Two things sparked this post.
- A video of Lady Gaga talking about how she almost quit music two years ago. But she took a step back and decided to stop doing things she didn’t want to do. Not more selling perfume. No more rubbing shoulders with people she didn’t like. Creativity was getting the backseat while she felt overworked. You can watch it here.
- Paul Jarvis’ tweet : “my answer to most requests: that sounds like an amazing opportunity, but I’m a hermit and am passing on it right now”
Both of these things soaked into my brain and I started following their lead. I started passing on things that our (very connected) society says are great opportunities. But are the opportunities really that great if you don’t enjoy doing them? Probably not.
So this winter I’ve passed on being a mentor. That was difficult as I’ve participated as a mentor at both OSU and CCAD for the past few years.
I’ve passed on a lot of photography opportunities with amazing companies. Sadly, I’ve fallen out of love with photography. But I hope it doesn’t last too much longer. I believe that passing on these shoots will actually help rekindle the flame.
I’m passing on sponsorship/brand relationships here in this space because it feels weird. I have never been paid money to post my opinion about anything on the internet. Free product? Yes. I like free things.
But it’s not all about saying no. Like they say, for every no…there is a yes! (And vice versa.) Here’s what I’ve been saying “yes” to:
- When Adam says, “Let’s set up an area in the warehouse for you to start painting again!”
- When I get an idea or inspired to get people gifts (for no reason)
- When The Wonder Jam is asked to sponsor amazing events this winter
- When I have the chance to collaborate with my friend Kelli on UX
- When we have the chance to take more than two weeks off for the holidays and see our families!
- When the Columbus community wants to use our studio space to spread the love
So all-in-all, I totally dig passing on stuff that doesn’t wake me up in the morning. Or passing on the things that make me say, “Hmmmm.” Cause as my friend Val says to me…
It should be a “HELL YES!”
I’ve had this weird fear lately. I fear movies, new tv shows, and fiction literature. I know, right? I told you it was weird. Most people assume it’s because I think it’s stupid, silly or a waste of time. I started to believe them! But that’s false because I finally figured out it.
Like you read in my previous post, I’m in the market for some hobbies. The reality is is that I do have free time (most nights and weekends) but I fill it with shows and movies that I’ve already seen a million times. For example:
- Gilmore Girls: Not only have I watched that show in real time back in the early 2000’s, but I’ve owned the DVDs as they got released and have since watched the entire series probably 20 times.
- Seinfeld: I bought the DVD set on Amazon two years ago and now that it’s on Hulu, my DVDs just sit on a shelf. But damn I love that show.
- You’ve Got Mail: Why haven’t I bought this movie yet? I always rent it on Amazon Prime. I rented it last weekend and watched it twice in 24 hours. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? I am something really depressing, like a Baby Gap
- That Thing You Do: Again, I always rent it. I know the entire movie line by line.
- My Best Friend’s Wedding: Cry every time. PS the only thing that repulses me about my husband is that he doesn’t think Julia Roberts is beautiful.
- Arrested Development: Currently watching through the series, again. 100th time.
As you can see, this isn’t riveting cinematography. Nothing dramatic. Nothing epic. Nothing new.
And that’s why I think I love it. I know what’s coming. I’m in control. It sounds messed up, but I actually fear losing control and getting sucked into an entire tv series or book. Or the opposite scares me. What if I go to a movie and I hate it? Two hours lost. I mean, c’mon Allie. GET A GRIP. THIS IS FOR FUN!
To be fair, I did watch the entire Game of Thrones series (so far) on HBO Go earlier this summer. Like, 50 episodes in three weeks. This is why I fear great storytelling. It’s hard to have a life, see the light of day and work when you’re consumed with a fictional world.
Perhaps I should be grateful that I can be swept up into these worlds. Books were my best friends in grade school. I sobbed when my mom finished reading the Little House on the Prairie novels. But I’m going to start embracing the gift. Being consumed by the art of storytelling is pretty awesome. No more resisting.
PS: I still won’t watch shows like Breaking Bad or Sons of Anarchy. To me, there’s a difference between a thrilling book and a show that causes excessive sweating and anxiety. I just can’t do it.
Where do you like to live, fictionally? How has film + literature affected your adult life? Any movie or book recommendations?
I haven’t blogged in over three months. That might be the longest stretch yet! A lot has happened since my last post (we’ll expand on that later and no…I’m not pregnant) but for now, I thought I’d share about my newest adventure.
I’m earnestly seeking a hobby. Or three.
Rewind about two decades and you’d find an 8-year-old obsessed with hobbies. I am her. She is me. The term hobbies meant a lot of different things back then:
- I collected things like rocks, stamps, pencils, Pokemon cards and stickers
- I painted
- I played the piano
- I experimented with the camcorder
- I shot 35 film
Things I didn’t do twenty years ago: work 24/7.
Last weekend, I spent a few hours transforming a few faces for a Halloween party. I had a blast and proclaimed to Adam that maybe I had found my new career. He looked at me and said, “NO. You found a new hobby. You don’t need to work more.” And it hit me. I really do need a hobby or two. Hilariously, I’m looking to 8-year-old Allie for inspiration. I can play the piano pretty well. I can paint even better. I haven’t touched my film cameras in years. I still dream of vlogging.
For awhile now I’ve been trying to cram my own version of self-care into a life without space. Sprinkling a trip to Whole Foods and an hour of acupuncture into a work-dominated week isn’t really self-care, is it? It’s self-preservation. I’m much more interested in self-expansion.
That’s why this space got a facelift (again). I’m over the hustle. I’m over the promotions. I’m over the launches. My sidebar’s gone. No more opt-in collecting emails I’ll never use. Business shmisness.
I’m ready to play.
I’ve worked for myself for almost three years now and a lot of my friends have as well. Adam and I started The Wonder Jam back in 2013 and pretty consistently have had interns every spring, summer and fall. They have never been virtual, always in-person. Just recently we brought on an admin assistant/studio manager/project manager hybrid!
As our business (and my fellow bosses’) grows, I wanted to share some tips on hiring and then onboarding people onto your team:
Be really clear about what you need + what they want
When you’re bringing on an intern (disclaimer: we pay our interns a monthly stipend of $200) or anyone in a part-time/assistant capacity, be really clear about what you want them to do. We believe that interns should LEARN and do cool stuff. Not just get coffee. We think that they should gain experience by creating work (designing, photographing + writing) based on real client needs. Our clients don’t always see the work they’re creating, but our interns are able to create work with substance.
Communicate how to communicate
We try to keep our team out of their inbox. We check our email about 3 times a day and can’t depend on emails to communicate small needs or tasks. We also respect our interns/contractors time and don’t feel like it’s appropriate to text them if we need something. It’s okay to shut off everything when you’re off work. Texting takes it too far and can cause anxiety or stress for everyone.
We use Basecamp and Slack to communicate internally. Here’s how we use them:
- Basecamp: We use Basecamp to keep our projects in order. We take info we receive via email and organize it by project. Tasks, documents, notes and logins are all stored here.
- Slack: We use Slack for conversation! It’s an internal chat system (actually, it can be opened up to clients or a community) and we use it to ask for things we need or walk through a project. It’s great because you can talk to one single person as a direct message or create groups of people.
Be specific with deadlines
We have quick turnarounds with our clients and so I make it clear that we aim for faster deadlines. Meeting deadlines is really important in whatever industry you work. Instead of assigning projects or tasks and leaving them alone, I try to say things like “We’ll review this at 2pm” or “Let’s aim to have this done by next Monday.” An intern doesn’t have the ability to see the big picture and know how quickly things move in your business.
Ask them for feedback
Whether it’s about a project with your client or how their time has been, it’s important to give them a voice. Preparing them for future jobs or running their own business is a big responsibility. You rarely do well in any position if you don’t have practice speaking in front of others or sharing what you think!
Any advice for those of us who have interns? Did you have an amazing internship? Why?
This is the most typical post of the blogging world. But IDGAF. I always think it’s interesting to see what’s in people’s houses, purses + studios. Who doesn’t?
I bought this backpack at Nordstrom Rack earlier this year because I hate carrying all the weight on one shoulder. It’s big enough to carry my large camera but not big enough to carry my 13″ Macbook Pro. Pro and con. When we were traveling a lot, it was nice that I didn’t have the choice.
So here’s what was in my backpack. Truth time: I didn’t include all the dirty tissues.
- Current book
- Business cards
- Bite lipsticks (the only brand I wear), Gerard Cosmetics lipgloss and Burt’s Bees
- Mobile phone charger
- Memory card
- Total Babe mirror
- Coconut oil spray instead of lotion
- Nail file
Riveting, I know. I’m pretty sure that Adam had recently went through my bag and threw away all the trash. What a sweet husband. Not pictured (but often in there): headphones and notebook.
Our marriage turned six this summer. I’ve known Adam for ten. Time flies when you’re having fun, running a business, traveling and more. Somehow marriage is the easiest and the hardest thing. I don’t know how it’s possible to be both. But it is.
Adam is so much of what I want to be. Patient, thoughtful and self-sacrificing. I sometimes am baffled that 18-year-old-me knew he would be such a great partner a decade later.
I’ve been listening to Call Your Girlfriend (the podcast) lately. I love the topics, the casual vibes and the ladies. As you get older, you find that many of your friends don’t live in your apartment or down the street anymore. College friends disperse, bffs get jobs across the country and some of your best pals work 24/7 (ahem, me).
I thought it’d be fun to round up a list of fun gifts that don’t cost a bazillion dollars and are easy to ship. We can’t all be Gwenyth Paltrow.
- Weekly planner by Julia Kostreva ($32)
- Invader Shades by Quay ($50)
- Introvert pin by These are Things ($10)
- Lightning Bolt ring by Bing Bang NYC ($58)
- Gold lippy mug by Rachel George ($32)
- Hear No Evil earbuds in gold via Nasty Gal ($20)
- Coffee Scrub by Frank Body ($14.95)
- ET Pin via Valley Cruise Press ($8) they also have the twin/bff emoji pin!
Thinking about buying all of this stuff for all my bffs! Let me know of any other small shops that carry dope products!
While I hope this post is extremely helpful, I also think it’s the silliest thing I’ve done here on my blog. Taking photos of yourself is the weirdest (unless you’re a model…or aspiring to be). BUT I wanted to give you all an idea of what I wear every day because it’s about as simple as it gets. I’m still figuring out what fits my body type best. I’m really short (exactly five feet tall). Every time I meet someone from the internet, they say, “You’re so much shorter than I thought!”
How I’ve Tweaked my Capsule Wardrobe Method
A year or two ago, I discovered the capsule wardrobe method and loved it. It’s become more natural and less focused as time goes by. Back in March (when it was still frozen), I started shopping for spring and summer clothes. I was buying cute little lace shirts, crop tops and lots of maxi skirts. About half of the stuff I was buying online wasn’t fitting right (denim shorts that were twice my size, shirts that were too tight or pieces that wrinkle the minute you sit down).
Once we headed out for our huge road trip in May, I grabbed only a few outfits that I knew I loved. They lasted me two weeks straight on the road and I realized that they all had a few things in common: they were comfortable, they were neutral and they contained a small percentage of spandex or rayon. I like a basic grey/black/white tee + jeans and I’m set.
Current Base (and still building!)
I’ve included eight outfits based on some of my favorite shirts/tops. It doesn’t include a few pieces that were in the wash (favorite AE jeans, Free People grey tee and a Lulu’s camo tee).
- Forever 21 tank top (57% cotton, 38% polyester, 5% spandex), Henry and Belle jean shorts and Birkenstocks
- Uniqlo tank top (70% modal, 30% linen), Target cardigan (100% rayon), jean shorts from Nordstrom, Mohinder sandals
- Lulu’s Tee Spirit Black tee (95% modal, 5% spandex), American Eagle jeans in short, strappy sandals from Target years ago
- Nasty Gal Play Favorites tee (93% rayon, 7% spandex), Urban Outfitters lace shorts, Jessica Simpson wedges
- Lulu’s Slice Going Ivory tee (95% rayon, 5% spandex), Rag and Bone jeans, strappy sandals from Target years ago
- Kit and Ace Calvert tee in black (Technical Cashmere that’s machine washable), American Eagle jeans, Jessica Simpson wedges
- Lulu’s City Life Beige tank (95% rayon, 5% spandex), jean shorts from Nordstrom, ankle booties from Nordstrom Rack
- Leith tank top from Nordstrom (60% polyester, 22% cotton, 18% rayon), American Eagle jeans, Jessica Simpson wedges
Tips and Tricks
I machine wash everything but I line dry the items that contain spandex. Honestly, I don’t wash my clothes every time I wear them. I try to get a few wears out of them before washing. I sit in our airconditioned studio all day so I have the ability to do that. Your clothes will last longer if you try not to run them through the machines.
After learning that I love a super soft tee/tank, I’m able to go shopping in-person pretty easily. I look for stuff that’s soft and I make sure that it’s not ‘dry clean only.’ When I’m shopping online, I do the following:
- I’ll search a combination of color (nude, black, white, grey) or fabric (rayon, spandex, cotton).
- I’ll check out how tall their models are because a shirt that hits a 5’10” model at the hip will be really long on me!
- If I’m browsing by style, I’ll just be sure to check the reviews and specs/details.
- I also will check the petite sections on shops like Anthro or ASOS.
I know that I look taller when I wear dark tops with dark pants (even taller with heels). Outfit #3 paired with the pose makes me look a few inches taller which can be a confidence booster when I need it. I’m currently diving into dresses/skirts to find what works for me best.
Any fellow short ladies have any of their own tips on buying clothes that fit + feeling boss?
Kit and Ace recently came to Columbus (the Short North, specifically) and while I couldn’t attend their launch party, I did recently get to visit! The instant I walked in I knew this was my type of place. The interior is minimal and they use copper as an accent. Helllooooo! Yes, please!
It’s already mid-July and I don’t even feel like we’ve had a summer yet. It’s rained for almost a month straight and so on the days we do see the sun, we’re always scrambling to sit outside on a patio, our front porch or open the windows.
Since it’s been raining a lot, I’ve been eating lots of tacos and french fries. And re-watching The Office on Netflix. My daily uniform consists of black tees and my Birks. And I’ve been drinking bourbon lately.