Nash to the Ville

I was the tourist walking around the entire city attempting to take in every single second of this awesome city on my phone for you guys but it was just not feasible. If you haven’t been to this town do yourself a favor and go. It will be an unforgettable time.

We got to Nashville mid-Thursday evening, immediately checked into our hotel and headed out for the night. I dressed in jeans, gold jewelry, big hair, and red lips; I was ready to hit up the town. We were told we had to try The Taco Co., but they sadly were closed for the night so we ended up at Taco Mamacita and were not at all disappointed. The margaritas were good, the fresh salsa and tacos…my mouth is watering right now. Greg had heard of this free (what we thought would be low-key) concert downtown that we wanted to check out and then head to the bars…. boy were we wrong. We walked into this lawn covered with 5,000 of our closest (and drunkest) friends, listening to unknown artists trying to make it in Nashville. The atmosphere was insane, the smells were disgusting, people touching you was the worst, and yet I am so happy we went. It really felt like we stepped out of our comfort zone and embraced the chaos.

Friday morning we woke up early to go to a breakfast restaurant I had heard about from another blogger that was her ‘must eat.’ We drive up to this little part of the city, filled with boutiques and small restaurants completely untouched by tourists. We were total locals 😉 The reason we went to Biscuit Love? One word: Bonuts…. That’s right. Homemade biscuit donuts; oh.em.gee.

I now understand why this was a must, and trust me, I agree. Also, how stinking cute is that wall? Ignore the people, I had to show you all!

From there we went to Belle Meade which we accidentally snuck into. We were unaware that the path we followed would take us to the back of the mansion, but we might not have hated it…oops. In our defense there was a side house we wanted to go see and no gates or barriers. We were just suddenly on the plantation. Since we were still out of the city we drove to see the iconic Blue Bird.

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If you have heard of the TV show Nashville you are very familiar with this local bar. If you aren’t familiar with it, you might have heard of the country singer, Taylor Swift, otherwise known as my husband’s biggest crush? This was the bar she was ‘found’ in. Because it was a bar and in the middle of the day it was closed but just being outside was incredible. There is a sign above the door that states ‘The best songwriters in the world pass through this door.’ Just knowing artists walk in there every night hoping to sing in front of some of the biggest agents and maybe someday catch their big break.. that was pretty dang cool.

Insert traffic. Driving anywhere close to downtown will add traffic to your day. It doesn’t matter what time, it doesn’t matter what direction, you will be going under the speed limit into the city. We parked and headed to the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum which in and of itself was incredibly neat. Seeing outfits worn by celebrities, Elvis’ car, and Greg even saw one of Taylor’s microphones! Then we decided to walk… in the heat, in a town we didn’t know, to the next restaurant I had heard about, Hattie B’s. We turned the corner at 12:05 and the line was already around the corner. So after walking over a mile, we stood in line, in the sun/heat for over an hour for this chicken. And oh man, I would do it all over again. This place is a super tiny, hole-in-the-wall joint with amazing hot chicken. Trust me, Nashville knows it’s comfort food.

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I was hoping to go down to the famers market and go to Jeni’s Ice Cream but we ran out of time, besides after a day of walking around town, we were both in desperate need of a shower. As I mentioned before, we came to town for Greg to be in a wedding and this was the rehearsal dinner night. All day Saturday was filled with him doing the groomsman things and me just hanging out around the hotel/pool.

Before leaving Sunday my best friend (who would live in this city if she could) told me there was one more thing I just had to do….Grand Ole Opry. We took a backstage tour, which I would for sure recommend. You see a totally different side of this miracle place that you wouldn’t be able to see during a show. Besides at the end you go on stage and stand on ‘the wood circle’ which is such an iconic piece of wood originally from the old Grand Ole Opry location, restored after the flood and still refurbished for all singers to stand on.

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The air in this space is different; it is special. Hard to convey but you know you are in the same location as incredible people… you can just feel something different being there. It is almost unbelievable.

We walked, we ate, we stood in the same place as many famous people; we loved this town! Can not wait to go back!

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Where Do All the People Go?!

Frick! Finding friends is hard!!!

So we’re not ‘bar’ people, we are still looking for a church to plug into, we don’t have kids to talk to other parents about, and our dog only attracts so many people.

HOW THE HECK DO WE MAKE FRIENDS?!

Not rhetorical, totally asking.

We are having a hard time making friends down here. My lovely husband even signed us up for a softball league. Let me tell ya it isn’t the easiest making friends with people you look uncoordinated in front of once a week…

On a quick side note, I am now known by my neighbors as the ‘girl who either runs or walks her dog on her lunch break’ and I have to say I find comfort in that. At least I’m known as something more than ‘one half of the couple.’

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Game, no…Life Changer

For those of you who haven’t read the ‘5 Love Languages’ book by Gary Chapman, let me help you out: you can purchase it here. This book has been an absolute game-changer for not just me and Greg in our marriage but also with me and all of my closest friends and families.

To summarize the book in my own words, everyone feels loved in 5 different categories:

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Physical Touch
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Quality Time

The way that you are loved is often the way you choose to show love, which makes sense because that is how you feel the most honored. The problem? The person you are trying to love might not feel loved in the same way. MIND. BLOWN. When I tell Greg how appreciated he is, or how proud of him I am, he doesn’t necessarily feel loved. I on the other hand, can get a hand written letter and absolutely melt into a pile of mush on the floor. A quick kiss after a long day might be enough for me, yet for Greg he feels loved by me hugging him, holding his hand, physical touch.

This is incredibly important. The way you love those around you is what strengthens your relationship, grows you, changes you, makes you more like Christ. You might be spending all of your time and energy on loving them the way you feel loved and they might not be feeling it. Not only are you making them feel completely unimportant, you are upset because they aren’t getting it. Guys, listen, this is important. It is also not just something you can forget. Once you read it, it sticks with you.

So what do you do? You keep trying. You keep learning. We change, and then we get to start the process all over again. Greg and I are still trying to figure out how to make the other feel special. Greg is still learning what he could get me for my birthday to make me feel loved. Yes, this is hard and we still argue over it, but we never claimed to be masters.

Last but not least, for those of you not currently married, Gary has written a Love Languages book for singles. While I haven’t read it, I have heard nothing but great things. As I stated earlier, my family and I have talked about this, as well as close friends.

This isn’t ‘just another marriage thing’.

Trust me.

Birthdays and Such

Back in July I made myself a resolution to love others better, and here I am in August, less than 4 weeks later…failing. Miserably. For all of the backing I thought I had, the encouragement I gave myself, the strides I started taking, I found myself face first in a ditch wanting to quit. All in one day. All on my birthday.

I’d been investing in others, deepening relationships, reaching out and encouraging friends and on the one day I was slightly hoping to see fruit from  my efforts, I was left in the dust. And listen, please don’t hear what I’m not saying. I am not saying that I expected the whole world to stop because it was my birthday, or for everyone that I ever have spoken to bow down at my feet. I am not the ‘it’s my party I can cry if I want to’ type of girl…. but I did think that all of my efforts would result in a little bit more on the one day it would make sense to be celebrated.

My sweet husband attempted a small get together and it fell apart in front of our eyes. Friends who love me and care about me, who say they miss me, those who said they would be there; they didn’t show up. Even though we made the drive to make it easier for everyone else, picked a middle place that everyone (families or not) could enjoy, prayed for (and received) great weather and a free location. The truth came out, I wasn’t enough for others to want to see. How did I suddenly become the person who doesn’t have friends? How did I suddenly become the one who isn’t well liked? In spite of all this, still to be left blindsided. I was embarrassed. Oh guys, I was so embarrassed. I was instantly swallowed up with self-loathing. I had convinced myself and Greg, too, that this would be a great day, only to find ourselves shaking our heads on the long drive home. His efforts were suddenly void and I was ashamed to be his wife; the wife who thought she had left a life full of friends only to come back to nothing. So now while I still had absolutely nothing in Georgetown, it was blatantly clear I had nothing left for me in Cincinnati either.

I was instantly taken back to elementary school, being picked last for basketball; except this time I didn’t get to be the cool teacher-selected line leader who brought in homemade cupcakes and was suddenly friends with the whole class. I was just the now 28 year old, standing in the park watching my watch tick by wondering if those who said they would show were soon to be walking around the corner.

We were 15 miles into our trip toward home when the tears stopped and it clicked: I was going to clam up. I was mad and hurt and I wanted to cuss at everything. I determined then to spend my days talking to the very few friends I did have and close family members. Beyond that, I wouldn’t care about much else.

And then I remembered my resolution.

My goal in making the resolution had nothing to do with anyone else, nothing to do with their actions (or non actions) towards me, their thoughts about me. It had EVERYTHING to do with me, with how I feel, how I live, how I love. I have to do all these things in spite of my own feelings.

I want to love even when I am feeling especially unloved.

I want to respect in the face of disrespect.

I want to honor others even when their actions are dishonoring toward me.

I continue to choose to fight against my own selfish feelings. I am choosing to continue to invest in the friendships I have without the pain but with forgiveness. I am choosing to express my gratitude for those who didn’t in fact leave me alone (because yes there were some that showed and I couldn’t thank them enough; not then, not now, but I will keep trying).

I want to continue striving to live well, especially through the pain.I want to love better, too, because I know the painful truth: I don’t always love like I should. I fail. I fall short. But…I don’t want to live a life full of grudges or surface friendships because I am too scared to let anyone in for the risk of feeling pain. I also want to live in this moment, remember how it felt to be shoulder shaking crying in my husbands arms, to try my absolute hardest to make sure others don’t feel the same way because of me.

Best resource I have found to love well? Stay tuned, readers.

((To Be)) Follow up

Greg is in a wedding soon and while I can not wait to see these friends get married, I’m also just a little bit over the moon with the fact the wedding is in Nashville! We have never been before, so we’re taking off a day early to hit the town before his groomsman duties begin!

After a little bit of Pinterest/blogging research, I’ve filled up a schedule for us, but I’m still scared we’ll miss something! So if you have been/are there and want to add your favorite places onto our list, I would be incredibly grateful!

I will be sure to post about our experience after we get back!

*Update*

Do you remember my Starbucks post from a few weeks back? I am happy to announce I have expanded my horizon and tried a few new drinks. My findings:

  • Midnight Mint Mocha Frappuccino– sadly this was a disappointment. While I love dark chocolate, mint, and coffee…. this just wasn’t the correct mix. I love sweet and even for me this was too sweet. It had the fake mint flavor and not enough coffee. True story, I actually went home and made myself another cup of coffee. While I am not upset that I did try it, I am not going to purchase it again before it leaves for the summer.
  • Coconutmilk Mocha Macchiato– my mom tried this while I was in Florida and I had a sip, it was delightful, I will for sure be ordering it again.

My Best Friend’s Wedding

No, I’m not talking the Julia Roberts Blockbuster (but now that I’m thinking about it, I could definitely watch that). I’m actually talking about one of my actual best friends, and her wedding from this past weekend.

Her and her husband were engaged soon after Greg and me, and planning our weddings together was such a huge blessing. Because her wedding was 5 months after ours everything was happening at very different times. While we started out doing the same things, I continued on full force while she had time to focus on the details. My wedding being in the mid-summer and hers the beginning of winter also meant everything was opposite. Where I went bright, she went pastel. There was no sense of competition; there were no arguments.

The absolute best part for me was both of us being bridesmaids in each other’s wedding.

Seeing the smiles on their faces after being announced Mr. And Mrs., there just aren’t words.

Being on the other side of the wedding was perfect for me. I was able to fully engage and be her support throughout the day but also to think back on the memories of my big day just five months ago.

We laughed. We cried. They are married.

Life is good.