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:: Looking back at January ::

After several sessions of wondering (i.e. overthinking) if my little monthly review is worth the time and effort, I’ve concluded that it is a nice exercise for me to reflect on the highs and, if I’m being honest, omit the lows, from each month. If you’ve been following along, I completely skipped over December, which was unintentional but c’est la vie. (In spite of the holiday, it was a pretty quiet month. We didn’t travel home to the PNW and enjoyed our first Christmas in Los Angeles.) Anyway, I’m just going to pick it back up with a fresh recap for the first month of 2018.

Before I proceed, I will say that January is a hard month for me. All of them are difficult, not just the current one. In the span of days between Christmas and New Year’s, I get caught up in the energy of goal setting and planning and creating a number of unrealistic expectations for myself and my life.  Then, usually about two weeks into the new year, I get bitch-slapped by reality and return to regularly scheduled programming: feeling overwhelmed by too many ideas, paralyzing procrastination, and an existence that doesn’t quite measure up to that vision board kind of life I desire.

So, yeah, the year is off to a great start.

BUT, there have been some of those aforementioned highs and that’s where I’m trying to focus my energy!

➼ I celebrated my first full year of sobriety on January 5th.

➼ I worked out. A lot! I did a combination of four types of Crossfit classes (including regular classes, Olympic lifting, mechanics, and cardio conditioning) totaling 40 sessions. I also ran 15.75 miles.

➼ I set new personal records in the power clean and front squat (3 rep max.), and saw significant improvement in my pull-ups, handstand/handstand walk, and rope climbs.

➼ We welcomed the new year in the company of my brother and his family.

➼ I experienced my first red carpet.

➼ I was welcomed back by Sportland Tea Co. as an ambassador for another year.

➼ I submitted queries to two online publications. I received a response back from one of them and they will be publishing an article I wrote in the near future. Yay!

➼ I finished two books (one I started in December) and began a third. (My goal this year is to read a minimum of 20 books. Hopefully more!)

➼ I wrote a lot too. My manuscript word count is currently up to 67,280.

 

I hope your year has started off with a bang – in the best way possible – and that trend continues into February and beyond!

 

 

 

 

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::Eleven::

Eleven months ago today was the beginning. A radical decision was instigated which would potentially forever change the course of my life and allow me to evolve into the person I so desired to be. Eleven months ago today was the first day I chose a sober existence. And now, 335 days later, I still choose it. Every single day I recommit myself to my choice and marvel at what I’ve gained on this new path.

I’ve been floating around lately, a little lost professionally, I suppose. My head swirls with ideas for stories, articles, essays, and the like but I’ve had a difficult time focusing my energy and effort on any of them. I thought this week would be a good week to sort through some projects I’ve started over the course of the year. To bring it full circle, I unearthed a folder of essays I began writing in the beginning stages of my new booze-free life. Since I have no plans for the small collection, I thought I’d share one of the short essays I wrote early on.

My intention is not to shame my family, friends, or readers who drink; we are adults after all and I truly believe “to each their own.” I would, however, like to offer some insight regarding my choice to remove it from my life with the hope that it might help someone else who is examining their own relationship with alcohol.

A couple of days ago I had one of those days. Prior to five months ago, it would have been one of those kind of days in which I would have tried to remedy the onslaught of emotions and angst with a glass, or six, of wine. In fact, I spoke with my mother-in-law a few hours after the incident in question and told her what had happened. She said, “Oh, girl, you need a glass of wine.”

The old me would have agreed with her wholeheartedly. In fact, by the time I would have spoken to her, I’d already be half a bottle in. But the new me? The sober me? Well, the last thing this girl needs is a glass of wine.

I’ve spent a number of years drowning my sorrows and coping with life’s challenges and discomfort by self-medicating with alcohol. In fact, my husband and I even shared a hashtag (#needadrinkstat) that we’d send one another whenever we were feeling the need to escape; when everything just seemed too much. Alternately, I’ve also used it to celebrate anything and everything. New job? Check. Made it through Tuesday? Check. Birthday? Anniversary? Christmas? National Haiku Day? Check, check, check, and check.

After a while though, I hated to think that I “needed” a substance to deal. I was very much aware of the fact that I didn’t need to drink but rather chose to. Rather than taking some time to sit with how I was feeling and figuring out how to create a strategy to rise above whatever was conflicting me, I’d try to ignore it by numbing it temporarily. Most of the time, it would make me more emotional and feel worse the next day. For the record, trying to get your shit together seems a zillion times more challenging when you’re hungover.

The lesson here is that I’ve learned what I do need to cope when life throws a bushel of lemons at me. It sure as heck ain’t a margarita. Rather, it’s a hug, a nap, or a hot bath. It’s a cup of coffee or tea accompanied by a small chocolatey treat. It’s a workout, a walk, or a few minutes submerged in a good read. It’s a quiet space to clear my head, light some palo santo, and take a few deep breaths. It might include scrolling through a few inspiring Instagram accounts; especially ones that belong to my sober sisters. It’s learning to let go of the negative shit and remembering that whatever sparked my distraught will pass.

We don’t need alcohol but we choose it above other remedies because it’s what we’ve been programmed to do. I don’t need alcohol to celebrate or mourn or unwind at the end of a rough day. I need to nurture my spirit in the most compassionate way possible, not poison myself with intoxicants that temporarily blur the lines. I’m hoping next time I run into a similar scenario, my well-meaning loved ones will say something along the lines of “oh, girl, you need a bath!” or I shoot a message to my mister that says something like #needsomepalosantostat.

 

 

::November was like WHOA!::

November was a wild, wild ride!

If you’ve been following along, you know that I spent pretty much the entire month on the road, traveling with my mister who was hired on a film project that shot entirely on location in Idaho. I feel so very fortunate that we could experience this adventure as a family – which also allowed us the ability to spend time with our loved ones that live up north. Idaho is a stunning state that speaks to my innate desire for slow, soulful living. I really enjoyed exploring the small communities that we stayed in, meeting new people, and being enveloped in the vast and diverse landscape.

I’m happy to be home now though and looking forward to a somewhat quiet month and holiday in LA. One of the takeaways from our month touring the Pacific Northwest is how much I crave slow living. I love, love, love travel and adventures and such, but I also love the simple kind of life and am determined more than ever to create that existence despite living in a bustling city.

There were a lot of highlights this past month!

➼ Reaching 330 days of sobriety and surviving the beginning of the holiday season without the desire to drink.

➼ Attempting to participate in National Novel Writing Month. It did not go as planned. However, it provided me with the opportunity to develop new ideas for my next novel and I did write 3,895 words.

➼ Witnessing my daughter and her partner complete the process of purchasing their first home!

➼ Spending time with my parents. Although brief, we got to celebrate the holidays with my mom and dad and I really enjoyed being with them.

➼ Thanksgiving. Over the years, it has become my favorite holiday.

➼ Visiting our family and friends while up north and savoring every second.

➼ Feeling loved by friends in LA. Making friends as an adult is really hard. I’ve been fortunate to find a few wonderful new ones within my CrossFit community who messaged me several times while I was away to tell me they missed me and looked forward to my return. Their messages made my heart melt.

➼ Deciding, officially, that we’d spend Christmas and New Years in Los Angeles. We have never not spent Christmas with our families but given our recent travels, we’ve decided to stay put in December. We are embracing the choice and looking forward to a quiet holiday.

➼ Attending four (yes, only four) CrossFit classes. However, the cool thing is that each of those classes was at a different gym in three different states!

➼ Savoring the last two days of our journey back home by traveling the 101 from Tillamook, Oregon, to San Francisco. We slept in a yurt and cooked over a campfire the first night and stayed in the heart of San Francisco the second night waking to views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

➼ Growing. There has been a lot of growth beneath the surface this year and I feel like November was a big month as part of my evolution. I will probably elaborate on this more in a separate post in the coming weeks.

I am truly looking forward to settling in for the season and wish you and yours a magical December!

On location in Cottonwood, Idaho, at Dog Bark Park Bed and Breakfast. No joke. You can sleep inside that beagle!

 

 

:: Mid Month Check-in ::

This morning, after a period of disbelief over the fact that it is officially the middle of November and one week until Thanksgiving (how can that be?!), I started to slip down the slope of self-criticism. For starters, my intention to write a 50,000-word novel as a participant of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) went down the shitter about three days in. I also promised myself that I’d practice my handstand skills every day. And seek new freelance writing gigs. And… I’ll stop there. The kicker is that I also volunteered myself to work behind the scenes on social media content for a film being shot on location in various parts of Idaho. So all of that while traveling and spending several hours each day on set too. Doh.

Almost two weeks ago, a newsletter landed in my email inbox from writer, artist, and fellow sober sister, Tammi Salas, that really hit home. In it, she talks about how, and I’m summarizing here, overachievement is a type of drunkenness. We set these lofty goals and create high expectations and it does feel a little like being drunk; because when we’ve altered our state of being and inhibition has left the building, anything is possible, right?

Here is an excerpt from the letter:

You see, just because I quit drinking alcohol over 1,000 days ago doesn’t mean I still don’t get drunk. I get drunk on ideas and to-do lists sometimes. I get drunk on overachieving and seeing if I can channel my inner-Martha Stewart on-demand. I get drunk on unattainable goals. And, I most definitely get drunk on unrealistic expectations. This, my friends, is when I am most definitely NOT (emotionally) sober.

She goes on to say that we can give ourselves permission to stop the insanity and that it is okay change our minds, our direction, our plan, our whatever. We have the power to quiet that nagging, insistent voice that says we have to do ALL THE THINGS. We don’t. We really don’t.

This has been a recurring theme for me quite some time and I’m so over it! I will definitely be doing some personal work in the coming weeks and months to free myself from this cycle. (In fact, I’ve been trying to read Present Over Perfect for a few months now and it seems fitting that I dive back into that asap!)

I should note that while the past few weeks have been a whirlwind, I’ve gotten to explore Idaho and see parts of the country I’d never seen before. I fell head-over-heels in love with the city of Coeur D’Alene which is now in a heated battle with my number one dream city to live in, Bend, Oregon (or central Oregon in general). I’ve met a number of great people and spent time with old friends. I’ve worked alongside my husband on a film set for the first time and in a few days, will witness my son act for the first time as one of the characters in the film. And, I’ve still got ideas and stories floating around in my head that I am determined to craft into manuscripts.

Oh, and today I practiced my handstand so not all is lost.

If your curious about my behind the scenes work on the film Mischief Upon Mischief, follow along on Instagram at @MUMMovie.

:: Where did October go? ::

I cannot wrap my head around the fact that October has already come and gone. It’s absolutely, hands-down, my favorite month of the year. I could wax poetic about my love for October for days. However, I’m incredibly busy and don’t have that kind of time right now.

This October was wild; a whirlwind of milestones, travel, and trying to keep my head on straight in the midst of it all.

 Began the month in Prescott, AZ.

Celebrated turning 40 years old.

Got three new tattoos.

Enjoyed kayaking Watson Lake with my boys as a belated birthday outing.

Attended 19 CrossFit classes (in four different states!)

Climbed to the top of the rope at CrossFit for the first time.

PR’d my back squat.

Reached 300 days of sobriety.

➼ Closed out the month in Idaho.

Enjoyed spending time with my daughter, in-laws, and parents.

Savored all things autumn in the Pacific Northwest!

Started prepping for National Novel Writing Month.

November is going to be another crazy month filled with a ton of travel and adventure, work, projects, and challenges. But that said, I’m thankful for this life we’ve created and for the opportunities that have been given to us.

Have a great month!

:: National Novel Writing Month ::

Several years ago, in early November, a flier at the public library caught my eye. The handout was promoting National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and the challenge created by the organization that encourages writers to complete a novel – or 50,000+ words – in the 30 calendar days between November 1st and 30th.

It was already several days into the month, if not a week or more when I saw the flier. I considered joining late but ultimately ended up passing on the opportunity, putting it off for another year when, I dunno, I’d be less busy.

A few months ago I started thinking about it again. At a third of the way through the manuscript I’ve been working on since January, with a goal completion date of October, I figured I had plenty of time to finish my current work and then get ready for NaNoWriMo. Then life and procrastination happened. I missed my self-imposed October deadline and – in the spirit of truth-telling – I’m not even two-thirds of the way finished and we’re well past mid-October.

Regardless, I signed up for NaNoWriMo anyway. Without a single idea or spark of inspiration, I created an account on the website and then contemplated not doing it at all, rather continuing the work I’ve been doing on my first novel, The Colonel’s Keeper. I watched the first half of the month go by without anything to work from… no plot, no outline, no characters to develop, no nothing.

And then BAM! The gods and goddesses of inspiration responded to my pleas while I was in the shower yesterday and an idea slowly started to form.

I guess at this point, I have no more excuses…

Working Title: Take a Lover

Genre: Historical Fiction

Synopsis: In 1932, nineteen-year-old Scarlet Mills is a liberal arts student on scholarship at the College of Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan. Suffering from anxiety and depression following years of sexual abuse at the hands of her father, she writes poetry as a means to cope with her pain while pursuing a degree in creative writing. After a chance meeting with an eccentric painter from Mexico, the pair becomes friends, then lovers. The encouragement by her lover to pursue her writing and sexuality throughout their brief relationship takes Scarlet on a journey of self-discovery and healing.

Visit the National Novel Writing Month website for more information or to commit to writing your own novel next month!

:: 41 x 41 ::

It has already been one week since I turned 40. Gah!

My productivity pity party showed up again yesterday afternoon as I started running down the mental list of the things I’ve not accomplished as I settle into this midlife state. I’m talking big things as opposed to the small tasks on my daily to-do list. Unpack from my trip, for example. I’ve been home for four days and my bag is still in front of my closet save for a pair of workout pants and socks I’ve taken out. I’ve also neglected to clean the bathroom or write a thank you note to dear friends who sent me a sweet birthday gift but they’ll get done eventually.

What I’m referring to is the unfinished manuscript that is a good eight chapters from completion. The half dozen or so articles that I’ve started with the intention of submitting to publications that haven’t been touched in months. The books I excitedly purchased and couldn’t wait to dive into that remain unread and are now covered in a nice layer of dust on my nightstand.

As if this weren’t bad enough, out of the blue I remembered my 40 by 40; a list of 40 things that I had hoped to accomplish or do before I turned 40. First of all, I never wrote down 40 items. I only made it to 19. (I believe there was another version of this list but I’ve lost track of it if there ever was.) Of those 19, I only completed five. Granted, a couple of them were a bit deal, like running the Boston Marathon. A handful of them are things that I no longer desire while others are mainstays; write a book, get published, etc. I wrote the list in June of 2013.

The moral of the story is that in more than four years, I only accomplished five out of 19 goals. It’s painful to admit that.

However, I feel some sort of resolve to try again. This time, giving myself only one year to accomplish 41 things. As it were, given that I’m already a week in, I’ve 51 weeks to get some shit done!

As of right now, my list is still only partially filled in but here are a few examples of what it includes:

  • Finish my book (duh)
  • Submit said book to publishers (double duh)
  • Get published in a magazine (print or online)
  • Backpack to Havasupai Falls
  • Visit Joshua Tree National Park
  • Explore Ojai
  • Visit Zion National Park
  • Hike to Angels Landing
  • Brew my own kombucha
  • Walk on my hands for at least 6 feet
  • Read/finish at least a dozen books
  • Continue to work to grow my business so my income is consistent at the rate I desire
  • Manage social media content for a small film/production
  • Invest in a good camera and put it to good use
  • Spend an afternoon in Venice and walk the canals
  • Go to Moon Juice
  • Increase the number of unbroken pull-ups I can do each month (I’m currently at one. Ha!)
  • Spend the holidays with family and friends

(I will note that one of my life goals is to visit all of the National Parks. I’ve been fortunate to visit a good handful of them already but have a long way to go before I can say I’ve been to all 59 of them.)

There are still plenty of blank spaces which I’m sure will fill in the coming weeks. Maybe even months. I will also make sure that I find a balance between some of the loftier goals with easy to accomplish ones, like visit such and such restaurant. For now, I’m trying to shake off the disappointment and refocus my energy so that I can move forward instead of remaining stuck in this paralyzing rut I’ve found myself in. It’s also nice to know that at the end of the year if I don’t accomplish everything I set out to, I can put them on my list next year.

Onward.

::June Blog Special::

Analytics have proven that businesses with blogs have increased web traffic and more leads than businesses that don’t.

Writing a blog and consistently posting relevant content can be a challenge for small businesses. That’s where I can help.

If you’ve been curious about whether or not a blog would be beneficial to your business, consider this:

  • 81% of U.S. online customers trust information and advice from blogs.
  • Companies that have blogs have 97% more inbound links.
  • 61% of online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog.
  • 60% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content on its site.
  • 68% of consumers are likely to spend time reading content from a brand they are interested in.

A blog allows you to easily share news about your business, inform clients about your products and services, educate readers about your industry or entertain them with stories from the trenches.

Writing a blog and consistently posting relevant content can be a challenge for small businesses. That’s where I can help. Together, we can collaborate to brainstorm a list of topics and then create a schedule for each post. I pride myself on crafting well-written content that reflects the voice of your business or brand.

If you’re ready to explore how a blog can help your business bloom, I’m available to chat by phone or email. I’m also offering a June blog special! Get 10% off all blog services throughout the month of June.

So what are you waiting for?

June Blog Speical

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to take advantage of my June blog special and start sharing impactful content with your clients! Email me at hyla@hylaridenour.com or contact me by phone at 503.410.1457.

Source: https://writtent.com/blog/top-blogging-statistics-45-reasons-to-blog/

 

::A Curation of Obsessions 5/26::

Picking up where I left off… since I bailed last week and didn’t post my weekly list… I’ve got a few fun obsessions to share!

Birkenstock’s

I just bought a new pair of Birkenstock‘s as a little reward for a few personal achievements and I’m over the moon! In fact, they’re only the second pair I’ve owned. The first pair I got in high school – my junior year if my memory serves me. I loved them and wore them to death. Literally. I had them for at least 10 years before they were no longer fit to wear. I’ve been wanting a replacement forever. There are a few styles I’ve been eyeing but I went with the Mayari in Black.

Silver Hair

The backstory: I started sprouting silver strands of tinsel from the top of my head at least three years ago. Probably longer. I’d been coloring my hair since high school so I’m not certain when I started the transition. Anyway, a couple of years ago I decided to “ditch the dye” as they say and quit coloring my hair. The experiment ended after 7 months when I cut my hair super short to rid the ends of the old dye job. It was the shortest haircut I’ve ever had and I hated it. I couldn’t have both a haircut I hated AND grey hair. One box of hair color from the pharmacy later and I had black hair. Black.
 
Another year and a half passed before I decided to, again, try to embrace my natural hair color. I last dyed my hair at the beginning of September 2015, by attempting to add highlights that would match my natural hair color as closely as possible. I haven’t looked back. (Though I will note that just two months ago I dyed some of my ends purple because I needed to do something FUN!)
 
Anyway, I really like my hair but sometimes I still need to feel inspired to stick with it. A few years ago I started a Pinterest board specifically to save images of beautiful grey goddesses. It’s my favorite board and it gets more traffic on my Pinterest account than any of my other boards. Whether you’re looking for inspiration to blaze your own silver path or just curious, you can find my board HERE.
Chicks who Make Cool Shit from Wood
I love hand-crafted furniture and art made from natural and reclaimed wood. I recently discovered a couple of chicks that are making cool shit with wood. I’ve spent waaaay too much time scrolling through their Instagram feeds. One day, I’d love to own something like this… perhaps even make it myself!

curation of obsession woodworking

@aleksandrazee

curation of obsession woodworking

@rawrestorations

::Help with Writing for Business Owners::

If you’re a business owner, chances are you have a website to market your products and services. In the era of technology, it’s nearly impossible to operate without an online presence regardless of your size. Consumers demand that websites contain the information they need and want whether they are trying to learn how to mulch around a tree or looking for a hardwood flooring sealant that is low in VOC’s.

Take a moment to think about the current state of your website. First, what are potential customers searching for? Second, will they find accurate, up-to-date information when they visit? Will visitors learn about the new line of low VOC sealant you’re selling or that you’re offering a discount during the month of June on all mulching services?

Help With Writing

Unfortunately, these types of valuable updates get overlooked due to the lack of having a dedicated copywriter on staff who can provide help with writing the content you need to keep consumers informed.

That’s where I can help. As a freelance writer, I offer a number of writing services that will convey the messages you wish to share with your clients and website visitors. Affordable help with writing is a great investment in your business and brand. Flexible packages and competitive rates allow you to design a plan that best meets your needs.

If you’re a business owner that needs help with writing engaging copy or content to promote your products or service, please don’t hesitate to reach out via my contact form!