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Well, this is awkward. In my last post, I commented on how long it’s been since my last post, and how much I’ve missed blogging. And that was… 9 months ago. And, well, once again, a lot has changed. So let’s get into it.
My Word of the Year for 2022
For the past few years, I’ve established a Word of the Year as a kind of mantra to guide me. Past words have included Sustainable, Home (lol chose that for 2020 before the pandemic started… whoops), and Still.
For 2022, my Word of the Year has been Release. I’ve put so many goals and expectations on myself throughout my life, and this year I wanted to really cut back on a lot of them and strip it down to only the most important things. I have been releasing my expectations and giving myself the freedom to discover what I truly want to do, not just what I feel like I should do. And it’s had a really positive impact. (It’s also probably why I cut back on blogging so much, because I needed to want to do it again.)
Surprise! I have another new job.
Last October, I started working at Six Flags as the Digital Editor/Copywriter, managing the newsletter for all of the parks in North America. Then in November, the CEO of Six Flags was replaced, and in December, there were massive layoffs. Roughly 75% of my team was laid off, including my friend who helped me get the job.
By March, I was promoted to CRM & Email Strategy Specialist, meaning I managed all email strategy for all of the North American parks—not just newsletters, but all emails. We were a small-but-mighty team of three, and we worked together really well. It was tough, but we were optimistic about the future.
Then in May, there was another round of layoffs. My boss and I were safe, but the other member of our team was laid off. While I was glad to still be employed, surviving two rounds of layoffs in six months wasn’t exactly encouraging. I needed more stability in my life.
Thankfully, I got a text from a friend and former Girl Scout (once again! Girl Scouts stick together!) asking if I’d be interested in an opening as Email Marketing Specialist on her team at Holiday Inn Club Vacations. I sent her my resume, talked to her boss for about 30 minutes, and got an offer! It was a whirlwind, but I’m really excited about the opportunity and the team.
I’m especially looking forward to some stability at work. *knocks on wood*
Another surprise—we bought a new house! In January, Sean and I really started considering if we wanted to stay in our old house and renovate the heck out of it, or if we wanted to sell the place and buy a new one. We spent a lot of time deciding—what renovations would we make? how much would it cost? should we build a new house? if we bought a house, where would we want to live?
We actually put in an offer on a different house and unfortunately didn’t get it, so by the time we found our new house, we weren’t kidding around. We put in a strong offer, and they made a small counter, which we accepted! Then we made small improvements around our old house, put it on the market, and accepted an offer the following weekend.
In the end, we’re so happy that we decided to move. We’re still in Kalamazoo, but in a totally different neighborhood, in a totally different house. I’m hoping to do a full house tour post soon, so stay tuned!
Out & About
We’ve gotten to do a lot of traveling and exploring over the last year or so, which has been so nice!
We spent last Christmas at my brother’s house in Tennessee. We had a blast touring local breweries, cooking as a family, and in general spending time together. My brother and sister-in-law had four foster kids at the time, and it was so fun to get to spoil them and actually be Santa!
Sean and I also started looking up concerts at Bell’s, since there are so many in town and we hardly ever go to them. I saw that Matt & Kim would be playing in June, but it was sold out, so Sean scoured the Kalamazoo subreddit and found us two tickets! It was outside in the beer garden, and it lightly rained on and off. It was such a blast.
I also saw that !!! (Chk Chik Chick) was going to be playing in the Back Room at Bell’s later in June. This was absolutely shocking to me, because I loved !!! back in 2008ish, and I didn’t realize anyone else even knew about them. Heck, I wasn’t even fully convinced they were a real band. But they are, and they were coming to Kalamazoo! It was a super tiny concert, but it was still really fun.
For my dad’s birthday this year, Sean and I drove up to Grand Rapids for a Tuesday night baseball game! It was our first Whitecaps game in quite a few years, and we got to sit at the tabletop seats, which was a fun treat.
And then there’s the big trip of the summer—Sean and I went to France! One of my best friends, Athina, lives in southern France, and she got married earlier this month. We were so excited to be able to attend the wedding, and then spent the following week exploring Paris. I’m hoping to do a full recap blog post soon!
I’ve been on a mission lately to really develop some hobbies. For a while, I didn’t really have any outside of work and the blog, but I’m feeling much more comfortable working on and creating new hobbies for myself, which is really exciting!
I’ve been reading a lot lately. I’m on track to surpass 100 books this year, though to be fair, many of those are children’s books. Namely, I’ve been making my way through the whole Dear America series, with only three more books to go! It’s been a fun part of my 101 in 1001 list to revisit these childhood favorites.
Other great reads from the year so far include Check, Please!, Unrelenting (which was co-written by my sister-in-law!), Where the Crawdads Sing, I Kissed Shara Wheeler, Anxious People, and American Royals III: Rivals.
Oh, and as part of my Release theme for the year, I’ve decided that I don’t review or give star ratings to books any more, which has helped a lot. I get to read them, enjoy them for what they are, and move on. It doesn’t need to be anything more than that.
(Except for Jessi and Marie’s book, because it was really good and I want everyone to discover it and love it as much as I did!)
A common piece of advice I’ve heard when looking for a hobby is to think back to what you loved to do when you were little. And boy, did I love crafting. I was always trying new projects and exploring Michael’s for supplies and ideas.
For Christmas, my brother and sister-in-law got me some cross-stitch and embroidery kits, so I’ve been working on the cross-stitch kit slowly but surely. One of these days, I’ll finish one of my two cross-stitch kits!
I have also continued my embroidered tablecloth. Every time someone visits, they sign the tablecloth in pencil, and I embroider their signature. I’ve got a few more to embroider from this summer, and it’s been a really fun keepsake to build upon over time.
I also tried my hand at some dinosaur-stamped pillow cases. They don’t quite match the style of our house, so I’m not sure I’ll display them that much, but figuring out the whole process has been really rewarding! And who knows, maybe I’ll do a similar project that fits our style a little more.
And, of course, I’ve done plenty of shopping over the last few months! Here are some favorites:
I got quite a few items before our trip to France! I needed several outfits for the wedding festivities, so I picked up this navy dress, this maroon dress, and this pink dress! Plus I stocked up on some crop tops in a bunch of colors and wore them almost every day, including this t-shirt style, this halter-neck style, and this tank top style. This satin skirt was a last-minute addition but I love it.
I got my second ear lobe piercings back in February (it was on my 101 in 1001 list!), so I’ve been playing around with lots of fun ear jewelry. I wanted to try out more piercings before actually putting more holes in my ears, so I picked up some fun ear cuffs! I got these small ear cuffs for my cartilage and this set of 3 conch cuffs, plus this awesome snake conch cuff. And I’m so ready for Halloween with this skeleton hand conch cuff and these magnetic bat earrings.
To celebrate my new job, I treated myself to a new iMac in green, and I’m obsessed. It’s absolutely beautiful.
Here’s to brighter days ahead, and hopefully more motivation to start blogging again!