Making up for lost time.

Welcome back to My Crunchy Crusade!

You’ve probably been wondering where I’ve been for the last year…and a half. I’ll be honest, I had the best intentions with starting this blog in the summer of 2015. I had just recently graduated college and gotten married. I was juggling a number of part-time jobs, one of which was at the Wrens Nest Center for Wellbeing, which was the perfect place to get inspired about putting a new foot forward and living more healthily and mindfully.

Then autumn rolled around. Within a matter of weeks, I took the most magical trip imaginable and started my very first “big girl” job. Billy and I went to Disney World for our honeymoon, which was an absolute dream. I had never been, and to say that the Most Magical Place on Earth exceeded my expectations would be an understatement.

The week before we left for Orlando, I applied for the position of Marketing Assistant for the Downtown Dalton Development Authority. My acquaintance, Kendra, had recently started as the new Director, and the previous Marketing Assistant put in her resignation shortly after Kendra started. Since Kendra was brand new, the City moved very quickly with their decision, and in the middle of our honeymoon…I got the job offer! I happily accepted. What was even better was that the position had been changed from Marketing Assistant to Marketing & Communications Manager. So it was a dream job with management cred built right in…straight out of college!

The first few months of the job were stressful, I won’t lie to you. I began immediately after returning from Disney. (We flew back on Saturday, and the job began on Monday). Within two weeks, the largest DDDA event of the year happened…the annual Beer Fest! The event went swimmingly. But that wasn’t all…the annual Liberty Tree Festival followed THREE WEEKS after the Beer Fest. Those three weeks went by in a blur as I threw myself entirely into planning the event.

In October of 2015, I returned to the stage after a year-and-a-half-long hiatus in the role of Nina in Dalton Little Theatre’s “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” by Christopher Durang. The play itself wasn’t my cup of tea, but it was an extremely enjoyable experience, in which I got to play a quirky, spunky young woman with an extensive knowledge of cinema (that doesn’t sound familiar at all, does it?) I met some truly wonderful people in the cast, and got to know a few acquaintances much better.

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The week after “Vanya” closed, I cut off 11 inches of my hair (which to me was a big deal). I’m currently growing it out again because it was a mistake! Haha!

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We’ll fast forward a few months, to January of this year. Kendra, my director, with whom I had formed a close professional bond, announced that following the birth of her baby in June, she would be resigning and moving to Milledgeville, GA with her new little family. I was absolutely heartbroken to see her go, but so happy for Kendra, her husband, and little Lucy as they started a new adventure.

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Miss you, Kendra!

The beginning of this year came with more theatre! On a strange (and delightful) whim, Billy decided that he wanted to try out for Artistic Civic Theatre’s “As You Like It” with me. He was cast as Oliver, the evil older brother of the male protagonist, and I was cast as Celia (a.k.a. Aliena), the wealthy side-kick of the female protagonist who escapes with her into the forest under the guise of a simple country girl. We had an absolute blast, and it was such a treat to see Billy find his voice on stage. As I’ve since told him, now that he’s tackled Shakespeare, he can do just about anything on stage! (More on that later.) My next play was ACT’s “My Fair Lady,” in which I played Mrs. Pierce.

After that, for the first time since my very first season performing with ACT in 2010, I was in an ACT summer musical! And it could not have been a better experience: I got to cross an item off of every theatre-kid’s bucket list…Gilbert & Sullivan! That’s right…I sang opera! I cannot gush enough about how much I loved playing Edith in “Pirates of Penzance!”

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Pirates of Penzance!

The first half of 2016 ended with an anniversary trip to St. Simon’s, which was just what the doctor ordered. Soon after, I turned 23 on June 17th! Hard to believe.

 

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I also had the immense pleasure to take a trip to New York City this summer to visit my best friend, Grace! It was my third trip to the Big Apple, and no less thrilling than the first two. We saw three shows, “An American in Paris,” “Shuffle Along” (in which I saw the goddess Audra McDonald, herself), and “Waitress” (in which we laughed so hard we cried at Christopher Fitzgerald). I sang karaoke in K-Town, saw Grace perform with her class at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Chelsea, saw JANEANE GAROFALO, visited burrows I had never explored, and drank in every single minute of the mad, loud, beautiful, eccentric city. It’s been my favorite NYC trip to date, and I CANNOT wait to go back.

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At the end of June, the DDDA’s new director, Garrett, started. It’s been a joy to get to know him and get accustomed to the new office dynamic. Since he stepped in, many new and exciting things have happened. In the past year alone, THIRTEEN new businesses have opened!! I’ve also had the pleasure of taking over as the public face/voice for the office. I now record radio spots and television infomercials for Downtown Dalton. It’s been a really fun learning experience, and I really get a kick out of people saying, “Hey, you’re that Downtown Lady!”

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Chatting it up with Lori McDaniel on “The Local Scene”

In the past couple of months, I’ve also taken on a few other responsibilities in the community as a board member for some non-profit organizations. It’s my second year as a board member for Dalton Little Theatre, for which I am the brand new Marketing Chair. In addition, I now serve on the boards of the Young Professionals of Northwest Georgia AND the Friendship House. (Whew!) Each organization supports causes that are incredibly near to my heart: theatre, community involvement, providing networking opportunities for young people in the area, and helping children!

In August, Billy and I took another huge step in our relationship: WE BOUGHT A HOUSE! It is so beautiful and we have settled in nicely. It’s been interesting living in the county (even though it’s like 2 miles from the city line) but I really love how quiet it is. We also have a ton of trees on our property, which makes this flower child extremely happy. I will be sure to do another post about what I’ve learned about myself and Billy throughout the process of buying, decorating, and living in a house. (I am the very first homeowner in my family, so it’s an enormous deal!)

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Along with the new house came a brand new member of the family…Pepper! She was rescued by a friend I met through DLT. Pepper and Posy are absolutely inseparable and have bonded over terrorizing the cat. She is extremely shy and terrified of anyone that isn’t me or Billy, but I believe she’ll come around. I’ve never met a more snuggly and loving dog (and that’s saying a lot, because I thought her sister was lovey-dovey)!

Though I know this has been a long post (kudos to you if you made it all the way to the end!) I believe this is the final push towards making 2017 a more mindful and healthy year for me. In recapping the last year and a half (whether anyone reads this or not), I have finally broken back through the barrier I set up for myself by putting off blogging for so long.

It’s incredibly simple to only highlight the good (which I’ve craftily done for you here, dear reader). But I’ll be honest with you, because I feel it’s important to be transparent: it hasn’t been an easy year. In October, I came extremely close to losing my guardian angel, Lynn. There was a stretch of time during her stay in the MICU where I didn’t leave the house (or my couch, for that matter) because I sunk into a deep, dark hole from which I feared I wouldn’t emerge. I scared myself and my close friends and family. It’s been hard to bounce back from that, and as a result, I have lapsed in my mission to forge onward and upward. I have regressed with regard to my physical and mental health. I watch too much tv, I seldom write for pleasure, and I’ve felt very distant from inner peace. But I’m excited.

Why, you may ask? Because I’m ready to say goodbye.

Bye bye, 2016!

In 11 days, we will all say goodbye to 2016 and hello to 2017. It is cliched, but a new year marks a great jumping-off point. So, for my next blog post, I will outline my new plan for 2017’s journey to finding my equilibrium. It’s an overhaul of the bad to let in the good.

I hope you’ll join me for the launch of My (resuscitated) Crunchy Crusade!

Until next time,

Tanner

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