About Erin

Senior Travel/Integrated Content Editor at Southern Living Magazine. Digital and social media girl who learned everything with a pen and a reporter's notebook. Mom. Florida native celebrating all things kitsch, accidental Birminghamian. Is probably getting back from somewhere or heading somewhere. Knows: Elvis, journalism, pop culture, Southern artisans and emerging neighborhoods, vintage clothes, pugs, Yacht Rock. 

 

Entries in Georgia (3)

Sunday
May052013

Southern C Summit 

Just back from the inaugural Southern C Summit. I had the honor of being a speaker at this incredible event on beautiful Jekyll Island, Georgia. Walking around the property of the Jekyll Island Club, I had to pinch myself just thinking how lucky I was to be part of such a cool event in a beautiful place:

 

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I spoke about SL's digital evolution. I get real joy sharing best practices on blogging, social media, and storytelling in general. And I learned just as much from the business owners, bloggers, artists, and creatives who swapped stories over barbecue and Goo Goo clusters. Seriously, we had a Goo Goo Cluster pie break. How great is that? And yes, after all the delicious snacks they served, I'm wearing my stretchy pants.

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Major kudos to the founders of the Southern Coterie, Whitney Long and Cheri Leavy. They founded the Southern Coterie as a place for women to connect and share their love of all things Southern, and the summit as a counterpart. There's a magic when people have a chance to connect online and then forge relationships in real life (stay tuned for another blog post about that coming shortly).

Whitney, Cheri, and their team made that possible for a whole bunch of creative business women and doers. (And are going to do it again at two upcoming gatherings -- one in Athens and one in Nashville.)

Bonus: Whitney hosted the Summit wearing what? A different pair of gold shoes every day. (Her foot above). I knew I'd like her! 

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Friday
Oct212011

Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher and Higher: Remembering Carol

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Today was a sad day in Georgia, where my best friend Stephanie and her family said goodbye to her beautiful mom, Carol. I've known their family since freshman year at USC. Stephanie and I figured out quickly that despite our minor differences (my Doc Martens, her penny loafers), we had a lot in common, starting with the fact that her parents were from New Jersey and mine from New York, somewhat an anomaly for two girls raised in the South. 

We were also aspiring journalists, Catholic, and shared the same love of Elvis and Liberace. She inherited many of these interests from her mom, who met her dad Ed at USC. They shared 46 years together -- a true love story. (Thank you, South Carolina!) As Carol's family and friends have reflected over the past few days, she was a woman of humor, grace, dedication to her community and unfailing support of our military. She was a mother, an educator, and a lifelong Gamecock fan. She loved animal print and gold accessories -- an eye for style which she also passed on to Stephanie.

Carol felt like family. Driving to Marietta, I remembered all the times we'd all shared. Carol and Ed sending us off to backpack through Europe with backpacks bigger than our bodies. Carol and Ed beaming the day that Stephanie married John. And being with them the day not too long ago when their sweet grandson was baptized.

And one of my favorite memories: Carol and my mom plotting and confiding at my baby shower that Stephanie and friends hosted. They were two peas in a pod.

(Here's Carol [second on left] in the mix with all the girls [my mom second on the right].)

As everyone recalled during the memorial services, Carol was a steadfast friend, as Stephanie is as well. The truest friend a girl could ever have. I'm so thankful for Carol's life and for the example that she set for all of us. To serve others, to care for your friends, and to do it while Taking Care of Business, dressed in animal print. (It may be the only funeral to which I wear pony hair leopard print pumps. For you, Carol.)

(For a great story about Carol's accomplishments and legacy in the community, read this story from the Marietta Daily Journal.)

And so proud of Stephanie for so many things, for the person she has become. The mother, community leader, and friend who stood up at the end of her mother's service and dedicated this song to her, which played at the end. Your love keeps lifting me higher and higher. Thank you Carol, and thank you Stephanie, for all the grace you've shown us.

 

Related Links:

Introducing the Newest Member of the Gold Shoe Mafia

Stephanie's Shower

Two Southern Girls In Las Vegas

Saturday
May212011

Covering The Tornadoes

 

Over the past three weeks, I've been covering the tornadoes that devastated the South. It is not an exaggeration to say that the region has been torn apart by these storms, a fact that so many don't fully comprehend. It's difficult to realize the impact, even living in Birmingham, where storms ripped neighborhoods apart. The full story hasn't been told.

But I've seen it -- not just in Alabama, but in Tennessee, Georgia, and through my colleagues who have visited Mississippi and Arkansas. With my own eyes and through theirs I have seen the stories that many are neglecting to tell. All the while, other Southerners are suffering, as the Mississippi's water seeps into homes and businesses and towns. There are no words.

I have learned many things from covering these storms. Personally, it's brought me back to the true nature of reporting, of long, hard days underneath the sun, listening to people's inner most revelations -- their losses, their hopes, where they were when the tornado hit. Story after story of people huddling in bathtubs, in basements, and hall closets, praying that the storm would spare them and if not, that God would be there to take them home.

This is not my first time hearing stories about being on the edge of death. But it's the first time that I've heard person upon person talk about seeing their neighbors walk through the dark, injured and crying out for help after the freight train that ripped apart that night.

It's the first time I've heard so many people talk about digging friends out of rubble, placing elderly on 4x4s to get them medical aide, and of the wailing, the wailing from street to street. Of seeing day break the next day, roofs ripped away and lives forever changed.

I've learned again that things change in an instant. And that stories of help and hope are plenty, but they don't negate the reality of destruction and loss. 

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Perspective changing, of course. Not in the way that nearly being killed by a drunk driver changed my perspective, or my husband being treated for cancer changed my perspective. Driving past the gashes in the landscape, I'm ill. I worry about the children I've met who have nightmares from what they've witnessed. I have nightmares.

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But I'm just someone who visits, who drives in and listens and drives out. I don't have the visions that the people who survived are faced with, day in, day out. It is my mission to listen, and help them tell their stories.

I've learned more about what's important. I can't pay much attention to Twitter disputes and missed social outings. People close offer support, especially my family and the friends that understand why I'm not around, and been absent for them. I'm coming back.

And will be telling positive stories for sure. They are all around. But for now, I have to acknowledge the sadness, and its impact. It's changed me.