Nashville Fun in February!

Hard to believe it was two years ago that I started the trend of crashing the conferences with my dear friend, Davina!  We did Vegas in 2014 and this year it was Nashville!  A conference at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel?  Yes, ma’am….I’m in!  One night there and the next downtown so we could play tourist, thanks to a certain Friend & Family rate, and we had a blast!

Conference schmonference, I proclaim that that part was great, she kicked serious lawyer a$$ on the panel and proved she’s super great at what she does, but come on, let’s go party!

And by party I mean watch the last Republican debate live from the Jack Daniel’s Distillery Restaurant & Bar.  Yeah, our bartender handed her the remote!  It’s more fun on mute, anyway!

Friday morning we headed downtown (after a pit stop at the nearest Target for sneakers -yes, I only had my boots!)  with our fantabulous Uber driver, Rodney!  I swear he never took a breath, he was so excited to play tour guide I thought he was going to stop Uber-ing and join us. 

We went to the Country Music Hall of Fame and played county girl tourists to the best of our ability. From there we went to Puckett’s Grocer at Rodney’s resounding recommendation and had the Nashville foodie tourists must-have, a hot chicken sandwich!  Keyword: HOT!  

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After lunch we went to the Ryman Auditorium, the Mother Church of Nashville. This place is and was by far the greatest place on earth, in Tennessee!  Beyond worth the price of admission. Terrific informative video and just too much history to take in while that place is empty. I would love to see that Auditorium in action. Whether it would be a Garth concert or an Obama rally, I would give anything to be in there. So glad it did not get the wrecking ball. (Or Miley, for that matter!)

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A few pops at Tootsie’s to see the sunset over the City and we were loving life watching and listening to live music in Music City!

Yes, we wore matching sweaters. Inside joke. #wallahtour2016

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Happy Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week!

February 7 – 14 – Every Year!
It’s about more than just chocolates and roses!

1 in 100 babies are born with a congenital heart defect.  Have your pregnant friends get a screening!  These days you can find out in utero the status of your baby’s heart.

Every day this week I’m wearing a different commemorative t-shirt in honor of Congenital Heart Defect Awareness week!  One says: “My heart belongs to Children’s National” another reads: “Our Hearts Beat The Odds” and yet another says “Born with a Broken Heart!”  

In 2016 we reflect on 31 years since my last open-heart surgery.  That’s a huge feat and I’ve truly come a long way, baby!

So, to celebrate a sweet 31 years, please join us in walking in the 2016 Congenital Heart Walk! It is on Saturday, April 30th at the Wheaton Regional Park.  It’s a lovely (short) stroll through Brookside Gardens and is just plain fun…and exercise, too!  My fundraising plea is as follows:

Since we walked last, it’s been quite a year for me.  I (finally!) got married on September 19th and celebrated 30 years since my last open-heart surgery on October 30th.  Also, on a more somber note, I started 2016 attending a celebration of life for a fellow Adult Congenital Heart Walk friend.  Truly an exceptional human being who literally lived every day on this Earth to the fullest, but passed at the age of 30. Put into a sobering perspective the celebrating that needs to be done as I enter my 31 years post-op.

All research and care requires dollars, as you know, so as we begin Congenital Heart Defect Awareness weekI invite you to support such worthy research by donating to my cause, and that of 1 in 100 births, by donating today!  My goal is a lofty one, but with the love and support of family and friends, clients and kids, I know we will get there!

It is quick and easy to support this great cause by making your tax-deductible donation. 

Whatever you can give will help – it all adds up! I greatly appreciate your support.  My husband and I each just gave $31 for 31 years, to start us off, and donations have been coming in since Sunday, so thank you if you’ve already given!

Thank you from the bottom of my ticker (seen below),

Lauren Elisabeth Smith Ridgway
born with Atrial Septal Defect
April 1977

Donate here:  http://events.congenitalheartwalk.org/goto/LESRidgway

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My Ticker!