Monday, December 30, 2013

Nashville Blogger Meet-Up 2013

I took a mini-vaca last weekend to spend some time with one of my blogging "best-ies," Elizabeth from Kickin' It In Kindergarten.  {We met in Vegas at the "I Teach K" Conference, had a GREAT time, and became fast friends!} She and Greg from Kindergarten Smorgasboard were hosting a Nashville Blogger Meet-Up and I just HAD to go!  I hopped in my black Suburban, tossed on the shades, and acted like I was a secret service agent on a mission! Now folks... I live in northern Indiana, so it was quite a drive.  (6 1/2 hours to be precise!)  But soooo worth it!   I mean truly.  I went by myself.  No babbling darling kiddos in the backseat.  No hubby flipping though sporting events on the radio. Just me... Oh, and my 2 friends "peace" and "quiet!"  LOL. But seriously, I mean if you are a momma like me you probably haven't had 6 hours of peace and quiet in years!  Are ya' feeling me on this one?

We started off the weekend by meeting at Nashville's Amerigo's.   Mmm-Mmm! Yummy food and a great atmosphere!   Most importantly... The sweet tea was to die for!  #SweetTeaAddict  #igottaproblem

Just look at the amazing group of bloggers...and stalkers!  LOL   Seriously, I always find it amazing when you meet teachers at blog meet-up events.  Every time, the people you meet there are THE best of the BEST!  Teachers who blog are always the strongest in their districts, without fail.  They are the ones seeking to improve themselves.  They are the ones going above and beyond.  They are the ones doing what's RIGHT...not what is easy!  I mean FOR REAL... have you ever met a blogger who is a closed-door, ditto master, non-sharing, out-dated dullster??  I think not!  If you are a blogger yourself, you know blogging is not necessarily "easy."   It takes time.  It takes dedication.  If you are looking to build yourself a support team of the highest caliber... Start by going to a meet-up!

Or better yet... start with these bloggers, who joined us in Nashville:

Misty and Kristy-Teaching Times Two
And ME!
...And we can't forget our followers (stalkers!) extraordinaire:  Asha, Kristine and Danielle

Saying that Elizabeth and Greg had been busy would be an understatement!  The prizes these two collected and prepared for the meet-up were phenomenal! Just look at all the goodies that were won!

After LOTS of chatting (which in my opinion is always the BEST part of these meet-ups!), we broke for some time to digest. {Literally!}  Then, later met for dinner near Opryland.  {You know you are in good company when an hour wait feels like 2 minutes! GREAT conversation and idea sharing!!!}  I was so honored to sit next to Misty & Kristy, the identical twin duo who bring you the Teaching Times 2 blog!
LOVE.THESE.GIRLS!   #puttheminmypocketandtakethemhome  These ladies were not only stunningly beautiful, you angelic, but incredibly smart and filled with Tennessee charm!  I mean, I think I learned more from them that hour at dinner than I do at most PD events!  Smart cookies!  However, I gotta admit... Their sweet Tennessee accents were mesmerizing!  They could have been speaking alien language... and I would have hung on every word!!!  Did I mention that these girlies teach at the same school?  Can you imagine such double-sweetness in one building?!

Onward....   Next we ran (literally) to Opryland Resort for the "ICE!" event.  We suited up in our giant blue parkas and headed in to view 2 million pounds of specially carved and colored ice.  2 MILLION POUNDS.  FOR. REAL.   

Uh. Huh.   Rockin' the parkas.

They even had a quadruple ice slide!  SLICK!  Check out these action shots!  
Note:  This place was FREEZING! Like sub-zero.  By this point in the tour my fingers were COMPLETELY numb!   When they say to wear gloves....they mean it! Ouch!  (We looked for gloves briefly at the mall before running over to the event, but couldn't find any quickly.  Had I have known the degree of chill...THIS girl would have bought socks to wear on her hands!  Yep!  Socks on the hands.)

After the "Frosty" section of the ICE tour, they had a very "cool" New York ice display.  I stopped to snap a couple pics of the host and hostess in an ice cab...but I gotta admit, I was trying to high-tail it out of that place.  I was an icicle!  BRRRR!

I HAD to stop to snap a few last photos though as I headed for the door.  
How can a girl, like me, who loves Jesus pass up this photo opportunity???  
Uh-Huh.   The Christmas Nativity in ice.  
Took my breath away... and not just because my lungs were frozen.

A few of our friends had to depart at this point, so we gave lots of hugs and headed back to thaw out and get some sleep.  I don't have pics of this...but all  I can say is Elizabeth makes a mean hot cocoa!  
Secret ingredients:  Bailey's and marshmallows.  Oh yah.  #knowyouarejealous

We wrapped up our weekend meet-up with breakfast at Monell's.  Oh My.  How do I use words to describe this yumminess???  I'm talkin' homestyle, home-cookin' of the finest southern style!  When the sweet waitress said, "Pace yourself,"  she was NOT kidding!  Ugh!  Let's just say that I learned what "meat sweats" were that morning.  LOL!   Let me just authenticate this little description a bit by adding that half of the Vanderbilt football team was eating breakfast right next to us.   #seriousgrub #gained3poundsin30minutes

Whew!  What a weekend.  It was such an incredible experience. TRULY.  A HUGE thank you to Elizabeth and Greg, our hosts for the weekend.  Elizabeth has been one of my blogging-besties for a while...but this was my first opportunity to meet Greg, the man behind the "stache."  Let me just say that this man is such an incredible teacher.  Seriously, one of the most hard-working kinder-teachers I know.  I stand in amazement of all he can accomplish on a daily basis.  He is sincerely one of the most genuine, devoted educators I have met... yet so down-to-earth.  I am so honored to call him my friend.

I guess I will wrap up this post with some 
"What I Learned from my Nashville Blogger Trip" 
bullet points...

* Elizabeth has some SERIOUS car horn skills!  Note: Do NOT cut in front of her in traffic!!!  
{I love you, girl!  You are the BEST!   #pickinguponyourhashtagskills}

* If you have mad-style like Dana ( you can rock polka-dot socks with flats!  That girl is SO stylish... AND smart!  She actually heeded the "socks and gloves" warning, unlike me.  #frostbite #sorrynopicforthisone

*Personally chosen children's books make great and thoughtful gifts!  Thanks for the tip, Catherine (TheBrownBagTeacher).

* If you eat at Monell's ALWAYS wear stretch pants!  (Or a long sweater so you can unbutton the top button!)  YUMMY!

*But MOST importantly..... Life is about RELATIONSHIPS.  Don't pass up opportunities to connect with others.  We can all use more support and encouragement in our lives.   Drive the 6 hour drives.  Save the pennies to fly to Vegas for the summer conference.  You'll never regret it... and that's a promise!

Me at the beginning of my trip home....            Now half way home.....                              6 1/2 hours later, in my driveway and dead tired!!! 

So blessed to have made the connections and bonds that I did last weekend!  
Blogging is a blessing!


  1. Amen! I love all my AZ bloggers like sisters! We met for dinner tonight and a few new people to our group must have thought we were really strange! LOL. So lucky to have such amazing people close to you!

  2. LOL! I loved this post. My horn has not been the same since the parking lot debacle. are so very right about making lasting relationships. I couldn't agree with you more. I am so glad you made it home safe. You know anytime you want some (ahem) hot's only 6 hours away <3
    Love you to pieces!

  3. Loved this post, Holly! The trip looked amazing!! Nashville was a little far for me, but northern Indiana isn't too far of a drive. ;) I'm in for the blogger meet-up you plan!!! :)

    ABCs and Polkadots

  4. What a great post. So glad I got to live vicariously through your trip to TN. But I am now more jealous than I was before! Looks like a FABULOUS time!

    Teaching in Blue Jeans

  5. LOVE this post. It was so great to meet you. I am saving up those pennies as we speak!

    A Rocky Top Teacher

  6. So happy that I got to meet you! Don't forget you also learned, "Don't trust people with only selfies." Hehe :)

  7. Oh Holly I had the best time and am so glad to consider you my new blogger teacher friend. I can't wait to you Vegas.

  8. Oh Holly I had the best time and am so glad to consider you my new blogger teacher friend. I can't wait to you Vegas.

  9. You're so sweet, what a great post! You captured the meet up perfectly! I am so glad I had the opportunity to meet you!
    :) Dana
    Common to the Core