Happy Together: Our Valentine’s Day Plans (Past & Present)

 

I have to admit, I am one of those sloppy hopeless romantics who just love a good Hallmark Holiday. I love hanging heart decorations around the house, buying lots of cheesy Valentine’s day gifts and cards, and planning a romantic evening – even though that is supposed to be the man’s job. During our few years together, we’ve made Valentine’s Day pretty special.

Year 1:


Our 1st Valentines Day we spent the evening at a romantic Thai restaurant called, The White Elephant in Carlisle, PA. It took us forever to get our food because the place was so busy, but we couldn’t have cared less because we were too busy drinking our whole bottle of wine. This restaurant is a BYOB – the best kind! We had a fantastic night in our little corner sitting and talking by candlelight. Even to this day, we still talk about that night and that little hole in the wall restaurant.

Year 2:


Our 2nd Valentines Day was spent zip lining through the trees of Tennessee with Adventure Works. They have their annual sweetheart zip lining tour and we had such a blast. Even though it was freezing cold, we were able to warm up by the fire before and after. Later that night, we had an evening of dancing and food at Sambuca. Read more about our zip lining adventure HERE.

Year 3:


Last year was our first year to relax on Valentine’s Day. We had moved from Tennessee to New York and I had just started my new job on Feb 13th – so we were exhausted. I came home that night to chocolate covered strawberries and a delicious homemade dinner.

Year 4:

Image result for thai mii up
Image found at: The Democrat & Chronicle

This year we need to make up for it. We plan to spend the evening at Thai Mii Up, a local Thai cuisine restaurant that I’ve heard is pretty amazing. Maybe we will remake our 1st year memories at a different Thai restaurant. I’ve made him a gift basket (shh don’t tell!) that I will most likely present to him when he wakes up. Those are just some of the plans I’ve made, maybe he has something up his sleeve as well. I suppose we will wait and see!

Update 2/15/18:

We had a wonderful Valentine’s Day this year. I made Shane a junk food gift basket which he loved of course. Each box of snacks had sayings on them (example: Swedish Fish – “There are plenty of fish in the sea, but you are the only one for me!”) and I put little Valentine’s in the basket that I printed out from The Dating Divas (find their man-approved Valentines here). He had a beautiful arrangement delivered AND orchids – which are my favorite! I worked from home to do some training for work, but as soon as I was done we took the dogs for a walk in the beautiful weather we had yesterday. Then we quick got ready and went out to dinner at Thai Mii Up. It ended up being not the most romantic place, but great food and CHEAP nonetheless. We were able to bring our own bottle of wine – and they gave us kiddie plastic cups to drink out of! Way to ruin the mood, eh? They had fantastic Thai food, so we can’t complain too much. When we got back to the house, we settled down and enjoyed a nice fire in our fireplace 🙂

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Nashville – Home to the Rich & Famous

Date idea: Be adventurous and drive around Nashville to “Ooo” and “Ahhh” at these million dollar homes.

 

While driving down Belle Mead Blvd, have you ever stopped to wonder what it’d be like to live in those houses? Working in the fast lane, that is valet parking, I’ve seemed to find myself pulling up to these houses whispering under my breathe, “Oh…my…god…”. The extravagant lighting, massive pillars, beautiful landscaping, and luxurious cars are enough to take your breathe away. It’s amazing how the houses can make you feel so small while living in a city so big.

Belle Meade Blvd is one of my favorite areas of the city that I like to show people the most. Country music artists to architects and interior designers to oh-so-many Frists live up and down these streets – many are a secret to most as they hide undercover. This article will give you a little inside scoop to some of the biggest houses I’ve come across and who they belong to.

 

Sylvia Roberts’ $19.5 million Home:

Photo credit: https://wp.zillowstatic.com/1/Exterior-2-329e19.jpg

If you recognize this house, you must be a fan of the hit TV show “Nashville”. You guessed it – Connie Britton’s character owns this home in the TV show. This beautiful Belle Meade home is located on Page Rd and is owned by Sylvia Roberts. This 6 bedroom, 12 bathroom, 20,533 sq ft. mansion hit the market last year for a whopping $19.5 million.

Photo credit: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-uBPRQNY_Gj4/UVRub1Zsw2I/AAAAAAAACTY/UVog-5ZjeaQ/s1600/Screen+Shot+2013-03-28+at+12.22.39+PM.png

 

The Arndt’s Estate:

Photo credit: http://photos3.zillowstatic.com/p_h/ISle5w613axgv20000000000.jpg

When driving down Concord Rd in Brentwood, you may look up a small hill and see this massive home. Sold to the Arndt’s in 2014 for only a couple million, this home is now worth over $30 million. The main structure at the time of purchase as shown in this photo was about 10,600 sq ft. Now with a guest house and a finished basement, the home is now estimated at about 18,000 sq ft – and the Arndt’s aren’t done, yet! When finished, the home will be about 28,000 sq ft according to the Brentwoodhomepage.com. Keep an eye out for a couple of their hot pink Rolls Royce that tend to peak out of the garage from time to time. Also, drive by at night for their wonderful light show.

Photo credit: http://www.zimbio.com/photos/Johnathon+Arndt/Newman+Arndt/1st+Annual+Nashville+Shines+Haiti+Concert/beuzqfsdmr2

 

Rich from Big & Rich’s Mt. Richmore:

Photo credit: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_tfCpanUKc0Q/TCQUD_-PUQI/AAAAAAAABng/_-mM6PMNyUk/s640/mount-richmore.jpg

When driving up Love Circle in West Nashville you may be thinking, “This is a terrible location,” with it’s small road and close neighbors. When you get to the top and ignore what Mt. Richmore looks like and actually see what Mt. Richmore looks at, you may think a little differently. Rich’s new estate overlooks the city of Nashville’s westside skyline. When the sun is setting, the view is just perfect. I know from first hand experience that this house has some raging parties on the rooftop. You can imagine how these parties have made the neighbors of this once very quiet street feel just by reading the comments on Nashvillescene.com as well as hearing about many police reports.

Photo credit: http://www.countrycalifornia.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/john-rich-house-Custom.jpg

 

Oh-So-Many Frists:

1304 Chickering Road, 810 Jackson Blvd., 703 Bowling Ave., and 1326 Page Road just to name a few. The Frist’s are one of the most popular and wealthiest families in Nashville. Some are senators, some are doctors, and for most – their wealth solely comes from the family leading the nations most successful hospital company. While your in Nashville, check out the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. An art deco museum and event venue with beautiful exhibits of fine art.

 

Vanderbilt Chancellor’s Residence:

Located at 211 Deer Park Dr, The Vanderbilt Chancellor lives a pretty comfy life in his almost 16,000 sq ft multi-million dollar home. It’s nestled in the heart of Belle Meade and is barely visible from the road.

 

Tim McGraw & Faith Hill:

Photo credit: https://dwtd9qkskt5ds.cloudfront.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/tim-mcgraw-and-faith-hill-selling-nashville-mansion-1.jpg

An astounding 22,000 sq foot house on 17 wooded acres is nestled on Crater Hill. This mansion which belongs to Tim McGraw and Faith Hill has 37 rooms, with only 5 of those being actual bedrooms!

 

Disclaimer: I loved writing this article about some of the biggest houses I’ve been to in Nashville, but please note that I only published this for fun. We ask that you do not go knocking on their doors or drive up to their houses. Please politely view from the road. Thank you.

– Crystal

 

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Super fun day trips in Knoxville

Near the Great Smokey Mountains lies a beautiful and unique city just waiting to be explored. Knoxville, TN offers a little something for everyone whether you like bar hopping, shopping, paddle boarding, kayaking, or hiking, then you MUST read on! Here are some super fun day trip ideas to take in Knoxville.

The Square in downtown Knoxville

The Square in downtown Knoxville offers a unique variety of shoppes, restaurants, and bars. Two of my favorite places to eat is Blue Coast (on the corner with plenty of outdoor seating) and Downtown Grill & Brewery. Both offer a wide variety from Brunch to Dinner. The Square is a very popular bar hopping location in Knoxville. I love these bars that offer fantastic views from their rooftop such as Preservation Pub and Scruffy City Hall. If you want to get away from the party scene, there is a great little speakeasy bar that is hidden from many tourists. The Peter Kern Library is by far my favorite bar anywhere in the United States. Hidden down a dark alley on Union Avenue you will find the entrance. Just look for a red gleaming light and a security guard out front, as there is no sign. It is a nice, relaxing place to grab a pricey drink named after many literary characters and the menu is literally a thick, antique book.

The Armstrong/Strong Alley is a great spot for a quick walk through to see beautiful graffiti art. Artists have been given permission from the building owners to use this alley as an artistic outlet. The popularity and the love this alley has placed upon the city have inspired people to fund and donate to help preserve the art on the walls. You can find this alley between Market Square & Gay Street.

The city of Knoxville burned down long ago, so you will come to find that part of the city is labeled, The Old City, and the other part is labeled, The New City. Part of The New City was built up above The Old City. Some streets actually allow you to look down from the top of the street to the old buildings down below. The picture below doesn’t do it any justice, you have to see it in person!

The old burned Knoxville city underneath the new city. Those are apartments down there that people still live in!
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Belle Meade Plantation Tour

Once a year, Belle Meade Plantation has an open house featuring a candlelight self-walking tour of the mansion and the grounds as well as free wine tasting in the gift shop, carolers, and pictures with Santa of course! It’s a fun, chilly date night activity in those winter months. You might not learn as much about the history of the property like you would in a guided tour, but there are plenty of employees (in costumes) in each of the rooms that will answer any questions you may have as well as tell you a story or two about the rooms and its contents. Having the opportunity to walk around outside with free hot cocoa and pathways lighted by candles certainly gives this night at Belle Meade Plantation a romantic night to remember.

If you would rather, Belle Meade Planation, it’s winery, and it’s restaurant is opened throughout the year and offers paid, guided tours and is a beautiful, popular place for a destination wedding in Nashville. Mansion tours are typically about 45 minutes, prices vary. You may also tour by Segway (could be fun!) and in groups.

After visiting Belle Meade Planation, we went and had a fun dinner at Sam’s Place. Great food, great prices, and fun, personable staff! It may not be a romantic dinner, but to eat in Belle Meade, you can’t beat their prices!

I hope you have a fun, romantic night!

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Christmas Eve Holiday Lights Date-Cheekwood

During the holiday season, one of the best places in Nashville to go and see Christmas lights is Cheekwood’s Holiday Lights in Belle Mead. Cheekwood Botanical Gardens is a beautiful place for weddings, romantic dates, and extravagant events…Swan Ball anyone? On a side note, Belle Mead is the one place in Nashville I loved taking a drive, whether I was working a local house party at one of the mansions or just passing through, mainly due to the beautiful homes that wealthy families and music stars own. On your way to Cheekwood, be sure to drive down Belle Mead Boulevard until you reach the end to see everyone’s Christmas lights. Once you reach the park at the end of Belle Mead Boulevard, turn right and then take your first left to drive along the golf course until you reach the entrance to Cheekwood.

Cheekwood Holiday Lights is a fun date after your Christmas Eve dinner whether it’s just the two of you or the whole family. They feature about 1 million lights throughout their gardens making it the prettiest nighttime winter stroll. You may purchase the tickets online or at the gate. You can walk around sipping a hot toddy from their various drink and snack stands throughout the gardens. They have a gift shop as well as a restaurant on site and you may also take a free walking tour of the mansion.

  

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Nashville, TN Dates

Living in Nashville for a year, we realized that it’s a great city to visit, but certainly not to live. The city itself is growing at an enormous rate and the interstates and byways just can’t handle it. As a result, in my opinion, there is too much traffic, and people! On top of how many people are currently living in the city, you have tourists. Don’t get me wrong, the city is beautiful. There is always something to do, rain or shine. Many tourists will flock to Broadway (the well known party and bar street in the city), but I have a lot of other places that I prefer to go to with my date. Here are just a few…

The Parthenon:

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In Nashville, there is a full scale replica of the original Parthenon that is in Athens, Greece. Located in West End, in the middle of Centennial Park of Nashville. It was originally built for 1897’s Centennial Exposition. I heard it was supposed to be torn down, but it was such an exact replica and adorned by many, that it was kept standing and now serves as an art museum. It’s free to walk around, and there is a one mile loop behind around a pond.

Nashville Flea Market & Bicentennial Park:

photo taken by: Julianna

Even if you’re not looking to buy something, its a fun place to walk around and take in all the different smells. Food trucks tend to gather here, including The Grilled Cheeserie which is my favorite! There are many restaurants and vendors inside and outside of the building ranging from pizza and baked goods, to yummy organic ice cream and Jamaican foods. Behind the flea market is Bicentennial Park.

You can see a beautiful view of the State Capitol as well as learn and see some of Nashville’s history. Make sure to walk towards the west side of the park and listen to the towers play some bell music every hour on the hour. I bet a beautiful place to propose to someone is right in the middle of the towers as the music plays 😉

Go to a Titans game:

It may not be the most romantic of places, but its a great place to have fun with your loved one and friends. Not only can you watch the game, but there are places throughout the stadium where you can play corn hole, have a drink at the bar, and lounge on couches while the sun sets. Did I mention the stadium food?! YUM!

Walk around 12 South:

12 South is the infamous street where you may see celebrities such as Lady Gaga shopping as well as graffiti wall art. You can do an art crawl, but I will get to explaining that in a later post! There is also some great restaurants such as Bar Taco and Flip Side (great chicken and shakes)!

Tour Gaylord Opryland Resort:

You may be thinking, why would I tour a resort? Well, you must haven’t seen Gaylord Opryland, yet! This resort not only has restaurants and shops, but breathtakingly beautiful conservatories. Orchids, waterfalls, palms, greens and plants of all kinds reside in the resort perfect for picture taking.

Those are just a few of my favorite Nashville dates! Stay tuned for more great ideas in Tennessee!

As always, thank you for reading. You all are amazing.

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