Five on Friday: Keeping organized

August 1st, 2014 1 comment

Today’s Five on Friday brought to you by the August NaBloPoMo prompt: What tools do you use to keep organized so things on your to-do list don’t slip through the cracks?


1. A good old-fashioned written to do list. There’s just something about writing out a to do list that I love. It helps me really organize my day, and its so very satisfying to mark something off the list by hand. Besides, I can doodle in the corners when I’m on the phone or when I need to think!


2. Post it notes! It never fails. I’m going to bed, and I realize there’s something I forgot to do. Usually I’m just too tired to do it right then. So what do I do? I write it on a Post-it note, and stick it to my computer monitor. The way our house is set up, I walk right by it every morning. So something needs to be done? Post it on the computer screen.


3. A good calendar. I use a business calendar app on my cell phone to keep up with what needs to be done when. I love it, because I can pull my calendar, my husband’s calendar, and the calendars of various other things that I am a part of all into one place. Now I can’t promise I won’t miss something. But as long as it’s on my calendar, those chances are very slim.


4. I text myself. It’s not unusual for me to send myself a text message to my email to remind myself to do something. For example, a friend may remind me that I forgot to print out something important that they need. I won’t remember when I get home to do take dare of it, so I send myself a text message to my email, so when I get home and check my email there’s a reminder! It works really well.


5. Google keep. I know this doesn’t benefit iPhone users. But if you’re an Android user, and you’re not using Google Keep, it’s time to download it now. I love this app. It’s like having Post-it notes on the go. And the best part? It syncs with your Google account, so you can access the same notes on your desktop. It even transferred all my notes from my old cell phone to my new cell phone. I seriously don’t know what I do without it these days.






NaBloPoMo August 2014

Five on Friday: Important happenings right now

July 25th, 2014 2 comments

My jaw hurt all day yesterday. I eventually realized it was tension and stress related, because the pain faded the closer I got to Texas and much-needed weekend AWAY from Nashville…


1. back#SavePrintersAlley — This endeavor has taken on a life all its own. I’m amazed by the support its gotten from people around the world, and the people who are behind us as we fight to save our home-away-from-home. I’ve not been as active in this as I would really and truly like to be, simply because I have SO MUCH already on my plate. But this has taken a high, high precedence over almost everything else because it means so very much to me. I even went on TV for an interview with the local FOX affiliate! I’d never been on TV before! But I couldn’t imagine a better cause to speak out about, and I’m really proud of myself for doing it.

What can YOU do to help? Go like our Facebook page. Order t-shirts off And FOLLOW me on Facebook where I too will share updates and what events are planned to bring awareness to the Alley’s fight.

2014-07-23 11.35.05


2. #CASAgolf The 8th Annual ACC vs SEC Alumni Golf Tournament benefiting CASA Nashville will be held at Gaylord Springs Golf Links on Friday, August 8, 2014. I don’t know a damn thing about golf, but I know this tournament has become VERY near and dear to my heart since last year. I love everyone I work with on this tournament. I love the cause. Now I just want to see it be super successful and have lots of Aggies attend. I’m not too concerned about the first, but not sure the last will happen. But I keep trying and hoping maybe we’ll have a good showing. I guess I’ll find out on August 8th.

How can YOU help? Come sign up to play! Or perhaps you have a business willing to sponsor the event. Or at least come for dinner! All the details are available on the event website at

280: CASA golf

The 2013 Tournament Dinner


3. Aggie Family Picnic. We’re holding our first ever Aggie Family Picnic in a few weeks. I’m super excited about this, but due to all I have on my plate I’ve had to step back and be somewhat hands-off on the planning. Well, at least in theory I’ve been. But I’m too wrapped up in the club and it means too much to me to be completely, “Hey I’m just going to show up. Y’all figure it out.”  I’m super excited about it, but also super stressed about it going well.



4. Finances. I’m working on getting all our ducks in a row to get a pre-approved for a mortgage to finally buy our own house. It’s been a long time coming and I finally feel confident and comfortable with making this happen. But since so much of my income is cash-basis its a stressful and daunting task and could take awhile. But I am up for it now that I know what they need from me.


5. Tour season. My husband is SUPER busy touring right now, which makes me more determined to stay extra active with Road Widows. We’ve slowed down a bit — we’re ALL busy — but its so very, very important to me to see this blog and community thrive no matter how crazy our individual lives get. Because we all need each other!


Honorable mention: I finally got below 160 lbs this week! I’ve only been shooting for that since June. Now on to the new goal of 150 lbs. I can do it much better and with more knowledge thanks to my Fitbit! I had no idea I was so sedentary… now I focus on moving around more and its really starting to make a difference!


Printer’s Alley

July 17th, 2014 4 comments

Seven and a half years ago I married my husband. Around that same time I found myself in another love affair: with Printer’s Alley.

010: Printer's Alley

I began going down to the Alley with my husband, who played a regular jam night on Tuesday nights in one of the bars there. I quickly made many friends and it didn’t take long for me to declare it my “home away from home.” Especially once I started working in the bar myself.

Soon I knew more people at the bar and in the Alley than my husband did, and he had been going there for over 10 years!

Happy New Year 2011!

We briefly considered buying a bar in the Alley ourselves. We had a business plan and my husband even went to meet with investors in Vegas. It was during that time that I really delved into the history of the Printer’s Alley. I spent hours on end at the Nashville Public Library trying to figure out what had made up the whole of Printer’s Alley through the decades. I went as far back as I could without having to going to microfilm.

It was fascinating to me. What was once printing shops and furniture stores eventually turned into speakeasies and bars and dinner theaters. Prohibition happened but the alcohol continued to flow.  There were dancing girls and so much neon that some called it the Vegas strip of the South. The sordid history of Printer’s Alley excited me. Presidents walked alongside the mafia. Rumors of Jesse James hiding out made me sit glassy eyed, trying to imagine those days. (I once talked about to writing a book about the history of Printer’s Alley, as I don’t believe one exists at all.)

Printer's Alley Christmas

I soon felt that as an employee in the Alley, I had joined some sort of a special club. A club that carried a little bit of mystique, and a whole lot of family-like support. The most amazing thing to me about Printer’s Alley is how everyone looks out for each other.

It angered me – it still angers me today – how people try to say the Alley is dangerous. When I hear of people telling others, “Oh don’t go there, its dangerous.” it makes my blood boil. I’ll take Printer’s Alley over Broadway any day of the week. I feel so safe there, as the door people and the regulars all look out for each other as well as for our guests. Oh that’s not to say that we haven’t had our share of crime! But the Alley always comes back. Always. It has a resiliency that I find inspiring.

Yesterday, though, the Tennessean ran an article about how a boutique hotel is planning to come in and take out over half of what is today Printer’s Alley. The Alley is already half the size it was back in it’s golden days. And to take out half of what’s left might as well be the final stab in the heart. That final blow. Printer’s Alley will really be no more than a footnote in a history book. Maybe a historical marker some day.

Printer's Alley Under Construction

I have had plenty of time to process this. And part of me wonders if it’s not just time. Time to start the new chapter in life, whatever that may be. Change is inevitable, and deep down there’s a part of me that’s excited to see what is to come. Like I said, that area used to be print shops and furniture stores. Perhaps it’s time for it to turn into a hotel. Its sins will be washed away in billions of dollars of “progress.” The Alley family will move on to other things. Perhaps it’s just time…

…but even as I say that, and I look ahead towards other adventures of my future, I feel this deep, deep sadness in my heart. I looked through old pictures of the alley in the 60′s and 70′s and I read about it’s history from 30′s and 40′s, my heart aches a little. Because even as its sins are washed away, its history will be too. Printer’s Alley will no longer exist. Not really.

Printer's Alley

I can’t say that I believe in reincarnation, but if I did or if it does exist, I sometimes wonder if I didn’t previously walk the Alley. In what form, I have no idea. But I feel this crazy connection with that little piece of Music City. I find myself grieving the thought of it’s loss like it’s an old friend.

Progress is inevitable. And in many cases I welcome it. But I have a deep fear that the Nashville that I have grown to love so much is starting to disappear. The small-town feel and heart is being lost to money, under the guise of growth. For every list we make the top of — the “It” city they say — we lose a little bit of our uniqueness. Because as exciting as it is to be seen for the amazing city that we are, we feel the need to step up and do even better and even bigger. In this race to stay at the top, we’re starting to lose our soul. We’re starting to lose our history.

203: Bartop Graffiti

A page has been started on Facebook to try to gather people to fight this change that could potentially be coming to the Alley soon. As I pointed out in several cases online, everything right now is “under contract” and not “closed”. For anyone who has bought and sold property in the last year, you know how vastly different those two statements are. This is NOT a done deal.

No matter what happens, I am grateful for the time I’ve had in Printer’s Alley. The friendships I made there will without a doubt last for years to come — many for the rest of my life. Every person has left a mark on my heart.

365: The end

I have learned a lot in my time in Printer’s Alley. I met countless people from all around the world. I learned about different cultures and human nature. I learned how to think faster on my feet and to figure change in my head versus using a calculator. I learned every job is worth doing well, and that no job is too small. But more than anything, I learned more about myself. Maybe I will still write that book about the Alley some day. We will see. But I do know that I have grown so much in the last 7 years, and THAT is something no boutique hotel can take from me.

[Book Review] — How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World by Sophia Stuart

July 15th, 2014 3 comments

640ac579e274475fa52b82be25ebc360Let’s face it, we live in a craaaaazy world. I know I spend more time feeling overwhelmed with to do lists, places to be, etc. than I care to admit. Sometimes the best thing I can do is slow down and take some me-time to reset.

This is why I loved How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World by Sophia Stuart. It’s like the ultimate escape in and of itself, even as it gives you ideas of ways to step away from the chatter and insanity of life.

The book kicks off with simple, beautiful photos you can get lost it. It then flows into tips on how to simplify life, or at least make it more bearable. It ends with ways to unplug entirely. It even gives lists of great books, movies and music to help with unplugging.

This book will be beside my bed as my little get-away before bed and as a reminder to take a moment to breathe. It would make a great gift to anyone going through a tough time. I loved it! And I think others will, too.

I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for review purposes.

I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the book from Hay House for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.

Categories: hayhouse, review Tags: , ,

Five on Friday: Things I will not apologize for

July 11th, 2014 2 comments



1. I love coffee. I’ve finally 100% embraced this and refuse to apologize for it. Some people go get pedicures. Some people love massages. Some just go shop for whatever. MY “get away” is to get a good cup of coffee. It’s just my thing, and I love to share Instagrams from my coffee breaks. Sorry… not sorry.


2. I am a Christian. Even more specifically, I am a Catholic. Somewhere along the way, this became a bad thing? At least that’s the vibe I’ve been getting lately from media. It’s no longer in fashion to be a Christian. In fact, if you’re a Christian you’re probably a conservative idiot who hates everyone that doesn’t see your way. I mean, that’s pretty much is what I’ve been getting from the chatter and noise in the media. (See my blog post from a few days ago.)  Am I exaggerating? Yes, of course I am. I know this. But you know what? Sorry, not sorry. I’m a Christian, and I’m not going to deny God. If you decide to dismiss me and judge me on that then… well. That’s fine. But you’re missing out on knowing a pretty cool lady. :)


3. I like to take selfies and pictures of my cats and post them to Instagram. Cliché as hell, and I know it. But its not the only pictures I post. I just happen to be guilty-as-charged that I take these types of photos and… sorry! Not sorry! Going to just keep taking them as I wish.


4. I am a driving snob. I like going through old posts via the app Timehop. And I’ve found I rant about drivers a LOT. Usually has to do with lack of turn signal use, blowing off yield signs, texting while driving, cutting people off, and tailgating or driving way below the speed limit. Oh and just cruising down the turn lane. Look, I make my mistakes while driving. I’m not perfect. But when I see someone blatantly blow off basic driving laws… I get pissed off. Because vehicles are not toys. They kill people. So… sorry, not sorry. I take driving very seriously, and I really wish others did, too.


5. I am an Aggie. Not an Aggie fan. An Aggie. There is a difference. I don’t stand proud of Texas A&M University based only on the football team. I don’t wave my Aggie flag as just a fan. I have my degree on the wall, and my ring on my finger. Bash my school based on football, you’ll get an ear full. I’m proud of the education my school offers, the research its doing constantly, it’s sports — all sports — successes, and that impossible to explain family feel that you get as an Aggie. So, sorry, not sorry if I quickly correct you when you say, “Oh you’re an Aggie fan.” No, I AM an Aggie. There is a huge difference.


Sunday Adventure-day

July 7th, 2014 No comments

Ever have a day that starts out all laid back. Turns really weird. Then ends with you just feeling… rejuvenated? I just did yesterday.

070614-1My husband and I have started a little tradition of going out for coffee on Sunday after he comes home off the road. We have coffee and catch up from our weekend apart. I look forward to it all weekend, and its become a favorite part of my whole week.

This weekend, due to July 4th and my working at the bar when my husband had to be at the bus, my husband drove himself to meet the band on his motorcycle. So, I didn’t have to pick him up today, but I was up and ready to go when he got home. I grabbed my phone, wallet and helmet and we were off! We rode over to Starbucks, ordered some iced coffee, I grabbed a breakfast item, and we sat down outside to catch up.

After about an hour, we decided to hop on the bike and take a ride around the lake. It was a perfect lake day, and we commented that as much as were were enjoying the bike, we wished we were on the lake instead of on the side. But, hey, baby steps. We get more use out of the motorcycle than we would a boat, so be thankful for what we have going!

A perfect day for the lake!

A perfect day for the lake!

We road over to one of our favorite recreation areas, and sat at a picnic table just enjoying the breeze for awhile. After awhile, we decided we’d head home. We were going to grill hot dogs, and just have a chill evening at home. I asked my husband to stop at the restrooms on our way out of the recreation area, so we headed over there.

When I came back and got on the bike, we went a couple feet and my husband stopped. He told me to get off, as he looked at the back tire. Something was wrong.

Sure enough… flat tire.

Now what?

A park ranger drove by not long after our discovery, and we flagged him down to see if he had an air compressor. Nope. No go. It was time to start calling for help.

If there is anything you need to know about Nashville, its that we all look out for each other. This wasn’t so much a case of “find out who your friends are” as “which one to do we call first?” It took no time at all for us to have help on the way. While we waited, my husband said he was going to roll the bike forward and see if we could see a nail or anything in the tire. I sat down on the ground, and he didn’t even have to push it six inches and I saw it…

That white dot? That's a nail in the tire.

That white dot? That’s a nail in the tire.


The discovery of a nail told us right away, just adding air was going to do no good. We were going to have to trailer the bike home. So while we waited, we discussed how to handle it. We agreed I’d stay with the bike, and my husband would go get our truck and trailer and come back. When our friend arrived we loaded the helmets and bag with my wallet (I at least kept my driver’s license so I had ID on me) in the backseat and my husband left to get the truck.

070614-2I could definitely think of a worse place to be stranded! Families were everywhere, so I felt 100% safe the entire time. I called my Mom and caught up with my parents for awhile. I made friends with a dog that was hanging out with his family at the park. I also walked around. A lot. According to my pedometer, did about a mile and a half just wandering around the park. It felt great to do! I want to get more exercise these days, and I grasped the opportunity with both hands.

My cell phone was almost dead (I wasn’t planning on being stuck, so I didn’t exactly try to make the battery last earlier in the day!), so I turned my data off after awhile to try to save what little life it still had. It was kind of amazing to not be able to look at Twitter or Facebook. To not be able to post pictures to Instagram.  I found myself missing having a good paperback book to read, though.

It gave me a chance to just… be. I watched the water and felt the breeze. I enjoyed watching the families have fun together, and it just reminded there is still a beautiful simplicity to life. A simplicity that gets lost in technology and social media. A simplicity that gets lost in deadlines and trying to make the almighty dollar.

2014-07-06 17.30.51

Enjoying nature

What we expected to take less than an hour actually took closer to an hour and a half. After all my walking, I was starting to get hungry. My coffee and breakfast square was long gone. I also was keeping an eye on a couple guys that kept hanging out by a truck beside the bike. They were probably just hanging out visiting, but I was paranoid. And did I mention hungry? Hunger makes me a little irritable sometimes. And apparently ups my level of distrust.

I was super happy to see our truck coming my way, trailer on the back. I walked over and we started to load the bike up right away. We were just ready to get this done. Of course as we start that, the two guys who were hanging by the bike had to leave. Right then. My husband had to take the ramp off the trailer so one could back his truck out of the spot they’d been just hanging out in for the last half hour. It very much added to my distrust, but what really surprised me? I was only mildly annoyed. Normally I’d get super annoyed going, “Seriously? You have to leave RIGHT NOW? Can’t wait five minutes?” But instead I was so relaxed from my afternoon! I was able to just let it go within moments.

It didn’t take long and we were loaded up and ready to go, which also helped me forget any annoyance. Our adventure for the day came to a positive end (so far.)

Let's go!

Let’s go!

On our way out, we saw a deer. I like to think nature gave us a nice little, “Thanks for visiting!” in that.

2014-07-06 18.12.07

Yes, that is a real deer.

We both agreed, we were too hungry to go home and cook. If I’d have gone straight home, I’d have probably just sat down with a bag of potato chips and scarfed them down. Pretty much negating all my exercise.

So we ended up going to Buffalo Wild Wings (a favorite of ours) for dinner. Hot wings and beer on the patio! Which I guess still negated my exercise. But I didn’t care.

2014-07-06 18.41.33 When we got to the restaurant, my phone was at 3% charge. We cut it a bit close there! By the time we left, my phone had completely died. I felt so strange and yet also so… free. I had no purse. My phone was dead. I was literally walking around with nothing but my driver’s license.

Granted had I not been with my husband, I’d have been pretty freaked out and felt very vulnerable. I strive to never let myself be in such a position. But as it was, given the circumstances, I just felt so… light! I liked it.

As we we walked out, we ran into a friend we hadn’t seen in awhile and got a chance to catch up for awhile. I marveled at the friendships we have. On our way home, we both agreed we were exhausted. Full stomachs, the stress of the “adventure” we were sent on by a carelessly dropped nail, the summer heat, and the peace of feeling so thankful for friends we can rely on left us feeling very content and peaceful.

Oh sure, I’m not happy that we have to go into the expense of the tire being fixed. No one likes something like that. And it threw a wrench into our day’s plans. But in the end, I firmly believe everything happens for a reason. I’m taking this Sunday Adventure as a lesson in simplicity, friendship, and faith. Consider it a lesson very well learned.