Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Sutler

I'm not quite on the cutting edge of the Nashville restaurant scene; I dabble in trying new places, so it often takes me a while.  But when my friend JL and I needed to grab a bite before a show at TPAC, it seemed like an appropriate time to try something new: we went to The Sutler in Melrose.

The Sutler definitely has a saloon-like atmosphere, with reclaimed hardwood and cowboy boot decor.  It's located next to Sinema, another pretty new restaurant, all in the up-and-coming Melrose neighborhood.  You wouldn't expect this super-cool restaurant across the street from a pawn shop, but it's there!

For my drink, I had think what I had was the East Bound (didn't get a menu pic!), described as a strawberry soda with a kick.  There was another drink I'd wanted but they didn't have the ingredients for, and what I ended up with was something strawberry with a very interesting finish.  We asked about it because it felt like a spicy floral, and it was some kind of liqueur or bitters that gave the effect.  Not bad for a fresh-tasting beverage; not sure if I'd get the same one again, but I like the creativity and would be into tasting more concoctions.

For starters, we had the Sutler Queso Spread jar, which was chilies, cheddar, gouda and belle chevre, spiced peanuts, and saltine crackers.  There was also a really delicious jelly served too.  Overall, we wished the queso was more like *queso*, vs. a spreadable cheese.  Dipping not spreading.  The jelly was probably our favorite topping for the saltines.

For our main meal, we decided to split the Brussels Sprout Hash and a Bear Creek Brisket Horseshoe, which was brisket, Texas toast, house fries, and a cheddar ale gravy.  I love eggs, so we topped it with a fried egg to boot.  Awesome!  This was definitely the highlight of our meal.  I don't like vegetables, but the Brussels Sprout Hash proved itself to be tasty (and a happily less healthy version of the green stuff I'd expected).  But our absolute favorite was the BBQ stack.  The cheddar gravy was thick but a great complement.  We dug in with forks and cleaned the plate.

Overall, I'd come back to The Sutler.  The service was great, and even though not everything blew my mind, there's enough good there to keep me curious.  I'd love to try their pork fat fries, and maybe one of their "dunks", a sandwich literally served IN a bowl of soup.  Interesting, right?  This place has a great ambiance and pretty solid eats.  Oh, and PARKING!  :)

Sutler on Urbanspoon

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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Budgeting Bloggers: September 2014

It's the end of another quarter!  While I had a larger budget left for this final month of the quarter, and I sure did spend it, I noticed I got fewer items overall.  And it feels good!  I like the idea of investing in quality.  My biggest purchase was my Madewell tote, which I chose to replace my falling-apart black Longchamp Le Pliage (circa 2005, falling apart now); I wanted something bigger than my Longchamp, and Madewell's offering is leather for a similar price of Longchamp Nylon.   The brown/black combo is one of my favorites, because I can keep the same purse on my shoulder all week no matter what color shoes/belt/etc. I'm rocking.

Here's a snapshot of my haul:
  1. Chloe + Isabel Crystal Square Stud Earrings ($24):  My friend had a jewelry party to support her friend who recently adopted.  I feel strongly about adoption, so why not buy some new baubles for a cause?  I love stud earrings, and these were classic!
  2. Fabletics Lima Capri in Taos Print (retail $50, paid $40 VIP): I have a number of Lima Capris from Fabletics, and I find it hard to resist new prints!  Capris are perfect for working out in pretty much year-round in Tennessee, and this print might also get worn around the house on lazy Sundays.  (If you're interested in learning more about Fabletics and their *$50* high-quality monthly workout outfits, click my referral link here.  I can earn $10 if you sign up!)  Kate Hudson wore the pink version of these on a magazine cover this month.
  3. Fabletics Suki Short in Pink Lava (retail $30, paid $24 VIP):  These are shorter than my other pair of Suki Shorts, but still long enough to be comfortable in for running!   I wear my Sukis so much, I wanted another pair.  These also have pockets, perfect for my inhaler or a little packet of energy gel.  I definitely use the shorts in warmer weather quite a bit, just like capris but with more breeze.  I even ran a half marathon in them!
  4. eShakti Belted Chambray Skirt (retail $53, paid $18):  I know I'm an eShakti addict.  But hear me out!  I had a $25 giftcard from my last purchase, plus they sent me a $20 gift coupon, and those both *stacked* for $45 off base price.  So I got a full, fun belted skirt for under $20 including shipping!  Their chambray does rub off before the first couple of washes, but it's fun.  It will be a new classic piece for me.
  5. Madewell Transport Tote in black (retail $168+tax, paid $156 w/tax):  This bag has a bit of a cult following, especially among bloggers.  I wish this bag had a zipper or snap top, but I chose it because it was a comparable price to Longchamp's nylon bags, and I gave my old Camden tote from Madewell to sissy this summer.  Shoutout to Madewell for offering a 15% in-store student discount!  It actually gave me $25 off the pre-tax retail price ($143 subtotal).
  6. Madewell Bien Fait Canvas Tote (FREE):  It just so happened that I was picking up my Transport Tote during the grand opening celebration of Nashville's store... so they gave me a freebie tote bag.  Score!  The back has the Madewell logo.
$262 spent - $38 sold = $224 total
$64 savings + a freebie tote!

Quarterly Budget: $500 - $159 July - $115 August - $224 September = $2 remaining

Not too shabby!  But since I now have a new car and other things that require my funds, I am cutting my quarterly budget from $500 to $400, which is actually less than I used to do before quarterly tracking.  I am also no longer going to count blog earnings towards my budget, only sales of clothing/accessories exiting my closet.  I feel like my wardrobe is in a much better place, and I can still use my quarterly budget for the occasional splurge.  Forcing myself to sell some things before I bring in new stuff will help me control the total closet.

I also decided that after my Disney Marathon in January, I am going to treat myself to a pair of imogene + willie jeans as a reward, outside of my budgeting.  You heard it here first!  Gotta keep myself motivated to finish those 26.2 miles.

Here's a pic of me wearing one of my custom circle skirts from last month!  Instead of my normal petticoat 50s look, I wore it without for more of a 60s schoolgirl vibe.  I love mustard; it's my favorite color these days.

Check out the rest of this month's Budget Bloggers at the linkup at Franish!

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Base Shaper for Purses

When I bought my new Madewell Transport tote, I was worried about stretching the leather out because I tend to overload tote bags.  After all, I'm an MBA student... my Levenger, iPad, and MacBook go all over the place with me!

Bourbon and Bear like approve!

I turned to Google for solutions, and happened upon a post on a blog I've frequented regularly, Putting Me Together, reviewing Base Shapers.  Because when leather stretches out of shape, it stays that way!  While the Base Shapers website isn't anything pretty to look at (even my Gmail thought my order might be spam), I was able to take the measurements from the inside of my Transport Tote and see that the Prada BN1786 had the same dimensions I needed.  I received my order quickly, so despite looking sketchy, the website is legit.

$22 is not cheap for a piece of plastic.  But after making an investment in my Madewell bag, and realizing that I've been carrying it nonstop since I bought it, I decided that I needed to take care of it.  Having the shaper in the base has made a huge difference.  It's a little weird to look into my purse and see my reflection in the plastic, but I can choose to pop it up and simply carry it when the load is light, and ensure I use it when the load is bigger.   It also helps the tote stand when I have to set it down, instead of flopping over!

Just check out the difference in photos, of the bag holding the exact same load.  I can see how over time my tote would get wonky and out of shape!

My Transport Tote, Before/After, including my MacBook Pro inside!

I paid for my own Base Shaper and decided to review it here to share with others...  Has anyone else experiences bag sag in a purse?  I don't want my new baby to get stretched!

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