Photo Shoot in Lake Louise, Canada

January 2019 Highlights: The Highs + Lows

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In case you couldn’t tell by the only four posts I published this month, January has been bonkers. So much for that much talked-about sabbatical, right? But we had some very interesting opportunities and developments we couldn’t ignore. And so, busy our lives continue to be!

Funny enough, I only was gone from my house six nights all month (one night at my mom’s, four in Canada, one unexpected overnight in Minneapolis). The added time at home definitely gave us a little bit of a buffer to finish up some big projects, but not nearly enough, as we’ve been out drumming up some more interest in our public art organization and putting the pieces into place for a year full of murals (see more below in the Highs).

Southern Magnolia Flag Mural by Tara Aversa + DMA-events

I published just four blog posts in January, but they were doozies: a full recap of our past year, an aerial view of one of Tennessee’s hidden state park gems, a full guide to discovering Oklahoma City in winter, and a play-by-play recap of skiing in Banff and Lake Louise. Here’s what the rest of the month looked like.


We had an incredible five days in Banff with friends. While the majority of our work trips are just the two of us traveling on a relatively tight schedule and working our butts off on content marketing projects with pretty quick turnarounds, occasionally we get to engage in a work trip with colleagues who also happen to be our dear friends. Our long weekend in Banff was such a trip, and as if this Canadian winter wonderland  weren’t magical enough, being there with Jade, Christie and so many other traveling pals was a huge bonus.

Lake Louise photo shoot in Canada

The 2019 Tennessee Vacation Guide, the state’s annual tourism publication, is out! You can request a free print copy mailed to you or download the e-guide. I wrote a couple pieces for it (“Making Memories,” “Celebrate the Occasion”), but more than anything I was pretty excited to see this surprise grace the masthead page. They asked for permission to use SVV’s image, but I had no idea our O.G. mural would land such a prominent spot!

Tennessee Vacation Guide 2019
Tennessee Vacation Guide 2019

Our Tullahoma tourism video is out. We spent the fall months working on this tourism reel for the Tullahoma Area Chamber of Commerce, and I’m excited to unveil it to the world.

We also shot the cover for the new Think Tullahoma magazine, another product the chamber puts out. This was super fun, as we got to be in a deserted Beechcraft Heritage Museum on a rainy day and snap photos of two dear friends and their kids. These are a few of my favorite outtakes.

Beechcraft Heritage Museum family shoot (copyright: Odinn Media)
Beechcraft Heritage Museum family shoot (copyright: Odinn Media)
Beechcraft Heritage Museum family shoot (copyright: Odinn Media)
Beechcraft Heritage Museum family shoot (copyright: Odinn Media)
Beechcraft Heritage Museum family shoot (copyright: Odinn Media)

We made some headway on 2019 plans for DMA-events. If you’re just catching up, DMA (for Do. More. Art.) is our public-benefit passion project, our way to bring colorful art to our community in Coffee County. We submitted two fairly time-intensive state grant applications, nailed down our next project (a skate park, which you can read all about on our local newspaper’s site).

Speaking of art, we were on the front page a couple times this past month for various projects. We feel so completely grateful for the local media’s support of everything we’re attempting to do. This cover story is one of my favorite pieces the editor has written to date.

DMA-events: Kristin Luna and Scott van Velsor for the Manchester Times

The press we garnered wound up bringing us our next donation. A very kind and charitable citizen read about what we’re doing and wrote a check to fund our next greenway project, slated for later this spring. Again, blessed to be surrounded by people who support a vision bigger than the town thinks it’s ready for! SVV has been working on a new site about DMA-events and what we’re doing, and that should be live any day now (expect the link in my February highlights roundup).

DMA-events: Kristin Luna and Scott van Velsor for the Manchester Times

I played the role of “actress” for my pals at Visit Franklin. They asked me and three friends if they could drive us around town and let us sample all the local libations—and some activities like SUP yoga—to which we said, yes, yes and yes! I love the final video product.

My AAA Living pages came out for January and February. I’ve been working on content for them for 18 months now, and I’ve really enjoyed getting to deep-dive into my home state and be their go-to Tennessee writer.

AAA Living by Tennessee writer Kristin Luna
AAA Living by Tennessee writer Kristin Luna
AAA Living by Tennessee writer Kristin Luna


We had the Delta trip from Hell. They stranded us in Minneapolis because of a frozen water line, only held us at the airport for around seven hours with no food (everything was closed) and only gave us bottled water and peanuts, then finally sent us to a hotel at midnight, only to have us come back the next morning and get a plane with another frozen water line. In all, it took us about 27 hours to get home from Banff (it’s usually closer to seven), and do you think Delta was the least bit remorseful? NOPE. I tried to complain and they said, “we already gave you 6,000 miles as a goodwill gesture.” A lot of good that will do (all one-tenth of a domestic trip) on an airline I’m never going to fly again. I know, I know, famous last words. Meanwhile, SVV had a flight booked to California on American the following day, and it was delayed due to weather. Not only did they give him a four-hour heads up, but they also immediately offered him the ability to rebook for the following day or get a full refund (which he took). Score one for American!

Our local tourism commission is BANANAS. After not paying us for 12 months for a major content and website build project completed—one in which we turned down all work for multiple months so that both of us could focus on this singular project—they had their lawyer us a “settlement offer” of a quarter of what they owe us. And an NDA, saying we wouldn’t talk about this publicly (obviously, we would never sign such a thing). I mean … what? I’m so gobsmacked by the continued lack of professionalism on the part of the commission. Since when did work completed and time spent become negotiable after the fact? It also strikes me as odd that it’s 2019 and people still don’t understand the concept of intellectual property rights and copyright infringement. I can’t wait to write about this in depth—and, more importantly, share tips to how fellow entrepreneurs can avoid running into such sticky predicaments. (Note: This is not Tullahoma, but Manchester. I’ve had a few local citizens reach out with concern and I feel I need to clear the air on that!)

Visit Manchester TN site by Odinn Media

How was January for you? We’re going to have an action-packed February, and I still can’t tell you The Big Thing just yet, though I really want to share, like, yesterday (hint: not. a. baby.)!

  • February 1, 2019

    Wow, what a month! Highs and lows… what a way to sum up, well, every month, ha! I hope February is looking up for you.

    • March 1, 2019

      February was an equally great month! Working on the recap now!

  • February 2, 2019

    This post actually makes me want to visit Tennessee, haha:)

    It sounds like all in all you had a good month.

    • March 1, 2019

      You should come! It’s a lovely state, but wait until April or later when our rainy season has passed 😉

  • February 5, 2019

    I’ve written my first wrap up as well! 🙂 I’ve actually had a much more productive month than I thought I would have. I published six posts, which is almost unheard of for me! I’m curious to see what’s happening for you in February!

    • March 1, 2019

      Good for you, Dominique! I’d like to get back to six posts a month sometime soon.

  • February 11, 2019

    Great picture of the ice, looks magical. Busy month for us but only one trip to the coast, where it was a blustery day. Despite the wind, the kids enjoyed a buggy ride around the park.

    • March 1, 2019

      That sounds like a lovely way to spend a blustery day!

  • March 1, 2019

    My January was great cause I got to hang with you guys in Banff!! Can’t wait for May ❤️

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