WHERE DO YOU LIVE?
I live in Birmingham, UK. It's the second largest city in the UK at 1.5 million people. (London has roughly 9 million.) Luke has lived here since he attended the University of Birmingham for school. I didn't love it at first and thought I would have rather lived in London--where most people thought I was moving--but Birmingham has grown on me. I love our home here. I love our community here. Read more about Birmingham and our home:
WHY DID YOU MOVE TO ENGLAND?
I moved to England in June of 2017 because my husband, Luke, is a British citizen. We decided I would be the one to move, ending the long distance chapter of our relationship. To be clear, I don't live in London. Read more about my decision and move:
HOW DID YOU MEET LUKE?
Great question! I get asked this all the time. My church back in Colorado works with a great organisation called Globalscope that creates campus ministries across the globe. In May of 2016, I went on a mission trip to visit their location in Birmingham, England. Luke had been a part of the ministry while he was at uni and was around that week because it was the end of term and lots of big things were happening. We stayed in touch after I returned to Colorado. Read more about us and our relationship:
HOW DID YOU GET A VISA TO LIVE IN THE UK?
It was a lengthy and expensive process, I'll tell you that much. We waited until we were engaged and then applied for me to move as Luke's fiancé, paying to expedite the application because I would be returning to England for a visit sooner than the processing window and I needed by passport back. I received a six month visa to live in the UK, without being allowed to work. Luke and I needed to get married by 30 November 2017 for me to remain in the country. After we got married, I applied for and received my next visa that will last for two and a half years. Please keep in mind that moving abroad will look different depending on which countries are on either end and the reason for the move. Read more about my experience:
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING?
Before moving to England, I managed Pure Barre Boulder, a fitness studio in Boulder, Colorado. I wasn't able to work for my first six months in the UK due to restrictions on my fiancé visa, but I'm able to on a spousal visa (Further Leave to Remain). I currently work as a Project Administrator at Luke's company, which is nice because we drive to work together and have lunch together everyday, but we don't work together directly, as he's on another project. Read more about some of the jobs—or lack of—I’ve had:
WHEN DID YOU GET MARRIED?
Luke and I got legally married on 16 September 2017 at the Register Office with two of our friends joining us as witnesses. We still wanted a big wedding, with a blessing ceremony and reception, which took place on 16 May 2018, two years to the day after we first met. We'll celebrate September as our anniversary since we considered ourselves married from September, though still (mostly) publicly presented ourselves as engaged until May. Read more about our wedding:
Highlighting Our Vendors, Part I
Highlighting Our Vendors, Part II
How to Make the Morning of Your Wedding Stress Free
How We Made Our Wedding Incredibly Personal
Our Wedding Portraits
How We Celebrate Our Anniversaries
4 Things I Wish I Had Done Differently at Our Wedding
WHY DID YOU OPEN SHOP HANNAH DRAKE?
I opened my online shop in May of 2018, because why not do a product launch two weeks before your wedding? I had been thinking about selling digital prints for a while and decided done is better than perfect. My plan is to release a collection of graphics every two months or so, all with an underlying theme. I take inspiration from everywhere: the news, pop culture, my interests & hobbies, and more. I'm hoping one day to expand into selling prints of my photographs, but that may be a bit further down the road. Read more about my shop:
WHAT DO YOU USE TO CREATE GRAPHICS AND EDIT IMAGES?
First, let me say I am 100% an amateur at both of these things. I'm mainly self-taught, but I also take advantage of tutorials and the like when I can. I use Canva to create all of the graphics used on my blog. This is a great online tool that can do a lot with a free membership, but I've since upgraded to a paid membership to unlock more useful features. I used the free service for everything when I was managing social media and client communications at Pure Barre Boulder (and often had many of my graphics reposted by dozens of other studios).
In the summer of 2016, I started using Lightroom. Though I'm still learning, I now edit all of my photos in Lightroom or Lightroom Mobile. I take most of my photos on our Panasonic Lumix G7 or my iPhone 7+. (I love a good portrait mode!)
With Lightroom, came Photoshop. (The bundle is only $9.99/month.) I'm less familiar with Photoshop, but I did figure out how to do a few things in it and have used it to create .png images that I've then imported into Canva to create graphics.
When I first started this blog in early 2017, I landed on the name “Joy42”. It just came to me one day while I was driving home from work and it stuck. In January 2019, I decided to rebrand to something more simple: my name. You may still find remnants of Joy42 dotted around the blogosphere though.
DO YOU MAKE MONEY THROUGH YOUR BLOG?
I'm a member of an affiliate marketer, which means if you click a link on my blog, I may make a commission. If I ever post paid sponsored content, this is explicitly stated, but all opinions and ideas expressed are my own.
Updated June 2019.