Travel

18th June
2010
written by Steph
This past weekend, we were lucky enough to have Tony's parents in town. We decided that in order to celebrate, we would do a road trip to Memphis, a place both Tony & I had been separately, but never together (and Tony's parents had never been!). Of course we managed to go when the weather was sweltering; if Nashvile is hot, Memphis is HOT. We didn't have a huge itinerary for our Memphis trip, save for the usual suspects: Graceland, Beale Street, and The Peabody Hotel. If you'd like to follow in the footsteps of our blue suede shoes, please click on the gallery below, which highlights some of our favorite photos from the day!
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!
8th January
2010
written by Tony

Best hat ever!

Best hat ever!

Apparently (according to Steph's brother, who is, admittedly, unreliable) Toronto's nickname is "Hog Town." I have no Earthly idea why this is, but I'm going with it anyway.  So we did Hog Town Steph and Tony style, which is to say we went there and ate food. I mean, we saw her family and everything blah blah blah but we also got the chance to have Dim Sum, street meat and pork buns. We put the "más" in Merry Christmas. Amiright? This was my third trip to TO, so this was all kind of old hat for me, but there were still some quintessentially Canadian things I had yet to do, so they went on the list. Also, my brother got himself a passport and decided he wanted to see the Big Freezy for himself (that's my own nickname, thank you), so halfway through our vacation he came to town.

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22nd December
2009
written by Steph
Ok, not really, but having spent the last two years here in Nashville, being whisked away to Toronto to spend the holiday season is comparable, right?  It's been unseasonably chilly here the past few weeks (normally it doesn't get really cold here until Feb), but I'm still mentally balking at the idea of having to wear boots lest my feet become little blocks of ice.  Don't get me wrong, I'm excited to be going home after an extremely prolonged period away, and yes, I do love the sight of a lawn blanketed in snow... it's dealing with all that frozen water that gets me!  Still, there are plenty of things to look forward to, especially seeing friends and family after being far too long away.  And I'm also looking forward to blazing through the streets of Toronto, with Tony in tow, reveling in the fantastic shopping AND the great food.  This year we have a few particular treats in mind that Tony's never experienced: street meat (read: hot dog from one of the myriad vendors.  We've eaten a lot of hot dogs together, but in my mind, Toronto hot dogs cannot be beat!), nanaimo bars, REAL Canadian bacon (i.e., "back" bacon/pemeal bacon... preferably purchased in sandwich form at the St Lawrence Market... one of my greatest annoyances in life is how American call limp pieces of ham "Canadian bacon" when they are nothing of the sort!), and poutine!  We'll also be hitting up our old favourites, namely dim sum and the fantastic Chinese bakery in China town, and if I can score some Hakka food as well, I'll be a happy camper who will uncomplainingly brave any weather Jack Frost chooses to throw our way.  It's times like the holidays when I wish we had four stomachs, all the better to eat all the fabulous food there is to eat... Anyway, we fly out bright and early tomorrow morning, and I desperately hope that we don't hit any delays in Chicago, where we'll connect for Toronto.  In the past I am always far too ambitious in terms of the scope of my plans, as I always underestimate how much traveling takes it out of me, and how much Tony and I need this annual break to just recharge our batteries.  Along with socializing and traipsing about town, we'll also be squeezing in a trip to the DMV so I can renew my driver's license and hitting up the dentist.  Aw yeah, what a wild and merry Christmas we'll be having! 😉  I don't foresee that I'll be getting tons of reading done as I never do around this time of year, and probably even less blogging, however I'll be bringing home Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, which I'm smack dab in the middle of and am really loving (I'm hoping it will renew my reading spirits so I can start 2010 firing on all four cylinders).  I'll also have Great Expectations by Charles Dickens in case I should finish the Austen... perhaps being snowbound in Toronto is the setting I need to finally conquer that sucker! 😉  I don't want to pack too much, as we'll inevitably have gifts we'll need to bring back with us and will do some shopping as well, so we need to keep room in our bags for anticipatory loot! So, for now I'll bid you all adieu and wish you all very happy holidays, whatever and wherever it is you may be celebrating.  I'm not sure if I'll have a chance to update prior to the New Year, BUT you can look forward to a 2009 roundup in which I talk a little bit about my reading this year and name a few of my favourite (and not-so-favourite!) titles.  Happy reading to all of you, and I hope that you all have a restful and safe rest of 2009 and a very happy new year!
2nd December
2009
written by Tony
The view from the castle in Central Park

The view from the castle in Central Park

This was my first time in the city and Steph's second, though her first visit was for a conference and she didn't get to see much of the city at all. Fortunately for us (and our pocketbook) my half of this trip was sponsored by my employer. My visit to NYC was for a conference on dynamic environments through a trade organization I am a member of called  SEGD (Society of Environmental Graphic Design). The first day and a half of our visit (for me) was occupied with various seminars at different locations near Times Square. The conference was good, but the city was better. (more…)
24th November
2009
written by Steph
While we were in New York City, I received an email from my awesome friend Laura (not that I have a non-awesome friend named Laura and I am trying to distinguish between the two… just that my friend Laura is awesome, that’s all!) keying me in to the fact that there was a Jane Austen exhibit taking place at the Morgan Library while I was in town.  Normally I am a crazy trip planner when we go on vacation, obsessively researching every possible attraction and thing to do, but I admit, NYC overwhelmed me and I made the decision to go with the flow and just do whatever struck our fancy and figure out our options when we got into town… so I had not done my homework and the fact that there was something Austen-related going on in town that I didn’t know about me shook me to my core!  I mean, what if we had gone all the way to New York and returned home only for me to have then discovered the exhibit existed?  I shudder to even contemplate the possibility! Anyway, once I realized there was an exhibit on, I told my friend that we were visiting in New York that we had to go.  The day was gray and drizzly, but that did not stop us in our pursuit for Austen (even if we did walk many blocks out of our way to first go and lunch at Prêt à Manger, which is WAY better than Panera, by the way, so why can’t we have one in Nashville already?  Oh right, because it’s Nashville… I’m always trying to forget that… The roast turkey sandwich with stuffing and orange-cranberry sauce was a game changer, is all I’m saying!).  At other museums, I balked at the expensive admission prices — don’t get me wrong, the Metropolitan Museum of Natural History and the Guggenheim are hella amazing, but $20 PER PERSON is just a tad pricey — at the Morgan library, I practically shoved my $8 into their hands before tearing off into the bowels of the building in search of Austen. (more…)
12th November
2009
written by Steph
We're in New York, New York!  Yeah!  So, updates might be a little bit slow until we get back to our dreary little life in Nashville this Sunday evening.  After all, it would be a shame for us to miss out on the city that never sleeps because we're on the computer... But I wanted to say that we made it here with minimal fuss, have checked into our wonderful hotel (Hampton Inn off of Times Square... who knew?), and we are already in love with the city, after having spent just one evening here.  It's good to be back in a place with public transportation, more restaurant choices in a single block than we have in all of Nashville (perhaps I exaggerate slightly... but oh, how street food makes my heart skip a beat, perhaps even literally!), the ability to walk about excessively, and yes, shopping!  Oh, and Jamba Juice! And on that note, I'm off to grab myself a Caribbean Passion, and then I'll go visit the flagship Steve Madden store (mmm... shoes...) and the Aldo in SoHo.  On every trip I seem to foolishly pack shoes that wind up hurting my feet by the end of the day and so I always have to buy a new pair.  Part of me might be doing this deliberately, since it happens almost every time! (Why I do not pack the shoes I purchased on my previous trips, I do not know.)  Oh well, there are far worse things in life for me than spending time in a shoe store... Have you ever been to New York?  If so, any things to see or do (or places to eat) that you highly recommend?  Yay!
22nd October
2009
written by Steph
A long while back, a friend forwarded me a link to a page on Zappos where you could watch in real-time what shoes people across the United States were buying.  It was pretty fun to watch as I am a self-confessed shoe addict (I love shoes almost as much as I love books, and have lamented on several occasions that you can only wear one pair at a time), and it was also kind of amusing to watch how buying trends for certain parts of the country aligned with my preconceived notions about that region (e.g., lots of Birkenstocks being bought in California, snakeskin cowboy boots in Texas, pumas and adidas and similar track shoes in NYC, etc.,).  I believe the friend who sent it to me referred to it as "my kind of tv", and well, he wasn't wrong. Until now that is! Because now, The Book Depository is offering a similar peek into the lives of its patrons.  For me, this is pretty awesome since it revolves around books (duh!), but also because it's a globally accessed site, and so you can see what people ALL OVER THE WORLD are intending to read, all from the comfort of your own home.  In the brief time I've been watching, someone from Spain has purchased a book on Gymnastics, someone from Italy bought Beloved, someone from New Zealand bought Interpreting Contemporary Christianity, and someone else from Italy (I presume) bought Complete Chinese Knotting (I don't even know what that is).  I love the real-time updates and zooming all over the map as someone from some corner of the globe buys something new. Sigh.  And people wonder how I get by without cable. [For all your book voyeurism (or vicarious book buying) needs, check out The Book Depository Live.]
11th August
2009
written by Tony
One of the many grand houses in the historic district

One of the many grand houses in the historic district

Part 1 of our honeymoon extravaganza: Charleston, South Carolina. We had contemplated going to quite a few different places, but ultimately with the time we had (9 days) we had to rule out most places that involved long flights simply because we didn't want our honeymoon to turn into some frantic never-ending tour where we spend our entire day running around only to be exhausted at the end and never really get to slow down and enjoy ourselves. I don't remember exactly how we got turned on to Charleston (and Savannah by extension, they're too close not to see both) but I'm really glad we did. We both agree that if we could move there tomorrow, we would. Our hotel was amazing, the restaurants were delicious and flawless (Steph has a pending food post) and the city was welcoming and beautiful. It is not without merit that trip adviser has declared Charleston one of the top three cities to visit in the world, as our inaugural trip has guaranteed a return visit as soon as we can arrange it. (more…)
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.]
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