26 Feb 2015

Feelin’ the burn without burning up {SportBody Pilates}

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When it comes to “good workout”, your mind automatically imagines dripping sweat, being out of breath and really feeling the burn. When it comes to our next adventure in the workout world, I learned that there are a variation of “good” workouts. After really getting into yoga the past few months we decided to switch it up and continue on our journey through Milwaukee’s best workouts.

Next up: Sport Body Pilates

Located in the Third Ward in a window front shop at 159 N. Jackson Street, the studio has sprawling windows that you can’t help but smile in on sunny days. And in the recent frigidness, the studio is still nice and warm.

You may be thinking, “Oh my gosh, everyone can watch me work out!” but that isn’t the case. Random passersby may see you after parking their cars in the Italian Community Center parking lot, but they’re probably envious of you.

Pilates was a whole new experience for both Amanda and myself and our teacher, Krista, was so accommodating to ease our jitters.

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A lot of yoga moves are implemented in pilates, but where you used to rely solely on your body and a mat, there’s now this carriage involved. A carriage with springs and straps and bars…how do I even approach this thing? Kind of intimidating at first.

Krista warmed us up and took us slowly through different moves and reps of each. She wanted us to get a feel for the carriage and being able to rely on our body for balance.

You see, I’m NOT coordinated and my balance is always off kilter. I have to admit that my biggest feat was being afraid I was going to fall on my face on a few of the moves which I’m still learning the names to. But low and behold, if you trust your body and really concentrate, it won’t fail you! I succeeded through class, class number two after this week, and still have all my teeth..

After class, I remember thinking to myself that I must not have been doing it right as I didn’t work up a huge sweat that I’m used to. Not to say I didn’t sweat…I did, but it was a girly sweat (if there is such a thing). I didn’t even drink out of my water bottle until after class…I must not have been doing it right.

The next morning, I couldn’t have been more wrong. That’s when I learned that a “good” workout is subjective and doesn’t fit the gym industry’s standard.

My abs burned like NEVER before…even thinking back to highschool volleyball when our coach made us go through bootcamp at two-a-days. We joked in the office that it hurt to breath.

After my second class last past week, my lats and inner thighs still have a twinge of soreness to them and that was two days ago.

What I loved: The class sizes stay small, like 2 to 3 people small. Krista is hands on and watches your form, she is able to give everyone attention to make sure their bodies stay in the shapes they are supposed to; she doesn’t want anything strained, nobody getting hurt. It also allows for a little bit of experimentation. We recently tried out the chair, where you balance yourself sideways on your arms and lift your legs off of a loaded spring with your abs. Sounds about confusing as it is, but Krista walked both Amanda and I successfully through it.

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What I didn’t: This changed after I got out of bed the next morning, but first thought after leaving class was my lack of sweat, therefore I didn’t get a workout in. Like I stated above, that definitely was anything but the case.

What to bring: “Grippy” socks come in handy for some moves. If you don’t have them, Krista has gripping clothes she can put down on the bars for you. No mat needed.

What to wear: Form fitting clothes-like you would wear to yoga.

Parking: Two hour metered and unmetered parking available on the side streets. Both Amanda and I have driven separately each time and haven’t had any issues with finding spots.

Try it out!: These deals are a steal and hard to pass up http://www.groupon.com/deals/sportbody-pilates

When it comes to working out, the hardest part is branching out and trying something new, but take it from me, the workout and payoff is worth the risk!

-Julie

19 Feb 2015

Nickles & Dimes-The Real Cost of Signature Drinks

Tips and Tricks from a Wedding Planner No Comments

Signature drinks are always a fun touch at wedding festivities; they are all over Pinterest and wedding magazines and add a personalized touch to the day. The thing the magazines don’t tell you is that they are pricey. You may think you have open bar so it will all be included, right?

Unfortunately, that isn’t usually the case and it surprises a lot of our couples. Typically a signature drink costs extra. You can usually pay per drink that guests order or have a bunch made and ready to go, but you will pay for unused drinks that way. Either way it can add up to an extra chunk of change you didn’t plan for, so we have some tips to have your signature drink and sip it too.

First, if you are doing a wine and beer bar and not offering liquor, a signature drink can be a great way to give your guests a hard alcohol option. You can do a his and her favorite drink or a drink that has special meaning to you. This will give guests insight into your story as a couple and give them something tasty to sip on during cocktail hour.

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Make sure to explain your pick in a sign or on cocktail napkins. You can say something like “Sip on a Moscow Mule, the drink Tom introduced Anna to on their first date!”

Second, to make sure you aren’t paying double for an open bar and a signature drink you could pick a drink that isn’t included in your bar package. We always think it is a good idea to have a table with drinks or passed libations at the beginning of the cocktail hour. This is when your bar will be the busiest, it is when most of your guests want a drink and they usually don’t want to wait. If you have an option to free up the bar, believe me, your guests will thank you. It also adds another level of sophistication to the event.

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One of my favorite go to’s is a glass of champagne with a fresh raspberry for garnish. It looks pretty and who doesn’t love a little bubbly? It is also something that isn’t included in most wedding bar packages so you aren’t paying twice.

TIP: If your package includes a dinner toast you can usually use it for something like this, it will depend on your venue though.

Third, another option is to save the signature drinks for the rehearsal dinner or brunch if you are having one. Those events are smaller and sometimes those locations will offer a signature drink within your package. One of our couples did an Old Fashioned menu for their guests at the rehearsal dinner. They had a bunch of out of town guests and they wanted to showcase a true Milwaukee drink. The menu included a classic old fashioned, a honey old fashioned and a cinnamon old fashioned. Friends and family loved the offerings and it didn’t break the budget either.

The day after wedding brunch is another great time to offer a signature drink. Since you won’t have a full bar a mimosa bar or bloody mary bar can be a nice added touch to send guests off on a high note. After all the best cure for too much fun on the wedding night is more fun the next morning.

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So before you get too pumped about your unique signature drinks with adorable personalized straws consider your options and what might work best for your wedding.

-Amanda

12 Feb 2015

New Kid on the Block {Lizzibeth}

Diaries of a Wedding Stylist No Comments

When I first caught wind of Lizzibeth I remember coming across a bridal photo with these amazing accessories. Having to often come up with accessories and jewelry options for brides, I always seem to have my eyes peeled and that’s what landed Lizzibeth on my Radar. There wasn’t (and still isn’t) a picture that I have come across from her shop that I don’t want something from.

Right then and there I knew I had to check it out; I looked into Lizzi’s shop and it was mobile-such a neat idea! Orders were placed online and picked up near Marquette University’s campus, which later I found out is her Alma Mater.

After catching wind that she was opening a storefront located at 550 E Menomonee Street in Milwaukee’s Third Ward, I knew I needed to get in there STAT.

Being granted the opportunity to meet, I remember walking into the store and being nothing short of dazzled. Right away I had to touch everything within eyesight. Even the displays were gorgeous. I was like a kid in a candy store who had already had too much sugar; I couldn’t focus on everything in front of me because it was all to die for.

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From brides to be, to maids, to everyday accessories, there is something for everyone there. I hate saying that as we all know one size does not fit all, but if you’re looking for something glitzy and glam, you’ll find it.
The best part about Lizzibeth is the price point for the jewels doesn’t go above $40. Seriously. What you see in the magazines for hundreds of dollars, you can have for a fraction of the price.

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TIP: There’s a little room in the back with discounted deals you can’t even imagine.

Lizzibeth also offers space for bachelorette get togethers, private parties, showers of all sorts and due to the natural sunlight throughout the shop’s sprawling windows the place makes for a great space for brides and maids to get ready on the big day. Complete with a kitchenette, groups are welcome to bring in food and refreshments for these events. {Click HERE to inquire}

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For someone who has a knick for knacks, you’d think she’d be born to do this, or atleast been in the industry forever, but that’s not the case. (Get ready to raise your eyebrows.)

Fun Fact: Lizzi graduated with a Civil Engineering degree at MU and went off to NYC where she worked at the J.Crew in Rockefeller Center, The Vintage Twin and Teen Vogue. After a stint as a fashionista, Lizzi made her way back to the midwest, in Chicago, where she worked in finance and risk management. After all of that, she came full circle and moved back to Milwaukee where she decided to open what some would describe as their dream shop.

Lizzi is warm and welcoming, like an old friend whom you haven’t seen in years, but have no problem just picking up where you left off. I feel that is why she has had so much support within the community-everyone has been excited to meet her, for her to join the Third Ward family and for her business to be successful! And while she is still in her first year as a storefront in Milwaukee’s Third Ward, I think it is safe to say this new kid on the block will be a mainstay.

Shop Lizzibeth’s business hours vary daily and can be found by following her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Can’t make it in? Shop online!

{Bridal photos courtesy of Kate Weinstein Photography}

-Julie

11 Feb 2015

DOiNUT the Right Way {Trending Desserts}

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As wedding planners, we are always trying to come up with quirky, fun alternatives to typical wedding day traditions.

Dessert bars have been trending through the years with mini cupcakes, macarons and other sweet treats. We’ve even done our fair share of ice cream sundaes and gelato cups.

Lately though, we’ve been thrilled with another bakery item popping up out of the fryer. Donuts!

Last season we had a few brides ahead of the trend, using donuts for dessert from Cranky Al’s and the Doughnut Vault. We couldn’t have loved it more.

The thing with donuts (or doughnuts) is they are fully customizable-from strawberry champagne to s’mores. They really allow brides to go above and beyond with customizations; if you can fill it, you can at least frost it, or at the very least top it.

So for the sakes of our brides to be, we teamed up with Heather and Sara from Heather Cook Elliott Photography and tried a few.

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And by a few, I mean 15…different…kinds…from the likes of Holey Moley, Sweet Perfections and Cranky Al’s all here in Milwaukee.
We tried everything from old fashioned to long johns and everything, truly everything, in between.

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{Cronut, Gingerbread, Chocolate Long John, Lemon Old Fashioned, Egg Nog, Strawberry Champagne, Nutella, Black & Tan, Bourbon & Vanilla, Apple Fritter, Maple Bacon, Cranberry Orange, Hazelnut Latte, Apple Pie, White Cake}

After tasting, we rated each donut in 3 categories: Taste (being the most important), Creativity/Expectation (for classics) and Presentation.
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A favorite all around ended up being Holey Moley’s seasonal gingerbread. The flavor was intense and the donut was perfectly cakey. It was suggested all around that this particular flavor would be perfect as a hole.

After a grueling hour of tasting, we were able to tally our scores and determine this:
Holey Moley delivered the best cake donuts.
Cranky Al’s delivered the best classics.
And, if you could only eat one donut for the rest of your life, we suggest Sweet Perfection’s Hazelnut Latte; one that we all gave a high score!

TIP: Looking for a donut wedding cake? You may have just found a friend in Holey Moley doughnuts.

So if you’re following the scent to the trail of the donut trend, don’t be afraid, this sweet little breakfast treat is no longer just for Sunday mornings!

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{All photos courtesy of Heather Cook Elliott Photography}

-Julie

03 Feb 2015

Leave it to the Pros {Blushing Blog Feature}

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A question that we often receive during meetings when explaining the importance of our services is “Well, why exactly should we hire you? Can’t we do this ourselves?”

Sure, you could technically plan your wedding by yourself. You could blindly attend vendor meetings, blindly sign contracts, not exactly knowing if you’re getting a great deal or a great vendor.

You could plan out your timeline, follow every move of dinner service-has everyone been served?, make sure the bar is serving your guests in prompt manner.

You could monitor the gift table and card box.

You could corral guests, cue your officiant, not to mention the musicians and readers.

When a problem arises, you can be the point of contact, having any and all vendors approach you when they don’t have a go to plan of solution.

If it rains, you can take care of moving all of the items into a safe place.

Oh and did you remember set up and clean up?

Sure you can do it yourself, but we can do it, too! While taking all of the pressure off you.

Julissa and Ayodeji’s wedding was recently featured on Blushing Blog.

After reading such kind words provided by the bride, you might have even more “PROS” as to why it is a great idea to hire a wedding coordinator.

Best use of budget?

“The best use of our budget was our amazing photographer, Heather Cook Elliott. Also our wedding coordinator, Tailored Engagements, and videographer, One Fine Day.”

Is there anything that didn’t go as planned?

“There were a couple of things that didn’t go as planned; however, we hired a day-of coordinator and Julie, of Tailored Engagements, handled everything. I wasn’t aware of anything until weeks later.”

Favorite moments?

“One of the many favorite moments of the day was when we did our first look. I was very opposed to this throughout the planning process, but our vendors suggested we do one due to our timeline. It was incredibly special to have a moment alone with him before the ceremony. The butterflies in my stomach were undeniable. It was so very special.”

To view the full blog, check it out here!

We go the extra mile to make sure each and every one of our couples is happy on their wedding day. In this particular wedding, I ended up soaked to the bone and shivering at the end of the evening-and I would do it again in a heartbeat!

20 Jan 2015

Flowers in her hair, flowers everywhere

Diaries of a Wedding Stylist No Comments

When it comes to planning a wedding, one of my favorite meetings to attend and ideas to brainstorm are what types of flowers are going to suit my brides’ wedding days best.

I love soft, full blooms, greenery, anything lush.

I love a wedding day filled to the brim with floral.

It is no surprise to find arrangements blossoming on aisles, altars, tables and chairs, but a trend that I saw a little of last year and would love to see more this year is flowers in the hair.

Flower crowns have been popping up here and there-I like seeing them on flower girls, but I LOVE seeing them on my brides.

Individual blooms in place of bedazzled pin are always a DO adding a soft, romantic touch.

TIP: Skip any bloom whose stamens sport a high amount of pollen-it will show up in your hair! Or worse, your dress!

A few of our real wedding favorites:

Emily and John both donned crowns made by Marius Bell Floral. {Photography by TJ Uttke Photography}

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TJ UTTKE e + j

Sam added an elegant touch to her updo with a simple, yet beautiful pin also made by Marius Bell Floral. {Photography by Heather Cook Elliott Photography}

Sam's beautiful bloom

You don’t have to go to the pros for your headpiece to be beautiful. This Pritzlaff bride created hers on her own! {Photography by TJ Uttke Photography}

TJ UTTKE Floral

Whether you be a fan of greenery, a full on floral crown, or a simple bloom, adding flora and fauna to your hair is a gorgeous way to add extra glamour to your day!

19 Jan 2015

Turning it up a notch {Milwaukee Power Yoga}

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We promised to ourselves and to our clients that we would be trying out different yoga, pilates and barre studios throughout the next few months to kick to cold winter blues and to keep our brides in the know with the best work outs leading up to their wedding!

Yoga has been a favorite in the office and this time, we kicked it up a knot with some H O T yoga!

Milwaukee Power Yoga definitely made us sweat out all of those post New Year toxins!

Located on North Farwell Avenue, the studio can be easily overlooked; keep your eye out for their bright green logo! There is street parking around the studio, but I suggest planning on showing up 20 minutes prior as parking can fill up quickly!

MPY

TIP: Perhaps it was because of the sub zero temperatures, but Milwaukee Power Yoga’s classes have been filled to the brim. Show up at least 20 minutes early if you want to stake out a spot easily!

Milwaukee Power Yoga offers vinyasa flow style yoga, emphasis on the flows! It is a challenging practice that combines balancing, stretching, and strengthening asana sequences to create long and lean muscles.
TIP: MPY heats their studio to 95 degrees, if you want to catch a little draft throughout the class, head to the back of the room!

Our Class: Hot Candlelight Flow-my favorite! (for beginners to advanced)
This class is a perfect way to wind down your evening as the flows are at a slightly slower pace.

Length: 1 hour

Milwaukee Power Yoga offers a variety of classes at a variety of times, making the studio suitable for everybody’s schedules and making it one of my top choices for a great work out. The actual studio is separate from the check in area which is large and has plenty of cubbies and hooks for all of your items!

What to Pack: Water, hand towel and your mat. You definitely won’t want to forget your water or hand towel for these classes!
TIP: Yoga ward rents out mats, towels and sells water in case you forget yours!

What to Wear: I wore form fitting yoga pants and a loose, light tank top. I would suggest switching it up to yoga shorts as you will undoubtedly sweat!

What to Expect: Being close to your neighbor. The studio’s floors are marked where each mat should go-follow the guidelines! Last, but not least, I can’t emphasize enough on how much a punch this workout will pack. Everybody sweats, so don’t sweat it!

What I Loved: I felt refreshed after the class! I knew that I definitely got a great workout in and it was all within one hour!

What I Hated: Hate is a strong word! I enjoyed every aspect of this class except how packed it got! Just goes to show that all of MPY’s yogis love their classes!

TRY IT OUT: For only $10, new MPY yogis can get an UNLIMITED 10 days of classes. This yoga studio won’t break the bank, just another reason why I loved it!

11 Dec 2014

In Favor of First Looks

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I’m going to keep this post short, sweet and simple, just as a First Look should be.

When it comes to taking high stress out of your wedding day, adding a First Look can easily turn those levels down a notch.

Reasons Why:

First and foremost-you get to share a special moment alone (well, almost) with your sweetheart before being whisked away by the groups of guests throughout your night. If you are feeling nervous before your ceremony, this might melt away the bad butterflies and give you the good ones. Plus, this day is all about you two!

Laura Zastrow Photography

Laura Zastrow Photography

Second, it is your wedding day and you’ll look gorgeous no matter what, but your confidence levels will be at an all time high after freshly finishing your pampering that morning. You won’t have to worry about getting a touch up in before photos to cover up any tears that may have strayed during the day.

Heather Cook Elliott Photography

Heather Cook Elliott Photography

Third, you won’t feel rushed after the ceremony-you’ve said your I Do’s and sealed the deal. Now its time to celebrate! Getting a good chunk of the formals out of the way before your ceremony starts is a good way to ensure you’ll enjoy yourself during your cocktail hour. Take a deep breath-the hard part is over, it should be time to relax and enjoy your new last name and company!

MThree Studio Photography

MThree Studio Photography

TIP: A lot of couples who don’t have photos before hand end up missing the majority of their cocktail hour. No pop, clink, fizzing for you, not to mention you might be missing out on some of those tasty appetizer.

Take these reasons into account when meeting with your photographer! First looks aren’t a MUST DO, but they may definitely benefit you in the long run.

Maura Stoffer Photography

Maura Stoffer Photography

TIP: Trust your photographer. Talk to them about places you like/looks you’re trying to achieve. They will be able to come up with a solid plan of action and scope out a location for the photos that day! An unlikely location can achieve some of the prettiest photos.

Photographer Credits, top to bottom: Laura Zastrow Photography, Heather Cook Elliott Photography, M Three Studio Photography, Maura Stoffer Photography

05 Dec 2014

Kicking the Blues & Bulges {Yoga Ward}

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‘Tis the season to be jolly as well as to indulge in all of those holiday delectables. Cookies, candies, wine, oh my!

I will be honest, I’m definitely going to indulge.

BUT I’m also going to kick those calories’ butts and work mine while I’m at it.

Throughout the next few months, we will be trying out different workouts at studios in the Milwaukee area to kick the winter blues and bulges. A few on our list: yoga, barre and pilates.

First up, Yoga Ward.

Yoga Ward

Located on 2nd Street, the studio is easily accessible for yogis coming to class from work downtown. We attended the 5:30 class with Dean and suggest giving yourself plenty of travel time as traffic can move slowly. BUT, street parking is free!

For those of you who have never been there, the space is large and inviting. Gorgeous Cream City brick lines the walls-I said out loud, “I wish I could live here!”

But on to the more important deets.
Yoga Ward offers a variety of classes from relaxing all the way to awakening Forrest for a variety of students-from beginner to advanced.

Our Class: Vinyasa Flow (Mixed Level)

Length: 1 hour 15 minutes

Although Yoga Ward is not a hot yoga studio, be prepared to sweat. Dean keeps a close eye on all of his students and although I hate to admit my moves needed a little polishing, I definitely appreciated his input and suggestions throughout the class.
I recognized the majority of poses, but I also felt that I was being challenged-there was a little bit of a spin of every sequence.

I left the studio already looking forward to my next class. To top it off, I woke up feeling my work out more so than I ever have before.
I was DEFINITELY doing it right!

What to Pack: Water, hand towel and your mat. Yoga Ward doesn’t rent mats, but they do have bottled water if you show up empty handed.

What to Wear: I wore form fitting yoga pants and a loose, light tank top. Clothes that show the outline of your body are most important as you want to make sure your form is correct.

What to Expect: Although our class was unexpectedly small last night, that is not the norm. I suggest arriving early for both parking and prime placement in the class.

What I Loved: Dean truly personalized the class. I’ve been to other studios where the teacher stays at the front of the room throughout the entirety of class. Dean interacted with everyone and perfected your moves throughout the evening.

What I Hated: NOTHING! Except that I let my inner yogi moves get a little rusty!

TRY IT OUT: For only $15, new Ward yogis can get a 3-Class Pass.

TIP Always come hydrated to class! Drink a lot of water throughout the day; I could tell 20 minutes in that my shaky legs were due to my lack of hydration beforehand!

25 Nov 2014

A Different Strip {Ladies’ weekend in Nashville}

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We’ve all heard of the traditional trip to Vegas to give away your soon to be wedded best friend, and even though Vegas is my favorite vacation spot in the US-yes really, sometimes you’ve got to put on your cowboy boots and explore a different part of the states.

And yes, I do mean cowboy boots.

I’m talking about the Music City of Nashville!

What’s not to love about an amazing Iconic music scene, BBQ and it’s within driving distance to boot!

Where to Stay:
The Sheraton Nashville Downtown had great ammenities and even shuttled guests anywhere downtown!

TIP: Shuttle ends at 11pm, but the Nashville strip is only 4 blocks away.

Where to Eat & Drink: Where to start is a better question.

Puckett’s, a grocery store/restaurant hybrid had some pretty awesome BBQ. Their brunch looks promising if you’re (You will be eating BBQ more than once or you’re not doing it right) wanting to start off your day with a kick.

Saint Anejos, located in the up and coming Gulch area, had a cool new vibe. Their extensive tequila list could get you in trouble though! Saint’s Mexican food was out of this world good.
I recommend washing down your dinner with just about any of their margaritas; the ginger being my favorite!

Jack’s: They boast a well deserved first place award for the 2013 American Royal Barbecue Sauce Contest. Their white sauce is the most popular, but my favorite was their spicy sauce.

TIP: This is a great place to stop on your way out of town to get your one last bite of good BBQ.

Acme is the cool new three story bar in the area boasting a rooftop spot as well. Each level has different performers so you can get a taste of a little bit of everything!
The bar and restaurant has a simple and rustic vibe, but is anything but boring.
TIP: A staple Nashville dish is hot chicken. And it is SPICY. I made the mistake of adding extra hot sauce-don’t do it unless you’re expecting to burn off all of your tastebuds.

Tootsie’s is an iconic Nashville hangout. It is “the bar” to be at.
TIP: The upstairs is always packed and the downstairs is tiny! Be prepared to stand and be squished!

Legend’s Corner is the bar we may or may not have repeatedly visited. It boasts beer and up and coming artists. I recommend checking out Cort Carpenter if he’s ever back.

TIP: Most places have online calendars to check out upcoming events/performers. Take advantage of this!

What to Do:
Tour the Yazoo Brewery for only $8.00! Cheap thrills. It is one of the only tours I’ve ever been on where you get samples throughout. The brewery started off of a homebrew kit and continued to expand.
I recommend their hefeweizen.

Check out live music! You are in Nashville after all. (this is almost impossible not to do) My favorite was Cort Carpenter; he did some awesome covers!

Must Do: Checking out the Grand Ole Opry and other Nashville staples.

What to Pack: Cowboy boots!
Okay, so this isn’t a must, but where else do you have a perfectly good excuse to wear cowboy boots daily?
The dress is quite casual; your favorite pairs of jeans and cute tops will fit in perfectly.

TIP: Save some space and nix the heels; there’s limited seating at the majority of bars and the strip gets to be lengthy. Plus, don’t you plan on dancing your night away?

What to Avoid: Not planning ahead. Coming from a planner’s point of view, you might expect this, but take my advice to heart. There are many events I wanted to attend, only to find out that tickets sold out almost immediately. I’ll have to save my visit to Bluebird and the Sirius Satellite Highway Happy Hour until next time. And trust me, there will be a next time.