Sun, Sand, and Work

SanibelI have been traveling A LOT this month. I think I have physically been in Nashville 10 days this month. Regardless, as I write this, I am looking at beautiful palm trees on Sanibel Island. Not too shabby! We are kicking off a new project down here this week and I’m looking forward to coming down here over the next couple of months.

Finding hotels on Sanibel Island that fall within the government rate are hard to come by so you have to get a little creative when booking hotels. I’m really missing my calling as a budget-friendly travel agent because I can sniff out a travel deal like nobody’s business. Right now, I am staying at the Sundial Beach Resort and Spa. For what the resort offers that price is super reasonable in my opinion. By the time it is all said and done, my 1-night stay will cost about $150.

All this traveling has really taken a toll on my body. I can never seem to get comfortable on a plane. When I arrived at the resort, I dropped all my stuff in the room and headed straight to the Sea Breeze Cafe on-site. I got a nice, cool glass of Chardonnay and a bowl of mussels. The wine was exactly what I needed after 8 hours of traveling and the mussels did the trick. Being from Maryland has made me a pretty big seafood snob. Honestly, the mussels were not the best. The generous amount of green onion on top took away from the garlic, white wine, and butter base. Just my opinion though.

Although this is a short trip, I’m trying to take advantage of my surroundings and make the best of work travel. I plan to try another one of the restaurants on the island for dinner tonight and get up early tomorrow to go running on the beach. My biggest advice for those who travel frequently for work is GET OUT OF YOUR ROOM! Yes, you’re tired from traveling and probably want to relax, but use it as an opportunity to see a new place and try something new.

I’m already planning my next trip back. I’m hoping to turn my next trip into a long weekend with the hubby so we can rent paddleboards and get in some beach time.

Image found here

Let Them Eat Pie

Sometimes getting coffee in Nashville is like an Olympic sport. Today I decided to take my work to the satellite offices of a local coffee joint. My eyes were set on Crema, but low and behold there was no parking in their parking lot, or the parking lot next to them, or street parking 2-3 blocks away! I had an appointment in Berry Hill so I decided to try my luck at the Pfunky Griddle and maybe pick up a nice cup of joe and free wifi.

And the drama continues…the Griddle was also packed and the girl at the front was having a less than spectacular day so I left there and sought solace at The Loving Pie Company. When you walk into this place the sounds of Frank Sinatra fill the air. I have been craving apple pie for about three weeks now. I’m not sure why, but dear lord I wanted pie. Maybe some of my fall cravings are starting to kick in.

I came in with two goals: good coffee and good apple pie. The coffee definitely met my expectations, but was probably slightly soured by my dreams of a nice cup of Crema coffee. The pie on the other hand left something to be desired. I hate to say it, but I am now craving store bought apple pie. No bueno.

Everyone has their off day and I’m certain the same applies for pie. Maybe it just wasn’t in the cards today, but I don’t see myself longing for this apple pie anytime soon. Aside from the pie though, the coffee is good, the music is just my style and the staff was incredibly friendly.

Maybe this is a sign from God that I should be saving my money and making coffee at home. Regardless, I’m happy I attempted to break out of the cubby we call an apartment to get some work done.



Photo Credit



Saying “Yes” More and “No” Less

In 2008, Jim Carrey starred in the movie “Yes”. In the movie, Carrey challenges himself to say “yes” more over the course of the year. To be candid, I have never actually seen the movie, but I think the concept is particularly relevant to anyone who has recently moved to a new area. As a recent transplant to Nashville, I have challenged myself to say “yes” more.

It is so easy to fall into a routine, and when I lived in the DC area, this mostly consisted of opting for Netflix over a night out on the town with my friends.  That is one of my biggest regrets after leaving the area. I wish I would have said “yes” more and saved the Netflix routine for my later years.

I can honestly say I feel like I have done more in my short time in Nashville than I did my 3+ years in Arlington. Sometimes saying “yes” to everything can get a little pricey so my husband and I have started getting creative with our plan making to ensure it is not only fun, but cost-effective. In the summer, this is a lot easier because the weather supports these types of activities (i.e. BBQs, pool days, etc.).

Saying “yes” more also includes doing a little soul-searching to find the activities that you really enjoy doing whether or not a paycheck is attached to them. For me, this has prompted me to go through the End Slavery Tennessee volunteer training and reach out to my sorority’s alumni group in town.

I’m looking forward to seeing where these opportunities take me over the next couple of months and can’t wait to keep exploring Nashville this summer.

How has becoming more of a “yes” person impacted your life?



Ascend Amphitheater: Journey Concert

Some of my fondest memories as a kid involve laying on the carpet in our family room listening to my parents record player. My parents had stacks of vinyl records and the combination of their two collections definitely influenced my eclectic taste in music. My favorite records though were my mom’s Journey records. I think I am one of the only elementary schoolers I knew who A) Even knew who Journey was, and B) Would have rathered listened to them over the Spice Girls.

As some of you may know Journey played last night at the Ascend Amphitheater. Last night was the first time I have gone to a concert at the venue and I can’t wait to go back! For those of you familiar with Merriweather Post Pavilion in Maryland, the Ascend has a very similar layout and vibe. It’s a large, outdoor venue with both stadium-like seating in the front and lawn seating in the back.

My husband and I opted for the lawn tickets and brought along my trusty Vera Bradley picnic blanket. The acoustics in the place are absolutely phenomenal and so clearly heard, that at one point, I almost wished it was not as loud as it was. We had no issues seeing the performance either and we were very close to the back of the lawn.

Now that I have been to the venue I do have some recommendations for those looking to see a concert there in the future:

  1. Book lawn tickets! You’ll save money and you can see/hear the performance just fine.
  2. Bring a trusty picnic blanket that is easy to transport.
  3. Bring beach chairs. The venue will not allow you to bring in chairs that are 9″ off the ground.
  4. Bring a poncho not an umbrella! We thought it was going to rain last night and brought our umbrellas. We had to leave them at the front gate because they could obstruct others view while at the venue.
  5. Don’t forget bug spray. The bugs were pretty bad at the beginning of the night and I wish we would have brought some spray with us. Bug spray must be pump spray only. Aerosol bug spray is not allowed.

We are already planning our next trip to Ascend and I hope you will check it out before summer is over!

Upcoming performances at Ascend

Family Struggles: Postpartum Depression

I just wanted to give a little update to those who have been following the blog. My husband and I finally got a place! All of the stress that came with looking for a place has finally come to an end, and we are excited to establish a more permanent residency here in Nashville. That being said however, we are in massive save money mode so my adventures out and about in Nashville have been slim to none over the past couple of weeks.

I think this little break from going out every weekend will allow me to focus on more universal topics that do not only apply to my wanderings about Nashville, but life in general. I have hesitated to discuss in an open forum the topic I am about to speak about, mostly because I don’t want my sister to somehow misinterpret the next 600 words I write. After much contemplation though, I feel this is an important topic to discuss and I think writing about it will help me gain more clarity myself.

For as long as I can remember my sister has suffered with mental illness. My sister is not bipolar or schizophrenic, but she suffers from severe depression and OCD. Over the years, I had largely forgotten about these issues that seemed to plague her childhood. This is largely due to her being appropriately medicated. After the birth of my second nephew I noticed things had taken a very drastic turn back to a place that I had long forgotten.

The birth of my nephew resulted in an onset of postpartum for my sister. Some statistics place postpartum sufferers at around 10-15% of new mothers. There are many symptoms of postpartum such as anxiety, worry, sleeplessness, etc. My sister is currently suffering from all of those, but has also started hearing voices and seeing things.

I do not have children, and did not know much about postpartum when she confused these things to me about a month and a half ago. Naturally, I panicked. “You’re hearing voices!? What are you hearing? What are they saying? Are they asking you to harm yourself or the boys? Did you tell mom? Have you spoken to a doctor?” and the questions continued on like this for about a half an hour. The subsequent conversation led to my sister saying that the medicine she is on makes her feel this way and that she is going to stop taking them cold turkey. I am not a medical professional, but based on my quick research skills, I convinced her that making that decision without a professional was unwise.

The past month and a half has been hell for my family. Not as much myself and my younger sister, but pure and utter hell for my mother, who has become almost a primary caretaker to my two nephews. She has taken off numerous hours from her high stress job and has remained a constant sounding board for my sister as she tries to work through these issues as best as she possibly can.

It’s difficult living 12+ hours away and not being able to provide the support I know my sister and my mother need at this time, but I have found peace in the fact that my sister is very aware that something is not right and has sought professional help as she continues to navigate this very scary time in her life. The biggest thing I have learned through her experience is 1) Your body changes during pregnancy, 2) You need to ask for help when you don’t feel right, and 3) Dealing with depression and anxiety does not happen overnight. #3 is something I have tried to remind myself of constantly because I would be lying if I said there were not times when I wanted to come through the phone and shake her to just figure this out!

My sister has dealt with depression for over 20 years now. For more than 19 of those years it was extremely well-managed, but the hormonal changes associated with her recent pregnancy, have thrown her out of whack. This experience has taught me that dealing with mental illness is not easy, in fact, it can be one of the most stressful things someone has to take on, but it must be addressed with compassion and understanding. As my sister continues on this journey back to wellness, the support of family and trained professionals is of utmost importance.

For all those dealing with someone who may have depression or anxiety, I would strongly encourage you to support them by recommending they seek professional help. Everyone should be able to feel “normal” and not be afraid of being stigmatized for their condition.



National Alliance on Mental Illness: 1-800-950-NAMI (1-800-950-6264),

Anxiety and Depression Association of America: 1-240-485-1001,

National Institute of Mental Health: 1-866-615-6464,

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Division of Mental Health, 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636),

American Psychological Association: 1-800-374-2721,

American Psychiatric Association: 1-703-907-7300,


Sunday Musing: The Problem with Envy

I have been absent from the blog for way too long now. That whole writing a blog post a day thing did not last very long! Regardless, I am trying to start this week on a good note by posting a Sunday Musing. I am currently pondering envy and why people are envious of others.

What do I know about envy? Well not much to be honest, but here are a few takes on envy I find valuable…

  • “Envy grows naturally in a relationship between equals.” – Aristotle
  • “Envy is the ulcer of the soul.” – Socrates
  • “Men’s hatreds generally spring from fear or envy.” – Machiavelli

Almost all humans, whether they like it or not, at one time or another, have experienced envy. Envious of their neighbor with the flashy sports car, envious of their colleague who continues to get promoted, envious of their teammate who is more skilled, etc.  In all of our envious feelings we seem to ignore what our envy is telling us. Our envy is highlighting our lack of attention to our own journey and our own path.

But why is it so hard to just focus on ourselves and our own path? I’d like to chalk this up to human nature, but I think that dismisses the fact that envy stems from an internal longing to focus inward. Comparing ourselves to others is a natural human tendency, but recognizing that everyone is on their own path and accepting that is incredibly difficult.

Envy is something I have always struggled with. I’m envious of my friends who ended up playing college soccer, I’m envious of people who went on to pursue PhDs or become lawyers, I’m envious of the people who purchased a house in 12 South five years ago when it was affordable, and the list goes on and on. And in all of this envious thinking, I somehow fail to focus on my path. Maybe that is why I have had such a hard time identifying what my path in life is or what direction my life is walking me. As I struggle to redefine myself and my dreams in this new City, I think it’s time I leave envy at the door and start worrying about myself.

I heard envy described today as a “destroyer of communities” and I couldn’t agree more. We should not feel more love towards a person we envy when they fail. Our love for other people should not be measured based on our own self-conscious feelings surrounding their achievements, but on our acceptance and happiness for them as they walk their own path. So as I continue my year of betterment, I am going to make an effort to stop focusing on the paths of my friends and family, and place more attention on identifying my own path, and taking the steps I need to continue in whatever direction that takes me.

This Sunday, I challenge myself to focus less on others, and more on walking my own path, whatever that may be.


Photo Credit 

$2 Cans and Tacos at Hurry Back

My days of $1 pitcher night at the Thirsty Turtle in College Park, MD are long gone, but I think I have found a Nashville bar that helps me reminisce on the days of ole. On Tuesdays, Hurry Back on Elliston has $2 cans and tacos from 5-9 pm. What a deal! Also, how have I missed this over the last 7 months?!

My love for Hurry Back began when I first moved here. We stopped by the bar just to get a feel for our new neighborhood and were extremely impressed by the beer selection. I like to think of myself as quite the beer snob and this place has always satisfied my beer needs. Aside from the beer, the thing that makes this place great is the staff. My husband and I were initially attracted to the place because the one bartender, Tim, was named one of the best bartenders in Nashville. Naturally, we were a little curious as to what this entailed since this was a mostly beer bar. Let me just say, he fully lives up to the title. This guy is either an excellent bullshitter or has one heck of a memory.

We haven’t been in the bar for months and he immediately asked where we have been and what we have been up to. Not to mention, he noticed my husband had recently cut off a significant amount of his hair. I swear the man is magic. We have never had a negative experience with any of the staff and truly appreciate their attention to each patron. Without a doubt, it is really the staff that makes this place shine.

Last night’s featured cans were from Crazy Mountain Brewing Company. I tried both the Wit and the IPA and honestly, I wasn’t super impressed by either, but at $2 a can who’s complaining? If you don’t like the featured cans you can still select from about 10 other can choices.

We got a few beers, tried out the tacos and played some Nintendo; what more could one ask for on a Tuesday night? So if you’re visiting Nashville or if you’re a local, I strongly encourage you to check out this neighborhood bar on a Tuesday or any other day of the week. The beer is good, the tacos are decent, and no bar in Nashville beats the staff here.

Sunday Musing (Two Days Late!): Hope

For many of us, the past two weeks have been a whirlwind. The emotional impact of the events in Baton Rouge, Minnesota, and Dallas have certainly gripped our Nation. Last weekend, our Pastor shed some light on these incidents in a biblical context, and offered some food for thought for the week ahead that I would like to share with you.

The sermon began with a quote from Howard Zinn’s, Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in Challenging Times. Mr. Zinn says, “If we only see the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places-and there are so many- where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.”

These situations can leave us feeling powerless and questioning, “How can we hold on to faith and love when it feels like it is impossible to do so?” This is more than a religious question (however, those who are religious can certainly point to scripture to work through these problems). Americans, and humanity as a whole, is asking itself, “How can I see good in the world when events like this occur on what seems like a daily basis?” I would agree with my Pastor and say the answer to this question is hope. We have to hold out hope when it is not easy to do so, and when the path forward is not clear.

In addition to holding out hope, we should consider and evaluate how we are responding to these events. Are we joining a protest, attending a vigil, reaching out to our neighbors, calling our politicians, or posting on social media? How we as individuals respond to these incidents makes a difference. Are we perpetuating hatred and angst, or are we seeking understanding?

This week, and in weeks to come, I would encourage you to take the advice of Pastor Pete and 1) hold on to hope, and 2) ask someone who is affected by these events how you can better understand their position.

I think hope and better understanding will work to lessen the hate, cruelty, and injustice that we continue to see in our world.


Image found here


Why the Phrase “Bless Your Heart” Needs to End

I’ve learned a lot of new terminology since I moved to the South. Y’all has now become a part of my daily vocabulary and hearing someone say they are “fixin'” to do something no longer draws complete confusion from me. “Bless your heart” is not a word, but a Southern phrase, that quite frankly I cannot stand, so please excuse me while I dissect why this statement does more harm than good.

I genuinely think that most people believe saying “bless your heart” is endearing, and maybe to some it is, but for me I find it rude. If you and I are having a conversation and I am sharing my heart with you over a matter I care deeply about, I will not feel comforted by you saying “oh, bless your heart.” Brene Brown says this phrase is a passive aggressive form of Southern sympathy and I couldn’t agree more.

If I am sharing something with you that is difficult for me, I would like your true understanding and sympathy in return. To me, “bless your heart” might as well translate into “well that sucks, please don’t continue.” In a world that seeks human connection at a deep level, these phrases do not bring us closer, they draw us apart.

You may think I am over analyzing this statement and turning it into something it is not, but I would encourage you to truly think about what you are saying to someone when you say this. Why not exchange “bless your heart” for “That is so difficult. I’ve felt that pain before and know this is a hard time for you”? Maybe I am thinking too deeply about this, but everytime someone says that to me I am immediately turned off from the conversation.

I welcome your thoughts. Do you see this statement as passive aggressive or do you find it endearing?

Bless your heart

Image found here

Leaving Perfectionism at the Door

I cannot pinpoint when it began, but somewhere in my twenty-something years I developed an internal voice of perfection. I have always been my own biggest critic and now though some soul-searching I am beginning the process of increasing my awareness of this inner voice; mindfulness if you will. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not in a position to jump into any kind of formal practice of mindfulness at this point, but I’m starting to explore some avenues for dealing with this need for perfection. The first step is admitting your problem, right?

I am not perfect and while I recognize that, and always have, I can’t seem to quiet the constant need to appear or act like I have it all together. Let this be a public service announcement: I do not have it all together.

As with any problem in my life, the inner academic in me goes in search of research, articles, journals, forums, etc. to help me on the path to addressing this problem. Through this process, I stumbled upon the book, “The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are” by Brene Brown. I plan on doing a more formal review of this book in the next week or so, but in the interim, I wanted to share some key takeaways I have taken from the reading thus far. I hope these takeaways will be helpful for others struggling with similar issues.


  1. “Let go of the need to please, perform, and perfect.”
  2. “Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.”
  3. “When we let go of what other people think and own our story, we gain access to our worthiness.”
  4. “Practicing self-love means learning how to trust ourselves, to treat ourselves with respect, and to be kind and affectionate towards others.”

I’m really looking forward to finishing this book and continuing to engage with the text. My hope is that by the end of the book, I will have some actionable items that I can call upon daily to quiet this inner critic.

I’m curious to know if any of you have dealt with similar problems and how you dealt with them. Also, have you started a path towards being more mindful? What worked for you?


Image found here