Return from the Upside Down

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illustration of the Upside Down from Stranger Things

Well, after a year (and some change)-long hiatus from my blog, I have returned from the Upside Down…..or at least it feels like I went to another place.

If you’ve watched Stranger Things, you’ll know where I’ve been. A parallel universe but a much darker version of the real one. Even though I didn’t go to a “dark place,” per se, I did go somewhere for a while. But the power of writing found me again.

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movie poster from Stranger Things

Well, I guess I could go into my lecture of apologies for being a bad blogger but I’ll skip that and just give the excuses. Why did I go AWOL? Well, life, I guess. 2015 was the year of photography and I devoted A LOT of my time to it. I poured myself into learning everything I could about it. Reading books, reading online material, practicing, practicing, practicing, and enrolling in an online school. You can tell this was becoming the year of photography as most of my last few blogs were showcasing photo shoots. This was before I established a website for my photography work. My Instagram (aptly named the same as my blog) became less about promoting my blog and more just a personal one and my Facebook page was seeing tumble weeds blow by. Besides photography, I was also pouring myself into  other ventures such as Nashville Wine on the Rails and then this year opened up an Etsy shop, Red Velvet Cake Vintage. Which I needed to open an Etsy shop like I needed another hole in my head but I (gasp!) have too much vintage and need to pass it on to other homes. I also am a board member for Historic Nashville, Inc. and I support my husband with his career with Muddy Roots Music which includes many, many layers itself and too many to list. To say I have a lot on my plate is an understatement. But hey, get busy living or get busy dying.

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movie still & quote from Shawshank Redemption

So in short, my blog got put on the back burner. About a month or so ago I started missing it. It was calling me back. I missed writing, I missed documenting my experiences in life, and I missed being curious and exploring. That was the initial purpose to start this blog. To document my curiosities and explorations. I am the Indiana Jones of Curiosity, always wanting to find that treasure that is out there, with the purpose of putting it in a museum (my blog), of course. 🙂 Plus, when blogging about your experiences, it’s a good excuse to travel and explore. You have to have content for your blog! I also always feel a touch of melancholy when I visit other people’s blogs and it’s been months or years since their last post. Why did they abandon ship?

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movie still from Indiana Jones & the Raiders of the Lost Ark

While we all can agree 2016 has been the year of death. The death of David Bowie, Prince, and so many other public figures. And don’t even get me started on the election. Putting aside the activity going on in the world, 2016 has been a year I’ve been questioning my mind, body, and spirit. I’ve always practice some kind of “reset button” on myself throughout my life. I love change; I welcome it. But change doesn’t have to be anything drastic; it can be something very small. So what I mean by mind, body, and spirit is how I’m treating those areas and paying attention to what is influencing them. It’s been more about collecting data this year so I can analyze the problem. Why do I feel this way? What am I allowing? What brought me here? Questions going on and on. Part of my analysis has included what has brought me happiness.

So reflecting on that I came to the conclusion of what made me happy: the great outdoors, traveling, writing, photography. There are other things but these were the core. So was I moving towards these or was I moving away from them? Another factor was something I didn’t mention above; my job. Yep, the one thing I don’t talk about often because it’s what pays and fuels for a lot of the things above. I wish I could say I was a full-time blogger or photographer and was rolling in six-figures but that’s most definitely not the truth. And it quite possibly never will be and that’s totally fine! It’s not about the fortune & glory. My job was robbing me of happiness and for a few reasons I won’t go into great detail. I made a great salary but I felt mentally and physically drained 40+hour a week after 40+hour a week. I also had a toxic co-worker and I quickly realized that would never go away unless I did. So I did. I made a career change within my place of employment and took a huge pay cut. I had a lot of support from my husband and my mom. It’s funny how when you do something drastic people start coming forward with their experiences too. A few people truly understood why I was doing it while some thought it was dumb to walk away from my salary. One person even gave me a nice card with a nice message and told me I was brave for making this choice. For those that understood, they all said the same thing: the stress is not worth the money. And folks, I am living proof that it sure as hell isn’t. So I abandoned the familiar and all the expertise I gained for almost seven years, walked away from my salary, and hit the reset button on my job. Almost four weeks in and I’ve realized it was the best decision I have made in a career so far.

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movie still from Heathers

So now that I’ve really made myself super vulnerable by exposing something that was making me uphappy, let me focus back on my blog. Like I said earlier, I just really, really started to miss it. Why did I not devote some time to it? What was I doing with my time? Well, wasting it for one thing. One big culprit: social media. Which is a double edge sword because this is the digital age and sooooo many people use social media to promote themselves or their business. Me being that majority. But was I using my time wisely with it or mindlessly scrolling like a Walking Dead zombie fiending off the unimportant news. I will say, is it nice to just zone out and scroll every now and then? Yep. But it shouldn’t be something you spend several hours a day doing. Exhibit A: this morning. This morning I spent almost an hour on social media as soon as I woke up, in bed, scrolling through the abyss called Facebook and Instagram. Again, don’t misunderstand that I do not like social media, just not the zombie, life-sucking version of it. Otherwise it’s a great place to connect with people and get yourself or your brand out there.

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illustration by Steve Cutts

And lastly because this blog post turned out to be waaay longer than I intended, I’ve got to reset and get back to writing. Even if it’s in the blog-form. Exhibit B: my diaries and journals throughout my life. Writing is one of my therapies and I think we all need to find something that is. Whatever that is. Below are my diaries/journals I’ve kept over the years. Feel free to laugh at the decor ;). The only one missing is my first one I started in about 3rd grade. It’s around somewhere just wasn’t with it’s mates. These journals span from middle school to post-college and have been through countless moves. Every once in a blue moon I read a few entries and it’s a good way to compare my life now and then. It’s also a good way to learn about yourself and also how to move towards happiness. I’ve captured a lot about myself over the years and it’s all here in these pages. But not like you young whipper-snappers, us Gen-Xers had to “blog” the old-fashioned way, with ye ole pen & paper.

So now that I’ve found my way out of the Upside Down, I hope I can stay on track with this. In the meantime, I ask you to ask yourself what makes you happy and are you doing that?

Until next blog post,
~Katie

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My Blog: 2014 in review!

The year 2014 will be soon coming to an end. Just one more day, to be exact. It’s been a fun year blogging and I’ve enjoyed going on many adventures this year. I’ve enjoyed sharing moments, bringing things that I find interesting to readers and just exploring what’s out there. My goal with having a blog was to do those things and I feel that I’ve accomplished them. I’m looking forward to blogging about many other topics that are vintage-related, historical, about people and places in the upcoming year. Thanks for taking a peek inside my little world. I appreciate everyone that drops in on my blog. You can also follow me on my Facebook page at Crashing Nightingale. Cheers to 2015 and new adventures!

Here’s a little year in review for my blog this past year.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,300 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

All Aboard for 1950

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To celebrate Valentine’s Day, my husband and I set on an excursion to 1950. Before you start asking where the DeLorean is, I’ll explain that this wasn’t a scene from Back to the Future. The Tennessee Central Railway Museum hosts excursions to the DelMonaco Winery in Baxter, Tenn. My husband and I couldn’t resist jumping on board this retro voyage.

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Of course we had to dress the part. I mean, we literally live in vintage clothing any chance we can get. The day before I went to my favorite antique warehouse to scout out a vintage hat. I found a hat…and a 1950s vintage ladies suit. It fit like a glove and I was thrilled to have brought it home. My husband wore a vintage suit as well and we arrived at the station bright and early Saturday morning.

Mr. & Mrs. before boarding.

  Mr. & Mrs. before boarding.train5

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Our train car host greeted us dressed in his uniform and assisted us to our seat. He thoroughly gave us our instructions for the three-hour trip to the winery. Before you think you can’t handle a three-hour trip on a train, I have to point out that the winery had a staff member on board that conducted a wine tasting that lasted the entire trip there. We sipped on whites then reds, tasting the most driest to the most sweetest wines the DelMonaco Winery produces.

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Viewing the countryside from this angle was quite interesting. We traveled through a few towns but for the most part, we drank in the rolling hills of slumbering scenery while sipping on fine wine. A few times we passed by houses and caught a few people waving as we traveled by. We had the opportunity to see our state from a point of view we hardly ever get to see and it was a treat.

The passenger train we traveled on is a restored classic 1950s era American streamlined stainless steel passenger train. The museum has preserved this gem well and we felt so pleased they have. When we arrived at the winery, I snapped a few shots of the ladies restroom/lounge with my camera phone (sorry for the poor quality).

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Who wouldn’t want to gab with their girlfriends while powdering your nose or ensuring the curls in your hair are behaving? 🙂

Upon arrival at the winery we had approximately two hours to have lunch and check out the winery. Unfortunately it was a chilly February day so we stayed inside instead of exploring the grape vines. The winery had live music and guests sat around round tables enjoying their favorite wines they purchased as a result of the wine tasting.

When it was time to board we had a few folks snap our picture with their camera. One gentlemen pointed out that people no longer get “dressed up” to go on trips. That they just throw on a pair of jeans just to be comfortable. For my husband and me, this is part of the fun. We love to dress from days gone by and it definitely adds to the event.

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Dining car

Before we boarded to go back to the city.

Before we boarded to go back to the city.

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On the way back we sipped on one of our recently purchased wines and I put on some Bessie Smith while we enjoyed the wine. We plan to take another excursion once the weather is warm and take a picnic when we go. This was by far the best Valentine’s Day celebration I’ve had so far. I highly recommend booking a trip on one of the Tennessee Central Railway Museum‘s excursions. And if you don’t live close by, check out what is in your state. After this trip, I declare we bring back railway travel.

 

Art Deco Weekend in Virginia: Day One, Part 2

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So here we are, at the Jazz Age Preservation Ball hosted by the Art Deco Society of Virginia. The event was at the historic Bolling Haxall House. Talk about a grand place to put on such an elegant event. The historic building is an 1858 Italianate Mansion. If you read my recent post about Second Empire style, you can figure I was about to have a heart attack when I entered the place.

The event was to benefit the historic Byrd Theatre in Richmond, Virginia. The Art Deco Society of Virginia aims to raise funds through the Jazz Age Preservation Ball for one of Virginia’s  selected Art Deco preservation projects. The Byrd Theatre definitely had the classiest-looking benefactors to raise awareness about it’s preservation. The night kicked off with some dance lessons by two of the Art Deco Society of Virginia’s board members. Guests grabbed their partners and learned the Charleston to get them ready for dancing the night away.

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Everyone danced to the sounds of the Blue Crescent Syncopators, a jazz and swing band that brings back the music from the 1920s to 1930s. There was a silent auction that had a bevy of jazz age items for guests to bid on. Guests could sign up to get their photo taken by photographer Lynn Redmile so they could capture their twenties look. There was plenty of food and drinks for everyone to enjoy while mingling among each other.

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Towards the end of the evening there was a burlesque performance by The Garter Snaps. The Garter Snaps are burlesque-duo that treated the Jazz Age Preservation Ball guests to a hot little number to the music of  1933’s “We’re in the Money.”

We were so glad we got to experience such an extravagant event. It was such a sight to see everyone dressed up to celebrate their love for this era and help raise money for Art Deco preservation. It truly was the cherry on top to our weekend and we look forward to next year!

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Art Deco Weekend in Virginia: Day One, Part 1

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Recently my husband and I took a little jaunt to the lovely city, Richmond, Virginia. It was a long weekend for me (having the Monday holiday off from work) so we had planned our little Richmond trip in advance. We arrived late Friday night due to several flight delays but made it a little past midnight. We stayed at the historic Linden Row Inn. Neither of us have visited Richmond, Virginia so we were excited to see the city.

The next morning we had time to explore the city a little before we got ready for the main reason of our trip, to attend the Art Deco Society of Virginia’s Jazz Age Preservation Ball. I had done a little research online prior to our trip regarding things to do while we  were in the city. And one of the Art Deco Society of Virginia’s board members gave me a great list of places to eat and shop. We found out Richmond has an Edgar Allan Poe Museum and they happen to be hosting a birthday bash all day for the sullen poet. The museum opened in 1922 and is housed in the oldest home in Richmond. It is just a few blocks from Poe’s first Richmond home and first place of employment.

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There was a tour, music, entertainers and the grande finale was at midnight when the cake would be cut in honor of Poe. We primarily walked between the different buildings that kept all the items and pieces of history from Poe’s life. I definitely recommend checking out the museum because the museum gives so much history about his life. There is even one room only dedicated to his hauntingly beautiful poem Annabel Lee. In this room, onlookers are presented with bits and pieces of information about which specific lady in Poe’s life inspired this poem, although this has always remained a mystery.

We had a lovely afternoon and it was time well spent to soak up our day before we got ready for our big event. After our little adventure at the museum, we went back to the hotel to start our transformation into the Jazz Age.

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