Post Baby, Babymoon

So, at 5 months pregnant, I think it’s sinking in that our lives are about to change. It’s terrifying and amazing all at once. I’m already making peace with saying goodbye to lazy Saturdays with breakfast in bed and the occasional brunch with mimosa’s, because I have a feeling I won’t be experiencing those for quite a while. That’s being said, I’m OK with this and getting used to the idea that things will never be the same –  but they will be so much better.

Addison Yacht Charter Post BabymoonDave and I love to travel, but I don’t think that will happen in the next year or so, because we just bought a house (bye bye vacation money), and again, WE’RE HAVING A BABY. I know people love to take “babymoons”, and I’m sure we will make a day trip somewhere before the baby is born, or have a really nice dinner before we say goodbye to candlelight and elegance for a while. . . but honestly, I’m looking further into the future – to our next trip. I’m thinking about our next trip WITH the baby!

We are so excited to have a new member of the Ficken clan and we cannot wait to bring he or she (that’s right we’re NOT finding out the gender) with us on our next adventure. My husband LOVES the beach. Loves it. I mean, I like the beach just fine, but I also love traveling to different cities and exploring different cultures and regions of our country and others. However, I think I may have found the perfect compromise for our next big vacation. A yacht charter to the British Virgin Islands!

Now, I know it sounds expensive, but the cost isn’t too bad (especially if we invite some of our closest friends), and I know if we save up it will be the trip of a lifetime.Addison Yacht Charters

We love the Caribbean and the BVI, so I was thinking either of those locations would be beautiful, and it’s a short hop from Nashville and flights are reasonable. I mean, I even took a quiz 🙂 Looks like a motor yacht through Addison Yacht Charters would be the way to go! So, here’s to saving and our next adventure for 3 in 2016!

 

Addison Yacht Charters BVI

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Northwest Style Homes vs Southern Style Homes

So, more fun news!

We are building a house! Yes, I know – a new job, new house and newly pregnant. . . We didn’t plan it that way, but we couldn’t be happier!

So, because we are almost complete on the house build (the baby still needs some time in the oven), I’d like to talk about building a house for a minute. It is a time consuming, anxiety causing, fiscal tightrope . . .but overall a wonderful process. Our builders, Ribbon Cutters, have been great and very patient with us. After much debate over whether we would go with a traditional southern style house or not, we have chosen to go with a more southern cottage style home. Something a little different, yet classic. We think it’s pretty cute and coming along well!

Cottage Style Home with Ribbon Cutters

 

We are not going through a custom home builder like Ryan Homes, or a production builder that provides customization like American Classic Homes, and honestly, for us we wouldn’t have it any other way. We just really like the free reign customization process (no matter how crazy it makes us).

 

However, we do have friends in Seattle who are building too and they are using a builder. It’s been nice going through the process beside them, and being able to bounce ideas and stressors off each other has been wonderful. It’s also been interesting to see how different their process has been from ours. They really have fewer choices to choose from when it came to the style, floorplan, extras, etc., and we had too many! Like, should we upgrade the outdoor space with retractable awnings? A small part of me wishes we had gone through a larger builder – to take away some of the analysis paralysis of all the different house things to choose from, but we made it through.

Anyway, since they live in the Pacific Northwest, their house style is a bit different than ours. (they are in the earlier phases of construction, so this is the only image I have of what it could look like).

American Classic Homes

Their home is more in the Pacific Northwest  / Craftsman Tradition style, as ours is a little more Southern / Cottage. It’s been interesting to learn more about homes in general and the difference in tastes based on which region in the US you live.

For instance, I am originally from the suburbs of DC, and you would never see a new house style like these two right outside the beltway. The houses in Northern Virginia are a far cry from the craftsman style of the Pacific Northwest or traditional style of the South.

For instance, this is the type of house I grew up in. Brick in the front, siding on the other three sides. I really don’t prefer this look, it seems too sterile to me, but hey – to each his own. American Classic Home Style

 

So, anyway, enough builder talk. Next step, the interior . . . ahhhhhhh!

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100 Years of Swimwear – Just in Time for Winter!

I love fall as much as the next girl, but I wanted to take a second to reminisce on this past summer, especially because it was my last one without a child! That’s right, I’m preggers – due in April. So, my thoughts have already drifted to next summer and . . . . what is my body going to look like post pregnancy??!!

I mean, my thoughts have gone other places too, like: “I really need to figure out how to use a car seat”, “what’s the best hospital for birthing”, “Waaaah, no more alcohol!!” and “What the heck am I doing”. . . . but, really, the vanity kicks in after all that and you think. . . . next summer I will have just given birth! *cue the screams from Psycho*

Seriously, I’m no skinny mini to begin with, what is this child gonna leave me with when it’s all said and done? Probably not this:

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So, I’ve been doing a little research. . . .and it may be time to put away that two piece. I say may because who knows, I could have the elasticity of a 20 year old and the metabolism of a teenager when it’s all said and done. Or I could get super rich, hire a chef and trainer to look better than I did at 21. Hey. It. Could. Happen. . . Right?

 

Well, if it doesn’t. . .  I’ve done a little research and found a great company, Always for Me, offering great suits for any size. They also have this cute little tool where you can look through 100 years of swimwear.

Always for Me plus size one peice

 

I mean, I’m not heading back to the 20’s look, by any means, but those one pieces and tankinis are really cute. And retro is IN!

So, stay tuned, I’ll update everyone in the Spring and we’ll see what cute swimsuit 2016 will bring!

 

 

 

 

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Pumpkin Spice. . . E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E

I L.O.V.E. fall. I don’t know if it’s the sweater weather, the boots, the changing of the leaves, the crisp chill in the air, or . . . the pumpkin spice, but I just love it. Fall will be here in less than two days and I’ve already consumed four pumpkin spice lattes, bought a pumpkin spice candle and a pumpkin spice sugar scrub. I seriously considered buying ready to bake Pumpkin Spice cookie dough and even pumpkin spice Terra chips, but thought better of it.

Pumpkin Spice Everywhere http://blog.foodfacts.com/2015/09/18/kelloggs-pumpkin-spice-mini-wheats-welcome-to-pumpkin-season/

 

Some pumpkin spice ‘hard no’s’ went to: pumpkin spice Candy Corn, Hershey Kisses, Milano Cookies, Shredded Wheat Cereal (yes, cereal, Seriously! ), M&M’s (why mess with perfection there) and lastly pumpkin spice cream cheese. . . . which got me thinking. . .   What the what?

 

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What else can they possibly put pumpkin spice on / in? And is pumpkin spice really as good for you as it is good to your taste buds?

 

Well, turns out pumpkin spice is not so nice. In my research I  found out some not so great facts about this popular ingredient. The first fact is that there really isn’t real pumpkin in most pumpkin spice products – ! Crazy, huh? Not so much. Anyway, that really made me question any and all ‘pumpkin spice’ products. In just one example I found here are the “pumpkin spice” ingredients in Pumpkin Spice Shredded Wheat.

Whole grain wheat, sugar, contains 2% or less of brown rice syrup, cinnamon, ginger, gelatin, nutmeg, allspice, annatto extract color, natural flavor, BHT for freshness.Vitamins and Minerals: Reduced iron, niacinamide, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), folic acid, vitamin B1 (thiamin hydrochloride), zinc oxide, vitamin B12.

Seriously, “natural flavor” means what? And BHT – well you can just read what that is here: BHT is nasty. I almost cut ties with my favorite latte  too . . . until . .. 

Much to my delight, Starbucks has stepped up! After 12 years of their famously non pumpkin, pumpkin spice lattes, they are actually changing the recipe, adding actual pumpkin into their oh so famous (and delicious) PSL’s. See more here: PSL FoodFacts

However, I had no such luck in finding real pumpkin in any other fall treats:

Chiobani

Oreos

Dunkin Donuts

Baskin Robbins Ice Cream

I could go on.  . . but I won’t. 

So, here’s to breaking the “pumpkin” spice craze . . . well for all things except my PSL’s 🙂

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Wedgewood/Houston Art Crawl This Saturday!

 

http://am-wh.com/

Wedgewood / Houston Art Crawl, Fist Saturday of each month.

Zeitgeist-art

Zeitgeist-art

I know it’s the Labor Day Weekend, but this Saturday evening is also the Wedgewood / Houston artcrawl!

Wedgewood / Houston (nicknamed WeHo) neighborhood is a close cluster of strong artisan relationships and has functioned as a historic home for many artist studios. Every month they open their doors to Nashvillians to experience a free art and music walk. The walk begins at 6:00 PM on the first Saturday of every month. Just minutes from downtown, and walking distance from the old Nashville Sounds stadium, WeHo has dozens of venues, commercial galleries, artist-run studios, and coworking spaces exhibiting groundbreaking art each month.

Bits and Pieces

Packing Plant, Bits and Pieces

After experiencing this great little adventure a couple times, I am hooked. I honestly look forward to the first Saturday of each month. The vibe is very chill, very creative, and very open. Each artist stop along the way not only features the artists work, but also their style and sometimes the artists are even there doing the actual work. Wine, beer and other beverages are available for free at each stop as well.

This is a great date night activity or group activity . . . just know that more than 8 people and you will definitely get separated. I would recommend this to anyone wanting to expand their artistic side, explore art in all forms and be around creative Nashvillians!

 

*also, if you would like to learn how to better attract people online to your hobbie or art, you can learn from Ross Jones at 2TheTopMarketing in one of his SEO classes!

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Rhythm City Church’s Volunteer Party

Rhythm City Church Volunteer Appreciation Party. Nashville, TN.

Just some of the many volunteers who help throughout the year at Rhythm City Church.

 

 

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I just wanted to share some pictures from our Sunday Fun Day, Volunteer Party for Rhythm City Church yesterday in Nashville! It was full of games, kiddie pools, photo booth fun, beer , hotdogs and burgers :-)!

 

Rhythm City Church, kids enjoying icecream

Everyone loves ice cream!

 

Rhythm City Church , founded in September 2013 meets at 3rd & Lindsley every Sunday at 11am. We are a small community right now, but we are growing. I never knew what went into a Sunday morning volunteering, but I do now! There are so many things to do before the service actually starts. Over the past year and a half volunteers have worked tirelessly on Sunday mornings, arriving early to set up the tables, set up the stage & sound equipment, make the coffee, put up signage, and a million other things. Not only that, there are community groups that gather throughout the city each week at different  houses to party, pray and serve their communities.

 

Rhythm City Church Volunteer Celebration, Rev. David Ficken and Mia Ficken

Rev. David Ficken and Mia Ficken

 

 

Helping grow and serve a new church, otherwise known as a ‘church plant’ is rewarding and tough. Rhythm City’s mission is to connect the disconnected, and the vision is to become a rippling movement of communities where everyday people follow Jesus, together. This is a hard mission, especially because many people have become disenfranchised over the thought of religion and organized religion due to something that happened in their past or the thought of Christian hypocrites and judgement that they believe they will receive (and unfortunately sometimes do receive) when they walk into a church. Rhythm City is a place to meet people right where they are at, and love them. No judgements, no pressure, just grace. For we are all the same, in need of grace.

 

Thank you to all the volunteers who make Rhythm City continue to move and grow and change lives every day!

Have a great week, everyone!!

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Quest Fit Brentwood

So, I LOVE sites like Groupon, StyleBluePrint, Living Social and others. Why? Because I get to try many different health and fitness facilities at a fraction of the price. Quest Fit in Brentwood, TN was one of these. I had no real expectations, except for the fact that one of the yoga instructors who is awesome, and kicks my butt every time, Angie Kirk. So, after seeing she was one of the instructors, I knew I was in for some real training – and I was right.

Though I never got a class with Angie, I did do Quest 60 classes and they were hard core. These classes are always different, but definitely some of the hardest workouts I have ever done. These classes are full body, using body weight, kettlebells, plyometrics, HIIT and more. Quest Fit’s tagline is great: “It’s not about being better than someone else, it’s about being better than you were.” It’s easy to be next to someone in any fitness class watching them do more reps with heavier weight, or run right past you and feel less than. . . but with this group of people, it’s fun, lighthearted and definitely a team effort.

The facility is large, clean and new. The bathroom / showers are spacious and clean – very nice and comfortable with towels, shampoo, soap and hairdryers provided.

I would recommend this to anyone looking for a new type of fitness in an encouraging group environment. It is on the pricey side around $179/mo for unlimited classes per month, the cost is less if you choose a per class / specific class option, but nothing less than $100/mo.

 

Quest Fit Brentwood, Q60 Class

Quest 60 finale – 4 rounds of lunges UP HILL!

Quest Fit Brentwood Fusion Class

Quest Fit Brentwood Fusion Class

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Kid’s Sunday School?! Eeeeek!

Ok, so I’m NOT a teacher. I have plenty of friends and family members who are. . . but me, just not cut from that cloth. So, when I volunteered to teach Sunday school at Rhythm City Church this week, I was not quite sure what I was thinking. I’m sure it was something like, “I’ve accomplished a lot in my life, in business and love. . . I can DO THIS!” What was I thinking?

I love kids, and I hope Dave and I are blessed to have them, I can’t wait! But, for now. .  . Kids intimidate me. Seriously. Especially when they can talk back and ask questions, run around, dirty their diapers. . . . the list goes on. Maybe it’s because I don’t have one of my own yet – so I’m not really sure if I am doing anything right, but mostly it’s because they can smell fear – my fear. They sense it like little ninjas. . . and I’m in trouble if they see the fear in my eyes.

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Lord, help me. Don’t let them smell the fear. . . 

 

Anyway. . . I will be ‘teaching’ the adorable little ninjas about Noah’s Ark. I think the head teacher lobbed me a softball on this one, and I am forever grateful. I could have gotten Cain and Abel (“kids, don’t kill your siblings”). . . ugh. That could be a disaster. . . so, thanks, Erin!

So, I did a little research for Sunday and I found a short little kid friendly story and a great food incorporated craft for them to do after the story. Pinterest is amazing, so thank you, Meaningful Mamma, your Animal Cracker carrying craft is ingenious.  I mean, what kid doesn’t like snacks and crayons?

MeaningfulMomma.com

 

Follow Up: Success! The story was short and sweet for the little ones who couldn’t sit still, and the craft was great! I gave them Frosted Animal Crackers as a snack, and we used the regular ones for the craft. Also, to prolong the time to create the craft I had each child color BOTH sides of their little Ark pouch.

 

There were a few tears, a wet diaper and shorts. . . but other than that – pretty good, if I do say so myself!

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Yazoo (yeah- zoo), TN’s First Craft Brewery

Yazoo Beer, Dos Perros

Yazoo Brewery, Since 2003

When it’s a hot Saturday in June, what better way to spend it than taking a brewery tour at Yazoo Brewery and enjoying different libations that the house has to offer?

 

Yazoo’s owner Linus Hall opened the doors of Yazoo in October 2003. What was once a young UVA student’s passion for brewing that sprung from a Home-brewing kit purchased from the back of a 1993 Rolling Stones Magazine was now a business.

I love Yazoo. The first time I tried a Dos


I was hooked. I will choose Yazoo over pretty much any other beer when I’m in TN. Keepin’ it local, ya know. But Dos Perros isn’t all they have. Varietals include, but aren’t limited to: Yazoo Pale Ale, Spring Wheat, Hefeweizen, Sly Rye Porter, Hop Projects, Gerst and the Tennessee’s first ever legal high-gravity al, Yazoo Sue. Aptly named after the famous Johnny Cash, it’s dark and strong, just like ‘The Man in Black’.

The first space Yazoo occupied was in Marathon Music works, but they soon outgrew the small space and now take up residence in the Gulch, 910 Division Street to be exact. The brew tours have grown from a one room, one stop tour to a 45 minute multi-stop tour, and it’s great.

Yazoo doesn’t serve entrees, only light app fare and pretzels. However, there is usually a food truck parked at the front door on Friday and Saturday. So, stop by today – you won’t be disappointed!

Cheers!

Yazoo Brewery Tour Guide

Yazoo Brewery Tour Guide

 

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