Turks and Caicos friend vacation

November 2022 Highlights: The Highs + Lows

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Today would be my Dad’s 71st birthday. Happy birthday, Dad! He would have gotten a kick out of our big November highlight, which was our first brush at being cover stars.

Remembering Dad

This month had us on the road more often than not. We visited four states and one island and spent 11 nights away from home in Airbnbs. Here’s what the rest of the month looked like, both professionally and personally.

The Highs

We were on the cover of AAA Living. I’ve written plenty of cover stories for national magazines in my career, as well as authored the Tennessee section of the AAA-branded magazine for seven years now, but my cover star stint didn’t come from that, but rather an editor in another state interviewing me about off-season travel. She then put me in touch with the creative director who asked, per chance, did I have any photo assets to license? (We all know the answer to that.)

AAA story featuring Kristin Luna

Fast-forward six months, and SVV and I were headed to the mailboxes of five million homes across the South! It’s wild that a) so many people actually pay attention in a world of spam mail and b) they thought us cover star-worthy. But I’ll take it! And bonus: Mom got her first-ever magazine credit as a photographer.

AAA story featuring Kristin Luna
AAA story featuring Kristin Luna

We photographed Jack Daniel’s newest product. We’re local to a few of our favorite distilleries, which has come in handy over the past few years when they needed photographers for last-minute assignments. We’ve worked with George Dickel many times this year and also got to do the release photos for Jack’s latest distillery series product, which just dropped last month!

Jack Daniels's photos

We went to Turks and Caicos! Our best girl Katy had a big birthday, and the three of us celebrated by fleeing the cold and setting up camp in Providenciales, the third largest island in the Turks and Caicos for five nights. We regret nothing; it was the perfect island getaway.

Turks and Caicos friend vacation
Turks and Caicos friend vacation

We also went to Eufaula, Alabama. On the other side of the travel coin was our trip to South Alabama for my favorite conference of the year, the tri-state Rural Tourism Conference that brings all the best tourism minds from Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi together in one space for three days. We talked about marketing, economic development, public art and so much more, and I left feeling inspired and excited to start a new year in tourism.

Rural Tourism Conference in Eufaula, Alabama
Rural Tourism Conference in Eufaula, Alabama
Rural Tourism Conference in Eufaula, Alabamat

And us girls went to the Blue Ridge. My mom’s lifelong BFF Melissa has a lovely mountain home just a stone’s throw from downtown Blowing Rock, so for Mom’s birthday, we all headed there for three nights of decadent eating, a lot of bourbon and one very challenging puzzle.

Blowing Rock girls trip
Blowing Rock girls trip

I landed a few big assignments! It’s been years since I’ve actively pitched anything since our lives are a blur of existing work and long-term clients, but a friend gave me her contact at one of the biggest newspapers (yes, newspapers!) in the country, and I landed an assignment on my first pitch. Talk about retro, but with magazines a thing of the past, I guess newspapers are the future!

We published our Bowling Green project. Looking for your next Southern road trip? You can read my guide to Bowling Green here.

Bowling Green planning guides

We hosted our first Thanksgiving. The Cedar House has played host to countless parties over the nearly four years we’ve lived here, but it was our first Thanksgiving to host. We had my entire family as well as a collection of friends from town, and it was epic and wine-fueled. Thanksgiving may be giving Christmas a run for its money in terms of my favorite holiday.

Thanksgiving crew

My Favorites of the Month

Looking for new entertainment recommendations? Here’s what I loved this past month:

Favorite book: Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid (more book recs here)

Favorite news story: this hilarious read on what it’s like to be a journalist receiving 300+ press releases a day

Favorite TV show: the new season of White Lotus on HBO Max

Favorite music: literally all the Christmas songs

You can read all past months’ recaps here.

  • December 3, 2022

    So sorry for the loss of your Dad. My Mom’s 2-year anniversary of her passing is coming up and the loss of a parent is so tragic. It looks like you and your Mom are still finding ways to enjoy life and that’s wonderful!

  • December 12, 2022

    So sorry for the loss of your father. Losing a parent is like losing a part of you.

  • January 2, 2023
    David Johnson

    So sad and sorry for the loss of your father.

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