I realize that as time goes on, followers of Beard + Bloom will naturally start to get to know more about me, as I plan to be as open and transparent as possible. This blog will also undoubtedly feature those close to me, but none more so than my little family, Jeremy and Rosie. In case you’re interested, here’s a rundown about our tiny, Midwestern clan.
Although I only just recently realized it, I’m a country girl at heart. I didn’t grow up on a farm, but my parents do live on forty acres in the middle-of-nowhere Indiana, about an hour away from where Jeremy and I live now. After a recent – and our first – camping trip together, Jeremy was constantly referring to me as his “country bumpkin” because I insisted on taking back roads to avoid traffic, shoved him and all printed directions aside to swiftly assemble and disassemble the tent, and showed him the art of getting the sugar out of teensy clover leaves with my teeth for fun.
Jeremy, on the other hand, has lived just about anywhere and everywhere throughout Fort Wayne, the city in which we currently reside. He understands how “big city” life works and helped me settle into downtown living when I moved here permanently four years ago (what the what!) in October.
I had just recently returned from studying abroad in England for my senior year in college. That summer (2011), I moved back in with my parents for awhile and passed the time by helping my mom fix up a foreclosure she had purchased and hunting for jobs like crazy. I wasn’t necessarily looking for something in Fort Wayne, as it is a pretty lengthy commute to make daily from my parents’, but I landed a bookseller position at a used bookstore in the city and, with my love of literature and music, it sounded like a dream job.
Little did I know, I’d also meet a bearded, awkward-as-me, super sweet Jeremy there, too. He was Assistant Manager, and conducted most of my training. Several weeks into the job, I had fallen in love with the store, my co-workers, the customers, and, in a much different way, my manager (gasp!)
By Fall, in October of 2011, I had saved up enough money to move into a small, adorable duplex downtown. That same month, Jeremy and I also made our relationship official and “announced” it by showing up to work on Halloween in couples costume – Alice and the Mad Hatter. We let everyone question whether or not it was a total coincidence and were thoroughly amused by it, for several hours before confirming that we were, in fact, an item. The rest of the year flew by and consisted of lots of late nights, live shows, time spent with family and friends, working, bike rides, and exploring.
That following July, I was full of conflicting feelings as I put in my resignation at the bookstore – where I had just accepted a Shift Leader position – as a result of winning a job contest (weird, right?) I was selected to be a spokesperson for a local credit union for a year. The application process had thrown me totally out of my comfort zone, multiple times. It consisted of an initial blog and video submission, public voting, a meet and greet that put my – and the other top applicants’ – skills to the test in front of judges, a final blog post, and a surprise party winner announcement. A real whirlwind. As I accepted the offer, I wasn’t quite sure I could handle it. But I signed the contract and that was that, no time for second guessing! Although the position was only supposed to be a year-long experience, the credit union offered me an extended contract and so I spent two years creating blogs and videos, running events and social media, voicing radio ads and scripting theater spots, managing a small street team, presenting at financial literacy seminars and cooperative conferences, and gaining some major experience in the marketing and credit union industries. After my second year was up, I was offered a permanent position in the marketing department and continue in that role today!
So much has happened in the last four years, it’s hard to reflect back and it’s why I’m kicking myself for not starting this blog sooner. I want to remember every detail, and I know I simply can’t at this point. But here’s an overview of some major events that have happened in the time since I returned from England (you can read all about my adventures abroad here.)
We’ve been through some MAJOR life events together, both great and not so great. Jeremy lost his best friend less than a year into our relationship in a very horrible freak accident, which he and his friends actually witnessed. I had only just begun getting to know his friend and considering him my own, and it was such an awful period of time that we’ll never quite be over. In many ways though, it strengthened not only our relationship, but so many of our friendships and family ties.
There have been several health scares and more deaths in our lives since then. Most recently, Jeremy’s grandmother, Gigi, passed away. Though always tragic and unfair and horrible, the passing of loved ones certainly has a way of resulting in a beautiful coming together of family and community, and we’ve learned to try to focus as much as possible on that – the celebration and the memories and the love that live on after we say goodbye.
We’ve watched the little ones of our family and friends grow up, and have welcomed a couple of brand new babes into our lives, too. It’s been such a great experience, especially for me, as I had hardly been around kiddos before. Though I don’t have baby fever quite yet, they’ve taught me SO much and continue to fill my heart up with joy and curiosity and love, even when I think there is no more room for any of it.
We’ve also been to – and in – weddings… SO MANY WEDDINGS… in the last four years. I’ve also had the opportunity to film a few, which has been fun! Two of my best friends tied the knot, some of Jeremy’s friends have, too, and probably most worth mentioning is that my “little” brother married one of the smartest and most beautiful young ladies in all the land in June of 2013 and, last year, they ran away together to North Carolina where he is currently working towards his Masters. *Cue big sis tears.*
Somewhere between baby showers and wedding receptions, Jeremy and I moved in together. In October of 2012, exactly one year after I moved into my duplex (which I still miss to this day, even though the bedroom was a transformed closet and the neighbors were kinda creepy), Jeremy and I moved precisely two streets down from said duplex, into a tiny bungalow in the middle of some gorgeous historic homes on a very busy street. We loved that place (especially the yard that came with it) and made some forever memories there, but outgrew it after two years. Well, for the sake of being honest… it was kind of crumbling down around us and there wasn’t much our landlords were willing to do about it. Last October, we moved into our current place, which (fingers crossed) we’re hoping to own very soon!
One of the best memories made in our crumbling bungalow happened in March of 2013, when we adopted… our first, 6-month-old puppy! Rosie Poesy. She’s our world, that little girl, and we’re currently in talks of getting her a brother or sister. We chose to adopt from a local rescue (Perfect Paws) and will definitely be going the same route for our next pet.
There are so many stories I could share about Rosie, but my favorite is the day we met her. We wanted to meet her first, take a night to discuss it, and then pick her up the next day if we were absolutely certain about it. So, we met up with her and her foster mom in the parking lot of a nearby PetSmart and let her soak us in puppy kisses and spent awhile cooing away in puppy talk and holding her. We thanked the foster mom, both already positive we were going to take her home the next day, and started for the pet store to go stock up on a puppy bed, toys, and treats. As we were entering the store we heard someone from the parking lot yell, “DOG ON THE LOOSE! SHE’S GETTING AWAY!” We turned and saw Rosie running, full speed ahead, towards us. The foster mom had accidentally dropped the leash on the way to her car and while there were a hundred other vehicles and several other people in the parking lot, Rosie bolted for us. I leaned down and she jumped in my arms and I pretty much just lost it right then and there. It was meant to be.
Later in 2013, I had a major itch to get back to my home away from home – Canterbury, England. The first and best friend that I had made while there a couple of years prior was heading back to England to get her Masters in London. I hadn’t seen her since leaving in 2011 and the timing seemed just right, so I saved harder than I’ve ever saved before and was able to take a two week trip in the Fall! We spent time in London and Canterbury, of course, but also got a taste of Bristol, Bath, and Brighton, too. It’s been two years since that visit, and I’m already feeling the urge to do it all again… le sigh!
But my travel bug has been satiated with some adventuring around the states over the last few years. Work has provided me with some amazing travel opportunities, to Nashville and Austin (Kansas City next!) Jeremy and I have explored several nearby towns and have taken a few trips around the Midwest. New Orleans, New Mexico, Colorado, southern California, Disney World, Portland, Amsterdam, Ireland, and Iceland are currently at the tippity-top of our ever-growing travel bucket list.
When we find the time to spend at home (we’re really working on finding some balance in that area lately – more on that later), we’ve dabbled in and out of new interests and hobbies. Just this year, I’ve taken up reading again after a ridiculously long hiatus (I suppose studying English Literature for four years at university might result in needing a bit of a break!) I also volunteer my time at a youth mentoring group two days a week in addition to volunteering my time to a local, non-profit website. I try my hand at a few crafts and photography sessions every now and then and Jeremy has started picking up the guitar again – which make my ears and my heart so happy – and can brew a mean beer when he gets the opportunity!
We’re a young, middle class, Midwestern couple trying our best to get by and have fun while doing it. We’re equal parts inspired and exhausted at any given time, and we’ll do our best to share the results of both with all of you.
We couldn’t be happier to have you following along!