AcroYoga in Oklahoma City

October 2019 Highlights: The Highs + Lows

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Our busy season is almost over, and we just have one more work trip to the Smoky Mountains before we can go back to brainstorming, storyboarding and solidifying all of our 2020 projects. As our business grows, we’ve learned we have to plan a year out to best serve our clients (and stay sane ourselves), but also because we have two really massive projects we’ll be taking on in summer 2020 that are going to require a whole lot of our time, energy and bandwidth from now until then.

October was hectic as always. We hosted five different guests in our house, so there was rarely a night we were home when we didn’t have a muralist (or board member) staying in our spare bedroom. I also spent 14 nights in hotel rooms amid that chaos, so I’m excited to have some time in my own home this winter!
Charlotte and Kiki

But November also has me taking a leisure trip to Bermuda for my mom’s birthday, then Memphis for Thanksgiving to spend with my cousins. So it won’t be a month completely without travel, not in the slightest. Tonight, we’re hosting an engagement party for my childhood bestie Tracy whose February wedding I’m in, then are off first thing in the morning to Grains & Grits with one of our clients and neither of us can wait to again visit the Smokies in the fall, drink some whiskey, take some photos and see some of our favorite Tennessee distillers. If you want to come, there are still tickets available!


We signed a three-year lease on the Victorian! Whew, that’s a relief. After juggling multiple mortgages this entire year, I’m glad to have an awesome business moving into the Vic long-term in just a month—many thanks to the folks at Harton Realty for making this happen (if you’re looking for a real estate agent or someone to rent out your own property, they are tops!). Of course, that means mucho work on our part in the short-term, as we left a lot of her undone, so when I’m not on the road this month, we’ll be getting our hands dirty (again!) perfecting this 1899 beauty. SVV has already been over there the majority of time the last few weeks mudding walls, painting, patching and doing all manner of tasks. If you’re looking for a commercial property to rent in Manchester, we still have Myrtle on the market.

Our First Home: A Queen Anne Victorian in Manchester, Tennessee

I spoke at eTourism Summit in San Francisco. My girls Jade, Kirsten, Christie and I gave a four-hour workshop to DMOs on the nuances of influencer marketing, as well as went through the process of mapping out a campaign. It was so much fun! I’ve really grown to love public speaking over the past few years, particularly when it comes to anything tourism marketing related, and I’m excited I already have a few conference speaking gigs on the books for next year.

eTourism Summit in San Francisco

eTourism Summit in San Francisco
eTourism Summit in San Francisco
eTourism Summit in San Francisco
eTourism Summit in San Francisco
eTourism Summit in San Francisco

SVV and I spent a long weekend in Cincinnati. I cannot tell you how much we love this Midwestern city. It’s got all the things we dig in an urban getaway: great beer, a massive entrepreneur scene, public art for days. We’ve got a lot of Cincy content coming up and are hoping to go back several times next year.

Cincinnati public art

We also went to New Orleans! Can you believe it’s the first time we’ve ever been to New Orleans together? Me neither! It was my fifth trip to the Big Easy and only SVV’s second—and the first time he visited en route to his Navy training in Pensacola in the 90’s. That’s to say it’s been awhile!

Aaaaaand we rounded out the month with a trip to Alabama to kick off the Natchez Trace. One of the projects I’m most excited about is a year-long marketing deep-dive on the Natchez Trace Parkway, a 444-mile stretch of national park that runs from near us in Tennessee all the way down to Natchez, Mississippi.

Dismals Canyon in Alabama

I wrote a profile on the loveliest hotel proprietor Seija Ojanpera of which I am particularly proud. While I’ve never stayed at the Dwell Hotel, I got to interview the visionary behind Chattanooga’s coolest boutique hotel and write a profile that combines art, travel and entrepreneurship. I also wrote another pair of stories for Marriott Bonvoy that I’ve yet to share: a behind-the-scenes on the design process of Nashville SoundWaves and an article on how to get to Nashville from any direction.

We installed FIVE new murals. I know, right? I still can’t even believe it happened. We (DMA Events) worked with seven muralists over the past month during our mural festival ARTober that was sponsored by Jack Daniel’s.

ARTober murals in Tullahoma, Tennessee

Speaking of DMA, we got our nonprofit status! Converting to a nonprofit wasn’t nearly as bad as people said it was going to be, but it was a lot of paperwork and we’re glad to have that behind us. To read more about DMA, visit our public art website. We have our executive board in place and some huge plans for next year. We’ll also be on-boarding our advisory council over the winter months and have some really awesome community members in mind for that!

DMA Events Executive Board

We’ve had all the fall fun with Charlotte Rose. Despite being on the road so much, the days I was home, I was hanging with CRC and soaking up this insanely fun period of toddlerhood. We went to Taste of Tullahoma, visited a pumpkin patch and, of course, went Trick-or-Treating last night!

Corn maze in Winchester, Tennessee

Corn maze in Winchester, Tennessee
Corn maze in Winchester, Tennessee

Charlotte as a flamingo

Charlotte and Jeje
Charlotte and Jeje
Charlotte and Jeje


My good friend Alex’s mom passed away. I was lucky enough to get to know her mom Kathryn over the past few years, and she was one of the real bright spots in my life. I’m devastated for Alex and her sister Olivia. If you want to support her in this tough time, consider traveling with her on an upcoming Wanderland Women retreat to Dominican Republic or Thailand, both of which sound amazing. I can’t imagine moving forward with business (and life) in the wake of such a heartbreaking year, but Alex is one of the most resilient people I know.


How did October shake out for you?

  • November 2, 2019
    Mister Sister

    I know a little someone who is excited to have you around some this winter..

  • November 5, 2019

    Can’t wait to hear about what you do with the Natchez Trace! We visited Natchez on a road trip a couple years, and the Natchez Trace was so nice to drive. I had no idea it was that long!

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