Well… I’m only 17 days behind, BUT HERE IS YOUR AUGUST 2016 PLAYLIST! It’s been kind of a crazy month – I’m currently in the middle of something Taryn dubbed “Adult Internship” which essentially means living abroad for 23 days. I just finished up the first leg of my trip in Zambia, Africa with an incredible organization called Every Orphan’s Hope. (I’m currently working on a post about that as I sit in Munich, Germany on an 8 hour layover on my way to Hvar, Croatia!) I think I’m still processing everything I saw and felt there, but it was one of the most meaningful weeks of my entire life. I’m enroute now for some relaxation and adventure in Croatia and France with my dear friend Whitney of Blonde Atlas. (Follow along in realtime on Snapchat and Instagram @BrennaMader! Did anyone see any of my Zambia adventures?)

But ok, let’s talk about music for a second. I think my favorite discovery in the past month is Grace who also happens to be the sister of Conrad Sewell. I have two of her tracks on this playlist and she’s kind filling the hole in my heart that Amy Winehouse left. Soulful voice, upbeat poppy/motown feel… that combo gets me every time. Also, I can’t believe I’m about to admit this, but I’m really feeling the new Shawn Mendes track… he kind of sounds like the lovechild of John Mayer and Allen Stone. Enjoy – and as always, comment what you’re listening to!

I’m loving the mix on this month’s playlist which features some of my favorite vocalists like David Nail and Harry Connick Jr. (Did you see my Instagram post of him singing my favorite hymn at the Ryman?) I also heard him sing, “One Fine Thing” for the first time and I’m obsessed. Add it to the list of some of my favorite love songs.

I also love Betty Who’s fresh take on “I Love You Always Forever.” This playlist also features a lot of up and coming Nashville artists – Drake White, Old Dominion, Maren Morris, Clare Dunn, and Kelleigh Bannen. Such good stuff!

Speaking of Kelleigh Bannen, scroll down to check out some of these stunning images of her (and some fun BTS) Cameron Powell shot just last week! Wardrobe by one of my favorites Taylor Colson Horton, hair and makeup by moi. My two favorite tracks from her new project “Landlocked” are in the playlist below, but let’s be honest, the entire EP has been on repeat on my patio.

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Like... not sure what's happening here, but it's funny. haha

Like… not sure what’s happening here, but it’s funny. haha

All 3 looks from the day (Are you following me on snapchat @BrennaMader?)

All 3 looks from the day (I had all the behind the scenes action on snapchat that day – are you following me @BrennaMader?)

Favorite shot... I mean wow.

Favorite shot… I mean wow.


Loving this month’s playlist – if I had to choose my favorite tracks this month, they would be off Keith Urban’s new album “Ripcord.” I’m a long time Keith Urban fan (some of you may know of my awkward “you’re da bomb” encounter with him, but I’ll save that for another day…) Anyways, I’m such a huge fan of his older stuff and although I like his more recent albums, they didn’t strike me as much. WELL this new one is… da bomb. Seriously, love. What have y’all been listening to?

IMG_0321Last week I had the pleasure of combining my wanderlust mentality with the idea that there’s no place like home.


A #SquadGetaway staycation was just what the doctor ordered for the end of my busiest season and the start of summer. My friend Whitney and I had just had a conversation about how we treat our time traveling so much differently than time in our own city – even though Nashville has become one of the top destinations in the United States. We vowed to take in and appreciate all of the unique attractions that our city has to offer and we gathered up our other pals Taryn and Victoria for a staycation that even T. Swift and her #squad of galentines would approve of.IMG_0311

The Digs: Adjoning rooms at the recently renovated Loews Vanderbilt Hotel. The Loews boasts gorgeous (and uber comfortable) accommodations, a killer bar and restaurant (Mason’s) that yes, even as a local I have been to many times, and fab service. (Ahem… like when I called the front desk at 1 am to get a hypo allergenic pillow and then another delivery of in-room workout equipment specially designed by Carrie Underwood’s trainer Erin Oprea.)DSC_0003DSC_0006DSC_0015DSC_0012IMG_0326

We decided our first night of staycation should be our local version of a stereotypical Nashville night – Broadway. We started with drinks at Acme Feed and Seed on the rooftop at happy hour/sunset – and in the name of drinking responsibly we took a joyride to our destination. (That was a first for me – so fun, I highly recommend if the weather is nice. They are also free – just be sure to tip your driver!)IMG_0314

Views of the stadium and downtown

Views of the stadium and downtown



You're probably not finding these drink options North of the Mason Dixon line...

You’re probably not finding these drink options North of the Mason Dixon line…


We left for dinner and bowling at Pinewood Social which is one of my favorite downtown spots slightly off the lower Broadway beaten path that might be unknown to Nashville visitors. (Remember my last post about Pinewood Social when they opened their patio/pool area for the first time?)DSC_0026 DSC_0025 DSC_0031Pinewood is ideal for literally anything. I have been known to come in in the morning to grab coffee (some of the best in town – I like mine with their house made almond/coconut milk), breakfast, and do some work from my laptop.

Things on toast is a must order!

Things on toast is a must order!

Pretending to be healthy...

Pretending to be healthy…

One of the best burgers in Nashville

One of the best burgers in Nashville

You can also dine in the dining room, from the bowling alley, or in the seclusion of a private room at practically any AM or PM hours. DSC_0047DSC_0059

From Pinewood, we hit lower Broad heading to my favorite honky tonk, Robert’s Western World for some dancing.DSC_0100 Roberts has my favorite downtown vibes – old school country swing, all kinds of dance partner options – mostly who look and act like your grandpa (aka total gentlemen) to dance with, fried baloney sandwiches, and a crowd that ranges from local to international visitors. DSC_0084 DSC_0085 DSC_0063After dancing the night away we headed back to the hotel where I practically fell into a coma because those beds are heaven.

In fact, the beds make a great place to work - see fellow travel blogger Blonde Atlas getting after it first thing in the morning.

In fact, the beds make a great place to work – see fellow travel blogger Blonde Atlas getting after it first thing in the morning.

The next morning I woke up so excited for breakfast – if you read this blog often, you probably know that I drink a green juice or smoothie for breakfast almost every single day. HOWEVER, there is this part of me that feels at liberty to eat whatever I want while on vacation, so it was absolutely essential that we start day 2 of our #squadgetaway staycation with donuts from 5 Daughters Bakery. DSC_0110 DSC_0125 DSC_0127We tried a little of everything – a paleo Blueberry Lemon, a 100 layer strawberry (my favorite!), and a cinnamon roll. All so good – I can’t justify this breakfast often, but I will be taking any and all Nashville visitors to this little local gem.

We followed breakfast with some shopping down 12th South – where there are so many great shops no matter your style.

Love shopping at Cadeau for great gifts and home decor

Love shopping at Cadeau for great gifts and home decor

Emerson Grace has beautiful apparel and footwear

Emerson Grace has beautiful apparel and footwear

Serendipity is great for snagging local items

Serendipity is great for snagging local items

Nashville's favorite book store, Parnassus, on wheels

Nashville’s favorite book store, Parnassus, on wheels

You can't call yourself a cute neighborhood if there's not a farmer's market

You can’t call yourself a cute neighborhood if there’s not a farmer’s market

Lunch was at one of my new local favorites (I’ve literally been 3 times in the past week!) BarTaco.

BarTaco has equally great indoor and outdoor dining options

BarTaco has equally great indoor and outdoor seating options


I love a spot where I can get something healthy or splurge and this place offers all of those options. The chopped salad, guacamole, and cauliflower, ribeye, and duck tacos are my favorite menu items and the sanguina cocktail might literally be my favorite cocktail of all time.DSC_0164 DSC_0155Processed with VSCO with f2 preset DSC_0163 BarTaco uses all fresh squeezed juices which makes them taste so fresh and I’m telling myself that I’m getting some nutritional benefit from each cocktail I drink. Sidenote: All of the servers here are good looking – is that a prerequisite for getting hired?!DSC_0157

We were miserably full, but since we were soooo close to the newly opened Sprinkles Cupcakes, we decided to grab some in case we needed a snack later. (We did. Yummmmm!) IMG_0323DSC_0187

No true #SquadGetaway is complete without some beautification and pampering so we decided to go to the best in town aka The Dry House. The Dry House is known around Nashville for glamming some pretty famous faces/heads of hair, so we thought a blowout would be just the thing to refresh us before our night out. The interior is gorgeous, you’re treated to all kinds of beverages, and these girls know how to give your hair the kind of treatment that could inspire Beyonce lyrics. #BeckyDSC_0172 DSC_0166 DSC_0170

How legit is this before and after?

How legit is this before and after?

…impressively, these blowouts lasted through a little snooze…DSC_0192

We were feeling refreshed just in time for our tour of City Winery complete with a tasting – a perfect outing for squads. City Winery is also a great place to have dinner or take in a showDSC_0194 DSC_0196 DSC_0198

However, a stay at the Loews isn’t complete without dinner at Mason’s. I suggest starting with a cocktail in the bar and then moving to the dining room for dinner.


You would never believe that this is a personal trainer approved skinny cocktail. Tequila, fresh pomegranate, and rosemary – so good.

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We enjoyed the greatest service and suggestions from our server, Charles and ate so much incredible food I wanted to pop. The menu offers great suggestions ranging from personal trainer approved options (look for the barbell on the menu) to modern Southern delicacies like the most delicious grits I’ve ever had in my life. The meal was also perfectly paced for us as we did the full treatment – appetizers, salads, entrees, and desserts.IMG_0324DSC_0217 DSC_0220 DSC_0222 DSC_0224DSC_0226DSC_0225

One of our good friends (and rising country star) Ryan Beaver was playing a show at The Basement East (A superb local spot to see great music BTW) so we went out to support and dance off some of our meal. Be sure to check out some Ryan Beaver tunes, you’ll be able to tell your friends that you knew about him first! (Such a Nashville thing to be able to do.)

Whether you are a local or someone visiting Nashville for the first time, I can ensure that taking part in some of all of this #SquadGetaway itinerary will lead to an awesome time. Please feel free to leave your questions and comments below. Where would you go for a #SquadGetaway?