Marci Houff is the founder of the annual Chic Awearness Fashion Show, a collaboration with the T.J. Martell Foundation designed to raise awareness and funds to prevent the late detection and spread of ovarian cancer. Marci shares her ever-optimistic vision for 2020 and some of her favorite ways to enjoy her beloved Belle Meade neighborhood.

Work & Life

TNE: The thing people don’t realize about surviving cancer…

MH: You can change your mindset. After my diagnosis, I angrily thought “why me?”  Once I started telling myself, “why not me?”, I grew stronger in my resolve to stop any pity and to fight.


TNE: Woman who’s most influenced you?

MH: A strong, smart woman I met through my diagnosis who lost her battle with ovarian cancer yet worked hard to raise funds for this deadly disease.


TNE: What meaningful lesson have you learned through quarantine and how do you plan to incorporate that mindset or lesson into your life moving forward?

MH: My new mantra is to “Pivot during the pandemic.” While we recognized that a social media presence is increasingly important, it was not an area of emphasis for the Chic Committee. With COVID-19, we have had to quickly adapt. When COVID-19 concerns forced the difficult decision to cancel the 8th Annual Chic Awearness (our signature event for over 250 guests), we shifted to social media partnerships in innovative ways to continue to create awareness of ovarian cancer and raise much-needed research funding.  With the addition of digital promotion during 2020, Chic Awearness will be positioned to be an even stronger organization next year.


TNE: Due to the pandemic, many people are now working from home. What are your best tips, tricks, and advice for a productive at-home workspace?

MH: Beginning in March, our in-person Chic Awearness committee meetings shifted to the Zoom platform. There truly is a learning curve, but most of our group caught on quickly. However, on one of the Zoom meetings, I was wearing a summertime strapless dress. Never again, as I looked naked to the other committee members during the call!


TNE: Your personality type in a word…

MH: Bubbly.


TNE: What excites you to get out of bed every morning?

MH: I used to tell our daughter each morning when I was changing her diaper, “It’s a new day, Marissa!” I still try and think of each day as new and full of possibilities.


TNE: Vacation spot or places you love to stay/escape:

MH: Hands down, Sea Island, Georgia.


TNE: Your pet peeve when it comes to workplace behavior…

MH: I work mainly from my home. I have a real “pet peeve” in that our new puppy, Leo won’t leave me alone.


TNE: What are you listening to right now?

MH: Linda Ronstadt with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra.


TNE: Book you’re reading…

MH: I have a habit of reading more than one book at once! The current book club selection is: The Woman’s Hour: the Great Fight to Win the Vote by Elaine Weiss.  The other one is The Six: The Lives of the Mitford Sisters by Laura Thompson.

Photo by Ashley Hylbert

My Routine

TNE: What’s the ideal way to start your day?

MH: Coffee and some solitude.


TNE: Products you count on for energy and health. Give us your wellness go-to’s…

MH: Coffee and some solitude-ha! Pure Barre and tap dancing lessons.


TNE: Your favorite way to wind down…

MH: It is a tie between a golf game with my husband or a good book.


TNE: What do you never leave home without?

MH: Lipstick.


TNE: Most random thing we might find in your handbag…

MH: Probably 10 tubes of lipstick- which might be random and neurotic!


TNE: Who you count on for glam…

MH: For hair, Sherry at Elan. She is the best with cut and color! For lash extensions,  Beth at Parlour Three Collection. For brows, Chantel at Private Edition.


TNE: What do you splurge on personally?

MH: Shoes and purses.


TNE: Cocktail of choice…

MH: Belvedere and soda with an orange slice.

My City

TNE: How long have you lived in Nashville?

MH: I am Ohioan although my husband and I have been in Nashville for over 8 years.


TNE: Your neighborhood…

MH: Belle Meade.


TNE: Coolest neighborhood treasure/place…

MH: Dinner at Sperry’s at the bar.


TNE: Top choice for date night…

MH: Nine holes of golf with drinks and dinner after.


TNE: Business lunch spot…

MH: Lately, Etc., or Char.


TNE: Florist you swear by…

MH: Phillipe Chadwick with Electric Flora/


TNE: The best place to buy healthy food?

MH: Whole Foods or Sperry’s Mercantile.


TNE: Shop you can always find the perfect outfit…

MH: Emerson Grace, Stacey Rhodes, H. Audrey, or Gus Mayer.


TNE: Where do you source things for your home?

MH: Bob & Jason Design.


TNE: One thing you love most about living in Music City…

MH: The generosity of the people and it’s much better weather than Ohio!


TNE: The thing that you don’t love so much…

MH: The freeways.


TNE: Events or involvements close to your heart (aside from your own, of course)…

MH: The Women’s Fund of Middle Tennessee and its Girls Give Endowment Fund.