Friday, July 29, 2011

Lots of Music and Ear Issues

Woke up for work on Saturday after getting probably my first consecutive 8 hours of sleep since I moved here! I honestly don't think I will ever sleep properly because there is way too much I want to do here on a nightly basis for me not to nap and stay up late.

red velvet cake pop
Saturday evening I went to Casablanca Coffee down in the Gulch to hear Jenn Bostic perform again.  She was partaking in a singer/songwriter night along with Briana Tyson, Jamie Morgan and Richard Jordan.  Jamie Morgan and Richard Morgan's music was more Christian music but was still very good.  I had probably the strongest iced mocha i've ever had there (I'm pretty sure they made it a double even though I don't remember asking them to).  However I somehow missed that the special coffee of the day was a red velvet mocha, I so wish I had known that I would have tried it!  I also discovered the Nashville Cake Pop Company! they sell their products at this coffee shop.  I bought a Red Velvet flavored one but they also had peanut butter cup - next time. 

Briana Tyson
Jamie Morgan

Richard Jordan and Jenn Bostic
Here are some videos of the performances the rest of course are on my YouTube page:

So Sunday was terrible! I woke up at 3am for work after only a few hours of sleep, since I went out the night before, with a terrible ringing in my ears and also dulled/muffled hearing in my left ear.  After my shift I went to Target to get some Hydrogen Peroxide on my mom's suggestion that it would help if I had a wax buildup.  I put a few drops in and laid down to watch the U.S./Japan soccer game which we ended up losing on penalty kicks! I then took a nap hoping to wake up and it would be all better.  It was no better when I woke from my name.  I had tweeted about my ear pain and Kristin Chenoweth, who suffers from Meneire's disease (an inner ear disorder) suggested that I try a nasal rinse.  I drove to Walgreens and bought a nasal cleanse kit plus a nasal decongestant and ear droppers (b/c getting that peroxide in otherwise was not working).

On my way home I stopped at a place similar to Pinkberry called Sweet CeCe's for some frozen yogurt.  I got snickerdoodle flavor (and yes it tasted exactly like the cookie) and added chocolate chips, sprinkles, peanut butter cups, strawberries and cherries.  With it being National Ice Cream Day that day it was very fitting and very delicious!

After I got home I tried the nasal rinse, and man if you have never done one - it's a strange feeling.  I put in more peroxide in my ears and took a decongestant and prayed that when I woke up Monday it would feel better if not I was calling a doctor.

Monday came and I did not feel better so I mad an appointment to see and ENT doctor, but the earliest I could get in was the following Monday!  Not to mention I was having issues getting my insurance information so I wouldn't have been able to get in earlier anyway b/c I didn't have an insurance number yet.

Tuesday was the same, still had the ringing and the muffled hearing in my ear.

Luke Bryan
Wednesday was back to work for the week and still had the ear issues.  On the plus side on the news that morning I learned the Luke Bryan was doing a free concert at the Opry that evening.  After my news I immediately went online and got a ticket to see the show.  I went home and took a nap and drove out to the Opry.  Doors opened at 7pm, I got there a little after 7, the seating was 1st come first serve type of deal so the line was crazy long and it was super HOT outside! I should have just waited and come a little later cause I didn't care about being close, I would have sat around the same spot whether I waited in the line or not.  Either way I had to kill some time inside so I bought some Moosehead Kettle Corn (a local company) and a diet coke and sat down in the balcony and relaxed till the show.  The show was sponsored by Samsung and also the Jimmy Kimmel Show apparently.  They said part of the show was going to be on the Jimmy Kimmel show but I set my DVR for the show that night and didn't see it unless it aired the next night in which case I did not set my DVR for that night.  I chose to wear ear plugs so as to keep my ears from getting more damaged.  The concert was really good though! and of course I'll put some videos in here and the rest can be found on my YouTube page!

Food: Casablanca Coffee, Nashville Cake Pop Co., Sweet CeCe's, Moosehead Kettle Corn (all junk food)
Bars/Music: Casablanca Coffee, The Grand Ole Opry House 

Side note check out the speed limit in the parking lot at Opry Mills:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Few Days to Recoup from the Birthday

Wednesday July 13th was a long work day but relaxing otherwise.  I had to direct 2 newscasts as well as Better Nashville and run prompter for Midday.  Then we had a meeting at 12:30 but that was about 1.5 hours after my shift normally ended so I headed over to Buffalo Wild Wings at Nashville West to grab some lunch and watch part of the U.S./France women's world cup game.  As it turns out from 11-2 Mon-Fri Bdubs does 9.99 all you can eat wings (10.99 for boneless) and it comes with fries! Of course after eating 10 boneless wings I thought man this was not a good idea, I can't eat any more wings but I have to in order to get my money's worth! I got 5 more and then ended up taking them home...I also had yet another free birthday coupon for a free piece of chocolate cake at Bdubs.  I got that to go, however I did not realize it is served with ice cream so by the time I got home from my meeting the ice cream was soup!  After my meeting I went home, watched the rest of the soccer game and took a nap!

Thursday was another relaxing sort of day.  When I got home from work I watched the MLB All-Star game from Tuesday that was on my DVR, and then took a nap.  When I woke up I decided to re-watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow's Part 1 in preparation to see part 2 the next day.  I also discovered that Kristin Chenoweth is planning on performing at the Opry on September 17th so I immediatley jumped on buying tickets to that, I got floor seats, center about 8 rows back! (It took them about 2 weeks before they actually listed her on the calendar but I'm glad I got on that before they listed her b/c now I know I have a good seat).

Mac&Cheese: Noodles&Co.
Friday after work I went to see Harry Potter in 3D.  The plan was to use my free noodle bowl (another free birthday coupon) before the movie but the line was crazy long so I had to settle for eating popcorn at the theater for lunch instead.  Harry Potter was AM.AZ.ING! I cried it was so good!  The best movie by far! Of course they changed a lot from the books but I haven't read the books in a while so I hardly noticed.  The 3D was very cool because this is the first movie to be shot entirely in 3D so it was less about things flying out of the screen at you and more about perspective, like you were standing in the scene - so cool!  After the movie I went to Noodle's and Co. and got myself a free bowl of Mac & Cheese and man was it good!  I can't believe how much stuff I have gotten for free for my birthday! In the future July is going to be a very good month for free food :)

Food: Buffalo Wild Wings, Noodles and Co.
Bars/Music: None

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

3 Days of Birthday Fun!

Pre-Birthday Concert
Sunday July 10th I started my birthday celebrations.  I bought myself a little present in the form of a ticket to see one of my favorite Clevelander's in concert: Kate Voegele! she was one of opening acts for Natasha Bedingfield who was playing at the Exit/In that night for $20.  What?! I would have paid $20 to just see Kate.  So I bought my ticket earlier that week and was pretty excited about seeing her live for the 3rd time!  The plan was that Sandra was going to come with me so we met up around 4 to grab some food (the doors to the show opened at 7pm).  So we grabbed some pizza at a place nearby called Michalangelo's pizza - SO good! However Sandra did not buy her ticket in advance and therefore when we got to the door the guy said the show was sold out and she couldn't get in to see the show with me :( - I made friends with the 2 girls who were in line in front of me from Kentucky who were also there to hear Kate so I at least had someone to talk to since Sandra couldn't get in.  Stood in line for about an hour outside the venue (I wanted to be close the stage) then once the doors opened it was another hour before the show started.  It's been an unusually hot summer all over the country but here in Nashville the heat index has been in the 100's a lot! so it was very hot waiting outside, luckily it was semi-shaded.  I figured once I got inside it would be cooler - WRONG! I'm convinced it was hotter inside the place than standing outside! With so many people crammed into a tiny bar there was no room to breathe, let's just say I straightened my hair before I left and by the end of the night it was a frizzy mess! (shoulda just went ponytail - but of course I didn't even bring a hair tie, big mistake).

The first performer was a guy named Andy Grammer.  He is amazing one of my new favorite artists. Seriously go buy his CD.  I bought it after the show and LOVE it! He has a single out with a music video for his song "Gotta Keep Your Head Up" and the song is so good! It's about being strong and keeping going even when you're not sure you can make it through.  Great lyrics and very catchy oh and he's not bad to look at either!  He sang about 5 songs or so including a cover of Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars" which is a great song.  Later in the night I met him and took a photo and got him to sign my copy of his CD (he even signed it Happy Birthday for me when I told him my birthday was the next day).  Such a nice guy and again super cute!

Me and Andy Grammer
Me and Andy again

Kate was next and this was the first time I'd seen her as an opening act, the other 2 times I saw her was in her hometown of Cleveland, OH and it was her show and other people opened for her.  So since she was an opening act she only did about 7 songs.  I felt like a bad fan because I had only heard one song off her new album which came out in May and I had yet to buy it as of July but it was purchased after her set and has been on repeat in my car for a week!  I love her music! Check her out if you don't already listen to her, she also plays Mia on the CW show, One Tree Hill.  Of course the songs she performed off her previous 2 albums I knew all the words to (which may or may not be who you hear singing along in the videos on my YouTube page).  She did a meet and greet at the merchandise table after which was cool because the other time I was able to do a meet and greet with her in Cleveland it was along the lines where you had to buy something from the table before the show and get a wrist band for a meet/greet after but it was just an autograph session no photos.  This time you didn't have to purchase anything (although I bought her new CD of course) and photos were allowed - I guess there's a slight advantage to going to a place where she is less well known (the people of Cleveland know her more since she grew up there).  So I was able to get a couple photos with her and talked to her about Cleveland (since I grew up near there too) and our dogs (she has a Westie which is basically the same kind of dog as a Carin - which I have - only Westie's are all White) she made me show the pic of Riley that I showed her to her dad! She also signed my CD Happy Birthday so that was very cool.

Me and Kate Voegele
Me and Kate again

Me and Jay DeMarcus from Rascal Flatts
Of course the headliner of the concert was Natasha Bedingfield.  Now I was right up on the stage for Andy and Kate but decided to give up my close spot to go back to the merchandise table after Kate's set and allow someone who was there to see Natasha move closer.  I still stayed for Natasha's set though and she was very good.  I've heard a few of her songs before so it's not like I don't know who she is I was just there to see Kate more than anyone else.  Another fun surprise was that Natasha has a new single called "Easy" which she does with Rascal Flatts.  Well it turns out Jay DeMarcus from Rascal Flatts was there! and came out on stage and sang with her.  I was able to get a picture with him as well.  He is very nice and pretty nice to look at as well.  Of course right before I got a pic with him some drunk dude passed out at the bar and had to be carried outside...crazy!

So I saw Andy and Kate after their set but also said hello again and got a second picture with them after the show was over.  I could have waited around for Natasha to come out (if she was going to) but I was so hot and gross I just wanted to go home so I left.  I'll post a few video's here and the rest are up on my YouTube page so check em out (again the link to my YouTube page is on the right side of the blog).

Here are a few video clips check out more on my YouTube page:

My Actual Birthday!

July 11th, the big day - my 28th Birthday.  I absolutely love my birthday 7/11 what's greater than that?  I don't think I'll ever get to an age where I don't want to celebrate my birthday.  And as many can attest I make sure everyone knows my birthday is coming up.  I start counting down at the end of June!  This year was my first birthday in Nashville!

Continuing my trend of free stuff for your birthday, I got a free meal from Firehouse subs.  I think technically you only get a free medium sandwich but the guy gave me the whole meal for free so I'm not gonna complain that he threw in chips and a drink ;).

Pesto Chicken Penne!
For dinner that night I went out with Laurie and Steph (who came up from Alabama) at Cafe Nonna.  What a great place this was! It's on the small side so they recommend reservations (and I understand why).  I had the pesto penne with chicken and it was delicious! I will definitely be going back here in the future!

Steph, Laurie, and Me at Pinkberry
After dinner we were headed toward downtown to hit up a bar for a beer and decided to stop at pinkberry first.  Because I will never pass up the opportunity for pinkberry.  Oh let me fill you in on some back story here, Laurie went to the beach for the 4th of July and had tweeted a pic of this cool headband that was very festive so I asked her to save one for me for my birthday.  She did and I had it on when we went in to pinkberry and the guy immediately asked me if it was my birthday! How'd he guess?  Another guy said happy late 4th of July -haha!

So after the delicious frozen yogurt we went to Dan McGuinness Pub for a beer and to watch the end of the Home Run Derby.  Steph got the strongest rum and coke ever made and we played a "fun game" of having Laurie try to name the states in alphabetical order.  Way too much fun.  The night was a great time and I even got a late birthday wish from Kristin on twitter (despite the fact that I basically asked for it and it was technically after my bday was over - in Nashville anyway it was still my birthday in LA where she was when she tweeted it haha)

The Celebration Continues

my lunch!
Tuesday I drove down to Laurie's house and had lunch with her and Steph and Annie at Dotson's Restaurant, a meat & 3 place.  I got BBQ chicken, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, and green beans w a roll - so good! Definitely southern to the max.  We then went to a place called Sweet CeCe's (which is like a pinkberry but more along the lines of a Yougurland where there are different flavors of yogurt to choose from and you put the topping on yourself and pay by weight) because Annie wanted Sweet CeCe's, it looked good but i refrained.  After that we picked up GiGi's and brought it back to the house.  I finally got to try the cherry limeade cupcake
Cherry Limeade Cupcake with Candle
but only because they were out of the birthday one which was the original plan since it was kinda still my birthday celebration.  When we got back to Lauries, we watched some Glee on netflix then watched part of the 1st Harry Potter movie.  I took my cupcake and drove back home stopping at Chick-fil-a for dinner.  Got home kinda late considering I had to work in the morning but it was a great 3 days of celebration! Here's to a year of fun in Nashville!

Food:  Michelangelo's Pizza, Cafe Nonna, Dotson's Restaurant
Bars/Music: The Exit/In, Dan McGuinness

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Quiet Two Days

Friday I got my very first paycheck (3 weeks worth) so that made me smile (however it was strange that they took out taxes for the state of Ohio on it, supposedly it's fixed and I might get reimbursed for it since I had my address as TN since 6/30).  However, there was an issue when I deposited the check in the bank, they made an error and shorted me $1,000!  It took me till Tuesday to get the money back in my account!  Friday I also took advantage of more free birthday stuff and got a free scoop of Reese's Peanut Butter Cup ice cream at Baskin Robbins.

Saturday was my first time working my entire shift (which is a split shift: 4:30am-10:30am then a break then back from 2:30pm-5:30pm). It's kind of a pain in the butt shift but what can I do.  For lunch I took advantage of yet another freebie (this one was just for signing up for the email list though not for my birthday), I got a free bagel w cream cheese from Bruegger's Bagels (everything bagel with honey almond cream cheese, yummy!).  After lunch I went home and laid around before going back in and directing my first 5pm Saturday news, despite never having even sat in with someone on that show before (it went fine).

After my shift I needed to run some errands at Nashville West.  I had a coupon for Petsmart that was about to expire so I bought Riley a new toy (a rope).  I needed something to attach things to my cubicle so I stopped at Staples (however not sure how well the adhesive strips are working may need to go back for straight pins).  I also saw Old Navy was having a crazy sale and I needed a white shirt to go with the skirt I was planning to wear on Sunday - ended up getting 3 shirts for about $30 not too bad.  For dinner I went to a place in the shopping plaza called NY Pie, they sell New York style pizza by the slice (or a whole one if you want), it was pretty good, not as good as real NY pizza but still pretty good.

Next Blog will contain a lot of pictures and videos from my 3 day Birthday extravaganza

Food: Baskin Robbins, Bruegger's Bagels, NY Pie (2 of the 3 I'd been to before)
Bars/Music: None

Friday, July 15, 2011

Let Freedom Sing!: 4th of July in Nashville

Flag Photo I took
My 4th of July started with me having to work, decided to stop at McDonald's on my way in at 2:30am, did you know they don't serve breakfast yet?  Well, I learned this that day (I think they don't start serving it until closer to 5am) I was kind of disappointed that when I really wanted a bacon, egg, and cheese bagel, I had to settle for a McDouble instead...Note to McDonald's - just serve breakfast all day!

The plan for the day was to work till 10:30, go home and nap, then get up and go downtown for the big free concert/fireworks show called "Let Freedom Sing!" - This year's concert featured former American Idol contestant - Lacey Brown, NBC's "The Sing-Off "local contestants - Street Corner Symphony, The Nashville Symphony Orchestra, and Darius Rucker (formerly known as Hootie from Hootie and the Blowfish, he's now a country music perfomer).  According to AOL, Nashville ranks 11th on their list of top 15 4th of July fireworks displays so I was super excited because I LOVE fireworks!

Well, in my downtime at work I was on twitter (as I always am) and talking to my friend Sandra, she suggested we go to Pancake Pantry.  Having never been there I was excited to check it out because I've heard such amazing things about it, it's a local hot spot.  However, being a holiday it was extra busy and I didn't have time to wait in the line (there's always a line) for an hour before I ate.  We drove down the street a little, we were gonna go to McDougal's Chicken but they were closed for the holiday, so instead we went to Bosco's Brewhouse.  I got the Germantown Purist wood-fire pizza: BBQ Chicken and Shaved Red Onions with Smoked and Whole Milk Mozzarella. It was really good!

Look at all the people!
I got home and took a short nap before getting ready to drive downtown for the festivities.  After watching the news at 4pm, I decided to try and park in a surface lot even if it cost more because it would be easier to leave after the show ended.  I found a lot around 5th and Church for $20 and walked the 5 blocks down to the riverfront.  I got there around 6ish (the concert was set to start at 7) and there was hardly any place to sit on the lawn.  Luckily I'm one person so I was able to squeeze my way in there but there were somewhere around 125,000 people downtown that night.  I'm not sure I've ever been in a crowd so large before, I mean I was briefly at CMA Fest this year but didn't really see the crowds.

Lacey Brown

Former American Idol season 9 contestant, Lacey Brown, sang the National Anthem to kick things off around 7pm.  Barry Scott read something called "I am the American Flag" with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra playing behind him, very moving.  Next up was Street Corner Symphony, a local acapella group who competed on NBC's "The Sing-Off", they were pretty good.  Then the Nashville Symphony played (I need to go see them play indoors sometime).  And finally the main act, Darius Rucker came on stage.  He played some of his country hits, some Hootie hits, and some popular cover songs like "Family Tradition" by Hank Williams, Jr.  He ended the night with a performance with the Symphony, singing "Purple Rain".

Darius Rucker

Following the concert was an approximately 20 minute firework display over the river in front of LP Field (where the Titans play) synced to music played live by the Nashville Symphony.  Granted I could barely hear the music b/c I was so close but the fireworks were by far the best I'd ever seen!  I thought I had video recorded them; however, when I got home the file on my camera was corrupted (I need a new camera).  The entire concert was broadcast over Sirius Satellite Radio channel "The Highway" as well as a local TV station.  On my way out I got a BBQ pulled pork sandwich from a street vendor (not a restaurant stand just a generic food truck) it was pretty darn good!

The drive home was the killer, what should have taken me 15 minutes took me 1 hour and 20 minutes.  It was a smart decision to park in the surface lot but it still took forever to get to the freeway and then on the freeway traffic was slow as well!  I think there was an accident somewhere that slowed down lanes but I got home pretty late so not a lot of sleep was had before work on Tuesday. 

Here are a few clips of Darius Rucker I recorded, but the rest are posted on my YouTube Channel, you can find a link on the side bar--->

I found these videos on YouTube that someone else recorded of the fireworks and you can here the music here is the last 10 minutes or so of the show

On Tuesday I had to work extra long because we were moving into a temporary studio while we do construction on the old one for a whole new set.  I had to stay and help move things to the new studio plus make sure I was aware of things I would need to know for my shift the next day with all the changes we were making.  After I left work I tried a new restaurant located in Nashville West called Blue Coast Burrito.  It's a Chipotle/Qdoba type burrito place but not as good.  They have a lot of choices for things to put in your burrito but the flavor isn't as good, however they do have queso which was good.

Wednesday was the slowest day for me in terms of things that I did.  I came home from work, took a short nap and then watched the Indians beat the Yankees on ESPN's Wednesday night baseball.  I don't get to watch the Indians that much since they are never on TV here (or anywhere I have lived since I moved out of my parents house) so I try to take advantage of their nationally televised games.

Thursday concluded my 6th straight day of work and the Casey Anthony sentencing took over the last few of our Today Show cut-ins so that was kind of nice.  For lunch I used the first of my many freebies I received for my birthday.
Side note: if you Google birthday freebies you will get several sites that list restaurants and businesses that will give you free things for your birthday (mostly if you sign up for their email list but hey it's free food)  I plan to get a lot of free meals in the coming weeks because many of the free things don't expire until a few days or even weeks after your birthday.
So I went to Moe's Southwest Grill for lunch to utilize my free entree coupon for my birthday.  I got a chicken bacon ranch quesadilla and it was awesome! plus somehow managed to score free queso as well b/c the guy didn't write it on the box and the girl at the register didn't look!

Outside the Frist

Since I had Friday off I decided to go check out the Andy Warhol exhibit at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts downtown.  On Thursday and Friday after 5pm they offer free admission with a college ID so I showed my Purdue ID and got in for free! (I use my Purdue ID all the time, until I stop looking like my picture I will continue to use it)  I only had to pay for parking and the museum validates for their lot so it only cost me $4 to park.

The Warhol Live exhibit was very large and pretty cool.  I really enjoyed the Elvis piece, as well as one he did with a photo of a car wreck from a Newsweek Magazine, it was kind of disturbing yet intriguing at the same tie.  There were also several of his videos or short movies he did playing in different locations.  He did a lot of artwork for album covers too which was interesting.  You weren't supposed to take photos but here are a few I snapped with my iphone:

Dolly Parton
Warhol self portrait

Boaz Vaadia sculpture
I also checked out the other exhibits while I was there too.  The Andrews Shaker Collection was upstairs which consisted of a lot of clothing and furniture built by the Shakers.  There was also a collection of Vesna Pavlovic’s photos.  There's also a sculpture outside the museum from Boaz Vaadia

After I was finished looking around at the art I stopped by the cafe to listen to Blue Canary who were performing.  They were decent, I listed to about 3 songs then decided to go home.  I was there for about 2 hours and it only cost me $4! not too shabby! 

Pretty good Monday thru Thursday, can't wait to tell you what I did over the weekend!

Food: Boscoes, Street Vendor Pulled Pork, Blue Coast Burrito, Moe's (again)
Bars/Music: Riverfront 4th of July Concert

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Busy Week Two in Music City (6/27-7/3)

Last Minute Plans can be the best nights

Sometime Sunday afternoon, I was on twitter and one of the people I talk to told me I should go see a singer/songwriter who was performing at 12th & Porter (a bar) on Monday night, her name is Jenn Bostic (and let me tell you, if you haven't heard her sing, go to YouTube and listen...but I'll do y'all afavor and post a few video clips in here).  Monday I started my training on the morning show, therefore Monday-Wednesday I had to be at work at 2:30am.  Going out on a Monday night might prove a little difficult.  In order to manage, I forced myself to take a nap when I got home from work at 11am.  I was only able to get about 2-3 hours in before maintenance showed up but hey it was something.

Jenn Bostic
 My friend who lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama was planning on coming up to Nashville Monday for a visit so I asked her if she would like to go listen to Jenn and the other people performing that night (4 in all).  She said sure, so I called the bar to make sure we could buy tickets at the door (the website said $8 - and that was for all 4 performers - but when we got there the guy at the door only charged us $4: SCORE!)  The concert was technically a Natalie Stovall concert and Jenn Bostic, Julie
Natalie Stovall & band
Roberts, and Jeff Allan were all performing as well.  Jenn was first and blew me away! I had heard about her from following Kristin Chenoweth on twitter, a few weeks back Kristin tweeted that if you like Sara Bareilles, check out Jenn it turns out she was right, this girl is amazing.  But Natalie Stovall was really incredible too! The girl plays the fiddle like no one's business, she played "Devil Went Down to Georgia" and it was good! (that's a tough song).  Jeff Allan's songs were great (he played with Natalie's band).  Julie Roberts was battling laryngitis so she was a little off but still not terrible.  Natalie closed her set with a mash-up of 80's cover songs and it was crazy awesome! I didn't make it home until about midnight so I decided it was pointless to go to sleep so I just stayed up till I had to be at work on Tuesday at 2:30am...Let's just say Tuesday was a coffee day :-)

Here are some Jenn Bostic and Natalie Stovall youtube clips from their personal channels(none of these videos are from the night I was there):

Jenn Bostic's music video for "Jealous of the Angels"

Jenn Bostic's "Missing a Man"

Natalie Stovall "Devil Went Down to Georgia"

Natalie playing rock medley on fiddle at a concert in Chicago

Natalie Stovall original "Standing my Ground"


cupcake w my Cars2 juice box
So after all that awesome fun I had on Monday night, Tuesday was a very sleepy day for me at work, but I soldiered on and when I got home my friend (from Alabama) was getting ready to go visit our friend who lives in Spring Hill (about 30 min south of me).  I asked her if she would take Riley with her to play with their dog, Harper, so I could sleep without having to listen to Riley barking at things.  So Stephanie (my friend from Alabama) took Riley and went down to Laurie's house in Spring Hill.  I laid down and slept for most of the afternoon and it was great.  Woke up around 5:30 and drove down to Spring Hill to meet up with them and have dinner.  We just got bdubs but it was still good and then the 5 of us (Me, Steph, Laurie, Anthony - Laurie's husband, and Annie - Laurie's daughter) all had a Gigi's cupcake - If you are not lucky enough to have a Gigi's cupcakes where you live, I'm sorry but if you ever come visit me I will gladly take you to get one :) They're kind of hard to eat because they put so much frosting on them but who doesn't love frosting?  When Steph and I got back to my place we put on Anchorman and fell asleep in the living room, but don't worry I set my alarm and made it up for work on Wednesday.

Wednesday was my Friday this week and I was very excited to have a few days off work.  Things were going well and I was getting very comfortable learning the system but needed to sleep!  But sleep would have to wait because I had plans on Wednesday night!  Nashville Scene (a magazine with local events and stuff in it - Cleveland has a similar magazine called Cleveland Scene) was sponsoring an event called Movies in the Park and this week they were showing "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" at
Chillin' on our polar bear blanket
Centennial Park near Vanderbilt's campus.  One of the main reasons I wanted to go to the movie was because one of the food vendors happened to be The Grilled Cheeserie, a food truck in Nashville that serves, you guessed it, grilled cheese.  However I laid down for a nap and didn't drive over to the park until about 6:45pm, after driving and parking and walking I got to the location shortly after 7 (the movie didn't start till the sun went down sometime after 8).  Oh yeah did I forget to mention I brought Riley with me?  Well Riley and I grabbed our blanket and got to the location and started to wait in line for a grilled cheese.  Riley of course wanted to socialize with everyone and eat anything he could find on the ground but for the most part he was behaved.  Well after standing in line for about 10 minutes or so, someone came out and said they were out of bread - that's the end of that, can't have a grilled cheese without bread so no Grilled Cheeserie for me that night, had to settle for chicken nachos from Moe's Southwest Grill (which I've been to in the past, there was one in Lafayette, IN).  I had to contain Riley for a while during the movie, especially when a little girl on the blanket next to us kept trying to give him food.  In retrospect the only thing that would have made the night better was if I had brought a pillow.  Nice relaxing night, watching a movie outside with the dog, and the girls sitting behind me loved Riley so they gave him plenty of attention.

Thursday I wen to the DMV and officially traded in my Ohio drivers license for a Tennessee one, I had to do it quick because it expires on my birthday which is fast approaching.  After the 2 hour ordeal at the DMV I went to grab lunch at Firehouse Subs.  I had seen this franchise when I was interviewing in South Carolina a few years back but never tried it.  Overall, the sub was good but it's kind of pricey (ala Jersey Mike's).  They have Cherry Limeade but it's no where near as good as Sonic!  Hit up Publix (grocery store) after since I had not yet been grocery shopping and had been here almost 2 full weeks but thanks to my friends Laurie and Steph who as a welcoming present gave me some money to buy groceries, I decided I should go.  I've since decided that I will no longer be shopping at Publix as it is more expensive than Kroger.

Saturday was yet another last minute decision to do something day.  I had to work in the morning from 4:30-8:30am.  At night at Vanderbilt's football stadium, U2 was performing (along with Florence and the Machine).  Laurie suggested I go to Centennial Park, I should be able to hear it.  That was the plan the whole day.  After I got out of work and took a nap I was no longer sure I wanted to go, it was very hot and sticky outside and I wasn't sure I wanted to sit outside.  However I had talked up going to Pinkberry all day (if you've never heard of the awesomeness that is Pinkberry I'm sorry, bet your butt to one it's great!), and Pinkberry is also on Vanderbilt's campus.  I decided I would at least drive over there and get the fro-yo.  As I was driving down West End Ave., I rolled down my window and could very clearly hear Florence and the Machine playing.  That was it I decided I needed to eat my yogurt and go to the park and listen.  I parked my car WAY in the back of the park and walked up to the front and sat on the stone wall facing the stadium.  U2 didn't start for about another 45 minutes but when they did, I could hear the concert perfectly! What a brilliant idea, free concert, not to mention that where I was sitting I could also see the Jumbotron inside the stadium!  I listened to the entire concert, despite the fact that I had to work at 4:30am the next day.  It was a genius idea and I'm glad I decided to go hear a "free" concert!

Here are a few pics I took at the U2 "concert"

That tall spire is part of U2's set
Centennial Park, view of Parthenon

That pretty much sums up week 2 in Nashville, stay tuned for week 3 of adventures, including one of the best 4th of July fireworks displays I've ever seen! I'll share video and audio and pictures (oh my!)

Food During Week 2: GiGi's Cupcakes, Moe's Southwest Grill, Firehouse Subs, Pinkberry (granted I'd been to all but Firehouse before)
Bars/Music during week 2: 12th & Porter

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Week One in Music City (6/17-6/26)


My moving truck rolled in to town on Friday, June 17th sometime in the evening.  I want to point out the irony that the song playing on the radio when I crossed the Ohio river into Kentucky was the same song playing on the radio as I drove through downtown Nashville entering my new home - Garth Brooks "Friends in Low Places", which by the way is an awesome song!  The next several 2 days were spent unpacking and arranging furniture and hanging all my stuff on the walls.  My parents and I were on the ball and got me all settled in 2 days! And of course it would not have been possible with out the help of some great friends down here as well, without them my truck would have never even got unloaded!  I only hope that the Miller Lite and Pizza Hut was a somewhat decent form of payment.

Saturday was spent unpacking pretty much all day, only one quick trip to Target.  Went to Jack in the Box for dinner that night, my parents had never been and I hadn't had Jack since 2008 in California.  The guys messed up everyone's order but we moved on.

That Sunday the 19th was Father's Day so my parents and I actually went out to dinner near the Vanderbilt campus to a place called J. Alexander's, it has several locations so you may have been to one where you live.  It was delicious, steak and mashed potatoes (and boy do they give you a lot of mashed potatoes!)  None of us could finish our meals and I luckily got to keep all the leftovers since my parents were leaving in the morning (score!)

Food had during moving weekend: Jack in the Box, J Alexanders


Monday June 20th was my very first day at my new job.  By lunch I felt like I was home, I knew I made the right decision coming here.  I love the station and the people and I was learning everything quickly and easing my way into my new setting.

As it turns out one of my very best friends from Purdue happened to be in town on business my first week in town.  So, Tuesday night we decided to meet up.  We had dinner at a restaurant near Vanderbilt again, the place is called Amerigo's and it's an Italian restaurant (funny story there is that Monday night a taxi actually drove through the front window of the restaurant after being hit from behind, there was a giant tarp over the window that night when we ate there).  The food was good and not too pricey either, and again I scored all the leftovers since my friend was staying in a hotel and had no way to keep them!  After dinner we drove downtown and decided to walk
View of Honkey Tonk Row at night
around lower Broadway aka Honkey Tonk Row, or as some call it "NashVegas" and from what I can gather, they call it that b/c of all the neon lights and signs it looks similar to the way the strip in Vegas is lit up.  We parked down closest to the river and walked up the street as far as Bridgestone Arena (which is where the Nashville Predators hockey team plays and also where the NKOTB/BSB concert was going on that very night).  We hit a little tourist type gift shop and looked around (I grabbed a new postcard for my collection), while inside the store employee started telling me about a lot of great places to check out (of course I can't remember any of them but it was nice of her to share) and also said that the guy playing tonight at The Wheel was really good and we should go listen.  After walking all the way down to the arena we circled back on the other side of the street a ways and decided to just pick a bar and go in.  So my very first bar in Nashville was Tootsies Orchid Lounge.

Tootsies was really fun, it has two levels and there were two different bands playing, one on the first floor and one upstairs on the second.  Tara and i made our way upstairs since the downstairs area seemed pretty crowded.  It amazed me that both of those bands could be playing and you couldn't hear the other one where u were!  The band upstairs played cover songs, dedicated "Courtesy of the Red White and Blue" by Toby Keith to all members of the military (which my friend Tara is - Air National Guard) so she really enjoyed that, AND the lead female singer's name was Tara as well so she had a double whammy that night.  The lead male singer did a little walk through the bar sing-a-long to the song that was following me around "Friends in Low Places" which of course I participated in because I actually know the words to that song (Tara didn't want to sing in the microphone).  After a few drinks we decided to check out another bar.

Our next stop was the bar the girl at the gift shop recommended The Wheel.  This place was not very crowded at all, maybe 10 other people in there.  The band hadn't started to play yet when we got there so we got a beer and just chilled out and watched the band set up.  The guy had a really good voice but probably catered to a more middle aged crowd.  The weirdest part was when this group of girls came in with a camera man.  I'm still not sure what was going on and the band even asked her if she was filming a reality show but not sure what her answer was because she was up near the band and we were sitting kind of far back.  No matter what she was doing with her own camera man it was a strange sight to see.  We only stayed long enough to drink one beer then decided it was time to hit another bar.

Next on the list was another big name bar on Broadway, The Stage.  I had heard of this place (as well as Tootsies) from watching CMT's Next Superstar, the contestants performed here on night (which reminds me I need to find out when they start filming the next season).  This place was probably the biggest of the 3 we hit, and by the time we got here the NKOTB/BSB concert had let out so the bars had gotten more crowded (even for a Tuesday night).  The band here was also playing cover music they played a lot of really fun songs.  There was this shorter guy in the band that jumped around a lot it was crazy, Tara said she wanted to hire him for when she gets married lol.  When the lead singer took the tip jar through the crowd the little jumpy dude sang some old school hip-hop like "This is How we Do It" by Montell Jordan and then some relatively new stuff like "F-ck You" by Celo Green.  Although the band was really just beginning, midnight rolled around and we had to leave because we both had to be at work at 8am Wednesday morning.

All in all it was a great night...the bars on Broadway are really fun but you can tell that most of the people who go there are out-of-towners but still a fun place to go every now and again and there are so many more bars downtown for me to hit up in the future!  Tara and I tried to arrange another time to meet up but work kept us both pretty busy through Thursday night so that night was it for us for the week.  I had Friday and Saturday off work my first week (originally I was supposed to have Saturday and Sunday off but we changed it since I was learning so quickly my sr. director wanted me to learn the weekend morning show).  Considering I will probably not see many Friday and Saturday nights off you would have thought I would go out and enjoy the weekend but alas I stayed home and watched TV hehe.  Sunday I had to be at work at 4:30am anyway so Saturday night was a no go, I almost went to the movies on Friday but couldn't convince myself to get off the couch.  I did spend all day Friday running errands like getting my car title and plates switched over to Tennessee (I know you might say you just got there why rush it, but my OH plates expire on my birthday which is July, 11 so I really only had a few weeks to take care of it).

After one week in Nashville I was already in love and had gone out downtown to the bars...the future only holds many more adventures.  Soon I will post an entry for week two in Music City, eventually I will be in real time with my adventures, and the posts will be shorter :-)

Food during week one: Amerigo's
Bars/Music during week one: Tootsies, The Wheel, The Stage

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

How I got to Music City

I decided to start this second blog as a way to share my adventures in Nashville with all my friends and family.  Up until now I have lived my entire life in "the North" as a "Yankee" as the southerners call them.  I grew up in a small town about an hour east of Cleveland, Ohio called Ashtabula (don't worry you're not missing anything because you've never heard of it).

After I graduated from high school I packed up for college and made the 7 hour journey to the Hoosier state, and moved into my dorm at Earhart Hall on the campus of Purdue University.  2001 would be the first of my 6 1/2 years in the state of Indiana.  I would only return to Ohio for the summer of 2002 (between my freshman and sophomore years), from that point on Purdue was my home, I made sure to take classes every summer to be able to stay on campus.  I love Purdue and the Lafayette/West Lafayette area.  In 2005 I changed my major from Aeronautical Engineering to Communications and never looked back.  In the summer of 2006 I secured and internship at WLFI, Lafayette's local TV station....
Let me digress for a moment and tell you that it was fated I should end up in a career in television.  As a child I was fascinated with TV.  My first word(s) was even "TV Guide" (or so I'm told).  I have a somewhat unnatural obsession with television.  I watch more shows than a normal person should.  Living with my parents I had my own TV and VCR in my bedroom and the VCR was always set to record something.  My first big obsession show was actually a show in reruns on Nick at Nite - "Bewtiched".  I taped every episode that was on and kept the collection of VHS tapes to watch (of course now the show is available on DVD which I am currently in the process of buying).  My next serious TV obsession was "Savannah", a short lived soap-esq drama on the newly formed WB network, I even did some freelance episode summarizing for a website and in return they sent me a poster and a t-shirt and a few other trinkets.  Just as "Savannah" was ending the next great obsession was beginning..."Buffy the Vampire Slayer".  This show would take me into my college years where the obsession grew and the DVR was invented (this is, in my mind, the greatest invention ever!).  I'm not even going to go into the details of how much TV I DVR in a week but let's just say my other blog TV is My Life pretty much sums it up.  Now back to the post...
After a my summer internship at WLFI was over, I was asked if I would be interested in a part-time position at the station 3 days a week.  Of course I jumped on the opportunity to get my feet wet and continue to learn.  By the end of 2006 the weekend director, who I credit for helping me get to where I am today and whom I still try to keep in contact with, told me she thought I would make a good director and wanted to train me.  And then in the early months of 2007 luck would come my way yet again.  Not one but two directors were planning to move on from WLFI and it was my opportunity for a full-time directing position.  I submitted my resume and continued to train and by April of 2007 I was a full-time employee, and the new weekend director (I was also still a student at Purdue Univeristy - full time).  By the end of summer I went from directing Saturday and Sunday to adding Friday to that list (Fridays were a two anchor show where the weekends were only a one anchor show, Fridays required more attention and quickness).

I was loving life and my job at WLFI, I had no complaints and was not actively searching to move on to a new station when our sister station in Dayton, Ohio sent an email to all of the LIN stations stating they were looking to hire a director and anyone who was interested should apply.  After debating the situation I decided to apply for the position for two reasons.  First, it was a large jump in market size (Lafayette was 189, Dayton was 64 - there are 210 markets), and second, it would bring be back to Ohio and closer to my family (Lafayette was a 7 hour commute where Dayton was only 4).  Fortune came my way again and at the end of April 2008 I was offered the position in Dayton.

In June of 2008 I began work at WDTN in Dayton, Ohio.  This station had a big difference, it ran an automated system for directing.  I had to basically learn how to direct all over again, but I am quick to learn computers and picked up the system within the first 4 weeks of work.  In the 3 years I worked at WDTN I interviewed with several stations and almost left a few times.  In February of 2009 I interviewed at KOCO in Oklahoma City where my former co-worker from WLFI was working.  I was offered the position, originally accepted but then backed out, it just didn't feel right.  In 2010 I interviewed at WCIV in Charleston, SC and at WISH (another sister station) in Indianapolis.  I was offered the position at WISH but again turned the position down.  Then in 2011 I sent out my resumes again and interviewed at WSMV in Nashville, TN.  After a long interview process I was offered the position to direct again using automation but this time the updated HD version of what we had in Dayton.

On June 20, 2011 I started at WSMV.  So here I sit a "Yankee" in the "South".  Nashville is an amazing city, I have been here almost 3 weeks now and have had a blast so far.  In my next post I will catch you up on all the fun I've had in the city so far....So begins the newest chapter of my life....