December 31, 2016

2016, A Year in Review

It’s been quite a while since I’ve sat down to reflect on my life, let alone an entire year of it. Chances are I’ll overlook quite a bit. IN FACT, I’ve got to open up my calendar to know for sure what memories belong in this year for fear I’m reporting on 2015. Which is precisely why I’m revisiting this long forgotten blog… memories are fading much faster the older I get. And I’ve done some rad shit that I don’t want to forget about.

So. 2016 was the year of:

Working my butt off.

2016 started off with long days and even longer weeks due to the projects I had the pleasure of working on for Ford Motor Company. I was exercising my design chops on kiosks, tablets, and retail environments, which was some welcome variety from the world wide web. And thankfully, research was included in scope so I didn’t have to complain about that common oversight. But just as those overtime hours began to wear me down, General Motors came a knockin’ and I made the very difficult decision to jump ship. The remainder of the year was spent trying to get up to speed on GM culture and the ways of product development, which–to my surprise–was a RADICALLY different way of UX’ing. But overall the jump was a good one, and I’m excited about the opportunities that lay ahead in Cadillac Infotainment.

Keeping the UX dream alive in Michigan.

On par with 2015, I felt that need to do ALL THE UX THINGS in 2016. At least the UX things that happened in Southeast Michigan. Thankfully I had quite a bit of help to keep Ladies That UX Detroit alive, so I spent some time helping friends and colleagues resurrect the Michigan User Experience Professionals Association, and put in a bid for Midwest UX in Ann Arbor (no dice). I also took some time to speak at World Information Architecture Day, represent women in tech on a panel, and complete several freelance UX projects. I even mentored a junior UX’er or two, which helped me hone in on how I want to develop my career moving forward. 2017 shows no signs of slowing down, so I’m going to pour my heart and soul into my profession for as long as I can take it before I break.

Building friendships.

While changing jobs hit me hard in the friend department (there’s nothing like working with your besties every day), 2016 blessed me with many opportunities to strengthen new friendships. From parties to brunches, game nights to beer tastings, my Michigan buddies do not disappoint. The older and busier I get, the easier it is to overlook the immense value of friendships. I’m so grateful for this year’s memories with Alice, Rebecca, Hailey, Heidi, Sandy & Alvie, Jasmine & DQ, James & Lauren, and Brad & Michelle. And of course I could never go another year without expressing how thankful I am for the Gulf Coast Kooter Brigade. Where would I be without my ride or die pals?

Nursing my hobbies.

2016 was no 2015 when it comes to hobbies, but I did get a little bit of beer brewing and produce canning in there where I could. Most of my free time was spent on PLANTS, PLANTS, PLANTS, and I now fully embrace being a crazy plant lady. Wait til y’all see my garden next year! I also snuck some yoga in there, and it helped so much that I bought myself a class package for 2017. Next time you hear from me, I’ll be at least 30% bendier.

Spreading the word of BOWMANISM.

Every year I think the work my dear husband Jeffrey does couldn’t get any better. And every year he proves me wrong. In 2016, he created some of my very favorites to date and I’m so proud to help him get it out to the world. His work made it into the Michigan Fine Arts Competition again this year, along with several other group shows. And sales sent one piece to the other side of the world… Australia, to be exact. And now we know how much of a pain in the ass it is to ship there. Sorry mates! If you’re looking for some badass abstract art for your home or office, look no further my friend. ONWARD!

Skipping town to Chicago, LA, Northern Michigan, Myrtle Beach, and Pensacola.

I never seem to be able to travel as much as I’d like, but I did get to revisit some familiar spots this year and add southern California to my list of been there, done that. Even though it was more business than pleasure, I got to see my godmother and take in a couple of gorgeous California sunsets. A quick leaf-peeping weekend up north was another highlight. I’m now convinced I can’t make it through the fall season without a couple of days dedicated to checking out the AMAZING fall foliage to be found in Michigan, all while drinking the country’s best beer.

And celebrating my life and loves.

But perhaps the best memories I made this year were the little ones. Snuggles with my puppy, warm summer days, laughing until I cry with my best friends, cooking dinner with the love of my life, getting my hands dirty, thinking hard and solving problems, regular phone calls with my mom, mentoring students, delicious beers, facetiming and snapchatting with my far-away family… and so very much more. As they say… the days are long, but the years are short. And I’m doing my best to make the most of each and every one.

If you’re been a part of my year, thank you so much for what you brought to my life. Here’s to many more!

xo Em


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