Monday, February 28, 2011

Worry Not...

So I'm not really much of a planner. I like to be spontaneous and have options when it comes down to it. This weekend has been a phenominal example of that. For me, I've found that when you don't have the structure of a calendar, you have less to worry about.

Writers Round at The Basement
 There were some crazy weather warnings going on in Nashville with talks of potential tornados. So I ended up thinking rationally and heading to a writer's round at The Basement. No windows...made perfect sense. It turned out to be a pretty awesome night with songwriters like Kate York (co-wrote More Beautiful You with Johnny Diaz) and Tyler James playing all new material that they'd been working on! There were 12 writers that played. It made me feel very uncreative, but I'm really glad that there are people out there with amazing talent like that.

I also had the opportunity to check out the musical Spring Awakening from the front row balcony at the TPAC. It was a great performance. I didn't really know what to expect walking in, but the music was great. The harmonies were solid. The storyline was very raw and an accurate portrayal of what teens go through today. I was impressed for sure. I kind of wish there would have been a huge ending song that made it memorable but the show was definitely worth seeing!

Had a fun watching party for The Oscars. Some of the outfits definitely surprised me, some for good reasons, others for...not so good reasons. I thought Anne did a great job hosting, and loved her musical number. I don't know if James Franco did as well as I'd hoped, but he gave quite a contrast to his opposing host. Celine did awesome as usual, and Sandra Bullock did great as well. Can you tell my glass is half-full?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

FiddleCakes, The Civil Wars, and Other Nashville Blessings...

Living in this city makes me realize that there are so many incredible restaurants that it's a wonder I don't weigh 1000 lbs. I realize I might be a tad hyperbolistic but where would my sarcasm come from if I didn't have that?

FiddleCakes on 8th

With all of the amazing food in this city, I'd like to feature a favorite little bakery of mine that has been growing in the last year. FiddleCakes has an awesome variety of delectible baked goods even for the health conscious. With several vegan and gluten-options, there's something for everyone. They have different kinds of vegan cupcakes every day, which I'm pretty sure don't count as calories on any diet you might be on. My personal favorite (and weakness) is the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookie (every now-and-then available in a vegan option). Let's just be really honest here and say that if I had the opportunity, I would probably eat these cookies by the dozen in a single sitting. The bakery itself provides a super-chill atmosphere to grab lunch with a friend or to catch up on emails with a cup of coffee (and several cookies, in my case). If you've never been I'd definitely recommend it! They just opened a new location across from Cummins Station.

Civil Wars perform in Grimey's

I also had the opportunity to go check out the in-store performance of The Civil Wars yesterday at Grimey's. It was awesome. All of the hype of their new independent release is well worth it. I mean, the songs themselves are incredibly well written, and I'm pretty sure they've invented some new harmonies that haven't existed on this earth quite yet. They sang through several of their album songs, including the single, Poison and Wine. I tell you what though, I fell in love with their song Falling. Joy has such an incredible way with the emotion of the song, and their dynamics draw you in even closer as a listener. We got to chat a little bit after the show and they're excited to play at Common Grounds in Waco coming up! They're both so talented.

Adele's Album Cover
While we're on the music subject here,  which I could and do talk about all day every day. Adele announced her concert in Nashville. She may not be a Nashville original, but she's on her way to visit this Summer! I for sure got my ticket as soon as the pre-sales went up. I couldn't be more excited about this new Album, 21. I've had the blessing of listening to it for the past month or so. Every song on that CD is well worth a listen or 400 (again with the hyperbole.) Seriously, jump on it and get this album if you haven't. She's incredible and her voice is such a raw talent. Gotta love the British flare as well!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Concert Among Friends...

Wow, today started completely differently than it ended. I guess I had my own plans in order and The Man Upstairs clearly had other plans.

I forgot my phone today at home as I was rushing out the door to get to work (my usual whirlwind of throwing myself out of bed, grabbing my coffee, and hitting the road to get to the office) I felt completely detached from the world until lunch when I was able to run home and retrieve it from my night stand.

I'd missed a few texts including one from Sarah Leyda that said "I have an extra Michael W Smith and Amy Grant ticket for tonight's concert at the Ryman...first person to text me gets it"....of all days to forget my phone...

I had some other plans going on tonight, but in the luck of the draw, Sarah's friend was called into work and I was asked to go :)

Michael W Smith and Amy Grant taken from our awesome seats!

It was my first concert at the Ryman and I got to enjoy it with Sarah on the front row balcony. Incredible experience. Amy and MWS opened up the show with a duet of favorites and they both performed several of their hits individually. It was so neat to see their dynamic and how they seemed to just pick up where they left off.

Amy was so comfortable and was able to make a connection with every single person in the 2000+ audience. Her light humor and contagious smile made everyone feel welcomed. Highlights included "Better than a Hallelujah," "El Shaddai," and clearly "Baby Baby."

Amy singing "Better Than a Hallelujah" 
In between sets there was short intermission where we were able to stretch our tired legs from sitting in the wooden pews of the Ryman. As it turned out, I wasn't the only fan of the "Friends" on tour, one miss Kristin Chenoweth was able to enjoy the concert as well in the aisle next to us. I tried to contain my excitement in a very professional way (I was doing backflips in my head I was so excited.) Michael and I also were wearing the same jeans. Obviously, we have a lot in common.

Michael singing through his worship set

It was an incredible concert that I will not forget. So many great songs that brought me back to childhood! Amy even said "There's just nothing out there that can bring you back like music."

Monday, February 21, 2011

Good Eats and Letters...

With all this free time I've given myself I've had plenty of time to dive into some awesome local restaurants that have allowed me to expand my palate. If you guys have any suggestions let me know.

City House Restaurant
First off, I recently tried out City House. This was a legit trendy restaurant that was very unassuming. Pulling up to the house, I didn't expect but about 4 people to be able to fit inside, but once you go in it's an awesome atmosphere with great food. I tried out the Margarita Pizza. Simple, yet delicious. It was just the right size to fill me up and I enjoyed every bite. It was also the cheapest thing on the menu. Bonus

French Toast at Frothy Monkey
If you know anything about me, it's that I've got to have coffee within arms reach pretty much my entire day. So on Saturday mornings I enjoy going to Frothy Monkey for breakfast...this is when I'm in the mood for a trendy local change from my usual Cracker Barrel. The French Toast is out of control good. Paired with a simple coffee, the French Toast served with fresh fruit (including a blood orange, who thinks to use blood oranges in their fruit medleys?) is a perfect combination. You can't go wrong with the friendly people and a cup-o-joe to get your morning started.

I also had some time today to write some letters. That's right...hand-written letters that require a stamp instead of electricity. This was inspired by my friend Leslie who hand crafted her very own Valentine's Day cards (pictured above.) No, I didn't make the paper, but I did take some time to write a few letters! I feel like it's definitely a lost art and I really enjoyed doing some CPR on the subject to revitalize it. I gotta say that the anticipation is killing me's going to take like 3 days for these people to even receive the letters! I guess I'm just so used to instant gratification of knowing that someone got the message!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Week 1: Life and Work w/o Facebook?

This week has been challenging. My co-workers all looked at me like I was crazy when I told them that I was going to be deactivating my Facebook page for a month. Being in the music industry, we rely heavily on the sources of digital media for the latest and greatest updates. What was trending? Who was being tagged in what? Who's upset? Who's engaged? This week I said goodbye to all of that.

The first day was hard, I subconsciously clicked my browser to Facebook probably about 20 times and realized every time..."I can't log-in..." I realized after the deactivation that I hadn't been without a Facebook since I signed up for an account my junior year in high school. It took the rest of the day for me to realize that it was no longer an option to spend time on Facebook....for a month.

After the initial shock of feeling completely disconnected from the digital world, I arrived a point of productivity and a feeling of freedom. There weren't anymore "notification" emails, messages, or photo tag requests arriving. About 6 minutes after the deactivation of my account I received a few "Did you 'unfriend' me on Facebook?" texts from close friends, my mother thought something was wrong with me, several others haven't noticed yet, but I'm sure I'll hear more about it as the process continues.

We're doing a campaign right now within the sales team that is pretty competitive. I got to feeling pretty down earlier this week because I hadn't been able to do as well as I'd hoped. This was the third week of the competition and my partner and I hadn't come in first place either of the previous weeks. Now, without Facebook, I was able to focus, without distraction, on my goals and what I wanted to achieve this week.  I became determined to seek victory.

I noticed subtle changes in my work behavior, I finished my goals quicker, I became more thorough in my research, I became aware of more ways to be productive at work. The days went quicker. I also started caring more about my co-workers. I mean, I see these people every day; I spend more time with them than my family or friends at this point in my life. I realized that I probably wasn't being as great of a friend to them as I could have been. So, in the coming weeks, I've decided to invest more into them and their lives and become more of an effective teammate for them.

By the end of the week, tension was rising, my ever-so-subtle co-workers would ask if I'd seen their latest profile pictures on Facebook, or if I'd had any great "friend requests" recently. Something did change though. My teammate and I realized that we had a very good chance of winning the campaign for the week. We worked really hard and by the end of the day Friday, my teammate and I came in first place for the first time during this campaign, allowing us to go home half an hour early; a great start to a 3 day weekend!

I can't give all the credit to my social media purge, but I must say that it helped quite a bit. Next week is the last week of the campaign, and because of our awesome week this past week, we're back in the runnings to potentially win the entire campaign. I work with incredible people that are all awesome at what they do, so I'm just happy that they put up with me and that I can learn from them.

This morning I went to a great church service at Crosspoint here in Nashville. There were several notables in attendance and it was really neat to see them worshiping and being so focused in that moment to be able to surrender everything. The message was about how God called us as Christians to welcome everyone, realize that no one is perfect, and that anything is possible. Definitely an encouraging challenge to carry me into this next week! Stay tuned for more...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Life Happens...An Introduction

Well it's time that I caved and jumped on the blog train. This past year has been a series of crazy events. A year ago I was a senior at Baylor pretending that I knew everything about everything and I was really comfortable where I was.

Within the past six months everything that I knew, and was comfortable with, completely changed. I moved halfway across the U.S. to Nashville to start a job in the music industry. This was a dream come true, I never in a million years thought that I could be "that guy" with one of those great jobs that is really fun to talk about with people at dinner parties and when meeting strangers.

Recently I realized that I needed a change; I needed something crazy to happen and challenge me in life. A friend of mine told me over coffee that he wanted to just turn off his Facebook and it hit me...I spend a lot of time on that social media device. I wondered about what all I could be doing besides spending time "tagging" or "wall posting." So I decided to challenge myself: One Month with No Facebook.

The start of this blog will document the series of life happenings being "digitally removed" from Facebook. It'll continue after a month, with more of my life happenings, so stay tuned.