Monthly Archives: October 2014

The Nashville Foodie Nation: Business Edition

Pasta and Garlic Bread

With so many outstanding restaurants in Nashville, sometimes we are stumped by the question “Where should we go?”

Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, I want quality of taste and interest along with ambiance. And, when it’s a business meal, add to that the need to tailor the experience. The venue I choose will set the stage, whether it’s for a quiet, in-depth conversation, a meet-and-greet with the gang, an out-of-the-way deal-making venture or a quick connect to download information.

No matter your professional need, Nashville’s foodie nation has a wealth of options. So many that I’ve pulled together my short list of go-to’s. There’s always the standard Jimmy Kelly’s for dinner, J. Alexander’s for lunch, Starbuck’s for coffee. But here are a few others you should try on for size.

For an unhurried lunch out of the downtown fray, it’s The Mad Platter in Germantown. My long legs ache for better chairs, but the pasta dish is a long-time favorite and their soups satisfy.

Husk is a must to show off your foodie-ness. Avoid lunching on warm days, though; the sun through the windows is toasty and will distract you from the burger and fries. The burger doesn’t just have bacon on top; the salty goodness is ground into the meat. Inspired.

Etch is my all-time personal favorite for an important lunch or dinner. If you want to impress with innovation, Deb Paquette’s layers of flavor and innovative ingredients never disappoint. Lunch service lately has been unusually slow; yet even that won’t dissuade my visits. Always start with the roasted cauliflower to share. Your guests will thank you. Take time to savor your experience and you’ll be back often.

If you want to see and be seen, I recommend Bricktop’s on West End every time. Full and boisterous, this won’t be where you have an intimate conversation. This is the place to people-watch, surreptitiously of course. The gazpacho is my favorite thing about the return of warm-weather menus.

Head to The Palm for quiet talk. Its impeccable service lets you focus on building that business relationship. It’s great for folks visiting as well, and you’re in the heart of the downtown scene if you want to go somewhere else for drinks and music.

Midtown Café is not someplace I go regularly, but colleagues swear it’s a business-lunch experience that consistently achieves the right balance. It’s always full, so they must be right.

Noshville Midtown is the place for breakfast, especially if there’s a government bigwig you want to run into. During legislative session, the booths are packed with elected officials filling up on bagels, pancakes and the best oatmeal around.

For coffee, I’d bypass the chains for CREMA on Hermitage. It’s a bit rustic in décor, but the drinks and friendly staff and patrons make it a comfortable spot for a quick connect or leisurely conversation to catch up.

Finally, for LA-trendy, hop over to Pinewood Social in the Trolley Barns. It offers at least four different experiences: couches for web-surfing, coffee-drinking casual, a bar where single diners congregate and network, booths for those wanting to eat and meet, and even a fully served bowling alley. You have to experience it to believe that, yes, bowling can serve as a great business-meal setting.

What are your favorites? HerSavvy would love to know!

Get out and discover Nashville, people. There’s a lot out there to enjoy!

About Laura Reinbold, PE

Ms. Reinbold explores ways can help build our communities, from the geoprofessional side of the engineering profession.

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The Female Pharaoh


Once upon a time, Egypt had a female pharaoh.  No, I’m not referring to Cleopatra. I’m referring to Hatshepsut who lived at the height of the ancient Egyptian empire, in the 18th Dynasty of the New Kingdom, the same dynasty that produced Akhenaten and King Tut.

Hatshepsut was the daughter of a pharaoh and chief royal wife to Pharaoh Thutmose II.  When her husband died, Hatshepsut appointed herself regent to her stepson, who, being a boy, would naturally take the throne.  Not satisfied with the role of regent, she proclaimed herself pharaoh.  Since “pharaoh” is a male gender word in ancient Egyptian, she became the female (gender male) pharaoh.  If your brain cramps at this concept, consider how the poor Egyptians felt at this twisting of the “natural order.”

Hatshepsut refused to abdicate in favor of her stepson, Thutmose III, when he reached adulthood. Instead, she sent him off on military campaigns to expand the borders of the Egyptian empire.  He became the greatest warrior-pharaoh in ancient Egypt, expanding the Egyptian empire from modern Sudan to modern Turkey.

Hatshepsut and Thutmose III made a great team with her administrative skills and his military skills.  But when Hatshepsut died, Thutmose III immediately began eradicating any trace of her as the female pharaoh, chiseling her name off her monuments and deleting her from the “king” list of pharaohs.

Early archaeologists (all European men) theorized that Thutmose III was taking revenge against his stepmother for blocking his rightful place to the throne.  But pharaohs had a habit of replacing a predecessor’s name with their own, since that was faster than building a new monument.  A different theory widely accepted today is that Thutmose was trying to restore the “natural order” by deleting references to a female pharaoh.

What can we learn from Hatshepsut today?  Challenge yourself to achieve great things even if that means going against the so-called natural order of the universe.  Hatshepsut’s achievements include one of the most beautiful temples in Egypt at Deir el Bahri.

About Norma Shirk

Norma started her company, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor, to help employers create human resources policies for their employees and employee benefit programs that are appropriate to the employer’s size and budget. The goal is to have structure without bureaucracy.

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Getting Away From It All


There is a quote that goes like this:

Take a rest.  A field that has rested yields a bountiful crop.

Ovid Roman poet (43 BC – 17 AD)

Recently, I took a weekend retreat with a group of women that was refreshing and exactly what I needed.  Focusing on spiritual principals and supporting one another, the time away from routine days and the opportunity to rest, was rejuvenating.  I take this trip each year, and it charges my batteries and makes me a better person in my job, and in life outside of work.  I am a better-balanced individual when I have a life outside of everyday tasks.

Giving myself permission to put the focus on me has not always been easy.  For some of us, it is on others that a good bit of our energy is spent.  I am finding that the more I make self-care a part of my routine, be it exercising, or journaling, the better all around I feel in my work, and the things that I do outside of my job.

This year I have made being active by getting outside and walking, jogging and hiking, a priority.  I am fortunate to live in a city with great parks and greenways.  If I can’t go for a weekend away, I can certainly go for an hour or two.  My favorites of late have been Beaman Park, Richland Creek Greenway and Radnor Lake.  For enjoying wildlife, these green spaces give a great opportunity to not only walk, but also see birds, deer, and sometimes turkey.  Working at Greenways for Nashville, I am knowledgeable about some of the many great places there are to visit.  New trails have recently been added to Metro Parks and Greenways at Peeler Park, and trails are soon to open along the Mill Creek Greenway near Lenox Village.  Greenways for Nashville’s website includes not only Metro Nashville’s Parks and Greenway maps and addresses, but also the State’s trails like Radnor, as well.  Click  here and find your place to recharge.

About Renee Bates

Renee is the executive director of the non-profit, Greenways for Nashville, a member based organization. In addition to growing private support for the trails and green spaces, she enjoys oil painting, hiking, nature and working in the garden. Renee is married to David Bates of Bates Nursery and Garden Center, a 3rd generation business begun in 1932 by a savvy woman, Bessie Bates.

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The Other Side of the Couch – What Is It about “Frozen?”

Frozen 2

I was attending a theater performance some days ago and noticed a young girl sitting in front of me.  She was wearing a very pretty dress and when I commented on it, she looked at me as though I were completely “not with it” and informed me, “I am Anna.”  Now, had she been wearing the Elsa costume I would have caught on much more quickly.  I nonetheless realized that I was in the presence of one of the myriad of young girls (and young boys, for that matter) who have been caught up by the amazing movie “Frozen.”  For those aliens who have completely missed out on this phenomenon, the movie is loosely (very loosely) based on the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, “The Snow Queen.”  However, in this story, the hero is an anti-hero, the main characters are two sisters, and the final redemption happens as the result of sacrificial love.

Elsa, the snow queen, sings the anthem “Let It Go,” a song that has taken the hearts of young people (and many adults) by storm.  Elsa has tried to hide her power, has been afraid to use it, and finally reaches a point of letting it out or letting it go…also letting go of the restrictions and fears with which she has lived.  Her gift, her power, was considered dangerous by her family and had indeed inadvertently caused harm to her sister.  Elsa herself was afraid of her power, and so, contained it, rejecting her own strength in the process and never learning how to use and control it.

In an article that appeared on June 25, 2014 in the New Yorker Magazine, Maria Konnikova describes an experiment set up by George Bizer and Erika Wells, psychologists at Union College.  They became interested in the “Frozen” phenomenon and decided to ask some questions of “every psychologist’s favorite population: college students.”

“While responses were predictably varied, one theme seemed to resonate: everyone could identify with Elsa. She wasn’t your typical princess.  She wasn’t your typical Disney character.  Born with magical powers that she couldn’t quite control, she meant well but caused harm, both on a personal scale (hurting her sister, repeatedly) and a global one (cursing her kingdom, by mistake). She was flawed—actually flawed, in a way that resulted in real mistakes and real consequences. Everyone could interpret her in a unique way and find that the arc of her story applied directly to them. For some, it was about emotional repression; for others, about gender and identity; for others still, about broader social acceptance and depression. ‘The character identification is the driving force,’ says Wells, whose own research focusses on perception and the visual appeal of film. ‘It’s why people tend to identify with that medium always—it allows them to be put in those roles and experiment through that.’ She recalls the sheer diversity of the students who joined the discussion: a mixture, split evenly between genders, of representatives of the L.G.B.T. community, artists, scientists. ‘Here they were, all so different, and they were talking about how it represents them, not ideally but realistically,’ she told me.”

Elsa has become a symbol in many different ways to many different groups.  The song itself, although it is now driving some parents crazy, allows for an experience of internal letting go, of just being who you are in the moment.  In a society that often values stiff-upper-lip attitudes toward emotions other than joy and happiness, some kind of relief is experienced in just throwing everything to the winds.  Elsa’s salvation ultimately came when she allowed her power out and learned through her sister’s sacrifice to control it for good.

Is there “letting go” that needs to happen in your own life?

About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC/MHSP:

Susan is a communications and relationship specialist, counselor, Imago Relationship Therapist, businesswoman, mother, and proud native Nashvillian. She has been in private practice for over 30 years. As she says, “I have the privilege of helping to mend broken hearts.”

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Effective Communication: It May Seem Simple, But It Ain’t Easy



“Take that skeevy dust bunny and throw it on the devil strip.” (For translation see

Ever felt like you have no idea what the heck your coworker in the next office (or spouse, or friend) is talking about? You hear what she’s saying, and she’s speaking English, but geez…she makes no sense!

Welcome to the mystifying world of interpersonal communication.

We all communicate in different ways, use our common language differently, read others differently, and have different ways of judging whether we’ve been understood. The opportunities for misunderstandings and miscommunications in the workplace are endless.

Especially if you’re in a leadership position, it’s incumbent on you to do everything possible to ensure effective communication happens. These four rules will help you to set the right communication tone, no matter the situation:

Assume nothing:

Just because you know what you’re saying doesn’t mean anyone else does. Assuming others understand you is dangerous. You also can’t assume you always got the same message a speaker intended to send.

Always give the benefit of the doubt:

One of the quickest routes to a toxic environment is for people to attribute motives to each other erroneously.  Terse emails and throwaway remarks are responsible for countless conflicts because people jump to negative conclusions rather than believing the other person is well intentioned, but not necessarily always well spoken. You have the opportunity to urge people to check their responses until they’ve clarified what someone else meant.

Encourage candor:

Candor clears clogged communication lines. People who say what they think, speak directly to difficult issues, and aren’t afraid to disagree keep communication lines open and keep issues from festering. If you expect and model communication that includes respectful candor, you will set the right tone in your relationships.

Put a premium on clarification:

A simple recap at the end of every conversation will go a long way to minimizing misunderstandings.  Take a few seconds to summarize the key discussion points and takeaways; ask others for confirmation or disagreements, and prod those hesitant listeners to speak up about what they heard.

If you’re not sure you can remember all four, then focus on the last one and get it right. It will save you a world of missteps.

About Dr. Debra Fish

Dr. Fish is a consulting psychologist whose writing and work focus exclusively on helping individuals and teams lead more effectively. Her firm, Fish Executive Leadership Group, LLC, counts among its clients everything from Fortune 50 corporations to small, privately-held professional service firms.

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Happy New Year


L'Shanah Tova

This week marks the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah and the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur.  For the Jewish community these are the most significant and most somber days of the year.  The 10-day period is marked by self-reflection, prayer, spirituality and perhaps most important, asking for forgiveness.  It’s notable that this time falls in the middle of the secular calendar, giving us another opportunity to refocus and recharge our batteries as we bid farewell to summer and prepare for the colder months ahead.

As I was anticipating this year’s holiday season and wondering, as I always do, if I will find the inspiration I seek, I received an email from a dear friend.  This friend has been through a tough year marked by a contentious divorce, the challenges of aging parents and worries about college-age children.  At the end of her email, she relayed to me some things she’s learned about herself this year.  It was filled with hope and optimism and…aha! Therein lay my inspiration.  So here I share with you some of my resolutions as inspired by my lovely friend of 20 years.

  1. Find time to enjoy simple pleasures. I am an adventure seeker and a high-energy person (duh!).  I will give myself permission to take a walk in nature without the goal of burning those extra calories.  I will take a bubble bath and not take work along with me.  I will listen to the music I really love rather than whatever is on the radio at the moment.
  2. Read more. Well, actually I read quite a lot, most of it news-related.  In fact I am quite a bookworm and love to get lost in a good book, but rarely allow myself the time.  This year I will read for pleasure, maybe even look for a book club.  Whoa!  Baby steps!
  3. Spend time with good friends. Hmmm, my life is already filled with plenty of amazing people.  But I find I tend to neglect spending quality time with those special friends who really “get” me.  These are the folks some refer to as “family of choice,” the ones who love me unconditionally and who, by their mere presence in my life, give me courage.
  4. Get more rest. This is perhaps the toughest goal of all.  See resolution #1.  High-energy people do not like to sleep much!  I usually subscribe to the “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” theory.  However as I get older, I find I really do feel better with more rest.  So, without giving it an actual number, I pledge to add more rest to my days, or nights, depending on how it works out.

A short list, right?  Well I’ve learned it’s best to break my goals down into manageable chunks.  I find the spiritual goals are often the hardest to attain and to keep, but are also the most satisfying.  I invite you, even if you are not Jewish, to take this time to think about your spiritual goals and share them with us here at HerSavvy.

One more thing.  An important part of this season for Jews is asking for forgiveness.  So, if I have wronged you or caused you pain this past year, I am truly sorry and ask for your forgiveness.  And as we say in our tradition, May you have a sweet year filled with health, joy and prosperity.

About Barbara Dab:

Barbara Dab is a journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant. She currently hosts two radio shows locally in Nashville, TN. Check out her website at

Barbara is also creator of The Peretz Project: Stories from the Shoah: Next Generation. Check it out at If you, or someone you know, is the child of survivors of the Shoah, The Holocaust, and would like to tell your story please leave a comment and Barbara will contact you.

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