May was a busy month, a fulfilling month, a frustrating month, one of pivots and reevaluations and about-faces. Why does it feel like as entrepreneurs we are forever pivoting? One day, I hope to be able to just coast along. One day.
On a brighter note, our year quickly filled up with photo gigs: family shoots, newborn shoots, engagement shoots, weddings. It’s been fun shifting our time from writing words to capturing moments in time through photography. My eyes may be glazed over from the added time spent meticulously editing out blemishes and color-correcting skin tones, but I’ve loved having so much human interaction with kids and their adults, some of whom I’ve known for years and others who I was meeting for the first time.
In May, we only spent two nights away from home—including the back end of our first ever Philadelphia trip. I mentioned last wrap-up how obsessed we both are with Philadelphia, and taking a late-April/early-May trip after a year at home was just what we needed to creatively reset. I have a big blog post in the works detailing everything we did, saw and ate there coming very soon!
We spent a weekend in Sweetwater. I love this small town in East Tennessee, and I adore its people. We stayed in the just-opened Remedies Inn—in fact, we were the Main Street boutique inn’s very first guests!—as we prepped the wall on Oak and Morris Street for our National Endowment for the Arts project. The final day we were there, Kim Radford arrived from Nashville and created this beauty, the next in her “This Girl Can” series, over the course of a week.
We haven’t even gotten to see the final product yet, but are grateful to local Heather Rhymes for sharing this photo with us!
Speaking of which, mural season officially kicked off. We worked with the same artist, the incomparable Kim Radford, on both of our first two murals of the year. Both were grants we received last fall that took this long to get going due to the pandemic, the first being in Sweetwater and the second was in my hometown of Tullahoma on the Masonic Lodge. The transformation of this old, formerly peeling wall that serves as the entrance to our town could not be more dramatic.
A huge thanks to the Tennessee Arts Commission, the Freemasons and, of course, Kim for completing what so many locals have told me is “my favorite mural you guys have done yet!” The reaction to this one has truly been overwhelming in the best way possible.
We got to see some old friends and meet some new. We had so many visitors in May! Our dear friends Nicole and Mitch used our house as a halfway point for their temporary move from New York to Austin and stayed with us for the weekend en route (along with their two dogs!). One of our beloved muralist pals Ivan and his lady also passed through on the way to an art project. And one of my longest time blog readers Erica—check out her online shop of travel prints here—was on a layover in Nashville for her job with Southwest Airlines and we got to meet in person finally after 14 years of online friendships. It was a great month for friend reboots after so long without social interaction.
Baby Mac turned one! If you don’t utilize a name like that to throw an appropriately themed birthday party, what are you even doing with your life? Yes, we had a Big Mac bash, and yes it was every bit as fun as it looked.
Growing up in a mostly girl family, I was very skeptical of having a nephew, but this kiddo is an absolute angel of a child. I’d like 10 more of him, please! Like his sister, he was an early walker and has been cruising all over the place for months now, keeping every one of us on our toes.
I got to photograph the local Montessori students. I attended Montessori School for years as a kid, and Charlotte just finished her third semester there, so no one was more excited than me to be able and do the first-ever school photos for the 26 students there. I just LOVE shooting kids in all their moods and personalities, and I haven’t had as much fun as I did that morning in years. (All photos below shared with the permission of the parents.)
We finished our hardscaping project—mostly. This was one of the few projects we hired part of out, and while it started in early April, the nonstop rain meant that it only wrapped up last week. There is still the matter of SVV rebuilding the irrigation system from scratch and finishing off the concrete wall extension, but the big piles of debris and gaping holes in our backyard are now ready for grass, which is exciting.
We made the decision to pull the plug on a couple projects. You know when things are just feeling like more of a hassle than they’re worth? Or when you feel like a client isn’t aligning with your own values? We know that better than most. After a more challenging month than normal in the nonprofit world, we chose to halt a couple pending projects and bumped a few others back to the fall for our own sanity. I feel good about the decisions made, but wish we hadn’t had to endure the headaches, time spent and stress that led up to those.
June has us on our way to Memphis today, then me going to D.C. later in the month to see friends. Tourism projects are also back! Oh, how I’ve missed our day jobs of tourism marketing and can’t wait to dive back in. Other than that, we hope to (finally) tackle our kitchen remodel if our materials ever come in and get caught up on some other house projects we’ve been putting off. I’m also planning a whole lot of pool time with my best friend, who has turned into a little fish after 18 months of swim lessons.
We’ve also got a lot of cousin time ahead, including McKayla and Margaret coming here for a week for our annual Camp Jeje at Mom’s house and my sister’s niece Morgan arriving at the end of June to spend a month here this summer. So much fun to look forward to in the coming months!