Category Archives: Life

Fave 5: Southside Chattanooga

I have decided to start a new feature called Fave 5, where I share my fave 5 whatever. The category may be broad or specific, it may be related to books, movies, food, products, or anything else.

Recently my husband and I took a quick, one night trip to Chattanooga, a city here in Tennessee about an hour and a half from where we live. When my husband and I went there two years ago, I was researching things to do for that trip in addition to the aquarium, and came across this yummy-sounding place that I will be talking about here shortly. This particular place that we fell in love with was in an interesting part of the city, so this time, we made it a point to stay in and explore that area. Even in two years more has come out of this neat part of Chattanooga, so I wanted to share my fave five things in Southside Chattanooga.

1. The Hot Chocolatier

This is the aforementioned place, and it is AMAZING. Like, I’d spent the last two years dying to back to this place.

So what makes this place so amazing you ask? The quality of chocolate is beyond incredible. Both times I drank the S’mores hot chocolate, and it is pretty much my favorite thing that has ever graced my taste buds. Last time my husband and I split an eclair as well, which was good, but eclairs aren’t my general go-to sweet. But this time we shared this piece of chocolate cake with salted caramel, and I am crazy super picky about caramel so I generally just avoid it, but this was THE BOMB. And paired with the hot chocolate? I can’t even.

Next time I think I want to try their frozen hot chocolate. Needless to say, so worth depriving myself of sugar for a week to save up for this pilgrimage!

2. Chattnooga Choo Choo

This was the hotel where we stayed this time, literally across the street from The Hot Chocolatier. We actually walked around the grounds during our last trip, as there are actual railroad tracks and train cars there. There is even an option to sleep in one of their furnished train cars, but we chose to stay in one of their normal hotel buildings. It’s not the newest, most hip place, but it’s worth staying here to be so close to all the great things in Southside, plus there’s plenty to see and do just at the hotel grounds. We spent a lot of time the night of our stay in rocking chairs on the grounds just people watching and chatting. It was a pretty perfect evening.

3. Songbirds Guitar Museum 

This is a new attraction on the grounds of the Chattanooga Choo Choo, and a must for any fan of guitars. We just did the general tour, but fully intend to return and do the VIP tour where you can see even more guitars!

4. The Frothy Monkey

This Tennessee franchise coffee shop + restaurant has just opened a new location attached to the Chattanooga Choo Choo, and despite the fact there are locations closer to where I live, this was my first time going to one. It won’t be the last. In full disclosure, we waited over an hour to get our breakfast on a Saturday morning and I got a little on the hangry side, but it was pretty new and apparently high school graduations were going on that morning, so it was the just the wrong time to be there. The breakfast food we had was so great though, and neither one of us could finish all the food we had despite really wanting to. We ate outside and again, it was such a neat atmosphere, soaking in the whole Southside vibe. (At least until I got hangry, ha!)

5. Starline Books

After my last trip to Chattanooga I did a post about this cute little independent bookstore. It’s just a short walk away from everything else I’ve mentioned here, and if you love books (which you must if you’re here) then it’s definitely a place to check out.

Bonus! Warehouse Row and The Terminal

The Terminal is right next door to the Choo Choo and is where we ate dinner, and it was quite good! Warehouse Row is a flew blocks away and we didn’t make it down there this time, but we went last time and it is such a neat looking shopping place.

What’s a favorite weekend getaway spot for you?

Monthly Recap: May

Books I Read

Freefall to Fly by Rebekah Lyons

The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (reread)

Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban

I also listened to two non-fiction books on audio in May. I decided to try adding audiobooks in with my podcast routine to switch things up. I don’t like audiobooks quite as much as podcasts because it’s not conversational, but it’s still working out pretty well for me. It’s a good way to absorb information while doing something else. Right now I’m “re-reading” To Kill A Mockingbird on audio, though I’ve thought about abandoning the audiobook to finish reading it for myself since the narrator’s attempt at a Southern accent has grated on me a little. We’ll see.



As you may have seen on my post about Anne with an E, I got a Netflix free trial after never having it before, and watched that entire series. Since then, I’ve watched a little of Girl Meets World (thanks to Annie) and my husband and I have started Sherlock. We’re planning to keep the service through the summer, until our shows come back on TV. If you have any other recs, send them my way!

#Bookstagram Image of the Month

Life Things

A few days before our anniversary, my husband and I made a somewhat last-minute decision to take a quick, one night trip to a nearby city, Chattanooga, a few days after our anniversary. It was a really great little trip! I have a future post planned where I will share a little more about it.

We also ordered our first set of living room furniture! For our first 8 years of marriage we have been using hand-me-down furniture, which has been great and we have been thankful for, but since we’ve gotten into our new house last year we have been ready to sort of really make it our own. It will be several weeks before we get the new furniture, but when we do we’ll move the old couch upstairs to our bonus room and probably get rid of our old chairs. It’s kind of crazy to think about as it’s just another thing that feels so “adult”!

Looking Forward to in June

I don’t really have big plans, which is nice. Just some family stuff, and hopefully just enjoy the beginning of summer. I’m also rooting for the Preds for the Stanley Cup; GO PREDS! I’ve been to one Preds game before (a couple of years ago) and I honestly didn’t love it (getting shut-out probably didn’t help…), but watching them advance through each round of the playoffs has been so exciting! They’re down in the series right now, but it’s been a year of comebacks so I haven’t lost faith yet!

Potential June TBR 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (reread)

Duels and Deceptions by Cindy Anstey

I’m still undecided on what else I want to read, but I’ll figure it out. 🙂 I also finished Better Off Friends already and really enjoyed it.

What are you looking forward to this month?

Monthly Recap: April


Books I Read

A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Anne’s House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery

Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal

Only one of these is YA! I’m trying to broaden my horizons a bit. I enjoyed all these reads but Anne’s House of Dreams was my favorite (which was such a relief after Anne of Windy Poplars was a small let-down).

Movie of the Month

Beauty and the Beast! It was lovely! As much as I loved Emma Watson and the guy who played the Beast though, I kind of think Luke Evans as Gaston stole the show! He was spot-on.

My husband and I are also working our way through a Star Wars movies rewatch; only episodes VI and VII to go now!

#Bookstagram Images of the Month

Camp NaNoWriMo

I needed some serious time away from the project I have spent years on, so this month I dabbled on a new story idea that I am pretty sure now is going to be my next WIP, a contemporary about two teens competing for first chair sax. I completed my goal of 10,000 words, though they weren’t all exactly in order. Oops. Anyhow, I’m really loving it and hope I get to share it one day!

Looking Forward to in May

My husband and I will be celebrating 8 years of marriage and 13 years together on the 16th! Sometimes it seems so crazy it’s been that long, but sometimes it feels like it’s been longer (in a good way)! Sadly, we don’t get to go on a vacation this month around our anniversary like we usually do because I got sick so much this winter and used up my PTO, sigh… But I trust it’ll be a good month regardless. We have a local jazz festival I am looking forward to plus a few things lined up to do with friends.

Potential May TBR

The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (reread) by J.K. Rowling

These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas

Paper Wishes by Lois Sephban

I also already finished one book after reading half of it on April 30 and finishing it the first day of May, but I’ll mention that in my recap next month. 🙂

How was your April? What are you looking forward to in May? 

*Edit May 29: I have closed comments due to an unusual amount of spam comments for this post.

Monthly Recap: March

Books I Read

Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (reread)

I also DNF’d a book, which was kind of shocking to me because I usually do this about once a year late into the year, so to start March this way was a little crazy. It was my first attempt reading a Star Wars novel and there was too much technobabble for a book for me personally. I guess I ought to just stick with the movies.

Movie of the Month

I still haven’t seen Beauty and the Beast yet (I know!) but I did finally get around to watching Arrival this month. It was really well-done and well-written, but it has definitely not stuck with me the way I thought it might. I didn’t feel a real connection with Amy Adams’ character despite the poignancy of her story. It was definitely interesting and worth a watch though. Can’t say I feel the same way about the other new-to-me movie I watched in March, Batman vs. Superman. Ugh. I was “forced” to watch this by my husband. I just can’t buy into Batfleck. Don’t even get me started. And I didn’t even like Superman in this movie after liking Man of Steel. But I digress…

March Madness

If you follow me on Twitter and managed to not mute me during basketball season, then you know I am a huge fan of Middle Tennessee men’s basketball. I’ve been watching them play for about 12 years, so I was a fan before they became household names last year for beating Michigan State. I was thrilled to watch them win the Conference USA tournament again this year and clench a spot in the NCAA tournament, and even more thrilled that they “upset” in the first round again against Minnesota! Sadly they once again lost in the second round, but the program is definitely making strides in the right direction, and a 31-5 record is something to be proud of.

SE YA Fest

This year was the second annual SE YA Fest here in Middle Tennessee where several YA and MG authors come for signings and panels. It’s focused on the local schools first and foremost, but on Saturday it’s open to the public and I was able to attend this year like I was last year. For a variety of reasons I ended up not doing as much this time around, but still enjoyed it and I got Beth Revis’s writing advice book autographed.

#Bookstagram Images of the Month

Looking Forward to in April

Camp NaNoWriMo! I have a new story idea that I think I am actually going to stick with this time (I’m terrible about jumping around from idea to idea) and am looking forward to using the month of April to further develop it. Anyone else participating?

Potential April TBR

A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raynourn

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (reread)

Glamour in Glass (Glamourist Histories #2) by Mary Robinette Kowal

How was your March? What are you looking forward to in April?

Monthly Recap: February 2017

Books I Read

Take the Key and Lock Her Up (Embassy Row #3) by Ally Carter

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

I only got three reads in this month, but I had more lunches out of office or shortened lunches (which is when I do most of my reading) this month than usual, plus Carve the Mark took me some time to read.

Book Acquisition

My sweet husband got me the perfect Valentine’s Day gift: an illustrated copy of Chamber of Secrets! I actually don’t have the illustrated Sorcerer’s Stone yet, but he knew I was rereading the books this year and have only reread the first so far, so he wanted to get me this second book before I started rereading it.

TV Shows

Timeless had their season finale and I HOPE it’s not a series finale! While they mostly wrapped up the series arc, they opened up two new cans of worms! I really want to see what’s ahead! Agents of SHIELD also had a big episode before they go on hiatus for about a month or so, and WHOA. Any time I start to lose interest in the show they always hook me again, and I am definitely really interested in seeing what happens next!

#Bookstagram Images of the Month

The weather has been mostly mild here this month (YAY) but the grass is also dead, so I’ve been taking lots of Bookstagram pics in the pine needles in our backyard. You do what you can.

Looking Forward to March

A YA book festival, college basketball championships (*fingers crossed for Middle Tennessee*), and getting a new washer and dryer… yep. #adulting

Potential March TBR:

Star Wars: Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno

Glamour in Glass (Glamourist Histories #2) by Mary Robinette Kowal

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (reread)

What was noteworthy for you in February?