Monday, February 29, 2016

Oscars 2016: Recap



I'm guessing all of you watched the Oscars last night. I was worried that this time around I would be bored out of my mind for 4 hours since I only saw one movie this year that was nominated for anything (which was Straight Outta Compton, by the way... and if you haven't seen it, you must! I LOVED it!)

I didn't find myself bored, though, and I was much more entertained than when I watched The Grammys this year. I loved Chris Rock's opening monologue and he actually made me laugh out loud a couple times. I liked all the random things he did throughout the night because even if things like the Girls Scouts seemed stupid.. it kept me awake! 

Even though the awards focused soooooo much on politics and controversial issues (diversity, rape victims, gay rights, etc.) it still didn't seem as depressing as other awards shows lately and it still kept me entertained without making me want to cry ;)

I also think that everyone across the USA knows who The Weeknd is now since he has performed at both The Grammys and The Oscars in the last month. I'm glad he keeps performing because he seems to lighten the mood. He does need to do something about his hairdo though... I'm not feelin' it.

Also... I'm sure everyone was cheering from their sofa that Leo DiCaprio FINALLY WON AN OSCAR! I also liked his acceptance speech. After seeing him in so many amazing movies and 7 Oscar nominations, I'm thrilled that he's finally been recognized by The Academy. 

But most notable of all is that I HATED the majority of the dresses worn to The Oscars. I am not liking the plunging neckline to the belly button on everyone, and I also hate the midi-length, high low, bubble hemmed and cropped formal gowns trends!

But these dresses were my favorite of the night: 



 You can never go wrong with wearing gold for a formal event.. or any special occasion.





I always love Cate Blanchett's dresses.. I loved the color of this dress and how va-va-voom it was. A dress like this would only be appropriate for The Oscars or the Met Gala. I also loved her hair, makeup and jewelry.





Jennifer Gardner is so charming and pretty.. I wish she would move on from Ben and find someone who will make her happy!





I loved Olivia Munn's dress. I have always loved orangey red anything... I have never thought she's that great, but in my opinion she definitely had one of the best looks out of anyone. 





Can Rachel McAdams look bad in anything? She could wear a garbage bag and still like gorgeous. I loved that she picked a green dress.. we never see enough green, and its a color that looks fab on any skin tone!




Can we talk about how perfect Maria Menounos is in every way? She's simply adorable and I have loved seeing her host E! News! Don't tell anyone, but I like her even more than Giuliana :)





This dress reminds me of almost every formal gown that I've ever worn to events.. so I had to add this one to the list! It's so chic and want it!! 


After watching the awards I can't wait to see The Big Short, Spotlight, and to find out what the movie The Room is even about! 

What did you guys think of The Oscars and the dresses this year? Which one was your favorite or least favorite?




Friday, February 26, 2016

En Route To.....



I'm in the Nashville airport about to fly to Charleston, South Carolina! I'm on the way to a best friend's bachelorette weekend since I won't be able to attend her wedding next month in St. John's, Virgin Islands.

I'm not excited about boarding 2 flights to get there :(  but I'm excited for a girls weekend in Charleston. I travel here about once a year since the majority of my college friends moved here after we graduated. 

I believe we are staying in a beach house on Kiawah Island tonight, and then staying at a historic house museum/ inn/ farm on Saturday night (which is called Middleton Place). 

More details to follow later! If you want you can follow along on Snapchat (my user name is @virg4412).

Hope y'all have a fab weekend! 



Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Catbird Seat: Review #2




Last week I returned to my favorite restaurant on earth.. The Catbird Seat!!! I surprised Adam for his birthday with reservations.. and I can't believe I was able to book it on his actual birthday (since the entire restaurant only seats 14 people, and it's only open for 1 meal, 5 days a week). 






To learn more about this restaurant, read my review from last year here! Guys.. even if you have been to The Catbird Seat several times, you MUST go NOW because they just got an incredible new chef, Ryan Poli! He has only been working there since January 20, so the menu was very new.. but to be honest, I loved this food even more than Trevor Moran's menu! I didn't think it was possible to top the last time I went, but our minds were completely blown by Ryan Poli's courses!

While Trevor Moran's menu was inspired by his hometown of Dublin, Ireland, Ryan Poli's menu is inspired by his travels and his life experiences! There are tons of Japanese and French ingredients in this menu.. which is right up my alley! 

Also, the drink pairings this time were all wine (no beer this time) and I LOVED every one of the 7 wines we were served with our meal! 

This menu had lots of fish and custard dishes which were absolutely divine, and even though it's been a week since we went, we still can't stop thinking about the foods because they were so unique, delicious and unusual. I LOVE Japanese food, french food, and fish so this menu was right up my alley.

The courses started off with an appetizer of fancy chips and cultured dairy (which we ate before I took a pic)! But here are are some pics of my favorite courses:
 



Sea urchin ostra caviar with squash tart (beautiful-- tasted like sushi!!!!!)






 Hama oyster mushroom broth & pine nuts






Duck egg custard, chwanmushi style with steelhead roe








Seaweed  Pasta dish (I don't know the name?)

Even though the pasta dish above looks gross, looks can be deceiving..... because it was my favorite dish of all of them!! It was seaweed pasta and it tasted like Thai food... I am still dreaming about this pasta and wish I could have it in large quantities!!!!!





 Risotto of sunflower seeds (AMAZING!) which included the sunflower root, leaf, and sprout.. and  omg.... it really tasted like risotto!!! I just about died from excitement.






 Mackerel with miso, citrus & garlic









Panna cotta of milk and lemony olive oil (I loved this - it tasted like a lemon tarte.. I'm obsessed)







Bear creek farms strip loin with umami crust. (SO GOOD!)







For dessert: Bitter chocolate & orange with roasted seaweed. 
This dish tasted even better than it looked!!!



There were also 2 little delectable cookies for the final course which we loved! We took them home with us to enjoy later since we were so full! 


This was Adam's first time to The Catbird Seat, and he absolutely adored the food and overall atmosphere. He is a pretty picky eater so that says a whole lot coming from him  :)

They sent us each home with a personalized menu so we could remember all the food and wine we had that night:









Don't forget to read my prior review for more information about The Catbird Seat's pricing, length of the dinner, etc. 

I already can't wait to go back. Thank you, Chef Ryan Poli for the best meal I've ever had! There was not one course or drink this time around that I didn't like. You all must add this restaurant to your bucket list because you will not be disappointed.

 Let me know if you have any questions or any comments about this fabulous restaurant!


Friday, February 19, 2016

Please Sign this Petition: Deny Funding for Demolition of Nashville's Historic Landmarks

 

Guys, please read below and sign this petition, because you know what makes me angry? When historic landmarks and homes are torn down! Pieces of history are irreplaceable! I have been really mad about the current demolition of historic Nashville buildings for months now and found this petition on the Historic Nashville Facebook Page. I used to go to this building each week on my lunch break to eat at the fabulous Greek restaurant, Santorinis... read the petition below:

Petition for Mayor of Nashville, Megan Barry: 


Local developers and investors want to use public funds to demolish the historic Climax Saloon, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as part of a $70 million luxury hotel redevelopment project in downtown Nashville' Printer's Alley.  


 (The building now in Printer's Alley

Built in 1887, the 3-story Climax Saloon (also known as The Embers) is one of the last remaining 19th century urban brothels in the entire country. The threat of demolition is why Historic Nashville, Inc. included Printer's Alley on its 2014 Nashville Nine list of the city's most endangered historic places


(The Building then



Last month, the Metro Nashville Development and Housing Authority (MDHA) donated $1 million towards the redevelopment project, on top of the $5.5 million in previous TIF financing. With $6.5 million in public funding, the private redevelopment project is subsidized by nearly 10% with taxpayer monies. The developers intend to request a demolition permit on Friday February 19, 2016. 





Due to the public funding of this project, Historic Nashville, Inc. requests that the Metro Historical Commission and Metro Codes issue a 90-day delay on the demolition permit to allow time for the public, community leaders, and stakeholders to review the revised plans. Historic Nashville, Inc. requests an independent engineering study to confirm that the Climax Saloon cannot be saved and repurposed as part of the project, as originally planned and approved by government agencies (study funded by the developers but engineer selected by the Metro Historical Commission). In addition, Historic Nashville requests that MDHA deny public funds for use in the demolition of the Climax Saloon. 





This petition will be delivered to Mayor Megan Barry, MDHA Executive Director James Harbison, MDHA Director of Urban Development Joe Cain, Metro Councilman for District 19 Freddie O'Connell, Metro Historical Commission Executive Director Tim Walker, and Metro Codes Director Terry Cobb.


 (The current exposed interior of the historic building)



 (Ornament outside of the building)




(Historic stamped wallpaper in the building) 





(Hiding place where hostesses would hide if the brothel was raided) 





(Hostess hallway in the building's upstairs) 

 


If you agree that $6.5 million in public funds should not be used by the City of Nashville to demolish the historic Climax Saloon in legendary Printer's Alley, please sign this petition

You can read more here about this issue in the Tennessean



What do you guys think of this petition and all the issues around it? There are plenty of other places around town to build hotels... so I hope developers stop trying to tear down Printer's Alley!! Let me know if you sign the petition....

UPDATE: Mayor Barry has released her official statement on the issue:

 She says:
 
“I believe strongly in preserving the history of Nashville which has developed the wonderful character of our city. I share the concerns expressed by citizens throughout Nashville over recent news articles indicating that a project, which MDHA agreed to partially fund, would require the demolition of the historic Embers Building.


The hotel development agreement with MDHA was predicated on the preservation of two historic buildings, and any change to that agreement would require approval from the agency if the project is to receive public funding for the project.

Additionally, we have spoken with our Codes Department and the Metro Historical Commission and have confirmed that no demolition permits have been approved, and I’ve asked them to delay any such approval until a full investigation and hearing of the facts can be made and all possible solutions that would result in the preservation of this building are exhausted.” 

Well that is some great news.. let me know what y'all think about all this....



Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Grammys 2016 Recap




What did you guys think of the Grammy Awards last night? I thought they were a little boring, just like last year. I think maybe they should start making the awards shorter than three and a half hours because it just feels like they are just trying to fill up the time slot these days with random acts. Like the kid playing the piano? Or the very serious scene from the musical Hamilton?

However, I did like Stevie Wonder's act, Justin Bieber's performance, The Weeknd's performance, and the Alabama Shakes. I thought Lady Gaga's tribute to David Bowie was fun but I was expecting something a little more from her. 

Personally I'm starting to wish they would bring more exciting singing and dancing acts back into the Grammy's. Please bring Britney Spears on stage! Or if she can't make it, maybe Xtina? Or another N*Sync reunion! Maybe bring Usher out to do some Michael Jackson style dance moves? Something.. anything to be a little more exciting. I was really falling asleep during almost the entire awards show :( 

Here are some videos of what I thought were the highlights of the night:

 Justin Bieber with Skrillex:








Lady Gaga's tribute to David Bowie:






Alabama Shakes' performance:



 

I had to post Carrie Underwood and Sam Hunt's duet.. I liked it, but did anyone else notice some weird chemistry between the two? A little uncomfortable:






I wish I could post a video of The Weeknd's performance but I can't find any on YouTube!


I am upset that Meghan Trainor won Best New Artist.... I think she should have won the "Worst Artist to Ever Hit the Radio" Award. She really is my least favorite singer of all time. Her songs "Dear Future Husband" and "All About That Bass" are some of the worst songs I've ever heard.

However, I am very happy that Taylor Swift won Best Album of the Year!!!! This was very well deserved!! She took a big risk leaving country music to write a pop album and it has been such a huge success!!

What did you guys think of The Grammys this year?

Friday, February 12, 2016

Junior League of Nashville: Masquerade Ball 2016




The Junior League of Nashville Masquerade Ball was an absolute blast! I have been to several black tie events before but this one was unlike any event I've ever seen. There were so many surprises throughout the night and the Mardi Gras theme was such a fun idea! 

I was on the Masquerade committee this year and I was absolutely amazed at what these lovely ladies came up with. This event is the main fundraiser for The Junior League of Nashville and this is the 4th time that the League has held this event. However, this is the first time the event has been held at the glamorous and modern Omni Hotel.

The night started off with cocktail hour at 6:30, where you enjoy drinks while browsing the silent auction. Servers carried around appetizers on silver trays, which included fried artichoke bites, sausage puffs and shrimp n' grits bites. My mother, who is a sustainer in the Junior League, had one of her paintings in the silent auction:









The painting was beautiful and went with the event's Mardi Gras theme! Other items that were auctioned off were vacation packages, sessions with a private chef, workout lessons, Nashville restaurant meals, etc. The biggest site to see though were the cars parked in the dining room:




 

I really wish I had gotten a picture with the cars! Nelson Andrews Cadillac sponsored our valet and helped decorate the evening the two gorgeous Land Rovers above! Guests were even allowed to sit the driving seats throughout the night, which was truly funny to watch.



There was also a wine wall, where you pay $20 to grab a mystery bottle of wine to take home:

  


 These bottles of wine ranged in value of up to $250! Perfect idea for wine lovers like myself!



Next was the Masquerade dinner, which started at 7:30. This was a 4-course seated dinner and the food was amazing! Each course was inspired by the New Orleans Mardi Gras theme:


 





 Chicken & Sausage Gumbo with Rice






Beef Filet with Piquante Sauce over a bed of Maque Choux and Creole Roasted Califlower






French Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce, Whiskey Raising and Creme Anglaise







I was SO full by the end of this meal because the food was so tasty - I couldn't stop eating! They also served a really delicious glass of Chardonnay wine.



My friend Elizabeth Creed was in charge of designing the decor and table decorations, and she did the BEST job:













I loved how she incorporated the Mardi Gras colors and theme into the flowers and table decor! The cocktail tables also had sparkly sequin gold tablecloths that I loved!!

My role on the committee was to line up artists to donate work for our auction







The talented Roy Laws (info above) volunteered to do a live painting during the dinner! It was so fun to see him up there painting on stage - his painting was of the Nashville skyline:





Once the painting was finished, it was auctioned off to the highest bidder:




Before the late party started at 9:00, my committee and I did a second line dance with umbrellas- watch us below:




I'm so glad my friend Jamie took this video. It was a fun way to kick off the Masquerade Late Party!!





The Late Party started at 9:00. This was when most of my friends showed up at the event. The live band Top Tier played while drinks were served from the open bar:




















Signature cocktails were also served during the late party, as well as New Orleans creole style food - which included french macaroons, muffaletta sandwiches, and fried okra. 


The party ended at 12, but partygoers were sent home with a few surprises:









The party favors ranged from a Junior League cookbook, King Cakes from Wholly Chow,  and even Mardi Gras stationery! T Villager also made mini bud bouquets for all parting guess to take home. This bouquet service is brand new to Nashville and was such a big hit that night!

Side Note: It was pretty funny having a black tie event in a hotel. Many of the tourists staying in the Omni got a kick out of seeing all these black tie attired people from the ball walking around the place. They all kept asking my friend and I what in the world was going on. They must think us Nashvillians are pretty fancy!!! It was especially funny when the ball was over, and hundreds of us wearing ballgowns, furs and tuxedos were lingering around, sitting in the lobby waiting on our cabs. The hotel guests had looks of confusion on their faces. Hilarious!

Thank you to all the kind vendors who donated items to our auction or for our event! It is so greatly appreciated and it all will assist Junior League's efforts to help Nashville's community.  

I haven't heard how much money we raised that night yet, but I think a whole lot of money was raised from all the generous supporters. It was truly a one-of-a-kind, memorable event that we will never forget! I already can't wait for next year!!!

Let me know what y'all thought of the event!

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