Introducing My Sister To Denver

2:23 PM

 Living in Denver is one of the coolest experiences, and last week I was able to show my little sister around the place I call home. She is 18 and about to attend The University of North Carolina Greensboro, so I wanted her to come out here before she went off to college.

I visited Colorado for the first time when I was a Junior in college. It was the summer before my senior year, and I was itching for adventure. I hadn't seen my cousins in 5+ years, and had never visited the Western United States before. I came out for a week and immediately fell in love.

Holly arrived Tuesday morning on a pretty bumpy flight. The Denver International Airport is always a bitch to fly into because of the crazy turbulence created by the mountains. The first time I flew here I got altitude sickness as soon as I landed, and had intense anxiety because of the winds.

Thankfully, Holly is a bit more tolerant than I am, so she survived without any tears (I think).


I was working from home that day, so we decided to go to a Korean Barbecue place for lunch. Both of us had never tried this, so it was a fun new experience. We decided to sit at one of the tables that held a grill where we could cook the meat as we wanted it - which I had never seen before. This was Holly's idea, and it gave me a chance to show her a bit of Englewood before having to go back to work. 

The time change here is only two hours, but you'd be amazed at what it can do to a persons body. Holly slept while I finished up my work day, then we got ready to head downtown. The weather was nice, so we parked on 17th street and headed over to the Denver Pavilions for dinner and shopping. I had been to the 16th street mall before, and Union Station, but didn't realize we had the Pavilions in that area. It was kind of cliche' but we ate dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. Not really "Denver" specific, but it was the only place without a horrendous wait. 


The next day Holly went to work with me. Fortunately, I have a job that doesn't mind when you bring in family members, or furry friends. Actually, they kind of encourage the furry friend part. I work with a Digital Media Team at The Daily Camera office, and I really enjoyed being able to show Holly what I do everyday. 

I got to show her how I manage all of my social media clients, and she got to meet my awesome coworkers. Around lunchtime I took her to see my Uncle in Boulder - who she hadn't seen in probably 8 or 9 years. We chatted for a bit, planned a get together for Friday, and had lunch at my favorite sandwich place, Snarfs, down the street from my office. 


Thursday night Holly, Allie and I went to one of my favorite clubs. Since she's (finally) 18, she could get in on Thursday's. I had never really "gone out" with my sister before, so it was fun to do something a little more grown up with her. We were all pretty tired though, so we mainly sat on the couches and people watched while I drank Bud Light.


 Friday I took the day off and we ate lunch at Jelly - a cute breakfast place by Denver University, and took some much needed naps before our family reunion in Broomfield. My Aunts, Uncles, and cousins all got together to see Holly Friday night and it was a blast. My entire family is Italian, so we had pizza, porchetta, and lots and lots of beer.

Unfortunately my uncle had a terrible case of kidney stones so an ER trip was made during the party. After eating one chip. I hope I never have to endure them.

We brought our bathing suits and climbed into the hot tub for a bit before heading back to Denver for the night. Holly decided to stay in Broomfield that night with the cousins while Allie and I headed back to our house for the night to make sure our fur baby was alright.


Saturday the three of us visited The Denver Aquarium after having lunch downtown. I was really happy that Allison and Holly got to meet, and talk, because I wanted Allison to shed some light on her career since Holly is interested in the same field. My sister is a huge badass and will be graduating high school with an associates degree at 18 years old (FIST PUMP!), so technically she would only need to attend University for 2 years before getting a Bachelor's. The downside of this - she has to make major choices pretty quickly. Most of us were blessed with a year of cushion and liberal arts classes before we had to embark on our chosen paths. My sister is feeling the pressure.

My advice: Don't stress. You can change your course anytime you want. Nothing is permanent. You don't have to know right now.

Take it from an ex-teacher turned social media guru who has moved 3 times in the last year. 



Overall, I had a blast showing Holly around Denver, and I loved having her here with me. It's crazy to think that she is headed to college in a few short months, and is on the cusp of adulthood. Which means that I'm getting older.....and should be a fully functioning adult.....



Which I am not BYE!

Learning

How To Beat Writers Block + The 1st Chapter of My Novel

7:49 PM

In June 2016 I announced that I was going to write a novel in 30 days - my own little National Novel Writing Month. As the month came to a close I clocked in at around 26,000 words. Which, to be honest, isn't terrible. I was proud of my work and felt creativity flowing through my VEINS *fist in air*!



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But then I moved to Pennsylvania, got two jobs, had to readjust my life, was trying to maintain new friendships + a relationship, and hand-wash dishes (because apparently my father doesn't believe in using his dishwasher?!). 

So my novel went on the back burner, and eventually is collected dust in my Google Drive. 

Cue the gasps. 

Periodically I've tried working on my novel, only to feel uninspired and frustrated with my story and characters. With another set of changes in my life in November, I've only pushed it further back into oblivion. 

Until last week when Allison and I were at Target on a Sunday. 

We were picking up groceries and other things for the house, when I decided to stroll through the book isle. I found my favorite section (YA Fiction + Target Book Club Picks) and started flipping through them. I decided on Children Of Eden by Joey Graceffa, checked out, and took it home with me. 

I breezed through the book in a few days - the standard for me when I find a book that I enjoy, and was immediately compelled to write. 

But when I pulled up my novel, I was overwhelmed with options. I needed to edit the first seven chapters, develop my characters further, outline my plot, choose the climax, and build a fully functioning world. 

Sometimes writers block is just the state of being so overwhelmed that you don't know where to begin. Here are a few things I did to re-inspire myself & start writing again:

1// I used my Bullet Journal: You guys already know I'm a huge advocate for this. I use my BuJo for everything under the sun. In this instance I created a word count tracker, and a little booklet for planning the rest of my novel. I laid out my characters on one page, build a plot chart on another, am keeping track of my edits, and writing down the conflict that happens for all of my characters. Get creative with spreads and let your ideas for writing flow. 

2// I read. I already talked about this, but I think it's the main reason I started writing again. Reading another persons story just made me excited to keep working on my own. I didn't want to leave my characters frozen in time anymore. 

3// I asked for feedback: Once I was finished with Chapter one revisions, I let a friend read it to see how they felt about it. It helped me know what needed to change from an outside perspective, and showed me what people really enjoyed about my work. 

4// I gave myself mini tasks: Right now, I'm working on the first round of editing on chapters 1-7. I wanted to start here so I could have a solid foundation for the following chapters. I also update my plot chart every time I finish an edit, so I have an accurate outline of where the story is headed. 

5// I chose my climax: I decided on the exact moment that the story hits it's highest point, and am building around from there. 

6// I listened to music: Am I the only one who plays out scenes that will probably never happen while they're listening to music? I decided to revisit some of my favorite songs from the early 2000's and see where my imagination took me. Turns out, some of those imaginary scenes work great in my novel.

7// I put pressure on myself: I reached out to people on Facebook asking who would be interested in reading my work - and the response was great! It made me feel like what I am working on is important and interesting and something people want to read.

If you're interested in reading the first chapter of my novel, click [right here]! 

The biggest advice I can give you is to not beat yourself up about feeling stuck when you're writing. Sometime's we can write 10,000 words in one weekend, and sometime's we take a 3 month hiatus. Work at your own pace, and do whatever you can to stay inspired. 

Lifestyle

Life, Lately + March Goals

6:48 PM

Guys, this is a big post. I'm combining my "Currently" posts + my "Life, Lately" updates + my March goals for two reasons: 

1 - they all kind of mesh together this month. 

2 - It's been a hot minute since I did any of these. My last goals update was in December 2015, My last Currently update was in March 2016, and my last Life, Lately was in Jan 2016.

I'm excited to bring you this update, because I have been spending so much time on my biz related posts, that I genuinely miss just virtually chatting with you via my personal blog. Because I'm not worried about making bank from PB, I finally feel like I can openly write about whatever I want. What better way to start that than being a complete narcissist and talking about my life & literally nothing else! 

I'll start with Currently..Right now I'm currently: 

WATCHING // New Girl, again. Allison had never seen it, so I forced her to watch it with me. Turns out she is just as obsessed with it as I am. I'm also watching the new episodes of Grey's on Hulu, and tonight I'll be glued to my TV while I watch the newest episode of How To Get Away With Murder. If I was able to find it somewhere, I'd be watching the 7th season of Shameless, but it isn't on Netflix. 

MISSING // The warm weather. It turns out that in Colorado, snow can happen the day after a 70 degree day. Apparently March is the heaviest snow month, so I'm not really looking forward to that. My tiny body doesn't handle the cold weather well..someone send heated gloves, please! 

PLANNING // Some new paid products for RYCL. Be on the lookout for a printable, customizable planner, and a course dedicated to Social Media Advertising. After creating my free e-course, I've been really excited about creating a product that is jam-packed with info at an affordable price. 

READING // Unfortunately, nothing. I really need to invest in a new book, but I just haven't had the time, or the motivation. I've been lazy lately, and I need to work on getting out of that rut. For those of you who have been reading, what do you recommend? 

FEELING // mediocre, at best. I've been lagging with my Bullet Journaling and self care, which is taking a toll on my physical health. I spent February being really really sick, and I'm still trying to get over the congestion. Being across the country from your dad when you're sick is really shitty, but I did have a very good caregiver who made me homemade chicken noodle soup, and tucked me into bed at night when I had a fever. Since I was stuffy, I spent about a week sleeping with my mouth open, which destroyed my lips. But, I have a weird fear of chapstick, so they're healing unbearably slow. I know my mother is laughing right now because I refuse to use chapstick. 

WEARING // Black. Professional. Warmth. The three words that describe my wardrobe lately, because it's currently snowing in Colorado. No one should really be surprised about the black, though. If I've changed anything, it's the fact that I started wearing flare jeans instead of straight jeans again. I'm feeling kind of "blah" about my wardrobe lately, and hate that half of what I own is scattered between PA & NC. 


ENJOYING // My freaking JOB. Which is a great thing to be able to say. I love what I do. I never imagined that I would be able to work in the social media field, but I'm damn glad I do. it makes life 100x better. I really love the fact that I'm still able to incorporate teaching into my day to day job duties - instead of teaching English to middle school kids, I'm teaching business owners about how Facebook can benefit them! 

NEEDING // to eat healthier. Somehow I've regressed to the broke college girl diet...McDonald's at 10pm because I'm bored. I am 24 years old and I still haven't learned how to properly meal plan. I just need someone to make the plan..buy the groceries..and show me how to cook. Is that too much to ask? (yes). 

 LISTENING // to the new Weeknd album (still), and the new Halsey song from Fifty Shades Darker. I haven't made a new playlist on Spotify in a while, so I might start that in the summer months. Right now my most recent song ads are: 

Lies in The Dark x Tove Lo
Say You Won't Go x James Arthur
Chained To The Rhythm x Katy Perry 

I haven't been impressed with my Discover Weekly on Spotify, and I'm hoping that changes. Usually I'll have a handful of songs that I really love, but right now they're a major miss for me. 


LOOKING // dehydrated and tired. Just kidding. I am looking forward to seeing my little sister graduate high school, and visiting Dani after she graduates college. I'm sad that I wont be able to attend both graduations, but Dani, I'll be there in spirit.



Work: My 9-5 is so much fun. I love being able to work in digital media + advertising, while also teaching people about the benefits of Facebook. I'm trying to get very involved with client meetings, and give them a more personal feel with advertising. I want them to see a face and know they have a real person working on their accounts. I feel like I'm constantly learning new things, and I have the freedom to be creative on the job. It's a great feeling, and I'm finally settled in something long term. My side hustle is still fun, and I like that I have the freedom to move at my own pace with this. Even though I have a 9-5, I've felt like I can allocate more time to this biz than I did when I was a teacher. I developed my ideas for RYCL while I was teaching, but it wasn't until after moving and starting a job in a different field that I really felt like I could dedicate time to it. My favorite part about this whole brand is I get to bring people along as I grow. For example, I just wrote a business plan for RYCL and will be sharing the process during a Facebook Live event in March! 

Play: This is a hard section to fill out. I still feel like I haven't established myself in Colorado. I'm making some new friends, but I am pretty homesick for the people I went to college with. No one really tells you how hard it is to develop real adult friendships after college. On the plus side, my biological sister is coming to visit me on March 7th, and I'm really excited to show her around. I visited Colorado for the first time two years ago, and just traveling to a new area was so exciting, so I think it's going to be a really great experience for her. One of my college sorority sisters will be visiting on the 11th and I cant wait to catch up with her as well. 

Inspiration: A lot of my inspiration is coming from brands like ByRegina, or Femtrepreneur.co. I get a lot of my biz inspo from them, and after taking two free courses, I felt really motivated to create my own. You can sign up for it right here. Style wise, my new haircut was inspired by New Girl - more specifically Jessica Day. Huge thanks to West End Salon in Boulder for the awesome cut. 



Blog Posts:
Not much has been happening on this blog, mainly because I was so focused on building my Social Media Management biz. But here are the most recent posts, + some "in the works" that you can look forward to! 

PB:
"What Being a DZ Has Taught Me About Love" - I wanted to write something that my fellow sisters can relate to, and remind them of why they joined the sorority that they did. 
"Why I'm Glad I Moved Away From My Hometown" - Am I the only one glad that they moved out of Hickory? 

RYCL: 
"How To Use Facebook For Your Biz" - A complete guide to making Facebook work for your brand! 
"Canvas Ads: Getting Creative With Facebook" - A breakdown of one of Facebook's ad features that I think is ahh-mazing.



March Goals:
I'm dedicating March to getting back on track with my self care. I want to spend the month making sure I'm taking care of myself first, before I take care of anything else. I'm feeling a bit out of control in all aspects of my life, and I think that stems from my lack of personal goal setting. 

Personal: 
1// Get back into Bullet Journaling
This happens to me from time to time - I will completely stop using my planner. I don't know why I do this, but I do know that I need to start again. I want to utilize it more for self care and keeping myself accountable. Reading Boho Berry and joining her Facebook group has re-inspired me! Maybe I'll even get a March "Plan With Me" video up. 

2// Visit the Denver Aquarium 
I want to do this when my sister is in town! I've been to the Denver Zoo 3 times since I moved here (because Allison has a membership) and I love it. I just want to experience something else that Denver has to offer. 

3// Don't sweat the small stuff 
This goal is vague for a reason. My temper has been at an all time high lately, and I want to scale that back. I want to stop nitpicking small things, and start choosing my battles. I'm wasting a lot of time being mean, when I could be spending more time loving life. Honestly, this will probably be the hardest goal for me to reach. I've always been high strung, and a hot head, so it will take some serious dedication. Fingers crossed. 

Business:
1// Send out weekly emails
Because of my free e-course, I've built a pretty solid email list for RYCL (don't want to take the course, but still want freebies in your inbox? Sign up here), and I'm excited to connect with my subscribers. I want to start sending out weekly emails with freebies, updates, and cool content for them to explore. I know this will take some extra time, but I know that it will help my biz in the long run. Have any suggestions? Comment below or send me an email! 

2// Build 1/4th of my paid course
I started out setting this goal to be "half of my paid course" but I know that right now that isn't possible for me. I'm building a course worth money, so I want to take my time with it. BUT, I know if I don't set a deadline or goal, I'll keep procrastinating. I was able to build my e-course because I had a structure with specific tasks for each day - I might try that again.
3// Build 2 social media schedules pro-bono for clients
I'm lucky enough to work with two clients right now through RYCL. I want to create their social media plans for free, because I want to show them that my method will work. I firmly believe that giving something(valuable)away for free is the best way to build trust and create a long-term client. That's what I'm trying to do here. 

I'll leave you with some questions for yourself.
What are your March goals? Is there a theme for the month, like mine is self care? 
What type of blog posts do you like seeing on PB? 
How's your life, lately? What changes do you need to make? 

- R

Love

Making My Life My Own, Over & Over Again.

8:22 PM

In the midst of building a business on my own, I have completely neglected this lifestyle blog. It probably feels like the forgotten older sibling when Mother brings home the new baby sister. .My last post was from JUNE 2016, when I was finishing up teaching. That was right around the time that I decided to (quite literally) abandon all of my belongings and move to Pennsylvania.

Guys..I'm not kidding. I left all of my "not needed" possessions in an apartment in North Carolina and got the F out of there. The owner of that apartment was not happy to say the least. *Shoulder shrug*


Fast forward to now, and I honestly feel like I'm back in June 2016.

No, I don't want to move again (I've moved to two different states in the past year). I just feel like I'm living my life submerged in mediocrity. The last time that I had a home that I was my own (and not anyone else's) was in 2013.

TWENTY - THIRTEEN, people.

It was my studio apartment that I rented right before Jess and I had moved in together.

I feel like my life has become a 9-5 drag, and I'm not really doing things. I am spending my days the same, and my weekends the same.

Something that I really enjoyed about Pennsylvania was the turbulent schedule. One night I might be working until midnight, while another night I might be out having a beer at Yard with Christine and Melissa. I met so many new, interesting people. I reconnected with friends from high school. Sure, I was living on about $600 a month, but I was content.

I feel lonely without my friends here. I miss being able to drive to East Stroudsburg and having dinner outside with Melissa and Lacey, and I miss weekly wing nights with Dani and Tyleia in Cullowhee.

Moving to a new place as an adult is weird. I feel like I'm in this limbo where if you haven't grown up here, or made friends from college here, you're just kind of stuck awkwardly trying to find situations where you can make meaningful friendships. Although, I would like to point out that I've made a few very nice friendships from work and my relationship.

But, building connections through a relationship feels like I'm cheating the system. I've developed second hand friendships. I want to meet people who can become my people.

Feeling stuck about this has bled into other aspects of my life. I feel stagnant in my own personal growth, and I feel like I've put a halt on my goals - mainly because I haven't had the motivation to create any.

I call it a seasonal meltdown. I get groggy and sad for a bit - and I feel like I'm living in a shell where nothing extraordinary is happening (and if anyone tells you that your life cant be extraordinary, they're lying and should be shunned. You're awesome). This is when my anger gets the best of me, and I feel completely and utterly helpless. Like my life is not my own.

Am I the only one who feels like their life isn't even their own? 

As I was driving to work this morning, I realized that I had the power to reclaim my life and make things happen here in Colorado. Drastic measures have always been my specialty - I mean I did move across the country, leave a relationship that I thought was "forever", and start a job in a field where I had no formal experience.

When I get down like this, I have to remind myself that if I want to do something or have something, I just have to make the first move.

If I want to make adult friends here, I just have to say hello.

If I want to do something other than watch Netflix every night, I just have to get in my car and go. 

If I want my own space, I have to create it (or have a super awesome girlfriend who will help). 



My last blog post on here was all about creative goals, and Project Happiness. Who says I have to stop because I missed six months? The answer is no one.

I've always been fiercely independent. Some people love it, and others hate it. The ones who hate it are usually the ones who I feel are suffocating and controlling me. Being in a new place means I'm not being stopped by anything.

And to be fair, I've felt this way before, and I'll probably feel this way again one day. It's okay to feel stuck and unhappy at times, but that doesn't mean you have to stay that way. I will constantly be creating a life that I enjoy, and I'll probably have to reiterate this advice to myself again one day.

This opportunity was given to me to thrive and create a life that I actually want to live. What the heck have I been waiting for?

What are some things that you do to enhance your independent side, and make you feel your happiest? 


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