Itty bitty feeties and warm schnozzles.

I already have a lot of pups in my life.

Noodz (our babyfoxdog creature)

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Tank (the über-snuggly office pup)

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Closeup

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Soooooooper muzzlepowsch moisture droplet closeup

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Chewywampabear

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He loves nap time with Noodz…

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And Introducing the newest member of our little family…

Princess Peppermint Sparklechops “Pepper” MY BABY PUGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!

Merry Christmas to me!!!!

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Thankfully, Noodz ADORES her.

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They both love sleepytime on Daddy’s lap after breakfast…

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She’s amazingly smart and sweet and we love her so very very very very much.

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DREAMS DO COME TRUE! PUGDREAMS!

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Autumn in Richmond Park (and pups!)

I think most people would say that Autumn is their favorite season.

What’s not to love?

Somehow lattes and hot teas taste better when the air has that Autumnal briskness that is only present in October and November.

And pulling out your favorite sweaters and scarves from their lonely spots in the closet…it’s my favorite yearly fashion transition!

And THE LEAVES ooohhh the leaves…

I want to live in a house constructed of crispy fall leaves.

Richmond Park is one of the most magical places in London no matter what time of year you visit, but an October or November trip is extra special because everything is a warm shade of GOLD or RED

I took Sir Noodles and his bestie Chewywampa on a big leafy hike a few weeks ago…

Remember this little guy?

https://nashvillegirlinlondon.wordpress.com/2012/05/25/chewdles-the-bromance/

Needless to say, we had the best time stomping around the forest and basking in all the gorgeous reddish hues.

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After 4 hours of magical hiking through the woods, the pooches (and myself) were absolutely shattered and had a nice snooze on the ride home.

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Happy Autumn-ing! xx

Tiny Holiday in Kirkby Lonsdale

I’ve been living in the UK for over a year now and I’ve learned a lot of things.
It may seem obvious to you, but to me it’s been an epiphany.

You simply MUST go on holiday every now and again.
For the sake of your own personal sanity and the sanity of those around you having to listen to you moan and be grumpy as fuck all the time.

It totally sorts you out. Trust me!

I never used to take many trips.

I longed to travel more than anything.
Even just a quick weekend away to kick back and relax.

Nope.

I worked too much, made too little money, took too many classes at a time, and anytime I saved up enough money to go somewhere, something would surely come up.

Car trouble, an unexpected medical issue,emergency vet bill, self-inflicted hair dye disaster…

SOMETHING.always got in the way.

But life is definitely changed for me now.

I’m far less stressed, certainly less broke, and much better prepared to face unexpected expenses than I was a few years ago.

So yeah, take a vacation people.

If you can swing it.

It does wonders for your temperament!

Especially when you live in a big city like London.

Being packed together with millions of other people on public transport day in and day out can leave you craving a bit of scenery that is more of the green and blue variety and less of the concrete and glass variety.

We decided that our souls needed a bit of open sky a few months back and we took a 4 day trip to Kirkby Lonsdale.

We went on a breathtaking waterfall/English countryside trek as well as a stroll through the village and a couple of visits to different farms around the area (so I could fulfill my lifelong dream of hugging a SHEEP!)

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The raddest steps in England.

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English sweets.

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If you ever find yourself in Kirkby Lonsdale, you simply MUST do this:http://www.ingletonwaterfallstrail.co.uk/

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Those are pennies!

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Penny Mushrooms!

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SHEEPS!

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SHEEPS THAT WOULD NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES LET ME HUG THEM.

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SADFACE.

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Isn’t it other-worldly beautiful? Sigh.

So then we visited farms!

And I made friends and kissed fuzzy animal faces and my dreams came true.

I don’t remember this guy’s name, but he was ace.

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Hands down the friendliest goat I’ve ever met.

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BAAAABY GOAT!

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Lambies!!

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Snouts!

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He’s got PIGGY EYEBROWS!!!

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(pig sex photobomb totally happening in the background for extra points)

Which is how you end up with BAAAAABY PIGGIES!

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And buns! So many buns…

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Check out all the feet floof!

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BIG bun…

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Baaaaby cows!

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TEETH!

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They are totally making the same facial expression!

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Huggggggssss….

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Horsies…

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Silly horsies…

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Mustachioed horsies…

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With furry feet!

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Tiny emo horsies with stubb-tastic legs and ombre hipster fringe!

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I’ve seen dogs with longer legs…

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Owls…

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Alpacas…

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Soooooper goofy donkey friends…

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Chickens…

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The moment you have been waiting for.

The hugging of a sheep done by ME!

He came right up to me and said hello.

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So I said hello back.

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Quite gleefully I might add…

And then I did what any reasonable person might do when confronted with a really sweet sheep friend.

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I hugged him!

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And he was totally into it!

Best tiny Holiday ever! xx

Parental Invasion!

While we are on the subject of people visiting me in London….

My Parents came to see me!!!!!!!

In April, they decided to be brave and close their dental practice (for the first time in like ONE BILLION YEARS) to come visit me in London!

They only had 9 days and that included a trip up North to Cumbria to visit the In-Laws (as well as my most favorite Animal Park) so we really had to cram a lot in…
By now, I’m pretty much the official “First trip to London must-see tour guide”…

Of course, we had to go to Westminster…

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As well as Westminster Abbey…

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Mom attempts to soak in more than a thousand years of history…

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Tralfagar was next…

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It was pouring down rain off and on, but we soldiered through!

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A stormy stroll along the Thames…

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We stopped in Stratford-upon-Avon (the birthplace of William Shakespeare) on the way up North to experience some of the festivities taking place in honor of his birthday.

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Strolling around the Lake District…

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AND FINALLY, SAFARI PARK HAPPY PLACE!!!

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Sleepytime bear…

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MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE GIRAFFE…

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GIRAFFE KIIIIIISSSSSSEEESSSSSS….

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Look at this guy’s FINGERS!!!

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MAKING FRIENDS LIKE I DO.

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I don’t really like these guys very much…

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They are very very large and agressive…

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But THIS dude right here is THE BEST!

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THE END XXOO

Becca’s visit!

Leaving Nashville a year ago was a mixed bag.
I was super sad to leave my friends and family, but extremely excited to marry my sweetheart and stoked to be starting a new life in London.

I worried that no one would ever come visit me.

I mean, I did move 4,000 miles away and across the Atlantic Ocean.
Tickets are expensive and taking time off work is tough(especially for Americans).

But lo and behold, this has not stopped people from continuing to make the journey.

Which, makes me feel REALLY LOVED.

I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that I happen live in one of the coolest city’s in the world, but I like to think that it’s only a tiny part of why people have made the trip.

Becca is one of my GIRLS!
We worked together for years and she is probably the most reliable and trustworthy person I know.
She also threw my bachelorette brunch and has generally just always been an incredibly great friend to me.

When I found out she was going to come visit me I literally jumped up and down in my bedroom screaming “BECCA’S GONNA COME SEEEEEE MEEEEEEE!!!!!” at the top of my lungs while my dog looked at me with distinct disapproval of my volume level.

We had a REALLY good time and saw ALL OF THE THINGS.

We were out and about every single day walking (and shopping) our butts off.

I have photographic evidence of all the funtimes.
Most of the photos are of Becca because she’s just really super pretty.

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A day exploring Greenwich…

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The Prime Meridian Line-where time begins!

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Becca is also a MAJOR Harry Potter fan.
She took a bus one of the days she was visiting and went on a 3 hour superfan tour the Studio where they filmed all of the HP movies.

All by herself. Awwwww..

Bearing this in mind, it was simply imperative that she visit the Millenium Bridge as it is apparently featured in a scene of one of the films where some scary smoke monster thing flies over it or destroys it or something?

Clearly I haven’t seen the films.

She was a little excited.

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Simply adorable.

Here we are slurping down a few beautiful craft cocktails at Bar Social…

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And then snarfing down some gorgeously sinful pizza in Shoreditch…

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And beer…

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And the prettiest little butter lettuce & avocado salad…

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Did I mention that Sir Noodles fell in love with Becca during her stay?

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(she’s totally channeling some ultra hot Uma Thurman in this shot)

Exploring Salisbury + Salisbury Cathedral with the hubbs and the Noodz.

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Sunday Roast…

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Let’s all just take a moment of silence for how breathtaking my friend is.

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Unfortunately she couldn’t stay forever and had to go home. SADFACE.

Til next time!

xxoo

A Very Cold Venetian Holiday…

Ahhhhhh Venice!

The last stop on our honeymoon tour of beautiful and unseasonably wintry Italy.

When we planned our trip, we did zero research on what events would be going on in the various cities we were visiting.

We just had 14 days to burn and decided on February at random.

Much to our delight and complete surprise, Carnival was in FULL SWING when we arrived in Venice.

Costumes, music, FOUNTAINS OF RED WINE, and confetti, confetti, confetti!!

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We stayed at the Hilton because we got a super good deal for it being such a high-end hotel-http://www.molinostuckyhilton.it/index.php

Although building is beautiful and the view was amazing…(view from our room…that’s Venice across the way)

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…we would never stay there again, for the following reasons:

It was simply too damn big, too far from the mainland, food drinks etc. were SO OVERPRICED, Wifi was like 25 euros (barf), and it was freezing so the gorgeous pool was closed.

We felt like we were missing out being so far away from the center of Venice.

We got up and ready and out the door everyday and then had to wait for a water taxi and then another 25 minutes to get into Venice.

By this time, we were HANGRY and GRUMPYFACED.

We did Florence and Rome via Airbnb https://www.airbnb.co.uk/

And has such great experiences with this that we will never ever book hotels again.

We learned our lesson in Venice!

So onto the fun part! PHOTOS!

I took a massive amount of photos.

Get a cup of tea, sit back, and relax because I’m going to post them all in one go.

Venetian shop windows…!!!

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My most favorite book…

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Rialto Bridge at night…

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A night of glorious Italian opera (birthday gift from the super sweet hubs)

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Day in Murano…

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The Venice Cemetery…
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Ponte dei Sospiri (The Bridge of Sighs)

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Confetti covering everything…

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Pups!

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St. Mark’s Basilica

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It was cold, but it was still dreamy. Ciao Venice xx

MAJESTIC FLORENCE PART III

I present you with the last of my Florence photos!
Wondrously Amazing Florence…

Boboli Gardens

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Ponte Vecchio

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Medici Riccardi

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Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross)

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GOODBYE SWEET FLORENCE! xxoo

MAJESTIC FLORENCE PART II

Annnnnnnd we’re back!
See how quickly I did that?
I’m really trying to be better!

I have more spectacular photos of Florence!!! Hoooraaayyyy!

I do not, however, know the names of every statue and painting (or most really) as I am a shutterbug and am usually too busy to write them down.

I could look them up I suppose, but so could you! 😉

AND GO!

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The battle of who looks more Roman…

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My gorgeous husband deep in thought…

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I love animals. Even LEGO Animals. ESPECIALLY LEGO animals!

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Frozen river…

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There are even MORE photos to come! Stay tuned…

MAJESTIC FLORENCE PART I

Well, it happened again! I was momentarily swallowed up by life and subsequently abandoned my blog.
Sorry for the delay, but as I’ll be working part-time and from home this month during the London Olympics, I shall have much more time to catch up on catching YOU up!

So where were we?

ITALIA!

Specifically Florence.

Florence is beyond amazing. It is simply breathtakingly mesmerizing.
I had heard that it was the best, and it truly is THE BEST.
I did not want to leave. AT ALL.
The food. The churches. The art. The gelato.
The AIR. THE WAY THAT EVERYTHING HAS A GOLDEN GLOW TO IT!!
The ease at which one can simply float about, slowly absorbing the day.
No hustle, no bustle…worlds away from the insanity that is London.

And, we were lucky enough to rent the most spectacular apartment right in the middle of everything in what used to be a convent dating back to the 16th century. Fresco ceilings and all. Antique furniture. Orange trees in our private garden.

A week was not long enough…but we did our very best to drink it all in…

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Santa Maria Novella

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Il Duomo di Firenze

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Baptistery of St.John

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There are ALOT more photos to come…sit tight and dream of your visit!!! xx

Rome in February

As my luck would have it, gobs of snow fell in Rome for the first time in over two decades exactly when WE decide to go for our Honeymoon.

OF COURSE.

We made the best of it, but I’m not going to lie…it was pretty miserable most days.

Large sloppy snowflakes smacking you directly in your face then melting into deep icy slush puddles …subsequently filling my leaky boots…freezing my feet…making me extremely displeased and dare I say BITCHY.

It probably wouldn’t have been so bad, but seeing as how my traveling has been somewhat limited up until this last year, I was bound and determined to tackle Rome headfirst and see as much as possible.

I think that the more we travel, the more relaxed I will be about trying to do EVERYTHING.

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The endless hours of walking around without proper snow gear was DISMAL.
Not to mention that many of the museums and such were closed due to the gloomy weather.

IF I HAD ROME TO DO AGAIN, THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN MUCH MORE RELAXING!

Alas, we trudged ahead, counting our blessings, and I tried to get as many good shots as possible.

Some days were better than others. The last day in particular was incredibly warm and clear.

All in all, Rome was incredibly beautiful and very special.

Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II (The Typewriter)

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Roman Forum

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The Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano

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Trevi Fountain

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Pantheon (Closed due to snow)

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Bridge to Vatican City

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Vatican/St. Peter’s

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Colosseum (taken with crappy iPhone camera)

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Six Nations Rugby at Stadio Olympico

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Piazza Navona

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There were so many churches…I can’t remember all the names unfortunately…

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Florence is up next…stay tuned!!!

Chewdles: The Bromance

By now, you should all be very familiar with my fluffy-fox-creature-pup Noodles.

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AKA: Noodz, Schnoodles, Schnoddles, Knob dog, BeeBee, Noodies, and Noodie Noodie.

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We recently had our friend from Nashville visit us, and he took quite the shine to her.

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He still loves his Daddy though…

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Now it is time for you to meet his best friend in the whole wide world.

CHEWY

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Meet Chewy. AKA: Chewbacca, Baxter, Baccy and Chewstifer Bagshot/ Chewstifer Baggins, Chop Suey Chewy, Chewy Chow Mein, and Bubba Lou.

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Chewy is my friend Anna’s Lhasa Apso, and Noodles’ best friend for life.
They basically run the park and wear each other out on a regular basis.

It’s all sorts of adorable.

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We recently took them to Battersea park for a super fabulous doggy play date and adult picnic, and they were inseparable.

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They even got in the pond for a swim!

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The rest of the afternoon was pretty much a feast of fluff and dog wrestling.

Enjoy!

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Those may look like vicious snarling teeth, but I assure you, it’s all just puppy play and they always end up in snuggletown.

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TRUE LOVE!!!!!! XXOO

The things we ate in Italy…

After much purposeful procrastination I shall begin sharing my plentiful Italy photographs, starting with FOOD!

(FYI, some of these are cheeky iPhone shots and obviously not as great as my Olympus ones)

The Italy party started in the Airport lounge. As it should!
Red wine and mimosas!

ITALIA!

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Let’s talk about the food! It was all about the food.
Eating the food. And then eating more of said food.
Rinse, Repeat. You dig?

Our first meal in Rome…

Tomato Bruschetta…

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Caco e Pepe…

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Great little spot near our flat…mostly cold items, salads and such.

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Rocket with white bean, cherry tomato, mozzarella, and tuna.
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One of my MANY glasses of white wine…

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Caprese salad…

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Gelato and I became best friends! OBVIOUSLY.

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Wine and cicchetti…

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Mountains of sweets…

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And a chocolate festival for Valentine’s Day!

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Homemade Caprese…

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Spoils from the market…

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Let there be PASTA!

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And grilled vegetables…

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At all times you must have your eating face on!

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Ristorante La Spada in Florence…

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Chicken Liver Pate…

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Mushroom Ravioli…

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Happiest little carb loading face you ever did see!

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VALENTINE’S DAY FEAST!
Antica Trattoria “da Tito” dal 1913…AKA BEST STEAK EVER CONSUMED. EVER.

Swordfish, pomegranate, and grapefruit Carpaccio…

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Raw Artichoke and Parmesan Salad…

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The biggest Florentine Steak ever. Served Rare.

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Chocolate cake of happiness…

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WE DIED that night. We were reborn. I found god. God is a steak in Florence.

Did I mention that I used to be mostly vegetarian?

Look at this gorgeous charcuterie platter!

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I even ate TRIPE Gnocchi…that is COW STOMACH.

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More Wine!

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Stuffed Squid, potatoes, and pesto.

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Grilled vegetables and fried seafood yummies…FRITO MISTO!

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Fluffy Ravioli with magic thyme butter.

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Another outstanding charcuterie!

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On our last night in Florence we ordered another breath taking Florentine steak.

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We died again. Seriously. DIED. DEAD.

In Venice, the seafood is outstanding and plentiful.
You pick it, they cook it…

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Birthday Dinner…

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Frito Misto…

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And Bellinis!

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We found ourselves thoroughly exhausted in Murano, so we ate more Frito Misto!!

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I think I ate squid, octopus, or cuttlefish at least twice per day in Venice…mmmmmmm.

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I managed to crow bar in as many veggies as I could…

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I leave you with our most strenuous feast.
(MY most epic act of sheer Miss. Piggy style gluttony really…)

The night of 5 desserts.

We dined at Piccalo Arancio (The Little Orange)

We ate everything in sight.

I grabbed Gelato ON THE WAY TO THE RESTAURANT like a fat girl.

This counts as Dessert #1.

Then ordered a charcuterie platter, fried artichokes and stuffed zucchini blossoms.

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Followed by Orange Ravioli…

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Swordfish in a Neapolitan sauce…

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Dessert #2 Creme Caramel…

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Dessert #3 Tiramisu…

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I am a fat happy piggy.

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OH NO ALL MY SWEETS ARE GONE!

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MOOAARR!!!!!!!!

Dessert #4 Panna Cotta with berries…

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I’m starting to feel light headed at this point…

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So I ordered Dessert #5 Espresso and cookies thus completing my sinful evening of mostly sugar.

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No one can ever say that I’m not a dessert person.

Stay tuned for MANY more Italy postings! xxoo

Grouse House Bed and Breakfast Edinburgh

How have I lived this long and not ONLY stayed in bed & breakfasts when I travel?

Somehow I had it in my head that they were these weird old musty houses with green shag carpeting stocked with uber creepy victorian doll collections.
I don’t need some demon doll glaring at me in its crocheted doily dress as I chow down on my cornflakes the next morning.

Not my idea of R&R.

Are they not strictly for couples going away to have a zen weekend to fix some personal issues and sleep in all day?

Apparently you can just stay in them like regular hotels, except for the fact that they are adorable and cozy and don’t charge you for every little thing.

WHO KNEW? AND WHY DID YOU KEEP THIS FROM ME?

Grouse House is sort of the champion of the B&B. No really. It is.

The ideal that all other B&B’s should model themselves after.

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Pretty much every little detail you could dream up, the owner Dean has already got sorted out for you.

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And he’s actually a NICE person.
He’ll talk to you and give you sound advice on where to go and what to avoid while you are visiting and really mean it!

And the rooms are decorated with charm and modern style.
No crappy wallpaper, no pink carpeting from 1983.

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Warm and inviting with tons of character and whimsy. Without being cutesy.
Just clean and calm and CHILL.

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Dean was nice enough to let me poke around and take photos the morning that we checked out.

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(After the biggest most spectacular breakfast accompanied by awesome tunes and candles glowing on the hearth!)

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EVERY Bathroom should have room spray. Period. End of discussion. Dean knows!

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The dining room is incredibly beautiful and peaceful.
Grab a seat, have a cup of coffee.
R-E-L-A-X.

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If you ever find yourself in need of the best sleep of your life, the friendliest B&B host, the heartiest breakfast, and the hottest shower you have ever taken…look no further my friends…mystery solved!

http://www.edinburghsgrousehouse.co.uk/index.html

Til we meet again Grouse House! Keep making people happy! xx

EDINBURGH IN 24 HOURS…

It’s a shame when you only have a short amount of time in a spectacularly cool and ancient city like Edinburgh.

I suppose it’s not that ancient.

Wait, wait…prior to the 7th century is pretty damn old… don’t you think?

Welllll…honestly everything is pretty ancient in comparison to Nashville.

It doesn’t matter, I’m not here to get into a history argument.

And as much as I’m sure everyone would appreciate me being the consumate tour guide and explaining by every little detail is in my photos, I’d rather just post them and if you have a question, please ask me in the comments.

EXAMPLE:

YOU “Where was that cool graveyard photo taken?”

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ME: “WHY THANK YOU FOR NOTICING HOW COOL IT IS! THAT WAS TAKEN AT ST. ANDREWS ABBEY. OR WHAT’S LEFT OF IT! HAR HAR.”

YOU: “OH YOU ARE SO FUNNY! AND I LOVE YOUR BLOG. CAN I SMELL YOUR HAIR AND BE YOUR FRIEND?”

ME: “YOU HAVE TO PAY THE MEMBERSHIP FEE.”

YOU: “OKAY SURE! WHAT IS IT?”

ME: “TWO LAVENDER PONIES WITH SPARKLY HOOVES, A UNICORN THAT SMELLS LIKE BUBBLEGUM AND SUNSHINE, AN OCTOPUS THAT CAN LIVE SAFELY IN MY WARDROBE, AND FRONT ROW TICKETS TO BJORK.”

YOU: “UMMMMMMM…I DON’T THINK I CAN GET THOSE THINGS FOR YOU.”

ME: “I DON’T THINK WE CAN BE FRIENDS.”

Something like that.

This isn’t to say that at times I won’t find myself feeling extraordinarily poetic and explanatory.
It’s very likely.

Sometimes I just don’t FEEL like it.

I’m sure you have days like that too.

Often, I just want you to look at my photos (or not look at them…I really don’t care) and be inspired to travel your pants off.

So, without further babbling…checked out the gray and marvelous city of EDINBURGH!!!!!!!!!!

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Sidenote for above photo: Okay, I’m being totally honest here. I’ve had a dream with this in it since I was a little girl. This exact photograph. Serious as a heart attack. I’d never seen it before I took this photo. Except in my repeat dream. No idea what that means, but there it is.
Freaked me out pretty good.

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BY THE WAY, APPARENTLY THERE ARE NO FAST WALKING MEN IN 70’S LEISURE SUITS ALLOWED IN EDINBURGH CASTLE. JUSTSOYOUKNOW.

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I’m not going to lie. This ain’t no Hampton Court y’all. (Don’t I sound snobby!)

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I think most of the things in the castle were on loan from London museums. Which, is sort of messed up.

Hey London, Give Scotland back it’s stuff.

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THIS IS THE EDINBURGH SCHOOL OF UNICORNS

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FANCY PANTS TEA TIME FOR ME!! IN SCOTLAND! WITH MY HUSBAND!

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ACTION SHOTS!

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The days winds down…

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One more Unicorn for the road…

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Next up…the AMAZING B&B where we stayed in Edinburgh!!

Scotland O Scotland

I have always wanted to go to Scotland.
More than most people…and I’m not exactly sure why.
I probably watched too much Braveheart growing up.

Oh wait, maybe it’s the accent. I LOVE that accent.

Or the sheep.

Or these MASSIVELY ADORABLE HIGHLAND COWS.

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(BTW, Rob Manningham took this great shot, not moi)

UGH. WANT ONE. Soooooo bad.

No matter!

The point is, I have ALWAYS wanted to visit Scotland and I finally got my wish!

HOORAY!

First Stop, St. Andrews!

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Lunch was at Mitchell Deli…http://www.mitchellsdeli.co.uk/#

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The Decor reminded me very much of Marche and Margot from Nashville…

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And the food was AMAZING.

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NEXT UP, EDINBURGH!!!!!!!!!!!!

Road Trip to Scotland…

The Road to Scotland is paved with SHEEP!

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And gnarly black trees…

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And brooding countryside…

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Moon shaped hills…

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Pink snow showers…

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AND FINALLY, SCOTLAND!!!!!!!!!!!

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NEXT UP…SCOTLAND!!!

Broadgate Farm and Cows…

Hello friends! I’m not in the habit of dedications here at Gimmeyummy, but in this case, I must make an exception and dedicate this entry to one of my BFF’s in Nashville, TN.
This is for you Katie Warren. You may be the only other person on this planet who specifically understands my sincere love for baby cows. Thank you for always supporting my embarrassing need to hug animals!

One of my favorite places to stay in England is the gorgeous little Bed & Breakfast at Broadgate Farms in Bleasdale, Preston, Lancashire.

With the tastiest Full English Breakfast you could dare to dream of and the cutest most well-stocked guest rooms, there is no other lodging choice for us when we visit my husband’s family up North.

The last time we stayed at Broadgate, I was lucky enough to get to explore the working farm and get a bunch of great shots of the property and the adorable little cows they raise.

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GLAMOUR SHOT! HA!

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And of course, my favorite and the most important part… COWS!!!

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LOOK AT THOSE SQUIDGY LITTLE NOSES!

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And those super long plush eyelashes!!!

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And the HAIRDOS! AMIRIGHT?

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THESE are the bitty babies.

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This guy almost took my ring off…but it was SO WORTH IT.

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I present to you, my very first Gimmeyummy Video experience for your viewing pleasure.

YES, I know how ridiculous I am. DEAL.

A Rainy Afternoon in Cheshire

I find England to be just as charming and romantic in the cold drizzle as I do in the warm sunshine.

Your eye lands upon things on a dark and damp day that you would normally pass by…

Some of my best shots are taken in overcast conditions.

A few hours spent wandering around the soggy streets of Cheshire gave me a perfect opportunity to enjoy the little things…

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Under the darkness of moody clouds, Cheshire transforms into a ghost story.

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The heather is so much more vibrant with less competition…

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The Cathedral was a golden sanctuary set against the icy conditions outside…

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It is definitely always the little things that grab my attention… xx

Back from Italy Adventure and Noodz in the Snow!

Alas, I have returned!

ITALY WAS THE BUSINESS! AMAZING TIMES WERE HAD!

I have about 2,000 photos to sort through and upload before I start posting (as well as my most recent Scotland trip…and I just got a new job…grrrrr)

Until then, I leave you with more photos of the newest addition to our family “Sir Noodles of Shropshire on the Glenn” the Pomeranian/Papillon mix.

We just call him “Noodz” and “Doggles” and he’s about 5 months old now.

He just gets cuter and fuzzier as time goes on!

He LOVES the cardboard insert of toilet paper rolls.

Weirdo.

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He also loves the snow.

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This is “Paddy” the Jack Russell mix, his BFF at the park.

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Paddy has mad fashion sense.

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And “Zeus” the Yellow Lab.

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Those are what we call “soulful” dog eyes.

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And this is “Hercules”…very stoic!

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I love my dog’s fluffy head situation.

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And those satellite dish ears!

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And watching him run with his daddy!

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Like a little bunny!! I finally got a bunny! (sort of) 😉

Hampton Court

It is becoming more and more evident that I should have been born a princess.

I am absolutely and utterly obsessed with castles and the sordid history of royals past…it is all consuming.

I am bewitched by the tales of King Henry VIII and the saga of his SIX wives.

I watched the Showtime series “The Tudors” like it was my job, and have also read several books about Ann Boleyn and Henry VIII… never tiring of the story.

A few weeks ago, I actually got to visit Hampton Court.

My eyes were operating on overdrive and my tiny little heart just fluttered away inside my chest as we strolled around the Palace.

Hampton Court is infinitely beautiful.

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I have this fixation with windows.

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It is difficult to comprehend fully that Catherine of Aragon looked out of these very same windows.

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Unaware of the turmoil she faced…

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That her King would lust after Anne Boleyn so much…going to the most desperate of lengths to possess her.

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And that this beguiling woman would become his new Queen, only to be cast aside and sentenced to death when she could not provide an heir and gossip prevailed…

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The sheer scale of Hampton Court…

The soaring ceilings….

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The exquisite frescos, super-saturated with color…

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What hands have opened these doors? To what end?

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Grandiose rooms…

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Ghosts that have left their mark…

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Crystal chandeliers and marble staircases…

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Massive kitchens…

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What horrors have been seen by these mirrors? What secrets?

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How can we process all of this beauty?

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Gardens that bring tears to your eyes…or MY eyes at least…

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Bask in the majesty…

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The tiny details…

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I really should be sauntering around in a mammoth gown right now…dripping in gems…

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Surrounded by so much magic…

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The air is electrified…

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There is this immense feeling that you are being watched…

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And I’ve never been happier…

Meet Sir Noodles the Paperanian

In a feeble attempt to curb some of my cute animal hysteria, my husband and I acquired the fluffiest little bundle of cuddles in November.

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Like ANYTHING could curb my addiction to darling little creatures.

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When we got him at 6 weeks old, he was barely bigger that my hand.

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He has grown like a weed!

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He loves to eat my hair…

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And my face…

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Clocking in at 6.5 lbs now, he is almost as big as a small cat.

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But bath time transforms our little bear/fox cub into a drowned rat.

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He is always on the move!

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And even though he is unbelievably adorable, he is a quite the feisty little beast.

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And he loves his daddy more than anything…

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Which is funny, because so do I!

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I love my little London family!

The Lake District and Lemurs

Many of my photos lately have been of historic buildings and priceless art, but I also have an arsenal of nature photography!

These shots are from one of my trips up to the Lake District in Northern England.

The weather was unparalleled the day we visited.

The sun was warm, the air was fresh, and there were CUDDLY ANIMALS!

Everyone knows how I feel about furry things…lest ye be reminded…

https://nashvillegirlinlondon.wordpress.com/2011/10/29/wabbits/

So, we shall begin?

The Lake District is basically my idea of what heaven looks like.

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I know most people hope for sandy beaches and clear blue seas, but I absolutely adore the countryside.

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There is certainly no shortage of Unicorns in England. And THIS is why we are perfect for each other!

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The only thing missing is centaurs and faeries.

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I mean…c’mon, this is some storybook level scenery.

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We’ve even got the magic forest mushrooms!

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I could just sit down in this field right here and now, and do some professional cloud watching for the rest of my natural life.

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No one does the English countryside better than England. FACT.

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And because the universe finds it funny to give me heart palpitations by continuously creating fuzzy critters and exotic creatures for me to FREAK OUT OVER,
OF COURSE there is a friggin SAFARI PARK in the middle of Cumbria.

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THOSE GIRAFFE’S ARE KISSING! BEST DAY EVER!

Fuzzy head nubbins steal my heart…nearly stop it from beating altogether…

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I manage to get it together long enough to feed a Giraffe, almost requiring CPR.

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There’s a monkey being all “I’m a monkey”…

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And a peacock petting zoo? Whaaaaaa?

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Wait, wait…and you say there are LEMURS in this petting zoo?

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AND THEY HANG OUT IN CUDDLESTACKS??!!

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Y’all don’t even know…I’m like…going to pass out right now…

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There are Monkeys everywhere!

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And there are signs all over the place about being careful handling the animals and warning people about getting bitten…THIS IS ALL NOISE TO ME!

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You can’t just wave these things around at me! I’m going to steal all of your monkeys!

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I DO NOT CARE IF I GET MAULED TO DEATH!
Don’t they know who I am!?

OH! Except for you. You stay away from me.

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I don’t trust birds. I suspect they are smarter than everyone. Secretly plotting.

Something unsavoury is going on in that bird’s brain…

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And you two! Nooooope. No hugs for you!
You guys keep sleeping over there with those tusk things. Not near my face.

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Nuh uh.

And I’ll get my picture taken FROM AFAR with you Rhino pals…but I foresee very little snuggle action in our future.

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But you sweet Pig lover you…

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I’ll give you a quick shoulder squeeze and tell you I love you…because I totally
do…

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~THE END~

Bachelorette Babes

I was just about to FINALLY post some of the photos from our actual wedding this past September when I realized that I have yet to even post the shots from my Bachelorette Brunch.

Jeez.

My blog is starting to turn into Memento.

In my defense, I have been all sorts of busy and sometimes I just get so excited about a set of photographs that I just can’t wait to post them.

So pretty much the last 6 months of posts are totally out of whack.

Honestly it’s probably a pretty accurate representation of how hectic my life has been these last few months. So whatever.

Anyhoooo…I’m from Nashville. Home of Southern hospitality, crazy natural disasters, and smoking hot women. I’m lucky to be well acquainted with a handful of these gorgeous creatures, and they happen to make excellent friends.

This one, in particular, was magnificent enough to throw me a fabulous Bachelorette Brunch…which turned into a full-on day of Mimosa’s, sunshine, and ended in a drag club.

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Pretty much the best.

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My girls are so sweet.

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And so pretty.

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And so missed!

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They gave us a table big enough to hold a press conference on…

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And then we ate!

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Group photo time!

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My day would not have been complete without some outdoor Nashville day drinking!

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What a perfect sunny day!!!!

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I even got serenaded!

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Boy crasher!

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Boys who do the Sturgeon face with me can crash my Bachelorette party.

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Seriously my friends are just gorgeous…le sigh…

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The night ended with dancing and dragqueens…which is so epic and perfect.

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Successful Bachelorette day if I don’t say so myself!
Now I miss my friends something fierce. I love you ladies!
Thank you for making my day so special!

xxoo

Gloucester Cathedral/ Disjointed Italy Brain

I’m about to turn 29.
In 14 days.
I’m honestly not really bothered about it though.
I remember feeling like 21 was a big deal (for obvious reasons) but 29 just seems like…the number that comes after 28.
Maybe 30 will feel differently?
Really, what difference does any of it make as long as you are happy and able bodied?

Until this past summer, I had never been overseas.
I might have, had my decisions early in life been different.
But I was too strong willed to follow the easy path.
By my own doing, my route through life has been a bit more complicated then some.

Now that I have all of these amazing adventures at my doorstep, I treasure every little moment.

This year, I will be celebrating my 29th birthday in Venice.

I know. I KNOW! How awesome is that?!

I actually just called the hotel we are staying at http://www.molinostuckyhilton.com/ to confirm the reservation. Basically, I immediately freaked out when the concierge answered the phone speaking Italian, causing me to hang up.

Like a moron.

BUT HE WAS SPEAKING ITALIAN! TO ME! BECAUSE I’M GOING TO ITALY FOR TWO WEEKS! HOLY SHIT!

My husband watched all of this transpire and lovingly laughed at me.

I laughed too. Then I calmed down. Called back. Spoke a little Italian. Surprisingly, It didn’t sound too stupid coming out of my mouth.

Everything got sorted out. Italy here we come! 🙂

Anywayyyyyyyy, here are some photos of the cathedral in Gloucester to tide you over until I have one million photos from Italy to post.
I bought two more camera batteries as well as a 32gb memory card, so I should be all set.

I didn’t get to see much of Gloucester aside from the cathedral as I was just accompanying my husband for a few hours while he attended a quick meeting.

But the cathedral is simply stunning.

Enjoy!

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Hereford Cathedral

I have seen more cathedrals in the last 6 months than I have in my entire life.
All of the towns I have visited thus far have had at least one massively gorgeous cathedral for me to poke around in while my husband is off in boring meetings.
(I think I’m getting the better end of the bargain)

Anyway, business meetings were arranged in lovely Hereford and I cheerfully tagged along.

I was grateful to be accompanied by the best tour guide ever, the Hereford Cathedral cat.

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Despite my lack of religious belief, I always light a candle for my Grandfathers who have passed.

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An hour inside the cathedral and the weather has already gone cloudy!

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Goodbye Hereford! xx

Aquae Sulis

Bath is a marvelous place. One of England’s most stunning treasures.
It is a city simply brimming with history.
Architecture. Gods and Goddesses.
Shadows and light bending around sculpture older than anything I’ll ever leave behind.

Here’s a miniature history lesson for you!

As Legend has it, Prince Bladud, who was afflicted with leprosy, was cured after bathing in these naturally occurring hot springs. In gratitude, he founded the City of Bath here in 863BC.
This Prince became the 9th King of the Britons and is also said to be the father of King Lear. (FANCY!)

In 43 AD the Romans conquered Bath and cultivated the city into a spa with temples and shrines to Sulis Minerva, Goddess of wisdom, healing, and sacred waters as well as Aesculopius god of medicine and healing.
The Roman bath houses are well preserved and incredibly beautiful.

And creepy (in the most excellent way).

I visited in October, just as the leaves were starting to take on Autumnal color.

Bath Abbey

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Inside the Roman Baths

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The calm waters…still protected by Sulis Minerva?

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Love is abundant.

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As is beauty. And my travels continue…. xx

Dreams of Devon

When I was a little girl, all I wanted was to be near the ocean.
I remember my step brother going to the beach when I was eight or nine years old, and begging him to bring me back a bottle filled with sand and sea water.
I think he had probably been to the beach 20 times in his life at that point, so he looked at me sort of funny.

Thankfully, he’s a sweet guy and a good brother, so he brought me my bottle.

I recall sitting alone in my room and holding this olive oil bottle full of microscopic specks of glittery sand and fuzzy water up to the window so the sunlight could work its magic.
The light streaming through the blinds gently illuminated every swirling golden grain, and I looked up in amazement at all of these sparkly little bits.

I had in my possession, an actual part of the ocean!

And then I started crying.

I’m not sure why exactly.

Probably because I just really wanted to see the ocean.

The idea of something so vast, so limitless, so anonymous… it really stirred my little baby heart.

Just put my feet in the water.
To sit on the shore and feel the frothy sea blanket crash over my legs…I guess these thoughts were simply more than I could handle.

Much to my disdain, we were not a family who took vacations and sadly, Tennessee is landlocked.

I was a teenager the first time I ever saw the sea with my very own eyes, and the love affair has never ended.

I have been to the beaches of Florida, California, Mexico, and South Carolina.

And now I can add Devon, England to my list.

Oh gorgeous Devon…

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All this sea watching stimulated the appetite.

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So Fish & Chips it was!

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Very much what we had hoped for.

I decided to skip this stuff though…

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I think this has been here since 1972…

But seriously, how cute is our little receipt?

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There was also interesting literature next to the table…

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No time for Wookey Holes or crazy helicopters with giant inflatable children’s heads…back to the beach with us!

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It was nice to see something familiar… I also ❤ Nashville!

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The town was lovely as well. Full of swans and little bridges…

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Richmond Park

Soooo… there is this park in London with lots of deer and they just run around and hang out and generally aren’t bothered by your presence.

I went there.

This is what I saw.

Enjoy!

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I named this guy Admiral Chill pants. Cuz he don’t care.

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That’s my hot husband looking hot in his leather in some nature. mmmm.

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Big blue sky.

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And my big smile. Twas a happy day.

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xx

Wabbits…

The thing is…I have a really really overwhelming desire to hug animals.
All of them.
A basket of sea otters.
A box full of baby chickens.
A bag overflowing with super soft squishy rabbits.

Even an armful of turtles.

I’m like the crazy youtube cat girl who wants to hug all the cats in the world…except that her video was fake and I’m not batshit crazy.
I just like creatures.

My new London buddy “M” apparently wanted to crawl into my heart as quickly as possible, because she took me to Vauxhall City Farm today and spent several HOURS squeeing about animals with me.

There was so much squeeing.

Meet Misty. She is very tolerant.

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Misty made my “I simply must hug a bunny today or I will die” dreams come true.

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This might be the most unattractive photo of myself that I have ever willingly posted on the internet for all to see, but it’s important that you understand how much I wanted to hug that damn rabbit.

And then snuggle him…

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And then sway with him while snuggling him (yes, like a 3 year old).

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Like this three year old.

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But dude, seriously. CHECK OUT THOSE FEET!

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If Misty didn’t hop around in her own poop all day I would want to put it in my mouth.

So, I settled for kissing her (notice her bun-riffic disapproval).

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But I wasn’t the only one requiring rabbit-cuddles.

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M fell in love too.

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And then I got crazy with the close-ups.

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LOOK AT ITS FACE! GAHHHHHH! KATIE ARE YOU SEEING THIS!? IS YOUR HEART EXPLODING?

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And then Misty started giving me the side-eye and we knew that her tolerance bucket was full and we kindly returned her to her happy play area.

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And then there was this guy.

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We didn’t get to hang out with him though because he was busy being chubby and sleepy the entire time.

Okay! So onto the chickens!

This guy was cool.

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This guy was kind of a jerk and bit me (but I had my camera in his face so I suppose I might have had it coming).

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This guy had some sort of shrunken head syndrome action going on because the proportions just don’t add up.

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Mother Nature is hysterical.

Ohhhhh, and I maybe hugged some chickens too.

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We had a little moment.

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I definitely like petting them more than eating them.

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Again, I must point out that I was NOT alone in my chasing around of chickens shenanigans.

This gentleman was totally doing it too!

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See? Wasn’t the only one. Just saying.

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So this brings us to these ridiculous fuzzy creatures of absolute hilarity.

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Look. At. THAT. HAIR.

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It’s just breathtakingly comical.

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Hello. I’m an Alpaca. I’m cooler than anything else that exists.

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JUST BE MY FRAND!

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And maybe YOU don’t get excited by cows, but I can barely keep it together.

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Even though they are majorly sassy…

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They are still SO darling and soft and I want to pet them.

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I even want to pet this fellow…

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And this one giving me the duck stink eye…

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And how do you hug a goat you ask?

Easy.

Gently take hold of his horns…

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Guide him ever so sweetly into your loving embrace…

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And then wrap your arms squarely around his big goat head and SQUEEZE!

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I know, I know. Seek help immediately.

Well kids, this is just who I am.

I leave you with bunny ears.

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http://www.vauxhallcityfarm.org/
xxoo

TEA. A Love Affair.

I have always loved tea.

Growing up in the South, iced tea is generally part of daily existence.

Iced Sweet tea, Iced Green Tea, Iced Peach Tea, Iced Passionfruit Tea…the varieties are endless.

I’ve never really gotten into hot tea as much (aside from wintry days where my throat is highly unhappy).

A few years ago I stumbled upon Teavana in the Green Hills Mall and developed a very serious crush with the place.

http://www.teavana.com

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But they are SO EXPENSIVE. And they try to up-sell you to death.
It got to the point where I didn’t even want to make eye contact with the sales associates when I went into the store.
They also don’t tell you that the canisters they put the tea in cost extra (or at least failed to mention that to me any of the 50 times I bought tea).
And some of the “teas” don’t even contain tea at all. Just sweetened dried fruit & flowers…but they still call it “TEA”.
(Is there not a rule against this)?

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Anyway, I still love tea.

To be more accurate, I’m pretty much obsessed with hot tea since I moved to the UK.
Specifically Earl Grey.

At first, it’s a little weird that everyone is always going on and on about having a “cuppa” tea all the damn time.
But I quickly realized that I had never had Earl Grey tea with milk & sugar before.

MY BRAIN——-> WAIT A MINUTE! THIS IS EFFING STELLAR!

A hot cup of tea can fix your soul.

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Part of the joy of tea is the ceremony…

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And adorable china…

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And having a hot tea date…

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I can’t stop drinking it. I crave it!
I have even been using agave syrup and soy milk to be healthier.
It has fully replaced coffee in my life.
I know…THAT’S CRAZY TALK!

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I order it everywhere we go.
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I just can’t help myself.

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And people here even drink it alongside their meals. Even with cheeseburgers!
(By the way, I ate a cheeseburger the other day and it was phenomenally delicious).

See? DELICIOUS!

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So, long story short, tea is important. Drink it and feel better.

Now, how about I leave you with some spectacular street art from my travels around Brick Lane in London?

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And of course, lest you forget…The Beginning is Nigh!

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Adventures with Duck

Although my status as a carnivore has for the most part, been on a down trend, every so often I break away and indulge in some good old-fashioned meat-eating.
My favorite animal to eat is duck.
The deliciously tasty and most excellent duck.
The skin especially, is just down right decadent.

Guh.

How can one commit to a life of complete vegetarianism after tasting duck skin?

Tell me this!

My spectacular trip to London this Summer involved my first ever Peking Duck experience, which I shall never forget, no matter how many more brain injuries I sustain in my life.

The started out with no plans of a duck feast in sight.
We did a little sight-seeing…

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Hung out in the park and acted like annoyingly adorable teenagers…

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Met up with QT and consumed some wine on a boat bar on the Thames River…

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Before you know it we were on a tipsy mission, wandering the streets of London in search of the duck feast to end all duck feasts…

Soon enough we were seated in a fabulously elegant Chinese restaurant ordering a duck and a half, and even more wine…

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Moi, patiently awaiting the duck feast!

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Snacks!

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THE DUCK!!!

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MMMMmmmmmmm…

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Duck Skin…

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The spread…

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So here is what you do to make your taste buds have the biggest most fantastical explosive party in your mouth ever…

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You take a pancake, you spread some plum sauce on it, you add cucumber and spring onions…

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You grab a nice tender chunk of duck meat and top it with a crispy crunchy lacquered duck skin crackling and you roll it up as quickly as possible; inhaling it like you are in a prison camp.

Because it disappears fast!

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QT tries to hide the shame of shoveling duck into his mouth…

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Oh! And they clean the rest of the duck and stir fry it with bean sprouts!

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There is no shame! Only joy!

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Wow. That was an awesome day.

So the other night, I attempted to make my first duck and roasties using the UK fan oven.

DUCK!

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Check out those taters atop my new Acacia chopping block…

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And the finished product!

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MAGNIFICENT! CRISPY SKIN, TENDER DUCK!

Super easy to make!

Simply sear the duck legs for a few moments on a hot skillet til the skin gets nice and brown and transfer to the oven with raw sliced potatoes for 1.25 hours on 190 degrees Celcius
(for UK fan ovens).

You can season the potatoes however you wish, although I just opted for simple salt & pepper.
As the duck legs cook, the fat seeps out of the duck and cooks the potatoes to the most gorgeous crispy golden brown, while also enriching it with a truly sinful flavour.

Here is the US equivalent…375 F for 1.25 hours
(Remember, I’m all British now)

Okay y’all…more later! Back to veggies and soymilk for me!

Time Machine to London-Borough Market!!!!

Have you heard of Borough Market? Have you been there!?

Well, if the answer is “No” let me introduce you to the culinary braingasm that is London’s Borough Market.

It’s basically a farmer’s market on steroids, with a past stretching back to 1014!
Ummm….yeah…That is seriously old.

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It is impossible for me to do this place justice in one post.
I didn’t have the opportunity to take as many photos as would be needed to really explain the massiveness and sheer volume of edible delights waiting within.

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But I would love to share with you the photos I did get, and the spoils that I took home with me!

Where to begin?!

The Juice Bar!

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Of course, being the juice lover that I am, I cut a path through the insane swarms of people directly to the juice bar without any previous knowledge of its existence.

I have the gift.

This finding was quickly matched by my next discovery of the Indian spices/chutney stall where I sampled very very spicy things and made happy/painful faces.

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Which was followed by the joyful arrival to the chocolate area, where my face-making turned to lustful amazement.

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And the gigantic vats of Paella! And the samples of Paella! Yummmm

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Mussels!!

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I had to have my own!

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This place is simply unreal.
I could spend an entire day here. Just eating. Everything.

Look at those Tomatoes. Just look at them! With your eyes!

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Fungi!

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Squids!

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Exclamation Marks!!!!!

My Personal Spoils!

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Tomatoes, the most delicious lemon & garlic olives on Earth, crusty sourdough round, baguette, elderflower & apple juice, brie, local honey, local raspberry preserves, drunken cheese, and lemon & rose turkish delights…

SNACKY TIME!

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This…

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is…

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the Life.

This is all I have, FOR NOW. Trust me, there will be so much more Borough Market coverage in the VERY near future.

http://www.boroughmarket.org.uk/

So where were we six months ago?

Ah! Arizona! Yes. I went to visit my best friend Abigail…it’s all coming back to me now.

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There were lots of treats consumed in Arizona.
Specifically Sedona, Jerome, & Cottonwood.
Home of everything magical, mystical, and holistic.

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I ate quite a bit of yummy vegan and vegetarian fare and visited the cutest little breakfast/gelato cafe.
Also, a visit to candy mountain (sort of) and a cute wine bar with an insanely scrumptious foccacia appetizer.

Let us begin!

The following delights are from New Frontiers in Sedona…

Kale salad that made my face happy.

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The best cold falafel I have ever eaten, also from New Frontiers grocery store.

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Deviled eggs (because they are delicious)

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Pear and Mesclun salad.

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Magic healing bars!

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Now, onto my breakfast at Crema Cafe in Cottonwood, AZ.

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THINGS TO EAT! Just my kinda place!

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Quick and gorgeous little egg & cheese croissant delivered by the sweetest server.

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Close-up!

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Pretty much the lightest, fluffiest, most breakfasty cloud of sunshine you could possibly introduce your taste buds to.

Oh, and the super sweet server!

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Isn’t she just adorable?

AND, there was gelato!

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Unfortunately, I didn’t get to sample the gelato as the croissant was the size of my face and very filling!

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Scones & biscotti

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Who wants to take a trip to candy mountain?

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Rock candy in everyone’s favorite flavor “BLUE”

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SCOOPS!

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There was a time in my life where I would have attempted to eat all of these lollies in one sitting.

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Finally, the Focaccia to put all other Focaccia to shame at Grapes Restaurant & Bar in Jerome, AZ.

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It doesn’t look like much, but trust me, a little olive oil or marinara dipping action and you have a masterpiece of textures and flavors that satiate all carb-loading desires.

Crunchy, pillowy, buttery, sweet, savory…

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MOUTH MAGIC!

http://grapesjerome.com/
http://www.cremacoffeeandcreamery.com/

Shameful lack of food photographs…but super fun Indian wedding!

So….

I went to an Indian Wedding, with tons of catered food, but due to the open bar situation…I sort of forgot to take pictures of the food.

Ooopsy!

Here is my buddy Ernie and myself clearly enjoying the open bar…

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And My lady friends Rebecca and Melissa enjoying some light reception snacks…

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And the wedding cake…

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I know!

All those curries begging to be photographed and I was too busy taking pictures of my friends dancing their asses off.

What a failure!

Next time, less dancing, wine, and socializing! More Food photography!

Congrats Dana & Hitesh! Super fun and gorgeous wedding!

Is there anything as delicious as a warm taco?

Yesterday was a seriously super rad day.

Work was bearable.

There was a delightful afternoon rain shower that kind of cooled off the hot nasty summer day.

I went and saw “Inception” (THAT MOVIE IS SPECTACULAR…except for all that unnecessary snow-mobile crap at the end)

And to top that all off, the lovely and talented Teresa of Mas Tacos was sweet enough to offer me an invite to the trial run or “soft opening” of her new stationary Mas Tacos shop!

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First of all, the design aesthetic of her new place is beyond awesome.

Definitely Retro, but done in a smart way with a minimalist approach.

Her juke box is basically the best thing ever because:

1.) It’s free
2.) There are no record/song titles listed, so you just choose a letter and a number and see what happens! FUN!

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The cacti situation was basically perfect.

This one made me wish I had flowers up in my do’.

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This one was your typical “lean to the lefty”… AHEM.

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And this guy was my buddy. He’s pretty.

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ALSO, check out the light fixtures….so freaking smart…

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It is truly the details that make a place interesting and beautiful.
Mas Tacos felt like home.
That sort of communal feeling of a tiny cafeteria or eating in a friends awesome living room.

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WHO WOULDN’T WANT TO BUY TACOS FROM THESE ADORABLE LIL LADIES?

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I asked Teresa if she was tired and this was her response!

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Awwww….She’s so happy!!

Oh yeah. Delicious creamy-dreamy-magical-cool-that-fiery-mouth-off Hor Chata.

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Always order this. It is god’s super special gift to the universe.
Trust.

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And now, THE TACOS!

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TACO #1: Quinoa with roasted tomatillo salsa, potato, jalapeno, corn, red cabbage, sour cream, lime, and cilantro!

TACO #2: Fried Tilapia with spicy dill yogurt, red cabbage, red onion, fresh lime, and cilantro!

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I took a lot of pictures. They are just so pretty.

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So pretty IN MY MOUTH!

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Don’t ask me to pick a favorite because I WILL NEVER PICK A FAVORITE.

I was pretty much in Taco Heaven.

Because baby jayzus loves me despite my persistant disbelief in him, she opened her shop up two blocks from my house!!!
That means there will be a lot more taco consumption in my future.

Like, I may stop cooking altogether.

The restaurant is gorgeous.

The jukebox helps you take your taco experience to the max.

I love the gold paint. I love the layout of the place.

I love the retro-tastic trash can that I didn’t get a photograph of but will at some point.
(Again, trust me it’s wicked cool.)

I think you have a winner here Teresa. Congrats!
I’ll still be looking out for the taco truck, but I’m so excited to be able to get tacos on MY schedule now.

Mas Tacos will be opening officially this coming Tuesday July 27th at 11am til 8pm!
732 McFerrin Avenue
Nashville, TN
37206

Review: Monell’s Germantown.

If I could have any wish granted this holiday season, I would wish for a 2010 Honda Fit or maybe a Unicorn, which might or might not take me to Candy Mountain.
(although either seems a little on the unlikely side of wishes.)
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Typically in the past when I have been presented with an opportunity to make a wish, I have ALWAYS wished for either a pony or to live happily ever after with an amazing man. Since I am both unlucky in love and clearly ponyless, I think it’s safe to say that wishes are complete bullshit.

I guess if I had to pick a more reasonable wish I would wish that eating the decadent food served at Monell’s restaurant was good for me and not insanely caloric and unhealthy.
But, as we’ve already established, wishes are bullshit hopes that never come to fruition.
So I suppose I’m just going to either get really fat or have to use self control and spread out my visits.
Shit.
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So, this is Monell’s. And basically we are in love. Or, well… I should say that I’m in love with Monell’s and Monell’s is kinda jerking me around.

You see, it all started about a month ago when a friend of mine had a birthday breakfast here and I happily attended.
And I ate.
And ATE.
Blissful and forever a changed woman as I shoveled buttermilk biscuits and peach preserves into my mouth.
Oh I fell hard.
Almost to the point of not being able to stand up without assistance.
So much eating took place. It was a bloodbath of consumption.
Believe you me.
Monell’s is structured how boarding house dining rooms used to operate, where strangers all sit together and food is served family style.
You name it, it gets brought to the table.
Since my first visit, I have been FIVE other times…THIS MONTH…..yeah, that’s like once a week (plus twice in one week).

(I know. I know.)

It is safe to declare that Monell’s serves the best Southern Food I have ever had.
It is artery-cloggingly divine.
I mean, living in Nashville, I really know Southern Food. I’m all over it.
Sometimes Southern cuisine can be overcooked, under seasoned, and super greasy.
You won’t find anything like that here.
Every dish is lovingly prepared and richly satisfying.
It is perfect, simple, and I’m utterly smitten.

Okay. Get ready. This is about to get really delicious.

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When you arrive at the Germantown location, depending on the size of your party, you will be seated at one of their seven long tables already set up with sweet tea, water, cucumber salad, broccoli salad, fruit salad, coleslaw, or some other cold mayonaise-based salad option. (Mia if you are reading this, look away now)

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I love you coleslaw. You are the only coleslaw for me.

It will come as no surprise to you that I like everything I have tried at Monell’s although this usually presents me with several obstacles when I visit:

1. ) The food is brought to the table in gigantic bowls slowly, which increases your chances of filling up too quickly on sweet tea, biscuits, and broccoli salad before the star of the show (skillet fried chicken) has even made it to your plate.

2.) I lose my ability to effectively utilize portion control and ALWAYS overeat at Monell’s.
I usually leave half of almost anything I order at a restaurant on my plate, but here, I am transformed into a ferocious professional eater.
Seriously.

This is my best friend in the whole wide universe Abigail, passing me the ridiculously tasty macaroni and cheese.

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She’s so beautiful and talented at handing me things.

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To. Die. For.

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Yes, that’s my plate overflowing with green beans, corn pudding, macaroni & cheese, whipped potatoes, and spinach lasagna.

And my favorite thing.
Maybe ever.
Maybe more than all of the Honda Fits, Ponies, and Unicorns in the heavens…
Skillet Fried Chicken.

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I’m not sure how to adequately explain to you how bewildered and astonished I am every time I sink my teeth into a piece of Monell’s Fried chicken. It gives me heart palpitations just thinking about it.
Right now, I just made myself salivate.

The skin in perfectly crispy, golden, lightly salted, peppered, and forged in the fluffy clouds of culinary heaven.

I practiced unheard of levels of restraint waiting until my plate was full with food before eating.
It was rough. But people were cheering me on.
Shooooooooweeeeeeeee!

(I’m going to weigh 500 pounds)

There was also banana pudding, but I ate it before I had a chance to photograph it because at some point I turned into an animal.

The moral of the story here is that this place is serious.
It is not for the faint of heart, diabetics, or those who fear large portions of insanely rich Southern cooking.
This is the kind of food that could very well make you believe in God.
Go get fat at Monell’s and you will thank me.

http://www.tnmonells.com/