Hello and my apologies for the radio silence. Life is shifting and while I have great and exciting news, I'm still in the throes of transition. It's going to take a few weeks, but we are getting ourselves in a pretty nice new groove over here. I started a new, full time job a couple weeks ago and Laina and I have a pretty regimented Monday through Friday! I thought now is a great time to share my career change story. Perhaps some of you are dreaming a new dream and feel the change is too daunting. Oh, it sure is, but it can certainly be done and I'm so happy I stayed the course. I went from Environmental Scientist to small creative business owner to Social Media & Marketing Manager.
For the past two years, I've been in quite a transition of changing my career. I studied Ecology and Resource Conservation in college and worked in the environmental industry for 15 years - 9 years at my last place of employment. Most of my environmental career was wonderful and satisfying enough. But something was always missing...it never felt like my true passion. I could never say "I love what I do." And that just sucks, doesn't it? But, I chose that path and committed to it and was really okay with it. I have several hobbies that I love, and a full, busy life that I was okay with not loving my 9-5. Let's fast-forward---or, rewind---to February 2017 when I was laid off from said environmental job. As SCARY as it was (um, ya know, a divorce in full swing), I was actually relieved, excited and looking forward to my new life. I knew I wanted to do something completely different, something creative, something that fed my soul. Being laid off was a nice swift kick in the butt to start something I was too afraid to start. And I honestly didn't really know where to start...!
How do you change your career at 37?! Well, 35 at the time. And when you have a child and a house and BIG responsibilities?! One can think "holy crap, what a HUGE step BACK." OR, one can think: "holy crap, that's courageous, YAY for following your passion." It's easy to think and feel like you've taken a step back, but really, life is not linear at all. Don't believe that that life is linear. If you take anything away from this post....let it be that! Life is cyclical, just like the seasons. It's constantly evolving and changing. As it should. Relationships change or shift. Careers change or shift. Where you live. Your community. You never know when or where you are sowing seeds. It's true, when one door closes, another opens. If you don't see said door, look a little harder---or build one! Let's face it, I'm not starting at square one. I'm divorced and maybe a little more wiser. But I loved with all my heart. And still do. I was laid off, but I'm not starting at the back of the line. I'm carrying many years experience - just using those skills differently.
Was I crazy? Sometimes I thought so. Was I being immature? I hope not! Selfish? Hell, no. There was a whole lot of self doubt and fear I was dealing with but at the time, really, really deep inside my heart, I knew the right thing was going to happen. It took a WHILE, but I'm getting there. (Again, thank God for yoga).
Ironically, the day I got laid off, I had three calligraphy inquiries. One of which, the client flew me to New Orleans to do on-site hand lettering at a 3 day conference. I mean, REALLY?! Did that really happen? Yes, it happened! Between my lovely little creative business here at the studio and working alongside my Mom in her studio, I developed a whole new set of skills. (marketing, design, business development, accounting, website design, on and on...) Not to mention....I spent 15 years as an environmental scientist. I did a whole hell of a lot of MANY different things. Skills are transferable.
And I didn't even realize it until a friend looked at my resume and asked why I didn't have anything about The Paperly Studio or my Mom's business on there. Um, duh, whoops. I so wasn't thinking. So I got a little smarter, I think, and made a small investment consulting with a resume writer and completely re-vamped what I was putting out there and what I really wanted to do.
Moving along, I couldn't count how many jobs I applied to and how few interviews I actually got. Some weeks upwards of 20-30 jobs I would apply for. All within the realm of what I was qualified for. I wasn't dreaming, my friends, I was truly being realistic. And every week that went by, I would just tell myself to keep up and it will all work out. All in all, I probably applied for close to 200 jobs and could probably count on 2 hands how many companies called me for an interview....ZING!
There was one job I had my eyes, ears, head and heart set on. Absolutely set on. It was between me and one other candidate! I love the company and their ethic, I had a rapport already developed, I nailed all my interviews. Then 5 or 6 weeks went by and I learned I was not the chosen candidate. It was a BLOW, lemme tell you. A BLOW. After so many weeks of waiting, I was prepared to hear I didn't get the job, but it didn't really lessen the feeling of self-doubt and fear that had set in. So I cried on my mat a few days and forged ahead. At the same time I was interviewing with a real estate team, who also decided they weren't going to hire or several months! UGH!
But I kept that door open. As it turned out, neither of those jobs were meant for me. BUT, I sowed some seeds somewhere along the way. I developed a whole new set of skills along the way. I stayed the course and remained hopeful and trusted the process. I learned how much I love promoting business. Talking to people, helping people....Keeping my little creative business alive, I started working as a Social Media and Marketing Manager for a small real estate team---close to home! I love this job and I'm so happy I was laid off two years ago. Of course, this life change is for ME. BUT, I've got a small set of beautiful blue eyes on me all the time. Watching my every move. What do I want to show her? That I'm unhappy? Complacent? That I have no ambition? Hell no. I want to show her a happy, badass mama who took a risk. You know what? That's what my Mom showed me 25+ years ago when she had $300 in savings and little file cabinet and started her business. And she hit some hard stuff along the way, BUT, stayed the course. And holy crap, she's amazing. Amazing artist, mother and entrepreneur. It's not been an easy path. Nor should it be easy. How else do you learn and grow if everything is easy? I didn't know where to start, I just knew where I wanted to be. And through trial and error and tenacity, I'm getting there. I mean, I'm only 37!! (laughter)
When you feel something in your soul...go for it. You will only regret NOT going for it. Oh, and it's okay to cry.
After recently seeing Jeffrey Focault and anticipating seeing Iron and Wine next month, my music inspiration has been reignited and I thought this was a great way to share what I'm listening to these days with you all! Here is my Fall 2018 playlist on Spotify--and it's quite chill. It will not motivate you to clean your house, but it will be sweet background music to a bonfire with friends, a lazy day reading (wait, what? who does that?! Trust me, you'll find time), or maybe you've got a road trip planned. If anything, give this a listen and let me know what you think! Do you have any favorites?Any song suggestions are welcome...all playlists are really a work in progress, right? (Feel free to follow me on Spotify as I'm a music fanatic!)
You know you are excited about these cookies! And...pretty pictures. It's that time of year that you can enjoy a little pumpkin spice--guilt-free! These soft spongy cookies are absolutely tasty to boot! I make these every year around this time and they don't last very long in my house. One day tops! So go ahead and get your pumpkin spice on....
PUMPKIN SPICE MADELIENE'S
(adapted from here)
3/4 C granulated sugar
1/4 C melted butter
3/4 C canned pumpkin puree
1 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and grease your madeleine tray with non-stick baking spray.
Beat eggs, sugar, butter and pumpkin puree using handheld mixer.
In a separate bowl, mix all your dry ingredients including spices. With mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients to wet in two batches.
Using a piping bag if you have one (spoonfuls work just as well), fill the madeleine tray, being as detailed as possible to get the cute shape/grooves of the tray.
Bake for 10-12 minutes till puffy and light brown. Cook ten minutes in tray then turn over and dust with powdered sugar. EAT & ENJOY!!!!
You want to know why I love this quote so much? Well, for many reasons really. For one, it's often painfully true. I mean think about it. Think about your life and all the things you ever wanted and still want. And think of the journey you took to get where are you today. If we got all that we wanted exactly when we want it, we would miss out on so many experiences, conversations, lessons, pitfalls, I could go on and on. I think I'm one of the most impatient people out there! So, this quote speaks to me often and its in my daily practice to remember this very quote and to trust the process. Another reason to love this quote: How about when we DO get what we want exactly when we want it....ironically, often times that can be the very lesson we need. We think we know what we want. We think we have earned it and feel our path forward includes this very thing or job or person or event. And, at times, we are left feeling not ready, maybe it was a mistake, or, heck---what were we THINKING??!?!
I take this quote to my mat almost every day and trust the process and practice patience and gratitude for what I DO have in my life. I may not be on firm ground or have what I want or need, BUT, I can say with certainty, I'm on the right track. That much I know. And I won't stop working for what I want. And neither should you. Happy Monday my friends!
Hello and Welcome October! I'd like to start each week with a Lettering Challenge. This will keep me on top of my creative pursuits and hopefully you all enjoy the experimentation and quotes to come! (Above: Brause Steno nib + Walnut ink)
As we come into October, we are officially in our new routine for school/work and as the season transitions, and so are our bodies. I've been more mindful lately of self care. Feeling overwhelmed by life and eating too much mac n cheese (Laina's fave!), I was craving a full on refresh. There are many small things we can do each day to nod to our bodies and mind. It can be chamomile tea before bed, a yoga class in the morning, ten minutes of meditation before we get out of bed...and perhaps a cleanse. While there isn't a wrong time to begin, the fall is a great time to pay a little more attention to our bodies as we come out of summer and into autumn. At the end of September, I did a Fall Cleanse and Rejuvenation. I had never done one before and this particular cleanse/rejuvenation followed the Ayurvedic principles of maintaining a mono-diet along with herbal supplements, asana, pranayama and agni sara. According to Ayurveda, our bodies transition with the seasons and the following five elements: earth, water, fire, air and space. It's important to note because our bodies become imbalanced and there are a few simple things we can do to get back on track and feel great again. My cleanse was three days, followed by one week of rejuvenation. It was a completely attainable cleanse AND I didn't starve!
I did cut out coffee, wine, dairy and gluten. It wasn't that hard at all, and at this point, I feel a whole lot lighter and refreshed! BUT, I did go through a period of of dealing with some emotional and physical instability. Meaning, Day 2 was kinda brutal. I had a headache that I couldn't shake all day despite the copious amount of water I drank. I was also absolutely exhausted and spent the day almost in its entirety napping! Emotionally, what came along with that was a bit of frustration. I almost didn't think I could do the third day! But I persisted and I'm really glad I did. After a long sleep, Day 3 was much easier and now post cleanse, I continue to enjoy eating kitchari (it's quite tasty and you really will feel great after eating it!). I had a cup of coffee about a week later and absolutely enjoyed it, but I don't really want to drink a lot of coffee like prior to the cleanse. Same thing with wine and even eating in general. I'm just not craving things like pasta or pizza and since I feel better, I'd really like to keep it going!
What measures or routines or small changes do you make for self care? And do you practice daily, or only when you're feeling off balance? If you're interested in learning more about a cleanse using Ayurvedic principles, feel free to check out the information here.
If you choose to do a cleanse, I highly recommend you have some time carved out where you can be curious how you are feeling emotionally and physically. Your body detoxes and practicing asana is amazing and helps push things that we are holding onto through and out of our bodies. (I did yoga twice one day during my cleanse!) Allow yourself to really feel what's going on.
Happy Friday everyone! For those of you who are local...it's been rainy and rainy and rainy for what feels like never ending, amiright?! Welp, this weekend is gonna look a bit different here in the Mid-Atlantic--YAY! Been feeling these muted fall colors lately (mood board above) and I'm pumped that this weekend is going to look and feel like fall.
Laina and I have a busy weekend full of birthday parties, decking out our porch with mums and pumpkins and a hayride ending with S'mores! And just generally enjoying the outdoors as much as we can. This time of year is a favorite for most, including myself. What are some of your favorite things to do this time of year? It seems like there is always so much more going on in the fall than any other time of year!
Before you head off and enjoy your weekend, here are a few links from around the web that you should check out! A little something for everyone!
This beautiful cookbook.
This bralette. (I totally have it)
Thinking I may make this apple butter over the weekend.
Definitely making this mushroom and kale risotto!
For Chester County locals, Laina and I will be hitting up this event at Mt. Cuba Center, and likely apple picking over at Highland Orchards.
A really great article on bullying - warning signs and prevention.
Some of my latest projects over on Instagram!
Hi, hello there! After a long pause online (blogging) and ultimately deciding to end my previous blog, Our Sweetened Life, I decided to start sharing life again here at this space. Welcome to a fresh start, blogging all over again, and I hope you join me and my life adventures with my sweet little Laina girl.
Through my sharing, I hope to inspire and open the space up for discussion. Most of you may know I'm a single momma of a sweet little 4 year old girl who keeps me on my toes and makes me want to be a better version of myself. I mean...I made my match, right?! She's a bright, hilarious and open child. She's pretty much down for everything and enjoys every adventure we experience. Her favorite things right now are ballet, gymnastics, baking yumminess with me, playing teacher and seeing where the wind takes her.
I'm planning to resurrect my favorite hobbies and share once again things that inspire me, my photography, my baking, my love of the outdoors and all things CALLIGRAPHY! I look forward to sharing all of that right here with you. I can't tell you how much I've MISSED blogging and sharing. And therefore, SO pumped to finally start again.
I feel compelled to offer an explanation as to why I stopped. Some of my life struggles since pausing my blog in 2016 includes a very major and long battle with Lyme Disease, followed by separation and divorce. Then in perfect timing, job loss! And it's crazy to realize all that has happened in such a short period of time (like all in less than a year). Yet took years in the making, really.
All is not lost though. And every day I had the choice to decide wether I would stay lost or rise above and believe that things will shift and it's all meant to be. And will get better. "We are exactly where we should be." I truly love and believe that quote, even though I spent many mornings in yoga crying on my mat and swearing at that very quote. Along the way, I have learned many lessons and feel as though I have constantly been put to the test. Countless sleepless nights, countless rejections, questioning my nature and abilities, confusion, sadness, doubt, all very normal shit! At the same time, I can say "it could always be worse".
Because the truth is, my health is in a great place. The truth is, I have developed and maintained a healthy relationship with my ex and we are kinda nailing the co-parenting thing. The truth is, I was really happy to be laid off. Not really. But kinda. I was ready and wanting a big change. And ironically, shortly after getting laid off, things with The Paperly Studio took off. It's been a JOURNEY for sure. I'm still not quite on firm ground, and I know sharing all this puts me in a vulnerable place, but heck, that's where I've been for a while! And maybe you are gong through something similar? Just know, YOU AREN'T ALONE.
There is so much I want to share! I want to share what it's like being friends with your ex husband. I want to share my insecurities when it comes to parenting. I want to share the pain deep in my soul about my divorce and separating our family--because it's very real and worth sharing. I want to share how difficult and doubtful its felt to completely change my career. It's hard lemme tell ya. It won't all be serious though! I've got lots of beautiful and inspiring stories and creative things in the making....so, stay tuned my friends. I hope you come here for not only beautiful calligraphy and hand lettering but also some thoughts on life and all the adventures we are having. For now, here are some cute pics!