Where do we go from here?


Hello, blog.

It’s been a while.

As in, almost a year. And that’s okay. I’ve stepped back from the blog for quite a while. I didn’t feel like this blog fit my brand anymore; I didn’t know the direction I was going in, or what to put here. I’ve covered everything from agriculture and food, to professional development, to mental health and eating disorder recovery, and much more in the past. Yet as life settled into my new (and awesome) reality, I wasn’t sure where Country Nights, City Lights fell into the fray.

Well, here I am with some life updates.

For starters, I DID run my first half marathon.

Kansas city half marathon finish

Josh and I after I ran a very cold 13.1 miles and he stood watching a very cold 13.1 miles. We then turned around and got cleaned up for a wedding.

After having to drop from what was supposed to be my first half marathon due to injury (and learning a lot in the process), I took time to recover and came back at it hard for a fall half. My only goal? Finish, and do it in under 3 hours. I achieved just that, with a 2:40 finish. I then went home, showered, and went to a wedding. It was one of the best days of my life, and I may share more in-depth about the experience.

kansas city half marathon finisher medal

I don’t look great, but I had also just run 13.1 miles 20 minutes below my target time. BUT I DID IT!

Now, the new goal is to run 12 races in 12 months. I’ve done one, with a second on the to-do list and several more on my radar…one of which MAY be another half marathon. I haven’t decided yet.

I also started a new job.

Before anyone asks, it’s not in agriculture; but, it IS perfect for me. After several years in advertising agencies, I made the jump to the client side. I am proud to now be the primary SEO/search strategy specialist for the digital team of the largest greeting card company in the world. I won’t name-drop here, but you can probably guess what it is. They use the colors purple and gold and invented gift wrap and a rainbow-themed cartoon character from the 80’s who rides a magical horse.

Long story short: I feel like I’m “making it” in my career now, and that’s pretty great.

Perhaps the biggest life update?

This domain name is going to become outdated in 4/29/2017.Β I’m getting a new last name on that date!

While vacationing at Walt Disney World with his family (on my first ever time there!) Josh got down on one knee and asked me to be his princess. The half marathon had been the best day of my life up until Josh presented me with a beautiful emerald ring in a quiet corner of the Animal Kingdom resort, surrounded by his family. Now, we’re in full-on wedding planning mode. We want classy, with fun geeky twists that feel “us.”

emerald engagement ring with diamond accents

My beautiful emerald ring. He knew I wanted something unique, and he knew I love my birthstone. It’s perfect.

So, after the wedding, my primary online presence will be moving over to KellyStanze.com (which hasn’t been built out yet) and it will usher in a more organized, more mature chapter of my personal brand.

kelly rivard josh stanze engagement

Just us, with our “Happy Ever Buttons” from our Disney photographer, right after he proposed. I was trying really hard not to ugly cry.

It’s getting real.

On top of a spectacular day job, I’ve started to thrive in the freelance space. As that segment of my life grows and changes, I look forward to having a much more organized brand under which to present myself in the new name. This blog was never meant to be a portfolio or a self-marketing piece, and while the new site will feature a blog, it will also serve as my professional hub online.

In the meantime…

In the meantime, I may still tool around on here. I’ll write when I feel like it. Maybe I won’t write at all. Or maybe I’ll write about wedding planning and career changes and the new normal and how my rural roots impact my decisions and lifestyle today. Who knows.

I’ve also contributed some over at My Body Boop, an eating disorder recovery blog. And have written about work-related things like social media, SEO and digital strategy on my LinkedIn account.

But, long story short, life is very different now than the last time I posted. And after years of meandering through my blogging journey without purpose, it’s exciting to step back and think, “Where do we go from here?” That question can be huge and scary, but right now, it’s nothing short of exciting. Life is good, y’all.

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6 thoughts on “Where do we go from here?

  1. We are proud of you and all your accomplishments! You have truly grown up since we met in Nashville! Congratulations on the marathon, half-marathon, the new job and the engagement! You’re going to be a Beautiful Bride! πŸ’‘πŸΎπŸ‘°πŸ»πŸ‘«πŸ’

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