2016 was an amazing year for many reasons and challenging for other reasons. Today, I want to focus on the good!
Joel & I got married!
A life-changing moment to say the very least. I have multiple posts planned to share all the magic and details.
My brother came home from California.
He was stationed there for 4 years as a Marine. He lived with us for a few months when he got back and it was awesome to see him every day and have him home again.
My two best friends got engaged within months of each other!
I was lucky enough to be with one of my friend’s when she was proposed to under the Chicago skyline. We celebrated double-engagements with champagne and manicures the entire weekend!
Learned of my Irish heritage.
It was a wedding gift from my Grandma. To know where I come from was one of the most special gifts I’ve ever received.
My first time out of the country. We watched the sun set behind the Caribbean Sea each night, palm trees and relaxation were our silhouettes for an entire week. We took a Jeep around the island and explored the heritage. I made 7 wishes out of 7 stones piled high and dove into a natural pool, surrounded my vibrant fish and sea urchins.
Biba Dushi, Living the Sweet Life.
We road-tripped to Asheville for our Honeymoon. Live music, breweries, and hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains was THE BEST way to unwind from the whirlwind of planning our wedding for the past year. I got to see Black Mountain College and Joel got to climb Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak East of the Mississippi.
To Be Rather Than to Seem, the North Carolina motto I brought home with me.
It was our 4th trip to the little Michigan island 50 miles west of Charlevoix, this time on the tiniest plane I’ve ever seen (my mom was co-pilot, that’s how tiny). We helped my Dad with a basketball clinic during the day and roamed our favorite hangouts the rest of the time. There is only one of everything on the tiny island so we saw it all. It’s charming and always a nice reminder that the slow and simple things are always most important.
If once you have slept on an island, you’ll never be quite the same, from a poem on the wall of my favorite BI bar, Donegal Danny’s.
Was promoted to a senior level designer at work.
I had been at Nucraft for 9 months when I was promoted. This was a big deal to me because it’s something I’ve always wanted to achieve since my days in design school. A lot of sweat and tears and lessons to get here and a role I really enjoy!
Attended The Yellow Conference in L.A.
I was honored to attend this creative woman conference and listen to 2 of my favorite designers and artists, Elle Luna and Jessica Hische. I’ve always admired their approach and beliefs as women in design. Seeing them IRL was a real magic moment. I was in a room full of entrepreneurs, creatives, leaders, and go-getters. The energy and the feminine power was uplifting and unforgettable.
Creative Mornings event with Mayor Rosalynn Bliss of Grand Rapids
Another uplifting event closer to home where our mayor talked openly about the challenges she has in our city to create positive change, what she’s doing about it, and urging us as creatives in the community to be more involved with local politics. I left feeling like I can make a difference and that we can all make a difference together.
Was a professional reviewer at the AIGA Student Portfolio Review
Years ago I was a student being reviewed at this event. To be able to give back as a reviewer this year was so much fun. The projects from students soon entering the workforce were thoughtful, intimate, and inclusive. I haven’t seen a better example of designing for a bigger purpose, and in such quantities, as I did at this event.
I also had 3 goals for the year and am happy to report I met each of them in some sort of way:
OPENNESS TO FELLOW CREATIVES
I can get very protective about my work and don’t share much about the challenges I have with others so I actively wanted to meet more creatives and be a good listener to their experiences and not be so guarded to share mine. My promotion helped give me confidence with my work and to network more. I attended some great events where I met amazing people in the Grand Rapids creative community doing great things.
I have a lot of student loans and before this year, was sinking in them. I went to Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey and learned how to make a budget, how to stick to it, and how to use the “snowball” method to reduce my debt faster. It was quite the learning curve but I paid off one loan in 6 months! I also set a budget for our wedding that we stuck to (and had some left over that we used to tackle a house item debt!).
REMOVING THE NON-ESSENTIAL
Although I’m far from being a minimalist, I try to keep only essential objects in our home. The Moon Lodge is modest in space and I don’t like clutter. I started with my closet last year – I have 180 clothes total in my closet for 4 seasons, including shoes and accessories! Any non-joy items were donated once a month and I got real intentional about being a conscious consumer when I did shop. A free capsule wardrobe workbook from Caroline of Unfancy got me started on this goal a few years ago and it’s truly changed my outlook.
Woo, what a year! Of course there were challenges and improvements I’d like to make but the celebrations are more fun to remember during the most difficult months of the year in moody and cold Michigan.
I know we have our work cut out for us in 2017 due to the state of our nation’s politics but I’m also looking forward to both of my best friends’ weddings, a few trips we’re planning, and focusing on my health and wellness in the next year.
Cheers and Happy New Year!