Hometown Adventures

With the sun finally coming out and the cold (hopefully) leaving us, we’re all getting pretty excited about the nice weather! In fact, with the weather cheering up, I decided that it was time for some exploring around Nashville! I’ve lived here for four years and I still feel like there’s always something new and exciting about this city!
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First stop: my favorite local Mexican food fix, Baja Burrito! I’ve been here so many times (this is the first place I saw Jon Foreman *sigh*), but it never gets old. Burritos on the patio is the way to go on a sunny Nashville day!
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Next: We visited downtown! Broadway is always busy and everyone seemed to have the same idea we did, but it didn’t make it any less fun! Between the guitar shops and the candy shops, not to mention the riverfront, it was definitely a worth while visit!
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Next: Sometimes the local art museum, the Frist, has free event days… and of course we attended! It was great and we saw a lot of Ancient Greek artifacts, European paintings from the Romantic period, and even some very modern light sculptures. This was great!
Last: After a long day site seeing and soaking up the rays, we decided to end the day with some tasty s’mores. :)
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Ready…Break!

Last Thursday I went to the Eric Church concert. It was my first time ever going to Wildhorse Saloon, and I was thoroughly impressed. medium_eric-church-clutch.jpg Before the concert, I only knew one of Eric’s songs (“Love Your Love the Most”), but my friend Cassie assured me that I would have a great time. And…she was right! There were actually three singer/songwriters who performed before him, and they were really entertaining as well.
Since Thursday was such a late night, I was relieved that my Friday 9 am class was cancelled. However, my friend Kelly and I ended up going to Chik-fil-a that morning (she had never had breakfast there before) so I was still up well before 9. Over the weekend I spent time with friends and caught up on homework. It was a busy weekend, but in a good way. Several of my friends live off campus now, so we have to be more intentional about finding time to hangout on a regular basis.
This week shouldn’t be too terribly stressful, but I’m sure it’s going to go by slowly because Spring Break starts on Friday! I can’t wait to spend some time at home with my family and celebrate my mom’s 50th birthday. It doesn’t feel like the semester should be halfway over yet, but I guess it is! Hopefully it will be downhill from here…so far Accounting has proved to be quite a challenge for me, but I’m still determined to make an A!

Luna Nova

Last week I went to an incredible concert in which a guest group, Luna Nova performed. Luna Nova is modern ensemble the was made up with a flautist, celliest, and pianist. All of the musicians in this ensemble are experienced musicians and have truly mastered their instruments. They played a wide variety of works, but the one the caught my attention was a George Crumb piece called Vox Balaenae (Voice of the Whale). If you don’t know who George Crumb is, he is a historical famous composer, being one of the first to use recordings in live performance. Although there was no particular recording used in the performance, the cello was amplified so that the harmonics of the notes he played could be heard.
Many advanced techniques were used during this song. The song used a prepared piano, which is when the strings of a piano have been labeled and objects have been placed on them so the pianist can pluck the strings witht their hands. The flute player had to sing and play the flute at the same time, which would require months of practice to accomplish. In addition to this both flute player and the cellist had to whistle at times. My favorite part of this piece was when the cello played smooth legato notes as highest string. This effect sounded like a whale call, it was amazing.
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If you are interested in hearing more music by Luna Nova or learing more about modern music, visit their website at: lunanova.org

I Live for Weekends

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These past couple of weeks have let me know that Senioritis is in full stride. It’s not that I’m skipping class or homework (I’m doing a research paper on Black Catholics right now), it’s just that I find few of my classes interest or stimulate me in any challenging way right now. However, hanging out on weekends has been quite fun for me. This past weekend I went to Louisville with two of my housemates. We visited some really cool places, mainly the Blue Dog Artisan Bakery (recently featured in Southern Living) and got a lesson on scouring baguettes. They have amazing food and bread at Blue Dog and I’m so glad to have visited. We also stopped by Carmichaels Bookstore (Recently voted the #1 bookstore in America by Publisher’s Weekly) and I picked up a book by Thich Nhat Hanh. Finally, my friends and I started a new website imtooliberal.com, that’s kind a satire on a fictional character who is pieced together from pieces of ourselves and others we’ve come in contact with. It’s meant to be funny, so don’t take it too seriously.
This weekend is really awesome as well. I’ve been to the Scarritt Bennett Center, right down the street from Belmont, for a wonderful presentation on the Washingtons of Wessyington Plantation by John Baker. Mr. Baker began at the age of 13 researching into his family’s history and discovered how his family tree goes back to slavery and a lot of interesting information about the history of his family. A few of my friends and I also attended a party for my friend Devon who is having her senior music recital on Sunday. I love Devon’s music and voice, and she and some more of my friends are in a group, Mosaic, that is currently working on their worship album which I’m very excited about. In all, this weekend is going to be really fun, and I’m thankful that I have all this greatness to attend to in my last semester. But I still won’t forget my books!

Sweet CeCe’s

Currently, my favorite place in Nashville has to be Sweet CeCe’s. Located a few miles from Belmont’s campus, Sweet CeCe’s is a frozen yogurt shop that serves the most delicious treats in Nashville.n149747802794_4275.jpgThe frozen yogurt tastes just like ice cream (possibly better), but it’s fat-free! There are always really interesting flavors, from Boysenberry, to Cookies ‘n’ Cream, to Hershey’s Chocolate Kiss, to Kiwi Strawberry Sorbet to Snickerdoodle, to Irish Mint, to Georgia Peach, to Dulce de Leche…it’s always so hard to decide what I want! After you’ve selected a flavor, you can top the yogurt with anything you like. There’s hot fudge, whipped cream, marshmallows, an array of candies, cookie dough chunks, cheesecake bites, and fresh fruit. The possibilities are endless! Once your masterpiece is complete, you pay for it according to how much it weights (that’s one of the reasons why marshmallows and whipped cream are always good topping selections). Sweet CeCe’s also gives out “punch cards,” so that after you’ve bought 9 treats, you receive the 10th one for free! It’s such a great deal. On “Two-Punch Tuesdays,” you get an extra punch for whatever you purchase – so it’s always a great excuse to go (not that I ever need one). My most recent creation was a combination of Boysenberry and Country Vanilla, topped with marshmallows, whipped cream, blueberries, blackberries, and cheesecake bites. It was delicious!!
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When I’m not at Sweet CeCe’s, I stay pretty busy keeping up with homework, catching up with friends and family, and cooking in my Hillside apartment! I actually haven’t cooked nearly as often as I thought I would. Tonight I made Velveeta mac & cheese with broccoli…pretty gourmet, right? I’m trying to get better about cooking more and eating out less. Chick-fil-A always makes that harder to do. ;)
This weekend I’m volunteering as a translator for the Nashville Symphony’s performance of Peter and the Wolf. There will be one performance with narration in English and one with narration in Spanish. I cannot WAIT to help out at this event! I’ve been looking for ways to keep practicing my Spanish – this should be a great opportunity.

Love at Belmont

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SO, one of my best friends got the surprise of her lifetime this Valentine’s Day.
Craig proposed to Laura!
However, what she didn’t know what that I knew the whole time! Craig approached me in early January and asked me if I would *mind* helping him pick out a ring. (Would I mind? What kind of a question is that?) With a big smile and a childlike squeal I said yes!
So, after asking around, Craig made the decision to go to Shane & Co. in Cool Springs.
Craig knew Laura wanted a white gold ring, but other than that, he didn’t have any direction. Thankfully, I was crafty and found out what she liked and we told the oh-so-helpful Brian who pointed us in the right direction.
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(Turns out he was born in the same hospital as me! Yay Aurora, Colorado!)
After looking at several rings that fit under the guidelines, Craig spotted THE one. And this one came with a matching wedding band (when I heard them say “wedding band” it really hit me they’re getting married not just getting engaged!) Next we picked out the diamond and the halo to go around it.
This was the end result:
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I was so surprised how quickly the whole process went! We were probably only there for two hours, but with all of the help we got and a good idea of what we wanted it wasn’t hard. I was so pleased because this ring felt “very Laura.”
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Craig was pleased too :)
So after purchasing it came the wait…
Craig emailed me and called me a lot over the next few weeks. He was nervous and the toll of keeping this secret from Laura was really hard on him (precious). We planned that Laura and I would get our nails done the day before so she could have nice looking nails for the pictures and a few other things. While getting our nails done, Laura told me that she hoped that Craig wasn’t going to get her anything “too big” because she got him the This Is It DVD for Valentine’s Day. I just nodded and smiled and said, “Yeah, I’m sure he won’t make a big deal out of it either.” Muahaha :)
So here’s how the proposal went down:
On Valentine’s Day Craig picked up Laura around 2 o’clock to take her over to his house to “hang out.” Once they got to his place they exchanged gifts. Laura gave him her gift and, being very nervous, Craig said ‘thanks’ really quickly and kind of threw it aside. Then he pulled out the scrapbook he had been working on to give to her. Laura actually started this scrapbook and gave it to Craig on their first Christmas together documenting their relationship up to that point. This time, however, Craig had finished it and filled it with pictures of their adventures over the past two and a half years.
However, on the last page, Craig wrote something to the effect of “And then Craig knew he couldn’t spend another day without her ever again…” and he got down on one knee and proposed.
She said yes and the rest is history! I’m so happy for them!

LOST and Graduation

So, I am an unapologetic LOST fan. I started watching it this summer after being told it was the most amazing thing ever, and it turned out to actually be true. This week, the Season Premiered with a two hour long episode that rocked my face off. I went over to a friends house to watch it on their big screen which made it even more awesome. The show is filled with such great writing and so many awesome characters, not to mention that there’s so many awesome sci-fi quirks about it and great humor. I’m really looking forward to the end of the season to see how everything ties together.
In many ways, all the ups and downs and crazy characters entering and exiting the show make me feel like it’s really similar to my life as a Senior right now, knowing the end is coming, but not knowing how I’m going to get there, meeting new people and losing track of old ones, or reconnecting with folks I haven’t seen in 2 years. A lot of my time is being spent right now getting financial aid stuff in order for grad school, trying to figure out where I’m going to live next year, trying to stay connected to my friends here, Oh yeah, and did I mention my classes? I guess I expected this semester to be a lot more hectic as far as course load goes, but it seems to be pretty simple so far. Can’t get too lackadaisical, though. 98 days until graduation!

The Best Semester Ever

Well, this semester is turning out to be the best one yet. I’ve only been back at Belmont for three weeks, yet it feels like it’s been much longer that that. One of the things I worried about in spending a semester abroad was that I would miss out on too much. While it certainly has taken some time to catch up with everyone, I haven’t missed too much. I am, however, beginning to miss Spain. There are moments where I long to go back – to walk the streets of the city that became my home, and to be reunited with the people who became my family there. I love keeping in touch with my friend Kindall (who is currently in Spain). Last night I actually had a dream that I went to visit her. It’d be great if I could make that dream a reality!
On Monday, I went to the Commercial Music Showcase here at Belmont. I always love going to the showcases because the artists that sing are absolutely phenomenal…and they’re all Belmont students! The four artists that sang at this particular showcase included Noel Barefoot, Joshua Eric Wright, Aashley Morgan, and John Flanagan. They were all incredible, but my personal favorite was Aashley Morgan. :) CommercialMusicShowcase2010.jpg
This week has been very busy for me ~ I’m looking forward to spending a relaxing weekend with my friends. Tonight, my friend Kelly and I are having dinner together and tomorrow night I’m going to the First Saturday “Art Crawl” with my friend Cassie. I’ve never been before, but have always wanted to go. As a photography major, I’m sure that Cassie will really enjoy it. To be honest, I’m mostly interested in going because a new local chocolate company, Olive and Sinclair will be there, offering samples! Then, on Sunday, I’m going to watch the Super Bowl with my friends. It should be a wonderful weekend.

ASCAP WRITER’S NIGHT!

This week has been crazy! My boyfriend, J. L. Phillips is a Songwriting major and was selected to play in the ASCAP Writer’s Night. The Curb Cafe was PACKED (they had to kick people out because they were over maximum capacity!) Several of our friends showed up to support J. L. and we were all excited not only to hear him play, but local celebrity/singer/songwriter Matt Wertz was also playing!
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Here are a few of us before the show.
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Here are the songwriters and the President of ASCAP before the show.
Each writer played 3 songs and they were all truly wonderful. My favorite one was the one J. L. wrote for me in while I was in France this past summer. In fact you can download it for FREE by clicking here:
Free Download of Anytime
also check out his myspace here!
It was a great night and helped me remember yet another reason why I love Belmont so much :)
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The Nashville Blizzard

The past week has been one of the most memorable most of my semester this far. On Monday I played in the band for the commercial showcase, which was amazing. My weekend was consumed by rehearsals in preparation for the showcase. I have also been busy studying for test and practicing for my applied lessons though. The highlight of this weekend was the snowfall or what people in Nashville called a “blizzard,” which took place on Friday.
Now, it very rarely snows in Nashville and when it does, the snow doesn’t stick to the ground. Last Friday it did,
several inches cumulated on the ground. Many of my teachers started cancelling classes not only for Friday, but also on Monday and Tuesday. This was truly a blessing!
It snowed consistently on friday and gradually slowed down as Saturday approached. Students were outside throwing snowballs at each other, sledding down giant hills in makeshift cardboard sleighs, and building snowmen. We also had a giant snowball fight at midnight on friday where over 60 students launched snowballs at each other.
Such an amazing weekend sadly came to an end when the snow began to melt and everything turned into sludge. Fortunately it is suppose to snow again this next weekend.
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