things i’m working on.

You know I love to celebrate a victory here on the blog. My most recent goals recap was — admittedly — chock full of humble brags… and I’m OK with that! I think we should all feel empowered to share our successes with each other, as long as we’re creating space for others to do the same. Basically, you can (and should) humble brag whenever you feel is appropriate, just as long as you’re prepared to throw a little humble brag party and invite all of your friends.

If I’m going to be open about my successes, though, I also think it’s important to be open about the things that I could be doing better. And with life being so crazy right now — in all the best ways, with weddings and exciting work opportunities and our big apartment move around the corner — there are definitely places where I feel like I’ve been coming up short recently. We can’t do it all, right?

With that in mind, here are a few things that I’m currently working on.

I’m working on getting back to a healthy, positive, consistent place with blogging and my personal social media. I feel like the blog has really suffered since I launched the podcast, and since I’m now managing multiple social media channels for SSR, I’ve also stopped posting to my personal Instagram… which I typically love doing! I need to figure out how to balance my passion projects with my day job, and I need to work on finding a healthier relationship with social media, more generally. I’m a firm believer that Instagram can be a positive place that’s not about obligation or posting a certain number of times per week. It’s hard to live that, though, when so much of your work overlaps with social media. I think I can get back there eventually. Maybe I just needed to step back for a bit.

I’m working on finding peace with a little bit of uncertainty. Our move is now a little less than four weeks away (which, if you can believe it, is actually a really long lead time here in New York City!), and since we’re traveling every weekend between now and then, I’m having a lot of trouble wrapping my head around the fact that this transition is actually going to happen and picturing what it’s going to look like when it does. I think I need to just get comfortable with that reality for now and enjoy all the exciting celebrations we have in the meantime.

I’m working on eating cleaner. I let myself get into some not-so-great snacking habits earlier in the summer, and I’m finally coming out of it now and feeling better.

I’m working on not stressing about how “well” the podcast is doing. Fun fact: it’s really hard to find metrics about your podcast, and since I’m a bit of a control freak, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t really hard for me not to have a better handle on how the show is actually growing. But I’m working on it!

I’m working on packing and organizing small nooks of our apartment as we go. Under-the-bathroom-sink cabinet, why must you be so daunting?

I’m working on screen time. Aren’t we all always working on screen time? Matt and I have both been working a lot after-hours recently, so it feels like it’s easier to always have our computers and phones in front of us. I need to get back in touch with that part of myself that shuts down work at a certain time, no matter how easy it is to try to squeeze in one. more. thing in front of the TV at night. When we move into our new place, I think we can really try to redraw the boundaries… and when we get our puppy, we’re going to have to change things up : )

I’m working on my hair. (See — it’s not all super serious!) With all the humidity and rain we’ve had here recently, it’s been in a messy bun 99 percent of the time these past few weeks. Eventually, I’m going to have to do something about that.

I’m working on finding more time to enjoy random articles and essays online. I talked about this in my most recent goals post, but I want to do a better job of consistently reading work from the outlets I want to write for. It’s important field research!

I’m working on not staring obsessively at the giant pile of half-packed boxes sitting in my office at the moment. (That’s not going very well.)

I’m working on staying further ahead of my reading schedule for SSR so I’m not cramming reading sessions — and then research sessions, which take longer than you might think! — the night before a recording. Last-minute is so not my style.

I’m working on stretching more consistently, since I’ve been running again.

I’m working on getting less freaked out about my inbox. HELP.

What are you working on? Tell me more in the comments below and we can keep each other accountable! 

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why i love bad tv.

I’ve never been especially shy about my obsession with what most people would probably categorize as “bad” TV.

I give a shoutout to embarrassing television in the vast majority of my professional bios (including the one on this very blog). I’ve been known to sit through an entire Emmy Awards ceremony having never actually watched any of the nominated shows because they’re too, well, good. When my friends start talking excitedly about the groundbreaking, deeply complicated scripted shows that they’ve been getting into recently, I generally just fiddle with my phone because I have nothing to contribute. I used to get flustered in moments like that, especially when people would politely ask me (in the way of a normal conversationalist) if I’d been watching, too. I also used to feel awkward any time someone asked me about my favorite TV show. Shouldn’t I have something more impressive to say than “any city of the Real Housewives is just fine, thank you!”?

In the last year or so, though, I’ve really leaned in to my thing for bad TV. I no longer see any reason to spend valuable brainpower trying to come up with the name of a highly-touted drama when asked about my media consumption, nor do I have any patience for people who judge me when I can’t do this successfully. After all, I’m a well-read, well-educated, hard-workin’ lady. Why shouldn’t I take pride in watching (and then re-watching on Hulu) every single episode of the Housewives?

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If, like me, you’re a fan of reality TV, you already know that this was a big week for the genre, with the finale of The Bachelorette airing on Monday night. I’m not ready to talk about the results yet, because it makes me too sad to think about Blake and his broken heart, but I did think it was the perfect time to share more thoughts about why I’m now totally owning my bad TV fandom. Plus, it’s Friday… so why not?

  • Humans are fascinating in their natural(-ish) state. I’ve always loved people watching. Airports, malls, basically anywhere in New York City — you name it, and it’s an incredible place to observe people just living their lives. I’m convinced that my fascination with people watching contributed to my love of writing! Reality TV taps into this fascination, and while some of these shows are more heavily produced than others, if you allow yourself to buy into the illusion, it’s an amazing window into human behavior.
  • Real life is serious enough. I read the news. I’m (largely) educated on all of the truly important things that are happening in our world these days. And since I do stay informed, I feel like it’s almost necessary for me to maintain a little mental balance by indulging in some pop culture that’s purely entertaining.
  • It helps put my own drama in perspective. Trust me… I’m not interested in any of the craziness that happens on these shows happening in my own life, and I’m under no illusion that average people actually experiences these things IRL. That being said, it can be refreshing to realize — after a particularly vicious screaming match on the Housewives, for example — that I really have my you-know-what together a lot more than I give myself credit for.
  • There’s such amazing conversation to be had around it. I’ve been loyally watching reality TV since the first time my mom turned on The Bachelor when I was in middle school, but the whole category has only gotten better since social media hit the scene. Add in the bevy of think pieces you can find all over the Internet after pretty much any episode of any show and the recap podcasts, and you’ve got yourself a fascinating subculture.
  • It’s a social experience! If there’s Thai food and wine and my close girl friends, I’m there.

Do you love bad TV… or love to hate it? Tell me more in the comments below! 

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monthly goals recap -> july + august.

Happy Friday!

Today is my last day at the Jersey shore with my family, and I am feeling sufficiently sunburned and caught up on reading. It’s always a bummer to leave a vacation, but it’s been a great trip, and I’m so grateful to have the chance to return to this meaningful place every summer.

I have some work to do before I can head down to the beach to enjoy a final few hours, so let’s jump right into the July and August goals recap, shall we? (Check out last month’s recap here for a refresher.) This past month was a good one!

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You may not know my whole system, but trust me when I tell you that all of those check marks and filled in bars are a really good thing!

As I fully eased into my streamlined and reprioritized schedule in July, I was really able to focus on the things that mattered most and to make a lot of progress on my goals. Here’s a recap:

  • Pitch to two target outlets. √ YES! I was pitching a lot at the beginning of the month and opened up some great conversations with editors about potential assignments that I’m hoping come to fruition in the next few weeks. After so many months of having limited time to pitch and develop new business opportunities, it felt good to get back in the game.
  • Figure out weekly workflow for podcast production. √ YES! The biggest challenge with podcasting is that having a show of your own requires you to constantly be working on two levels — promoting existing episodes and producing future episodes… and if you really want to be successful, you can’t afford to be inconsistent with either! Establishing a social media calendar at the beginning of every week has been helpful (more on that later), and I’ve also found a good rhythm of editing episodes for the following week on Mondays and Tuesdays, recording their intros on Wednesdays, finalizing the audio file on Thursdays, and doing a final listen and working on the show notes on Fridays.
  • Read five six books.√ YES! Outside of the reading I did for SSR this month, I read An American Marriage (totally appreciated its impact, but still wasn’t crazy about it), Girl, Wash Your Face (a really fun memoir with strains of self-help that I tore through in a single day), The Kiss Quotient (the steamiest book I’ve ever read, but generally didn’t meet the hype for me), and 90s Bitch (some of the most fascinating, compelling non-fiction I’ve read).
  • Network for podcast guests and pitch SSR for publicity on a weekly basis.√ YES! Actively making a point to do both of these things every week has been really helpful. Sometimes, it can feel overwhelming to think about the long game for the podcast — especially on top of all of my other work — but chipping away at growing it little by little makes it more manageable.
  • Start book outlining process.√ YES! AND I’VE STARTED WRITING AGAIN!
  • Treadmill three times per week.√ YES! Making a goal of this has given me a new structure to my workouts, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Going to the gym is such a, well, routine part of my routine, that I can easily get kind of lazy with what I actually do when I get there. Challenging myself to get back into running shape has been good for me.
  • Develop and stick to SSR social media calendar every week.√ YES! I mentioned this briefly above, and if you follow SSR on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you know that I’ve definitely been doing it : )
  • Read target outlets more regularly.√ YES! I could definitely do a better job with this, but I did make more of a habit of it in July.

I wrote about this a little more in last week’s post about streamlining, but my hope moving into August is that I’ll learn to make even better use of some of the time and mental bandwidth that’s opened up since I made the very tough call to transition out of regular work for one of my clients. Now that I’m getting more comfortable with all of the work that goes into producing and promoting the podcast, some of that margin actually exists — yay! — and I’m trying to figure out where I want to focus so I can use it accordingly.

Here’s how some of those August goals break down:

  • Finish two chapters of book. Now that I have an outline — and a few pages — in place, I want to keep building on that momentum!
  • Land one new outlet. If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you know that this used to be on my list of goals for every month. I’m bringing it back for August! As I work on revisiting my priorities, I think this is a really great marker for progress. And good news! I already have some prospects lining up.
  • Maintain SSR workflow. That podcast production schedule I described up top? Gotta keep it going!
  • Submit four (great) pitches to target outlets. You know the drill.
  • Investigate podcast ad networks and growth opportunities. Don’t get me wrong — the podcast is great as a passion project, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t interested in finding ways to monetize it down the road. I know it’s still early, but I want to start learning more about advertising opportunities and the like now so that I can figure out the best way to take advantage of them when the time is right.
  • Network for podcast guests and pitch SSR for publicity every week. That goal was so helpful in July that I’m keeping it around for August!
  • Treadmill three times per week. Same as above.
  • Stick to weekly SSR social media calendar. Anddddddd same as above.
  • Prioritize a date night every week. Matt and I both have a lot going on right now — both individually and as a couple — and I think it’s more important than ever that we make a point to set aside one night each week to spend time together.
  • Read target outlets more regularly. I tried to make this a more regular priority last month, but I need to do better. In order to help me be more consistent, I may start building in a time buffer every morning during which I can focus on doing nothing but reading stories from the websites and magazines that I’d like to contribute to! After all, things are much more likely to get accomplished when they happen before I even look at my inbox.
  • Practice focusI found myself getting more distracted than usual at the end of July, and I want to reel that in ASAP.

There’s been another major development in our personal life over here, which brings me to one more (extremely important) goal for the coming weeks…

  • Prepare well for our move! It’s official — Matt and I are officially staying in New York for at least another year. We signed a lease on a great new apartment last week and are moving in early September. August is a crazy month for us (we have two weddings and then one weekend where Matt is away for a bachelor party and I’m away for a bachelorette party!), so we have limited time to get everything organized. Natural planner that I am, I’m already making lists and calls, trying to do as much as I can now so the final weeks feel a little less crazy. Still, moving out of our tiny apartment is going to be tricky, since there aren’t a lot of places to actually put stuff once it’s been packed. Yikes!

How is your August looking? What are you hoping to accomplish? Tell me more in the comments below! 

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july giveaway winner announced!

Hello, hello! I am currently in one of my very happiest places — Ocean City, NJ — kicking off a week with family! As you might remember if you’ve been following the blog for a while, we’ve been coming to the shore here every year since I was born, so it’s always a very special part of the summer. I’ll be logging work hours early in the morning (at my favorite coffee shop, hopefully!) and late at night so I can enjoy as much time on the beach as possible. There are books to be read! Naps to be taken! Backlogged podcast episodes to be listened to! It’s just so much to try to accomplish…

Beach or no beach, though, it’s time to announce the winner of the July giveaway! This lucky person will be the recipient of a $25 gift card to BaubleBar. There are so many fun accessories for sale on the site right now!

Based on a random drawing, congratulations to…

Lindsey Sanders

I’ll reach out shortly so we can make sure your prize gets to you ASAP!

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Thanks so much to those who entered this month. Remember — you’ll have another chance in August!

I hope you have a happy Monday, friends! I’ll be back later this week to share a recap of my July and August goals : ) 

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a streamlining check-in.

Earlier this summer, I committed to streamlining.

To give you some context, here’s a little #flashbackfriday action from my May/June monthly goals post

… she gave me some great advice. “You can’t keep adding and adding and adding,” she said. “At a certain point, you need to subtract a few things. It sounds like you’re scared to do that.” And she’s right. I am! It took me so long to establish myself as a writer and to get my income up to a place where it rivals what I was making in my corporate job that I can’t help but feel some innate sense of failure at the mere thought of unloading any one of my gigs… even if doing so will make room for bigger and better opportunities. These are some seriously tough calls, friends.

In the weeks and months since I shared that, I’ve been making those tough calls. I stopped writing on a weekly basis for one outlet, in particular — an outlet that had given me great, consistent work and had afforded me the opportunity to rack up lots of fun bylines, but that demanded a more structured system based on hours instead of stories. The system had put on a strain on my freelancing flow from the beginning, but I went with it, anyway… until I realized that I was no longer feeling challenged by the work. By the time I made that realization, I had brought on some other clients that helped beef up my regular monthly income and had made plans for the podcast — a project l knew would only take up more of my time going forward. I had also more or less stopped working on my book entirely, and had barely been pitching to new editors and outlets because the schedule was so restrictive and I had to spend so much time scrambling to meet my existing commitments.

When I read all of this back, I realize just how right I was in making the decision to stop writing regularly for this outlet when I did (even though the team was awesome and I miss them!).

Still, I’m not a quitter, and it was hard for me not to think of streamlining as simply giving up.

It’s been a few weeks since I made this major change to my schedule, and I thought I’d share a bit more about how the transition has been going. If you’re like me and have trouble saying “no” to things or offloading commitments, here’s what you can expect…

First, I felt overwhelmed by, well, change. Change isn’t always the easiest thing for me to deal with, and any time I have to make a major adjustment to my schedule, it shakes me up a little. I launched The SSR Podcast the week after I quit working for the outlet I mentioned above, so all at once, I had a lot of newly free hours on my hands and was also trying to figure out how the heck to simultaneously produce and promote a show of my own! After spending so many months as a new freelancer trying to fill those hours productively, it was unsettling to feel like I was back at square one again… even though I knew wasn’t really.

Still, I knew it had been the right decision. If it hadn’t been for the looming podcast launch, I probably wouldn’t have chosen to streamline, even though I knew I would eventually need to make some major changes to my workload so I could free up time to challenge myself with new writing opportunities. Since I had a new project to throw myself into at that moment, I didn’t have to stress as much about whether or not it was the “right time” for me to pivot. The podcast was taking up so much of my time (especially in those early weeks, when I had almost no idea what I was doing!), that I couldn’t even imagine juggling it with all the work I’d been doing for the outlet I’d quit. It was satisfying to realize that trusting my instincts had been the right call.

I realized that I could be proud of myself… for a few reasons. First of all, when I stepped back from the self-imposed guilt I was feeling about “giving up” any part of my writing workload, I saw that it was actually pretty cool that I’d reached a point in my freelancing career where I had the ability — financially, primarily — to make some decisions. When I first started in this world, I was hungry for work and didn’t have the luxury to discriminate or turn down opportunities. I hope that I maintain some of that hunger always (I definitely still feel it!), but when I figured out that the choice to streamline was something I’d earned, I allowed myself a quick pat on the back. I was also proud that I’d finally said “no” to something, because it’s not something I do often in my work!

I worked my butt off. I had no problem filling in those extra hours. For a few weeks in the middle of this summer, I was working 12- and 13-hour days every day. At that point, it was genuinely unclear how I’d had anything else on my plate previously.

Now, I’m giving myself some space to figure out what happens next. I’m now a month beyond the launch of the podcast, and the tasks that were taking me so long to complete early on are starting to become more routine. I’ve figured out a workflow and rhythm for the SSR-related work, as well as how to slot it in around my freelancing jobs. Now, I’m seeing some of that time free up again, and I’m trying to be patient with myself as I figure out how to spend it. I’m already back in a better pattern of working on my book and pitching new projects, so what happens next? Do I focus on up-leveling the podcast? Do I put my head down and try to churn out the first draft of my novel (finally)? Do I get even more relentless about seeking new writing opportunities? Honestly, I’m not quite sure yet how it’s all going to work, and while I’ve had moments over the last week or so when that’s felt weird, I’m trying to remind myself that it doesn’t need to get figured out all at once. I’m still busy, I’m still earning a steady income, and it’s summer! Which means most other people out there aren’t making big decisions, either : )

I’m heading to the beach with family for a few days this weekend, but I’ll be right back here Monday to announce the winner of the July giveaway! The prize is a $25 gift card to BaubleBar! All you have to do to enter to win is comment on my last post here. There are just a few days left, so don’t miss out.

Do you have anything fun planned for the weekend? Tell me all about it in the comments below!

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july giveaway.

Happy Monday, friends!

I hope you had a fantastic weekend! We had so much fun celebrating the engagements of two sets of friends and then fell head over heels in love with a new apartment here in Brooklyn. Please, please keep your fingers crossed that we get approved for it : ) And, yes — this means that we’re staying in New York for at least another year (you can read a little more about all of that drama here)… and I’m pretty excited about it.

So, yeah, we had a pretty great weekend over here.

Isn’t it funny that a nearly perfect weekend somehow makes it harder to get back into the grind of the work week? Shouldn’t it be the break you needed to kick things off with a better attitude? Not so much, I guess.

Hopefully, this month’s GIVEAWAY DAY will brighten up your Monday. It definitely helps mine to share it with you!

In celebration of the upcoming last month of summer (bummer, I know) and all the great outfits you need to accessorize, this month’s prize will be a $25 gift card to BaubleBar!

Here are a few pieces for sale there now that I’m loving:

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Iva Hoop Earrings
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Evangelia Resin Drop Earrings
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Taina Cocktail Ring
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Elizabeth Cuff Bracelet
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Dana Collar

 

This gift card will help make a serious dent in all of these items… or any other bauble from the site that you’re into!

All you have to do to enter is comment on this post! It wouldn’t hurt to share the link with a friend or two or to post it to your social media so a few of your loved ones have a chance to check it out. Remember: these giveaways come around once a month, so you might as well spread the love!

I’ll (randomly) draw and announce the winner one week from today, Monday 7/30. Good luck!

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summer 2018 podcast recommendations.

As you might expect, since the launch of my own podcast a few weeks ago, my whole perspective on the podcasting world has changed.

But I’m no less obsessed as a listener.

I was worried that spending hours every week preparing for, recording, editing, and promoting episodes of my own show would somehow make me less interested in the others that I’ve always loved listening to — but, if anything, launching SSR has given me that much more respect for the podcasting community as a whole. Now that I know how much work goes into producing a podcast, I want to support the creators even more by subscribing and listening!

It’s been a while since I shared podcast recommendations — or, quite honestly, since I talked about any show other than my own — and with summer more than half over, I thought it was the perfect time to give you some ideas for great content you can listen to during your travels. (Check out my previous recommendation posts here, here, and here.) Here are a few pods I’ve been really into lately. I hope you find one you love!

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1. Anna Faris Is UnqualifiedI feel like I might be a little late to the party on this one, but I’m going to own that proudly, because I’m totally loving it, anyway. When I was growing up, I loved listening to advice radio shows when I was in the backseat of my parents’ car, and Unqualified brings me right back to that… but with an added element of celebrity. I’ve never been a huge fan of Anna Faris, but I’m really enjoying her as a podcast host and as an advice-giver to the listeners that call in!

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2. RISE TogetherThere are tons of podcasts out there all about personal and professional development, but this one is all about developing as a couple! It’s brand new, and as I’m writing this post, there’s only one episode available, but I really enjoyed it. I recently read (in a day!) Rachel Hollis’s book Girl, Wash Your Face and I’ve been following her on Instagram for a while, but I particularly like what she has to say about marriage, as well as the dynamic between her and her husband Dave. I’m excited to see how this podcast develops over time.

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3. Armchair Expert with Dax ShepardLike pretty much everyone else I know, I find Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard to be total #marriagegoals, but it wasn’t until I tuned in to Armchair Expert that I realized just how impressive Dax is all on his own. Every week, he chats with a fellow celebrity about pretty much anything and everything you can imagine. This guy is smart, and I love listening to the way he encourages his guests to open up and share their opinions (even the controversial ones) with him. He’s a fantastic example of someone who can engage in respectful conversation even when he disagrees with the other person, and since I spend a lot of time interviewing people for stories I’m writing and for podcast episodes, I find this so impressive.

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4. For The Love Of Money PodcastEarlier this year, I went to Amber Lilyestrom’s Ignite Your Soul Summit, where Chris and Lori Harder were guest speakers. Chris is an expert on money mindset, and as you might remember if you read my post about making the decision to join The Wing back in May, his speech at the summit was a game changer for me. The For The Love of Money podcast offers similar food for thought on a more regular basis, and I would absolutely recommend it for anyone who struggles to find a healthy relationship with earning and spending money.

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5. Can He Do That?Clearly, this one might not appeal to people across the political spectrum, but I think that what the Washington Post has done here is create a really interesting frame through which to discuss current events. I’ve learned a lot from it, and I encourage you to give it a try even if you have some misgivings.

Obviously, I’d love if you would check out The SSR Podcast, too!

What podcasts have you been loving lately? Feel free to share in the comments below! 

Have a great weekend! I’ll see you back here on Monday for GIVEAWAY DAY!

 

 

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thoughts on how to support your freelancing + side hustlin’ + WFH friends.

I honestly don’t know how I would have made it through these first (almost) two years of freelancing and of working from home and for myself if I didn’t have the support of some pretty kick-butt people. I was reminded of how lucky I am to have such amazing humans in my corner more recently when I launched The SSR Podcast. This whole “nontraditional career” thing is no joke, and as much as I create structure and routine for myself, it can sometimes be the people in my life who provide me with what I really need to move forward with my writing — and now with the podcast, too.

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I’ve been thinking about writing a post like this for a while, but I found myself hesitating about it a few times over the last few months. I never wanted anyone to feel, when reading it, that they had done something “wrong” in approaching a friend who, like me, is pursuing a freelance or self-employed lifestyle or who is trying to launch a business or side hustle. The truth is that any effort you make to support a friend who’s doing this is meaningful, and I know I speak for all of us when I say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for the love!

In the past two years, I’ve been on the receiving end of all kinds of efforts to support and understand what I do, and since freelancing and side hustles seem to be on the rise (at least, according to my editors!), I thought it might be interesting to organize some of my thoughts about the best ways to be there for people in those situations. I do think that there are a lot of misunderstandings out there about what it’s actually like to be your own boss or to work from home, and it’s easy for those of us who do it to be oversensitive about them. Hopefully, these tips will help you cut through those misunderstandings so you can (respectfully!) be the cheerleader I know you want to be : )

1. Ask questions. When I left my corporate job to pursue writing full-time in 2016, I’m sure that plenty of my friends felt confused about what I was doing. And I totally understood that! There were moments when everyone’s confusion made me question what I was doing, but what helped were the many great conversations that came from it. When people asked genuine, earnest questions, it gave me the opportunity to get more and more clear about where I was going. More importantly, it made me feel like they respected me enough to talk to me about my “work stuff,” even if they didn’t quite understand it right away. And that’s still true! Ask your freelance, WFH, and side hustle friends respectful questions about the work they do, just as you would anyone else. You’ll learn more about their world and you’ll boost their confidence by giving them a chance to demonstrate some of their expertise.

2. Minimize assumptions. Yes, working from home or running your own business can afford you flexibility when it comes to when and where you work. But that doesn’t mean that we freelancers or WFH-ers don’t have routines that are necessary in order for us to be productive! When people equate working from home or being your own boss to habitually sleeping in, taking long weekends, and blowing off work commitments in favor of last-minute fun, it can strike a nerve! While all of those things can happen, they’re the exception and not the rule for most of us.

3. Celebrate milestones. If one of your friends who worked in a more traditional career got a new job offer or earned a promotion, you’d probably congratulate them, right? You might buy them a drink or call them to hear more about the good news. Your friends who have side hustles or work in less traditional settings don’t have those clear milestones, and they probably struggle with that themselves! We’re taught to pursue logical checkpoints, to achieve things in a linear way — and as rewarding as it can be to be your own boss, that lack of a clear path can be a bit of a mind game, too. Look for opportunities to celebrate major professional moments for your freelancin’ and side hustlin’ pals, whether it be when they bring on a new client, launch a new project, or earn enough money to upgrade their workspace.

4. Stay engaged. It’s 2018, and if your friend has their own business, side hustle, or passion project, I’m willing to bet that there’s at least one way that you can engage with it online or via social media. Liking, commenting, following, or subscribing might seem like a small gesture to you, but that kind of engagement is quite literally the fuel that keeps these projects going. Take every opportunity to participate in these ways, and to encourage other people in your circle to do the same.

5. Play the role of a boss or colleague (when appropriate!). Whenever I’m feeling down on myself because a new project isn’t growing quite as quickly as I want it or or because I’m struggling to make connections with the editors I want to work with, one of my best friends reminds me that I’m in unchartered territory and that I’ve already made strides down an untraditional path. This advice is a great motivator because it helps me remember that I’ve already proven myself capable! After that, she helps me talk through small goals that will allow me to make progress. In the absence of a boss to have these conversations with, I do need my loved ones that much more. You know your friend well — what kinds of conversations do you think they might be missing from an office environment, and what kinds of conversations will help them do more and do better with their work? Consider how you can be the one to facilitate those conversations, then make sure they know you’re available to have them if — and only if! — you need them.

How do you support friends and loved ones who work in untraditional ways? If you’re a freelancer or have a side hustle yourself, what kinds of support do you look for? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. 

 

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finding a summer state of mind.

If you’ve been following the blog for a while (first of all — thank you!), you might remember that my first summer as a freelancer in 2017 proved a bit of a challenge.

I came out of a corporate job that was wildly generous with its benefits, one of the biggest of which was summer Fridays. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, all employees would work an extra hour Monday through Thursday, then leave at lunchtime on Friday. The hours themselves were great, but the spirit of summer Fridays bled into the culture of the company for the whole summer. Obviously, we worked hard in the summer months, but everyone felt a little lighter. The promise of a shorter workday on Fridays changed the whole tone of our weeks. It was kind of the best.

Summer Fridays aren’t unusual here in New York City, and many of my friends have adjusted schedules at this time of year, so when I watched last year as my pals began posting photos of Friday afternoon happy hours and regular long weekend trips, I couldn’t help but feel bummed out. Yes, I had left my former job with eyes wide open about the benefits I was losing, but giving up summer Fridays felt particularly sad.

You’re probably thinking something along the lines of, “But you work for yourself! Don’t you have full control of your schedule?”

Well, you’re right and you’re wrong. Freelancing is kind of funky, because while I don’t technically have a Boss (yes, with a capital B), I still work for plenty of people, and I’m constantly hustling to deliver work to those people on time and to put myself in front of other people who might be interested in hiring me in the future. I don’t quite have the flexibility that other entrepreneurs (in the truer sense of the word) have, because I don’t get to call all of the shots in my work. I probably call about half of them. Once I’m in a successful business relationship with an editor or client — which is obviously my goal — there are only so many liberties I can take with my schedule and workload. Since I’m always balancing a handful of clients and a lot of deadlines with my own passion projects, that can mean that I’m working 60-65 hour weeks… even in the summertime.

I spent a lot of time thinking about this last summer. A few of my freelancer friends and I even thought about trying to hold each other accountable for taking summer Fridays and granting ourselves a little more down time! That didn’t quite work out, and since I have even more on my plate this summer, it’s not exactly happening in 2018, either. Still, we’re now halfway through the summer (?!?!?!), and I want to find small ways to make the season feel more special, even if I can’t take a ton of extra time off. Ever since I started working from home, I find that minor changes to my routine can make all the difference!

Here are a few of my ideas for finding those summer vibes even in the craziness. Maybe they’ll be helpful to you if you don’t have any big trips planned or are feeling overwhelmed by work, too : )

1. Get outside. It sounds simple, but making a point to step outside of my home office is big for me. Summer in the city can be hard because there’s not a ton you can do to minimize the heat, but I walk to and from The Wing whenever I can, and if I know I have a crazy day head of me, I’ll take an extra lap or two around the block on my way to the gym in the morning.

2. Treat myself more often. I’m naturally pretty frugal, and one of my biggest concerns when I started working from home was that I would constantly be tempted to buy myself lunches, Starbucks, etc. This summer, I’ve been allowing myself a few extra indulgences — especially strawberry bubble tea from the Vietnamese restaurant under our apartment! These drinks are a great way to cool down, and they taste like summer to me.

3. More date nights. Summer is one of the best times to live in New York (as miserable as the heat can be), because it’s easier than ever to explore your neighborhood. Matt and I have been making it a priority to go out more frequently on weeknights, even if it’s just on a walk to the bookstore or to get an ice cream cone. There will be plenty of time to curl up on the couch and watch TV in the winter!

4. Get dressed up. If you work from home, you know all too well how easy it is to keep things casual — to put it generously — in your day-to-day life. Most of the time, if I don’t have meetings or events, I throw on a pair of leggings and a sweatshirt and call it a day… but I’m trying to do that less this summer. I always get such a boost in confidence at this time of year, so I’ve gotten reacquainted with my closet and have been much more likely than usual to actually put on an outfit, even if I’m planing to work out of the apartment. I still don’t wear a ton of makeup most days (better for my skin that way!), but fully embracing my boho style with maxi dresses and long skirts and rompers on a daily basis has been really fun.

5. Drinks! A few months ago, I stopped drinking almost entirely. I’ve never been a huge drinker, but in the late winter and early spring, I was finding that even a glass or two of alcohol here and there was seriously messing with my stomach and giving me a raging headache. I don’t think I’ll ever be someone who likes to drink a lot, but I love me some rosé and girly cocktails in the summer — our summer social life in the city involves a lot of rooftops, and a girl needs rosé on a roof! — so I started working the occasional drink back into my rotation a few weeks ago. It hasn’t been making me feel sick… only celebratory!

What do you do to capture summer vibes? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

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second anniversary trip to Mexico.

I can’t decide if it feels like way longer or way shorter than two weeks since Matt and I took our second wedding anniversary trip to Cancun… but it definitely feels like one of the two extremes. I hit the ground running work-wise as soon as we landed back in New York so I could prepare to launch the podcast without dropping the ball on any of my other gigs, then Matt was away last weekend for a bachelor party while I had a friend in town, and this whole time we have been sweating bullets with crazy summer weather here in Brooklyn. With everything we’ve had going on, it’s hard to believe we even went on a trip!

But we did! We did go on a trip, and it was great.

I know the all-inclusive model isn’t for everyone, but we’re huge fans of it, and I was really excited to find a great last-minute deal on Expedia for a resort called the Excellence Riviera Cancun (only in my dreams is this a sponsorship… I just want to share the love!). You never quite know what you’re going to get when you book a trip like this, but I’m happy to report that the place beat all of our expectations and we can’t wait to go back. As much as we loved being at a honeymoon hot spot for our actual honeymoon in 2016 — we went to Sandals Antigua — I’m always anxious about being the only non-honeymooners at one of these resorts, and that wasn’t the case on this trip. It’s probably silly, but I think I would feel a little bummed if every. other. couple around us was just coming off of their wedding… even though it’s obviously magical in its own right to be celebrating an anniversary.

Since life has been such a whirlwind lately and I haven’t had the chance to share any of the details of our time away, I thought I’d wrap up this week with a belated recap of our anniversary getaway! Let’s start with the good, the bad, and the ugly (AKA the best, worst, and most hilarious parts of the trip) and then finish with some photos.

The Good: There was a moment when we were sitting in lounge chairs on the beach one afternoon, drinks and books in hand… and then an acoustic cover band started playing live right at the spot where the resort met the sand. It couldn’t have been a more perfect moment!

The Bad: (This is about to be one of those situations where I take something good and spin it so it’s something bad. Ready?) We needed more time! I know it feels like vacation is never long enough, but I genuinely think that we could have used an extra day or two this time around. Matt and I haven’t been on a beach-y, totally relaxing and luxurious vacation alone since our honeymoon, and while I’m grateful we were able to steal away at all during this very busy period of our lives, I very much regretted that we didn’t figure out a way to extend it just a liiiiiiiitle bit. One more night would have done the trick.

The Ugly: Unless we have a reason to be otherwise, Matt and I are generally pretty casual travelers, and it didn’t occur to us that the resort might have a dress code since that’s not something we’ve run into on previous trips. We pretty much assume that as long as you’ve changed out of your bathing suit, put on some real shoes, and made yourself more or less presentable, you’ll be allowed to eat anywhere you want! Welp, not so much at this resort. There were a few select restaurants where long pants (even jeans!) were apparently required for men, and we were asked very politely to leave one place when Matt showed up dressed in chino shorts, a button down shirt, and loafers. All I could do was laugh and make a mental note to insist that he pack pants next time!

And now for some photos! I never take as many pictures as I want to when we travel because I am focusing so much on disconnecting from my phone, but here are some highlights…

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Sooooo…. can you tell I’m already counting down until when we can go back?

Do you have any summer trips planned? Tell me more in the comments below! 

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