shopping

Kitschy Fun At Willie Nelson And Friends General Store(Pictorial)

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Just across the road from Gaylord Opryland is a little strip that has three very cool places along the store front. The Nashville Palace which you can learn about in A post from last week here. There is  a Cooters store and museum( it’s own post soon) but today we talk about the Willie Nelson And Friends Museum and General store.

I love roadside tourist kitsch. Look at my Florida articles and you will see tons of pics from hokey little shops. To this day they scream vacation to me. It also is the type of place I can find a snow globe for my daughter! When she was young it was something she always picked up when we traveled. On trips when I was fighting and she wasn’t there or my wife going to conferences, we still got them for her. Now as Sandy and I travel for all these things and pr work, our daughter still wants them(yes even as an adult). This was the place I knew I could find it.

The Willie Nelson And Friends Museum and General store is cool kitsch(hey It’s the awesome Willie Nelson!!). From clothes and tourist type gifts to food items and Willie Nelson memorabilia. Of course they have snow globes!!!

If you are in Nashville and just want to relax and enjoy a little time being a country music tourist, you should definitely stop by this place. I loved it and will definitely stop again. Scored the snow globe too! Now relax and check out my pictorial from the store.

 

If you are in Nashville you really should stop by and see this cool ode to Willie Nelson. It’s just plain old country fun.

Willie Nelson General Store

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Walking Through Opry Mills (pictorial)

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So in our recent stay at the Gaylord In Nashville, I had a bit of time to wander over to a nearby mall. Nearby meaning on the hotel complex but close to a half mile away.

Opry Mills is just flat cool. Close to the hotel. Right by the Opry House and Events center. It has great shops. Unusual restaurants and quite possibly the largest/most diverse food court I’ve ever seen. It’s a place you can relax and just wander for a bit. Grab a coffee or bite to eat. Buy anything you want or just people watch. It is huge. It’s cool and it’s easy to get to! Take a look at the pics and enjoy. Then get yourself to this place!!! Talk after the jump.

Take a look at a shopping/eating/relaxing experience. Heck Facebook used it as a VR location. You know it’s cool. Whatever you are looking for Opry Mills has something for you!Enjoy

 

Killing Time In Rosemont (ok waiting for a flight at Ohare)

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Rosemont IL and I go way back. I fought there several times including at the very cool convention center. Took my sport karate team to a National held there several times. Plus lots of conferences for business. At times I have had a love hate relationship with it. Recently they seem to have made great strides to add some cool restaurants and a great mall( wait,I’ll get to that lol). The retail and food end is growing instead of just being hotels next to a huge airport.

Recently my wife and I had some time to kill there while waiting for a flight. Her first stop, the Fashion Outlets of Chicago. Oh dear lord. I have to say it was way cooler than most outlet malls. Upscale, unusual stores and an interesting food court. Far more than I expected. And yes oh boy did she buyyyyy!!!!!

After the mall we hit one of our Chicago favorites Giordanos Pizza . Great stuffed pizza. Great bar and good beer/wine list. It is one of those places we seem to hit quite often when we are up that way. I know, we should only be at foodie type places lol. Nope, we hit those but this place is like comfort food for me. Always going to happen. Take a look at pictures from the afternoon to get an idea of the are. Ill be spending a weekend there soon and do a more in depth piece. Talk after the jump.

 

If you happen to be in the Midwest this could be a cool getaway weekend for you. Shopping, awesome food (yes some world class foodie places are there as well) and great hotels. Give it a look and watch for my next in depth piece. Contact us for personalized promotion including blog feature and Live Tweets (best value &best reaction). Fun, effective and inexpensive. Email tompkinscontent@gmail.com and follow @combatsportlife on twitter.

Today’s links of awesome places to go. If I like them, you will like them!!!

 

 

Enjoying Downtown Indy In Thoughts& Pictures (the first in a series)

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I love Indianapolis! I’ve been there so many times. It’s only a couple of hours from me and years ago I worked there two days a week. It has changed a lot since then. One of the big changes is how cool downtown has become. From new life to rehabbed buildings while retaining that very cool history vibe. Great bars,restaurants and art. Plus shopping and sports. That makes for a fantastic area. 

  There are truly world class restaurants there and a few that are actually known worldwide. That level of city life and yet easy to get around relative to most urban areas. There are also simple diners and fast food. If you want it, it’s there!  From unusual ethnic foods to chains. 

    It’s an area that my wife and I just love to go walk around. Eat, drink and wander. As you’ll see in this series it’s one of those places that can be romantic or family fun. Later in the series we will see the canal district and breakdown restaurants as well as the outer edges. Today’s is about Monument Circle and the area around Circle Center Mall. 

  The Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Monument in the circle was dedicated in 1902. It is gorgeous and just fun to wander around the circle and people watch. It also has a great museum in the basement. Just a great experience when you add in the city view and coffee shops you sit at. Circle Center Mall is also an oder rehabbed building, actually tied together set of buildings. Lots of shops, restaurants and even a brew pub. For me it’s interesting how they tied together a couple of very one hundred year old buildings and has the cool vibe it does. For me the best part is the glass dome atrium that soars over the street call the Arts Garden. Gorgeous place to sit and look at the city. They also have live music and various events there.  And now what you really want, a ton of pictures so you get the feeling of the place. Enjoy and we will talk after the jump. 


  Hopefully the pictures inspired you to go enjoy this awesome area. I say pictures because i know im a bad writer lol. Expect more from here soon as i add to this series. It is truly a great city in the world, and if you live in the midwest it is so easy to get to.
If you would like to be part of our ad/ sponsor group and get exposure fo your business then get in touch today. Fom full reviews of hotels/ restaurants to having your link here. Pkus our large/engaged social media following. Inexpensive and effective. Email tompkinscontent@gmail to get started and follow @combatsportlife on twitter. You can also send an FB request to me Bob Tompkins.
Todays links

http://www.visitindy.com/

http://m.simon.com/default.aspx?id=163

https://m.facebook.com/Legacyhomeandranch/

A Road Trip To The Chicago Suburbs To Judge Martial Arts ( with stops at IKEA,Portillos,Mago Cantina)

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Sometimes my favorite trips are the simple ones to judge sport martial arts tournaments. Not big fights, not national tourneys and not big PR trips. I live all those, but sometimes just having fun in short ones with little or no pressure is the best.  That was this weekend. My wife and I judged at a small but great tournament that was a fundraiser for wounded veterans up in the Chicago suburbs. Part of the way we drove two lane through the country on 47 and across old rte 66. I’ll do another piece about that area but here is a quick pick of tiny old school trailer selling coffee in a small town. Heck it might end up being its own story some Day. More about the trip after the jump.

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The trailer sits in Forest IL along 47 which is about half way between my place and the burbs. It was closed but I’ll be making a trip just for it. OK, on to the real trip. The tournament was well run ( with my help of course, jk lol) so it went quickly. That left us plenty of time to wander around. Shopping, drinks and appetizers and dinner. First a few pics from the tournament including one of me with a guy I used to fight years ago. Good friends but we had some battles lol. It was his tourney.

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After we left the tournament our first stop was IKEA in Bolingbrook. We love Ikea,and have bout lots of things there especially furniture for our kids. It’s just a cool place to walk around and get design ideas.

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After that we did a little shopping at The Promenade Bolingbrook. It’s a cool mall but not the enclosed kind. Open walking environment with lots of restaurants and bars with great outdoor seating. My wife insisted that we were going to Portillo’s for dinner( an addiction!)  but we decided to grab drinks at Mago Grill and Cantina. Great selection of sauces with our chips and salsa. We absolutely will return here for dinner and a full review. I had a couple great beers from Two Brothers brewing ( one of my faves & always great. ). Sandy had a piña colada mojito. She loves mojitos but hadn’t had one like that. Quite good with lots of fresh lime!  Again we will be back! Check some pictures from Promenade and Mago.

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No matter how many times or often we are in the Chicago area ( which is often) we makes lots of trips to Portillo’s!  We have for decades. Great Italian beef,burgers and dogs. Always great food and such a cool look. They all have a slightly different kitsch to them depending on size. Great prices and just a fun place. One of my absolute favorite places on the planet. Tried other stuff but I almost always get the Big beef with spicy giardinera and fries. Can’t beat it. Huge and delicious!  Take a look at what the one in Bolingbrook looks like, and part of my sandwich.  I was hungry and forgot to take pictures!  I’m a fighter that writes a little lol.

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Im blessed to go all over and see all kinds of things, but a weekend like this close to home is awesome. Martial arts,drinks and food!  The best. Check these places out. And hit this area if you get a chance. Warrenville, Naperville and Bolingbrook are all close together. Great food and shopping.
If you’d like to be part of our social ad program or set up a trip to featured here, hit me up. We also to ambassador and spokesperson work. Be part of the fun. You can even get a very inexpensive link or ad here and on twitter. Email tompkinscontent@gmail.com and follow @combatsportlife on Twitter.

Today’s links. Get yours here.
http://www.portillos.com/
http://www.magogrill.com/

Random Walk And Pictures In Destin Florida ( plus thoughts on the area)

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For those who follow me you already know why I do these pieces. New people? It’s all about learning what an area is like when you go there. Not the glitzy fake shots but what it looks and feels like. Yes I get paid to Promote some places, but I always tell you what it is like. Really Iike!  While I have been all over and treated to an incredible life, I’m a normal guy.  I grew up throwing hay and hunting.  These posts are how I show my kind of people what they should look for.
So in the continuing series of this kind of post please enjoy my thoughts, opinions and pictures on the area. Before I start the pictures which I will kind of put into areas and ideas ( I’m an old fighter not a journalist!!) Let me say that I LOVE!!!! Destin!!!  The water is as gorgeous as anywhere I’ve been in the world. Great restaurants from gourmet to bar food ( my fave). Sugar sand beaches and great shopping. Above all, it has these things in a relaxed southern environment!!!! So let’s get ready to see what it looks like.

I’m going to wander a bit in these pics with a short description overall. First up some random beach shots, mostly down near embassy & the beach hut but a few other shore shots. The water here is gorgeous and some of the cleanest softest sand I’ve been on.

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There are many great restaurants and bars in the area from casual Beach places to chef driven Culinary masterpiece spots. Take a look at some food and spots.

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There are some very cool shopping spots from tourist kitsch stores along the beach drive (Alvin’s island) to the awesome Destin Commons.

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Destin is gorgeous and relaxing with world class food and shopping. I had a great time here and look forward to sharing more about it with you. A couple more random shots just for fun

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If you would like to have us visit your hotel, restaurant or other business to do a piece about it or represent you through our marketing channels email today. From full featured posts about you to ad campaigns or just very inexpensive links. Get involved in our conversational marketing programs. tompkinscontent@gmail.com & follow @combatsportlife on twitter.
Today’s links
http://www.destincommons.com/
http://www.embassydestin.com/
http://www.harryts.com/

Take Stroll Through Harbor Walk Village In Destin Florida (pictures and video)

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Yes I’m a guy ( a hairy beast of a washed up fighter guy at that!) yet I still shop! Especially in cool locations when I travel. OK so mostly my wife, Sensei Sandy shops and I get coffee or a cocktail and people watch. Same thing right??!!  A cool set of shops in an interesting place actually gets my interest. Remember I run media/marketing firm and did 20 years on Wall Street, any commerce gets my interest!
   Harbor Walk Village is flat cool. From great restaurants and bars sitting right on the water to interesting shops. Yes there are normal places you would know, but there are many Beach/harbor vibe cool places. Nice to just wander around.
    Several things that are different make it extra cool.  A little area of food trucks that are awesome, including an airstream trailer. Gives the place a great harbor vibe. It is also the home to the Destin fishing fleet, the largest charter fleet in America. You will see Massive fish being brought in. Soooo cool!!  You can go on a dolphin cruise starting here. We did that and I’ll be doing an article/review of it before too long. You can also book a pirate cruise here, looked cool if you had young children.

      Since most of you are looking this to see pictures and not my incredible writing lol, I’ll start posting them. Catch you after the pic and video jump to talk a bit more about the area. The even more pics and video!!

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So you can see it is a very cool area no matter what you like. We are at Harry Ts Lighthouse and Margaritaville there and I’ll do reviews of both in coming weeks. There are a ton of places to eat and sooo many looked great. I’m ready to book my return and just hang out here!!  It’s a mix of cool upscale with relaxed old fishing village. Kinda dig it.
       It is built with the Emerald Grande complex, condo residence and vacation rentals. Great looking place. I did not stay there but I’m looking into it for the next trip. Their website will tell you about both the complex and the village. Very informative.

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Give this place a look. It was fun and relaxing, coming from a guy who is always amped up!  I’ll be looking into Emerald Grande next trip( if you are their marketing rep, let’s get together!!) And you should look at all your options there. If you’d like to be included in our reviews or need promotion, email tompkinscontent@gmail.com today. Follow @combatsportlife & @tompkinscontent on twitter
Today’s Links , Get your name here
http://www.emeraldgrande.com/harborwalk-village
http://www.margaritavilledestin.com/mobile-home.html
http://www.harryts.com/