2016 Christmas Card Letter

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! ;) 

Thank you to all my friends and teammates for making this such an adventurous and memorable year.

Cheers, and happy 2017 to all of you!

Curious about my work? Visit verticitynashville.com and pressmanagementgroup.com


Outtake by the incredible Anna Haas.

Outtake by the incredible Anna Haas.

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. 

Lake Barkley: End of Year Reflection

I love the line between the old and the new, so much so that New Year's Eve is my favorite holiday. This time of year, without fail, I begin to crave reflection. What did I love about the past eleven months? What did I learn? What did I accomplish that I'd hoped to? What is still on the list? And with reflection comes looking forward as well. What do I hope to achieve next year? What actions will I take to make it happen? What will I let go of? Where will I go? What will I create? 

It's easiest to focus on answering such thoughtful questions when not distracted by the to do, to clean, to call lists that we live with every day, so an escape is necessary. Last weekend I headed up to Lake Barkley for about 48 hours, but you don't even have to travel. Consider an afternoon at a coffee shop you don't normally hang out in, sans laptop, as a simpler option. Here are some questions to answer during your escape:

  • What will my life look like in one year? (Describe one ideal day in as much detail as possible.) Follow your description by listing goal-related things that jump out at you from what you've written, like waking up earlier, having a new project at work or a new job or career, living somewhere different, buying a home, mid-day workouts, growing vegetables, etc. 
  • Where will I travel? 
  • What are the big things I will accomplish? 
  • What are the small daily habits I will master?
  • What will I learn more about or learn how to do? 
  • Come up with any other list categories that suit you, maybe people to know, or events to attend, or things to save money for.

Let me know what you learn about yourself! Does anything come up that surprises you? What's your biggest goal? 

Here are some pics from my time away at the lake. Happy reflecting!

Why It's Not OK

The unthinkable has happened. I was sure, many months ago when there were double digits of candidates in this race, that Hillary Clinton was our next president. I hadn’t even decided who I may vote for or who I wanted our next president to be, but I felt sure it was her race to win. She’s been preparing for this for a very long time. She has experience. And it’s time in our history to show that we can have a woman in the white house. I thought. 

And now this.

The Trump campaign was worse than a train wreck. It was a train wreck that caused your house to burn down. For those of us who are victims of rape or sexual assault, we were horrified at his comments and at the allegations that have come forth from so many women. For many people in this country and all over the world, his words of hate, his promises of separation and violence, it was just shock and terror followed by more shock and terror. 

Hillary won my vote not just because of her agenda, which I support much of, but also for her poise, her experience, her strength, and her values. But that's not what this post is about. 

If you have republican values, I respect that. We all have a right to what we support politically. I’m not saying you’re wrong. But you should have admitted defeat in this race when Trump was given the nomination. He was not the right republican candidate, he is not a man fit to lead this nation in beliefs, in words, or in temperament. It was optimistic of you to think that a vote for him represented your republican priorities when a vote for him represented hate. We have elected hate to the white house. 

He is 100% made up of hate. 

In a news-minded group I’m part of online, a lot of the quiet Trump voters have come out to say, “Finally! After 8 years! We’ve been waiting and now we have our chance! Oh yeah, and I’m not a racist, sexist, bigot.”

You should have waited four more for an actually qualified, prepared, and deserving candidate. I’m sure that would have been a hard sacrifice to make, but it would have been the right choice. 

A friend of mine texted me a month or so ago and said, “you should write a blog post about how you’re in the entertainment industry and have never been grabbed by the —" I wrote back, "I can’t write that, it’s not true.” That did happen to me, exactly that, by a stranger, who when I said “What are you doing!? No!” replied “Give it a minute, you’ll like it.”


That wasn’t the first time I was sexually assaulted either. I speak for many of the women in my life as well who are survivors of sexual assault (more of us than not) that this morning we feel like victims rather than survivors. Many of us feel like our country just said it was ok, those horrible things that happened to us, and that we’re crazy for thinking otherwise. Which is exactly the mentality that had me not speak up about what happened to me the first time at 18.

This morning I woke up and my country has made me feel like a victim instead of a survivor. You are not behind me. You have not strengthened me or lifted me up or stood with me. 

I’m not alone either. Katie shared a post this morning that included this passage: 

"I voted for a candidate who I think was more than qualified to be president, but most importantly I voted for a candidate who respects me as a person. You did not. You voted for a candidate who sent me personally, and thousands of other women, into a frenzy last night. Reliving their own nightmares of sexual assault over and over again tossing and turning in bed, hunched over the toilet vomiting and sobbing on the floor. I thought I meant more to you than this? Don't I mean more to you than this?"

I respect your republican values. Some of them I agree with. If you are not a racist, sexist, bigot made up of hate then you should have considered your race lost after the primaries.

My friend DJ shared a lovely post following the results that said, "I love and respect so many of you who wanted this and I beseech you to spend the next four years showing those of us who didn't that it wasn't about misogyny, racism, xenophobia and fear. I love this country and I don't want to leave.Show us how the kind of rhetoric that has been pervasive throughout this campaign can lead to understanding and respect and I promise to listen." 

I am very doubtful that this man will accomplish a successful, positive agenda as president. I am very doubtful his presidency will lift me up as a woman, as a business owner, and likely as a mother too during this presidency. I am doubtful he will do good things for our place in the world, evidenced already in the hours since the results. (To the rest of the world: this does not define us! Not all of us chose this!) 

But, as DJ will, I will listen. I urge you, America, and world, to show us that love is still the driving force for how we treat each other. That equality is something we’re continually striving for, fighting for, standing for. No walls. No violence. 

Despite the bleak outlook this morning, I pray that no matter who our president is, love still trumps hate. 

Touch the Mountain

Last month, I went wild. As in, packed into a backpack all the things I needed to live for three days and set out into the wilderness. I've read some books about the trails out west and even took a class at REI about backpacking the PCT, but have never done so much as more than camping. Suffice to say I was as prepared as one can be for a first-timer. You can only learn so much before you just get out there and DO. 

Day one was the hardest. The hardest day of the trip, yes, but possibly also the hardest day of my life. The 30 pounds on my back only made the steep trail overgrown with head-high brush, the glaring sun, and the swarm of flies that much more grueling. Not to mention that one wrong step could literally cause me to fall off the mountain. 

It took all I could to just keep putting one foot in front of the other, often counting to ten over and over again, or singing Patty Griffin songs to myself. In "Time Will Do the Talking," there's a line that goes, "there are those who like to look and those who ain't afraid to touch." As I sang it through for the third time or so, I thought, "Yes! Here I am, touching the mountain."

There are those who like to look and those who ain't afraid to touch. 

Be the person who isn't afraid to go touch the mountain. 

Here's a look at some of my favorite pictures from the trip! 

E A T S | whole 30

So listen, I believe diets are personal choices just like politics and parenting. There's no reason for any of us to tell someone else what and how they should eat. This is not me saying, "you should try Whole30!" but rather that this has been my experience and take from it what you may. Let's talk!

The Plan

I first did Whole 30 in April of this year. It wasn't about weight loss so much as trying to jump start a more disciplined way of eating and preparing for a heightened fitness regimen. The decision to stick with it 100% and not cheat is the most difficult part. Once you're set on really doing it, the rest comes much more easily. Don't underestimate determination and resolve!

So, what is it exactly? It's a program based on cutting out foods that are inflammatory. You can eat meat, veggies, fruits, nuts (not peanuts - they're legumes!), and oils. You may not eat grains, legumes, and sugars, which includes alcohol. Here's a helpful shopping list! 

My greatest challenge is that I don't like to cook anything that takes more than 10 minutes of prep work, but my greatest strength is that I can eat the same thing for days and not be tired of it. 

My favorite meals:

1. almond crusted chicken or fish with peppers and onion (blend almonds in my Magic Bullet, use eggs to coat protein for almonds to stick). Drizzle veggies in oil. Bake everything for 22 minutes at 400. Pineapple for dessert. 

2. 3 eggs with broccoli and onion and an avocado. I'll bake broccoli and onions in a large batch and use them in my eggs over several days, cooked on the stovetop in oil. Sliced avocado with salt. Pineapple for dessert. 

And, now? 

I told you I like simplicity! I'm on day 6 for my second go round now. I just stumbled on this website and look forward to trying out some of their asian inspired recipes

The greatest successes are getting into good eating habits at home, becoming more educated and intentional about what I shop for or order, feeling flat tummied for such a long period of time, weight loss (bonus - I lost 8 pounds in April!), and improved sleep. 

Oh, and about that no alcohol challenge? When it comes to socializing and wanting that glass of wine in hand, I'll order a soda water with lemon in a cocktail glass! 

Have you tried Whole 30? Share your favorite recipes or resources with me! Curious about it? Feel free to ask questions!