Bee Mural in Bloomington, Indiana

October 2018 Highlights: The Highs + Lows

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October, where did you go? Despite my best intentions—and only being away six nights the whole month—I managed just four blog posts this month, five if you include this one. Maybe that’s my new normal as life races ahead at Olympic track star speed?

The good news is that we accomplished a lot in October, which is why the relative silence on the blog, aside from some meaty destination posts. Here’s what we were up to….


We threw a big art festival! Despite not getting a lot of support from our local community, we did phone in some favors and managed to produce an art festival, River Romp, with 30 arts/crafts vendors, 4 food trucks, 2 acoustic acts, a beer tent and just the help of a couple dear friends (and a sister and mom!) who volunteered on the day of. L&H Distributing Co. was instrumental in making that happen as our partner, and we’ve already had a couple local businesses commit their support to the next River Romp, so expect this to become an annual event!

River Romp greenway festival

River Romp in Manchester, Tennessee
River Romp in Manchester, Tennessee

Manchester dragonfly murals

We pulled off not one, but TWO new murals. Well, six if you count the total number of walls beautified (three walls on the dragonfly mural, three on the American Eel)! And it was a beast of a project as SVV and I prepped all the walls and spent the better part of a week tromping through the river to get everything set up. But our Miami muralist Ivan Roque was a gem, and he stayed with us for six nights as he splashed color all over our town. We used River Romp as a funding mechanism for the new murals, and Ivan and Sarah both finished their walls while the festival was going on, which was a treat for art lovers and festival goers to see the process in person.

American Eel mural in Manchester, Tennessee

American Eel mural in Manchester, Tennessee
American Eel mural in Manchester, Tennessee

American Eel mural in Manchester, Tennessee

Speaking of murals, USA Today interviewed me about my favorites. You know I LOVE talking about Nashville murals, so it was extremely fun to be the subject instead of the writer and give my friend Sarah Sekula insight to Music City’s growing street art scene. If you flip to page 67 in Go Escape, you’ll see a familiar mug!

USA Today magazine feature

But I went back to the writer’s seat by pulling together the Winter issue of Airbnb Magazine. I spent 11 weeks working on a very time-intensive 13-page spread about Nashville for Airbnb magazine’s quarterly issue, and I absolutely love the results. Magazine work these days is more a passion project than a huge source of income, so I’m only taking on select projects I can invest my full heart and soul in.

Airbnb magazine in Nashville
Airbnb magazine in Nashville

Airbnb magazine in Nashville

Airbnb magazine in Nashville

I also wrote about #vanlife for AAA’s Via magazine. I interviewed fellow bloggers Misadventures with Andi and Crazy Family Adventure about RVing full-time without going broke—and now I want to do it all over again. 2019 adventures perhaps? 

We traveled to Bloomington for the second time this year. This time we got out and about and explored Indiana’s glorious outdoors in all its autumn beauty. I just love this place!

Fall in Bloomington, Indiana

I took my mom to Chicago for her birthday. My sister and I decided to surprise Mom with a little Hamilton getaway for her October birthday—only she spoiled the fun by planning one herself last July, so we had to tell her about the “surprise” so she’d cancel that trip and save her inaugural Hamilton experience for me (she’s already going back again in December!). It’s impossible to do anything nice for my family, ha! Still, Hamilton, y’all. WOW is all I can say.

SVV was on TV. And the radio. And in the paper. He’s become quite the media personality, this formerly camera-shy husband of mine!


Clients who don’t pay. Ninety-nine percent of our clients are awesome and pay promptly, many of them wanting to send us payment before a project is even complete. But then there’s that one client who is so difficult, it makes you want to throw in the towel and go back to a 9-to-5. We’ve been dealing with such a (now former) client, a local tourism board whose board members have no actual experience in tourism (ugh) and who has withheld payment from us for more than eight months for a completed project, and it’s downright frustrating. We’re thisclose to pursuing legal action, and it just irks me so that some people can treat creative contractors in such a cavalier manner, as if we don’t have bills to pay and mouths to feed, too? In 2019, we’ll continue to weed out these duds to make room for more awesome clients like OKC, Tennessee and Bloomington.

I’m still feeling nonstop anxiety. See previous bullet point. The situation has put us both on edge for months at a time, which is further accentuated by seeing such devastation in the news every time I open a web browser. I’ve never been shy about sharing my struggles with crippling anxiety, which I’ve had since my teenage years but really took a nosedive about a decade ago, and it comes in waves—ebbing and flowing—depending on so many variables (my work load, my travel schedule, my eating habits, my exercise or lack thereof). These past few months have been an all-time low on the anxiety spectrum, and I finally caved and went back on medication. Here’s to hoping it works, because I really hate being in such a state of panic around-the-clock.

On a lighter note, November has us traveling to one of our favorite cities in the world, Savannah, then stealing away to a Tennessee state park with dear friends, then celebrating Thanksgiving with my Memphis family. I’m ready for a more stress-free month!

How did October shake out for you?

All of my past monthly highlights can be found here.

  • October 31, 2018

    That’s such an impressive/busy month, no wonder you’re stressed out! Still, here’s to the art and community you’re spreading around Nashville, holidays with family, and the 99% of clients who are a joy to work with 🙂 I’ve been enjoying seeing the new murals on IG– hopefully, I’ll be able to tour them in person in 2019!

    • November 28, 2018

      Thank you, Dylan! You’re always so encouraging, and I need more people like you in my life!

  • October 31, 2018

    I’m thinking the sabbatical might also help alleviate some of that anxiety. Thanks so much for reaching out about my RV experiences, I appreciate the opportunity and loved the article. I do also like Airbnb’s magazine, will have to make sure I pick up a copy – I still like to read the physical mag!

    • November 28, 2018

      The sabbatical is now a week in Puerto Rico, ha, but we are spending a solid month at home this winter to tackle some much-needed housework, so I’m sure that will help, too!

  • November 8, 2018

    How you manage to fit so many activities into one month is always beyond me 🙂 Hopefully you can have the relaxing month you’re hoping for in November!

    • November 28, 2018

      Ha! Very little sleep, that’s the trick.

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