Startup Weekend Pensacola.

My newest column in the Pensacola News Journal. Read more information about Pensacola’s Startup Weekend and learn when the next one is, here.

Young Professionals: At Startup Weekend Pensacola, next great idea could be yours

Maggie Rose.

Maggie Rose is one of my favorite artists out there right now. I know, some of you might be thinking who? You need to go look her up right now! Wait – I’ll make it easy by posting some links below for you. So keep reading.

The first time I was told about Maggie Rose was from a dear friend during a music festival. I was an attendee at this festival.  Earlier in the week, I wrote an article that covered what country music acts would be at the festival and who not to miss. I apparently didn’t do my research thoroughly enough, as my friend said I was missing an amazing show and I wasn’t even close to getting there in time. He knows my music style and said I would love her music. So after the festival, I did some searching and found Maggie Rose’s music online. After loving every second of what I was listening to, I quickly ordered her album. (I love using iTunes for the gym, but I will always love my CDs and prefer them.)

Next thing I know – I heard that Maggie was coming to Moe’s Original BBQ in Mobile, Ala. for this event called Girls with Guitars. A couple of years ago, you could hear me complaining about where have the country music ladies gone because it seemed like it was only Miranda, Taylor and Carrie. So it was great that there was an all girl country show. It consisted of Maggie Rose, Cassadee Pope and Jana Kramer doing an acoustic set. The show completely sold out. Hopefully, in another blog post, I’ll tell you more and show more photos from that event.

Maggie made her way back to Alabama in November to Toby Keith’s Bar and Grill in Orange Beach right after the restaurant opened. I was headed to Nashville the next day and postponed my trip until the next morning that way I wouldn’t miss the show. She had a full band and hung out in the restaurant before her set started.

A few weeks ago I heard that Lindsay Ell was making her way down to the Gulf Coast and I knew that I wanted to catch her show. I was also told there was a surprise guest after Lindsay performed. I was having a hard time getting motivated to go solo to the Flora Bama Yacht Club and tried to find someone to go, but had no success. I was tweeting a fellow county music lover about going and Maggie jumped into our conversation to highly suggest that I come to the show. So I knew that she was the surprise guest! I’m really glad she said something so that I would get there in time. As usual, she put on an outstanding performance and her vocals still amaze me every time I see her. I hope that you check out her music and become a fan.

Check out the photos below. I also have some videos, but need to work on getting it uploaded to You Tube.

Next weekend, March 28, Maggie is performing at Wind Creek Casino for their ThrowDown.

Check out her website here: http://iammaggierose.com

You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/user/MaggieRoseVEVO

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Meeting Maggie for the first time at Moe’s Original BBQ in Mobile, Ala.

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Maggie Rose and Natalie Page performing at Girls with Guitars at Moe’s Original BBQ in Mobile, Ala.

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Maggie Rose and Natalie Page performing at Girls with Guitars at Moe’s Original BBQ in Mobile, Ala.

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Maggie Rose performing at Toby Keith’s Bar and Grill in Orange Beach, Ala.

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Maggie Rose performing at Toby Keith’s Bar and Grill in Orange Beach, Ala.

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Maggie Rose signed my album cover.

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Maggie Rose and her guitarist, Jason, performing at the Flora Bama Yacht Club.

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Maggie Rose and her guitarist, Jason, performing at the Flora Bama Yacht Club.

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Maggie snapped a photo with me at Flora Bama Yacht Club

Life of a Columnist

Who would have ever thought I could add columnist to my list of job titles? But I have and it is really exciting.

For the past two years, I have had the honor of writing for an amazing independent weekly newspaper, the Independent News, that covers great stories, events and controversy topics for Pensacola. I was able to write about something I’m particularly passionate about: country music. It was fun to be a reporter and try to garner interviews with artists when they came to town, or cover festivals.

Very recently I was approached to write a weekly column in Pensacola’s daily newspaper, the Pensacola News Journal. They wanted me to write about young professionals and I have free range to cover anything I want. It’s a remarkable opportunity to be able to write about another one of my passion topics: young professionals. It’s a welcomed challenge to think of topics and push my writing skills to another level.

So if you get a chance, you can catch my column every Friday in Pensacola News Journal.

Here’s my first column: Young Professionals Column: Get involved, connected

My Leap Into Quilting

For years I have wanted to get into the hobby of quilting. When I was in college I even signed up for quilting classes from a local quilt store and had lessons every week. However, I believe studies got in the way and I never finished my quilt. I also have another bag of fabric where I started another quilt and I never finished it either. What in the world?!

So, after many years I have now decided that it’s something that I enjoy and that I want to relearn. Plus, I’ve never finished the actual quilting part. I especially enjoy admiring all of the talented people that make quilts and put them on their blogs, Instagram, Flickr, etc. I find myself falling in love with fabric designers and quilters alike.

Last fall, I started searching for quilt shops in the area and found that there aren’t many and maybe one that teaches classes. I came across the national Modern Quilting Guild’s website and was instantly attracted to their branding. I know, total nerd, right? It was just what I was looking for. After searching, I found there was a local-ish chapter, the Emerald Coast Modern Quilters Guild, which met in Crestview. The first couple of meetings I was out of town and unable to attend, but I found their group on Facebook and then some of the members on Instagram. I was finally able to attend my first meeting in February and was welcomed with open arms. I took so many pictures on my phone and have lots of inspiration to choose from. These members were talented and willing to share their love of quilting with me.

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Elberta Sausage Festival

For a Pensacolian – Alabama is only a hop, skip and jump away, so it’s easy to make a day trip out of it. We found out about the Elberta Sausage Festival through word-of-mouth and decided to make a trip out of it. As you know, I love festivals, so I was in.

It was a beautiful ride from Pensacola into Alabama and I expected to just see some farm land and other cars on the road going to the festival. What I didn’t expect was seeing the dozens of yard sales, garage sales and store clearances. The community knows the traffic coming through and they jumped on the opportunity of visitors. We might need to add some saddlebags on the next trip.

When we arrived, it was much bigger than I thought it would be. Over 200 arts and crafts vendors and free entry! The lines were very long for the sausage since it’s only a one day festival and we went during lunch time, but they went quickly. Drinks were sold separately and only $2! Coming from a festival background – $2 is great! The German Sausage was delicious and wish I was hungry enough for seconds.

Want to go?
The Elberta Sausage Festival happens bi-annually, brings in over 30,000 people and benefits the Elberta Fire Department. They cook over 7,000 pounds of German sausage. The next festival is Saturday, March 29, 2014. Visit their Facebook page.

Troy, Cheryl, Bill, Troy, Billie, Adam, Whitney and the couple that told us about the festival.

Troy, Cheryl, Bill, Troy, Billie, Adam, Whitney and the couple that told us about the festival.

Had a take a photo when we got to the festival. It was a beautiful day

Had a take a photo when we got to the festival. It was a beautiful day

Adam finishing his sausage and also blocking the sun for me while I ate mine.

Adam finishing his sausage and also blocking the sun for me while I ate mine.

We found Yogi!

We found Yogi!

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I love this photo. In the midst of the festival and enjoying ourselves.

I love this photo. In the midst of the festival and enjoying ourselves.

Bill and Cheryl waiting for the others to get drinks.

Bill and Cheryl waiting for the others to get drinks.