36 Hours in Nashville

What to do with a single day in Nashville and about $11 left in your pocket? Spend the whole day at coffee shops. Take a look at a few of spots Joshua and I stopped by in an last-minute attempt at a pre-semester vacation.

 

DOSE

We walked into a crowded shop filled with tables covered in laptops, notebooks, and half-drunk cups of coffee. Less than a mile from Vanderbilt University, Dose Coffee seems like a college-student study spot, and I understand why. Big windows along one side of the shop let in plenty of natural light to remedy an afternoon of essay-writing, and with Counter Culture coffee behind the bar students can count on a quality cappuccino to get them through the semester. And any place with tee shirts that say "Uno. Dose. Tres." is okay in my book.


Revelator Coffee

On the recommendation of a bartender at Bar Luca (a place that makes you feel cool even if you've been sitting in a car for 10 hours) we stopped by Revelator Coffee, and, like the proud tourists we were, left with a bag of beans, a cup of coffee, and a Revelator brand Swell water bottle. Roasting out of Birmingham, Alabama Revelator is quickly making waves in Southern coffee culture. Fingers crossed it heads up here to New York because as much as I'd like to I can't be driving to Nashville every weekend for a new bag of their beans. I just can't.


STEADFAST COFFEE

Although we stopped by to pick up a bag of coffee beans, the freshness of the shop's design made it very tempting to spend our entire afternoon sitting in one of the open booths along the wall, sipping on a macchiato while taking Instagram pictures of everything. Located in Nashville's Germantown neighborhood, Steadfast Coffee boasts a spacious interior, with a large patio for afternoons when Blizzard Jonas isn't dropping a foot of snow on the city. After a chat with a knowledgable and friendly barista we decided on a bag of Peru, and brewed on a V60 back home in New York, the beans didn't disappoint.


barista parlor x germantown

The past two trips to Nashville we've stopped by Barista Parlor's East Nashville and Golden Sound locations. But after spending the past few months gawking at Instagram photos of their newest location in Germantown we finally had a chance to visit. The fresh space is filled with natural light and accented with shades of olive green and bold orange, a contrast to the clean lines and crisp white brick of the building itself. At this point in the afternoon we were about 4 cups of coffee in so I opted for the Irish Whisker, a delicious drink made with coffee, cream, orange zest, a Whiskey reduction, and magic. 

The Sawhorse Cafe

It’s no secret that the third wave coffee movement has made an impact on cafe culture in New York; with an abundance of coffee shops popping up around the city, New Yorkers seem to have their pick when it comes to carefully crafted cappuccinos.  But three hours away, in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the craft coffee culture is quietly making waves of it’s own.

Owner and Head Roaster, Jesse Darrow with his son, Timbre.

The Sawhorse Cafe, owned by husband-and-wife team Jesse and Hannah Darrow, opened it's doors in April of 2015 and has since become a Williamsport favorite. The cafe serves farm-to-table eats, homemade pastries, and Buzzsaw Coffee, roasted in-house. My boyfriend Joshua (a former Williamsportian…Williamsporter?) and I stopped by for a bite to eat and a chat with his friend Jesse. 

When we met up with Jesse he was roasting coffee in the back office, holding his less-than-a-year-old son, Timbre, in his left arm while sorting through the freshly roasted beans, picking the burnt ones out of the batch, with his right (so let’s just put that whole “men can’t multitask” thing to bed right here). 

Growing up Jesse always loved food and farming - a passion that’s evident in his approach to the cafe’s ever-changing menu. They source their ingredients locally, allowing the menu to shift with the seasons and reflect the Central Pennsylvania region. Jesse’s approach to coffee is similar: find the best beans he can and don’t mess them up, roasting lightly to highlight the work that nature and the farmers have already done.

Buzzsaw Coffee, US Roaster Corp

In the coffee world there seems to be the perception that a roaster with success in a larger city has higher quality beans, but that’s not always the case. Roasting out of cities like Portland, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, heavy-hitters like Stumptown, Intelligentsia, Counter Culture, and Blue Bottle often get more attention in mainstream coffee conversations, but more and more often quality micro-roasters are popping up in places like Williamsport. In Pennsylvania alone Square One (Lancaster), Alabaster (Williamsport), and Passenger (Lancaster) have already gained traction; and in nearby Ithaca, NY Gimme! Coffee has established a presence in New York City, proving that these smaller roasters can hold their own.

Having worked as a sales rep for Gimme! Coffee and as the head roaster at Alabaster - where he took their beans far in the America's Best Espresso competition - Jesse understands this industry well. And through Sawhorse Cafe he hopes for Buzzsaw to continue to grow, and ultimately develop into it's own entity.

When it comes to the cafe itself, the space is bright, open, about three times the size of any shop in Manhattan, and very Instagrammable. Offering Kalita Wave pour-overs and espresso drinks on a shiny La Marzocco espresso machine (also Instagrammable), Jesse and the baristas take great care in using brew methods that compliment their coffee beans. 

If you're lucky enough to live nearby, stop in for a quality cup of coffee at a community-focused cafe. And for those of us in New York, the three hour drive is probably a faster commute than trying to maneuver the L train during rush hour. If we're being honest.

The Sawhorse Cafe: Website   Facebook   Instagram

Buzzsaw Coffee: Website

Holiday Gift Guide

If you're like me, and you have no free time and only about $0.86 in change at the bottom of your purse, Christmas shopping can be stressful. In order to avoid panic-shopping on December 22nd, and last-minute DIY gift ideas that would inevitably be a disappointment, I've started my gift search much earlier than usual.

Whether you're shopping for your mom, grandpa, best friend, that co-worker you've never met but picked for Secret Santa, your soon-to-be in-laws who don't seem to like you very much, or your sister who always out-gifts you every year and frankly you're sick of it, here are a few of my favorite picks (and websites) for this years season of giving.

Also everything here is under $70, which means you'll still be able to afford groceries and your heating bill when you're done.

   BINU BINU SOAP  : $18-$20   PERFECT FOR : People who wash their faces and/or bodies. All-natural, fragrance-free soaps made with essential oils.   Binu Binu

BINU BINU SOAP: $18-$20

PERFECT FOR: People who wash their faces and/or bodies. All-natural, fragrance-free soaps made with essential oils.

Binu Binu

   CORD TACO  : $29 (for set of 5)   PERFECT FOR : Anyone with a phone (everyone). 100% leather, and 14 color options.   This Is Ground

CORD TACO: $29 (for set of 5)

PERFECT FOR: Anyone with a phone (everyone). 100% leather, and 14 color options.

This Is Ground

   COMBINATION TOOL  : $22   PERFECT FOR : People who have walls in their home. Made with tempered steel and solid brass.   Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.

COMBINATION TOOL: $22

PERFECT FOR: People who have walls in their home. Made with tempered steel and solid brass.

Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.

   AMBER & MOSS CANDLE  : $18   PERFECT FOR : Yourself, honestly. But also anyone who likes things to smell nice. Soy wax and a 40 hour burn time.   P.F. Candle Co. .

AMBER & MOSS CANDLE: $18

PERFECT FOR: Yourself, honestly. But also anyone who likes things to smell nice. Soy wax and a 40 hour burn time.

P.F. Candle Co..

   BOOK DARTS  : $10 (for set of 30)   PERFECT FOR : People who can read. Made of brass, and much better than folding down the corners of the page.   Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.

BOOK DARTS: $10 (for set of 30)

PERFECT FOR: People who can read. Made of brass, and much better than folding down the corners of the page.

Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.

   WOOD PHOTO CALENDAR  : $30   PERFECT FOR : Anyone using the Gregorian calendar. Made with reclaimed wood and your very own photos.   Artifact Uprising

WOOD PHOTO CALENDAR: $30

PERFECT FOR: Anyone using the Gregorian calendar. Made with reclaimed wood and your very own photos.

Artifact Uprising

   ENAMELWARE CUP  : $32 (set of 2)   PERFECT FOR : Your friend that loves camping and also everyone else. Enamelware steel, also comes in Teal.   Best Made Co.

ENAMELWARE CUP: $32 (set of 2)

PERFECT FOR: Your friend that loves camping and also everyone else. Enamelware steel, also comes in Teal.

Best Made Co.

   COPPER BODE CLOCK  : $70   PERFECT FOR : People who exist in linear time. It's minimalist, copper, and what else do you need, really?   Country Road

COPPER BODE CLOCK: $70

PERFECT FOR: People who exist in linear time. It's minimalist, copper, and what else do you need, really?

Country Road

   AEROPRESS BUNDLE  : $60   PERFECT FOR : The coffee lover in your life. Kit includes an  AeroPress  coffee maker, coffee filters, and a mug.    Able Brewing

AEROPRESS BUNDLE: $60

PERFECT FOR: The coffee lover in your life. Kit includes an AeroPress coffee maker, coffee filters, and a mug. 

Able Brewing

   RECYCLED WINE GLASSES  : $9-$10 ea.   PERFECT FOR : People who drink beverages. Choice of Olive or Clear and honestly you should just get one of each.   Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.

RECYCLED WINE GLASSES: $9-$10 ea.

PERFECT FOR: People who drink beverages. Choice of Olive or Clear and honestly you should just get one of each.

Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.

    K     INFOLK TABLE COOKBOOK  : $35   PERFECT FOR : People who like nice things and good food. Filled with 85 recipes, incredible photos, and stories.   Kinfolk

KINFOLK TABLE COOKBOOK: $35

PERFECT FOR: People who like nice things and good food. Filled with 85 recipes, incredible photos, and stories.

Kinfolk

   RAGG WOOL CAP  : $32   PERFECT FOR : Anyone with a head. Choice of two colors, and it's made in Colorado so you know it's warm.   Topo Designs

RAGG WOOL CAP: $32

PERFECT FOR: Anyone with a head. Choice of two colors, and it's made in Colorado so you know it's warm.

Topo Designs

Day Trips (or, How to Stay Sane When You're A Grad Student In New York)

Bear Mountain State Park // NY

New York City. The city that never sleeps. One of the most incredible places to live, and also one of the most exhausting. 

After living in New York for just over a year I've learned just how valuable even a few hours outside of the city can be. Taking a break from the fast-paced lifestyle, the constant noise, and the multitasking required to get anything done in a timely manner is a necessity in order to maintain any kind of sanity. 

In an attempt to find a few moments of peace and remember what exactly trees look like, I took a trip to Bear Mountain State Park last Monday. If you're looking for an easy escape from city life for a day or two, read on for a few places we stopped at along the way!

 

Location #1: Bear Mountain

What is the exact opposite of riding the subway? Hiking.

Although we missed the color-changing trees by what seemed like a few minutes, the fresh air and lack of ambulance sirens made the hike a welcome break. The ground was covered in layers of crunchy, golden leaves, the sky was clear, and there were zero bears, which always makes for a better hiking experience in my opinion.

About a 55-minute drive outside of the city, a trip to Bear Mountain is a great escape from the brick, concrete, and homeless people that New Yorkers are typically surrounded by.

*And if driving isn't an option Coach offers round-trip bus tickets to the park for only $26.

Location #2: Sleepy Hollow

Philipsburg Manor // Sleepy Hollow, NY

With only an hour left of sunlight, and not enough time to start a new trail before dark, we did a quick Google search to find a town nearby to wander around before dinner. The results: Sleepy Hollow (which, to be completely honest, I had no idea was in New York...).

Because it was a Monday afternoon most of the museums and tourist attractions were already closed, so we spent most of our time at a park along the Hudson river. After sneaking underneath a fence to snap a photo of the Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse, we spent a little (way too much) time attempting to take one of those casually-throwing-leaves-in-the-air-because-its-fall photos. We also stopped by the Philipsburg Manor - a little house 

Once the sun went down it was time for our last stop before begrudgingly coming back to the city.

Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse // Sleepy Hollow, NY

We tried...

Location #3: Peekskill Brewery

We stopped by Peekskill Brewery on the recommendation of a friend and quickly learned there's nothing better than an unnecessarily large burger and a cold, chocolatey stout at the end of a busy day. Just a short walk from the Peekskill Metro North station and only about an hour outside of the city, the experience is definitely worth the trek. Not only will you sit down without the fear of bumping elbows with strangers at the neighboring table - a novelty for New York residents - but you'll also have the opportunity to indulge in some of the best mac-and-cheese you'll probably ever encounter (and I'm pretty picky about my mac-and-cheese).

Overall my first, and fairly last-minute, day trip out of NY was a success. I came back to the city feeling refreshed and sane, two very good things to feel.

No You Don't Need to Clean Your Apartment (and Other Tips For the procrasting Writer)

As a writer, there's nothing better than actually wanting to write: to have a thought or a direction, to sit down at your computer (or typewriter if you're going to be that guy), and start typing furiously, the words spilling onto the page with a grace and finesse even Kate Middleton would envy.

But, if we're being honest here, that almost never happens. Instead, you end up staring at a blank screen for several minutes until you remember that you should probably alphabetize your books because they're getting out of order. And you only have a few apples left so you should most definitely run out to the store to pick up a couple more. 

I think everyone who writes anything has those moments of feeling uninspired, tired, or just plain over it. Unfortunately when you're up against an impending deadline the whole waiting-to-write-until-you're-in-the-zone thing isn't always possible, and learning to write when you just really don't feel like it is really quite a struggle. 

In the perfect example of seemingly-productive procrastination, while trying to write a screenplay this past weekend I, instead, came up with a list of dos and don'ts for writing up against a deadline. From someone who is wonderful at coming up with well-timed excuses, here you go:

Dos and Don'ts for the Procastinating Writer (An Autobiography):

  1. Just do it (I realize this isn't super helpful, but it's probably the #1 rule of writing things). I know how terrible it is to spend an hour writing something and only have several clunky, awkward phrases to show for it. But just get through that and you're on track to actually coming up with those interesting thoughts we all know are in there somewhere.
  2. Don't watch an episode of The Office (or read New Yorker magazine, or watch Manhattan for the third time this week, etc.). "But I'm researching!" you might proclaim. "I'm studying this film so that I can have a better understanding of story structure, character development, and dramatic irony." That's all well and good, but by episode 12 of The Office that's a much more difficult case to make. You're fooling no one with your Netflix binge, get back to work.
  3. You don't need to clean your apartment, you and I both know that. You did the dishes this morning and took out the trash after lunch. Since when do you scrub the toilet anyway? Since you had a deadline coming up in Screenwriting class...
  4. We know you love Grandma, but now's not the time to give her a call. It's 3am for goodness sake, the woman's asleep. I'm absolutely an advocate for keeping in touch with your wonderful family but using your older sibling or your father as a form of procrastination? How dare you.
  5. Do drink lots of water. I'm no scientist, but in my experience of attempting to pull all-nighters or sit still for 6 hours to finish an assignment, water has always been there for me (how sentimental). Coffee won't keep you awake any more than someone standing behind your desk shaking you for a few hours will, and energy drinks just make you crave Bugels or Corn Nuts or some other strange snack from the only open convenience store. Water is your friend (and if you want to look extra cool drop a few lemon halves and fresh raspberries into your Nalgene and everyone will think you're on some kind of trendy Beyonce detox diet).

Also don't write a blog post...I'm getting back to work now, I promise.

Photo Phriday: Cooper's BBQ Pit

Cooper's BBQ Pit // Ft. Worth, TX

Although this crisp, fall afternoon is quite lovely, today I'd much rather be sitting down in front of a tray of fresh-out-of-the-pit pulled pork and brisket, with an ice-cold Shiner beer in hand, and a cup of pecan crisp ready for me when I'm done. Barbecue is a wonderful thing, and this past August while I was back in Dallas I stopped by Cooper's BBQ Pit in nearby Ft. Worth to get my fix. Although New York City has many things, good barbecue is fairly difficult to find. 

I've been feeling a little homesick lately, and in that homesickness I not only miss my family and friends back in Texas, but I also miss those flavors and experiences this city cannot always offer: Blue Bell ice cream, (they're almost back, y'all), Saturday afternoons spent tailgating before a football game, (free) baskets of hot tortilla chips at a Tex-Mex restaurant, and a literal pit of perfectly seasoned, perfectly tender Texas barbecue. 

- Annamarie // October 23, 2015

Autumn, At Last

It's finally fall. A time for pumpkin-flavored things, mildly puffy coats, and premature Christmas decor aisles at a craft store near you.

I've been an Autumn Enthusiast for most of my life - a serious title that comes with serious responsibilities - and every year, as October approaches, I can't help but get childishly excited about the months ahead. A list of reasons behind my obsession with this particular quarter of the year, and, surprisingly, only one of them has to do with food.

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