Opry Goes Pink: 2019

Every year, the iconic Grand Ole Opry hosts Opry Goes Pink in October.  Proceeds from ticket sales benefit organizations in the fight against breast cancer. It’s an incredible cause, and you get to enjoy an amazing lineup in the process.  Well, this year, the lineup was MASSIVE.  Craig Morgan, Travis Tritt, Sara Evans, and LUKE BRYAN performed on Tuesday, October 22, 2019.  I’ll be totally honest, Luke sold me on purchasing the ticket, but that lineup was enough to make even the most lackluster country music fan smile for the entire evening.

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There was an older couple to my right, the husband was ex-military, and the older couple on my left were in law enforcement.  It was nice being next to people who have dedicated their lives to service.

Craig Morgan started the show wearing a bright pink sweater and with very vivid enthusiasm. His energy gave off such a grateful vibe, and you could tell he was very thankful to be there.  Travis Tritt took the stage right after, and boy did people start cheering when that iconic chorus came on. After all, it was definitely a great day to be alive.

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Luke Bryan performed after Craig Morgan, and boy did he perform.  I’ve seen Luke a few times now (5, I think), and every concert is special.  His enigmatic charisma and sweet charm is so contagious through every performance.  There was one woman screaming her lungs out in the front and he looked at her and said “Mama?” It was the cutest moment.

He started his segment with Most People Are Good from his “What Makes You Country” album (2017).

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He took a few moments to honor those who have been affected by breast cancer, and before belting out a few more hits, he closed his segment with the incredibly emotional song “Drink A Beer,” which he wrote to honor his late brother. The entire Opry audience sang the chorus with him as he sat on the piano and sang his heart out. To say it was an emotional moment would be a severe understatement.

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Missouri girl Sara Evans closed the show, and what a closer she was. Evans has such a unique voice, and no matter how many times you have heard her hits on the radio, listening to them live makes them sound that much better. I’d never seen her before, and she definitely did not disappoint.

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I’m so grateful to have been in the audience for this show. I was questioning whether I should go because I knew I’d be very tired at work the following day, but it was absolutely worth it.

Any visit to the Opry is a magical one.

My name is Naissa and I like Jack Daniels.

As anybody who just moved to Tennessee, one of the first things you think about doing is taking a trip to Lynchburg to browse the legendary home that belonged to Jasper Newton Daniel, or, as the word knows him, Jack Daniel.

It was a cool, drizzly morning in Nashville when we began the trip.  The rain made the air outside extremely crisp. It absolutely felt like fall. The drive took about an hour and a half with no stops. You know you’re getitng into Lynchburg after you hit an area in the middle of nowhere with little cell reception.

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The distillery is absolutely beautiful, and makes up pretty much the entire city of Lynchburg.  There are a few places to check out in their downtown area, but for the most part, the town is the distillery.  Picture a Hallmark movie setting with a lot of whiskey and you’ve pretty much seen the town.

The Angel Share Tour includes a storytelling of the facility, including checking out the home that Jasper grew up in, which also houses the safe that further led him to contract sepsis.  Story goes that he was frustrated that he couldn’t remember its combination, kicked it and got an infection.

Right before you go into the area where the whiskey runs through charcoal, you get to see additional scenery up close. It was gorgeous. Maybe it was the weather that made everything so much more aesthetically appealing, but it truly felt like we were in the setting for a movie. Because the facility relies heavily on charcoal, there are pieces of property and foliage that have traces of the matter. One of the buildings had a smoky black layer covering most of its side, and there was also a tree with a black trunk sitting in the middle. It was slightly macabre and extremely beautiful.

IMG_8792IMG_8791 copyIt was a little overwhelming taking a tour of a facility that single-handedly changed whsikey in America, and all over the world.

Jack Daniels is only made in Lynchburg and is sold in over 100 countries.  I guess if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

I absolutely recommend that yout ake this tour if ever you find yourself in Middle Tennessee. There are a number of tour operators that will drive you to the facility and back by bus, and even allow you to drink on the way (just don’t get rowdy because they WILL kick you off).

That legendary black label is worthy of every bit of its status.

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My first visit to Marathon Music Works

Nashville completely lives up to the name “Music City.”  The second you land at the airport, drive into the city or head out on the town, you’re surrounded by small traits that will absolutely remind you that you’re in the land of music and lyrics.

Marathon Music Works is a venue located not too far from Music Row, the renovated warehouse now welcomes up and coming rock stars, locals and a few country music favorites.

On Friday, September 27, I visited the eclectic establishment for the first time to watch one of my favorites, Chase Rice.  He’s a pretty low key artists who’s opened for several big names, like Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley.  But despite those credentials, his music has resonated really well with me over the last few years.  Whether I go alone or with a few people, I always have a good time at his shows; Friday night was no different.

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The venue itself is very industrial; it’s beautiful.  The environment is also just as beautiful.  From the moment I got out of my Uber and into the venue, I felt welcome.  The bouncers at the door are very gracious and respectful, as are the attendants checking your ID before you walk in.  The stage area is also extremely roomy, and no matter where you stand, you’re going to get a great view of the show.

The drink selection was AMAZING.  Whatever liquor or beer you’re craving for the night, they’re sure to have.  Thankfully I’m a Jack Daniels girl, and there’s no shortage of that in Tennessee.

The ambiance of the entire night was wonderful, and I’m looking forward to visiting them again soon.  If you’re ever in Nashville, you should definitely go and check out a show.

You can find a list of future performers here: Marathon Music Works Lineup

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Leap of Faith

I’ve always loved the saying “With great risk comes great reward,” because I fully believe it to be true.  You’ve got to make sacrifices to live the life you want, to get the life you want, or to keep the life you want.  These sacrifices don’t have to be huge or life-altering, but they do have to prove to the universe that you’re willing to give up a few things for even greater things.

In late June, I was offered an incredible position at Vanderbilt University, a position that I wanted, and a position I knew I couldn’t turn down.  I’d had my eyes on living in Nashville for about three years.  The music, the food, the people, all of those characteristics made me fall in love with the city.  Well, that and the fact that it has this small-town vibe, something I am very much used to, and something that I will always love about any city.

Saying goodbye to Texas was hard.  Texas is home, always will be.  I think the hardest part was saying goodbye to my family, especially listening to my dad continue to tell my dog farewell to avoid actually telling me goodbye.  Watching him wait for my Jeep to clear his line of vision made me extremely emotional, a lot more emotional than I thought I would get.  As I sat at the STOP sign down the road from my childhood home, I couldn’t help but think of my mom and what her reaction and opinion on all of this would be.  My mom was an avid believer in stepping out of your comfort zone and taking risks in life, because after all, you only live once.  Yesterday marked four years since telling her goodbye, and the void of missing her is still very prominent.  It will probably be that way forever.  It’s a hard thing to accept, but necessary nonetheless.

I hope that my journey in Nashville will be good to me, and I’m ready for it.  I know that I have an incredible support system in my friends and family, and especially from up above.  Had I not taken this leap of faith, I know I would’ve continued to think “what if?” for the rest of my life, and I absolutely could not take that chance.

Because in the end, the only chances you regret are the chances you never took.

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My last Texas sunrise for a while.

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This was about 12 hours of driving in, and at this point, my dogs and Loki (my cat) were getting so antsy to get out of the Jeep.

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No bed just yet (air mattresses are actually pretty comfortable), but my babies and my mama’s Bible are all I need to feel at home.

Virginia, I love you.

I went to Virginia Beach last week for my residency (PhD requirement) and didn’t expect to fall in love. The beach, the school, the trees; everything about that city was beautiful.

God is great. 

Kylie Cosmetics Holiday Collection Products:

I am such a huge fan of Kylie Jenner’s makeup products.  I have more Lip Kits and singles than I could possibly need (shameful, I know), but I really cannot hype her products enough.  The formula has improved so much since her initial launch, and the colors of every individual piece of makeup are SO pigmented, that the smallest amount goes a very long way.  More bang for your buck!  Most importantly, Kylie Cosmetics products are NOT tested on animals!

The Kylie Cosmetics Holiday Collection launched last week, and I made sure to snag my spot in line online (yes, that’s a thing) to snag a few of the items that I’d had my eye on since her product reveal a few days ago.

  • Let It Glow Ultra Glow
  • Snow Cute metallic lipstick
  • You’re Perfect perfecting powder

Thankfully, I was able to grab all the products before they sold out!  As usual, the packaging for the products was just as cute as the makeup itself.  Icy blue boxing with metallic, glittering snowflakes adorned the box of the perfecting powder, and shining snowflakes laminated the Ultra Glow.  Very festive!

The perfecting powder, for those of you who like to “bake” your makeup, would be best put on before adding your translucent powder.  It’s a very beige, neutral tone, and with proper blending can go on pretty invisibly.  I use it under my eyes, on my nose and right in the middle of my forehead to add a brightening effect.

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The Ultra Glow does EXACTLY what its name says….that baby GLOWS.

 

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Finally, the Snow Cute lipstick!  This was my favorite product out of the items I ordered.

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The lipstick itself is extremely shiny, but despite its glittering effect, the formula is very, very creamy.  I used the Coconut liner, Bare lip single combo right before adding Snow Cute on top of it for a bit of a shimmer.  Perfect for the holidays.

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I definitely recommend this collection for anybody who wants to add a little glitter to their holiday season!