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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Black No. 1: Photo shoot with Lashon

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I am really enjoying the world of photography so far. Photography was something, sadly, I always put on the back burner. I thought about majoring it when I started thinking about college after high school. But I was discouraged and being 17, listened to the person. Over the years it kept coming up, but I kept putting it aside. When I decided to stop doing that, it was like a love that was always meant to be.

Right now, I’m relying on my girlfriends to be my models for me. It’s a win-win because I get to practice and I get to hang out with one of my pals! The lovely lady of this shoot is one that is near and dear to me. My very best friend since 9th grade, Lashon. Another plus is that she herself has always had her hand in photography. She is the person that taught me ALL about composition and pointing out any irrelevant negative space. We even signed up for a photography and Photoshop class together years ago just to learn together and really just to enjoy taking the class together.

So without further ado, I present to you Lashon’s photo shoot. This blog will be a two-part one as we took photos in different outfits. Here is our “black” series:

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“No man knows till he has suffered from the night how sweet and dear to his heart and eye the morning can be.”

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“For the dead travel fast.”

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“No one but a woman can help a man when he is in trouble of the heart.”

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“Bleeding hearts, and dry bones of the churchyard, and tears that burn as they fall, all dance together to the music that he make with that smileless mouth of him.”

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“The last I saw of Count Dracula was his kissing his hand to me, with a red light of triumph in his eyes, and with a smile that Judas in hell might be proud of.”

 

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.