Sisters

Life as I Know It: A Southern Summer

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This summer has flown by so fast that I haven’t even spent a single day laying by the pool! (Let’s blame that on running three businesses plus never being here plus the Year of the Monsoon.) So what all have I been up to in recent months then?

Scott and Ella

From April to the first of August, I slept in my beautiful old Victorian a grand total of six nights—thanks to Enrichment Voyages, Miami and a bevy of other travel opportunities (both work and leisure). It was a bit insane. To counteract that, I’ve spent the majority of August holing up at home with SVV and the pup, devouring seasons of Orange is the New Black and Scandal, and working on my businesses (primarily KEEN Digital Summit) until the wee hours of the morning. And now I’m back on a plane once more—like, literally; I wrote this post from 30,000 feet in a Southwest plane somewhere over the Mid-Atlantic—for five days in New York, followed by nine in San Francisco (our first visit back since we left 25 months ago).

But prior to that, here’s how my summer has unfolded:

Bopping around Music City with this girl. She came to visit me three times in six months, I told her “move to Nashville,” she took my advice and quit her job at Teen Vogue and came down. Good friend, that one. Also, now I have a lovelyย pied-ร -terre in the hipster ‘hood of East Nashville, surrounded by delicious food and bespoke beards.

Katy Lindy

Going on a road trip for Travel Mindset and Tennessee Tourism’s #makesummerlast campaign. This might have been one of the most fun work trips I’ve had in awhile, mainly because it meant quality time with Katy and Jade. I’ll be blogging all about our girls’ trip here one of these days soon, but if you’re itching for a good Southern road trip yourself, check out the various itineraries our team created on Travel Mindset.

Tennessee Road Trip

Visiting my sister in North Carolina. We spent a week in Charlotte at the end of July, but I can’t claim to have seen much of the city. My sister works as a CPA at a Big Four firm, and it’s currently their busy season (including working every weekend), and SVV and I are elbow-deep in details for KEEN Digital Summit so we only left our rental house at night to have dinner with Kari and Josh.

Taking in plenty of live music. Much of it thanks to my friends at Southern Living, who put on one spectacular Biscuits & Jam summer concert series at the Idea House.

SL Idea House

Brett Eldredge

Watching friends get married (they’re dropping like flies). One former college friend and roommate, Laura, got hitched in Franklin this weekend; another former college friend and roommate Megan is getting married in Nashville in September; and then we’re flying to another wedding in Ohio in early October. And I thought my crazy wedding years ended in my 20s! On top of that, I’m already in two weddings in the spring (Austin and Denver) and have two others I’ll be attending (NYC and TBD)—and all some of my closest lifelong friends, at that. Good thing I loooooove me a good wedding (and I do, I really do)(mostly because weddings=unlimited booze).

Laura Pack

Planning a mega-, first-year digital media conference. You know, NBD. But had someone told me 18 months ago when we started this whole shebang just how freakin’ hard it would all be, I might have…well, you know me, I probably still would have been up for the challenge! But y’all. Planning a conference is really freakin’ hard. (Though I have confident it will be worth every 20-hour day in the end.) And in the meantime, at least I’ve got awesomely fun(ny) people like Kendall helping with all the behind-the-scenes.

Kendall

Speaking of KEEN, if you haven’t checked it out, you should scroll through our fabulous lineup of speakers, peruse our four tracks—Family & Entertainment, Travel & Lifestyles, Food & Spirits, Technology—and tell me below just why you’d like to join me in Nashville this fall. And if I like your answer enough, I just might choose you to win a pass (and give you a pass for a friend).

KEEN Digital Summit speakers

COMMENTS
  • August 27, 2013
    Ris

    Wow you have been one busy lady!

  • August 27, 2013

    You’ve had a packed summer! Glad we finally met!

  • August 27, 2013

    I am already in OITNB withdrawals and cannot WAIT for the new season of Scandal to start. Obsessed much? Yep. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for hosting such a great giveaway!

  • August 27, 2013

    What a busy few months for you! I want to come to KEEN to better myself as a content creator and blogger. I especially want to be a part of KEEN to meet some really kick-a** people and have a great time too.

  • August 27, 2013

    Having seen you at a technology conference here in Tahoe, I feel like it would only be right for me to see you at your own technology conference in Nashville. Amiright?

    Best of luck with the organizing – that’s a big job, event planning, but based on the agenda, you’ve clearly got a knack for it!

    • September 3, 2013

      Absolutely. And I’m glad Rafflecopter picked you so hopefully we can do just that =)

      • September 3, 2013

        Woohoo! Thanks so much Kristin – looking forward to it on so many levels (great speakers, seeing you, a new city, etc. etc.). See you next month ๐Ÿ™‚

  • August 27, 2013

    I’d love to go to Keen for the chance to learn more about digital content creation- and see you, of course!

    • September 3, 2013

      Agreed! Come play in Nashville! The promo code CAMELS is good for $100 off the all-access pass through Sept. 15.

  • August 27, 2013

    Very busy woman indeed. Being in my late 30s I sometimes yearn for those days when all my friends were still getting married. Now we’re all old and graying!
    I’m interested in attending Keen for a few reasons. I’m an old-school traditional journalist working as a newspaper editor. I think my industry is really struggling to recognize the value of the digital world and how we can use it to better serve our readers. Secondly, I’m a budding digital journalist with a travel blog I launched earlier this year. I feel I’m only scratching the surface of the potential of my site. I want to share with my readers how they can make travel a part of their busy lives, especially those who are parents and feel they don’t have time to travel. There is so much I have to learn about marketing the site, as well as how to better work with destinations to share their message. I think hearing the messages of my blogging peers on how they’ve found success would play an important part in advancing my goals as a blogger.

    • August 27, 2013

      Wait a minute Lance. We are now old and graying when we are in our 30s?!?!?!?! What the heck! Well, OK. So maybe I do have a few white hairs after having two kids, but isn’t that why there is hair dye? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      KEEN is going to be amazing. I still need to figure out if I can squeeze it in before I hop on a plane to Spain. I would hate to miss the inaugural conference because I know this is going to be huge. I want to be able to support you in this labor of love you have been slaving over, but selfishly I want to learn more about digital media, how better to position myself for success, and just talk about the changes that are coming down the line in our “world.” I started blogging over 2 years ago as a way to teach myself more about social media and where journalism was headed. I come from a traditional print magazine and book publishing background. I saw sr. editors and publishers scrambling to keep up with technology. Just because I would be leaving my job to take care of my family didn’t mean I wanted to kick back and eat bon-bons all day. Every year I set out 1-3 new things I want to learn and conquer, whether it was something as simple as setting up a twitter account, or designing my own newsletter in MailChimp, I was going to figure it out. I want to bring myself to the next level now by learning more about brand partnership, how we can work together, and what more I need to learn to stay with, if not ahead, of the curve.

      Whether I make it or not I will definitely be keeping an eye on all social media outlets as I know KEEN is going to create quite the buzz in the digital world. And if I don’t make it this year, well, that just means more time to get Taylor Swift at KEEN next year for the opening bash ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • August 27, 2013

        Keryn, I’ve been old and graying since I graduated from college. I just have a lot more gray hair. And that’s just with one kid. I’d be interested in talking to you sometime about your background in traditional print. That’s the only world I’ve known. My degree is in magazine writing, but I’ve never ventured into that world. I know it’s a changing business but I’d still like to go down that road.

        • September 3, 2013

          Haha, I’m in my 30s, does that mean I’m old and graying, too? (I actually have yet to find a gray hair…knock on wood…)

      • September 3, 2013

        My niece is a carbon copy of a young Taylor Swift–it is uncanny!

        Hope you can make it! The promo code CAMELS is still good through Sept. 15.

        • September 3, 2013

          Sadly won’t be making it. Just finalized dates for Europe and booking tickets today. We leave on October 26th ๐Ÿ™

  • August 27, 2013

    The lineup of speakers looks amazing. As a youngin’ in the journalism industry, I have so much to learn and would love to hear the advice and stories from veterans in my field. I’d love to go to KEEN because it’s a weekend in NashVegas and I can make work connections. Win-Win!

  • August 27, 2013
    Megan

    It’s been a while since I’ve honed my journalism skillz. Plus, I love Nashville. This sounds great!

    • September 3, 2013

      I hope you’ll still come! The promo code CAMELS is good for $100 off the all-access pass through Sept. 15.

  • August 27, 2013

    You have been rocking this summer thing! I would love to come to KEEN to meet some incredible people that will inevitably show up. I’ve got SO much to learn from both the speakers and attendees! I would also love to have an excuse (beyond really wanting to!) to visit Nashville. Especially when life in Philly will be getting cold. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • August 27, 2013

    KEEN sounds amazing. I would love to attend and follow the Travel and Lifestyle track. The speaker list is RIDICULOUS, lots of familiar faces. Plus, who doesn’t want a Nashville visit in the fall? Great work putting this together!

    • September 3, 2013

      Thanks, Irene! You didn’t win sadly, but the promo code CAMELS will still get you $100 off through Sept. 15!

  • August 28, 2013
    Kerri

    I’ve been working in the same industry for the past ten years and have finally hit my quarter life crisis (a bit late, but here it is!). I am currently trying my hand at a career change and believe that attending KEEN would be a great way to network with some incredible people in the industry and also learn to be a better and more effective writer.

    • September 3, 2013

      Well, then it’s a good thing Rafflecopter picked you to win then! =)

      • September 3, 2013
        Kerri

        Thank you so much!!!! I am thrilled to be going!

  • August 28, 2013
    Lindy

    I would like to attend KEEN Digital Summit because of the amazingly written newsletters that keep popping up in my inbox.

    • September 3, 2013

      Good thing you already have a ticket then!

  • August 28, 2013

    I would love to go! Staying on top of the social media side of my one business can be more than a challenge. Then add in that I would love to start a personal blog, it gets really confusing. I’ve been looking at the conference for a long time and would love to be there!

  • August 29, 2013

    You really do thrive on busyness. Wish I could find the time to attend your hard worked for summit but I’ll still be working at the canyon.

  • August 29, 2013
    hayley hawkins

    KEEN sounds amazing! All the incredible learning opportunities, and amazing lineup of speakers. I especially love Angie Away’s blog and the food and technology both capture my eye! This sounds like 3 days of incredible creative inspiration, motivation, ideas, and knowledge. And I live in Louisville, KY so it’s close ๐Ÿ™‚

  • August 29, 2013

    One busy lady on the loose. ๐Ÿ˜€

    The pup looks adorable by the way.

  • August 29, 2013

    I want to go to KEEN because it’s agenda doesn’t look like every other conference I’ve been to, and Nashville is awesome!!!

  • August 29, 2013
    Marilyn

    I want to go to KEEN because it’ll be a great opportunity to learn, and I’d love to visit Nashville!

  • August 30, 2013

    Seems like you had a fantastic summer this time. It is always great fun to meet your old buddies. There is so much to catch up and you feel so excited at recollecting the fascinating memories and times that you spent together.

  • August 30, 2013
    CJ

    I would love to go to KEEN! Here’s why: I am a small business owner and the value of what you are offering could help me immeasurably. I also want to grow my own blog, but I know I need some guidance. I would love to hear Porter Gale, Dave Spiegel, Shannon Smith and pretty much everyone else speak. AND, I love a good excuse to wear my cowboy boots!

  • August 30, 2013

    I would love to win the tickets to KEEN because my husband is interested in everything to do with marketing,the digital world, and entrepreneurship. We are moving to Nashville September 22, and I would love to surprise him with this gift. I think he would get so much out of going to this conference to further his career in a new city. Also, I would love to hear Erin Daily from HGTV and all the travel speakers! I think this would be a wonderful opportunity for both of us! Pick me!!!

  • August 30, 2013

    I am SO impressed with how you find time to juggle your schedule! I think I need a one-on-one coaching session from you because I constantly feel behind- and you still manage to keep up with blogging! Well done. You should be really proud of yourself for the work you’ve put into KEEN.

  • August 30, 2013

    OK, so here is my best shot at entering. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’ve followed Camels and Chocolate literally for 4+ years? (my memory’s getting weak at my age, but it’s been a while) and absolutely admire you as a writer, entrepreneur and real-life, bourbon-drinking lady.

    Personally, I’ve been blogging for 5+ years now and although I’ve recently started to make noticeable strides, still am “stuck” in that mild success. I absolutely love writing and digital marketing more than anything and want to make sure I can work in the environmental sector full time… which I’ve pretty much accepted will have to be independent of a corporation at this point.

    I’ve been stuck in my job in the mortgage industry and recently there were layoffs. The atmosphere is nowhere safe, and I’m being proactive to try and figure out my next best move. Quite frankly, I’ll go to KEEN regardless but would looooove if you would pick me for a guest entry! (Footing the bill for a plane ticket, hotel and conference solo will add up quickly!) I’m looking at KEEN as an investment in my future to learn more about digital marketing, online content and learn from the experts who have done it themselves!!

    Thanks for reading. I love C&C regardless, whether you pick me or not. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Have I mentioned I’ve only been to Nashville once and am craving to go back? I have the perfect boots!

  • August 30, 2013

    So many reasons that I want to come to KEEN including, but not limited to, getting to see lovely you!

  • August 30, 2013

    I’d love to go to KEEN, like Akila it would be nice to finally meet you but it also sounds like it has a great line up.

  • August 30, 2013

    I want to come to KEEN with my best friend from my digital marketing days so I can get re-energized about digital and social media. Since leaving a digital agency and working only as a freelancer, I’ve lost a little bit of my fire, while one of my dear friends just left our old agency for a new and improved position with another firm. A weekend at KEEN Digital Summit would help her start strong in her new gig and hopefully help me get back on track. If it was in any city other than Nashville, I might be a little less eager to go, but I love Nashville (East Nashville ftw!) and while I can’t justify a trip down there just for the heck of it right now, it’s a different story if it’s for work!

  • August 30, 2013

    Still considering going, my friend!!!!!!! I love the photo of your workaholic family lol

  • August 30, 2013

    As an educator, I feel attending Keen would help me better understand the fields for which we are preparing students when they leave our public schools. The digital world must become the way we operate in our schools, and learning more about it would be a great way to help support the new organization I work for as we aim to transform education in our state. The speaker line-up looks amazing, so I know it would be a fabulous time!

  • August 30, 2013

    So sad to have missed you while you were in the QC! Hope you come back soon.

  • August 31, 2013

    Wow … you have been super busy!!

  • September 4, 2013

    Such a nice way to stay in chat with friends. A blogroll with personality is always appreciated! Autumn just started and I’m thinking of another article from you!

  • September 11, 2013

    I want to go to Keen because…. you and Angie! Oh and all the learning and stuff too ๐Ÿ™‚

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