Raise your hand if the holidays stress you out? You can't see it, but I'm raising my hand. I LOVE the holidays (who doesn't?) but let's be honest - it's a chaotic and stressful time! There's the traveling that involves packing everyone up, piling in the car and driving from house to house to visit everyone. There's the cooking - who's bringing what? What time is dinner? Will your cousins be late again like they are every year? Did we forget the cranberry sauce again? And I'm just talking about Thanksgiving!
Last week, I visited the "Windy City" to perform for various colleges & universities across the Midwest. I'd never been to Chicago and I was so excited to experience all it had to offer. We left Nashville EARLY Thursday morning. We pulled into the city around 2p... Our first stop? Pizza.
Fall has FINALLY arrived in Nashville (Praise the Lord!) and I think the cool weather is here to stay! I love the season of fall. No wait... I LOVE the season of fall! I love the cooler weather, the fashion, the leaves and the way they change colors, the rich & savory foods (see my super easy pumpkin bread recipe below), the holidays... but most of all, I love the actual change of season.
If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you've seen that I spent a few days in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Work brought us to the Lonestar State, we were scheduled to play a campus concert at The University of North Texas at Dallas. We have friends in the area so we extended our trip a few days to hang out with them and take on Texas! Texas is one of my favorite places. If I couldn't be from Carolina, I'd be from Texas. I love the landscape, I love the truly authentic cowboy way of life, and the food... OH, The food!
I was side stage in the wing watching wide-eyed. I was sitting on a barstool with a paper bag full of Logan's roasted peanuts in my lap because it was the only thing I could find to eat backstage. Sammy Kershaw was talking to the crowd about how he started in the music business and who his influences were when he said, "I'm a country music singer. I'll die a country music singer." And right there, covered in peanut shells, I sobbed. Because, I felt the same way.
"... I didn't know how to perform with a live band, I didn't know how to take the microphone off the stand, and I didn't know that my future husband was standing only a few feet away from me, holding a guitar."
Yep. You read that right. I tried out for NBC's hit show, The Voice. But, before I dive into that experience, we need to rewind 10 years. I was 19. I was a sophomore in college. After being encouraged by my family, I decided to audition for Season 7 of the FOX series, American Idol...
Why is Fall my favorite time of year? Two words: Pumpkin Spice. The end.
Okay, that's only one reason! Doesn't everyone love Fall? If you haven't been to Nashville in the Fall, I highly recommend visiting during the autumn months. Nashville is BEAUTIFUL in the Fall and one of my favorite things to do is drive through the Belle Meade neighborhood when the leaves are changing. I love seeing everyone's pumpkins on their porches and kids playing outside.
Now, I'm not claiming to know it all... but I have been touring full-time as a singer with my band for seven years, so I'm confident in saying that I am no longer "green" in this game. I've learned the in's & outs and the do's and don'ts when it comes to taking care of my voice, establishing my brand and sound, and earning respect in this business - so, I'm sharing FIVE tips for being a successful musician.
Nashville is the HOTTEST place to visit/live right now and we (John and I) count ourselves lucky to live in a booming city. One would think we'd be out and about nearly every night with all the fun that is constantly happening around town - however, our typical date night usually consists of a Friday night dinner at our favorite family-run pizza place in jeans and t-shirts. But, occasionally when something really cool is happening like a concert, sporting event, or show - we hit the town!
Meal prep. It's all the rage and yet some of you are asking yourself now, "What is it?" Meal prepping is basically the process of planning and preparing meals for the week. Sometimes meals are planned and prepared around a specific diet (hello low carb, paleo, whole 30). Some people buy fancy, reusable containers to make meal prepping easier. Either way, it can be time consuming and sometimes overwhelming, until now.
I'm not big on birthdays. I clam up and get really nervous if I have to open presents in front of people and the thought of being in one of those restaurants, where they sing and clap for you on your birthday, is enough to send me into hiding...
It's the big discussion right now in Nashville... well, and everywhere country music fans reside frankly. What happened to good country music? Is today's country music really country? Is there enough room for today's more progressive expression and the classic sound of the past? Do you HAVE to have steel guitar on your record to be considered "country" or are drum loops perfectly acceptable as well?
As a kid, I thought living in a two story house meant you were rich. So, I'd tell my friends that I lived in one... only, I didn't. But, we did have a 50-Disc CD changer as part of the stereo system and I also thought that meant we were rich... Again, I was GREATLY mistaken. Every summer, I'd wake up and load that sucker up with all of my favorite CDs. I'd stand on the fireplace hearth and sing song after song until I could barely whisper...
If you follow me on Instagram you've seen on my Instastories that I've been in the gym a lot lately. The last three weeks have been a whirlwind of working, traveling, summer obligations, house guests - and I had fallen off the "healthy wagon" BIG time. I had a goal to do something physical for 6 days out of the week... and I DID IT!
I grew up on the coast of Wilmington, North Carolina. As a kid, nearly every day was summer. My family owns a house in what's referred to as the "Promised Land" in Morehead City. The house is a quintessential 1940's cottage with original hardwood floors, crown molding, and outdoor shower. Over time, they've made cosmetic renovations but the original metal kitchen cabinets still stand... one of my favorite details. The best part?
Seems like everyone these days is allergic to something. When I was growing up, every now and then you had the one kid in your class who was allergic to something, like strawberries. Don't get me wrong - I believe it. It makes total sense! With the way much of our food is processed and mass-produced, it's no wonder we're sicker than we used to be and our bodies are reacting differently. When I was little - I ate EVERYTHING! It wasn't until I was in my twenties that I started to notice a change.
If you're looking for juicy stories about after-parties and trashing hotel rooms... you're going to have to look elsewhere. In fact, most of the major country music tours are low-key. That's not to say we don't have a good time (Oh, do we have a good time!) but very rarely these days do you hear about musicians throwing TV's out of the window. SO, I'm taking you through a typical day on the road, from early morning call times to my version of the after party!
I'm a girl's girl. It took me a long time to become one (high school was rough) but as a woman who has come to make some incredible gal-pals: I believe in empowering each other as women, supporting and celebrating each other, AND sharing all of life's goodness to help each other - especially beauty products that work!