Spin This Vibe!

Classpass is my go to most of the time to find fitness classes that fit my mood and my schedule.  However, I do not usually choose spin classes since I haven’t always loved them in the past.  Somehow, I stumbled upon the name Verticity and it has haunted me since.  This past weekend, I took action and decided to face my fears of being in a room full of twenty-somethings, who are in incredibly awesome shape, and signed up for the free introductory class.

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Photo credit: https://www.acrestate.com/blog/new-east-nashville-fitness-spots-that-can-help-you-burn-off-holiday-bloat/

There were many twenty-somethings who were beautiful, handsome, and in phenomenal shape.  There were also a few people older than me and others who were in good shape but were there to work on their bodies and minds.  Essentially, there was an eclectic mix of participants.

I parked in the back of the building in a spot for merchant parking.  It was a quick walk through the breezeway to get to the reception area.  When you walk in, the vibe is welcoming and energetic.  It is a feeling that carries through the whole experience.  I am greeted by a pleasant receptionist and told where the locker rooms and water stations are.  The facilities on the first floor are that on-trend, urban retreat look.  It felt zenly energetic and sleek.

Upon checking in, and checking out my spiked shoes for the class, I was directed to go upstairs to the studio.  At the top of the stairs and to the right is a waiting area with cubbies and a bench.  I changed out of my athletic shoes and into the cycle shoes with spikes and proceeded to hobble into the studio on said spikes.  I quickly found my numbered bike that I choose when I registered for the class.  It was, of course, as close to the back row as I could reserve.  Side note: reserve early, like several days early, as classes fill up quickly!

Squeezing in between the bike next to mine, I quickly adjusted my bike while trying to hear what the instructor is saying to the new couple behind me.  Since I could not hear what she was saying and because my feet kept slipping off the pedals, I turned around and asked that same couple about straps for the pedals.  They were very friendly and relayed that the spikes will clamp into the pedals with a little pressure.  Sure enough, once I had the balls of my shoes in the right spot and added the right pressure, the shoes clicked into the death grip of the pedal.

I began to pedal slowly as I checked out my surroundings.  The studio was dark and people were chatting to one another.  The studio is quite small, but I quickly realize that I would not feel claustrophobic since we had plenty of room to get on and off the bikes.  I noticed that there were small hand weights in one of the water bottle holders near the handles. “Can I keep those on my bike until it is time to use them,” I wondered? Once the music started and the instructor climbed on her bike, you could feel the pulse of the room accelerate.  L. B. led my class with some insanely great music and quite a few empowering blurbs, with a few explicatives scattered into the encouragement in just the right amounts.

As we rode to the music, L. B. instructed us to lean right and left on the beat.  Then she added in the push-up pulse into the routine.  At one point we touched the corner of our seats working out the area that can make or break a pair of mom jeans.  These routines were not hard to follow but they looked so cool as we all remarkably stayed on beat and in unison.  It was a sea of sweaty, hard riding souls moving to some heart thumping music.  When you look in the mirror and see yourself riding in this wave, you will realize, just like I did, that we looked like the video linked on the studio’s homepage!  Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 2.19.12 PM

Photo credit http://nashvilleguru.com/businesses/verticity

The first half of class flew by and before I knew it, we were on to weights.  My earlier question was answered when L. B. asked if anyone lost one of their hand weights during the ride.  Yep, this girl did and didn’t even know it!  The nice man next to me retrieved my wayward weight before I could even process that it was on the floor.  The next several minutes were spent focusing on arms.  If you have never taken a barre class or a class that uses small or isometric movements, you might scoff at tiny hand weights.  Those bad boys can burn if you know how to connect your mind to the muscle you are working, especially when you couple that ability with multiple reps!

The class ended with some all-out sprints, a much-needed rest ride, and some necessary stretching.  When the class was over, I inhaled all the love and empowerment from the other participants, plus the awesome smell of sweat from my own body.  I felt so energized and accomplished!  After making a quick pit stop in the restroom/locker room and finding some very cool showers and amenities, I left the building ready excited to return, as soon as I can find a vacant bike in the near future!

For information, to view the very cool video, or to sign up for a class check out verticitynashville.com!








Friday night after Thanksgiving, Jason and I took his boys out for dinner. I had been meaning to try Nobles in East Nashville for a few months. One reason is I knew they had soft pretzels with Beer Cheese Dip! So, we loaded the boys in the car and headed to 974 Main Street.

We walked in to find immediate seating downstairs in front of an enormous TV screen that was above a platform. Presumably that platform is for the live music 5-8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday nights. Since it was the day after Thanksgiving, the music was most likely later for the evening. Immediately after sitting down, we were greeted by our friendly and knowledgable waiter. He gave us suggestions while we happily noted the drink specials.

We ordered the Pretzel Baguette with the dipping sauces, once of which was the Beer Cheese. All I can say is, if you have more than three people, you probably need two orders. Once you try the soft dough, that tastes more like the pretzels I experienced in Munich than anyplace else in Nashville, and you sample the explosion of flavors in the Beer Cheese dip, you will quite likely indulge in more than just a bite or two.

Left with dips and no pretzel, our sweet waiter agreed that we should keep the dips for fries and tots that were to arrive soon with our meal.  Just like the appetizer, our main dishes did not disappoint.  I had the Not So Classic Chicken Caesar Con Carne Salad.  It was served warm and it was exactly what I wanted, but didn’t expect from a beer hall!  The lettuce was crisp but heated just enough that the chicken, dressing, and toppings all fused together in a wonderfully light, yet remarkably filling way.  Jason had the Pulled Pork Hoagie.  Jason’s older son had the Beef Tenderloin Sliders and his younger son had the Kid’s Cheese Burger.  The only leftover was half of the Kid’s Burger and that’s because this child got really excited about the Pretzel Baguette!

The four of us left Nobles very happy with our food and our experience.  Jason and I look forward to some of their adult happy hours that take place upstairs, when we are without those belonging to us who are under age.  We also appreciate a great beer hall that allows the younger members of the family until 10 p.m.  This is a place that really works for everyone and it is centrally located for a variety of destinations before or after you eat.  In fact, I plan to Christmas shop at the cool places on Fatherland and then head to Nobles to unwind from the holiday rush!

East Side Girl On The Go – 30A

Fall Break 2017, the briefest of breaks, is coming to an end.  As I sit here on the bed in the cute condo we found for a super great price, I am recharged but kind of sad to  leave.

First, if you have never been to the 30A area of the Florida Gulf Coast, you must go.  Soon.  I mean plan it for your very next get away.  The beaches are truly among the most beautiful in the world.  I have seen a lot of beaches around the world, not in the Pacific Far East or South Africa, but in other countries and in other parts of the U. S.

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The beaches of 30A are pristine with fluffy, white sand beaches that feel like powdered sugar when you dig your toes in.  The water can sometimes be a little rough with some fun waves for those with body boards and huge floats. It can also be extremely calm and completely like glass where all the little fishes under the water are very visible and freak me out a bit.

The different beaches of 30A each have their own flavor.   Seacreast, Seaside, Seagrove all sound alike but they are a little different and not next door to one another.  Grayton, Alys, Rosemary, and Santa Rosa beaches are all also part of 30A with their individual flairs.  The most upscale of the group, which is relative since they are all upscale, are Alys, Santa Rosa (Watercolors), and Rosemary.  These beaches and their living areas have a Mediterranean resort feel to them.  There are shops of all types of offerings.  The liquor and wine stores are very boutiquish.  The restaurants and cafes serve fresh food and are somewhat difficult to get into during the lunch rush.  The food and atmosphere are usually worth the wait.  You will likely get a pager or buzzer if you place your name on a list and then you can walk around and enjoy all the sites and shops of the area.

Also, if you like bike riding, then this is your jam.  Since most of the rental houses and condos are not on the beach, many choose to rent or bring their bikes.  There are paths for bikers, joggers, and walkers that make you feel guilty to ride in a car for anything less than a three-mile trip.

If you do decide to drive, expect traffic and build in time to park.  There are plenty of places to eat so deciding where is not easy.  Rely on word of mouth references and ask the locals who work at the rental places.  Also, if you recognize that someone is an owner in a complex, chances are he or she has eaten at most of the places near by.  There are no chain restaurants, thank goodness, so be prepared to be a little adventurous.

While on this last trip, we tried Cuvee at Inlet Beach first.  Walking in you feel like you are in a European city restaurant.  It is dimly lit with festive lights.  The atmosphere is fun yet relaxed.  The waiter was extremely helpful and attentive.  Both dishes served were perfectly cooked and delighted the senses.  The wine paired with my dish was equally amazing.  There was an extensive wine list as well as a classic yet hip cocktail menu.  Jason’s cocktail of choice was artfully blended.  Cuvee was upscale without a haughty feel.  The food and beverages could be described elogently understated.  I highly recommend this off the beaten path retreat.


Summer Kitchen was not as much of a pleasure to try during lunch.  This little cafe in the heart of Rosemary Beach was packed with teenagers from a local Nashville private school who were casually standing among the outside tables.  Inside there were a few tables open but the waiter stated he thought there was a wait.  We opted to wait for two seats at the bar which opened up fairly quickly.  Once seated, we order a glass of white wine and a beer.  The drinks came fairly quickly but the staff seemed to move at a snail’s pace.  There were three service providers and another person who occasionally came in and out of the kitchen.  It took quite a while to get our order and the food was rather disappointing.  Jason’s Ahi sandwich was no where near to being evenly cooked.  Fortunately, he said the second half was much better and more evenly cooked than the first half.  My chicken wrap was full of tasteless dark meat chicken.  Dark meat is fine with me in certain situations but with a chicken wrap, I expected white meat with some flavor.  The meal was fairly expensive for the quality of the food and the service.  I would not go back to this establishment unless I really did not have a lot of choices.


Finally, on our last night (we ate at our friends’ house for Friday night), we discovered George’s at Alys Beach.  What a fun and beautiful atmosphere!  This adorable restaurant is located in a new house that is meant to feel old.  The seating inside is a little cramped but the outside is amazing.  There are large tables on the wrap around porch and there is a huge flagstone patio that has lights strung giving that area a very romantic feel.  Additionally, there is a an open air seating area and a roof top with a bar ledge and seats.  There is no bar service up there but you can order at the bar and take your cocktails to the rooftop.  The food was eclectic and so very good.  I had grilled chicken with my ratatouille ravioli an Jason had a trio of fish, shrimp and oysters.  Let’s just say there was very little left on either plate.  As for the adult beverages, the wine and cocktails were well priced for the quality.  This is a place we would love to make a regular for every visit to 30A!

George’s Alys Beach

While this trip was very short, really too short, it was so unbelievable fun and filled with friends, sun and great food.  If you go to 30A anytime soon, take sunscreen, your patience in getting from place to place, cute outfits paired with flip flops, and an appetite.

East Nashville Getting Warmer

As the temperature rises,  I realize it is time to shake off the long, cold winter fog and enjoy some social festivities.  Goodness knows I enjoy a great celebration, but I enjoy it more when it is paired with a worthy cause such as the inaugural Nashville Rosé Festival!

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This event is being held in East Park on Saturday, May 19, 2018 and is benefitting the Tennessee Breast Cancer Coalition (TBCC).  With more than seventy, yes, seventy, Rosés offered, along with a nice selection of craft beers, live music, and food cooked over a large fire pit, this twenty-one and over event is sure to be a hit.  All of the music, Rosé, beer and food samplings are included in the price of the $60.00 General Admission ticket.  If you are more of the VIP type, you can opt for the upgraded ticket which includes special tent seating, cocktails, behind the scenes look at the food being cooked on the fire pit, and private bathrooms for $100.00 per ticket.

These are great ticket prices for what is included, especially since all proceeds go to the TBCC.  Take note that this is a twenty-one and over event that requires valid I. D.  Neither children nor pets are allowed.


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Don’t be too sad that you can’t bring your pup to play at the Rosé Festival.  Treat your furry best friend to a day of her/his own the very next day at the Music City Mutt Strutt held at Shelby Bottoms Park on Sunday, May 20, 2018.  This fun for the whole family event is being held to provide financial support to the Nashville Human Shelter.  There is a 5k and a fun run with prizes awarded.  The registration fee is $15 and includes the finisher medal.  The website also provides the opportunity to donate with special gifts for each tier of donation.


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Another event hosted at East Park is the East Nash Crawfish Bash.  This free event on May 26, 2018,  promises live music, food and adult beverage vendors, and artwork.  Tickets may be, and are suggested, to reserve crawfish as the website states that they have sold out every previous year.  Times are from 12:00 pm until 9:00 pm.

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Enjoy this beautiful May weather and these fun events here in East Nashville! Stay tuned for more happenings for June.


OSHO Collective is my happy place.  Think of a retreat that leaves you relaxed with amazing hair.  My friends, Tony and Gaby opened OSHO Collective almost two years ago.  I have followed Tony from a few different salons and I can honestly say, this brain child of his and Gaby’s reflects their vision and who they really are.


When you enter into this tucked away haven, you are greeted by a down to earth, yet beautiful team of product specialists, schedulers, and assistant stylists.  They offer you coffee, tea, or water and peacefully guide you to where you will sit for your short wait until your appointment begins.  The atmosphere is open, airy, bright, yet soothing, with earthy elements mixed with industrial designs.  IMG_3239

Your stylist will literally spend several minutes interviewing you about your own personal style, including your life style and struggles that you may have with your color or cut.  Once you have agreed upon a strategy, the stylist at OSHO will more than likely begin more conservatively and work into edgy if that is what you so choose.  Each stylist that I have encountered has been extremely thorough in understanding my wants, needs, expectations and limitations.  They are very concerned with the client leaving happy, with healthier hair, and building the proper relationship.  Tony and Gaby are also wonderful at matching clients with stylists.  They may help you find the right stylist if you are unsure about trying someone without knowing anything about their work.

At a place like this, you have to enjoy the moment you are in.  Sometimes I am at OSHO for a while.  I understand this and make time for it. They are extremely good at what they do.  It is a place that promotes thoughtfulness and there are even outside lounging areas to sit while you are processing.  Connect with nature and with Instagram.  Additionally, Gaby and her team on the other side of the salon offer different services.  If you are feeling tense or just want an extra way to relax they offer full body soaks and feet soaks.  They also offer massages, facials, hair removal, and my favorite, guided sessions.

Guided sessions are experiences best left unexplained.  I can imagine that each person has a different description and that description probably varies from session to session.  What I will say about the guided sessions is that they are worth every penny and each time I leave more enlightened and empowered.  If you choose this service, be prepared to, as Tony says, “drink lots of water.”  Also, plan to come open to the experience and willing to believe in the process.  It is life changing and as I write this, I realize I must schedule a session with Gaby!

In essence, this is a whole body experience.  From the amazing scalp massages each person who has shampooed my hair has delivered, to the amazing knowledge and technique the stylists possess, to the options to connect with your mind and spirit and feel accepted in a clean, unpretentious, hip environment, you will fall in love with OSHO and all who reside there.

Find out more and schedule an appointment by clicking this link:

OSHO Collective

Fall Back Fashion

IMG_3234    Tim Evans, Chanel Cosmetics at Nordstrom Green Hills Mall

Few things make me happier than a freebie.  Last Saturday, as I wandered into Nordstrom in Green Hills Mall, I stumbled upon a great offer for super lashes!  It is even better that I had not intended to go to Nordstrom or Green Hills Mall that day.  But, as my lack of detailed planning would have it, my hair appointment at  OSHO Collective www.oshocollective.com was not until 12:00.  I had it in my phone at 10:00.  Instead of drowning my embarrassment at my administrative pitfalls in a $10 latte, I signed up for a barre class.  Parking at this particular barre studio, Nordstrom looms and beckons to all the parkers of that strip center.  Recognizing that I have forty-five minutes before class begins, and that I am in desperate need of mascara that isn’t so old it is about to give me a serious eye infection, I decided to do a quick run to my favorite department store.   At this point, I am feeling like a scheduling, multitasking, genius!

Some of you may scoff at shopping at Nordstrom, or evening crossing the River Cumberland just to get to such an establishment that might be perceived as haughty or pretentious.  It can be.  But, then again, I have had one employee at a local salon/vintage clothing store treat me in a very condescending way, that only a twenty something that finds working in that environment very empowering can make someone else feel.  Let’s be real, though, I grocery shop at Aldi over Trader Joe.  I like to save money.  I also like high quality.  That is why I shop at Nordstrom.

Last Saturday, when I walked into Nordstrom Shoe Department from the street entrance, feeling full of promise and new-found grit, I realized that even at forty percent off I do not need another pair of shoes.  Now, if you need shoes, go to Nordstrom or Nordstrom online or Nordstrom Rack.  Seek out the sales, People!  Seek and, yes ma’am or sir, you will find.  Try to schedule your shoe needs around their sales.  Also, sign up for the rewards debit card!  Membership with this card really does have some great perks.  For example, you get reward points for every dollar you spend when using the Nordstrom Debit Card and when you hit a certain number, you get a Nordstrom Note, which is a real, actual gift certificate that you can use  at Nordstrom or Nordstrom Rack!  Additionally, you get free alterations, and early access to their anniversary sales.  The prices are comparable if not better than the competition.  Check out this comparison.


The same shoe found on Amazon, and, let me be clear, I do love me some Amazon, is significantly more than at Nordstrom during this sale.  Additionally, the size selection is much better. These red booties are perfect for fall and winter!  They are just the right shade to go with grey, army/olive greens, khaki, navy, black and denim.  This sale ends November 12!

Forsaking my shoe addition, I advanced to where I saw my friend Tim at the Chanel make up counter smiling and assisting customers.  When Tim saw me, he asks me if I knew from my sister that there was a buy two get one free mascara event.  Um, no.  I had not heard this exciting news from my sister and that made me want to say unkind things to my sweet sibling.  The news of the fact that I needed mascara, coupled with a Nordstrom Note to spend, and that it was a buy two get one free day, curbed my anger enough for me to hold my tongue for a future date.  Ya’ll, this was not just buy two Chanel mascaras and get one free, it was mix and match any brand mascaras!  Seriously, that gets me very excited.

Bottom line, Tim and the whole Chanel make up team at Nordstrom will take excellent care of you.  You will leave with less money, but let’s face it, there are some things in life that you get what you pay for.  In my world, that means pay more for shoes, because they will last longer, and they will treat your feet better for the most part.  It also means buy better make up.  I have tried all price points.  You could get close with some less expensive brands, but I find I feel better when I have make up that really enhances my skin rather than just covering flaws.  Also, sometimes this crew will throw in some samples that last a really long time.  I am over the moon about the samples of eye cream that have lasted two months!

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In conclusion, when you are down and out about being on time for an appointment when you are really two hours early, take yourself to Nordstrom and enjoy the experience.  There are so many ways to save and yet come home with exceptional values.   Check out Nordstrom Nashville and Tim Evans on  Instagram!

@nashvillenordstrom and  @cosmopolitim

Want personalized styling or wardrobe consulting while keeping budget in mind?

Check out Personal Shop Personal Style page at https://eastnashvillevibe.com/east-side-fashion/

*Note: I am not employed, nor do I receive kickbacks of any kind, by or from Nordstrom for this post









East Nashville Vibe

Welcome to all things East Nashville, or as I like to call this blog, East Nashville Vibe.  This is a forum for anyone who wants to know about living or visiting East Nashville.  As a Nashville native who grew up in East Nashville’s Inglewood neighborhood, I have an insider view of what is uniquely East Nashville.  Also, having lived in the Northeast as well as Brentwood and Franklin, Tennessee, I have a frame of reference for comparison.

East Nashville is the current “it place” to move.  According to http://www.nashvillesmls.com/blog/what-you-need-to-know-about-living-in-east-nashville.html, East Nashville’s ascent has been on the rise for a while.  Those who saw the value in living so close to downtown, even when the area was risky, chose to invest here and slowly we looked for ways to bring great food and great music to our hood.  In the mid 1980’s through the early 2000’s, families who wanted houses with character and larger lots while still being a few miles from downtown sacrificed grocery shopping, clothes shopping and fine dining to live here.  As a child, we rarely went to the Inglewood Kroger.  At that time, the Madison Kroger was safer.  Forget going to get your hair done or finding a great restaurant!

My theory is that Nashville began to draw college students in larger numbers to Vanderbilt, Belmont and Lipscomb at the same time the healthcare industry really sprouted and expanded.  In addition to drawing healthcare executives, we landed an NFL team, Nissan headquarters relocated here, and we got the fabulous Nashville Predators.  Those additions add to the economy and job market in exponential numbers of job openings as well as the number of cars on the road.

Those coming from other states, especially California, Wisconsin, Illinois and the New England states, saw the value of the cute brick homes with manicured yards in East Nashville.  They also realized that as traffic became heavier with each passing year, living in such a central location is worth a few drawbacks.

Regardless of why it has become a popular place to live or visit, I am thrilled to be a resident and owner of the house I grew up in that sits in a sleepy neighborhood with amazing people I am fortunate enough to call neighbors.  There is diversity on every level, yet we all share a love for our neighborhood and the East Nashville community.

I hope that you will find this blog very helpful for finding fun and interesting places to visit.  There are reviews for many types of businesses and even schools.  Enjoy East Nashville and share the love for this great area!

Best Wishes,

Meridith M. D. Stephens