Blog? What blog?

Hello, friends!

Long time no talk. 2014 is just breezing by and we’re already almost a quarter done with the year. Is that insane or what?! January was a super busy month for me. I was consistently busy and making real progress on my business goals and freelance work, in addition to working full time and cooking healthy meals each night. I even traveled to Salt Lake City for four incredible days at the awesome Alt Summit blogging conference. What a great experience! I’ve promised several of my friends I would write about this, and I still intend to. It’s just one of those things that requires a little extra time and an individual post. It was a little awkward going alone and not knowing anyone, but all in all, I’m so glad I went.

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In addition to Utah, I traveled to Pennsylvania to meet my dad and his girlfriend while we visited my brother and his fiancée. We were all home in our separate states for the holidays, and we spent a whole weekend together to celebrate a belated Christmas. I miss my family so much! Earlier in the month, I also traveled with Joshua and several of his Marine buddies up to Massachusetts for the wake and funeral of a close friend. He was killed in combat in Afghanistan and left behind a beautiful wife and large, loving family. It was the saddest and hardest funeral I’ve ever been to, and it was a privilege to be there to honor his memory and the many adventures we had with him and his wife during our time stationed in Virginia.

Then came February. I just kept feeling like I was falling behind in everything. January was a strong focus on working nonstop, and so I kind of let the house go. February was a mess of cleaning up, organizing, redecorating here and there. I didn’t cook much (other than my favorite chili rice staple meal from my mama that I’ll admit I made more than once). I did travel again… This time up north to Virginia to see my girlfriends from work and to go scrapbooking at a crop night! I also had a fabulous Valentine’s Day with my husband, made him a special album of our first year together and received… get this… a star! Seriously, what a cool gift. We named it Danielle’s Valentine, and it’s in the Taurus constellation. (Yep, I’m a bull!)

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I joined a beginner Crossfit class in February with a few of my neighbors. Technically, I’m not allowed to call it Crossfit because it’s not affiliated. Rather than call it “functional fitness” as I was told to, I call it Merefit after my coach, Meredith. Functional fitness sounds too long and boring for me to like it! Merefit is so, so hard. But I’m surprised to say I’ve enjoyed the challenge. That was until last Monday’s class… They just keep getting harder and harder! I have three weeks left until the intro class is over, and then I will figure out what’s next. At this point, I don’t think I’ll be ready to enter the regular class, but time will tell!

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And at the very end of February, I got sick. And I’ve been sick for almost two weeks and counting. It started out with a sore throat, then a bad head cold, then a cough, and finally… A sinus infection. The doctor gave me some antibiotics and I’m almost back to normal. But man, what a way to start off the month!

Now that I’m starting to feel better, I feel like I’m in a constant state of catching up. My close friends often comment that I take on too much and I’m always “busy.” I don’t know how to not be busy. There is just so much to do, all the time! I have so many projects, goals, plans, ideas, passions and hobbies. I don’t want to give any of it up! Eventually, it all catches up with me though. I think I need to start making a conscious effort to start editing things in my life. No, I can’t say yes to everything. Do I? Yes, usually. I feel like I try to be a lot of things to a lot of different people and sometimes it all just ends up spinning out of control.

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Kind of like that movie Gravity with Sandra Bullock, you know? Joshua and I rented it On Demand after I watched the Oscars and had to see it. She just kept spinning and spinning and going and going, far out into space! Side note: The movie kind of reminded me of Castway with Tom Hanks, except there was no volleyball to talk to. How sad. Thank goodness I have Lady to talk to on the days I’m feeling a little lonely working from home!

So here we are in March. I’ve already been to and from Pennsylvania again for my brother’s fiancée’s bridal shower (and caught in a terrible snow storm on the way home—eek!). I will be back and forth a lot over the next three months for all the wedding festivities. I’m a bridesmaid and Joshua is a groomsman, hooray! I just adore wedding season. Especially when it involves my brother and soon-to-be sister-in-law. So much fun!

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I’m still trying hard to achieve a better work–life balance, especially between my job(s), keeping a clean house, eating well, and working out regularly. For awhile it was a work–work balance, trying to juggle my day job and my freelance work. Honestly, it still feels that way a lot of days. But until I do figure it all out (and I will figure it all out, right?), I’ll try to stop back and visit this space as often as my current schedule allows. Can’t wait!

Life in the Fast Lane!

So. I realize I have totally been absent from my blog. I swear, it wasn’t planned. I had quite the opposite planned (lots of ideas I was so excited to post).

But then, you know… life happened. An opportunity came up for a new job at a new company, and on a whim, I applied. A couple of days later, I had an interview. A couple days after that, I was offered the job. 24 hours later, I accepted. It was a tough choice to make, because I loved the company I was with so very much. Designing with the creative team to support military Quality of Life programs for the Department of Defense was incredibly awesome, not to mention… so were the people I worked with. And that’s hard to find, you know?

I gave my 2 weeks notice and began to mentally prepare for a new job, new people, new responsibilities, and new location. I started wrapping up my design projects and handing things over to my boss to delegate. Meanwhile, things were stirring up at my current job. A mere three days before my last day there, a new job was posted with the company— a job for a Social Media Strategist. Of course, I was immediately interested. I mean, to start, I love this company. Secondly, social media? I’ve been interested in social media since I was old enough to have my own screen name for a chat room. (A/S/L, anyone?) I remember at my previous job in New York, learning of such a thing as a social media position and being so jealous, thinking… “Wow. That sounds so cool.”

As for experience, well… I probably had my first taste of social media in those chat rooms and online message boards at around 14 years old. I’m 26. So that’s 10+ years of experience using it on a personal level. Add in the social media presence I built from the ground up for my freelance business, as well as this blog you are currently reading, and… I suddenly had myself a list of qualifications to bring to the table. 

Needless to say, I knew I had to apply. With the encouragement of a couple of close friends, I prepared myself for the interview. Ironically enough, it was the same day as my exit interview. I felt like I was cheating on someone. My new job? My old position? I don’t know.

Okay. We’re down to a mere 2 days before I was to start the new job. A couple of others from my company had also applied for the Social Media position, and I was freaking out. I wanted it. It was getting so close though… I couldn’t leave things with the new job like that, whether it was letting them know last minute that I wouldn’t be starting OR starting and wishing I was elsewhere.

And then… I was offered the position. [insert halleluiah chorus here] I immediately accepted, then immediately called the new job and explained things to them. They were so gracious. They told me congratulations, and to contact them in the future if things didn’t work out or I was looking for something different. [insert hell yeah! here]

I am now a Social Media Strategist by day, and graphic designer by night. Woot woot! Best of both worlds. I’ve been in my new position for about a week and a half now, and I’m learning the ropes. I’m being trained on new types of social media I had little-to-no experience with, and I’m giving input and providing graphic support for things I know plenty about. It’s so fun.

To conclude, my dear friends… that is where I have been and why I haven’t been blogging. It’s been an emotional roller coaster, and I’m so happy things are finally leveling out! Yay for that.

A Little Lost

Hi friends, I’m still here. To be completely honest, I haven’t been blogging because I’ve been a bit discouraged in the department of self-employment. Work has been slow, and my self-esteem (and wallet!) has been suffering because of it.
I’m not sure if I made the right decision combining both my personal and professional blogs, and I’m not even sure if I can keep up Graphic Grace without the money to support it. I’ve began looking for full-time design jobs and other smaller, part-time jobs to keep me occupied (and the bills paid).
Of course, this isn’t what I want to do. I want Graphic Grace to work and succeed. I think I just need a pep talk, or a kick in the butt to keep it going.
Either that, or a fairy godmother to make everything better.
For now though, that’s where I’ve been. Once I decide what to do with this blog and my business, I will let everyone know. Thank you for your support throughout all of this. 

Blog Business Advice Needed

So in the midst of all the last minute wedding planning craziness, I’m of course still working on my business and coming up with a plan to help it grow and be successful. But I’m at a point where I’m stuck now, and I could really use the advice of people who know me through my blog, since it is somewhat web-related.

A little background on my situation: I graduated college in 2007 with my BFA in Graphic Design. After college, I worked at corporate for American Greetings card company, then at corporate for a supermarket chain in the upper northeast. I designed cards at AG and food packaging at the supermarket. I loved both these jobs, and I love what I chose to do with my career. Design is my favorite thing ever. :-)

When Joshua returned home from Afghanistan, I left my job and started my own freelance graphic design business, Graphic Grace Design. Work has been steady but slow, but I was recently informed that my biggest client will no longer be hiring freelancers. In one way, this is a good thing— it forces me to put myself and the company out there more to get more clients, and pursue the type of work I really want. On the other hand, I’m scared shitless. This company has been my primary source of income for almost a year now, and I’m nervous and anxious about what comes next.

The question is now, what to do? I have this blog, Hard Corps Love, which is my personal blog that started as a deployment journal when Joshua was away. It is mostly military, wedding, and relationship focused. But then, I want to blog about my business and share my design projects and ideas, templates, giveaways, tutorials, etc.

Do I start sharing those things here, or do I start a new blog that is strictly business? Do I keep my personal & professional blogs separate, or do I combine the two? I’ve seen several successful bloggers who do combine the two, and their reader loyalty also helps their business.

But then, I don’t want my blog to be all business.

And then again, I don’t want to have so many different blogs, profiles, and websites to have to manage and keep up all the time.

As it is, I currently have this blog, my GraphicGrace website, our wedding/personal website (joshuandanielle.com), my personal Facebook page, a GraphicGrace Faebook page, a GraphicGrace Twitter page, and my blog Twitter page.

So I feel like the Facebook pages and Twitter pages are, whatever. Those are small things that are easier to manage, and not a big deal to me. But the blog/website issue is a huge deal.

What would you do?

I’ve thought about moving this blog to joshuandanielle.com, keeping all of our personal life together. Then I’d create a separate business-related blog for GraphicGrace and the website. But can I still make that personal? And if I move this blog to joshuandanielle.com, do I keep the name, Hard Corps Love, or do I change it?

Help! Please?

It’s Official!

Hi everyone… I could not be more excited right now. I’ve officially launched my website, Graphic Grace Design! I’d love to hear your feedback and get your opinions on what is or isn’t working.

I’ve gone through much debate about whether to include the link to this blog or start a new “professional” blog. I’ve gotten mixed responses from family and friends, but ultimately I decided not to include a link to Hard Corps Love on my professional website.

Now the debate is whether to:
A.) Start the new professional blog & continue keeping this personal blog.
B.) Keep only this blog and not worry about having a professional blog.
C.) Combine both blogs into one blog, either under Hard Corps Love or a new title.

What do you think?

P.S. I love 2011 already.