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nashville blog

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Surviving Long Nights and Red Eye Flights

The countdown has begun. Jessica and I booked our annual girls trip months in advance and it’s crazy to think there’s less than one week left until we’re sailing the Mediterranean! She’s way more worldly than I am, so although I’m a tad bit anxious to travel into the unfamiliar, I’m beyond excited for the experience.

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My checklist is slowly shrinking, but my carry on is filling up. With an 8 hour overnight flight to Barcelona, I want to make sure I have everything I need to make it through. My longest direct flight was about 6 hours from New York to California and even though it wasn’t too bad watching the in flight movies, I certainly could’ve prepared a little better. So, this time I did my research and I’ve detailed all the goodies in my carry on.

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Refillable Water Bottle

It’s important to stay hydrated during travel and I think having a water bottle on hand may help remind me to drink up. I’m going to fill it up at the airport before I board and top it off during in flight beverage service.

Kindle and Notebook

I’m bringing one for a little inspiration and the other to hopefully spill more of my novel out between the covers of my journal. I figured the plane is really the perfect place to write. There really isn’t room for many distractions.

Netflix

My last flight to Myrtle Beach, I was on a Heartland addiction and I figured out that you can actually download some shows from Netflix to watch offline. You will have to download them prior to takeoff though as you do need internet access to do so.

Portable Charger

Another really important tool I have on hand is a portable phone charger. Not all airlines have outlets, so I want to be prepared. Watching Netflix may help pass the time, but it will also drains my battery.

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Pashmina

I read somewhere online to make sure I pack a Pashmina. This wasn’t even on my radar, but I think it’s genius. Not only can the pashmina be used as a blanket if I get chilly, but I can also twist it and place around my neck for a pillow. On top of that, I also watched some YouTube videos of ways to wear them while on the ship. I bought 2 of them off Amazon and am ready to put them to use.

Snacks

I pretty much eat every 2 hours, so 8 hours on a plane with no food would make this girl hangry. That’s why I plan on packing some granola bars, a banana, crackers and nut packets for when my stomach starts growling.

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Beauty Products

Lots of travel bloggers have talked about how important it is to stick with your nighttime routine while on an overnight flight. I don’t want my skin to freak out, so I packed a few of my nighttime items. Along with my toothpaste and toothbrush, I have my face wash, face mask and lavender face mist for when it’s time to sleep.

I also have eye mask on my list, but haven’t actually bought one yet. What do you guys think? Should I or shouldn’t I?

Have you ever flown on a red eye? What are your favorite carry on must haves? 

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more travel tips and recaps!

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Dreams Don’t Take Weekends Off

This past Saturday, at a desk in the back corner of the Nashville Public Library, I opened my computer and pulled up a chair. I put my phone on silent and tucked it away in my computer bag to hide any distractions and for three hours I wrote more of Celia’s story. I then came home and wrote for seven hours more.

For those of you who haven’t read my newest novel Behind the Strings, it’s all about a love triangle in the midst of the country music world. It ends with a cliffhanger to the main character, Celia’s story and I’ve been stuck on the sequel for about two years now with no idea how I wanted it to end.

In that library though on Saturday afternoon, I felt as if the gates had opened for me and the words came flooding out. 5,500 words later Celia’s path was clearer. The ending is near and the two final words of draft one are on the horizon – THE END.

It’s been a long journey and it’s far from over. After draft one comes draft two. After draft two comes the beta readers and then draft three. Then comes the editor and the edits and so so much more. It’s exhausting. My eyes hurt and sometimes I cry from frustration because I want to get it just right. When it’s done though, when the very first proof is delivered to my door and I get to hold all that hard work in my hands, that makes it all worth it.

Nobody said that dreaming was easy. Fulfilling your passion or finding your path in life, it takes works and dedication. It takes drive and sacrifice. You can’t keep saying, “I want this” and expect it to be handed to you. You have to get up and put in the work and if you do, I promise it will pay off.

The hardest part isn’t getting to the finish line, it’s whether or not you have the courage to step up to the starting block.

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About Behind the Strings

As oBehind the Strings Official Coverjpgne of Nashville’s hottest music bloggers, Celia Westbrooke spends her days chasing stories and her nights mingling with country music’s rising stars. Her life is a whirlwind, but it keeps her mind from remembering a past she left behind. That is, until a new assignment forces her to face the one person she thought was gone forever.

Logan Kent is on the fast track to country music stardom. It was the dream he had worked his entire life for. A dream that cost him the one person he ever truly loved. The same dream, that five years later, will be the reason she returns.

In the heart of Music City, Celia and Logan will be forced to relive the remnants of a relationship they thought would never be. And just when they think they have what it takes to put all the pieces back together, one night could tear it all apart. Secrets will be revealed, loyalties will be tested and both will be left to decide if what they really want, is worth what they’ll lose in the process. More

 

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Looking Back as the Snow Falls

I can’t help but think of home every time it snows here in the south. It’s so much different than it was in New York. When the streets were covered in snow along Lake Ontario, life went on. We would just bundle up, scrape off our cars and go.

I barely had any snow days when I was in school. The plows would be out all night long so the roads were clear enough in the morning for the buses to get us there. 

It’s not like that in the south. When the snow falls, it’s as if life stops. You get to hit pause on the craziness of your every day responsibilities and for just a minute you get to breathe. 

I sat outside on my balcony as the snowflakes were falling. This was my first real snowfall in Nashville. Holding on to my sweet matcha latte in my new Starbucks mug as the snow covered the railing of my corner apartment balcony, I couldn’t help but smile as I thought about the first time I saw snow in the south.

It was in North Carolina. The entire city of Charlotte was pretty much shut down for about two days and I had nowhere to go. Lucky for me though, I had 3 of my favorite people living in my complex. We stayed up until well after the sun went down playing board games and laughing. We had no responsibilities and no place to be. We were just a group of people enjoying each other’s company.

I smile at how amazing those years were. I mean who gets to live in the same apartment complex as some of your favorite people? Friends had nothing on us. When I was bored I would just walk down 2 flights of stairs and knock on a door, knowing that at least one of them would open. There aren’t words to describe how much I miss those people or those memories.

I moved to Nashville to pursue a dream. I’m grateful that I was brave enough to do it because over the past year and a half I’ve found out so much more about myself that I didn’t know before, but I’m not yet ready to call Nashville home. My heart is still in North Carolina. 

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This year’s snow day I sat in my room with a cup of hot chocolate binge watching Young & Hungry. It’s a far cry from my all night board game adventures. I have tears rolling down my face as I write this, knowing they’re in the past. At the same time though, I love the fact that I have those memories to hold on to.

I’ve spent a lot of time while living in Nashville looking behind me. Wondering if I made the right choice. I think it’s really easy for people to look backwards. That when they start getting scared of the unknown they wish that they could relive the good times. When life isn’t going the way they’d hoped they wish they could go back and change something because maybe they’d end up somewhere different. I’m right there with all of them. I’m guilty of that too.

As I sat out on the balcony this weekend smiling about a life that used to be, the writer in me remembered something. We cannot live in a chapter forever. In order to continue our story we have to turn the page. Every now and then we can glance back at a chapter in order to remind ourselves of how we got here, but we cannot stay there. So much more of our story is yet to bet written.

I can never get Charlotte back, but what I can do is stop punishing Nashville for not being the city I left and start embracing it for what it has to offer and be thankful what it has given me so far. 

We can’t be sad for the things we no longer have. We can’t be angry for the things we cannot change. All we can do is focus on today and hope for tomorrow. We have to hold on to what we have right now and let go of what we cannot control.

Funny how all of this came to me while sipping a latte and watching the snow fall. 

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Being Selfish

In today’s Quotes and Coffee Newsletter I talked a bit about being selfish and why it’s so important.

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Lately I’ve been focusing a lot on myself and I honestly I feel amazing because of it. I think the “me” time I’ve been giving myself reflects in all areas of my life including how I react to things, how I interact with others and so much more.

I find that it’s been so helpful when I feel worn out to take a time out. It’s really hard to be selfish, but sometimes putting yourself first helps everyone in the long run. Here’s my “me” list that I’ve drawn up over the past few weeks. Just a few things I’ve found really help to rejuvenate my mind and body and refocus my crazy life so I can remember what’s important.

  • Getting up an hour earlier every day so I can sit outside with my coffee
  • Walking every morning with my podcast on and NO social media checking
  • Sitting at the table to eat instead of while on the computer
  • Reading a book instead of looking at my phone 30 minutes before bed

What would you put on your “me” list? Do you currently carve out time in your day or even week for yourself? What hinders you in doing so if you don’t?

You can read this week’s whole Quotes and Coffee Newsletter here!

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