I’d like to introduce to you to Ariel. She’s been my best friend for coming on 21 years (21!). She was my very first friend in life, and she’s grown up to be more like a sister to me. After I moved to Nashville, I was heavily missing all of my close friends from back home. After a year and some change of being a Nashville resident, I was surprised with an itinerary e-mail from Southwest that Ariel was coming to see me for the holidays!
You see, Ariel’s birthday is December 26, and mine is January 4. We’re Capricorn sisters born a week and a half apart. Ariel planned her trip so that she would be here for the week in-between our birthdays. Her flight, albeit heavily delayed, arrived (super) early Saturday morning.
Saturday consisted of a very easy-going Nashville experience. I, unfortunately, had to work, but Brandon cruised around Nashville with Ariel, showing her all of the scenic views Nashville had to offer, and, of course, getting her broken nail fixed.
Once I got off work, we all took a power nap after a night of sleep loss. Once we woke up, we thought of only the most perfect way to indulge in the ultimate Nashville dinner: Hattie B’s! It was both Ariel and I’s first time eating at Hattie B’s, and my goodness was that a taste of heaven! Ariel chose the white chicken wing meal, Brandon chose the hot chicken sandwich, and I went with the tenders. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint!
We ended the night the way any sensible, normal human being would – by watching Bambi! We kept the day mellow and relaxed, and it definitely did us well for the adventures ahead of us.
The morning started out with snuggles from Anna and Bub. We all awoke around the same time, so we spent a few minutes getting the last bit of bed coziness in before deciding on breakfast for the day at none other than Waffle House! Ariel tried grits for the first time while we enjoyed our hashbrown bowls.
Brandon’s family was having a cozy get-together for his grandma’s birthday. They extended the invite to Ariel as well, so the three of us made way to Murfreesboro for the birthday celebration! Aunt Lisa made an amazing variety of foods to nibble on and to engorge in. We each enjoyed a glass of wine and a delicious mint ice cream cake.
After we celebrated Grandmama’s birthday, we knew we needed to show Ariel what Broadway was all about. We decided to go out for a couple of drinks, some karaoke, and a night of major fun! We pit-stopped at home to check on Bowie and Anna before heading out to downtown.
Our first stop was Wild Beaver Saloon. You can’t visit Nashville without — drum roll please — riding a mechanical bull! We somehow convinced Ariel to get on the mechanical bull, and Brandon even took on the challenge himself!
Brandon also serenaded the entire bar with a wonderful rendition of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.” The entire bar cheered Brandon on, and you bet Ariel and I were front and center dancing and cheering even louder than everyone else. We finished off the night by perusing downtown Broadway while enjoying our Mike’s Ice Cream and checking out the other bars that line Broadway.
It’s New Years Eve! We enjoyed a very chill and relaxing day. Our day started with sleeping in and enjoying some breakfast at home. We decided on Cracker Barrel for lunch because Ariel had never been, and they just recently opened a location “close” to home in California. (And by “close” I mean about 2-3 hours away.) The weather began to act up, giving us a downpour of rain. We had originally wanted to head into downtown for New Years festivities, but seeing as how the weather wasn’t in our favor, we opted for a night in.
We saw a post on Facebook that if you play Forrest Gump at 10:38:57 on New Years Eve, you’ll ring in the new year with Lieutenant Dan. So, that’s exactly what we decided to do.
As midnight rolled around and Lt. Dan (clearly) began to party, the three of us cheers’d to a prosperous and fulfilling new year. We tapped cups filled with delicious Martinelli’s and our furry babies by our side. Quite honestly, there’s no better way I could have imagined ringing in 2019.
Ariel and I made a pact that 2019 would be the year that we would dominate our fitness goals. We promised to be each other’s accountability partners. As the first day of the year, we decided we’d take Bub and go out for a hike! We hiked roughly 2 hours and over 7 miles.
We. Were. Pooped.
The scenery was absolutely beautiful and well worth the thousands of steps we took to trek through the trails. Bowie got to enjoy piles of leaves (talk about Bowie heaven), and each of us enjoyed the fresh, crisp air.
We figured after the hike we deserved a healthy and hearty meal. We headed over to Chopt, which was a new eatery for Ariel and me. Guys, if you have a Chopt near you, go! The portions are so filling and it’s insanely delicious. I know what you’re thinking. “Dré, it’s a salad.” I know it is, but oh my gosh was it the most delicious salad we have ever had. Fact.
Our final day together. It was a very easy-going day. I, unfortunately, had to work a long shift, but I was lucky enough to be able to spend my lunch and closing hour with Ariel. She took Bub and went shopping while Brandon and I worked. After work, we went over dinner options. I was craving a gyro so badly! Because it was so late, most gyro eateries were closed.
Except for a gem that we discovered. King Solomon’s Gyros.
We headed over simply because they were open later, but we are so glad we did. These had to be the best gyros we’ve ever tasted in our lives. King Solomon’s is family-owned and ran, and you can tell that they put quality as a top priority. After scarfing down our delicious gyros, we decided to head to Pedestrian Bridge for Ariel to see what downtown Nashville looks like at night.
It was raining, but the rain gave downtown this special type of glow. We brought Bowie with us and took a quick stroll along Pedestrian Bridge before heading home to rest before Ariel’s early flight.
Having Ariel visit was so special and such a joy. I am so grateful to be able to ring in the new year with those I love and to be able to share my goals with those who support me. I am beyond excited for the adventure that awaits us, and I can’t wait to celebrate 21 years of friendship!
Photos taken by Ariel and Dréa.