Saturday, January 1, 2022

The Farewell Post

Happy New Year! This is normally the day of the year that I announce a fresh To Dine Challenge list. Well, this time comes in almost every blogger's life here on the interweb. This is goodbye.

When I started this blog in 2009, I was freshly moved to Cleveland and quickly becoming immersed in the local restaurant scene thanks to my role at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. I was building relationships with chefs and restaurant owners, learning the stories of this city's makers in the culinary world, and getting to taste and experience all kinds of fabulous things. For that (and many other reasons), I'll be forever grateful to that organization. 

What started as frequent conversations with friends, co-workers, and community members about where to eat, what was opening, who had the "best" XYZ...a curiosity developed for how to start blogging about my own experiences. In hopes that it would inspire others to dine with those local, independent restaurants, buy that locally-crafted product, or attend a chef-driven charity event for a cause that I believed in. My quirky passion for alliteration led to this blog's name. In hindsight, I would have come up with something way better if I knew I'd still be at it this many years later.

But this will always be my little slice of the internet, and one that I am quite proud of. 

However, my life, my interests, and how I spend my time has drastically shifted in the last six months. I left a toxic executive-level career in the non-profit world after being pretty stressed and unhappy for many years. The pandemic allowed for the opportunity to reevaluate, take a leap of faith without a plan, and have the time for me to figure it all out. I never would have slowed down to do that on my own. 

I know I've mentioned here that I started a small business in July. It's always been an "if money is no object" dream to own a vintage housewares shop. While a brick-and-mortar may not be feasible, yet, I took the plunge and opened Evy Lena Vintage (named after my grandmother and great-grandmother) on Etsy and Instagram. I'm learning every day and working harder than I ever have before but am already realizing success and pure JOY. 

But another chapter started right around the same time. I joined Gatherings Kitchen in Lakewood as the Director of Operations, thanks to a friend seeing the potential match. Mr. H and I took our first Supper Club cooking class there probably close to a decade ago, and routinely attend a couple of them every year. The company has some huge plans in the very near future, and I get to fulfill my passion for local food and use my background in such a new and exciting way. 

Daily I pinch myself, and these two opportunities have given me such peace, joy, and energy again. I feel more like myself than I have in many years. 

Very long story short, this blog has become a "chore" and not something that I look forward to authoring anymore. So, I knew it was time to stop. 

The adventures certainly won't. I'll be transitioning my Instagram account to a personal one, and of course you can also follow along on Instagram at EvyLenaVintage and GatheringsKitchen for all things business-related. 

"Thank you" doesn't seem like enough. You've been here on this journey with me, often sharing meals or attending the same events. I've built lifelong friendships, made incredible memories, and eaten the most amazing food near and far. This has been life-changing, and for that...I am grateful.

Thank you for the memories and meals. 

~ Katrina