September 3, 2015 — September 8, 2015
September 3, 2015 — September 8, 2015
How do I say this without making an overused Game of Thrones reference — it’s getting cold outside. Dammit, that’s a Christmas song. Fuck it. It’s fall, and with fall comes a drop in temperatures and a rise in layers you must wear to not freeze to death. The breezy whites of summer no longer draw you in as much, it gets dark much earlier, and windows are closed more often than they’re open.
If you are a normal human being who is affected by their surroundings when working, this is a time of adaptation. Blankets come out. Coats, sweaters, gloves. Thicker curtains, possibly. Warmer, darker colors to create an illusion of snuggliness.
For this week’s edition of Lix Wishes She Could Redecorate, I’m bringing you a little bit of inspiration to make your office, or the space where you work, actually appealing to be in in these colder months. A place that makes you want to pull up your feet on an armchair, keep a warm coffee cup nearby and actually work with your laptop on your knees, if you’re not feeling the desk thing. I hope you find a little bit of coziness you can incorporate into your workspace — or bedroom, or home — here to make the most of these colder months in the most pleasant way possible.
I realize there’s a children’s room and a mudroom in there, but they’re the perfect freaking nooks. No windows to freeze against, and still the vibe of a windowseat. Also, let’s be real, I want that slide.
And that armchair.
And I destroyed a pair of slippers like that a while back and have found nothing like them since.
I do have a Minted voucher, and I’ve been eying that pillow they have — it’s seasonal without being weird, and I like it a lot. I was going to use the voucher on planners, but I’m designing my own now (take the survey! Yeah, big news. Or it could be small news. I don’t know yet!). I’m so tempted to look for an armchair, but I can’t afford it and I’m not sure I even have room for it. I just love working like that. Like at Starbucks. For now, I’m getting myself a coffee machine. That’s plenty.
Disclosure: Post written in collaboration with Homify. Contains affiliate links.
Through all of my school years — elementary and high — I never had any doubt that I’d go to university. I performed well academically; I was a bookworm and all about learning and I saw no better future for myself than learning more for as long as I possibly could. My career goals changed and faded, with being a writer always staying put as the foundation, but my academic goals only did in terms of what I would study at university.
(Creative Writing either isn’t or wasn’t a college degree in Spain, and I was never that drawn to studying creative subjects, anyway. It seemed far too subjective a field to be graded on.)
Growing up, my family were a bit more financially stable than we are now; my father usually had a job and we had my grandfather living with us, helping out and funding the whims of his grandbaby, aka me. Even when times were tight, college was still in the horizon for a simple reason: scholarships.
In Spain, scholarships are given based on your level of income, and most non-medicine-related degrees have a passing grade fence, so you don’t have to try very hard to get in. Even after my mental health issues extended to physical symptoms and my average went from A to B, I wasn’t worried about getting into college. I didn’t have to write essays or pay to apply.
I like this system. I support this system. Everyone should have access to education, and scholarships are much better than loans, in my opinion. It’s great not owing tens of thousands of insert-currency-here to the government. You just had to meet certain criteria to get the money, and achieve certain low-pressure goals to keep it.
I dropped out of college three months in, bought a MacBook and a Canon camera, went back to sit two exams in September and didn’t have to give any money back. I couldn’t get another scholarship for my first year doing English in my hometown the year after that and my parents couldn’t afford one, so it’s one chance and you blow it, but that’s much better than many, many people get, and my laptop lasted me quite long and my camera — I still use it on the regular. I’m building a blog and a business with that camera.
But here’s the thing.
Home after my twelve-day trip, that is. I’m still on a break from blogging. London was cold and exhausting and wonderful and full of amazing food and my best friend, and Barcelona was humid and weird and exhausting and pretty nice and full of my best friend also and there was the sea, did I mention I saw the sea? I hadn’t seen the sea (other than from a plane window) since July 30, 2008. No joke. I forgot how giddy it makes me feel.
I took loads upon loads upon loads of photos because duh, and have so much content to get up now — four restaurant reviews (soooooo much food), two hotels, three proper outfits and an outfit diary for London, the zoo, #bloggersfestival, and I’m sure I’m forgetting things.
MEANWHILE, however, I participated in a little competition Ladbrokes put together, and came up with an outfit I’d wear, hypothetically, to London Fashion Week! There’s a microsite up now where you can vote for your favorite, and you can vote for me here. Do it. DO IT. I’ve never won a voting comp, it would be nice. Plus I’ll probably be giving away the LFWend tickets since I’m not sure I can quite justify another trip to London, so hey. Double winner.
Drumroll please… my trip is (nearly) all booked. My best friend is coming with me, and helping me bring my stuff home, and then I’m taking her to Barcelona and we’re spending the weekend so she can catch her flight back to Tallinn on Monday.
It happened really fast and I can’t believe I’m getting on a plane NEXT WEEK. We’re doing five nights instead of a full week in London to make up for the Barcelona costs — they’re necessaryish because she doesn’t want to go there alone and there are no flights to Estonia from Madrid. I’ll have six days in London because I’m reviewing a hotel my first night there, and then Annemari will join me on Friday. I’m very excited.
I’ve got two-three blog posts, a media kit and two blog designs to finish before I leave, which I think is doable given where I am with each. I just need to make a schedule, or a to-do list or something. Also, start writing down addresses and figuring out what to pack. I probably won’t be around very much once the two-three posts I’ve planned go up, so you should follow me on Twitter or Instagram! I also haven’t decided how long or in what way I’m taking September off from blogging, but it may be ‘entirely so I can focus on my rebrand,’ so there’s a chance of that. We shall see.
And now this is where I ask for things to do or see in London and especially Barcelona, because for someone who’s obsessed with the former and has always wanted to visit the latter, I’m drawing a total blank.
I got my room back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yes, that deserves all the exclamation points. I could have capslocked. It is that major. I feel good now and I kid but we were approaching a disaster of suicidal proportions and that is not a joke. My mom nearly had a heart attack on Saturday, too, from all the stress. It was scary. (I kept calm and helped her through it but I also asked if I should call an ambulance something like five times.)
For ridiculous bureaucratic reasons that have only just now chosen to arise, my grandma can only stay in Valencia for three months at a time now, which means I have nine months to grow my business and save up to move somewhere lest I end up having to share a room with my sister again, a fate that rivals the apocalypse in utter direness. We are not for this. On the other hand, I always vaguely intended to jet off to Estonia next summer to be near my best friend, so the dates work out nicely.
The first day back in my room, there was cleaning and nausea and my mom had some feelings about where a nightstand should go and her being upset upset me and I ended up crying about being a failure and back in my old room again. I watched Bachelorette, which I can’t decide how I feel about and thus will forget in due time, and didn’t manage to finish an entire pizza, and slept like crap because my pillow has doubled in size — thanks, grandma! — and I didn’t feel like touching its insides.
I still haven’t, actually. I just put it on a vertical position and sleep with my head on the mattress. I napped for six hours yesterday. I was exhausted and the lorazepam helped me out there. So is the escitalopram — I stuck with it because it seemed to have an effect on my sleep schedule, and that appears to have held.
Still settling, all in all. It always takes a little while. I’m glad I have three weeks before London.
London: not exactly booked yet. Sort of budgeted for. I’m waiting to sort out accommodation, which may be a bit last-minute; I’m waiting to hear back from a hotel before I sort something out with someone on airbnb, if she can do my dates — we got mixed up, I think. Then I’m keeping an eye on a hostel that only asks for one week’s notice before people leave, so I can’t book anything there until late August. I’ll be there on September 4 or earlier, and stay for a week or two.
I set up an Instagram account to sell some bits and reduce the amount of luggage I bring back: it’s at lixtidies. I’m contemplating setting up a Calendly to book mini shoots. I made a Pinterest board with some ideas.
Aside from shooting, I’m taking September off. All of it. I’m blocking out August so I can wrap up all my pending projects, and I want to enjoy London. Take a lot of pictures, walk around, do some touristy shit. I may work on my rebrand; not sure about when, but probably not while I’m there.
I’ll probably only blog sporadically until October as well. It won’t be very different from my usual MO, so there’s probably no need to announce it. For once, being unreliable works in my favor. Hooray!
This week, I will
and try to treat myself like I do not hate me.
What are your plans?
There are things you can get used to lacking if you go without them long enough, or have never had them. For me, living rooms are one of them.
I stopped spending time in the living room in my flat — my family’s flat — when I was eighteen. I only held out that long because the only computer I had access to was a desktop and it was there. As soon as I had a laptop I was out of there. There are several reasons, the main two of which can be summed up as “my parents refuse to not smoke in my presence even though it makes me sick” and “my father exists.”
So I lived and now again live in my bedroom. There was a three-month stint at a dorm, which also had nothing comparable to a living room.
Last year, I moved to London. London: where housing is so expensive people turn living rooms into bedrooms so they can get another flatmate in to share the rent! I went through some places with no living room, or where the only room I could work in was the living room, or where I stupidly didn’t make the most of the living room.
And then I was in Crouch End for two weeks. That flat was all kinds of gorgeous, and well-decorated, and the living room had the most comfortable couch in the whole entire world. I missed it the entire time I was in Hampstead Heath, and then I moved to a place where the living room was off limits, though I asked to use it a time or two. Briefly. No blanket permission.
Holy god, I miss having a living room. I miss curling up on the couch and still being upright with my laptop, and I miss the light, and I miss not being in my bedroom all the time. I miss watching mindless TV and I miss the dining table. I kind of miss socializing with people I actually find interesting.
As usual, I dream through Pinterest. According to my interiors board, which is by far the most populated on my account, my dream living room is apparently spacious, bright, with comfortable seating, with gorgeous wood flooring, and painted like a 20s film.
Sometimes a bit of teal or mustard pops up. It’s rare. I tried to do this with my branding and I got bored and I’ve been wanting to rebrand with actual color — multiple colors, even! A color wheel, if you will! — for a year. My room in Belsize Park was super white and felt mightily sterile, like a hospital ward, so I don’t want to go entirely in that direction.
But grays with pops of color are my interior design of choice, and one day I will get something like it, goddammit. I deserve to decorate a whole place. #dreamjob, tbh. Well, maybe #dreamhobby. There’s no room for any more career paths up in my brain.
If you’ve been around for any of my moves on Twitter, you’ll know every time I complained about packing up until the fifth or last pack, at which point I finally thought to lay everything out on a bed and go SCIENCE.
I mean, it’s not science. Probably. But by the time you’re thinking about weight distribution, standing over your laid-out clothes and saying, loudly, “Step back! I’m going to try SCIENCE!” feels like the only way to hold on to your sanity for long enough to get you on your way.
Today, I’m sharing some tips on packing light for your summer holidays, and a few of my travel essentials! Just a heads up that by summer holidays I mean “holidaying somewhere it’s summer, and relatively warm,” so if you’re heading to Antarctica, even if it’s July, this may not help as much.
First of all: life, stop throwing curveballs at me. I need to save up for London. I can’t wait to go and get it over with and have a whole year to save up to go anywhere again.
Yesterday’s curveballs weren’t that bad, to be fair: a client changing her mind about a project and a troll resurfacing on Twitter. It was a lorazepam day, so I handled it fairly well, though it made me even less productive than I already was after accidentally falling asleep out of boredom waiting for my sister to leave me alone.
Sometimes — I was going to say ‘some days,’ but it’s all the days now — I think about going to London early. I’d get some cool weather, do some shoots, and be on my own. But I have responsibilities to fulfill and I can’t tell my clients, “So long, see you in two weeks!” Plus I want to be there in September for a blogger event I’m hoping to shoot. I don’t want to have all that bogging me down. I want to actually focus on shooting and have time to edit the photos at my leisure afterwards.
So I keep waiting.
Podcasts, as y’all know, are awesome. I would like to listen to them more consistently, and maybe edit pictures while I do, or sew, because those are lovely things to do while you listen to podcasts. Unfortunately I need my room back for the latter and alone time for the former. In the meanwhile, I’m exploring the world of podcasting and booking guest spots on things. My family leave me alone to record, so that’s an upside!
My first ever podcast guest spot was on the digital scrapbooking podcast Digiscrap Geek, a weekly chat about scrapbook design and memory-keeping! We talked about capturing personality in casual, day-to-day portraiture, and it was a lot of fun. I’m embedding the audio below so you can hear me be ridiculous on the record and probably mispronounce VSCO. It’s a wonder I spelled it out instead of saying ‘vesco’ like it sounds in my head.
And you can see the show notes here. Let me know what you think! But only if it’s good. I’m fragile.
I still want to launch my own podcast on a topic related to my blog/biz, but I don’t have time (alone) right now, so yesterday I had this grandiose idea of doing a mini biweekly thing where I read my poems and then try to analyze them. Or explain them. Or explain what was going through my head when I wrote them. The way I write poetry, I really don’t put meaning into it; I make it up afterwards. So it would be fun to read a poem and analyze it in the following episode, giving listeners (if there are any?!) a chance to interpret it on their own! Could have guests as well. It’s a silly idea but I think it would be fun and pressure-free, and not necessarily indefinite.
Thoughts on that?
My other two business thoughts:
1. Stock licensing. Maybe instead of licensing photos one by one, I could have a monthly membership library that would give holders a simple license to use my photos for individual blog posts or websites, and they could choose to purchase further licensing if they needed the photos for print, books or advertising campaigns. Need to separate a bit there, but I want to profit more if they’re profiting more, essentially. But I like the library concept a lot.
2. Referral scheme. I was working this out in one of my Facebook groups and they suggested giving affiliates (or… referrers? What IS the difference?) a personalized discount code. That way clients would be less likely to forget to mention who referred them. And the affiliate would get 5% of the sale in cash OR 10% in design credit.
Thoughts on any of these? Would you buy access to the stock photo library/refer people to me? I mean, they sound like good ideas, right?
Do you listen to podcasts? Which are your favorites? When do you normally listen, and what do you do while you listen?
Anxiety has been a companion of mine for a good long, long decade. It’s hard to think of a time when it wasn’t pushing its way through the crevices of my brain and knocking on my temples like a five-year-old child going, “Pay attention to me. Pay attention to me. Oi! Pay attention to me.”
In that time, I’ve tried a sizable amount of techniques and attempted to build habits; I’ve been hesitant to use medication and refused completely and gone back around to ‘yes, let’s’; I’ve accumulated a long list of shit that doesn’t work — much of which makes me angry, too — and a much shorter list of shit that works — well, sometimes.
Sometimes still beats never, so I’m going to share those things that make living with anxiety a little easier on me.