One Year of Writing Professionally

by Stephany on August 20, 2014

writing

Yesterday, I celebrated my one year anniversary at my job! It’s kinda blowing my mind that I’ve already been at my job for a year… these past twelve months have flown by in a flash. I still remember how anxious and fearful I was to begin this new career path. Scared out of my mind that I had made the wrong decision and everything was going to be terrible. (I’m quite the optimist, yeah?)

But I have proved myself wrong! Starting this job has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. I love my coworkers. I love my bosses. I love my work. I love that I get to set my own schedule and work independently. Sure, it’s not the most thrilling writing to be doing. (I write SEO website content and most of my clients are home improvement companies. So I write a lot about windows and siding and gutter protection. Thrilling, I tell ya!)

The past twelve months have been such a learning experience for me. I knew it would be, which is both exciting and scary, and I have learned a lot about myself as a writer and as a person:

I will always take criticism – constructive or not – to heart.

So, we go through extensive editing processes with the pages we write. All of our pages must go through a peer editor (and sometimes also a manager’s edits) before it’s sent on to the client. So, I had to grow comfortable with my writing being looked over and scrutinized. The first few times I got edits back from another colleague, it was hard. My pages were all marked up! I had to really calm myself down, read through the critiques, and learn from it. I won’t lie – I still have to physically prepare myself when I get edits back on pages I write, but I’m getting better at seeing the edits for what they are and that they don’t mean I am a horrible writer and have no business in this job. (Yes. This thought pattern happens… often.)

But I can appreciate a great editor.

There are some colleagues who I love/hate getting edits from. I love them because they are strong editors who make my pages better and make me think of my writing in a different light… hate them because it’s sometimes hard to read through constructive criticism. But I know this is a part of being a writer. Edits only make me a better writer.

Some days are just not going to be great writing days. Accept it and move on.

There are days where the writing comes easily, and I’m knocking pages off my to-do list left and right. And then there are days when it feels like I forgot how to put words together to form a sentence. Nothing works and it can take me upwards of an hour to write a single 250-word page. As someone who is pretty high-strung and anxiety-prone, I can get myself worked up over these days, worrying that I will never, ever be able to write again and why am I even here I am terrible at this why did they hire me oh my god what if I am fooling everyone?! It’s fun being in my brain sometimes. Good writing days happen. Bad writing days happen. It’s nothing to get in a tizzy about!

It’s okay to not be the best.

I can admit that I am not the best writer on the team. I have some slight perfectionist tendencies, so it can bug me when I’m not the best. But guess what? There will always be someone better. And I don’t have to be the best. It’s not a competition. I just have to be my best. Do what I can to improve my writing and learn from others. At the end of the day, that matters more than being the best.

You don’t have to hate your job.

I hated my previous job. I was micromanaged, talked down to, and I had a boss who made me cry regularly. I was doing work that didn’t make me feel good, I was underpaid, and I was just so ready for something new. I had been told that that kind of work environment was common, and you just had to get used to it. I’m so glad I didn’t listen to that advice because it’s so not true. Not all work environments are like that. You can have supportive bosses. You can have happy work environments. You can love what you do. You don’t have to hate what you do.

What’s one lesson your job has taught you?

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Building a Capsule Wardrobe, Part III

by Stephany on August 18, 2014

So far, I’ve talked about putting together a capsule wardrobe and what my ideal summer capsule would entail. I’ve also talked about purging my current wardrobe and where it stands today in regards to creating this capsule. I have some work to do with my wardrobe, mainly continuing to get rid of pieces and adding new items to it. Items that make me feel good and look good, items that more closely reflect my personal style.

So, in order to do that, I really need to hone in on my style and what types of items I love. I know I opt for comfort and casual more often that not. That I need pants that fit my short, stubby legs. That my style falls mostly to classic and modest.

I did some light perusing of different items at some of my favorite stores, so I could talk through my style in regards to the different areas of my wardrobe.

First, we’ll talk about bottoms.

bottoms

L-R: Loft, Loft, Daisy Fuentes, Lucky Brand, Old Navy, Old Navy 

In my ideal capsule, I would like to include two pairs of slacks and one pair of dressy capris for work, and two pairs of casual capris and one pair of skinny jeans for casual weekend wear.

One thing I know is that I really love dressy pants from Loft. They fit my body perfectly, which is really hard to do when you’re five-two and chubby. I currently own only one pair of slacks from Loft, but I love them and feel really good when I wear them. And, they are super comfortable! I’m not used to slacks being comfortable, but Loft pants really are! I’d like to add another pair of slacks to my wardrobe, along with a cute pair of capris.

Secondly, I really want to treat myself to a nice pair of designer skinny jeans. Right now, I go to Old Navy for all my jean needs, but I really want to spend the money on a great pair that will last a long time and fit me well. I have my eye on a sweet pair of Lucky skinny jeans, but I’m not sure if they are the best option for short, curvy girls.

As for casual capris, I’d probably opt for Target or Old Navy. I’m not as picky with these, but I’d still want to find two pairs that make me feel good when I wear them. The capris/shorts I have now for my casual weekend wear make me feel rather frumpy and dull.

dresses skirts
L-R: mine, mine, Loft, Loft

Next, we’ll talk dresses and skirts. I am pretty happy with the dresses in my wardrobe currently (pictured above). In fact, I wore the flowery one to work last week and got six compliments on it. I think that’s a record for me?! It was crazy! I really love those dresses because they’re modest, hit at the knee, and are made of super, super comfy material. And they look cute on me! A win-win.

I only have one skirt in my wardrobe now and it’s okay, but it’s not my favorite. I love the options at Loft, so I can see myself buying one of their skirts for my wardrobe. When it comes to skirts, I want something a bit flowy and fun and hits close to the knee. I really like the options I found at Loft!

dressy shirts

Next up, my dressy shirts for work. I didn’t go searching around the Internet for options for these, so everything above is what’s in my wardrobe currently. I really love JC Penney for finding really nice dressy shirts that don’t break the bank. I like them to be silky, comfortable, and in fun colors. And I reallllly love cowl necklines. They’re my favorite! (These probably don’t fit into what a capsule wardrobe should contain, since your shirts should be more neutral and solid colors, so they can be mixed and matched in many different ways, so that’s something I need to keep in mind!)

cardigans
L-R: Target, Target, Target

For cardigans, I really want to find better options than what I have in my wardrobe currently. I’m very picky about my cardigans, and I really didn’t find options I loved on the Internet. Basically, I’d like to find a black cardigan, a white cardigan, and then one or two more in a fun color (like purple or orange!). I like my cardigans to be a little longer, falling to my hips, which is something I have a hard time finding! The cardigans I find either stop at my waist, or hit waaaay below my hips and makes me look frumpy. Where do you buy your cardigans?

casual tees

 

L-R: Old Navy, Gap, Loft

Next up, casual tees! I have a good selection right now, but I would like to replace some of the items with solid color casual tees. I like Old Navy for casual tops, but they either get too stretched out after only a few months of wear, or shrink if I accidentally put them in the dryer. (AH! So annoying!) I hear Gap is a good place for finding soft, comfortable casual tees. Where do you shop for casual tops?

shoes
L-R: Target, Target, Target

The last category is shoes! I’m thinking of sticking to a neutral flat, a black flat, and a pretty sandal. I actually have all of these items in my wardrobe currently, and love them, so we can mark this section complete – woo!

So there you have it! I obviously have some work to do, and I think that not only will using capsule wardrobes help me better define my style and find clothes that feel good, but it will also help me to be more intentional when I shop. I know exactly what things I need and what I’m looking for, not simply shopping just to shop. If it’s not something I need for my capsule, then I don’t need to be buying it.

Where do I go from here, though? Well, I want to continue reducing my current wardrobe so I’m trying to wear everything that’s in my closet at least once and be honest about the item and how it makes me feel. For example, last week, I wore a dressy blouse to work and realized that I just didn’t feel good in it and the ruffly neckline irritated me so much. So, I washed it and placed it in my pile of clothes to donate. One less item to worry about!

I am also planning on shopping for a few new items for my capsule. Right now, I am mostly focused on new cardigans (I have four in my wardrobe currently, but don’t love any of them) and finding a great pair of dressy capris (which is a lot harder than it may seem!).

I am feeling a lot more calmer about my wardrobe and cultivating a style I love because I feel like I have a plan of attack and a vision for what I want my style to be. I’ve never really felt good about the way I dressed, never had intention behind my style. I think by going through this process and creating capsule wardrobes, my closet will be filled with comfortable, fun to wear clothes that are 100% me.

What’s the last piece of clothing you bought for yourself?

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TGIF (v. 2)

August 15, 2014

  Happy Friday, friends! Fridays are really the best, aren’t they? And when you only work 3.5 hours, they are even better! Let’s dive right into another TGIF post! The high of my week was ladies happy hour with a bunch of work friends. It was a ton of fun! I drank a delicious mojito, shared […]

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Book Review: Cancel the Wedding by Carolyn T. Dingman

August 13, 2014

Goodreads review: On the surface, Olivia has it all: a high-powered career, a loving family, and a handsome fiancé. She even seems to be coming to terms with her mother Jane’s premature death from cancer. But when Jane’s final wish is revealed, Olivia and her elder sister Georgia are mystified. Their mother rarely spoke of her […]

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Building a Capsule Wardrobe, Part II

August 11, 2014

Last week, I wrote about beginning to create a capsule wardrobe. I have been feeling very uninspired by my wardrobe lately, mainly because it was stuffed with clothes I didn’t love and rarely wore. So, to begin creating a wardrobe I love and a style that makes me feel good, I had to go through […]

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TGIF (v.1)

August 8, 2014

I dyed my hair this weekend! It’s pretty red, but I think I like it. I’ve been following Cait’s blog for a while now and I’ve always enjoyed her TGIF posts. It’s a simple, yet fun way to talk about the week. I’ll be using her prompts, plus a few of my own that I […]

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Building a Capsule Wardrobe, Part I

August 6, 2014

I’ll be completely honest: I’m not very fashionable. I think one of the main reasons why I don’t get too into fashion is due to being overweight. It’s not very fun to shop for clothes when you want to run out of every dressing room screaming once you see yourself in a three-way mirror. I […]

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July Reads

August 4, 2014

I had a wonderful reading month! In July, I read 9 books, bringing my total for the year up to 51 books and way, way ahead of schedule to read 75 books this year. I know I won’t be able to read 100 books, but maybe 90? That would be awesome! My favorite book I […]

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July Check-In & August Goals

August 1, 2014

Happy Friday! My mom and her fiance have spent the last week on a road trip to Georgia and Tennessee, and they come home tomorrow which I am so, so darn excited about! Other weekend plans: a writing date, a closet purge, and attending my first spin class in years (I have a friend who is getting certified […]

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On July

July 30, 2014

If July had a theme, I think it would have been simplicity. July was a simple, enjoyable month. I worried less about things that are out of my control and for the things I can control, everything felt a little less chaotic, a little less overwhelming. I’m not where I wish I was, but I am […]

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