The Gypsy

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Muse: a woman, or a force personified as a woman, who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist. Every creative artist needs a muse. Someone that captivates them and inspires them to create. Muses have been the fuel to artists’ engines for centuries.

If you’ve read previous posts from my blog, you’ve become acquainted with the fact I’m delving into photography. Taking classes, soaking up all the knowledge I can and practicing, practicing, practicing! I LOVE learning every piece of it.

It also tremendously helps that I have one of the most creative people on the planet on my team. My muse happens to be my BFF from the high school days, Lashon. I’ve pretty much christened her my Creative Director. 🙂

Our last portrait session was inspired by some vintage photos we’ve collected and had a bit of a darker vibe. All it took was just a spark of inspiration and we took it and ran with it. I recruited our friend, Rachel, for hair and makeup and she turned Lashon into a beautiful vamp. Rachel also assisted during the photo shoot by keeping an eagle eye out for any flaws and also keeping us in stitches from her wise cracks!

Ladies & gentlemen, I’m pleased to introduce to you the recent photo shoot with Lashon, The Gypsy.

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In a quaint caravan, there’s a lady they call The Gypsy.
She can look in the future and drive away all your fears.

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Everything will come right, if you only believe The Gypsy.

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She could tell at a glance, that my heart was so full of tears.

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She looked at my hand and told me, my lover was always true.
And yet in my heart I knew, dear, somebody else was kissing you.

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But I’ll go there again, ’cause I want to believe The Gypsy.

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That my lover is true and will come back to me some day.

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After the Party: Photo shoot with Lashon

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This set of portraits were done along with another set on the same day with my model, Lashon. We couldn’t decided on dresses, so you know what you do to solve that? Capture photos in both!

These photos were taken around historic downtown Murfreesboro, Tenn. I love historic downtowns and think they are great places to take photographs. So much character and nostalgia. Of course we also got to stop in our favorite boutique on the square in Murfreesboro, Sugaree’s. Lashon and I are both devoted customers of this fine little shop. The dress Lashon wore in this set and the one in the blog prior to this are both from Sugaree’s.

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“Have I gone mad? I’m afraid so, but let me tell you something, the best people usually are.”

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“Alice:How long is forever? White Rabbit:Sometimes, just one second.”

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“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”

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“Little Alice fell
d
o
w
n
the hole,
bumped her head
and bruised her soul”

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A Few of My Favorite Things

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Well hello, December! You slipped up on me quite quickly! My intention this year was to get a head start on my holiday shopping. I have started a little but have a lot more to go. But I have my nice (and maybe naughty ;)) list made which is half the battle!

So I’m sure I’ve mentioned in other blogs and on my Facebook page that I love supporting independent businesses. My husband is an independent business owner so I see the hard work that goes into owning your own business. Let me just say, it’s not as easy as it looks! You are your own everything….Public Relations, Marketing, Creator, CEO, Assistant, Human Resources, Finance..the list of departments and job titles goes on! And a lot of times it’s rolled up into one person. So my point about this is why I love supporting an independent business owner. Whatever business that may be. I know my money is going towards someone’s business that they love and put their heart and soul in to. They can have an actual shop that I can go to or a virtual one. Both work for me.

So without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to some of my favorite “things,” which are places or people I recommend you shop with!

Vintage or vintage re-production clothing: I love it. And something I spend lots of my monies on. My heart races when my eyes make contact with a 70+ year old garment. I mean, come on, it survived so many years and here I am holding it! So one of my favorite places to shop for these things is Sugaree’s located in historic downtown Murfreesboro, Tenn. This adorable shop tugs at my heart strings. I truly feel like I’ve stepped back in time like I’m a 1950s woman having a shopping day. Staci Higdon, the owner, carries an array of fashion lines including BB Dakota and Stop Staring! Clothing. She also carries many accessories such as jewelry, vintage hats, vintage gloves and shoes. You’re sure to find a gift for someone and probably walk out with something for yourself.

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My next introduction got the spotlight last summer when I wrote a blog about it. Live True Vintage is an East Nashville, Tenn shop with good intentions and amazing vintage items. I follow Live True Vintage on Facebook and Instagram and Tammy Pope, the owner, posts the treasures she finds and I’m constantly having to practice restraint from not wanting to immediately go there and buy it. Her shop is very charming and she carries TONS of items; men and women’s clothing, hats, accessories, posters…the list just goes on. Do yourself a favor and go ahead and put this business on your go-to holiday shopping destination. Another place you’re bound to walk out with a gift for yourself too. Hey, treat yo’self!

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Number 3 on the list starts our journey into the virtual realm. That’s one thing that’s convenient about the internet; you can buy and sell across the globe. Parlor Tattoo Prints caught my eye the first time I saw the owner’s designs. This woman creates the most exquisite artwork. Some designs speak to the old school tattoos that you’re grandfather had inked on him in WWII and some are straight from your favorite movies such as Edward Scissorhands or The Shining. Either way, you’re likely to find that perfect picture for your favorite someone. I bought one for my best friend for her birthday and it was a hit.  I’ve always love artwork as a gift too.

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Next up is another creative designer that creates the most darling ties that have a hidden surprise. Shannon of Truly New Vintage creates peek-a-boo ties that are the bomb! She takes a tie and adds a pin up girl to the underside of the tie. So when you see someone randomly smiling as they are standing there looking totally professional, you can guess they may be wearing one of these cheeky accessories. She has an assortment of pin up pictures and ties to choose from so that you can come up with the perfect gift.

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My next introduction is a destination gift. Natchez Hills Bed and Breakfast is the best gift for a little get-a-way. This quaint and peaceful place has all the right stuff. A nice place to sleep, great amenities, beautiful scenery and best of all, wine! This place is located in the heart of a large wine area in Tennessee with the Natchez Hills Winery being one among them. The owners are the nicest people that you just can’t help but feel like you’re at home when you stay. Don’t live in the middle Tennessee area? Check out what your local area has to offer in this realm.

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To continue the destination gift ideas, why not present your beloved with a ticket to an event, concert or festival?! Whether it be a one-day, weekend or week excursion, plan a trip to an event. Know someone that loves music? Make their holiday by gifting them a ticket to a concert or festival. Or maybe you know someone that is into a specific genre or area and there is an event taking place that specializes in this. Guess what, that’ll be a crowd pleaser too. I love taking mini-trips so if someone bought my ticket to an event I was planning to go to, they’d be number one in my book. The memories are the gift that keeps on giving. Here are my two recommendations for 2015 events. The Nashville Boogie Vintage Weekender & Car Show taking place May 1 through 2, 2015 and the Summer Wine Train Social presented by Muddy Roots Music departing on July 18, 2015. Both are taking place in beautiful Music City, Nashville, Tenn. Don’t live close by? Well, we have an international airport you can fly in to. 🙂

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To top off my list of holiday shopping recommendations, I must insist you look into photography. As in contacting a professional photographer and getting a session as a gift for someone or even for yourself. It’s a timeless investment and worth every penny. A lot of professional photographers offer gift certificates so don’t be shy to ask. Much like a day at the spa, a photo shoot is a pamper session as well. Makeup artists and hairstylists are often included in packages so all you have to do is show up and let the professionals do their magic. Don’t know of any? Search in your area and read reviews to get a feel for it. You can view their website to see their work and make a decision from there. This may be an uncommon gift but I assure you, if you give that special someone this as a gift, you’re sure to be loved for life. And the plus side? Photo shoots are fun!

My recommendations for photographers that I’ve worked with and love to death are La Photographie Nashville, And How! Imaging, Blast ‘Em Photography, Shannon Brooke Imagery, Retrospect Nashville and Uvudu Imaging.

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Now that you’ve been given some recommendations, what are you waiting for?? Get to shopping! 🙂

Preserving History: Tour of the Tennessee State Prison

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When you hear the word prison, your mind doesn’t necessarily imagine exquisite architecture. Prisons are places that automatically come with a dark or negative impression.

The Tennessee State Prison is a place that served it’s purpose in time for what it was designed for and also is a prime example of exquisite architecture. Built in 1898, the Tennessee State Prison (TSP) is an ambassador to 1890s architecture.

Recently, Historic Nashville, Inc. members had the distinguished honor to an exclusive tour of the beautiful prison. The tour was led by Tennessee Department of Corrections staff Torrey Grimes and Theresa Thomas. The prison is not open to the public and sits unoccupied and fighting the elements of decay.

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The prison opened in 1898 and operated until 1992. When it was built the prison was only supposed to house 800 prisoners. Upon the prison’s first arrivals when it opened, the prison had up to 1400. Almost double what it was suppose to hold. Before the newness of the prison could wear off, an escape from some of the inmates happened within the first couple of months. Prisoners took  TNT dynamite that was kept at the prison and blew a hole in the side of the prison.

IMG_5505 Side of the prison that was blown out from TNT.

Historic Nashville, Inc. members walked around the exterior of the building to see what remains of the historic prison today. Members were given pieces of historical information along each step of the way.

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When the prison closed in 1992, it was given up for free to the film community. Films such as The Green Mile, The Last Castle and Ernest Goes  to Jail were filmed on prison’s property. If you’ve watched The Green Mile, you may recall the little rat that was a companion to one of the inmates. We were told that the rat was not a current tenant of the prison but rather a trained one the film crew brought.

While walking around the exterior, the peeling of paint is all around. This is a result of a production company that painted the exterior for a film. The paint still shows today. The paint was not removed after filming and unfortunately it was not discovered until years later that “cheap” paint was used. This resulted in moisture getting trapped behind the paint and thus harming the bricks.

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The tour took us to the back side of the prison where the yard was and remains. The only interior portion of the prison members were able to go into were the cell blocks and the mess hall. My husband and I opted to view the inside of the cells first.

Standing in the entrance of the exterior exit of the cells was quite an experience. The cells climbed up three stories and each cell held two prisoners. The tour guides explained that even though the prison was built to house approximately 800 inmates, the population was over that. At one time, the prison had approximately 3,300 to 4,000 inmates. We were told to imagine how loud it would have been within the walls.

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Before we wandered into the mess hall, we peeked into other parts of the building. Below are a few pictures of what remained in an interior room. As you can see, a lonely ledger sits waiting on it’s owner to complete the tasks for the day.

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As we entered into the mess hall, the staff members continued giving us lots of history about the prison. Such as the mural that still  remains  proudly in the mess hall. It was painted by prisoners during their own time since the prison was a working farm and all prisoners had a job. They were supposed to defray the cost of their incarceration.

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IMG_5559 A jacket waiting on it’s owner to come back to claim it.

When the prison closed in 1992, there was a lot more entrance into the interior of the prison. However, asbestos has staked it’s claim and has caused it to be unsafe for anyone to enter without proper gear. Historic Nashville, Inc. members were very lucky to take the tour as this is normally reserved for senators and governors.

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The Tennessee State Prison’s future is currently unknown. Many ideas have been brought to the table but I believe we all can agree on one thing: to preserve it’s rich history. Just like Alcatraz in San Francisco, Calif., the Tennessee State Prison deserves to age with dignity and be on display for people to admire. If you’d like to learn more and perhaps learn how we can move into the direction of preserving this late 19th century landmark, go to the Tennessee State Prison Historical Society or the Save The Tennessee State Prison Facebook page. Grand landmarks like these deserve to thrive in preservation history.

For more information about becoming a Historic Nashville, Inc. member, please visit their membership page.

 

Living True in the Name of Vintage

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Most of us have a motto we live by. “Live each day to the fullest,” “Live fast, die young,” “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” For Tammy Pope, she not only lives by a motto, she named her vintage business after the words she lives by.

Tammy Pope is the lovely owner of Live True Vintage in East Nashville, Tenn. Tammy had her grand opening of her eclectic business just a little over a year ago on May 18, 2013. The road to getting the place business-ready was not easy. If you look up the definition of “blood, sweat and tears,” I’m pretty sure you’d see a picture of Tammy pouring herself into whipping the building into shape. While most people would have given up on a run-down building, Tammy did not and the fruits of her labors show when you walk into the store today. Tammy has the whole store displayed in such a charming and appealing way. She definitely gets a A++ in decorating.

 

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When asked to describe her shop, the first word she said was “fun.” She went on to explain that when girls come into groups to try stuff on together, even if they do not purchase anything, they say they have fun. This is the biggest compliment to her. She also says she gets to listen to The Cramps instead of local radio station Jack FM, which she was subjected to when she worked for the United States Postal Service. I have to admit, being a music lover myself, it is nice when you can listen to what you want while you work.

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She opened the business out of necessity. “First I started doing Ebay and Etsy. It was going good and I would set up a flea markets,” explained Tammy. She would also commission pieces and paint furniture. She kept accumulating items and first bought a little vintage bus and showcased at car shows. When it started to look like she might have to get a storage unit to store all the vintage treasures she was finding, she started looking for a residential business. After looking for a long time she found the building she currently occupies.

She described her experience with opening up her business as, “Super satisfying….any progress is your own.”  There was no electricity during the first three months and she started having other problems with the building. She stated it’s, “been like a fun roller-coaster.” And how she elaborated on that was the feeling you get when the roller-coaster is about to crest at the top of the hill and the feeling as you’re plummeting down (she also did an amazing demonstration of being on a roller-coaster). Even though it’s a wild ride, when the roller-coaster stops, you’re wanting to go again.

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Coming up with the business name didn’t prove to be a cake walk as one would think. When she started to create her online stores on Ebay and Etsy, she used the search tool to ensure there wasn’t another name out there. Every name kept coming up taken. Out of a fit of frustration, she threw her head and fists to the desk to at least take a moment to breath. That’s when she looked at her hands and decided to type in the words that are tattooed at the tops of her fingers. She entered the words, “Live True”, and BAM! the name wasn’t taken and the answer had truly been right at her fingertips the whole time. “Live True is my business motto. I’m not apologizing for anything,” stated Tammy. I’d say one can’t argue with that because these two words have a big meaning and is a phrase everyone can understand.

I asked her if she had any favorite items she enjoyed selling. “I like t-shirts because they’re always so funny.” She had a Dolly Parton t-shirt that sold in one day. She also likes country and western concert tour shirts, especially from the 70s and 80s. “It makes people so happy to find these t-shirts.” She likes to see people’s faces light up when they discover a t-shirt from their favorite band, musician or tour. As someone that still owns some of my band t-shirts from back in the day, I can see why people get so happy when they find their favorite. Her favorite part about owning Live True Vintage is seeing everybody and when her friends come to visit. She also enjoys the shows that are showcased at the shop. There is a space in the shop that bands and musicians can set up and play a show.

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To close out the interview, I asked Tammy for some closing remarks or what I like to call, “Famous Last Words.” She said this, “Support small businesses. If you can’t come in, you can share a status [on Facebook].” She also pointed out that other small businesses help each other out and support each other. Live True Vintage is a charming little shop that not only delivers a great message with it’s name, it also delivers the best vintage products in town.

Live True Vintage is located on 3123 Gallatin Pike Nashville, Tenn 37216. You can also go like her Facebook page at Live True Vintage or Instagram at livetruevintage.

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