REI, otherwise known as my happy place, does this amazing thing where they offer classes for free. I've taken several of them, most recently Trail Running Basics, which was both a great source of information and a confidence booster (trail running seemed scary, okay?), and not at all a bad way to spend a Saturday morning. If you're interested in camping, backpacking, or trail running and are not totally sure where to start, check out these upcoming free classes hosted by the Brentwood (Nashville area) REI, or check your local REI store's calendar as well!
Last weekend I went camping and hiking at Cloudland State Park in Georgia, alone. Upon my return, as I was laying out my rain soaked tent and tarp to dry and sorting my supplies, I got a text from an old friend saying that he couldn't believe I would go alone, because danger! I said, do you think I'm not capable of pitching a tent and sleeping in it? He said, of course but there are "other people" out there who could harm me.
To be perfectly honest, I've been more afraid of my own dates in the past than anyone I've ever encountered in a campground or on the trail.
This is not the first nor will it be the last time that I have to have that kind of conversation, but regardless it's been pulling at the edges of my mind for days now. He didn't ask, how far did you hike? Which waterfalls did you see? What kind of gear do you have? Where else have you been? Where do you plan to go next?
Folks, if you encounter a woman in the wild, do not speak to her of the dangers that she's very well aware of, or of what you think she should fear. This will only anger her. Instead, assume she knows what she's doing. Second, assume that she wants to be there and if she's alone you may also assume that it's not for lack of offers for company. Then, definitely ask about her gear, or where she's been, or where she's going. We love to talk about these things if it's clear that the person asking us these questions sees us as knowledgable and capable.
Seriously, let's talk gear.
Also, watch this.
For several years now I've been attending this event and it's become one of my favorites. This year, featuring Zac Posen and Kelsea Ballerini, might just have been the best year yet. Here's a look at my evening, from getting ready to the Club Zac after party!
See The Tennessean's coverage for more. (Seriously that finale dress though.)
This is a bittersweet update to write. After building PMG with heart and soul over the past three years, I've decided to leave the company in the hands of my talented and amazing business partner David, who I'm sure will take what we created to even greater places with his passion and talent.
What I love most about the music business is working with artists closely on creating their brand and building their audience through image development, quality content creation, and smart strategy with thoughtful execution. My favorite days of work at PMG have been on set for photo and video shoots that I imagined, planned, and directed; creating a cohesive theme for a record and tour and advising on all of the marketing to support that vision; and coordinating an artist's sold out release party including sound and lighting, videographers, rehearsals, and all the moving parts of a busy and big day. (Seriously, if you ask me to make a production schedule, I'm going to do a little heel kick and throw glitter in the air.)
In order to narrow my focus to the kind of work my time is best spent on, I'm launching Elsewhere Entertainment, where I'll provide the artist coaching and consulting services that come from nearly two decades of experience in marketing, management, and PR. And from my greatest passion and my personal mission in life.
I'll also manage a very select roster of artists, beginning with one who I've had the joy of working with over the past few years.
I can't say enough good things about David Kiggins, and am so grateful to have his support as I make this change to keep my work in line with my personal mission to help people live their best lives as their most amazing selves. I also look forward to finishing my next book on living bravely and building my personal brand as an entrepreneur and self-development writer/speaker.
Here's a look back at some of my favorite moments from the last three years. Thank you to all of the artists, teammates, interns, and partners we've had. It's been a pleasure to work alongside you.
Hello friends and family! I'm so loving getting your letters and cards in the mail this holiday, so I thought I'd go ahead and share a little summary of my year for those of you who might like to catch up with me as well.
2016 started out with a few trips to the west coast: Vegas and LA, then Utah where I got to ski for the first time in nearly 2 decades and check out Sundance Film Festival for the first time. Park City is beautiful, though I'm not sure I'll be skiing again any time soon. I prefer the lodge! I also got to drive through Arizona where I visited the Grand Canyon for the first time. I'm so grateful to get to travel for my work. These trips each included work with the talented Jarred Pierce, Caleche Ryder, and Ira Wolf, who all had big years in their careers as well!
Our family's new bundle of joy, Foster, was born, making me a very, very happy Aunt! So many snuggles in 2016, and oh how this boy has grown!!
My best friend/Verticity business partner Lindsay and I signed the lease on our new studio and traveled to Portland, OR on a fitness industry research trip. We also researched the famous VooDoo maple bacon donuts. Conclusion: delicious.
One of the true highlights of my year, Mom and I went to Paris where we visited museums, ate lots of bread and cheese, climbed the Eiffel Tower, tasted escargot and crepes and wine, saw Romeo and Juliet at the Paris Ballet, and walked probably a hundred miles or more. Mom even learned a little french!
In the Spring I stayed close to home, attending some of my favorite annual events like Nashville Fashion Week, the Nashville Symphony Fashion Show, Steeplechase, and Yoga on the Field, plus The Color Run, my first TedX Nashville conference, some camping, meeting Arianna Huffington and Carolina Herrera, plenty of Sounds baseball games, and a quick trip to Atlanta.
The next stop was Mexico City where Lindsay and I went to meet a master trainer for Verticity, explored a really unique city, made new friends, went to a Mexican wresting match (called Lucha Libre) and tasted Mezcal for the first (of now many) times!
In June I was honored to be the commencement speaker at my high school's graduation in Meadville. While I was there I got to visit with Krista, my good friend since high school, and my Grandma and Aunt Nancy as well!
It was a busy summer at work with several PMG music releases, attending the CMT Awards and Bonnaroo music festival, and filming speedpainter Jessica Haas' "Art Is My Sport" video. Being on set directing videos and photo shoots is one of my favorite things I get to do at work! At Verticity we broke ground on our building and began training our instructors!
One of the "wildest" things I've ever done, in August I spent three days backpacking in the Cascades Mountains in Washington, where I got to set foot on the Pacific Crest Trail for the first time and camped in a meadow and near a lake. I carried over 30 pounds on my back, climbed over and under trees, and fought off flies and high brush. It was so hard and so incredible! The Christmas card photo above was taken on day two at Lake Sally Ann, in a little patch of snow left from the previous winter.
This fall we added a couple of new clients and a Junior Manager to team PMG and opened Verticity in a temporary "pop up" space! I moved to a new apartment and no longer have twelve bikes taking up my living room (we trained in my apartment for 2 months!). I also joined the board of Friends of Nashville Ballet and joined Mom and cousin Chris and her daughter Ronnie to run a 10K.
What do I want for Christmas? A week of sleeping in! ;)
I have what I call PR brain. I don't do or say anything without thinking through how it will be perceived and fourteen potential outcomes to follow. It's a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it makes me very good at my job because I know how an audience will react to what a country singer's album cover looks like and what songs go on it, what a fashion designer writes on Instagram, or what a brand puts in their email newsletter, all down to every font, the subtlest difference in an expression, every lyric in a song. It's a curse because sometimes it's harder for me to just BE. It's not that the fear of not being liked keeps me from being myself so much as just being myself sometimes takes a lot of... consideration.
I am curated.
Aren't we all these days? The newish conversation about how we share our dream lives and not our real lives on Instagram is already all too familiar. Everyone has a personal brand. And I can't complain about these things because they are, in large part, my business. And I love my work.
But when it comes to my heart, well, I want my heart to be unfiltered. I want my soul to be free of that layer of consideration. I want to see myself and celebrate myself for what's truly there, the socially important traits and the lesser so. The flaws that aren't sexy or cool flaws. The struggles that aren't relatable. The victories that are mine alone. The parts of my story that don't make a "good story."
I did not pose for this picture. I will not pose for my life.