Category Archives: Gratitude

2012 // The Year of TCB

Oh, 2012.  What a year you’ve been!  When I decided to write a year in review post, I began listing out all of the highlights of the last 12 months and discovered quite quickly that 2012 was indeed the year of takin care o’ business.  Since I was too busy to do much blogging this year, here’s a little recap on all of the super fantastic and/or life-changing shit Team Bowman has dealt with this year:

I quit drinking soda.

So, if you’ve read this blog in the past year, you already know this.  Because out of the whopping 6 posts I published this year, 2 of them were about quitting soda.  I decided to do so as a new year’s resolution to break my killer Diet Coke addiction and not only did I make it an entire year, I don’t regret it one bit!  Who needs bubbly chemical water when you can drink delicious iced tea!  It was the only new year’s resolution that I can remember being successful at, which bodes well for 2013’s resolution (which I have yet to decide on).


Team Bowman

The hubs and I both quit smoking.

Now this… this is a big deal.  As of 2012, I’d been a smoker for a total of 15 years.  FIFTEEN!  Sure, I quit once.  But it only lasted a year and I was tempted every day I was sans-cigarette.  This year, all of the pieces necessary for success fell into place: (1) I was older, and therefore much more TIRED OF IT ALREADY; (2)  cigarettes are much more expensive now; (3) I live in Michigan and being a smoker in the winter is a special kind of hell for this Florida girl, and (4) my husband Jeffrey was ready to quit as well.  He’d been a smoker for about the same amount of time, but he smoked much more than I did and I must admit, I doubted his success.  But when they say having a buddy helps, it’s really true!  After we made it through the first few weeks of torturous withdrawals, we haven’t looked back and our lungs thank us every day.

Hand to Claw released their debut album.

Jeffrey’s latest musical project, Hand to Claw, released their debut album digitally in February.  Written long-distance over the course of 6 months with the help of Garage Band and Dropbox, and recorded live in a whirlwind 2 week jamfest.  In addition to digital sales, you can find Hand to Claw on Spotify, Pandora, and more!

Jeffrey (and I, by proximity) embarked on a quest of intellectual and spiritual enlightenment.

This is really something for a blog post all its own, but yeah… we’re expanding our minds.


Emily Mahood Bowman

I got a new job.  And I friggin LOVE it.

Not that I didn’t love my job at U of M, but the split role of Experience Architect and Content Strategist at Organic is like it was custom-made for me.  I’ve worked on some kickass projects with some kickass people so far, and I really see myself succeeding there.  Every day brings a new challenge and opportunity to learn or strengthen a new skill.  AND, the UX team there is a group of super-smart women who make great mentors and even better friends.  What more could I ask for professionally?

I finished my second graduate degree.

After a short 2.5 years, I completed all the courses and internships required for my MSI at U of M.  I still have some bureaucracy to wade through to get my degree in hand, but that’s just a matter of paperwork.  Despite the student loans I have looming, going back to school at U of M is probably one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life.

We moved to Awesome Clawson.

As much as we loved Ann Arbor, the new commute to my new job helped us realize that life would probably be much easier if we moved back to the Detroit area. Shorter commute  + more affordable rent = a bigger house in Clawson!  We were looking in the Ferndale/Royal Oak areas, but we got more house for our money in Clawson, as well as a super-cute downtown area less than a mile from our house AND an easier drive to pretty much everywhere in Detroit.  It may be a small bedroom community now, but Clawson is on the rise!

Our family lost some treasured souls.

This year we said goodbye to my grandmother Roma and Jeffrey’s Aunt Julie.  While neither passing was particularly shocking, they each hit hard for different reasons.  Needless to say, our lives will never be the same without them.

The startup I worked with–Thrively– launched a private beta.

Now, I didn’t have a whole lot of involvement with the Thrively beta launch, but since I made some contributions in the startup’s infancy, I’m going to count it.  It feels so great to see something that I contributed to evolve into a viable product!  Our fearless leader, Nick, is still leading the effort in revolutionizing feedback and I can’t be prouder of how far Thrively has come.  If you’re cool, stop by and request a beta invite!


Maple Arcade window

We opened our art gallery, Maple Arcade.

Holy moly, this was a big one.  I’m planning to write a big ol’ post of lessons learned from this adventure, but it’s gonna be a long one, so look out.  Hindsight is 20/20.  But so is gratitude, and that’s what we’re feeling.  Although it feels like we’ve been working on the shop all year long, it’s really only been 4 months.  And 2.5 of those months we were working on the renovations.  It seems as though every time I start to worry and doubt, a new goal is reached or a new opportunity presents itself.  We may not be where we want to be yet, but with each passing week, Maple Arcade becomes a better experience for us, our artists, and our customers.  Look out for a new website, added inventory in our Etsy shop, and a new sign for our storefront!

I had bariatric surgery.

Holy newsflash!  I had my stomach stapled!  While not necessarily a secret, I didn’t tell many people about this one for fear of unsupportive reactions.  But since it’s all said and done and I give much less of a shit about what others think, I figured I might as well include it on this list.  It was a major life-altering event, after all.  I was just too fat, y’all.  And my body just couldn’t handle another failed attempt at weight loss.  So, I decided to bring in the big guns and have a vertical sleeve gastrectomy.  So far I’ve lost about 62 pounds and I’m working for at least another 75.  Even in a mere 3 months, I am healthier now than I have ever been and I don’t regret it for a second.

We hosted some lovely house guests.

Traveling was at a minimum this year due to the moving and business expenses, but we did get to host a few guests in our new home (complete with guest room!).  Jeffrey’s momma joined us for the 4th fo July as our very first houseguest… she got to share in the infamous Clawson Independence Day festivities, as well as enjoy some record heat.  My BFF Jen came to visit for our annual “superhos” reunion and we spent a good week eatin, drinkin, and chillin like villans.  She even stayed long enough to have a visitor herself–the very talented writer and banjo player, Adam Schmidt, who graced us with some fireside bluegrass!  My momma came to nurse me back to health after my belly surgery and spent most of the time quilting.  But I wouldn’t have it any other way.  We also got a couple of overnighters from my friend Butter (a fellow Floridian turned Michigander) and Jeffrey’s cousin Carolyn.  While I hope we can do a little more traveling in 2013, I love hosting guests and hope we’ll have more.

We’re experimenting with vegetarianism & veganism.

Yes.  This is happening.  Due to my surgery-related protein requirements, I have to hold onto the dairy and eggs.  But Jeffrey has already made it a few weeks sans-animal and he reports feeling great.  The real challenge is for my cooking.  So if you’ve got some killer vegan recipes, send ’em my way….

Annnnd I’ve crossed a few other things off of my 101 in 1001 list.

I kind of stopped paying attention to this, but when I revisited it, I realized I did, indeed, make some progress!  Such as:

11. finish my second masters degree
12. get a new job
17. update my professional portfolio
18. update my personal website
26. enter a chili cook-off
28. lose 40 pounds
45. take a hip hop dance class (Zumba counts, right?)
62. get my online presence organized (Did it this week, as a matter of fact.)
65. get health insurance
66. quit smoking
68. refinish the dressers
72. visit the detroit historical museum (Organic Holiday Party FTW!)
78. get my teeth whitened
98. donate/throw away 100 things i don’t need

So that’s what kept us busy this year.  Here’s to a happy and productive 2013!

xo Em

Most Awesome Six Months Ever // 4.24.12

Today I’m celebrating the most awesome week six months ever.  (I’mmm bbaaaccckkkkkk!)


sold our car // killer turkey fry for Thanksgiving // fell in love with web work at my new job // got jiggy with some networkin // spent Xmas in Pensacola // visited my homie Wes // worked with the awesome team at Are You a Human // my little bro moved back to Pensacola // Hand to Claw released their first album // spring break in the ATL // QUIT SMOKING // celebrated my niece’s 1st birthday // won some awards with // a Michigan winter that DIDN’T suck // got a new job as an Experience Architect!!  // finished the semester // started disc golfing again // evening walks with my boo // going organic // staring down the light at the end of my MSI tunnel // much, much more that I can’t remember… which is why this should be a regular thing!

What awesomeness are you celebrating this week?

xo Em

Reverb // Humble Beginnings

I’m in the mood to reflect, so I’m hoping on board Reverb 11 and spending the month of December looking back at 2011. 

Hot tub
CC BY-SA Flickr user Andrei!

Prompt for December 1: Humble beginnings.  Where did 2011 begin for you?  Describe where you were, be it physically, emotionally, or otherwise.

2011 began in the backyard hot tub at my in-laws… soft fluffy snowflakes meeting the warm, bubbly water as I hid underneath.  I wouldn’t say I was hammered.  Just a bit inebriated… as is likely on New Year’s Eve.

I remember being somewhat disappointed early in the evening.  Perhaps it was because my family just left and it was my first NYE without my people.  That, and barely anyone showed up to the party at my in-law’s house.   Where was the loud music?  The dancing?  The illicit drugs strong drinks?  I felt like I was getting too old, too fast.  Paired with my move-induced depression, seasonal affective disorder, and chronically low bank account, I was probably the last person anyone wanted to hang out with.

But after a few beers, some good conversation, and a dip in the hot tub, things began to look up as I held on to every shred of gratitude I could muster.  For it was a BEAUTIFUL night and I was with BEAUTIFUL people.

The next morning I started my first day of January as I had always hoped I would, but never managed to due to the oh-so-common New Year’s Day hangover–getting everything organized for a new year.  I cleaned the house, I balanced my (meager) checkbook, did some goal-setting, and packed my bag for school.  It warmed the cockles of my Virgo heart.

I vowed that this would be a great year.

I vowed to get out of my funk.

I vowed to get thing done and take care of business.

And I did all of those things, for the most part.  I made sacrifices, as we all do, and I think next year I will make some vows to repair or renew those things that I sacrificed in 2011.  My marriage, my hobbies, my health.

xo Em

Most Awesome 2 Months Ever // 11.13.11

Today I’m celebrating the most awesome week two months ever.  (Yeah, so I’ve been slackin on my gratitude posts, but it’s not because I ain’t feelin it!)

won a prize from Sillygrrl’s bday giveaway! // kickin ass and takin names at school // got a new FULL-TIME job // began residence at U-M’s startup incubator TechArb // spent some quality time with the fam // successfully re-branded a global campaign // spent several hours on the phone with my locked-up homie Wes // finally cleaned out both cars // rocked my niece to sleep // sold some shit on ebay // pulled off my first Bentley tea-time // Black Sabbath is back in the studio! // Hand to Claw’s inaugural album is nearing completion // bought some much-needed clothing // played in the leaves // got my snuggle on with the pup // much, much more that I can’t really remember

What awesomeness are you celebrating this week?

xo Em

Most Awesome Week Ever // 9.18.11

Today I’m celebrating the most awesome week ever.

It's fall y'all.

my niece is crawling! // Jeffrey is recording the new Hand to Claw album as we speak // quiet weekend with my pup // takin care of business // gettin out of my comfort zone // sharing my idea in the face of fear // mad pageviews // puppy tracks // taking the entrepreneurial leap // long talks with mom // the first fall days // looking forward to a visit to the cider mill // spending way too much $$ at whole foods // happy hot dogs // gettin blog love // switchin up my class schedule // receiving hand-written notes from customer service reps // sharing old school photos with the internet

What awesomeness are you celebrating this week?

xo Em

Most Awesome Week Ever // 9.11.11

Today, I’m celebrating the most awesome week 2 weeks ever.

gckb tattoo

turning 31 // my new macbook pro!! // late nights on the porch, home-cooked meals, and lots o laughs with my BFF Jen // a new tattoo! // eatin a meat banana // the spectacle of full-contact jousting and watching our dude win // magic hat no. 9 // people watching at the ren fair // fresh corn chowder… mmmm // organizing my backpack for the first day of school // discovering the “campy b movies” section on netflix // larabars //napping with my puppy // singing songs with the hubs // kickin it with cousin Carolyn // coding // springing for omnifocus to keep me super organized // all my teams–LSU, FSU, Michigan–winning 2 weeks in a row

What awesomeness are you celebrating this week?

xo Emily

Awesome Friends // Facebook Love

So, I have a Facebook page for my blog now.  Partly because I felt bad pushing auto-updates to all of my friends and partly because it is part of my INTERNET DOMINATION STRATEGY!  Just kidding.  Or am I?

If you’ve ever set up a Facebook page–for your blog, your freelance business, your band–you know the sad and lonely feeling of having “0 likes” staring at you.  It sucks.  And it makes you feel like a total loser broadcasting your page to all of your friends.  It’s like, “Hey guys… nobody else likes this stupid thing.  Why don’t you?” People ignore you.  It’s common and understandable.  We’re all so overwhelmed by social media these days!

This is why a little incentive is needed on occasion. The other morning I was staring down 25 likes on my page–which is the point at which you can assign a username to your page, btw–with a mere 4 more to go, so I put out the following call out to my Facebook friends:

The next 4 people to like my blog’s FB page will get a really exceptional shout out on the interwebs!

And I’m glad I did, because not only did I meet that 25 likes goal (31 and still going!), but I get to tell YOU, dearest internet, about these awesomely fantastic people.  Yeah yeah, I said “the next 4 people”, but the extra 2 are bonus material.  Feel free to thank me later.

stepMeet Stephan!

I first met Stephan when I interviewed for the Director of Student Development position and my first impression was “this dude knows what he’s doin”.  I got the job (obviously) and spent the next two years chattin and collaboratin with this stud on the daily.  What makes him awesome?  He’s a super-smart, driven, and unabashedly confident guy who is a student affairs badass.  And we could all use one of those, couldn’t we?



alliMeet Alli!

Talk about a blast from the past.  Alli was my bona-fide BFF back in the 7-9th grade era.  We shared a love of Alice in Chains and all things hilarious.  She is credited with introducing me to Snoop Dog (well, her and MTV) and we often battled over who was hotter: Eddie Vedder or Scott Weiland.  What makes her awesome?  These days she’s gettin her autism and neuroscience research on up in DC.  I know how to pick em smart, don’t I?



kellyMeet Kelly!

Although I met Kelly in person many moons ago through an ex-beau of mine, we’ve been internet buddies for a good 6 years or so.  Lucky for me, she’s back in the flesh as the foxy fiance of a friend of mine.  Perhaps you remember when she was in the running for a free wedding.  What makes her awesome?  A woman of varied interests, she brings the awesome wherever she goes.  With a rad attitude and a willingness to hang with us GCKB goofballs, she’s proven herself to be the cat’s pajamas.  Oh, and her mom reads my blog!


mattMeet Matt!

Could there be a more awesomesweetsmarthandsome dude on the planet!? I THINK NOT! This spectacular man is my little brother Matthew and OF COURSE he would help me out. That’s what awesome brothers do. I could write forever about what makes Matt awesome… a little tidbit or two: he invented his own monkey language in high school and is a killer drummer. And yes, ladies, he’s single! Unless something has changed in the last week or so.



jamieMeet Jamie!

Oh sweet, sweet Jamie.  AKA “Slow Poke”.  It’s been way too long, but Jamie holds a special place in my heart… we were kickin it on the reg during the time in my life that I would consider my “coming of age”.  What makes her so awesome?  She is easily one of the most humbly talented women I’ve ever known.  She can sing like a old-school jazz diva and dance like a chorus girl (to Eye of the Tiger, no less).  She’s got great taste and a serious obsession with all things Japanese.  Love her!


tinerMeet Tina!

Tina could easily be my new friend find of the entire decade.  Friend of a friend turned ride-or-die bestie.  It’s been a few years since we were inseparable, but that’s life for you.  Damn you, distance!  What makes her awesome?  Let me count the ways: she’s a beautiful, spiritual, blast to be with gorgeous dancer, with an open mind, a deep heart, bitchin style, and great taste in music.  Oh, and she can cut a mean hairdo, too.



amyMeet Amy!

Aww hell.  It feels a little unnatural putting Amy up there as she is and always will be P to me.  Besties since the nineties, this girl captured my heart when she put the moves on me in our high school calculus class.  What makes her awesome?  YOU WILL NEVER MEET A FUNNIER HUMAN BEING. Seriously, you cannot hang with his girl and not have a good time.  She’s a sweetheart with the mouth of a sailor and the hollow leg of a pirate.  And she is a culinary ASSASSIN!



So, there you have it folks.  Six totally awesome friends of mine that have shown their support for me and this blog.  I feel so lucky to have them and all of the other friends and family who have supported me and my projects over the years.  I hope I never forget to communicate my gratitude for having them in my life.

As for you, dear readers, I hope y’all will: (1) like this blog on Facebook; and (2) never forget to give a shout out to those who support you, no matter how ridiculous your idea might be.

xo Em


PS – I sure have some good-looking friends, don’t I?


Most Awesome Week Ever // 8.28.11

Today, I’m celebrating the most awesome week 3 weeks ever.


surprising the shit out of my bestie Autumn for her 30th birthday // seeing old friends and making new ones // spending a day full of good conversation and laughs with my locked-up homie Wes // getting pedicures with my momma // laying on my mother-in-law’s couch while we talked and she watched bad television // love and excitement from my puppy after being away for several days // lazy days full of many episodes of Mad Men // starting my new web design job and loving it! // making future plans with Jeffrey // good music and stiff drinks // Jeff driving us all the way to Baltimore // not falling off the boat // medicine! // being in Pensacola // planning autumn adventures // picking up choice records from Jojo South // meeting Jeffrey’s childhood friends // long talks on a great front porch // touristin’ it up with the hubs // driving through an area of the country I’ve never seen before // meeting my new doggie friend Hawkins // delicious food with a spectacular view // writing long letters… with pen and paper //a sneak preview of fall weather // wrapping up my summer internship // wifi in the sky // surprise birthday party at work // sorta-kinda job offers // the first birthday texts rollin in // birthday party with the fam //presents! // also, this:

What awesomeness are you celebrating this week?

xo Emily

Most Awesome Week Ever // 8.7.11

I’m celebrating the most awesome week ever!

ditching cable for our new roku player // finishing the last full week of my summer internship // secrets & surprises // discovering bill hicks on my roku // jazzin up my linkedin profile // discovering awesome new apps // having a conversation with my puppy // the temps are a’droppin // getting $100 from // sleeping in & snuggling with my hubby // watching an awesome documentary on the teynbee tiles on my roku // watching my plants grow // adding to my ashtray collection // listening to Jeffrey play on his new Orange amp // discovering the perfect stretch // did I mention my roku player?

What awesomeness are you celebrating this week?

xo Em

Most Awesome Week Ever // 7.31.11

Today, I’m celebrating the most awesome week ever.

the smelly neighbors who only shower at midnight moving out // Cleveland turning out to be surprisingly rad // long phone chats on the porch with my bestie // making art // planning adventures with Jeffrey // getting my computer to work… finally! // snuggling with a pile of sheets right out of the dryer // being within 12 inches of rock and roll history // napping // stocking up on produce // meeting our mirror couple // potential work-related blogging project in the works // getting sucked in to Mad Men courtesy of Netflix instant streaming // awesome in-laws

What awesomeness are you celebrating this week?

xo Emily