Jessie Andrews mural in Huntsville, Alabama

August 2020 Highlights: The Highs + Lows

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September snuck up on us like a snail, and before I knew it, I was a full week late in writing my August recap. We’ve been too busy having fun curating public art and spending time with family to realize the lazy summer days have very quickly ticked by on the calendar, and fall is almost upon us. I saw a very accurate Tweet today that couldn’t be truer:

Lots of people think that Labor Day marks the end of summer. In the South, we’ve still got Summer 2: A Very Summer Sequel, Summer the 3rd, & Summer 4: Significantly More Summer to go. — It’s a Southern Thing

Fall for us traditionally is go, go, go, as it’s a big season in the travel industry. However, while this fall may look different than most, it will be no less busy, no doubt. And it will continue to feature so many adventures with all these cuties.

Charlotte Rose and Baby Mac

Charlotte in seersucker
Rescue kitties
Baby Mac

Charlotte Rose


We installed four new murals. Our nonprofit DMA-events, Inc. has curated a mural a week for the past six, and you can see the new ones on our Walls for Women homepage (which will get an entire overhaul in a few months when we have a spare moment). We’ve got one wrapping up in Centerville this week as part of a Tennessee Arts Commission Grant and then one in Nolensville later this month, then we’ll likely be taking a bit of a break over the winter months. Commissioning and curating public art is so, so rewarding, but also so, so exhausting!

Cymone Wilder, Nashville muralist

Nashville muralist Cymone Wilder paints on the side of Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery for Walls for Women

I was on TV. A lot. I did two segments for Today in Nashville and one for Talk of the Town, but I also appeared on three different Knoxville stations. My favorite segment to film, though, was this one where an unexpected visitor made a cameo (watch the video via the link as it won’t let me embed here).

Walls for Women in Tennessee

We gained a roommate for two weeks! Our other DMA board member, Emilie, who had been self-isolated in Minnesota for the past six months alone, came down for two weeks to help with Walls for Women. It was so nice being around a friend and having so much quality time together at our house. Another good friend, who also had been quarantined since March, came down and met us in Knoxville. We rented a house, ate all of our meals in (takeout or cooking) and had a great time just being together.

Downtown murals in Knoxville's Market Square

We spent a day in Huntsville. While Em was here, we drove down to Huntsville to see Kim Radford’s rad new three-story “Votes for Women” mural. It was only the second time I’d been out of the state since Feb. 25, and both times were to Alabama. What a wild year 2020 has turned out to be. I loved introducing Emilie to the magic that is Huntsville, particularly as she got to cross off a new state on her travel list. (The space mural in the beauty image is in downtown Huntsville and was completed a year ago by Jessie Andrews, aka Honeyblood Art.)

Huntsville mural by Kim Radford
AAA Living magazine, Tennesseet

Huntsville space masks

We’re back in the tourism marketing game. Due to Walls for Women, we hit pause for the summer on all new projects except our retainer clients and my freelance magazine work. It was convenient timing that we started hearing from several Tennessee cities and CVBs in the past week or two wanting us to help with safe travel projects, as we just opened our calendar up for fall. Though I won’t be flying anytime soon—it’s been close to seven months since I’ve been on a plane!—I’m really excited to get back to work doing what we love and promoting travel in a safe manner across Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina and other drive-market states for us.

I had a few print features publish this month, including this one for AAA Living. I’m kicking off my fourth year of writing the Tennessee section of AAA next month, and this was a special feature as it highlighted my birth town (Winchester), the town that raised me (Tullahoma), the town where I first attended college (Sewanee) and some of our public art, as well as other small towns where we’ve commissioned murals.

AAA Living magazine, Tennessee
AAA Living magazine, Tennesseet
AAA Living magazine, Tennessee
AAA Living magazine, Tennessee
AAA Living magazine, Tennessee

We booked a family vacation. After a lot of research and careful planning, our family is driving to Charleston and kicking it at the beach for a week in October to be near Josh’s family. We will be taking all the necessary safety precautions and mostly sticking to our beach house, but I’m excited to have something to look forward to. In April, Mom and I were supposed to have flown with Charlotte to Charleston to see her cousins, but obviously that was canned. I’m glad we were able to reschedule, though this trip will no doubt look different than it would have in the spring, pre-pandemic.

We’re re-adopting hobbies! This summer, I’ve finally reverted back to having actual hobbies, mainly reading and painting. I haven’t painted just to paint since high school—though we’ve used more than 200 gallons of paint on other projects this summer—and it’s fun to take a brush to a canvas for no reason other than joy and distraction. If the pandemic has done any good for us, it’s forced us to slow down and enjoy the little things in life once more.

AAA Living magazine, Tennessee
AAA Living magazine, Tennessee


I popped a ligament in my foot. Would you believe that we spent all summer scampering around scaffolding and ladders and painting walls and I had zero injuries, but the first day after we were done with murals, we went to help my mom out and I fell IN A MOLE HOLE and hurt my ankle something awful? After three days of it being a swollen black balloon, I went to the orthopedic surgeon, who confirmed it was just a popped ligament and potential hairline fracture. He put me in a boot (which I wore all of two days) and said no working for four weeks (I lasted a week, if that). But I feel fine now, so that’s the happy ending of this story!

Breaking my foot

Ella got a tragic haircut. We’re not talking about it because she’s very self-conscious, but I’ll give you a visual.

Tragic Maltese haircut

Other than that, August was pretty kind to us on a personal level, and I have no complaints! September, let’s keep this trend going, please. We’ve got a lot of home improvement projects on the horizon—including painting the whole entire exterior, which we’re commencing in the morning—and I’m reading to have the Cedar House looking her runway best.


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