Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken

Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken

On my recent trip to Memphis, TN, I had one fried chicken restaurant on my Radar - Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken! Gus's Fried Chicken is one of those restaurants that usually has a line out the door during lunch time because of how popular it is. Well, as luck would have it, that day my sorority sisters and I made our way to the Gus's in downtown Memphis, we saw the line of people as soon as we turned the corner toward the restaurant.

I'm usually not scared away by lines because that's usually a good indication that the restaurant is pretty good. I was all excited as I stood in line! I had my sorority sisters take my picture in front of the marque and ev-er-y-thing! Well, 45 minutes later, we were still standing in line (45 minutes is still not out of the ordinary for a very popular restaurant) but, we just didn't have time to wait because we had to make it back to our conference. 

Can't you see how excited I am? LOL

So, my friends, I had to improvise! A Gus's Chicken shack opened in Nashville (Brentwood, TN to be more specific) a couple of months ago and that's where I actually tasted my first bite of this in-demand fried chicken! Guess what?? There was no wait this time..Yippie!

Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken with Mac & Cheese and Baked Beans
The Chicken was slightly spicier than I expected but, then again, I am an absolute wimp when it comes to spicy food :-(. Even foods labeled as "mildly spicy" tend to make my eyes water....

A tall cup of water did the trick to tone down the spiciness for me and I really enjoyed this meal that I tried so hard to get LOL

Hopefully, my next trip to Gus's in Memphis will be more successful. "Till next time Memphis.....

-Dr. April

Food For Thought - Learning to Wait

- FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Learning to Wait -

Any one of us who has flown recently knows that waiting in long lines at the airport can be a pain! We have such busy lives that the last thing we want to do is to WAIT in a long line at the airport. After all, Air travel is supposed to be the quickest way to travel, right?

 (Photo Credit: Neenjames.com)

Most airlines will actually have passengers line up at the gate PRIOR to the plane coming into the gate. Even though we don't see the plane at the gate, we have been informed that the plane is on its way. Therefore, we stand in line preparing for the plane's arrival. 

We can apply this same philosophy to our lives. It may seem that everyone else around us receives blessings before we do and we often wonder when what we have been wanting and praying for is going to manifest. However, we have to trust and believe that the promises that God has made us are coming! We don't know exactly when the blessing will arrive but, we can prepare for it's arrival. We can stand in the line of preparation - ready to receive our blessing!

-- Dr. April

Monday, April 29, 2013

This One's For The Children: New Kids On The Block

"This One's For The Children" by NKOTB is one of my favorite songs EVER!


If you've read my "About Me" section here on the blog, you have seen that at one point in my life I was TOTALLY OBSESSED with New Kids On The Block! I was fully convinced that I would marry Jordan Knight one day and I owned what seems like every piece of NKOTB merchandise ever made :-)

This is one of my favorite NKOTB songs. Without getting too deep on you today, just watch the video and you'll see why I love it so much. If you are a NKOTB fan like I am, please free to sing along because I'm sure you also know all the words by heart (I certainly do) !

--Dr. April

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Birthday Party Cookie Decorating

Birthday Party Cookie Decorating 

 During my beautiful little niece's recent birthday, we threw her a Disney Princess Tiana themed Birthday Party. Everything, and I mean, everything was Princess Tiana - the cups, plates, napkins, pinata, balloons, customized water bottles, cake, cupcakes, gift bags....you get the picture!

We were not lucky enough to have a bright, shiny day for her birthday party so we had to bring the party inside. In spite of the rain, the inside party turned out great! I suggested that we have a cookie decorating station as one of the activities to keep the kiddos busy while inside.

 My cookie! Trust me...no close-up of the cookie needed here. I don't need ya'll judging my cookie decorating skills LOL!

We had food for the adults to enjoy too!

How cute is this Princess Tiana cake?!?!?!

 Me and my little Princess celebrating her birthday party :-)

--Dr. April

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Coffee. Lunch. in Nashville, TN - A Place so good, you'll come for coffee and stay for lunch!

Coffee. Lunch. - A place so good, you'll come for coffee and stay for lunch!

I've found a great new coffee shop in Nashville my friends - Coffee. Lunch. !! The best part of the place is that, in addition to their wonderful coffee, lattes, cappuccino and Hot Apple Cider, they offer a creative variety of great sandwiches and desserts! I sat down with the owners, Khalil Davis and Zach Maddox to find out more about them, where the concept for Coffee. Lunch. came from (I loooove the simplicity of the name, BTW!) and how they found their niche in the Nashville Food Scene :-)

Co-Owner/Chef Zach Maddox, Pastry Chef Audra Dykes, Sous Chef Brittany Kane, Co-Owner/Barista Khalil Davis
Let me be the first to tell you that this is one COOL group of people right here!!

Dr. Carmen April: So Khalil, tell me were you are from originally..... 

Khalil Davis: I grew up in Detroit, Michigan

Dr. Carmen April: How did you get to Nashville?

Khalil Davis: I came to Nashville by way of Tennessee State University in 1998.

Dr. Carmen April:  What was your major at TSU?

Khalil Davis: Accounting.

Dr. Carmen April: Okay, I’m sure that helps you out here as an entrepreneur a little bit.

Khalil Davis: A little bit here and there.  I’d never want to be an accountant...LOL!  I’m more of a people person

Dr. Carmen April:  You seem to be great at talking with people and getting to know your customers! So it sounds like you have found what you’re good at and it works for you.

Dr. Carmen April: After TSU, you and your wife moved to California. Tell me about your move to
California and what you did there......

Khalil Davis:  So my move to California was an act in faith, thanks to my wife.  She had just graduated from Belmont with a social work degree and was offered a position at Larkin Street Youth Services.  That’s what she wanted to do, so we moved out to San Francisco.

Dr. Carmen April: Did you like it?

Khalil Davis: I loved it!  I was so mad when she said, “I don’t like it.  I want to move back.”  I was like, “noooo!” LOL

Dr. Carmen April:  When did you start learning about coffee and the coffee business?

Khalil Davis: I got my first café job at Starbucks in Nashville in 2002. I worked at Starbucks for three years then moved on to a Mom & Pop Coffee Shop.  I worked at Fido for seven years.  Then we moved to California, left California, and moved back here with the plan of opening up a café.  That’s what I wanted to do. I also worked at Hot & Cold. One day Zach came in and said, “how committed are you to this place?  I was like, “I’m not!  I’m shopping for a location for my café.” He had the same idea.  He had a little girl on the way and he didn’t want to work nights, either.  But he still wanted to cook, so we sat down, put our heads together, and this is what we came up.

Khalil Davis:
    Zach had been in the restaurant industry before, was a truck driver for a while, was a bartender for a while, cooked for a while, he can tell you the rest........ he did a little of Everything! 

Dr. Carmen April: So, You guys decided on this spot for your Cafe' because…...?

Khalil Davis:   His wife works next door.  When I told him I was looking at different buildings, he was like, “well, I’ve got a place in mind.  You want to go look at it?”  Fiddlecakes had just gone out of business earlier in the year, maybe three months before we came to look at it. 

Dr. Carmen April: So some of the stuff was already set up in this location?

Khalil Davis:    Yes, we didn’t have to do anything!  The only construction we had to do was cutting a hole in the wall to pass food through.

Dr. Carmen April: Do you guys bake your own bread here?

Khalil Davis:    Yeah, we bake everything here in-house. 

Turkey and Cheddar Sandwich - Turkey, Mayonnaise, Pablano cream and arugula on a Cheddar Hoagie

Dr. Carmen April: Tell me about how you and Zach decided to leave the comforts of where you were working and to venture out on your own. 

Khalil Davis:
    As much as I loved working for Bongo Java, I had a feeling that to get to the next level, someone would have had to die and I don’t want anybody to die LOL!!!  I had an idea of what I wanted my coffee shop to look like and what I wanted to do with it.  I was doing my business, planning, shopping locations.  Zach wanted to be part of a coffee house and I don’t cook.

Dr. Carmen April: That sounds like a match made in heaven!  It’s a good compliment.  You fit each other well. 

Dr. Carmen April:
Most entrepreneurs have hiccups along the way.  Did you guys encounter any while opening up Coffee. Lunch.?

Khalil Davis: Yes we did!  So the room that our kitchen is in- we thought it was way bigger than it was.  We had an idea that we'd have a table here, coolers, racks on the wall- nope!  It was a third of the size that we thought it was.  That was hiccup number one. Another hiccup we had was when we were trying to get into this place, there were two other companies that were also trying to get in so it was a bidding war.  We had to kiss the ring of our landlord, bring him gifts LOL! 

Dr. Carmen April:
  Tell me where the name for Coffee. Lunch. came from.... 

Khalil Davis:    Zach and I were still trying to come up with a name. Lindsey was putting our business plan into legible professional format - format that wasn’t written out on lined paper (LOL!).  Every time she came to the title of the café, she just put in parentheses coffee comma lunch and kept going throughout the page.  Then our landlord says, “so you guys are going to call it Coffee. Lunch.?” Yep!  Yep, we are! 

Dr. Carmen April:   Tell me about the coffee and drink selection that you have.   We can start out by talking about this apple cider.....It’s so good!   

Khalil Davis:
It was time for cider when we opened up.  We opened up on September 4th and after we had been open for a couple of weeks and people started to ask for hot cider....

Dr. Carmen April: That’s what I always get when I go into coffee shops.

Khalil Davis: The hard part was finding local apple cider. The rest of the coffee is pretty standard from one café to the next.  Some places have specialty drinks that they already have put together.  I didn’t want to do that because as a customer you’re pitching in. I’d rather the customer be able to make everything the way they like and give them the option to customize their drink. You can cut and paste the syrups any way you want to and we can do the rest.”

 HOT APPLE CIDER: I CRAVE Apple Cider in the fall and winter! Heck, who am I kidding.....I crave it all year 'round LOL!!

YUM! Khalil includes a cinnamon stick in each and every cup of Apple Cider...NICE touch!

Dr. Carmen April:
Good!  Do you make any of the syrups yourself?

Khalil Davis:    We make all the syrups in the house.  We try to keep it artful!  There’s not a lot in here that we don’t make.  We don’t make our chips, we don’t make our tea, we don’t make our chi, and we don’t make our beans.  Other than that, we make our own bread, we make our syrups, all the condiments, hummus, and pastries from scratch.  Even the vanilla wafers that we put in our banana pudding, we make from scratch.

Dr. Carmen April:  What have you had to sacrifice, being an entrepreneur? 

Khalil Davis:    Time! If you look at it on paper, I work a lot for a little.  But I'm also working for myself and it's benefiting me. One of the frustrating things is if something’s out of place, you’re like “ahhh......I don’t feel like taking care of that.” But you kind of have to because there’s nobody else that’s going to do it.  You’re like, I kind of wish somebody would clean that for me.  I’m tech support, I’m janitor, I’m the repairman.   

Dr. Carmen April: Tell me what is next for Coffee. Lunch.

Khalil Davis:
    Last month, we did our first dinner.  We sold tickets and provided customers with a five course meal.  But customers couldn't see what they were going to eat until they got here! We didn’t even know what we were going to make LOL......We planned the menu the day before! Folks got to talk to 15 other people that they may or may not have known.  It’s an intimate setting.   

SWITCH! Here's the portion of the Interview where I talk with Co-Owner/Chef Zach Maddox

Dr. Carmen April:    Zach, Tell me where you’re from.  Are you from Nashville? 

Zack Maddox:    No, I moved to Nashville in 1998 from Seattle, Washington. 

Dr. Carmen April:
  What did you when you first moved here?

Zack Maddox:
    I cooked at Café Coco.  I worked there for a couple of years

Dr. Carmen April:  How did you decide that you wanted to branch out on your own and be an entrepreneur?

Zack Maddox:
    I’ve loved to cook since I was fourteen.  I’ve always been good at managing stuff.  I took a little break, drove trucks for a while then got back into it and worked at the Bound’ry for a while. I wanted to start a cafe and was just trying to figure out a way to do something different than the way most people are doing it - lunch seemed like a good little niche to get in.  My wife works next door to the shop, so I knew this place was available and that kind of sold me on the idea of starting this business. 

Dr. Carmen April:
    Did the idea come about overnight?

Zack Maddox:    No, we had a business plan worked out for an all-night spot that was going to be in East Nashville, but the building fell through on me.  The guy never called me back on that.  So it was kind of the same concept and we were just going to rework the plan that we already had.  I’ve always been the be-your-own-boss type of person, so it’s always been a goal to have my own little shop.

Dr. Carmen April:    Were you ever formally trained?

Zack Maddox:    I went to the Art Institute for a quarter here right before I started working at the Bound’ry- right when I got back into cooking again.  It just kind of wasn’t for me.  It was huge pressure and they’re always saying, “you can’t do this.  You can’t do that.”  Having cooked for almost twenty years before I went to school and then being told what you can do or can’t do, just wasn’t the situation that I needed to be in. 

Dr. Carmen April:    You don’t strike me as the type of person who likes to sit within very constrained boundaries LOL!

Zack Maddox:    Oh no.  Not at all. 

Dr. Carmen April:    What were you initially thinking when you developed the menu?

Zack Maddox:    We were just kind of thinking, one of the things we want is to do everything ourselves, as much as possible, on our own.  Personally, I just love sandwiches.  Being a dad with a small kiddo, that’s what I usually get a chance to eat -  everything gets turned into a sandwich at some point on my plate anyway.  Whether I have two pieces of potato left and meat, I’ll make it into a sandwich and eat that no matter where I’m at.  There’s a time factor, too.  Our goal has always been to get you in and out before your quarter runs out in the meter.  Other people tell me, “You get me in and out with a healthy sandwich fast.  You get me in and out faster than I would be at the window at McDonalds.”

Dr. Carmen April:
    And it’s healthier than McDonald's!

Zack Maddox:    That's a good way to put it.  We use dairy cream, but at least you can pronounce what’s in it.  The first four ingredients aren’t chemicals that you can’t find anywhere. 

Dr. Carmen April:    On the sandwich that I am eating now, was the bread made here?

Zack Maddox:    The bread was made here, the mayonnaise was made here, the chicken was spiced and cooked here.  Yeah, everything on the plate except the cheese was cooked and made here. 

Dr. Carmen April:    You can really tell the difference.

Zack Maddox:    I think so, I definitely think you can.  Thank you.

Chicken & Provolone Sandwich - Spicy grilled chicken, provolone, grilled red onion, pesto mayo, house made sourdough.

This is one of THE BEST sandwiches I've had in a long time! The sourdough bread is soft and flavorful  - made in-house. The red onion adds just the right amount of kick. I love a nice amount of Mayo on my sandwiches and the fact that this was a good spread of pesto mayo made it 10x better!

Dr. Carmen April:    I have an obsession with French Macaroons and I just walked in here and saw them on the menu.  So yeah, I think I’m going to go crazy over those today!  I also had the green velvet cupcakes the other day.  That was good.  Do you guys play around with the menu for the changing of seasons? 

Gluten Free Chocolate French Macaron - Did I already tell you guys about my secret (well, not so secret anymore) obsession with French Macarons???? I wish I could fly to France and back just to grab an armful (Note: I did not say handful...I meant armful LOL!) of these things :-)

Next best thing....grabbing a handful of French Macarons from Coffee. Lunch. !

Zack Maddox: 
   Yeah, we try to keep up with most stuff.  The menu will be changing very soon and you can get more spring vegetables.  Audra (The pastry Chef) tends to run pretty close along with most of the holidays coming up, so for Mardi Gras, we had king cake.  We were doing the bitchy Valentine hearts, so they looked like a Valentine sweet- but they had really bitchy sayings on it.  Like, “love sucks,” and things like that....We try to have a little fun with it! I find something that sells real well and have her make that.  Most of that stuff, Audra comes up with on her own.  Brittany came up with a lot good ideas and then Khalil has all these other good ideas and it just works!

 Lucky Green Cupcake to celebrate St. Patrick's Day!

Dr. Carmen April:    When you were younger, did you ever imagine that you would be an entrepreneur?  Did you ever imagine that you would have your own shop?

Zack Maddox: 
   I never really thought much about working for anybody else.  I never did, I never have in my entire life.  I got kicked out of the Boy Scouts for talking back!  I’ve always done my own thing.  I had a feeling that I was going to end up working for myself at some point or doing my own thing.

How cute is the outdoor seating?!?

You may enter.....Coffee. Lunch.

I got this shot of myself trying to get a good shot of the door. I had to move around a bit to keep from getting my own reflection in the door but I think this one is kinda cool.....so I'm keeping it!!

Cool Interior!

 Homegirlscout cookie - Shortbread cookie covered in dulce, dipped in chocolate, sprinkled with coconut and made with love! (Khalil really did add the "made with love" piece to the description :-)

 This is like having Thanksgiving Dinner in Sandwich form....YUM! Roast beef, mashed potatoes, cheddar cheese...OMG good!

 I really enjoyed talking with all 4 of the fun folks who make this place work so well! I'm glad I interviewed them before the new Music City Center opens in a month or so. Coffee. Lunch. is located only about a block away from this new Music City Center and even though they are busy now........ I think they are ABOUT TO BLOW UUUUUUUP (said in my comedic Martin Lawrence voice.....LOL!)

You can find Coffee. Lunch online @ www.coffeelunchnashville.com
in person at
300A 10th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37203

- Dr. April

Food For Thought - New Addition to DInner With Nerds

- Food For Thought: New Addition to Dinner With Nerds -

I'm SO excited about some new additions that I am making to the Dinner With Nerds Blog! 

I've received such great feedback on my posts from you, my readers, that I have decided to add something NEW and EXCITING:


I often share brief words of inspiration and encouragement with friends on my Facebook page and  they seem to resonate. It's amazing how just a couple words of wisdom can brighten someone's day!

 As I was praying to God for direction in various areas of my life, He revealed to me that since my Dinner With Nerds Blog is already a platform that uplifts and encourages by telling the story of other successful people, I could offer some of those words of encouragement that help me navigate my life's journey with you. I will post FOOD FOR THOUGHT Sessions periodically here on the blog and hope you enjoy them!

I have been blessed with some of the most AMAZING family and friends a girl could ever ask for!! These folks are such an inspiration to me through their words and actions that I plan to ask some of them to share some FOOD FOR THOUGHT topics with you from time to time as well.

Have a great day and lookout for the first official FOOD FOR THOUGHT Session coming soon!!

-Dr. April


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Legato Gelato featured in Mocha Market Magazine

Legato Gelato Featured in Mocha Market Magazine

Hi guys! The latest edition of Mocha Market Magazine is available and I'm so excited to show you the article that I wrote on Terri-Ann Nicholls  and her wonderful Gelateria - Legato Gelato.

If you remember, I gave you all a "sneak-peek" of this story a couple of weeks ago. In case you missed it, you can check it out by clicking on this link below:


Here is a screen shot of the article! 

You can also follow this link below to read the article in Mocha Market Magazine online:

I had SUCH a great time talking with Terri-Ann and learning about her Gelato shop. When you stop by Legato Gelato, make sure to tell Terri-Ann that I sent you!

--Dr. April

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dinner With Nerds featured in the NBJ

Dinner With Nerds featured in the Nashville Business Journal

Hi guys! I am thrilled that the Nashville Business Journal chose to feature me and this blog in the April 12th, 2013 Edition of the paper!!!!!! NBJ Staff Writer, EJ Boyer interviewed me for the article and I appreciate her coverage of the blog! She told me that the Dinner With Nerds Blog made her hungry as she put together the article and drooled over my food photography...what a great compliment!

For all you regular Dinner With Nerds followers, the food pics that are included in the article should look familiar as they are pics that I featured on my posts of Legato Gelato and Kocktails & Kouture.

Here is a PDF screenshot of the the article followed by a iphone shot that I took of the actual paper.

You can also follow this link to check out the article directly on the Nashville Business Journal Website

I hope you enjoyed reading the article!

-Dr. April

Monday, April 15, 2013

Show Me Some Bloggin' Love!

Show Me Some Bloggin' Love!

I received quite a few shout-outs last week on and about the blog and I want to say Thanks a Bunch!

* First, Huey's Restaurant in Memphis gave me a cool shout out for featuring them and one of their delicious burgers on the blog!

* Then, Former Tennessee Titans Wide Receiver and current Life Coach Chris Sanders was very appreciative and gave me a great shout out for the blog post I did of my interview with him.

* I have so much fun bringing you blog posts! I am honored that a fellow blogger, who happens to consider herself a nerd as well, decided to feature ME on her blog!!!! How cool is that :-) Here's a screenshot of part of her post about me......

Diane is the blogger at The Blog Nerds ( www.theblognerds.com ) - I told you she is a fellow NERD! She enjoys reading my blog and gave me a great review! Diane, for this I say:

 "Thanks for showing me some blogging Love!"

You can check out her blog featuring my blog HERE !

--Dr. April

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Chris Sanders: Former Tennessee Titan Wide Receiver Chris Sanders

Chris Sanders: At The Table With Former Tennessee Titan Wide Receiver Chris Sanders

I am so excited to share with you all the interview I had with Former Tennessee Titans and current Life Coach, Chris Sanders!! Chris spent 8 years in the NFL which is an Awesome accomplishment, in and of itself, seeing as how the average NFL career span is only 3 years! Since his retirement a couple of years ago, Chris has been doing some great things in the community such as speaking with children and youth about life goals and encouraging our military men and women all over the country. Chris has a very approachable personality which makes it easy to understand how he relates to the hundreds of individuals and groups that he speaks to and inspires every year! I'm sure you will also be surprised to find out what his favorite food is.......I definitely was!!!!

Former Tennessee Titan and current Life Coach, Chris Sanders

Dr. Carmen April:     Chris, Thank You so much for talking with me today! You have been doing some great things in the community since since you retired as a Wide Receiver for the Tennessee Titans! Let’s start by finding out where you are from......

Chris Sanders:              I am from Denver, Colorado......Born and raised.

Dr. Carmen April:   So you left Denver, Colorado and went to Ohio State, The Ohio State University. Why does everybody say it like that - The Ohio State? 

Chris Sanders:      Because there are so many teams in Ohio. You have Ohio University, the University of Ohio at Cincinnati, so when you say The- it distinguishes Ohio State University from all the others.

Dr. Carmen April:     Tell me about your time in college? Let’s talk football first and then everything else about your college experience.

Chris Sanders:           Football was great!  It was like a job.  My schedule was structured. I had to be places at a certain time. I had to be at school at a certain time.  That’s what I needed at the time.  It was an experience that I’ll never forget.  I built great relationships with the guys I knew- like Eddie George and Joey Galloway.

Dr. Carmen April:        Were you all at Ohio State University at the same time?  You,  Eddie George and Joey Galloway?

Chris Sanders:             Yes, We were there at the same time and the coolest part was building a relationship with those guys. 

Dr. Carmen April:        Did you go through withdrawal when you left college?

Chris Sanders:            Yes I did, for about a year, because I went from life being structured to having to learn to be on my own.  That was kind of scary.  Once I got drafted into the NFL, I figured “okay I’ve got to become a man.”  I’ve got to learn to do the things that I was just taught! 

Dr. Carmen April:         Outside of football, tell me about your college experience.

Chris Sanders:
              You don’t want to go there LOL!  Man, just partying from Wednesday to Sunday!

Dr. Carmen April:      *laughter* And you can say that now because that’s not your life currently, right?

Chris Sanders:            No, it’s not.  I partied from Wednesday to Sunday, but I still got my work done. The coolest part of it is what I learned through the struggles. One summer, I had two roommates, Andrew Walker and Johnny Cochran.  That summer, we had no money.  We lived in an apartment with no money, no food, and we were just trying to survive.  I think that of all my years in college, that summer after my freshman year was the coolest because we were three guys who didn’t have anything become something.  The parties were fun and we all go through that phase, but watching three boys become men, and learn to survive is probably one of the most precious times that I’ve ever had. 

Dr. Carmen April:        That's awesome! So did you participate in other sports at The Ohio State      University ?

Chris Sanders:              I ran track.  I did really well at track. 

Dr. Carmen April:
        Yeah, is there a record you still hold from college?

Chris Sanders:            Yes! I broke Jesse Owens' long jump record in 1992.  Who would have thought that a kid from Denver, Colorado would break Jesse Owens' long jump record? The cool part about it is that the night before, I was watching ESPN and they were doing a story on Jesse Owens.  I went to Iowa State University for the track meet, jumped and broke Jesse’s record! I know that this is going to sound goofy, but just yesterday, I went back to see if that record still exists at Iowa State and it still does!

Dr. Carmen April:
        In 2013, it still exists?

Chris Sanders:  
            It still exists!

Dr. Carmen April: 
       That’s amazing.  Yes, yes, yes, I like that!  What was your major at Ohio State?

Chris Sanders:

Dr. Carmen April:        Being an Education major comes full circle with what you’re                 doing now.

Chris Sanders:             Exactly. I work in Counseling and education now.

Dr. Carmen April:       So after college you were then drafted by…

Chris Sanders:             The Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans- the same team.

Dr. Carmen April:       How did you feel moving to a big, new city as a young NFL player?

Chris Sanders:              Scared to death!

Dr. Carmen April:        How did you learn to handle and manage money? 

Chris Sanders:              I’m cheap!(LOL) What a lot of people don’t understand is that you see a couple of players in the NFL that make the millions, but most NFL players are making the minimum or not much more than the league minimum. The league minimum is $390,000. That’s a lot of money, but a lot of people don’t know where all of that money goes.  Number one, 40% of that goes to taxes.  Then you’ve got to pay your agent 4%, then you have to pay a sales tax in every state that you play.  So even though you think that you’re making $390,000, you may only end up seeing $130,000 to $140,000 after everything else has been paid. Back when I first entered the NFL, the league minimum was $179,000. So, a player who was making the league minimum may have only been taking home $60,000 to $70,000 of that.  Unfortunately, there are some knuckleheads that get into financial trouble because they’ve never been taught to manage money.

Dr. Carmen April:        That is a very good breakdown.  Thank you for explaining that!            
How many years did you play wide receiver for the Titans?

Chris Sanders: 
             Eight years.

Dr. Carmen April:  
     Why did you retire after 8 seasons?

Chris Sanders:             I was here for about eight seasons and had to retire because of a back injury.   

Dr. Carmen April:       What were your career plans once you retired from the Tennessee Titans?

Chris Sanders:           I had no idea.  When I got into football, my vision was to play football. When I retired, I thought “What am I going to do now?”  Most guys aren’t automatically going to do the ESPN job.  My life basically started when I retired.  I’m thinking, “I’ve got to get a  resume, I’ve got to go on a job interview, etc”.  So my sister helped me type up my resume. I knew that I wanted to work in education so that’s what I focused on.

Dr. Carmen April:      Aren’t there people that work for the various NFL teams that help               players with the transition from the NFL to careers after football

Chris Sanders:            They have that available for players but it focuses so much on finances. There isn’t much focus on teaching players to work in another professional career. It’s like they expect a kid to be a professional when he doesn’t know how to do it.  So if all my life, I’ve been taught how to be a wide receiver but not taught how to be a man, I’m going to struggle when I retire because my whole legacy has just been about playing football.  That’s what the struggle was for me because I wasn’t prepared. 

Dr. Carmen April:      Now you are here at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, TN.              How long have you been here?

Chris Sanders:              I’ve been here for four years.  I’m in the counseling department.  I              help with admissions and do life coaching and counseling. I also have a radio show on 94 FM The Fish - It airs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday ( 94fmthefish.net ).

Dr. Carmen April:         Is the life coaching that you do focused on youth or is it targeted to everyone?

Chris Sanders:               It’s for everybody.  Sometimes I tell stories about my life, sometimes I give words of wisdom.  I talk about things that make people think.  I get emails from people saying how the words of wisdom that I offer have helped them.  I think that’s why I’m glad that I’ve been through the stuff that I’ve been through.

Dr. Carmen April:
       Right, I’m with you on that.  I believe the same thing! 

Chris Sanders:            It doesn’t feel good when you are going through your own struggles but, those struggles help you help other people.

Dr. Carmen April:      That’s true. When I’m going through stuff, I think “Lord, I don’t know why you’re doing this but, help me get through it and help me understand how I can use my experience to help and bless someone else.”

Chris Sanders:

Dr. Carmen April: 
         You decided to stay here in Nashville with your wife and your kids.  What do you love the most about Nashville?

Chris Sanders: 
                It’s a great place and people are friendly.

Dr. Carmen April:       Even though you no longer play for the Tennessee Titans people still love you around here! 

Chris Sanders:              I still get excited about being asked for an autograph.  I don’t understand why some guys don’t like giving autographs because one day people wont ask them for their autograph!  I’m just an average guy trying to do his job here.  When I leave here, I want my life to amount to something and I want to leave a mark.  My dream is to have my kids’ kids say “that’s my granddaddy” and be proud!
Dr. Carmen April:    You do a lot of speaking to various organizations?  Can you tell me about some of those?

Chris Sanders:           I speak to churches, I speak to companies, I speak to coaches, etc.  I spoke to the troops a couple of times this year.  I spoke to them in San Diego, Colorado Springs, and at Fort Campbell.

Dr. Carmen April:    So what is next for Chris Sanders?

Chris Sanders:        My goal is to work in the NFL and more specifically in player development. I also want to coach receivers. I would love to coach in a couple of Super Bowls! Once I coach in those Super Bowls I want to completely walk away from football.

Dr. Carmen April:    Okay, so you still have some professional football left in you? 

Chris Sanders:       Exactly! I want to coach in maybe three Super Bowls and I’m praying that it happens because I love the Super Bowl’s platform  - that it can be used for God’s glory. So after I’ve gone to the Super Bowl, I can travel around the country motivating people.

Dr. Carmen April:    Since we usually talk about food on the Dinner with Nerds Blog, I               have a couple of  food questions for you......

Chris Sanders:             Go ahead......

Dr. Carmen April:       What is your favorite food?

Chris Sanders:             Chitlins!!!!

Dr. Carmen April:      Are you serious? Chitlins? But you are from Denver, CO...who eats Chitlins in Denver, CO?? LOL

Chris Sanders:             My mom’s family is originally from Sanford, FL.......

Dr. Carmen April:        Ok, that explains it! I still can’t believe that is your favorite food                 but, at least I understand it now LOL!

Chris Sanders:             Maaaaannnnnnn, I love Chitlins! LOL

Dr. Carmen April:       What is your favorite restaurant in Nashville?

Chris Sanders:             Waffle House.

Dr. Carmen April:      You can’t say Waffle House.....its everywhere LOL!  Okay, okay.                  I’ll go with Waffle House.  What’s your second favorite?

Chris Sanders:              Bob Evans and Pancake Pantry.

Dr. Carmen April:      Since we’re both originally from the North, I’m with you on Bob Evans.  Bob Evans is one of my daddy’s favorite restaurants and every time we went to Bob Evans when I was younger- he would buy the biscuit mix to take home - they really are that good!

Chris Sanders:           Yes, They are good! 

Dr. Carmen April:     Do you like to cook in or dine out?

Chris Sanders:
            I like to cook in. 

Dr. Carmen April:      Can you cook?

Chris Sanders:

Dr. Carmen April:      But you try?

Chris Sanders:            I try my best.

Dr. Carmen April:      Is there anything else about you that I can let the readers know about you?

Chris Sanders:
            That I’m cute.

Dr. Carmen April:
      Well, there it is LOL!................. You know I’m putting that in the               interview, right?

Chris Sanders:
            No, don’t put that in there...I’m just kidding LOL!

Dr. Carmen April:       Too late :-)

 Not only is Chris Sanders cute, but he is an absolute pleasure to talk to! In addition to the fact that he likes to joke around, he’s genuine and honest about his life’s journey and I left the interview with him feeling inspired and enlightened! I hope you did too!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Huey's : My first Huey's Burger Memphis, TN!

Huey's : My first Huey's Burger - Memphis, TN

In March 2013, I descended upon Memphis, TN along with over 3,000 of my lovely sorority sisters for our Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc - South Eastern Regional Conference ( Shout out to my AWESOME sorority -  Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. After a long day of meetings and workshops some of my sorority sisters and I wanted food that was authentically Memphis! We decided to check out Huey's  - a Memphis staple for good burgers!

I decided to try the Huey's Old Tyme A1 Burger with Cheddar, Swiss and Jack cheeses, topped with sizzling bacon, sauteed mushrooms, hand-cut onion straws and drizzled with A1 sauce......Yum!

Huey's Old Tyme A1 Burger

I don't know about you but, I love a bunch of "stuff" on my burgers and this fits the bill for that burger preference of mine.......I loved it!

If you've ever been in Huey's, you must have noticed the thousands of toothpicks making a home for themselves in the ceiling! Of course I had to figure out how to get my toothpick up there on that ceiling too. After a brief explanation from one of the waiters, I loaded the toothpick into my straw, tilted my head to as close to a 90 angle that I could get and blew, with all my might, straight toward the ceiling! To my disappointment, my toothpick came falling down and hit one of my friends in the head...oops!

Being one to not give up when it comes to stuff like this, I reloaded my straw, concentrated a little harder and once again....blew into the straw with all my might! This time my toothpick made its home among the thousands of other toothpicks on Huey's ceiling for Ever and Ever and Ever ( or whenever it gets too packed up there and Huey's decides to take them all down!)

Check out all those toothpicks in the ceiling!
(photo credit: Huey's Website)

Until next time Memphis!!!

--Dr. April

Monday, April 1, 2013

Dr. Carmen April - Nashville Athena Award Young Professional Nominee

What an honor to be a 2013 Nashville Athena Award Young Professional Nominee!

Another awesome blessing of recognition has come my way this year as I have been honored as a 2013 Nashville Athena Award Young Professional Nominee. Below is an excerpt from the Nashville CABLE website (Nashville CABLE is the official sponsor of the Nashville Athena Awards Program):


The ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award recognizes emerging women leaders across professional sectors for exemplary leadership. It actively supports and celebrates the ATHENA mission of supporting, developing and honoring women leaders, inspiring women to achieve their full potential, and helping to create balance in leadership worldwide. It honors women between the ages of 25 and 40 who excel in their chosen field, devote time and energy to their community in a meaningful way, and serve as a role model for young women.

I was nominated for this wonderful award by my AWESOME sorority chapter here in Nashville, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Kappa Lambda Omega Chapter. I was initiated into this beautiful sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc in 2001 at Mississippi State University and love the support that I have always received from my sorority sisters :-)

The awards ceremony for this year's Athena Young Professional Award took place at the Hutton Hotel. As featured in a previous blog post, I am also honored to be a Nashville Business Journal Top Forty Under 40 2013 Award Recipient! This Athena YP award ceremony was actually being held at the EXACT same time as the Nashville Business Journal Top Forty Under 40 Award Ceremony. Since I haven't quite figured out how to clone myself just yet, it was impossible for me to make it to both ceremonies (***sad face***).

Luckily, I was able to attend the Traditional Athena Award Ceremony at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center a week later where I was recognized, along with the other YP nominees during that ceremony.

 Once again, I just have to proclaim how AWESOME God is and how much I appreciate each and every one of the blessings He keeps sending my way :-)

-Dr. April