Tennessee Tailgate | Knoxville, TN

Tennessee Tailgate | Knoxville, TN

Tennessee, what a love hate relationship we have! The last several years have been tough for Tennessee fans to say the least. My family and I are not fair weather fans though. We have endured the good and the bad together. This weekend was just a prime example of the BAD. The VERY BAD.

The Tennessee/Florida game has become a traditional game to attend in Knoxville ever since my brother started dating (and eventually marrying) a Gator (Melissa). It has also become a tradition to eat dinner together, on the Friday night preceding the game at The Chop House, in West Knoxville. We enjoyed our dinner Friday night, as always, and ended up meeting friends downtown afterwards. We met our Covington crew for libations in Market Square at Scruffy City Hall. If you ever make it to Knoxville, I highly recommend checking out the Market Square area. There are so many awesome restaurants and bars in downtown Knoxville!

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Necklace: Kitzi from Patina | Clutch: HOBO (on sale) | Bracelets: The Styled Collection

When we go to Knoxville, we make a special trip to see Evan’s Granny. Since it was a late game this year, it gave us plenty of time to go visit with her Saturday morning. She had all three of her Covington grandkids in town, and you could tell how much that meant to her. We enjoyed sharing pictures and updating her on our busy lives.

My dad has owned season tickets and a parking pass for as long as I can remember. If you know us, you know this already, but my dad always parks in the same spot in the parking lot. Most years that’s true, but sometimes someone beats us to the spot. It makes it easier for people to find us when we park in the same spot year after year. This year someone beat us there, so we just parked a few spots away.

Tailgating in the south is pretty much an all day affair. We typically start the tailgate 4-5 hours before game time and sometimes stay for a while after the game too, waiting on the traffic to die down. Some of us just enjoy socializing and grazing over the food table, while others make a trip to the book store or Vol Walk.

Checkerboard Table Runner: Amazon Prime | Metal Utensil Holder: Party Swizzle

Believe it or not, the McGowan tailgate started out pretty small. In the early years, my parents would just bring a bucket of chicken and subs from a local sandwich shop. It has grown so much over the years. We always start our tailgate with the basics, but friends always end up bringing extra appetizers, so we have more than enough for everyone who stops by.

Tailgating Essentials:

  1. Grill (and grilling essentials such as utensils, tinfoil, lighters, charcoal, etc.)
  2. Tent(s)
  3. Table(s)
  4. Cooler(s)
  5. Hand Sanitizer
  6. Trash bags
  7. Chairs
  8. Food
  9. Sternos to keep your food warm
  10. Plates, Napkins/paper towels, Cups, Plastic Silverware
  11. Plenty of Ice

Our Menu:

  • Grilled Burgers and Balogna*
  • Hummus and Vegetables
  • Spinach Artichoke Dip and Pita Chips
  • Cheese Ball shaped as a Power T garnished with Grapes and Wheat Thins*
  • Captain Rodney’s Dip*
  • Tennessee Checkerboard Rice Krispies
  • A variety of cookies; including Melissa’s homemade decorated cookies
  • A variety of drinks and water

*McGowan tailgate staple

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Game Day Purse: GiGi New York | Jeans and Top: Belle’s Boutique

Although the actual game was awful, we still had a great weekend with family and friends! Will we be going back this year? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be back next year! #VFL

Let me know if you are interested in buying tickets to any upcoming home games!

Girls Trip | L.A.

A few months ago, we decided to book a girls trip to Los Angeles. For those of you who don’t know, my mom has been a care taker for my grandmother for almost two years now. We all agreed that my mom needed to get away for a bit and let loose. As for the rest of us, we just wanted to go on a fun trip together! 🙂

Once we arrived on Thursday, we hopped in our rental car and stopped at the cutest little market for brunch in Brentwood, next to the Santa Monica eastern city limit. We definitely recommend this little spot in the Brentwood Country Mart, FARMSHOP.

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After brunch, we hit the road and checked out all the hot spots. We cruised down Sunset Boulevard to Rodeo Drive, Hollywood Boulevard, and Santa Monica Boulevard. We made our way up through the canyon’s winding roads to get the best shots in front of the Hollywood sign.

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Top: Loft | Shorts: Lilly Pulitzer (Similar) | Shoes:  Sole Society  (on sale) |  Earrings:  Kendra Scott | Sunglasses: Amazon (steal)

After exploring, we checked into our Airbnb which was a block away from the beach! Once we checked in we rested up from our long day of travel and sight-seeing and got ready to go to dinner. We decided to go to an authentic Mexican Restaurant called La Cabaña. The food was delicious and so were the drinks :). They make fresh guacamole right in front of you and they also make fresh tortillas on site!

The following day was probably my favorite day, Friday.

Our first stop of the day was the Huntley Hotel, Penthouse Restaurant  for an early lunch with a fabulous view! Everything about this place was fabulous actually…the 360 degree views, the food, the drinks, and the company! Check it out!

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The Beach Bellini

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These shrimp tacos were amazinggggg!!!!

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and of course the wonderful company!

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After lunch we decided to walk over to the Santa Monica Pier. It was crowded but we made the best of it. We each got a new hat from the cute little hat stand to wear on the trip AND we rode the roller coaster!

Romper: Loft (similar and on sale)| Hat: Banana Republic (Similar and on sale)

We had a blast on the pier! We headed back to get ready for the evening. We wanted to get out early so we could hop around to different places for drinks. Our first stop was the Shangri-La Hotel’s rooftop bar, ONYX, where we had a view, drinks, and a tower of fries shown below (the wasabi ketchup was an unexpected treat!)!

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Dress: TJ Maxx | Shoes: Antonio Melani | Sunglasses: Amazon (Steal)

I rarely find maxi dresses that work for me since I am so short. This one worked perfect so I bought it in two colors☺️

Our next stop was just down the street, The Fairmont Miramar Hotel. They had the neatest little outdoor patio with water falls, koi fish, and string lights, where we enjoyed hanging out by the bungalows and watching the sun set before heading to our next spot, Townhouse. Townhouse was a chill little spot for us to wind down for the night. It is one of the oldest bars in the Los Angeles area (established in 1915) and formerly was a speakeasy!

Saturday, our last day, we headed to Malibu! We cruised up the PCH enjoying the view of all the gorgeous homes and of course the Pacific! We stopped at a neat little shopping center called the Malibu Country Mart to grab a snack. Then we headed to the Rosenthal Winery where there was live music and a mexican food truck. We sipped Rose’ and enjoyed the great weather for a few hours before heading back to Santa Monica.

Once we got back to Santa Monica, we shopped around the Third Street Promenade at Nordstrom & Bloomingdales. I found the cutest gingham skort at Nordstrom and just had to wear it for dinner that night!

Before heading to dinner we walked down Venice Beach and found this awesome heart wall! We did a little people watching around the beach then made our way down the lush alleys to Barrique, where we enjoyed some delicious Italian cuisine and toasted to a wonderful weekend together.

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Top: Bayou Belle’s Boutique |Skort: Nordstrom | Bracelets: Tiffany & Co. & Kendra Scott | Watch: Marc Jacobs | Earrings: Kendra Scott | Shoes: Target | Handbag: Louis Vuitton | Sunglasses: Costa Del Mar

Barrique was a delicious meal to end our time in LA. Melissa and I ordered the homemade red beet tagliolini pasta which looks (and maybe even sounds to you) unappetizing but was so very good!! My friend Chrissy ordered the lamb chop special and it was amazing ( I tried a bite)! Everyone chickened out on viewing the dessert menu so I volunteered us all to share the chocolate mouse and no one objected!

After dinner we called it an early night because we all had red-eyes to catch home Sunday morning!

Been to L.A. before? Let me know your favorite spots!

Thank you all for taking the time to read my very first blog post. I look forward to bringing you lots of fun fashion, delicious meals, and restaurant recommendations, and hopefully a DIY project here and there!