survey

how did i do this year?

You already know this if you’ve been stopping by this space for a while, but I love getting feedback from readers — which is why I ask you for it every few months.

Seriously. Each time I put out a survey asking for your thoughts on how I can continue to grow and improve the blog, I feel giddy with every response that comes back. Even when I find out that there’s still work for me to do (and isn’t there always?), it makes me so happy to think that someone’s taken a few minutes of their time to share their thoughts on something that’s important to me. So if you’ve already replied to one of my previous surveys — I’m genuinely grateful! Thank you so much!

With the end of the year creeping (or rushing, depending on what day you ask me) toward us, I’m starting to plan for 2018, and since I obviously want to be sure that I’m continuing to deliver content that you actually want to read and can’t help but share with your friends, I’m asking for your help… again.

If you feel inspired, I’d love if you could pour yourself a glass of wine or a mug of hot chocolate and give me a dose of real deal feedback below.

giphy

Your feedback really does guide me moving forward, so don’t hesitate! We’re hosting our big Cookie Swap this weekend, so if your response is heavy with constructive criticism, I’ll have plenty of cookies to ease my pain and help me bounce back fast : ) Thanks, in advance, for your thoughts! And have an amazing weekend!

 

 

0 comment

i’m lookin’ at you!

It may seem pretty obvious for me to say that one of the (many) things that inspired me to start my own blog was how much I enjoy reading other blogs. Obvious, but true.

I love getting at the heart of someone else’s story. I love reading about what makes them tick. I love seeing the universe through their perspective and realizing how much easier it is to understand another worldview when you have an opportunity to get inside another person’s day-to-day experience. One of my favorite things to do in the blogging world is to backtrack through the archives of my most loved sites. It’s amazing to take a step back and watch how these women (almost all of the blogs I read are female-driven) have built a following and evolved in their storytelling.

Recently, I’ve been reading even more blogs than usual as part of the research I’m doing for my book, and it’s gotten my wheels turning at an entirely new level. These incredibly creative and unflinchingly honest voices have me feeling more inspired than ever to deliver fresh, cool content and to continue growing as a writer right here with all of you.

I woke up today with a fresh energy about this space, and I want to make it a priority over these next few weeks to brainstorm ideas for posts that will get all of you excited to continue reading and sharing Finding Plan A into its second year. Let’s do this, people.

The brainstorming is already in full force over here, but I’d love to give you the opportunity to be part of this process with me! We’ve gotten to know each other a bit over these past ten months, so tell me:

What do you want to know? What haven’t I shared? Are there topics you feel I’ve been avoiding? (This might be the case without my even knowing it!) Do you have specific questions about what it’s like to freelance or to work from home? Do you want to know more about my relationships or my life here in New York? Do you have questions about how any of what I’ve written so far can apply in your own life? What makes you laugh? Is there a topic that you’d like to know my opinion on? Is there anything you wish I would never write about ever again?

Seriously, friends, I want to know. I’d love the answers to these questions, and any other input you’d be willing to share. Growing this community with all of you has been one of the best experiences of this first post-corporate year for me, and I want to keep the love going. Please, please, please consider adding your two cents to the comment box below — and don’t worry about whether you’re hurting my feelings or asking a question that’s too crazy. I’m 100% all ears, and I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.

 

(I’ll see everyone back here on Monday for GIVEAWAY DAY! Happy weekend!)

4 Comments

i’m all ears!

Does the title of this post make any other ’90s kids out there think about the jingle for Radio Disney? (“Radio Disney….. we’re. all. ears!”) No? OK — maybe don’t tell me. I was a big fan of all things Disney as a kid, and the radio station was no exception… even though, now that I think about it, it was actually a lot of ads and interviews with people I didn’t even know. Also, the reception was never that clear.

fierce

In all honesty, though, I am all ears, and I’m really interested in checking in again to see what you’re thinking of the blog and how you’d like to see it continue to develop, especially since we’e gained some new readers in the last few months (hi! so happy to have you here!). I really am listening, and there are no wrong answers. I would love for you to share your feedback below. Even if you’ve responded to the other surveys I’ve posted, I think your updated opinions are really important!

Thanks so much for being part of my blog family! xo

2 Comments

i want to hear from you (again)!

It’s been a few months since I last asked for input from all of YOU wonderful people, and with Finding Plan A’s half birthday just around the corner (six months, what?), it seems like the perfect time to check in! You have all been so supportive of my writing and my journey so far, and I want to make sure that I’m keeping things fun and interesting so we can have many more months years together : )

I would love if you would take a few minutes to answer some of the questions below. Some of them may be familiar from my last survey. Please, be honest! I promise I can handle the truth.

0 comment

four month recap.

I hope you all had a fantastic long weekend! A few months ago, Matt and I had talked about taking a little vacation over MLK weekend, but we decided instead to stick around in Brooklyn and treat ourselves to a few extra fun dates. My favorite parts of the staycation? A delicious brunch at Rucola — it’s two blocks from our apartment and I’m practically kicking myself that we haven’t checked it out sooner! — and a night out at the Alamo Drafthouse in Downtown Brooklyn. Maybe I’m just super behind the times on this whole concept, but it was by far the coolest movie-going experience of my life. Since I’m not very good at sitting in the same place for a long time, I don’t usually love going to the movie theater, but Alamo has a full menu (including meals, booze, and even milkshakes!) and full restaurant-style service, plus really comfy seats, so the whole thing feels more special. We saw Jackie, which had been on my list for a while (totally recommend!), but now that we have the Alamo on our radar, I have a feeling we’re going to be seeing a lot more movies.

It’s now been over four months since I quit my job and became a freelancer. Honestly, where did the time go? I guess life seems to move a little faster around the holidays, but it still feels like it’s all happening so quickly.

img_5803

Usually, when I share my monthly recaps (check out my other recent installments here, here, and here), I have a long list of observations, but at the four-month mark, I really only have one major reflection:

I made it four months, and into 2017. 

When I first made the decision to totally redirect my plan back in September, Matt and I identified the start of the new year as a sort of “soft deadline” for figuring out whether or not it would make sense to keep going with freelancing. If 2017 came and I had yet to earn a single dollar as a writer or was feeling restless or defeated, we would need to reconsider our options. As supportive as my husband has been of what I’m doing, we both know how important it is to look out for our financial well-being, plus I am not the type to feel comfortable being 100% financially supported at this point in my life. Having just made a decision to leave a job that was causing me to feel depressed and anxious, I also didn’t want to set myself up to go down another long road of negative emotions if being a full-time writer wasn’t ultimately going to be the right fit for me.

The new year has come and gone, and we never had to have a conversation about whether or not I should start looking for another “real” job. Thanks to lots of hard work and a little luck, I picked up enough momentum in the fall that I can continue to pursue my writing — and, better yet, make a career of it. As I reflect on the four-month milestone, I’m incredibly humbled by the whole thing. There have been (and will continue to be, of course) moments where I’ve questioned my decisions, but as of now, we’re still going strong. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that four months feels pretty good. : )

My plan for these recap posts was to continue to share them monthly until either the six-month or one-year mark. What do you think? I’d love your input!

img_5805

 

2 Comments

a mini thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving week, everyone!

Based on the responses from last week’s survey (it’s not too late to take it…I’d love to hear from you!), there’s interest in a little more talk about my personal life here on the blog.  Given that feedback, I’m happy that I have such a fun activity from this past weekend to share with you!

Matt and I are very different in a lot of ways, but one of the things we do share in common is a love for Thanksgiving.  We both get pretty excited about the holiday season in general, but Thanksgiving is definitely the favorite in our house.  Thanksgiving was the first holiday we spent together when we started dating almost eight years ago (!!!!!), so if I loved it before, it definitely grabbed an extra special place in my heart after that.

We’ll be traveling home to Pennsylvania to celebrate the “official” holiday feast with my family later this week.  One of the best things about Thanksgiving for me has always been the way the schedule allows me to be part of most of the celebrations on both sides of my family.  My dad traditionally works on Thanksgiving day, so my stepmom usually waits to cook the full turkey dinner until Friday.  This means that I get to spend Thanksgiving itself (and most of the long weekend, too) with my mom’s family — but I don’t have to miss out on the fun at my dad’s house.  It means a lot to me to be able to attend both.

Since this is our first married Thanksgiving, Matt and I decided that we wanted to start some traditions of our own, too, so we put together a smaller version of the turkey feast for just the two of us on Saturday.  We planned the menu together, went on a date to the fancy supermarket, and did most of the cooking as a team.  Like most New York City apartments, ours is tiny.  I was surprised at how well our reliable little kitchen held up, because we had it working HARD.  Here’s what we made:

  • Kale salad with pomegranate seeds, dried cranberries, toasted pumpkin seeds, and balsamic dressing.  We try to keep things pretty healthy around here day-to-day, and even though I’m all about indulging in my favorite foods, it was important to me that we have a really delicious green option as part of our meal.  Toasted pumpkin seeds might be my new favorite salad topping!
  • Turkey — duh!  Since it was just the two of us, we stuck to a big turkey breast instead of a full bird, but I’m still amazed by how much we ended up with!  We’re now on day three of our leftovers (and I have a husband that eats a lot of turkey in one sitting).
  • Stuffing made based on one of my family’s recipes, but with some of our own variations.  We added in mushrooms and apples, which I would TOTALLY recommend.
  • Brussel sprouts au gratin, which I made for the first time last year using this recipe.  This is a cheesy indulgence, but is still a slightly better alternative health-wise to the version made with potatoes.  When I made it last year, I threw in bits of prosciutto, which was a big hit with the Friendsgiving crowd.
  • (Canned) cranberry sauce, because as much as I wish I liked the homemade variety, I just love the kind that comes from a can so much better.
  • Gravy, made from scratch!  It was really important to Matt that we make our own turkey gravy, instead of buying it pre-made.  The process of making it was longer than I expected, and I was skeptical, but it was definitely worth it.
  • Apple cider mimosas made with equal parts store-bought cider and prosecco.  If you’re looking for a seasonal cocktail that won’t add a lot of extra work to your Thanksgiving menu, this is a great one!
  • Chocolate cream pie, because YUM!  We’re not huge fans of the traditional Thanksgiving desserts in our house, but I figured a fun twist on pie could be a great new tradition for us.

We dressed up the table with as many pretty things as we could make fit, and even though my beautiful china settings from our registry are still being stored at my parents’ house until we have space for them, it was fun to be able to use so many of our wedding gifts for our first Thanksgiving.  We also got a little dressed up ourselves before sitting down to dinner.  I’m usually a stickler for the “no holiday music until Thanksgiving” rule, but given the fact that the mood of the world is so icky lately, I decided we could budge a little bit with the James Taylor Christmas album while we ate.  We also went back and forth throughout the meal sharing things we are grateful for, which, as you know, is one of my favorite things.

If you’re looking for opportunities to start your own traditions without cutting ties to your larger family celebrations, I think this is a great idea.  Matt and I had so much fun being in the kitchen together, and it was really special for us to have quality time celebrating one of our favorite occasions.  In case I haven’t said it enough lately, I REALLY love my husband, and I can’t get enough of hanging out with him.

Check out some of our photos below!

tablescapetable-settingfull-table-from-the-headfull-table-from-aboveturkey

blurry-me
Blurry, but so proud of what we made!  Also, I’m breaking out my fall lip colors again and it makes me all kinds of happy.
us
Matt gets tasked with taking a lot of our selfies because his arms are so much longer than mine…and this time it really paid off because you can see our table, too!

What are your Thanksgiving traditions?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

10 Comments

i want to hear from you!

We’ve almost reached the end of this week, and it’s less than seven days until we are all stuffing ourselves full of turkey and mashed potatoes.  Raise your hand if Thanksgiving is your favorite holiday, too!  I can’t get enough of it (you all know how I feel about gratitude)…but more on that next week.

unadjustednonraw_thumb_16c
An old picture of Jake, basically acting out the way we’re all feeling right about now.   

Today, I want to hear from YOU.  I’ve been working on the blog for almost two months now, and I’m so grateful for all of the support I’ve been getting from you since I launched.  THANK YOU!  In the spirit of always trying to improve the experience and keeping you interested and coming back for more, I would love if you would take a moment to give me some of your feedback in the survey below.  It will go a long way toward helping me to be a better blogger, and toward improving Finding Plan A as I continue to grow.

2 Comments