WIAW-Last Week

Hello from Knoxville! Today, I’m linking up to WIAW. It’s been a little while!

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This is also my last week in Knoxville. I have a crazy couple of weeks ahead. I don’t think I mentioned this here, but this fall I’m going to St. Louis to intern at the zoo! And my start date got moved up. So. I will fly back to California on Saturday. Then, I have 3 weeks to finish vet schools apps and figure out housing/logistics for St. Louis. AHH. So much to do!

But instead of worrying about that right now, let’s just sit back, relax, and check out today’s food.

At 5:00am, pre-Crossfit, I had a few bites of cereal. Now that I’m getting used to being up so freaking early, I can tolerate a little something pre-workout.

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The workout kind of stunk. We did EMOM for 8 minutes of 3 overhead squats, slow on the way down. The workout was a 30 minute AMRAP of 800m run, 20 UNBROKEN wall balls, 20 pull ups. I got through 3+ sets. For the pull ups, I did the first 10 with no band, and the second 10 with a band. Because that’s a lot of pull ups.

Breakfast: A fantastic idea, with poor execution.

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I’ve been into having granola bars (Luna) for breakfast lately, but I’ve also been having them for a snack so I wanted to mix it up. And I haven’t been feeling yogurt at all. But I have been into sunbutter and jelly. So I made baked sunbutter+blueberry french toast. Basically, the night before I made a sandwich of sunbutter and blueberries, and soaked it in an egg white in foil. While I showered this morning, I threw it in the oven. It was great until the egg totally stuck to the foil taking it out. Whoops. I’m not sure if I didn’t buy nonstick foil, or if I didn’t use the nonstick side…realistically I probably just bought cheap foil…either way, it tasted good! Plus cherries on the side.

Lunch:

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Super simple. Salad with lettuce, tomato, chicken, and Bolthouse Farms Creamy Garlic. Quest chips. I actually really like these! Also more cherries, which are shown in the snack picture:

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Snack in the afternoon was the above pictured Luna!

After I got off today, I hit the grocery store for what I hope will be the final time. I’m REALLY trying to have nothing left!

While making my meal, I snacked on watermelon, as per my usual dinner making snacking habit.

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And ate the last couple slices of zucchini in my fridge.

Dinner:

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Currently loving this salad. Lettuce, tomato, corn, cheddar, and avocado tossed in lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper, topped with BBQ chicken.

Dessert:

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Still loving these salted caramel froyo bars. It’s a nice healthier alternative!

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And a little later on, half of this bar. I tried them for the first time last week, and I’m on board!

And just for fun, I have a few scenes form yesterday’s (short) run. Thankfully the heat doesn’t bother me (and it was only 1.5 miles), but it was weird having my breath be cooler than the air. I’m going to miss Knoxville!

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Only a few more days!

Taking Yourself Out

Happy Weekend!

It’s my last weekend in Knoxville. I had some things I had been wanting and planning on doing this weekend, but things fell through and that really threw me off. Instead of moping however, I decided to take myself out this weekend: to spend a weekend by myself, doing things I want to do, having a good time, regardless of whether it is generally socially acceptable to do these things alone. Because why not enjoy my last weekend here? I came up with a pretty full schedule!

I got off pretty early on Friday, but I came prepared with my laptop and headed straight to a local coffeeshop to work on my vet school personal statement essay. I have a decent idea of what I want to say, but it’s a matter of putting it together. I decided it was essential for me to write this in a relaxed, low-key environment, so I’ve been working on it here and there the last couple of weeks. Again, embracing the slow Southern lifestyle!

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Next, I headed to Panera for dinner, where I got my favorite: half Fuji apple chicken salad. I also packed some crackers to go with it!

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Next on the agenda was a night exploring a little bit of downtown. This was one of the things I was most worried about feeling awkward doing alone, but I decided to just go with it; why not, right?

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I picked out a place with rooftop seating, and a live band. I figured I’d feel less awkward with live music.

I ended up having a great time. When I walked in, the Giant’s game was playing on the TV, which was the most amazing thing for me. I sat down to watch it, chatted with some nice gentleman from Colorado, and then headed downstairs to see the band.

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And was home all by a reasonable hour!

On the schedule for Saturday morning was a Crossfit workout. The temperatures were supposed to be pretty scorching this weekend, so I was expecting the gym to be a hell-hole since there is no AC. It actually wasn’t bad!

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The workout wasn’t super hard, but it was a fun one! It was a partner circuit workout, that included stations like “conversation wall sits,” complete with conversational topics, ball throws, and a mini game where you had to race your partner to 50m on the rower, and you had to do as many burpees as you went over by, which was hard! My closest was 52m on the last round!

From there, I went to the farmer’s market at Market Square. It was much bigger than I was expecting!

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I actually found several places with GF baked goods. I picked up a mini loaf of lemon poppyseed bread.

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And for lunch, I grabbed a vegan (sweet potato and collard filled) blue corn tamale, and some mango lemonade.

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I walked around downtown a little more before heading back to cool down a bit before making a trip to the zoo. I had actually visited the zoo briefly as part of my summer thing, but I wanted to get the full walk around! It’s a really nice zoo—they even have camel rides!

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After the zoo, I made a simple dinner. I threw an ear of corn in the oven, and then had a veggie burger and avocado toast.

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My last item on Saturday’s agenda was a baseball game. I went to a Tennessee Smokies game. The Smokies are a AA affiliate of the Cubs. This has been on my to-do list since I got here! The stadium was really nice, and I got great seats.

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It felt so weird to go to a baseball game in a dress…in SF, I would be bundled up in layers upon layers, and still be freezing! Although as I arrived, there was a thunderstorm, and the game was delayed about 30 minutes! After that though, it was a nice night.

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Dippin’ dots are actually one of my favorites…only the chocolate though!

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Unfortunately the Smokies lost, but it was a close one!

I had a pretty relaxing Sunday pre-Crossfit, involving Grey’s Anatomy (as much of this weekend has had). Every other Sunday, my Crossfit does “Girls Doing Girls,” a female-only glass where we do one of the benchmark girls workouts. I had originally planned on not coming and doing spin instead, but 1. I was feeling Crossfit and 2. my foot has been bothering me a little bit lately after standing a lot this past week and I didn’t want to clip into the flimsy spin shoes. I also thought it was going to be too hot at the 11am class time, but it hasn’t been too bad!

For the workout, we did Nancy, which is:

5 rounds:

400m run

15 overhead squats (Rx is 65#)

My foot felt fine for the running, which was good. I chose to just do 45#. It’s easy to forget, given my broken foot, that my shoulder still isn’t as strong as it was pre-injury. I went from babying my shoulder up to a point where I was able to do everything, albeit light, to having a broken foot and forgetting about any shoulder issues. But the reality is it isn’t as strong as it once was, and I hardly started doing overhead squats before I broke my foot. Plus, this workout kills your wrists. I think I did it, or something like it, once at 55# and that was awful. Anyway, that’s a long way of saying I used 45#. It was a good one; I was able to do the squats unbroken, and finished in 18:17, dripping sweat.

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After Crossfit, I headed to Subway to pick up lunch. I haven’t been there in a very long time, and I have a lot of gift cards there! I love that you can make any sandwich a chopped salad now! I used to live off Subway back in my softball days where I was at a tournament every weekend.

Also, if you’re into volume, you get a lot of bang for your calories with these salads! I got mine with turkey, provolone, tomato, cucumbers, olives, and oil and vinegar, salt and pepper. Plus some baked chips on the side, for old time’s sake.

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I took my salad to go and drove across the river to Ijams Nature Preserve to go hiking.

It was so peaceful out there, and just what I needed! So quiet. It was a beautiful day too, hot but nice in the shade.

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Apparently it was  Pokemon hot spot—I saw several kids catching Pokemon there!IMG_8227 IMG_8226

That being said, I think it was 96 or 97 degrees out (36 degrees celsius, according to the car), so I was definitely sweaty by the end.

Not that I needed an excuse for froyo…

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Menchie’s is growing on me. I like that they list allergens, and have healthy options. Plus they have hot fudge, although I didn’t get any today. But chocolate covered strawberries? What?? For my ice cream, I got salted caramel and milk chocolate.

The rest of the evening involved Netflix and dinner.

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This is a totally random dinner, but I made it last week and enjoyed it. Zucchini, cheddar cheese, eggs over easy, and guacamole.

After dinner, I headed downtown to try and work on my vet school essay. I wasn’t in the right inspirational headspace though, so I made an outline of what I have left to say and called it a night.

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I can’t believe this is my final weekend here! I feel like I’ve been here forever, but also like no time has passed. Strange how that works!

What did you do this weekend? Do you ever take yourself out?

It Didn’t Rain??

Hello! I’m popping in for a weeknight post—what??

We’re just join got do the basics: food+fitness for today!

I went to 5:30am Crossfit. I can’t decide if waking up for these classes is getting easier or worse. Nevertheless, I was looking forward to the workout.

We did heavy back squats, sets of 1 for 8 minutes. It was supposed to be 90%+.

Guys, my squat strength is actually laughable. I ended up dropping weight, from 165 to 155. I’m pretty sure this time last year I was doing 165# for sets of 12…although in my defense, I also didn’t have my lifting shoes, which make a huge difference! I got really strong last summer, but after injuring first my shoulder and then my foot, my squat strength has vanished.

My redemption though at least was the WOD. At least in some ways I’ve gotten stronger! We did Helen: 3 rounds of 400m run, 21 kb swings, 12 pull ups. This was my first time Rxing the workout! It was fast (15:32) but it got done. And honestly might have been faster if I wasn’t sore from Saturday’s pull ups still. Progress, my friends!

I don’t know what it is, but I have not been feeling yogurt for breakfast lately. I also think I have less time than I actually have, so I usually have some fruit and a Luna bar. I’m still working my way through my massive amounts of the old formula of the S’mores!

I managed to take a photo of my lunch (+snack of another Luna). I got an actual lunch break today!

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I recently restocked my Canyon Bakehouse GF bread, and it’s SO much better than Udis. It thaws perfectly! I also snagged some fruit-only sweetened blueberry jam. I like it! It reminds me strangely of blueberry syrup (obviously not as sweet though).

I actually got off super early today, around 4:30. I tried to figure out what to do with all the extra time! I was feeling a bit antsy, and I have an extra spin class I hadn’t figured out how to fit into my schedule (I bought a class pack that came with a free class, and until today could only make weekend classes), so I decided to hightail it to a spin class.

I was greeted to BLACK sky when I walked outside.

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It’s been hotter lately, and it’s supposed to be 99 all week, but this looked like a massive storm!

Somehow though, it never rained?? I’m still figuring out this Southern weather, clearly!

Spin was enjoyable, and I tried to get some of that extra energy out, somewhat successfully, somewhat not!

When I got home, it was time to make dinner. I have a ton of pre sliced zucchini because it was buy one, get one free, and you can’t pass that up. In the interest of time, I sautéed it up instead of roasting it. I served the zucchini with avocado toast, and chicken with ketchup.

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I am actually the worst about eating while I cook, so I try to have some healthier options on hand. Today, I snacked on some watermelon while making the zucchini.

For dessert, I had a Yasso caramel froyo bar. Love those! I also made a few delicious discoveries involving popcorn seasoning. I bought white cheddar popcorn seasoning, as well as salted caramel chocolate seasoning. I thought it would be fun to put them on interesting things. I roasted some zucchini for later, and discovered that it is white delicious with the white cheddar. And proceeded to eat half the pan. Whoops.

The other discovery? Putting butter and salted caramel seasoning on bread tastes like one of those Auntie Annie’s caramel pretzels. Sold.

And that’s a wrap for the night! I’m thinking of going to crack of dawn crossfit again tomorrow, so I’m hoping for an early night!

I Feel So Fit

Hello! It seems like I’ve only been popping in on weekends, doesn’t it? I don’t have much to share about my weekdays; in terms of food, I’ve basically been having the same thing every day anyways!

I have a few scenes from my run. I made it 2 miles! That’s the farthest I’ve run since my stress fracture, and while it felt good, I don’t think I’m quite ready to go further yet.

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So why not another weekend recap?

This weekend my parents came to visit! Which of course meant we got to eat lots of good food!

Thursday night, we met in Market Square and went to Trio. I got the Trio salad, with added roasted chicken. The salad had portabello, brie, and blueberry balsamic. Their chicken was super tender and delicious as well!

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We then went to Rita’s for frozen custard. I went with chocolate and vanilla swirl.

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Friday night after I got off work, my parents picked me up and we headed back to Market Square and hit up Cafe 4, which had been on my radar.

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I had a really delicious salmon, beet, and goat cheese salad. My family also split cheddar grits. I love grits!

For dessert, we split a slice of flourless chocolate torte. I’ve actually been super impressed with the gluten free options in Knoxville. A lot of menus have things labelled.

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We walked around downtown a little bit before calling it an early night. I definitely didn’t get enough sleep the previous couple of nights, and was feeling it!

Saturday morning, my parents slept in while I went to Crossfit. The workout was a partner AMRAP. It started with a 400m run then:

29 Minutes

7 burpees

13 goblet squats

19 sit ups

8 pull ups

7 box jumps

And no, I really don’t understand the numbering scheme. My partner and I switched off rounds. I am so impressed with how much my foot has improved in the past 3 weeks. I can do pretty much anything now. On Saturday I did 20″ box jumps for the first time (I had been doing 16″). For my burpees, I’ve been stepping back and forward. On Saturday, for the first time I started stepping back and lightly jumping forward! (It might be a while before I slam my foot into the ground by jumping back). My pull ups have also drastically improved. Now, I just do the WODs without a band for pull ups. Without questioning it. I didn’t do most of the sets unbroken, partly because my hands got slippery on the bar, but I did do one set of 8 continuous pull ups. A couple of months ago (or less), my max was 4! I felt really strong and fit out there during that workout. Since coming here, I’ve stopped babying my toes to bar and pull ups, and I’ve realized both how strong they really are, and have seen them get stronger. I feel really good, and really fit out there in my workouts. And I finally feel healthy, like a whole (non-fractured) person. That being said, don’t ask me how fit I feel when running! Still working my way back into that…it’s not easy to get back into, but I’m putting zero pressure on myself, and I have zero expectations.

For brunch, I took my parents to a gluten free bakery/market. We all had egg and cheese biscuits (although theirs had bacon).

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After lunch, we drove into the Smokey Mountains.

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It was a tad rainy. We got out at the head of the Appalachian trail to hike, and ended up getting back into the car and staying there for a little while while the worst of the storm passed.

It was pretty cool to be hiking there. Only 2,000 miles to Maine!

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The scenery was beautiful!

It was a great afternoon trip. We DID the Smokies! (As my mom said!)

For dinner, we headed to Market Square yet again to try another restaurant on my list, Tupelo Honey Cafe. This was recommended to me by somewhere I went to Physical Therapy with when I was working on my foot!

We started with spiced and and grilled Okra, served with buttermilk ranch.

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For my main meal, I got a side salad with Tupelo Honey Vinaigrette, and corn soufflé. The soufflé was delicious, and I would love to try and recreate this at home!

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We got back on the early side, so once at my dorm I began laundry and Facetimed my college roommate. It was so good to catch up with her, even if the signal was sketchy! It’s amazing how much there can be to share about just a few weeks!

The next morning, I let my parents sleep in (West Coast time) while I went to a spin class. HELLO cardio. In terms of exercise, Crossfit has been my method of choice (and really my only option) for the past few weeks. I lost most of my cardio endurance with my broken foot anyways, so it’s been a little rough! I’m subbing spin classes the week I get back to California though, so I need to get it together a little bit!

I actually made my own lunch while cleaning up and throwing in some more laundry. it involved avocado toast, watermelon, and BBQ chicken over salad.

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We met up again so that my mom and I could get pedicures. Mine were looking rough—I am pretty bad about my my nails. I tend to get a pedicure with my mom about once a quarter, and then leave that polish on until the next time. It had been extra long this time because my foot was too broken for a pedicure! I went with deep red.

Afterwards, I kidnapped my parents to help me work on my vet school apps. We went to K Brew, my favorite coffeeshop here, for Lavendar Honey Iced Lattes. (Yes, they are as good as they sound.) I have a pretty good idea of what I want to write my personal statement on , but we brainstormed a few more ideas. I think for my writing process, I need to get it down in a low stress, relaxed environment, so I’m hoping to find somewhere nice to hang out next weekend and get started on it. Everything feels slower and more relaxed here in Tennessee, and I know a return to the Bay Area is going to feel like a sack of bricks to the face.

We headed to Panera for an early dinner of a Fuji Apple Salad for me. Love that!

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Then, it was time to say our goodbyes!

Thank you guys for coming to visit!

(Also—how crazy is this. This was my entire tank. That would take me 300 miles. In the Bay Area, $15 gets you like 2 drops of gas…)

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Nashville, TN

So I’m having a blast.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Tennessee. I’ve never been here, or anywhere in the South for that matter, but I’m enjoying my time here.

This past weekend, I visited one of my best friends from college in Nashville. Nashville is her hometown, and while she is not living there this summer, she returned for the weekend to show me around!

I woke up very early Saturday morning to squeeze in a run, my longest yet! 1.5 miles. The foot felt great! I need to continue to take things slowly though because even though my foot feel great, all the little muscles and tendons in my ankle are still really weak.

It’s 3 hours from Knoxville to Nashville. So, I mentioned I’m trying to embrace what I have here. I’ve been listening to country music while I’ve been here, which is something I have never in my life done before. I have a sort of favorite country station? Mostly I like listening to music when I drive, and 90% of the radio here is country. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I listened to country music the entire 3 hour drive there, and the entire 3 hour drive back. I also think the lyrics are interesting to listen to; they tell you a lot of cultural ideals.

I stopped about 2 hours in to the trip, only to look at my clock, extremely confused, only to remember that time zones are a thing, I crossed time zones, and thus was going to arrive an hour early. Whoops….

Upon arrival I got to meet my friend’s 3 pugs. That is a lot of pugs!

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First order of business?

BRUNCH. We went to Fido’s, and it was fantastic. I got a decaf iced latte to start.

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For our entrees, we split a veggie and feta scramble, and AWESOME gluten free sourdough salted caramel french toast. I am of the opinion that french toast should be made with sourdough. If you haven’t tried that before, DO IT!

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From there, she took me to the Parthenon.

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After that, we walked around a bit downtown. It was turning into a scorcher. 100 degrees according to my car thermometer, and nice and humid.

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At this point, we were more than ready for a little AC and a little ice cream. She took me to her favorite ice cream shop, with gourmet flavors. They all sounded delicious, but I settled on sun popped corn.

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We returned back to her house to cool off and to play a game of darts. I wasn’t as terrible as I was expecting to be, haha.

Then, we headed out to dinner with her family. I don’t have pictures because I was being polite and didn’t want to pull my phone out. I had a side salad to start and then a curry-ish quinoa cauliflower bowl.

Because her family clearly knows me too well (or we would all get along great), we went to a Nashville Sounds game, a minor league baseball team. I’ve never actually been to a minor league game! It was a really fun atmosphere. In the oatmeal, there were corn holes, mini-golf, and ping pong.

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Unfortunately, they were losing when we left a few innings early to head downtown. It was fun seeing the city so alive at night! (Not that it wasn’t alive a lot during the day as well!)

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We went to the rooftop of several buildings, and had a gray view of the city. One fun thing about Nashville is that so many places have live bands playing. A lot of them have multiple floors, with multiple bands playing! I was so proud of myself for recognizing the covers of some country songs. Am I an honorary Southerner yet?

The next morning, we had a breakfast of eggs and fruit, and then embarked on my first canoeing adventure!

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I’ve been kayaking before, but never canoeing. We drove out to a nearby river, and rented a canoe to take on the 2 hour trip.

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We did not take any picture on the water, because we didn’t trust ourselves not to tip. (Spoiler alert: we didn’t!) It was so peaceful on the water, and it made me miss rowing a bit. The weather was perfect. It was warm, but early enough that the cloud cover kept it from being too hot.

Our final adventure was a very late lunch. Our orders got a bit messed up so we were there for a while, but it was delicious.

Smoked gouda grits.

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Avocado salad.

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And GF lemon bar (OMG so good).

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And then it was time to make the 3 hour drive back! It’s funny, I know I’ve only been in Knoxville for 2 weeks but I felt like leaving Nashville and coming back was like coming home. Huh. I am trying to embrace the culture here, and take a step back. I don’t know how to explain it, but I feel like it’s a culture of “good vibes.”

Have you ever been to Nashville?