Thursday, October 20, 2011

On The Hunt For: Loafers With A Heel

I'm not talking about the boring, flat brown or black loafer that we are used to seeing on schoolgirls and office workers. The loafers I'm after have a bit of sexiness to them and would make your legs look a mile long when paired with some dark jeans. I love the hint of preppiness, but with a little attitude, perfect for the upcoming Fall season.

Last season, but I'm still in love.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Road Trip: Lynchburg, Tennessee

If you are a fan of Jack Daniels Whiskey, then you may be familiar with the tiny town of Lynchburg, Tennessee. 

Lynchburg is home to the famous Jack Daniels Distillery, which according to the town's website, averages over 250,000 visitors every year. For a town of less than 6,000 people, nestled in a pretty remote location in the Tennessee hills, that is a pretty significant population jump.

Nate was working on a story last week, so Maddux and I tagged along. We only stayed long enough to take a few pictures and get some Jack Daniels infused chocolates (yum!), but we are thinking about going back this Saturday for the Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational Barbeque Competition. With over 25,000 people expected in the town on that day alone we may have a hard time finding parking!

Monday, October 3, 2011


About this time three years ago, I was a mess. Most people, even my closest family and friends, didn't know it. I became a great actress, smiling and laughing when necessary, an expert at hiding my true feelings. 

It had not even been two whole years since my husband Michael had been killed in a horrible accident. But it was enough time for people to move on. It wasn't so fresh and new anymore. The phone calls and letters had stopped coming. People didn't ask me how I was doing anymore, at least not in "that way." They saw me smiling, traveling, living life. "She's fine," they must have thought. But I was not in a good place.

Months before, friends had encouraged me to start dating again. And I did. But it was a disaster. I literally had no idea what I was doing. Michael and I had dated since I was practically a teenager, and I felt like a fish out of water, gasping for breaths.

I wasn't working, had almost completely stopped writing music and spent my days sleeping and my nights pacing, unable to sleep.

I knew I needed a change, something to force me out of the rut I was in. At this point, the YMCA had been an important part of my life, and I had wonderful relationships with many of the people there. I decided that I would start to work again. Not only that, but I would take the earliest shift possible to force myself to get up and out of bed. Well, the earliest shift possible was 5 am! But I went for it. Instead of staying up until 4 am , I forced myself to get to sleep by 10, so that I could be up by 4. And I loved it! I started working out again, enrolled in a couple of college courses and spent more time at the boutique I owned in Green Hills. I felt like I was moving towards the light.

But the darkness still found its way to me from time to time. I was lonely, and probably a little depressed, worried I would never fall in love again, or have children. These were two very important things that I wanted in my life, and I felt like they had been robbed from me. I often fell into the trap of feeling sorry for myself, hovering in that realm of self-pity for far too long.

About March of 2009, a friend and I went out for a girls' night. We had a great time, but somehow as we were getting ready to leave, I ended up in this awkward conversation with some guy. I think at that point, I didn't even want to think about dating or flirting. At any rate, it triggered something in me, and I spent the drive home crying and inwardly yelling at Michael for leaving me and putting me in the position of being single again and having to try and fit into the dating landscape.

I didn't sleep much that night and was utterly exhausted as I drove to work at 4:30 the next morning. But I did something different on this drive than I did on other mornings. I prayed.

Now, I grew up going to church, Sunday School, youth group. You name it, I was there. I had prayed many times, but looking back, I think they were more the stale prayers of someone who was used to praying the same words over and over again. I was never bold in my prayers. I never asked for anything, afraid that I would be over-stepping the God-Human boundary.
But this morning was different. I prayed like I had never prayed before, calling out and asking God for some very specific things. I prayed all the way to work.

About 30 minutes into my shift at the front door, a young man walked in. When he saw me, he got a huge smile on his face, like when you know someone and are wanting to say hello. I'd never seen this guy in my life.

"Are you still singing?" he asked me. Well, maybe he's seen a show of mine, or heard me sing at a YMCA event.

"Uh, not much," I replied, still a little confused.

"Well, you should, because God has given you a gift."

Well, okay, I thought as he walked away. That was nice. But a few minutes later, he returned, his eyes a little teary, and his hands shaking.

"This is really weird, but I have to ask you. Are you a Christian?" 

"Yes," I said. "I am."

"Well, I was over there on the treadmill, and I got a very strong feeling, like God was telling me I needed to come over and talk to you. I didn't want you to think I was crazy, but the feeling just wouldn't go away. I think I'm supposed to come over here and tell you that your prayer will be answered."

My breath was knocked out of me. I had just spent the drive over praying a very specific prayer that I had never prayed before, and here was this stranger standing in front of me, telling me God had told him that my prayer would be answered. I didn't know what to think.

"I don't even know if that means anything to you, and you don't have to tell me, but I just couldn't leave until I talked to you," he said. And then he was gone. I never saw him again.

I spent the next couple of hours of my shift in a daze, oddly exhilarated, like I was walking on a cloud.

I left the Y and went to open up my boutique. About an hour after I had opened, I looked up and saw a large man standing in the doorway. He looked like Santa Claus. Even though I owned a women's boutique, I still had guys come in from time to time to buy something for a wife or girlfriend. I started to say "Hello, what can I help you with," when he came in and walked towards me. As he got closer, I saw that he had tears in his eyes and was carrying a book in his hands. He didn't say a word, just opened his book, which turned out to be an old yearbook, to an earmarked page. 

"I'm Michael Lloyd, and I'm from Bushnell, Illinois," he said.

Well, once again, my breath was knocked out. My late husband's name was Michael Lloyd Bushnell. 

He went on to tell me that he had read my recent article in Nashville's City Paper, about my boutique. It had mentioned Michael. 

"I felt led to come here. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's the similarities in our name. But I feel like God is telling me to tell you that everything is going to be alright."

And with that, he handed me a tiny Bible and left.

My whole life, I had heard stories about miracles, about God speaking to people, but it had never happened to me. And now in one day, in the span of only a few hours, this.

Over the next few days, I only told a few people what had happened. I felt like it was a gift that I wanted to hold on tight to and not expose to the elements. I guess I knew there would be people who doubted my story, and I didn't want them to rob me of my wonderment.

Two weeks later, I was invited to a birthday party for a girl I didn't even know. I really didn't want to go, but my friend finally convinced me to. It was there that a tall reporter in a rainbow t-shirt asked me to take a picture with him. Six months later, we stood in the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge, surrounded by our closest family and friends and pledged to spend our lives together. And last September, we welcomed our son into the world.

Anybody who says that they don't believe in miracles has not lived my life. I am aware every single day where I was and where I am now. I thank God for his redemptive grace and the chance to live this amazing life. If I never do anything else, if I never write another song, or travel to another distant location, I will still have everything I could ever want.

Happy Anniversary, Nate.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Road Trip: Nolensville, Tennessee

Another weekend, another road trip for me, Nate and Maddux. Saturday was such a gorgeous day here in Nashville, sunny and finally cool enough for jeans and hoodies. Fall is just beginning to make its presence known and after such a stifling hot summer, it is certainly welcomed.

We didn't have a whole lot of time, so we drove out to the tiny town of Nolensville, less than 30 minutes from home. 10 years ago, Nolensville was nothing more than a small area of decaying historic houses and rolling old farmland. But with the huge growth of nearby Brentwood and Williamson County, the town has grown exponentially. Gone are many of the farms in place of Publix grocery stores and cookie cutter subdivisions. But if you drive just past all that, the main town area still stands, albeit with a brand new, shiny Town Hall. 

We stopped at the Nolensville Feed Mill where you can buy groceries, gifts and knick knacks. On Saturdays, they host Music at the Mill (the store backs up to Mill Creek) where you can eat their buffet-style Meat and Three while listening to musicians do some "pickin' and grinin'". When we were there, we were lucky enough to hear the super talented Mark Winchester, who we found out used to play upright bass with the Brian Setzer Orchestra.

Here are some pictures from our fun day:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Maddux's Day!

About six months ago, I started to plan Maddux's first birthday party. After reading so many amazing mommy blogs over the past year, I was really feeling the pressure to do something amazing. I mean, some of the parties I saw were truly phenomenal

First, I needed to decide on the theme. Vintage Circus or Race Cars? Bumble Bees or Sing-Along ? Or maybe this one, but in blue. Well, whatever I decided on, I would need to find a way to incorporate these and these.

But as the date drew closer, I realized that my heart just wasn't in it. It's not that I didn't want to give my son a fabulous party. I just realized that I really wanted to have a small celebration, and save the big party for a year when he would remember it. I think I got a little caught up in the idea of planning some massive party that all my friends would ooh and ahh over that I forgot the main reason for the day was to celebrate Maddux's first year of life, and the amazing little guy that he is turning out to be.

So in the end, Nate and I decided to just have a "Maddux Day." First, Maddux woke up to a room full of balloons. We videotaped his reaction, first quizzical, then giggly, then ridiculously excited as he tried to grab them. Nate had the day off work and we just relaxed together and did all of the things that Maddux likes to do: chew on remote controls, chase Jackson Dog around the living room, giggle hysterically at his daddy and bang his blocks together.

We took him out to eat his first taste of meat and french fries. He got to wear his little birthday crown around all day, and smiled at all the people who said 'Happy Birthday.' Then we came home and he got to eat his cake and listen to his mommy and daddy sing to him. And of course I took way too many pictures.

It was a perfect day, and a perfect way to celebrate Maddux's first year of life. Wow! A year already?! But I do have to say I am looking forward to his first "real" party, with all of his friends and family, and maybe a circus animal or two.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Stella McCartney Baby

Ack! I seriously want to dress Maddux in everything from Stella McCartney's Fall/Winter baby clothing line. I just can't get over the cuteness.

Etsy Find: Alexandra Grecco

I'm certainly not the first blogger to showcase the talents of Alexandra Grecco, and I won't be the last. This Brooklyn based designer already has quite a following, and with dresses like her best-selling  'If I Only Had A Heart' dress, it's not hard to see why. You can find her on Etsy as well as her main website.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mellow Yellow

When I was a little girl, I went through my Yellow Period. All of my dresses had to be yellow, I only drank yellow drinks and when asked what toys I wanted to play with, I replied, "yellow toys." At least I was consistent.

I guess I eventually grew out of my fascination with the hue, as my wardrobe now consists of all the primary colors, but if the Spring 2012 fashion shows are any indication, my obsession may return with a vengeance.

Here are a few of my favorites from the shows this past week in New York.

Click here for a trip down memory lane!

Matthew Williamson
Monique Lhuillier
Wes Gordon
Reed Krakoff
Jill Stuart
Tracy Reese
Oscar de la Renta
J. Crew
Burberry Prorsum
Carolina Herrera

All photos courtesy of