Browsing Category

The Girl Behind the Covers

Snapseed (36)

Unlocking the Magic of France

If you truly believe in what lies on the other side

Do not give up because it’s locked

Sometimes the greatest opportunities are missed

Because one couldn’t find the courage to knock

Travel Destination: French Riviera 

Snapseed (32)

Snapseed (35)


Snapseed (31)

Snapseed (30)

So many cities, just a train ride away. There were so many photo opportunities at the Villa France port alone, but thanks to public transportation, we were able to discover so much more of the French Riviera’s exquisite architecture, ocean views and history. I tried hard to use my French education and although there were a few things I did understand, I’m so grateful for the kind locals who pointed us in the right direction and helped us make the most out of our time here.

Read more by Courtney here!


Painted Skies of Montenegro

 I am a dreamer, both in darkness and in light

With eyes wide open, my own story I write

To live vivid and bold like the skies above me

Soar as profoundly as the mountains that surround me

And immerse in the beauty of nature’s endless treasures

Every day without measure

Travel Destination: Kotor, Montenegro



FullSizeRender (18)



IMG_6984I don’t think I’ve truthfully encountered scenery like that of Kotor, Montenegro. It was like an over sized canvas stretched across the sky and someone hand-painted every detail. We spent the entire day just exploring the city limits. Each and every inch was breathtaking and if you’re up for a climb, you’ll get quite the view from the top of Kotor’s Castle.

Read more by Courtney here!

vanilla latte

Two Vanilla Lattes: Part I

The say that in order to become a better writer you just have to write. Not sometimes, but all the time. In order to get better at your craft you have to practice every day. So, I decided why not use this blog as my muse? Why not bring love to life, create imaginative places and escape from reality every day for just a moment? Why not right?! So, today I am introducing a new blog series! Welcome to the first edition of the “Let love in” short story series. I’m shooting right now to do this once a month, but if I’m inspired you may get more thrown in between. I will post part 1 on Wednesday nights and finish the story out the following Sunday. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it!!

Two Vanilla Lattes

I had never felt freer than I did out on that water. The wind blowing through my hair as the docks drew closer. Soon enough I would once again find myself on the sands of that small Italian town where it all began.

It had been 10 years since the last time I had felt the waves of the Adriatic Sea splash upon my skin. Where I, a shy eighteen-year-old Manhattanite had once survived the humidity that suffocated my first summer out of high school. I was undecided. While all of my friends were preparing for fall at their respective prestigious universities, I was still trying to figure out who I was. Chasing sunsets across the Atlantic Ocean in search of the part of me I never knew.

My mother left when I was young. I think I knew even then I’d never see her again, but a part of me thought I would find the missing pieces in the place she called home. So, when I stepped off the boat for the first time all those years ago, I was always expecting to find a part of me. Instead, I lost myself in his eyes and after all of these years, though I tried, I couldn’t run. That feeling I had felt back then, splashing in the sea as he carried me, it never disappeared.

The morning that New York called me back home, I sat with him outside at our favorite café. We sipped vanilla lattes. He held my hand as tears streamed from my eyes. It was then that we had promised to chase our dreams and only look back should 10 years pass. If we had yet to find that forever love we were both to come back to that same café. We were to sit at that same table with our vanilla latte and hope that by the last drop we wouldn’t be drinking alone.

In these past 10 years failed relationships had come and gone. Some I had thought were love and others simply a hand to pass the time. No lips I had kissed had made me feel the way his did even though I tried. So, here I was stepping off onto the dock with my roller bag following behind me. I could see my hotel set atop the hill. The village was bustling with vacationers. I pushed my way through admiring all that had changed yet somehow remained the same.

The summer heat was just as I remembered it, but the sun would be setting soon. Just like it did all those years ago, a cool breeze from the sea would blow through. I had spent many nights enjoying the chill upon my neck while he walked beside me barefoot in the sand. I turned towards the beach remembering the nights we fell asleep under the midnight sky. I smiled, then began the journey up the long staircase to where I would rest my head. When morning came would he be there waiting? Would he arrive before the waiter came to take my empty glass or would I simply leave as I once did before, with tears flowing into the sea as I said my goodbyes? Only one final sunset stood between me and the reality of what was to be.



Between the Covers: Nashville Behind the Strings

With me being heavy in the editing on the 2nd draft of the sequel to Behind the Strings, I thought today’s post could be a fun tribute. If you haven’t read it yet, Behind the Strings takes place in the vibrant city of Nashville, TN and it’s country music scene. It’s a story not only about love, but forgiveness, learning to let your guard down and trusting your heart to find your way to true happiness. All of course while navigating life in the spotlight.

Today I’ll be taking you on an exciting trip around Nashville to some of the places that inspired scenes within my novel. Keep scrolling to join in on the fun and don’t forget to leave a comment when you’re done! I’d love to hear your favorite spot.

Happy Touring!

Bongo Java- Belmont Boulevard



Celia Westbrook is a pretty darn good music blogger for the popular Nashville blog Behind the Strings. When she’s not in the office she spends a lot of her time writing at Soulful Grinds Coffee House where you’ll see autographed pictures of many of Nashville’s most famous artists. The inspiration for Soulful Grinds comes from Nashville’s oldest coffee company, Bongo Java in the Belmont Boulevard area of Nashville.






Winners and Losers Bars – Division St. 



Lots of country music talent play here on their way to the top, so it’s no wonder this was my inspiration for Shotguns bar in my novel. The place where Logan used to strum his six string before he signed a major record deal and the place where Celia first meets Jesse and his band Jackson’s Soul. It also was only the beginning of a night Celia can barely remember and later finds it was filled with surprises.





12 South Area- Nashville




Who wouldn’t want to enjoy a beer on the 12 South Taproom patio on a warm, sunny day in music city? This patio is one of the places Celia struggles with a secret she is keeping from Logan throughout the novel… I can’t wait for all you lovely newbie readers to learn what that secret is :)





I Dream of Weenie – East Nashville



Celia and Logan come from the small town of Hamden, TN where the only place to feed late night cravings after a night out was Frank’s hot dog stand. It only made sense when they reunited after 5 years that they would reminisce over old memories by finding a similar one in Nashville. I Dream of Weenie’s was the perfect inspiration for this scene. But, while you’re munching on your beef, turkey or tofu dog, watch out for Hunter Jennings. He’s a sly one and is always ready and waiting for the next story in the good old country music world.









The Patterson House- Division St.

patterson house


Although it’s not on the rooftop of a hotel, I loved the idea of the mellow and intimate atmosphere The Patterson House offers and used it for the lounge scene for one of Celia’s first dates. And of course, since I love a good cocktail, who wouldn’t want to choose this place where they are all hand crafted to perfection. Celia is really gonna need one of these cocktails when her date is interrupted with a phone call from the last person that needs to be calling her in that moment.


Turning your “what if” into “but, if…”

I went running the other day, and for me that is the time I do most of my reflecting. I reflect on the week ahead, upcoming plans and sometimes I find myself falling into the trap of reflecting about the past. I pass judgement on my life and the decisions I’ve made that has brought me where I am. I feel as if life is always a work in progress, but there are times I find myself wondering, “well, what if?” 

In particular, the acting bug has been sneaking up on me lately. For those who don’t know me too well, I’ve wanted to be an actress since I was maybe 8 years old. I’ve been able to do some pretty cool things when it comes to the film industry. I’ve spent some time on the set of Nashville, done extra work on movies and music videos and appeared in student films. I’ve never fully committed to trying to “break into” the industry because truthfully it’s scary. Leaving the comfort of what people say is a “stable” work environment for the unknown is terrifying, but still I wonder, “what if?”

What if I chose to go to college in California? At the very least, what if I was brave enought move to California after college. Where would I be now? Would I be a working actor? Would I be a regular on a national tv show? Would you find me on the red carpet or gracing the big screen? What if?

Yup, those are the types of things I reflect on while running, but let me tell you something. Reflecting on the past, on all of your “what ifs” will do nothing, but drive you crazy. You cannot change the past. The choices you have made cannot be undone, so when I catch myself falling into the “what if” trap, I immediately turn it around to say “but, if.”

“What if I chose to go to California for college?” …. turns into …. “but, if I went to California for college, I never would’ve met my college bestie who has not only been my rock through the hard times, but is my travel buddy on all of our magnificent adventures.”

“What if I chose to move to California after college?” …turns into… “but, if I moved to California after college, I most likely would not have ended up living in Charlotte during the time I did to meet some of the best people ever. To create some of the most amazing memories that are near and dear to my heart.”

Yes, maybe in California, I would’ve made other memories and created a whole different kind of life, but that’s the point. It would’ve been different. The point of turning your “what ifs” into “but, ifs” is to change your negative thinking into something positive. How we feel about our life depends on how we look at it. In order to be happy with the now, we have to let go of yesterday. The thought process is pretty logical. If you put a car in reverse where do you go? Backwards. You change gears and suddenly you change direction.

By simply changing the way you look at something, you change your mindset and your brain suddenly changes from the belief that your life was missing out on something, to being fulfilled by all the wonderful things it has.


Make Room in Your Heart

“We hold on to people longer than we should because we can’t let go of the idea of ‘what could be.’ What we fail to understand is that if they wanted the same they’d be holding on too. If they walk away, let them go. Make room in your heart for the one willing to fight just as hard as you are.” 

~Courtney Giardina~

Gosh, I look back at those times I spent chasing someone and wonder why? Why did I waste my time, energy and tears on someone who doesn’t feel I’m worth the effort? We fight so hard to hold on to what is comfortable and what is familiar to us because the unknown is scary. Yes, maybe not knowing what comes next is scary, but how terrifying is it to be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t value you? Who doesn’t treat you with respect? Who doesn’t love you through the good and bad days?

If you’re reading this today and it sounds all too familiar… stop. Let go of what you think you want and make room in your heart for what you deserve. Don’t ever settle on anything in life because you’re afraid. Fear will hold you captive in all of the places you don’t belong. Once you find the courage to leap, not caring where you land, that is when you will find the right place and the right person, in the right moment and end up exactly where you are supposed to be.


Throwing Expectations Out the Window

“Instead of following the rules, she started rewriting them. Banishing all expectations and living life on her own terms.”

Always find ways to feed your passion. Never let the light dim. Forget excuses. Ignore expectations. There is always a way to do what you love. When life is pulling you in all directions, stop for a moment and ask yourself, “what do I want?” Be sure to listen. Everyone has an opinion of what your life should be like, but the only opinion that matters is your own. You  are born with a passion inside of you for a reason. It is not meant to be surpressed, but flourised. You are in the driver seat. Steer yourself in the right direction and if you ever get off track, turn around, go back and try again.

Y O U R     L I F E    .    Y O U R     T E R M S


Frozen Blueberry Yogurt Bites

I used to make these all the time when I lived back in Charlotte. I don’t think I’ve made them even once since I’ve been in Nashville, but I did this week and I have a feeling I’ll be making them on the regular now. These frozen blueberry yogurt bites were so easy to make. I desparately needed an alternative to the M&Ms I’ve been eating while binge watching Gilmore Girls and these hit the spot.

The key to these are the makeshift pastry bag I used for the yogurt. I loaded a plastic ziplock bag with yogurt and cut a small slit at the corner. Then I squeezed out a dime size amount across tin foil and placed a blueberry in the middle. After that, into the freezer they went and about two hours later they were the perfect consistency to eat. I used greek yogurt because it’s thicker. Vanilla so it had a hint of sweetness.

Go ahead, try it! They are so good!