Is VinoFile Membership a Good Deal?

I’ll be re-upping my Vinofile membership when it expires!

We’ve decided that it’s time to do some remodeling at our house, so I’m trying extra hard to curb my entertainment spending. (Which isn’t hard to do, since I’m spending a lot of my free time pulling and pricing items for an upcoming yard sale – wish I could tell you a magic way to make that sound like fun!) And, just as I was pondering what fun activities I could write about for the upcoming weekend, I got an email from City Winery in Nashville, offering me free tickets to a show Friday night!

Why would City Winery offer me such a thing, you ask? Well, it’s not because of my immensely entertaining and widely-read blog – it’s because back when they first opened their Nashville club in 2014, I signed up as a Vinofile member. I think I paid $75 for this, and I’ve more than broken even on this expense, even though they don’t quite have things organized yet. So I’m going to do a little plug for them on this.

First off, Vinofile members get notices about upcoming concerts a few days earlier than the general public – which means that we get first shot at purchasing seats. And, I’ve designated my favorite seats in the room, so I will automatically get those seats if they’re still available.

Next, Vinofile members don’t have to pay the $5 valet parking fee at the Nashville City Winery (and get discounted valet parking at City Winery locations in other cities). I estimate that I have saved at least $40 in parking fees since last fall.

Best of all, I get these emails from City Winery on a fairly routine basis, offering free seats for an upcoming show. Sometimes, the shows are weeknight concerts from up-and-coming artists (that wouldn’t cost very much even if purchased). But on a couple of occasions I’ve scored tickets for myself and my husband for a show that would have cost us at least $40 apiece. So gratifying!

Now, even with a free show, an evening at City Winery can easily add up to a $100 date night. Their food is pretty good, but there are better options for the money. And their wines and cocktails are more expensive than many places in Nashville. (A glass of “tap” wine runs from $9 – $13; other wines by the glass are similarly priced. A premium gin martini costs $13.) So if you’re trying to save up for a new master bathroom (!), I recommend having dinner at home, arriving just before the show starts, and ordering one of the less expensive wine options. After all, you aren’t going to get a crappy glass of wine at a place that prides itself on its wine list, right? Right!

There are more features to Vinofile membership that haven’t worked out exactly as smoothly – but I’m optimistic that they’ll get better organized, so I already know that I’ll be re-upping my Vinofile membership when it expires!

Mules Rule! A Clash of Cultures Creates a Harmony of Fun

As the seasons change, the planets have aligned to bring Nashville Fashion Week to town at the same time as the week-long Mule Day celebration in Columbia, Tennessee.

April 6 – 12, 2015  As the seasons change, the planets have aligned to bring Nashville Fashion Week to town at the same time as the week-long Mule Day celebration in Columbia, Tennessee. Add to the mix a terrific assortment of concert offerings, and you have an entertaining week that encompasses Nashville’s past, present and future!

Nashville Fashion Week is a city-wide celebration of Nashville’s thriving fashion and retail community and its vast array of creative talent. Featuring local, regional and national designers and industry professionals in an array of creative events throughout the week encourages both Nashvillians and visitors to explore the city’s diverse fashion and retail spaces throughout the week with promotions, partnerships and educational workshops. Events begin on Tuesday, April 7 with a Designer Showcase event at Acme Feed & Seed, and feature a Ready-to-Wear Runway Show at the Musica roundabout on Friday, April 10, before wrapping up with a Nashville Fashion Forward Gala at The Rosewall on Saturday, April 11. Tickets to individual events vary in price; an all-access pass to ticketed events costs $300. Proceeds benefit the Nashville Fashion Forward Fund of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. Even if you don’t plan to attend any of the  events associated with Nashville Fashion Week, let’s make a pact here and now to refrain from wearing any of the following items in public that week: Cut-offs with cowboy boots, yoga pants, fleece, Uggs or anything “chickenflage.”

Fortunately, any or all of the above list would be on the list of acceptable attire at events surrounding the Mule Day celebration in nearby Columbia, Tennessee. This celebration has its roots in the farming traditions of our area, and hearken back to times when a man’s livelihood depended on the quality of his mule, and a man would seek to purchase aforesaid mule at an annual gathering. Mule Day has been a popular Columbia tradition for nearly 170 years, since the 1840s. It began as “Breeder’s Day”, a single day livestock show and mule market event held on the first Monday in April. Over time, Mule Day evolved from a single day event into a multi-day festival, attracting thousands of attendees, lasting almost a week. The actual mule auction will happen late afternoon on Wednesday, April 8. Thereafter, the mule-centered events deal with showing off the strength, grace and beauty of this donkey-horse hybrid. Even those unenlightened souls who don’t appreciate the mule will find plenty of other activities – an Arts & Crafts/Flea Market will run from Thursday morning until Sunday afternoon, and the Mule Day program promises “a variety of musical entertainment ranging from bluegrass to hillbilly.” (If you know what differentiates bluegrass music from hillbilly music, please clue me in!) There’s a Liars’ Contest at the Columbia High School on Friday night, a Mule Day parade downtown on Saturday, April 11 at 11 am, and a bluegrass concert at the high school that evening. These community festivals are casual, fun, and if the weather cooperates, definitely worth a day trip.

As if these two events didn’t already offer something for everyone – it just so happens that the week of April 6 – 12 is a great week for concerts in Nashville. That Monday, those who appreciate the indie-rock sounds of English band alt-J can catch them in concert at the Grand Ole Opry House. (Tickets sold out – check with your favorite ticket reseller.) Tuesday night features the legendary Stevie Wonder at Bridgestone Arena, in his “Songs in the Key of Life Performance” tour. (Tickets still available through TicketMaster.) Friday night, The Bangles will be bringing their 80’s Cali-Pop sound to City Winery. (Seats remain and can be purchased through the City Winery website. And the country superstar I’d most like to meet – Alan Jackson is performing on Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena. (A limited number of ticket remain through TicketMaster.)

So, whether you’ll be checking out the latest in slip-on footwear in Nashville, celebrating the farmer’s friend in Columbia, or kicking up your heels at a concert – have some fun in early April!