My boyfriend and I start (or try to start) every day by telling each other three things we’re thankful for. It’s amazing how that kind of simple daily reminder can get me out of my head when I’m sweating the small stuff.
Expanding this to a whole week of giving thanks, and I’m reminded that I have a lot to be thankful for this year. Let me count the ways. After feeling like a wandering soul last year, I’ve figured out exactly what I want to do for a career—food and travel freelance writing with a side of blogging—and have gotten to work on some amazing assignments. I’ve solidified some fun and meaningful friendships here. I’ve finally adjusted to my San Diego life and can’t imagine living anywhere else. Overall I’m just a lot more confident and comfortable with who I am. (“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!“)
There are the macro things I’m thankful for (my health, my supportive family, my boyfriend, my funny dog), but I like celebrating the little things, too. Things like finding a yoga studio I love and finally committing to it as a workout and practice, or enjoying a cup of Industrial Grind Coffee. Or living somewhere that’s going to be 80 degrees on Thanksgiving (I honestly don’t miss the cold at all).
We’ll be hosting a few friends at our place tomorrow night, potlucking most of the affair save for the prepared turkey we pre-ordered from Bristol Farms. No one wanted to deal with cooking that beast!
See you back here on Monday. Have a great holiday weekend!
In a stroke of cosmic luck (or coincidence), after months of being bogged down with work, the clouds parted right in time for my and Eaman’s favorite holiday.
Besides going to the pumpkin patch at Bates Nut Farm a couple of weeks ago (see above), this week we went to Balboa Park’s Haunted Trail, made each other candy goody bags, got a Halloween dog treat for Teddy and are taking the day off to watch Halloween—I can handle scary movies only at daylight—before heading out in costume tonight. Yes, we take Halloween very seriously, so I’m keeping it short today.
I spent pretty much all of Monday and Tuesday on the couch or in bed, drinking something warm or passed out in a Benadryl haze. It was an attack of changing seasons—not that there’s much of a change between summer and fall in San Diego—and some nasty allergies. So excuse me for the lack of posting today. I needed a couple of sick days, which I realize people in office jobs are entitled to, but when you work for yourself, you don’t think about those kinds of things.
Some news that perked me up in my drowsiness? My Travel + Leisure article was finally published! I wrote bout the 5 best things to do and eat outdoors in San Diego for their annual America’s Favorite Cities feature. San Diego won for Best Quality of Life and People, and I’d say the magazine is pretty spot on about that.
And now that I’ve taken some much needed time off, I’m already feeling oodles better, so see you on Friday!
I ran into a blogger friend Sunday night and almost immediately we started talking about restaurants in San Diego, as foodie bloggers tend to do. After rattling off a list of our favorites, she asked me what I thought about one particular restaurant I had blogged about. Did I really like it or was I just saying I liked it because I had to, she asked.
Ah, so there it was. Can you really trust a blogger who gets free stuff? It’s a valid question, considering how many unethical practices are thrown around in the blogging world these days, and it motivated me to address it point blank.
So here’s the deal: I’m in a more unique position than most bloggers. When I get invited to try a new restaurant, visit a hotel or sample a product, I’m getting pitched for my day job as a freelance writer, where I write about food, travel, style, weddings and entertainment for different magazines and websites. The understanding is that I’m trying it in consideration for a magazine story, not my blog. It’s research.* But this blog is a happy little synergy between my day job and my hobby, so it becomes this lucky second child who can reap the benefits from the first born.
I’m very rarely contractually obligated to blog about something, but when I do, it’s because I believe in the brand (and will also tell you if I didn’t like something). I really like what Whole Foods stands for, so I partnered on a blog post with them. I’m very committed to natural beauty products (as much as I can and afford), so I partnered with Beauty Counter and Simple Skincare.
Are there restaurants I don’t like and places that just don’t jive with me? Of course. I just don’t find it productive to devote a whole post to a restaurant or product I didn’t like. Wouldn’t you rather have news you can use? If I don’t love it, I won’t write about it, and you can count on that.
So thanks for listening to this minor detour. I think it’s an important issue to address, so dear blogger friend, thanks for unintentionally inspiring me!
*There’s of course a discussion of ethics in relation to that, but that’s a line I like to tread carefully on my own and not on this space since, well, it doesn’t have anything to do with the blog.
Minneapolis, Arizona, Mexico, New Jersey, New York, and Boston—that’s how the rest of this year is shaping up. The itinerary, which is spread out from literally today through the end of November, includes a work trip for Eaman, a few work trips for me and some much needed time back on the East Coast to see friends and family (I haven’t been back since last June!). Most of this summer was spent zipping around for weddings, so I’m excited to get more personal traveling time this fall.
Right now Eaman and I are in Minneapolis for a conference he’s attending, and even though there won’t be much free time between helping him and getting my own work done, I’m jazzed to explore as much as I can. Thanks to Minneapolitan-turned-San Diegan Annie, I already have a list of musts and will be sure to report back with some of my favorites.
All this travel also got me thinking about this year’s work, goals and frustrations. We’re in a unique position in that Eaman and I are both working for ourselves, both starting from scratch and both working from home. It’s fun and flexible, but that also means there’s this fog of stress in the apartment that’s just hard to shake. When one of us is down, we have to boost the other up, and if both of us are down—well, you’ll probably find us eating a burrito outside El Zarape. There’s an emotional toll with this be-your-own-boss thing—assignments fall through, people don’t care about your idea, it takes forever to get paid, etc.—and many days I find myself exhausted and zombie-like not because I’ve been running around, but because I’ve been through a roller coaster of emotions.
The hardest part is trying to juggle everything: my work, helping him with his work, doing house work and taking care of Teddy*. It can be a lot and not all your friends will understand that, no, you can’t hang out as much and yes, you’d rather be alone to watch Real Housewives while eating gummy bears. The other challenge is not knowing when it’ll end. Of course I have faith that we’re both doing what we’re supposed to be doing, but this isn’t like finals week when you cram with an end in sight. We’re pretty much cramming all the time. (God, sometimes I miss those days working in an office when you’d get paid no matter what, even if you surfed Facebook most of the day.)
The good news is that I’m gaining a lot more stability in my career this year. I finally have a focus and drive that was totally absent last year and am crossing some big goals off my bucket list. I’ve been able to write for some dream magazines, and perhaps even better, I’m establishing a rhythm. That whole floating-question-mark feeling? Yeah, I did not like that. My career path has evolved into one of a city explorer, and I love that a huge part of my work involves getting the scoop on events, trying new restaurants and meeting small business owners. And thank goodness for it, because if you work from home, you understand: It’s imperative to get out and talk to other people! (I know it looks like I’m just so everywhere on Instagram, but let me tell you, it’s part of my job, too.)
So all that to say, no, life is not perfect, but I’m pretty darn grateful for the positive things that’ve come my way this year. The stress will always be there in some form—it just means we care—and having that connection to our work, that’s pretty much all we could’ve asked for in this new city of ours.
*I’m the first to admit that last year puppy Teddy was a source of stress. This year, older Teddy is a reliever of stress. Seriously don’t know what we’d do without him.
A few of the hilarious, sad, insightful and clever things I’ve come across the web this week:
What would your fashion blogger name be? The Cut’s name generator can help you find out. Mine is Je ne Sais Quinoa. (NY Mag)
The Simpsons inspired auto-correct, the plot of The Hangover and eight other popular phenomena. (Huffington Post)
I went on a bit of a shopping spree yesterday—all sale items! I haven’t gone shopping like this in a few years! my old clothes have holes in them!—and it was at Ann Taylor Loft that I discovered the cool capsule collection Lou & Grey. Very hip, very New York, very lounge-y, very black, white and grey. (Loft)
There were many moments at the beginning of my time in San Diego that I felt friendless. And despite how much I’ve adjusted and acclimated, there are some days even now when I feel friendless. So when I saw a post by a woman in her late 20’s asking for advice on how to make friends, I was all ears. But as it turns out, this age is one of the hardest times in our lives for friendships. (NY Mag)
*Shameless Plug* Do you love The Princess Bride? Then you should check out the piece I did on 13 things you never knew about the cult favorite. (Yahoo)
I’m skipping out early this week because I’m off to Chicago, my college stomping grounds, for a few days before my friend’s wedding in Michigan (at a summer camp by a lake!). Enjoy the long weekend and see you next Wednesday!