Updated: May 30, 2022
Of all the things that have surprised me about starting a business, making new friends has been the biggest one. This past April, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet several of the amazing group of ladies that have been my biggest supporters and friends this past year.
In all, there are 12 of us that formed a creative business collaboration a year ago. We started planning this trip back in the fall of 2021. Only five of us were able to gather for this first get together in Tennessee. I had no idea when I started our little group and reached out to these ladies that they would become such an important part of my life.
Let's start from the beginning. It's about a 10 hour drive from where I live to TN, so I booked a flight. It's been so long since I traveled, my carry-on bag literally had a giant hole in it! Let's just say, I wasn't traveling in style, but it didn't matter. I was about to meet my artsy soul sisters, so I was too nervous and excited to care!
These lovely ladies on either side of me are Melanie Perry from Hometown Paints (left) and Ericka Johnson from Red-Headed Princess Designs (right). It was so surreal when Melanie pulled up in her car to pick me up at the airport! I had been literally talking to her & the other ladies over Zoom and text for a year, and there she was in person, just as beautiful as ever.
We met up with Ericka, who is a ray of strawberry sunshine, at a local mall. We exchanged real, in-person hugs. Apparently, all of our significant others had been a tad skeptical of our meetup with "strangers" from the Internet. I felt like I've known these ladies all my life! We had some time to burn before the rest of our party arrived, so we did what all creative, book loving, introverts would do...went to a giant used book & media store!
McKay's was such a cool bookstore & had all sorts of books, media, and collectables at reasonable prices. I mean, who doesn't love seeing a 1990 Holiday Barbie collectible as a reminder of your youth? Sadly, I could only buy 3 books because I all I brought was that holey carry-on bag for the plane.
After nerding out in the bookstore, we headed back to the mall to have lunch and meet up with the delightful Karen Siwak from Over the Artsy Moon. Karen drove down from the Chicago area to meet up with us. We spent lunch chatting it up and raising eyebrows after our waiter sat down and shared the latest conspiracy theories with us.
Following lunch we headed over to the Grand Ol Opry. As we were walking up, we came upon a family taking pictures in front of the giant guitar. Karen stepped right up and offered to take their photo. Then she had them do a jumping photo. Poor grandma nearly fell over when she landed! Next it was our turn. In our jump photo, I got amazing air on my jump, about 2 seconds after everyone else! This is the nice photo.
Our house for the weekend was the Caspian Cottage in Springfield, TN. This little cottage was perfect for our girls weekend. The host had everything ready for us, including delicious homemade bread and cookies.
I did a video walk through on the outside deck so you can get a feel for how lovely it was during our stay.
After unpacking, we headed out to enjoy Mexican food at a local restaurant. When we returned, the massage therapist I had arranged for was waiting for us. The charming Rebecca O'Neal from Wholly Rustic had also arrived bringing with her delicious wine from a vineyard near her home. Our merry party was finally all together. We spent the evening talking, laughing, & relaxing.