giveaway

november giveaway winner announced!

Happy Friday, friends! Can you even believe that it’s already been more than a week since we all stuffed ourselves silly with turkey? I know I can’t.

My mom and I are currently away for a girls’ trip in Alexandria, VA. Yesterday, we explored some DC museums, did a little shopping, and saw The Nutcracker at the Warner Theatre, and today we’re planning on some spa time and (hopefully) plenty of lounging around the hotel. I’m more grateful than ever at moments like this that my mom and I both happen to work for ourselves — you can learn more about what she does here and here — because it’s nice to be able to set aside this quality time for each other while still staying plugged in and productive.

And, of course, just because I’m traveling, it doesn’t mean that this month’s giveaway winner has to wait one. more. second. to find out that she’s about to get herself TWO bracelets from The Shine Project. Congratulation, JULI! You’re the winner! I’ll reach out via email to make arrangements to send you your prize.

Thanks to everyone who entered, and please continue to spread the word to all of your friends about these giveaways! The next one will go live right here right before Christmas.

Before I wish you a happy weekend (Matt and I are spending ours decorating the apartment for the holidays and making our second annual mini Thanksgiving dinner), there’s one more thing I want to share. I’m so excited to announce that I’m working with my friend Brittney Lynn — the mastermind behind the Day In the Life podcast, which I was lucky enough to be the guest on this past week — on a free webinar, which we’ll be hosting on Wednesday 12/6 at 8 PM EST. The webinar is called Better Together: How to Reach Out to Journalists and Get More Media Mentions, and it’s going to be a super fun and casual (but also extremely informative!) conversation about how small businesses and hustlers of all kinds can work more effectively with writers like me! Sign up to join right here.

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my first WFH sick day.

FIRST OF ALL, I want to say a big, fat thank you to each and every one of you who reached out with encouraging words about my very first podcast guest spot! AHHH! This was such a bucket list thing for me, and I’m so grateful to everyone who tuned in. And if you haven’t listened yet, you can check it out here (or you can find it as the most recent episode of the Day in the Life podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, etc.).

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I’m so grateful to my friend Brittney Lynn for giving me the opportunity to share my journey with freelance writing (so far, at least) on her show. Honestly, I was nervous to listen to it myself, but once I got over the fear of hearing my own voice for an hour-plus (eek!), it felt great to give myself permission to lean back and listen to my story. I’ve definitely learned a lot in the past year!

Anyway, what I really wanted to share with you today is what I can see now was actually a pretty major milestone in this seemingly never-ending transition to working from home. When it happened, I didn’t think much of it, but Matt immediately told me I should blog about it, so here I am. (And if you don’t think it’s interesting, you know who to blame!)

The week before Thanksgiving, I was totally off my game. My throat was sore, I had a headache, and (as always seems to happen when I’m sick), I was struggling to get consistent sleep. I just felt… crappy. And run down. And, if I’m being honest, maybe even a little sorry for myself. As great as it can be to work from home and to be my own boss, it’s been easy to build up a narrative in my head about how impossible it is for me to slow down or take a day off. If I don’t do it, no one will. Nothing will get done. Which is true! I’m a one-woman operation, so any day off for me is a day off for, well, everyone. Shop’s closed, people.

When I woke up that Thursday (I use the phrase “woke up” loosely here, because I only actually slept for an hour or so), the thought of working my full Bustle shift was totally overwhelming to me. I couldn’t imagine staring at my computer for that long. It felt like my brain wasn’t working, and even the smallest amount of light was hurting my eyes. And it wasn’t just my Bustle shift! There were plenty of other things that had to get done — interview prep and blog posts a few stories with a deadline. In order to accomplish all of those things and put in my time with Bustle, I would have needed to start working the moment I got out of bed at 6 AM. On a normal day, that would have been a non-issue for me. But on this particular Thursday, I just wasn’t feeling it.

I asked Matt what he thought I should do. I texted no less than four of my friends, asking them what they thought about my taking a sick day. I asked Matt what he thought I should do again. The thought of telling my Bustle editor that I couldn’t clock in that day made me feel sick in an entirely different way.

The whole scene reminded me of the first time I’d wrestled with the same question — to take a sick day or not to take a sick day? — when I was a newbie at my corporate job. Back then, I was living with my parents in Pennsylvania and commuting back and forth to New York (yes, that was about four hours on the bus every day), so I naturally consulted with my mom first. I had plenty of sick days to use, but I was afraid of how my boss would react if I actually took one. I didn’t even know how to word the email telling her I wouldn’t be showing up.

In the end, taking that first official sick day was just like (and I realize this is cliché) ripping off a band-aid — and when I finally swallowed my own pride and told my Bustle editor that I couldn’t work that shift two weeks ago, it was exactly the same thing. She wasn’t mad. I didn’t get fired. She just told me to feel better.

Being a freelancer is weird. I work for myself to the extent that I manage my own time, but I’m also accountable to a lot of people. And while there have been days in the last year or so that I’ve allowed myself to take it easy or to sleep in because I wasn’t feeling 100 percent, last Thursday was the first time I was in a position to ask for “permission” to be sick, largely because I work with Bustle on a per-hour — instead of a per-story — basis. It was interesting to be reminded of that feeling of clearing something with a boss.

I have zero regrets about taking that sick day. I took a Benadryl and got a few hours of sleep. I drank a lot of tea. I watched a lot of embarrassing TV. And the next time I talked to my Bustle editor, she didn’t even remember it had happened. It’s freeing to realize that these decisions aren’t quite as important as they can feel in the moment, don’t you think?

….AND don’t forget to enter this month’s giveaway! I know last week was a little crazy with Thanksgiving and family and travel, but the November prize is really awesome, so I don’t want you to miss out! This month, I’m giving away  TWO (yes, two) bracelets from The Shine Project — a white druzzy and a feather charm. Both are on gold chains and would look great paired or worn separately. All you have to do to enter to win is comment on my last post. I’ll be drawing and announcing the winner here on the blog this Friday 12/1, so get those entries in ASAP!

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november giveaway!

Happy day-after-Thanksgiving, friends! I hope you woke up today feeling thankful and rested (and also fully digested so you can dive into some leftovers).

For some of you, I’m sure today means some serious deal hunting and aggressive line-waiting. Even on a “normal” day, I’m not a huge shopper, so Black Friday has most definitely never been my thing — but if you’re tough enough to handle a day of elbow-throwing and bad-moods-fueled-on-too-much-turkey, then more power to you (seriously). You’re a stronger person than I am, and you’ll be rewarded with better prices than I’ll ever get on pretty much anything.

It just so happens to be GIVEAWAY DAY over here today, though, which means that if you’re like me and avoid the Black Friday madness, you can get yourself a chance to snatch up something super fun from the comfort of your own home — and it’s totally free, which makes it the best possible price. Take that, Target! (I didn’t mean it, Target. I actually love you very much.)

It’s been a while since I shared a prize from our friends over at The Shine Project, and since this is a company that has been giving me the coziest feels ever since I first stumbled upon it about two years ago, it seems like the perfect Thanksgiving week giveaway. For those who don’t know, this is one of my favorite companies — and it happens to also double as an amazing cause. I got involved as an ambassador for Shine last spring. You can read the whole story here, but essentially, Shine supports inner-city American students on track to be the first in their family to go to college by teaching them to make jewelry and offering them employment and mentorship. Student employees at the Shine centers have the opportunity to work hard to earn money for their higher education, so the purchase of Shine products supports their academic goals. A portion of the profits also goes toward a scholarship fund that benefits the Shine kids. I absolutely love this organization– and I’m obsessed with the jewelry, too! It’s easy-to-wear, affordable, trendy, and supports a really awesome cause.

In honor of the official kick-off to the holiday season, I’m giving away TWO (yes, two) bracelets from The Shine Project — a white druzzy and a feather charm. Both are on gold chains and would look great paired or worn separately. The white druzzy piece will look great with absolutely anything, and the feather bracelet has been one of my very favorites for more than a year. I’m really excited about this one, friends!

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All you have to do to enter to win this giveaway is to COMMENT on this post! As always, I’d love to see you share this link with friends so that more people have a chance to win (and to check out the blog!). I run a giveaway every month, so you can count on another opportunity to win something else very soon.

I’ll draw the winner randomly one week from today, Friday 12/1. The winner will be announced right here on the blog. Good luck!

(Unfortunately, you’re not eligible to win this contest if you live outside of North America, due to shipping concerns. I’m sorry about that!)

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october giveaway winner announced + the liebster award!

Hello, friends! I hope you all had wonderful weekends and that you’re now ready to hit the ground running with the start of another week. I’m not a big fan of Halloween myself (I know, I know — unpopular opinion), but I know this is a big, exciting time for a lot of you who love the holiday. I, personally, will be over here quietly snacking on a chocolate bar and kinda sorta waiting for the whole celebration to be over so we can start gearing up for Thanksgiving and all the fun in December. I am who I am!

It’s time to announce the winner of the October giveaway! Can I get a drumroll, please? ….

Congratulations, ANDREA EDMAN! You’re the winner of a $25 gift card to Baublebar. Andrea, I’ll reach out via email with your gift card. I can’t wait to see what you decide to buy : ) As always, thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway! I can’t wait to see you (and, hopefully, all your friends) back here next month for the November contest.

Last week, my writer and blogger friend Alex (of Authentically Alex) nominated me for the Liebster Award. Thanks so much, Alex! You’re such an awesome cheerleader for my work and it feels so great to get a little nod for this blog.

So, what is the Liebster Award?

Originating in Germany in 2011, the Liebster Award 2017 is an online award that is given to bloggers by other bloggers. Liebster translates to sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. The Liebster Award recognizes new and upcoming bloggers that have the potential to grow and become successful influencers within the blogosphere.

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All nominees are asked to share ten facts about themselves, as well as the answers to a few interview questions, so here we go!

10 Facts About Me

  1. I met one of my favorite Instagram dog celebrities in the Delta terminal at JFK earlier this year, and I was actually fangirling. I got to take a picture with her, too, and I look at that picture whenever I’m having a bad day.
  2. My first concert was Natalie Merchant with my mom and her best friend.
  3. I make my bed every single day. No matter what. Even if it doesn’t happen until 4 in the afternoon.
  4. I’m not afraid of heights, but I am terrified of ladders.
  5. I went to college about two blocks from the White House, and while being in D.C. for four years kind of turned me off of politics for a long time, I’ve become a total news junkie again.
  6. Cotton candy is my favorite ice cream flavor.
  7. I can touch my tongue to the tip of my nose. It’s genetic. Thanks, Dad!
  8. I hate orange juice, but I love mimosas. Explain that one.
  9. When I was in third grade I wrote a “novel” called Carrie’s Ride Home about a girl who teachers her blind little sister how to ride horses. It had chapters and everything!
  10. I used to get serious anxiety about talking on the phone. I’ve come a long way, but I still get really nervous every time I have to call a source for a phone interview.

Short Interview

1. What is one place you haven’t been that is on the top of your bucket list?

Thailand! My husband and I are hoping to plan a trip to southeast Asia in the next year or two.

2. What is the most daring experience you’ve ever had? (For example: sky diving)

Two summer ago, I went parasailing with my family at the beach. Logically, I know parasailing is pretty safe, but it felt pretty daring in the moment : )

3. What is your biggest accomplishment?

If you’ve been reading this blog for any period of time, you can probably guess this one! I would call the last year of my life my biggest accomplishment. Leaving my traditional 9-to-5 job was a big deal for this rule follower, and I’m really proud of how far I’ve come in the thirteen months since.

4. What’s your biggest fear?

I’ve always been really scared of large birds (turkeys, ostrichs, emus — even chickens!), and when I have nightmares, they’re usually about being in freefall or being chased.

5. What’s a hidden talent you have?

I’m a crazy fast typer.

6. What’s an activity, craft, or sport that you want to learn how to do?

I would love to get better at hand lettering. I have pretty good handwriting, so I think that if I took the time to learn and practice, it could be a great creative outlet.

My nominees:

Meghan — Home Body Soul

Angela — Mrs. K Fit

Brittney — Brittney Lynn

Krista — FoodWaterShoes

Kristina — Simply Kristina

Task for nominees:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog in your post.
  • Upload the award to your blog. It can be done as a blog or on the sidebar.
  • Answer the questions above.
  • Nominate five blogs who you believe deserve to receive the award.
  • Notify the nominated bloggers so that they can accept the award.

 

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october giveaway!

It’s super early on a Monday morning, but I don’t even mind because….

  1. It’s Matt’s birthday and even though it’s a workday for both of us, I get to celebrate him all. day. long.
  2. I SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT LAST NIGHT! Without taking any of my trusty over-the-counter sleep meds. And without any weird dreams. And without waking up once.
  3. It’s time for the October giveaway!

I got such a great response to the Baublebar giveaway back in August that I’ve decided to bring it back for October. One lucky winner will be getting a $25 gift card to this awesome online boutique. Here are a few of my favorite pieces available on the site right now:

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Carisma Semi-Precious Pendant Necklace
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Starfire Druzy Tassel Earrings
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Wishbone Choker
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Celene Bangle Bracelet Set
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Celestrial Drops

So many fun options for the holidays, right? I’m really excited to share a $25 gift card with one of you so you can treat yourself to one of these items — or anything else you love on the site! And while I hope you use this gift card to treat yourself, it might also be a big help toward a gift for someone you love this holiday season : )

All you have to do to enter to win this giveaway is COMMENT on this post! As always, I’d love to see you share this link with friends so that more people have a chance to win (and to check out the blog!). I run a giveaway every month, so you’ll have another shot at winning something fun very soon.

I’ll draw the winner randomly one week from today, Monday 10/30. The winner will be announced right here on the blog. Good luck!

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september giveaway winner announced!

Happy Friday, friends! I don’t know about you, but over here, it feels like this week has somehow managed to both drag on and onnnnn AND fly by so quickly that it seemed impossible to get anything done. Time is such a weird thing sometimes.

I’m so excited (as always!) to announce the winner of the September giveaway. Congratulations, DREW! You’re the winner of the Beautycounter Adaptive Moisturizer, and I just know you’re going to love it : ) I’ll reach out via email to make arrangements for you to get your prize.

Thanks to everyone who entered this month! Beautycounter is an awesome brand, and I would definitely encourage you to check them out for all things skin care and beauty. Shop this link to learn more about all the products and to support our friend Alexa’s growing business.

Tomorrow morning, Matt and I are getting on a plane to kick off a two-week (!!!!!) working vacation on the west coast. Matt’s job requires him to take two consecutive weeks away from the office each year (it’s a regulatory rule in the finance industry), so we’re making the most of it this time around. I’m so grateful to be able to take my work with me so we can spend some real QT together. I’ll be keeping you posted on all of our travels right here starting next week.

Have a great weekend, friends!

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the new normal.

How did we already get to Tuesday? Birthday celebrations rolled on into the weekend (thanks to everyone for all of the well wishes!), and I feel like I’m just now coming down from all of the excitement…

My family came in on Saturday and I got to do one of my favorite things — show them around Brooklyn! Our borough is so chock full of amazing little corners and things to see, and I can’t help but feel like it’s a personal victory when I have a chance to let out-of-towners in on some local secrets. Saturday, we caught up over coffee on the patio at the bakery across the street from our apartment (which also happens to be my favorite work spot of late), then jumped in the car and went to Red Hook, a Brooklyn neighborhood located right on the water that’s off the beaten path of the subway. Red Hook is known for its awesome views and yummy seafood, so we had a photo shoot (the barge in the photo below says LEHIGH VALLEY, which happens to be the area of Pennsylvania where we’re from!) and then celebrated my birthday at Brooklyn Crab over crab rolls and margaritas. No birthday is complete without dessert, of course, so we finished the day at Ample Hills Creamery with a scoop of cotton candy ice cream (for me, at least).

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Before the weekend, Matt won the Husband Of The Year award (as if he doesn’t do that practically every day, anyway!) and gifted me tickets to Hamilton for my birthday. I still can’t quite put into words what it meant to me. We are ob-sessed with the show and its soundtrack in our house, and I’ve been dreaming of going to see it for months. Sunday, we capped off my birthday weekend with a matinee, and it was even better than I expected. This show is quite literally the best thing I’ve ever seen (yes, generally the best thing), and I still can’t believe I got the chance to share it with this special guy. I’ll never forget it, and it was a great way to kick off my twenty-eighth (eek!) year.

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Something I’ve been thinking about over the last few weeks as I’ve rounded the corner on some big milestones — yes, my birthday, but also the one-year anniversary of launching this blog last September — is the concept of “the new normal.” It’s a phrase that we all hear pretty often, and one that I can personally cop to using maybe a little too much. Heading into year two of Finding Plan A, I’ve been imagining what the next chapter is going to look like for the space, and I just thought I’d share some of that with you.

When I started blogging last year, I was mostly focused on flexing my writing muscles again as I prepared to transition out of my corporate job into full-time freelancing. I thought it would be a good way to keep my friends and family in the loop about what was going on in my new life, and I hoped I might be able to help people understand why I’d decided to go my own way and what it had taken to get there (if I got there at all, because at that point, I had no idea what was going to happen!). While this space has definitely served those purposes, it’s also turned into a community that’s kind and gracious and vibrant and supportive — and one that I’m excited to continue growing moving forward.

I would never claim to be “done” with the transition just because I have a full calendar year under my belt now. I haven’t “found Plan A” (LOL). I’m not starting an entirely new chapter here on the blog simply because a certain period of time has passed. This journey is still in progress, and I would never pretend to be an expert or to give up on learning and reflecting.

You will, however, notice some changes around here now that I have 365 days in the books. While I’ll still be doing goal recaps (like this one), you’ll notice that I’m going to be phasing out more general monthly progress updates (like this one). I’ll take a moment to call out major milestones, but I’ve graduated beyond those more regular recaps, and I don’t want to bore you with the details of the constant inner monologue that happens in this overanalyzing brain of mine : ) Moving forward (not including this month), I’ll also be making changes to the procedures for giveaways — so be on the lookout for that!

In the meantime, I’ve mapped out what’s happening on the blog for the full month of October, and I’m really excited about the content you’re going to see in this newly normal phase. I’m itching to get started! We’re stepping it up over here, friends, and I can’t wait to share it all with you!

… some things never change, though. Giveaways, for example, are always awesome.

Remember to enter for this month! September’s prize is my favorite skin care product EVER — Beautycounter‘s Adaptive Moisturizer. All you have to do to enter to win is comment on my last post. I’ll be drawing and announcing the winner on Friday 9/29, so get those entries in ASAP!

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