Xavi Turns Two: TWO-rannosaurus Rex Party

My baby is officially a ‘Big Boy’ now!!!

(or so he says)

Our original plan this year was to travel as a family since the holidays were pretty hectic, I wasn’t sure I was ready for party planning stress but then with Marco’s crazy schedule at work and with some prior commitments at Cassie’s school we had to postpone travel plans and so I told Marco that I’d just throw a playdate for Xavi. We’ve come up with a small local mom group here in Muncie and we rotate houses to hold play dates so I figured it would be a perfect time to host a playdate (on the day of Xavi’s actual birthday), at least we could somehow celebrate Xavi’s birthday, right?

Then mom guilt started kicking in, I mean Cassie had a pretty big birthday celebration last October and when she turned two during our first year here in Muncie, we didn’t know a lot of people yet even then we had a big party for her. I almost considered just having a small party at Escapades like when he turned One but I wanted to be comfortable at home so exactly 5 days before his birthday I decided a theme for the playdate and officially made it a playdate birthday party by sending out an invite.

 

Dino Invite Template we got from Zazzle

Everything was going to be last minute so I decided on a theme that would be easy to execute and since Xavi already got a dinosaur suit from Pilica for Christmas and a dinosaur balloon that we didn’t get to inflate, might as well go with that theme. I also used pretty much all of his dinosaur toys to somewhat decorate the place. The rest of the supplies were from the dollar store and Walmart and I did a bunch of easy DIY projects that I will touch on in this blog post.

First dino toy spotted as a centerpiece, I randomly just put them all over the place.

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For the backdrop, I just used two different shades of green crepe paper rolls that I got from the dollar store and Walmart. I cut long strips just above floor level (or however long you want the strips) and taped them on the wall alternating. I printed some leaf templates I found on line on different shades of green colored construction paper and placed them on top of each other so I could cut them all at once. I did the same for the dinosaur prints but this time on brown colored construction paper, decorate as desired.

Above are the templates I used for the backdrop I made for Xavi’s birthday, Click on them to use.

We ordered our goodies from our favorite chef here in Muncie, Chef Maggie of Simply Patisserie and I was so glad that she was still able to do our order considering that we asked her last minute.

Dino toy #2 spotted along with the white chocolate pretzels aka “Dino Fossils”

Xavi’s chocolate Dino cake

Toy #3 spotted with the letter board

I reused the ballon garland strip from Cassie’s birthday and just popped all the leftover balloons from her birthday. I bought 12-pack green and gold balloons from Walmart and  15-pack white balloons from the Dollar Tree and filled the strip up once I inflated them. The big dinosaur balloon was the one we got from Pilica and you can get that at your local Target.

Loot bags were done last minute as well, we had left over sandwich bags from Cassie’s birthday and I searched for a random baby T-Rex online to put on it. I would’ve done a whole lot more if I had the time (like a hatching egg or maybe dino foot print thank you tags ) but then again, its supposedly just a a playdate, right?

We threw in our favorite chocolates in there and I found some ‘dinosaur themed’ items to just tie in the theme— crayons, stickers, erasers, slap bands, dino goo and finger puppets.

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Above is the printable we used for the loot bags. Image c/o Shutterstock.com

Dollar Tree FTW! Dinosaur paper plates and napkins, the things you find at your dollar store.

Love how we found this Cat and Jack Triceratops sweater on clearance at our local target.

You know the kids are having fun when they make a lot of mess. Haha.

Xavi enjoyed his chocolate birthday cake from Chef Maggie of Simply Patisserie. The kids always enjoy getting your cake, cupcakes and sugar cookies.

And Daddy made it home! Marco was long call today so he came home late, we waited for him so Xavi could blow his candle and slice the cake.

Ninang Telly is in town!!!

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As usual Tita Ditas spoiling the little boy. 🙂

Perfect way to end Xavi’s birthday, Mexican night with the Rousseaus.  I had my frozen margarita so it’s all good.

And that wraps it up guys, I hope those templates will somewhat help you throw an awesome Dinosaur Party. I know it made Xavi’s playdate look like a planned party playdate even if it was done last minute.

~Rhea

HOUSTON: Color Factory with kids

I guess the reason why you’re reading this blog post is because you want to find out what a trip to the Houston Color Factory with kids looks like. So read up…

Color Factory- Houston

Address: 3303 Kirby Dr, Houston, TX 77098

***PARKING IS HARD. So make sure to read the website prior to your visit. They will tell you where to park. We lucked out and found parking at the very end of the street by an empty lot. It was a walk with kids but its free.

Tickets:  $35 for adults; $28 for kids (3-12) 

You have to buy tickets online and they sell them by time slots just to ensure that there’s just a right amount of people when you go. Also they want to make sure its never too crowded to take pictures and enjoy the installations. See, they thought about us. lol

The kids prices… yep, I know. I was a bit hesitant to purchase a $28 ticket for Cassie (4) not knowing what to expect plus mind you that doesn’t even include taxes. Cassie and I ended up paying somewhere close to $75 for the both of us (yikes) since Xavi was free but I can honestly say it was worth it. I figured they scouted the entire US to find the best place to put up a pop up of this amazing New York exhibit and among all the cities in the United States, they picked Houston so I wasn’t going to let this chance slip away. Plus on their website they go in detail explaining how they came to do so. Check it out here.

Pro tip with kids: Come 30 minutes early so you can enjoy the lobby display and take pictures. (I mean that’s the reason why we rough out a trip to the museum with kids, right? Its all for the gram. lol) Plus it gives you and your kids time to enjoy the FREE mochi without getting a brain freeze. Don’t bring strollers. They’re not allowed in the exhibits inside, you will be asked to check them in.

Once they take you in, adults are asked to register and get a token that can be scanned for different photo opportunities all throughout the exhibit. Yes, they have pretty amazing cameras set up so you and your friends (or kids for this matter) can enjoy taking as many pictures as you want. These photos will directly go to your registered email once the visit concludes so its important to have that token with you at all times.

Pro tip with kids: Have them get their own token even if they’re not registered, I’ll tell you at the end of this post why that’s a good thing. Make sure that your kids tokens are a different color from yours, you don’t want to scan the wrong token and have those photos sent to an invalid email address. It would be a waste.

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Trying out my token and it works. First official photo from Color Factory’s Cameras.

After registration, they let you grab your very own French Macaroon to enjoy. They have a LOT of flavors to pick from too (same as the Mochi), I made sure I picked Coffee. The kids are allowed to get their own macaroons, even Xavi who came in free had his own.

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Unwoven Light by Soo Sunny Park

Nice to hold but No-no to touch, of course Cassie went in and reached for it. She did this too at an exhibit at the Broad but they were more understanding over here when I apologized.

Someone forgot to blow dry her hair today. Haha

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This photo was from one of the Color Factory’s cameras in the room. Pretty neat huh?

You know your kids are having fun when you can’t even ask them to take a decent picture with you because they’re too busy playing with gigantic bouncing balls. haha

Pro tip with kids: I wish I had one for this room but I was honestly overwhelmed, I myself got excited and I wasn’t thinking straight but if I were to change anything, I would have given my kids one ball each and I would have gone straight for the camera so we could take decent pictures and get that out of the way then explore and play in the room. Oh, and make sure your kids don’t throw the balls too high so they don’t hit the ceiling.

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YOU. ARE. MAGIC

Pro tip with kids: See our hands on those blue things? Don’t let the kids do that part, if you break connection (they will explain this over there) those things don’t light up so if they ‘accidentally’ take their hands off then you’ll be taking pictures in total darkness. Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration.

Also, notice the letters GI not lighting up? Well, no one was there to press those thing in the right side of the room (not seen in photo) so a full room is what it’ll take to get a good photo. The nice thing with those tokens is you can always go back and try it again if it fails the first time.

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The Confetti Room

The photo opportunities here are endless with two cameras situated by Color Factory to take awesome photos but this is also the room where my kids felt so wild and free that they were rolling over and having confetti wars with each other. They got so excited that Cassie felt compelled to ‘taste’ confetti.

Pro tip with kids: THEY. WILL. GO. CRAZY.— just expect that. And also don’t make the same mistake I did, I had Cassie wear boots to the exhibit and she brought home a dozen confetti paper in those boots.

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Make sure you leave the room without any confetti on you, you also get to grab a bag of colorful popcorn (yes, just like the confetti). 3rd treat of the tour.

We have this in our local Muncie Children’s Museum so we didn’t really spend a lot of time in this room. Its a given though, kids will always want to play with this giant version of the Lite Brite, big lighted pegs? I mean who wouldn’t.

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Doodle Away.

Pro tip with kids: Grab a marker as soon as you enter, markers are limited and just to let you know, they might be too heavy for your kids so make sure to assist them. Then search for an area on the wall with minimal doodles.

Do not let them handle the markers by themselves unless you have older kids. My daughter tried turning around while holding it and almost knocked someone over.

Sniff. Sniff. And sniff some more.

You know how you smell something and it brings up a memory, well this room is full of those.

Pro tip with kids: If there’s too many people in the middle, you can always go straight to the walls, they also have those tubes on there and they will give you the exact “sniffing-experience”.

My partner in crime, Ann Marie.

This interactive activity might only be applicable to adults and older kids since instructions are given. My kids were too young to do this one and so I had Xavi on my lap and Cassie had to stand.

Pro tip with kids: Distract the little ones with a pencil or paper or whatever is on your assigned color desk while you’re doing the activity. It can be hard but it’s doable.

Oh, and you get a small pack of candies based on your color card. 4th treat of the tour. They’re also nice enough to hand your kids candies even if they didn’t do the activity with you.

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I think the main attraction and the last exhibit of this pop up is the massive ball pit, a collaboration with NASA which makes perfect sense that the area is designed like a galaxy and that they decided to put this pop up in Houston. This intergalactic experience is quite a workout with kids though, they have a bunch of cameras set up in the ball pit area but getting there is quite the struggle.

Pro tip with kids: If you have more than one child below the age of 5 then it would be best if you had another adult or a friend handling the other one(s). The pit is deep and they can easily “sink” in it. I know Cassie started panicking because she started feeling trapped after awhile.

Also be careful with those phones, they do tell you that you can easily lose your phones in the pit but it also helps if you leave it in the cubbyholes especially since you’re going to need both hands to handle the kids. Believe me its hard to keep track of your child and your phone at the same time when you’re trying to stay “afloat” in the ball pit yourself.

Take advantage of the camera set ups in the ball pit if you need those photos badly, you can take a gazillion ones with your token.

Before you exit, they ask you to drop your tokens in exchange for a souvenir. The choices we had were a pin, a pen, temporary tattoos (or was it stickers? ) or a magnet. This is where it pays for you to have your kids get their own token. They also have to drop those and you get to bring more souvenirs home, I know I kept those for myself. Haha, I’m kidding. And if you’re wondering what that black thing we’re eating is, thats the complimentary black ice cream in a cone from Aqua S, another Instagram worthy Ice cream place in Houston. That was a nice treat to end the tour.

Pro tip with kids: Don’t get your ice creams all together. Make your kids have their ice cream first so you can make sure that they don’t get any stains on their clothes and also so you can enjoy your own ice cream once they’re all done. And take pictures…they have some cute colorful areas for sitting.

Can I just point out how even the staircases to different rooms and different exhibits were presented in a way that was still in theme with Color Factory’s color goals. Even going up and down the stairs seemed enjoyable.

The last colorful wall before we headed down to the souvenir shop aka the Exit.

Even the mirror by the restroom was gram-worthy. Haha.

Most interesting wall right after the souvenir shop, make sure you slide up those circular panels, they have a lot of photos from Htown . Get to know your city y’all, Get to know Houston.

Overall, I can say that the Color Factory is a place for kids and adults alike and I would like to commend everyone who made our tour a very pleasant one. As a mom, you’re always weary about causing delay especially in exhibits like these and in the Color Factory, I never felt any pressure to hurry up to the next room with my kids. They never made me feel that the kids were rowdy, on the contrary they were very welcoming so enjoy and take your time and let the kids be kids. I’m sure it would be have been a different experience with friends, the Color Factory could easily be an Instagram playground  but the look on Cassie and Xavi’s faces every time we entered a new exhibit room was priceless. I love how we ooh-ed and aaah-ed over things together, it certainly is a great thing to experience with your kids, I highly recommend you take them.

~Rhea

Summer Family #Twinning |Matching Family Swimwear by Yaffi Fashion

*DISCLOSURE: I RECEIVED THESE PRODUCTS COMPLIMENTARY FOR REVIEW PURPOSES. ALL THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS ARE MY OWN.

Before I knew I was going to be a mom to a beautiful baby girl, I already knew I was going to be that type of mom who would match with her kids. True enough, I was blessed with Cassie, a very pleasant baby girl who didn’t give me any trouble with her monthly photos or OOTDs (Outfit Of The Day, in case you didn’t know what that meant) and eventually when I started accepting my #mombod we started to do #twinning. I remember getting a lot of compliments and DMs asking where I get our matching outfits from and ‘Twinning’ wasn’t even full blown at that time. I always had to explain that I would go through her closet and go through mine and just see if there were any pieces that kinda looked similar and then I’d come up with an outfit. Now, if you wanted to match with the whole family that’s a totally different ball game, at that time not a lot of shops or online stores carried, “Mommy and Me”, “Daddy and Me” or ” Matching Family” outfits.

Fast forward to today, I’ve somewhat ‘normalized’ the idea of “twinning” or “matching” within our family (as cheesy as it may sound) to the point that when we go to church on Sundays, I’ll dress the kids up similarly and my husband will just pull out a top or a polo shirt thats within the same color palette, It’s quite impressive actually. This summer, I fell in love with those cute matching family swimwear but I knew bringing up the idea with Marco would be pushing it so I didn’t even bother asking but then Yaffi Fashion happened and they were nice enough to gift us with TWO sets of these matching family swimwear and Marco being the trooper that he is, when he saw me and the kids dressing up in our cute blue stripe swimwear before heading to the pool, he came up to me and asked “Where’s mine?” and smilingly I handed him his swimwear.

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Yaffi Fashion Blue Stripe Matching Family Swimwear

If you are in search of matching family swimwear for this summer or even for a holiday getaway then Yaffi Fashion is the place to go, they just made twinning so convenient and affordable, it’s amazing the numerous designs and colors you can pick from, your husband will have no excuse. They have stripes in different colors, solid colors, florals, and an option of either one-piece or two-piece for the women/ girls. I’ve been twinning with my girl for almost 4 years now and its been a struggle to find things for Marco so he could match with us and that is another reason why I love them, they have a lot of options for the men and the boys almost as many as the women and the girls, so I was able to include Marco and Xavi in this ‘twinning’ business. Haha, sorry guys!

Also you might want to check out their other inventory, they also carry cute Mommy and Me dresses, Kimono tops and matching family pajamas (hint: Perfect for Christmas) without breaking the bank.

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Yaffi Fashion Pink Floral Matching Family Swimwear

Here are photos from the first time we used our matching swimwear, for size reference I’m wearing a size S, Marco is wearing a size XXL, Cassie who is 4 years old is wearing a size 4T and Xavi who is 1.5 years old is wearing a 2T (it works perfectly with his swim diapers on).

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Here’s a photo of us after our day at the pool, can I just tell you what Marco told me after we took this picture?

He said, ” Hey sweetie, these were actually very comfortable I honestly didn’t mind wearing them.” And if you don’t believe me, you can ask him yourself.

If you’re the type of guy who wants pockets in their swimwear, they carry those too, in fact the other pair of swim shorts Marco had (the pink floral one) had pockets and he especially loved those so be sure to go check them out. I’ve linked the specific swimwear that we got below our photos. I will also link their website, their Facebook page and their Instagram page below so click away.

Yaffi Fashion Website| Yaffi Fashion Facebook | Yaffi Fashion Instagram

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

~Rhea

 

My Favorite New Accessory | A Unique Wood Watch by JORD

*DISCLOSURE: I RECEIVED THESE PRODUCTS COMPLIMENTARY FOR REVIEW PURPOSES. ALL THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS ARE MY OWN.

When I was single and this blog was self-indulgent, I used to post about my outfits, lookbook, #ootd—call it what you want but those posts were more for me to keep track of my current fashion (since fashion to me is a form of self-expression) and see how my style has evolved through the years. Of course, motherhood happened and I dealt with some sort of anxiety and post-partum issues with my body so I didn’t dress up for a while. You could say I was uninspired, I didn’t feel to good about myself and my body but after baby #2 I learned a whole lot about self-love and also learned the importance of practicing self- care. I’m proud to say that after 3+ years, I’m learning to love my #mombod and have embraced my battle scars (stretch marks, loose skin, weight gain, etc.) from both pregnancies.

Through those years my priorities have changed and my style has also evolved to reflect that. Nowadays I find myself preoccupied with house chores and play dates I no longer have time to think of what to wear and have resorted to a more timeless wardrobe , ‘ the basics‘ as others would call it but think of it this way—they’re reliable and you can never go wrong with it. In my journey of slowly ridding my life of clutter and creating a semi-capsule wardrobe I found myself investing in pieces that will last me a life time and that includes my JORD WATCH. I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about them for a while and so I was overly ecstatic when they reached out to me. I already got myself a Jord Fieldcrest in Maple prior to this collaboration and I wanted Marco to enjoy the same classic timepiece I had so I opted to get him the Jord Hyde in Kosso &Gray These beautifully designed wooden watches have a wide array of options for men and women (as you can see) and they also ship worldwide for FREE so go check them out.

Jord Fieldcrest Maple

Jord Hyde Kosso & Gray

As parents, we cant help but wear different hats multiple times a day. Sometimes I’m a blogger, an influencer, a mom boss and I find a few minutes in those days where I can dress up and look decent like a normal human being. (Even do #OOTDs like the good old days)

But for the most part I am a mother and I try to tend to my kids 24/7 wether we’re at home or out traveling, busy making memories and treasuring the moments that they still enjoy being with me and Marco.

…And lastly, I am a wife. I know life can be overwhelming, for a SAHM watching the kids is a full time job, then you have emails, collaborations to tend to on the side plus house chores to top it all but it’s always important to take the time with your significant other. Even when we’re too busy to have date nights, we take a few minutes to just snuggle, talk about our day and laugh at the crazy things our kids did—these are the moments that count.

In celebration of these special moments in our life and just living life in general I have partnered with Jord watch to give one lucky winner $100 off their very own timepiece selection. Click the link below to join the giveaway:

JORD WATCH GIVEAWAY

Good luck guys!

~Rhea

 

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Destination: Nashville, Tennessee

March 27 – 28, 2019

I know a day in Nashville is VERY limited as there are so many things to do there but we were really just dropping by before our main destination— Atlanta, GA. So after we visited the National Corvette Museum from the previous blogpost we drove to Nashville and I was surprised that it was only going to be roughly an hour and 45 minutes going there plus factor in a short stop over if needed. Of course our first stop in Nashville was going to be a food place so we found ourselves driving to Arnold’s Country Kitchen.

Arnold’s Country Kitchen

Address: 605 8th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203

So if you haven’t been to Arnold’s the process over there is you fall in line, get your food and then look for a place to sit down and that place based on the reviews and from the looks of it is always packed. Now I walked in pushing a stroller and holding Cassie in one hand while I had Marco fall in line. I read the rules and figured, ‘rules are rules’ whether I have 5 kids with me or not so I was a little hesitant but I was going to brave the line. A woman approached me and told me I could sit down and I told her I didn’t want to grab someone else’s seat especially since we didn’t have our food yet, I jokingly mentioned something about not being a rule breaker and she laughed and said I could break them because she made those rules—yup, apparently she was the owner. She told the other employees not to tell me off and that I could sit down with my kids. In my head I was like—OK, I LOVE NASHVILLE, TN. That was honestly one of the nicest things a stranger has done for me in a while. 

Of course the food was SOUTHERN and PERFECT and it satisfied our current craving at that time plus it was cheap. Good food and good prices AND good people, now that’s a 5-star rating from us.

What Lifts You Wings Mural

Address: 302 11th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203

So those who know me know that I appreciate taking photos with mural walls ANYWHERE in the world, so here in Nashville they have the infamous ‘Wings Mural’ by Kelsey Montague. She actually has a bunch of similar interactive art all over the US if I’m not mistaken. We checked the maps and it was like a 10-minute walk from Arnold’s, it was a beautiful day so we decided to go for it. We could easily spot the mural because there was a line to take photos and I was genuinely surprised but this is what we came for so we decided to fall in line and I’m glad we did.

Across the street, diagonal to it there’s another mural where the kids and I had fun taking pictures because it was so colorful and right across that mural was Milk and Honey

Milk and Honey

Address: 214 11th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203

Milk and Honey Nashville is a popular local coffee shop (if I’m not mistaken) that had good ratings online so since it was right across from where we were, we decided to grab a gelato and coffee to go. I wish we had more time to try their food especially their baked goods but I can tell you the place has a nice ambiance, its beautifully set up inside and very instagrammable if you know what I mean.

The Parthenon

Address: 2500 West End Ave, Nashville, TN 37203

After grabbing a little snack our last stop for the day was Centennial Park, we figured it was a beautiful day outside might as well spend the rest of the day outdoors. I on the other hand was just interested in seeing the Parthenon, a replica of the greek former temple. It would be nice to see the ruins of the real Parthenon one day.

People were literally playing outside and having picnics and I wish we had more time to kill in that park but we literally just walked through it, walked to the Parthenon and found out that we needed to bring the double stroller up the stairs so we compromised—we took pictures outside and I gave in to the kids wanting to play in the playground, Marco did offer to stay with them outside while I go in and explore the Parthenon but this was a family vacation so to the playground we went.

Sleep Inn

Address: 3437 Percy Priest Dr. Nashville, TN 37214

We were totally pooped and decided that we were done with our little adventure so we headed to our hotel to check in. The check-in process took awhile since there was only one guy in the front desk and although he was courteous and everything another customer was giving him a hard time and they were having an ongoing misunderstanding so his hands were tired.  We had to wait for a good 30 minutes until they could sort things out, its a good thing the kids were just playing in the lobby while waiting. The rooms was of a decent size and it was overall clean, breakfast was nothing out of the ordinary but the staff serving breakfast was very helpful and polite.

Hattie B’s Hot Chicken

Address: 5209 Charlotte Ave, Nashville, TN 37209

I understand this chain isn’t all over the US but if you find yourself close to one, I suggest you get in. The place was packed and there was a line but they had quick service and the food was WORTH it. My kids are usually picky eaters even with fried chicken (go figure) but both of them were digging in. Don’t forget to get their lemonade too, if you like ’em cold and fresh then this is where to get it even on a cold night.

The vibe inside had a modern industrial feel to it, I am not surprised a lot of millenials and hipsters hang out at this place. Good food, great vibe and again IG worthy, you’re getting a bang for your buck. No wonder this place averages 4.5 starts out of 5 online.

Grand Ole Opry

Address: 2804 Opryland Dr, Nashville, TN 37214

Before parking for the Grand Ole Opry, its nice to point out that right across it is Opry Mills, an outlet mall. If you are into shopping when you’re on vacation then you’ve come to the right place, plus right next to it the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center.

Every legendary country star has probably performed a concert right here in the Grand Ole Opry, the architecture is already interesting and I wouldn’t have minded doing the tour to learn about its history but we were on a tight schedule and Marco wasn’t really into country music so we had to skip it. We explored the outsides and there are a lot of photo-worthy spots like those two gigantic guitars at the entrance, its hard to miss. But if you are a BIG country music lover then you can’t miss this place.

Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center

Address: 2800 Opryland Dr, Nashville, TN 37214

Even if you’re not staying in this hotel, a lot of people still make a trip to the Gaylord Opryland Resort because of its picturesque hotel set-up where one atrium leads to another. I swear if you walk around, you’ll feel like you’re in paradise with all its greenery. If you’re into botanicals then you would appreciate this resort as it has labels to all its flowers and plants that are strategically arranged surrounding waterfalls and acclaimed restaurants (that are a bit pricey if I might add). Also from my understanding this is the largest hotel in the US that does not have a Casino. Did I mention that they have a boat ride inside? Again, we didn’t have time to do this but I’m saving this  along with the newly designed waterpark for the next trip here.

Do take note that if you want to park inside the resort they will charge you $25 even if you’re just there for 5-10 minutes. Now if you do eat at one of their restaurants then they do validate but other than that I would suggest parking outside the mall close to the cinemas and just walk to the resort. That’s what we did.

And that is it for our one-day trip to Nashville, now on to our final destination—Atlanta, GA.

~Rhea