I can’t believe I leave for the ship two weeks from today and then will be traipsing about Europe for the subsequent 55 days. That is just insane. And yet, I signed my contract nearly a year ago, so it’s been a long time in the making. (Oh, and if you’re still interested in any of the segments, let me know, as we have just a couple cabins left and I have extended my group discount!)
While this spring has been full of short trips around the South—a day in Louisville here, a weekend in Memphis there—I’ve haven’t really left the region since our Caribbean cruise last December. Nevertheless, it’s been a busy winter and start of spring…
The big thing that I’ve been referencing for approximately a bazillion years it seems (more realistically, 10 months) will finally be unveiled in a few short weeks. This is mainly because we are at the mercy of the kind folks at Microsoft Azure, who took on our website as a case study, and thus must wait patiently. But that day has nearly come, and soon you’ll know of what I speak. Let’s just say, you should keep your fall schedule open…
On top of our web development and marketing clients with Odinn Media, I’ve been busy with magazine assignments of late: a big travel package for Glamour, a handful of travel assignments for Southern Living, some travel stuff for Playboy (true story), a couple web stories for HGTV.com and more pieces for Entrepreneur and Young Entrepreneur, for which I’m now a regular contributor.
Being homebound for a spell always translates to one thing: plenty of friend time. And the best friend time I’ve had in a long time happened over Easter (a weekend we appropriately hashtagged #bourbonandjesus).
Katy flew down again from NYC—her third visit to see me in six months—and my Nashville buddies Sarah, Ashley and Jenny trekked it out to the ‘burbs for a two-night slumber party. We have this nice, big, cozy house that SVV, Ella and I hardly fill, and it finally felt full with five girls and two dogs inhabiting it.
On Sunday morning, we headed over to my Mom’s house, where she cooked us a delicious Easter brunch, and then we all went to church together (well, except for the dogs who were made to stay home). I had so much fun, I almost cried when girls’ weekend ended, but I’m going to propose we make it a quarterly occurrence.
Most of us are new friends, having just met in the past year or so. And funny enough, I met most of them through my mother! She started a tennis group of girls my age and coaches them all during the spring and summer, and I tagged along a few times for the socializing. (Thanks for making me new friends, Mom!)
We started the day with nails at Green Hills then went back to the East Nashville condo that all of us were staying in for the night. We had a lingerie shower for Jess, then our driver came and picked us up for early cocktails at Patterson House, followed by dinner at Virago.
After that, we wandered through the Gulch and to Demobreun, hitting a few bars here and there before ending the night in Printers Alley where we may or may not have done a little Carrie Underwood karaoke.
Pre-bachelorette party, we went over to our friends’ farm on Friday night—home to Hannah, Squirrel Wrangler, her MD husband Bryan, two physically-disabled Pekinese, three cats, and a whole lot of chickens and other farm friends.
To say Ella loved the chickens is not doing it justice. Girlfriend chased those poor hens and roosters until they were run ragged. I was glad to see that when she caught them, she would slack off a bit and never bite them.
She didn’t want to eat them—she must know she’s allergic, which is sad but true—she just wanted them to play with her.
Just Plain Fun:
If you haven’t cracked the code already, then hear me out: Fun is always, and should always be, a top priority. This year, it’s taken on the form of music. (More or less, I’m determined to make up for the fact that I’m missing Bonnaroo this year!)
My mom and I have season tickets to the Broadway series at TPAC, so we saw Traces and Flashdance over the past two months. What’s even cooler is knowing a cast member of the national tour, as I did thanks to my pal Erin who hooked me up with her pal Dan, who I took out to eat at City House with his fellow cast member.
We got on like a house on fire, and I was pleased to fine he’s also a blogger—and a well-known one at that—and recipe developer over at Renegade Kitchen. It made the show even more fun to watch, knowing some of the cast. And surprisingly, it was the best of the Broadway shows we’ve seen all year! I was not expecting that.
A few days after Flashdance, Mom and I hit the town again, this time to see Owl City, Neon Trees and Maroon 5 (only three of Mom’s favorite bands) at Bridgestone Arena, a Christmas gift to her from
me my dad.
There are few artists I love more than Adam Levine, and even though I saw him a few months prior at the Grammy Awards concert, it was the night my grandfather died, so I couldn’t fully appreciate the show. This time? Spectacular.
Loved it so much, we went home that night and looked up the next place we could see them play. Even better? They’re touring with my girl Kelly Clarkson—who I flew to see in London on my 23rd birthday, seven years and many moons ago—and are making a stop in Charlotte where my sister lives.
But that won’t be our first time in Charlotte this year, as the family also bought tickets this weekend to see our longtime friend Dustin Lynch tour with Keith Urban and Little Big Town. Mom and Dad just went to the Grand Ole Opry week before last and hung out backstage with Dusty Bear and Easton Corbin. I’m super stoked to see him play in a huge outdoor amphitheater, as so far I’ve only seen him perform in smaller venues and the Opry.
Even though I missed Dustin, I got to see some killer music at Tin Pan South, Nashville’s big songwriter festival, last week. First, I saw my friend Sarah Kirkland tear it up at That’s Cool. (Check out her video, Bachelorette. Don’t you think Chris Harrison needs to call her and use her single for the theme song for the show?)
Other than finishing a room, we’ve been busy installing closets, cleaning out the attic and other small tasks. The yard is one major job we’ve been waiting to tackle, but up until this weekend, the weather hasn’t cooperated. Looks like SVV will be doing some planting while I’m gone traipsing about Europe! I just can’t wait to finish digging and installing (and painting) our fence so a) Ella won’t bolt into the street anymore while in pursuit of a squirrel and b) we can foster some other pups.
Also, we’ll be replanting our herb garden, doing a whole lot of landscaping, flanking the front yard with a picket and building a greenhouse (eventually) out of our original windows that we replaces. For now, we’ve turned Ella’s room into a bit of an indoor greenhouse itself.
I’m big into Zumba these days, taking three to four classes a week. I was super excited to find out there’s a Zumba instructor on board the MV Explorer for all 50 days and that she’ll be teaching a morning intermediate and afternoon Gold class. Fellow shipmates, now you officially know where to find me, always.
I’m also antsy to start running again, but this dreadful winter didn’t allow for doing anything outdoors (and I am so not a dreadmill runner). Guess that will have to wait until mid-June when I return, or maybe I’ll do some urban running in Europe—who knows? (European runners, feel free to throw out some of your favorite routes. I’d love to hear them.)