New year … same old routine. I’m not one to indulge in resolutions I’ll likely break or any big life changes simply because the calendar reads January, but I am excited to get back to work after a drowsy couple weeks.
And I am starting back with my trainer after a three-year hiatus; my gym shut down in March 2020, and I just haven’t been back yet. I look forward to the return of one lifelong routine at least!
My December highlights included only spending four nights away from home, and I’m grateful none of that included stepping foot on a plane. For all of you who got stranded over the holidays, my heart goes out to you. Here’s to hoping you racked up on the Southwest points as a result.
The highlight of my month by far was photographing three separate Santa events. I knew about half the kids attending, which made it fun, and I met so many other cuties. Here are a few of my personal favorites!
I wrapped up a few final family shoots. This year I cut off my photo calendar in November to give me ample time to edit, but I did squeeze in a few family sessions in December for those who had been wanting more holiday-themed portraits.
We had two end-of-year mural installs. We bopped on over to Sweetwater, which is constantly rising to the top of our “favorite towns in Tennessee” list, for a pair of murals that we’ve been planning with city recorder Jessica Morgan for a year now. Our Cincinnati favorites Jenny Ustick and Atalie Gagnet each brought a painting pal to complete “Hurrah!” in downtown Sweetwater and “QuackWalk!” under the bridge at Duck Park.
We officially finished our kitchen (…I think?). Nearly 18 months after gutting our kitchen in the Cedar House, we put the finishing touches on it via the backsplash. I’m so pleased how it all turned out, and building our dream kitchen—which would not have been so high on the to-do list prior to spending so much time at home the last three years—was absolutely worth the time and financial investment. Photos forthcoming, but here’s our living room all Christmas’d out until then.
I picked up a couple new outlets. It’s no big secret that I have not been prioritizing freelancing the last few years, primarily because of how dramatically rates have fallen across the board. But when good opportunities fall in my lap, I’m all for taking them. In addition to writing for a hotel-based custom publisher this month, I also filed a few travel and home renovation stories for outlets with which I’d not previously worked. It’s always nice hearing from new editors and getting the chance to flex my writing muscles.
We had a 36-hour Christmas extravaganza in Nashville with the kiddos. My sister had to have a minor surgery, so we used it as an excuse to do all the fun holiday things with Charlotte and Mac.
The holiday season was different than I expected. I anticipated going straight from Thanksgiving to Dad’s birthday week to Christmas to starting a new year to feel heavy, but it was more like a constant dampness rather than a severe storm. Let’s call it a Category 2.
Part of that was that I threw myself into hosting nonstop holiday shindigs as a mode of distraction (and partially because it’s the first in three years we felt like we could truly safely do that again). My sister and her family alternate Christmases in Charleston, so they were away this year, and it was just Mom, SVV, me and all our animals. We spent Christmas Eve doing a whole lot of nothing, then Mom and I went to the same annual Christmas Eve party we attend every year (which I’m glad we did) but couldn’t bring ourselves to do the one holiday tradition we had forever with my dad: Watch It’s a Wonderful Life.
On Christmas morning, we got up and drove to my cousin Rebecca’s house in Memphis. They’re so kind to always take us in on whatever holiday Kari and fam are gone, and I’m always grateful for the time with her, John and their three kiddos. It made Christmas way more fun than staying home. We celebrated actual Christmas on New Year’s Eve instead.
My Favorites of the Month
Looking for new entertainment? Here’s what I loved this past month:
Favorite movie: Avatar (it wasn’t my favorite movie ever, but I enjoyed the visuals)
Favorite TV show: Wednesday, hands down (I’ve already watched it twice!), and Andor (which I begrudgingly watched then loved)