I'm still here! I'm not dead! I have been meaning to post an update over the last few months, but as usual, life got in the way. On the plus side, this means that I am employed again (hooray!) The main downside is that I've been busy with work and the whole side hustle thing fell on the wayside and was a casualty of the process. I got hired in October as a Graphic Designer for a store that sells photography and videography gear, so it's been a pretty natural fit as far as being in line with my interests. It took a bit of an adjustment phase, since I was more used to working in Production Design on a large team, working towards an end goal all together. At my new job, I'm on a team of three and basically do the majority of print and social media design work for the company. I get along with the other two girls pretty great, and everyone within the company was extremely welcoming which made starting somewhere new a lot less intimidating. Every day is different, and some days are more hectic than others, but I've finally found my pace and things there feel good. As a bonus, I got to use my employee discount for a sweet ass Panasonic G9 and I am IN LOVE with it. For reals. I'll post some photos later. As a special work perk, yesterday I got to take a Continuing Education course, UX and Responsive Web Design, at a local community college. I've been gearing up over the past few weeks to get my shit together and figure out how to fit Ruby July into my life again and make it truly work. The course I took yesterday also gave me great insight on what I can do to make this website better and more user-friendly, which will be incredibly useful as I readjust and fit in a storefront. I'm going to look into some things this weekend, and figure out a loose plan so I can share my pretties with the world! I'm excited to get this going again, and I'll be sure to update more frequently as things start to progress on my end.

It's been a few weeks since I've last checked in, and I've been pretty busy with non-job-related things. It's been a welcome distraction, and I've definitely tried to make the most out of it and enjoy the free time while I have it. I drove down to Chicago with my mom and sister to see Hamilton, near the end of August. It was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Everything I'd hoped for, and more, and it very much exceeded my expectations. I've been a huge fan of the soundtrack for the majority of this year (I jumped on the bandwagon late, but man am I glad I joined), and I was hoping to see the musical when they tour in Minneapolis in 2018/2019. With the layoff happening, it seemed a lot more unlikely that I would get to see the performance, but my mom surprised my sister and I with tickets, when she came into some unexpected money. It was a great experience, and if you're a fan of Hamilton, GOGOGOGO see it. Worth every penny. A few weeks after our Chicago trip, I headed back to Wisconsin to celebrate my friend's son's 3rd birthday, and I also picked my mom up and took her back out to the Twin Cities. She had only visited once before, since it's about a five-hour drive from my hometown. It's not a drive that I expect anyone to make often, so it was nice to have her out here for a few days. We went to a local restaurant for fish and went to see Minnehaha Falls (which are super cool), and we saw U2 at the US Bank Stadium for their Joshua Tree tour. I remember my parents bumping that cassette tape while I was a kid, so I was happy to be able to take my mom to the tour, and to check off another fun thing on our bucket lists. Check out a few photos in the slideshow below, and meet my little frog and toad friends that I found in Wisconsin, too! :D

With all of these things happening, and LOTS of driving back and forth, I haven't had much time to focus on the job hunt. Now that everything's slowed down and my schedule is once again wide open, I can get back to work (hopefully literally!) and focus on improving my skill set and landing a new, awesome job. I feel a lot more refreshed after taking those few weeks to not worry and be in my head so much, and I think I am in a much better mindset than I was a month ago. I'm definitely ready to be getting back to work and getting out of the house again! I did work on some of the behind-the-scenes things for Ruby July, and still have to figure out the kinks for setting up listings on Etsy, or finding another efficient way of selling my stationery designs. Definitely need to do more research on that, but I'm excited about the prospect of it. I've also been stockpiling tons of calligraphy supplies, and am really excited about that as well. I have one script style down pretty good so far, so my goal is to get a few more under my belt and then being offering calligraphed envelopes and designs as well. Calligraphy and hand lettering is such a natural fit for me, and with a bit of practice and confidence, I would love to make it more than just a side hustle. Combining this with custom stationery designs makes my skills kind of a one-stop shop for brides-to-be and anyone who might need those services. I'm super grateful that my experience at my last job has ignited this passion in me, as I feel like it's been there all along but just lurking under the surface. If you haven't yet, go check out my Instagram, and follow me for updates! I currently have a few card designs up that I designed for a design challenge at work, and as I get deeper into my calligraphy and lettering studies, I may make a separate Instagram account for those. I'm not sure yet if I want to have it all in one account yet or not, so we'll see. Either way, keep checking in and I'll get back to you all soon with updates!

Hey everyone! There hasn't been a whole lot of movement yet in the job search. I did get my resume critique back, and I did find a lot of the suggestions useful. I've also talked to my Transition Coach twice, and both times she provided great advice. She suggested reaching out to "target companies" directly, and really taking charge and ownership of my job search. This, along with networking, will definitely be a challenge as it is pretty out of my comfort zone. So far though, the resources and assistance that's been provided has helped me focus a bit more on what I need to do to succeed and land a new job. I'm just hopeful that something great is on the horizon and all of this will have worked out for the best! I have spent a good amount of time this week getting things organized around my apartment, which has been long neglected. I think it's helping me stay positive, which is nice. I always find that cleaning things up and refreshing my surroundings also refreshes my mind, in a way. Maybe it's just me trying to gain control over things I really have control of, which helps distract from the things outside of my control at the moment. (Side note: I'm pretty sure this is nesting? Am I nesting?!) Either way, it works for me, and my apartment is definitely looking a lot more tidy! I've also been keeping up with my weekly Instagram posts, and recently went on the hunt for things to use in my mini photo shoots. I'm pretty excited for a few posts that will be released within the next month or so. These are the three I've posted so far!

As I mentioned last time, these will all be available for personalization in the future, so keep your eyes peeled for that. :) Otherwise, things have been pretty much the same, but my outlook is definitely improving. Last week I was teetering on the edge of an existential crisis and I think that has been averted, so whew! I'm beginning to enjoy the time I have off of work now, and am definitely trying to make the most of it. I signed up for Skillshare yesterday, and I'm excited to watch some videos and learn some new stuff. If I find anything cool, I'll be sure to let you all know so you can check it out too. I'll check back in soon! Hope you're all doing great!

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