Looking Back and Looking Ahead

Now that January is almost over and I've had some time to reflect, I decided it's time to post a little year in review for 2016, along with some looking ahead for 2017. I wrote a few resolutions and goals on New Year's Day in 2016, which I've never really done before. They included speaking more kindly about myself, buying myself a piano, hiking more, moving into a solo apartment, and expanding my creativity, whatever that looked like. They may seem self-centered, but investing in these goals helped the year become more about other people than I could have imagined.

Most of those resolutions were met, believe it or not! Except maybe the "speaking more kindly about myself" one - bad habits are hard to break. This past year I climbed several mountains, visited Arkansas and drove farther south than I've ever been before (historical Fort Smith, AR), went camping for the first time ever at Acadia National Park, got published in not one but three Stampington magazines, taught my very first workshop, discovered Chris Thile at Prescott Park in Portsmouth while out to dinner, saw Swan Lake performed by the Boston Ballet (absolutely breathtaking), went on a short solo hike, drew a magnificent bald eagle on my friend's shoulders for Independence Day, learned how to spin, displayed my fiber art at two local shops, moved into my own apartment, made it into my second year of online classes, submitted my first book proposal, and so much more.

New people came into my life and lots of lessons were learned. An area where I grew a lot was letting go of anxiety about other people. I learned to not second-guess quite so much, and my decision-making became stronger. I owe all of this to the Lord, by the way. Change is slow but it is happening. I am learning to see myself through God's eyes instead of my own condemnation and judgement, and from there to focus on Him instead of me.

This year I live in a beautiful little apartment right across the street from the library where I work. I have space for my crafts, space for reflection, and space for hosting. I love cooking dinner for my friends and offering my home as a game night spot, and I'm hoping to also turn it into a jam center for playing music. Little plants hang here and there, lighting up the space with greenery, and I've even displayed a few of my favorite pieces of artwork. I am recycling as much as I can, and I'm even hoping to stop using paper towels and start a rag basket instead. I also look forward to growing some vegetables and herbs on my tiny back deck this summer.

This year I've  decided to change my major from marketing to graphic design. It's a logical decision, based on my desire to incorporate creativity into my job and life. I also realized I am not good with statistics, numbers, economics, or really anything involving money and demographics. So marketing is out and graphic design is in, and I can't wait to see where it goes.

This year I am reading more books that are good for my soul. I've read a lot of YA fiction, which, even though I've come across some gems, is not the best choice for my brain and my heart. This year I'm going to read more classics, more nonfiction, and more craft/art/DIY/home living books. (I am currently reading All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr for the book club I lead at the library - I am also struggling through Anna Karenina.) I would also like to start learning a foreign language in earnest, but maybe I'll save that for 2018.

This year I am going to travel a little more. I am visiting my cousin in North Carolina in April, and I would really like to see the West Coast. I'm still aching to see Iceland, too. My passport is in progress, so who knows what the next few years will bring for travel!

This year I hope to write more. About life, about plants, about solo apartment life, about projects, about music, about travel, and about the books I'm reading. This is the start.

Lifestyle Blog Interview: Kristen Friend

I have never done a lifestyle blog interview before, so this should be fun! Today I'm interviewing my fellow blogger and fellow New Hampshire native, Kristen Friend. Enjoy! Lifestyle Blog Interview: Kristen Friend

Introduce yourself!

Kristen Friend.

25. Married. Christian.

In love with New Hampshire and the ideas of homesteading.

Addicted to thrifting, so I now have to start selling if I want to maintain this addict lifestyle.

Passionate about the idea of reusing anything you can.

Big believer in community and creating loyal friendships.

What inspired you to start a lifestyle blog?

I’ve always loved to journal. I started journaling when I was 11 and have kept it up ever since. A blog allows me to share the inner workings of my mind on a relatable level. It’s also been a big help in keeping me connected to those that my husband and I left in AZ.

I have a lot of things that I’m passionate about and blogging gives me an organized realm to express my creativity.

Tell me about your love for vintage.

Oh dear. It’s more of an obsession.

When I was 10 or 11 years old, I borrowed a tie-dyed, fringe shirt from one of my friends. I wore it every day for a week straight, sewed patches of fabric onto an old pair of jeans, and created a corner in my room that I called my “Hippie Space.” I sat on a pillow and listened to music.

I’ve always felt that I belonged to a different era and finding vintage home decor or clothing helps me to bring that feeling to life. It also helps me to feel connected to what once was. It’s important to find use for something that once had so much purpose. Whether it’s clothing, home decor, or a crappy frame, it is possible for it to have a second life.

What do you do when you aren’t working on your blog?

Umm, still working… I work at a coffee shop where I can either be found working behind the coffee bar, helping with marketing, or coordinating a shop event. I love working and find fulfillment in it.

If I’m not working, then adventuring with a friend or Houston. I also love to hole myself up in the library and read or sit on my computer.

Lifestyle Blog Interview: Kristen Friend

What are your favorite topics to write about?

I love writing about emotions. That sounds a little weird, but there’s such a strong emotional experience when you think of something nostalgic or spend time in the quiet. I like to bring those emotions to life, or share some of the ways I’ve been feeling.

I also love writing about people. I spend a lot of time observing people and soaking in their habits or mannerisms. These things highly interest me. I love creating characters in my mind based off of people I see or meet.

Oddly, those are probably the two things I don’t put onto my blog much. Probably because I’d feel a little too vulnerable.

And your favorite post that you’ve written to date?

My last post would probably be my favorite: “The Road Less Traveled.” It was a very real life update about where Houston and I are at in our lives right now. One of my most vulnerable pieces, and oddly my most viewed. I’m finding people really appreciate the injection of emotion and the tales of what’s really going on.

Lifestyle Blog Interview: Kristen Friend

Who are some of your favorite bloggers/creatives?

I feel like I’m a lousy blogger in the fact that I don’t tend to follow or read many other blogs. I love my friend Melody’s blog, because even though I’m not a knitter or avid crafter, her blog is very relatable.

I also love homesteading blogs. I love reading about people who have land, animals, and grow their own food. It’s such a passion of mine that I can’t wait to put into practice.

Any advice for aspiring bloggers?

Don’t take yourself too seriously. I think that’s most people’s hangups.

Post a lot of pictures and keep your content short. Most people have short attention spans and want you to get to the point. Even if it’s your heart gushing out your latest drama, 300 words will be received better than 900. Pictures help to break up your content and keep the reader intrigued, so lace pictures throughout.


 

Thank you for letting me do a lifestyle blog interview with you, Kristen! You can follow her on Instagram @kristenfriend and visit her Instagram shop @kristenfindsvintage. Don't forget to visit her blog and leave a comment! Thanks for reading, friends!