Cold and dreary days typically mean lots of dark clothing for me. I’ve been living in black and white most days. Because I work from home, I usually rotate between the same 3 pair of dark leggings + black denim and swap out different worn in t-shirts. When I’m feeling a little more ambitious or I know I’m leaving the house, I’ll throw on an airy blouse and try to look a bit more like an adult. Over the weekend, Steve and I grabbed a cup of coffee at Sip Cafe before he took off to work and I came home to buckle down on some work projects. Our time together is few and far between lately, so we try to make the most of it by getting out of the house, even if it’s just down the road for a few minutes.
black and white
black and white
I’m so glad that I was able to have a productive weekend. I spent the majority of Saturday and Sunday drinking coffee and plugging away on my computer. It’s always a bummer when there are so many fun things going on in town, but it’s also rewarding to know that the sacrifice of not participating paid off in the long run. I set my book publishing date for February 28th, so I don’t have any time to fool around. It’s going to be an INSANE 30 days coming up. I’m bracing myself.
black and white
black and white
Practice Makes Perfect High-Waisted Jeans– Lulus // Gone Rogue Black Fedora– Lulus // Top- Forever 21 // Boots– Circus by Sam Edelman // Necklace- Forever 21
black and white
I’m really excited to share about the event I attended last night called Supper At Her Table. I had learned about it through some inspiring Nashville ladies on Instagram a while back and decided to finally but the bullet and purchase myself a ticket to an event. It was the most uplifting thing I’ve been a part of in Nashville since moving here. I’m so glad I made the decision to go. I met some of the most incredible, hardworking, and encouraging women while sharing a meal in a safe environment. We got to hear Ruthie Lindsey share her brave story about overcoming some major life challenges and then enjoyed live music from Birdtalker. It was AMAZING.
black and white
I hope you all have a wonderful and productive week ahead!

I can never resist a good burger. Steve and I have been working really hard to maintain a healthy diet with regular exercise, but when the mood strikes, I often splurge on tacos or cheeseburgers. Yesterday afternoon, we hit up one of our new favorite spots on the east side, Burger Up East. They have some of the most delicious burgers I’ve ever tasted in Nashville.

burger up
burger up
Burger Up sources their menu from local farms that practice sustainability and humane treatment of animals. Their vision is to provide a community-driven restaurant that welcomes everyone. They have communal seating, so you may even end up sitting and enjoying your meal next to other friendly Nashvillians.
burger up east
burger up east
Since we are making an effort to not eat our weight in cheeseburgers, we decided to split the Woodstock Burger, which contains Benton’s bacon, Tennessee Sweetwater white cheddar, and Jack Daniels maple ketchup. Steve had a side of house fries, and I had a side of truffle fries. It was almost embarrassing how quickly I ate everything on my plate.
They have many different options for main entrées, too. Items like quinoa and black bean burgers, turkey burgers, bison burgers, lamb burgers, salmon and more are all available on their menu.

burger up
burger up east nashville
Burger Up has two different locations in Nashville. Their first location is in 12 South (which opened in 2010), and their East Nashville location is the newest which opened just last year.

burger up east nashville
burger up
If you haven’t already visited Burger Up, I recommend checking out either of their locations for a burger you won’t regret ordering. They’re located at 2901 12th Ave. South or 970 Woodland St.

Remember my last post about the bartaco secret campaign where they feature a secret menu item a few months ago? The secret taco was an Ancho Ahi Tuna Taco. Well, I was recently invited back to bartaco on 12 South to try their latest bartaco secret item and this is one you definitely don’t want to miss!

bartaco secret

The new bartaco secret is a braised short rib taco! It contains ancho coffee braised short rib, served on corn tortilla, and topped with pickled fennel. I would seriously order this taco every single time. It was one of the best tacos I’ve tasted. The short rib is braised for several hours before being prepared on the taco. There was so much flavor in these little tacos.

bartaco secret braised short rib taco
bartaco secret taco
I brought my friend Trisha along for a lunch date so that we could sip on sangria and help us get through the day. It was perfect patio weather for being the middle of January. 70 degrees and sunny with some cloud coverage. I could have sat outside all day on the patio if I didn’t have to get more work done. It was the perfect lunch break.
bartaco nashville

bartaco secret
If you haven’t already visited bartaco in Nashville (or in any of their other locations), you need to get your bootie over there now. I HIGHLY recommend starting your meal with the tuna poké, it’s definitely the best I’ve had. They also have some of the best service I’ve received at any restaurant in Nashville. You can tell they really work hard to take care of their customers. I’m always pleasantly surprised by how their staff goes above and beyond every time.
bartaco secret

bartaco secret
If you have a local bartaco near you, be sure to stop in and ask your server for the bartaco secret taco! They’ll know exactly what you’re asking for and you won’t regret it. Share it and use #bartacosecret when you do.

Hope you all have an incredible weekend! I’ll be soaking in this spring-like weather this weekend and enjoying just being home for a change.

First off, thank you to the positive responses and feedback to my last post. It was scary to hit publish on it, but the outpouring of love and support made it completely worth sharing. It feels like an awakening, like I can only grow from here on out.

This week has been heavily focused on catching up on work (we had a company off-site last week in Charleston), and while the off-sites are always incredibly productive, I always feel like I have to catch up on the rest of my life when I return home. It was a great start to the new year though, being able to discuss team goals, individual goals, and where we want to be in the future. I came home feeling revitalized and ready to buckle down on what’s important to me.

awakening

I feel like my eyes are more open than they’ve ever been before. I feel enlightened after some of the conversations I’ve had recently, the struggles I’ve overcome, and the people I’ve met. I’m incredibly grateful to have met some people who confide in me with their deepest struggles. It gives me perspective that challenges my own way of thinking, and for that I am humbled and honored.

awakening

Yesterday was a calm and serene day in Nashville. It felt like spring with the warm, wet air and the birds chirping outside. That feeling and those sounds always bring me comfort that new things are coming. I love sensing the arrival of new seasons. Steve and I went down to Shelby Park at the end of our street to soak up the Tennessee warmth before it rained again.

awakening
Parade of Poppies DressLulus



I hope you all have a wonderful weekend ahead.

 

*I actually started writing most of this post back in July and delayed publishing it due to my own lack of public vulnerability. I hadn’t realized until now how much it was holding me back.*

vulnerabilityVulnerability is something I’ve struggled with since day one.

Brené Brown told me to be more vulnerable. In ‘Daring Greatly’ she insisted I just go for it. To take the plunge and dive right into emotions I may not have explored. In ‘Rising Strong’ she taught me to dust myself off after diving in led to epic failure.

Then I learned that there is no failure in trying. The only failure is no longer doing.

Even after reading about vulnerability, I realized I still wasn’t exploring it myself. I wasn’t letting my guard down. I didn’t want to be judged for what my heart looked like. I didn’t want to let anyone see me past the depth of my skin.

Until recently, I was okay with only my spouse, best friend, and a few family members seeing my vulnerable, messy self. “If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best.” Right? I was only allowing the ones I trusted wholeheartedly to see what my soul looked like.

A few weeks ago, my company started a book club. First on the reading docket was “The ONE Thing”, which essentially identifies that behind every successful person is their ONE thing. It continuously begs the question “What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

We broke the book club up into 4 separate meetings. Every Thursday we’d meet for 1 hour to discuss the chapters we’d just finished reading that week. On meeting #3, we discussed ‘purpose’.

Shit. I couldn’t avoid talking about it anymore. I’d gone 29 years without having to talk about ‘my purpose’, and now I was cornered.

I was sweating bullets. I was looking down while picking at my fingernails. My boss called on me. “Laura, you’ve been quiet this entire meeting. Let’s hear what you have to say. What is your purpose?”

I took a deep breath and looked at the other 6 faces that were staring at me on the Google Hangouts video call. I finished my long inhale, and with my exhale came a stream of tears.

“I don’t know.”

Side note: Answering a question (especially coming from your boss) with “I don’t know” feels pretty freaking detrimental to your confidence level, especially when it comes to something as seemingly simple as ‘what’s your purpose?’

There. I said it.

I had just then realized that I had spent so many years living out what I assumed people thought my purpose was instead of determining for myself what my purpose was. Sharing that information with my team made me feel naked from the inside-out.

I knew from then on that I wanted to stop coasting through life doing what others expected me to do and make something happen.

Which leads me to my main point. I’m currently writing my very first book. For those of you who don’t already know me, I work for an incredible company called Self-Publishing School. We are a virtual, educational online business that teaches aspiring authors how to write, publish, and market their first books. It’s really quite something to be a part of, and I can’t explain how good it feels to have a job that has purpose behind it.

Back in July, I had made the commitment to myself that I would write my first book. It will be about starting a lifestyle blog and the struggles and failures that come along with it.

There were a few reasons that pushed me to make that decision. One, my boss really wanted me to have my own book under my belt in order to create the most valuable, helpful, and productive content for our own students. If I had been through the process myself, I’d have more first-hand experience and could personally help the students we work with. Two, I needed to work on my personal accountability. So often I’ve started new projects that are so fresh and exciting to me, gotten more than halfway done, been able to see the future positive outcome of finishing, and then I set it aside and walk away. I had to make a change and be accountable for my commitments. Three, I have some deep-rooted personal struggles I’m working through when it comes to seeking the approval of others, and more importantly, myself. It’s been 7 months of me dragging my feet to the finish line of my book because I’ve been so afraid of what people will think.

“Who is she to write a book about something she’s not even that great at?” “Does she think she’s better than everyone else?” “She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.” “She’s a failure.”

See, the thing is… the more I think about it, the more I’m afraid of asking myself these things.

WHY am I letting these limiting beliefs define who I am during such a crucial time? It’s time to move on and do what I’ve set out to do. I’m going to write a book.

So this is me, after waiting far too long, admitting my fears of comparison and failure because it’s time I let myself be vulnerable. This is a huge first step in helping me discover my purpose, follow my passion, and stop letting the opinions of myself and others hold me back.

 

P.S. I want to know if anyone else out there has struggled with vulnerability. Is there anything that’s holding you back? What are we so afraid of?