Travel Journal

Travel Journal: Girls Trip to Nashville

Over Memorial Day weekend, I traveled to Nashville, Tennessee, for a long girls weekend with my best friends Megan and Kyla.

These gals were my roommates for 4.5 years in college, first in the women’s scholarship house, then out on our own. (They both took an extra semester and my first job was in our college town so that explains the extra half a year I got with them!) Megan and I were co-maids of honor in Kyla’s wedding, and even as we’ve all grown up and lead pretty different lives, their friendship continues to be one of the most important things I have.

A few years ago I got the idea that we should do a reunion trip every 5 years since we graduated college (May and December 2013), and it took no convincing to bring them on board with the idea. We chose Nashville because it was a new city to all of us and travel-wise it was about halfway for all of us.

We all got in on Saturday afternoon and stayed until Wednesday morning. We looked at a lot of options for where to stay, but finally settled on an AirBnB apartment that was across the street from Vanderbilt’s campus and right off of Music Row. We were so happy with it! It gave us the room to relax a bit each day, a kitchen so we could keep some snacks and drinks we picked up on a grocery store run and we even stayed in one night with pizza and a movie. The location was fantastic for the price and I was even able to do an emergency load of laundry for free (long story!). If you are planning a trip to Nashville and look at AirBnB, we highly recommend this one!

Our plan for the trip was to keep it pretty low-key. We wanted to explore the city, eat good food and just enjoy each other’s company without being on-the-go too much. We did some “Pinterest-planning” and thankfully we all still have quite a few of the same interests. I have a lot of pictures to share, so I decided to split up the trip by category instead of day-by-day.

Neighborhoods We Explored

Nashville has such a fun culture and so many little neighborhoods to explore!

12South
This was probably the neighborhood we heard about the most prior to our trip and now we know why. There are so many fun places to eat and boutiques to shop at, all varying in price, but all still staying true to the neighborhoods artsy, laid back culture. 12South is also home to MANY of the city’s fun murals! We walked about a mile to get here from our apartment and spent a good 5 or so hours exploring. Our favorite store was definitely White’s Mercantile, which is further down the street, so make sure you don’t miss it!

These stripes are on the side of the Draper James store, owned by Reese Witherspoon.

This place is on a side street right off of 12South, and was the perfect place for a stop when the heat got to be a bit much. They have a large, unique selection of beer, and we were all wishing that we could have taken a growler or two back home with us.

Hillsboro Village

This neighborhood was a bit closer to where we were staying and also home to a lot of fun food and shopping. We really enjoyed the store A Thousand Faces.

Downtown  // Broadway Street

Broadway Street in downtown Nashville is about as iconic as it gets. And it doesn’t matter what time of day it is, the place is always busy, but always has a pretty laid back vibe

The Gulch
If I lived in or around Nashville, I bet I would spend a lot of time in The Gulch. Just right near downtown, The Gulch has young and hip culture and a great mix of everything, but is still easy to get around in and feel comfortable at. It is also home to the Instagram famous “What Lifts You” mural, which were just right around the corner from where we took a workout class.

Vanderbilt
I don’t actually have much to share here, but since our apartment was right on the edge of Vanderbilt’s campus and the fact that it is also an arboretum, we decided to take a walk through part of campus. We didn’t make it over to see their stadium, but at that point pizza and getting off of our feet was calling our names. However, considering its location, I think Vanderbilt would be a fun place to go to college… and I say that as a Kansas State alum who thinks Manhattan is one of the best little places on earth 🙂

Fun Things We Did

Pedestrian Bridge

When we explored downtown during the day, we started on the other side of the Pedestrian Bridge that starts at Nissan Stadium (where the Tennessee Titans play) and crosses over the Cumberland River and ends just a block off of Broadway.

Yazoo Brewing
One of Megan’s friends from Wichita used to live in Nashville and recommended Yazoo as her “favorite brewery EVER.” So naturally, we went. We each got a DIY flight that allowed us to pick our 6 beers and spent the rainy afternoon chatting inside and working our way through some great brews. I don’t think any of us tried something that we didn’t like and we all loved the atmosphere of the brewery.

Dierks Bentley’s Whisky Row

Our first night (Saturday) we went out on Broadway and ended up spending the whole time at Dierks Bentley’s new bar. (Megan and I are huge Dierks fans!) The first level had a live country cover band and the other three floors, which includes the rooftop had a mix of live DJ’s and non-live music of all genre’s. For what is most likely their busiest night of the week, I felt like this bar was still manageable crowd-wise and clean enough all things considered. Don’t get me wrong, it was still packed, but you can tell when a bar puts a bit of thought into its flow and crowd control.

LA Jackson’s 
One night after dinner in The Gulch, our plan was hop around to a few rooftop bars in the area, but loved our first stop at LA Jackson’s, which is atop the Thompson Nashville Hotel, so we parked it there for the night. It had great views and a fun drink menu.

Country Music Hall of Fame

This museum was definitely worth the price tag (around $24)! We spent about 3 hours here, which was a sufficient time for someone like me who likes to read most of the signage. Right now it has temporary exhibits on Loretta Lynn, Shania Twain and one for Tim McGraw and Faith Hill together. My understanding is these rotate out for various artists throughout the year. The rest of the museum has a variety of permanent and other rotating exhibits that focus on different era’s and milestones of country music.

Grand Ole Opry

I was so, so happy that Megan and Kyla were both up for making a visit to the Grand Ole Opry a part of our trip! We went on Tuesday, our last night, and it ended up being a great way to round out our vacation. We had tickets on the upper deck and off to one of the sides, but the whole experience is still very intimate that we didn’t mind at all. On the bill for our night was Rascal Flatts, Dan + Shay, Carly Pearce, Chris Janson, Connie Miller and Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers. It was a fun lineup and except for Carly Pearce, this was the first time I’ve seen any of these artists live. One note to anyone using this post to help plan a trip of their own… the Opry House is a little bit of a drive outside of central Nashville. It’s not too bad at all, but when everything else is really close together, just make sure you plan for this.

Parthethon

This is the recreation of the temple in Greece that is dedicated to the goddess Athena, that resides in Nashville’s Centennial Park. It was originally built for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition, and now includes an art museum. We didn’t make time to visit the museum, but we did snap a few pictures and Megan (who is a certified yoga teacher in her spare time) couldn’t pass up the opportunity had to “stop, drop and yoga.” 🙂

Pure Barre and Shakti Yoga
If you had told me back when we were in college that we would actively seek to add a workout or two into vacation, I wouldn’t have believed you. Not that we didn’t enjoy exercising back then, but there was definitely a time when the words “vacation” and “exercise” did NOT go together. Megan went solo to a hot yoga class one morning (just a bit intense for us other two amateurs lol) and then we all headed to a 7 AM Pure Barre class together another morning.

Food

Barcelona Wine Bar
Spanish small plates, paella, cocktails & wine are offered in an intimate, late-night setting.
This is where we ate on our first night and it was sooooo good. I’m a sucker for good tapas, and both the mood and the service at this place was top notch. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit though, that I JUST realized that there are THREE locations near me in the DC/NOVA area. There was nothing that we ordered that we didn’t like, but we LOVED the Spiced Beef Empanadas, the Jamon and Manchego Croquetas and the Smoked Pork Belly!

Frothy Monkey
Food + Coffee + Wine
We had breakfast at the 12South location on our first full day. They have a great menu and we passed on the bakery items, but it all looked great. We got here a bit early and are thankful that we missed the big brunch/lunch crowd.

Adele’s
Farm-to-fork restaurant with a cool vibe offering New American dishes, cocktails & patio seating.
I am pretty sure without even confirming with the other girls that this was our FAVORITE meal of the trip! Adele’s is located in The Gulch, has a great atmosphere and also great service. It was a bit more on the spendy side but worth every bite! I usually take pictures of my food when I travel, but never actually share them with anyone or on the blog… but I had to this time! The presentation was great and I want to give you a peek at just how yummy the food is. And though they aren’t pictured here, you can bet that we also enjoyed fun cocktails, a summer squash salad as an app and shared TWO desserts.

My scallops entree.

Megan and Kyla both got the steak.

Fido
This converted pet shop features gourmet espresso drinks, elevated food & a funky coffeehouse vibe.
We stopped here for breakfast in the Hillsboro Village. I can’t remember what the other two girls had, but my chorizo, eggs and hashbrowns with tortillas was AWESOME!

Too Boots
Offbeat chain serving cornmeal-crusted pizzas with quirky Cajun toppings in a kid-friendly space.
We had pizza delivered here for our movie night in (watched The Greatest Showman!) and I loved their unique topping combos. Not sure if it was a random one-time perk, but our delivery was free! Can’t beat that.

Biscuit Love
Bright, spacious offshoot of a food truck known for locally sourced Southern breakfast & lunch fare.
This place was easily the most recommended place to eat at in Nashville on Pinterest and now I can confirm that there is a reason why! It was SO GOOD and I’m sad that I can’t become a regular. We went pretty early on a week day because it was right around the corner from the Pure Barre studio in The Gulch, but otherwise I would recommend getting there early and mentally prepare that you are probably going to have to wait awhile (luckily Nashville does have 2 locations). And I couldn’t review this place without RAVING about the “Chronic Bacon,” which is spicy AND sweet. To clarify, my first job out of college was working for the Kansas Pork Association, so I have tried A LOT of different bacon dishes, and this hands down is my new favorite.

Mike’s Ice Cream and Coffee Bar
This bright ice cream parlor offers cones, sundaes & old-school sodas plus espresso drinks.
Two words: Espresso Milkshake…. i.e. a milkshake made with any flavor of ice cream they have with two shots of espresso added. I’m not really a milkshake girl normally, but I was 100% behind this afternoon snack. I got mine with my favorite ice cream, butter pecan, and have zero regrets.

Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville
I probably should have left this off the list, but for the three of us it is somewhat a comical part of our trip. The short of it is that it was the last day of our trip to we were worn out, it was raining, we had all become pretty hangry in the span of about 10 minutes and we were on Broadway where most places have live music acts all day every day, which is normally great except that it was SO LOUD and just all a little more than we could handle. As we walked by Margaritaville, I practically yelled at the other two ahead of me to stop and come back because while there was live music, the volume was much more manageable. (My younger self is cracking up at this right now). To be fair, the food wasn’t bad by any means, but it wasn’t anything special, except that it did the job. So my advice is to swing by for a fun margarita menu and skip the food… unless you are hangry and need to eat in quiet.

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If you have made it this far, thanks for reading, and let me know if you have any questions about visiting Nashville. We had a wonderful time and filled our tanks with a much needed reunion and best friend time. And as for Nashville, I definitely plan to go back someday!

Music - What I'm Listening To

Friday Jam Session: Recent Country Releases

I don’t know why, but warmer weather always put me in the mood for country music and so when the weather starts transitioning from spring to summer, I always find myself looking for new country music to add to my playlists.

Now before all of you country purists see this list and get all worked up… ya’ll just cool your jets.

I am admittedly a purist (*also see snobby) about a lot of things, but when it comes to country music I pretty much am a fan of all of it.

I think George is the king, I was born and raised in the 90’s and Kris Kristofferson’s “The Austin Sessions” is one of my all-time favorite albums. Until streaming became a thing, I owned every Kenny Chesney album to date, I did one of my high school AP English Language and Comp projects on Johnny Cash and I spent every extra penny I had in college (and then some) going to every red dirt and Texas country concert that came to town. My point is that I don’t think country music has just one sound, and I think some of the styles that have become popular in the last decade or so have a place too, and I personally like quite a bit of it. So if you don’t like it, don’t listen to it. Problem solved.

So now that we have that out of the way… I have been adding to and loving this playlist of recent country releases over the whole past month. For the most part, quite a bit of it was released in 2018, but there are a some from 2017 that I didn’t find until just recently. But if its from a relatively new artist, chances are it took a while for the song to pick up and hitting its stride just in time for summer isn’t a bad thing.

Hope you enjoy it! Let me know what’s new that you’ve been jamming to!

Also, wishing everyone a fun, safe holiday weekend! This always feels like the unofficial start of summer, but it is also important to remember that this weekend is a time to honor and remember those who aren’t with us anymore, and especially those who fought and continue to fight for our freedom.

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See ALL past Friday Jam Session posts HERE.

Rainy Days
British Artists
90’s  Country
Post Break Up
Motivation
Favorite Albums in 2017

Music - What I'm Listening To

Friday Jam Session: Post Break Up

Just keeping it real over here on all accounts.

First, it’s not Friday. But last Friday, my Wi-fi was down all day due to a crazy wind storm we had and this Friday I have a different post that I want to specifically post on that date. But hey, I definitely jam out other days of the week, so really, it works. #rebelyell

Second, I’m fully aware that it is a bit dramatic to create and share a playlist titled “Post Break Up,” but hey, unfortunately most of us need a playlist like this at point or another. You are welcome.

I’ve been adding songs to this list over the past couple of weeks and it was MUCH harder to keep it under a reasonable number than I thought it would be, which was silly to think because all artists have at least a handful of break up songs to their name. And really, I could have just made the list with only country songs… or only Taylor Swift songs.

So is this list a bit cheesy? Yes, because there was no way I was leaving Dolly out of it. And it is definitely full of angst (my teenage self would be so proud). But it is pretty well-rounded — meaning it covers every stage of a break up and quite a few different situations. So please note, I obviously don’t personally relate to every single song, quite a few are just songs that I enjoy and love to jam out to regardless of what they are about. Enjoy!

p.s. There are a few songs that are explicit, just FYI, if that’s not your thing. #sorrymom

What are you listening to lately?

See past Friday Jam Session posts HERE.

Music - What I'm Listening To

Friday Jam Session Vol. 25

I love music. My taste is very diverse — continually being shaped by an unique combination of people, places and experiences. I never try to pawn myself off as someone who “knows music,” because I have too much respect for those who do. I did dance and took piano lessons growing up, but trust me, you do NOT want to hear me sing. But music is a topic that I never tire of and I love swapping recommendations. Please join in and share your own picks! View past posts HERE.
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Friday Jam Session

1.Favorite New(ish) Album
Untamed – CAM

Friends, I think Cam is the real deal.
I would say it is probably pretty hard to be women in country music, but I really do not think that this is an artist that is going fade away after an album or two. After a short jaunt in contemporary pop, her country debut single “Burning House” was one of the biggest songs on 2015 and its almost a crime that it took me until this past month to check out her whole album. “Hungover on Heartache” is currently my favorite jam off of the record, but I also really like the title track “Untamed,” as well as “Mayday” and “Cold in California.”

Plus by now, I think it goes without saying that I LOVE her hair.

2. Favorite New(ish) Collaboration
I’ll Be The Moon by Dierks Bentley ft. Maren Morris

Let’s start off by saying that I have been raving about Maren Morris for months now, and I am just so happy that people are finally starting to know who I am talking about.
ANYWAY… let’s focus a little less on what the song is about and just appreciate how pretty that harmony is. Dierks has a lot of fun songs, but his voice was meant for sexy, soulful tunes. I still remember when he came to my county fair right after his debut album came out. He has always been a staple favorite since then and I would LOVE to see him in concert again someday.

3. Favorite New (to me) Artist or Band
Brothers Osborne

This song has been stuck in my head and on my regular playlists for a few months now, so I guess it was about time these guys made it onto a blog post. They have a solid country sound, and are almost a bit folksy at times. Other than their single, I really like “21 Summer” (quickly becoming a new favorite), “American Crazy,” “Rum” and “Down Home.” They are playing on tour nearby in August with Miranda Lambert and Kip Moore, and I am REALLY hoping that I can make it work to go.

4. Jam I Have On Repeat
Keeping Your Head Up – Birdy

Birdy goes into the same category as artists like Sia and Vance Joy, who could sing the alphabet and I would still be obsessed with them. I want to feature every single song these artists have. If you think I’m exaggerating when I put songs into this category, DON’T. I literally mean that at one point I have clicked the repeat button on Spotify multiple times. I love that this particular song of hers is a bit more upbeat than some of my other favorites and I love the lyrics. It’s great in the car and is also on my running playlist.

6. Favorite Spotify List
“Legendary”

The playlist description says: “The best of the best. Classics that define the word Legendary are all in this playlist.”
I mean with the Stones, Beatles, CCR, Fleetwood Mac and Queen — just to name a few — I would say this is a pretty solid jam session.

7. #SoulMusic I’m obsessing Over
Start a Riot – BANNERS

I heard this on a TV show a while ago and immediately knew it would eventually find its way into this category. I love the artist’s scratchy voice and there is a softness to the song, that pulls on a lot of different emotions #closethipster. I’m a sucker for live acoustic versions, but this one is a bit rough, so I’d encourage you to listen to both.

9. Current Beat That Makes Me Want to Dance…in the Car…Jamming With the Windows Down
Wild Things by Alessia Cara

It is funny, how you can hate one from an artist and be obsessed with another. That is how I feel about “Here” (which is REALLY annoying) and this new single. It throws me off a bit that this girl is so young, but this “anthem-like” song is quirky, catchy and has such a rich sound — which I think ties back to the lyrics themselves. It sounds great in the car and obviously has also found a spot on my workout playlist.

10. An Oldie, But a Goodie
Today I Started Loving You Again by Merle Haggard

Friends, music lost a legend last week. I listen to a lot of different kinds of music, but my love for it is rooted in riding shotgun with my Dad and in early morning AM radio stations that would play the outlaws and classics. I was never cut out to be a musician of any kind, but I sometimes wonder if that music was one of the things that helped develop my love for good storytelling. Haggard was one of the best, and certainly influenced so many of the generation of artists to follow him. If I had to choose I would probably say that the song above is my favorite of his, but of course I love other hits like “Mama Tried,”  “Workin’ Man Blues,” and “Fightin’ Side of Me,” just to name a few.

11. Work, Work It Out
Castle by Halsey

If you have already discovered this song, it is probably because you joined everyone and their mom in using the Shazam app when you heard it on the “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” movie trailer. I am sure that I was not the only one. I have not completely made up my mind on Halsey as a new artist, but this song is SO GOOD. With a dramatic flair and so many layers to its sound, I am dying to see someone choreograph a dance routine to this. (Or can I be 16 again please?) It might be a bit different for what normally goes on workout playlists, but trust me, it works.

12. Making Me Want To Fall In Love
Ophelia by The Lumineers

The Lumineers were an instant favorite when their debut album came out. Their entire production is so simple, but unique, and their new single has a light-hearted and sweet melody that I’ve had on repeat lately. Plus the video is just cute.

13. Guilty Listen of The Week
Friends by Blake Shelton

I do not actually feel guilty about this one, it just seemed like the right place to put it since it is kind of silly.  I LOVE Blake Shelton and this video and song have been cracking me up since my sister shared it last week. I think it is great when artists lend their voice to fun, kid-friendly projects like this.

14. Favorite New(ish) Cover/Remix
Stay by Thirty Seconds to Mars (Original by Rihanna)

The BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge is my favorite go-to on YouTube for live performances and great covers. This particular cover is actually 2 or 3 years old, but I was showing someone this YouTube channel the other day and it made me think of it. Of all of the covers they feature, this one is probably my favorite. I am a fan of most of Rihanna’s music, but I never really cared for her original version of this song. But Jared Leto man, his version is so good, it is wrong. It really should have been his band’s song to begin with.

15. Popular Song Making My Ears Bleed
NO – Meghan Trainor

I’ve found that most people have pretty strong feelings about Meghan Trainor. You either get her or your can’t stand her. Don’t get me wrong her music can get a bit obnoxious after a while, but I generally like her. But this song…people, it’s some level above annoying.

LOL NO.

However, can we take a moment to appreciate her hair. If I wasn’t super snobby about the fact that I’ve never colored my hair, I would go to that color in a heartbeat.

16. Country Pick
Dear Music by Bart Crow Band

A country love song to country music?
I didn’t know I needed this song, until I stumbled across it, and now it will probably end up being one of my all-time favorites. I didn’t know that Bart Crow put out a new album last year, so I am excited to check that out. “Wear My Ring” is one of my all-time favorite two-stepping songs, so they are always solid staple when it comes to red dirt music.

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So, what have you been listening to this week?

Cheers!

Music - What I'm Listening To

Friday Jam Session Vol. 20

I love music. My taste is very diverse — continually being shaped by an unique combination of people, places and experiences. I never try to pawn myself off as someone who “knows music,” because I have too much respect for those who do. I did dance and took piano lessons growing up, but trust me, you do NOT want to hear me sing. But music is a topic that I never tire of and I love swapping recommendations. Please join in and share your own picks! View past posts HERE.
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Friday Jam Session

1.Favorite New(ish) Album
Tangled Up – Thomas Rhett


For as much as I love music, I don’t regularly keep tabs on who has albums coming out, nor do I often count down the days until one’s release. I just figure once a single starts gaining traction and I like, then I usually check out the album. Thomas Rhett’s new sophomore album was an exception. Every new single made me more and more excited for the release, so much so, that I went ahead and featured “Crash and Burn” and “T-Shirt” already this past month. After listening to the whole album I could easily have featured every song on it in one or more of my categories.

I think the album is bold. My friends and I have an endless discussion on “bro country” and I can see why some would label it as such, but personally I almost want to call it genre-less. The album is both smooth and funky, and still has a bit of that stripped-down, very raw country sound that first got our attention with his debut. The video above for “Die A Happy Man” features Thomas and his wife, and is ADORABLE. I’m also really enjoying “Vacation,” “Playing With Fire” ft. Jordin Sparks and “Learned It From The Radio.”

2.Favorite New (new-to-me) Artist/Band
Rudimental
 

I am a bit picky when it comes to EDM music or similar types of musical productions that only feature other artists on vocals. (Side note: Is there a separate label for that because I don’t think this band is technically labeled as EDM?) But I vaguely remember hearing and liking their collaboration with John Newman on “Feel The Love” in 2012. Then I heard this new one above featuring Ed Sheeran and looked them back up, only to learn that this group was also behind Sheeran’s hit “Bloodstream,” which I’ve been in love with since I first heard it. I also enjoyed “I Will For Love feat. Will Heard”, “Waiting All Night ft. Ella Eyre” and “Rumour Mill feat. Anne-Marie & Will Heard”. Looking forward to hearing this group’s future work.

3.Jam I Have on Repeat
Backbeat – Dagny


I found a lot of new artists this past week, which is always a refreshing change. I sometimes wonder if people think I’m exaggerating when I say that I put songs on repeat… Friends, I recognize that its a bit strange, but I’m the kind of person who will re-read and watch my favorite books and movies over and over, so its not uncommon at all for me to have one song on loop, especially if I’m working on a project. There is so much going on in this song, its great in the car and has a great beat for my workout playlist. It almost makes me think of a less soulful, pop-infused Florence + The Machines.

4.Favorite Collaboration, Cover, Remix or Mashup
The Driver – Charles Kelley, ft. Dierks Bentley and Eric Paslay

With these three voices and lyrics, I’m not sure I need to explain why I fell in love with this one. I did panic though… why is Kelley singing with Lady Antebellum? I’ve read that he’s doing a solo album, but that it doesn’t mean the band is breaking up. Just the fact that people are talking about it makes me nervous, but for now I’ll just hope that its all talk and enjoy this unique collaboration.

5.Favorite Spotify List
“Weekend Buzz” by Spotify

6.#SoulMusic I’m Obsessing Over
Dynasty – MIIA


This song and artist fits perfectly into my “#SoulMusic” obsession. I could totally see this song featured at the end of a TV show… ahem, Shonda Rhimes?  I’ll just hold onto my “I told you so” for now…

7.”Oldie, But a Goodie” I Heard This Week
Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac
Listen HERE

I’ve often thought about if I could go back to past decades and pick a few concerts that I would have loved to see live. If we’re talking about the 70s, I think Fleetwood Mac would probably be pretty high on that list.

8.Current Beat That Makes Me Want to Dance…in the Car…Jamming With the Windows Down
Alive – Sia
Listen HERE

Another week and yet another Sia feature. #notsorry. People, this song sounds awesome in my car.

9.Taking Me Down Memory Lane
 Don’t Look – Kyle Park


This past week we have been talking about Periscope at work, and I figure that the best way to learn about new social media is to jump right in. I haven’t “scoped” myself yet, but I’ve started to follow accounts that I already follow on the Twitter. The very first live video that popped up for me was one by this artist. There is a special place in my heart for Texas country music, but sometimes they get lost in the mix of all of the different music that I listen to. I don’t want to commit but Kyle Park might be my favorite in this niche and was a large part of what made me fall in love with the live music scene. I think I’ve seen him twice, maybe three times… I can’t remember!

10.Work, Work it Out
On My Mind – Ellie Goulding

As usual, I’m a bit confused by the music video, but it’s a fun addition to my workout playlist.

11.Making Me Want to Fall in Love
Met A Girl – William Michael Morgan

When I first heard this I had to double check that it wasn’t an older one-hit-wonder that I had somehow never heard. But no, this guy is new and only 21,( umm what!?) He has a George Strait sound and Lord knows I’m a sucker for a smooth baritone singing a warm, country love song.

12.Guilty Listen of the Week
Hands of Love – Miley Cyrus
Listen HERE

Here’s the thing. Yes, she’s tends to cause a lot of ruckus and there are a lot of songs of hers that I flat out hate, but I do actually think she is pretty talented. And I actually really like this song.

13.Popular Song That Is Making My Ears Bleed
Hotline Bling – Drake
Listen HERE

I like some of Drake’s stuff, but this? NOPE. I almost didn’t even bother with linking it.

14.Country Pick of the Week
Hit the Road – Waterloo Revival


This song has popped on a few different Spotify playlists over the past few weeks. It’s subtle and doesn’t make a big splash at first, but it has continued to stick with me. It is the band’s first single and I am going to be checking out their album when it comes out. The live version above is a little raw, but I really like it. Listen to the original cut HERE.

BONUS: My Voice Picks, Week 2
 There were definitely a few I could myself liking later after some different song choices and coaches, but these were my top 8 favorite performances from Week 5. I couldn’t settle on just 5 like I did last week, and I’m a sucker for a couple of the songs, oops. I’m always blown away by the fact that so many of the acts are only 15 and 16 years old, and sound much more mature.

Angel From Montgomery – Krista Hughes

Thank You – Alex and Andi

Here I Go Again – Manny Cabo

I Want You To Want Me – Morgan Frazier

Hard to Handle – Tyler Dickerson

It’s To Late – Madi Davis

Thinking Out Loud – Chris Crump

What’s Going On – Viktor Kiraly

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So, what have you been listening to this week?

Linking up with these blogs today!

Here, Here, Here, Here and HERE.

Cheers!

Music - What I'm Listening To

Friday Jam Session Vol. 18

I love music. My taste is very diverse — continually being shaped by an unique combination of people, places and experiences. I never try to pawn myself off as someone who “knows music,” because I have too much respect for those who do. I did dance and took piano lessons growing up, but trust me, you do NOT want to hear me sing. But music is a topic that I never tire of and I love swapping recommendations. Please join in and share your own picks! View past posts HERE.
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Friday Jam Session

1.Favorite New(ish) Album
JUST KIDS – Mat Kearney

There is a special place in my heart for fellow Oregonian Mat Kearney’s music, and his new album is no except. The song above “Coming Home (Oregon)” is obviously my favorite, after we of course overlook the fact that the music video is a tribute to the Oregon Ducks. I respect his intense passion for a college football team, but does it really have to be THAT team? I feel like am committing a crime for even linking to the video. Also on the album I really like it’s first single “One Black Sheep,” as well as “Air I Breathe” “The Conversation” and “Heartbeat.”

2.Favorite New (new-to-me) Artist/Band
for KING & COUNTRY

This Christian band was a random find on Spotify last week that I instantly fell in love with. They appear to have been around awhile and are the two brothers of contemporary Christian artist Rebecca St. James. Their music isn’t just uplifting, it is dynamic and great to jam to. “Fix My Eyes,” shared above, is probably my favorite so far, but “Busted Heart” is a close second. I also am really liking “Run Wild” “Light It Up” “Crave” “Fine Fine Life” and “Without You.”

3.Jam I Have on Repeat
Live Forever – The Band Perry

I’m always a sucker for a good anthem song and people, I am obsessed with this song. Then again, I’ve felt that way by every single The Band Perry has put out. I saw them few years ago at Country Stampede in Kansas and I was really impressed by their range of influences and covers they chose to feature alongside their own songs.

4.Favorite Collaboration, Cover, Remix or Mashup
Hey Brother – Dierks Bentley (original by Avicii)

Considering Dierks has a great bluegrass album I’m not surprised he flip a song like this and add his own spin.

5.Favorite Spotify List
“Confidence Boost” by Spotify

A solid mix of mostly songs from the past 5 years or so.

6.#SoulMusic I’m Obsessing Over
Thunder Clatter – Wild Club
Listen HERE

7.”Oldie, But a Goodie” I Heard This Week
Kerosene – Miranda Lambert

This song is 11 years old. Just let that sink in for a few moments. I knew from this very first single I was going to be a Miranda fan. At that time I don’t think there were that many new, young strong voices in country music. Don’t get me wrong I LOVED Faith, Martina and Shania, but Miranda had an unique sound and outlaw country attitude. Fast forward to now and I’d say she’s pretty much stayed true to that.

8.Current Beat That Makes Me Want to Dance…in the Car…Jamming With the Windows Down
Love Myself – Hailee Steinfeld
 
Listen HERE

I really didn’t like this song at first. Which was a bit disappointing because I hear she was good in Pitch Perfect 2 (which I haven’t gotten around to watching yet) and I still am bitter about her not getting the Oscar at 13 for her role in the remake of the movie True Grit alongside Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon. ANYWAY. I still wouldn’t say that I particularly like it that much, but dang it, it is really catchy and at some point I found myself not skipping it anymore.

9.Taking Me Down Memory Lane
“Clubbed to Death” – Matrix Theme
Listen HERE

Last Sunday night I watched the 2016 Miss America pageant where Miss Alabama danced for her talent to this song and I freaked out a little. During my freshman year of high school on the dance team, we did a Matrix theme for our state competition performance and this was our opening song. I loved that routine, but our makeup and costumes were pretty intense and any picture proof I have is conveniently not on Facebook or my computer.

10.Work, Work it Out
Uma Thurman – Fall Out Boy
 

Umm, let’s be honest. Anything by Fall Out Boy is great to work out to.

11.Making Me Want to Fall in Love
My Heart is Open- Maroon 5 ft. Gwen Stefani
Listen HERE

This song is over a year old now, but it came back up on my playlists today, and is probably one of my FAVORITE collaborations!

12.Guilty Listen of the Week
 
Dirty Work – Austin Mahone

Oh don’t, worry I’m judging myself enough for everyone. #shame

13.Song That I Originally Loved, But Is Now Overplayed
Bang Bang – Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj
Listen HERE

I was totally on the bandwagon for this song for much longer than I would like to admit, but a few weeks ago I made an effort to go back through and take it off of all of my playlists.

14.Popular Song That Is Making My Ears Bleed
Downtown – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Listen HERE

Nope. I gave it try, and once was enough.

15.Country Pick of the Week
80’s Mercedes – Maren Morris
 
Listen HERE

I’ve been wanting to feature this song for the last two weeks but this girl is so new that hardly any of her music is on YouTube. Except, she’s not new. Apparently she’s been doing the red dirt scene for a few years now and was first noticed for her songwriting (Piece by Piece – Kelly Clarkson and Last Turn Home – Tim McGraw). But I really like this song so the link above takes you to Spotify. The song has a really “cool” vibe and I’d venture to say that this girl’s sound is similar to Kasey Musgraves, so I’m hoping that we start to hear more from her soon.

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So, what have you been listening to this week?

Linking up with these blogs today!

Here, Here, Here and HERE.

Cheers!

Music - What I'm Listening To

Friday Jam Session Vol. 16 – Guest Post

I love music. My taste is very diverse — continually being shaped by an unique combination of people, places and experiences. I never try to pawn myself off as someone who “knows music,” because I have too much respect for those who do. I did dance and took piano lessons growing up, but trust me, you do NOT want to hear me sing. But music is a topic that I never tire of and I love swapping recommendations. Please join in and share your own picks! View past posts HERE.
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Friday Jam Session

Everyone, I want you to Meet Megan (and her pup Luna)! Megan is my best friend from college. We met at the Women’s Smurthwaite Scholarship House our freshman year at Kansas State and went on to live together for 4.5 years. Our friendship began over sharing and talking about music, and after dozens of road trips, concerts and late night jams to get through studying, music continues to be at the center of that friendship. Megan is now a food scientist, working for a spice and ingredient company in Wichita, Kan. I’ve been traveling for work in Guatemala this week and since I mention her in almost every Friday Jam Session post anyway, I decided she was the perfect choice to fill in for me!

megan and luna

1.Favorite New(ish) Album
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful – Florence + the Machine


I’ve always been a Florence + The Machine fan, but this new album takes it to a whole new level. Right now I’m struggle to pick a favorite. Seriously though, Listen to ALL OF THE SONGS.

2.Favorite New(ish) Collaboration
Heavy Crown – Iggy Azalea ft. Ellie Goulding (Explicit)
Listen HERE
This is my new favorite song to rap along with in the car…or in my apartment…or when walking my dog in public. It’s cool, my neighbors already think I’m crazy anyway.

3.Favorite New (new-to-me) Artist/Band
The Score


I can’t actually figure out how I discovered this band. I think it was one of those late night YouTube searches for one thing which led me to another then another until suddenly I was in a completely different genre of music and falling in love with a new band. My favorites by them are the song above, “Oh My Love,” as well as “This Beating Heart” and “Don’t Wanna Wake Up.”

4. Jam I Have on Repeat
Jackie and Wilson – Hozier
Listen HERE
After the radio played “Take Me to Church” about every half hour for a solid few weeks, I was definitely an anti-Hozier type of person. However, on a whim, I got the CD from the library to listen to in the car. Oh my gosh, I’m so glad I did!! The rest of the album is so much better than the one obnoxious song the radio community chose to play.

5. Favorite Cover, Remix or Mashup
Radioactive/Pumped Up Kicks – Megan Davies


I always get worried when I first see two songs that I really, really love being put together in a mashup because it always has the potential of ruining one of the songs for me. But THIS. This is pure genius. This girl and I think her sister do a lot of different mashups and covers. So while you’re at it, definitely listen to more of their stuff.

6. Favorite Spotify List
Acoustic Afternoons
This has become my go-to playlist for afternoons at work. It’s the perfect mix of acoustic versions of songs, covers and new artists.

7. #SoulMusic I’m Obsessing Over
Georgia – Vance Joy
Listen HERE
I know Amanda recently featured Vance Joy’s album, but later this month I’m going to a Taylor Swift Concert in Kansas City and Vance Joy is currently on tour with her, and I’ve been going through spurts where I listen to Vance Joy and Taylor Swift songs over and over and over. Every time this song comes on I stop what I’m doing and close my eyes and wish that I could inject this song into my bloodstream. Like Amanda says, it is the definition of #soulmusic.

8.Song That is Currently Cracking Me Up
Girls in Bikinis – Lee Brice
Listen HERE
I realize that this isn’t one Amanda’s normal categories, but I really felt the need to share. I went to a Lee Brice concert last week and he sadly did not play this song, but it would have been hilarious if he had. I heard it the first time in my car and proceeded to play it 3 more times in a row because I was laughing so hard.

9. Current Beat That Makes Me Want to Dance…in the Car…Jamming With the Windows Down
Roots – Imagine Dragons


I love everything about this song. I love the piano, the singing, but I especially love the drums and the beat. This song makes me want to jump around and dance and just go crazy! (Let’s just pretend that I am NOT turning 25 soon)

10.Taking Me Down Memory Lane
Our Song – Taylor Swift
Listen HERE
This song is from back when T-Swift was singing country and her first album had just come out. She had curly long hair and a twangy singing voice. And now she’s all grown up and I still really love her songs.

11. Work, Work it Out
Lean On – Major Lazer feat. MØ & DJ Snake
Listen HERE
I haven’t actually worked out to this song yet…but I feel like it would be a very good workout song. Plus I really wanted it to be on this list and couldn’t figure out the best place for it. So this’ll do.

12.Making Me Want to Fall in Love
Riser – Dierks Bentley


Amanda said it best last week…everything about Dierks Bentley makes me want to fall in love. #amen

13. Guilty Listen of the Week
Anything Goes – Florida Georgia Line
 


I denounced Florida Georgia Line. Really, I did! Once they started getting just too bro country for me, I said goodbye. Their first song or two on the radio I liked. But soon they were overplayed and annoying, and ever since then everything they have come out with drives me absolutely crazy…except this song. I CANNOT tell you why I like this song. Every fiber of my being says I shouldn’t (especially with a video like this). But the song starts up on the radio and I find myself turning up my volume and singing along #sorrynotsorry

14.Song That I Originally Loved, But Is Now Overplayed
Cheerleader – OMI (Felix Jaehn Remix)
Listen HERE
The first time I heard this song I thought it was catchy and fun. The 800th time I heard it, I yelled and turned the radio off. I’m very done with this song.

15.Popular Song That Is Making My Ears Bleed
Watch me Whip (Nae Nae) – Silento
Listen HERE
I can’t even. That’s the only unintelligent thing I can muster up to say, #ijustcanteven.

16.Country Pick of the Week
Blue Bandana – Jerrod Niemann


Since I’ve got several different concerts coming up, this song has terrible timing. It’s all about being a gypsy and following bands across the country and going to all the wonderful music festivals. It makes me want to quit my job and live out of a van, which isn’t feasible and would not end well. But it makes me seriously consider it.

Bonus 5:
Over the next couple of months I will be going to several different concerts which I am freakishly excited for. So my Bonus 5 are songs from the different artists I’m going to see.

The Diary of Jane – Breaking Benjamin
Sound of Madness – Shinedown
First Time – Vance Joy
22 – Taylor Swift
Shake it off – Taylor Swift

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Thank you so much Megan for sharing your jams this week and helping me out while I was traveling! There are a few new ones to add to my playlists, and a few that I was planning on featuring soon myself! I only wish we could have been jamming to these in the car together!

Cheers!

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Linking up with these blogs today!
Here, Here, Here, Here and HERE.