The 365 Day Challenge: Trying Something New

Growing up I always saw my mom hunched over on her knees with her nose in her flower beds. I’d come and go, not appreciating to the full extent the hours she spent making our house look beautiful inside and outside. I just assumed that the countless flowers, bushes, and herbs surrounding our house magically reappeared every year as lovely as ever without any effort. Well let me tell you that is utterly false.

After years of hopping from one apartment to another, I’ve finally settled into a home that has room for all the beautiful things my mom used to work so hard on – flowers, bushes, and herbs, oh my! But walking in to my first Saturday afternoon spent gardening I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I literally went to the store and picked out the flowers I thought were pretty, not kidding. While I considered the signs shouting “annual”, “perennial”, and “6 hours of sunlight”, it didn’t really matter all that much to me as I snatched up piles of white, purple, and pink flowers. I even picked up a lavender plant with a vision of myself delicately snipping some lavender to add to a bouquet on our dinner table someday. I figured the best way to try something new like this was just to dive right in and give it a shot.

After hours of arranging, measuring, planting, and pruning – not having any idea what I was doing, just hoping it would turn out okay – I proudly showed my display to Jake (my boyfriend) who was slaving away on our backyard deck and patio. He commended me on a job well done and I felt immense satisfaction for trying something new, even if I wasn’t sure I could actually keep the flowers alive.  Later on I told Jake’s mom (an avid, experienced gardener) about my triumph, mentioning my lavender plant, and I quickly found out from her that lavender plants grow WAY bigger than I anticipated. With her experience, she had tons of tips and tricks to give me as I start to explore the world of gardening.

While I can report, after 3 days, my flowers are still alive, I had to uproot my lavender plant and move it to an area where it could spread out. Who knew that lavender (and apparently rosemary) can explode into a large bush if you tend to it correctly? There’s just so much more to learn. After all, it’ll take some time to see if I’ve got the green thumb, so at this point I’m just trying to make sure my flowers survive the week.

So what’s the moral of this story? Trying something new can be fun, so don’t be afraid if you don’t know everything before you jump in. Even if you make mistakes, being humble and asking for advice is okay. You’ll never know everything and sometimes the best way to learn is from those around you. Granted, this meant I didn’t write at all on Saturday, but I believe it’s important to try new things because you might discover a passion you never knew you had – it’s okay to have more than one!

Click here to see more on the 365 Day Challenge

5 Fun Ways to Embrace for Fall (or totally fail at it)

Anyone else feel like fall came out of nowhere? Labor Day has come and gone, marking the unofficial end to yet another summer and making my heart leap with joy at the thought of boots, jackets, pumpkins, and Hocus Pocus on repeat. Even if it is still in the 80s in Tennessee, I’m busy attempting to wear chunky sweaters and trading boots for sandals. I might be sweating but I look so fresh for fall it doesn’t matter!

If you’re like me and you’re in the spirit of willing fall to arrive despite it dragging it’s feet, why not embrace some fun (basic) fall activities while we wait? I know what you’re thinking, while everyone on Instagram and Pinterest makes their version of fall look perfect, you’re over here just overdosing on pumpkin spice lattes and calling it a day. Even if you tend to fantastically fail at your fall efforts it doesn’t hurt to try, does it? Before you know it, it’ll be Christmas and we’ll wonder where fall went, so start planning now – this is the year you’ll do fall right! Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself….

  • Picking and Patching: Find your local pumpkin patch or apple orchard to select fresh seasonal food for your pies, pastries, carving contests, or other more ambitious fall food-related activities. You know you’re pinteresting recipes and researching your best Instagram pose already. Or you could be like me and forget to take a picture, and buy it all, fully intending on taking action, but instead eat the apples whole and draw a permanent marker face on your pumpkin the night before Halloween.
  • Shop for fresh seasonal attire: Plaid shirts, cozy boots, fluffy sweaters, overpriced distressed jeans – all of the things! Somehow since last fall all of your seasonal clothes have disappeared (to the back of your closet) or just aren’t cutting it anymore, so it’s the perfect time to shop at your favorite boutique and spend a little too much money so that your layering is on point at the next football game, bonfire, date night…. every night. Hey, even your fall lounge clothes are important, gotta stay looking fresh into winter, it’s cuffing season.
    • Nearly Native’s Shop like a Native in Nashville is HERE
  • Root for your favorite team: It’s finally prime time for football here in the mid-south and you better believe we love to cheer for, talk about, and sport attire for our favorite teams. You know it’s officially fall when you spend every Saturday and Sunday at a tailgate, in a sports bar, or watching the big game from the comforts of your own home. There’s really no way to fail at this activity, unless your team just ain’t cutting it and you’re embarrassed to rep their colors – don’t be a fair-weather fan! Also, avoid those Fireball shots during the afternoon game, you’ll end up hungover and redrunk by the time your head hits the pillow that night and that’s not a good look.
    • Nearly Native’s Guide to Sports Bars in Nashville is HERE
  • Get active: Before you give in to your hibernation instincts for the impending cold months of winter, get outside and enjoy the beautiful foliage and milder temperature that we welcome with open arms when fall arrives. Usually short but so so sweet, our beloved fall seems like it only lasts a few short weeks before we’re bundled in our down jackets counting down the days until spring. Don’t let these precious weeks pass you by! Try that hike you’ve had on your list forever, sit out by a lake or river, take in the sunshine on a patio, play hookie on that day when the weather is a perfect 65 degrees and go to that pumpkin or apple orchard. This is one that I always prioritize when I know that winter is coming because when it’s here, I’ll regret that gorgeous fall day I spent inside Netflixing.
    • 10 Places to Embrace Patio Season in Nashville is HERE
  • Plan a Bonfire: You’ve got to know someone who knows someone with a backyard, even if you live in the city, find a friend that can have a bonfire. Roasting s’mores, playing your favorite tunes, and spiked apple cider around a crackling open fire is hard to beat. As far as fall evening activities go, this has to be one of my favorites – even the smell of firewood in my hair makes me remember fond fall memories. If you fail at this it’s because you didn’t put the fire out when you decided to turn in for the night – Smokey the Bear says only you can prevent forest fires!

Nearly Native’s 5 Ways to Embrace the End of Summer

Can you feel it in the air? Maybe it’s the cicadas chirping, the lingering sunsets, or the afternoon heat that just won’t quite – the transition from Summer to Fall is quickly coming. It may be some of the last days of summer, but that doesn’t mean we can’t live them out to their fullest! We’ve got some great ways to soak up the sun before the weather starts cooling off. So don’t spend all your time inside, check out the 5 ways to embrace the end of another beautiful Tennessee Summer:

  1. Stare straight at the sun (with protection) during the Solar Eclipse – Tennessee is prime territory to catch this rare event on August 21. Head to a state park, rooftop, or just step out your door around 1:15pm and you’ll be in for a treat.
  2. Listen to live music at Live on the Green (and other outdoor venues)- Musician’s Corner, Ascend Amphitheater, Arrington Vineyards; With multiple dates through the next few months, there are several places to catch some awesome music in outdoor settings.
  3. Take in the sights at a Nashville Sounds Game – Our very own Triple-A team is still going strong, so why not check out the bustling stadium and grab a drink at The Band Box while you’re at it?
  4. Snag cheap tickets to a pre-season Tennessee Titans game – Football is finally back and pre-season games are the best way to get to game for a bargain, so grab you friends and get to tailgating.
  5. Savor some water sports – Stand up paddleboarding, boating, canoeing, or just pooling it; It may be the end of the Summer by Middle Tennessee is still toasty, so why not try your hand at some water sports to cool off?