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Best Things Of The Worst Summer: Settling Into A New House

Tiffany and Marland Easter
Tiffany and Marland Easter have spent their pandemic summer buying a new house.

Let’s admit it: Summer 2020 has been awful. (Thanks, COVID-19.) But some in Bloomington-Normal have managed to find bright spots in an otherwise dark summer. These are WGLT’s Best Things Of The Worst Summer.

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Finding the light in a bad situation can be a mind-boggling task. To make this summer special for their family, that’s exactly what Tiffany and Marland Easter had to do.

As natives of Bloomington-Normal, the couple knew they’d eventually move into a new place with hopes of growing their family. But for it to happen this year was unexpected.

“I think we expected to stay in the community, but we didn’t plan on buying a new house this year,” Tiffany said. “We needed the additional space for the additional people, and with the interest rates being as low as they are, we couldn’t help but take advantage of it. So we decided to take a look around, found this one, and just fell in love.”

Some children dread moving. Their kids had one request to get full support.

“We got a new puppy, a 4-month-old beagle,” Marland said. “The kids had been asking for one forever, but our old house didn’t have a backyard or fence. Now we finally have that, so they can go outside to play which was their requirement. They said if we’re going to move we have to get a dog.”

The couple said their family has adjusted to the new neighborhood in East Bloomington really well.

“Everyone has been incredibly welcoming,” Tiffany said. “We’ve had neighbors bring us brownies and fresh corn and there're so many children the same age as ours running around. It’s been a very warm reception so we’ve felt very welcome into the neighborhood.”

Socially conscious summer

After George Floyd’s death, many marches were organized across the country. Tiffany said the summer was memorable, as her family was eager to participate and use their voices. 

“We went to a couple marches and rallies around town ourselves, and it was incredible to see all of the different demographics come together to support the cause and the betterment of the lives of Black people,” she said. “I don’t think what’s happening now is new, but I think the focus on it is. So I’m looking forward to positive changes during the movement and being able to continue to support.” 

Tiffany is a beauty influencer and does reviews on products like hair and makeup through her YouTube channel. With salons and other services closed down amid the pandemic, the channel gives women tips and tools to help in times like this. 

“My entire motivation behind starting my channel was to teach women how to do it themselves,” she said. “You don’t have to sit in a beauty shop for hours to look amazing and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. There’s really affordable options out there and having a place to go to and get an opinion you trust and an honest review was important to me.” 

The Easters' advice is to come up with a plan and stay grounded in a vision, even during a pandemic.

“We didn’t expect this. Five years ago, we were just starting our careers and family together, but we knew we wanted something better,” Marland said. “We’ve done a good job of coming up with a plan, having a combined goal, working together to get to a point without deviating from that goal, and staying fascinated with each other. We never limited ourselves to what we have and we’re not done here. We’ll be here and keep working and try to buy another house somewhere warmer.”

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Tiffani Jackson is a reporting intern at WGLT and a student at Illinois State University's School of Communication. She started working at WGLT in summer 2019.
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