Reluctantly Growing Up

Over the weekend I attended a pillow fort party with some of my dearest friends in this city, and it took me on a much needed visit back to childhood. What’s a pillow fort party? So glad you asked. It’s when your amazingly creative and talented friends turn their apartment into a 5-year-old’s wet dream by hanging and draping blankets, sheets, and tapestries from the ceiling to create tents and then litter the floor with pillows and cushions. Yep. That happened.

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Everyone in attendance was wearing comfy and adorable pajamas, but I decided to level up my game by wearing my Elmo onesie and sipping on “adult milk” (White Russians) garnished with Reese’s Puffs. Yep. That also happened. We spent the night playing video games, making doodles in coloring books, and unleashing our inner kids for a little while.

At some point underneath that blanket fort, I had a thought: the older I get the more I realize that being a grownup isn’t always as awesome as I thought it would be when I was a kid. 

Between paying the bills, maintaining an orderly home, taking care of your mind-body-spirit, sustaining relationships with loved ones, keeping up-to-date on worldly happenings, keeping up with the Kardashians, and getting enough sleep to not look like a zombie everyday... it’s a miracle that so many humans make it to the age of 70 without completely losing their damn minds.

Why did everything seem so wonderful through the rose-tinted goggles of childhood? And how can I get a day pass to go back to the days where my biggest problems in life were completing a few hours of homework and dealing with my little brother making fart noises in my face? 

I remember battling through insecurity, puberty, and general growing pains as a wee bear, looking at the grownups around me, and thinking, "Man.... they’ve got all the answers and all the freedom. I can’t wait to be a grownup with all the answers.”

And here I am. A 20-something year old living in NYC and realizing more and more everyday that not only do I have no idea what I’m doing, but nobody does. 

I vaguely remember the first time it dawned on me that grownups don’t really have all the answers. I remember it having something to do with my parents and a decision they were struggling with and how it was consuming all of their energy, time, patience, and level-headedness. I wasn’t particularly young, but not particularly old... somewhere in that gray tween area. But it definitely shattered all the illusions I had of growing up and finally having all my shit together all the time.

In that blanket fort of dreams, I started thinking about the little things that would light up my life when I was a kid. The little things that would magically turn my bad days into good ones and make me temporarily forget about all my really difficult 8-year-old struggles. 

Things like playing dress up. Or helping my mom make something delicious in the kitchen, or getting a new toy/book. Or the promise of going on an adventure to the ice cream store if I was extra good and kept quiet in the back of the damn car. Or chasing each other around with pillows in the empty living room of our new house in Jersey.

The more I thought about those simple pleasures and the theory behind it, the more I realized that I’ve actually done a pretty job recently of reincorporating them back into my adult life as incentives and treats.

A few examples: 
- Every time I get a new kitchen gadget (like my new veggie spiralizer which is LIFE), I spend entirely too much time in the kitchen tinkering with it and all the recipes I’ve catalogued in my brain from recurring phases of Food Network addiction. 
- What’s the biggest incentive I’ve had recently for drinking more water? It makes my skin look amazing and lets me play with all the fun parts of makeup instead of the covering blemishes part.
- Ever since I bought myself some snazzy new sneakers, going to the gym has been a treat just to look at (and show off) my bright pink feet. 
- And as much as I love the work I do, nothing motivates me to get out of bed and get on my grind like the promise of a big international trip on the horizon.

Same concepts.... just applied to my life by myself rather than my parents. And I guess that some day, eventually, I’ll probably use them on my kids too. So maybe that's what growing up really is: finding the methods of motivation that work for you and make all that bad stuff tolerable.

I guess the moral of the story is that I need more pillow fort parties in my life as I continue to reluctantly grow up. ......I ain't even mad about it.

Sending Reeses flavored keeses,
xx Nik

TunesDaze: March 2015 Edition

It’s the return of TunesDaze! Wooooooo.

For those of you who are new here (or those of you need a refresher) TunesDaze is my monthly roundup of musical delights that have been on repeat in my house and my brain. 

Life is just better when you have the right soundtrack.

Whether I’m working on my laptop, cooking dinner, doing dishes, taking a shower, walking to the subway, or working out - I need to be dancing. 

My favorite place to find music is HypeMachine, and if you’re not on there yet I must ask, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE?” Just kidding. Kinda.

HypeMachine is my ultimate bae. Thanks for always providing an endless stream of fresh remixes that keep me chair-dancing all day long.

So, without further ado, I present to thee this month’s TunesDaze playlist. Click play and dance along with me. And since I’m always on the hunt for new music, feel free to drop your latest musical obsession in the comments below.

xx Nik

Back in Business

Guess who’s back. Back again. Nikbear’s back. Tell a friend. 
(No, but like seriously. Tell someone?)

Helllloooooo friends and followers! It’s the start of spring and this bear is coming out of her hibernation with a BANG!

Welcome to my new digital home! 

It’s cute, right? Nothing fancy, but I think it suits me and my biz. I built it myself using the power of Squarespace and the support of talented writer/designer/developer friends.
PS - Fellow freelancing friends rule.

I decided to take the plunge and switch from Wordpress to Squarespace for a variety of reasons, and so far I’m pretty happy with my decision. Squarespace allows me to manipulate my website faster, better, and entirely on my own.

There’s something incredibly soothing about having a website that you can actually work with. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my old Wordpress site to bits, but the simple fact that I didn’t know how to make basic changes to the design or layout just about drove me crazy for an entire year. 

Squarespace makes it 5th grade level easy with fully customizable drag and drop templates and an internal forum that answers just about any question you could ever have. It may not sound like much, but after a full year of scouring the deepest corners of the web for any piece of code that would allow me to change my Navigation Bar (with no luck.... after a whole year...), you learn to really appreciate the little things in web platforms.

SO. What’s new? What’s crackalackin? Glad you asked. Well, this week marks my 2 year bizaversary here on npamani. Can you believe it? Neither can I. To celebrate, I’m rolling out some brand spanking new services and resuscitating my blog with a vengeance.

The past two years have been a crazy whirlwind of working insanely hard, learning a lot about how to be a strong businesswoman, teaming up with some amazing and inspirational clients and colleagues, and having the time of my life. At the end of the day, there is no greater joy than to be able to look at my career and say with insane amounts of pride, “I made this.”

Because that’s exactly what we as entrepreneurs get to do. We get to create a career entirely our own. We pull skills from all the different experiences we’ve had in life and fill a unique void in the world. It’s the hardest work you’ll ever do, but can you imagine anything more rewarding? (Ok, maybe child birth is a smidge more rewarding. But I think birthing a business is a pretty close second.)

To celebrate and elevate all that I’ve learned in my years on this planet, I’m BEYOND thrilled to FINALLY announce my new one-day intensive:

The Launch Boss

The Launch Boss is a full work day with me to sit down and hash out ALL the details for your upcoming digital course, app, conference, product, service, ebook, website, business, whatever have you. We go through everything from fine-tuning the actual offering to discussing ways to market it to simplifying the user’s start-to-finish experience and more. 

I basically tap into your brain for a day and give you all the strategies, tools, and lists you need to take your offering from a vague concept that may happen eventually in the future to something that is on your calendar and broken down into comprehensive and manageable task lists. At the end of the day, you walk away with step-by-step strategies to follow, a ridiculous amount of resources to work with, and the peace of mind knowing that you’re not in this alone. I’ll even swing back around two weeks after our intensive to check-in as your personal accountability buddy and make sure you aren’t ripping your hair out or hyperventilating. (It's been known to happen to even the best of us.)

So why did I create this? Well, because launches are chaotic. There are only about a hundred moving pieces that you have to consider, all while still actually running your business. It’s like going on a roadtrip across the country, alone, and without a GPS. Between driving the car at high speeds, trying to read the freaking map (which way is north on this damn thing?), and answering mom’s texts to make sure you haven’t been kidnapped for organ harvesting... you’re starting to feel completely overwhelmed and frazzled and AW SHIT, THERE GOES THE EXIT YOU NEEDED TO TAKE. 

Let me be your co-pilot. It’s my favorite job.

I won't bore you here with the nitty gritty details... if you're interested, you can learn more on my services page.

BUT... as a super special Bizaversary gift for you, I'm offering a 30% discount on all Launch Boss Intensives booked now through April. As these are intense full day sessions with me, I do have a limited number that I am offering every month, so if you're interested grab one now!

Either way, I'm thrilled and honored to have you here as I continue to grow as a person and as a solopreneur. Thanks for checking out my cool new online headquarters and I hope you'll be back soon for more ramblings from my brain. I plan on posting here more frequently now that I have a site that finally listens to me. YOU WILL OBEY ME, COMPUTER-DEVICE-CONTRAPTION-ROBOT-MACHINE.

And on that note....

With infinite love,
xx Nik