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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.

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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!

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?”

Carnival

24 Oct

This weekend I went to the State Fair. The fair gets a lot of reactions around here – people either seem to love it or hate. There are plenty of reasons to hate it – it’s overwhelming and filled with gross foods, parts of Raleigh are basically inaccessible while it’s going on, my friends used to not be able to come to my birthday parties because that was the day their family went to the fair – but I still love it.

I’m not sure why, I don’t really eat the food, and I don’t go on any rides (they are held together with duct tape and a prayer – I would rather not take my chances). It just feels like fall. I love the people watching (and believe me, there is quite a lot to watch), and the giant prize winning vegetables. It’s so fun to see the animals. One year, we found a barn filled with giant rabbits. We have never been able to find it again, but we always look. I love how the whole thing is so disorienting that I can never find my way around, even though I’ve been attending most of my life. It’s amazing how it can move in and transform what is essentially a glorified parking lot into something completely unfamiliar.

Most of all, I love the lights. Some may think they are gaudy, but I think there’s something beautiful about them.

Do You Ever..

20 Oct

Just look at everything that needs to be done and feel overwhelmed? I do. This has been kind of a weird week for me. I didn’t have as much work that I HAD to do as I anticipated, and that free time, coupled with me still not feeling 100% meant that I spent a lot of time not doing anything useful. There’s a lot that I need to do – but the problem is that I only have a vague idea of what needs to be done. I need to sit down and get it organized, but it feels overwhelming, and lately I haven’t felt up to the challenge.

Usually I feel so bad when this happens. I force myself to sit in front of the computer and feel horrible when the day is mostly gone, and I still haven’t accomplished anything. I think about every person I admire, and how much they’ve accomplished, and then I give myself a lecture about how they didn’t get where they are today by sitting on their couch and being sucked into the social media vortex, MISSY. I tell myself that I need to get moving, PRONTO, and that tomorrow better be super productive, and then…. Nothing happens.

Obviously, that wasn’t doing me any good, so I decided to break the cycle today. I went on a midday walk with Liz, and now I’m at a coffee shop. I decided that being creative is similar to being a teenage girl. The ups are really high, and the downs are really low. You sleep either a lot, or not much at all.

I have two modes – super productive crazy lady, or off. I will do the time every day, but when I’m not feeling it, things don’t get done. That’s stupid. I waste so much time sitting in front of the computer, when, if I’m not feeling creative or inspired, sometimes I can benefit from just walking away. My new plan is to uh, put a plan in place – figure out low level tasks that I can complete when I’m not feeling it, a timeline for the things I NEED to accomplish so I have a good grasp on where I am. And if I’m just really not getting anything done, I’m going to try closing the computer and walking away. An hour in a museum, or a library will ultimately be so much more productive than 3 days spent looking like I’m working, but actually doing very little.

I found this list on Design Crush, which is an awesome blog.

via Design Crush, via Shiny Squirrel

 

 

I think the list is very helpful, especially 6, 7, and 16. It’s a good reminder that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and instead of beating myself up I should relax, and let the creativity flow.

Looking Forward

17 Oct

Relaxin' like a boss on my birthday

 

My birthday was this weekend. This probably does not come as a surprise to you, since I’ve been talking about it a lot. I had a really fantastic weekend. My aunt and cousins came down to visit, the weather was lovely so we spent a lot of time outside, and I think going paddle boating has officially become my birthday tradition, which makes me happy. As we were paddling around, I kept compulsively saying ‘This is so fun! This is so great! I love this!” until my brother started making fun of me.

Not to be materialistic or anything, but I also got some really great gifts, like new clothes that are casual enough for me to wear around the house, but nice enough that I’m not ashamed to be seen in public. David got me a salad spinner, which might not be what most girls dream of getting from their boyfriends, but was actually the perfect gift.

I have wanted a salad spinner since I was 10, and my job at home was to dry the lettuce off using not-very-absorbent towels. It was stupid and time consuming, since there was a machine out there that could do it for you. I begged my mom to get one for years, but she always laughed at me, because I was her salad spinner. She finally got one in the past year, and has seen the light, so I got to hear those magic words: you were right, Alison.

I have been way too cheap to buy my own spinner, so it’s been something I dreamed about as I ate my very damp salads. I don’t recall telling this story to David, and I don’t think I whined that much about not having a salad spinner, but I guess at some point he heard the story. And that’s why I currently sleep with a salad spinner next to my bed. Where I can see it if I wake up in the night.

I usually like to use my birthday as an opportunity to reflect and make some sort of resolution for the upcoming year of my life. Lately, I have been doing a lot of reflecting, so I wasn’t as into it as I normally am. However, an idea hit me last night as I was getting ready for bed. It means so much to me when people remember my birthday, or other significant anniversaries in my life. Hearing from my friends and family is really what makes the day special for me, and I am so lucky to have people in my life who always remember to do that. Even though it’s so important to me, and even though I’m a big fan of helping other people celebrate birthdays, I’m usually pretty bad at remembering to do the same for others. I can usually remember to send a text, but ideally I’d like to send out a card, and maybe a gift, since I’m constantly seeing things that make me think ‘so and so would love this’ and then never following through. This is also a great way to stay connected with people, and it will probably make me happier as well, since I always feel vaguely guilty when someone’s birthday or anniversary goes by and I either forget to contact them or send a text at like 11:59 that night.

It will also be a great opportunity to make some bangin’ new cards! I mean, that’s basically my one special talent, so I may as well capitalize, amiright?