SATURDAY, MARCH 5, 2016
I felt like a brand new person after getting a full eight hours of sleep, and even more so after taking advantage of the hotel’s complimentary breakfast. After getting ready, we left the hotel with intentions to go to the zoo, but the rain had other plans. Instead, we headed to the Opry Mills Mall where I spent less than $50 and got a pair of tights at LOFT and 2 pairs of high-waisted shorts, a pair of high-wasted pants and two bras. Such a steal.
We had lunch at Chuy’s Mexican Restaurant, and had the best server (hey, Shelby!). This was my first Chuy’s experience, and it was such a success. I had a swirled strawberry and traditional frozen margarita, and the three of shared an appetizer plate that had so much food that we didn’t even finish (we were also still partly full from a huge breakfast).
After filling our bellies, we went wine tasting at the cutest little winery called Long Hollow Winery. They have something called the “Grand Experience” where you get to sample all of their wines and cheeses, and all you have to do is buy a logo’ed item. We jumped on that! All of us got stemless wine glasses, and I’ve already received a Snapchat from Nina using hers. Their wines were so delicious, and had the cutest names. I couldn’t resist taking a bottle of Blushing Romance home with me.
For dinner, we went to Monell’s, and this was easily my favorite dining experience from the whole trip. This place was recommended to me by Todd, and I was quick to Snapchat him after my meal to tell him how much I loved it. At Monell’s you’re seated at a huge table with strangers, and you aren’t allowed to use your cell phones during dinner. The meal is served family style, so they pass around bowls of food, put what you’d like on your plate, and then pass the bowl to the left. This was such a fun concept for a restaurant to me, and I loved our experience.
On the table: coleslaw and cucumber salad
Starters: cornbread, biscuits, peach preserves, gravy, fried okra
Funny story: When we were passing around the bread, Erica asked “What do you use the gravy for?” Poor Erica lived her whole life without biscuits and gravy. Can you believe it? Her question sparked the table conversation about where everyone was from.
Main course: fried chicken, fried catfish, ribs, meatloaf, green beans, corn pudding, pinto beans, hashbrown casserole, cinnamon apples
Dessert: Peach cobbler
Everything I put on my plate was consumed because it was all so delicious. I’m going to have dreams about that fried chicken. It was amazing! They claim it’s the best in town, and I believe it.
Because our table was huge, we didn’t get to talk to everyone. There were two other tables in the restaurant, and there were also people waiting to be seated, so it was pretty loud. When I mentioned I was from Shreveport, there was a couple further down the table that mentioned they were originally from New Orleans, but they moved because of Hurricane Katrina.
Seated next to me were two siblings, a brother and sister whose names I can’t recall. The brother went to school in Nashville, and they mentioned that their family comes to eat at Monell’s all the time. They were the only ones at the table who had eaten there before. They mentioned that they were going to see their sister who was due to have a baby within the next week. They were so sweet. The brother also gave us advice on places to visit the next day.
To our right was a couple named Joy and Stan. They were absolutely adorable. I would guestimate to say they were in their 60’s, and they were actually newlyweds. They had just celebrated their one-year anniversary the weekend prior. Stan told us that they were both widowed, and Joy shared the story of how they met, which was through a match-making service. She said it was expensive, but Stan was worth every penny! The reason they were in town was because Stan is an expert in conflict resolution, and I believe he was speaking at a conference or something (they were visiting Nashville from Branson, Missouri). With Erica being engaged, and Nina soon to be, they asked them for advice on marriage. Joy said something that really resonated with me – “You treat the people you love the most the worst.” I had never thought about this before, but it’s so true. She said that Stan had taught her so much about keeping peace in a relationship and asking yourself about whether or not having an argument with them was really worth it. I think it goes back to the whole concept of choosing your battles. Stan’s advice to the males at the table was that the most important words you’ll say in a marriage are “Yes, dear.” He also told us that to help a relationship work, you should see your partner’s idiosyncrasies as endearments. Of course, sometimes, that’s easier said than done.
I think we lucked out with the company at our table. There was a lot of diversity, and such good conversation. The only thing I don’t like is that I will probably never see any of them again, which is such a shame. They definitely left me with a lot to think about.
The theme of the trip was obviously good food and lots of karaoke, because after dinner (and a quite trip to Starbucks to charge our phones #bloggerprobs), we went to a karaoke bar called Santa’s Pub, which was a suggestion from my friend, Andy, who lives right outside of Nashville. He was my little sib in Union Board when we were in college.
Santa’s Pub was my favorite karaoke bar by far. I loved the feel of the trailer (yes, it’s in a trailer), and the crowd was so fun. There were a group of people celebrating a birthday, and there was also the cutest old man named Jim who stole my heart with his renditions of “Achy Breaky Heart” and “Honey Bee.”
Side note: The man who checked our ID’s at the door said that he was in the Army and lived in Fort Polk for a few years. I love that when I go places, it’s so easy for me to find people who have some sort of connection to Louisiana.
When I hit the stage, I sang my go-to song “Baby Got Back.” I was nervous because most of the songs people were singing were country, but I hopped on up there and sang that, and I got lots of high fives and crowd participation. Every time I sing that song, I feel like a superstar. There was this guy named Ethan who went on stage a few songs after me, and he said he would be doing the second best hip hop performance of the night and gave me a shout-out, and the crowd cheered. I was on a karaoke high. (Also, this guy was wearing a Jurassic Park tee and he knew all of the words to “Changes” by 2Pac. You go, Glen Coco!)
Nina and Erica did a fabulous encore of “Shake It Off,” then later Nina sang “Before He Cheats,” Erica sang “Wannabe” and I did a repeat performance of “Gunpowder and Lead.”
If you haven’t read about the first day of my Nashville trip, click here! Be looking out for a recap of the last day of my trip tomorrow! A full vlog is coming soon, but in the meantime, there’s a few clips from my trip toward the end of this video for my vlog series, “Everyday Bliss.”