Jessica's bachelorette

Life, Lately

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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!)

Lauren Morrill

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 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).

Girls Weekend Girls Weekend

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.

Girls WeekendEaster dogs

These girls are some of the best people I know, not to mention the funniest. There was a lot of dancing, a lot of singing and a whole lot of laughter. Oh, and some antiquing and puppy snuggles, too.

Girls Weekend Girls Weekend

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.

Girls Weekend

This past weekend was even more female fun, as my friends Dolly, Chelsy and I organized a bachelorette party in Nashville for our friend Jessica.

Jessica's bachelorette

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!)

Bachelorette party in Nashville Bachelorette party in Nashville

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.

Bachelorette party in Nashville

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.

Bachelorette party in Nashville Bachelorette party in Nashville

(Meanwhile, in Kentucky, our bachelors were getting their bromance on over some Jim Beam at the Bourbon Trail.)


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.

Farm Friends Farm Friends Farm FriendsTo 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.

Flashdance in Nashville

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.

Flashdance in Nashville

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.

Maroon 5 at Bridgestone Arena

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.

Maroon 5

So you better believe, I perched in front of the computer on Saturday morning and snagged four tickets for Mom, Kari, Josh (her boyfriend) and me the second they went on sale.

Maroon5 at Bridgestone

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?)

Sarah Kirkland at Tin Pan

Then, Sarah and I ventured downtown to Hard Rock Cafe to meet up with Jenny and see Ashley Monroe, Kristen Kelly and the Striking Matches (another new Nashville obsession).

Tin Pan South

Check them out:


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.

flying Maltese

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.

Green Room design


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.)

Ella and the Stick

Well, that’s about it. Life: boring as always. (Understatement of the year.)

What’s new in your neck of the woods?

  • April 9, 2013

    Boring as always. I missed my window to come visit you before you leave for SAS again! Gahhh! PS – did you see the news about the new Wizarding World addition they’re opening up at Universal Studios? A Gringott’s ride!!! Mark your calendar for 2014… we’re GOING.

    • April 9, 2013

      NO! How exciting is that? My parents are going at the end of June, and I opted to stay home as a) I will just have gotten back from two months in Europe and b) the parks in June = no bueno. However, they’re looking at changing their time share week to spring or fall for next year, so let’s plan a trip down there with the sisters/moms when that happens! Free place to stay after all… =)

  • April 9, 2013

    This makes me miss my friends back home! Luckily I’ll get to see two next month when we meet up for a girls weekend in Bali. Life could be worse 🙂

    • April 9, 2013

      Girls’ weekend in Bali, eh? Maybe I oughta propose that for next year’s #bourbonandjesus… 😉

      • April 11, 2013


  • April 9, 2013

    You have your Europe plans set for the next couple months? Hopefully we can cross paths. Tweet me.

    • April 9, 2013

      Just Tweeted you! Traveling all over with the ship from April 23-June 18.

  • April 9, 2013

    I hope I get to see you when you come to Charlotte!!! You would finally get to meet Lucas! Love your stories and pics — your life is anything but boring. 🙂

    • April 9, 2013

      Duh! I’m there for a whole week in July–and over your birthday at that!–so it’s more a matter of WILL YOU BE THERE? 😉 Staying in Myers Park off of Queens…

      • April 9, 2013

        Well, I have no plans right now, but I do hope I’m away for my birthday! Having said that I’m dying to see you!!! Are you renting a house in Myers Park? I don’t know of a hotel there! My clinic is just 2 minutes away in Dilworth.

        • April 9, 2013

          Scored an awesome two-bedroom townhouse that allows dogs for $160/night. Can’t beat that! I’m loving Airbnb a lot more than hotels these days (particularly when the rentals are pet-friendly).

  • April 9, 2013

    Ya, Zumba! I’ll have some news to share about that in about 2 weeks 😉

    • April 9, 2013

      Too bad you aren’t in Florence/Livorno, as then we could Zumba together in a couple weeks! (Also, any must-dos in either town?)

  • April 9, 2013

    Can we talk about your shoes for a minute? The blue-ish-purpley suede (?) ones? They are TO DIE FOR, ohmylawsy, I’m in love!


    • April 9, 2013

      Ann Taylor, just bought (and at 30% off)!

      • April 9, 2013

        Thank you! Drooling over their shoes right now! Swoon!


    • April 9, 2013
      Alexa Rae Johnson

      I second this!! Glad I wasn’t the only one drooling over those shoes! haha

  • April 9, 2013

    I always think I take on a lot and endeavor to accomplish and as a result, hear from people that they don’t understand when I sleep. I direct this question to you – when do you sleep?! 🙂 When we FINALLY meet up, we’ll talk about this. You’re killing it!

    • April 9, 2013

      Never is the answer to your question. (Can’t wait for next month!)

  • April 9, 2013
    Alexa Rae Johnson

    I would be down for some Urban European runs! 🙂 And I’ll also be joining you in every, single Zumba class on Segment III! Can’t wait!!

    • April 9, 2013

      AWESOME. I am so out of running shape, I should warn you, but I should be able to knock out a few miles here and there.

  • April 9, 2013

    Even when you’re not busy, you’re busy. The cruise will be awesome.

  • April 9, 2013

    Yay, HGTV! Yay, big exciting thing! Yay, everything! P.S. A couple of those gals are my sorority sisters (although they’re a year or two younger than me and I don’t know them very well, unfortunately)

    • April 9, 2013

      Also, I had no idea there was a Flashdance musical. I am now listening to What a Feeling, so thank you for that 🙂

      • April 9, 2013

        And it’s even better on stage!

    • April 9, 2013

      Yes! You actually came up because they mentioned another girl with your full (married) name, and I said, “oh we’re longtime pals!” and then they said, “no, another Modern Girl, but we know her, too–we were sorority sisters.” Small world. My beloved grandmother was also an ADPi at UT!

      • April 9, 2013

        I know exactly who you’re talking about — she was in the same pledge class as me, and I think it’s funny that we have the exact same name now. I do a double take when she pops up in my Facebook feed.

  • April 10, 2013

    How in the world do you have time to do all of this stuff? That’s an action packed life! 🙂

  • April 10, 2013

    Writing for Southern Living???? Gasp! My super-duper dream job! Have fun on your cruise. We followers can’t wait to hear all about it:)

  • April 14, 2013

    I love your girlie weekend! Question: HOW CAN ALL YOUR FRIENDS BE SO WELL DRESSED?! Maybe I’ve spent too long in the land of flip flops but I’m having some insane outfit envy…

  • April 14, 2013

    Sounds pretty amazing really! I would love to have a slumber party but my house is not that big…trying to get an upgrade with baby. Your cruise will be fabulous!!! I kinda want to do the same myself…sailing away around the world, but waiting for my Publisher’s Clearing House check in the mail to come 🙂 I wish you lived closer…but a trip to the South is in the cards any day now…

  • April 15, 2013

    Excellent post! Can’t wait to hang out with my friends.

  • April 17, 2013

    Love these updates… and am just a mite jealous that you’ll be seeing Adam three times – our concert ended after an hour bc of his laryngitis and I am still bitter 🙂 Woe. Problems, I got ’em.

  • April 19, 2013

    Love the photos you got here, especially those with the Easter dogs.

  • December 9, 2013

    I know this is an old post, but I’m doing research on an upcoming Bachelorette Party in Nashville I’m planning. This sounds absolutely PERFECT. I’m leaning towards hanging out more in the Gulch area b/c we’re all in our late 20’s and early 30’s and the honky tonk/downtown area just seems so touristy to me. Any tips you can give would be great appreciated.

    • December 9, 2013

      The Gulch is good for dinner–I love Virago, and the new 404 Kitchen is super cool (beyond that, there aren’t too many great spots for groups)–but honestly I’m not a fan of it as a neighborhood (too many coke heads). However, there’s a really awesome spot that just opened up by the river last week that would be fun for bachelorette parties: Pinewood Social (restaurant, bar, bowling lanes, karaoke, you name it!).

      I’m 30, a local and I do love a good night on Broadway. My friends and I go out there at least once a month. Paradise Park is a fun, gritty hangout with live music, and also nearby Printer’s Alley is cool and a bit grunge-y. All depends on what you’re looking for! Broadway is definitely touristy (as is 2nd Avenue) but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun =)

  • December 11, 2014

    Nice puppies ……..and charming girls.

  • December 17, 2014

    Excellent Post

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