Welcome to Happy Go Home. My name is Tonya Sutfin. This blog is about finding happiness, about figuring out what you love and then doing it.

If you had met me in college, I would have told you my life story. I was an open book, spewing tales of my upbringing to every willing ear, completely vulnerable yet unapologetic. As I told those stories, I learned who I was. It was the most free I’ve ever felt. It was in those years that I made lasting friendships with people who really, truly know me. I met my husband then.

By the end, I had a pretty clear path set out for my adulthood. I went to art school, studied graphic design and quickly found real, professional work in the field. So I did that, for 20 years, creating editorial layouts for magazines and books. I was a salaried employee, punching the clock at various publishing companies. Eventually I veered off into the freelance life. That old college boyfriend became my awesome husband. We had an amazing daughter. And while that’s all pretty dreamy, something was off. I forgot me, totally did. And I miss that energetic enthusiasm I had while roaming the streets of DeKalb, Illinois in 1992. I miss that confidence of self and that willingness to let people in.

Can you relate?

So this blog is here as an outlet for my voice, my ideas, my failures and achievements, so that I don’t let them fall into forgotten memory. It is a catalog for my daughter to look at in the future. And I also hope that it serves to inspire others. I plan to get kind of real up in here. Is that socially acceptable? The 18-year old version of me could care less.

I will talk about what I like, which is mostly still design.

I love houses, homes, interiors. With blood, sweat and tears, we gut-renovated our first home, a 1922 bungalow in Oakland, California — an experience that unearthed a forgotten love of working with my hands — doing tangible things. Now we live in Minneapolis and are doing updates to our sweet 1929 craftsman (I like them old). I’m actively searching to buy an income property that I can fix up and sell. I’ve been looking and I’ve been failing, but not quitting. Lets get our hands dirty in the yard, which is where you’ll find me when I’m trying to clear my head. Let’s make beautiful birthday parties and memories for our kids. Let’s read books and pretend the world is a Horatio Alger story. I probably won’t talk about food though, like ever.

Whatever this becomes, thank you for reading!