Anna Maria Locke

oh hey

Greetings, internet!

Yes I am still alive.

Life got a liiiiittle crazy over the summer and the craziness never really stopped, and since I'm an "all or nothing" type of person and it's hard for me to commit less than 100% to an endeavor, this blog kind of fell off the plate. But I want to bring it back! Can you believe I've been blogging here for four years now? Me neither. I'm scared to click back and see what I used to post about.

I'm going to kick off my blog revival with a reverse timeline of the past five months' highlights, beginning from last weekend, because why not? So settle in and get ready for a long catching-up.

Ben's birthday was this past Sunday the 3rd, so naturally we celebrated with a costume party! I was a My Little Pony and Ben was a brony. If you don't know what a brony is, I highly recommend educating yourself via this video. We busted out the wedding silver, ate Pinterest cupcakes, drank a huge jar of caramel apple cider punch, and a tree was in attendance. Ben also got an extra hour to celebrate his day, which might be the best gift ever. Sorry solar system and ancient Romans, but I think 25 hour days should be AT LEAST a monthly thing.

All summer I was in a pretty deep creative slump, but now that the air is getting crispy and cool I'm ramping up the Etsy shop again! I'm hoping to boost my inventory in time for the holidays, but this dang full time job keeps getting in my way. I did celebrate a small/huge milestone recently by hitting 100 sales! I posted a celebratory coupon code on my shop facebook page, and (shhhhhh) it will never expire. My tip for anyone contemplating opening an Etsy shop is to just do it. Tip number two: the more work, love, stress, and joy you put into it, the more sales and amazing customers you will get back. I love when the universe works out like that.

In August I made a commitment to my personal health and joined the Tone it Up community, which is a fitness and nutrition program. I have no words that can fully describe it, but it has really changed my outlook on life, connected me with hundreds of amazing women around the world, and boosted my self confidence by a million levels. I've become addicted to eating clean (aka almost no food from a box), working out, and documenting it all on Instagram! You can follow me if you want, but expect to see lots of sweaty workout selfies and strange foreign cult-like hashtags. I'm @joyofanna.

On October 6th Ben and I celebrated our first anniversary with a mini-vacation to Madison, WI. We ate copious amounts of delicious Midwestern food, drank beer with some cute dogs, and went apple picking at a tiny little roadside farm. Everyone keeps asking if we saved some of our wedding cake, and to that I say are you crazy??? Who wants freezer burned cake?? We got ourselves some fresh cake, and then realized that it's really hard to split a whole cake between two people. Good thing I'm doing that healthy living program the other 95% of the time...

This is just a random collage of things that make me happy. Our weekly date night, low humidity hair days, my sister moving back to the States after 2 years abroad, and Monet at the Art Institute.

When life gets extra crazy and stressful I try to make an effort to relax and re-connect with the outdoors. I LOVED seeing a gorgeous wintry sunrise (and coyote!) on a recent visit home. One thing I really miss while living in Chicago is being able to see the sunrise and sunset, since we're stuck in a first floor apartment in the city. Also, dahlias and cone flowers are two of my favorite late summer blooms. And I came up close and personal to a great blue heron! I feel very lucky to work in Lincoln Park, the most gorgeous little part of Chicago. I would go crazy here without my green space!

 And wayyyy back in June we made a trip to the breathtaking Black Hills of South Dakota to watch two of our good friends tie the knot and smash cake into each others' faces. We also saw lots of buffalo and rock formations carved both by nature and by humans. I sure do miss the mountains.

Well I think that about covers it! And now my eyes are glazing over from staring at a screen for an hour, which I think is the sign to hit publish and go to bed.

I'm planning on making blogging a weekly event in my life, so I will see you again soon!

Love, Anna