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Farewell Summer

Farewell Summer

An honest explanation of my hiatus

I had no intention of taking a summer hiatus. Of course there were vacations scheduled and conferences to attend, but like many women, I thought I could supergirl through all of it and still crank out consistent content. But when I lost a great friend very unexpectedly, I hit a wall.

Summer was a great supporter of my projects and one of the most honest sounding boards in my life. Be it work or professional, she would tell me exactly what was on her mind. When she loved an idea I ran past her, she would nag me until I showed her the framework and progress, and completed work. When she didn’t love an idea, she’d refill my wine glass before she started to explain why. She was truly a breath of fresh air. And then she was gone….and for a little while; it was like I couldn’t breathe.

Grief hits everybody differently and at different paces.

For me, it was very sneaky. I could hold myself together through the workday, smiling in meetings and drafting pro forma, but like a trigger, when I would cross the threshold of my apartment, the tears flowed. It was one of three times this season that I would be reminded how very little control I have over my own body.

Towards the end of July, I went to see Star Trek on IMAX. Three minutes into the previews, not only did I have a splitting headache, I knew I was going to be sick. My friend and I had just spent $45 on tickets, so I figured I could just put my head between my knees for a few minutes and let the feeling pass. I was wrong. It got worse and about 20 minutes in; my friend insisted that we leave. I barely walked two steps on the theater’s sidewalk before losing my lunch, dinner and breakfast. While I initially wrote it off as vertigo, after a couple weeks of pure exhaustion, I found out I was pregnant.

This was surprising but happy news. Made even more special to me when I thought about the fact, that if I had a girl, I could honor my friend that I had just lost and have her name live on. I found great comfort in this as I started to plan this new phase of my life. It was just a short time later at a routine prenatal checkup when we found out that we had lost the baby. While this would have brought great sorrow on its own, I had managed to compound it with this whole name thing. As silly as it sounds, it was like I lost Summer all over again.

Typically, when something sad or bad happens in my personal life, I pour myself into my work. This has led to some amazing career moves, promotions, and discoveries. But this time, I couldn’t.

For a minute, I simply stopped caring.

Don’t get me wrong, work got done. But I didn’t try to make any new client relationships, turned down a couple speaking engagements, and became one of ‘those people’ that I had never understood. Without the distraction of work, I really had to face this loss head on. I desperately tried to find a reason, everything had happened, but in the end realized that didn’t matter much. It had indeed happened and now I needed to find a path forward.

Like many, after losing someone close I started to hear the “You only live once” whispers in my ear grow a little louder. With an unenthusiastic shrug of the shoulders, I started adopting this mantra. It started small with just complimenting a stranger {something that terrifies an introvert like me} but then I started saying yes to bigger and bigger things. While this blog isn’t to bore you with my adventures, I’ve spent the remainder of the summer jumping off boats into the Mediterranean Sea, dancing in the streets with the locals in Barcelona, and conducting interviews with my dad about his family and childhood as we approached his 80th birthday.

At brunch with Summer just two weeks before she passed away, we were talking about the next product I wanted to create for my business. “You should do it!” she exclaimed as she smacked my arm and then grabbed my hand and repeated, “You should do it.” I can still hear her voice and so many times these past couple of months, when I had a new idea or opportunity, I swear, I can hear her say “You should do it!”

And with that in mind, I am back.

I am back to share with you thoughts on marketing and branding and property management…and maybe sometime something less relevant to our day-to-day work and maybe a little more personal. I understand that kind of transparency might be a little risky, and I understand I may lose a couple of readers in the process. But you know…you only live once.

Farewell Summer
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Farewell Summer
An honest explanation of my summer hiatus.
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About The Author


Not one to settle for status quo, Holli has spent her 20 year career shaking up the multifamily industry. From creating unheard of building amenities to designing lounge-like leasing centers, to major Pinterest fails in the kitchen, she is ever experimenting. It’s no surprise that she created a new way to match apartment renters with their perfect home. Holli is a featured speaker and session facilitator at regional and national industry conferences. When she’s not brainstorming the next marketing campaign, you can find Holli testing the limits of bottomless brunch or climbing the Peloton Leaderboard!


  1. Beth Tuttle

    My sincerest sympathies Holli. I commend you for bravely sharing this piece of your life with all of us, I know it could not have been easy.

    Glad you’re back, can’t wait to see what you whip up next.

    • Holli

      Beth, you are so right! It was terrifying to hit publish, but I know what an amazing supportive community we have. And I think we all owe it to each other to be a little more transparent about our hard times and not just our ‘highlight reels’. Thank you for your kind words!

  2. merideth Savoie

    You are amazing. Thanks for the sweet words and memories about Summer. She will be missed by so many but I’m sure she is so proud of you right now. So glad you are BACK!

    • Holli

      Thank you so much for you’re support, Merideth!

  3. Sam

    Sending you my love. You continue to be an inspiration of strength for me Holli. Many women, including myself at times, feel they can’t share what they are going through and this is another step in right direction for all of us. I wish that I could have spent time with Summer. She sounds like an amazing person. Love you.

    • Holli

      Thank you for always being such an amazing friend, Sam! I love that we are back on our weekly visits.

  4. Loree Wagner

    I am so touched by your honesty and your willingness to share your very personal story. I am so sorry for your losses and I deeply admire your ability to share them in such a powerful way. I have always been impressed by you on a professional level and now I am even more impressed by you on a personal level. You are a strong and brave woman and your story is an inspiration. Keep saying yes and keep dancing!

    • Holli

      Loree, thank you for always supporting me! I look forward to seeing you at a conference soon!


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