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Painting at OriJENals

This weekend my friend Allyson and I finally tried out a canvas painting class at OriJENals in Nashville. I was a little worried about keeping up with the instructor, but it was actually a very relaxing evening of painting.

For $30 (or $15 if you have a Groupon), you get a 2-hour lesson with step-by-step instructions on how to paint a particular piece of art with all supplies included. It may look hard, but anyone can do it. By the end, I felt like a real artist…

And now for the finished product. Not bad huh?

Thanks to this fun night out with Allyson, I am officially halfway through my 101 List (just finished #53 - paint a large canvass). 584 days to go, and still ahead of schedule!

Til next time,

Lu

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Finally, my first CMAFest

Every June, Nashville is invaded by country fans decked out in their cowboy hats and cowboy boots, and they’re all here for one reason - CMAFest. I’ve watched them trek past my office on their way to concerts, parades and meet and greets for five years now, wishing I could follow them. And this year, I finally did.

Since my parents’ birthdays are both in June, I ended up buying the three of us tickets to Friday night’s show at LP Field. Not a bad birthday present if you ask me.

The lineup that night was amazing: Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley, Reba. Of course my personal favorite was Sugarland - they did some hilarious country covers of Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time,” Cee Lo’s “Forget You” and Destiny’s Childs’ “Bootylicious.” And to make the night even more exciting, Shania Twain made a quick guest appearance on stage. Kind of hard to beat a concert like that for $30!

After the show, we got to enjoy fireworks on our walk back to the car…a perfect way to end the night.

And now I can mark a couple more things off my 101 List - #49: Go to the CMAFest in Nashville and #83: See someone new in concert (Reba & Lady A).

Of course, that won’t keep me from going back again next year. I can’t let them have all that fun without me, now can I?

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The Nashville Rollergirls

This weekend the boyfriend and I went to see the Nashville Rollergirls in action, our very first roller derby. Definitely not our typical weekend affair, but it’s always good to step out of the box and try something new.

After we figured out the game, it was quite an intense experience. The girls were so hardcore - running into each other, shoving each other, pushing each other down - it was awesome. With names like “Hildabest,” “Olive TurmOyl,” “Killah B. Killed,” “Nix and Bruises” (my favorite player) and “Lady Fury,” what do you expect?

If you’re really brave, you can even sit by the track in what they call the “Suicide Lane” where you’re pretty much guaranteed to end up with a skater on your lap. Tanner and I weren’t quite ready for that. Maybe next time…

We still enjoyed the game from our safe seats in the stands though. The first game was the most intense. We were trailing til the very end when we came back and won the game. The crowd went crazy! We won the second game by a landslide - less intense, but still exciting.

All in all, it was an amazing night. It definitely put me in touch with my inner-punk side. Now all I need is a hardcore name. Maybe “Lu Cifer” or “The Ha Lu Cinator.” I’m still working through my options…

For tickets and more information on the Rollergirls, visit their website.

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Skip to my Lu Studios

Today I’m officially launching my photography page on facebook (Skip to my Lu Studios). Here I hope to share all my photography projects, starting with my shoot last Friday with adorable siblings Maddie and Logan.

Maddie celebrated her first birthday last week, so we spent the afternoon celebrating with tutus, guitars and cupcakes. And boy did they enjoy the camera…

To see more pictures from the shoot, visit my Facebook fan page. And feel free to hit “like” while you’re there. (We’ll call it an early birthday present…which is Tuesday.) Thanks for your support!

-Lu

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"Broadway Rocks" the Nashville Symphony

Until last night, I’d never been to the symphony. But thanks to Rush tickets, Tanner and I scored front row seats to the “Broadway Rocks” show for $15. What a steal. (Time to mark #64 off my 101 List - go to the symphony.)

If you’ve never heard of Rush tickets, apparently they sell the open seats for certain shows at the box office an hour before doors open that evening. (Note: call the box office two hours before to see if they’re being offered). It sounds like it’s mainly a weekday thing and not so much for weekend shows, but still, a great deal nonetheless.

And perfect timing too, since my birthday is coming up next Tuesday. I thought this would make for a perfect outing to celebrate with the boyfriend.

Though I don’t have anything to compare it to, I thought it was amazing! The orchestra played while four Broadway singers performed each musical number. They sang songs from Hairspray, Jersey Boys, Mama Mia, Wicked and my personal favorite, Phantom of the Opera. And I won’t ruin the surprise for you, but there’s an amazing (and hilarious) encore treat at the end that you won’t want to miss.

So if you’re free this weekend, check out the Nashville Symphony's “Broadway Rocks” show. You won't want to miss this one!

Special thanks to the Symphony for helping me celebrate my birthday. I’ll definitely be coming back.

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Sweet CeCe’s comes to Brentwood

Sweet CeCe’s finally opened their doors in Brentwood last night, and guess who was first in line? Yes, that would be me. I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time - to finally have my favorite frozen yogurt place come to the neighborhood. And I was thrilled they invited the community to celebrate the occasion with free frozen yogurt.

While I’m sure all of my fellow Nashvillians are more than familiar with this establishment, let me take a few moments to fill in the out-of-towners.

Sweet CeCe’s is the most unique frozen yogurt experience, allowing you to create your dessert exactly the way you want it. You start by taking a cup and filling it with your choice of frozen yogurt flavors. They usually rotate and offer new off-the-wall varieties each time you visit (pumpkin, cheesecake, red velvet, cake batter, snickerdoodle, and the list goes on).

Then you move on to the countless tubes of toppings, where you add ingredients til your heart desires. Here they have everything from the regulars (M&M’s, Reese’s and Oreos) to the more unique (Fruit Loops, gumballs and Golden Grahams). It’s so hard to decide!

Next is the toppings bar, where they have their bigger items such as gummy worms, sour ropes, cake bites, brownies and a variety of fresh fruit. And of course, hot fudge or caramel to top it off.

Once you’ve finished your creation, they weigh it, and the price is based on weight. This is one of my favorite parts about the process. Instead of being stuck to “sizes,” you can get as much or as little as you want.

After countless visits to their other locations, I’ve finally perfected my concoction: vanilla frozen yogurt with snow caps and peanut butter chips topped with hot fudge. Simple, yet delicious.

So if you have a sweet tooth like I do, check out their locations and try it for yourself. You won’t be sorry.

Special thanks to the Brentwood Sweet CeCe’s for treating us all to dessert last night. So glad we’re finally neighbors!

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Elephants parade through Nashville

This morning I woke up thinking nothing eventful was going to happen and decided to leave my camera at home to lighten my load. Bad idea.

After getting to the office, I find out elephants would be parading by our office around lunch. Now that definitely doesn’t happen every day!

Apparently it’s a tradition when the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey come to town. They unload the elephants near Union Station, halt traffic and march the elephants down Broadway to Bridgestone Arena where the circus is held.

While it only lasted a few short minutes, it was still exciting to see in person. And thankfully I was able to get a few pictures for you with a point and shoot camera.

Moral of the story - always bring your camera with you. You never know when a parade of elephants will show up.

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Nashville’s Grilled Cheeserie

Yesterday my coworkers and I finally visited the infamous Grilled Cheeserie - a new gourmet grilled cheese truck that’s roaming the streets of Nashville. On weekdays they park for a couple hours during lunch (and sometimes dinner), announcing their location via Twitter and Facebook, and serve up a variety of speciality grilled cheeses and soups.

What a fun new alternative to going “out to eat” for lunch!

Their menu offers several choices of cheeses, breads and condiments to choose from, allowing you to build your own sandwich. They also offer a variety of specialty melts. Most range from $4 - $7. Not bad for a large gourmet sandwich.

For $1 more, you can add a side of soup - I’m told their old fashioned tomato is the best. And their homemade pudding is perfect for dessert.

While I had a hard time choosing, I decided to be a little adventurous and try the “Melt of the Moment” - a pizza melt fully loaded with mozzarella cheese, marinara, pepperoni, fresh basil and cheddar pesto on Italian Herb bread. It was absolutely delicious. I hope they carry it again next time.

So if you like grilled cheese as much as I do, you’ve got to try it for yourself. It just might become your new favorite lunch spot too!

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Poem: The snow day curse

I wrote this poem over the weekend to demonstrate how quickly snow can get old, a lesson we learned too well this past week in Nashville. While most people root for snow in the beginning, we often forget about the consequences. Let me enlighten you…

The snow day curse

Day 1 of snow, hip hip hooray
Who doesn’t love a snowy day
No school or work, just time to play
And lounge around the house all day
We’ll build a snowman, maybe two
And nap away the afternoon
Catch up on tv, read a book
And set aside some time to cook

But soon one snow day turns to two
I guess I still have things to do
I’ll vacuum, dust and mop the floor
And maybe play outside some more
There’s still some dishes in the sink
A few more clothes to wash I think
I’ll make the most of my day 2
And find productive things to do

The snow’s still here, and it’s day 3
Are you freaking kidding me
I’m stuck inside the house again
And cabin fever’s setting in
I’m done with chores, I’m done with play
I’ve been at home alone for days
And at this rate, I start to fear
I’m never getting out of here

Day 4 has shown it’s ugly head
Why bother getting our of bed
I’m now a slave in my own house
There’s just no way of getting out
And all my days of roaming free
Seem like a distant memory
I’ve learned the lesson well, my friend
I’ll never root for snow again

And with that, I can mark another thing off my 101 List: #41 - write 10 new poems. One down, nine to go. Hope you enjoyed!

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