100 Days Left in 2015

100 days left in 2015Chad and I have been reading through the Bible this year. We both use an app with a reading plan that keeps us on track and tells us how many days we’ve completed. That’s how I know that this is day 265 of 2015. We have 100 days left.

I had a pretty ambitious list of things I wanted to accomplish this year. Some of them I’m no longer interested in following through on and some of them took other forms, but that’s ok. There are other things that weren’t on my initial list of 2015 to-dos (for example, reading the entire Bible was not on my list, but I think it’s a pretty big thing that I will have accomplished!), but I’m working on them and following through anyway. My goals have morphed, and I’m at peace with that.

I totally missed out on the 100 Days Project that everyone was freaking out over earlier this year (I was jealously cheering you all on from a distance!), but realizing that there are 100 days left this year reminded me of it.

What can you make in 100 days?  What can you do in 100 days? How much can you write in 100 days? What can you build in 100 days? What can you experience in 100 days?

Does thinking about the number of days left in the year feel depressing or motivating or something else altogether?

There are 100 days left in 2015. What will you do with them?

Back to Blogging

hammock vibes

Hammock vibes in North Carolina

This unintentional break pretty quickly turned into an intentional one, especially on the heels of this post, where I started to publicly question whether I’d continue here, and if so, to what end.

Partly, it was just normal stress and busyness: working full time, freelancing a lot, dealing with some health stuff, and a ton of weekend trips for family events. But when I realized I hadn’t blogged in a couple weeks and still didn’t feel like getting back to it, I decided that this break needed to be an intentional step back.

Before one of those long weekend trips, this one to Carrboro, NC, for my brother-in-law’s wedding celebration, I reached out to another blogger who recently moved back to Durham, NC. We’ve traveled to Carrboro a bunch of times over the past 5 or so years that Chad’s brother has lived there, and I’d been wanting to get a better sense of what there was to do in Durham. Robin was so excited to give me recommendations for places to scope out there. We’d never met, never really talked sans a couple Twitter/blog comment interactions, but she was so willing and enthusiastic to share her time and knowledge to list a few places. In recounting Robin’s recommendations to Chad during our 8 hour drive, I realized what it was that I wanted out of blogging.

Even though I’m pretty bad at it most of the time, blogging has still offered me cool opportunities, meaningful relationships, and in some small way, a little bit of ownership over my own life. Even when it feels hard, I can tweet or write into the abyss, and usually someone answers, really thoughtfully and kindly. The friends I’ve made on the internet (and IRL because of the internet) are amazing.

Over the past few months that I’ve been silent, I wanted to get to the bottom of why I’ve been doing this and if it’s worth it. I’ve decided it is. The answer is yes.

I’m in. I’m back. I’m ready to buckle down and make this space what I want it to be. I’m hoping that looks like more features, more interviews, and certainly more regular posting. I’m interested in exploring partnerships and collaborations with other bloggers, brands, and organizations. But mostly, I’m interested in documenting, living, and writing here again. Thanks for being here.

Chasing Waterfalls & Alt Summit

Ricketts GlenI spent the weekend without internet or cell service in a super rural part of Pennsylvania (like, even more rural than where I grew up, which is saying something). I peed in the woods, hung out around a campfire with friends, hiked to some waterfalls, marveled at the incredible number of ferns surrounding the campsite, and went to bed when it got dark and started raining. It was grand.

Ricketts GlenThere was time and space to just be, without scheming or planning or striving. It felt really good. I’ve been feeling a little disillusioned with the internet/social media/blogging world lately. I’ve been wondering about the end game, or if I even have one. And maybe it’s ok not to. And if I do have an ultimate goal behind this screen, what do I do if I reach it? What comes next? Will it feel empty?

Ricketts GlenThis disillusionment is kind of inopportune, since I recently found out I was accepted to speak at Alt Summit in a couple weeks. Even though it might not sound like it, I couldn’t be more excited and grateful for the opportunity. I’m hopeful that the impromptu conversations I’ll have with kindred spirits I hope to find will be energizing and motivating. I’m also really excited to host my roundtable discussion, Don’t Be Afraid of Your Website. I’m planning to cover the basic moving parts of a website, using WordPress as an example, and how they all come together and leave plenty of time and space for questions. You can take a closer look at the fancier description and the other sessions here.

If you’re there too, please say hi! I’d love to meet you. Let’s be friends. If it’s your first (or second or third) time and you’re a little nervous, I’d like to offer up these posts to help you get excited & collect yourself a bit.

Life Lately

Life LatelyIt seems I’ve taken a bit of an unplanned break from this space, but I’ve been wanting to get back into it! I blinked and April was gone. It was kind of a weird month for me, and I’m not sad to see it go.

After returning from Texas Style Council, the real world felt just a little too harsh, which made it too easy to retreat — to just jump back in to a very busy life packed with conferences, Philly Tech Week, a bit of travel, and a jumble of uncertainty.

But for now, I’ll just recap what I’ve been up to and where I’m at now.

Just finished: House of Cards Season 3. Giving this presentation on Sublime Text at the Philly Women in Tech Summit. The two are unrelated.

Working on: Revamping this website! I’ve been working with Sarah on designs for integrating this here personal/lifestyle blog with my portfolio and hopefully some more technical writing! I’m going to start development on it soon, and I can’t wait for it all to come together. I’ve also got a few new freelance projects in the pipeline that will keep me plenty busy. And! I’m hosting May’s LadyBoss event with Heart and Dash.

Listening to: Sufjan Stevens’ Carrie & Lowell. I think I listened to this pretty exclusively for most of April. Named after his mother and stepfather, the album is all about his relationship with his mother, who died of stomach cancer in 2012. It’s stunning in its beauty and sadness, with elements of playfulness. We saw Sufjan perform it and a ton of other stuff at the Beacon Theatre a few weekends ago and it was transcendent. We almost went back for one of his Kings Theatre shows, but it’s kind of a hassle to get to Brooklyn on a Friday night.

Reading: Just finished Marilynne Robinon’s Lila, which was everything I’d hoped for and then some. If you haven’t read Gilead, Home, and now Lila, I highly recommend them. I also recently finished The Thrill of the Chaste by Valerie Weaver-Zercher, which deals with the  popularity of Amish romance novels. It dealt really well with issues that have been bothering me a lot about the fascination with the Amish — tourism, exploitation, appropriation, and inauthenticity — while still being fair and kind in its treatment of the genre’s readership.

Dreaming about: Moving to Spain for three months. Buying a house in Lancaster. Moving to State College. None of these things really go together. I’m getting restless for things I never thought I’d want. Hopefully it’s a phase.


Reflecting on Texas Style Council

Texas Style CouncilIt’s been quiet here. It hasn’t necessarily been intentional or planned, but after what can only be described as an insanely fast trip to Austin for Texas Style Council, followed by no time to allow for an introvert hangover recovery time, I’ve needed a few days to collect myself.

I remember years ago, sitting at my desk in our bedroom in West Chester, waiting for the next part of my life to start, I’d sprinkled in some fashion blog reading throughout my normal online rotation. I always secretly admired the fashion bloggers for their zero effs given. They wore what they liked & weren’t afraid what people thought. Feeling vain and self-conscious never held them back! They had things to say and things to share and it didn’t seem like they ever doubted whether anyone cared about what they wrote. Not in a bad way — they just did it because they liked to. I thought I’d never be able to pull anything off like that.

I remember seeing them all head to Austin to hang out with each other at this thing called Texas Style Council, and wondered about how awesome it would be to have a crew of amazing, creative friends from the internet to hang out with in person once in awhile. So last winter, when Chrystina told me what an awesome time she had last year, it was a pretty easy sell to convince me to go to the last one there ever would be — an epic retreat of a weekend at a Girl Scout camp outside of Austin, where we’d be focusing on relationships and connections over numbers and stats.

There were new friends and old friends and friends whose faces I’d only seen on screens until that weekend. There were people I’d just met at Alt! Rather than frantically trying to figure out how to get more eyeballs on our stuff (which I kind of almost always feel sleazy and weird about), there were frank talks on things like making more connections in person, what to do when it feels like nothing’s working, the importance of finding (and being!) a “friendtor,” and how to take an honest-to-goodness rest when you need it.

But more than anything, this is what I’m taking away from Texas Style Council: There are people who care. There are people who want to read your words and hear your stories when this internet writing thing feels like shouting into a void. There are conversations that spark new ideas for projects, for essays, for photographs and collaborations. There are people to whisper things into your ear to remind you. Things like strong, beautiful, friend, talented, genuine, so that when you head back to the real world and things feel just a little too harsh, you have something to remember. There is enough for all of us, especially if we’re willing to be honest.

Huge thanks to Indiana and the whole team for the insane amount of work and resources they’ve put in to this event over the years. While I’m sad that 2015 was the last of it, I’m very grateful that I was able to attend. I’m coming away from it refreshed and challenged and intrigued by new thoughts. If you want to get a visual feel of the whole weekend, Chelsea captured it perfectly. There are also more recap posts over at TxSC.

I recently set up a redirect over here from my old url. If you haven’t updated your Bloglovin’ feed yet, now’s the time to do it!