25 awesome things that happened when I was 25

Another bright and bold year is upon me. So many epic things happened while being 25, I had to chronicle it. If this is how great 25 has been, I'm pumped to tackle 26. 

LIFE EXPERIENCES

1. Moved in with my favorite person in the entire world. While I really liked living alone and living in Albany, Troy has been such an awesome transition. We have a great location and moving in together has been such a awesome experience.

2. Attended 7 weddings (yes, 7!) - I'm still unsure about all the wedding etiquette things, at one of the first weddings I attended I accidentally drank all the champagne toast when I sat down at my table and was left toasting with an empty glass when the speeches came. 

3. Welcomed a pup into our fold. Julep, our little mutt, has been an awesome addition to our little group. We love that we were able to rescue the cutest dog ever that gets along with everyone and really enriches our life.

4. Bought a brand spanking new car. This was a great experiment in "knowing what you want and asking for it." While I sometimes have the tendency to just say what people want to hear, when purchasing a new car you really have to be unafraid of conflict and awkwardness. The whole process taught me a lot, and I got a sweet new whip to match!

5. Visited the Mayor and got a picture with her dog. (long story)

6. Went on some fun trips with friends & family and ate some awesome food while on vacation. I went to NYC a handful of times, on of my favorite times was a "girls weekend" where we drank steaming bowls of alcoholic candy, visited my sister in Alabama for her graduation and also went to Houston to visit my parents. Also was able to visit my family in Buffalo. My grandma surprised me by having all my Aunts, Uncles and Cousins show up to a local Italian restaurant to have a good time. I'm lucky to be surrounded by so many amazing people.

SELF IMPROVEMENT

7. Discovered Bullet Journalling. This new way of keeping organized is a combination of analog note-taking, combined with efficiency, planning and journalling. If you love writing on paper and checking off to-do lists, scope out Bullet Journalling

8. Paid off one of my 4 student loans. AH, only 3 to go!

9. Embraced the idea that I can't handle full caffeinated coffee and now I stick to decaf. Caffeine makes me anxious, sweaty, and makes me feel some sort of hungover. I guess that's one stereotype down for designers everywhere!

10. Finally found the perfect sports bra (this is something I find worth celebrating) if you find yourself decently well endowed and like to bob around without moving at all while avoiding the dreaded uniboob, you must check out this bra

11. Kept connected with an awesome group of friends that make me a better person and are always there for me. Also met some new people through Casey and the design community who are awesome and really are always down for something fun. I appreciate you all (new & old) for being so supportive and great this year.

HOBBIES

12. Found my absolute love in Northern Thai food (especially Koa Soi)  - THANKS TO SADUDEE. Who can resist the creamy coconut milk with spicy curry and cilantro sauce over thick noodles and juicy chicken. I've been trying to recreate some of the Thai dishes I have with no great success, maybe that's something to tackle in the next year. 

13. Stepped up my bar cart game (thanks to Casey's awesome Christmas present). I love entertaining and having some drinks with friends and being able to accommodate anyone's interests.  

14. Became Yelp Elite and wrote 30+ yelp reviews. This one is my favorite for a local doughnut shop in Troy and it even won "Review of the Day"! 

16. Really honed my podcast game. My favorites are Start up/Gimlet Media, America's Test Kitchen, 99%invisible/Radiotopia & Savage Lovecast

17. Became obsessed with board games. After stumbling upon Tabletop Deathmatch on Youtube and seeing how design and mechanics are combined to make a fun experience. Now I'm a big follower of Geek & Sundry's Tabletop show with Wil Wheaton. I never thought I'd be watching people play games on TV for fun, but I love the designs of the games and the way people have so much fun playing together. Now I have two "entry level" games in my collection: Settlers of Catan and Pandemic. 

18. Took a calligraphy class that I would really recommend! "I Still Love Calligraphy" was an awesome class that was actually gifted to me for my birthday last year! It offers 4 weeks with multiple assignments all that are reviewed by the teacher via "student portal" on their website. I now feel comfortable using calligraphy on my mail and in my designs. (And it's a great way to relax by practicing, which it requires a lot!) 

19. Used Feedly as my rss feed and kept a super organized log of all my inspiration. Do you use an rss feed to follow your favorite blogs? If not, you need Feedly. You just add your favorite blogs and websites to it by searching the name of the blog. You can organize your favorites by folders, like "design inspiration, food/recipes, fitness, etc) and then on your own time peruse your collected posts. It's awesome.

20. Bought new ski, after spending the majority of the last 10 years on the same hand me down skis. Now I'm shredding on some Dynastar Neva's and was able to tackle some awesome terrain in Vermont this year (I'm a big fan of Stowe after this year!) 

21. Brewed 2 batches of beer under the "Bug-A-Brew" label with friends. We were even able to include some with hops that grew in our backyard. 

istilllovecalligraphy

CAREER

22. Participated in "Be Freelance" class and learned a lot about the ins and outs of a freelance designer and being legit. I would really recommend this class as a designer to learn more about LCC's vs Sole Proprietor, income taxes and finding new clients. 

23. Became more connected in the design community through CMYK, Cocktails with Creatives and Create Upstate. Attending networking events and the awesome Create Upstate conference was a great way to meet really inspiring people and local designers to have a finger on the pulse of the community near me. 

24. Really focused my energy on my freelance design business. I was able to add some cool projects to my portfolio and grow my income by spending lots of my nights hustling in front of my screen. It's made me a much more focused and organized designer.

25. Got laid off. This will need a blog post written specifically about this but this has been one of the biggest and best changes this year. It shook up my equilibrium, made me reassess my goals and focus on myself and my happiness. I allowed myself to feel all my feelings about it and now I'm able to really get organized and start fresh.