A New Season ( & Hi! How’ve you been?)

 

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I haven’t blogged in so long, it’s insane. Where to begin? Summer came, and summer went.

It was good, it was full; it felt exhausting at times, exhilarating at others. Highlights ranged from a whirlwind NoVa July jaunt and a favorite friend’s fun-fun-FUN Denver wedding to a love-soaked reunion under Chicago’s sticky summer skies. August was chock-full of music and weekends spent in tents at campsites near and far (far, as in, at the tippy-top of a mountain goat-dotted glacier). The end of September felt tinged with a bit of magic—the pinnacle being an amazing visit with my parents in the PNW during its finest show-off days and then a near week of togetherness in easy-breezy Oceanside.

For a long stretch there, work felt really steady (and almost too flowing at times), and the Seattle sun consistently blazed down on us as she’s known to do—filling our souls and Vitamin D reserves to the brim. (We have to store up, ya know; that’s just how life here works.) At one point, I felt highly over-traveled, and then grateful to regain my footing during several stationary weeks at home. I’ve gotten so much better at saying “no,” which is a relief, and I’ve seen the empowerment that comes from turning down gigs, trips and invites, simply because that’s the direction my gut tends to lean.

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Recently, a slowing of assignments has me feeling a little nervous, though admittedly not nearly as panicked as I would’ve felt once upon a time. This ain’t my first freelance-work-lull rodeo, after all. And I know for certain that waiting, patience and faith are the biggest challenges of this alternative lifestyle I’ve chosen—and perhaps the most important necessities, too.

This is the reality of my work situation at present: I am sending out a ton of pitches, a lot of emails, a bunch of check-ins—many of which I know will never get a response. I am used to this by now, and I *usually* don’t take it personally, but still—it can grow super old, really fast. The past couple weeks, I have done more “pro bono”-esque work than I’ve done since early CV-building days, but my reasoning is that this keeps things moving, the juices flowing, the pendulum swinging…toward tangible things that will soon “catch”—if I allow the unfolding to happen at a pace beyond my control.

Yes, I am so grateful to receive invites to dinners, receptions and press events galore, and to find super-cool surprise deliveries on my doorstep (apples! Olive leaf-tea! Gourmet pizza pies!). This is all amazing, lucky, spoiled—undoubtedly a very privileged perk to my wacky line of work. But sadly, this isn’t the type of compensation accepted by the collectors of my bills or the cashiers of my stores. (Surely these are the less glamorous glimpses into freelance life that don’t often make the social media rounds.)

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Yet despite the slowing of the season, I am well-aware that life continually presents us with periods filled with “planting” versus “blooming”… and with years (or seasons) that “ask” versus those that “answer.” I take great comfort in complementary thoughts shared by peers like the lovely Meg Fee, in her post rooting for the bamboo farmer in us all.

I am trying to follow the advice of wise gurus I respect who suggest that, at times like these, we keep on keeping on, living, giving, gifting—putting messages out into the Universe that I have enough, I am enough, there is enough.

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I can’t know for sure whether or not it’s working, but today I got a couple small assignments in, heard from an old, old travel friend and found a $5 bill on the ground just minutes after my favorite Turkish restaurateur-chef randomly presented me with a beautiful ring, just because she doesn’t “feel like selling them anymore, and not everyone appreciates their beauty.”

So I’m inclined to trust there is some truth to this approach. We must believe in abundance—of wealth, of health, of love, of whatever we seek—even when, especially when, it is something we currently cannot see.

I’m thinking it’s worth convincing ourselves: There is somehow always enough.

Welcome, Grateful November

For whatever reason, I am bursting with heightened emotions today, my senses feeling highly piqued and everything feeling especially vibrant & intense (touch wood, in a good way). I don’t know whether I’m riding a post-trip high or a post-concert high or a pre-OTHER-trip (yes, another one!) high, but I know full well that this ain’t gonna stick around forever (heck, it could have flitted away by the time I press “publish”)… So I’m gonna go ahead and ride it out while I can, acutely thankful when periods like this decide to pass on through.

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I love this month leading up to the holidays (with so much talk of “November gratitude” and much-anticipated reunions on the horizon), and I’m currently finding the early-evening, wintry-hued skies cozy and contemplative versus dark and depressing. (Again, we’ll see how long this lasts, so just bear with me please:))

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I’ve started about a bajillion other mini-posts about amazing adventures and epiphanies and assorted thoughts I’ve had over recent months (I can’t keep up!), but for tonight, I’m just gonna post this photo love and soak up some ambient KEXP tunes, as I plug away on several more deadlines that are quickly approaching (a peril of self-employment and my recent self-granted vacation).

I mention this not to complain—it was 1,000% worth it—but rather to say that are often periods of hard work and long hours, and my life is far from an endless session of carefree gallivanting and fun. (I don’t know who I’m justifying this to, and who knew this would sneak out right now, but I admit I’ve bristled the few times I’ve heard comments like, “Your life is one big vacation!”)  Like everything, it’s a balance, and one I’m recently—finally—feeling pretty darn good about.

Happy November, friends. Let’s make it a great one.

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Rags to Riches, Ramen to Royalty

Sometimes being a freelance writer is a string of sleepless nights fretting about money & bills & an uncertain future. (And oh yeah, 401Ks, what’re those again? Eeps.)

And, other times, it’s a frantic call from a PR friend who’s had a last-minute cancellation on a press trip, so she wants to know if you’d pretty, pretty please come stay in one of your favorite downtown hotels and eat dinner with them and then eat brekkie the next day (among other amazing proposals)? Um, yeah, sure, OK. Twist my arm! It’s a funny world, my friends, I tell ya:)

When I began this journey as a green, naive, little writer-wannabe, I had no clue what I was signing up for. But boy am I glad I keep trekking down this winding trail.

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Have I mentioned I love working from coffee shops?

Here’s a gem I stumbled upon last week (sun-speckled-Parisian-cafe-meets-downtown-Seattle). Today I’m testing out a new spot where animated yoga teachers chat to my left, Whitney belts out those unmistakable high notes overhead, and refreshing breezes sneak in through wide-open sliding windows.

Some days I feel light years from that Eye Street NW box where I spent 5 years of my life.

“Do whatever work feeds your true self, even if it’s not a safe bet, even if it’s like a crazy risk, even if everyone in your life tells you you’re wrong or bad or crazy.”~Martha Beck

Vibrationally up to speed

I couldn’t have said it better than she did, so I won’t bother trying.

Half-way through the work week, friends. Hope you’re hanging in there and remember to enjoy along the way!

“When you are praising, when you are appreciating, when you are acknowledging value, when you are looking for positive aspects, when you are laughing, when you are applauding, when you are joyous, when you are feeling that feeling of appreciation pulsing through you, in those times, there is no resistance within you. You are, in those moments, vibrationally up to speed with who you really are.”~ Abraham-Hicks

Plugs (for really creative, talented peeps) Part I

Since I quit my 9-5er this past summer in hopes of successfully navigating the scary yet freeing world of self-employment, I have a new-found, COLOSSAL respect for those who veer off the traditional path to pursue their creative dreams. It is a lifestyle that is often coveted and sometimes glamorized, but believe me, it ain’t easy!

Today I thought I’d plug a few talented folks I happen to know who are doing really amazing things. You should know them too!

**Rachel and I grew up together, and I remember the stunning scope of her talent being evident even as a wee one. I ordered a few of her Virginia prints for family members this past Christmas, and they LOVED ’em. Check out her awesome artwork on her etsy shop. (I highly enjoy her blog too:))

**Rob is one of my brother’s best childhood friends, and he is currently living the NYC dream and working on a hilarious new web series called  I Hate Being Single. Here’s a summary, and check out the trailer below!

“Created by sketch comedy and web series mainstay Rob Michael Hugel, I Hate Being Single follows a freshly dumped 20-something as he struggles to find his place in the confusing world of friends, relationships, parties, and dating in Brooklyn.”

 

**I met Norm (and his lovely wife) from Northern Ireland on a blue-skied Bolivian day in 2004 when we bonded over the beauty of the island we were wandering and the persistent begging of the children who were literally hanging off our legs and backpacks. That evening, over bottles of wine and invigorating travel talk at a quaint spot in Lake Titicaca, we became fast friends. They hosted me a few years later in their welcoming Belfast home, and I was thrilled to catch up with Mags over a pub lunch in DC more recently. Norm has since published two books about their incredible Pan-American adventures (on motorcycle!).  I’m so proud!

I wish these hard-working talents continued inspiration and success. Keep up the great work, guys!

Monday Mix

This was my view for the past 36ish hours, as I hunkered down to finish an article (which I finally submitted this evening! Hooray!). Ironically, my biggest cram sessions writing-wise  have so far been on days that are ‘off days’ for everyone else. A bit flip-flopped, non? But believe me, I’m by no means complaining.

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I feel my recent weeks have been such a blur–first holidays (food, drink, festivities, family), then more visitors (sightseeing, friends, food, drink, repeat) and finally meeting story deadlines (holed up with just my mind, my words and my laptop in my own lil cocoon). It’s all been really good fun, but a bit confusing at times too! (Especially to swap from 24/7 social mode to solitude/focused productive zone…)

Tonight when I finally stopped to take a breath, I tried to map out my plan of attack for tomorrow… Back to my routine, I thought! Until I realized I don’t really have a routine, a ‘normal’ here per se. Hmmm. Funny that. The curse AND beauty of being self-employed, eh? It’s odd, but refreshing too.

This video makes me so insanely happy. I just want to hang with these talents in that wee room all day long! Hope you enjoy it too:) Happy Monday, friends.