Last weekend I wrote a long post about my one-month anniversary for quitting my day job and blogging full time and my blog ate it. I was in Texas, it was 11pm (so really midnight back home) and my dashboard (the backend of my blog) seemed to go back in time several days. Posts I wrote were gone, draft posts lacked the photos and content I so painstakingly wrote and edited, a good 20 hours worth of work was missing and never recovered.
I’ve written about my blog backend woes already, luckily this was the end of the misery. I recreated the two sponsored posts that were contractually required to go live at a certain time with certain wording, but there was no way I had the time or the heart at that point to try to recreate the post about my first month as a full time blogger. I’ll try to recap it now, including this current week.
Last weekend I was in Fort Worth, Texas with my friend and colleague, Rosana of DC Style Factory. We were invited to lead two seminars for women running for office to discuss campaign style. Just like this blog and Rosana’s personal styling business, we offered advice that helped the women work as much as possible with what they already owned in their closet and stick to their personal style, but provide ways to dress for certain campaigning events (canvassing, town halls, fundraisers, etc.) and ways to add polish and elevate their current style to look more relatable, credible, and more of an authority. It was amazing, and we’re looking to do more of these seminars across the country to help more women get elected. Stay tuned, I have a capsule wardrobe coming based off the presentation that will delve into the different looks for each occasion and the touchpoints from our presentation.
The capsule was to go live this week, but live intervened. I planned to finish up the blog post this week and have it go live today. Instead…
I received an opportunity to model clothing from ELOQUII on local TV Tuesday and Wednesday morning. Tuesday morning a little after 10am I wore this dress with these earrings on our local FOX affiliate with fellow bloggers and friends Dani of Blonde in the District and Vivi of Heart, Print, and Style. ELOQUII Creative Director Jodi Arnold was also there to discuss the brand’s awesome holiday collection. FYI, the dress runs small (a 14 was tight on me but I think a 16 may have been too long and big in the shoulders); these earrings are a sleeper hit – they're less than $20 and look super cool in person. Wednesday morning the four of us arrived at the local CBS affiliate at 8am to do another show, this one more of a fashion show which included me walking down a set of very smooth polished stairs in a pair of heels. Your girl did NOT fall! For that one I wore this top (comes in five different colors) tucked into this skirt, with ELOQUII’s hosiery (quite nice and built for curves), this really nice necklace (adjustable length, I have it on the shortest setting), and this super cute bag. Such awesome experiences, ones I never would have been able to do if I had a day job, but it caused me to adjust my schedule and lose time for things like writing.
A blog post that was scheduled to go live this week didn’t have the clothing for it arrive until the day the post was due. Luckily the clothes not only fit but looked awesome so I threw on the look and ran out the door for the hair appointment I scheduled almost two months ago. Karl came along with his camera, we captured some photos right after my appointment, came home to edit photos (they were so good all I had to do was a bit of lightening, cropping out humans, and shrinking down to a size that wouldn’t slow down my blog), write the copy, gather the links and send it in for approval. Once I got approval a couple hours later, I scheduled the post and that’s what you saw on the blog yesterday!
Another thing I couldn’t do before when I had two jobs was volunteer at Emerson’s school. This week was the Scholastic Book Fair. I originally volunteered for Tuesday but had to move it because of the TV spot. I ended up working Thursday morning, and a longer shift because the second volunteer never showed and it was BUSY! What a fun experience though! I loved helping the kids figure out how much money they had, what books to buy, and seeing what was popular. I can’t believe Emerson not so long ago was one of those wide-eyed kindergarteners and how not long from now she’ll be one of those know-it-all 5th graders! Emerson’s class came in during my shift which made the experience extra awesome.
So with these changes, my goal was Thursday by noon be on my computer, finishing the copy to go with the political candidate capsule wardrobe, send to Rosana to ensure we’re on the same page, and schedule it to go live today. But Life had a different idea.
Monday night, lying in bed with Karl after being away since Friday morning, Karl had his hand on my breast and said, “Have you noticed this lump before?” I have fibroids, and know my peanut-shaped lumps quite well and check often to be sure those shapes don’t change and I don’t find anything new. I do my breast exams in the shower, one hand over my head. I never felt anything. But lying on my back, I felt where he did and found a marble-sized hard, round something. The next day I made an appointment with my gynecologist, the earliest he could see me was yesterday afternoon. He said he couldn’t really tell what exactly it was and was not, and prescribed me a mammogram and sonogram to get it examined.
When I left my job, I worked with a healthcare broker to find the best value insurance for me and my family. Come to find out, me staying on COBRA (the insurance provided for 18 months after leaving a job) was actually cheaper than any similar offering through the ACA/Obamacare. The ACA is NOT perfect, but I am so glad that it exists for those who are unemployed, underemployed, self-employed, or work at a small company that doesn’t provide benefits. It needs some help to make it more affordable for those who have families, and those at a variety of income levels, but it’s a good start. You know I can go on and on about politics and I won’t at this point and the ACA isn’t my issue right now.
So I signed up for COBRA in advance of November 30th, when my work benefits ended. I received my paperwork confirming it was covered, all was well. Thursday I went to see my gynecologist, providing the same insurance card I’ve always used, since COBRA says to do that. When I received my prescription for my mammogram, I called to make an appointment. I had never been there before and when I provided my insurance information they said the policy ended November 30th. They will not schedule a mammogram unless I can prove active insurance. I ended up spending over two hours on the phone with COBRA and Aetna, even together on a conference line to resolve this. COBRA says they submitted it, Aetna shows record of something but it hasn’t been confirmed and activated. They say it will be the same insurance information once activated so use the info and it should work when bills are submitted. They just don’t know when that will be, but when you mention breast lump and mammogram and start crying on a conference call with two insurance companies things get marked urgent. And thank goodness, the radiology place after hearing my woes this morning said if I bring in my COBRA paperwork they will allow a mammogram. I’m writing this at 11am, the mammogram is at 3:15. Right now I am going with the flow and the mindset that I have fussy boobs like my mom – full of weird benign things that freak people out with mammograms and annual exams that prove to be nothing. And I am grateful that this insurance mishap happened now, and not during something worse or related to Emerson. I’ll be sure to keep you posted with the results.
Speaking of health, one of the biggest reasons I quit my job was because I was worried about my health. I haven’t been this heavy since right after Emerson was born. I have a pinched nerve in my neck that radiates down my arm and makes sleep and everyday actions miserable. I can pull a muscle just stretching in the morning. I am high stress and for the first time in my life I have slightly elevated blood pressure. My diet isn’t atrocious, but it could use a refresh. What I really need is to get my strength back. So starting Monday I am working with a personal training company five mornings a week.
My father had quintuple bypass surgery when I was in 4th grade. He had several heart-related procedures over the years and it is what ended his life in 1998. All his siblings also had heart issues, and all of them have passed away (only one didn’t pass from heart-related issues). I don’t want the same to happen to me, and I don’t want the same for Emerson and Karl. I have such little willpower and lately, no motivation so I’m thinking this will force me to do it and hopefully it will help it turn into a habit and then a lifestyle. I working with Elite Technique in nearby Beltsville, Maryland. The two trainers are local guys who are familiar with dealing with middle aged squishy women who are ready to get their lives back. I don’t want to be skinny, the only times in my life I was anything remotely skinny I was unhealthy. I want to be strong. I want to be healthy. This is about honoring this body and helping it work and last longer. I’ll be sharing my journey mainly on InstaStories with the occasional update on Instagram or my weekly newsletter and keeping the focus here on the blog on fashion, style, and general lifestyle.
Back to the blog. I had a ton of sponsored posts all in a row this week, but I warned you such things would happen. I didn’t have any control over the scheduling. However, I’m really proud of them. All four are brands I love, products I picked out myself, my own words and direction on how the posts would look and sound. Karl’s photography is so so good lately, and it’s because we have more time. We can take photos at good times of day, we can drive to interesting locations, and because there’s more time there’s less stress which makes for happier photographer and more relaxed subject. I mean, just look at yesterday’s post as an example. I had my choice of what to wear from the brand, but the clothes literally arrived that morning. We shot the photos steps away from where our car was parked. I scrolled through and deleted really bad photos in the camera on the car ride home and when I got home did the quickest editing ever. But the photos are so darn good, editing isn’t needed. And these shoots are so much more fun, and I feel good promoting brands with such good content. We’re both excited to keep improving the photography for outfit shots as well as travel, beauty, and lifestyle.
Because this week got way busier than expected, I didn’t get as much blog stuff done. I had a really good call with one company I work with and did some negotiation, which is not my strong suit. The other calls were rescheduled. I left my keys in California months ago, finally got around to replacing my car key (I’ve been stealing Karl’s copy), and this week went to the post office to replace my PO box key. Yeah, a PO box key is waaaay cheaper than a keyless fob for a car. I also received our Christmas cards and went to find my address books to address them and got into a major project of transferring all the addresses all over the place into this one address book. This is something I have wanted to do for years and I’m almost finished. Got my hair cut and colored, got my nails done, did a ton of laundry, bought a bunch of presents, and just working on keeping this ship steered in the right direction.
A lot of you have had awesome requests for content on Wardrobe Oxygen. Right now I am just trying to keep it all together so the fun content won’t likely start until after the holidays. My goal is to get familiar with this new normal and bit by bit improve on what I already have going on here. Once I have the basics dialed in, I’ll be stepping things up. I’m really excited, I want to do everything now now now but know I need to slow down, take care of myself, don that oxygen mask, get through the holidays, get through life, and then dial in the blog. So stay tuned, it’s going to be a pretty awesome 2018, I can feel it!