life lately: emerald city summer

lately716

Hello, from a coffeeshop in Seattle on this cloudy & very cold July day. We’re having a very mild summer here in the PNW. (I’m trying not to complain.)

Anyway, I thought I’d pop in with a bit of a life update. It’s been awhile, hm? (Are we connected on Instagram, by the way?)

It’s been an exceptionally busy couple of months. R.T. and I had a very tumultuous move, but life has been pretty good since settling here. We’re finding our groove. I’m genuinely surprised by how much I’ve fallen in love with this city — if I’m honest, I felt a lot of resistance about moving here, so it’s been remarkable to instantly feel at home.

As usual, I’ve been hard at work on a number of projects for my clients at SixteenJuly — but in between, I’ve been exploring this city and the nature in and around it.

Here’s a short list of the other things I’ve been enjoying lately:

reading:

I recently read A House in the Sky – not exactly a beach read, and different than my usual lighthearted or self-help picks, but I would definitely recommend it. I juuuuust started Year of Yes – it’s enjoyable and funny so far. Will report back.

birks

wearing:

This dress, Birkenstocks (above), these jean shorts (on the rare days it’s warm enough to wear shorts here), a bunch of cute stuff that came from Stitch Fix this month. (It was a month where I kept everything. Love those.)

smitten with:

new bluetooth headphones – they’ve made my lifting routine woooorlds more enjoyable. I listened to 2.5 podcast episodes last time I was at the gym.

Related: I’m also really into bouldering lately. I joined a bouldering gym for their strength training area, but my membership comes with unlimited bouldering… I love it a lot more than I expected to. I got to boulder with Marie for an afternoon last month, when she and her partner stayed with us for a weekend. I’ll probably never be as skilled or graceful as she is, but it was fun & inspiring to climb with her.

I’m also really digging Wednesday coworking dates at Kat’s. (Her business is yoga for roller derby skaters, which is pretty rad.)

lounge

indulging in:

self-care. June was super exhausting, and I’m trying to ease into an ease-filled July. Lots of rest. Listening to my body. I’m also off drinking, which shouldn’t feel indulgent, but I always sleep so terribly + struggle with anxiety when there’s booze in my life, so I’m actually enjoying having an excuse to not drink at all for awhile.

creating:

I’m just getting back into papercrafting (planner decorating & Project Life) as things start to settle down a bit. It’s been a long time since I carved that time out just to be fun & creative, and I’m really digging it.

listening to:

Music-wise, I’m really digging Theatrics by Puzzle Muteson. Still really into Modern Love the podcast. ‘Friends without Benefits’ was a recent favorite.

celebrating:

so many site launches! Liz! Squam! A facelift for Sas! Copperboom! Rachelle’s new site is just a day or two from launching – watch this space.

ALSO – my little business turns SEVEN in a couple of weeks. I’m pretty proud of that.

arboretum

looking forward to:

There are some big-to-me business changes happening this month and I’m really ready for those. (Blog post on the subject pending, in theory.) Also excited about some upcoming PNW adventures (like camping with R.T. for the first time), and for some travel to the mitten and back to the east coast in a couple of months.

life lately: springtime + seattlebound 

lifelately

Happy springtime, friends! I thought I would peek in with a little bit of a life update.

The first and most significant bit of news is that I’m moving to Seattle! I could probably write a whole post about this development, but I’ll try to keep this bite-sized.

As you know, R.T. and I have been living on opposite sides of the country for a little over a year now. We decided toward the end of last year that the goal was for him to join me here in the PNW. The plan was, of course, for him to move to Portland, potentially to resume working for me full-time. While we were rolling around options, his boss at his day job got wind of the whole thing and offered him a promotion + transfer to stay with the company. The closest the transfer could get him to Portland was Seattle. Close enough!

We gave some thought to continuing to maintain homes in both cities, but eventually decided to just get a place together there. I’ll still be back to Portland regularly (probably weekly), so this feels like a pretty moderate outcome, as far as potential solutions go. I’m really grateful that R.T. was willing to move west for me, even if we’re both compromising in some ways.

apartment

We’ve already rented a lovely apartment in an area I’m excited to explore, and I can’t wait to have a home with R.T. and our creatures again. I’ll be flying out to NH in about a month to drive cross-country with the whole crew.

If you’re in Seattle, definitely reach out – we’ll get coffee. FYI: I’m going to scream if one more person says Seattle Freeze to me, so don’t bother. That’s a crap reputation to give a place, and I’m determined that this won’t be my experience. I have a number of friends & connections in the city, and I really think that, in moving to any new place, you get out of it what you put into it.

Anyway! On to the other details.


Lately I’ve been…

reading:

The Latte Years by Phillipa Moore. Loving it. // I’m still in the midst of reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I thought I was going to finish that on one plane trip, but I set it aside and haven’t gotten back into it yet.

listening to:

Modern Love the podcast – Episode 8 shattered me. I listened to it twice in one day.

While I write this, I’m listening to In the Altogether by The Sea The Sea.

wearing

wearing:

Black tee-shirts and jeans. Seriously, that’s pretty much it. I’ve sort of given up investing in my wardrobe until the lifting-related changes in my body level off a bit. (I’m anticipating that I’m just about there.) In the meantime, I’m buying the softest black tees I can find – The AE Soft & Sexy Favorite T-Shirt is indeed soft, sexy, and my current favorite t-shirt.

I’m sporting one of two pairs of shoes when the weather is nice: Cortona Flat and Sienna MJ in tortoise shell. On less-nice days, I wear the Bern baby Bern boots in a green color that doesn’t seem to be for sale anymore – I got mine secondhand, in what was maybe the greatest thrift store find of my life.

spring

smitten with:

springtime in the PNW. Everything is flowering in Portland. We’re starting to see some sunny days here and there. I’ve been really lucky that both of my recent visits to Seattle have had fantastic weather.

indulging in:

… well, I’ll tell you that I recently discovered that you can buy gummy stars at Whole Foods in the bulk bins. (I can’t be trusted with the bigger packages. I need to buy just a single serving.)

looking forward to:

R.T.’s visit later this week – he’s flying into Seattle and I’m meeting him there to do some exploring. Seeing Joanna Newsom perform here in Portland on the 28th. Visiting NH friends next month and getting to see R.T.’s band perform again before they part ways.

Coffee Break #14

coffeebreak

Happy February! I have some things from the internet for you.

“You are as you are until you’re not. You change when you want to change. You put your ideas into action in the timing that is best. That’s just how it happens.

And what I think we all need more than anything is this: permission to be wherever the fuck we are when we’re there.

To anyone who thinks they’re falling behind by Jamie Varon (who is totally brilliant – I’ve been swooning over her writing a lot recently.)

Yesterday, Jessica wrote on Body Image and Business, and I love her for it. I gained quite a lot of weight after starting my business, and I’ve only lost (most of) it this past year — also by finally making self-care a priority (which is super hard to do when you’re in startup mode). It’s troubling, the extent to which feeling uncomfortable in your body impacts everything else. (By the way, Jessica is super adorable and seems so at home in herself with her bright pink hair – just goes to show you that we all tend to be a little too hard on ourselves, huh?)

Related: Work, Sleep, Family, Fitness, or Friends: Pick 3 — as much as I hate to admit it, this is true for me. My current 3 are work, fitness, friends. No idea what I’ll do when my husband and I live together again. He counts as family, right? Or can I hack the system and count him as a friend? Plus I’ll probably need to sleep more often when I’m not living like a pseudo-single lady and running myself ragged. ADULTING IS HARD GUYS.

Entrepreneurship is hard. To really drive that point home: The Mental Cost of Owning a Business

I really enjoyed Lovingly know your Hell No and have since been contemplating It’s hip to be sober (which Mary Beth linked to within her post).

R.T. and I have been talking about the allocation of funds throughout our relationship, and how it’s important to “buy experiences” (even though we wish we were better about squirreling our money away). I appreciated Live Broke in a Big City – life is short, right?

To end on a super light note — 23 times D.W. was the realest bitch who ever lived. This cracked me up. (I have a lot of younger siblings and had to watch a lot of PBS far past an age when I appreciated it… Arthur was the only show that was still tolerable after age 7.)


Hey! Today is the first anniversary of the day I moved to Portland! That’s pretty crazy. Thanks for following along with this journey.

there will be no divorce.

therewillbenodivorce

I’m just about to hit the one-year mark of leaving New Hampshire to embark on this Portland experiment. It’s been a year of non-stop stretching, transformation, growth, discomfort. A year of both agony and elation even more than most years. I’ve shared really openly about the challenges of this year — which you know very well if we’re friends on Facebook.

There’s one more story that I want to share, though, before I close this chapter and begin my second year here.

I left a year ago because I wasn’t happy in my marriage, and I’ve spent this year exploring what that meant.

To be more accurate, I wasn’t happy with my life as a whole, and that oozed over into being unhappy with my marriage — but I had no way of knowing that at the time. That was the point, actually: I needed some space (apparently 3,000 miles) to figure out where my unhappiness came from, and where it ended.

The truth is, lot of it was me. A lot of it was boredom and stagnation. A lot of it was (is!) my own inability to accept love as an imperfect person. Some of it, though, was a disconnect between my husband and I, and what we wanted, and where our lives were headed.

It was, of course, a really uncomfortable place to spend the better part of a year. I’m a chronic over-sharer (I love that about me!) but the potential end of your relationship isn’t something you navigate publicly.

The issues were almost entirely mine. I struggled quietly for awhile, only sharing my surface-level concerns with him occasionally. Eventually, though, I realized that I was struggling alone with what should have been a shared issue. (This was before I read Conscious Uncoupling, but it’s a concept Katherine Woodward Thomas talks about in her book, which I highly recommend.)

So, one ordinary Tuesday — via text message, of all things — I admitted to him that I was close to asking for a divorce, and I asked him to help me deal with that.

I expected him to hate me. I know that I would have been angry and defensive and hurt. Instead, he said, “Let’s work on this. We are not finished yet.”

I got really honest with him. Over the course of that week, we spent about twenty hours on video chat. Talking. Crying. I felt really hopeless. I’d convinced myself that I wasn’t cut out for long-term commitment. I thought it was too late to fix things.

Then, one night he said off-handedly, “I’ll still visit you in Portland. You’ll still be my best friend.”

In that moment, all of the guilt and resistance and sadness and fear that I’d been carrying crumbled around me. There he was, basically being slapped in the face with all of my failures as a person and a partner, saying that he’d love me even if I left him.

That changed everything. I remembered that we were on the same team, and what that meant. I decided that, if he could love me as I left him, it wasn’t so crazy for me to ask him to love me while I struggled with being a restless and imperfect partner. We could do the work. He was right — we weren’t finished yet.

For us, it wasn’t just that we were capable of conscious uncoupling — it was that we were capable of getting through this tough stuff. We could hold hands and intentionally tromp through the muck together.

Even though it was my muck. Even though it sucked that I had to ask that of him.

I imagine it’s close to impossible to be in that situation without feeling guilt and shame, but I worked really hard at reframing that. I remembered a slightly-older-but-much-wiser friend telling me in my twenties that she started every day asking herself if the life she had with her partner was worth the effort, and that every morning so far, it had been. I was startled by that at the time, but I understand now.

Being committed (to our partners, to ourselves, to our businesses and jobs and families) isn’t a choice we make once. We want to believe it is. We want that day — the white dress photo opp party day — to be the day. But it isn’t. It’s not the first day we make that commitment and it’s certainly not the last.

There’s power in that — in choosing to do the work, even when it’s messy and hard. In acknowledging that it will be imperfect far more often than it’s easy. In recognizing that there is always more to be done — there’s always some amount of rounding up.

I’m telling you this because I didn’t read a lot of these stories last year. I read a lot of happily-ever-after stories, written by a variety of people in a variety of life stages. I love to love the happy Instagram families with beautiful cookware who seem like they must never have an argument resulting in one person sleeping on the couch (let alone moving across the country).

The happy divorce stories were plentiful, too. The “I ended my marriage and I’m free and I’ve found myself and thank god I had the courage to leave” stories. And those are good, important stories.

But neither is my story.

This is my story. I found myself by being unhappy in my marriage and honest about that.

Maybe you’ve never loved someone so much that you felt trapped by that love. Maybe you’ve never looked at your partner and thought, “You fucking astound me, but you also make me want to run away to the woods forever, and I don’t know if I can do this for another day or month or year.”

But I have.

I find it easier to be alone, but so, so much more fulfilling to be in partnership.

So, every day, I begin with a good, hard look, and I think:

No. We are not finished yet.

I’m grateful for that, and for the ability to apply it to all of the other areas of my life, and adjust accordingly.

Discontentedness is a message, and I urge you to listen.

(But I also urge you to do the work.)

evan-signature

PS. The title of this post comes from the song of the same name by The Mountain Goats.