Nashville Strong

There is strength in numbers.

As many of you are aware, a tornado ripped through Middle Tennessee just last week. Its reign of terror was 50 miles wide and remained on the ground for 60 minutes, hitting in the dark of the night while many residents were asleep.

Strength in numbers.

I had gone to a Nashville Predators game the prior evening and upon returning to the Mini Manse, realized I left my phone in Mama CBXB’s car. I texted her via my iWatch to let her know.

Ignorance is bliss.

Mama CBXB came by around 6am on Tuesday morning to return my phone and told me there’d been a tornado and to turn on the TV. The images being shown were inconceivable.

I sat in silence. I sat in shock. I sat in sadness. I started freaking the fuck out when I saw the areas where the tornado reportedly touched down because I know people from every area. I checked my email. The CEO of our company sent a message at 6am to stay home until further notice. Our office building had survived the attack from Mother Nature but this is the view of damage from our parking lot, across the street at Tennessee State University.

The magnitude of damage was hard to comprehend via the television screen. The scariness of unknown lurked within every thought. My phone started dinging with messages, DMs, and calls that were concerned peeps checking on me, my friends and family.

None of the local stations broke for the national morning news programs and fresh information kept flooding in. Missing persons lists started circulating, the mayors of areas affected were conducting press conferences, advising residents of what to do. By 10am, the city of Nashville declared a state of emergency. Twenty-two people were confirmed dead and 50,000 people were without power.

The feeling of helplessness subsided when by finding out those loved ones in the areas hit the hardest, historic East Nashville, Germantown and North Nashville were alive. My girlfriend and her family lost their house but they were able to take cover with seconds to spare at 1:45am.

After seeing the above photos of her house, we spoke on the phone. You know what she said? “It could have been so much worse.”

She’s right. It could have been worse. And for some of our residents, it was as the death toll from the storm grew to 25 lives lost. The city went to bed Tuesday night with an uncertainty of what to do and how to help our neighbors while staying out of the way of first responders and city maintenance crews.

Strength in numbers.

The next day, local news showed the droves of volunteers answering calls from organiztions.

My office was able to open and operate off of a generator. We were the only business able to open in about an eight-block radius.

Friends, acquaintances and loved ones kept checking on me and all things Nashville that I love and adore.

Open for business, baby.

I poured over the news while at work, seeking ways we could help. That is the damndest feeling – knowing people need help, but having to stay away because you’d create more havoc. While I was scrolling through Huffington Post, I notice a familiar stature.

No big deal first day.

The Silent Indian’s first day at Edley’s BBQ in East Nashville ended up being a training in tornado clean-up instead of how to be a General Manager of the restaurant.

Before and after images started circulating on social media, creating awareness of the damage done to the heart of the affected areas.

Then, the names of victims started to trickle out. Mike and Albree were leaving an East Nashville speakeasy, Attaboy, headed to their car when they were struck by debris. Albree died on the scene, Mike later at the hospital.

Putnam County saw the most lives lost to the tornado.

With all of the devastating emotions reeling around, the communities stepped the fuck up, showing the world why Tennessee is known as The Volunteer State.

Tide rolled into East Nashville with their Loads of Hope program, helping first responders and those displaced by the tornado wash their clothes.

Animals were displaced from their families and heartbreakingly wondering the streets. The Nashville Human Association, along with numerous other animal rescues and organizations were on hand collecting donations, taking in stranded animals and spearheading social media sharing to get fur babies back to their loved ones.

Local companies started donating 100% of proceeds from merchandise to the tornado relief efforts. In four hours, an Instagram account, @nashvilletn, raised $50k. In a little over a week, they’ve raised $450,000 and counting. They hope to break $1 million by the end of March.

Anything on their website is 100% donated to the relief efforts. CLICK HERE to visit their online store.

Project 615 is a local business that only does good and creates awareness through their tee shirts. All of the profits from the shirt below go toward the Middle Tennessee tornado fund. CLICK HERE to visit their online store.

There are numerous colors and variations of the shirt below from local Nashvillian, Love and Lion. Again 100% of proceeds from sales are headed to relief efforts. CLICK HERE to visit the online store.

The couple, Albree and Mike, were both service industry workers in East Nashville. The Fox Bar & Cocktail Club, where Albree worked, is selling pins in honor of the couple.  All proceeds will benefit service industry workers without employment due to the tornados.

CLICK HERE to purchase a “Pancho” pin, named after their cat.

Witnessing the outpouring of love, support and efforts made by friends and complete strangers alike have been beyond heartwarming. Those who have reached out questioning how to help, please invest in a product above as Nashville is now in the rebuilding stage.

The response for calls of supplies, volunteers, organizing, recovery efforts, etc. has been enormous.

After four full days of volunteers, many organizations pressed pause over the weekend. More than 30,000 people volunteered in Middle Tennessee during that time span.

Strength in numbers.

The cleanup efforts are ongoing, the rebuilding will take months and years but one thing I know is true about the city I love so madly…we’re always open.

See you all on Broadway soon.

There is strength in numbers.

CBXB

CBXB!

Yule Be Bowled Over

Holy shit the holiday season crept up and is flying out faster than a fad diet at the beginning of a new year.

This season not only marked Prissy’s first Christmas with me and The Pussy Posse, it also was our premiere road trip together.

One of us was embarrassed of a hotel lobby selfie. One of us was clearly not.

Dada CBXB is not known for his speedy lead foot. If anything, when we are on a road trip to Iowa, the texts I usually get from family go a little something like, “see you next week” when it’s simply a day’s drive. However on this trip, Dada CBXB splurged and got a hotel room in St. Louis, the mid-way point between destinations. He very cleverly booked us at a place that featured three free cocktails per guest, along with snacks until 7pm. We arrived at 6:30.

Will speed for free booze.

After chugging, we wound down catching former Hawkeye, George Kittle kill it on the field with the San Francisco 49ers. Always a way with a nickname, Dad called our usual night caps, “Kittle Kaps” and well, that’s what it shall be named from here on out.

Kittle Kaps all around.

Not only was this first holiday road trip for Priss, this was also her introduction to the twins. I was slightly worried I may not get to take her back to Music City with me once the duo of cuteness got their paws on her.

Prissy, the instant hit.

One of the reasons Prissy is enviable to the twins is her size as my dogphew, Spike, can’t sit on laps and be carried around on a hip easily. But boy can he snuggle like nobody’s business.

You can totes see the family resemblance, right?

It was new hair dos all around for the big man in red.

Hair envy, anyone?

What would a Christmas be without a sugar cookie fest for my pie hole? Sister CBXB had three pounds of buttercream frosting that may or may not all be sitting on my hips at the moment.

Cookies more delish than they appear.

When the wee ones wondered to bed my BIL (also known as Dr. Cocktail) whipped up some of his finest drunk mixes. One round was vaguely familiar and it inspired me to start watching Sex and the City on my next TV binge.

Carrie Bradshaw style Christmas Cosmopolitan.

Prissy couldn’t decide if she’s a Carrie or a Charlotte. Jury’s still out.

After matching cosmos, we kept up the sister game by sporting matching sequined Santa starter jackets because why the fuck not?

Holla Ho!

The following evening we were treated to a snazzy seasonal supper complete with place cards created by the twins. They somehow managed to set their own cards at the heads of the table. Clever little fucks.

Supper is served.

Soon after our bellies were full, it was time for the slumber before Santa’s visit.

The calm before the Christmas tsunami.

HE CAME.

Our day was filled with stockings, sugar cookies, mimosas, coffee, sugar cookies, mimosas, presents, dogs, kids, mayhem, mimosas, movies, naps, a fire pit, sugar cookies, pizzas, wine and fun.

Fucking crazy for Christmas.

The holiday went off without a hitch and I’m pretty sure the blood pumping through my veins is still straight saccharine.

Prissy and the Princess.

The Christmas stimulation proved to be tiring to my pooch who typically acts as if she’s on some sort of canine cocaine on the daily. She spent most of the nine hour sleigh ride back to Nashville the next day with her eyes shut.

Sleeping ’til 2020.

While I was trying to pry my eyes open with toothpicks for work back in Nashville, the twins were partying with tacos and Mama CBXB.

Taco time.

With Christmas falling in the middle of the work week combined with two travel days in a car, my body didn’t know up from fucking down. I was able to muster a work outfit together on Friday, which felt like a Monday and then felt like a Saturday because the Iowa Hawkeyes were playing in a bowl game that night, when they usually play on Saturday day. See the difficulty for me?

Be bold, wear gold. And sequins. Lots of sequins.

A mix of emotions for the last game until next August. The horror.

It was quite fitting the Iowa Hawkeyes played in the Holiday Bowl against USC this year. Our long time beloved coach, Hayden Fry, passed away earlier in the month. When he was coaching, this bowl was one of his favorites, so winning it would be extra special. Dada CBXB and I weren’t sure what to make of Iowa scoring on their first drive, even though we were favored to win by two points.

Naturally, we did the typical Family Tradition…times fucking seven. Yes, SEVEN.

Touchdown #1!

Touchdown #2!

Touchdown #3!

Touchdown #4!

Touchdown #5!

Touchdown #6!

Touchdown #7!

It’s been forever since we needed two hands for counting shots so we were a tad out of practice. We also had to get really crafty with our picture props, as the Hawks kept scoring TDs. The final victorious score was 49 – 24, making Iowa’s overall record this year 10-3.

If that’s not a way to end a season, I don’t know what is. ON IOWA!

High five to a new decade.

I was certainly feeling bowled over the next day…with no complaints.

Cheers to the last few days before a new year!

CBXB!

Weekend Winks – A Wonder Dog and Dads

All is well and good until you kick your weekend off with a purple gin martini.

Then it’s fucking fabulous.

I only like gin when it’s purple.

A gaggle of friends were in Music City and we had so much fun, the time spent together warrants its own post. But what started out like this…

Was raging the following 24 hours like this…

No fun zone.

My Iowa twins were having their own fun on my old work stomping grounds at Adventureland, an amusement park near Des Moines.

You’re gonna have a fun filled day! (jingle)

I used to sing and dance on a stage that rose from the ground six times per day in the sweltering Iowa heat. It was so much more fun than waiting tables and it gave me the performance bug that eventually led me to Nashville.

I was not fortunate enough to be a plush dog. Once I was a fucking clown.

Princess B decided to get a few inches chopped off of her luscious locks and I don’t care that she’s my mini me, this chick can do no wrong when it comes to life her hair.

those. curls.

Saturday called for brunch and while I was busy guzzling bottomless mimosas at the bar, I saw a dog (it’s like my eyes are magnetically drawn to anything furry). The bartender took a beer, the dog retreived it from her hand and gingerly carried it to his owner at a nearby table.

I was so bummed I missed the video but naturally had to go and maul the dog, Dog for his fabulous efforts. Luckily for me, the owner was not a one and done kind of drinker, therefore, I had a chance to get this genius canine in his pet trick element.

*mind blown*

What else would one do on a low key Saturday night than watch your favorite Christmas movie for the 6,380,156 time? I couldn’t even wait until “Christmas in July”.

A fun old fashioned family Griswold Christmas.

Sunday greeted me with a fancy omelette courtesy of Van Waffles.

That drizzle is everything.

Father’s Day celebrations then commenced and I sent messages to my peeps. I have dudes in my life who are fathers to fish, four legged friends, and humans. First photo I received of the day was from my cousin and his one and some months year old daughter (why don’t people just say one? Why does it have to be 16, 18, 24 months? Just a side question for the humanless parents).

Juicy Lucy!

My mini party headed to the ever affordable Chili’s for their all day happy hour (2 for 1 house wines and beer, hello!) to celebrate dear old Dada CBXB.

Chips, salsa and snoozes.

My girl, Sleepy, went out the evening before and the salsa dipping proved to be too much, so she shut her eyes for a second.

Party animal.

While she was regaining her dipping strength, I gifted Dada CBXB with a small token of gratitude that he can share with me, naturally.

Bota Box Rosé. Bring that into the pool next weekend. Thanks.

I then turned my dad into Elton John by adorning him with my new sunglasses that are only missing lights.

Here’s hoping your week is just as extra as my dad’s sunglasses.

Cheers!

CBXB

CBXB!

 

Hometown Tourist

You’d think with all of the belly aching I do regarding Nashville’s ever growing population that I hate it here in Music City. That’s not true though – I love this city. I just wish other people loved it the way I loved it instead of moving here and trying my once (and still to some) mini city on for size for a few years before moving on to bigger and better.

OMG. Stop moving here. You are driving me to drink.

The job market is oversaturated, gentrification is becoming a serious side of living here (especially if your income is a single lady living on her own – cannot imagine what it’s like for families), high rises have already murdered the once charming Music Row, First Mate can count 18 cranes (she calls them sky birds and for the record, she’s totally fine with the havoc wreaking taking place) from her downtown office, every.single.fucking. bro country “music” artist has a bar in the once quaint downtown (from Florida Georgia Line to Blake Shelton to Jason Aldean). My once gem of a city is turning into a bonafuckingfide bigger Branson, Missouri, right in front of my peepers.

https://cowboysandcrossbones.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/image2.jpg

Country. When country wasn’t cool.

I digress.

When pals come to town, it’s always been fun playing tourist in my own city. Due to the massive growth the last few years, I haven’t taken advantage of seeing Nashville through the eyes of others lately (and because if one more fucking to-be bride drunkenly steps on my foot, I might lose my goddamn mind and kick her Taylor Swift wearing cowboy boots with skirt outfit circa 2015 to the fucking state line).

There’s enough crazy in town already, bachelorettes.

This past weekend, my college bestie, Tdawg was in town to get her giddy up on with some of her gal pals from Denver.

It was the group’s first time in Nashville and I threw caution to the wind, swallowed $40 for two hour parking (you parking lot people are seriously horrible human beings), and trotted my ample ass down to the swanky hotel on Friday and met the crew at the rooftop bar.

Gorgeous lobby.

Intricate ceilings.

Most importantly, the bar.

The views from this spot did not disappoint.

Three ladies and an asshole.

Because I must always be up to no good, I was more than happy to oblige photo requests.

Oh. Just you three in it? Sorry. Not sorry.

They had supper reservations Friday night and I promised (after she forced me to call the studio by literally holding the phone up to my ear to make an appointment while I guzzled rosé at the bar) Tdawg I’d meet her on Saturday morning for an exercise class at Pure Barre. If you wonder who the fuck works out on a two day vacation, look no further than Tdawg. I have enough trouble sweating in my own city, let alone when I’m traveling.

Unless I’m visiting Yoga Barbie in Denver, I DO NOT workout on vacay.

Needless to say, I overslept and missed the fucking class. It ended up being OK thought because Tdawg was overserved the evening prior and spent the next several hours in her dreamy hotel bed. But she was up and at ’em for the evening and after supper, I took the gals to my fave honky tonk on the planet – Robert’s Western World to see my fave country band on the planet – The Don Kelley Band.

Recovered.

I used to frequent Robert’s so much before the besiege of tourists take over every summer, the last time I was there, Don Kelley said to me, “you don’t get out much, do you?” while I was dancing for the 4,812,654 time in front of him.

You AGAIN?!

Usually, on a Saturday night at 8:30 it’s already asses to elbows on Broadway and it was no different when we were frolicking about downtown. However, luck was on our side and when we galloped into Robert’s, there was an open booth at the front of the bar waiting for our rear ends. This kind of magic hasn’t happened since 2014.

Yeehaws all around.

Tawg was beyond impressed with the twang and spent most of her time at Robert’s on one of many devices.

 

The owner of Robert’s, JesseLee Jones, is the leader of the house band, Brazilbilly. They play every Saturday night from 10pm – 2am. In all of my years going to Robert’s, every single Saturday night, his mom comes and watches his show. Every. single. time. She sits in the same spot and drinks either coffee or Red Bull. It’s the fucking cutest thing ever.

Mama Jones.

Tdawg called it an early night but No Digity, MoHo and yours truly stayed to see The Don Kelley Band’s famous rendition of “Ghost Riders in the Sky.”

We didn’t hate it.

Upon returning to the Noelle Hotel, I tried to fill Tdawg in on what she missed.

No pillow talk for me.

The ladies had to get up at the first sign of the sun to catch their 8am flight. Meanwhile, I was able to get some much needed beauty sleep in a quiet, cool, dark hotel room.

Not so sleeping beauty.

When my lids decided to fling open, I realized that this place was a whole lot fancier than the Holiday Inns in which I’ve grown accustomed.

 

This mastery was just a reach beside the bed and I honestly don’t know how much longer I can live without one.

Controls for the entire room.

 

Parched after my previous evening’s boozefest, I sauntered out of the room to get some water and didn’t know how many choices there were when it came to H2O.

 

I couldn’t figure out where the ice machine was until I saw what looked like a fancy refrigerator drawer below the water.

 

I would have taken some ice packages if I had a bigger purse with me. Because, I’m nothing if not white trashiness at its finest.

Speaking of finest, what about my departing outfit from the fancy Noelle Hotel?

 

I looked like I was a hot mess because I was a hot fucking mess. No Digity gifted me a Robert’s Western World t-shirt that I refused to take off. When I went to retrieve my car from the valet, the dude asked me where I was heading home to (since I looked like a confused, hungover bachelorette from Nebraska).

No shame in my game.

“West Nashville.” Ever heard of it?

I had so much fun being a tourist in my town, I can’t wait to do it again. So consider this your warning if you’re coming to Music City and staying at a fancy establishment. I’m crashing your party. Until then, I’ll be riding as high as the rooftop bar I was lucky to experience.

Oldies but goodies.

Party on.

CBXB

CBXB!

 

 

 

 

Weekend Winks – Tight Ends and Taylor Swift

Oh Nashville.

You used to be my hidden gem of a city. I’d lure people to visit because if someone didn’t like country music, they weren’t interested in coming. Nashville was never just country music and cowboys but only true peeps who lived here knew that. Now, the secret’s out. It’s been out for quite some fucking time since the overly dramatic television show Nashville hit TV screens and the last few years, one hundred people have been moving here per day, taking up precious space on my interstates (yes, the interstates here are mine and mine only) and causing housing prices to sky rocket (seriously stop moving here or I’m going to be unable to afford to live in my Mini Manse that is a 42-year-old, popcorn ceilinged, ratchety carpeted, brass hardwared apartment that has gone up in rent almost $100 per year the last three years).

After this weekend, it’s suffice to say that Nashville is a legit city. Music City hosted the NFL Draft (downtown), the Country Music Marathon (downtown), Jimmy Buffett threw a parrot head party (downtown), and Taylor Swift decided to make a surprise appearance in the city with an impromptu meet and greet at the same time regular tourists and bachelor/bachelorette parties invaded the city while regular events went on per usual.

In 2017, Nashville’s population was 691,243.

This weekend, 600,000 more people invaded the city.

A projected 340,000 people for the weekend. That number nearly doubled for the three day shenanigans in Music City.

Most folks that live here took heed from the warning below…

The traffic lights literally spelled NFL. Photo credit: Pedro Esteban Tellez.

Just because my city was inundated with NFL fans didn’t mean I wasn’t in the mood for the draft. Two Iowa tight ends were projected to be selected Round One. So naturally, I gussied up at work in support.

Tight End University, Baby!

Lucky for me, First Mate is a sports head too and she hosted a draft partay at her castle.

Do gators eat hawks or do the birds peck gators to death?

Nothing says football party like a little two boxes of rosé.

True to the projections, my Iowa Hawkeyes tight ends, T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant were selections eight and 20 overall in the first round. The University of Iowa is the first ever to have two tight ends drafted in the first round, which is why we’re now known as Tight End University.

I’m a size medium if anyone is at Raygun in the near future.

Detroit for Hockenson.
Broncos for Fant.

Might as well have been downtown.

Or maybe we were glad we were in air conditioning.

Either way, we had such a ball that we accidentally killed two boxes of rosé.

R.I.P. Bota Boxes.

Did I mention it was Thursday night? I woke up with such confusion at First Mate’s Friday morning (because I usually stay over on a weekend), I almost lollygagged too long to make it to work on time.

As if draft day one wasn’t enough, Taylor Swift decided to grace Nashville with her presence the day she dropped her first single off of the upcoming album. Hint after hint was dropped by Swift’s camp and Swifties from all over the planet somehow figured the fuck out where she was going to be at 11am on Friday morning.

If you want to stand where Taylor is standing, this mural is in the Gulch area of Nashville.

For those of  you Swifties out here, below is a video (it’s grainy but you’ll get the gist) captured by a dude who misses nothing in Nashville and is hip to every.single.thing happening in town. Taylor apparently stayed and signed autographs and graciously took selfies for hours.

One thing most Nashvillians can unite on is our disdain for the “woohoo” girls who come down for bachelorette parties. Now of course they pay good money and stay downtown but are, quite possibly, the most annoying of all tourists. So this was an especially funny site to see.

Speaking of bachelorette parties, check out the best sign from the marathon on Saturday.

A big congrats to the 30,000+ runners who completed the half and full marathon. I’ve done both and they are hard as fuuuuuuuuuuck.

Run for the tacos. @rosepepper

Even though neither First Mate nor myself did any kind of running, we still decided we needed tacos.

So we ran to eat Mexican.

While Nashville was abuzz with all kinds of shit happening, my Iowa twins were all primped up for a wedding. It’s too bad they don’t enjoy each other’s company.

Nothing but love.

J. Crew model in the making.

Hair model in the making.

I mean fucking COME ON.

When Sunday rolled around, I was ready for some mauling by The Pussy Posse.

Rocky and Fabio have snuggling down to a science.

The newest addition Scooch, is another story.

After watching everyone stand on their feet for three days downtown, my tootsies ached for them. Of course I remedied that the best way I know.

To all those that came in for a few days, thanks for coming!

But mostly, thanks for getting the fuck out of town.

Love ya, mean it!

CBXB!