Thursday, my husband and I found ourselves with the whole day to ourselves. We could do anything we wanted to do.
So we jumped on the motorcycle and took off… literally with no destination in mind. We headed out north of Nashville, and we just started driving down roads. At one point when we stopped my husband said he was just angling back towards town, but we didn’t really have any idea where we were.
My favorite road was “Pickle Knight Rd” and I literally laughed out loud at that name. But it was so freeing to just ride. Sometimes we found ourselves on busier highways, but mostly we were all on our own on a small blacktop angling up or down mountain ridges.
We stopped at a gas station for “lunch.” I grabbed a club sandwich and sweet tea. My husband grabbed some of those warm taquito things you see at gas stations and a sweet tea. We split a bag of potato chips. We just stood by the bike and munched away, talking about our ride so far. I have to say it was one of the most fun lunches I’ve had in awhile!
Our day ended as daylight was running out, and my legs were hurting from riding. (I have long legs, so sometimes riding can end up with me having cramped up legs after awhile.) We went home and grilled out, putting the perfect bow on a relaxing day off together.
Below is a video I took as we went down one of our favorite little roads in Middle Tennessee. You will want to mute the sound because its all just wind noise, but if you look really close, you can see the lightening bugs dancing near the treeline. It was kinda magical!
It finally happened:
I’ve had my photography domain name for over two years, but I just never did anything with it. It was when someone would ask, “Do you have a site?” that I’d cringe.
It was an “out of sight, out of mind” thing. Plus, bartending pays well enough that it was easy to get complacent. I didn’t feel the need to pursue photo gigs. Now… Well, I’m not giving up bartending, but I also realize that I won’t be doing it forever. I have to start building my photography business to someday be full-time.
Understand, I am self-taught. Mostly. I do have my journalism degree and I’ve worked with design both for pay and for fun for years. I have a basic, educated idea of what makes a great photo. I did get a few crash courses from various photographers through the years as well. But on a whole… It’s all trial and error. Lots of errors. And a whole lot of passion.
I. Love. Photography.
Going into it, I don’t want to step on the toes of those who have devoted their education and life to photography! I’ve worried about that. A lot. But I like to think there is room for all of us and perhaps I can fill my own niche. And I’ll discover the niche through the years to come.
The other day, my husband and I were going over some questions that might appear on a motorcycle endorsement written test. One of the questions, I answered without hesitation. My husband stared at me and went, “How did you know that?” I laughed and went, “Dad taught me that long before I even started driving.”
Two days later, as I made myself some breakfast, I found myself smiling at how Dad taught me some tricks to making eggs. And I can’t crack almonds, walnuts and pecans without thinking about how that was kind of a tradition as a kid in the winter… we’d sit on the floor and he’d crack nut after nut for us to snack on in the evening.
He taught me to check my tires (even though I admit I don’t do it as often as I should). He taught me to never let my gas get below a quarter of a tank. (Which reminds me, I need to get gas later.) He dragged me through my Accounting class in college. He taught me business sense and showed me how to treat clients.
He showed me love and respect, and he taught me what to expect from men and how I should be treated. He gave my husband permission to ask me to marry him, but not until after a lecture my husband still remembers today clearly.
He taught me that its okay to ask for help, but to also try my best to stand on my own two feet. He gave me courage to try new things, but also the sense to know when to keep my feet on solid, steady ground.
I still turn to him for advice and guidance. I still go to him for some of the best hugs EVER. I am forever and ever a Daddy’s Girl, and I wish with all my heart I could be with him on this Father’s Day. To thank him for everything he’s done for me through the years, and to give him a big hug myself. I WILL be there in my heart and in spirit, and I’ll make sure to call and talk for awhile on the phone. We’ll make up for it the next time we are all together.
I love you, Daddy!! Happy Father’s Day.
Last week was CMA Fest, and this was the first year that it just didn’t excite me. This is also the first year I had ZERO interest in going downtown to “check it out.” And the reason for both is exactly the same: In my opinion, it’s just gotten too big for itself.
I attended Fan Fair in 1997 held at the Fairgrounds, and I left on cloud nine. I met the artists I wanted to meet (and then some!). I saw hours of great live music. I got to explore Nashville. I left vowing to live in Nashville “some day.” (And just under 10 years later, I moved here!) Upon moving here, Fan Fair had become CMA Fest and had moved to downtown Nashville. I didn’t like the move because it made it nearly impossible to traverse downtown as a local. As a music fan, I liked it. Lots of free music. I still got to feel a part of it without buying tickets. This was HUGE during the recession, when extra money didn’t exist.
Now? Now Nashville has been named the “It City” countless times. We’re the destination place to visit. And I think as a result Nashville has been forced to change in a lot of ways to keep up. It has to stand up to its new stature, but I fear its going to lose some of its charm within that.
One of the awesome things about Nashville is that there is music everywhere. Austin, TX might be the Live Music Capitol but Nashville is Music City. We stand on our own in the live music department! CMA Fest is a chance to have music fans come to Nashville to see their favorite artists perform, but its also a chance to see up-and-comers. This year, from what I understand, there were a TON of stages set up downtown with music going all day long. At the same time, the honkytonks were trying to stay alive with their acts as well. It broke my heart to hear (and see) great bands play to an empty bar, because no one felt any need or interest in coming inside to see a new act. So many, many musicians (and bartenders!) were left not making any money, and after paying to park and fighting the crowds, they were left working for free. In some cases, losing money.
Parking. Parking is something you’re going to find people complaining about all the time, but during CMA Fest? It was ridiculous. I lucked out to either use a parking pass or catch a ride to and from work, but I heard countless cases of people parking for $10 an hour, or if they were lucky, $35/day. Yeah, I said it. If they were LUCKY they paid $35/day. Just to park! I still can’t fathom that! Sure, tourists could take a cab or a hotel shuttle, but the people who got hurt the most by this was, again, the musicians. $35 to park, to go to work to make $40? The musicians, who are why music fans are there in the first place, are the ones getting hurt the most.
Let’s face it. CMA Fest is exhausting. A lot of locals avoid downtown entirely for the week. But even as I felt very downhearted at times, I was quickly reminded what I love the most about it: THE PEOPLE.
Some people I see every single year at CMA Fest, and I look forward to that all year long. They roll into town to big hugs and welcome backs. You look amazings and tell me everything from the last year. Some are people you know you’ll never see again, but that make a mark in your heart nonetheless. At one point last week, the entire bar was people from Wisconsin… people who walked in strangers and left exchanging phone numbers. My heart was so full that afternoon, I didn’t care that my feet hurt and I just wanted to go to sleep. I didn’t care. I was delighted by these kind souls that crossed paths with me and each other.
THAT is the essence of Fan Fair. THAT is. Not ten stages set up, giving out free pencils and water bottles. Its not fighting for a parking spot or paying 5x as much as usual for a hotel room (Oh don’t even get me started on THAT this year! $500 a night for a room!? Are you KIDDING me!?). It’s about interacting with people you’d never meet otherwise. It’s fellow music lovers on vacation.
So is bigger really better when it comes to CMA Fest? Personally? I don’t think so. People are going to leave Nashville remembering the people and artists they met. They’re going to talk about the big named acts they saw, and a hand full of the newbies. They’re going to remember the PEOPLE they met, perhaps even their newest best friend for life met over a drink in a packed bar or at a Fan Club Party.
I love all the free things CMA Fest offers, but I would beg planners to consider making it less commercial and more personal. I would beg them to remember there’s thousands of Nashvillians who live and work here that have to still making a living that week. I would beg them to remember the heart that is Fan Fair, that is about the fans and not the vendors. Let’s remember the love behind CMA Fest again.
Fan Fair CMA Fest Week!
Ask anyone in a Nashville, and you’ll get mixed reactions. Some people love it. Some people hate it. Some people (like me) have mixed feelings.
The music fan in me loves it. The people person in me loves it. The person needing some money loves it. (Hey, I’m just being honest here!)
My energy levels do not love it though. My feet do not love it. My wish to park easily and travel through downtown does not love it. My wish to just see my own house for a day does not love it.
But on a whole, I do enjoy it more than hate it. And as such, I’ve written several Fan Fair posts in the past, and with my lack of time right now and just flat out being tired I’m going to direct you to those:
Now, in case I don’t have time to share this later… my CMA Fest Bingo card for 2014!
Received my first VoxBox from Influenster! Couldn’t have come at a better time, nor could it have been a better topic: being on the Go! Here are some of the complementary goodies I got in my #GoVoxBox for testing purposes.
1. From Aqua Spa, I received Body Creme in Lavender + Chamomile scent.
This stuff is absolutely AWESOME. First, I love the combination of lavender and chamomile. SO relaxing. I used to have a linen spray in that combination that I had to use very sparingly, because it would knock me out and I’d sleep through my alarm! I haven’t had that in awhile, and it was such a treat to find this body creme in my box. An extra bonus is that its not greasy at all. It’s nice a thick and does the job wonderfully! Makes me smell great, relaxes me and makes my skin super happy again.
@AquaSpaBath / #RelaxwithAquaSpa
2. Vitamin Shoppe Next Step Fit N Full Protein Shake, including the shaker cup!
True story here. This last Monday, I had to get up and head straight out of the house to pick up my husband from the bus. I got up, got dressed, put in my contact lenses and then… my tummy growled. I grabbed my new shaker cup and the chocolate Fit N Full Protein Shake. I read the directions, put everything in the cup and proceeded to shake it all up as I grabbed my purse and keys and headed out to the truck. I had no idea what to expect and was VERY pleasantly surprised by how yummy it was!! Great little meal replacement and it kept me going while I helped off-load the trailer, and then didn’t get lunch for another two hours. I was doing great! I’m a big fan already… can’t wait to try the vanilla and berries flavors!
@VitaminShoppe / #NextStep
So I haven’t tried these yet. Saving them to take to work on Saturday night. But I know almonds are an excellent snack item, and I love Blueberries. So this should be win-win!
At the bar, I often end up having to go grab a bad of chips when I get hungry. Something fast that I can sneak in between orders. Sometimes I try to remember to bring some granola or trail mix… anything to keep me from greasy chips and candy bars.
Hopefully this freebie will help me acknowledge another option to snack on during a busy night behind the bar.
4. A two-fer here since they are both from Profoot Care. Now this… this is something that arrived at the PERFECT time.
The next two weeks I’m going to be on my feet a lot. Filling in for co-workers, and then CMA Fest means I’m going to be working 12 of the next 17 days. 8-5ers are rolling their eyes at me… but that’s 8+ hours on my feet non-stop all those days. By the end of this run, my feet will be royally pissed off at me. The Profoot Triad Orthodic should help curb that a lot, and the Profoot Pedi Rock will help soothe things after the fact. I’m quite excited about these!
@Profoot_Inc / #GoProFoot
5. Muller Quaker sent a voucher for a free Mueller Yogurt Product.
I’m super excited about this on as I’m going to need more breakfast and snack options coming up. I’m going to do some serious healthy eating coming up so I keep feeling good through it all!
@MullerQuaker / #MullerQuaker
5.2. Playtex Sport and Gentle Glide sent me a box of Playtex Sport Fresh Balance.
Definitely will be handy to have these when all the fun happens to land during “that time of the month.” Especially as I eye some potential lake days coming up. Can’t let anything hold me back from the fun!
@Playtex_Sport / #PlayOn