Tag Archives: Nashville

The Last Days

11 Feb

These are the last days. 

The last days I will be a Tour Guide, an Angeleno, a California Girl.

Saying goodbye is hard. It’s bittersweet at best. When you know you are about to leave, it’s like putting on rose colored glasses. Everything is amazing again. It’s fresh, new. Just like it was the day you unpacked your dreams and the Uhaul. 

We still stand by our reasons for leaving Los Angeles behind, but I am thankful for these last days. They have given me the ability to remember all this city has to offer with clear eyes and an open heart. 

We put together an LA Bucket List of all we wanted to do, see, eat, and experience before we said goodbye. I have loved exploring and truly enjoying the beauty of the mountains, the ocean, the thriving and active city. I have found joy in being at work, spending time with my co-workers, sharing the magic of making movies with people from all over the world. I have cherished every moment with my beloved LA family – the laughter, the hugs, even the tears. 

The last days have solidified just how wonderful the past five years have been and how thankful I am for the chapter we are now closing. 

It’s too easy to forget what life can really be. I get caught up in routine, making in through the day, and just living life. We should all get to live like it’s the last days. Seeing more clearly, smiling bigger, loving harder, breathing it all in… 

Here’s to living in the last days. 

And let’s be honest… I’ll always be a California Girl. ‚̧

La La Land

11 Jan

Can I tell you a secret? 

I was avoiding going to see La La Land.

I know.

And not because I didn’t think I’d enjoy it. In fact, it’s totally my kind of movie. A musical starring two of my favorite actors – clearly a winner. But I was scared.

I was scared because I am getting ready to leave the real La La Land, and I thought it might hurt. A film that I’ve heard described as a love letter to LA. A film showcasing some of the most beautiful locations in Los Angeles. A film about aspiring artists, struggle in the City of Angels, creativity, hope, and finding your own way. A film that just might tug at the heart strings of a girl who tried to give La La Land her best. 

And I was right. It was beautiful, it was my kind of movie, and it broke my heart. 

I have to give it up for Damien Chazelle and the creators of this gorgeous film because they nailed it. They told my story. The story of every actor who came to LA with a dream – every interrupted audition, every draining day job, every frustrating minute stuck in traffic, every awkward moment trying to promote yourself, every rude question about what you are doing with your life, every ounce of doubt that makes you think “maybe I’m not good enough,” every YES that just might change your life. It’s exhausting! It’s exhilarating! It’s Los Angeles. 

And I’m leaving it behind. 

After almost five years, the allure of LA has dimmed, and I realized I was ready to move on. But then this movie ignited some of the old excitement. It made me question my choices. It made me wonder if I truly gave it all I had. Total gut punch. No one likes to question their decisions once they’ve already been made, right?

But I’ve been doing it – reassessing, going over all the options. Driving myself mad. But you know what? The same truths that brought me to the original decision to leave… they’re still true. I love the idea of LA. The real LA? It’s not the same thing. It’s easy to romanticize, sure. Like in a gorgeous movie musical that looks like a glorious dream sequence from one of the classics. (Good job, Mr. Chazelle.) But it’s not the reality, it’s not what it feels like day to day. Truthfully, I never fell in love with Los Angeles, the city. I loved things about it… good friends, the gorgeous view of the San Fernando Valley from Universal that will forever be etched in my mind, passing movie studios every day on my way to work… at a movie studio, new opportunities to explore all the time. There is a lot to enjoy. But it never really became my home. And as much as I love adventure, I also need home. I want both. 

So, we are closing this chapter. And it’s bittersweet. But just because I’m leaving LA doesn’t mean I am leaving my dreams here too. They have grown, expanded, shifted. Yes, I still want to be an actress. That will never change. But I want to get back to my roots – the stage. I want a fantastic theatre community where I can invest myself. A place where I might truly be able to impact people. I also know the Southern market for film and television is booming. Hollywood is not just in Hollywood anymore – not really. So, I can keep looking for my shot. Even more, I want to focus on relationships, family, community, and the things that were made so much more challenging in LA. Quality of life. I want to thrive instead just surviving. And Nashville feels like the perfect place to do it. How exciting! 

I might be leaving the City of Stars, but it will always be a part of me, a risk I’ll never regret taking. And maybe one day we will be back,  but for now I will just be thankful for the opportunities, experiences, and even grander capacity for dreaming that I found in La La Land. 

Favorite Five Friday (147th Edition)

3 Jun

Lookin’ good, Friday. A perfect addition to the week, really. And I can’t believe we’ve made it to June – one of my favorite months. I feel like I’m celebrating a LOT of milestones these days. It’s an exciting time…


1. Four years ago we packed all of our belongings and moved across the country to a place where we essentially knew no one. Leaving Nashville was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’m pretty sure we only got through it because we had each other, our dreams, and what we felt was God’s calling on our lives. Of course, I still miss Nashville and my community there. They will always hold a truly special place in my heart. But I am also incredibly proud of the life we have built in L.A. and all we have accomplished in our time here so far. It’s also pretty neat to have loved ones and family all across the country. Four years ago we said see ya later. Never goodbye.

2. Project Refresh continues in the Hackman Household… a couple months ago I decided I wanted to redo pretty much everything in our apartment. But it takes time! We are making progress. My favorite thing this week was putting up our gallery wall. We are still gathering photos and prints to put in the frames, but we finally found all the pieces we wanted. So we decided to just go for it! I’ll post more pictures once it’s complete, but here’s how it looks on our wall!

3. This week was the TEN year anniversary of my High School Graduation. WHAT?! I feel like that means I am supposed to be a real grown up, but I still find myself looking around for an adultier adult when times get tough. Maybe we all are? Getting older is challenging yet inevitable, ya know? We all do it. But I guess growing up is something else. As for me, I think I’ll choose to keep at least a little of my childishness. ūüėČ Anyway, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on all that’s happened since commencement, and it’s pretty amazing to see how far I’ve come. I toured across the country performing for nine months, moved to Nashville, got married(!), acted in dozens of shows, worked hard and received my BFA in Acting, moved to Los Angeles, found a job I love where I’ve been a part of some once in a lifetime moments, been in commercials and on TV, never stopped pursuing my dreams. Through it all, I’ve met wonderful people, cultivated incredible relationships, dared myself to dream bigger and be braver. And there is still more to do and further to go. Looking back makes me nostalgic, proud, and excited for the next ten years. I think I’ll get the hang of this adulting thing after all.

4. More milestones… One year ago Dan and I wandered into the NKLA animal shelter, and a little gray tabby wandered into our hearts. As soon as he saw Jack, Dan knew we had to have him. It was only made more clear when Jack was handed to us and he immediately started purring. There was no way we were leaving without him. I can’t explain it, but over the last year Jack has made our lives happier just by being in it. I love being a crazy cat lady Cat Mom.

5.  It’s National Donut Day! Oh Those Hackmans could not help but celebrate. Donuts are kind of our thing. ūüôā

Happy Friday! Go eat a donut!

Favorite Five Friday (145th Edition)

6 May

Oh, Friday. There you are. It’s been… a week… Ups, downs, and people I love. Here we go…


1.  Three years ago today was my first day of training as a Tour Guide (Thanks TimeHop!). I can’t believe I have been lifting the veil of secrecy on some of Hollywood’s hottest filming locations for three. whole. years. I really do love my job and the people it has brought into my life.

2.  My heart has been with my loved ones in Nashville this week as we lost a truly great man. David Compton was one of the most magnificent actors I’ve ever had the privilege to watch on stage. I am even more privileged to have known him as a friend. He was always so alive. In every moment, he showed up, he was present. There was something completely magnetic about him. As I’ve been thinking over my memories of him, I’ve been continuously struck by one thought… This is a man that lived. He always put his whole self out there – on stage and in life. It makes me think of all the times I didn’t. What is the point in playing it safe? What is the point of holding back, being scared… On stage, in front of the camera, in my life. Why wouldn’t we take every opportunity to live, truly live, while we have the chance. I want to live my life as David did. I will honor him by living alive.

3.  My talented and wonderful friend Leah shared a lovely photo she took along with this message:

“A huge part of art, for me at least, is doubt. I doubt my ability, validity, my right to have something to say in my own voice. In this day and age where everything is accessible the instant it is finished I wonder at the artists that worked for decades to perfect a single piece.

That being said: I want to encourage those on the same path that I am on regardless of where.

Go. Do. Create.

It may not matter to anyone else, but if it matters to you then it is enough.

You are enough.”

Yes, to all of that. Leah, you are brilliant. Find her at: http://gunnpointphotography.com/

4.  We celebrated May The 4th Be With You at Disneyland with our pals! It was just what we needed this week.

5.  I’m obsessed with our new “Hey Y’all” pillow. I’m loving finding things that have meaning to us and adding all these personal touches to our home. Y’all became part of my vocabulary while I lived in Nashville… It always catches people off guard here in California.  Which makes it even more fun to say. It’s just a little piece of my life there, and seeing it in my home makes me happy. 

Have a wonderful weekend!

Happy Friday!

Favorite Five Friday (65th Edition)

2 May

Hi y’all! It’s been a fabulously full week…


1. ¬†If you’ve been following along, you know that I’ve been in Nashville for the last week visiting my Alma Mater, friends, and favorite restaurants. However, last week I was updating my blog from my phone. Not my favorite! I can’t do my typical format (or maybe I can, and I just haven’t figured out how…), and this time it didn’t post any of my photos (rude!). So, in case you missed any of it… you can check it out here:¬†Favorite Five Friday (64th Edition)¬†Pictures and all!

2. ¬†More Nashville! Hands down, my favorite part about our visit was spending time with the people I love. There were a few times in between meeting up with friends that I had an hour or two to myself. So what did I do? Visit some of my favorite coffee places, sit down with my book (Nook), and blend in. It was kind of cozy sinking back into some of my old habits. Felt like I was a Nashvillian again…

photo 5

3. ¬†I stopped back in for a visit at my college, Belmont University. I can’t believe it’s already been 3 years since I graduated! It was fun to catch up with some of my professors, and just be in the space I called home for 4 years.

photo 1 (1)


4. ¬†There was a wedding! The reason we went to Nashville was to see our friends, Ben and Kym, get hitched, and boy did they! It was such a beautiful wedding. Kym is the Queen of DIY projects, and I’m pretty sure those two should be professional vow writers. ¬†I was weeping like a child. They’ve got something pretty special. ūüôā Dan was one of Ben’s Groomsmen (Isn’t he handsome!?)… that meant I spent most of my day with the boys. Which turned into me trying to keep them in line all day and the boys calling me the Groomsmen Supervisor. Needless to say, it was a very fun day. ¬†Congratulations you two! ¬†Show the world how this marriage thing is done.

photo 4 photo 2 10294447_10201917116118585_4602158102951891666_n 10322845_10201917153399517_8468267611073652126_n


5. ¬†We had such a wonderful trip! ¬†I am so thankful we had the opportunity to visit. (Even if there was rain and tornado warnings.) ¬† We will be back, Nashville. ūüôā

It's so green!

It’s so green!

We miss Nashville, but we’ve got some work to do in L.A. ¬†Time to get busy!

¬†Happy Friday, Y’all!

Favorite Five Friday (64th Edition)

26 Apr

Hey! I am still here! I hope you didn’t forget about me. Last week was a whirlwind of Easter and Universal… This meant that I ran out of time to post last week. This week we are in Nashville for a wedding! It’s been a nonstop ride for the last few weeks. Busy and fun – just the way I like it. Here’s a quick (and late) run down of this last week…


1. ¬†We are back in Nashville! This was home for five years, and I have missed it. I have so many wonderful memories that have been playing through my mind as I visit all my favorite places. It’s so refreshing to be here. Just what I needed.


2.¬† To get to Nashville… We had to take a plane. We decided to take the red eye thinking it would just mean a few more hours to be in Tennessee. Worst idea ever. Our flight was horrible. Please see my twitter feed if you want to hear the airplane haikus I wrote to describe our experience. (I am pretty proud of them.) Ultimately, we made it safely and that’s all that really matters.


3.¬† We are doing a little couch/guest room surfing while we are in town. It’s the best way to get to spend time with all of our friends. So thankful so many of them are willing to let us stay with them!


4. ¬†I spent a couple years as a nanny to some fabulous kids while we lived in Nashville. Whenever we are in town I have to go see them. I miss those kids like crazy! It’s amazing to see how much they’ve grown. I am so lucky to have worked for such an awesome family who still loves me like I am one of their own. They will always have a piece of my heart.

5. Speaking of my heart… I love that over the years there are friends who become family. They make my heart so happy. It’s those people that make up my Nashville. That’s why this will always be a place that I can call home.






I hope your heart is happy this Friday, too!










Favorite Five Friday (35th Edition)

2 Aug

Let me get this straight… it’s Friday… and I am actually sitting down to type out Favorite Five Friday?! ¬†I can’t believe it. ¬†I’m totally going for it!


1. ¬†So, one of my new favorite activities is hiking, and I got to go this week with my beautiful friend Morgan. ¬†We had a fabulous time catching up and exploring Laurel Canyon. ¬†There is nothing quite like a hike to clear your head and introduce new perspective (literally!). ¬†We also discovered an adorable outdoor amphitheater and a set of stairs that reminded us of a particular movie… Let me just say, nobody puts baby in a corner.



2. ¬†Nashville is taking over California. And I love it. ¬† Our dear friends the Lowder’s just moved to Los Angeles, and we are so excited to have them here. ¬†This week I got to have them over for dinner and a little pool time. ¬†It was so nice to catch up and spend time with familiar faces. ¬†It makes L.A. seem a little more like home. ūüôā

3. ¬†Disneyland date! ¬†Since Dan and I are annual pass holders, we decided that we had to go to Disney at least once a month. ¬†July was coming to a close and we hadn’t been able to go yet. ¬†We ended up slipping in just in time on the 31st! ¬†We had a fun day hanging out together and meeting up with our friends Dave and Kelli for dinner. ¬†Always a great day at Disney. ūüôā



4. ¬†Tonight I got to go run and work out on the back lot at Universal with my friend Trevor. ¬†Trainer Trevor is going to whip me into shape! ¬†I feel like working out on the lot helps me with my tour because I get a better picture of how the studio is laid out. ¬†I know exactly what I’m talking about when I tell guests about the lot because I’ve seen it all up close. ¬†It makes me so excited to be out there where so many movies have been made. I’m aching to be a part of it all! Motivation.


5. ¬†I did not know or realize until I began this post that The Art of Acting Up is a YEAR old!! I have been a blogger for an entire year. ¬†I cannot believe it. ¬†I am proud of myself for continuing with this project. ¬†Most importantly, I truly enjoy it! ¬†Here’s to another year!

Happy Friday!  Enjoy your weekend!  

Pumpkins, Weirdness, and Other Hocus Pocus

21 Oct


This last week was a weird one for me. Maybe it was just catching up to real life after our Nashville trip. Maybe it’s that I’m working a lot. Maybe it’s that the sun is coming out later and going to sleep sooner. Maybe it’s that I was getting sick. I don’t know… it was just weird, ya know?

To top it all off… I didn’t even do my usual Friday post. And guess what? No one noticed. Not even me. And that’s okay. But it got me thinking… I like doing my FFF posts. They’re really for me and for any friends or family that want to know what I’m up to. I started them because sometimes life as a grown-up just passes by. There’s nothing to separate the days, weeks, months… It can all be a blur. I want to remember the moments and the things that make them defined, individual, special. But I also didn’t start this blog to just have an online journal. I wanted a creative space. I wanted something to motivate me to explore my craft, try new things, and be adventurous. And I wanted the accountability of sharing it to push me to be my best me.


I had a weird week. But I’m resolving to get back to me. Get back to my creativity, my art, and, yes, my blog.

On that note, I did want to share a few of my favorite things.

If you know me at all… October is my¬†favorite¬†month. It brings beautiful Fall weather (to places that aren’t California), my two favorite holidays: Halloween and my birthday (which is this Friday… just sayin’), and all kinds of pumpkin things!

So, I am going to leave you with my…

 Favorite Five (Not) Friday: 

Pumpkin Style

1.¬†Pumpkin Candles. I have a delicious Pumpkin Spice one crackling next to me right now. It makes it feel like Fall even if it doesn’t look like it in the City of Angels.

2.¬†Pumpkin Oatmeal. My friend Christy made me some for breakfast when we stayed with her in Nashville… I can’t even remember everything that was in it, but y’all… it was SO good.

3. Pumpkin Bread. Especially with chocolate chips.  I just pulled this baby out of the oven!


Grandma’s Recipe, Of Course

4.¬†Pumpkin flavored drinks. Yeah, the Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks is good, but even better is the Jack O’Latte found at Bongo Java or Fido’s in good ol’¬†Nashville. Seriously delicious.

5.¬†Pumpkin carving and decorating. It’s just so fun! ¬†My new favorite is this gem my Aunt Jill captured at a contest in New Hampshire this week.


Angry Pumpkins

There you have it! Now, I’m feeling festive and excited about the upcoming holidays. Maybe I’ll have to go watch Hocus Pocus for the third time this month. ūüôā