During my recent excursion to Tennessee, I connected with loads of friends. Some brand new, some I'd known for years. The great thing being that I was brand new to Music City and everything was fresh. I'd been eager to explore the city for months, so the weekend could not have been more welcome.

Lane and I had planned on traveling together and then going our separate ways for the weekend. She would be staying with Paul in Franklin, so I was really on my own after the airport. Thankfully, I've got some pretty stellar friends, so a lack of places to check out was not an issue.

First stop was Crema to revive after the (albeit short, but still "meh") flight with Matt & Shaun. I'll tell ya, that was probably the best latte I've ever tasted. I learned that the place roasts their own coffee. Loved the atmosphere. Big fan of that pour over as well.

Afterwards I connected with a new friend, Judson Collier (that dude is stupid talented, you should check him out), and headed to The Pharmacy for dinner and Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams for some pretty spectacular dessert. It may or may not have been in that order. I ordered the Mission City Burger at The Pharmacy, and almost ate the whole thing. The Banana French Toast and Askinosie Dark Milk Chocolate scoops from Jeni's threw me off.

Okay, so I'm pretty much a newb when it comes to hotels and hostels and all that. I've been fortunate enough to have had other people arrange that for me or to always stay with friends when traveling in the past. This time, a little skeptical, I decided to try Airbnb. Honestly, I had a great first experience with it. I stayed in an adorable little blue quadplex in East Nashville with the absolute best morning light. My host was the sweetest, making me feel right at home in the city, which may or may not become my actual home in the future, here's hoping!

Friday I started off with more coffee goodness, a delicious Bourbon Barrel Vanilla Latte from Barista Parlor, where I met Matt, brand craftsman at Proof Branding. I haven't come across many people who think as much like I do as Matt does, and this guy is pretty great at getting a good conversation started: both over a cup of coffee and in regards to branding.

I headed over to the Frist Center for the Arts, and was pleased to view a gallery curated around Japanese influence on Western Artists. Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh. Seeing these pieces up against Japonisme was incredible. A little art gallery hopping afterwards led me to meet up with Lee Anne and Matt from my time at Fuge Camps. We ate lunch at the Silly Goose, and when it comes to sandwiches, I don't think I could have gone anywhere better. The Bird: chicken, bacon, goat cheese, avacado, pesto aioli or something. Geez.

The evening was spent with a seasoned Nashvillian, or somewhat. Brannon took me to Edley's BBQ for dinner, and as a North Carolina BBQ lover, I was impressed. Normally I'm a little wary of BBQ in other states. This was no disappointment. Grits casserole? Yeah, that was a little odd. But the cornbread. I'd just eat that for dinner. Nothing like the Pit, but I would definitely go there again.

We headed to a space Brannon's friends use for recording, which also happened to be the space for one of my favorite artists, Dave Elkins. I met a few musicians recording that night and I hadn't expected Dave to be there, so when he showed up and we spent almost half an hour talking about Asia, silkscreen design and healthy eating with the folks there... you can imagine.  You can check out Dave's current project here.

Saturday was spent at the Pennyweight Pop-up Shop, which you can see in pictures below. Elise Joseph does an amazing job of curating some of the most beautiful handmade goods around. Lunch at Taqueria Del Sol didn't disappoint with fellow and former Elevation intern Adam. A quick dip in Imogene + Willie left me wishing I didn't already own a pair of perfectly working glasses and enough jeans to drown in.

Fido was packed and loud, but delicious. The Local Latte is pretty high up on my list of must-gets when I return to Nashville. Spent a little time with Lane and Brannon, we USC grads gotta stick together somehow. Saturday evening consisted of a preview of Jake Owen's upcoming tour, a close friend has the revered job of Stage Manager for that guy. I'm not usually a country music listener, but I can appreciate a show that's well orchestrated.

Sunday was slow, but Marche was the best place to wrap up the weekend with brunch. I ordered the Grilled Cheese, which, despite its humble name, was incredible: apple-fig jam and brie on organic grains bread. I'd eat that every Sunday.

It's really not far from me at all, but I enjoyed my four-day escape to Nashville. It was the perfect weekend of transition, and I'm lucky to have so many faces in that city that I can recognize and now thank for making my trip so wonderful. I'm hoping to return when I can, there are still a few things I never got to that I wanted to: City House, Las Paletas, Pinewood Social.