Friday, December 30, 2016

What an incredible year.

I loved this year. More than anything, I think it's because I stepped outside of my comfort zone in many ways and tried new things and had new experiences. 

Music was a huge part of my year. We lost some legends and some of my favorites this year, but I was also fortunate to see some of my favorites live. This year I was able to see Dierks Bentley, Mo Pitney, Dixie Chicks, and Kacey Musgraves. Every concert was memorable in its own way. And we've already got tickets for 2017...we'll be seeing Eric Church in April.

I've always been close with my parents and sister, but this year we were just as close as they helped Chris and I so much with our first home. The holidays were even more wonderful, too. I was also fortunate enough to take two trips to Arkansas with family to see my great grandparents and extended family. Those were some moments I'll forever treasure.

I devoted as much time to writing as I possibly could this year. I wrote columns for a local blog about my newlywed life. I freelanced for a local newspaper. And I was published in the magazine for our local geneaological-historical society. Each publication and each byline thrilled me as much as the last.

Jacob Haish project
But the one project that meant the most to me? In April I started a blog dedicated to my 4th great uncle, an original inventor of barbed wire, and an underdog in history. Through the project of documenting his life and his stories, I've met so many wonderful people and have learned so many amazing things. My life is forever changed because of this project, and I am so happy to continue working on it.

My work life
My work life has been absolutely insane this year. I've been in three departments at my company this year alone, all in an attempt to make the most of my creativity and drive. Well, I can now say I've landed right where I belong, and I've been put to work. My work is allowing me to speak up in important conversations, implement change, and even travel. It's been quite a ride, and I'm so excited to see what 2017 has in store...

My home life
And last, but certainly not least, so much has happened on the home front. Christopher and I celebrated one year of marriage in October, and celebrated it by putting in an offer on a house. It was accepted, and we moved in the day after I turned 26. Finding, buying, and "building" our home has been so much stress, and it has been so worth it. I want to remember these days for all of my life.

What a great year. I'm truly humbled by it all. I'm so looking forward to building upon all of these things in 2017. 

Happy New Year, friends.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Photos: Christmas Prep

I love Christmastime for many obvious reasons. I also love this time of year because there are so many opportunities to practice with my camera. I decided to capture the signs of Christmas that have been springing up throughout our home. Click photos to enlarge.

Our first big (but fake) tree. It's 7 feet! | Photo by Jessi LaRue
Photo by Jessi LaRue
Twitch likes to keep a safe distance from excitement. | Photo by Jessi LaRue
Trixie gets too excited about new things, and then wears herself out. | Photo by Jessi LaRue
Photo by Jessi LaRue
Trixie was more than willing to be wrapped like a present. | Photo by Jessi LaRue
A wreath from a friend. | Photo by Jessi LaRue
A wreath I made last year. | Photo by Jessi LaRue
Photo by Jessi LaRue
Christmas cards on the fridge. | Photo by Jessi LaRue
Photo by Jessi LaRue
I love fun wrapping paper. | Photo by Jessi LaRue
Photo by Jessi LaRue
Just one week until Christmas! | Photo by Jessi LaRue

Friday, December 16, 2016

Playlist: Country Christmas 2016

Photo by Jessi LaRue
For me, country music is an obvious choice for Christmas tunes.

So many Christmas nights have been spent listening to good old country music. Each year, my parents take out the same old country Christmas albums that we've been listening to for years...Sammy Kershaw, George Strait, Kenny & Dolly all bring about serious nostalgia. Something about those voices and those songs is always so comforting during this time of year.

This playlist features some of those country classics, but also newer artists. This playlist heavily features Kacey Musgraves and the songs from her recent release "A Very Kacey Christmas." My sister and I just attended her Joliet, IL stop on the Christmas tour last night. The beautiful stage featured Christmas trees and fake snow. It definitely got us into the Christmas spirit.

Enjoy the country Christmas playlist below, and let me know: what songs would you add to this playlist?

Sunday, December 04, 2016

First Snow at Our New Home

Chris and I moved into our first home yesterday. Fortunately it was a pretty easy day, as we had been moving over items during the last two weeks of cleaning and painting projects. We also had my sister help out with moving larger items, (I'm not much of a heavy lifter.)

It was a fun, exciting day to bring our items into the home, and to see the house fill with our character. Then this morning, my husband woke me up and told me I should look out the bedroom window. I was surprised to see the first snowfall of the year... and like all first snowfalls, it was beautiful.

After some shoveling, I ran outside to take photos of our backyard, which looked almost magical. I'm not a huge lover of snow, but the first snowfall in northern Illinois is always a sight.

Click photos to enlarge.

Check back for more posts as I document our house projects, DIYs, the holidays, and more!