PR Girl Travels: Nashville

I believe in Nashville

On Halloween weekend we headed to Nashville for an Islanders/Predators hockey game. It was our first time ever in Nashville, and we had the best time! We shared an Airbnb with friends and went to the game with a ton of other people part of MPR’s Isles meet-up group – plus Danny & Taylor made the trip down from New York!

One of my favorite things about relocating to the South is all of the new destinations we can explore within driving distance of Charlotte. Nashville is about 6 hours away, and the route took us right through beautiful Asheville. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend making the drive in the fall months because we got to do some leaf-peeping along the way – and we even drove through snow on our way home! (Don’t worry, I was prepared with the Michael BublΓ© Christmas CD locked and loaded.) πŸ‚

I think what I loved most about Nashville was the energy, and yes, there really is live music on every floor of every bar on Broadway. I can’t say I follow country music, but I sure can appreciate it. 🎢

Broadway in Nashville

Acme Feed & Seed

I was a little worried about finding good restaurants for the group that had vegetarian options for me and MPR (AKA not BBQ), but I can honestly say it was a breeze. We did not have one bad meal. I got an amazing falafel sandwich at Acme Feed & Seed, flavorful Korean BBQ tofu tacos at Bajo Sexto Taco Lounge, and an egg and cheese on a buttery biscuit at Milk & Honey.

Korean BBQ Tofu Tacos

Egg and Cheese on a Biscuit Milk & Honey

While exploring Nashville, we ran into numerous people from the Islanders team because they were all staying downtown. We even picked the same dinner spot as one of the coaches, and after we introduced ourselves, he gave us passes to meet some of the players after the game. We were definitely fan-girling, but we were able to sneak in a few selfies. (It helped that they had just won 6-2!)

Isles Meet Ups CLT

Islanders vs. Predators

Cal Clutterbuck

Anders Lee

On our way out Sunday morning, we stopped by the famous Biscuit Love to grab some bonuts to go – that’s biscuit dough fried like a doughnut. And yes, it’s worth the wait when the line wraps around the building! (Luckily we were in and out because we got there at 8 AM.)

Biscuit Love Nashville

I also couldn’t leave Nashville without popping into Reese Witherspoon’s store, Draper James.Β I came very close to buying a set of mugs with cute little scotty dogs and dachshunds on them, but I’m pretty sure if I came home with one more mug, MPR would kick me out. (What can I say? I enjoy teatime!)

Draper James Nashville

Amelia's flower truck

Nashville skyline

Overall it was a great trip and I’m so thankful we got to share it with the best friends – both new and old. It was fun to see our New York and Charlotte words collide, and I’m looking forward to our upcoming trips to Raleigh and Brooklyn!Β πŸ’

Happy Halloween from The Ryans

Family costume: Peter Pan, Rufio, Lost Boy

Peter Pan, Rufio & a Lost Boy 🌟

Growing up, Halloween was my absolute favorite holiday. Partially because my parents always went all out with decorations, pumpkin carving, and costumes, and partially because there’s nothing more fun than dressing up and getting free candy!

There was a short window of time between college and moving to Troy when I opted out of Halloween because a. I was poor, b. I was living at home, and c. MPR and I were long distance. But this year I made up for lost time by decking out our house in pumpkins and skeletons, wearing a family costume, and throwing a Halloween Housewarming party. It was so much fun and I cannot wait to greet all of the little trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood tonight!

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Thing votive

The Addams Family is my favorite Halloween movie, so I knew I had to have this as soon as I saw it! πŸ‘»

Corpse Bride hand towels

I was really into the whole Corpse Bride thing this year πŸ’€

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Mikey’s favorite! Life’s a witch and then you fly.

Mummy and Frankenstein cookies

These little mummies and Frankensteins came out so cute and were super easy to make! πŸŽƒ

Witch finger pretzel rods

Witch fingers!

Guacamole pumpkin

Go home pumpkin – you’re drunk! πŸ‘»

Happy Halloween! πŸŽƒ

 

My 3 favorite blogs at the moment

I am a tad obsessed with the blogging world. Ever since I created a LiveJournal account back in high school, I have been hooked. Over the past 10-15 years I’ve upgraded my platform, and blogging in general has morphed from a hobby into a lucrative business. In fact, a big part of my job in PR is working with bloggers and influencers to partner with my various clients and create content about them. Who would have ever thought that all of this random blogging knowledge I’ve accumulated over the years would help me in my career?

With all of that being said, I still love to read blogs just for fun. I wish fashion bloggers were around back when I was in high school – I could have used the help! πŸ˜‚Β Here are my favorite three blogs that I read regularly (aka on my lunch breaks at work πŸ₯—):

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Instagram: @carly

The College Prepster

A huge life goal of mine is to cultivate a closet that mimics Taylor Swift during her “Red” era. I love how she always looked ladylike and put together, even in her street style photos. Carly from The College Prepster doesn’t have as many nods to vintage style as Taylor Swift, but she has that whole preppy, classic style down. I also like how The College Prepster is a true lifestyle blog where she shares snippets about her family, her adorable dogs, and the books she’s reading.

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Instagram: @kristarobertso

Covering the Bases

Krista from Covering the Bases is also a preppy fashion blogger, but I like that she’s a size 6, so I know that I can successfully recreate a lot of her outfits. She also has a full-time job in marketing/social media, so I can relate to her. Lately she has been doing a lot of posts about what she wears to work, which I LOVE. Working in a casual environment like an agency, I can get stuck in clothing ruts, so I love using her outfits as inspiration. She has also made me a huge fan of navy blue. Coming from a girl who used to wear all black everything, this is a big step for me.

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Instagram: @mflynnpete

Freckled Italian

Megan from Freckled Italian actually used to live in Charlotte, and I met her when I attended two of her SkillPop classes – one on Instagram tips and one on blogging tips. Within this past year, she moved to California for her husband’s job, and is now expecting her first child, so I love to follow along on her newest adventures. She’s also a talented writer and I get lost in her dreamy, lyrical posts.

What are your favorite blogs to read?

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25 things you may not know about me

The Oxford Exchange in Tampa

Do you remember back in college when Facebook notes were introduced to share long-form writing? Most people only used them to participate in those viral exercises that asked you to answer questions only with song titles or list 25 random things about yourself. I’m not sure what made me think of them recently, but I dug into my Facebook archives to try to find them because I thought it would be fun to see how much I have changed over the last 10 years. But alas, they are gone forever.Β And then I saw a similar one pop up on my Facebook news feed! So because I’m feeling nostalgic, here are 25 things you may not know about me.

  1. Favorite Smell? Sandalwood & vanilla (also my favorite wallflower 🌸)
  2. Last time you cried? I honestly can’t remember… most likely the last time I had the stomach flu, which I believe was earlier this spring 🀒
  3. Favorite pizza? Plain cheese πŸ§€
  4. Favorite flower? Tulips πŸ’
  5. Did you go to college? SUNY Cortland for undergrad, Quinnipiac University for grad school πŸ€“
  6. Untie your shoes when taking them off? Nope! I’m lazy πŸ‘Ÿ
  7. Roller coasters? No, thank you πŸ™…πŸ»
  8. Favorite ice cream? It’s a tie between mint chocolate chip and cookie dough 🍨
  9. Favorite pastime? Going to concerts 🎡
  10. Shorts or jeans? Jeans πŸ‘–
  11. What are you watching? All of my favorite shows are Netflix originals: The Crown, Master of None, and Stranger Things πŸ‘»
  12. Favorite Color? Magenta πŸ’–
  13. Tattoos? Not one 0️⃣
  14. Piercings? Just one set in my ears πŸ‘‚πŸ»
  15. Color of hair? Dark brown πŸ’πŸ»
  16. Color of eyes? Dark brown πŸ•Ά
  17. Favorite food to eat? DESSERT! Bring me French macarons or Italian rainbow cookies and we’ll be friends for life πŸͺ
  18. Favorite holiday? Halloween πŸŽƒ
  19. Beer or wine? Wine 🍷
  20. Night owl or morning person? Definitely a morning person since I tweaked my work hours ⏰
  21. Favorite day of the week? Sunday β˜€οΈ
  22. Do you have a Nickname? Most commonly Cait or Moons πŸŒ™
  23. Pictures on your wall? Me & MPR in our various homes: Long Island, Troy, and Charlotte πŸ™
  24. What makes you most proud? That we built a brand new life for ourselves here in the Queen City πŸ‘‘
  25. Favorite music? Pop-punk! 🎢

Your turn!

 

Vegetarian Recipes for Newbies

Honey sriracha tofu for meatless monday

MPR and I have been on quite the food journey this year. We started out by cutting all processed foods and carbs. Then I dabbled in paleo and used the spiralizer to turn veggies into noodles. Then we fell into a Netflix food documentary hole and discovered the benefits of a plant-based diet. We started incorporating more vegetarian and vegan meals into our weekly meal plans, and eventually cut out meat entirely. It has now been a little over three months and we’ve never felt better.

You’re probably wondering, “but why?” Once I dug in, I found that this is actually the simplest way to eat (at least to me). We buy fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and tofu. We can eat any combination of them without worrying about counting calories and are still able to maintain our weight loss. I had to retrain my brain that carbs are not the enemy. In fact, whole grains are really good for you and an important part of a well-balanced diet – hello guilt-free pasta on Sundays once again! I missed you dearly!

Instead, I now do my best to avoid all added sugar and animal products.Β There’s quite a bit of research that ties animal proteins to just about every chronic disease, and since we cut it out, we never feel gross or bloated after any meal.

So in honor of World Vegetarian Day today, and Vegetarian Awareness Month this October, I thought I’d share some of our favorite vegetarian meals so far. Because if we can do it, anyone can do it!

  1. Slow Cooker Lentil Sloppy Joes from Simply Quinoa: These lentil sloppy joes are 100% better than traditional ones with ground beef, in my opinion! You could serve them on rolls or over brown rice – both are equally yummy.
  2. Southwestern Black Bean Pasta Salad: This is one of my favorite pasta dishes we’ve tried since lifting our ban on carbs. We make it with nutritious whole wheat pasta and the black beans provide protein to keep you feeling fuller longer.
  3. Roasted Chickpea Gyros: I could easily eat this meal every single week. The delicious seasonings on the roasted chickpeas are so much more flavorful than the chicken or lamb traditionally served in gyros. We pair it with this homemade tzatziki sauce! πŸ’―
  4. Cowboy Caviar: This just replaced queso as my favorite dip. Seriously! It is so refreshing and the perfect side to bring to a BBQ.
  5. Spicy Sofritas Black Bean Bowls: This Chipotle copycat recipe is a game changer. It was the first tofu dish I tried and I am hooked!
  6. Sticky Sesame Cauliflower Bites: This is better than any Chinese takeout I’ve ever had. Their chicken always freaked me out πŸ™ˆ
  7. Honey Sriracha Tofu: I love to pack this for lunch with brown rice and broccoli.
  8. Chickpea Salad Sandwich: Less stinky than tuna, but just as filling!

If you’re thinking about dipping your toe into the vegetarian/vegan pond, here are some of my favorite resources:

If you have any favorite vegetarian or vegan recipes, please share! We’re always looking for new dishes to add to our weekly rotation.

Home Tour: Guest Room

Guest Room

Strangely, the first room we finished in our new house was the guest room. Mostly because we didn’t need to buy anything new to furnish it, but also because we slept there the first week while we waited for our new mattress to be delivered. To be honest, I just can’t sleep on an air mattress for more than one or two nights, so that room quickly became our top priority.

We got pretty lucky with our house. It’s only one year old, so we don’t need to do any renovations. We even like the paint colors the previous owner had picked out, so literally all we’ve had to do is move in furniture and hang things on the walls.

The room we decided to make the guest room has a bright blue accent wall that perfectly matches our bedding and curtains, so we have officially dubbed it “The Blue Room.” We can’t wait to have our first guests stay with us next weekend!

Guest Room 2

Complete with inspirational messages from Andrew McMahon and The Wonder Years 🎢

Guest Room 3

Guest Room 4

Now accepting reservations at #RyanBnB, so come visit!! 🏑

A moving announcement & moving announcements

We bought a house

Well, it finally happened. I left the city for a 3-bedroom in the suburbs.

And I don’t hate it.

In fact, I kind of love it. Our neighborhood has winding tree-lined sidewalks where I can walk Rufio (and I don’t need to worry about him hurting his little feet on broken beer bottles like when we lived in fratty South End). There’s a neighborhood pool and playground around the corner from us where I can hear kids splashing and laughing, trying to squeeze the most out of these last few nights of summer. I drive down pretty country roads to get here, yet we’re still close to Starbucks (priorities), our favorite South End restaurant (Pinky’s), and a picturesque outdoor mall. Rufio loves to run up and down the stairs (and bark at neighbors from the bay window). I’m still mastering pulling in and out of our 2-car garage, and we’re still getting photos hung on the walls, but this is our home.

New neighborhood

I would like to give a shoutout to my walking commute (RIP). For the last four years (two in Troy, two in South End) I had been able to walk to work, and I had become incredibly spoiled. I now drive 25-30 minutes each way (which I know isn’t terrible) and tweaked my schedule for Charlotte traffic. So these days the Ryan household wakes up at 5 am and is out cold by 9 pm. It’s an adjustment for sure, but I just pretend I’m one of those people in the new Delta commercial (hi-ho!)

If you know about my love of stationery, you can imagine that one of my favorite parts about buying a house was picking out new address labels and moving announcements. I searched for a long time (like before we even scooped up this house over the fourth of July holiday), but I had trouble finding one I loved because they all seemed a little too ostentatious versus informational. The Christmas/moving announcement cards were some of the worst offenders – “We’re celebrating Christmas in our new house” – and they don’t even wish the receiver a happy holiday! So I lucked out when I found these moving announcement postcards from Rifle Paper Co. Simple and to-the-point. And I picked up a 10-pack on sale for $5. Can’t beat that!

Moving Announcement Postcard

Rifle Paper Co. Moving Announcement

I’ve been sharing some sneak peeks of the house on Instagram stories as rooms start to come together, but I’ll start posting more here. The first room we completely finished was our guest room. We affectionately call it “the blue room,” and you’ll see why soon.

So there you have it. The Ryans are officially homeowners, and we are totally rocking this whole suburbs thing. I hung a Fall wreath on the door yesterday, and MPR just ordered an Islanders flag for the front flower bed. We got this πŸ‘«πŸΆπŸ‘