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).

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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.)

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

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

 

a weekend spent outdoors

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My blog just turned one year old!  I’m so happy I’ve stuck with this.  Now, back to this post’s real content:

I spent nearly my entire weekend outdoors and it was heavenly.

I try not to do recap-type posts on this blog too often, as I don’t want to bore you (my precious few loyal readers) with the mundane details of my day-to-day life. However, this blog is also a place for me to document memories to recall later, and this weekend falls perfectly into that category.

On Friday, our boss let us leave the office a couple of hours early. I spent that time at Target (my favorite store ever). I then went home and took an accidental (but wonderful) nap from about 7 pm to 9 pm. Right after I woke up, I went out to celebrate a work acquaintance’s birthday with some coworkers. We had a blast singing along to music and dancing, and I tried a delicious new-to-me cocktail (a Paloma).

On Saturday, I went to the Luke Bryan Farm Tour! I bought Maddie and myself tickets back a few months ago when the tour got announced, and the day finally arrived. We went with two friends and wound up seeing a few other friends there at the venue.

We tailgated a bit before the concert (listening to the Gator game on the radio which we somehow won, throwing the football and enjoying the beautiful weather). When we finally went into the actual performance area, we got fairly close to the stage. Chancie Neal, The Peach Pickers and Cole Swindell were all openers. Luke Bryan came out around 9 pm and he was even cuter than on television! He has this adorable southern accent which, combined with his goofy dance moves and powerhouse vocals, makes him utterly lovable.

The show went on for a solid two hours or so, and then it was a battle to leave the parking lot. Considering there were about 17,000 fans out on one farm, it was a bit of a traffic jam. It only took us about an hour to get out to the main road — and this was a product only of my aggressive driving. “I’m gonna kiss that Michigan bumper,” I said to Maddie over and over again, cracking up as I refused to allow others to push their way into line in front of me.

There was this epic moment when a huge, lifted truck full of guys zoomed up beside us out of nowhere, clearly believing they’d be able to cut me off. When I out-drove them, I exclaimed out the window, “You just got beat by a Honda Civic…COUPE!” The guys were beside themselves cracking up and the driver was clearly disappointed that I’d outmaneuvered him. It felt pretty sweet.

On Sunday, I slept in and awoke to more of the world’s most beautiful weather. I went to a late breakfast at my favorite spot (Billy Bobz, shout out to Geanine, the best waitress on the planet) and knew I needed to be outdoors for the afternoon. So, I split my time between Open Streets Gainesville (an event where they shut down a mile of University Ave. strictly for cyclists and pedestrians — lots of booths, live music, games, crafts and DOGS everywhere) and laying out in the sunshine to enjoy my book. This is really weird to admit, but I wound up laying out at a park adjacent to a dog park, so that I could see all the sweet pups coming and going. I have been wanting a dog for a while now but for now, this is as close as I can get. Also nearby were some people in medieval wear practicing jousting, but that’s just a strange little side note…

After all that time in the great outdoors, I went home and did some work, ate some pizza, watched The Voice with Maddie and had a lovely phone chat with my friend James, who always makes bad days sunny and sunny days sunnier. I then finished a book (that I had started that morning at breakfast…#bookworm) and took a bath before hitting the hay.

What a weekend it was! And next weekend is set to be even better — I’m going on vacation to North Carolina, where I’ll be checking off number 15 on my 101 in 1001 list. Can’t wait to see you, Sam!

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”  -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables