Moving….

9 Nov

My blog has MOVED! It’s moved and I am so delighted to show you the new design.

Check it out here:

www.alisoncitron.com/blog

Look at that url! It’s so official!

See you there.

Freelance: Month 4

8 Nov

I’ll be honest, I didn’t realize it was time for my monthly check-in post until I looked at a calendar. I’ve been feeling really tired and kind of crazed – last night my evening was derailed by having to give Caspian a flea bath and steam mop my apartment, which is satisfying and fun in its own way, but also NOT what I was planning to accomplish.

I think overall this is the first time that I can definitively say that I am in a better place this month than I was last month. I guess every day I continue to do this is progress, as I’m moving forward, but this month I have actual things to show for my work, including paychecks and completed projects. I can feel my skill set growing, and I’ve consistently been in a better mood.

I am learning that time management is always going to be something of a struggle. I consistently underestimate how long something will take me.  I also have a tendency to drop everything and attend to an email, or client request, or phone call as soon as I receive it.  It’s okay if someone waits an hour to hear back from me. It’s okay to turn off my email, and silence my phone. It’s okay to want to stick to my original plan for how my day should go. Most of it can wait, and if it can’t, I am the one who can decide if it’s worth it.

I think the next couple of months are going to be fun. Now that I feel like I have some experience in how unpredictable this can be, I’m looking forward to the adventure.

My Goals for Month 4

+ Better separate work life from home life. I guess you’d really have to ask David if you wanted to know for sure, but I think I’ve been doing better. We have definitely been having more conversations about things other than work, and I’ve been focusing on a lot of other, non work things, as well.

+ Create my marketing ‘team’. This was actually a really good idea on my part. I bought a marketing workbook, which sounds kind of nerdy but was exactly what I needed in order to get started. I’ve kind of stalled out on that because there are a couple things I reeeallly need to finish before I can go any further. It’s frustrating, but also good, because if I was all done with that it would mean I didn’t have any outside work coming in!

+ Start working on personal projects that help me develop skills. 

 

My Goals for Month 5

+  Be more aggressive about scheduling my time. This carries over from what I was saying earlier. I need to stop letting every interruption derail my day.

+ PLAN BETTER!  Some things you can’t plan, of course, but I want to have a plan for how my next year is going to go, and I want to actually stick to it.

+ Finish the things I’ve been working on forever, and move on to step two. This includes actually finishing my website, blog, updating my portfolio, and getting in touch with people whose projects I sort of on-and-off work on.

 

 

My Freelance Life:

Day 1

Month 1

Month 2

Month 3

Yudid it!

7 Nov

I’m having a lazy morning. This is partially because I worked until 11 on Friday night (if I’m going to share the good, I should probably share the not-ideal too, right?) and also because David and I are on the cusp of some major closet cleaning, and the office is a huge mess right now.

Anyway, it’s fitting I’m just lounging around on the couch this morning, because I had a nice, lazy weekend. I hardly left the house, I calligraph(ied? calligraphed?) a bunch of things – I bet you thought I had given that up – and not to brag, but I’m getting MUCH better. My first attempts looked like a fourth grader learning cursive, but I’m finally getting somewhere.

Another great thing that happened this weekend was that I purchased a ‘personal’ screen printer!

I learned to screen print in school. It spoiled me. They had a nice big industrial exposure table, a room specifically for washing out the screens, with different mixtures of chemicals for me to use depending on what step in the process I was at, and a dark cabinet for letting my emulsion-coated screens dry. Sure, it was not so great when someone stole my screens out of the room, but for the most part it was a great place to screen print, and I felt pretty unprepared to do so outside of the comfort of school. There have been many times when I’ve thought about trying to sneak back in and use their equipment, but that just isn’t feasible.

So after a year or so of putting that on the back burner, my time finally came. I found the Yudu personal screen printer, which is awesome because it comes with a light table, and can be hacked to use non Yudu-branded materials. It basically functions as a much smaller and more contained version of what I used at school, and I think it is a great solution for my space/budgetary needs right now. I am so excited to use it.

It feels like I won a contest or something, since because they are coming out with a new version in the next month or two, they have been on clearance at Michaels. This is great, because they are 1/3 of the original price, but it was a bitch to find them. I called around to the local stores, and none of them had any in stock. Then I called a place about an hour and a half away, and they had two. They said that they could transfer one to a more local store, but when I called five days later, they didn’t have any record of that, and had sold their remaining stock.

I called ANOTHER store in the same area, and spoke to a guy who said he was coming to Raleigh and could bring it to a store close to me, but when I called the next day to see when he was arriving, I was told that the machine they had was broken, so it would be a no-go.

At this point, I was obsessed with getting to this screen printer. I felt like I was on some sort of quest, and if I actually got one in my hands, it would mean I could succeed at anything. This screen printer and I were meant to be together. So I called one more store, in the next city over. They had two. They could hold it. I immediately got in the car and drove over there, and procured my prize.

Just remember: You can do anything you put your mind to.

Phew!

4 Nov

So remember how I talked about this week and my giant list? Well, I’ve decided I should no longer make announcements on here, because basically the minute I posted that, the world was like HA HA HA here are some other things you MUST do. But that’s okay! Because there is always this weekend, and next week.

I also should probably confess to falling back down into my negative ways of thinking for a little bit this week. (Do you like how dramatic I make that seem? Like I’m fighting for my life in a giant pit or something..) It was a definitely a call my-mom-just-to-talk-and-then-end-up-crying type of week. But then I got an opportunity to talk to one of my friends just a little bit about my situation. He’s really talented and successful, and it is forever on my to-do list to learn Spanish so I can go work with him in Puerto Rico. Anyway, he asked me how my stuff was going, and I just automatically replied ‘Good.’ Then I thought about it for a second, and I added, ‘It is SO STRESSFUL, I didn’t really expect it to be like this,’ and he told me that he knew all about that, and that it took him about a year and a half after graduation to make it all work.

You guys, when I heard that, I felt a weight fly off my shoulders. I have such high expectations for myself. I expect to be as great as people who have been doing this for years and years in 1/10th of the time. I feel so inspired to work hard, instead of discouraged because everything isn’t perfect the first time around.

Speaking of imperfect, I am in the processing of getting my new blog ready to go! I really want to start using it now, but I’m going to wait until the last tiny details are perfect before I show it to the world. I’m so excited to be finishing up this particular project, as it’s been in the works for quite some time, and it feels like a big step in the right direction. So stay posted for the new blog sometime next week.

Meanwhile, Caspian and myself (mostly me) want to send you a very special message:
how to make a gif
Here’s where I made this

See you next week!

You Don’t Really Mean That..

2 Nov

I check my spam filters pretty regularly, as sometimes important emails can get trapped in there. I check my spam comments too, since those far outweigh my real comments, and I want to make sure nothing’s getting stuck!

So far, there hasn’t been anything in there that shouldn’t be, but the nonsensical comments are kind of interesting to me. Some of them sound so close to being real.. but something’s off. I saved the two below because they made me laugh out loud.

First of all, there was no thread. Second, why does saying that coffee machines and espresso makers are going to be a popular holiday item warrant a Just Sayin!? Maybe I’m doing it wrong, but I thought that was the new ‘no offense.’

 


I will get right on fixing that thing. Right after I find the attention I’m searching for. On my public blog.

Climbing Out Of The Negativity Rabbit Hole

1 Nov

I understand that this is something girls say (see above), but holy crap HOW is it November? Do you know what November means? November means that it is almost a year since I started Love Citron, that it’s almost time for the holidays (thank you, marketing for making this impossible to miss) and that I can no longer pretend that it’s just ‘really late summer’. The light in my apartment has changed, the leaves are finally turning, and it’s painful to go outside barefoot. It can be painful all year if you aren’t paying close attention, since people like to smash beer bottles on ‘my’ sidewalk, but you know what I mean.

November also means that it’s officially time to take down the Halloween decorations. I’m not looking forward to this because THAT means that I have to clean out my closets. Since the apartment is older, and I guess people back in the day didn’t like to store anything, our closets are microscopic, and they’ve been poorly organized since the beginning of time. I have been preparing myself for this day for months, and it’s definitely time.

I guess I always think of November as the beginning of the change. It’s always been like that – people start looking forward to the holidays, the weather becomes officially cold, the time changes, it gets dark at noon, the urge to drown your seasonal affective disorder in cheese and white flour becomes overwhelming (just me?) – but this year it seems particularly fitting.

I arrived at a decision this weekend that I think marks a turning point for me. I’m not sure if it’s come across here, since I have zero objectivity when it comes to my blog, but lately (like in the past 3 months) I have felt myself sliding into a rut. I think I sort of expected freelancing to just magically work out, and I know I didn’t have a solid plan going into it. It was so discouraging to watch week after week pass, and feel like I was simultaneously working hard, and not working hard enough. I knew I wasn’t doing enough to build my business, but whenever I tried to work on it, I felt so overwhelmed and discouraged, like it wouldn’t matter, that I couldn’t make much progress. This isn’t to say that things haven’t been going well, but they have been progressing nearly as quickly as I’d like. I felt like I was wasting a lot of time and potential because I wasn’t organized, and I was focusing too much on the negative.

It was scary. Not to be too dramatic, but it almost felt the way it does when you have a nightmare, and can’t run away from whatever it is that’s scaring you. I felt like I needed to work harder, but I didn’t know where to begin.

So I made a decision. I have stopped focusing on what has gone wrong, and what could still go wrong, and I’m only focusing on what I have to gain. It’s scary to invest both time and money in myself and my work, but it would be scarier if I didn’t try. There are things I’ve spent a lot of time stressing out about, but sometimes it’s okay to try things that don’t work out. It’s okay to fail sometimes. I remember that it’s okay to not be perfect at this immediately. The only person I have to prove things to is myself.

 

The second thing I did was put myself in boot camp.  I made a wish list of all the things that I needed in order to begin seriously promoting myself and growing my business.  It’s very ambitions – if I had written out every step associated with the items on that list, it would be at least 10 pages long, but I’m trying to complete it by the end of the week.

I feel amazing. I feel like I’m finally making progress, and I’m more creative than I have been in a while, and like I’m learning and growing. I also feel a lot happier, and excited about what I’m doing. I’ll update you on some of the changes I’m making as I make them, so stay tuned for some exciting updates this week!

What do you do when you feel yourself heading down into the negativity rabbit hole? How do you jump start projects?

Happy Halloween!

31 Oct

It is cold and rainy here, which is really putting a damper on the evenings festivities, but after such a fun weekend, I can’t really complain. We had a Halloween party this weekend, which I will humbly submit was a huge success. I went a little nuts decorating – turns out I really like fake cobwebs.

Doesn’t it look spooky? I have come to realize that I really love throwing parties. I get a lot of enjoyment out of planning and preparing for them, and having a party is just as fun as going out with your friends – except you don’t have to pay for each drink and you don’t have to drive anywhere.

I was also really proud of my costume.

I look like a total goober here, but you get the idea.

I guess it would actually be pretty weather appropriate if I cared to wear it again tonight, but my legs would be cold… Because I’m the Morton Salt girl!

So we definitely celebrated Halloween in style, and now I am enjoying all of the leftover snacks and candy.

On Sunday, I went to my parent’s house and we carved pumpkins, which is a family tradition. We have a lot of family traditions, but  this one is really fun, and I think the pumpkin I carved with my mom turned out pretty great.

… IF YOU DARE!

Happy Halloween!

Freaky Friday

28 Oct

I’m really excited for the weekend. For some reason, I have been super into Halloween this year, and the weekend is finally here! I have been decorating my apartment all spooky like and the components of my costume have been slowly arriving (it’s a really great costume, not gonna lie) and I’m planning all kinds of fun things. I actually managed to bust out of my Friday gloom by way of a marathon phone talk with my mom, where I whined a lot and then came up with a game plan.

As with any good plan, step one is extensive cleaning, so I have a really exciting Friday night ahead of me.

I wanted to show you my current google + profile pic. It was super fun to make, since they have a new photo editing thingie.  My favorite part is my zombie cousin charging up from the ocean. She’s gonna get ya!

I hope you all have a spooky weekend, and I’ll see you back here on Monday. I have to go check on my rummy bears now. Happy Halloween!

 

Outfit of the Day

26 Oct

No, I don't think I'm a model.. That was just the best way to get most of the outfit in the shot!

If you’ve never worked from home, you may not realize the lure of staying in your pajamas day after day. Let me tell you, my friend, it is there. In fact, I have a confession to make. It takes me at least an hour to really wake up, and usually I’ll sit on my couch with my laptop until I’m ready to be a functioning member of the world. Sometimes, I will just sit on the couch all day, in my jammies.

Unfortunately, spending the day in my pajamas on a regular basis isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I usually end up feeling kind of gross, and even if I am super productive, I don’t feel productive if I’m not dressed. So I’ve been on the lookout for clothes that are stylish but also feel as comfortable as pajamas, and I don’t need to worry about ruining by um, spilling food(this happens more than I’d care to admit) or maybe just having a dog slob all over them.

My mom got me this skirt for my birthday. I wasn’t sure about it at first, as it’s floor length and made of kind of like a heavy jersey knit material, but today I decided to be adventurous and put it on. I also put on a wifebeater from wal-mart, and I threw on the cardigan when I had to leave the house and realized you could see most of my bra through the arm holes. I am keeping it real over here, you guys.

It is now my new favorite outfit. I’m not sure if you can tell from the photo, but I look freaking awesome in it, even though I’m not wearing any makeup and I’m ready for a shower. It is super comfortable, I don’t feel like a style lacking freak when I step outside, and if I threw on some jewelry and makeup it would be totally appropriate to wear around friends! I guess you could say that this is my first ‘work outfit’ for my new job. I’m 99% sure it’s going to turn into my new uniform.

Design Sponge In Raleigh!

25 Oct

via apartment diet

Since I was little, I’ve always been into decorating my space. I remember being so excited when the latest issue of Martha Stewart reached our home – at age 10. I was always planning how I would decorate my apartment when I finally had one, and since that’s actually happened, I’ve almost always had some kind of home project in the works. It’s really important to me that our apartment is as homey as possible. I feel lucky that I live in a time where I have access to unlimited inspiration and do it yourself instructions, and no longer have to wait for Martha to show up in my mailbox. Although of course I still subscribe to MSL. Come on.

Anyway, this lead up is just to say that of course I have been reading Design*Sponge for years. I don’t check my feed every day, but any time I feel stuck in a rut, home wise, it’s the first place I turn. It’s just such a wonderful source of carefully curated interiors and I’m always inspired. When Domino folded, my Mom was heartbroken, so I sent her some online links that might ease the pain, and Design*Sponge was the top of the list. She loved it, of course, so when I learned of Design*Sponge At Home, it was a no brainer for her birthday present.

I’m not gonna lie, the book was kind of a present for me, too, because I also got to read it, and I loved it. It’s an enjoyable read, and I especially loved the sneak peeks of different homes around the world. It’s a book that I’m definitely going to come back to (read: borrow from my mom again) whenever my next decorating hurdle pops up.

I was excited to see that Grace was coming to North Carolina for a book signing, and last night Mom and I made our way to Anthropologie to get her book signed. We were bummed that we missed out on the craft event, because there wasn’t a reading or anything afterward, but the upside was we were almost the first in line to get signed. Grace is really nice in person, and she was kind enough to pose for a photo.

Not sure where the sorority girl squat came from..

I actually didn’t know until recently that Grace started on her own pretty young, and she started her blog when she was my age! I keep sort of a running list in my head of people who did their own thing successfully early on in life, so I can remind myself that it can be done when I’m feeling down, and she definitely made the cut.

Sometimes I feel down because I feel like I should be further along in my career at this point in my life, even though I only started on this particular phase 3 and a half months ago. I was feeling that way last night, until I left the book signing, and realized that that could be me in 7 years! Hopefully at some point I will look back on this time and be like “oh man! Those were good times! Time to go hang out in my mansion, and think about how successful I am.”

Do you guys have any sources of inspiration that you look to when you’re feeling down? Any heroes? When you’re making a tough decision, do you ever ask yourself “What would so and so do?”

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