::Coming Out Sober::

Today marks my fifth month of sobriety. It’s also the day I’ve decided to come out sober, if you will.

Trying to explain why I’ve chosen this path is not something that I can answer with a simple, poignant blog post. There are many layers and facets to the complexity that is sobriety and it’s different for each and every person.

It has been one of the most profound, radical choices I’ve made for myself and the deepest act of self-love I’ve ever administered.

The primary reason I’ve decided to begin sharing this is that I full-heartedly believe in transparency to foster connection. Allow me to explain that first. I had held off in going public for a couple of reasons. For one thing, certainty about anything can be tricky for me; indecisive might as well be my middle name. (Defiant is a close runner up!) I tend to bounce back and forth on things, weighing my options before settling on a final choice. I wanted to be absolutely, 100% sure I was sure before sharing. I also wanted to take plenty of time to process this transition before I had to try to articulate answers to questions that are going to be hard to explain. Finally, I felt the need to make sure that my closest family and friends knew before I blew it up online.

Here’s the funny thing about me and indecision: when I do make a choice, I’m ALL in. So that said, yes, I’m absolutely sure.

To be honest, it’s been a little lonely and I’m craving connection to others who are on this path. I’ve considered a few different options in terms of support but feel that I’m being led to a holistic approach. I’d rather not remain silent and lurk in the shadows of sobriety. Instead, I’m exposing my vulnerability to achieve something greater.

Coming out sober

I guess the bigger question I need to answer is why I decided to quit in the first place. The very best, coherent answer I can supply is that alcohol became a weed.

Weeds are defined as unwanted plants or vegetation, right? Well, have you ever seen a garden bed full of flowers or shrubs that someone painstakingly planted only to become overrun with weeds? These noxious species rob the desired plants of nutrients and sunlight, causing them to struggle for survival. Weeds are not necessarily even ugly or awful to look at. An out-of-place rose bush, even with its fragrant blooms and delicate petals, can be a weed if it is causing damage to the surrounding vegetation.

So as it were, drinking became an unwelcome weed disguised as a rose. It was crowding out my ability to focus on my passions and goals. It was stealing vital nutrients and wreaking havoc on my body that I’ve worked so hard to keep “healthy” despite the toxins I was drinking on a regular basis.

There is more and I will offer it when I’m ready. Writing about my experience has been therapeutic and as I peel back the layers, I will continue to journal my thoughts and feelings as a means to process it all. It has been one of the most profound, radical choices I’ve made for myself and the deepest act of self-love I’ve ever administered. I’m incredibly proud of my choice and feel empowered by my decision.

I would like to add that if you are reading this and find yourself identifying with what I’ve shared, please know that you’re certainly not alone and I hope you’ll reach out to me or someone you trust if you need support. There are a lot of misconceptions and labeling surrounding normal (whatever that means) alcohol use, abuse, and addiction. They are not all the same and that’s why I feel that it is important for more of us to share our stories to expand the sober community.

xo

P.S. Here are a few links to resources that I’ve found valuable if you’re curious.

Hip Sobriety

Laura McKowen

HOME Podcast

Sober Evolution

Aidan Donnelley Rowley

::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!

::Writing Life Update::

Little by little, I’m writing a book. Currently, I’m about halfway through chapter five. I’ve written 80 pages totaling 21,275 words. The target is approximately 21 chapter so roughly *only* 73,225 more words to go.

I’m embracing the process for the lessons and not for what I hope the final outcome will be. While I’ve tried, on many occasions, to set a consistent writing schedule driven by my goals, the main one being a finished draft by my 40th birthday in early October, I easily get derailed by paid writing work, the part-time job that provides a steady paycheck, and, well, life.

Up to this point, I’ve avoided editing my previous chapters, only looking back through the pages when I need a reminder about a specific detail. I find that when I do, I begin to criticize and censor myself which is highly unproductive. However, on the few rare occasions I do scan through the unrefined pages, sometimes a gem pops out. Maybe a sentence or paragraph that grabs my attention; a diamond in the rough with promise. Here is one such excerpt:

For any occasion deemed special enough, and sometimes just because it was Tuesday, Catherine’s father would scrounge up enough coins so that he could stop at the Patisserie de la Fleur to buy a slice of Mille-feuille on his way home. He would carefully tuck the fragile sliver of dessert wrapped in opaque paper inside his knapsack. Extracting it out of his bag after he arrived home was executed with steady hands and devout concentration although the excitement of Catherine and her siblings would try to steal his attention as they giggled with anticipation. Once displayed on the table in front of them, her father would carefully carve off small pieces of the layered treat and give each child a forkful before taking a bite for himself. He’d lean back in his chair and let it dissolve on his tongue, savoring the explosion of creamy sweetness; contentment evident on his aging face. Finally, he’d begin to repeat the process, offering each of his four children another sample before scraping every last remnant from the paper and licking the fork clean.

::A CURATION OF OBSESSIONS 5/12::

The only thing I’ve been obsessing over this week is my business. That’s not entirely honest but I’ve had very little free time to indulge in my favorite pastime of perusing the internet for the purpose of mindless entertainment. I’ve hardly been on Instagram this week either. Gasp!

I’ve had a few things stirring in my mind though so I’ll share those for my curated obsessions this week.

The Deschutes River

Um, yeah. I live in Southern California. The Deschutes River is located in Central Oregon. Specifically, the portion of the river that I love the most is about 800 miles away. But I’m craving the smell of the juniper and ponderosa pine trees and mountain air, feeling the desert heat soak into my core, the sound of the rushing water through the canyons created by centuries old lava flows… be still my heart. Those places that make you feel alive and free and soothe your soul in ways that words cannot do justice… where you long to be… go there.

Abstinence or Moderation

This one is a tough one. I recently learned that there are two types of people when it comes to behaviors: abstainers and moderators. People who can moderate their behavior set limits while abstainers cannot. It’s all or nothing for the abstinence type folks.
For this example, I’ll use coffee consumption because that is where I’m heading with this anyway. For a full month, I completely abstained from coffee. I didn’t love the idea of giving up coffee but I had tried to cut back to a single cup each morning and the occasional latte. No go. Without batting an eye, I’d be onto cup number two before I’d realized what I’d done and grabbing a latte a few hours later. The ticket for me is to not have any at all. It sucks, yes. But I love tea and my matcha lattes too so the month without coffee wasn’t the worst thing ever. At the end of the trial period, I tried the moderation route again. Guess what? I’m still not a moderator. (Hangs head in shame.) So, for now, coffee is back in a big way. At least until my adrenal glands freak out again. (This means I’ll probably quit again next week. UGG!)
Anyway, the link above is a good blog post from Peanut Butter Fingers on the subject that covers a variety of things that one might find themselves trying to abstain from or do/consume in moderation.

Manifestation

I’ve been a fan of Free and Native for a few years. It’s been my go-to website for studying manifestation, among other things like holistic living. Yes, you read that right. I’m a big believer in the idea that we are responsible for manifesting the things that we want and that we have the ability to bring our desires into our lives with the power of mindset. Just this past week I found myself in a frustrating situation that almost caused me to surrender to someone else’s needs which were unrealistic for me to do. However, I stood in my power. Had I caved, it would have been a declaration that I’m not worthy of my own needs. Worse, it would have sent an invitation out into the universe to allow others to take advantage of me in the same way. In the end, I stood my ground out of respect for myself. And you know what? Everything worked out fine. It was a good lesson and reminder that I (we) have the power to generate what we want.

Before I jet off for another full day, I just sent out my May Newsletter with a special offer to new subscribers. If you’re interested, you can read it here: MAY NEWLETTER

::A CURATION OF OBSESSIONS 5/5::

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

It’s been another wild week behind-the-scenes around here! I’m extremely grateful for each and every opportunity I’ve received to follow my passion and grow my business. My vision is starting to become my reality and there is something so satisfying about seeing your hard work pay off!

But enough about business. I’m not an “all work and no play kinda gal!” I’ve curated a list of my current obsessions for your amusement so read on and have a fantastic and safe weekend!

Girlboss

I’ve been mildly obsessed with Sophia Amorusa for a while. When I first jumped into the realm of freelancing and owning and operating my small freelance business, I was looking for inspiration. One such form came from the book #Girlboss. I bought it as an audiobook and listened to it each morning while commuting to my “real” job. While I’ve never been fond of the clothing brand, Nasty Gal, that Sophia started as an eBay shop when she was 22 years old and grew into a multi-million dollar company (which also just recently filed for bankruptcy), I admire her ambition and drive. Despite the company’s financial woes, she has rebranded herself and her #Girlboss trademark. In fact, there is a new Netflix series “loosely” based on her life and the start of Nasty Gal.

Lauren Fleshman and the 5k

Another mild obsession I have is with Lauren Fleshman. She’s an all-around cool chick and role model for female athletes. I recently listened to an interview in which she talked about an article that she wrote for Runner’s World regarding why she thinks the 5k is so “freaking” awesome. The opening of the article sets the stage with a funny story about a conversation with a guy on a plane about running, who wasn’t impressed with her status as “just” a 5k runner. Anyway, her argument is that 5k’s aren’t just a stepping stone to longer distances. As I analyze my relationship with running, and particularly with long distances, it was refreshing to find reassurance that shorter distances matter. Not only that, you can train and race for a 5k without burning yourself out or induce an injury, especially if you’re already prone.

Instagram

It’s my guilty pleasure. Mostly, I follow people, organizations, and companies that inspire me so I like a pretty eclectic assortment of accounts. Currently, though, I’m dreaming of adventures… so these are a few feeds that I’m drooling over.

And for fun, a couple of photos from my most recent outing; an overnight backpacking trip with my brother.

::A curation of obsessions – 4/28::

Where do I begin? This week has been nuts! But in a super good way, because as some like to say, myself included, I’m living the dream! Ha! (And also the reason why I’m posting this on Saturday instead of Friday, as intended.)

At any given moment I’ve had at least 800 tabs open in my head if you know what I mean. I haven’t had a lot of space between tasks to curate my obsession list this week (In fact, nearly every little gap of time I’ve had has been filled in with another task, such as this blog post. I’m never not writing!) but even with little free time, there’s always something to be obsessing over. And I found my title!

This is what got my attention this week:

Passerbuys

I’ve become slightly obsessed with the life of an author who recently published her first book. She was featured on the site and since then, I’ve sought out the profiles of some of the other women they’ve showcased; an assortment of creative types. (I romanticize the writer’s life but let the record reflect that it is hard-ass work. In fact, my ass literally hurts from sitting in a hard wooden chair for hours on end in hopes that something magical will manifest from my brain, travel through my fingers onto my keyboard, and launch me into author stardom. A girl can dream, right?)

Brooks Peacock Line

Peacocks are such beautiful, regal birds. I’ve admired them for a long time (before they were “trendy” even) and was stoked to see that Brooks has launched a new design for the Pure line that has a peacock feather print. They offer two colors for the PureFlow 6, which is what I wear, and they’re awesome! (I will have to add a savings goal to my budget to snag a pair – see below.) A fresh pair of running shoes would, I’m certain, help me set some new running goals!

Mint

Budgeting… er, trying to budget, is something I’ve been pretty much working on my entire adult life. Admittedly, I have a long history of hang-ups about money… earning money, spending money, saving money… fear that there is never enough to do everything that I need and want to do… stuff like that. Honestly, it’s something I really detest about myself and I’m constantly trying to figure out ways to improve my relationship with my finances. What I like specifically about Mint is the ability to create saving plans for a number of goals such as an emergency fund, travel fund, car down payment fund, laptop fund, etc., that you can customize. It also tracks how and where you are spending money which is a huge eye opener! (I should probably cut down on my kombucha consumption.)

What obsessions have you been curating lately? I’d love to know what you’re into! If you feel compelled to share, please comment below.

Have a great weekend!

P.S. One more day to take advantage of discounted services!!!

::This week’s obsessions – April 15-21::

::Three Reasons Why You Should Hire a Professional Writer::

When it comes to your vocation, chosen career or craft, you are probably fantastic at what you do. Take a guy I know for example; he is an amazing contractor and builds beautiful houses. He thoughtfully and meticulously works to create custom, dream homes for his clients.

Unfortunately, you’d never know how talented he is because his website lacks compelling content that highlights his qualifications and achievements. To add insult to injury, the home page is blemished with a number of simple grammatical errors and poor writing in general.

Writing a well-articulated description about your business, products and/or services is not everyone’s cup of tea. And I’m here to tell you that it’s okay. Most small businesses do not have someone on staff dedicated to writing copy (or manage marketing, social media, etc.). But I’m here to help!

Your website is one of the most powerful marketing tools you have when it comes to attracting business and staying connected with your customers. Here are my top three reasons why you should consider hiring a professional writer to assist you in maximizing your website content to grow your business.

  1. Let someone else toot your horn.

Many people struggle with speaking highly of themselves or their accomplishments (in both spoken and written forms). They may be very humble or just not the type of person to toot their own horn. However, when trying to attract business and potential clients, your skills, talents, and achievements should be shouted from the rooftops. At the very least, on your about or home pages. A skilled writer can toot your horn for you!

  1. Your site is outdated.

When was the last time you read your website? If your answer is, say early 2015, I’d guess you’re due for some updating. I see it all the time. If you’ve made changes to your business but your website doesn’t reflect them, then your customers don’t know.

Have you recently expanded your offerings? Added new products or services? Opened a second or third location? Changed your hours or contact information? Won a prestigious award or were recognized for excellent customer service? Why not make sure both your would-be and existing customers know?

  1. Professional, quality work is guaranteed.

Speling and, grammaticall, erors happen too the the best of use. (See what I did there?) It’s true. But that said, professional writers work diligently to make sure that the copy written for your website will be of the highest quality, free of mistakes. We tend to be perfectionists and want every piece we produce to be the best of our ability.

If your website could use a tune-up, consider making the investment in hiring a professional writer to create content that reflects the voice and branding of your business. I’d love the opportunity to help! I can be reached via email at hyla@hylaridenour.com.

P.S. You can get 10% any package or service through the end of the month!