My Wife’s 37th Birthday Gift from Me: Tickets to the Kenny Chesney Concert in Nashville on August 11th, 2018

Without question, the biggest fan of Country Music I’ve ever known is my wife, Jill; who was born and raised in northern California; near Sacramento. (I suppose there’s some irony in knowing that I myself was born and raised in Fort Payne, Alabama; the hometown of the country group Alabama.)

Her favorite artist is Kenny Chesney. And amazingly, he just happened to be having a show in Nashville (where we live) on her 37th birthday, which happened to be on a Saturday.

In other words, the stars were aligned just right for my wife to have the perfect birthday gift for her 37th birthday.

My parents came up to take care of our kids while we were out having fun for over 11 hours, so we didn’t have to worry about getting a babysitter.

We were able leave our house early enough to find a place to park and stop for dinner, without feeling rushed.

The opening acts were Old Dominion and Thomas Rhett.  They both served as perfect openers, as their style shares the same laid back rock feel of Kenny Chesney’s music.

Earlier this week leading up to the concert, my wife already stated that this was going to be the best birthday gift she’s ever gotten. She confirmed that statement throughout the concert- and a few times since we got back from it.

An interesting side note: Kenny Chesney’s show broke the all-time attendance record for the Nissan Stadium where it was held; as we were part of the 55,182 people who attended.

I’m happy that my wife loved the concert so much. Despite living in the Nashville area, it’s seldom we ever actually get to go become part of the action downtown. We had a great time together!

If only Kenny Chesney did a show every August in Nashville, I’d never again need to wonder what to get her for her birthday. I’d be set…

Here’s to a great way to start 37!

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Every Wednesday is Noodles & Company: How I Accidentally Founded the “Lunch Bunch” Tradition at My Office

This week marked the third month of my return to the corporate world. After an unexpected gig as a stay-at-home dad for 6 months, my mind is now consumed for 8 hours a day by a constantly shifting workload of HR, marketing, and admin; as my English degree somewhat randomly translated into a lifelong career as a professional recruiter; in addition to running this blog, managing two YouTube channels, and handling SEO for companies on the side.

Never in my life has anything I’ve ever done required such a high percentage of brain functioning as my new current job at a Fortune 500 company; as I hide away all day in a fancy 6 story building outside of Nashville. It’s not stressful, but it’s undeniably challenging.

For most of my 11 years as a recruiter at my previous employer, I was known for just bringing my lunch everyday. And I definitely never went out to lunch with any of my co-workers.

But about a month ago at my new job, I decided to reward myself for surviving the first two months of training. I walked half a mile around the corner to the Noodles and Company; knowing without a doubt they would quickly and easily be able to accommodate my needs as a manly vegan.

The meal was everything wondrous I imagined it would be.

So after I walked the half a mile back to my office, I casually mentioned to Lori, who works in the cubicle next to me, what I did on my lunch break.

She immediately responded, “When are you going again? Let me know- I want to go next time!”

For the next two Wednesdays, she and I both went. Then word spread. Today made the 4th week of our tradition, and now were up to about a half a dozen people.

We’re all Noodles Rewards members; meaning we earn special discounts and freebies each time we stop there for lunch.

It feels good to be a part of the group- and to know we’re going somewhere I actually want to be each week and that I never get tired of.

My favorites are the Spicy Korean noodles with tofu and the Thai Green Curry.

Noodles & Company is naturally an extension of my identity. Not only do they openly cater to vegans like myself, but they also have so many menu options for everyone else in my lunch bunch; including one co-worker who orders theirs gluten-free; which is very easy to do with there not only being rice noodles but also Zoodles, made from zucchini.

I also appreciate that I can get meals that come so spicy they fog up my glasses. I like how we can see the staff making our food the moment we order it and then how our food is brought to our table just a few minutes later.

And not only is the price in my budget, but as a token Millennial, I avoid going to restaurants where I have to tip. Noodles and Company is a fast-casual style restaurant; meaning that there is not full table service offered.

By now, it may be easy to assume that Noodles and Company is sponsoring this post. But no, they’re not.

In fact, this isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned there here on my blog, simply because I am passionate about their brand. Back in January 2017, I featured them in a story about my son and I going to see Rogue One and stopping at Noodles and Company for dinner. (See picture above.)

I am simply writing about something I very much like. I am a huge fan of Noodles and Company.

And therefore, the Lunch Bunch is sure to arrive every Wednesday.

Nashville-Based Vegan Daddy Blogger Takes His Family of 4 to the First Tennessee Park to See the Nashville Sounds Play Baseball, By Nick Shell

Just a few days after returning from our 2 week-long family vacation to northern California, including Lake Tahoe, we went to our first baseball game, as a family of four.

Here in Nashville, the home time is the Nashville Sounds. We got to finally check out the new stadium, which is called First Tennessee Park.

Back in April, I was invited by Toyota to go on an all expenses paid road trip across Florida to check out the MLB Spring Training Grapefruit League. That’s where I got my personalized Braves jersey with my last name on the back. Aren’t I cool?

I figured this Nashville sounds game was the most appropriate time to wear it. Turns out, I was one of many wearing a Braves jersey.

My kids easily had a great time, as there was much excitement in the air. Things got especially interesting when my son got his picture take with Booster the Hot Chicken, who serves as the official new mascot of the Nashville Sounds.

Because in case you didn’t know it, Nashville has been gaining a lot of attention in recent years over our city’s famous “Nashville hot chicken“.

Granted, there’s some irony in that my wife and kids are vegetarian and I’m a vegan, so we’ve never eaten Nashville hot chicken.

Or on second thought, maybe it makes even more sense for my son to hug a giant chicken…

Needless to say, our dinner at the Nashville Sounds game consisted of vegan burgers.

In addition to watching the game, you can also play miniature golf or corn hole. And of course, only in Nashville is the scoreboard and JumboTron a giant guitar!

I’m glad our family go to experience the Nashville Sounds game at their new stadium. We really do live in such a cool town.

 

As the World’s Manliest Vegan, I Proudly Endorse All-Natural, Essential Oil Based Products from Jack Black (Courtesy of Boardroom Salon for Men in Nashville on West End); Also Featuring from Prep U

As an accidentally popular Nashville-based daddy blogger and YouTuber who happens to be The World’s Manliest Vegan, or at least The Manliest Vegan on the Internet, I’m not “get a free family vacation to Disney World” famous.

But I am “get a free trip for myself to Florida to see the Grapefruit League Baseball Series” famous.

I’m also “famous enough to get a free car with a full tank of gas for a week” anytime my family goes on a road trip or takes a vacation.

And to my delight, I’m also at the point now where on any given day, my wife may announce to me, “Nick, some company set you a package in the mail…”

This week, I got a care package courtesy of the newly opened Boardroom Salon for Men in Nashville on West End, including all natural, vegan-friendly products from Jack Black that they sell at their location:

Jack Black Charcoal Body Bar Messaging Soap

You may remember how about a month ago, I did a special video there when they gave me my first ever clean head shave.

Well now, a month later, they’re still keeping me in the loop. Apparently, they learned how passionate I am about all-natural products; ones that are based from essential oils, not weird chemicals.

Coincidentally, I also happen to receive a care package from Prep U:

Prep U Body Wash

Prep U Active Dry Powder

Prep U Body Spray

Prep U Natural Deodorant

The Prep U product line is specifically made for pre-teen boys; though I must say, their deodorant is my new favorite, of any brand! It works so well.

In case you didn’t know, about a decade ago, I stopped using personal products that contain shady ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate. I also stopped using deodorant that contains aluminum.

I am a dyshidrotic eczema survivor. In order to be healed of my disease, I had ultimately become a vegan (5 years now) and only use all natural products.

So as you can imagine, the products sent to me this week by Boardroom Salon for Men in Nashville on West End are obviously an extension of my identity and completely inline with my own brand image.

In addition to being all natural, they also smell very clean, in a classy, subtle, masculine way. In other words, not like Axe body spray.

For me, this is like Christmas in June. I’m the 37 year-old dad and husband. I don’t get nice stuff for myself. My money goes to my family- and my attempt to pay off the mortgage early.

Getting these care packages this week made me very grateful and very happy, as you can see in the picture below.

Thank you Boardroom Salon for Men in Nashville on West End. I am honored to serve as spokesman for natural products for men!

Examples of Nick Shell’s SEO Work for The Biostatistics Department for Vanderbilt University: 9 Video Promos and an ENAR Blog Post

On my LinkedIn profile, I focus on my SEO skills most of all; how I have been hired by multiple brands like Primrose Schools and Moe’s Southwest Grill to write articles and create videos to promote their presence online, as a 3rd party. As I pointed out in my recently published article, SEO Starter Kit: 5 Free Tips, being an SEO specialist goes way beyond an active Twitter and Facebook account.

I am publishing this today to provide a candid look at some of my work as a freelance SEO specialist. For the past couple of months now, I have been producing content on a reoccurring basis for Biostastistics Department for Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. I am the one they contract to create the content many people see; even if my name doesn’t show up in the bylines or the credits.

Ultimately, the main purpose of my work for them is to further promote and grow Vanderbilt’s presence online; using blog posts and YouTube videos, as vehicles of promotion.

Back in March, I was responsible for creating a 9 collection video promo series; where I interviewed professors and students. The collection played on a big monitor at their booth at the ENAR 2018 Spring Meeting in Atlanta. (ENAR stands for Eastern North American Region.)

So for any prospective students who visited Vanderbilt’s booth, they had no option but to catch a glimpse of my video producing and editing skills; where my work even included original music that I composed and recorded to accompany the interviews.

This project also required me to go to downtown Nashville and capture some footage of Broadway, to help illustrate why Nashville itself is a fun place to be.

After the event in Atlanta was over, my collection of video promos were then uploaded to Vanderbilt Health’s YouTube channel, where they can currently be seen by the free world; I am including all 9 videos at the bottom of this post.

Additionally, I was responsible for writing a related article for Vanderbilt’s website, to basically create a permanent reminder of Vanderbilt’s presence at the ENAR 2018 Spring Meeting in Atlanta.

But first, I realized it would be important that I created an all new blog platform for Vanderbilt’s Biostastics website. So I did. I appropriately named it The Biostatistics Blog.

And that’s where you can find the very first blog post I wrote for it, entitled, Vanderbilt University’s Biostatistics Graduate Program Takes on the 2018 ENAR Spring Meeting in Atlanta.

As you can imagine, I am proud to be deemed as worthy enough of my SEO knowledge and skills to be an ongoing contractor for a legendary establishment like Vanderbilt University. I guess choosing to be an English major back in college wasn’t so crazy of an idea after all.

Thanks for checking out my work today!

 

I Got a Clean Head Shave at Boardroom Salon for Men in Nashville on West End

Two months ago in February, right after I made my TV debut on Lifetime’s This Time Next Year in the episode, “Dudes From Different Latitudes”, I buzzed off my hair with a zero guard. My inspiration? For more than a year and a half, I had to have messy hairstyle to look like my doppelganger; as part of the show.

I was so tired of having to deal with hair, that in the likeness of Pedro on the movie Napoleon Dynamite, I just grabbed a pair of clippers and buzzed it all off. (And I have yet to regret my decision!)

A few days later though, I was invited to attend the Grand Opening Celebration for the Boardroom Salon for Men in Nashville on West End. The thing was, I had already been invited to and committed to attend the Toyota Grand Slam Road Trip across Florida during the same week.

So as a consolation, Boardroom Salon for Men offered to give me a haircut after I returned from my Florida trip. The funny thing was, with me having already buzzed off my hair, there wasn’t much left to cut.

However, on my most popular YouTube channel which happens to focus on men’s hair, many of my nearly 4,000 subscribers had been asking me to shave off all my hair with a razor. I didn’t want to do it myself because I saw it as too much trouble.

So as you can imagine, Boardroom Salon for Men was happy to engage my YouTube audience, as I made a video chronicling the epic event.

Here is the video I made featuring my visit. I admit, I am especially proud of the jingle I wrote for Boardroom Salon for Men, in Nashville on West End.

It is one of the most liberating experiences for a man to shave off all his hair; though I imagine many men, especially for those who can still grow hair, fear such an extreme change.

Not me. I love it.

And I think this speaks to the concept of a classy barbershop like Boardroom Salon For Men: That when it comes to men’s hair, choosing to go completely bald these days is just relevant as maintaining a traditional hairstyle.

Boardroom Salon for Men is aware of this, to the point they actually have a separate page on their website dedicated just to head shaves.

Nationwide, there are 30 locations for Boardroom Salon for Men; across Texas, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Georgia. If you’re interested in visiting the new location I visited, which is right across the street from Nashville’s famous Parthenon, here’s the address:

2505 West End Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203

I am very pleased with my visit. I also feel honored to be have been sought out as one of YouTube’s most popular “men’s hair” hosts in America.

And yes, I totally get the layers of irony: I run a popular YouTube channel about men’s hair, though I choose not to have any hair, and then I get approached by Boardroom Salon for Men.

Either way, I am proud to serve as a spokesman.

* Since 2004, Boardroom Salon for Men has been the place where men get ready.

* Boardroom pioneered the concept of luxury salons for men when the industry was yet to exist.

* What started as an idea to build a single salon has now grown to 30 locations across Texas, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Georgia.

* Boardroom currently has two locations in Tennessee, including Brentwood at CityPark and here in Nashville at West End that opened recently.

* Brentwood-CityPark: 7010 Executive Center Drive, Suite 104, Brentwood, TN 37207

* Nashville-West End: 2505 West End Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203

* Boardroom Salon for Men was created to provide the ultimate relaxed grooming experience for men.

* Clients enjoy salon and spa services in an elegant, country club environment that features oversized leather chairs, a pool table, a chessboard and a great vibe.

* A complimentary beverage is also provided with each service.

* Boardroom clients have the opportunity to purchase an Annual Membership, which provides members the freedom of unlimited haircuts, plus 10 percent off all other services and products for one year.

* Boardroom also recently launched a Head Shave Membership:

– 24 head shaves per year – $865

– 48 head shaves per year – $1,620

* For more information, please visit http://www.boardroomsalon.com.

@BoardroomSalons

#WhereMenGoToGetReady

When Your College Roommate from Nearly 16 Years Ago Reaches Out to You to Tell You He’ll Be Visiting in Nashville and You Actually Meet Up

I live in the Nashville, Tennessee area. I will occasionally see on Facebook or Instagram where people I went to college with were recently here and I’ll think, “I wish I would have known they were coming. I would have tried to meet up with them!” Perhaps too, it’s that people I knew from my twenties don’t realize I’ve lived here since 2005.

After all, Nashville truly is a cool city. Having just watched both seasons of Netflix’s Master of None in less than 7 days, I am freshly familiar with there even being a pivotal episode named after the city and that was filmed in the iconic spots downtown.

A month ago, I received a message from my college roommate from Liberty University from the 2002-2003 school year. It was Chris Haley, who introduced me to the concept that the state of Delaware actually exists, with its “no sales tax” and just 3 counties. (I visited his family one weekend with a car load of other students.)

He informed me his wife’s friend would be getting married in Nashville, and having learned that I became a stay-at-home dad 6 months ago, he figured I might be able to find a way to actually meet up. He was correct.

So this morning, we met at Legacy Coffee Co. and had a great time. I even talked him into being a special guest star on my YouTube channel with nearly 4,000 subscribers.

Back when we first met in Dorm 15 at Liberty University in the fall of 2002, he was 17 and I was 21.

Something we talked about today is just how much you don’t know about anything when you’re that age. So it’s really interesting to see how much we’ve changed, now that we’re ages 33 and 36 (though I turn 37 in a week).

What we learned is that despite not being around each other in about 15 years, after having lived in very close quarters for that entire year, was that we actually grew more alike having been apart so long.

We both are proud Libertarians now. And we both love playing our Martin guitars.

Of course I couldn’t not bring up that (in)famous picture from 2002 where, as a joke, he bought a fake silver shirt and fake leather pants and wore them at an event at our college. For the rest of the year, people who had figured out he was my roommate would come up to me and ask, “Was he serious about those clothes?”

I always loved to respond, “I’m not really sure…”

So yeah, it’s a pretty cool thing when you make plans to catch up with someone from back in the days when Creed and Nickelback were still kind of cool, and then you actually catch up with that person, and you genuinely have a great time.

And selfishly, I’ll admit as a stay-at-home dad, it was nice getting out of the house and hanging out with another guy!