Nashville

16th April
2010
written by Steph
Last night Tony and I celebrated our three-year anniversary!  We're both pretty on the ball when it comes to remembering dates (except when I maybe, accidentally told someone the wrong date when they asked us when we got married... but in my defense, I'd had maybe three too many drinks that night), but the anniversary of our first date is also Tax Day here in the U.S., and really, what says romance better than the IRS, am I right? 😉 But really, after a few weeks of sending emails back and forth on Match.com, and one phone conversation, Tony and I first laid eyes on one another in real life on April 15, 2007, around 5 pm.  And the rest, as they say, is history.  Sparks flew, and they only burn brighter three years later. To celebrate this year we decided to try out a new restaurant (well, new to us), and went to one of Nashville's fancier restaurants, F. Scott's (leave it to us to go to a literary-inspired eatery!). Hey, I'll take any excuse to wear a pretty dress! 🙂  After much research on my part, I settled on this place because it had the adventurous kind of menu that I love.  When we eat out, I like to try out stuff that I'd never have the stones (or the skill) to cook in my own kitchen, and F. Scott's definitely didn't disappoint! Click through the gallery below if you'd like detailed descriptions of what we ate: This meal was SO good.  Definitely our new favourite splurge restaurant, I think.  Everything we ate was divine, and even things we had eaten before at other places were finessed in really interesting and updated ways.  One of the things I love best about Tony (of course there's so much to love), is just how adventurous he is as a diner.  He never shirks away when I say things like "let's order chicken livers" (in fact, he kept most of it to himself...) or "oooh, fried marrow"! I figure there are plenty of ways to measure compatibility, but a couple that can happily dine together and guess what the other person wants to order off of the menu are bound for greatness, right? It's little wonder Match.com ranked us as 100% perfect matches! Three years in, I still marvel at how lucky I was to find Tony and how fortunate I am to spend my life with my best friend, a man who cherishes and challenges me every day. A poem by Neruda, and then one more tidbit:
‘Perhaps not to be is to be without your being.’
Perhaps not to be is to be without your being, without your going, that cuts noon light like a blue flower, without your passing later through fog and stones, without the torch you lift in your hand that others may not see as golden, that perhaps no one believed blossomed the glowing origin of the rose, without, in the end, your being, your coming suddenly, inspiringly, to know my life, blaze of the rose-tree, wheat of the breeze: and it follows that I am, because you are: it follows from ‘you are’, that I am, and we: and, because of love, you will, I will, We will, come to be.
In three months' time we celebrate our one-year wedding anniversary, which we promise to do in style!  After much discussion of possible getaways, the tickets have been bought, and from July 3 - July 12, 2010 Tony and I will find ourselves vacationing in.... PUERTO RICO! Soooo excited! Anyone who has ever been, recommendations/suggestions are greatly appreciated!
4th February
2010
written by Steph
Yesterday I celebrated my 27th birthday!  And when I say "celebrated" I mean celebrated!  Which is of course to say that I received presents and many lovely phone calls wishing me well, and had not one but TWO great meals!  Really, who doesn't feel good when the people you know say, "Hey!  Let's party, because the world is that much more awesome for having you in it!"? So, the first of the festivities involved going out for buffet lunch at our favorite Indian restaurant in Nashville, Bombay Palace.  To kick up the fun quotient, my friends Trisha and Abby joined us for lunch, and Trisha even bestowed dubious Asian candy upon me.  How dubious?  Let's just say that if you never dreamed of using the words "Kit Kat" and "V8" in the same sentence, I wouldn't have blamed you. Then, sadly I had to head back to school, but the afternoon flew by, and before I knew it, it was time to go home and begin the gift portion of the evening!  Tony was very sweet and gave me: a set of Laguiole steak knives (with neon yellow handles!), a large ceramic dutch oven, AND a pair of Ultimate Ears noise-isolating earphones (which I have been lamenting/coveting ever since I wore out my last pair of trusty UE earphones).  A wonderful combination of practical and splurge-y gifts!  You know you are getting older when you get excited about receiving steak knives for your birthday, right? 😉  But seriously, so happy with the gifts because they are all things that I wanted but wouldn't have bought for myself, and those are always the best gifts! And then, it was dinner!  We decided to try a place we'd never eaten at before but was purportedly very good (and ideal for a fancy birthday dinner): Miel.  With a name like that, you wouldn't be wrong if you suspected that the food was of the French persuasion (or, you know, honey), and yes, it was very, very good.  Click through the gallery below if you would like an in-depth photo tour (with descriptions!) of the big meal: The meal was wonderful, and I think we've found a new place we can go when in the mood for a splurge.  I think my favorite dish of the evening was actually Tony's risotto - it was so rich and creamy, and the scallops were cooked to perfection (if you don't believe me, I'll simply say that historically Tony has not loved scallops, but he was won over last night!). The portions were huge, so we took our leftovers home and will be able to relive that section of the meal again tonight! 😉 Lest you think the birthday festivities are done now that my actual birthday has passed, fear not!  The joy of having a mid-week birthday is that you're entitled to celebrate on the weekend!  So tomorrow night, Tony - with the aid of Abby & Trisha - has cooked up secret celebrations (my favorite kind, as it means I have no hand in the planning! 😉 )  Hurrah!  Long live the birthday (and me!)!
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23rd October
2009
written by Steph
Today Tony turns... another year older! (I will leave it to him to share the not at all old number that he is turning, should he care to!)  To celebrate, we have orchestrated a weekend of extravagant proportions.  We started celebrating early last night by heading out to see a double header of Toy Story 1 & 2 in 3D at the Theater that Time Forgot (seriously, we were the ONLY people there... I get that it was a Thursday, but come on!).  We'd both seen the two movies before, but never in 3D, and having the theater all to ourselves meant we could do running commentary, which was actually a lot of fun.  We also got to see the trailer for Toy Story 3, and, well... I hope it is better than what was shown!  In my mind, Toy Story 2 is a lovely way to cap off the franchise and completes the full story arc that the movies aim to tell, but I will try to have faith in Pixar and assume they know what they're doing.  But here's the thing: remember in Toy Story 2 when Jessie is sharing her story (via the montage accompanied by Sarah McLaughlan warbling When Somebody Loved Me) about her time with her previous owner Emily and it was SO SAD? (As in, every time I see that scene, I possibly tear up!)  And the whole point there is that kids grow up and leave for college and their old toys get left behind and given away and that is sad?  But then Jessie gets saved because Andy always can do with new toys, and then we are happy!  But now in Toy Story 3, Andy is leaving for college and so the toys are given away to a day care!  Is this the story we really want to see?  OK, and even if that premise isn't somehow sad (I guess the upside is the toys are now making other children happy...), the jokes in the trailer are just not very funny, and that is a shame because generally speaking the Toy Story flicks are both heartwarming AND amusing.  See for yourself: (more…)
11th September
2009
written by Steph
Three things I feel compelled to post on a Friday: 1) First, a question to all of you diners out there (by which I mean restaurant patrons, rather than greasy-spoon dining establishments.  The difference is subtle, but important, I think.).  Two nights ago, Tony and I went to a newish Mexican restaurant, since our old standby switched management and we can no longer go there because the food is no longer any good (RIP El Palenque).  So we go to this new place and it's fairly busy for a Wednesday night, but keep in mind it is your run-of -the-mill Mexican place so none of the entrees require much finesse or time (read: most of it is probably pre-cooked anyway).  We wound up waiting for OVER AN HOUR for our food, and it became clear that either our waiter had neglected to turn in our order, OR the kitchen had overlooked it.  People who had been seated after us had eaten and left before we saw anything more than chips and salsa at our table.  After many apologies (and about 75 minutes after sitting down) we finally got our food.  In such a case would you expect your meal to be comped, or at the very least, for a free dessert to be sent out?  Is this not pretty much the universal way that it is understood any sit-down restaurant deals with snafus that are clearly their fault?  I wound up asking if I could speak to the manager, but he never showed... and we wound up paying for everything.  Needless to say, we won't be going back!  Sorry, Nacho's!  Your guac may be good, but your service was muy abysmal.

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2nd August
2009
written by Tony
When I first moved to Tennessee one of the first lessons I learned is that, due to the temperate winters, everything gets bigger down here. One of the first places I lived in had a tool shed that was inhabited by the biggest Black Widow spider I have ever seen, it was seriously the size of a half dollar coin and after spraying every chemical on it I could find I ended up having to use a 2x4 and smash it to bits. For years I thought that this freakish southern oversizing was limited to spiders, snakes and pick-up truck mufflers, but the last week has taught me otherwise. (more…)
1st August
2009
written by Tony
Here are some of the best wedding shots, as promised. Charleston and Savannah highlights will be forthcoming in future (not too distant) posts. The gallery, after the jump. Once you open one image you can use the left and right arrows to navigate through (the click on the Next or Previous links on the edges of the photo).

Our rings

Our rings

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22nd July
2009
written by Steph
So, Tony & I are now officially hitched and are back from our WONDERFUL honeymoon in Charleston, SC & Savannah, GA. Seriously, why don't we just vacation professionally? That's the life for me. We had a fantastic time, and although there were some stressful moments leading up to the Big Day (what bride hasn't had a meltdown 24-hours before the ceremony? 😉 ), everything went off without a hitch - er, with a hitch! Because on July 10, 2009 at approximately 5:50 pm in the Japanese Garden at Cheekwood here in Nashville, we were pronounced man and wife. And it was awesome. We're back in Nashville now, but we're easing back into things, trying to make that honeymoon glow last (in poor Tony's case, his "glow" may have something to do with a particularly itchy brand of sunburn. That one can go ahead and leave anytime now!). We're still waiting on getting our wedding pictures, so I'm afraid you'll have to wait for a picture post at a slightly later date before you can see some of our choice moments from the day (and also from our trip... it wouldn't seem right to post the honeymoon pictures before the wedding ones!). I'm sorry for the delay, but I just didn't want to keep y'all waiting any longer.  And let me tell you that even though waiting sucks, we've seen proofs of our photos and they are GORGEOUS. BUT, I do have some other content to post along the way while we all wait for the momentous nuptial post, so you can expect the regular erratic posting schedule (i.e., Steph & Tony post as often as they can!) to resume from here on out. I have one book review written, as well as another book binge buying post; I'm sure none of you are surprised. Thank you all so much for the wonderful well-wishes as well as the book recommendations for our trip. In the end, I was so scattered and spread so thin with the actual wedding planning and the hosting of family and friends (let's be honest, the family is where the stress lies!), I just dragged along the few books that were waiting for me at the library. And then of course, we spent more time napping than we did reading while we were away. But the two books that did feature on our trip were The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt. I'm still finishing up the latter, but were excellent reads given our travel destinations. I'll hopefully get my review of The Graveyard Book posted in the next few days. Oh, and let's not forget the new Harry Potter movie, which needs reviewing... We've already seen it twice now, and it's only been out for a week, so that probably gives you a taste of what's to come! But anyway, please don't feel that your recs were in vain; I'm always looking for good reads, and even if they didn't make it on the honeymoon, so many of your picks sounded so good and I'll be sure to seek them out in the future! What can I say? Getting married and our honeymoon sojourn were amazing and literally a once in a lifetime experience, but it's also good to be back. Thanks for waiting for us! [P.S. My Google Reader was, as you can imagine, packed to the gills when we returned from our trip. In a bid to retain my sanity, I've decided I'm not going to be able to comment on all of your thoughtful and delightful posts that went up while I was away. I'm going to start fresh and just pick up from here. But I want you all to know that I did read what you wrote, was titillated and amused by your wonderful words, and I'm now decamping from "lurker" status.]
28th May
2009
written by Steph
It likely will live long and prosper

It likely will live long and prosper

Last weekend, Tony and I took advantage of the fact that there is a drive-in movie theater not too far outside of Nashville where you can watch two recent movies for just $7 per person, and all from the comfort of your own car!  Ok, so it’s no Imax experience, BUT it’s kitschy and fun, they have a great snackbar (funnel cake!  philly cheese steaks!), and it’s actually a great way of watching movies you’re kind of interested in seeing but don’t want to pay full price to see.  We tend to go when there’s at least one movie playing that we want to watch, but have never left after just watching one of the movies… which is how we’ve wound up watching such cinematic gems as The Mummy 3 and You Don’t Mess With the Zohan (sadly, I am serious). But ok, sometimes there is a perfect storm where we wind up getting to see TWO movies we actually want to see.  Like last Sunday when after weeks of wanting to go to the drive-in but unwilling to sit through the Hannah Montana movie or Hotel for Dogs in order to do so, we saw they were airing a double header of the new Star Trek movie followed by I Love You, Man (which we had already seen, but enjoyed so much we were happy to see it again). (more…)
30th April
2009
written by Steph

I'm so happy I could sing!

I'm so happy... I could sing!

This past weekend, Tony and I walked over to our local indie theater that has been showing various classic musicals over the past month.  While we didn’t make it out for Guys & Dolls or An American in Paris, we were deadset on seeing a showing of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  When Singin’ in the Rain got held over for a second weekend due to its popularity, we decided to make a day of it and see a double-header. A little background on me: I LOVE musicals.  To me, they are an inextricable part of my childhood.  While most kids in the '80s were spellbound by E.T., Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones, and The Princess Bride, my brother and I were brought up watching Oklahoma!, Take Me Out to the Ballgame, The Pirates of Penzance (technically an operetta, I know, but operas were in no short supply in our household either), and Into the Woods.  To cap it all off, we watched a lot of these flicks on Beta and LaserDisc…  I can recall countless New Year’s Eves and Saturday nights where my brother and I, along with our parents, would marathon classic musicals into the wee hours.  When we’d go to the videostore, more often than not we wound up in the musical section, always trying to find something new to watch.  Plus, my parents always took us out to see the shows live whenever they were touring (one production of Showboat stands out particularly, as a rogue bale of hay took out an unsuspecting piccolo player in the pit…). Over the years, my love for musicals hasn’t really waned, and I even own a few of my childhood favorites on DVD.  A couple of months ago, Tony and I started watching the few that I do own, including Seven Brides, which has always been one of my favorites.  When we saw it was coming to the Belcourt, we knew we couldn’t pass up the chance to see it on the big screen.  Although Tony might not love musicals to the extent that I do (who could?), he’s always been very good about supporting me in this vice – we went to see HMS Pinafore when it came to town, and were both enamored by the more contemporary Avenue Q as well.  Heck, when I first came to Vanderbilt, I made a bunch of my friends go see the on-campus production of Brigadoon for my birthday (it was everything I hoped it would be)!  But to see one of the golden classics in a real movie theater?  Who knows if/when that chance would ever come again. (more…)
17th April
2009
written by Steph
Sorry all for the dearth of updates lately, but real life has been quite the beast lately.  Well, I shouldn't suggest that everything recently has been a burden or a hassle, as we've been kept busy with plenty of fun stuff outside of the toil of our jobs (yes, graduate school counts as a job!).  A quick run-down of the good stuff that's been happening lately:
  • April 10 - Saw Flight of the Conchords live at the Ryman.  It was a great concert, filled with lots of laughs and sexy Kiwi accents (Jemaine, call me!).  Although, it seems that increased practice has actually led to poorer guitar playing on both boys' parts?  Best songs of the night: Carol Brown, Jenny, Too Many Dicks on the Dancefloor, Angels, & a special song they did (maybe called Stana?)... Oh and don't forget Business Time!  Really, how can I choose?
  • April 14 - Went out for sushi dinner at our favorite joint (despite being a land-locked state, Nashville has the best sushi I've ever had), Samurai, to belatedly celebrate our engagement with friends (is it ever too late to celebrate)? Yum!
  • April 15 - Celebrated our two year anniversary!
  • April 16 - Saw Demetri Martin perform at TPAC.  He was great live, and we were very impressed with his improv skills.  Also, I liked when he did a short Q&A at the end and talked about the Flight of the Conchords guys for a bit! 😉
  • April 18 - 19 (yes, I'm projecting into the future, now) - taking a road trip south to Chattanooga, where we'll celebrate our anniversary (again?) by visiting the Tennessee aquarium (possible wedding venue?  Hmmmm...), and eating at our favorite riverside restaurant.  Also, we're staying at our first B&B!
Hopefully things will be less hectic when we return... We have a bunch of lovely photos we've taken over the past few weekends around Nashville that we need to get around posting, and Tony has a book review to post.  I have been in a bit of a reading rut lately, but I feel like that's about to change.  To all of you doing Dewey's read-a-thon, good luck and have fun!  Also, if your neck of the woods is experiencing nice weather (as we are here), try to do some of that reading outside!
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