a year in nashville

IMG_2967I can’t believe that I’ve lived in Nashville for a year already!  Part of me feels like I moved here yesterday, and the other part of me can’t remember living anywhere else.  I thought it might be fun to recap some of my favorite things I have done in Music City in the last year!

At the top of my list, of course, is music.  The scene in Nashville has been one of the coolest things to get to be a part of, whether it was seeing intimate secret shows (like Noah Gundersen and Matthew Perryman Jones) or shows at the Ryman (like Of Monsters and Men, George Ezra and Ben Rector). I took in country shows (like Eric Church, Florida Georgia Line and Kenny Chesney) and Live on the Green shows (like Colony House, Cold War Kids, Elle King and Ben Folds).

12122915_10154401458417715_2181525618230869685_n

George Ezra played an amazing show at the Ryman back in October 2015.

There were tons more: The Shadowboxers at the Bluebird Cafe, Kaleo at Marathon Music Works, Ryan Bingham at Exit/In, Kodaline at 3rd and Lindsley…if I tried to name them all here, it would be absurd.  I’m not saying all of this to brag—after all, I paid good money for at least half of those shows!  But compared to Pensacola or Gainesville, FL…the number of artists whose tour schedules include my home base is off the charts, and for that, I’m thankful.

Another one of my favorite things about Nashville has been the proximity to other cities!  I’ve loved being able to drive to Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Georgia, Alabama, and of course Florida.  Travel is one of my favorite things on the planet, so the opportunity to explore nearby cities has been a great one.  (I am shocked to report that I think my favorite nearby city is Cincinnati!  I never imagined myself liking that place, but it was top-notch.)

IMG_4008

A big group of friends went to Fall Creek Falls for Memorial Day this year.

FullSizeRender-1

I shot some hoops inside the world’s largest abandoned treehouse earlier this year.

Getting to explore the areas immediately in and around Nashville has been incredible, too.  I’ve trespassed and explored the world’s biggest abandoned treehouse, hiked to numerous waterfalls like Rock Island, Burgess Falls, Cummins Falls and Fall Creek Falls, gotten in touch with nature at Lake Radnor and Narrows of the Harpeth, and more.  Anyone who knows me knows I’m an adventure lover so I’m excited to keep finding new, beautiful places in my city.

FullSizeRender

My lovely coworker from NYC, Molly, was my most recent visitor—earlier this month!

Another one of the best parts about living in Nashville has been the number of friends who have come to visit!  I pride myself on being an excellent tour guide—on finding the perfect blend between outdoor adventures, classic Nashville must do’s, shopping, amazing food and of course, going out.  It’s always a blast to have an excuse to hit up the honky tonks or eat a few scoops of Jeni’s ice cream!

FullSizeRender-2

January 2016—the magical snowstorm!

I can’t write about my year in Nashville and not include a note about the snow, because it was one of my very favorite things!  Growing up in Florida, I never got the chance to wake up, look outside, and see a winter wonderland.  I’d seen snow a couple times through the years on vacations, but I was beyond thrilled to finally get to live in a place where it snows!  The best part is that it’s just a few times a year, so it’s super manageable, but I still get all the wintery fun.  I am ready for more snow this winter!

13412995_10155079949417715_3967789396934469008_n

We went to Clemson, South Carolina, Auburn and Florida…but Nashville brought us all together!

Last but most certainly not least, I’ve been so thankful to make such a quality group of girlfriends here in Nashville.  I could count on one hand the number of acquaintances I knew in this city when I moved here, and it has been fantastic to be able to find such quality, beautiful, hilarious friends to call mine!  We recently got back from a beach trip down to Ft. Lauderdale (in fact, we left for that trip on my one-year job anniversary) and it really blew my mind to think that I didn’t even know any of these people a year ago!

That sentiment reminds me of a quote that has always encouraged me: “It is astonishing how short a time it can take for very wonderful things to happen.”  I have this on my desk at work, and hold it super close to my heart.  Although the last year has had definite highs and lows, I look back on it as a whole fondly and with so much gratitude.

I have no idea how long I’ll live in Nashville, or where I’ll go next, but I know one thing for sure: I love Music City!

 

Advertisements

let it snow

SnowThis week, 8 inches of snow fell on Nashville and I was absolutely delighted!  I was expecting to wake up on Friday to a bleak, drizzly landscape (with snow starting around lunchtime) but instead woke up to a wintry wonderland outside my bedroom window!

I immediately bundled up and went outside to play in the snow.  (After all, living in Florida for 23 years, I’ve never seen snow in a place I called home – just on vacations from time to time!)

The snow continued to come down for hours and hours and, though I was stuck inside working, it brought me such joy to see the gorgeous sight outside my house.  I took the opportunity to build a snowman on my lunch break (note to self: get waterproof gloves) and frolic a little more.

LivingRoomViewOn Friday night, the snow had stopped falling but was covering Music City in a sparkly blanket.  Not many people were on the roads, so Alli and I took the opportunity to walk to Mafiaoza’s, a nearby restaurant, to meet some friends for a birthday dinner.  It was quite a chilly walk!  I came up with the brilliant idea to hitchhike, but we didn’t fully commit on the walk there.

LoveSnow.jpgWell, the walk home was another story!  It was positively arctic, and we did not feel like trekking a mile through the snow and ice!  We stuck our thumbs out as we walked and waited to see if any of the cars would stop to offer us a ride.  Surely enough, a Jeep full of cute, young guys stopped to see if we needed help!  We jumped in the Jeep and they kindly took us the remaining 3/4 mile home.  (If you are my mother or grandmother reading this and freaking out that I hitchhiked…don’t freak out!  It was a fun and unexpected adventure.)  They actually invited us to go play pool with them at a bar down the street, but we were chilly and ready to be in bed.

Saturday was wonderful, with no place in particular to be and the snow still making our neighborhood look like a Thomas Kinkade painting.  Alli and I walked to Frothy Monkey for coffee and FlipSide for brunch, where we ran into both a childhood friend of mine (who does not live in Nashville, mind you) and the Chrisley’s from my dad’s favorite tv show, Chrisley Knows Best.

SevierPark.jpgWe walked around Sevier Park, watching all the adorable sledders and even having a snowball fight with some strangers, before making our way back home for a lazy day of eating and watching tv.

All in all, I have absolutely loved the snowy wonder that has filled Nashville the last few days!  It’s been a breath of fresh air not to drive anywhere, and to adopt a more relaxed pace.  Perhaps it’s easy for me to say this because we got 8 inches of snow (versus 2 feet like some places a bit north of us), but what can I say?  I picked the right city.

new year, same me

1935470_10154609999312715_9146527296301029446_nThis year, I have resolved to do more of what makes me happy.  I’m sharing my “resolutions” (though I hate calling them that because of the connotation so let’s just call them goals) here for accountability to myself, and in the hopes of perhaps inspiring you to set a few goals for yourself this calendar year.  It’s never too late to start doing more of what you love!

  1. Prioritize travel.
    • Travel has been a huge priority to me in the past, and I’m off to a good start with it for this year, too.  I’m headed to San Francisco next month and New York City in March!  I’ve also got a trip to Orlando on the agenda for a very special wedding I’m in during April.
  2. Spend more time outdoors.
    • I’m trying to be intentional about getting outdoors, and got off to a good start last week with a hike at Percy Priest Lake with Alli!  My (rough) goal is to seek out one outdoor activity a weekend, whether that be a long walk around my neighborhood, a hike or something more adventurous.
  3. Continue to send snail mail and be a good pen pal.
    • Mail brings me joy, period.  I love stamps and stationery and the post office and my mailman and everything about it.
  4. Read a lot of books.
  5. Listen to a lot of podcasts.
    • I adore podcasts!  I’ll be posting soon about some of my favorites.  They’re great for passing the time on a road trip and helping keep focused (I spent a lot of time in the car in 2015 so I can really vouch for this).
  6. Write a book.
    • I haven’t shared much about my desire to write a book here, but it’s on the 101 in 1001 list that I created about a year and a half ago.  I love to write and read, and this is the ultimate challenge for myself – to see if I can combine those passions into one creative project!

I have others goals, of course, that are practical and ongoing, like developing consistency in my exercise routine again, continuing to push toward long-term financial security, establishing clear career goals, etc.  However, the six goals above are the ones that bring me true joy and are for pleasure rather than practicality (like the goals I just mentioned).

What are your goals for this year?  I encourage you to write them down formally and share them with someone.  The act of doing so makes them real and is (in my opinion) the first step toward making them happen!

chasing waterfalls

IMG_2227One of my favorite things on a Sunday afternoon (or any afternoon, really) is to hit the road in search of adventure.  Specifically, since finding myself in Nashville, TN, I’ve been disobeying the words of TLC and chasing waterfalls.My roommate Alli isn’t the most outdoorsy girl, but I’m slowly changing that!  We went to Rock Island State Park a few weeks ago and it was a blast.  We hiked a few different trails, got caught in a storm (and, momentarily took shelter in a grotto before deciding to just go for it and stripping down to our bathing suits to play in the rain and river) and soaked in the beauty of Twin Falls.  Rock Island State Park is about an hour and forty-five minutes from Nashville, but the drive was a pleasant one through winding back roads and past simple country homes.

IMG_2354Two weekends ago, we ventured over to Burgess Falls (see picture above) near Cookeville, TN.  I was really excited about this one and met with disappointment when we arrived to learn that the path leading down to access the falls had been condemned just ten days earlier and deemed “unsafe” until renovated.  We were left taking in the view from a platform out away from the falls instead of down at their base, and I was pretty bummed out about it.  To make up for it, Alli and I decided to try nearby Cummins Falls.

IMG_2368I’d seen Cummins Falls on Instagram as a popular spot for swimming and heard warnings of how crowded it would be.  Man, were those warnings right!  While the hike itself was pleasant (through a river, it took me back to my days hiking the Narrows in Utah!), once we got to the awesome waterfalls, there were just people everywhere.

I’m not super big on crowds, especially when I’m doing outdoor activities like hiking and swimming.  Kind of hard to take in natural beauty when it’s covered up by pasty humans everywhere, haha.  However, Cummins Falls was still a good time – I swam all around (even up under the smaller falls) and jumped off the ledge.  I actually wished the ledge was higher!
IMG_2370All in all, there are still a ton of waterfalls I want to hike to around Tennessee, like Fall Creek Falls, Greeter Falls and O’zone Falls.  But these three were a great start, and a wonderful excuse to get out of the city and into the fresh air.  Of all three, Rock Island was definitely my favorite and the one I plan to take visitors to in the future!

you’ll always be home sweet home to me

Oh man.  I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve touched this blog!  I always try to take it as a good sign when I can’t find time to blog.  It means I’m busy out living my life: traveling, eating good food, exploring…or in the case of the last month, moving, starting a new job, getting a new roommate…the list goes on.

I have made some massive progress on my 101 in 1001 list.  I moved to a new city (Nashville – and I absolutely love it here).  I had a picnic.  I went to Cincinnati to visit my friend Blaire, where we went to a Reds game and sipped cocktails at a rooftop bar.  I re-did some furniture (and decorated our home here – post to come).

It’s definitely been an adjustment, starting my job at Warby Parker, living in a new state…but I feel like I am in the right place at the right time.  There is so much to do here; I never have an excuse to be bored!  I’ve seen so much live music, from country (Keith Urban, Cassadee Pope, Eric Church, Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker, Charles Esten, Thompson Square and more) to punk to singer-songwriter and everything in between.  I’ve hiked to waterfalls, taken walks around my neighborhood…I’ve even met a few celebrities!  The most notable are Ben Rector (my favorite musician, who I literally met today) and Chris “Cupcake” from The Bachelorette (which Alli and watch religiously every Monday night).

A lot of people have told me how brave I am – for uprooting from the place I lived for five years and a comfortable job and social network to move to a place where I know only a handful of people in a state I’ve barely spent any time in previously.  I don’t think I’m that brave, though.  I think I’m lucky.  Lucky that an opportunity came my way, and a cool company took a chance on me.  Lucky that my random roommate is turning out to be one of my closest friends.  Lucky that the people in this city are warm and kind.  I just feel lucky.

With that, I’m off to shower and get ready for a night out in Music City.  I promise, though, I’ll be back to blogging regularly from here on out!  I could never quit this thing.

goodbye for now, florida

“Don’t shy away from your game-changing decisions.  Set your jaw, make up your mind and don’t ever look back.”

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I heard Peyton Manning say these words at Chick-fil-A Leadercast the very day after I received a job offer.  The offer would take me to a new industry, in a new city…and with a pay cut.  But everything in me was saying to take the position, make the jump…MOVE.  As I sat listening to dynamic speaker after dynamic speaker, I grew more and more certain that I had to accept the offer.

I was scared, though.  They wanted me to start in exactly one month.  How was I supposed to get everything together in that amount of time?  What about the fact that I know, like, four people in that city?  Then, Seth Godin said on making a change, “It’s always too soon.  We can be prepared but we can never be ready.”  Boom.  Okay, Seth.

So I went home on Friday evening and I accepted the offer.  I took a bold leap of faith, and I have felt great about it ever since.  As I look for housing, try to pack up my life from five years spent in Gainesville and just wrap my mind around the fact that, for the first time in 23 years, I won’t be living in Florida, I have sense of excitement and eagerness.  I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.

There are bittersweet parts, too.  Leaving beloved friends and coworkers behind in Gainesville.  Not having my favorite university on the planet in my backyard.  Being further away from my hometown.

998360_10152193951387715_1049502063_nBut I believe in the company I’m going to work for.  I believe that good things lie ahead.  I believe in and share their values.  I believe that their team is one on which I’ll thrive.  C.S. Lewis said, “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”  I believe this now more than ever.

I am so excited to start my new chapter of life with Warby Parker in Nashville, TN on June 8, 2015.  This Florida girl is headed to Tennessee!