How is tomorrow December? The last quarter of the longest five-year year in history has flown by, despite us spending the majority of it right here in Tennessee. Am I alone in feeling as if we hopscotched right over fall and went from summer to full-on winter? It’s already so dreary here, and I dread the gray months ahead.
After an October on the road, in November, we just spent two nights away from home—at a charming mountain cabin just an hour down the road in Tennessee. We had planned to do a weekend away at a mountain resort in Georgia in December, but with the numbers spiking again, we’ll now stay home until the new year.
I only managed three blog posts this month, including this one, but I’ve long been giving myself grace on that front, particularly because a non-blog-heavy month usually means I’ve been busy pouring my creative energy into client projects.
We held a Get Out the Vote party with our friends at Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery and Tennessee Whiskey Trail. If you didn’t make it for the actual event, you can watch it via our Facebook page. We talk a lot about the history of the 19th Amendment, the history of women in distilling and even share a special cocktail recipe for the occasion. It was such a fun virtual event on Election Eve, a night when so many of us were running on fumes and nerves.
Colin Shuran debuted his Walls for Women trailer at that event. Our nonprofit gave out our first ever Youth Creator grant—something we plan to do annually going forward—to high school senior and filmmaker Colin Shuran, who decided to document not only Walls for Women but the women’s suffrage movement. He spent all summer traveling around the state of Tennessee, interviewing artists and historians and us. He’s putting the final touches on his full-length documentary, which will run around an hour and 20 minutes and debut in the spring, but you can see the 90-second teaser here (or below). I cannot wait to see the full shebang! It will also feature a narrator who is very near and dear to me.
Walls for Women also got a beautiful spread in the Torchbearer. I was overwhelmed with gratitude when the University of Tennessee alumni magazine landed in my mailbox over the weekend with a cover line about Walls for Women and a gorgeous four-page spread. You can read the full piece here.
We celebrated Thanksgiving with my family as always. SVV, my parents and I always stay home for the holidays, so this year is nothing new for us. And we’ve been clustered up with our family, all of whom lives within a mile of us, since March. While we didn’t have the big extended Friendsgiving we usually have (due to obvious reasons), one of my best friends (and former roommate) Katy came and joined us from Nashville. She quarantined and took a test before joining our bubble, and it was nice having her for a weekend of bourbon cocktails, Christmas tunes and, of course, a viewing of Taylor Swift’s new Folklore movie.
We decorated for Christmas over the weekend. I’ll be honest: I wasn’t sure if I was going to go all out for Christmas this year—because: no parties, no gatherings; we usually host so many during the holiday season—which is silly because this is the first year in quite some time when we aren’t traveling for work and will be home all holiday season. In general, I’ve just been feeling a bit “meh” about the holidays, which I guess is understandable given how frightening the news is every single day when we all wake up. But this weekend, I got a wild hair and pulled out all the decorations from the garage; two hours later, our cedar home was a winter wonderland. That evening, Charlotte and Mac came over to help decorate the tree. On a scale of 10, my Christmas spirit skyrocketed from a 1 to a 15. Not feeling into it? Just decorate your house already; I swear it will boost your mood!
I had time to squeeze in a few family shoots. Every year during peak foliage, I get inundated with requests for family photos (mostly for Christmas cards), but peak foliage typically aligns with our busy season in tourism marketing. Wellll. We all know that we’re staying close to home this year, so I was finally able to accept some of those requests. Luckily, I shoot most portraits with a 100-400mm lens, meaning I can stay safe and distanced from my subjects. I’m done shooting for the year, mainly as I have a lack of time and bandwidth and a whole lot of tourism client galleries to wrap before Christmas, but I’ll probably open up some slots for family and kiddo shoots in the spring once it’s pretty again (the trees are nearly bare here already). These are a few of my personal favorites.
We wrapped another tourism video project that is going live today. I loved filming in the rolling hills of Bedford County, devoid of people, all fall. I’m going to wait until the client debuts the full video, but here’s the trailer version as a sneak peek. (Charlotte makes a cameo in the lengthier version!)
I gave a presentation at PRSA OKC. My Oklahoma City friend Tabbi has been trying to get me in town for a meeting for the past two years, but it took a pandemic for me to actually be able to attend (virtually). Tabbi and I co-presented on content marketing, influencers and incorporating more digital media into your PR strategy. I do a lot of public speaking, so if you’d like to have me speak to your organization, shoot me an email.
There’s going to be a woman in the White House! I’m so proud to have joined more than 80 million Americans in voting for inclusion, diversity, hope and compassion. I couldn’t be more pleased that there’s about to be a woman in the White House and an all-female communications team to boot. I’ve worked in comms fields for 20 years, and they’re all female-dominated as it is, so it’s about time this trickles up to the Oval Office!
I got to see my cousins. We did a distanced get-together in the mountains near Chattanooga, and it was just what the doctor ordered since we all won’t be together for the holidays this year and since we haven’t seen each other this year due to global circumstances and one of the cousins being an ER doctor saving lives of COVID patients daily.
This never-ending reality we’re in. We’ve had so many friends lose family members due to the virus, and while I’m very hopeful about the vaccine, though I likely won’t be in a group who can get it until next summer—which is good because I’m healthy and want all essential workers, immunocompromised and elderly citizens to have access first—but it’s still not going to be soon enough before we lose even more lives. I’ve seen several local friends out and about (on social media … I never go anywhere) without masks, and it’s so discouraging, not to mention disrespectful of everyone around them. How many times do scientists and medical professionals have to say it? MASKS SAVE LIVES.
Other than that, I’ve been dealing with some extreme stress and tension migraines that have left me unable to work many afternoons as they intensify throughout the afternoon; I went to a specialist in Nashville and have a follow-up appointment next week. It’s nothing serious, just annoying, and maybe this was all a sign I needed to slow down to begin with.