The 365 Day Challenge: Featuring “The Flinch”

So this week has been relatively uneventful for me in this 365 day writing journey. So, I’ve decided to feature one of the best books I’ve ever read (and reread x 50) to show you all one of the things I draw inspiration from.

“The Flinch” by Julien Smith is not a very long book, available in PDF and only 38 pages, but in my opinion it is massively impactful. I’ve read self-help and career books in the past and, honestly, most of the lose me halfway through because the advice gets lost in the author pontificating about why they’re so successful. This book, to me, is the perfect length to read and return to whenever I’m in a funk. I won’t try to explain it or analyze it for you, I just think you should read it.

So here’s the link, and I hope you enjoy it! Click Here for Julien Smith’s “The Flinch”

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Nearly Native Eats: Myrtle’s Chicken + Beer

Beer and chicken – two words more beautiful have never been uttered together (according to my boyfriend). My southern boy is the epitome of “meat and potatoes”, raised on home cooking, his diet is generally guiltless and you better believe he’s never gone anywhere near the words “gluten-free”.  So when Myrtle’s Chicken + Beer opened it’s doors on Market Square in downtown Knoxville, you better believe it jumped all the way to the front of his new restaurant list. Me on the other hand, I’m pretty basic when it comes to staying healthy, meaning that I try to stay away from all the carby fried goodness, but it’s hard to pass up old-fashioned southern fried chicken, so we quickly made our way to this southern comfort spot.

Offering a convenient Market Square location and a food genre that the good southern people of Knoxville, Tennessee absolutely love, Myrtle’s is a recipe for success. The menu is pretty straightforward, dressing chicken several different ways, whether it be in their starter baskets, sandwiches, or entrées. You can pretty much be sure that if you’re ordering something from Myrtle’s it probably has chicken somewhere in it, save for a few side items, a salad, and in their tomato pie. I’d say if you’re vegan, this probably isn’t the spot for you. But you can bet this was the spot for my boyfriend and an indulgence for me.

Myrtle’s Famous Fried Chicken can be prepared with light or dark meat, in chicken tender form, as wings, and slathered in one of their many sauces. I’m no connoisseur of fried chicken, but whatever Myrtle’s is doing works – the buttermilk taste lingering on every bite of the fried chicken is worthy of any southern home. If that’s not your thing, their classic American sandwiches and wraps will feel familiar. Plus, they’ve got several salads to choose from if you’re simply not ready to dive into something fried. Even if you skip the fried chicken, don’t skimp when it comes to the sides because the tomato pie and grits are not to be missed! And, y’all, they have brunch. The chicken and waffles are calling my name.

Don’t forget to try one of their cocktails, featuring some local spirits, or barrel-aged classic cocktails to wash everything down with. Needless to say, my boyfriend was in heaven – this joint is perfect for a casual date night, especially if you’ve got a fried chicken lover. Belly up to the bar or find yourself a booth, it’s a small space, so it won’t get too loud. Of course, this is a fried chicken, southern comfort restaurant, so don’t expect much of anything as far as calorie redemption goes. Just indulge and enjoy it because a trip to Myrtle’s is totally worth it.

Check out their website on the Eat Like a Native page!

The 365 Day Challenge: Trying Something New

Growing up I always saw my mom hunched over on her knees with her nose in her flower beds. I’d come and go, not appreciating to the full extent the hours she spent making our house look beautiful inside and outside. I just assumed that the countless flowers, bushes, and herbs surrounding our house magically reappeared every year as lovely as ever without any effort. Well let me tell you that is utterly false.

After years of hopping from one apartment to another, I’ve finally settled into a home that has room for all the beautiful things my mom used to work so hard on – flowers, bushes, and herbs, oh my! But walking in to my first Saturday afternoon spent gardening I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I literally went to the store and picked out the flowers I thought were pretty, not kidding. While I considered the signs shouting “annual”, “perennial”, and “6 hours of sunlight”, it didn’t really matter all that much to me as I snatched up piles of white, purple, and pink flowers. I even picked up a lavender plant with a vision of myself delicately snipping some lavender to add to a bouquet on our dinner table someday. I figured the best way to try something new like this was just to dive right in and give it a shot.

After hours of arranging, measuring, planting, and pruning – not having any idea what I was doing, just hoping it would turn out okay – I proudly showed my display to Jake (my boyfriend) who was slaving away on our backyard deck and patio. He commended me on a job well done and I felt immense satisfaction for trying something new, even if I wasn’t sure I could actually keep the flowers alive.  Later on I told Jake’s mom (an avid, experienced gardener) about my triumph, mentioning my lavender plant, and I quickly found out from her that lavender plants grow WAY bigger than I anticipated. With her experience, she had tons of tips and tricks to give me as I start to explore the world of gardening.

While I can report, after 3 days, my flowers are still alive, I had to uproot my lavender plant and move it to an area where it could spread out. Who knew that lavender (and apparently rosemary) can explode into a large bush if you tend to it correctly? There’s just so much more to learn. After all, it’ll take some time to see if I’ve got the green thumb, so at this point I’m just trying to make sure my flowers survive the week.

So what’s the moral of this story? Trying something new can be fun, so don’t be afraid if you don’t know everything before you jump in. Even if you make mistakes, being humble and asking for advice is okay. You’ll never know everything and sometimes the best way to learn is from those around you. Granted, this meant I didn’t write at all on Saturday, but I believe it’s important to try new things because you might discover a passion you never knew you had – it’s okay to have more than one!

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