Living with Grace

A lifestyle blog inspired by a college student’s love for food, fashion, design, and fabulous finds


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Nashville, Tennessee

This year I enjoyed my last spring break in Nashville, Tennessee. Over the course of 4 days I visited:

  • Centennial Park
  • Country Music Hall of Fame
  • Belmont Mansion
  • The Hermitage, Home of Andrew Jackson
  • Belle Mead Plantation
  • Frist Center for Visual Arts
  • Tennessee Capitol
  • Hatch Show Print
  • Robert’s Western World

I ate at 4 incredible restaurants (all of which I highly recommend):

Touring Nashville was a blast. My favorite part of the trip was actually learning the history of the city. The tours of the Hermitage, Belle Mead, and the Belmont Mansion were fascinating. And of course, the live music aspect made walking around the downtown area a ton of fun. Nashville’s Broadway is not quite the same as Austin’s 6th Street but the two are very similar, cowboy boots and all. There is so much more to do and see in Nashville. I can’t wait to go back, hopefully sometime in the near future!

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Prepping for a Summer Vacation

There’s a lot that goes into to planning a vacation. In preparation for my trip to Asia I have collected a list of helpful resources to share and added a few tips of my own. I hope you find it all helpful!

Travel Guides

1. Lonely Planet has everything you need to plan your trip. Hotels, restaurants, things to do, getting around the city, practical information, history, etc. It has it all!

2. Fodor’s is one of my favorite travel sites. They have a wealth of helpful information on their website for almost every travel destination you can think of. Grab a Fodor’s guide-book from your nearest bookstore and your set for your big trip. Most books include a map, popular tourist destination sites, hotel/lodging comparisons, recommended restaurants, tips from other travelers and more. Great pictures and concise, well synthesized information makes these guide books a travel go-to for me.

3. Another guide-book to look into is National Geographic. This would be good to read before a big vacation to plan your itinerary and take with you on the trip. It has all the advice and recommendations you need. The pictures alone will get you exited.

Apps:

I had no idea that there are so many different travel apps out there. If you’re like me this list from CNN is full of apps you have never heard of before. 50 to be exact. Those who are shopping inclined might want to take a look at the currency app, #7. Google translate is a must if you are traveling to a country with a foreign language. The itinerary planner (#16) looks like it could be helpful as well.

How to Pack:

Your luggage:

1. Real Simple provides expert packing tips with everything from folding shirts to cramming shoes with socks. If you scroll to the bottom of the page, there is a great step-by-step summary.

2. Kayla’s Travel Secrets: Packing is a well-written blog post that tells you everything you need to do and think about when packing and prepping for vacation. Kayla is blunt and straight to the point in this post and I think that’s one of the reasons why it is so helpful.

3. For picture guidance take a look at this blog post from Park & Cube (the source of the picture above).

Your carry-on:

1. Carlee from Deliciously Organized wrote a blog post about everything she puts in her carry on for a vacation flight. It’s full of all of the essentials you need to remember to pack in your carry on. Plus, there are some lovely pin-able photos. I would say the most important tip is to always include your travel kit and an extra change of clothes in case your luggage gets lost.

What to Pack:

1. Worrying about what to pack? Don’t fret. The Traveler’s Checklist has your back. This website is amazing. Plug in your trip information and you are instantly given a packing list and preparation guide. In addition to the packing list, the website includes checklists for travel and home preparations, essential vaccine information, documents and money. There are even tabs for the weather forecast, tips and a map.

2. Knock Knock provides a packing list pad for your shopping checklist convenience. These are available online and in some J. Crew stores.

3. The most amazing blog post I have seen on packing light is from Perpetually Chic. Beautiful pictures with a break down of every outfit. This is a wonderful packing resource!

4. From me…

summer travel essentials

Yes to Cucumbers Face Towelettes, Mossimo Straw Fedora Hat, Kate Spade Saturday Airplane Essentials Kit, J. Crew 3″ Chino Shorts, Loft Short Dolman Sleeve Front Button Blouse, Urban Expressions Sunday Satchel, Converse Jack Purcell Sneaker, J. Crew Tulle Bikini

Other Shopping Notes:

I found the perfect shirts for my trip at T.J. Maxx believe it or not. The brands I bought were Velvet Heart, Thyme & Honey and Cynthia Rowley. They are lightweight, super soft and airy tanks. They can be dressed up or down for the occasion. They are also machine washable which is a big plus for me… there’s nothing more annoying than a top you have to continually send to the dry cleaners or hand wash! Anyways I recommend taking a trip to T.J. Maxx if you need vacation clothes. Everything I top I bought was about $10 and I will continue to love wearing them after the trip!

There are so many great resources on the web for traveling. This is simply a collection of the sites I came across and found helpful. Please feel free to comment with any other advice or resources that I failed to mention!

Image Credit: Park & Cube


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My Spring Break Trip to New York

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So I recently returned from New York and have much to share. I was in the city for almost a week for Spring Break. I went on an advertising networking trip so I didn’t have a ton of time to explore the city, but I was able to do a few touristy things. Here are some of the highlights of my trip…

central parkCentral Park was one of my first stops in New York. It was a little cold but not too bad with the sun out. It’s a beautiful tourist spot and a fun place to go for a walk in the city! As an added bonus, a Laudrée shop is only a few blocks away. The line was out the door when we went in the afternoon but it moved quickly and the French macaroons were well worth the wait.

soho

Soho is a must for shopping. Along these streets you will find about every popular store you can think of plus trendy boutiques. Piperlime very recently opened their first and only store in Soho. Baked by Melissa cupcakes are extremely popular in New York so when I saw the store in Soho I couldn’t resist. I was surprised to find that they are tiny! The cupcakes are comparable in size to cake balls and you get 3 for $3. The flavors I tried were cookies and cream, mint chocolate chip, and chocolate chip pancake. Each cupcake was a delicious two bites. I wasn’t able to make it to Magnolia Bakery but Baked by Melissa sufficed in terms of satisfying my cupcake craving.

chobani new yorkWhile you are in the soho area you have to visit the Chobani store. I fell in love with this little shop while in New York. These greek yogurt bars should be everywhere. I am a huge Chobani fan so it was  fun to be able to go to their first experimental yogurt bar. The “yogurt creations” all sounded so good. I wish I could have gone back to try every option but I unfortunately didn’t have enough time. The strawberry, honey and granola combination sounds simple but it was delicious. I can confess that my liking for Chobani has grown to an obsession after this visit. The store is a great option for breakfast or an afternoon snack if you are in the soho area of New York!

new york

For the more touristy part of my trip, I visited Bryant Park, the New York Public Library and Rockefeller Center. This area is worth visiting just to see Rockefeller Center and the NBC studios. If only I had woken up early enough to see the Today Show live…

shake shack

In terms of popular food spots, I have to be honest… Shake Shack is completely overrated in my opinion. Maybe my expectations were too high from the reviews or maybe New York just doesn’t know how to do a good burger like Texas. I don’t know but I was honestly let down by Shake Shack. It’s comparable to In-N-Out Burger or P-Terry’s. It’s really nothing special so I don’t understand why it’s such a popular tourist destination.

Le Pain

On the other hand, I did love Le Pain Quotidien. The reviews are right, this coffee shop/bakery is amazing. I had a cappuccino and a little brownie that was delicious. They also have appealing lunch and brunch options. I would love to go back so I definitely recommend Le Pain Quotidien.

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The rest of my trip was full of advertising agency visits, all of which were amazing. I couldn’t love my major more and am so excited about my future in advertising. I had a blast in the city overall and would love to go back to New York! Out of all the restaurants we visited, I recommend RepublicTrattoria TrecoloriSunburnt Cafe, and Max Brenner.

Oh and I did happen to see Anne Hathaway at Eataly. That was definitely a highlight of my trip. From Princess Diaries to Les Miserables, I’ve always been a fan.

Okay, now I’m done.


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Texas to New York

new york inspiration

This Texas girl is getting ready to venture off to New York for Spring Break! I’m so excited I can’t do anything else except think about my trip. I’m going to be such a tourist and it’s going to be great. I might be “that girl” in flats, but it’s ok because there’s absolutely no way that I’m going to walk around all day in heels. I’ll do my best to look fashionable but I’m definitely going to stick to my comfy shoes and layers.

I don’t even know what I’m most excited for… the food, the sightseeing, the nightlife… It’s all going to be amazing. My mouth is watering just looking at pictures from the Meatball Shop and Magnolia Bakery. I can’t wait to share pictures. Stay tuned!

Image Credits (clockwise from top left): Dustjacket Attic, Dustjacket Attic, Best Friends for Frosting, Zagat, Dustjacket Attic


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Two Words

My week long vacation in Florida can easily be described by these two words:

I spent everyday this past week relaxing on the beach in what I would call paradise.

Saying goodbye to Florida was quite a challenge and it will definitely be hard to get back into the routine of school and work. So, cheers to the last day of spring break and let’s hope that this upcoming week isn’t too hard to manage!

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