It has officially been a month since I lasted published on this blog. I’d like to say this was intentional or a result of writer’s block. I’d like to say I have an amazing story to tell about a great adventure I took over the past thirty-plus days.
The truth is, it has been one of the most strange and unusual summers. There have been a lot of unexpected personal and professional opportunities and obligations that have come my way. The truth this, this month-long hiatus wasn’t intentional at all, it crept up on me quite suddenly when I flipped the calendar page to August, and I thought to myself, where did the time go?
One thing I can share about the past thirty days is that, although I’ve not been channeling my creativity into this blog, I’ve made time for it elsewhere – in dance, in poetry, in a much needed weekend retreat. And now that I finally have time to come back here, to this space, I realize that it’s time for another Creative Habit Challenge.
I’ve learned a lot over the past month, but one of the most important things – the thing I’d like to share with you – is to allow.
Life is not a content calendar with carefully scheduled blog and social media posts. Life is much bigger and better than that, more unpredictable than that, more exciting than that. So allow yourself to live when life comes at you.
Allow creativity to flow in the means you’re given. It doesn’t have to be on the blog you’ve built for three years or the YouTube channel you’ve grown from the ground up. Sure, don’t abandon your commitment to those things, don’t forgo the countless amounts of time, energy, and effort you’ve poured into them, but, at the same time, don’t let these things hold you back from something more.
Allow yourself to let go of one item on your to-do list, to make room for something else. Allow yourself to do this without explanation, rationalization, judgement, or guilt. Allow yourself to embrace the wild uncertainties of life. Allow yourself to indulge in a new opportunity. Allow yourself to be present in whatever is happening in your life right at this very moment.
Above all, allow yourself to release whatever is holding you back from being creative. Do this with mindfulness – don’t up and flee your city, get fired from your job, lose your partner, get evicted from your apartment, and scare your loved ones – but just allow yourself to let go and live. Allow yourself to let creativity in.
Nothing will rally a group of freelancers living in New York City like the promise of drink specials. The August Freelancers Spark event took a departure from the typical topic-driven meetups and simply offered an opportunity for freelancers to mingle and network over wallet-friendly cocktails. To get the conversation started, we were handed a classic BINGO board upon arrival.
The mission: find fellow freelancers with the given qualities and write their name in the corresponding spot on the board. Get five in a row, and win Freelancers Union swag, either The Freelancer’s Bible or a fun tote.
The most difficult items to match on the board included….
- Has achieved inbox zero,
- Gets dressed everyday (sweats don’t count), and
- Enjoys working on the weekend
I quickly became known as the freelancer who “handwrites their to-do list.” Yes, I still use a physical planner in tandem with Google Calendar to build my schedule, write notes, and track my to-do lists. In extreme cases, I even write outlines or excerpts for pieces in a notebook then retype and edit them on my computer. Somehow, creatively, my brain still works best that way, and although it’s much more inefficient, I write something by hand on a daily basis. Next time you’re in a creative rut, give it a try – it might work for you too.
The Freelancers Union Spark Happy Hour was a purely fun Spark event (even though I didn’t win bingo or any swag). However, most Spark events centralize around a specific topic relevant to freelancers (and bloggers too – Freelancers Union has a ton of applicable information for my fellow bloggers as well!). September’s Spark will focus on how to hook clients with an authentic story (for obvious reasons, I’m pretty excited for this one). Spark events go down once a month in 18 cities around the country. Visit the Freelancers Union site to find yours. Plus, if there’s not a Spark in your city, you can apply to be a Spark leader and bring these awesome events to your neighborhood.
As kids we eagerly anticipated the moment that signified summer. School was out. Vacations were planned. Summer meant freedom. For three warm months, we got to relish in being young and carefree. Then we grow up, reality sets in, and summer isn’t what it used to be.
As adults, summer can be torture. While we’re confined to our desks, we long for those youthful days spent by the pool. Trips must be carefully coordinated with corporate calendars. We seize and treasure any time spent outdoors enjoying the warm weather and working on our tans, even if it’s just on our lunch hour.
Summer will never be quite the same as it was in our youth, but it’s still possible to savor this amazing season in adulthood. I try to soak up the sun and all this season has to offer right from my own neighborhood. No elaborate trips or lofty expenses required at these 5 fashionable places you’ll find me this summer.
1. THE PATIO
On warm summer nights, you’ll find me on the patio, getting lost in conversation and watching the sunset from a table filled with food, drinks, and friends.
2. THE FARMER’S MARKET
On Saturday mornings, you’ll find me at the farmer’s market, relishing in produce at its peak and carrying out my family’s weekend ritual.
3. THE PARK
At the end of the work day, you’ll find me in the park, escaping the concrete jungle and observing life outside the city.
4. THE KITCHEN
In the evening, you’ll find me in the kitchen, indulging in seasonal fare and forsaking my bikini-season diet.
5. THE SALON
At the height of heat and humidity, you’ll find me at the salon, abandoning my dedication to long locks and embracing a fresh summer cut.
It may be nearing the end of July, but it’s never too late to recapture that youthful freedom summer has to offer. This season is one of the best times to rest and reboot before the crunch of fourth quarter and the holiday season, even if only for a staycation. The patio, the farmer’s market, the park, the kitchen, and the salon are all places right in the comfort of your own neighborhood that can allow you to escape the everyday hustle and bustle and bask in the warmth and wonder of summer.
My mom grew up with short hair and knew little to nothing about styling long hair. So, for my tenth birthday I asked for a lesson on braiding. At the time I still went to my original hairstylist Tracy, who had given me my very first haircut. She was more than happy to grant my birthday wish.
Mastering basic braids – French braid, Dutch braid, fishtail braid – served me well at numerous slumber parties and school dances throughout my youth. I enjoyed the big, chunky braids of my friends with full, thick hair. I was even more fascinated with the braids of my friends whose moms had let them get blonde highlights. But my hair is fine, brown, and somewhat boring. I never loved braids on me.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago… I partnered with Salon Dm3 in Athens, GA and my friend and stylist of six years, Catie McWhirter, to undergo a summer hair transformation. I lost some length and bulk and got some fun, warm-weather highlights. Lastly, I learned three of the easiest hairstyles for summer – no braiding required!
Wish you could achieve those effortless beach waves?
Simply want a style to get your hair off your face on those hot summer days?
Need an amazing up-do to rock at summer weddings, parties, events, and festivals?
Looking for an alternative to the ever-popular braid trend?
If you answered YES to any or all of these questions, then you need to watch my latest YouTube video!
Photography and Videography by Sonali Prabhu of So Narly
Hello Readers and Happy July!
To put it mildly, this month has been particularly busy with work projects, events, travel, a dear friend’s wedding back in my hometown, and some very exciting opportunities for ARTicles of Clothing Blog. Over the past several weeks, my digital presence has been somewhat diminished. Fortunately, the brunt of the busyness has passed, and I’m on the home stretch. So please continue to bear with me through the end of the month as I continue to come to you with slightly limited posts. In the mean time, I encourage you to explore past posts – there might be something fabulous you may have missed! Also, here are a five things to look forward to in the coming months:
1. The reveal of the FAN FAVORITE look for singer/songwriter Erica Bryan.
2. A feature on styling the men of Amsterdam Station for their NEW album “Stories from the Subtext” and their exclusive Album Release Party.
3. A fusion of storytelling and fashion celebrating Madison-based designer women’s boutique, Iona.
4. A spotlight on Jocelyn Negron, the designer behind my new favorite jewelry destination, Must Love Sparkle.
5. The ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY of ARTicles of Clothing Blog!