Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Another Year Over...

When I created our cards this year my main focus was to share a little bit of everything we did throughout the year. I didn't want Christmas card specific, more of an overview instead of just holiday. And man, did we ever have a busy 2013!

Some other people made it onto the card - we were in two weddings (1 each, Matt and me), had family and friends in town multiple times, traveled, started some home renovation and even waited so long for a table at a restaurant the baby occupying it started to grow a beard. Or something like that.

2013 started out great, we celebrated the New Year with some friends and had a nice quiet night with food, fun and a champagne toast. In February my aunt came to visit and we found ourselves at a Coyotes game in our short sleeves. Gotta love Phoenix!

Spring brought more fun stuff. In March we went to a spring training game where I got to see Terry Francona coaching the Indians and Matt got to enjoy his favorite sport in a cool ballpark. April was jam packed (a trip to Cali for Matt's birthday, touring Jobing.com Arena, The Run for Boston initiative, the Bruins made the playoffs...) but the biggest event was D&D flying across the country to get married at The Grand Canyon. It was amazing, a perfect spot for a wedding. A perfect wedding for a perfect couple! In May Matt's mom came out to visit and the three of us plus my mom went up to Sedona to explore and take pictures.

June was a milestone for me - I got to celebrate my 40th birthday! What a surprise it was for me too. After seeing a movie and hanging out all day with my mom & Wendy we came back to the house to find a back yard full of friends from Phoenix and Tucson and then I heard a voice...my first roomie, Keith, was somewhere in my house. His voice was coming through a speaker. And then he announced there was a surprise guest. My aunt Sue walked out my backdoor. I lost it. It was too much! So much love, so many people showed up to share my special day I couldn't have asked for a better fortieth birthday if I tried. Matt pulled it off...complete with graffiti and all.

July was pretty slim, we mostly just hung out in the pool all month, but Wendy came up a bunch of weekends while dealing with an out of order air conditioner. We all got to spend the weekend of her birthday together as well. And enter bearded baby.

The end of summer brought the beginning of us tearing apart the house - tile up, fireplace and wall down. That was about all we did in August. It's still going but getting closer to done.

In September we saw the Tucson Botanical Gardens and we did the Walk to End Alzheimer's. Plus we spent a good chunk of time in California. For our anniversary in September we went to see Dave Matthews Band in Chula Vista. Never a bad time at a Dave show - I danced my ass off all night long.

In October we headed out to another wedding when my sister's close friends got hitched right on the beach in Laguna at sunset. Ah-mazing! October also saw me increase my client list and start making a real income which was awesome. And we had all our drain plumbing replaced, which wasn't as awesome but certainly makes it more functional around here now.

Matt rounded out the year of weddings in November when he stood as a groomsman for one of his oldest friends. We were on a plane and back on the east coast in Washington D.C. for that one. Met so many amazing people, made some new friends and even got to spend some time with family while we were in the Maryland neck of the woods.  Matt & Wendy's boyfriend both went ice skating for the first time and Wendy & I both got on skates for the first time in the better part of a decade. That was fun! Having Thanksgiving with my mom, Matt, my in-laws and my Step-MIL's daughter and family was so much fun and a great way to end November.

December so far has been a great month for bringing closure to another calendar year. Between home improvement store shopping and installation of flooring and a brand new guest bath we've seen tons of Christmas lights, taken a trip to Tucson and I've helped my mom prep and paint her house.

By the time January 1, 2014 rolls in we'll have also been to another hockey game and toasted with a rendition of the Boston Pops on TV.

I had a great year, so much fun, family, friends, food, travel and adventure its hard to believe it all squeezed onto a tiny 4" x 8" Christmas card. But the back really says it all about 2013:

I can't wait to see what 2014 brings! Have a safe, festive and Happy New Year everyone!

• • • • • • • • • • •
Content Marketing Strategist and Blogger for hire, Jenn has over 12 years of freelancing experience. Let her write your next webpage, blog post, article or newsletter. Get in touch with her today info [at] copywritethat [dot] com

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

How Cute are You Thinking I Have Time for Personal Stuff!

I swear, if I start one more blog post talking about how I don’t have time to blog, read blogs, comment on blogs I’m just going to…


Probably do nothing because I don’t even have time to turn this car around.

And I just became an old person from the '80's. Super.

So how has your month been? Mine has been recoculously busy. But you knew that since I’ve managed to fall off the face of the blogosphere. Again. Or Still. I’m not sure which applies here. Maybe both.

Anyway, I’d obviously know how all of you are doing if I got my ass over to blogger every once in a while to read stuff. And I miss all of you. And I’m sorry I had to let something slip when work picked up. And I’m sorry that was this blog.

Because want to know a secret? I enjoy writing over here and reading about everyone’s everything far more than any of the work I’m doing right now.

Okay so it wasn’t really a secret. I guess the real secret is to be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.

I wished I could make money blogging and writing. And poof! After only a year of head pounding and 5 years of pushing myself to the breaking point I finally make enough to buy groceries every month. (Sometimes.)

Hooray right?

Uh, not so much. I should’ve been more clear.

What I’d really like is to be making enough that, I don’t know, I could actually live on it without having to go on the welfare or learn how to spin around a pole to financially survive.

You know, a real living wage would be nice. Like a lot of the writers I know or bloggers I read.

They’re doing it every day so I can too. Right? I can make a living blogging. Right?

Which, of course, brings me back to this blog.

As much fun as this blog is to write, as much enjoyment I get out of reading up on everyone’s lives and keeping in touch, no matter how much I love to rant and rave about whatever randomness crosses my mind there’s only one Tucker Max in the world and I ain’t him.

AKA - I’m not getting paid for this shit so spending my words over here when I could be cold pitching someone that might help me pay my bills won’t cut it.

AKA – Client work has to come first.

AKA – I love my job but I’m not doing what I really love for my job right now.

AKA – Lots of things have changed and I have to roll with it.

I feel the Catch-22 actively happening every day where I’m standing on the edge of some kind of career success but then I miss my old life where I could write over here and keep up with everyone but then I realize doing that didn’t pay the bills but then I remember how fun it is to write on this blog all the time.

And I spin out of control until I convince myself I should just focus on this for another 6 years without being able to support my family.

And that’s usually when I pull myself back, don’t let myself pursue my career ambitions and allow myself to fail so I can blame it on a million other things than my own fear of success.

But this time I’m not going to do that.

This time I’m going to let all of this fade away if necessary so I can push forward. If I find there’s time (like this morning) I’ll pop in and write a little something. (Not a bunch of crap about how I don’t have time to write/read here anymore, that stops now.)

But if I find that client work is eating up all of my time I’m not going to stress if you all take me off your reading lists, stop connecting and tell me to pound sand…

“You want us to read you and you can’t even read us? Uh, suck it, Jenn.”

Because life has changed. A lot. Things that used to be important can’t be important in the same ways anymore. Things that used to suck my time and energy have had to fall off the back end no matter how much fun I had doing them. Because I have to be responsible for my business ventures.

And right now my business is growing.

It needs water and love and attention and all that other crap that I’m usually not very good at but have to learn how to do.

So I’m not shutting this blog down or anything but don’t be surprised if my writing here is sporadic at best over the next 6-12 months.

If you want to stay in touch you can follow me on twitter.

Or feel free to friend me on Facebook because, although teens have decided the site is so last decade, I’m apparently getting closer to their target age demographic every day.

• • • • • • • • • • •
Content Marketing Strategist and Blogger for hire, Jenn has over 12 years of freelancing experience. Let her write your next case study, press release, blog post, article or webpage. Get in touch with her today info [at] copywritethat [dot] com

Friday, October 11, 2013

All Jacked Up

This interruption in networking and conversing with all you fine readers brought to you by...the photo that's attached somewhere in this post.

(I'm using my new phone and the Blogger app is very different from the functionality on the computer. Sorry I can only post one pic from the phone. Lame.)

Anyway, between 25 hours of client work (done at home or all over the city using Wi-Fi wherever I could get it) and having upwards of 7 guys at my house from Mr. Rooter fixing our plumbing issue means I can't lean over the laptop anymore this week so it'll post how it posts from the phone. Can't wax about it too much.

As of tomorrow the plumbing job will be done and we can finally clean the house for real. Let me tell ya, these guys were freaking amazing. They cleaned up every night knowing we were living here and even brought their own floor mats. Which is a thing of theirs, very cool and kept the nastiness from going anywhere other than where it should have. Professional and nice guys showed up at my house. For what I'd say was a fairly reasonable price considering the scope of the job, they burst and ran about 60 feet of brand new ABS pipe throughout my house and to the street. The process was super cool and apparently we were the first they knew of in AZ to have 2" pipe burst to install 4" drainage pipe. They even had a professional photographer out here to document the whole job. We should be seeing those pictures soon.

Despite all the awesomeness there's no getting around the inherent messiness that comes with replacing plumbing. They dug 5 total holes, 2 outside and 3 inside, that allowed them access to get the equipment into all the pipes in the house. And we're on a slab so that meant concrete jackhammering first then lots and lots of backfill digging. The dust in my house is insane! I'm just thankful the temperatures have come down a lot so the few windows that have screens can be opened to let in tons of fresh air.

But I'll be damned if they didn't get all the pipe install done in 4 total working days. The last of the job happens tomorrow when the water heater is installed and toilet reattached in the guest bath. Then that's it, a couple hours and I get my house back. Sort of. Windows happen next week. But that's a whole other story. Probably for next week.

These guys stayed late when they had to and luckily were late morning lovers. No one should see me before coffee has been ingested so contractors who are all about 7:00 are not my BFF. Donny, Dave, Matt, Jacob, Warren and the other guys I never got introduced to (let's just call them the reinforcements) were happily not here before 9:00.

I can't recommend these guys enough, seriously. They just rocked and now I have fully functioning systems to put our new floor on top of.

But this week working was spotty and random and I'm totally exhausted tonight from having to manage it all. Luckily this is a long weekend and I can clean the crap (literally and figuratively) out of this house for 2 days to get it back to liveable.

Just in time for the window install. Thankfully that's only 2 days long.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Okay, Thanks Phoenix but Even I’m Done Now

This probably started just down the street from us.
You all know I live in Phoenix. And most everyone knows that the climate in our little corner of the country is on the warm side most of the time. In fact the monster number of days of sunshine and warmth were two of the main reasons I wanted to live here in the first place.

But even I’m saying Uncle at this point.

Our first 100+ degree day was on April, 28. May only had 9 days at 100° or better (but we had 18 days between 90-99°), no day in June was under 100°, only 3 days were below 100° in July (and only 1 day below 96°), 2 days below 100° in August, and now 14 days in September have been 100° or more.

That’s 113 days do far. Funny, that’s what the temperature feels like out there. Keep in mind there are only 145 days between April 28 and today, September 20. Although today’s figures haven’t been shared yet on the Phoenix NOAA page. But if you trust my phone’s weather App it got to at least 102° today.

I trust my phone because it sure feels like it. And it doesn’t show any sign of slowing down. At least not this week.

Okay Phoenix, thanks, but could you back off just a little please? Even dropping to 90° would feel like a vacation.

I thought the trip we took to California for our anniversary would be a nice transition because as soon as we got back we had 3 days in a row under 95 degrees. We thought the worst was behind us.

It was perfect weather in San Diego actually. Funny though, the night we got in the news was reporting on their “major heat wave” and what residents were doing to stay cool in the high temperatures.

They reported that it had been close to 90° for about 5 days in a row. Matt and I looked at each other and just started laughing. Picture me patting people on the head and saying ‘oh you’re so cute thinking it’s hot here!’ We went to Cali to cool off. And cool off we did.

But the weather must have caught up with the fact we came back and Mother Nature turned up her furnace once she figured it out. How very nice of her. Remind me to send her a melted basket of chocolate covered fruit.

Even our record low warm was broken this month. On the 18th in 1992 the low temperature was 85 degrees. This past Tuesday it only got down to 88°. Though, I’m not gonna lie, at 9:00 at night when there’s no sun and no humidity that temperature feels glorious.

I’m just sad we didn’t win the huge Powerball lottery the other day. You can bet I’d become a late summer snowbird and spend all of September in San Diego if I had the means to do so. Maybe October too. Because at this point I have no idea how we’re going to drop off before Halloween.

And melted chocolate doesn’t sound very delicious.

• • • • • • • • • • •
Content Marketing Strategist and Blogger for hire, Jenn has over 12 years of freelancing experience. Read her blog

Friday, September 13, 2013

This List Should be Shrinking not Growing, Right?

I’ve been pitching for a bunch of different writing gigs lately and this morning THE ideal job posting came across the wires – a travel blog writer. For money. Holy crap! I don’t really have experience writing articles so much but I’m an expert reviewer. Not to mention an expert traveler by car as couples.

So that’s what I based my pitch on. Along with some creative and flowery adjectives describing my own backyard. Hey, travel starts in your own neighborhood right? Especially when you’re an “expat” like me – a Townie in a new land.

But anyway, while I was going back through my blog posts to see what articles I could share as samples of my style, I came across a post from April 16, 2011 titled Something to Do Before I Die. I re-read it and had to laugh. My bucket list that I wrote back then included a bunch of good stuff but the list itself has definitely grown since I wrote that post. But a few things got knocked off and they sure were fun!

Let’s break it down and see where I’m at as of September 2013…

The Bucket List – as originally published on 4/16/2011

• Be on the New York Times best sellers list, “The” list not one of those offshoots

Um, not quite there just yet. Don’t know how soon this one might get crossed off but I’ll keep giving that old college try!

• Travel to Spain, specifically Barcelona

We have some friends with a condo in Rocky Point, Mexico. Their place is right on the beach and only about a 3 or so hour drive from Phoenix. And they go almost every weekend in the summer and keep inviting us to go with them. Why am I telling you this on a point related to Spain? Well, we haven’t even gotten our passports updated to go 3 hours away by car with friends. So looks like Spain is on the back burner for a while, huh?

• Travel back to Amsterdam (with Matt this time)

See above…

• Travel back to Ireland


• Travel to Hawaii

We actually have the opportunity to stay with my sister’s BFF and her husband who just recently moved to one of the Hawaiian islands to live permanently. No passport required? Free place to stay? Challenge accepted!

• Travel to Portugal

You know the answer by now.

• Live and make a living in San Diego

Not yet but this is definitely on both mine and Matt’s radar right now. We got home from our anniversary trip and actually seriously started talking about how we could make it happen to get a condo out there that we rent out until we’re ready to “retire” (I use quotes because I’ll be writing until my fingers fall off, the retiring part can be left to Matt).

• See the Red Sox play the Yankees at Fenway in a game 4 for the sweep and kick their sorry asses right back to the Bronx where they belong (if this season is any indication I’ve got a couple years before this occurs)

As predicted, not so much the past couple seasons. Although this one is looking pretty promising. But I can 100% guarantee I wouldn’t be able to catch the game even if it happened as I laid out here. Too much other travel this fall for weddings. We won’t be able to get back to Boston until next summer unfortunately.

• Settle for seeing the Sox beat the Yanks in any regular season game at Fenway

And because we can’t get back east until 2014 I’d settle for seeing it happen on TV.

• Sit beside my Aunt at the finals when the Bruins win the Cup for the first time in 38+ years (yes, I mean this year damn it!)

I did not get to sit next to Sue when they won the Cup but…

• Settle for seeing them win the cup at all (either in the stands or on my sofa next to my Aunt) and getting to go to the parade

GOAL ACHIEVED!!! (Pun intended). That was THE BEST WAY EVER to wrap up our Boston lives before moving to Arizona! The parade was insanely cool and something I’ll remember the rest of my life. And I’m so glad I got to share that day with Sue, Matt and my Uncle!

• Becoming a millionaire, not through inheritance or anything like that, my own blood, sweat & tears

Still working on this one…

• Graduate college

No longer caring to work on this one…

• Be in a big budget movie (I’ll even take a small part like “Friend’s neighbor” or something but it has to be a speaking role [one line will do] and I must be credited

Not yet but I’ll keep it in the back of my mind. I am so not attractive on camera and I really dislike my recorded voice, but maybe with the right lighting and direction, plus the fact I wouldn’t have to be the “star” would help me be better at those parts?

• Make my living as a published author (book tours, readings/signings, etc included)

I think I should’ve said published Writer, not Author, because that’s more in line with my real life goals. And I’m actually making major headway toward that now doing freelance and publishing books. I love my job!

• Get to see all 50 states & spend time in each of them seeing sights (20 down -- MA, NH, VT, ME, CT, RI, NY, NJ, PA, OH, MD, DE, NC, FL, TX, AZ, CA, DC, LA, GA -- of course the only time I really spent in Delaware was at rest stops but what else is there to see, really? I imagine we’ll knock at least 7 more off the list just driving out to our new home and probably another 5 within the first year we live out there. That only leaves 18 more!)

OK, I’m up to: MA, NH, VT, ME, CT, RI, NY, NJ, PA, OH, MD, DE, NC, SC, VA, FL, TX, AZ, CA, DC, LA, GA, TN, MS, OK, AR, NM
That’s 26 states and one Capital. Only 14 to go, mostly stuff in the middle and northwest.

• Drive a race car around a track at over 125 mph

Not yet!

• Go white water rafting again

Done it once so it isn’t as crucial I get back, just something I’d love to do with Matt.

• Get Matt to Disney World

This will happen for our 15 year anniversary. I’m making the declaration now.

Stuff that should’ve been included (some of which is already crossed off)

Catch a Green Bay Packers game at Lambeau
Get to a game at every NHL arena (2 down, only 28 to go!)
Become a season ticket holder of a professional US sport – Coyotes here we come!
Be in the studio audience at the Maury show when the DNA test results are revealed.
Meet Jason Mraz (preferably not as a fan-girl but maybe at a party or something)
Renovate a home (not in the ghetto) that we intend to live in – Currently in process!
Get a byline in a major market publication (I’ll take magazine or newspaper and online is ok)
Publish something that goes viral
Chase a tornado
Own a second home used only for vacations or rental income
Make enough as a Writer that Matt can quit working Corporate (if he wants to)
Learn to surf (even though I’m terrified of sharks I still can’t shake this one)
Get to Australia & New Zealand

I’m sure there’s more but I just can’t think of them off the top right now. Maybe I’ll have a lot to cross off and more to add in another 2-1/2 years. Until then, it looks like the top item on the list should be ‘Update passport’ huh?

What are your top 3 bucket list items?

• • • • • • • • • • •
Content Marketing Strategist and Blogger for hire, Jenn has over 12 years of freelancing experience. Read her blog

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sometimes Someone Else Just says it better than I Ever Could

This is one of those days that I have to keep busy, to think of anything else other than the date or I might just find myself sitting on the sofa watching 12 year old news footage all day. I will never forget, that's a fact and something I've even written about before, but I also try very hard to live in the positive force of now.

And right now?

Life has changed, moved on, moved through, and moved past the events that happened on 9/11/01. At least that's the way it is for me. Friends, family, random acquaintances, jobs, geographic locations, apartments, cars, plates of food, pints of beer – they’ve all come and gone and I just kept moving forward.

So now what?

I opened this post on a somewhat somber note and led everyone to believe I might share some of what happened to me on that day. Or at least how my mind has processed things that have happened since. But honestly I just don’t want to. I don’t want to write it again, I don’t want to re-hash it all and sit around being sad and depressed all day.

Because that’s not the spirit I gleaned from the people of this country after the biggest tragedy in our history took place. I gleaned love and positivity, togetherness and a helpful life-force.

Which basically means I need to find some way to transition from the first few paragraphs of this post - ones that likely brought up all kinds of crazy memories for many of you - to something lighter, brighter and more upbeat.

Because that's where my brain likes to live these days.

Tall order?

In the spirit of that I always think the best way to bridge any gap is through music. So here's a quote to chew on for a few seconds that will hopefully give you some idea of the place I'm forcing my head to live today:

"The struggles I'm facing, the chances I'm taking. Sometimes might knock me down but, no I'm not breaking." **

Actually, now that I mention it, I think sharing a few of my favorite quotes from songs might not be a bad idea. It’s the kind of thing that makes for an interesting enough post, one that people can hopefully connect with in some small way.

And hopefully one that can help alleviate the emotional memories someone might be experiencing today. If only for a few minutes.

The List – Favorite Lines from Songs

I’ve been compiling a list for the past few months in a notepad document on my phone. Well my phone is about to get kicked to the curb for an upgrade soon so I guess there’s no time like the present to share what I’ve already got.

Obviously this list isn’t complete, that list would take decades to compile and probably still wouldn’t be complete. But enjoy these nuggets of brilliance for what they’re worth. Some are single lines, some entire verses. Some I’d have put the entire song as a quote because it just speaks to me so intensely. Those ones are linked back to a YouTube video so you can listen to the whole thing if you like.

And maybe finding out who the artists are behind some of these quotes will surprise you.

I'm just a notch in your bedpost but you're just a line in a song.
– Fall Out Boy

Hold onto 16 as long as you can, changes comin’ round real soon make us women & men.
– John Cougar Mellencamp

Well maybe I'm off, yeah, I'm strangely askew. Maybe I ran away just when you started to get a good view. And maybe who I am turned out to be, nothing like the me that you wanted me to be.
          - Melisa Ferrick (I REALLY tried to find this song sung by Ferrick live somewhere so I could link to it but other than the tiny clip on Amazon’s link to purchase there’s just nothing online. The song isn’t one Ferrick usually performs live. Just go buy Valentine Heartache.)

We're just 2 lost souls swimmin’ in a fishbowl year after year.
          - Pink Floyd

It’s when you cry just a little but you laugh in the middle that you've made it.
          - Jason Mraz

All my life I've been searchin’ for somethin’ somethin’ never comes never leads to nothin’ nothin’ satisfies but I'm getting’ close closer to the prize at the end of the rope.
          - Foo Fighters

There's always gonna be another mountain I'm always gonna wanna make it move. Always gonna be an uphill battle, sometimes I'm gonna have to lose. Ain't about how fast I get there, ain't about what's waiting on the other side. It's the climb.
          - **Miley Cyrus

Some things in this world, man, they don’t make sense. Some things you don’t need until they leave you then they’re things that you miss.
          - Matchbox 20

If I knew all the words I would write myself out of here.
          - Jason Mraz

Now that we're here so far away, all the struggle we fought was in vain. And all the mistakes one life contained, they all finally start to go away. Now that we’re here so far away, and I feel like I can face the day. I can forgive and I’m not ashamed to be the person that I am today.
          - Staind

You only get one shot do not miss your chance & blow ‘cause opportunity comes once in a lifetime.
          - Eminem

And you're measuring your minutes by a clock that's blinking 8's.
          - Dashboard Confessional

Life's like an hourglass glued to the table. No one can find the rewind button now. Sing it if you understand. And breathe. Just breathe.
- Anna Nalick

I mean how can we get lost running in a straight line?
          - Jason Mraz

‘Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony this life. Try to make ends meet you're a slave to money then you die.
          - The Verve

I find sometimes it’s easy to be myself, sometimes I find it’s better to be somebody else.
          - Dave Matthews Band

Climb up over the top survey the state of your soul, you've got to find out for yourself whether or not you're truly trying. Why not give it a shot shake it take control & inevitably wind up finding for yourself all the strengths that you have inside of you.
          - Jason Mraz

And that seems like a pretty great way to close this post.

• • • • • • • • • • •
Content Marketing Strategist and Blogger for hire, Jenn has over 12 years of freelancing experience. Read her blog

Friday, August 23, 2013

Please Consider Making a Donation

There’s no way to sugar coat this. So I kind of figured - why bother trying? Everyone around here knows I’m blunt and speak my mind. Well, the mind is the reason I’m asking everyone to make a donation so let me give you a little info.

First of all, I hope you’ll all stick with me on this because you know I’m not usually like this – directly asking for you to fork over money. It’s not usually my style. With that said, where I’m asking you to donate isn’t some weird unheard of cause or my Kickstarter campaign to sail around the world in a canoe or something.

I’m asking if you will please, please consider scratching together a couple bucks to donate to Alzheimer's research in the form of a donation to my Aunt Sue for her Walk campaign.

You all know Sue, she’s the gal who pretty much inspired my very first fiction novel, Ripple the Twine as I wrote about in this post. She’s one of the most generous and selfless people on this planet and next month she’s lacing up her sneakers to do the 2013 Greater Boston Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

I can’t remember how many years she’s done this so far (leave me a comment & let us know!) but suffice to say it’s a large number. And not only that but she spends countless hours getting people and stuff together for the Walk every year, sits for hours in all kinds of weather at craft fairs and other festival type places at the info booth for the Walk, and she talks about the effects of the disease on the person who has it (and people who love them) with anyone and everyone she can just to help raise awareness.

See? I told you she’s effing awesome.

But with the many worthy causes out there like One Fund, Red Cross Relief for hurricane Sandy, Relief for the Oklahoma tornadoes and many others, raising funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s research has sort of taken a backseat this year.

And that totally sucks because Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the country.

Yeah, you read that right. Sixth.

Because it’s so widespread just about everyone I know has been personally touched by this terrible disease somehow. Hell, 3 out of my 4 grandparents had some form of Alzheimer’s based dementia. Two of those people were Sue’s parents.

So needless to say, yeah, she’s pretty attached to the cause and doing her part to help find a cure. Like, yesterday.

Matt, my mom and I used to walk with her every year but since we all moved out of state that core group broke up. But we all still do the Walk with Sue every year as virtual walkers and this year will be no different! The thing is I’m just not one to get donations. I kind of suck at it because I always forget until the last minute.

So that’s why this year I’m putting the call out there for those of you who want to donate to a worthy cause to please consider giving to Sue for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

Write it off on your taxes, feel kick-ass knowing you helped and know that your donation is going to help cure this awful illness before it impacts the life of someone you know.

Thanks for letting me solicit and thanks for helping the cause!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Cluttered House, Cluttered Mind

I’ve opened and closed the ‘New Post’ link so many times now it seems like I should probably just give up trying to write anything. But yet here I am writing some form of drivel anyway. You’re welcome.

It hit me earlier that it’s been over 2 weeks since I’ve even clicked on my own blog page let alone read any of my friend’s posts or considered putting a few letters into words into sentences into paragraphs into my own post. I’ve been so busy trying to do everything that once again it’s feeling like I’m doing nothing.

I started taking this intensive career training and pulling a lot of stuff together to start a Content Marketing and Freelance Blogging business. I’ve been doing it for 6 years already, guess it’s time to start getting paid for all my efforts right?

Yeah well that’s great but now I have to figure out how. And I just keep asking myself, if I hadn’t figured out how to do it in the last 6 years am I really going to now?

The short answer is yes. The long answer is also yes. I’m good at this conversational writing thing and it’s high time someone started paying me to do it for them.

So there’s that.

Then right in the middle of trying to get this business off the ground Matt took 4 days off work last week and the two of us started our renovations. Here’s a before and after for your viewing pleasure:

Most of you are Facebook friends and probably already saw the album so I’m not going to go into too much detail here but suffice to say we tore out a wall and a (3000 pound) rock wall fireplace and now our living room is the size of Jobing.com Arena. We could seriously start charging people to come and use it as a dance floor. So now the next question is what the heck we’re going to do with the massive open space.

The short answer is I have no clue because we’re not millionaires. The long answer is I have no clue because…you get the point.

Anyway, after pulling down and building back up most of the open holes, we went away last weekend so I could attend the bridal shower my sister was throwing for one of her closest friends. It couldn’t have come at a better time. After 4 days of back aching labor work (something I no longer do for a living, and mind you, I’m an old lady now too) I was so ready for a couple days off.

Sleeping on an air mattress (especially one that turns into a hot air balloon overnight) isn’t the most fun when you’ve pulled a muscle near your tailbone but if you ever find yourself in that situation here’s some free advice:

Drink. A lot. Then go dancing. Because all the other muscles you (shockingly) didn’t pull while doing the renovation will be so sore the next day you won’t really notice the one that was causing you to gimp around to begin with.

Sunday was all about chilling out and doing as little as possible. It was so nice in fact that we had a hard time prying ourselves off my sister’s sofa to make the 2 hour drive home. But we did and once we were here it was right back to off-mode as we planted our butts on our own sofa for the rest of the day.

So on Monday I had a ton of email and other stuff to catch up on after taking 6 days off. Catching up took the better part of the day. I was tired and cranky and didn’t really want to work but toughed it out and got through my overflowing inboxes.

Then today I started working on my landing page for my freelancing stuff as mentioned above and realized that my computer is an ancient POS. Luckily I just purchased a new laptop yesterday but it won’t be here for about 3 weeks. So I kept trying to make the site building tools work with my non-compatible machine. Only it was to no avail.

I wasted the whole morning and had nothing to show for it. Instead of getting upset (er) I dialed into a teleconference I’d signed up for through the career training folks. Aptly titled ‘Landing Clients’ it felt like this would be a great way to start figuring out the paycheck part.

Ten minutes into the call it turned into a sales pitch for a big conference/workshop they have coming up this fall. I stayed on the call just to see if there really would be any good tips or advice about how to land clients other than going to the bootcamp.

I wrote down exactly 8 things during the 73 minutes I was on the phone:

  • Write about what you’re learning
  • Choose a niche right away
  • Network with everyone (even the wrong people for your niche)
  • Practice talking about your business in person
  • Find groups that understand the value a copywriter brings
  • Take the action that works for you (calls, blogs, emails, etc.)
  • Find opportunities to show yourself as an expert
  • Ask friends for referrals

Now I don’t want to sound like an ungrateful person considering the call was free, but other than that last tip, do any of those suggestions tell a person how to land a client?

The short answer is no.

The long answer is that was 73 minutes spent listening to a sales pitch, not a teleconference with any form of benefit like it was originally presented, that I’ll never get back. And I didn’t even get a weekend at a timeshare out of it or anything. All I got was an offer to save money on their very expensive conference.

One I might be able to afford to attend if any of the 7 people on the call actually, you know, gave some information on landing clients.

After the technology and phone call debacles I decided it might be better to spend my time getting my house put back together instead of trying to focus on doing work that was clearly just laid out to frustrate me all day.

So I pulled on my big girl construction pants and finished the second coat of joint compound on the ceiling and wall.

I’m sore again but putting the house back together seemed like the smartest idea for the best way to get my head back together.

I forgot how cranky I get living in a cluttery construction zone.

So for the next couple weeks, until I can finish these home improvement projects I’m taking time away from writing. Well at least away from finding new clients. I’ll still do the work I have for the client that’s already paying me steadily but otherwise no deal.

At least that’s my plan until the laptop shows up. Once my new tech toy arrives all bets on finishing the house are off.

Good thing compound dries pretty quickly in the desert.

• • • • • • • • • • •
Content Marketing Strategist and Blogger for hire, Jenn has over 12 years of freelancing experience. Follow her antics on twitter @jennshon

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Long and Torrid ♥ Affair

I have to confess. I’ve had a one sided love affair going on for well over a decade now. In fact, since about the summer of 2002 I’ve devoted my listening ears to one particular songwriter and (it won’t be a shock to anyone who has been around this blog for more than, oh say, about 10 minutes that) the name of this lyrically limber lexicon lover is Jason Mraz.

Told you it wouldn’t be a surprise. Most of you are probably sick of me writing about him at this point (too bad this is my blog and I’ll fan-girl geek it out if I want to!). Other than a brief mention of a new album here or there would you believe the last post I wrote about Jason was back in 2009 when I saw him in Hershey,PA opening for Dave Matthews Band? Yeah, I wouldn’t have believed it either except I just did the research and it’s the stone-cold truth.

I like that I was a fan years before anyone knew who he was. That I got to see him at Irving Plaza in NYC with only about 100 other people in the place. That Matt and I drove all the way to NJ from MA. Then the two of us, my friend Trayce and her daughter took off for Susquehanna, PA to catch Jason on the ‘Music, Magic and Makepeace Tour. That Matt and I drove all the way to Hershey, PA (also conveniently close to Centralia, PA [yes I filmed this documentary]) for that above referenced show that I wrote about.

Then about 11 days later my mom and I caught Jason headlining the Bank of America Pavilion in Boston with the smell of the harbor wafting into the enormous tent as we danced our butts off all night long (all night).

And then Matt and I made our way to the Life Is Good festival to see a whole slew of amazing artists (Emily Elbert, OK Go, They Might be Giants, Brett Dennen) and of course Jason headlining the whole night.

That was the last time I saw him perform live.

In freaking 2010.

What a sad, sad shame.

But a lot has happened since September 12, 2010 and as a grown up with big girl responsibilities it wasn’t like I could chase the guy all over the country or anything. No matter how much I really wanted to.

And now we’re in Phoenix, a five hour journey to San Disco Raggaefornia (give or take). And I just looked up the last time Jason played here. It was October of 2012. And we were recently moved into our house so there wasn’t much extra to go around; meaning I didn’t get to the show.

But now this morning I was wasting some moments scrolling through Facebook and came across this:

Um, yes please!

I’d say it’s about time he released something new because waiting between releases has kind of been the norm – Rocket in 2002, Mr A-Z in 2005, WSWDWST in 2008 and then love in 2012.

But we’re only talking about a year since love. And believe me, knowing every lyric on that album front and back (because frankly there hasn’t been another disc in my car’s player since the day I got the album), I’m already ready for more.

But aren’t all the former Sexheads? I mean seriously. The guy’s music is like a drug. A sweet and melodic drug that plays on your mind, body and soul. Best. high. Ever!

Thank god that shit is still legal. 

I just hate that part where I have to wait for it. Especially now that I know it’s on the way.

• • • • • • • • • • •
Published in multiple print and online sources, Author, Blogger and Freelance Writer Jenn Flynn-Shon has been writing for publication since 2001. Follow her antics on twitter @jennshon