Tag Archives: shopping

Travelogue: Days 3-6 Mountains, Snow, and Rich People

I didn’t update the last few days because I was doing most of my updating via social media. A lot of plans got cancelled and re-arranged thanks to a surprise attack by Mother Nature.

We were going to travel to Asheville, North Carolina on Monday, but the forecast called for a slight chance of snow so it was decided not to risk it and to go Tuesday.  Well, it didn’t do a thing on Monday. We did enjoy some of the town of Gatlinburg, though.

Monday night the forecast called for light snow with little more than a dusting expected Tuesday, so we woke up early and went to eat breakfast before leaving for North Carolina.  During breakfast it began snowing heavily.  We put the trip off again thanks to the snow, and did some other things around Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.  The snow was starting to pile up so we decided we better get back up the mountain to the cabin. The roads were so bad we almost didn’t make it back. By the time it was all said and done, we had five inches of snow.

That left us pretty much snowed in Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday afternoon. Because we lost a whole day, we extended our trip by one day. We ventured down the mountain last night because the roads were better after being plowed and treated.  Unfortunately nothing was open, so we found one place open for dinner and came back to the cabin.  Watched  American Idol and saw a fellow drama student from high school. He received a golden ticket, so good luck Kenneth “Woody” Gaddie!

Since we had the extra day, we traveled to Asheville today.  The drive from Gatlinburg to Asheville is gorgeous. I was disappointed the more scenic routes were all closed due to snow, but the interstate was still absolutely beautiful. In Asheville we didn’t have a huge amount of time, so we sprung for the tour of The Biltmore house.  It was absolutely lovely, like Downton Abbey come to life.  Being a huge fan of Downton and early 20th century history in general, I was in heaven!

After the tour, we headed back to Tennessee, did a little shopping and ate at The Old Mill restaurant in Pigeon Forge.  The food was great, but if you go there, keep this in mind: the prices aren’t terrible but they may seem a bit steep for what you’re ordering, but the price includes unlimited sides, fritters, soup, salad, and a dessert…and the portion size is HUGE! One of us got fried chicken and received THREE full size chicken breasts. I personally ordered the chicken tenders, and was given EIGHT large tenders! I was able to eat two. I have six left to snack on during the 8-hour trip home.

Now we’re settled back into the cabin for our last night.  It’s been a lovely, much-needed vacation I’ll remember forever.  We’re returning to Arkansas first thing in the morning. I’m looking forward to getting back to my own bed and my babies (my two dogs Sophie and Dixie)!! Now that the trip is over, here are my favorites from the week…

  • The Loveless Cafe in Nashville, Tennessee. Fantastic food, friendly staff.  The wait was long no matter what time you arrived, but there was plenty of shopping around the property to keep you entertained while you waited because the beepers to alert you when your table was ready worked all over the property.
  • Gatlinburg Falls Resort. This is the resort community where our cabin was located. The prices are more than reasonable and the views are million-dollar. Our cabin looked out over the valley and the other fabulous cabins and had two back decks offering breathtaking views of Mount LeConte and the Great Smoky Mountains.  Visit their website if you are looking for a fabulous place to stay in east Tennessee. The price is right, the beds are comfortable, and everything is clean. They have cabins for every budget and every size group.  Can’t ask for more.
  • The Apple Barn and Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant.  The restaurant offered my favorite meal of the trip. Every meal is served with complimentary apple julep and apple fritters with homemade apple butter. MOTHER OF GOD. Delicious.  The chicken pot pie I ordered was delicious.  The Apple Barn offered their fritter mix, housemade ciders, various jams, jellies, and butters, t-shirts, and more.  There’s also a small cafe in the barn if you don’t have time to stop and eat at the restaurant.  The cafe has apple donuts, those fabulous fritters, and more. If you’re in Sevierville, Tennessee, you have to stop by.
  • Best Italian/Best Italian Parkway. It can be confusing because there are two Italian restaurants with almost the same name…but go to either one–they’re the same! Don’t be put off by the appearance of the restaurant. The Best Italian where we dined was located right off the Parkway in a shopping center. Not much to look at from the road, or to be honest, when you get inside either…but that was the end of the negative. The food was outstanding. The meals come with their famous garlic rolls–knot rolls absolutely covered in Parmesan cheese and sitting in melted garlic butter. I had the spaghetti with sauteed mushrooms and I have had very few restaurant spaghettis that were better. The sauce is hearty, rich, and flavorful. Full of crushed tomatoes and flavor. The mushrooms tasted great and had a hint of white wine flavor. Good, good food.
  • The Pancake Pantry and The Village Shops. The last item on the list are the Pancake Pantry and Village shops together because they’re so close to each other.  The Pancake Pantry offers one of–if not THE–best breakfast in Gatlinburg. I had the blueberry pancakes and they were out of this world.  They have many, many more varieties of pancakes and crepes to choose from, though. If you’re not into pancakes, they have waffles, french toast, and traditional eggs/bacon/sausage breakfasts as well.  The Village was a quaint little colleciton of unique shops including (to name a few) a candy store, a cleverly named pastry shop called The Donut Friar, and a Celtic Heritage shop with gifts from Ireland, Scotland, and Wales (why is a Celtic Heritage shop in Gatlinburg? I don’t know…except maybe because so many southern people–especially people in the Appalachian region–are of Scottish and/or Irish ancestry).  It’s worth a walk-through if you’re looking for a fun shopping experience on the Parkway in Gatlinburg.
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1 Week Down

I’m officially over a week out from my surgery.  It feels nice to reach this milestone considering how long I had to wait for it.  I’m still in a lot of pain, but it is gradually improving.  The leg pain from compressed nerves I was experiencing before surgery is still gone.  The majority of the pain I’m experiencing now is bone pain (the surgeon shaves some of the bone off the vertebrae near the affected disc to help take pressure off the nerve being compressed) and muscle spasms.  The pain is forcing me to use muscles I usually don’t use to support my upper body.  These muscles are screaming and spasming in protest!  That will eventually go away, muscle spasms are a very normal part of recovery from spine surgery.  Doctors regularly prescribe muscle relaxers in combination with narcotics for pain control.

I was talking to my dad earlier about my pain and we discussed the differences between my last two spine surgeries compared to this one.  While the operative pain is a bit worse this time due to working on more than one disk, my legs are much stronger this time than they were after the other surgeries.  They feel stronger now than they have in months!  The surgery was definitely successful in that respect.  While there’s a chance I won’t ever be pain free, I have high hopes that I’ll be pretty close to pain free after 6 weeks or so.

My last spine surgery resulted in an allergic reaction to SOMETHING used in incision closure.  Whether it was the dissolving sutures or the topical glue I don’t know, but I’m having a similar reaction this time.  The wound and surrounding area itch something terrible and are red.  It isn’t infection, though…I’m just concerned that the reaction will hinder healing.  Last time my incision didn’t heal properly and remained open on the top layers.  That combined with a hematoma developing resulted in a second surgery.   The surgeon closed the wound with non-dissolving nylon sutures and it healed beautifully.  I wish she had done that this time, but she didn’t.  We’re watching it like a hawk and first sign that the wound is opening up we’re going straight back to the surgeon.  I refuse to go under the knife again!

In other life news, I’m getting excited about the holiday season.  The Christmas commercials have begun and I have my fall scents all over the house.  I love the warm, spicy scents of fall.  One of my favorites this year is Yankee Candle’s Apple Pumpkin.  It’s fabulous.  I’m beginning to search Pinterest and my new cookbooks for a different recipe or two to make for Thanksgiving.  I’d love a link if anyone has a suggestion for me. I’m also looking forward to a trip to Branson, Missouri sometime before Christmas. My mom wants to take me up there for a little shopping and enjoying their Christmas decorations and activities.  I hated Branson as a kid.  It was a place everyone went to shop and I thought it was a haven for old people and extremely cliche and I hated going.  I even boycotted it and refused to go for years.  Now that I’m older I appreciate it more.  It’s a lovely place with good shopping not too far from home but far enough to seem like vacation.  I still don’t enjoy the shows or any of that aspect of it, but Branson actually has a lot to offer besides their kind of cheesy stage shows.

Wanted: Review Ideas PLEASE READ AND RESPOND!!!!

Hello followers!  Please read this short post and give me a hand!  It will be a fun project for everyone involved!

I know the end of my last post promised a makeup haul, but I had something I wanted to bring up and I’m not finished putting my makeup haul post together.  So, here goes…

As the title states, my blog’s theme is “Thoughts/Inspirations/Reviews.”  I am considering gravitating toward reviews as the main subject of this blog, with the occasional  thought and inspiration post thrown in.  By “reviews,” I don’t just mean I’ll take an item, try it out, and write about whether I like it or not.  I can do that sometimes, but I’d also like to do compare/contrast posts on products and other items.  For example I could write a post comparing and contrasting a high-end cosmetic versus a drugstore cosmetic dupe of the product and determine whether the more expensive product is worth the money, or the cheaper product would work as well.

Now, getting started.  I have my own ideas of some things to review and to compare, but I could use more.  A lot more.  That’s where you come in!  I’d love it if you, my followers, could comment or email me ideas of products to review or compare.  It can be anything: food, cosmetics, art supplies, you name it!  I will go through the submissions and choose the ones I find the most interesting and try to *eventually* get to all of them.  If I select your submission, I will inform you so you can be sure to read about it.  So, let’s do this!  Let’s get reviewing!

Submission guidelines:

Leave a comment on this post including your first name, email address, and product/products you would like me to review.

If you aren’t keen on publicly posting your email address, you can email your suggestion to me at teamstany@yahoo.com.

If you choose to submit via email, make the subject “Blog Review Suggestion” and include your first name and product suggestion in the content field.

You could also private message me on tumblr should you so choose.  Same guidelines apply.  http://florencefallon.tumblr.com/ask

Types of things I would review include, but are not limited to:

  • Cosmetics (Eyeshadow, Blush, Lipstick, Foundation, BB Cream, Mineral makeup, eyeliner,  moisturizers etc.)
  • Foods (I will not eat anything containing onions, peppers, or celery)
  • Art Products (Paints, pencils, pastels, etc.)
  • Recipes
  • Stores (for example which store has the better prices)

Be creative, you don’t have to submit something from these categories if you have a better idea in mind!

I REALLY want to do this.  I hope you won’t read this and go on without at least throwing me an idea.  It will take only a couple of minutes of your time and it’ll be fun!   I’m looking forward to your submissions!!!