Soaking up the rain and the sun… all in a weekend

Yesterday and today could not be more different. Both amazing in ways I made a point to appreciate. Saturday was rainy and cool. I love running in the rain so I took my running dog Asia to Percy Warner Park in west Nashville. Lots of slipping and sliding (me) and chasing squirrels (her) but we finished the 4.5 mile run safely and exhausted. It was everything I hoped it would be!20150314_175713 20150314_175728 20150314_175738 20150314_175807 20150314_175814 20150314_175827 20150314_175843 20150314_180047 20150314_180106 20150314_180112 20150314_180134Sunday, no clouds. Heat. Cool breeze. Piper’s favorite kind of weather. Mine, too. So we both soaked it in and got some vitamin D in the process. It was everything I hoped it would be!20150315_131313 20150315_135811 20150315_135959 20150315_140140 20150315_140231 20150315_140244 20150315_140308

20150315_140334-Out of the Wilderness

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Please Tell Me This Is Normal. #10

I’m such a regular Samaritan. The other day I was driving northbound on the interstate when traffic slowed because of a recent car accident in the southbound lanes. I saw a car with severe rear-end damage. I saw 2 infant car-seats resting on the shoulder of the highway’s inside lane, close to the grassy median. I slowly drove by and rolled down my windows. I could feel sweat on my forehead. It was that hot outside. Then I saw another car. It was halfway between the north and southbound lanes, parked in the grass with the doors open. I knew it wasn’t involved in the accident. A man, the driver, was helping a woman as she crouched down to sit in the driver’s seat of his car. She was holding a small baby.

So this guy was in the northbound lanes, just like me. He saw the wrecked car, just like me. But then he did something to help the people that really had nowhere else to go.

There’s nothing regular about that!

Hotel Reviews: The Signature at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada

I was in Las Vegas recently, and lodged in a hotel I haven’t been in before. Coming from the Venetian (where I’ve stayed a couple of times), this next hotel had big shoes to fill. We were in Tower 3 of The Signature at MGM Grand. This tower is the newest of the 3 towers, built within the past 7 years. I can’t speak on Towers 1 or 2, but I can say, with this one they did it right. From the gated entry to the friendly staff to the incredible view of Las Vegas, this hotel has a lot going for it.

The first thing you’ll notice is the gated entry which offers a sense of security. The next thing you’ll notice is the valet, which I’m personally not a fan of because I can park the car myself. However, having a valet is convenient and trouble-free. The folks performing the valet service were professional and courteous. Soon, if you haven’t already, you’ll notice that the towers are a few blocks away from the Vegas strip, which may or may not be a good thing. Being in tower 3, it was a long walk just to get to the MGM casino (I’m guessing half a mile, no kidding), an even longer walk and/or taxi ride to get to the heart of the strip. There is a monorail you can take from tower 2 which is inexpensive and as convenient as taking a monorail can be. What I liked about the towers of MGM are that when you want to sort of “escape” the Vegas lights, these towers offer that kind of feel. A retreat, if you will. And like I said, the views are spectacular and the rooms themselves are quite nice.

I’m a fan of the simple things when it comes to hotel rooms. Give me a good shower, a big bed, and a robe and I’m happy. The Signature at MGM grand did all those things and did them well.
You could essentially come to Vegas, get a room here and have a fantastic stay, without taking part in any of the typical Vegas attractions. The hotel offers a pool, a fitness room, and convenient dining in nearby restaurants. But you don’t come to Vegas to stay in your room, right? That’s the only drawback to this hotel: the distance to Vegas attractions.

All in all, a fantastic hotel that will meet or exceed your expectations and I recommend giving it a go the next time you’re in Las Vegas!

Antique Geeks: My Adventures in Estate Sales

My friend Megan and I are self-proclaimed geeks. We’re part of Generation X which we fit into for the most part. But I was born two decades late because I love music and furniture from the 1960s and 1970s. Megan prefers the 1950s and 1980s. We both agree, though, the less expensive, the better so this morning we ventured out to a few estate sales. Follow along in the form of a “how-to” guide as our adventures brought us all over the city looking for the best Nashville has to offer. If you’re on time, you’re late. If the estate sale begins at 9:00am, it’s completely fine to get there in the 8 O’Clock hour, unless they specifically say not to. A lot of times the good stuff could get picked over before you even get there, so whether it helps to take an early-morning shower or support your local coffee shop with a cup to kick off the day, start early.

Coffee from the hometown Starbucks

What exactly are you planning here, sir? To make best use of time and gas, plan out a route before you leave the house. A lot of time will be spent in the car which is fine, but it’ll pay off if you’re not backtracking from sale to sale. Most estate sales list addresses so make your GPS unit earn it’s keep. Also, be prepared to pay via cash. Some sales don’t accept any other form of payment. 

I am a rock, I am an island. As a loner myself, I typically don’t seek out company, but there are a few convincing reasons to bring someone along when you go estate saling. Most importantly, your companion can tell you if what you like is actually hideous. Trust me, that’s invaluable. They can also spot you some cash if you run out and there’s a wood carving of an owl that you just can’t live without. Sure the lyrics “I am a rock, I am an island” are cool, but come one, call up your buddy and bring ’em along.

Keep your eyes on the prize. If you’re looking for something specific at estate sales, it’s important to keep that in mind. Without a doubt, you’re going to see some cool things. You’re going to see some things you never thought you’d see. Many times you’ll see something and think to yourself, “Oh yes, I’ve always needed one of these,” when in reality you don’t. A good philosophy here is to ask yourself, “Will this look like junk in my house?” If the answer is yes, maybe, or probably, don’t buy it. One truth that fits here is that if you don’t love it in the store, you won’t love it at home so try to stick to what you know you want to buy but at the same time, be open to buying stuff that’s just downright cool. For instance, I like collecting bottles so at the second estate sale I found a great bottle from Korea. It had a root inside it. My friend Megan found books she likes and a few great records. Beware of the fanny pack. If you see people wearing fanny packs, be offensive in your shopping. Whatever you’re interested in, hold on to it until you’ve made up your mind. If you set it down, chances are a fanny pack will come snatch it up like a hungry wolf.

Respect your surroundings. Old dinner plates. Old silverware. Old homes. Old people. If you’re looking for the latest IKEA home furnishings, estate sales are not for you. Just think to yourself, why is this sale happening? More often than not, the person living there died of old age. You don’t know who of the family is there, so be mature, don’t criticize the things you see, and spend some cash! Whether you buy a little or fill up a U-Haul, “vintage” is the new “used” so this weekend check out a few estate sales. You may find what you’re looking for, but you’ll definitely find what you were never looking for.

The first mobile phone. Ever.