Summer at the Cedar House

September 2020 Highlights: The Highs + Lows

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So long, sweet summer; hello, October! We’re deep in the midst of a few CARES Act tourism projects, and it’s nice setting aside murals for a bit and being back in the full swing of marketing things again. Oh how I’ve missed exploring and storytelling and new experiences.

That said, everything we’re doing is distanced (mostly outdoor shooting), and we’re always armed with masks and plenty of hand sanitizer. We’re also really lucky we live in Tennessee where there’s so much green space and so few people; I can’t imagine having endured this year still living in a postage stamp-sized high-rise in San Francisco or New York and my heart goes out to all of you who are.

Summer at the Cedar House

For possibly the first time in my adult life, I spent every single night in September in my own house. The pandemic is making me realize I’m more of a homebody than I thought, and binging shows like Hanna and Yellowstone have replaced dinners and bar nights out. And though we still haven’t been mingling with friends much at all, I’ve been fortunate enough to see a lot of my family, including my niece and nephew, this year.

Baby Mac at four months

Other than a couple quick day trips over the border to Huntsville, we’ve only left the state once—to go to Dauphin Island for four days in the spring—since February, and I’m thrilled to head to Mississippi next week to finish out the Natchez Trace Parkway. It’s honestly the best kind of travel for these times with 444 miles of mostly undeveloped space and a lot of fun small towns to stop in on along the way and support small businesses.

Fall on the Natchez Trace Parkway

This month, we’re also going on a family vacation to the South Carolina coast, a trip my mom and I had booked with Charlotte for April but canceled for obvious reasons. This time, we’ll all be going secluded in a rental house of our own with direct beach access, and I’m so excited for my first beach trip with Charlotte Rose!

Summer at the Cedar House

Summer at the Cedar House
Summer at the Cedar House


The final Walls for Women mural wrapped in Nolensville! As I publish this, Kim Radford is likely putting the final touches on “This Girl Can” at Mama’s Java in Nolo, and Whitney Herrington finished up “Punch Bug” earlier this month. Hard to believe we pulled off seven murals in seven cities in roughly seven weeks, all but one of which required serious prep work and/or a base coat by us. I’m all painted out! That said…

Kim Radford mural in Nolensville

photo by Ilde Cook

We’ve started painting our house! Right after we finished the last wall, SVV said: “I’m exhausted. Let’s not paint anything for awhile, OK?” And the next day we started our house! Oops. I’ll probably be blogging about that soon as it’s a pretty unique process, the prep and painting of this old cedar house, and one that required moonshine (on the house, not in our bellies for a change). You can see the unpainted eaves and foundation (on the left) versus what it will look like when completed. After all the trim work is done, it’s time to bathe the cedar in pine tar vitriol, and we now feel like we’re up against the clock with this sudden shift in temperature and the shortening of daylight hours.

Painting the Cedar House

We were blown away by press coverage for Walls for Women. One of my favorite features written about the program will be hitting mailboxes next month, but as it stands now, we had more than 50 earned media hits (newspapers, magazines, TV shows) that generated more than 200 million uniques over the course of Walls for Women. Among the outlets who covered us were Parade, USA Today, American Way, Clarksville Leaf Chronicle, Tennessee Home and Farm, AAA Living, Knoxville News Sentinel, Style Blueprint, Nashville Guru, Jackson Sun, Williamson Herald, Thrillist, Edible, WSMV, WBIR, WATE, Fox 17 Nashville, NewsChannel5 Nashville, NPR, Southern Standard, Maryville Daily Times, Tullahoma News, Manchester Times, Tennessee Municipal League, Edible and the Columbia Daily Herald. I’m just full of so much gratitude for the love shown by my fellow journos and appreciative of them championing female creatives.

Kristin Luna: co-founder of DMA-events and Walls for Women

Speaking of Walls for Women, we’ve teamed up with our distiller pals! The Tennessee Whiskey Trail has always been a valued partner of ours personally, but it’s been even cooler to see them support women in art. The Spirited Tennessee Women campaign will encourage people to travel throughout the state of Tennessee to visit our WFW murals and hit the nearby distilleries along the way. Of course, the biggest Walls for Women mural of all is on the side of Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery in downtown Nashville, and if you’re all about championing women then definitely don’t miss Old Dominick, George Dickel and Knox Whiskey Works, all of whom have female master distillers.

Tennessee Spirited Women: Murals and Whiskey

My cousins came to town. We typically see my cousin Rebecca and her crew at least once a quarter, but went eight months without seeing them due to COVID. It was a nice change of pace having them come visit us for Labor Day weekend, during which we rented a pontoon and spent a full day laughing and floating and flipping on Tims Ford Lake.

Labor Day at Tim's Ford Lake
Labor Day at Tim's Ford Lake
Labor Day at Tim's Ford Lake

Cousin time in Tennessee

Labor Day at Tim's Ford Lake
Labor Day at Tim's Ford Lake
Labor Day at Tim's Ford Lake
Summer at the Cedar House
Swurfer swing in Tennessee


Dog drama. Ella’s mom Katey, 11, had a tumor removal surgery the day before Ella, 10, had eight teeth removed, so they’ve both been pretty miserable as has Knox (Ella’s brother) who is condemned to our house until Katey is fully healed. Having two dogs and two cats trail you like the Pied Piper all day long is way more work than I knew I was signing up for, ha. Thankfully, Katey’s results just came back this week, and the tumor was benign so no chemo needed—finally, some good news in 2020!

Ella's tragic haircut

Ella prefers if you don’t mention the haircut that makes her look like an albino schnauzer, thanks.

Other than the world being in a constant state of turmoil, we had a pretty good month, personally!

What do you have on the horizon for October?


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