February for us this year can be summed up as snow, snow, more snow, a lot of print features and some very cool new clients. I also turned 38! We stayed away from home a grand total of one night in the past 28 days—well, actually, more like six weeks—and that was a quick 24-hour trip to Knoxville for a mural site visit in Sweetwater and to pick up some original art by the amazing Paris Woodhull for the Cedar House.
This month was the culmination of a lot of writing projects finally hitting newsstands—some that were completed as long ago as fall 2019; in the media world, magazine lead time is often 12 to 18 months before publication—as well as firming up mural projects for this year. We’ve got our two big installs through the National Endowment for the Arts grant underway, as well as a couple other Tennessee cities that will be added to our Walls for Women trail before summer.
And, lastly, after a year of all speaking gigs canceled due to COVID, I now have three in-person appearances booked for this year, and I could not be more excited to get back to doing what I love!
I rounded up some awesome Black-owned companies for a Parade story. It was fun to introduce Parade‘s 54 million readers to these Black-owned businesses, from spirits to jewelry to haute dog couture, in honor of Black History Month. Black History Month may be over, but I hope you’ll continue to prioritize spending your dollars with POC-0wned businesses no matter the time of year.
I wrote about the Good of the Hive for AARP. Two years ago, we brought our good buddy Matt Willey out to paint bees on the Manchester greenway for our nonprofit, DMA-events. I was able to get him back to town for our inaugural TEDx seminar this past fall, and now I’m getting to sing his praises in AARP magazine, which has 38M+ million readers. I adore this artist and his activist heart and zest for life.
The 2021 Tennessee Vacation Guide is out. I have worked on this project annually for almost a decade with the state of Tennessee’s tourism department and now Journal Communications, and this year I got to dig into the civil rights history of Tennessee, as well as the various musical genres that call my state home. You can order a free copy here or download the digital version.
I wrote a Nashville deep-dive for Scott’s Cheap Flights. If you aren’t a subscriber to my favorite method for finding cheap flights, you absolutely need to be—particularly with travel bouncing back in a big way soon. Sign up for an account here. You can also read my Nashville piece for free.
In new work… I started a major content project for Airbnb’s website on a tight deadline, so I’ve been pulling long days completing that by mid-March. I also wrapped my first big editing project for a fintech company in San Francisco and filed some other print pieces for publication later this year. For a short month, February comprised a whole lot of writing!
And in family news, Charlotte was the crown bearer at Tullahoma High School’s homecoming this month. It was our first public outing in over a year, but we double-masked up and cheered her on from the stands. She loved the limelight, and I may be biased, but I’d say she definitely stole the show.
Charlotte’s first haircut was not so painless. Unfortunately, that star quality did not carry over to her first haircut. I keep the kids the morning each month that Mom and Dad go get their hair cut, so we asked Dad’s stylist (who is also a friend of SVV’s and mine) if we could come in and let her trim Charlotte’s hair, which when dry is almost to her waist. I think the pictures speak for themselves … though I guess in theory, a stranger coming at you with scissors is a bit disarming.
We also had a big snow month (for us). We’ve had snowfall on at least four different occasions since January—and one big one mid-February that closed all the schools for a solid week. SVV and I hit a few icy trails in the area, and Charlotte and Kari and I took one morning off to go sledding with Charlotte’s other BFF Jack and his mom Katie. Since winters here are usually gray and depressing, this temporary wonderland was a big mood-booster for all of us.
Nothing bad to report from here, thankfully. We got our taxes done and filed (thanks, sis!) and all of the components of our upcoming kitchen remodel scheduled and (mostly) paid for. Obviously, Texas has been on our mind as they’ve dealt with a nightmare scenario this past month, and we’re hoping everyone continues to stay safe as the vaccine efforts trickle across the country!