Spontaneous Trips to Tennessee // Memphis + Nashville

If anyone knows me, they know I have a soft spot for country music. This past Monday and Tuesday I went and did a quick little tour of Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee. I had never been to either (at least that I remember) and my dad had a business trip in Memphis, so me and my mom tagged along and made a quick stop in Nashville on our way back home. I had no preconceived ideas about either except that I knew they were big music cities. In Memphis we were able to tour Graceland and saw where the King of Rock and Roll lived. We were also able to eat some great barbecue. Personally, I am not a big fan of barbecue, but the barbecue I had at Corky’s in Memphis was yummy!

Graceland
This is the front of Elvis Presley’s House (Graceland). It was a lot smaller than what I was expecting. But it was very extravagant and very 60’s/70’s.
This was one of the first rooms in his house — the living room. There were lots of mirrors in this room.
Graceland, Jungle Room
This was one of Elvis’s favorite rooms to lounge in. He called it the “Jungle Room.” Lots of wood and lots of green.
Graceland, Pool Room
This was one of the rooms that he used to entertain people in his basement.
Graceland, TV Room
This was the “TV Room.” I do not think that I have ever seen so many mirrors in one room in my whole entire life. The ceiling and walls consisted of mirrors.

Memphis was cool and all but what I really enjoyed was Nashville. I’m blown away by the musical talent that is there. I wasn’t able to get into most of the places that had bands playing because you had to be 21 or over but we found one that I could get into, it was an 18 and over place. Just walking around Music Row and hearing all the bands from outside the buildings was an experience. I didn’t get the name of the band that I saw, but they were exceptional. Oh! and did I mention line dancing? The places I went (Wildhorse Saloon) had people designated to leads the line dances and any one was welcome to get up and join. Yes, I did get up and dance for a few songs, how could I not? 😉

There’s just so much raw talent that resides there and the city has a very genuine and welcoming feel about it. There is a radiating sense of vibrant life and fun and music and adventure.

Nashville Band
This is a picture of the band that I saw in the restaurant/bar that we went to. The venue was rather large and they had a very nice stage and light system.

Also another thing that I realized while on this short trip is that I didn’t realize how much I appreciate southern culture. It’s just different than even where I live in Kentucky. It seems that there is a lot more respect for people. Now that is a big statement that people in the south respect other people more than those in the north, but I think that people that live in the south just express it in a different way. People hold doors open for other people (even if you are at the awkward distance away and have to do the awkward walk/run). They say “yes ma’am” and “yes sir” and just address everyone with respect. 

I went on this tag-a-long trip not thinking much of it, and ended up falling in love with a new city. I only saw a sliver of Nashville but it will definitely be a place I will be visiting often. 

Now I took my camera with me but I usually left it behind because I did not want my face to glued to my camera the whole time. I wanted to experience it free of distraction so, sorry, all my pictures are just quick pictures that I snapped with my phone camera. But none the less, I hope you enjoyed my adventure vicariously through my blog post and pictures 🙂 

I believe in Nashville
Excuse my awkwardness, I just wanted a picture next to this! I look about 5 or 6 pictures that were just way too horrible to post on the internet. This was the best one. 🙂
Memphis, Basketball
This picture was in front of the Fedex Forum where the Grizzlies play. I just love basketball so much, how could I not hop on this giant basketball and snap a pic?
Nashville, Sarah, Me
I also had the pleasure of meeting with one of my dearest friends for coffee when I was in Nashville. Such a pleasure to have this lovely lady in my life. 🙂

 

Until Next Time,

Victoria Grace

The Northern Lights

So when I was visiting family in Alberta I had the opportunity to see the Aurora Borealis! We were headed back to the hotel and my father told me that sometimes you could see the Northern Lights out where we were. The whole car ride we were watching the sky, anticipating just the slightest bit of action. There was none. We got back to the hotel, a little disappointed. I grabbed my camera to go out back to get some pictures of the sky because I was amazed by how clear the night sky was up there. I have never experienced such a clear night sky. My grandmother accompanied me in the parking lot but stayed back as I went out to a field close by. I started started jumping around and expressing my excitement in exclamations – I about scared my grandmother half to death. I saw a couple of flickers of the Northern lights in the sky and just started flipping out. I immediately called my parents because I wanted them to come out and share the experience with me. We ended up driving out farther to get away from the lights of the small town to get a better view of them. 

Sadly, I did not have a tripod so some of my pictures are not as crisp as I would like them to be, but they still capture what I wanted them too. I think the slightly blurry ones show my excitement since I wasn’t able to hold still. 🙂 The more clear ones I think show the beauty of what I was seeing – I was completely awe-struck.

Northern Lights
I always liked looking at stars, but it wasn’t until my astronomy class that I paid more attention to the sky and I have a lot more appreciation for studying the universe now.

Northern Lights 3

Northern Lights
I jotted down my thoughts when I was out watching the Northern Lights: “Wow, oh wow. My heart is filled with joy right now. I’m a bit numb from the cold, but I could not feel more alive. I have seen the clearest sky I have ever seen, filled with beautiful stars and constellations. I have seen Aurora Borealis and a shooting star. I’m so filled with awe right now. It is breathtaking to see just a snippet of God’s creation (in relation to the universe and all of the things we have yet to discover) and makes my soul praise Him for His amazing handiwork. Thank you Lord for your creation and thank you for letting me experience some of your grace tonight.”

Northern Lights_

I was ecstatic already due to a wonderful evening and beautiful night. While I was standing there with my tripod-less camera sitting on the hood of the car taking a long exposure picture in the middle of no where, I was able to see a shooting star that my camera just so happen to pick up during the 30 seconds it took to take the picture. (see below)

Northern Lights
This is my favorite photo out of all of these. You can see the shooting star – the line in the middle slightly to the left.

 

Until next time,

Victoria Grace

Kitscoty, Alberta // Black and White

I have to apologize, I have not posted in a while. My life has been hectic to say the least – but I am finally home and can take a minute to breath. I went straight from finals to Canada for my cousins graduation. Going to Canada is one of my favorite things. All my dads side lives up there so every time we go it means spending time with beloved family that I wish I could visit more often.

This particular visit consisted of me, my mom and my dad traveling to the quaint little Village (yes, it is actually considered a village) of Kitscoty, Alberta for my cousins graduation. I also had the blessing of spending Mother’s Day with my mother and grandmother. This small little town of about 850 residence sits right between Edmonton and Saskatoon (Wikipedia) . There is not much there but I had the pleasure of my cousins showing me where they go and what they like to do.
While I was editing these photos I decided to choose a black a white theme. Why do you ask? Because I felt like it was the best way to portray how I perceived this little village. To most people, this village is probably not the most exciting. But to me, it is a beautiful place that helped me slow down after a busy year and spend time with family. I was able to explore areas that I would not have been able to see unless my cousin had shown me them. Also, I was able to have the marvelous experience of seeing the Northern Lights (yes, I am going to share this experience in a separate post).
So to answer the original question of why I chose a black and white theme is simply because I found this little village, although not very popular, to be quite beautiful. Simple yet lovely. Adventure inspiring. This place is not beautiful just because of the places we went or the things I saw, but because family resides here, and nothing is as special as the comfort and love of family.
The CN railway goes right through the village.

 

Alberta is filled with enormous farms, ranches, wildlife, oil fields and refineries.

 

My cousin took us out to an old trestle bridge (don’t worry the trains do not use it anymore). Perfect spot to shoot some photos. This place was very peaceful. All you could hear was the water beneath. No cars. No construction. Just serenity.

 

I found the terrain to be very intriguing. I’m used to all different kinds of land. Farms, cities, mountains (more like very large hills), and the list goes on. But here, it is all just flat. Flat for miles and miles and mostly occupied by farms and very small communities. And lots of dirt and gravel roads.

 

My cousins took us to another bridge. Cars use this one, but we parked and took a little walk and went beneath the bridge. You could walk the whole length of the bridge on a tiny walkway. The fence seen in this picture only was for the first 20 feet or so. After that you were about hundred feet above the ground/river on a small walk way with just a metal cord on either side of you. The experience was a bit exhilarating. Every time a car would pass over the whole thing would shake and rumble loudly.

 

Graffiti on the bridge.

I enjoyed my time in Alberta. Stay tuned for my pictures of the Northern Lights! 🙂

 

 

Mornings on the Mountian

Good morning everybody! I usually don’t post in during the week but I had some extra time this morning and just wanted to share a passage of scripture that my dear heavenly Father really encouraged me with this morning. I hope you are reminded of His promises and encouraged as well.

“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the Lord

For the Lord will not cast off forever.
Though He causes grief,
Yet He will show compassion
According to the multitude of His mercies.

I called on Your name, O Lord,
From the lowest pit.
You have heard my voice:
“Do not hide Your ear
From my sighing, from my cry for help.”
You drew near on the day I called on You,
And said, “Do not fear!”

O Lord, You have pleaded the case for my soul;
You have redeemed my life.

Lamentations 3:22-26, 31-32, 55-58

These pictures were taken a few weeks ago when me and a friend got up to watch the sunrise together. The part of the passage that says “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness,” reminded me of the morning I took these pictures.  

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

Psalm 19:1

Ballet + Nature

To continue a thought from my last post…

I am surrounded by wonderful people, and I have a fantastic roommate! What do you do when you love taking hikes and photos and your roommate dances? Well you take dancing photos in the woods. duh.

But on a serious note. I absolutely adore creativity. I admire any form, even if I don’t completely understand it. Photography, painting, dancing, singing — the list could go on forever. God created us. He created us in His image ( Genesis 1:27). Since we are made in His image, we share some of His attributes — we too are creators! He gave us dominion over this world (Genesis 1:26,28). I think that when people take the resources that God has given them and make something new out of it, that they are fulfilling their duties in having dominion over this world. Or when we use our bodies to dance or sing, we are using the very thing that God has given us to glorify Him. Or in the case of photography, when we can capture moments and sights, it is a incredible thing, we are capturing the beauty that He has put in our life. I fully believe that using your creative abilities to glorify God is one of the most fulfilling forms of worship. Artistic expression is a way for us to praise God.

 

“Ever since I began ballet, dance was portrayed as an act of worship to the Lord. Since my small beginning eleven years ago, dance has been an outlet of praise and honor to Him, my heavenly Father. I feel that Tori truly captured the essence of praising our Maker through the graceful movement of the incredible bodies He has given us.” – Anna

“Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.” Jeremiah 31:13

Anna Dance 4

My beautiful roommate, Anna.

Anna Dance 14

“Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!” Psalm 149:3

Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them”
Genesis 1:26 ‘Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[a] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
Genesis 1:28 “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

 

 

Perks of Living on Top of a Mountain

I attend a College that is on top of a mountain. At first I had mixed feeling about this place. Yes, the view up here is undoubtably breathtaking, but it’s also on top of a mountain so to get anywhere it would take around 20-30 minutes. I am used to being 5 minutes away from everything so I was kind of dreading this part. But, this part that I wasn’t so excited about I have come to love. It has made me slow down and enjoy what is around me.

I have been so incredibly blessed by this place. The people that surround me here are beyond amazing. God knew exactly what I would need and who I would need and set me right in the midst of it.
So what do we (me and my dear friends) do on a beautiful Sunday afternoon? We take a hike! For me, there is something so sweet about just going out and taking in Gods creation. For me, it is a way to worship Him — to acknowledge Him as Creator and Praise Him for all the beautiful things He has made.

Hiking Friends_

IMG_8149 MC Hiking

IMG_8165

MC Looking into distance

Leaves MK

 

More posts to come!

 

DIY State Wall Art Tutorial

DIY State Wall Art_-5

What you will need:

 – Canvas (I used a 6”X9” canvas, but you can use whatever size you want)
 – Spray paint or acrylic paint
 – Gold Metallic Sharpie
 – Mod Podge (or any craft glue)
 – Gold Glitter
 – Printed off outline of your state (to fit in the middle of the canvas)
 – Scissors (to cut outline of state)
Step 1: Spray paint canvas.
Lay out canvas and spray the spray paint about a foot away in big slow sweeps (make sure you shake the can before you sprat it). I did one layer and waited for it to dry, and then I did a second layer. You can also just use acrylic and a paint brush is you do not want to use spray paint.
Step 2: Outline state onto canvas with metallic Sharpie.
Print off an outline of your state and cut it out. Place outline in the middle of the canvas and trace the state. After you trace it, fill in the outline with your gold metallic Sharpie (this is so if there are any gaps in your glitter you will not be able to tell).
DIY State Wall Art_

DIY State Wall Art_-2

Step 3: Mod Podge the area of the state.

Fill in the state with a layer of Mod Podge (not to much, but do not make it too thin. A good thickness is if you can slightly press the glitter in it.)

 Step 4: Go crazy with the glitter!

I dumped a generous amount of glitter on the Mod Podged area. It is fine if the glitter gets on the rest of the canvas because once it is dry you can just dust it off.

 

DIY State Wall Art_-4-2

 

Almost any of the items listed as needed to do this project can be changed up. If you are using silver glitter, use a silver Sharpie. You can use any kind of paint you want (I suggest acrylic or spray paint).

Be creative 🙂

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” Colossians 3:23  

 

Untill Next Time!

Victoria McCord

Beneath the Makeup

Hello! 🙂
What better way to start fresh again than by completely being real with people. I am not going to sugar coat everything and make it look like I have the perfect quintessential “blog life”.
Below you will see some raw photographs of me. They are completely natural (the only editing I did was to fix some of the lighting, no editing was done to my skin or hair). My hair is 100% natural (no heat or product – I just let it air dry after my shower) and I am wearing no makeup. This is a big deal for me because I used to not be able to leave my room in the morning without putting on makeup, much less let a photo of my natural self be posted on the internet.
This isn’t some revenge post because of some horrible past where I was bullied for my acne (even though people have made me feel worthless because of it). This post is simply me sharing what is a huge step for me. Recently I have challenged my self to not wear makeup for a while. The less I wear makeup, the better my complexion gets. Simply put, the more I do not wear makeup, the more my pores can breath, therefore helping my acne clear up.This isn’t to make some huge statement. I am simply trying to be the best steward of my body and make the healthiest choices for my skin. Also this does not mean that I am never going to wear makeup again. I am just not relying on it on a daily basis to satisfy my self confidence.
I have tried to cover up my face since middle school. I have visited doctors, dermatologists, tried natural remedies. I do everything right like eat healthy, wash my face, drink lots of water, etc. Nothing has worked. I used to let my acne dictate what I thought about myself. I let it control way to much of my thoughts about my worth and who I am. I have finally come to a point where I don’t feel like I have to wear makeup on daily basis. I have become comfortable in my own skin. This is me.This is my skin. I am not going to try to hide behind makeup anymore. I can not take credit for this. It is God that has changed my heart and given me this new perspective.
Everybody has “imperfections”. Don’t let them define who you are. Don’t be ashamed of them. God has made each of us different. Praise God for your uniqueness because my darling, you are beautiful.

“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
 Marvelous are Your works,
 And that my soul knows very well.”

Psalm 139:14 (NKJV)

Beneath the Makeup-7

Beneath the Makeup-5

Beneath the Makeup-2

Beneath the Makeup-8

 

Until Next Time,
Victoria Grace

 

Photo Credits: Debbie McCord