Category: Personal Work

West Side Digs: answer. restaurant

West Side Digs: answer. restaurant, fish, Nashville

By Sheri Oneal

It has been a while, after a year and a half hiatus working on some personal projects I am back and excited to share. I have several blog’s on the way but today I want to introduce you to my “West Side Digs” ongoing series. It will feature local businesses in the Sylvan Heights, Sylvan Park, Nations and Charlotte corridor of Nashville showcasing locally owned businesses, restaurants, shops and other spaces.

With 80-100 people moving to Nashville a day and more than 5000 recently built homes in the Nation’s area alone, it is apparent that the West side of Nashville is finally catching up to all the other hot areas of town! This blog series will showcase what this area has to offer.

Welcome to first addition of West Side Digs, and the newly opened restaurant answer. here in Nashville. Two months ago answer. opened their doors in Sylvan Park on 46th Avenue North.

West Side Digs: answer. restaurant, Nashville

Every time I’ve driven by they look busy and customers seem to love the cozy outdoor seating area. So far many of the patrons are from around the neighborhood due to its great location about 2 blocks from the roundabout. Their menu is inspired by food from around the world including Asian, Mediterranean, Italian, Latin and American fusion.

West Side Digs: answer. restaurant, Nashville

West Side Digs: answer. restaurant, Nashville

West Side Digs: answer. restaurant, Nashville

Developing a globally inspired seasonal menu, part owner and executive chef Chris Raucci creates classic dishes with a twist. Everything is fresh and made from scratch. His career started in Atlanta after graduating from Johnson & Wales University. He had worked for several acclaimed restaurants in Atlanta, Charlotte and Florida before settling in Nashville. His inspiration comes from his love of food from different cultures. When he can’t sleep he researches food and creates recipes for the restaurant. His passion comes together with his creative infused dishes through his research.

Denver, Colorado native Victoria Rothberg is part owner and general manager of answer. restaurant. Her love of food started when she was a hostess at an Italian restaurant in High School. After graduating from New York University she worked  with Hillstone Restaurant Group allowing her to manage various restaurant establishments throughout various cities in the US. Her hard work and dedication has landed her here with this new adventure, Victoria say’s “it’s like hosting a dinner party every night!”

West Side Digs: answer. restaurant, owners, Nashville

Chris and Victoria (above) met while working with Ted’s Montana Grill, Victoria as Director of Operations and Chris as Corporate Executive Chef. After opening multiple TMG Restaurants they decided to team up and start their own restaurant. Their concept was to create a space for friends and family to come and enjoy wonderful innovative dishes in a comfortable and casual atmosphere.

West Side Digs: answer. restaurant, plantains, Nashville

Chef Raucci prepared a few plates for me to shoot while I was there, the first was the plantains (above)  made with  chorizo, manchego, jalapeno, chayote and charred scallion.

West Side Digs: answer. restaurant, lamb, Nashville

Next was the lamb (above) and included dukkah, chilled ratatouille and harissa yogurt.

West Side Digs: answer. restaurant, fish, Nashville

The last dish was the fish (above) plated with swiss chard, bacon, pickled golden raisin and charred tomato. All looked exquisitely prepared and delightfully tempting.

The restaurant seats approximately 75 and includes a 22 seat bar and a 28 seat outdoor covered patio. Prices range from 5$-30$ which includes shareable plates, entrees, a brunch menu and they have a full bar.

West Side Digs: answer. restaurant, menu, prep cook, Nashville

I have not yet had a chance to try the food here at answer. but some of my friends have and have given it a top notch rating. I am so excited to see this wonderful new restaurant in the area and I am looking forward to indulging with friends soon. If you would like to know more about answer. restaurant please visit their website or connect with them on facebook and instagram!

Thank you so much for reading! I continue to look for interesting story ideas in the West Nashville area and need help finding unique small business individuals. If you are a small business owner in the area, offer a unique product and/or service or know of someone please let me know!  

*NOTE all Sheri Oneal blog post are ©2017 by Sheri Oneal. Feel free to share my blog link but any other use of photos or content must be agreed upon in writing.

*If you would like to leave a review of my work please do so here, here or here!


Family Portraits of The Goldsteins…

Family portraits of the Goldsteins on location in Nashville Tennessee.

By Sheri Oneal

Over the weekend I photographed family portraits of my favorite couple “The Goldsteins,” over several hours my goal was to shoot various photos of Lisa and Rob with their beautiful daughter, Sara. As a commercial photographer this is a little out of my element and for whatever reason photographing friends always makes me nervous for fear they won’t tell me if they truly like the photos (yes even as a pro for almost 20 years I still doubt myself at times). When I went to their home I wanted to be sure and get the photos they wanted but I also wanted to capture something for myself. Because their daughter Sara would be headed off to college soon, their goal was to capture images with her and I knew like any parent they were anxious about their daughter starting a new life chapter. We’ve discussed doing the photos over the past year so I had a lot of time to think about what I wanted to create with them in front of the camera. As a visual storyteller and as a professional commercial photographer my job is always to create a story through a single image. I wanted to capture more than just family photos, I wanted to be sure to show the love between the parents and their daughter.

Lisa, Rob, Sara and Ginger Goldstein shot in their home in Nashville, TN.

As I thought back to my own connection with my mom at that time in my life I remembered how stressed out I was at that age due to my parents going through a divorce and my confusion over needing to figure out where I wanted to go to college. I never remember thinking at all about what my mother might be feeling as she watched me slowly move towards being a young independant woman, this really had me wanting to capture that bond between a mother and her daughter. On Saturday I knew this photoshoot was about more than just happy faces. My desire was leaning to something stoic yet subtle, the idea of shooting with very little color on black was my way of adding some drama so I was sure to bring along a black backdrop. I wanted to capture a feeling of gentleness between Lisa and Sara, I also wanted to try and tell something about each of them individually…this is what transpired.

Family portraits of Lisa and Sara Goldstein in Nashville, Tennessee.

After editing through all the images I thought about how I wish I had an image like this with my mom back at that age. I feel as if I have been able to convey their emotions in a deeper way and I hope that others will feel the same. I believe it captures the intimacy of the two combined with the innocence of her daughter and a mother who knows things are changing at home.

While going through the motions of shooting each family member this photo happened….

Lisa Palet Goldstein portrait shot at her home in Nashville, Tennessee.

As I continued to look through all the shots of that day, I kept coming back to this one of Lisa alone. I think of the hundreds of thousands of photos I have taken this year, this is my absolute favorite. Perhaps it is because of how much I love and admire the person looking back, or because of the friendship that has developed with this person over the past year. Somehow she has helped me as an introvert realize how important sharing with friends is to my growth and happiness. I have learned through her to come out of my shell a bit and I have discovered many other amazing ladies along the way. For whatever reason this photo really speaks volumes to me. It carries a lot of hidden meaning as I have watched this woman go through so many changes, in fact a little over a year ago when I met her she was dealing with the treatment of colon cancer and not knowing if she would survive. Many of you were introduced to her with my “Fabulous Women Over 40” blog series earlier this year.

Cancer Survivor, Wonder Woman

When I compare the woman in the cover story to my favorite photo of the year shot on black I see two very different people. As a photographer my work always begins with what I discover as I glare through the lens into the eyes of the person on the other side, that is always where the story starts. The photo I took last year of Lisa above, appears sad to me, Lisa was going through the cancer treatments at the time and it was shot a few days before her removal surgery. We had not yet developed a friendship and I had only known her for a week.

When I look at the image of Lisa on black I see an extremely strong, confident and gentle person. Someone I have grown to know so well in such a short time. As one would expect, her year has been littered with some very personal and emotional stages regarding health, relationships and career developments but most of all in the confusing discovery of reinventing life after surviving cancer. This week she heads to the doctor’s office to have some test done, something she will need to do the rest of her life as a cancer patient…something I am reminded of that so many beautiful people are dealing with every single day.

I love my job and that I have the ability to make a living taking pictures. My mindset is always to stop time in a single frame and capture a photo that portrays so much about a person without needing to say a single word. I have found that the connection of looking deep into their eyes offers something profound to the viewer and of course beautiful people always make my job a lot easier! What I love most about my work is that the story of the people I create in my photos will live on long after I am gone, that is so much more gratifying to me than a paycheck.

Thank you for reading!

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*NOTE all Sheri Oneal blog post are ©2015 by Sheri Oneal. Any use of photos or content (other than sharing the link) must be agreed upon in writing.

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Fabulous Women Over 40: Payge McMahon

Fabulous Women over 40, Payge McMahon, adventure athlete walking down hiking trails.

By Sheri Oneal

Wow, this summer got real busy and I fell behind with my interviews for my Fabulous “Women Over 40” blog series but I have a very inspiring woman to showcase for September!

Fabulous Women over 40, Payge McMahon, adventure athlete at Percy Warner Park.

Payge McMahon is an amazing testament of courage and inspiration and she proves that your life direction can change in the blink of an eye. Her story is a testament that sometimes negative things that happen in our lives can lead us down an inspiring path.

At 16, Payge was in a car accident that broke her back and left her in a body cast. Her mother was her positive inspiration in helping her maintain a good outlook during her healing when she had to learn how to walk again, (she still struggles with chronic back pain). Payge went on to college and earned a B.A., in International Politics and Spanish, at Penn State, she studied at universities in Spain and Mexico and an MBA at California Lutheran University. She worked her way up the corporate ladder, negotiating and managing global contracts for Fortune 500 companies before eventually landing on Wall Street.

When Payge turned 28, her life’s direction would change forever when her mother, a non-smoker, died from lung cancer. Her death crushed Payge to the core. “I literally felt my heart break,” she says. Sometime after, Payge found a hidden notebook in her mother’s nightstand with a list of 20 adventurous things her mom had hoped to do in her lifetime. Payge noticed that only 6 things had been marked off of the list and she felt an overwhelming need to live out her mother’s bucket list, this sparked the journey that would change her life.

Fabulous Women over 40, Payge McMahon, adventure athlete looking out over ridge.

She quit her job on Wall Street, sold all her belongings, divorced her college sweetheart and took off on her first adventure. At 32, she backpacked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, it was the first time Payge had ever slept in a tent, gone backpacking or climbed a mountain.

Over the years she has had some amazing adventures: like dog sledding in Alaska, cycling through Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Mt. Fuji in Japan and Mt. Sinai in Egypt. She has explored the Sahara desert and Amazon Rainforest, backpacked across Northern Spain, the Himalaya in Nepal and the list goes on. With each adventure Payge sprinkles bits of her mother’s ashes along the way slowly fulfilling her mom’s bucket list. She wears a necklace around her neck that carries some of her mother’s ashes and feels as if her mom is with her every step of the way.

Fabulous Women over 40, Payge McMahon, adventure athlete with mother's ashes in necklace.

Payge created a website Turn the Payge for family and friends to follow along in the journey. As more and more people learned about her story thank you letters began coming in sharing how her journey was inspiring them to start their own bucket lists. Many looked to Payge for advice on backpacking, travel and gear. National Geographic Adventure, Competitor and other publications contacted her to write about her adventures. ESPN featured her story on their program, ‘Journeys & Victories‘ and it won a Gracie Award, which honors women in media.

Adventure travel and outdoor gear and apparel companies also took notice because they see her story as compelling and relatable. They also recognize that she knows how to reach people and cross-market brands: she is now sponsored by companies like adidas Outdoor, Canada Goose, Wigwam Mills and Taos Mountain Energy Bars.

Payge shares her experiences to inspire others to get outdoors, experience life and step outside their comfort zone. You can see Payge doing just that on “The Raft,” a new adventure/survival television series on National Geographic Channel. When the production company contacted her to do the show, she initially thought to say, ‘No.’ It wasn’t that she would have to spend 6 days, with a stranger, on a small 4X4 foot costal raft, floating in the Bermuda Triangle, without any food or water. “I don’t like cruises,” she says, “and sharks. But, then I thought… what a cool opportunity this would be to test my limits in a worst-case travel scenario.” Check her out in ‘The Raft’s’ premiere, titled, Bump in the Night.

Fabulous Women over 40, Payge McMahon, adventure athlete on trail.Today, In addition to being a professional adventure athlete, motivational speaker and journalist, she is also a yoga instructor. She took up yoga to help strengthen her back and cross train for adventures. She received her teaching certification in Thailand and has since studied in India and Nepal. Wanting to help others go beyond their perceived physical limits, she specializes in training endurance athletes and those recovering from injury, surgery and/or living in chronic pain. “Yoga changed my life. The way I abuse my body and mind on some of these endeavors, if I didn’t practice yoga, I’d be crippled by now,” she laughs.

Fabulous Women over 40, Payge McMahon, adventure athlete with map.Payge now has 3 more adventures and places left to visit to complete her mother’s bucket list, dive Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, ski in Antarctica and run on The Great Wall of China. Her goal is to continue to inspire others to get out and live their lives actively and to try new things, just as her mother inspired her to do. Payge is a true inspiration and testament to living healthy and doing those things most feel are unreachable. She is truly a “Fabulous Woman (barely) Over 40!”

Thank you for reading, see you next month!

*If you would like to leave a review of my work please do so here, here or here!

*NOTE all Sheri Oneal blog post are ©2015 by Sheri Oneal. Any use of photos or content (other than sharing the link) must be agreed upon in writing.

Please feel free to share this page!