Jeep Wrangler Road Trip with My Wife Along Lookout Mountain Brow: From Fort Payne, AL to Rising Fawn, GA to Chattanooga, TN

Owning a Jeep Wrangler means that suddenly, any drive immediately becomes an adventurous road trip. That definitely was the case Labor Day Weekend.

My wife and I drove from my parents’ house in Fort Payne, Alabama to downtown, Chattanooga; the while time with the top off the Jeep and the whole time along the brow of Lookout Mountain.

We traveled through 3 states in doing so: Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee.

About halfway through, we stopped for a hike along side of the mountain top, at Cloudland Canyon State Park.

From there, we stumbled upon some hang gliders who were flying all around us. This was quite a sight to see!

It was a fun date! I really enjoyed being able to spent time alone with my wife all afternoon, while my parents and sister watched our kids.

At age 38, having fun is still important. Having a cool wife and a cool Jeep helps make that possible!

Our 11th Wedding Anniversary Staycation in Franklin, Tennessee at the Hilton Franklin Cool Springs Hotel

What’s the best way for you and your spouse to celebrate your 11th wedding anniversary? Clearly, with your two kids at the Hilton right next to the building where you work.

At least, that was the case for me.

So I was able to just leave my Jeep right there in the parking lot and walk over to the Hilton Franklin Cool Springs hotel to spend July 4th with my family for the holiday- and for my wife and I to officially celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary; which was actually on July 5th.

We also arranged for our close friends Mohamad and Lena, along with their daughter who is our own daughter’s age, to stay on the same hall.

When it came time to decide where to go out for dinner, there weren’t a whole lot of restaurants open on the July 4th holiday; so naturally, we chose House of India. My wife and I loved it so much we decided we will definitely go back when it is just the two of us.

As a 38 year-old man, I just don’t end up in a swimming pool much these days. However, on July 4th in Tennessee, it gets so hot that if you’re going to be outside for any reason, it better be because you’re in a swimming pool.

I forgot how much fun swimming in a pool can be, especially when you’re entertaining kids.

Adjacent to the Executive Lounge (where I ended up having breakfast the next morning), there is huge deck where you can see all the way to Nashville in one direction, and all the way to Spring Hill where we actually live, in the other.

So for our 4th of July fireworks show, we had quite the view!

Staying at the Hilton Franklin Cool Springs hotel was definitely the right call for us on July 4th!

And for our actual anniversary on July 5th, we made our way to my hometown of Fort Payne, Alabama; where my wife and I actually had a night out by ourselves.

Stay tuned for the other half of this story…

2010 Jeep Wrangler JK Sport 4WD 6 Speed: Family Ride in Percy Warner Park in Nashville, Tennessee

It’s been two weeks now that I finally obtained my dream vehicle, a Jeep Wrangler. As part of the fun for Mother’s Day for my wife, I announced we would be going for our very first family leisurely drive through the not-so-faraway Jeep-friendly spot: Percy Warner Park in Nashville.

This weekend’s drive confirmed what I always believed about owning a Jeep Wrangler; that you don’t simply own a vehicle, you own a mobile amusement park.

Automatically, anywhere you drive is suddenly more exciting. The view is undeniably better. Whenever you see a road you want to go down, or go up, that you wouldn’t normally be able to… well, now you can.

And we did. Many times.

There is no fear of getting stuck in the mud, because now we have 4 wheel drive.

There is no fear of not being able to turn around if we get to the end of a narrow dead-end road, because the Jeep is so short.

There is no fear of boredom, because we are ultimately riding in a mini monster truck.

Something really crazy about my 7 and a half year journey to finally getting my Jeep Wrangler is that I never ever drove one until I had already bought mine!

That’s how much I knew I was destined to own one.

I can’t remember the last time I bought anything for myself that made me so happy.

When you’re the husband and the father, you just sort of go along with whatever is going on with your family. There was honestly nothing I needed or even wanted anyway.

Except for the Jeep, which I couldn’t afford until now; and was able to pay cash for. (My wife and I are very serious about Dave Ramsey!)

But this Jeep isn’t just for me: My whole family enjoys it.

It’s simply more fun to drive now; even in bumper to bumper commuter Nashville traffic.

That’s how good a Jeep Wrangler is.

Dear Jack: Your Ghost Tour Field Trip in Downtown Franklin, Tennessee near Mellow Mushroom

7 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

Yesterday was quite an adventure for you. As part of your school’s enrichment program this week for fall break, you got to go on a “ghost tour” with your friends.

A tour guide hopped on your school bus in the nearby town of Franklin, and told everyone ghost stories that apparently took place in those old buildings downtown; near Mellow Mushroom, actually.

Needless to say, last night’s dinner conversations were monopolized by you amazingly recalling every detail of each ghost story you heard.

Ghost soldiers from The Civil war in the basement of the old bank.

Ghost dogs in the yard.

Ghost owls in the barn.

So while I did feel kind of bad about you having to be at school when school was actually out for fall break, I quickly realized that going on a ghost tour was probably more fun than staying home would have been anyway.

Just watch out for those ghost cows at night, mooing in the field behind our house.

 

Love,

Daddy

Lake Tahoe Family Road Trip for Our 10th Wedding Anniversary (Featuring the 2018 Mazda3) by Nick Shell

It’s somewhere between ambitious and foolish to travel from Tennessee to California for a 2 week long trip when you have 2 young kids. But since that’s exactly what we did, my wife and I decided to make the trip our official vacation to celebrate our upcoming 10th wedding anniversary on July 5th.

Going in to it, my wife and I knew it would be a mix of both challenging and rewarding, as parenting itself is in general. So we drove the 40 miles from our home in Spring Hill to the Nashville airport, then took a 5 hour flight to Sacramento, California (which included a layover in Las Vegas), then another 40 mile trip to my mother-in-law’s home in Walnut Grove; which would serve as a our base for the 2 weeks.

From there, we embarked on another 2 and a half hour journey to Truckee; where we rented a cabin (which my next blog post will focus on) just 25 minutes from King’s Beach on Lake Tahoe. Just imagine what all that must have been like with a little girl who, despite being extremely adorable, has officially begun the Terrible Two’s.

Whatever you can imagine that part of it was like… you’re probably right.

But we survived! And not only that, we truly had an amazing time as a family.

One thing that definitely made things easier for us is that we got to a drive a Mazda3 during our first week of the trip. It was the perfect size for our family and our ridiculous amount of luggage we had to take, including a travel bed for our daughter.

Yeah, we lived it up though. My son decided he wanted to go out on a pedal boat on Lake Tahoe, so my wife and I took turns with him on on the water, while our daughter played in the sand.

My wife was born and raised in northern California. As for me, I was born and raised in the tail end of the Appalachian Mountains in Fort Payne, Alabama; but Lake Tahoe reminds me so much of where I grew up.

Lake Tahoe is truly an extension of our family’s identity. It was worth the trip and I am really looking forward to returning next year; especially since my daughter will be a bit more independent.

I’ve still got more to say about our family’s trip to Tahoe, so stay tuned for two more blog posts about that, with more fun pictures…

Have you read all 3 of my blog posts featuring my family’s road trip to Lake Tahoe in the 2018 Mazda 3? Here’s a table of contents just to be sure. Click on the title of the blog post you would like to see:

Lake Tahoe Family Road Trip for Our 10th Wedding Anniversary 
Cabin Life in Truckee, California for Our 10th Wedding Anniversary 
Plant-Based Millennial Family Checks Out Vegan-Friendly Restaurant Called “Squeeze In” in Truckee, California

April Milam Photography in Spring Hill, TN: Specializing in Newborn and Family Portraits

A month ago while I was taking photos for my SEO spotlight article on Legacy Coffee Co., I met April Milam as she was ordering her drink. I learned that she is a professional photographer who lives just a mile and a half away from my family.

So I thought it would be cool to shoot a video tour of her home studio, to include in my massive library of videos on one of my YouTube channels:

And then when I began to fathom the logistics in being able to get newborns and young children to pose to her photos, I decided to make a video about that in itself:

Meeting April when I did (which just happened to be in the month of April) was perfect timing, because my wife had just said that we need to get some good professional photos done of our family; and especially of our daughter, who just turned 2 years old on April 24th.

As you can see, April did an amazing job.

In the moment, I had no idea that she was getting such beautiful images of our children. As the parent, I was just hoping my daughter didn’t have a meltdown during the photo shoot.

Something that really stands out to me about April’s approach is how efficient she is. We were literally at her home studio for 28 minutes from the time we pulled in the driveway until the time we left.

We had originally planned on doing an outdoor shoot, but that plan got rained out. As you can see though, April’s home studio served us quite well.

She knows what she’s doing.

So obviously, if you’re in the Nashville area, April is a solid choice for a photographer!

Here’s a link to our family’s entire photo shoot on her website:

April Milam Photography

And here is her page on Facebook.

Thanks for checking out April’s photos of my family today. We are so pleased!

To think: It all happened because she went out for a cup of coffee one random Tuesday morning.

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