NaNoWriMo for Me: Ten Years Later…

We recently hosted a vendor booth at the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce's Net90 Marketplace. Here I am with our giveaway prizes.
We recently hosted a vendor booth at the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Net90 Marketplace.

On Halloween in 2007, I decided to sign up for NaNoWriMo on a whim; I was inspired by my friend Lesley, who was also participating in NaNoWriMo then. I completed my first novel that year, thanks to NaNoWriMo.

Ten years later, in 2017, I am sitting out of NaNoWriMo in a rather bittersweet way.

Over the course of these ten years, I have participated in the annual write-a-thon seven times, winning (aka writing at least 50,000 words) three of those years (2007, 2008, and 2010). Even though I see that several friends are participating in the event this year, I still am sitting out this year.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy writing anymore: I’ve professed before that writing will always be my lifelong passion. However, I am writing daily as I work on Hashtagitude and its clients: writing constantly, writing more pointedly, with my marketing acumen sharpening day by day.

At the end of the day, my creative writing suffers a bit. Even with this blog, I have rarely updated over the last 2-3 years. At the end of the day, I have few words left in me to write.

But, to celebrate that joyful excursion into the world of NaNo (and, an homage to my friend Lesley, whom I only just recently learned passed away three years ago), I am doing something else for the month of November: I am doing daily Instagram Live broadcasts on my personal Instagram for five minutes.

Since going into business for myself in 2012, I haven’t been as vociferous about my life outside of my career and my businesses. So, on these daily broadcasts this month, I will be talking about various aspects of my life that are NOT business-related; just so, you can learn more about who Helene is.

I plan to broadcast about 8:30am/9am on weekdays and perhaps around 10am or so on weekends (all Mountain Time). The replays will stay up for 24 hours, so you will be able to tune in throughout the day.

I hope you will join me on this month-long journey.

The Second Half of 2016 Starts Now: Are You Ready?

It’s so cliche to say, but wow, the first half of 2016 definitely flew by. It’s safe to say that 2016 has treated me quite nicely so far: the first half of the year stayed eventful and things are definitely on the up and up with work and the rest of life.

Happy and healthy!
Happy and healthy!

I find that my focus this year has definitely been on a better quality of life and more personal/professional development. I have started meditating daily (thanks to Conscious Transformation), and I have been reading much more avidly this year versus the last couple of years. It helps that I have daily train rides to give me time to read; I rarely make time to read at home, sadly.

In the past month, I have been keeping track of my time at work and I find that my focus has been much better for it. I am more intentional about what I am spending my time on, so I don’t end up wasting time on checking emails/browsing Facebook.

When 2016 began, I was anticipating huge growth for Hashtagitude. While business has definitely grown, it has also been at a ‘slower’ pace than expected. However, I am not disappointed! I realize that everything is moving along at a quite normal pace for a small business, so that’s comforting at least.

This time last year, I sensed that big change was about to occur, and I again feel the same about this year. We will see what the second half of the year will bring in terms of changes: take it all in stride and enjoy the ride!

Why You Should Take a Time Out

Taking time off when your brain stops working: best tip for productivity!

Admittedly, I am grateful for how jam-packed my schedule has been so far this year: better to have a lot of work to complete than sitting around twiddling my thumbs. Still, as predicted, I ended up hitting a figurative wall soon enough, and that was today.

It’s been a challenging week and month: the projections I had for the business have so far not panned out and I’m feeling the pressure from myself (and my Inner Critic) to sign on a new client. I guess I am my own worst boss, although I am working on becoming gentler with myself.

Well, even though I am my worst boss, I went ahead and took the second half of the day off after I found myself sitting and staring at my to-do list for way too long. My brain essentially shut off around noon and I felt that was the signal that I needed to just walk away from the computer and take some time to relax.

I find when I get into moods like this, I just need time to myself. Since I have a dedicated desk at Modworks now, I am always surrounded by other people–which is a good thing for productivity!–and when I am moody/burnt out, I just want to be alone. A phone room won’t cut it–coming home to the apartment with the cats helps me out though (yes, #crazycatlady).

Kitty is all curled up like a ball--exactly how I felt today by noon.
Yup. This was EXACTLY how I felt today by noon. Kitty has the right idea ;)

Tonight I am feeling much more refreshed, thankfully. Tomorrow is another packed day with meetings, workshops, etc.–but hopefully this time off today has helped me feel better prepared for the full day.


Off to a good start

My January's already filling up! Crazy!
My January’s already filling up! Crazy!

I’m quite surprised: 2016 is already starting off on a good and busy note. This week has been nonstop that today, I just had to take an afternoon nap to catch up on the sleep I’ve fallen behind on all week. I can’t recall quite a busy January in the last five years, so this is definitely welcomed. My calendar’s filling up for the month, making me tell prospective clients to start booking for February already.

Despite the fact that January IS my birthday month, I have felt in previous years that the month is generally slow and a bit depressing: no big holidays going on and even though most people are in the whole “New Year, New YOU!” mode, people aren’t doing much/fall off that bandwagon soon enough.

This January is already feeling good–and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the month has in store for me, let alone the rest of the YEAR. I have great hopes for this year…up-leveling for sure!

Hope your week has been going well as well, readers!

#CrazyCatLady Helene & Kitty say hello to 2016! ;)
#CrazyCatLady Helene & Kitty say hello to 2016! ;)

Highlights of 2015, Part 3 of 4: Better Health & Crochet

For the month of December, I’ll be posting weekly about a couple highlights from this year; granted, these highlights may very well leave out what happens this month, but we shall see what happens! ;) Also, I couldn’t decide on only four highlights, so each post I will highlight two moments/topics from the year. Enjoy!


Working Out & Eating Better = Healthier Helene!

Pretty nice medals from Rock n Roll!
Pretty nice medals from Rock n Roll!

I’m glad I made the decision in late 2014 to get back on the health & fitness bandwagon: for a few years there, I let myself slide backwards and undo the years of health & fitness I had accomplished in my early twenties. This year, I have made strides to get myself back into shape: it definitely helped that Ryan and I started off 2015 by participating in the Daniel Fast with our church. Since the fast, we have made a point to eat better together and also commit to working out together on a regular basis. As I had mentioned before, we ran our first 5K together back in October and hope to run more in 2016.

Overall, since November 2014, I have lost twenty-five pounds in a much healthier fashion than in my twenties. The road to better health is ongoing, and I intend to lose more weight in the coming year. Obviously, I will continue my healthier habits into the new year….Ryan and I do need more exercise ideas, though.

Crocheting Up A Storm

My current project: a Christmas gift for a family member (hmmmm to whom??!)
My current project: a Christmas gift for a family member (hmmmm to whom??!)

I am also most happy that this year was the year for me to FINALLY progress in my crocheting/yarn craft hobbies! I started off the year attending a Nerdy 30s Ladies of Denver Metro Crafting/Knitting/Coffee meetup (in fact, I just RSVPed for the same meetup event happening at the beginning of this coming January, too!) and have been crocheting pretty regularly since then. Granted, over the past 11ish months, I have also learned A LOT about the whole world of yarn crafts: gauge, different stitches, the size of the crochet hook, yarn weight, yarn material, etc. When I had first learned how to crochet, I thought much of what I listed above didn’t matter much, but this year I have learned that they DO matter….quite a bit! I’ve made hats too big because of the wrong sized hook or the wrong type of stitch…luckily, these were all learning lessons for myself!

Loom-knitting hats is SO easy....even a six-year-old can do it.
Loom-knitting hats is SO easy….even a six-year-old can do it.

I have also spent time learning more about loom knitting, and I do enjoy the round looms nowadays! I unfortunately made the mistake of learning how to loom knit on the long rectangular loom–which I just recently learned is actually harder than the round loom. Still, I love learning about all these different ways to create hats, scarves, etc.

This Christmas, I can confidently say that I am creating pretty much all of my gifts for my family members: several Christmases ago, I attempted this, but ended up with some too-short scarves and a couple of IOUs. Odd, right? But I’ve learned so much since then….and I can’t wait to share these gifts with my family!

This next year, I hope to continue my love of yarn craft hobbies and also make more goodies for my church’s outreach program. Hooray!