Hiking in the Namibian desert

May 2023 Highlights: The Highs + Lows

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May had me getting home from nearly three weeks in Africa early in the month and spending what seemed like double that amount of time trying to catch-up. There was no recovery time for jet lag, however, as I immediately threw myself into a pair of Taylor Swift shows, a new mural install, a New Orleans trip and Charlotte’s dance recital—which we planned our entire Africa dates around—all within a week of getting home.

Charlotte dance recital

The Highs

Our Africa trip ended on a high note—literally. The day before we flew back from Namibia—which included a transfer to a charter flight to an international flight from Windhoek to Cape Town to an international from from Cape Town to D.C. to a domestic flight from D.C. to Nashville to a drive home to T-Town—we took a hot air balloon over the Sossusvlei Desert, and it was one of the most epic hours of my life.

Namibia hot air balloon ride

I profiled Matt Willey for Garden & Gun. My favorite assignments fuse my love for art and travel, and this story was a true delight to write—and for one of my favorite magazines at that. I’m lucky enough to have spent time with Matt in the past, both when he was in Manchester to paint a Good of the Hive mural and when he came back to speak at TEDx Tullahoma.

Garden & Gun story on Good of the Hive

I wrote about photography and framing for Washington Post. One question I get often from my portrait clients is where should I frame my photos and with what paper? (My recommendation is often with Framebridge, on matte paper and with a one-inch mat.) But for this WaPo story, I talked to two pro photographers, Erica Connolly and Joe Hendricks, and an interior designer, Tori Alexander, who gave me the lowdown on what to print and how.

Washington Post story by Kristin Luna

I saw the Eras tour … twice! My first Taylor Swift show of the year was a last-minute ticket grab my friend Kelly got, and we sat in the lower bowl at Nissan Stadium for what was the most amazing production I’ve ever seen in my life.

Taylor Swift Eras tour

Taylor Swift Eras tour

My second show was two nights later, the final night of Taylor’s Nashville weekend, when my sister and I were there for the now-iconic rain show that didn’t start until after 10pm and had us getting home at 3:30am on a school night. Luckily, our friend Lizzie had gotten us tickets in the 200s club level, so we were just under the overhang and did not get drenched.

Taylor Swift Eras tour
Taylor Swift Eras tour

My sister and I also went to New Orleans. I’m loving using my Southwest Companion Pass to fly people I love on trips with me, and NOLA was a great excuse for a girls’ weekend after our girl Nicole invited about 25 of down for her 40th birthday extravaganza, which was three full days of great friends, great food and great debauchery.

New Orleans 40th birthday party
New Orleans 40th birthday party
New Orleans 40th birthday party

New Orleans 40th birthday party

We painted a building in Madisonville. Our nonprofit managed a pair of mural installations in Monroe County this spring, and as preparation for both of them, SVV and I painted the buildings in full in advance. Here’s the final mural, Brown Trout designed and installed by Sarah Painter and Cosby Hayes, and a full map of all of our nonprofit’s murals across the state.

Brown Trout by Sarah Painter and Cosby Hayes

Mac turned three! We celebrated this feisty ball of energy with a small Hakuna Mac-tata birthday party at my sister’s house.

Mac turns 3

In case you missed it…

This past month, I wrote or updated these posts:

My Favorites of the Month

Favorite book: In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner

Favorite audiobook: Less by Andrew Sean Greer

Favorite TV show: Silo and Shrinking, both on Apple TV+

What were your favorite memories from May?

You can read all past monthly recaps here.

  • June 9, 2023

    Best. Balloon. Picture. EVER! 😂

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