Road Trip: Nashville with Sidewalk Ready

A few weeks ago Kayley from Sidewalk Ready left the snow and cold of Grand Rapids Michigan behind to embark on a road trip to Nashville. Follow her Music City adventure and find out a few of her favorite places to stop when road trippin’ through Nashville.

In the midst of a freezing and snowy winter, sometimes the key to staying positive is to take a vacation. While traveling by plane is convenient and time efficient, something about commuting by car appeals to me.

Seeing the snow slowly disappear as the hours go by is so gratifying, and if travelling with a good friend or family member, road trips can also be relationship building. It’s impossible not to learn something new about the person you are traveling with when trapped in a car with them for hours on end.  Looking back on the road trips I’ve taken in the past, the commute tends to be as memorable as the vacation itself.

This particular road trip brought my friend, Heather, and I to Nashville, TN. After grabbing coffee at a local Grand Rapids favorite, Sparrows (essential for starting a road trip out right: warm and caffeinated), we cranked out the miles in about 8 hours, stopping only for gas and bathroom breaks.

We took turns playing the role of driver and DJ and the time flew by. Sidenote: My #1 tip when it comes to encouraging time to pass quickly – dress in comfortable layers. I started our journey in a jacket, cardigan, t-shirt dress, tights, and one of my favorite pairs of Minnetonka mocs (a road trip staple for me!). As we travelled further south I was able to lose a couple layers, but the basics of my outfit proved to work for many seasons and it transitioned to each pit stop perfectly.

While Nashville has enough to see to keep a person occupied for weeks, it is also a wonderful place to stop if you happen to just be traveling through. If I had to make recommendations on where to go in Nashville for a brief road-trip detour stop, this is what I would choose:

Barista Parlor. Fresh brewed coffee from all over the world in an inspiring space full of sunlight and interesting décor. This was my favorite place to hunker down and get work done so don’t forget to bring your laptop if you have work you need to tackle while briefly stopped!

And Mitchell’s. Perfect for being on the go – a wide of range of reasonably priced sandwiches in a charming space that also sells specialty grocery items. Out of curiosity, I ordered the báhn mi sandwich and it didn’t disappoint!

Or (depending on budget) MarchéMore of a time and financial commitment than Mitchell’s but worth it. If you happen to be stopping through on a Saturday or Sunday, I would strongly recommend going for Marché’s brunch and don’t leave without ordering the French toast, whether it be a full order for your meal or a half order to split with others for dessert.  

No matter how long you stay, Nashville is absolutely worth a visit. I hope you have a chance to check out this all-american city and indulge in some amazing food and all the entertainment it has to offer!

Handcrafted for the Holidays: Scandinavian Paper Ornaments

Handcrafted for the Holidays

Scandinavian Paper Ornaments created by Signe from SigneRoo

You know what I love best about holiday traditions? It doesn’t matter how old you are, it’s always fun to roll up your sleeves and find yourself elbow deep in the holidays! Frosting cookies, decorating the tree, homemade fudge…you name it!

Even though I now reside in Texas, I like to try and keep the Northern traditions alive! Chad and I both have Norwegian heritage, and we wanted to keep that prevalent in our yearly customs.  Last year, my brother made a few Scandinavian paper ornaments for our first Christmas tree, and I knew then that they would make a perfect yearly tradition. Especially with kids!

The best part? They are really easy to make! You can add a little Scandinavian flare to your tree or you can even make a little bunting for the doorway like we did.  In Norway, they fill the little heart baskets with candies or gifts. I kept ours empty, because I know I’d sneak one every time I walked under that doorway!

The Holiday season is one of the most wonderful times of the year. It’s a nice excuse to slow down, sit down with those you love and share a cup of cocoa! {And maybe even get a little crafty, too!}  I hope you have a tradition that you are able to enjoy every year, as well.  Happy Holidays!


Signe is wearing Minnetonka Thunderbird II Mocs and Classic Fringe Boot Softsoles.

Handcrafted for the Holidays: Festive Gift Wrapping

Handcrafted for the Holidays

Festive Gift Wrapping shared by Danielle from indie.electronic.alternative.

The holiday tradition I’m sharing for the Handcrafted for the Holidays lookbook is festive gift wrapping!

I’m known for getting crafty when it comes to dressing up my presents. I love putting my own touch on gifts with unique paper. Then I add special touches like ornaments in place of bows and paper stem wire as ribbon to create a rustic feel.  My mom always took great care to make our gifts look gorgeous and it’s a family tradition I’ve continued!

Danielle’s featured Minnetonka style, a pair of Kilty Mocs.

Handcrafted for the Holidays: Holiday Wreath

Handcrafted for the Holidays

Holiday Nature Wreath created by Laura from Roots and Feathers

For the Handcrafted for the Holidays lookbook, I chose to create a Holiday Nature Wreath because I have always wanted a wreath to decorate within my home for the holidays, but have never found one that I absolutely loved.I’m not one for very traditional Christmas decor so when I was dreaming up the perfect wreath I instantly thought of this and this DIY I had recently done for my blog.  I love incorporating nature into my home and this was the perfect project to do so.  What I love most about it, is that the wreath is so natural looking I don’t need to put it away after the holidays!

Things from nature; ie: pine cones, leaves, seeds, feathers
Dried flowers
Twine, lace, leather, yarn
Hot glue

How To:

Step 1. Gather your sticks.  Try to find ones that naturally have a curve to them, it will help to form a circle easier.  You can make this large or small depending on what size sticks you find or want.  Gather other things from nature.  This can be just about anything you find out in the wild that can be glued down, even delicate things like leaves can be used.

Step 2.  Lay your wreath out in the shape that you want.  Double up some sticks on it so that it is thick enough to have a good surface to glue things onto.  Begin to glue all of your sticks together.  Don’t worry too much about the glue showing because it will get covered up with trim and your nature pieces.

Step 3.  Reinforce all of the points where your sticks are joined with twine, wire, leather or lace.  You can be as minimal as you want or go crazy with fun details.  This part is for function and beauty.

Step 4.  Arrange and glue your pieces from nature and dried flowers if you are using them.  Most craft stores have a section of flowers that are real dried flowers, not the fake plastic kind (although you could use those too if you want).

Step 5.  Add a piece of yarn on top to hang your wreath from.  And you’re done!

Laura’s featured Minnetonka style, a pair of Mukluk Lows.

Handcrafted for the Holidays: Swedish Tea Ring Recipe

Handcrafted for the Holidays

A Swedish Tea Ring Recipe shared by Elizabeth from Delightfully Tacky

Growing up, every Christmas my mom would make us a Swedish Tea Ring.  We’d wake up, open up our stocking presents, and then in between stocking presents and tree presents we’d stop to eat breakfast.

Every year there would be a Swedish Tea Ring.  Now that I’m married and living away from home, I figured it was time I learn how to make my own tea ring for Christmas mornings!  It’s a one of a kind feeling baking the same recipe my mom and grandmother both made, linking me back to generations before me.  I suppose that’s what the meaning of tradition truly is.

While I’m merely a new rung on the ladder of the tea ring tradition, Dan and I started a little tradition of our own on our first Christmas eve together two years ago.  I had made some homemade peppermint liqueur, so we decided to make hot chocolate, put the peppermint liqueur in it, and then go on a walk around town, getting hot chocolate refills at local coffee shops.

It was fun to be bundled up, walking around the city we love, and giving holiday cheer to the baristas we love.

Swedish Tea Ring Recipe (via Betty Crocker)

for the dough (makes enough for two batches.  Use half of this to make the tea ring, you can make Cinnamon Rolls with the other half!):

1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105 – 115º F)
1/2 cup lukewarm milk (scalded then cooled)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 tsp salt
1 egg
3.5-4 cups all purpose flour

for the filling:
2 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins

for the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

To make the dough:

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl.  Stir in milk, sugar, butter, salt, egg, and 2 cups of flour.  Beat until smooth.  Mix in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.

2. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Place in a greased bowl and turn greased side up.

3. Cover and let rise in a warm place until it doubles in size, about 1.5 hours.  Dough is ready if an indentation remains when touched.  If you want to make the dough ahead of time, you can keep it in a greased bowl, covered, and refrigerate it after kneading.  It can keep for up to 4 days.


To make filling + form rolls:

1. Use 1/2 the dough you just made and roll it into a 15 x 9 in rectangle on a lightly floured surface.  Spread with softened butter.  Sprinkle cinnamon, sugar, and raisins over the rectangle.

2. Roll up the dough, tightly rolling from the long 15 inch side.  Pinch edge of dough into the roll to seal well.  Stretch the roll to make it even.  With the sealed edge down, shape the dough into a ring on a lightly greased or parchment paper covered cookie sheet.  Pinch the ends together.  With scissors, make cuts 2/3 of the way through the ring at 1 inch intervals and turn each section on its side.  Let rise until double, about 40 minutes.

3. Heat the oven to 375º F.  Bake until golden brown, 25-30 minutes.  If the tea ring browns too quickly, cover loosely with aluminum foil.

4. Spread ring with glaze (below), and decorate with cherries!

To make the glaze:

Mix powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla until glaze is smooth and of desired consistency.

Elizabeth’s featured Minnetonka style, a pair of Mukluk Highs.