a couple of occasions it just hasn't been the best. On my first visit their the waiter forgot our order and messed up our beers and then messed up our check.  After much confusion, the owner was nice enough to take care of it for us and offer us some free food. Now that is good customer service.

On my most recent trip our waiter took our drink order, and then disappeared.  For a very long time.  We tried flagging him down or getting someone else. Eventually a different waitress came by to check on us.  She took our order and handled us the rest of the night.  And the first guy, still there! Even dropped off a to-go box and didn't apologize for forgetting us, he didn't even look at us! Eh, at least the waitress was really nice and a strange waiter does not ruin the delicious pizza.
Steve enjoys the last bite!
Overall, its a great pace for dinner before you go to a show at the 5 spot or grab some beers at 3 Crow.

Five Points Pizza on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ice Cream Cone

Well world, I've been silent for a while. After half marathon recovery and a busy commencement season I'm ready to take back to the web in a more regular fashion. And speaking of fashion...

My good friend Vicki had an indoor yard sale last week, and lucky for me Vicki has an amazing collection of vintage clothes (and funky art-but more on that later). I wound up taking a trash bag full of clothes from Vicki's house and I was very please with my purchase.  This dress is one of the vintage pieces I scored from Vicki's sale. The colors are so pastel and sweet, I can't help but think of melting mint and strawberry ice creams.

Oh and the boots were an amazing score as well. I love good shoes, but I honestly don't have $160 lying around to drop on a pair of Jeffrey Campbell Cat Litas (WANT SO BAD). So when I get a great deal on an expensive pair of shoes I can hardly hold in my excitement. My favorite place to snag some good deals is the Anthropologie Accessories store. You really have to turn over EVERY shoe and go at just the right time. I scored these $300 danish clogs for $30. I enjoy being a savvy shopper.

 Dress: Vintage (Vicki's Closet)
Shoes: Anthro
Necklace: Forever 21 (old)
Glasses: Costal Contacts

And as an added bonus to me, Mr. Steve Cross took some extra photos of me and tried out some new photoshop filters.  He basically got me to look like I was Instagrammed. I'm loving the colors of these pictures and how flawless he made my skin look.  I'm lucky to have such a talented photographer indulge me.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Kayaking on the Piney

Sunday morning we loaded up the car with more gear than was necessary and we headed to the Piney River for a lazy day of kayaking. The Piney is located off of 40 West about 45 minutes from Nashville.  I have floated down the Piney many times over the past three years. This Sunday was one of the best floats yet!  The water was moving at a nice speed so that my arms didn't get sore and the river wasn't running so fast that I tipped over. A trip where I don't tip over is a successful one. Last year I flipped and lost my pants and had to wear a towel as a skirt.

Our large group (12 people) rented kayaks from Pinewood Canoe and Camp. We were able to reserve kayaks beforehand and it only costs $25 to rent one for a day. Here are some photos of what we saw from the Pinewood website. (I would be crazy to take a camera or a phone on this trip)

Kayaking was a great way to spend a day with friends.  Despite the water being VERY cold, I was encouraged to go in it and I'm proud to say I made it in up to my shoulders. I stayed for a few minutes, but got cold quickly and ran to the shore to dry off in the 90 degree heat.  My favorite river food is beef jerky (this is the only time I eat it) so I made sure to bring a few bags. We managed to finish all of the jerky- with thanks mostly to me.

On the way back toward town, we stopped for dinner at Loveless Cafe. Expect a post on that form of deliciousness soon!

Enjoying a post kayak-ing hoop jam

Friday, May 4, 2012

Food Friday: Las Americas

Las Americas is one of those tiny hole in the wall places on Nolensville Road.  Places that don't look like much from the outside (or the inside), but oh man, is the food ever delicious.   A Dean at my graduate school took me here for lunch a few years back upon having heard that I love Central American food. He completely eliminated my need to search all of Nashville looking for the best papusa- and brought me right to the number one spot. Las Americas is hard to miss because the restaurant is attached to a small food market. You actually pay your restaurant tab at the grocery check-out register.

One of the best things about Las Americas is the prices. All of their food is reasonably priced, if not downright cheap. Because of the low cost and love of almost everything on the menu, I always wind up ordering more than one human can eat at any single sitting. But still, I try to cram it all in.

Traditional Rice and Beans

Right when you sit down you are presented with a batch of fresh tortilla chips (hot!) and a chunky salsa. It didn't take my friend Jeff and I long to polish the chips off with a horchata. The staff is friendly and service is usually quick.  The bathroom is not my favorite thing, but its usable. You have to enter it through from saloon-type double swinging doors that are bright orange.  PEE ANNOUNCEMENT.

A single lonely golden papusa

The humble papusa, how I love thee. The papusa is a thick corn tortilla thing that is usually stuffed with cheese and pan fried. You can get lots of other goodies added to your papusa as well (beans, pork, fried pork skin).  The papusa is served with a mild tomato based sauce and a deliciously sour pickled cole slaw. I am an expert at eating papusas, but the ones at Las Americas are HUGE. Twice the size at least of any paupsa I had in Boston. For $2.50- that's a deal that is hard to beat. Plus, the cheese gets perfectly crisp and burnt on the bottom. My favorite part!

A half eaten papusa with sauce and slaw

I love traditional soft tacos and since Las Americas offer them, I always get a few. They aren't my absolute favorite taco in Nashville (which might to go Mas Tacos pulled pork taco), but they are quite tasty.  The offer a nice variety of the "weirder" fillings that I always order. Beef cheek, tripe, tongue- that is where the money is at.  I like the tripe taco at La Hacienda better, but the beef cheek at Las Americas is tender and well seasoned. Definitely my favorite taco on the menu.

Beef cheek and tripe tacos

The old lady who stands in the open kitchen and makes the tortillas is adorable. I've never spoken to her or heard her say anything, but I love her because her hands make magic!  She has been a fixture in the kitchen since I started going almost 4 years ago and I'm happy to see she is still there making everything delicious. 

This is my "excited papusa" face

Las Americas Taqueria on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Centennial Park Photoshoot!

My talented friend Danielle took some pictures of me (and some other lovely ladies) a few weeks ago for her portfolio.  We met up in Centennial Park late one afternoon and snapped a few pictures with different outfits.  I must say, I love her work. I'm hoping she needs to borrow me as model again :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wedding Instagrams

Just a few saps from the lovely wedding I went to on Saturday!

Dress: Betsey Johnson
Necklace: Betsey Johnson
Hat: Saks
Purse: Banana Republic (old)
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