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!

I'm currently at the beginning of Week Two of my unemployment. So far it hasn't been too bad, and I spent a lot of that time at home in Wisconsin with my mom and family pets. It was nice to keep my mind occupied and busy with things there, instead of mentally derailing myself and getting bogged down in the stress of not knowing what's next in store. I got to eat lots of yummy foods, and get lots of wonderful puppy kisses, and that's all we really need in life, right? ;) Last week, I also spoke to my Transition Coach, which is part of a service provided by my employer to assist in setting up those affected by the layoffs for success. My Coach was very helpful and easy to talk to, and I'm excited to take in the advice and guidance she will be providing in the next few weeks. It's definitely good to know that there is someone in my corner who is here to help me take my best step forward. They're currently going over my resume, and I'm anxious to see what changes are recommended. I don't feel like I was entirely prepared for the workforce after graduating college, so I'm really looking forward to finding out what the best tried-and-true methods are when searching for your next employer. My Coach also suggested that I set up a Behance account, which is something I will be working on over the next few days. It's nice to have a few mini-projects to keep busy with in the meantime, as well. I have a whole list of other things that I would like to accomplish during my unemployment period, so I'm making the most out of the downtime that I have. Hopefully it will all help me with whatever my next journey is! :) I have also finally set up a Ruby July Instagram account, and will be adding photos of some of the designs I've made over the past few years. I was able to get a bunch of stationery designs physically printed, so I'll be using those for the majority of the posts. I think it will be a good way to see what I've been up to, and if there's anything you like, please let me know! I'm always grateful for any feedback received! My hope is that eventually I will be able to post all of these designs and make them available for sale. Still working out the details on all of that, but if you're ever interested in having anything customized for your own needs, please don't hesitate to reach out! I'll check in again within the next few days, and if anything new or exciting comes up! Until next time! :D

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