Job Perk?!

For Monday and Tuesday my staff and my boss took a little trip to Emory University to meet with their Office of Student Leadership and Service Staff. Site visits are a great way to learn from peers in the field. As bonuses we were able to go to Chattanooga, TN and Atlanta/Decatur/Tucker, GA and there are some really cool people that work at Emory. All in all totally a worthwhile adventure. Learning and having fun while doing so is so the hottest thing on the streets. Get into it!

Here is a little photo journey of our trip:

Leon’s Full Service
Raging Burrito & Taco
Community Pie

Fun times and another kick in the face that we have a lot of work to do. Eek! However, we have great partners at a peer institution who want to help and that’s always a good moment. Relationship building is important and I’m amped to continue learning from Emory and perhaps one day we can teach them something. BTW, Emory is adorable–I neglected to get photos of our lunch location but if you ever get to visit pop over to the restaurant above their museum. Delish! There was also a really cool Farmer’s Market happening in the middle of campus. Confession: I’m a college campus geek.

Later y’all.

The Mountain

My friend Dorothy Lou (Dorothy, Dottie, D Lou) has been asking me to visit her on the “The Mountain” since I met her in 2007. I politely denied her offer until a few weeks ago when I realized that she was moving to San Francisco. I’m in Nashville, TN and she was traveling from Raleigh, NC. 5.5 hours for both of us. After getting a few new tires, I jumped in my car and drove to Bryson City, NC.

She wasn’t kidding when she said that she lived on a mountain. My car found a new gear as we climbed to our destination. Bryson City is about 1.5 hours away from Asheville, NC. We were in the Nantahala National Forest which totally confused me on my iPhone.

There are places in this world that God made breathtakingly beautiful and this is one of those places. Green, is the word. The view from my room was spectacular and I enjoyed breathing fresh air and reading in the morning while Max, my new dog friend, scurried around beneath me keeping an eye on things. I arrived just in time for sunset and I knew that I was a goner. Sometimes you just need to get away and this entire experience was just what the doctor ordered.

DLou’s family is wonderful and they certainly embody the meaning of hospitable. It didn’t take me long to not feel like a “visitor”. There was tons of laughter, chatter, and delicious food. Cute kiddies running around, an adorable little town with places like Cork and Bean: Mountain Social House, Everett Street Diner, Humanite Boutique, The Chocolate Shoppe, and Madison on Main.

We hiked (eek!), decided not to go tubing (yes!), we dipped our limbs into Deep Creek (DLou just went for a full out swim), we visited Relay for Life at the local high school, had ice cream and pie before bed my first night in town, attended a family cookout, and had a grand time at the Nantahala Brewing Company.

I also happened to be visiting on Decoration Day. This was a new tradition for me and is only celebrated by a few areas within the Appalachian Mountains. Relatives celebrate this day of remembrance by decorating the graves of deceased relatives. It was moving to see people pay respects to their loved ones who have gone on to be with the Lord. Even in the rain, people sang worship songs and heard the good word from a local preacher. The rest of the tradition involves gathering and eating till your belly is full.

I think I loved this trip so much because–in no particular order (a) I was able to catch up with Dorothy Lou after not seeing her for 2 years (b) The Mountain is gorgeous and is especially so when you get to drive around in a convertible with the top down (c) I felt like I was a part of this family and I think it takes special people to be able to make someone feel that comfortable in such a short amount of time–it takes big/good hearts (d) I was so out of my element and for the most part, except steep parts of the hike, I think I did well with sticking out like a sore thumb.

I really want to travel abroad but let me tell you, sometimes going 5.5 hours away from home gives you a cultural experience like you wouldn’t believe. I’m so thankful to have spent time in Bryson City, NC with DLou and her kindhearted, funny, and lovable family.

Now, I’m totally regret not going to the mountain years ago ;). smh

Thanks Dorothy Lou for the invite. Miss you, love you, and so proud of you!

Check out my pics below:

Thanks for reading about my adventure.

Later y’all.

Because I’ve Never Been There Before

These are just few of my favorite images from my 30th Birthday Trip to Austin. I went with the lovely Jennifer B. Why did we go to Austin? Well, I’ve always heard great things and I’ve never been there before. I’m not a spontaneous purchaser of plane tickets but thanks to JB I pulled the trigger and don’t have any regrets.

This city has a cool vibe. “Keep Austin Weird” is the city’s slogan. Yes, it is weird and it seems to be a place that just lets people live. Delicious Mexican food and margaritas, live music, bats, food trucks, UT, The Driskill Hotel, nice cab drivers, Clive, and Midnight Cowboy, etc. made this trip fantastic. If you want to see all my photos, head over to my facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10101755612674978.1073741828.5730901&type=1&l=c3b0ea92ee. I know that Austin is in Texas but I never felt like I was in “Texas”.

Perfect weather and a good friend made it the best package deal. I liked taking a trip for my birthday and I think it shall become a new annual tradition.

Thanks Austin for an amazing vacation and some fun memories.

Later Y’all!

101 for 1,001

What are you doing for the next two years? Mackenzie Horan has it all figured out. Check out her list here. She is the author of the adorable blog Design Darling.

She came up with 101 things for 1,001 days. That’s about 2.75 years to get 101 goals, dreams, and tasks completed. Sounds good, right?

Of course, I love a good list so I started trying to come up with 101 things that I want to do in the next 2.75 years…

This is a lot harder than I thought. Here’s what I have thus far:

1. Join a professional association for Leadership Educators.
2. Invest in a new camera.
3. Take someone I want to learn from out to coffee/dinner/lunch at least once a month.
4. Run/Walk a 5K.
5. Do more guest blogs.
6. Send email to leadership friends for insight into their world.
7. Get personal business cards.
8. Take on a Board/Council position within the Junior League of Nasvhille.
9. Be nominated for and apply again for Nashville Emerging Leader Awards.
10. Participate in a Nashville based leadership development program.
11. Go to Bluebird Cafe.
12. Be an extra on ABC’s Nashville.
13. Contribute to a new charitable cause on a bimonthly basis for 1 year.
14. Eat at 1 new restaurant per month.
15. Make it to the gym 3X per week for at least 3 months.
16. Join Toastmasters.
17. Drink at least 2 bottles of water per day for at least a month.
18. Pick an exercise class and stick to it for at least 3 months.
19. Send 2 random cards to friends at least twice a month.
20. Do Karaoke in Nashville.
21. Go to Gatlinburg, TN and Memphis, TN.
22. Take a trip every 8 months to a new destination in the US.
23. Make plans to go abroad and go!
24. Pay off debt.
25. Clean my house at least 1x per week. I live alone. I’m messy.
26. Get my car detailed.
27. Grocery shop every month. I eat out A LOT!
28. Join CABLE.
29. Go on a date.
30. Cook 1 meal per week.
31. Recommit to a small group.
32. Take a trip to W&M.
33. Read at least 1 new book per month.
34. Send my mom more cards. She keeps them all.
35. Find my signature scent.
36. Buy a great pair of tailored black pants.
37. Take time alone with God in the mornings at least 3X per week.
38. Read the entire Harry Potter series.
39. Get a massage.
40. Find a primary physician.
41. Go on a hike.
42. Clean up my computers (work/home).
43. Decorate my home like a grown up. Curtains? Coffee Table? New TV?
44. Throw a dinner party/supper club in my home.
45. Send out Christmas Greetings.
46. Seriously, plan my return to school for my Ed.D.
47. Plan and have a classy 30th birthday party.
48. Professionalize my closet.
49. Invest in big girl heels.
50. Return to learning the Spanish language.
51. Go home at 5 as often as I possibly can.
52. Leave at least 1 night per week during the weekday that I don’t have any evening plans.
53. Be a lead facilitator or Keynote Speaker at more events.
54. Be accepted as a LeaderShape Cluster Facilitator.
55. Host a book collection event for Book ‘Em.
56. Make more 1:1 connections with students at Vandy.
57. See a therapist.
58. See at least 1 live musical performance a month.

eek! Still 43 more things to go…I’m working on it. Of course, many things that I want to do are at odds with each other but it is all about prioritization and doing things on a budget. Planning is such a joke, right? Life happens in ways that tends to kill most of our plans but at least I can use this to orient me and help me make a first step. We’ll just have to see what He has in store from there. What God has for me is for me and it might not be anything on this incomplete list :).

Later y’all.

On Thursdays, We Give Thanks.

How appropriate as today is Thanksgiving. Gobble Gobble!

Keeping the post short today as I am on Holiday and I am doing this from my iPhone.

1. Smooth travels–not one hiccup at the airport yesterday. Thanks Delta! The Jamaican lady working my flight from ATL was AMAZING! Those cookies in the red wrapper and my Cranapple Cocktail Juice made it a sweet time.

2. Social Media– Love how it helps me stay in contact with those I love from afar. I am blessed with the best people in my life and I love being able to send a quick message and even view images from their lives. Connection and Community are so important. Twitter and Facebook help me keep those elements central in my life.

3. Delta Delta Delta! We celebrated Founders’ Day yesterday. 124 years of steadfast love for one another. I became a member at 26 and the layer of sisterhood it has added to my life is amazing. DLAM to all my sisters! 1888 – FOREVER! Still in awe of what our founders created 124 years ago.

4. My new read, Calm My Anxious Heart, which is helping me to explore my tendency to worry and to control things that are beyond me. I have to remember to look to Him and trust that all that comes my way, good or bad, is a gift from Him and therefore is good as it is a part of His plan. I must pray and not worry!

Happy Thanksgiving!! Gobble Gobble!!

Later Y’all!

Athens, GA

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Since I’m on a road trip kick it is perfect that I tell you about my weekend in Athens, GA. This is my second adventure to Athens and I must say that there is something incredibly charming about the place. Obviously, it is the home of the University of Georgia and the home of 88 bars in 1 square mile. There is a nice amount of southern charm but also this hipster feel similar to East Nashville. I could pick up some of Athens, stick it in my pocket, and bring it back to Nashville. Normal Bar and The National are so East Nashville and 12South. Athens, GA has that “I could live there for a little while” feel and I certainly can’t wait to visit again next year for my friend’s graduation.

My visit to Athens was to attend the wedding of one of my former Duke Blue Devils turned real life friend. So happy for him and his gorgeous bride. I haven’t been to a wedding in a long time and I must say that I greatly enjoyed this affair. You could see how much these two people love each other. The wedding was simple, classic, chic, and fun. The weather could not have been better for an outdoor reception. The colors of the wedding were the colors of fall and with the leaves changing colors I was just overwhelmed by the splendor of it all. I was able to reconnect with Duke students I haven’t seen in years and I danced to some of my favorite songs and partook in my fair share of white wine. The food (cheese grits) was southern deliciousness and I even enjoyed the small talk with the groom’s family. The woman who presided over the nuptials is my new hero and I’d like to be her best friend.

I am praying hard for this union. The angels were smiling on these two and I hope they continue to do so for the rest of their lives. I learned a lot from the groom about going after the one you love and not letting that person slip away. I actually got kinda mushy and emotional. For a minuteĀ thereĀ I thought about getting married…I mean, I’m sure that’s just a phase right and that desire will fade away in the next day or three?! Ā While they flew off to Belize, I drove back to TN.

Being in Athens was peaceful. Sitting on the front porch, having a good stress free dinner, stuffing my face with cake while having a speaker phone conversation with another favorite from graduate school, talking until 3am with my bff about life, walking through campus on a non-gameday Saturday, and driving through TN in complete awe of the beauty God makes in this world. I also learned that a friendship is ever evolving and you never stop learning from someone who cares about you. I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend.

I am settled untilĀ VA for Turkey Day and then Indy for the AFA Annual Meeting. I think my Mazda could use the rest not to mention an oil change, new tires, and brakes :/.

Later y’all.

On Thursdays, We Give Thanks.

So, for some reason Thursday is just Ć¼ber busy. Hence, we have a Thursday post on Saturday. It is what it is and it is never too late to be thankful.

1. Friends that live in drivable distance. I have become a fan of the road trip. My max distance has been 6 hours. My mom is worried about my car. I,of course, am not. Ohio, Georgia, Mississippi, Knoxville,TN. If you have a couch, I have the Mazda. Tis nice to just get away for the weekend. Breathe new air and think about things (or not) in an entirely new context. I am taking reservations for my company. Looking forward to hearing from you ;).

2. I have a funny mom. We belly laugh together. I laugh until I snort! I call and she knows just how to make me double over in hysterics. She’s a storyteller and I always look forward to the next adventure. My soul always feels better after talking to mama. Crazy how your mama just knows how to make like okay again. How do they do that?

3. I can read. I am thankful for literacy. It still blows my mind that there are people of all ages who cannot partake in the joy and sheer necessity of the written word. I want to help make that better. Perhaps, I will read for Book ‘Em or volunteer as a reading tutor. Reading has played such a critical role in my personal development that I want to give that gift to others.

That’s all for now. Sorry for lacking images. I am actually in Athens,GA for a former student turned friend’s wedding. People like him make me thankful for my career.

Later Y’all!