Moving to a New Blog!

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The day has finally come for me to close up Fancy Alter Ego, and start over in my new online home over at Afternoon Glow!

While I’m going to miss this space, it’s time for me to move on to something new. I’ll keep this blog open as long as I can, if you’re interested in going back down memory lane. I’ll also do the same with my old social media accounts, but from here on out I’ll be mainly posting only on the new accounts.

Since I’m moving over to the new site today, I wanted to invite you to make the move with me!

Please make sure to update your social media so you can get updates on what I’ll be posting every weekday, and keep up with what’s going on outside of the blog, too!

I hope to hear from all of you soon. Have a great day!

Make the move to Afternoon Glow!

New Website: www.afternoonglow.com

Twitter: @afternoonglow

Instagram: @afternoonglow

Pinterest: pinterest.com/heatherpatton54

Email: heather@afternoonglow.com

Bloglovin: Click here to follow!

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Introducing Afternoon Glow!

AG Coming Soon

For some of you, this will be big news…and the rest of you probably knew this was happening because I suck at keeping things private. Keeping secrets isn’t my forte – especially when it’s internet-related (thanks Twitter for telling all my friends I have a new account…dicks).

After almost three years at Fancy Alter Ego, I’ve decided to switch gears a bit and start a new blog! I’m excited to finally have the chance to work on something that isn’t a super-secret project (that, frankly, isn’t a secret anyway). I’ve always considered Fancy Alter Ego a kind of “rough draft,” where I could learn about what goes into making a blog work well for myself and my readers. I’ve grown a lot over the past few years, learned a ton, and met some amazing people along the way. Now, I’m ready to take things to the next level.

Afternoon Glow is still going to feature a lot of the same things that I wrote about on Fancy Alter Ego – food, exercise, beauty, and my rambling about random shit. The biggest difference is that this time, I’m attempting to make this more of a career than a hobby, so it will probably take on a more “professional” tone. Yes, that means I went out and bought my own domain name (like a grown up), and will start working toward finding ways to make money with my blog in a way that works for me and my readers. I promise it’s not going to turn into click-bait and affiliate-link hell, but it will feature some things I’ve never tried before, and hopefully you can bear with me as I learn some of this stuff as I go!

I’m also excited to get back into blogging after such a rough year or so of trying to stay motivated with Fancy Alter Ego. As a side project, it was perfect for me because I didn’t have to commit to writing on a regular schedule. I used that as an excuse to be lazy about what I posted and when I posted – and it definitely started to show. I also went back recently and looked through old posts, and realized that most of my writing took on a decidedly negative tone, which isn’t something I feel reflects who I am at this point in my life. It was time to move on, and focus on creating a more positive and inspiring place to share my life with you.

Now, I’m looking forward to sharing with you all the things I’ve been working on, and moving on to bigger and better things. This blog was a great starting point, but it was never something I intended on having for close to 3 years. It was always my intention to move on, and these past few (very frustrating) months of job hunting have given me the push I needed to make the jump.

So, over the next couple weeks, I’ll keep you updated on how to make the switch over from Fancy Alter Ego to my new home at Afternoon Glow. The blog is pretty much ready to go, but now I’m in the midst of updating/changing my social media stuff, so I’ll let you know how to make the jump ver soon!

Here’s to happy endings, and even happier beginnings!

The Birthday Curse

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(My first birthday, where I appear to be unwrapping something that looks identical to what I’m already wearing. Awkward. I swear I’m not throwing shade at whoever made such a terrible faux pas.)

Birthdays aren’t my thing.

I don’t know exactly why I’ve never been a big fan of my birthday. Maybe it’s because I’m always battling allergies this time of year. Maybe it’s because there is a 50/50 chance of it being cold and rainy (just like it is this year). Maybe it’s because I hate being put on the spot when it comes to getting gifts (I’m of the “open it after the party” opinion…my family was not). Maybe it’s because, when I was like 6 or 7, my dad chopped the tip of a finger off while gardening the morning of my birthday (I spent the whole day worried about him).

I grew up thinking I was the victim of some kind of birthday curse…like I was destined to have a shitty time. Most of the time I had fun in spite of the sneezing, rain, and pink toys (I have only recently grown to tolerate pink). I love cake and ice cream, and I enjoyed having my family around to celebrate. It’s also the best time of year for strawberries and lilacs – my two favorite smells of summer.

As an adult, I think I went through the same growing pains many of us do when it comes to birthdays. There are no more family parties, and most years I’ve had to work or go to school on my birthday. In college, all of my friends had already gone home for the summer, so I didn’t have anyone to go out with. Most years, I just had dinner with my family and treated myself to some shopping whenever I had the chance.

When my husband and I started dating, I explained the whole “curse” thing to him, and that I didn’t want to do anything for my birthday. Of course, he didn’t listen – but he has found ways to make things more fun, even if I can’t breathe out of my nose.

For starters, he doesn’t buy me birthday gifts. Instead, he takes me out for a day of shopping so I can pick out what I want. I know some of you think that’s insane, and it sucks all the fun out of it – but it’s perfect for me. I’m not big on surprises, and he’s always nervous that he’ll buy the wrong thing. That, and I think he likes spending the day acting like my sugar daddy. 🙂

He also makes me the same cake every year – a strawberry shortcake. He’s done this since my first birthday with him, and it’s perfect because it’s one of my favorite desserts. It’s also one of the few desserts he can make well (he sucks at baking), and I appreciate that I don’t have to make my own cake. I’m looking forward to chowing down on it tomorrow (or today, I guess)!

So in spite of the curse, I have found ways to make my birthday a bit more “me,” thanks to a stubborn husband, and a few tweaks to the traditional birthday celebration.

Here’s to my 32nd birthday – go have a drink or a cupcake for me!

PS: I wanted to send a birthday shout-out to my birthday buddy, Christina of Profresh Style! Hope you have an amazing day!

Life on Instagram: Random Tidbits

After one of the longest breaks I’ve taken on the blog so far, I’m back with a renewed energy and focus. Job hunting is still going to take up the great majority of my time, and I can’t guarantee I’ll post often, but I’m starting to get excited about blogging again. So to honor that newfound energy, I thought I’d update you on what I’ve been up to lately when I’m not eyeballs deep in resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn.

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(Clockwise from top-left)
I cut my finger really badly about a month ago while chopping parsley. Thankfully, no stitches needed – but my nail is growing out with a gash in it. Also thankful for bright nail polish to hide it. / A throwback to my college years – cranberry and vodkas. No, they were not both for me (though in college, they would have been). / Saw this while out hiking at Cougar Mountain. I was having a rough day, and it was just what I needed to see. / Took a quick trip one day to the beach to clear my brain. I’m trying to take advantage of that more often, since for years I didn’t live anywhere near water!

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I’ve been on a bit of a cookbook tear lately. I’ve read two Barefoot Contessa books, a few Giada books, and I’m currently working my way through this one. So far, it’s a gorgeous book and great read! / My sweet tooth got the better of me one day, and I threw together some apple-crisp muffins. I only had enough ingredients to make 6, so they went fast (especially once D found them)! / Another book I read recently, and pretty quickly too. I think I read it over a couple hours? / The weather has been insanely nice so far this week, so I am determined to spend more time outside. I started off Monday with a hike near home. My legs are paying for it today, though!

Positivity is Key

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(Found this happy little rock in a tree while I was on a hike a couple weeks ago.)

If you were to ask me right now if I’m happy, I’d say it’s complicated.

Leaving teaching is something that still fills me with doubt, but I’m working through it. I have a better idea of where I want my career path to go, and that helps. I don’t have a job yet, but I have a direction, which is better than where I was even a week ago. I’m hopeful that things will get better from here. I have no choice but being hopeful.

I’ve also been getting outside more, which always makes me feel more at peace. The hiking trails near my apartment are great, and the weather has been amazing for the most part. It’s so nice to be able to get out in nature without having to drive somewhere first. Now, if it would just warm up and stop raining, I could get out there today. It probably won’t happen, though – I’m still trying to kick a headache I’ve had since Saturday (thanks, Aunt Flo).

In addition to reading more, I also started baking more often. I know that cupcakes and brownies aren’t the best things to eat, but baking is one of the few things that can calm me when I’m having a rough day. The precision and attention that baking requires keeps my mind busy and distracted, and the end result usually tastes pretty damn good too. 🙂

Blogging is still taking a backseat to everything else at the moment, but I’m hoping that it won’t be this way for much longer. I miss sharing what’s going on in my life here. Unfortunately, lately it’s been days on end with the same thing – and no one (not even me) cares about reading the same whiny shit about sweatpants, job applications, and how much HGTV I’ve been watching lately (hint: it’s a lot).

Hopefully you’ll all still be around when I get back to writing more often, but for now, it’s time to take a break…and a nap.

What I’ve Been Reading Lately

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For the past few months, I’ve been spending the bulk of my time job hunting and preparing to teach classes I ended up not actually teaching. In my spare time, though, I made a serious effort to get back into reading for pleasure, since it’s something I don’t do very often when I’m teaching. Something about starting at student essays for three hours just kills my desire to keep reading, even if it’s for fun. 😉

After getting a library subscription, I discovered that our local library does digital books. It’s amazing because I don’t have to find a library that has the book I want, and the waiting list for digital books is a lot better than physical ones. Even though I had to wait almost a month for some of them, I had plenty to read and do while I waited. So without further ado, here’s what I’ve been reading lately!

1. How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret, and Sophie Mas

This book was such a fun read! It was part guidebook, part picture book – which is great if you’re not up for a serious read. I enjoyed reading about fashion, food, parenting, love, and life from four different Parisian women. It’s definitely a book I will buy in the future, if only for the wonderful photos and graphics throughout. Highly recommended if you’re as obsessed with Paris as I am.

2. Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange

The only physical book I could get my hands on was this one, and it was well worth waiting a few days for it to get shipped in from a different library! This is another book I will definitely buy for my collection someday, and the book itself is about as chic as the advice within it! This is also a mix of amazing photos, quirky illustrations from Ines de la Fressange, and amazing advice. It’s like having a much cooler older sister or aunt giving you advice. She’s honest, but keeps most of her advice pretty universal and basic. There is also an entire section devoted to her favorite shops (many of which are online now), which reads like a secret guide for where the real Parisiennes go! She also has a YouTube series she did with Roger Vivier, where she shows us around many of the stores mentioned in the book (if you can handle subtitles). I enjoy watching them because it reminds me that I should get back into practice with my French skills (and that I can understand her more than I thought). Also highly recommended for the French-obsessed, and for the discerning shopper.

3. #GIRLBOSS by Sophie Amoruso

Okay, so I’m going to admit this right off the bat – I didn’t finish this book. I think I made it about halfway through before moving on to something else. Part of this might have been because we moved in the middle of me reading it, but honestly, it wasn’t for me. I’ve been hearing great things about this book from just about everyone I talk to or read about online. At the beginning, it seemed like a great story from a woman who is about my age, and who came up during a time when a “traditional” career path no longer existed for many people who couldn’t afford (or didn’t want to go to) college. She made her own way in spite of not having the right education or trust fund parents – and that’s something many people my age can relate to.

However, I think this book is better suited to women about a decade younger than me – for me, it was a bit “yeah, yeah, I’ve heard all this before.” I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is just graduating from high school or college, as a nice reminder that the paths they are about to take don’t have to be boring and traditional ones. Since we’re getting to that time of year, I’d totally give this as a graduation present. Sure, Amoruso’s career is obviously more the exception than the norm, but her sentiment is still great for young women to hear. I just think it fell on deaf ears in my case. I might try to pick it up and finish it this week, if I can renew it online.

4. Yes Please by Amy Poehler

This is the most recent book I’ve read, and I think I blew through it in only a few days. I know, I probably could have read the whole thing in one evening, but I have a husband who thinks my reading alone for hours on end is offensive and weird. Someday I’ll work on getting him over that, but until then, I’m lucky if I can swing an hour alone at a time. 😉

Anyway, this book was a great read! In the past, I’ve enjoyed reading books from Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, and Chelsea Handler, so I knew this would be right in my wheel-house. Sure, Poehler’s funny and all, but this book is also a great reminder that as women we have help each other out in rough times. Her message is very much that of a normal woman, raising two kids while trying to juggle her career, friendships, love, and happiness. At a somewhat turbulent time in my life, it was great to hear from someone else who has also been through rough times and gotten through it (she wrote the book while in the middle of her divorce from Will Arnett). Though I don’t think this book would work for the #GIRLBOSS crowd, it would make a great gift for someone more my own age or older – especially those who also juggle the million things most women do. Her mantra of “Good for you, not for me” is one I think most women can relate to and should hear more often.

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I’ve had a lot of fun getting back into the habit of reading again, and can’t wait to start a new book (though I have no idea which one).

If you have any suggestions, I’d totally appreciate you leaving it in the comments!

Tough Goodbyes

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Today was supposed to be my first day back to teaching in almost four months. I was excited to be back in the classroom, and eager to meet a new batch of students. I had two classes prepared and ready to go.

Unfortunately, that isn’t going to happen.

The college I worked for contacted me right before we moved to tell me that they were taking away one of my classes to give to another teacher. I wasn’t happy about it, but it wasn’t the end of the world – I still had one class left. Right after we moved, they told me they gave away the other class. Since this happened rather suddenly and without warning, I was devastated.

Now I’m back to square one. I’ve spent the past few months applying to dozens of teaching positions, and other jobs within the college systems here. I have woken up every morning to an inbox full of politely written rejection letters, which I can tell you is not the best way to start the day. I’ve written so many cover letters that they’re starting to blur together. I also think I’ve applied to so many positions that I fear that I applied to some of them twice (sorry if I did that). It’s hard work trying to find work, and it can wear down even the most thick-skinned person. While I’ve always struggled to keep my career afloat, this is different.

After a lot of careful thought, friendly advice, and sleepless nights, I’ve come to a very tough decision:

I am leaving the teaching profession.

It’s tough for me to admit this, but it’s time for me to move on. I gave teaching 11 years of my life, and I truly mean my whole life. Teaching often meant sacrificing friends, family, vacations, and time for myself. I’m 31 years old and in no position to buy a house, have children, or pay off my student loans – all things I would have expected to have accomplished by now. I’ve read more books in the past three months than I have in the past 10 years, and didn’t realize until now how much I missed that. While the stress of not having a new job keeps me up at night, it’s nothing compared to the years of anxiety, not knowing if I’d make enough to pay rent every few months. It’s time for me to choose another path – one that is more stable and allows me to have a life outside of work. I can’t continue to risk my physical and mental health on a promise that never came to fruition. I want to be excited to wake up in the morning and head to work, something I haven’t felt in years.

This is a decision I didn’t make lightly, and I promise it’s not an angry reaction to this recent layoff. I’ve been struggling with this decision for years. This blog exists because I was unhappy in my career, and needed an outlet. Two years ago, I even made a new year’s resolution on the blog to explore other career options, whether it be blogging, writing professionally, editing, or something else. I knew even back then that things were bad, but since I was working consistently, I didn’t feel ready to let go quite yet. Now I do.

I don’t know what the future holds for me, which is scary given I’m an over-planner. Part of me wants to go back to school, but I don’t know if I can handle another round of school, and another pile of debt I may never pay off. I started looking into careers outside of teaching, and while many of the positions I’ve applied for look interesting, I still feel very much like a fish out of water. Breaking into a new industry is hard, especially when you feel over/under qualified and too old. Making money as a blogger would be great, which I assume is as simple as finding a unicorn whose tears are made of money.

So for now, I’m overwhelmed and terrified…but I’m also hopeful and excited to see what the future has in store for me. I’m trying to stay positive, which isn’t always easy, but I’m trying.

For those of you who read my blog, thank you for sticking with me through a very long post! For those of you who write the blogs I read, thank you for the distraction during such a rough time. This community of bloggers keeps me sane, it really does – and I can’t imagine where I’d be without you.

And if you happen to know anyone in the Seattle area who’d like to hire a former English professor, let me know. 🙂