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Violents

It’s been a pretty long time since Jeremy released a full-length album… the last one was before we were married. Since then, he started a project featuring different female vocalists called Violents. He has been releasing a series of EPs under that name for the past few years.

Well, a lot happened over the past year but he signed with Partisan Records and is about to release his first full length record for Violents featuring the singer Monica Martin. It’s so special to us, both as a career achievement for Jeremy and a sentimental milestone/dream come true.

I just found out you can order the limited edition PINK vinyl(*for only $15) on Amazon prime here. YES!

Violents

Listen here:

We hope you enjoy this music. It’s such a big part of our life and it means a lot to share it with you here.

  
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The Larson's Guide to Nashville

Jeremy and I have compiled this quick guide to some of our favorite Nashville spots for a weekend in town. We have hosted a lot of friends and family since moving, so here is just some of our ever-growing list! We like to try a new spot every weekend… so our list really is evolving all the time!

Our favorite Nashville coffee shops

COFFEE

If Nashville wasn’t called “Music City” I am pretty sure it would be called “Coffee City”. It’s not the biggest city, but it’s coffee game is second to none.

Barista Parlor Perhaps the most well known Nashville coffee shop(s). There are three locations. My personal favorite (just based on aesthetic) is the Golden Sound Location downtown. But if you are looking for something that is very Nashville-looking you’ll want to try the East Nashville location. They carry our favorite donuts (from Five Daughter’s Bakery) and serve Askinosie hot chocolate (a chocolate company from our hometown in Missouri). They also have really good breakfast sandwiches…. and of course coffee to please even the snobbiest of coffee snobs.

Crema A personal fave of ours! They sell Crema coffee all over and the location is really cute and has a patio. They have amazing avocado toast and I love getting their chai.

Steadfast The original coffee soda… yes, it’s a thing and it’s definitely worth trying at least once. This spot has really good light, bright vibes and a pretty large outdoor seating area.

Our favorite breakfast places in Nashville

BREAKFAST

Marché We eat here at least once every week. It is hands down our favorite breakfast in Nashville. We love the Savory Crepes (there is a different one every day and they are all incredible), the Croissant French Toast and the Fruit Tartine. This is one of those easy going, feel-good places.

AMOT (A Matter Of Taste) This is a gluten-free restaurant. We love the Chilaquiles, Chicken & Waffles and Shrimp and Grits. They also have a great burger.

Biscuit Love If you find yourself near downtown for breakfast we highly recommend Biscuit Love. I’ve never had anything bad there, but their “Bonuts” are what you go for (biscuit donuts… just stop).

Loveless Cafe A cute little diner, just outside of town. It really is about the biscuits, which are the fluffiest and best ever. I don’t even care about the rest of the menu. They also have a really cute gift shop where you can buy biscuit mix, one of the best souvenirs you can take home- in our opinion.

The Flipside This is the spot with that INSANE bloody mary. Love it!

Our favorite lunch spots in nsahville

LUNCH
Pinewood Social You can have any meal at Pinewood, but we usually choose it for lunch. We love their patio with a dipping pool in the summertime, it’s so cute- they serve cocktails from an airstream trailer. Get the fried broccoli and they have the best kale salad, in my opinion.

Le Sel My blogger friends are always like, “yeah, but- what is that PINK restaurant?” ha! I love getting a fancy cocktail and some truffle fries here with girlfriends. If you care about getting a photo (ahem- blogger friends) go at, like, 3pm when there’s not a big rush of people.

Burger Up We love their burgers, but 99% of the time we go for their salads, which are really great. And if you love fried pickles, you’re going to want to order those too.

Avo Avo is a vegan restaurant with a lot of good veggie-based options. The Kimchi Springrolls are our favorite dish. The Avocado Margarita is super good. I always get the coconut water, in a coconut and a giant salad.

Vui’s Kitchen Our favorite Vietnamese spot… it’s SO good. We try to go once a week! Everything is good, but we always get salads, bone broth and coconut water. It’s for sure the most flavorful and interesting salad in Nashville.

Our favorite dinner spots in Nashville

DINNER

Epice This is a great Lebanese spot that doesn’t feel like any other restaurant in Nashville. The atmosphere is very fresh and minimal and the food is incredible. I always get the same thing- the Sayadeya, which is a delicious fish dish (and I’m not even a big fish person).

Little Octopus One of the most beautiful atmospheres in town and most creative menus. I love their cocktails and small plates. The decor makes you feel like you’re in a fancy 80s movie… in the best way!

The Catbird Seat For the most special of occasions, one of the best meals we’ve had in our lives was at The Catbird Seat. It’s more than just dinner, it’s a like a culinary show. It’s a tasting menu, so you don’t even have to (or get to) order anything except drinks. It’s truly special (and pretty pricey… but totally worth it if you love this type of thing- we went for Jeremy’s birthday). You have to book your seats weeks (and sometimes months) in advance so be sure to plan ahead!

Oh! And for pizza we LOVE City House for a date night (get the egg pizza and Bella cocktail) and for carryout pizza Five Points Pizza is our go-to.

Our favorite taco spots in Nashville

TACOS

Yes, tacos get their own category here in Nashville. This is very serious business.

Mas Tacos A local favorite. It is small and the line does get long, so we like to get there early (like between 5-6 pm). Sometimes we make it into a happy hour as well now that they have added a bar. We love their tacos, but even more- the street corn and tortilla soup are just SO good.

Bajo Sexto Taco Lounge We stumbled upon this place one day while trying to go somehwere else. They have a couple locations, but we like the Sylvan Park one. They have a big salad, which is nice to mix in. Perfect spot for an easy lunch.

Bar Taco Located on 12th Avenue South (one of the cutest streets to have dinner and take a walk afterward) this spot won our hearts because we love tiny tacos and they have the best drinks.

TREATS

Jeni’s Ice Cream I’m not sure how many locations Nashville has, but it really feels like there is a Jeni’s on every corner. If it’s your first time, order the Brown Butter Almond Brittle ice cream. So good!

Las Palatas A cute little paletas shop. Super kid friendly and just wonderful during the summertime. They have fun flavors like avocado and coconut.

Five Daughters Bakery The best cronuts and cinnamon rolls. It’s just mind blowing how good these are!

Our favorite bars in Nashville

BARS

Public House Bar & Kitchen (at Urban Cowboy) We love this cozy bar because the outdoor fireplaces are next-level and so cozy on a chilly night. I love their hot toddy (I’m sure that’s probably seasonal, but don’t worry I’ve never had a bad drink there). Order the white bean dip.

Bar Luca There is something about this bar that brings us back time after time. It’s well designed and pretty mellow. Great spot for a date night. (RIP- Just hear that this closed a few weeks ago….)

The Greenhouse Bar This place is so funny. Now, I admit we don’t know that much about the south side bars because 99% of the time we keep to East Nashville, but this place is so fun and novelty I had to include it. It’s a bar in a greenhouse… need I say more?

Dino’s I had to include one dive bar, and Dino’s is our favorite hands-down. We always get chili cheese fries and sometimes a butcher burger. It reminds us of Missouri, which sometimes we need, you know? It’s a tiny little space, but has all the best feelings… I can’t describe it!

Favorite shops in Nashville

SHOPPING
(I know, some of you are like- “something besides food p-leaseeee?” Here you go.)

Harlan Ruby A gift/party shop that has something for every lady (kids and adults) and great gift options and the BEST selection of stationery. It’s really worth the stop and I love the family who runs it… such magical people!

Magnolia Goods A great kiddo shop with a beautifully curated selection.

White’s Merchantile One of the stores that first made me fall in love with Nashville. I can always find some random thing that I definitely “need” or a great gift for a friend in there.

Poppy & Monroe This is that green nail salon that I always post about on Instagram. They give the best manicures and also have an amazing selection of non-toxic beauty products. I have learned about so many great products from them!

Hewitt Garden & Design Center This is the greenhouse I always go to with the amazing cacti house. They have a really cute home goods selection as well (mostly planters and things like that, but during the holidays it was the best selection seasonal of decor I saw anywhere). Love this place!

Other than that, a lot of people want to go to Broadway on their first trip. It’s pretty fun. We like Robert’s Western World. Also, Acme Feed & Seed has a rooftop bar that’s a pretty great sunset view (and they have a photo booth inside near the sushi restaurant). If you want a cheesy Nashville souvenir you’ll definitely find what you’re looking for on Broadway!

And the other thing people always want to do is try hot chicken. For that try Hattie B’s or Prince’s… and be prepared to wait in line (especially on the weekends).

Instead of a hotel, stay in an airbnb. I think staying somewhere where you can walk to at least one thing on your t0-do list is a pretty great way to experience a city.

Ok- I feel like I am leaving a lot of places out! But check my hashtag #ElsieLovesNashville on IG for more spots. That’s definitely the most frequently updated city guide I have because I add to it all the time.

If you’re coming soon I really hope you enjoy checking out some of the spots we love in Nashville. It’s the friendliest city… that’s what made us love it here!

The Larson's Guide To Nashville

Love, Elsie + Jeremy

  
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We're adopting

The next phase of our adoption process, which lasted from July until January was the HEAVY paperwork phase. In an international adoption there are two really big groups of paperwork you have to do, the home study and the dossier. For us, the home study was longer, but the dossier took more time to complete.

Now, this phase is so long and boring that it scares a lot of people off. And after having gone through it, I understand why. Aside from the expense of adoption (which is enough of a barrier for most middle class families- ouch!) the paper work is a massive time commitment. There were months where I felt like it was my part-time job.

I tried to take breaks and pace myself, but the drive to finish is INSANE. I have never put so much pressure on myself in my entire life.

When the time comes to do it again, I feel like I’ll be able to go faster because I have a basic understanding of all the paperwork now. I will definitely set aside 2-3 months, with no travel, because travel slows you down. I will have timeline goals and a checklist from day one. And I won’t have to google every single adoption term six times… haha! But honestly, no matter how organized you are- everyone has unexpected bumps and hurdles in their process. It just happens.

So, in July of 2016 we met a social worker locally, to begin our home study process. Now, this is no regular application. We worked on it every day and it took us almost two months to complete. There’s a lot to it, like each of us writing an autobiography of our lives and answering the most personal questions you can imagine about your marriage and every aspect of your lives.

At the end of August we turned in our 99 page application, kind of the first of the two big groups of paperwork. Included in that were all kinds of things that we had to get notarized, old documents we had to request from Missouri, reference letters, a fingerprinting appointment… all kind of things. It was overwhelming at first, but then once we got into it, it was pretty damn exciting. And honestly, we’ve never felt so LEGIT.

We were so proud of every step, every trip to the post office, every night spent filling out questionnaires. Adoption is no joke. They kind of force you to be prepared in every possible way, I mean- I wrote a fire escape plan and map for our home. We have life insurance, we know our exact net worth and we have had a multitude of backgrounds checks and medical checks… even our dogs had to have official paperwork proving their vaccination history.

It doesn’t get much more adult than that.

The home study also includes the infamous “home visit” where a social worker visits your home to supposedly check all your cabinets and closets and peep in all your drawers. In the weeks leading up to our visit we went a little crazy cleaning, organizing and baby proofing. Buying a baby gate was one of the cutest days ever because we got to feel like REAL parents for, like, five whole minutes. haha.

The home study day came and went without a hitch. It wasn’t as scary as I imagined it would be. It was honestly pretty simple compared to all the paperwork.

After we turned that stuff in (in late August) we thought it was all downhill. We were told the dossier was “much easier”.

Then I started the dossier documents. Ha!

I think I cried the first night I really went though it and saw what all was on my checklist. Lots more supporting documents, letters to write, reference letters to have written, photos of our home (no pets allowed!)… you get the idea. It had its own set of doctors notes, separate from the ones we’d already completed. The list goes on…

Much documents. Many revisions.

I had one document, in particular, that I had to go back to get redone so many times. I had a couple mini breakdowns over that one. I cried to a complete stranger. It was honestly pretty embarrassing. But I was desperate and I did what I had to do to get my papers. I begged another stranger to drop what she was doing and come notarize something for me. Then after I finally got it all completed and turned in, it got rejected (over a minor detail that I still don’t completely understand) and I had to start over.

There were days it felt impossible. There were tears. There were late nights and early mornings. Almost all the appointments happen during working hours (doctors, police stations, notary etc…) so we spent our lunch breaks in this way multiple times each week for about six months. Let’s just say, our notary know us very well by now.

I struggled with guilt. I eventually had to draw new boundaries in my life. I realized that in this season of our life our family has to come first, that means our marriage and our adoption. After that my biggest priority is my work, we own two companies now. It takes more than ever to keep up with and balance these two priorities. After that I barely have time for our close friends. I had to realize I have zero time to go out and make new friends. As much as I want to, I don’t have the bandwidth for new girlfriends and cute coffee shops and girls nights. Maybe someday, but not today.

For almost seven months we did paperwork and more paperwork.

And then one day it was over.

So we turned in our dossier and completed home study (which is basically a 20 page reference letter, written by a social worker, detailing every aspect of your lives). Next, we started immigration applications. And finally… it was all turned in. Our to-do list was empty.

Now that’s not the last paper work we’ll be doing, but the really time consuming ones are behind us. Now it’s basically just waiting on things to come in the mail and keeping up with next steps for the next few months. We are now entering a waiting period. Our dossier documents are processing. And for the next who-knows-how-long (we’ve been told to expect a wait of up to 10 months) we’ll be waiting.

We’re waiting for a match (also called a referral sometimes). This is the magical day when you get an email with a child’s photos, sometimes a video and their medical history.

Until we have been matched we won’t know the timeline of when we’ll be traveling to bring our daughter home, we won’t know her age or her medical conditions. These are all things I am incredibly anxious to find out.

During the applications you fill out a medical condition list, which includes a checklist of maybe 40 medical conditions. You check off all the ones you are open to. We studied and studied, talked to medical professionals, talked to other adoptive parents and talked to each other for hours on end. Checking off those boxes was not easy. There are so many unknowns.

In the end, we just went with our instincts. You also have the option to choose the gender and maximum age for your match. There’s also an option to adopt twins or siblings. We feel really good about everything we checked. In my heart I feel like I have some premonitions about our child… but I could be wrong. I’m curious to find out.

Now we wait.

I am using this season to decorate a nursery and a playroom. It’s the biggest joy to me! I also made some personal goals to keep myself busy. Will I get anxious- obviously, yes. But it’s fine! This process wasn’t made to be easy. It tests every part of you. And in the end, I feel like it might be the most beautiful human experience of our lives.

We can wait.