Soul 2 Soul Tour

While I have seen Tim McGraw in concert before, I never thought I would be able to say that I have seen Faith Hill live too.

I had originally bought my mom tickets for her birthday, and did not think I would be attending the concert with her, since my sister claimed the second ticket faster than I did. But, a last minute decision to buy my own ticket, and my aunt tagging along allowed for me to witness the magic of a power couple in country music.

IMG_5997.JPG

The night was full of hits by both McGraw and Hill. There were also some new songs from their album coming out later this year. Personally, the duets between the two of them were my favorite (“Speak to a Girl” is a life motto for me, as should it be for every guy) as well as songs such as “Humble and Kind,” “Live Like You Were Dying,” and “Mississippi Girl” to name just a few of the ones that I loved the most.

For a Thursday night (May the fourth be with you… no? okay), it was a pretty solid crowd, and an older one too. For a while, I thought I was underage until more families started showing up, but where I was sitting, I was definitely the youngest. It was a different atmosphere compared to all the other concerts I have been to, but in the end, it worked out. Now I can say I have seen two power couples in concert: Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, and Tim McGraw and Faith Hill!

Colleen Hoover’s Magic

As soon as I submitted my final assignment, I celebrated by taking a shot at my forever growing pile of books that I have been wanting to read. My first two picks were by the author I have been raving about a lot, Colleen Hoover! I picked up “Maybe Not” and “Finding Cinderella,” both short novellas that I was able to knock out pretty quickly… maybe quicker than I should admit.

After reading “Maybe Someday” and LOVING it. I knew I had to pick up “Maybe Not” 23587984which takes place before the story of “Maybe Someday” picks up. It was interesting to see the dynamics of Warren and Bridgette, and actually made their relationship in the other book make a heck of a lot more sense. I ended up really liking them after reading this one, and it seems like a lot of other people did too. “Maybe Not” ranks a 4.15/5 on Good Reads, and I think I can honestly say that it is a fair grade to give it.

Next up, “Finding Cinderella” was too short in my opinion! I wanted more. I need more. And – after researching, I see that it is kind of a part of the “Hopeless” series, which I 18593175have not read yet, so standby on that one as I add them to my list! But, the story here is something that I think every girl wishes they could have, or at least I do. Then again, I am a hopeless romantic (maybe I should pick up the “Hopeless” books sooner). This book received a 4.3/5 on Good Reads, which really convinces me that Colleen Hoover really does not write a bad book at all.

Have you read any good books lately? I need more suggestions as I power through my own pile of books!

Chaos in Richmond

It has taken me this long to fully embrace the amount of fun that I had two weekends ago… or perhaps I just did not want to accept the fact that it was over just yet.

What kind of chaos was in Richmond you ask? The kind where cars make left turns at REALLY FAST speeds of course! Yes, I adventured down to Richmond, Virginia for race weekend, and it was fun from the minute we started our road trip.

My best friend and I (or my NASCAR rookie as I like to call her) left Jersey Friday night to be ready for the Xfinity race that took place on Saturday afternoon. A 7 a.m. wake-up time had us at the track by 9 a.m. (okay, we were a little slow on Saturday) to go explore the grounds of Richmond International Speedway. Driver Q&A’s, Fanatic gear, a lot of free stuff, and of course, the Joe Gibbs mascots were also in attendance! We made it inside the track just in time to see the final Cup practice before watching Kyle Larson win the checkered flag in the Xfinity race. It was a busy day full of sightseeing and planning our missions to be accomplished on Sunday.

Sunday morning rolled around and we were at the track by a bright and sunny 8 a.m. where we, and a lot of other fellow fans were ready to take on the Virginia heat. The day consisted of some Monster Energy fun, track-side access (including signing the Start/Finish line, exploring Matt Tift’s hauler, meeting Austin Dillion’s pit crew, and exploring Pit Road), Chase U, and a crazy race!

While we did not get to actually meet Chase Elliott at Chase U (probably for the better, I would have forgotten my name) we did get a quick Q&A with him, in which he mentioned that no, he does not know who will be driving the 88 car next season. After hanging with Chase and Hooters, it was time to watch some short-track racing which for some reason, seemed to have all the action happen right in front of our section. By the way, JR Nation was NOT happy with Jimmie Johnson that day, and where I was sitting, that was obvious.

Come Monday morning when I was back home in Jersey, I was hungry for more racing. While watching Talladega from my couch was nowhere near the same as it would have been being there personally, it was still a heck of a show! Makes me miss Richmond a little more, and has me looking forward to whatever race I attend next!

Yeah, I Live at Concerts

Adding to the concert saga, over the last two weeks I got to see Levi Hummon, Jackie Lee, Dan + Shay, LANCO, and Jake Owen. To say it was fun, is an understatement.

IMG_5797

We begin this chapter with concert number one, featuring Levi Hummon, Jackie Lee, and Dan + Shay…

Levi Hummon, to those who do not know him, well, is an artist you should probably start listening to. His dad Marcus Hummon has written songs for guys like Tim McGraw, and Levi seems to have had music gene rub off on him too. I will be honest and admit that I had not heard of him until that night, but I am a fan now, and you can see why after listening to his son, “Love You Hate You Miss You.”

Jackie Lee followed next, and had me laughing from the moment he came on stage. His songs including “Breakfast,” “Leave the Light On,” and “Getting Over You” have been stuck in my head since the concert, and rightfully so in my opinion. They are CATCHY.

Now, this was my third time seeing Dan + Shay. The first time, they opened for Blake Shelton on the beach in Atlantic City in 2014, then I saw them at Starland Ballroom in 2015… and this time they SOLD OUT Starland Ballroom in 2017. The crowd was loud, crazy, and singing a long to every song including “19 You + Me,” all the way to “How Not To,” which if you have seen the video on their social media, Jersey can sing pretty darn well. Whenever I see these guys, they are always full of energy and a load of fun, and they did not disappoint this time either!

Then, exactly one week later, I got to experience the part that LANCO and Jake Owen throw… and I do not think I was mentally ready for it.

LANCO’s song “Greatest Love Story” is my FAVORITE song at the moment, and after seeing them live, I have to admit that there was not a song I did not love by them. They had such a great performance and got the crowd involved a lot. I had their music downloaded before the night was over, and since then, have been learning the words to all their songs.

My man Jake Owen, who I have loved since “Eight Second Ride” is just as awesome in concert as I pictured him to be. While I did see him at CMA Fest last year, it was much cooler seeing him in a smaller venue, especially when it was a sold out crowd of Jersey rednecks. It was full of flamingos, palm trees and lots of seafoam green!

Ok. I think that catches us all up on the concert shenanigans. This weekend I head to Richmond, Virginia for two days of NASCAR! So, brace yourselves now for that post 🙂

 

Concert Roundup

Anyone who knows me knows I pretty much live at concerts. You can most likely find me at any country concert in New Jersey, and can bet on me having a concert at least once a week. I know, I am obsessed.

We are only into the beginning of April, but since 2017 started I have already been to a few good concerts that I figured I should share – especially because in April alone I have two on the calendar! So, if you like country music, read ahead. If not, hey, maybe you will find a new favorite artist to listen to!

January 25 – Eric Church, Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

Started off the concert season pretty early this year. For my birthday, I went to go see the man, the Chief, Eric (F’ing) Church. I have been wanting to see him in concert for a few years now, and finally got the chance to experience it. One word: WOW!

16265899_1414134018596958_8632985317011058294_n

On the “Holdin’ My Own” tour, Church is by himself. No openers, just him, his guitar, and his band. Also, he plays for OVER THREE HOURS. Three hours of almost 40 songs from his career. Even if you do not necessarily know all his songs (but really, how could you not?) watching that man work a crowd and stage the way he does is amazing. I personally can say that this was the greatest concert I have been to, because there were no frills to it. Just Eric Church, the audience, and his music. Exactly what a concert should be.

March 18 – Florida Georgia Line, Prudential Center, Newark, NJ

OK, on a complete opposite side… Florida Georgia Line knows how to throw a party. On the “Dig Your Roots Tour,” Florida Georgia Line is with Seth Ennis, Chris Lane, and Dustin Lynch, like I said, it is a party!

17352352_1465174440159582_2965035787049936787_n

While it was only March, this show made it feel like it was a summer night, and to be honest, it was quite a show. Having seen Chris Lane and Florida Georgia Line before (two and three times prior) I kind of knew what I was getting into. But, with new acts such as Seth Ennis, whose single “Woke Up in Nashville” is always on repeat in my car, and Dustin Lynch, who somehow I have missed seeing live until that night, it truly was an awesome show, even if it was snowing outside.

March 25 – Dylan Scott, iPlay America, Freehold, NJ

See what I mean when I say weekly concerts? That is how addicted I am! Dylan Scott is one of those unknown artists, even though he is quickly climbing the charts with “My Girl.” This being the third time I saw him, I tend to be one of the few people who know all of his songs… and that is okay. He is slowly growing a following, and at this particular show, it was a pretty big crowd who kind of seemed to know who the heck the guy was. It was one of those proud parent moments for me, and I am just counting down the days until his sophomore album is released.

17498767_1470829366260756_3943928291605977140_n

So, that has been the start of my concert series for the year! This month alone I will be attending Dan + Shay and Jake Owen, so I will be sure to write about them. Anyone else have any good shows coming up? Have you been to any good ones lately? Let me know!

Hittin’ the Books

Hi!

This crazy thing called life keeps getting in my way of writing. Between school, interning, and life in general I have not really had time to do much. But, I started and finished a book this weekend, which allows me to give you a new suggestion to add to your list!

During the month of February, I was really slacking when it came to reading, honestly I slacked through March too. I had jumped on the “Fifty Shades of Grey” bandwagon when the second movie came out, and it took me longer than I should admit to read all the books after. But, I did it, and they were good… so I would totally suggest them – although they are definitely not for everyone.

My latest, and probably favorite book though, is “Maybe Someday” by Colleen Hoover. After reading “It Ends With Us” and falling in LOVE with it, I decided to try some of her other books, and so far, I have not been disappointed!24445517

Maybe it was because I felt like I could relate to the book, or maybe it is because I just really love things that associate with music, but Hoover once again hit me in the feels with her writing. Also, a neat thing about this book is it has its own soundtrack! If you read the book, you will see what I mean, it is pretty cool.

With a Goodreads rating of 4.34/5, I would say there is a really good chance you will fall in love with this story as much as I did. Young love is a great topic especially when music is involved, trust me. While I did not sob through this one like I did with “It Ends With Us,” there were some tears shed, but in a good way. It seems like Hoover knows exactly how to make her audience feel what the characters feel, and honestly, it is a magical experience.

No, I have not yet picked up the followup book, “Maybe Not” yet… but I will probably be adding it to my collection shortly so be on the lookout for that! And while you are at it, pick up this one yourself and give it a shot, or if you have any other suggestions, let me know!

 

The Great American Race

Over the weekend, I pretty much dedicated my nights to a very important event: opening weekend of NASCAR! Sure, majority of people watch just the Daytona 500 on Sunday and call it done – but I decided that if I was going to be a true racing fan, I would give those other guys a shot too. The outcome? I was not disappointed.

You probably remember me talking about my Dover trips last year (Jersey Girls Take on Dover), and how I kind of knew some things about the sport, but I could not tell you much besides some drivers and car numbers. Well this year, I decided to jump right in and become a real fan… even if that requires me to hog the television for hours 🙂

Where I work, I have a few customers who are big racing fans, and one in particular who would constantly come in and give me a rundown of what had happened at all three races, including the latest drama, and even their qualifying and practices. It was pretty overwhelming figuring I pretty much would just keep up with the Cup series and pay attention to only a handful of drivers. Another customer actually attends Daytona and Homestead every year (jealousy is at an all-time high) and last time even brought me back a Chase Elliott shirt since we share him as a driver! I’m still waiting to see what he brings back from last week, he told me it would be a surprise. Being around these customers only made me want to watch racing more to really understand what exactly I was missing out on.

If you watched any of the races over the weekend, it can easily be summed up as CRAZY! The trucks were insane, and constantly wrecking. The Xfinity race had a 90 minute delay, which benefited me because it was while I was still at work, and only had a very small number of cars still out come the final lap. Also – both of those winners were really young – 18 and 23 years old, respectively. So, it was only right to assume that a youngin’ such as Chase Elliott or Ryan Blaney would win the Daytona 500, right? Think again.

Sunday’s race was overwhelming no matter what driver you were rooting for. In the end, only FIVE of the 40 cars came out unscathed by a wreck. For the last 20 laps, it seemed like Chase Elliott was guaranteed his first Cup win… until he, and many others ran out of gas on those final laps. Ultimately, Kurt Busch ended up taking home the win for the weekend, and pretty much well deserved too. Makes me excited for next weekend at Atlanta though, because Elliott is just itching for a win, and something tells me that he is very close to achieving it.

So, that was my weekend summed up in a nutshell. And it will be my weekends for the 40 weeks or so as the season gets underway. Now, the countdown to green, begins!

 

Country Playlist #2

7682e6d63e14b7cd66e3cc2b0e0d0106

There are a TON of things that seem to go hand-in-hand with country music: summertime, cute girls, alcohol, breakups, makeups, this list could go on for a while. Something that I have picked up on, maybe it is because it is something I enjoy, is the constant mention of Jack Daniels, or whiskey in general. SO, in this addition of Country Playlist, I am dedicating it to everyone’s favorite, JD.

1.  “Jack Daniels” – Eric Church

I mean, this should be enough said. The Chief has his own line of Jack Daniels, so it was only right for him to have a song about the lovely drink too. While any Eric Church song is a good one, sometimes you need a little reminder about what Jack can do.

2. “Hey Whiskey” – Smithfield

I discovered this song thanks to The Highway (surprise, surprise) and it is something that I feel a lot of people can relate to. It is also really catchy.

3. “Tennessee Whiskey” – Chris Stapleton

You may have seen this song around thanks to a dad’s cover posted by his daughter. But Chris Stapleton is a mastermind with music, and this song proves that just as much.

4. “Whiskey Girl” – Toby Keith

Going what is probably now considered old school (and this video was posted seven years ago which kind of scares me) Toby Keith is a country music king. Between songs like “Beer For My Horses” and “Angry American” he pretty much sums up ‘Merica.

5. “Sunshine and Whiskey” – Frankie Ballard

Frankie Ballard just has an awesome vibe to all of his music. I wish I could take this one literally though, I would love to be chilling on a beach right now.

I could probably keep going with this list, but I try to keep the playlists short. Although, I have ONE MORE that needs to make this list:

6. “Whiskey in My Water” – Tyler Farr

I have loved Tyler Farr ever since I went to his first CD release party here in Jersey, and he continues to be one of my all-time favorite artists. His voice just makes me so happy!

 

OKAY! That is IT! Thanks for another round of Country Playlist, until next time…. which probably will not be long from now 🙂

Feb. 14

Valentine’s Day, Single’s Awareness Day, Galentine Day… There are a lot of different titles that today can be labeled as depending on who you ask (Or Taco Tuesday, because you can not let that one go to waste either). Today would be a perfect excuse to do another country playlist, or any type of playlist really. Or perhaps even a list of books to read, man and women crushes… there are a ton of options. But, this one seems a little more fitting, and probably even weirder to some.

I will admit that I have a made-up list of “Couple Goals.” Couples who I find completely adorable and seem to have the who “Dream Team” feel under control. This list consists of everyone from Hollywood actors, country artists, even sport couples have been known to be added to my list. So, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I give you my top five “Dream Team” couples (and as I write this, I realize that this list is embarrassingly long).

1. Scotty McCreery and Gabi Dugal

tumblr_mcl5r7lsbt1qc4k7no7_400While Scotty McCreery won the hearts of thousands when he was on American Idol, it seems the hometown girl had won his long before he was a country artist. If you follow McCreery on social media, the couple just celebrated their five year anniversary, and their posts are just as cute as they are.

 

 

2. Thomas Rhett and Lauren Akins thomas-rhett-vacation-new-song

Two of my all-time favorite songs are written by Thomas Rhett, and they are inspired by his wife and childhood best friend (I am starting to see a trend). With “Die a Happy Man” and “Star of the Show” both being number one hits, it is no surprise that their love is as magical as the songs.

3. Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively

blake-lively-ryan-reynolds-relationship-timeline

I feel as if this was a win-win for the two of them. Lively got to marry Deadpool, and Reynolds got to marry Serena van der Woodse. As two of Hollywood’s hottest actors, and Ryan Reynolds being a comedy genius, they really seem to be Hollywood’s power couple.

 

 

4. Martin Truex Jr. and Sherry Pollex5-29-162btruex2bwins2bthe2bcoca-cola2b6002bcredit2bcharlotte2bbray

Okay so maybe not everyone has heard of them. But if you have, you have to admit that these two have a story and a bond like no other. After Pollex’s battle with cancer, the couple still has yet to ever get married (they prefer life partners instead) and continue to not only kick but on the track but also raising awareness for ovarian and pediatric cancer.

5. Barack and Michelle Obama

All politics obama_wide-4809c60b4faa061d7a6262d757d5b387ca155a3b-s900-c85aside, these two are a perfect pair who never fail to make it known how much they love each other. From Michelle’s fitness kicks and Barack’s corny dad jokes, it is so sweet to see how they show their love to the world. They may not be in the White House anymore, but they will still be on this list no matter what.

So whether or not you are celebrating this holiday with your significant other, your dog, your friends, or food, just remember that you should show love 365 days a year, not just on a Hallmark holiday. Love makes the world go round, and so does the chocolate that will be on sale tomorrow.

Country Playlist #1

On my old blog, I used to do country playlists of songs that I was really singing along to at that time. While I am trying to not post so much country music, I figured I should bring this segment back! So, here is my newest edition of Country Playlist!

“Hurricane” – Luke Combs

I am going to warn you now, you will get addicted to this song. No, I am not sorry about that. I hear this song a lot on the radio, and I admit to have it on repeat even when I am not listening to the radio. As a new artist, I have high hopes for Luke Combs’ future, you will see why in a little bit… because I am kind of obsessed with him at the moment.

“Any Ol’ Barstool” – Jason Aldean

Jason Aldean has been one of those artists where I constantly find his songs becoming one of my favorites. For example, “Country Boy’s World” is still one of my all time favorite country songs. This song just has a vibe that I feel a lot of people can relate to, and sing a long to.

“Woke Up in Nashville” – Seth Ennis

Oh how I wish this song was true! I would LOVE to wake up in Nashville. I one day hope to move there, and this song is just a constant reminder as to how much I love that city. Seth Ennis is pretty much taking over with this song, and I can not wait to see what else he comes out with!

“There’s a Girl” – Trent Harmon

I rooted for Trent Harmon when he was on American Idol. I loved him when I saw him open for Dylan Scott and Michael Ray this past December – who are two other artists who I LOVE and will probably post songs from in the near future. I loved “Mixtape,” a song that he performed at that concert that has yet to be recorded (come on Trent! hint hint!). But, I absolutely wish that I had a guy who I could compare this song to. Not that I would know personally, but I feel like this is every guy’s anthem to trying to get the girl… and it is totally acceptable to blast when you are driving around.

“She Got the Best of Me” – Luke Combs

I told you that you would see why I was lovin’ Luke Combs. He has two songs that have been stuck in my head, and I can really thank SiriusXM The Highway for this one! I will admit there are a very few amount of country songs that I do not love… and majority of songs I end up finding deeper connections to. This one? I will one day add to a playlist for a guy… one day.