lifestyle

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Happy last Friday of 2016! Out with the old and in with the new. . . though to be honest, the biggest new we are facing in 2017 has me sick. I am trying to be positive, but I have a feeling things will get worse before they get better.

2016 seemed to be a rough year for a lot of people, but aside from celebrity deaths and the election outcome, it was mostly a good one. It started out with a project that had dragged me along for months cutting me loose with no warning (to save money) even though they knew it was coming, but I more than made up for it with new opportunities throughout the year.

I was inspired by Molly to write my own blog post on 2016 goals (rather than resolutions), and since the year is almost over, I am finally facing the music and seeing how I did. Did you make any resolutions or set any goals for 2017 yet?

Read my 2016 travel highlights (always a favorite post to write) here!

1) Run six races in 2016.

Mission accomplished! In addition to the Chicago Marathon, I ran a local little race on One Boston Day, the BAA 5k, the Milton 10k, Lazy Lobster 5 miler, Cambridge Half Marathon, and the Halfway to Dot Day 5k. I beat my goal! I actually signed up for a few other races that I didn’t run due to injuries as well.

Chicago Marathon finish

2) Secure a new wine industry client.

This is currently in progress, and while details aren’t final, I am hopeful that 2017 will bring some exciting new clients that I will love working with.

 

3) Visit two new places.

Done! In February we found paradise a direct JetBlue flight away in Luquillo, Puerto Rico. We loved it so much that it might become our go-to getaway, though I still REALLY want to go to Panama.

Luquillo, Puerto Rico  

We also finally visited Asheville, North Carolina with a quick side trip to Lake Lure. This is definitely an area we will visit again.

Lake Lure

4) Send more cards.

Fail. We didn’t even get holiday cards out this year.

5) Take an honest look at my diet and exercise.

I looked at it. I even started the year with healthy eating at home. And then somehow it became the year of takeout and snacking and going out for apps and cocktails way.too.much. These behaviors are definitely something we need to reign in in 2017 for the sake of our health and bank account.

6) Better organize my work day, make plans, and stick to them.

Fail. I repeatedly miss things I want to do to stay at my desk a little longer, cram in calls when they can wait, and am generally available and connected 24/7. I even got a call on Christmas Day! I need a digital detox in the worst way.

7) Get paid by the scamming plumber and close that chapter of our lives.

Our next court appointment is in February. It’s pretty amazing what scam artists can get away with.

8) Move more.

Working from home makes this difficult, but I DID run a bunch of races and go on a bunch of hikes this year. I also spent every possible moment swimming in the ocean. Treading deep water actually became a pretty big cross training exercise! I was always super sore the next day. Still, on a day-to-day basis, I sit SO MUCH that it makes me sore and saps m energy. I have been building in jumping jacks while the water boils for my tea, but I need to do some serious sweating to make up for my sedentary lifestyle.

swimming in New England

I am still working on my 2017 goals. . . more to come!

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Tags: exercise, fitness, goals, health, lifestyle, resolutions, Travel

Happy Hump Day! Is it Memorial Day weekend yet? For some reason, that’s all I can think about. Things have been crazy, and a three day weekend to kick off summer sounds so magical.

I have a few blog posts in the pipeline, but while I organize myself for the 1000th time, today’s post is a little coffee (or wine) talk. Let me know what you have been up to!

stingray boat

boating in Boston

  • I attended the Innovation Conference for Boston Business Women on Monday, and it was amazing. I have pages and pages of notes and quotes and have a blog post planned once life slows down a little. I left absolutely buzzing with positivity and excitement and inspiration. There’s so much I want to do. I just need time and organization.
  • Our boat season also launched on Monday. Talk about buzzing with excitement. Our new boat is named Saoirse (Irish for freedom), and we are in love. She’s smaller and a different style from Ceol na Mara, who is dearly missed. But amazing and fun and I am so excited for summer.
  • Working for yourself can be really up and down. There’s always the chance a client’s budget or needs can change and everything can fall out from under you. It’s happened before, but I am trying to remember that just like with the rest of life, work moves in peaks and valleys. My new daily motto is “If I bend I won’t break.”
  • There’s also the very big chance a client won’t work out for you, and that’s okay too. And making that decision can be nerve wracking and scary and somehow make you feel like you failed, when it’s just a fact of life. I’m still learning to stand up for my own best interests, and that can be hard too.
  • What is up with big PR agencies and dropping the ball in blogger outreach? Maybe it’s just me, but I have had so many odd experiences with big agencies lately, including being invited on press trips (as in emails that say “You’re invited” and then sharing passport details etc.) and never hearing back. Or telling them a product doesn’t fit my blog and receiving it anyway. Or getting the same press release five times.
  • I’m signed up for a half marathon on May 22, and I have run maybe twice in the last month. This keeps me up at night, but ultimately I am trying to position it as “At worst, I run/walk for 2-3 hours by the beach. At best, I run a race I am proud of.” Either way, I am outside, moving, by the sea. Win/win.
  • I’m also going to England on a press trip tomorrow. It’s a trip that’s been in the making for a while but just confirmed this week, and I am excited but also super worried about not running or having time to work . . .
  • I’ve been putting a ton of time into planting seeds for my garden, and lots of them are growing and then dying. I am obsessing over this too.
  • I worry a lot. Any suggestions on how to stop? :)

What’s new with you?

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Tags: blogging, boating, lifestyle, random, work

Blogging is and always has been a hobby for me. I am often asked, in job interviews and by potential clients, how I got into blogging, and the answer is pretty simple. I wanted to do something that I was excited about every day, and I love writing. I was working for a great textbook publishing company when I started; I saw how passionate some people were about the work they were doing in education and thought, what makes me tick?

Food, wine, travel, lifestyle. All of those things interested me, and while never hard-hitting journalism, blogging about them became important. As a fairly anxious worrywart who needs to tune the world out a little at the end of the day, a “brain candy” site sometimes provided the perfect escape for me and hopefully for my readers.

I’ve been blogging for almost seven years, and I have considered quitting  at least five times over the years, but then I remember that this space is mine and it can change and evolve as I want it to. I’ve gone from blogging twice a day some days (How I did that, I do not know.) to a pretty regular schedule of two blog posts a week, which works with my current work situation and makes me happy. Tip one – make sure blogging makes you happy!

quote on consistency - source unknown

 

  • Develop some sort of consistency. Even if it’s just once a week, set aside time for yourself to sit down and work on an editorial calendar and a post. My editorial calendar lives on an index card and includes posts I want to write, recipes I want to try, and a list of any travel, restaurants, wines, etc. that I plan to write about.
  • Learn to say no! When blogging, it’s easy to want to attend every event you are invited to and write every sponsored post offered to you. Who doesn’t want to make money and be recognized? But there’s a line between being an authentic blogger and a product pusher. Say no to products and sponsorships that don’t fit your content or your values. Say no to events that might drain your energy or creativity. Too many blogs have become 365 sponsored posts, and while lucrative for the blogger, no one wants to read a stream of commercials. Hint – forcing the writing isn’t fun for you either.
  • Share what you love, not what you think might get the most traffic. When I first started blogging, I was really into healthy living blogs and tried to emulate them. It turned out writing about running and dieting wasn’t fun for me. My wine blog posts are some of my lesser-viewed posts, but I love writing about wine, so I still share them. Even if just a few dozen people are seeing a post, you never know where it might end up or how you might be helping someone.
  • Let your true colors show. One of the reason blogs took off and became so influential is because they were real. No, you don’t have to share every tiny detail of your life, but being authentic and personable makes you seem like that friend who someone can depend on for recommendations, advice, and a great story. Sometimes, a stream of thought or day in the life post is all you need to add a little of your voice and a sneak peek into your life. I love reading them!
  • Read other blogs and be supportive of other bloggers. Blogging can be a great community builder. I met some wonderful lifelong friends through this blog, and though most of them have stopped blogging, we still stay in touch, and they are very important to me. Whether you’re meeting great friends or professional contacts, blogging makes your world so much bigger.
  • Live to blog, don’t blog to live. Even if your blog IS your living,  blogs written by people having vibrant, hands-on experiences are always the best to read. Again, don’t force it. The more into what you are writing about you are, the more you will shine.
  • Read your own blog. I love my old posts! There are so many recipes, wine recommendations, and travel memories that I can go look back on and that can still be useful to readers. The other day I was rereading a post about a horrible week I’d had, life-changing for sure, but now I can’t even remember what happened. Past writing = perspective.

I can go on and on with tips on keeping blogging fresh and fun, but one of the best things about blogs are the comment sections! Tell me, if you are a blogger, what is your biggest key to maintaining a long-lasting blog? And blog readers, what keeps you a fan for the long haul/what makes you close your laptop and walk away from the screen?

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Tags: blogging, blogs, lifestyle, writing

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