Five Friday Facts!

Time for Five Friday Facts:

1. NFL training camp is underway for most NFL teams, including my Atlanta Falcons! Matt Ryan (he’s our QB – my main man Matty Ice!) put this picture up on Instagram yesterday and I got overly excited. Only 41 days until the first game of the season. I love football! IMG_1301 Hey, follow me on Instagram, we can be friends!

2. I made this delicious taco salad for dinner on Wednesday. Blondie gave me the idea! IMG_1288 I’m not sure why I’ve never made this before, it was so easy and so good! We  cooked chicken breasts in the crockpot with a packet of taco seasoning and a little chicken broth for about 4 hours on high until it was done enough to shred. Then put the chicken on top of some iceberg lettuce and add your favorite mexican toppings! We used black beans, salsa, avocado, onion, sour cream and  cheese! SO good!

3. Thursday was Dairy Queen’s Miracle Treat Day. They donated $1 for every Blizzard purchased on July 30th to Children’s Miracle Network. CMN is the philanthropy that my college sorority supports so it’s near and dear to my heart. Not that I needed an excuse for ice cream, but hey, it’s tax deductible right?! IMG_1296 IMG_1295 I couldn’t even wait until I got home to eat it, I had to dig in in my car. Strawberry Cheese-quake for the win! (also yesterday was national cheesecake day so I felt compelled to incorporate that too!)

4. Made it to the gym every day this week – success! Monday – Thursday were run days, and this morning I did some strength training. IMG_1298 Got some good plank time in this morning too, they’re my favorite (said no one, ever). IMG_1299 5. Got a hot date this weekend with Blondie. IMG_0765 Because she’s the best, she found this super fun event going on at the Fox Theater in Atlanta – SOUND_OF_MUSIC Sound of Music Sing-Along! She’s going to regret taking me to this, I’m going to be the loudest one singing in the theater without a doubt – no subtitles needed. I can’t wait! The Fox Theater is such a beautiful venue, it’s one of my favorite Atlanta landmarks!

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Excited for a long 6-7 mile run this weekend. Hope you guys have some fun plans! 49e397449f0a79cb1e2e6fa14263815e ——–

Tell me a Friday Fact!

Any exciting plans this weekend? 

Any football fans? Who is your favorite team?

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Marathon Finisher’s Club and Some Thursday Tunes

I start my official marathon training in a little over a month so I’m obsessed with trying to find any info on marathon training and the things I might experience.

I know everyone is different and just because Sally said she followed “this” running plan and got her PR doesn’t mean that I will. But at the same time it’s nice to feel like you’re not alone, that this isn’t an impossible endeavor and that when you finish you’ll get to join this exclusive club – the Marathon Finisher’s Club (they really should come up with a more creative name).

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If you just type “marathon” into Pinterest the pins you find will be so random you won’t know where to start.

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It never ends! I found this article on Women’s Running that I thought was really insightful . Even though this woman had her own experiences at her own race, a lot of her points resonated with me.

26.2 Unexpected Lessons From My First Marathon

When I crossed the finish line of my first marathon, I was completely overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with thanks for my family for being there with me, overwhelmed with pride for becoming a marathoner and overwhelmed with lessons I knew I needed to write down before I made the same mistakes twice in marathon #2.

A few of my favorites:

6. Tell your people that this is important to you. Tell them you need cheerleaders. Tell them to Google marathon spectator signs. Marathons are huge accomplishments—find a reason to celebrate before, during and after.

8. The beer at the beer tent makes the hurt better. (they probably won’t have beer at the Disney Marathon…sad day.)

14. Setting a goal is a good way to keep yourself on pace and in line in the beginning. Once you’ve been running for 3 hours it’s okay to throw expectations out the window.

You’re curios about those spectator signs in number 6 aren’t you? I was too.

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These kill me, they’re perfect! I hope I see some great signs during my race. When the pain is getting the best of me, a laugh will help take my mind off of it. I can’t wait to have my own 26.2 list to write after I finish my marathon in January!

A few things I have already learned since committing to running my first marathon:

1. I have some really amazing family and friends who have been so supportive even before I really begin this journey. I know they’ll be there to push and encourage me when I feel like this is too hard.

2. My mental game is NOT strong. I’m my worst enemy – my own brain impedes my progress more than any injury ever could. I’m trying to find ways to get over my mental obstacles.

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3. I think I have tender-toes (you know, like someone who is tender-headed when they brush their hair?). My toes, particularly the tops of my toes, get really sore and blister after even a 6 mile run. What’s up with that?

4. I’m very grateful that I chose a winter marathon. Living in the south I don’t think there is any way that I could train for a fall marathon. Running outside – what is that?

Side Note – I think I’ve found my little ‘motivation mantra’ that I need to have constantly on repeat during my run: Keep Going. If you just keep going, you will get there. I’m going to test it out for the next few weeks.

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A little Pop Playlist to get you through your Thursday…

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Just some feel-good stuff for a fun run!

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Any insights from readers who have run a marathon before? 

Can you come up with a funny marathon motivation sign? 

What are your Thursday Tunes?

What What (what what) Wednesday!

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter “W”…remember that from the Sesame Street days? Good times!

More specifically, I wanted to share a few “whats” with you.

What I’m Packing:

The hubs and I are big advocates of packing our lunches for work. Not only does it save a ton of money, as opposed to eating out for lunch, it’s also so much healthier! Here are some thing we have been packing for lunch lately: IMG_1278 Almonds are a great mid-day snack and packed with protein. I usually stick to 1/4 a cup, to watch my calories. Plus if I eat much more than that, all that salt makes me crave something sweet – not really what I’m going for. Throw some popcorn in there if you’re feeling funky and make it a trail mix!IMG_1280 Summer is a great time to pack a little salad for lunch. Light and refreshing, it’s also a good way to pack in some veggies! This week our veggie drawer is almost empty so all I have are some bacon bits and some feta cheese crumbles. For dressing, I opt for 2 tbsp of EVOO and 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar. Light on calories and fat, but tastes delicious! IMG_1281 Another snack option if you’re not a nut fan is some fruit. Since fruit is high in sugar, I try to keep these to a reasonable serving. Half an apple will usually suffice (add some peanut butter for extra protein) and about 5 or 6 strawberries. I will switch up my fruit depending on the season too so there are lots of options! IMG_1283 Tuna is such a great option for lunch because of all the healthy fats and oils as well as the protein. These StarKist tuna packets are always stocked in our pantry, the hubs and I are both big tuna fans. The packets are so convenient, you can just rip them open at lunch time and add a little salt and pepper, good to go! If you like to make it a little more exciting, you can add about 1 tbsp of non-fat plain greek yogurt and mix that in.

If I’m meal planning like I should and am making bulk items for lunches on Sundays, I’ll make tuna salad. I’ll add 1/2 a chopped dill pickle and about 1/4 tsp of mustard into the tuna and greek yogurt mixture…makes it a little more flavorful! This tuna recipe is really easy to make a big batch of on Sunday and divide it out evenly to bring each day of the week. If you use 4 cans of tuna, that will be plenty for one person to have for lunch all week!

Disclaimer – I am not a dietician or nutritionist. Also, none of these things are fancy or require any hard work in preparing. I know I personally see all of these really cute and amazing looking snacks and/or lunches to pack for work on sites like Pinterest, but I’m a simple person. A lot of those things take a tremendous amount of prep time and a lot of ingredients. While yes, those ingredients are usually very healthy, a lot of them are expensive and you only use them for that one item. I like to buy things that have multiple uses and that I can use over and over again. I stick with simple because it works for our budget and for my schedule.

What I Can’t Live Without: IMG_1276 My Camelbak water bottle goes with me EVERYWHERE! I have anxiety if I’m somewhere and don’t have easy access to water. I think this water bottle is the reason I’m able to drink so much water throughout the day, it’s just so easy and convenient. I drink about 4 or 5 of these guys a day. I’d die without it. Mine is 1 liter – you can get it here on Amazon for $14.99.

What’s For Dinner:

So many food posts today, sorry about that. Here’s what I made for dinner last night. IMG_1277 This is one of the hubs’ favorite dinners. I call it tomato chicken. There is no fancy name and this is by no means a fancy or difficult dinner to make. The ingredients:

1lb chicken breasts / 1 can diced tomatoes / mozzarella & parmesan cheeses/ garlic salt / italian seasoning / minced garlic / bread crumbs

All you do is:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine about 1cup of breadcrumbs, salt and pepper to taste, and about 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese. Coat the chicken in the breadcrumb mixture and put it in a glass baking dish. Bake the chicken for about 15 minutes.

While it’s baking, drain the tomatoes and toss them with 1 tsp garlic and 1 tsp Italian seasoning. After 15 minutes, pull the chicken out of the oven and coat the top with the tomatoes. You can leave any extra tomatoes in the bottom of the pan and let them bake. I like to have some with my veggies on the side too. Bake for another 15 minutes.

Pull the chicken out after 30 minutes of baking and check for doneness (is that a word?). If it’s done (or almost done) put the desired amount of mozzarella cheese on top and bake until melted. I love cheese, the hubs isn’t as big a fan. So I put less on his.

Once it’s melted, pull it out and enjoy! I’m making my roasted broccoli with it and some crescent rolls. I know, I know, that’s not on my clean eating diet. But we’ve had this tube of crescent rolls in the fridge for a few weeks and I just needed to use it before they go bad. I hate to waste!

And lastly, What I’m Looking At: IMG_1286 I couldn’t resist, Wilson is just so photogenic! He sits perfectly still for me to take his picture and he always looks so adorable! Mila…she’s off bouncing off the walls somewhere.

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Do you prefer to pack your lunch or go out to eat? 

What’s something you can’t live without? 

“Questions Nobody Asks” and my Clean Eating Diet Goals

I decided to take a note from Alison at Daily Moves and Grooves and steal parts of this little questionnaire, “Questions Nobody Asks.” I picked out some of my favorites, there are a ton!

THE QUESTIONS:
5. What’s your favorite childhood TV show?

Boy Meets World and Lizzie McGuire…I was a Disney Channel kid!

6.When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I was into Animal Planet and I really really wanted to be a vet.

10.If you could hire any actor to portray you in a movie, who would you chose?

Probably Julia Roberts. I think she’s smart, classy, and funny!

11.If you could play any instrument, which would you play?

The piano. I’m planning on living vicariously through my kids and making them play. Fingers crossed they’re actually good.

13.If you could live in one city for the rest of your life, where would you live?

I think I would live somewhere in Colorado. I’ve only visited once, but I fell in love. Have you ever been somewhere and just felt like you belonged there? I feel like I might also belong in Paris…

These pics are from my trip to CO about 10 years ago with my grandparents and my cousin. We went a walked around Vail and I fell in love! No comments on my short hair…it was a bad decision.

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26. What is your song of the week?

Selena Gomez – Good For You. This song is motivating me to work hard at the gym this week.

28. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper?

I LOVE handwritten letters! I had a girl’s craft night at a friend’s house recently and we made 4th of July greeting cards. I sent one to my grandpa for his birthday and he loved it!

Challenge for the week – write a handwritten note to someone! You don’t have to mail it, just stick it in their car, office, purse, pocket…it’s such an easy way to make someone smile and remind them they’re loved!

Side note – I’m obsessed with stationary. I love writing little notes so any time I see stationary on clearance I snatch it up! Here’s a little bit of my collection.

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37. Sugar cookies or snickerdoodles?

Snickerdoodles…specifically, Nana’s snickerdoodles. They’re a yearly Christmas treat for me.

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I forgot to mention that I went outlet shopping in Nashville. One of my favorite purchases was this adorable lunch box. Can you tell I love it?

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The Vera Bradley Outlet was having a 50% off sale so I got this for way cheap! Here’s the same kind in a different pattern (super cute!). I love Vera!

The hubs and I are wrapping up summer with a beach vacation with R&M up to North Carolina over Labor Day weekend. We’ve been pretty slack on our diet lately, he’s been traveling a lot (and we all know what my diet looks like when that happens), and we haven’t been meal planning like we should.

We’ve decided to stick to a healthier diet for the next month, mostly based on fruits, veggies and protein. And cutting out alcohol. And consistently going to the gym.

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The beach or any vacation is such a great motivation to really analyze your diet and exercise routine and that’s exactly what we did while we were in Nashville. We had a lot of great talks last weekend on vacation and we are on the same page about cleaning up our diet and committing to making our bodies healthier and stronger!

I’ll be sharing some of my meal plans and what we’re packing for lunch, as well as some ways we’re trying to incorporate healthier foods on a budget!

Has anyone tried (or know anyone who has tried) this Whole30 Program? Check it out, what do you guys think?

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I realize that I have a problem…I’m not good at remembering to take pictures. Clearly my post is lacking in pictures today. I try to keep a good balance of pictures and text here because I love giving you guys a visual glimpse into my life and a visual to connect with! I’m going to try to work on that, so be prepared for some more pictures!

In lieu of real pictures today, I’m going to leave you with some pretty picture quotes…I love quotes.

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This one is in honor of Blondie’s upcoming birthday…can’t wait to celebrate her!

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Answer some of the “Questions Nobody Asks” and tell me something about you!

Any great recipes to share for my month of clean eating? Particularly how to incorporate more veggies? 

Don’t forget to write someone a little handwritten note to tell them how much they mean to you! 

Nashville Recap!

As you can probably guess, it was a long weekend. My blog game is slacking today, apologies. But I have some pictures to share along with some Nashville trip highlights! IMG_1221 A beautifully scenic drive through the North GA Mountains up to TN! IMG_1222Because hotel selfies are a must. IMG_1224 Blurry, I know. But by far my favorite part of the trip was going to see a show at the Grand Ole Opry House! I’m such a big country music fan, I had a huge smile on my face during the entire show! Who was my favorite performer? IMG_1232 IMG_1231Carrie Underwood! It was so amazing to see her perform in such a small and intimate environment! Y’all, that girl can SANG!!!! She killed it, it was amazing and it was absolutely a dream come true for me (dramatic?) to see her perform. It was amazing. IMG_1229 There were some other great performers too and a lot of different types of country music. Blue grass, mountain music, everything was amazing. If you’re planning a trip to Nashville and you’re a country music fan I would definitely recommend checking out a show there. We had orchestra seats and they were fantastic. Hands down, best part of the trip!

L and I explored Vanderbilt while the hubs and his cousin played golf – our hotel was literally across the street from the campus. IMG_1235 IMG_1239 The library was the only building that was open so we went in and checked it out. It was so pretty and historic! It was built in 1920! IMG_1241 IMG_1240 A cool staircase and illuminated display outside the engineering and science buildings.IMG_1238 This tree is actually bronze, it’s called the “Tree of Learning” and it’s right outside the library – quite a site!

After walking around the campus we were hungry! We did lots of walking on this trip, for the record. It was hot…hot hot hot. We walked about 1.5 miles from Vandy over to a cool mexican restaurant, Saint Anjeo. IMG_1243 IMG_1242 Tacos and buy-one-get-one sangria were a must. Highly recommended. Then we walked over to Broadway, about .8 miles, and hit up the George Jones Museum rooftop bar. I didn’t get any pictures of that but this was a cool shot down Broadway, lined with bars and live music! IMG_1244For dinner we ate at a DELICIOUS restaurant that I think was more of a local/college hang out than a “foodie” restaurant – which is probably why it was so good. pics-main-rotation-13 South Street Restaurant was about a .5 mile walk from our hotel. Everything we ordered was delicious! We had oysters, chips and queso, ribs, smoked bbq chicken, pulled pork sandwich, homemade tater tots, and mac and cheese. Everyone left STUFFED! Definitely worth checking out if you’re around Vanderbilt.

We had such a great time, but we’re happy to be home! IMG_0604A nice 4 mile run this morning felt great, especially after a weekend full of food! We get to pick our dogs up tonight and I can’t wait to see how excited they are to come home!

Hope you guys had a great weekend!

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What did you do this weekend?

Do you prefer to visit foodie/fancy restaurants on vacation or local spots?

How is everyone’s fall marathon training going?!

Five Friday Facts and My Weekly Rundown

Five Friday Facts:

Fact 1: My favorite TV networks are HGTV and Food Network. Specifically, I’m obsessed with Fixer Upper (I’m considering moving to Texas so Chip and Jo Jo can design a house for me) and Chopped. I could literally watch Chopped for 24 straight hours, I love it so much.

Fact 2: One of my favorite cooking ingredients is Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce. I put that $h!t on everything! Also, 95% of the dinners I cook have garlic in them. It’s a staple in our house, we’re Italian!

Fact 3: I run and sleep with my hair in a braid. I have pretty long hair so it’s the only way to keep it from getting all tangly when I run and getting wrapped up in it while I sleep! Usually when I run it’s in a french braid – I taught myself how to french braid my own hair. When I sleep, it’s in a traditional braid.

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Fact 4: I love musicals. I used to watch them with my great grandmother every time I’d go to her house so they remind me of her. My favorite musical of all time is The Sound Of Music.

Fact 5: I have a list of words that I HATE. These words give me the chills and just gross me out. Number one on the list – moist. Stop. Number two – squirt. I can’t.

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Some pics that perfectly sum up my week…

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I don’t ever sit on my couch because it’s basically the dog’s playground. That whole training them not to get on the furniture did not go well.

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I kicked some butt at Wheel of Fortune this week. The answer is Motor Speedway, BTW.

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I really dressed to impress at work this week…not. My hair, every day.

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Cuddled with the sweetest puppy, Lucy, the parental’s dog.

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This…my week.

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As I was browsing all of the amazing restaurants Nashville has to offer (vacation this weekend, woo!), I started thinking about how a “cheat” weekend like this might affect my running and weight loss goals.

While my goal of running has never been to shed “lbs” it is always a positive side effect of this particular hobby – quite contradictory to my cooking hobby. I came across this article on the Run Disney Blog about things that might be hindering weight loss in runners, and it also shares some great tips to help keep a balanced diet filled with all the foods we need to fuel our active bodies without adding needless calories.

WEIGHT LOSS AND RUNNING: WHAT’S TRIPPING YOU UP?

You’re training hard and watching your weight diligently, and yet, the number on the scale won’t budge! Many runners striving for weight loss have experienced this frustration and confusion. Why does running cause some athletes to lose weight and others to gain weight? Let’s talk about the common culprits that derail weight loss goals.

A cheat weekend for me is a mental “high five” to reward myself for being diligent in my diet and running that week. While I don’t encourage going all out every weekend, I definitely think it’s smart to take advantage of vacation time and not hold yourself or your diet to the standards you do during the week at home.

Nashville bound – I present to you, a great country road trip playlist!

See you guys on Monday!

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Tell me a Friday Fact!

If you could sum up your week in 10 words or less, what would you say? 

Thursday Things with a Play List and Traveling

Welcome to this week’s Thursday Things! image1 Yogi Detox Tea is one of my favorite things right now. It’s a good pick-me-up after a long weekend. image2 And they give you a sweet little note on every tea bag. Happiness! Oh, and my “Rome If You Want To” mug was a sweet gift from a friend – I’m dying to go to Rome one day!

Did anyone else hit up the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale? Here are two things I purchased…I’m so excited! 0115331d096c0f6854609739d44c0ac0 This Topshop Stripe Sweater Dress…must have. f27f5c3a4b606581666d27eba238eb7f This Nike ‘Cool Breeze’ Dri-Fit Tank, perfect for those hot outside runs in the summer!

The Anniversary Sale is still going on, you definitely need to check it out!

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I made a throwback playlist, but I think it’s more of a rock playlist than throwback. I like to run to a ton of different kinds of music. Depending on my mood, sometimes a good hard rock song really gets my energy going and kicks my run into high gear. These are some of my favorite rock songs to run to.

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The hubs and I have done a fair bit of traveling this year and we still have a few more trips to go. Some of our traveling has been for fun vacations and some has been to go home to visit family.

This weekend we are heading to Nashville for our annual couple’s vacation with the hubs’ cousin and his wife , I’m beyond excited! The boys are going to play golf two days and us girls will get to do touristy things while they golf, then it’s party time at night!

When I go on vacation, I like to get a feel for the city I’m visiting, especially if it’s somewhere I’ve never been. One of my favorite sites to use is Thrillist. thrillist Thrillst features tons of popular destination cities and gives you inside tips on the best restaurants, bars, live music, brunch spots, date night ideas, all the great features of the city that will help you plan your trip.

It’s great to use for your own city too – I’ve discovered a lot of hidden restaurants and hang-out spots in Atlanta, my own city, using Thrillist.

Here are some things that Thrillist has told me I need to check out while I’m in Nashville this weekend:

THE 11 FINEST PATIOS IN NASHVILLE

26 FREE THINGS TO DO IN NASHVILLE

WE RATED EVERY BAR ON LOWER BROAD

THE 8 BEST BACON DISHES IN NASHVILLE

Another site I love to use to pick out my must-do’s on vacation in a new city is USA Today 10 Best.  10Best-USA-Today-logo2 Literally hundreds of cities both in the U.S. and abroad are featured and you can find anything and everything you want to do / see/ eat / drink…it’s an amazing travel resource.

Fun Fact: Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Here are a couple breakfast places I’m hoping we can hit while we’re in Nashville I found using 10 Best:

1. The Pfunky Griddle – There’s a griddle in the middle of your table and you get to make your own breakfast food! They give you the batter and an unlimited amount of toppings! I’m all about interactive dining, this is right up my alley!

2. Sky Blue Cafe – They boast an impressively creative menu of coffee concoctions begging to be tasted. Also, there is a picture of a delectable looking breakfast burrito in their restaurant profile that I NEED to try. PageImage-500470-2696288-SBhuevos_54_990x660_201406010129 How deliciously fresh does that look?! Get in my belly!

Needless to say, it’s going to be a struggle to fit in all of these things in the 2.5 days that we’re in Nashville but I’m darn sure going to try!

Check out Thrillist and 10 Best to see what kind of cool things they suggest doing in your city!

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Tell me some Thursday Things!

Have you ever been to Nashville? What are the must-do’s while I’m there? Food, please suggest food. I love to eat!

What kinds of things did you find on Thrillist and 10 Best in your city?