On having a side hustle

You know what’s weird? Having a side hustle.

For about two years, I researched having a way to make money by doing what I love–writing.

I created two business plans before I realized I didn’t need another plan, I needed to just fucking do it!

So, I did and published my first novelette on Amazon. I started a book blog and am making friends with other indie authors and publishers. I’m currently learning how to navigate the murky waters of Smashwords. I learned the basics of Facebook ads, Google ad words, and HTML. Wix.com became my friend. This year’s plan is: write, edit, release, market and repeat.

And so on.

Just now, out of sheer habit I typed “being your own boss” into my favorite search engine. As I read the results, I realized that I’m already my own fucking boss! I paused. When did that happen?! At some point, I became responsible for taxes, production schedules, creating spreadsheets to figure out how much income vs spending was happening in a year, understanding the business of self-publishing and marketing.

I have a schedule and if I don’t stick to it, money won’t come in.

I’m responsible for EVERYTHING, from start to finish.

I sat in awe and then another realization crept up on me: I love it.

Everything about it.

The stress, the uncertainty, the endless drive to do better.

It gets me off, man.

And having a full time day job working for someone else helps me be a better boss. I work directly under the head honcho, so I get to see how things are run from a bird’s eye view. I also get to see how he handles things and how NOT to handle things.

I’m extremely grateful for my job.

Having a full time writing job while continuing to build a writing career from the ground up means I can learn during the day, write during my spare time and continue to live in an expensive but totally awesome city and drive a nice car. It means I can take my time and learn what to do and what not to do.

So I get to be the boss without the epic stress of keeping my lights on.

Sounds like a win win to me!

One of these days I’m going to write a post (or start a sister blog) to help other inspiring authors out there understand that their writing as a side hustle doesn’t happen over night. It takes time (I’ve been at it since 2011) and if you’re anything like me, it’ll just creep up on you before you realize what it really is–a business!

Do you have a hustle? 

Random Thoughts

1) Girl Scout cookies are evil. You can’t just eat one. Or one row. You have to eat the WHOLE box in one sitting. Like I’m doing right now.

2) This made me super happy today:

3) This conversation happened today: 

Me cutting up strawberries in the office kitchen. My favorite executive walks in and asks for one. I stop him by holding up my knife.

“Oh, so you’re going to be nice to me now?” I ask, arching an eyebrow.

“Was I mean to you before?” He asks, his eyes wide.

“Uh-huh.” Before I can properly complain, he swoops me up in a tight hug.

“Well, I’m all better now, thanks to you,” he murmurs into my hair. I pat him on the back awkwardly and try to pull away.

“Er…well, it’s ok. You were just, you know, being an ass.”

He grabs me again in an even tighter hug (if that’s possible).

“I’m sorry. I was having a bad day. I’m better now.”

I detangle myself from him and give him a strawberry.

***

Later on, I walk into his office where he and his assistant are chatting.

“Doesn’t she look pretty today?” he assistant gushes about me. “That color she’s wearing looks really good on her!”

“Dude, let me tell you,” the executive says, “I gave her a hug today–”

“Was it all titties?” the assistant interrupts him.

“It was all titties,” he confirms. “But, man! That hug had just what I need.”

I nod in agreement and leave, my good deed apparently done for the day. Once again, my breasts have righted some wrongs in the world. As a reward, I eat another Thin Mint cookie.

 

Paleo Update: Last Days

Okay, so 57 days ago I signed up on the whim for the Whole Life Challenge at the urging of my co-workers. I hemmed and hawed and totally didn’t want to do it. Paleo was for nutcases who liked to talk about cavemen, right? And had an unhealthy obsession with coconut, isn’t that correct?

Yes, and no.

57 days later, I’ve lost a little over 8 lbs (it’s hard to tell this week if I’ve lost another 2 lbs because I’m bloated…thanks Mother Nature!). I can fit in my clothes better and one pair of pants that I couldn’t fit over my hips now fit me well.

Every few weeks, I would wake up earlier until now I’m up at 6:30 a.m. (I’m a night owl, so for me this is HUGE. I’m talking epic.).

That’s all good, said and done, but here’s the real exciting stuff:

1) Last month I got my first period since August 2013. Husband and I didn’t know what to do with ourselves we were so excited.

2) I used to suffer from aches and pains thanks to joint inflammation. Not so much now. As a matter of fact, one weekend I ‘cheated’ and ate a bunch of dairy (and a short stack of double blueberry pancakes at I-Hop). The following Monday I felt like I had the flu, my joints ached that bad. A week of continued clean eating and I was right as rain again. So Paleo has taught me that there is such a thing as inflammatory foods.

3) I’ve learned that it’s not hard to eat healthy and stay under your calorie limit. As a matter of fact, I’ve stopped calorie counting because as long as I was eating fruits, vegetables, nuts and lean protein, I was always hitting 1200-1500 calories a day.

4) My workouts have gotten easier. And I tried jogging again, no shin pain! Awesomesauce.

5) I have an arsenal of Crockpot recipes to refer to now for easy cooking at night. But even if I don’t cook, I know what I can eat at the grocery store and at restaurants. My personal motto is ‘No Bread, No Booze, No Sugar.’ Of course, Paleo is much more than that, but it’s an easy mantra for me to chant when my husband decides he wants to eat McDonald’s at 9:00 at night.

6) Planning is half of the puzzle for good eating habits. The other half is knowing what to eat when you find yourself short on time or out on the road with oops, no snacks (as I often end up).

7) Organic fruit tastes a lot better than regular fruit.

All in all, I loved the Whole Life Challenge. I’m kind of competitive, so it was fun to have my co-workers around me compete to see who would get the highest score. And out of all of the ‘seasoned vets’ that started with me, I’m the only one left standing. Wooo-hoo!

I’d like to continue eating Paleo because I feel so good. I’d also like to continue learning about nutrition. But more importantly, I want to learn some new recipes! Who knew cooking via Crockpot was so much fun??

I encourage all of my readers to check it out and see if you’d like to try it yourself. It’s worth it! 

Married Chores, Chores, Chores

Yeah...this ain't me... Source

Yeah…this ain’t me…
Source

Like a lot of women, I do most of the housework in our small, 1 bedroom apartment. (I use to also pay the bills, but that’s another post.) My husband? Is a complete and utter slob. When I met him in college I would come to his dorm room and be horrified because you could barely see the floor. I would teeter-totter over pizza boxes to get to his bed or leap over piles of clothes to get to the bathroom.

I, on the other hand, can be slightly OCD about cleaning. I like a clean, fresh smelling space 24/7. And since we live under the same roof with two cats and a rambunctious boxer puppy, keeping that clean and fresh smelling thing happening ain’t easy.

My husband doesn’t do laundry unless it’s absolutely necessary. Generally that means either the President is stopping by or he can’t take another day of not wearing underwear (the husband, not the President). I, on the other hand, love having an empty laundry basket and fresh clothes. It makes me happy and it makes outfit planning a breeze in the morning for work.

So how do we coexist?

When I first moved in with him, I did all of the cleaning. This went on for about two years. Then, we moved to our first apartment in California. It was awful. There was the old, tile on the main level that never stayed clean, the kitchen was minuscule and we didn’t have enough counter space or cabinets for our things (making it impossible to keep dust free), the bedroom didn’t have any storage either so things ended up strew across every surface known to man, etc. I never asked him to clean because quite frankly, I didn’t know how to keep the damn place spotless myself!

Then we moved to our current apartment. I love this place. There’s a good amount of storage, there’s carpet instead of hardwood or tile (so I can vacuum pet hair, not have to sweep all the time), and each area of the apartment is clearly defined (the last place was a loft…ugh…). We moved in, and I resumed all of the cleaning. But then I started my writing career as well. And had to commute one hour each way to work (he has a 10 minute drive in the city). So my only days off were spent cleaning round the clock and not getting any writing done.

Yeah. That didn’t last long.

I call the argument we had last year “The Great Laundry Debate of 2013″. There is only one washer and dryer for our entire apartment complex and it’s always in use. ALWAYS. So we would let the laundry pile up until there was nothing left to wear and then I would beg, plead and cry with husband to help me drag it down the stairs, into the car and then sit at the laundromat for three to four hours washing, drying, folding and avoiding disgusted stares from the foreigners who happened to be using the facilities.  There goes my Saturday! And the fights were inevitable because I was washing ALL of the dirty items in the house, his included and he was too lazy to help me.

One day, after a particular grueling session, I casually informed him that I would no longer be doing his laundry.

“What?” he asked, surprised.

“You heard me. From this day forth, I will wash my clothes, the linens and towels and the pet stuff. But you’re on your own.”

“Ok….”

“Is that all right with you?”

“Well, I don’t have a choice, do I?” he laughed nervously. I smiled.

“No, dear. You do not.”

Since then, my life has vastly improved. I would still do all of the cleaning, but only my laundry. We bought a small washing machine that hooks up to any type of sink and put wheels on it. And then we got a drying rack. So not only could I wash my clothes in the apartment, I could dry them too! Life was good.

But lately, I’ve been noticing that I have to continuously ask him to take out the trash. It’s literally his only chore in the house. He takes care of the dog and takes out the trash. And even that’s easy for him! It’ll get full, and then I’ll have to remove it, place it directly in front of the door and put a new trash bag in. And even then he’ll sometimes wait until I nag him to death to take it to the dumpster.

So this morning, as I thought about it, I made a new rule for myself and texted it to him.

“Honey, I have a new rule for myself: Starting today, any time there is a full trash in the kitchen and/or trash and dirty clothes in the living room, I will not grocery shop for the house, cook or clean the kitchen.”

I hit ‘send’ and waited.

He responded: “Sounds like a good rule. :)”

Ohhhhhhh, that fucker. It’s on. We’ll see how many fights about missing bills (“They’re under the trash on the coffee table dear…”), no clean cups (“I can’t clean the kitchen with a full trash, baby”) and cold soup dinners (“I don’t cook in a dirty kitchen, love of my life”) will it take before he breaks. Because the truth is this: I can survive a lot longer than he can.

Game on, Mr. PBL. Game on.

The Neighbors Probably Think We’re Nudists

Seriously. We spend about 80% of our time naked in the house. Sometimes the small kitchen window blinds are open, sometimes they’re closed. It doesn’t affect our decision making process. The cats have learned to retract their claws when they pounce on us just to be safe.

I’m sure the neighbors have seen more flesh than they would like to.

My husband likes to walk through with his junk swinging. I think it’s a male ego thing…who knows? But he doesn’t complain when I come prancing through ass-to-the-wind to grab a glass of water from the office so I keep my mouth shut.

funny-pictures-scared-cat-naked-guy

I remember my friend once asked a bunch of other friends and myself if we had a problem with nudity. Everyone except for me all clucked and said things like, “Just sit around naked? God, no!! Henry will NEVER see this ass with the lights on.”

I was the only one that was like, “Uh…butt ass nekkid? Hells yeah! Gotta let that shit air out!”

They were (and still are) mortified.

*Kayne shrug* Whatevs.

Look, the thing with being naked is confidence. My husband has seen and explored every aspect of me….the skinny 18 year old me, and the currently 60 lb overweight me. And I can say the same about him. So there are no secrets to how I look at any time of the day. What he sees is what he gets (and he likes it apparently).

I jiggle my booty when I walk and my boobs might kill a man if they swing too hard. But I know that he loves me and finds me sexy and that gives me the confidence to strut my stuff in the buff (say that three times fast, heh!).

So yes. We’re borderline nudists in the house.

What about you? Do you like to let it all hang out?

Work: Random Conversations

Me going about my day, reaching to grab things off the top shelf, bending over to tie my shoe, etc.

Coworker stops me and we start chatting about our ovaries and whatnot.

She pauses and holds up her hand.

“I’m sorry, but your boobs are really distracting.”

I look down and nod. “Yeah, they’re there. Just look up into my eyes. It’ll help.”

Coworker: “God, can’t you cover them up?”

Me: “With what? I’m already wearing a fucking shirt!”

Coworker: “Geez….”

Me (nodding): “I know. But I’m an H cup. The only thing that will rally these puppies is duct tape…”

 

Being Grateful

“I hate my job.” “I’ll never lose weight.” “I wish I had a bigger house….and a better car.”

Sometimes, we forget that life is a gift and every second of it is precious. When we’re reminded, it’s tragic. Someone you love passes away without the chance to say goodbye. You hug yourself tightly and are reminded of your own mortality. In that somber moment, you make a silent promise to love life even more, because you never know when it’s your turn.

But then those thoughts fade away as reality creeps back in. And you trudge off to the job that you hate to go to. In the car that you hate to drive. And then commute back home to the house that’s just a tad bit too small. And the negativity sets in again.

I know, because I’ve done it. And still do it some times. But I’ve found myself being more grateful than anything these days. Maybe it’s because I’m fresh out of 2013, which was full of death, grief, family feuds, financial woes, health issues and job insecurity. My 2013 taught me just how precious life is and those that I love are, and how insignificant the other things are.

And now I’m grateful that I have a job to go to (even if there are days I’d rather sleep in). One that offers great benefits, fun people to be around, flexible schedules and decent pay. I’m grateful that my husband has a job. That we have an apartment that I love (even if the toilet needs to be replaced and the floorboards squeak). That I have the car that I love to drive. And three furbabies that keep me laughing. That I met, dated and then married the love of my life. I’m grateful every day that he hugs me, kisses me on the cheek and brings me soup when I’m sick.

Life could be much worse. I know it, you know it. But sometimes, we need to remind ourselves to look for that silver lining. To take a step back and marvel at how far we’ve come. Being grateful isn’t just for the rich and the famous. It’s for everyone, for you and me.

So when you wake up, frown and start to listen to the negative thoughts running in your head, instead smile and tell the Fates thank you. Because life is a gift. And we should appreciate every second of it.

Happy Monday!

Time is flying by! Seems like it was just yesterday that I was posting, and now I’m in day 15 of Paleo and feeling just fine. Only 6 more weeks to go! I’m feeling good overall, still tired but I think that’s from lack of sleep and poor quality of the sleep I am getting. We need a new mattress, but they’re expensive! And I refuse to put one on credit.

Life has been pretty hectic, per usual. I’m balls deep in writing my second novel, my day job has been crazy busy, home life has also been very busy, and on top of that I’ve increased my exercise regimen. The doctor says I should be doing 45 minutes a day and so far I’m at 30 minutes 4 times a week. I’m hoping this week to increase to 35 minutes.

Oh, and let’s not forget the four blogs that I run. Or the three pets I take care of. Or the hour commute each way that I have every day to work :P

Speaking of, people at work say I’m slightly zombified, oops! Too many things running through the ole brain I suppose. I’m not worried, as long as I’m getting the work done who cares if I look a little mentally fried?

On Friday, Husband and I had a date night. We went out for sushi and a movie and had a good time!

On Saturday, we went for an hour hike with the puppy, then came back and hung out in the house.

And on Sunday, we did a bunch of chores, I did a 45 minute yoga practice, sat outside and wrote for a few hours, then we went for dinner and drinks with friends.

All in all, I’m tired today but glad I had such a good time this weekend.

This week I’m hoping I can get more writing done and stick to my goal of working out every day. Wish me luck! :)

Paleo, Paleo

Today is day 3 of Paleo and I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck.

On day 1, I ‘mostly’ stuck to the Paleo diet, although I had a small bag of chips whilst waiting for my husband to cook a very late dinner. No big, I’ll just subtract a point (I’m doing the Whole Life Challenge) and be on my merry way.

Yesterday was day 2, and I ate 100% Paleo. I bottomed out at 1156 calories, so I was only 40 shy of the healthy 1200. No big, I wasn’t hungry when I went to bed and wasn’t starving when I woke up this morning.

Today I had three boiled eggs for breakfast, an apple for a snack, 3 oz. of baked chicken, a 1/2 cup of mixed veggies and a sweet potato (plain). And I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck. My head hurts, I can’t focus on the computer screen (so dizzy…..), and I’m really tired. In the past, I would carb overload so that I would (eventually) feel better, but not today. I have a lot of my co-workers doing it right along with me and they’re offering a lot of support. It’s actually what’s keeping me away from scarfing down two tubs of ice cream right now.

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I’m determined to do this, not because of my health (which may or may not improve…we shall see), but because I never stick to anything. And honestly, it’s not like I can’t have carbs…I can have brown rice and quinoa, and root veggies. I can eat A LOT of things,  it’s a matter of me going out and getting them.

So it’s not hard on paper. It’s not terribly restrictive. I’m eating healthy, taking a multivitamin (in my case, a prenatal) and attempting to move 10 minutes every day. Easy. Right?

This Paleo challenge is all about testing my resolve. Can she last 8 weeks? We shall see.

Bloggers and Reality

I’ve been blogging since ’06. During that time, I’ve seen the landscape of blogging change. You can be hard pressed these days to find blogs that offer rawness…in anything, really. If you have a personal blog, and your readers tend to believe that your life is all rainbows, unicorns and sunshine….yeah. I can’t say you’re doing it wrong…but you’re doing it wrong.

You guys (and gals) know my struggles. It’s hard and scary to write about your shortcomings on something as public as the internet. I often would pause before writing a post and think, “Do I really want to share this?”. The answer is almost always a resounding “Yes.” My life is not unicorns and rainbows, and since I value honesty, those less than perfect days show up on this blog.

I remember reading a particular blog where the lady who wrote it talked about how much she loved being a mother and how wonderful and magical every day was. I read quite a bit of her blog before thinking, “Jeez, does this woman ever have a bad day?”. I picked up the phone and ranted to Husband, “I mean, this chick uses the word ‘unicorn’…literally…in her posts!”

“Uh-huh,” he muttered, totally not paying attention.

“It’s like…does her husband ever get on her nerves! Do her kids ever throw tantrums or puke all over their carefully selected thrift store outfit?!”

“That’s nice dear.”

Sigh.

My point to my readers is this: I hope you know not to take everything  at face value. Just like Facebook, I’ve noticed a lot of “lifestyle” bloggers carefully choose what they want to share, giving you only a thin slice of their reality, not the whole picture. I’m not saying they need to give every single grainy intimate detail, but for those whose posts make you sigh and say, “Gosh, I wish my life was like that!”, be sure to remember you don’t know what’s happening behind the scenes.

Life is not perfect. Ever. No matter who you are.

And that, ladies and gents, is my Public Service Announcement for the day.

Further Reading:

Is Blogging Dead? 

This Mommy Blogger Is Aiming Low for 2014