I'd like to say that when I started this blog, I knew I'd still be writing eight years later. But that would be a lie. Now, here it is eight years since I started and it's time to look back and to celebrate with a few giveaways for you (the first two of eight starting today).
The Road from Day 1 to Eight Years
Eight years ago this blog started as a place where I could share my photography from the road and random musings. I was in between jobs, the startup I'd been working at having been successfully acquired and all but Engineering let go, and wanted to learn new skills. My first post contemplated the fleeting value of civilization. Gradually I added projects from classes I was taking, sporadically posting until 2008 when I got serious.
Two years I got really serious about this project; I stopped using it as a testbed for ideas I was thinking of for corporate clients. When I made that decision, one thing I became aware of is that a blog is a living breathing creature. It needs regular care and feeding; you get out of it what you put into it. But, like a child, even when you have a plan for how it will grow, it may surprise you with where it goes.
Five Tips for Beginning a Successful Project
I've learned a lot writing this blog and I continue to learn a lot. In one sense, having a body of eight years of work is harder than starting anew; you have precedent to live up to. In another sense, a body of work is reassuring, you know you've successfully faced blank screens before and survived.
Two years ago in anticipation of the arrival of Gates, cubes and I took a 9-week class over at UCSF, "Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting Program." In it, we learned to practice having a beginner's mind. I look at each post as a new project, and apply these tips, tips I've gleaned from eight years of practice.
- Don't expect to be perfect. We all make mistakes; life happens in those mistakes and we learn. If you look at each blank page and yearn for perfection, maintaining your pace will be hard. We live in a digital age; you can correct typos any time you find them.
- It may or may not get easier. The more you do something, the more efficient you become. You'll also set higher aspirations for yourself because you'll know what you're capable of. These aspirations will make you reach deep into yourself and step outside your comfort zone, again and again.
- Experiment. Today's best practices were risks people took yesterday. They aren't going to have the same results tomorrow. Try something different; it will either succeed or fail. If it succeeds, people will be looking at what you did for inspiration.
- Be passionate. Life's too short to do something half way. If you're not feeling it, do something different--because people will see your indifference or lack of commitment.
- Let go. Where you think a project will go is often different from what actually happens. It's ok, if the scope of your project changes as time passes. I'm not the same person today that I was eight years ago. Eight years ago I hadn't met my husband yet and we hadn't had our daughter. As an adult, I'd only lived in the San Francisco Bay Area and dreamed of living in San Francisco.
Attending my Fourth Alt Summit
This morning I'm headed off to my fourth Alt Summit conference. Tonight I'll be Searching for my Awesome with Bing, a sponsor dinner event I can't wait to attend. It's organized by Alison of The Alison Show and part of her 30 Days of Awesome.
Unlike my first time headed to Alt, I haven't written here about it. Why? Because I'm trying to keep the content balanced across food, fashion, home, family, and making. Too often in the past I have forgotten my editorial calendar and focused on what's going on in my life right now (leading up to my first Alt Summit in 2013 almost every post was about how I was preparing for Alt). I'm mentioning it now, because the well thought out goodie bags I've received from attending Alt for Everyone and gifts from fellow attendees have influenced the goodies I want to share with you.
Presents for You
One of Gates' favorite books right now is Zen Shorts (Caldecott Honor Book) (*affiliate link). In it, Stillwater (the panda) talks about how his Uncle Ry celebrates birthdays by sending loved ones gifts. So following Uncle Ry's tradition, I'm giving you gifts.
If you've been reading for awhile, you'll know that I rarely do giveaways. So I decided to do something a little different and try one (well three with six prizes!). Over the course of the month, I'll be hosting three giveaways. I hope you're as excited as I am. I can't wait to share with you some of my favorite things--items I use, love, and have written about here or mentioned on social media.
The first giveaway starts now and runs through Sunday June 22nd at midnight PDT. And includes items from some of my favorite designers, including nautical rope bracelets from Ravenna Girls that I wrote about jewelry I own from designers I discovered at Alt earlier this month. If you're attending Alt and you love handmade bracelets and vintage treasures, come find me. Brianne of The Ravenna Girls gave me discount codes to share with you.
Goodie Bag One
In this goodie bag, you'll find a high heeled shaped bottle opener, handmade cupcake flags from Lingering Daydreams, navy nautical rope bracelet from The Ravenna Girls, reusable fabric gift wrap from Maika, and bow tie from Lindsey Willson of Lovely Little Babies (she's currently in the process of launching a new site with a new brand so follow her on Instagram at @llwillson).
Goodie Bag Two
In this goodie bag, you'll find handmade cupcake flags from Lingering Daydreams, steel gray nautical rope bracelet from The Ravenna Girls, hair clips by Vivi Dot, gift tags from Sycamore Street Press, and bow tie from Lindsey Willson of Lovely Little Babies (she's currently in the process of launching a new site with a new brand so follow her on Instagram at @llwillson).
a Rafflecopter giveaway
To make this giveaway super easy, I'm using Rafflecopter. Good luck!
Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.
Disclosure: Bow ties and bracelets were given to me by The Ravenna Girls and Lovely Little Babies, respectively, to include in this giveaway. The other items were gifts I received as an attendee at an Alt Summit event.
This post contains an affiliate link followed by (*affiliate link). I feature products that I own or that I am considering purchasing. I own the book mentioned in this post. All opinions presented are my own.