Kristin Luna

On Life…

I’ve posted a whole lot about my girls’ trip to Scotland (with Ireland still to come), but very little on my actual life these days. That’s mainly because life has gotten in the way, and quite frankly, I just haven’t had the time. (Don’t you just hate when people complain about lacking time? I know I do.) But many of you have been so kind as to email me and inquire what SVV and I are up to, so I figured I’d indulge you. Here goes:

On career…

We spent all summer going through an entrepreneur incubator we were selected for called SMTEC, a subsidiary of Startup Tennessee that spanned three tracks: automotive, aerospace and technology (obviously, we were in the latter). Meaning for two full days each week from June through August, we were in classes, pitch sessions, mentor meetings and the like. It was very interesting—and a lot of time—and we’ve connected with many businessmen who have been wildly successful and who have continued to help us even after graduation from the program.

SMTEC group photoYes, I was the only chick.

The outcome is our new business venture: Odinn. I’ll go into more about the meaning behind the name once we launch our company site; however, here’s a bit about the origins on Wiki.

What we do: We take our digital savvy and apply it to the hyper-local economy in areas where the Internet has not yet taken over. This whole idea came about when we moved back to Middle Tennessee and turned to the Internet for our every whim (from locating a hardwood floor installer to searching for custom subway tiles to redo our fireplaces). What we found: Many companies outside of the major cities are not yet online and are in danger of becoming obsolete if they don’t change their business models. And those that do have a semblance of an online presence usually just have a landing page that doesn’t even register on any of the search engines.

Odinn MediaIn a nutshell, our mission is to bring these businesses into the 21st century by enabling an online portal that shapes, defines and directs potential clients to their brick and mortar store or online space. We improve their existing websites to harness new technologies and third-party aggregators and utilizes software that only recently has been enabled. We create forward-facing digital storefronts, execute synergistic marketing on the Web, handcraft social media outreach, and provide the strategy and tools to make them findable online.

So far our clients have been in the military, healthcare, banking and executive recruitment sectors. We had originally planned to target the tourism industry, but it’s funny how we’ve expanded our business model to encompass pretty much any company (that’s independently-owned, that is).

Business licenseThere is another big (read: HUGE) thing that I can’t tell you about just yet. Soon though, I hope! I hate being vague, but we’ve had so many dealings with sneaky creeps this year trying to steal intellectual property, that I’m making sure every last contract is inked, NDA signed and idea trademarked before announcing it publicly. (I have two excellent lawyers who have been earning their retainers, let’s just say.)

As far as freelancing goes, I’m still doing all that, just on a “reduced” schedule (though I’m currently on contract for seven magazine stories—surprisingly, none of which are travel-related—with other ideas in the editorial meeting phase). I’m also still working on the side as a travel adviser. And I’m in talks to partner with a couple big travel and tech companies for 2013, so stay tuned.

On travel…

I’ve been scaling back my travel (at least in comparison to previous years), taking longer trips but less frequently. In fact, I’ve turned down quite a few assignments and work trips this year because of our business and homeowner status and I’m liking this being stationary (more) bit. It’s kind of hard to believe but SVV and I haven’t been anywhere just the two of us since our long weekend in Vail in February. Thus, we’re heading off to explore the Caribbean via a tall ship over Thanksgiving. Technically, this is a trip with my travel agency—we are doing scouting for new providers—so it’s more of a workcation for me, but at least SVV will be able to continue his tradition as “a kept man” while I do site inspections. He’s been working so hard this year—at his day job, on Odinn, on our home—that he deserves a break. And speaking of cruising…

Enrichment VoyageHave you figured out via my sidebar of upcoming travels that I am indeed going back on my beloved MV Explorer next year? The ever-awesome ISE invited me back this December as Communications Coordinator on the next Enrichment Voyage but due to all the moving parts in my life, I was unable to, so I asked if they’d have me next April, May and June instead. They said yes! What’s even more exciting is that I’ll be spending eight weeks in Europe, my very favorite continent (the voyage is broken up into three different two- to three-week segments: Mediterranean and North Africa, Benelux and the British Isles, and North Europe, Scandinavia and the Baltics). And I’ll be teaching a three-week course on travel writing and social media. And for any of you who are interested in coming with me, leave a comment below or email me, as ISE gave me a really great group rate on both the Caribbean/Central/South America voyage next month and the Europe voyage, too. (Note: These are the educational-yet-still-fun “cruises” of sorts that are open to anyone and not student-driven like Semester at Sea.)

Enrichment VoyagesMy parents and some of their friends will be joining me on the first segment and SVV on segments two and three. Plus, there are a whole lot of my former ship pals who are coming back for this voyage—I couldn’t be more excited for spring to get here, for many reasons.

On home…

Being a homeowner is a fantastic, tedious and oft-frustrating journey—particularly when you buy a home built in the 1800s and decide to renovate it all yourself. (This is when being married to a former contractor, electrician, painter—you name it—comes in handy.) So far, we have gotten the upstairs almost completely done, which has required hand-scraping all the ceilings, sanding them, applying three coats of primer and paint on them with a sprayer (in full-on hazmat gear), and doing the same on all the walls. I had no idea painting was such a tedious task, made more tedious by the fact that all of our rooms are nine-feet ceilings, minimum. It’s given me a whole new appreciation for what SVV used to do.

Victorian HouseThough we had a little help when it came to replacing all 66 windows and redoing the floors in the upstairs bedrooms—there comes a point when sometimes you have to realize you aren’t Super(wo)man and that you need to hire someone to do some of the work for you. I promise to blog about our various projects, but I’m not going to do so until we actually complete one! We finished the downstairs bathroom yesterday, we’re retiling two of the fireplaces this week, and our blinds are set to come in sometime in the next few days, so things are starting to come together….slowly.

Home renovationI have been antiquing up a storm and found some awesome—and better yet, affordable—pieces that complement our home perfectly. The thing about moving from a one-bedroom apartment in a city where all our furniture was IKEA (meaning I tossed it when we moved) to a four-bedroom, nearly 3,000-square-foot home is that it’s expensive from a furnishing standpoint. So we’re furnishing slowly, as we get paychecks in and find the perfect pieces.

AntiquingUntil the home reno efforts start appearing on the blog, you can follow along in real time on Instagram (hashtag: #VicReno) or my Facebook page.

On fun…

Despite how busy we are, we always make time for fun. Lately, this has meant a lot of music. I’ve seen so many concerts this year, and most recently CMT Crossroads invited me back to another taping; this time, I saw my beloved Avett Brothers in concert (again) with Randy Travis from the second row (the show airs on Nov. 23). And yes, he appeared to have had a drink or seven before taking the stage (though he was pretty hilarious with his jokes and one-liners). And no, he didn’t pick any fights with the audience. And yes, I asked SVV if we could take an Avett home with us—I’d take either, or better yet, both—but he declined.

Randy Travis on CMT CrossroadsNext month, I’ll be seeing Taylor(!!!) and LL Cool J co-host the Grammy nominations concert in Nashville and then Aerosmith at the same venue the following week and Little Big Town (again) down on the Gulf Coast for New Year’s Eve Eve.

On involvement…

I love being back in a smaller town, because it makes getting involved with the local scene much easier. I’m speaking at yet another nearby Rotary chapter this week (my third for the year), I’m spoken at some classes at UT and I’m slated to speak for the Sewanee student body in the spring. I’m all about the teaching these days; I guess you could say, I finally took control of my public speaking fear.

Moving back to Tennessee meant I had instant friends, as many people I grew up with or with whom I went to college have stayed in the area or since moved back. However, SVV and I have gotten involved in our local Young Professionals chapter, among other groups, and have made so many new friends already. It’s nice having an excuse to get out of the house. Though for the next big YP event, we’ll actually be staying in the house as we’re hosting the annual Christmas party at our place. (Cue the panic: We are nowhere near ready to have visitors! Hopefully, that will have changed in three weeks’ time….)

Young ProfessionalsAlso, my mom talked me into joining DAR. (Really, it went more like this. Mom: “You should come join Daughters of the American Revolution.” Me: “OK.” Her: “Really??” Me: “Yes, why not?”) So it looks like I’ll be attending my first meeting in December. I might be morphing into a Stepford Wife before your very eyes! (I kid, I kid…that will only happen if I ever decide to join Junior League. Then you have cause to worry.)

On health…

In case you hadn’t noticed my lack of mentioning running, that’s because, well, I haven’t been running. At all. Like not once since April. My hiatus started due to a recurring stress fracture I’ve had since my college tennis days, but now is primarily because time is a luxury, and we’re doing so much home improvement that by each evening, I already feel like I’ve run a marathon that day. But we have a pretty killer gym nearby, so I will be joining this week (for a paltry $35 a month…for a family membership! I love the South), if for no other reason than I’m tackling a pretty major mountain trek in February on my 30th birthday, so it would behoove me to kick my own butt now in preparation for that.

Kristin and StefI’ve been having a lot of allergy problems this fall—the one downfall to moving back South—and also some pretty bad arthritis in my hands that has flared up from all the home reno work we’ve been doing. (Any home remedies you guys recommend? Right now, I’m taking a whole lot of Ibuprofen to reduce inflammation and doing some hand ballet in my downtime.) But other than that, I feel just peachy. No panic attacks in a very long time, which is a huge change from the beginning of 2012.

On family…

Being back in Tennessee has been fabulous for a bevy of reasons, but primarily because I get to see my mom whenever I like. (Today’s mother-daughter activity: catching up on episodes of Revenge and Nashville.) While we don’t live in the same house anymore and in a different city entirely, it’s not too far of a drive; in fact, out of the first two weeks we were living in our house, I saw them 12 of those 14 days. And I’ll be back at their place the rest of the week “granddad-sitting” and watching all six dogs while they enjoy the Florida sun.

GranddaddyMy sister is settled in Charlotte but will be home for Thanksgiving next week and will be working remotely (hopefully from my home office) for 10 days or so over Christmas. SVV’s parents are coming in town to see us the week after we get back from the Caribbean, and his sister and her husband are due to have their first baby in April. (Squee! I get another adorable niece or nephew! I couldn’t be happier for them.)

Aaaaand…I think that about covers it. In just over 2,000 words. Whew. Are you still awake?

Since we’re getting personal here: What all would you like to see more of on this site moving forward?

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Comments ( 73 )

  1. great life summary post!!! so thrilled for all your adventures — at home and abroad! miss ya something fierce!
    meg recently posted..collecting, trimmingMy Profile

  2. So much exciting stuff going on! I love your business venture concept. I noticed the same sorts of issues that you mention when I was planning my trip to the Lofoten Islands. It was so hard to find information about travel services on the internet. Given your business’ name, maybe you should expand to Norway….

    And, speaking of Norway, you’ll have to keep me posted on what you plans are for Oslo this spring. Or Stockholm, I haven’t been there yet! Maybe your arrival in Scandinavia can be incentive for a mini-trip for me!

    • Oooh yes! Definitely. You will have to remind me closer to the date, as I still associate you with Seattle =)

      And our name came from a friend from Denmark—we knew we wanted a Scandinavian name, so reached out to our friends over there, and the first one came back with the perfect answer to our branding conundrum.

  3. I also posted today about my changes and upcoming plans (including starting a business!). However, I am sad to say that I do not have a super cute Victorian home to renovate. It sounds like you have a lot of exciting things coming up and I can’t wait to hear about them! Btw, next time I’m near Nashville, we really must meet up!
    Laura recently posted..Dear Columbia, We’re Breaking Up (aka Blog & Life Updates)My Profile

  4. It seems like your life has a lot of exciting things in store for you! I love your house, it’s so Victorian and beautiful. And I’m addicted to Nashville… glad to hear I’m not the only one.
    Ashley of Ashley Abroad recently posted..Trying (and Failing) at Michigan Duck HuntingMy Profile

  5. Of course, I can’t wait to see all of the details about your house. Can. Not. Wait!

  6. You’re so busy! So glad to hear about everything going on with you, and so excited for you to come back on the MV Explorer. Maybe you’ll get the cabin I’m in right now?? I’ll leave you a little prezzie..

    Remember to take time to breathe, and enjoy that gorgeous porch you have!
    Kelly Lewis recently posted..A Girlโ€™s Guide to Greece: Falling in Love the Old Fashioned WayMy Profile

    • Oooh which cabin is yours?? Scott and I were 5043 in F11, and I was 5039 for E21. I’m hoping I’m not all the way down there next time, as ZOMG, the piano lounge killed every bit of sleep I might have gotten (particularly on EV when there’s a late night jazz band every single night).

  7. Love the update. Can’t wait for YP Christmas Party and to see your new home. It looks amazeballs!

  8. Wow – I hadn’t checked in for awhile and was wondering what was new. What a great summary post :) I am so looking forward to hearing more about being back on the ship – that is so interesting to follow. Also, in case no one has told you yet, your house is cute as a cupcake and I cannot wait to see what it looks like when you’re done!!
    Rika | Cubicle Throwdown recently posted..Want to see where I live? Guest interview with 30Traveler!My Profile

    • I love that description of our house given my obsession with cupcakes! There’s one in our town, as well, that looks just like a gingerbread house. Maybe I should aspire to one day own that, too? Cupcakes and gingerbread–yum! =)

  9. Rebecca (Bearca) November 12, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Kristin – WOW. You have a lot going on. Congrats on the new business — I’m so happy for you and Scott. What a fantastic idea. Wishing you guys all the best!!

  10. I love all of this. I especially like reading about how engaged in life you two are. Your ambition is inspirational.

    Oh, and a little update on our life. Looks like we’ll be in your hood in 2013. Yep… I think the big meet up is gonna happen.
    Kent @NVR recently posted..Pura Vida Costa RicaMy Profile

  11. phew! All my nagging questions about your life have been answered. and I didn’t even have to stalk you to get them! Thanks for all the updates. I just want to read more about everything and I am SUPER thrilled to start seeing posts on your #VicReno! Love design!
    Chrystal McKay recently posted..Celebrating the Dead at Dia de MuertosMy Profile

    • I worry that people will get sick of all my mention/posts about my house, but yet it seems to be what everyone wants to hear, ha! Guess I have a lot of readers in the same boat (looking to buy their first home or renovating one they already own).

  12. Have you somehow added extra days to the week? I don’t know how you do it all but respect your time management skills.
    Gaelyn recently posted..Planning for a journeyMy Profile

  13. I don’t know how you do it all! I love, love, love the idea behind Odinn and wish you guys the best of the luck with that venture. If there are two things I love it’s the internet and locally owned businesses :)
    Amanda recently posted..Capture the SeasonsMy Profile

  14. Wow these are some big changes. I wish you two all the best for the future and be careful of these sneaky buggers trying to steal intellectual property! I’m dealing with them all the timeโ€ฆ
    Sebastian @ recently posted..Island hopping in northern Germany – FรถhrMy Profile

  15. Oh my gosh, I love your house! So gorgeous! I bet it’s worth every single struggle renovating!
    And I really like your tales about living in the South – I haven’t been there in more than seven years, so your blog is sort of my weekly Southern fix :)
    Julika recently posted..Picturesque Monday: Love Padlocks in ParisMy Profile

  16. Wow congrats with all the new work, I know it’s not appropriate to share it all on the site but you’re tempting me to come down so I can find out more!
    Ayngelina recently posted..The struggle for sustainabilityMy Profile

  17. Wow, you are so crazy busy it’s unreal! I loved that catch-up and I’m excited to hear about your top secret plans too! Looking forward to seeing you in Monaco next spring, sorry SVV & Ella aren’t going to make it, but we’ll make up for that anyway! :)
    Also, and I know I’ve said it before but still- you have a turret room!!!

  18. Oooh exciting times! Can’t wait to see pictures of the house :)
    Ris recently posted..Book Review: How the French Invented LoveMy Profile

    • There will be plenty! Trying to keep it so people will be all, “I want to see more!” rather than “good God, will she ever stop talking about her house?!” ๐Ÿ˜‰

  19. I DON’T KNOW HOW YOU DO IT ALL! I’m guessing sleep sometimes gets put on the backburner :) Hooray for Odinn and being back in Tenn.!!
    The Modern Gal recently posted..Election Day pizzaMy Profile

  20. I have a question for you regarding DAR (and please feel free to just email me back). As contrary as it seems (as I am quite… erm.. tan), I am a DAR. How does one get involved/register?
    Erica recently posted..Exposure: I’m a Mean Cleaning LadyMy Profile

  21. Sounds like you guys are really loving life these days. :) Congratulations on the new business! I can’t wait to see more of your renovations, as I’ve been in the same boat the last several months – although we are just updating a 25 year old house, not a 100+ year old one!
    Charise recently posted..House Before + After: Half BathMy Profile

  22. Congrats on all of these new and exciting life changes? Will you have a spare room for me at your new home in Tennessee? :)
    Natalie T. recently posted..Buena Vista Park and Duboce Heights in San FranciscoMy Profile

    • Grrrrrl, I’ve got one spare bedroom with a (Vera Wang!) queen, and one spare bedroom with two twins, plus a pullout couch, so we can have a full-on party here. Bring friends =)

  23. I’m so glad for this update! I’ve obviously been keeping up on the #VicReno shenanigans, but have been wanting an update on YOU (and SVV.) Excited to see everything that’s in store for you in the coming months :-)

    • Thanks, gal! Hopefully, a trip back to Sac will be on the books for next summer, post-Europe. I have a new niece or nephew to meet and an LG who I still haven’t met either!

  24. That entrepreneur incubator sounds like an awesome experience. Your life is so busy, I want to take a nap after reading this :-)
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..Myth Busted: 7 Dining Spots That Will Change Your Mind About Santiagoโ€™s Mediocre Dining ReputationMy Profile

  25. I read the WHOLE THING! Living vicariously through your adventures — at home, at work, at sea… All the best for your new business & #VicReno! xoxo
    Kara Williams recently posted..Viceroy Riviera Maya Mexican Cooking ClassMy Profile

  26. You never slow down woman! :)

    It is sad that you were the only female in the entrepreneur program! We need more female entrepreneur’s.

    When you mentioned DAR all I could think about was Gilmore Girls and how Rory joins when she’s living with her grandparents for a while. haha Loved that show!

    Looking forward to seeing more home reno posts! I love those types of posts/blogs. That’s why younghouselove is my fav! :)

    The Caribbean trip sounds fun! I hope you have calm seas.

  27. 1) You guys are crazy. Absolutely crazy. Just out of curiosity, when do you sleep?

    2) Is there anything that SVV didn’t do at one point? Astronaut? Private eye? Fairy princess?

    3) Your house is a-mazing. If you have an extra crawl space where you keep spare cleaning supplies, I would like to move in, because I’m pretty sure that it’s more glamorous than my apartment.

    4) I could really hate you, you know. The travel, the husband, the house, the life, the career(s). Except that you’re so freaking adorable and so genuinely sweet that I can’t. But I would very much like to be you.
    MonsteRawr recently posted..Marriage isโ€ฆMy Profile

  28. wow, so many great things going on in your life!
    To answer your question: I want to see every step of your home remodel. Big surprise right?!
    Sensibly Sassy recently posted..OOFMy Profile

    • It’s like San Francisco but in the Tennessee countryside. I wouldn’t be surprised if Elvis’ ghost lurks somewhere in our attic. I have heard a bit of music coming from up there at night… ๐Ÿ˜‰


    Also, your house is BEAUTIFUL – I don’t know that I could ever live in a new house having lived in mostly old houses. Ours was built in 1924 and I love all the little details it’s got. Even the squeaky floorboards have become endearing.
    terra recently posted..Honesty, Love & Change.My Profile

  30. Love the update, we all read each other every week, but we rarely get to know people on a deeper level which makes these posts totally awesome and I might steal the idea, or maybe not because I don’t seem to have any time right now – I know…you hate that….but so true, although when I compare myself to YOU I am totally lazy!

    • I find it so hard to update on my life on a regular basis and keep it consistent on this blog. (i.e. I’ve never been a girl of brevity, one to just write a quick post on “I did this today in my work,” so I like the looooong update over a period of time.)

      You should totally write more about your day-to-day, even if it’s just once ever quarter like I tend to do!

  31. Anytime I feel like I’m too busy, I’m going to come back to this post and remember that you have the same number of hours in the day that I do!

    • But you’ve been off gallivanting with two of my favorite IRL friends from my NYC days (Abby and Angie), and I’m just so green with envy that my favorite travel girls (brought to you by the letter A) all got to hang out without me!

      • Kristin I’ve been floating around some crazy ideas lately (as per usual) and one of them involves a “blogging sleepaway camp” at my new place in MV…. basically inviting all my blogging buddies for a week of Vineyard fun, wine-fueled sleepovers and knowledge-sharing. I’m so pumped on the idea! So anyway all of this to say maybe we can all be in the same place sometime soon :)
        Alex recently posted..Photo of the Week 75My Profile

  32. Holy crap you are busy! Good luck with Odinn — sounds like a much needed offering. :)
    Raymond @ Man On The Lam recently posted..$98,000 for a License Plate? Yep, We Must be in Dubai…My Profile

    • You betcha! Being a man of the Web, you’d be shocked at how little of a presence there is outside of metro areas in the South and Midwest (and even places like California if you get a ways from SF or LA).

  33. Very cool recap, nice to see someone who seems so happy with being so busy! Lots of things to look forward to it seems….no getting bored for you in the near future!
    Red Hunt recently posted..Monument Valley, ArizonaMy Profile

    • I don’t know what to do with downtime! Even when I’m done with a project and relatively “open,” I think I’m going to catch up on my TV and instead waste hours researching future projects and collaborations and home reno ideas on the Web =)

  34. You are superhuman! Your clients are going to be so lucky to work with you, your house is going to be gorgeous, and your SAS voyage is yet again going to make me jealous. I’m not sure when you sleep, but it sounds like your (many) waking hours are pretty fun these days.
    Emily in Chile recently posted..The marvelous Museo de OroMy Profile

  35. Loooooove the house! That’s something that I still don’t have the courage to do yet. So I will live vicariously through you. What amazing things you’ve accomplished in 2012. Congrats!!! PS Try acupuncture for your allergies and arthritis.
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..Southern California Coast: Day 2 (Part 1)My Profile

  36. Girl! You are so inspirational! Seriously motivating me to kick my butt into higher gear. When do you sleep?!


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