High Five for Friday 7.5.13

All day long I’ve had no regard whatsoever for what day of the week it is, but when I stopped to think, I realized: IT’S FRIDAY. So here we go.

1. I’m home!!!!! Thanks to a last-minute decision to ride to Atlanta with an awesome friend from Nashville, I spent the 4th in McDonough, and I get the whole super long weekend with my family. That five-hour road trip and the conversation that accompanied it were a blessings in themselves, and I even got to see the mountains.And on the other end of that road trip was my family. And my dog.

 I call that success in highest form.

Muffin loves selfies.

Muffin loves selfies.

2. If you’ve known me for any period of time, you know that I get this crazy thrill out of surprising people. I LOVE the looks on people’s faces when they’re TOTALLY not expecting something, and then it’s right in front of them. In this particular instance, I decided not to tell my grandparents or my great aunt that I was coming home for the holiday weekend, so when they arrived at our house for the 4th of July festivities, I ran and hid.

Even if the rest of this weekend was terrible (which I assure you, it hasn’t been and won’t be), their reactions made packing a bag at one AM and embarking on a four-hour trek the next day so worth it.

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Grammy and PawPaw

My great aunt, Shirl

My great aunt, Shirl

3. Nothing beats seeing my best friend at home. Seriously. I had a pizza date with Tori today, and I didn’t realize how very much I’d missed her until I was squealing and hugging her in front of Mellow Mushroom. I’m not even sorry for that commotion.

A true friend understands my constant need to make strange faces.

A true friend understands my constant need to make strange faces.

4. I have a family that showers me with love. And food.

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They even accept my dorky side.

5. I’ve decided that I’m going to save up and buy a mandolin. I’m developing an addiction to learning how to play new musical instruments. Just another one of the 1,507,396 reasons I’m in love with Nashville.

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Happy Friday, everybody. I hope your Friday is as wonderful as mine, because truly, I’m walkin’ on sunshine these days.

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You know those moments when you realize you’re exactly where you should be?

You know, the “aha!” moments? I definitely had one of those tonight.

I’ve loved this town for as long as I can remember. I fell for it the first time I came just to visit, which was almost seven years ago now. But when I got really honest with myself before I moved here, I didn’t think I’d fit in. I love country music, and I love the history it has here in Nashville, but that’s not the only focus of music here any more. I was afraid I’d come and be a walking cliche country girl.

Well, you know what? I AM a walking cliche. I’m that girl who packed up the bare necessities and a guitar and carried my crazy dreams all the way to Music City.

And you know what else? I am more in love with this town than I thought I could be. But not just because of the country music history. I love it because it’s full of people just like me who can completely lose themselves in a song– whether it’s country, or rock, or hip-hop, or outlandish indie music. Does everyone here play music? Well, a lot of people do, yeah. But even those who don’t– they’re fueled by it. Music is the fire under everything they do, the drug they can’t quit, and it makes for this incredible community of awesomeness.

I won’t go into details, but just the series of everything that’s happened to me tonight confirmed that I am where I’m supposed to be. I’ve had some challenges to overcome– in getting here, in settling into a new lifestyle, in figuring out things with people back home– but it all led me to a perfect evening of friends, music, and people who are willing to help me out, even in the smallest, most seemingly insignificant ways. And I think tonight was just a full and complete confirmation that God put me right where he wanted me, and even if it didn’t line up with my country queen dreams (not yet anyway– just wait), I couldn’t be happier.

I guess it’s just one of those times where I look back on all the pieces that never fell into place, the ‘no’s that I thought might break my heart, the dead ends, and the late nights of thinking about my future– and I can finally say, “Oh, so that’s why that happened.”

So what’s next? I don’t have a clue. I don’t know what I want to do with my life, but I know I want to live it here. I don’t know what’s coming down the pipes for me, but right now I’m living proof that God loves to surprise us.

So maybe I’m grateful for the uncertainty. Here’s to walking on in faith until my next “aha!” moment, whenever that may be…

I hate when I forget to blog…

I always forget to blog. Seriously, what is that? Maybe it has something to do with how early I try to force myself to go to bed these days. Adult problems…

Anyway, I’ve been adjusting to life in Nashville, and I’m loving it more every day. I’m meeting new people almost every day, and I honestly didn’t realize just how much I love making new friends until recently. People here have such cool stories, regardless of their age or background. I love that people from different places, different cultures, different upbringings all come together in this city for a common love of music. It’s fantastic to be able to have an intelligent conversation about, say, songwriting– with the barista in a coffee shop, or on a typical Wednesday in the office, or even at a baseball game.

And believe it or not, I did exactly that when I went to the Nashville Sounds game last Friday with Meghan (who interns with me at Thirty Tigers), her friend Jess, Zach Berry, his roommate, Hunter, Luke, and a whole bunch of his friends. The Sounds lost that four-hour-long game, but I laughed and conversed and goofed off the entire time. And hey, we got to watch some fireworks during the walk back to the car. So I’d say it was a successful Friday night.

Honestly, where else would the baseball scoreboard look like that?

For Memorial Day weekend, three friends– Rachel, Katie, and Sarah– from school came up to visit, and I’m pretty sure all of them, Niki, and I hit every major neighborhood of Nashville, plus Franklin, in less than three days. Of course, it was crazy fun, but I will say I slept really well the night after they left!

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One of the many places we went to check out the skyline. I’m learning all the cool spots… 🙂

At one were downtown at the Ernest Tubb Record Store, and someone was looking for a specific record. Ernest Tubb’s didn’t have it, so the store clerk told the customer to check Grimey’s. He didn’t know the exact address for Grimey’s, but because I work in the same building as Grimey’s at Thirty Tigers… I KNOW THE ADDRESS. I jumped into their conversation and told the guy what to plug into his GPS and how to find the place. It was a great moment… maybe being able to give someone directions means I’m becoming a local 🙂

We went to Frothy Monkey for dinner at one point to meet up with Madison when she was passing through town. It was good to catch up, even if it was only for an hour or so.

Coffee for Mads and her crew? Real food for the rest of us? Just more reasons to love my favorite all-day coffeehouse ever.

I tweeted about sharing the Frothy love with all my Georgia friends (duh, I tweet about everything), and Fro Mo showed me some love back. I think that earns me at least one more point on the “Becoming an Actual Nashville Resident” scale, right?

My love for the Frothy Monkey is finally requited. Praise Jesus.

Other than goofing off all the time with people I’m growing to love, I’m doing the whole intern thing. I’m not super far into my internships yet, but I already like both of them. I’m working at Thirty Tigers three days a week, and Girlilla Marketing the other two. I do a whole bunch of random little tasks, but I’m looking forward to seeing how this stuff contributes to the bigger picture of an artist’s career. I’m already blown away by the fact that an artist’s career requires so much teamwork and so much communication between so many people. I mean, I’ve always known it takes a lot of people to run the operations for a major star, like, say, Taylor Swift or someone similar. But it takes an army to get even a smaller artist really going. It’s incredible how people’s passion for music drives them to serve other people in the capacity that the people around me do. I know I’ve already said this, but I absolutely LOVE being around like-minded people. These people all truly love music, and seeing as how I often call music “my drug,” it’s insanely refreshing to be surrounded by people who see it as the same incredible power that I do. And for that reason, I do in fact love this place they call Music City.

In the event that you’re still reading, here’s a picture of Whiskey, Jenna’s (my roomate) puppy. She’s adorable and loves to chew things and bark at lamps after knocking them off of tables. We don’t really need cable here; we have the doggie to keep us laughing.

Click on Whiskey’s picture if you need a good chuckle.

Keep on dreaming even if it breaks your heart.

I’ve been inspired by the song, “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” since the first time I heard it on the radio driving back to Athens on Highway 78 in January of 2012 (yes, I remember the exact moment). The lyrics have been on Post-its stuck on almost everything I own, and it’s even on a canvas that hangs on my wall in Athens. It was written by Will Hoge, and is easily one of my favorite songs of all time. Some days, that song would come on the radio in my worst moments when I was tired of school, tired of classes, tired of Athens, tired of working. And somehow, that one line, “Keep on dreaming even if it breaks your heart,” would always remind to just keep going. To get out of the car and go to class, to get out of my room and go to work. I had to conquer the obstacles I faced in order to reach what I wanted– and what I wanted was to live a life surrounded by music and people who shared my passion for it.

Yesterday, I went to the Grammy block party, and as I stood there and listened to Will Hoge sing “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” in the middle of Owen Bradley Park at the end of Music Row in Nashville. I looked one way and saw a lot of people who are probably really important and I just don’t know it, and I looked the other way at this man on a stage singing about dreams, and it really hit me for the first time that I’m living mine. I’m living my dreams. I’m in the city I’ve loved for so long, I’m surrounded by music, and opportunity is staring me in the face.

Tonight I went to dinner and to get ice cream with my friend Emily. We were sitting in Jeni’s Ice Cream in East Nashville, and who should waltz through the door but WILL HOGE.

Seriously, is that not insane? It’s like God just plants this Will Hoge guy and his music in my life to remind me “Oh by the way, you just have to keep dreaming and wait for the crazy surprises I’ll bring you to.”

And boy, does He bring some crazy surprises. I never would’ve guessed I’d end up here this summer. A year ago, I was indifferent about life. I didn’t even care what career I’d have or where I’d end up. I just wanted to get through one day without screwing up.

But now, here I am, a year later. I’ve made a songwriting demo, and I’ve somehow managed to move my life temporarily to my favorite place in the world and jump into the industry family I’ve always wanted to be a part of. I’ve been blessed to be carried this far by a God who lets me dream SO big.

And I don’t really intend to stop dreaming big.

Ever.

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Thank God for Will Hoge.

 

“Goin’ back to Nashville, thinkin’ about the whole thing…”

Yesterday I moved into an apartment in Nashville, Tennessee.

So today, I can say that I live in Nashville. I live in Music City. I live in the city I’ve loved for years. I am literally living out a long time dream.

It’s kind of surreal to be here. I don’t think it’s really sunk in that I now have access to anything and everything I’ve always enjoyed about this city. This is where history has been made in the music industry, and I’m about to dive right in to the heart of it all.

Throughout high school, I was convinced that I needed to come here and go to Belmont University. Being from Georgia, I would have had to pay the crazy expensive, out-of-state, private university tuition. I was in fact accepted to Belmont, but the amount of academic financial aid they offered wouldn’t have even dented the amount I would owe them for a degree.

In the end, I chose to attend the University of Georgia. It was close to home, and more manageable financially. Was I a little bummed that I couldn’t go to Belmont? Sure, but UGA is nothing to sneeze at either.

I made it almost all the way through my somewhat chaotic first year at UGA before I realized they had a music business program, and since I would’ve wanted to study music business at Belmont, I of course didn’t even think twice about applying to the program at UGA. At the time, I didn’t know what I was getting into, but looking back, it truly changed my life. Being in class with such passionate, talented people reminded me of just how much I love music, and getting my feet wet in the music industry only made me want to work in it more than I wanted to before.

So, as I sit here in the middle of this city and prepare to start as an intern this week, I’ve realized that not going to school here was probably best for me anyway. Why? Because if I had moved here, this moment wouldn’t be as sweet. I wouldn’t appreciate the fact that I’m living here as much as I do. I wouldn’t be so excited every single time I see that skyline from the interstate as I drive here. I would take this city and these opportunities for granted. By going to UGA, sure, I had to work a little harder to set up a temporary life in a city five hours away. But this way, I’ve had to really work for it, and that fact makes me truly appreciate this journey I’m about to start.

So, I’ve done all the research, and I’ve made it through the sea of logistics. And all that’s left to do is jump off the theoretical cliff and see if I can make a place for myself in my City of Dreams.

Let’s go.

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High Five for Friday 5.3.12

Wow, it’s been quite a while since I last posted. But today I finished my second year of college, and I think that’s reason enough to have a High Five for Friday post. Do you agree?

1. We had our last chapter of the semester on Monday, which was of course quite sad, but  we had a chapter theme of “This summer I will be…” so I decided to have fun with it and dress up as a “hipster intern.” I love my sisters and I’ll miss them so much this summer, but several of them have already said they’re coming to visit. I’m going to hold them to that, so if any of you are reading this, don’t go backing out on me 🙂

cplesh ansley allison and cplesh

hipter intern

2. I’M DONE. WITH SCHOOL. For now anyway. I had my last final exam this morning, and I am now officially halfway through with college. Time flies right?

3. Technically, I still have one “school” thing to do before I leave town, but it’s not really your traditional assignment. Intrigued? Yeah, you should be. My last school thing is to play a show– yes, a musical show– at the Melting Point for the MBUS MayDay Festival. Did you ever think I’d be playing music that I wrote on a real venue stage in the cool town of Athens, Georgia? ME NEITHER. But it is indeed happening on Sunday at 1:30 PM, and my name is on this cool-looking poster as proof.

mayday poster

4. Because of that whole music festival thing, my mom and my Aunt Michelle are coming to Athens tomorrow morning! Woohoo! Some more of my friends and family are coming to see me play on Sunday, but I get to spend all day tomorrow showing my little college town off to Mom and Aunt Mic.

5. I’m moving to Nashville in nine days. Wait, WHAT?! I’m moving to my dream city in NINE DAYS?!? Yes, yes indeed. The countdown is in single digits, and I couldn’t be more excited. A new friend started a blog specifically to chronicle his summer in Nashvegas, and he inspired me to start blogging here again, so I’m sure I’ll be posting on a regular basis. Why not, right? Music City, here I come!

Nash heart

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Optimism is not a personality trait.

Optimism is not a personality trait. It is a choice. And disappointment is not a crippling injury. It is a stepping-stone.

For a long time, I believed that pessimism was something uncontrollable that is ingrained into a person. I thought it could not be reversed because it was simply a part of their being. But in reality, one’s reaction to everyday situations is a direct indication of their character. 

In the event of disappointment, the things that run through your head and flow out of your mouth are not a result of your genes, your upbringing, or the situation. Your reaction to disappointment depends solely upon YOU. 

Although we may not admit it to ourselves, our hearts most often want to choose negativity. We desire attention, and often that desire fuels a self-piteous reaction when we’re faced with something that doesn’t go our way. We want others to see how miserable we are because we have the ridiculous notion that spreading our misery to others will somehow make us feel better. But in fact, in our complaining, we only make ourselves more miserable and place burdens on those around us as well. When we allow negativity to overtake our thoughts, actions, and speech, we are essentially encouraging those around us to do the same.

If our hearts choose to hope, however, the ideas flowing through our minds and out of our mouths will inspire others to have hope as well. By being optimistic, we can prove to ourselves and to others that it is entirely possible to experience disappointment and heartbreak without allowing it to crush our spirit.

Does that mean we can’t be upset? No. Being optimistic doesn’t necessarily mean never shedding a tear. It does mean, however, that we must control every thought we have and force it to be bent toward hope, not toward despair.

Does that mean we can never let on when we’re upset by something? Do we have to hold it all inside ourselves? No. Friends exist to lend a listening ear, but we must be careful to be listeners as well, and not always speakers. Instead of wallowing endlessly in our current sorrows, we must learn to focus on how we will change our situation in the future. Instead of constantly bombarding friends with complaints disguised with claims such as, “I need your advice” or “I just need to vent,” we must learn to tell our dear friends about our disappointments while never losing sight of hope for a better situation in the future. If we wallow endlessly in our current sorrows instead of trying to discern how we will change our situation, we’re giving in to the very mindset that will be our own demise. We’re giving in to pessimism.

Is it easy to remain optimistic through every situation that comes our way? No, it’s not. But does anything worth accomplishing ever get done without an enormous amount of work and an irreplaceable determination?

I am determined to make a positive impact upon those around me, and in doing so, I know that I must remain optimistic through whatever may come.

I will not let failure define my outlook. I will not let disappointment crush me. I will not be ruined.

 

High Five for Friday 12.21.12

High Five for Friday is BAAAACCCKKKKK. Welcome 🙂

1. Last Saturday, Mom took me to a cute restaurant in Locust Grove that I didn’t know existed. They had some good food and a quaint little shop too.

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2. I’m home, and it’s almost Christmas!

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3. I’ve spent time this week with several people I haven’t seen in a while, mainly friends from high school and my grandparents. My PawPaw even took me to a feed and seed store that gets a TON of candy this time of year, and I loved exploring all their sweets (and their quilt patterns!). I’ve finally had time to slow down and enjoy the simple things.

4. On Wednesday I went to see Carrie Underwood and Hunter Hayes with Shelby and Alex. It was loud and fantastic. I’ll be writing out a full show review for it on my other blog soon!


Shelby all3 Alex

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5. I got my wisdom teeth out yesterday, so I’m using my recovery time to do some crochet, watch country music videos, and anything else I don’t have time for when I’m on the run any other time. I’m also trying really hard to find hilarity in the crazy swollen shape of my face… hehe.

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High Five for Friday 10.5.12

It’s Friday, and as I look back on the past few weeks, I can’t believe I’ve gotten so many things done. It’s been a crazy ride, but life is quite good.

1. Last Saturday, my lovely sisters all came out to the Myers quad for our Sigma Alpha Omega tailgate! Food, friends, and football– always an excellent combination!


2. Carlota, Ashley, and I went to watch Up on Tuesday night. It was a nice break from the craziness of real life, and who doesn’t love Dug?!

3. I’m loving my internship at the radio station. I’ve learned some about how to work the board, and I’m also getting to see a lot of the production and technical side of radio. I came into this internship knowing absolutely nothing about radio and its operations, but after only two weeks I can already tell it’s going to be awesome!

4. Last night, my Music Business team put on a benefit concert for Nuci’s Space. Everything was student coordinated and student-run, and I liked getting that experience. I love MBUS in general, and I’m so glad it’s led me to meet all of these incredible people.

5. Today I put together a vacuum cleaner (with help from Codie). And I also ate not just one, but two bowls of ECV’s Friday salad. And it was delicious. I think that makes for a solid afternoon.

  

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High Five for Friday 9.14.12

This morning I wished a friend a happy Friday, and he replied with “H54F,” and I realized I haven’t actually done a post in forever…

But there’s no time like the present to get back on the wagon!

1. Snelling. Monday night. Late night studying. Actually studying turned into laughing at everything and nothing. I just love my friends.

2. I’m so excited to say that this semester I’ll be a student intern with 106.1 WNGC, the country radio station of North Georgia! I’ll be working with the people who operate the station as well as a few other stations that are part of Cox Media Group. I know basically nothing about radio, and I couldn’t be more happy about the opportunity to learn through a little experience!

3. Along the same lines as my internship, I’m LOVING my music business classes. Everyone who works in the MBUS office is super chill, and I actually like showing up to class because we always have a good time in class, and I’m passionate about the subject matter. Right now we’re in the middle of a group project of planning a benefit concert for Nuci’s Space, a local musicians’ resource center. Coolest group project I’ve ever done, hands down.

4. Sigma Alpha Omega recruitment is over and our lovely Iota class got their bids last week! I loved recruitment, and now I’m excited to start to get to know these ladies. We had our first sisterhood social of the year last night! We played a game of trivia in teams and had some snacks 🙂 I had a good time, and I hope my sisters did too! I’m blessed every day by the family I’ve found in them, and I can’t imagine where I’d be without them!

5. I don’t think I’ve eaten a meal alone this week at all, with maybe one or two exceptions. It’s just been working out that I can hang out with people while I eat, and I love it. I’m grateful to have so many wonderful people in my life to spend time with 🙂

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