Every month, my favorite blue warehouse puts tons of items on sale at a discounted price for all IKEA Family card holders. Not a family member? Sign up now. Along with the discounts, you get free coffee or hot tea in the restaurant, more Småland time for the kiddos and a 90 Day Price Protection. Basically, you really shouldn't shop at IKEA without it!
Here's some favorite items I've chosen from the family discount list this month. You can always go see all the discount items on the IKEA website. This time around, there's a lot of back-to-school/back-to-college items to get everyone prepped and ready for the busy fall season.
When I travel to new places, I always try to let Yelp or friends be my food guide. My goal is to never eat at a chain or national eatery when I know there are so many great local options. In downtown Nashville, there really isn't a chain to be found (yay)! Here's 5 places I went to while in Music City:
This was our first stop after settling into our hotel rooms. We were all really hungry and I'm so glad we chose to go here. Merchants was opened in the 1800's as part of a hotel. There's so much charm to the busy downstairs bistro. Throughout the building, you can see remnants of the old hotel, as original fireplaces are all around. The countertops and flooring are the original, historical marble and tile as well. I also love that the servers all where bow ties and suspenders!
While you wait on your food, they bring you a small container with the most amazing garlic popcorn and kept the bottled water coming. From the menu, I picked the Soup-n-Sammy (white cheddar, smoked gouda, crispy bacon with tomato soup and potato chips). Good choice! It was like having the greatest grilled cheese you can imagine...but, with bacon! The homemade potato chips and tomato soup were perfect pairs to go along with it.
235 5th Ave N Nashville, TN 37219
This was a breakfast staple while we were staying in Nashville. This Frothy Monkey was right in-between our hotel and our conference, so it was easy to stop in and grab a muffin and coffee before heading to our sessions. Once morning, I got to sit in for a full breakfast of fruit and a bagel. I loved their coffee options and the chill atmosphere.
NASHVILLE STREET TACOS: 129 2nd Ave N Nashville, TN 37201
One night, I was in the mood for some street tacos (as I always am) and didn't have any luck finding an open food truck in the area. Through Yelp, I found this awesome little spot within walking distance of my hotel. When I saw the exposed brick style inside, I knew I'd enjoy this place!
What I loved about Nashville Street Tacos is the build-it-yourself aspect. I didn't have to choose from a list of pre-made taco choices, but got to pick out each and every topping I wanted (which I great for me because I'm pretty much good with just chicken, cilantro, lettuce, onion and feta). Y'all, I am so happy with a great street taco and they did just that!
PROVENCE BREADS & CAFE: 1705 21st Ave S, Nashville, TN 37212
I needed a quick lunch near my conference one afternoon and this little french bakery was just a block away. So many great options for a cafe. I ended up with the sandwich and soup and I believe it was named the "Librarian's Lunch." I also grabbed a french macaroon becase that's what you must do in a french cafe, right? Plus, it just so happened to be Bastille Day, a French National Day celebrating the unity of the French people in 1790. So, I celebrated!
ACME FEED & SEED: 101 Broadway Nashville, TN 37201
On the night before we headed back to Texas, my coworkers and I all had dinner together at this extra-large restaurant. You order your food downstairs and once it's delivered, you can pick any of the 4 floors to find a table. The place was packed, but in the best way. People chatting, live music, and the rooftop was awesome!
What's your favorite local restaurant in Nashville?
A next door neighbor to the Nashville Farmer's Market, the Bicentennial Capitol Mall Park is a site you can't miss while visiting Music City. Pair it with the perfect weather (seriously, were these clouds even real) and this place is as picture-perfect as any postcard could make it seem to be.
I'd been looking for a great opportunity to take a bike ride since Nashville has easy do-it-yourself rental stations across the downtown area called B Cycle. The park is a great place to ride around, especially since a station is close by. I paid my rental fee and my shiny red bike was released from its locks. Added bonus: the bikes have a basket, where I put my backpack and cameras!
I think some of the desire to learn a little bit of history (for fun) is gaining as I get older. I was put through many museums while growing up (as I had a history-teaching-Dad who stopped at every museum and historical marker he ever saw) and now I find myself reading along too. I can't pretend to know much about Tennessee's past (as I probably couldn't even ace a Texas History exam at the moment), but the Bicentennial Park was definitely a great place to start.
"...experience many facets of Tennessee’s history including a 200-foot granite map of the state, a World War II Memorial, a 95-Bell Carillon, a Pathway of History and the Rivers of Tennessee Fountains. The 11 planters along the Walkway of Counties show native plant species from different regions of the state." (via TN State Parks)
I know I didn't even see most of the park because the whole thing is a total of 19-acres. I don't think I could have pedaled that much in one evening! I did enjoy the small area I was able to see in such a short amount of time. It was a good workout too!
After seeing a few cool pictures on Instagram, I knew I had to go check out the Nashville Farmer's Market while I was staying in the city (if not for the corn stalk and tomato-shaped bike racks, alone). It took me a bit to make the walk from my hotel, but I finally made it to the decorative pieces!
Unfortunately, I waited a little too late in the evening for the full experience. Most booths were shut down by the time I arrived, just before closing time (and it was a Monday night, so probably not the most hopping day of the week). I did get a chance to walk through a few plant and vegetable areas once I arrived.
Beginning on Nashville's town square, the tradition of the Farmer's Market has been around since the early 1800's. I'm sure we have a lot more craft and decorative items now, but how cool that the same veggies and plants are being bought and sold in the same fashion as way back then?
The farmer's market is open 362 days of the year from 8am to 6pm, only shutting down for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Overall, the market has numerous booths and shops to browse around in. (You can see the full list on their website). On weekends, the craft sheds are open to 50+ merchants that sell handcrafted, vintage, upscale and international good. I'll have to come back on a weekend, just for that!
I've never actually been to a farmers' market, but Nashville's was a great first time! I love the emphasis they've put on this long-time tradition by making the aesthetic of the buildings themed around veggies and farming. Little things like that make the whole experience even more memorable for everyone. Keep it up, NFM!
One day in Nashville, I had some time in the afternoon to walk to the Frist Center for the Visual Arts and check out their current exhibitions. The center is surrounded by some of those amazingly beautiful buildings I posted about before. This part of Broadway really is a work of art in itself.
The first notable you see when approaching the Frist is the Rose on 65th Street by Sculptor Will Ryman. You don't realize how large the piece is until you stand right beneath it! Those roses are huge (and so are the bugs crawling on them!)
Before checking out the exhibits, I grabbed some lunch at the cafe. They had a lot of soup, salad and sandwich options and the tea was a complete necessity after my hike from my hotel. I went with a trusty fav; Caesar chicken salad (really, I don't think I've ever had a Caesar salad I didn't like).
The Frist has photography restrictions inside the art galleries, which is kind of a bummer for me since I think I've taught my mind to "remember" in photographs. I followed the rules, though, and photos or no photos, I'm so glad I got to see Italian Style: Fashion since 1945 in person! There were so many iconic pieces that I remember from pop culture and it was awesome to read about their designers, wearers and reasons behind each piece.
"After the Second World War, Italy emerged as a fashion powerhouse by capitalizing on its traditions of bold design, exquisite textiles, fine craftsmanship, and dressing with sprezzatura—graceful nonchalance. This dazzling exhibition, assembled from more than forty collections, celebrates all that Italian style embodies, and charts its major historical developments over the past 70 years." (via Frist)
I also had a little time to breeze through Postcards of the Wiener Werkstätte. I was so impressed with the artistry that were put into these tiny postcards so long ago. Some had such fine detailing that you'd forget they weren't photographs.
"The Wiener Werkstätte (or Vienna Workshops) was an association of artists and artisans founded in 1903 by architect Josef Hoffmann and designer Koloman Moser with the support of textile industrialist Fritz Waerndorfer. By designing every aspect of daily life, they hoped to create a Gesamtkunstwerk (total work of art) and eliminate the distinction between (fine) and (decorative) art." (via Frist)
Along with the galleries, the Frist has the Martin ArtQuest area, which is a really fun, interactive place to bring the kiddos, make your own art and learn from others. Whether you live in Nashville or just planning a visit soon, definitely check out what the Frist is offering in the upcoming months!