MoonPie Festival in Bell Buckle, Tennessee

June 2023 Highlights: The Highs + Lows

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Summer feels like it’s almost over here when in reality we’re just one month into it, and I’ve been living my best life, trying to carve out plenty of blocks of pool time to swim with the kiddos before they go back to school in just one week (*sob*). Spending time with Charlotte and Mac is definitely a June highlight, if not a highlight of my every month, and we haven’t gotten nearly enough movie nights and sleepovers in this summer.

Summer kiddos

I’ve also been pretty regimented about my days this year. Four mornings a week, I go to the gym, either to work out with my personal trainer Emily or to go to Boot Camp (oh so sweaty). And then I still find myself there another two afternoons a week getting PT on my neck (because 40). After the pandemic robbed me of my workout routine, it’s nice being back on a four- to five-day training regimen.

Fit Beyond Therapy in Tullahoma

In June, I spent seven nights away from home and a whole lot of days, too. Here’s what my June highlights looked like.

The Highs

We installed a mural up on Monteagle Mountain in Tracy City. Our last grant for the year was part of a larger oral history project through Tennessee’s South Cumberland Tourism Partnership. As part of it, we offered to paint the entire building, which wound up being a pretty big undertaking as the building was actually two buildings–a restaurant and a brand-new hostel—with at least eight sides to it.

Painting a mural in Tennessee

The result? After four days of painting, it’s as good as new! We painted the entire place in this stunning blue color, then our girl Megan Lingerfelt and her mom arrived to start painting the mural itself.

Coal mining also was how many of the plateau’s early residents made a living. A mining town labor movement sprung up against using prison labor to compete with unions. Visitors to the area can still see the old Lone Rock Coke Ovens—where coal was heated, but not burned, to convert it into “coal coke,” a much denser, hotter-burning fuel that was valued for its use in making iron and steel. More than 120 of these ovens were in operation here in the late 1800s just below the railroad; this entire area, today, is on the National Historic Register.

Lantern Light in Grundy County by Megan Lingerfelt

Megan  was inspired by these stories, as well as those of the miners who are highlighted in the Coal Miners Museum in nearby Whitwell. She used the oil lamp housed in the Grundy County Historical Society building as her starting point for the design. “Color plays an important role in this one, and it is all about the glow and texture of the coal,” she explains. “I also spent some time with a man at the mining museum who shared what it was like working in low-profile spaces, something I tried to portray with the floor and ceiling in this design.”

Lantern Light in Grundy County by Megan Lingerfelt

You can see this mural at 24 Main St. on the side of Goat Pen Hostel.

We went to Memphis for a long weekend. My absolute favorite part of every summer is the weekends we spend with my cousin Coco, her husband John and their kiddos; sometimes we go to them in Memphis, often they come to us in Tullahoma. No matter where we are, we’re giggling and drinking bourbon and playing cards until we’re all about to fall asleep on the dining room table.

Memphis summer trip
Memphis summer trip

Memphis summer trip

I flew to Madison solo. I love the national PRSA conference in Travel & Tourism, and bonus: It was in a city I’d never visited, and one full of cheese curds at that! In addition to seeing a new place and catching up with old friends—not to mention hear Pete Souza speak!—I really loved getting to meet so many PR and marketing pros from cities across the country at one of my favorite conferences (even if I’m choosing Taylor’s Europe tour over PRSA next year…).

PRSA Madison

We closed out grants and secured new ones! Of the six grant applications our nonprofit either wrote or helped write, we got funding for all six projects. This could mean new art in our area as soon as fall, and I can’t wait to share what—and mostly who—it’s going to be!

Pavo drippy mural in Memphis

I spoke at Spring Hill’s monthly luncheon. I love speaking about marketing to business groups, and this one was a fun one as I knew several people in the audience, which was a very eclectic mix of entrepreneurs across industry.

We had so many photo gigs! In addition to a dozen portrait shoots, SVV and I shot an event for Dickel and photographed MoonPie Festival for the second year in a row for the Bell Buckle chamber.

Photography for George Dickel

I wrote a few pieces for Southern Living. Ages ago, I was a regular contributor to the print version of Southern Living, then there was a mass purging of pretty much everyone who worked there for a while, and things went silent. I’m back working on several pieces now like this guide to Nashville. You can follow my contributor page here.

Kristin Luna for Southern Living

I was on Meg Glenn’s podcast. You know I love talking about media, marketing and the intersection of the two, and Meg also has a lot of knowledge on these topics to share. Listen to our chat here or download the Happy Go Social pod (Episode 12) in any app where you get your podcast.

Happy Go Social podcast with Kristin Luna

Speaking of social media… I’ve been MIA on Twitter for awhile and will most likely be hanging out over at Threads for the near future. Follow along here!

Follow LunaticAtLarge on Threads

I went to Shania’s tour. I thought about putting this in the Lows section because man, she was TERRIBLE, but I had such a good time with my friends regardless of her vocal ability that this one stays in the Highs.

Shania Twain concert in Nashville

My Favorites of the Month

Favorite book: Drowning by TJ Newman, Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld, Five-Star Weekend by Elin Hilderbrand

Favorite audiobook: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Favorite podcast: Scamanda

Favorite TV show: Black Mirror (season 6) on Netflix, Abbott Elementary on Hulu

What were your favorite memories from June?


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