TunesDaze: June 2016

Back at it again with the monthly playlists!

Hello, friends! TunesDaze is back and I am sooooooooooooo excited. Sharing a playlist here every month has always been one of my favorite things to do. Music makes the world go round. For this month, I've got a collection of some of my must listen tracks from the last year Want more? Check out my HypeMachine favorites list to track all my most recent obsessions.

But for now, enjoy this playlist of summer tunes. Protip: bookmark this for your next roadtrip.

xx Nik

A Blogger's Sabbatical

Hello friends! It’s hard to believe that 12 months have come and gone since I last wrote to you, but I was in desperate need of a blogger's sabbatical.

I had reached a point where my self-imposed deadlines were stressing me out and the writer's block was psyching me out. I felt tapped out for fresh content and disappointed in my inability to consistently deliver. I had lost my voice and along with it, I had lost all the joy that I once derived from writing here. I took all of those negative feelings as a sign to take a step back and just focus on living my life for a while without documenting every step of the way. Within minutes of deleting my scatter-brained content calendar I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my chest. And I sighed with great relief.

"There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither." - Alan Cohen

But now I'm back, AND I MISSED YOU! Distance really does make the heart grow fonder.

One thing I've noticed as I'm writing this post is that taking a sabbatical did not mean coming back and instantly overflowing with all the right words. I've drafted, scrapped, and redrafted this post at least a hundred times over the past few weeks and I'm still not sure if I'm 100% happy with it. But in the past few years of writing I've realized that sometimes you have to just go ahead and publish what you've got because you can't wait for perfection when you're completely out of practice. You can't just run a marathon and expect your best time when you've been a couch potato for 12 months. That's not how life works. Reaching the finish line without pooping your pants is a solid victory worthy of celebration. You go, Glen Coco. You go celebrate in your poopless pants. And then get right back to practicing because, hunty, we got werq to do.

A second thing I've noticed is that taking a sabbatical from my blog did not by any means reduce the amount of stress I was feeling in my life. Au contraire, mon ami. I've spent the last year exponentially increasing my stress levels by moving back to Jersey, starting a new business with my dad, shifting gears with my freelance business, figuring out ways to balance a 9-to-6 job while seeing friends that no longer live 6 blocks away, establishing new personal boundaries, learning how to be a boss lady, trying (and failing) to make time for dating, striving to lead a healthier lifestyle, saving my pennies for seeing the world, and so much more. 

Honestly... I'm now wondering if taking a blogger's sabbatical was a choice I made or if life just made it for me... #mysteriesoftheuniverse.

While taking a year off from writing here didn't reduce my stress levels nor did it by any means solve all of my problems, I am feeling so much less pressure to have it all together all the time. Real talk: it's hard to preach the good word about mental health when you feel like there are 10 crazy people living inside your brain. I had so many feels about so many things that I didn't know where to start or how to articulate any of it or what to do about it or what the hidden lesson was. 

In an effort to start working through all of that inner chaos, I decided to practice what I have always preached and just let it all go for a little. I threw myself hard into all the things that make me feel like my best me: traveling, cooking, laughing, dancing, working, decorating, crafting, baking, and loving. I reminded myself to honor my limits, be kind to myself, and be more grateful for all the good in life. Because there's SO MUCH good in life. Taking a step back from constantly analyzing everything in the public sphere was a great reminder of who I am, what makes me awesome, and just how much there is to be grateful for. Taking the time to focus on those things really helped me calm down from what felt like a neurotic place.

"Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges.
So relax." - Bryant McGill

The last thing I realized from taking this sabbatical is that this place, my blog, has always been a sanctuary for me. I might have needed to temporarily hermit and deal with life, but I took great solace in knowing that this place and you guys would always be here for me. For the past however many years, this blog has always been a wonderful reminder that we are never alone. All we have to do is find the words to express ourselves and there will always be people with open arms ready to hold and support us. And if we need to take a pause to calm the mind and find those words, there's absofreakinglutely nothing wrong with that.

I love you all. Thank you so much for your patience, kindness, and undying love. I'm thrilled to be back. NOW LET'S DO THIS!

Ready for take off,
xx Nik


Never miss a post! Have all my posts delivered straight to your inbox and get my free social media guide too! Just clicky right here.

There's No Place Like Home

Hello friends, fans, and followers. I write this to you from Fort Lauderdale airport. NYC obviously heard me complaining about how I didn’t want to leave South Florida and decided to help me stay here longer by raining so hard that all flights in/out of the area have got massive delays. Thanks, I guess? Although being stuck at an airport with terrible wifi isn't exactly what I was hoping for. Le sigh.

ANYWAYS. I just spent 10 days in sunny South Florida visiting old friends, places, and memories. And it was probably the best vacation I had in a long time. Although vacation seems like the wrong word, because the entire time I was down there I simply felt like I was finally back in my one true home. Florida has a strange way of doing that to me. 

I kicked my vacation off with my best bear in West Palm Beach at her parents’ house. We spent Memorial Day Weekend with some quality beach time, delicious beer, fancy feasts, and more gossip and girl chat than we should admit to. So that was pretty ideal.

After a few days in the suburbs, we packed up a car and headed down to our beloved Miami. It’s the place we first met and fell in best-friends-forever love, and we hadn't been down here together in close to three years. Needless to say, this trip was long overdue.

A very good friend of mine was going to be out of town and lovingly left me with keys to his downtown Miami apartment, so our living arrangements were set (complete with this awesome view). 

But I also decided to indulge and get myself a rental car. If you’ve ever been to Miami, you know that having your own wheels is crucial. Well, this was my first time having my own vehicle since I moved out of the 305 four years ago. And it was BLISS.

I jumped at the chance to take all of my most favorite drives around the city: to Coral Gables, to UM campus, to Key Biscayne, to Miami Beach, and more. I could've spent the entire 6 days just driving around in that car. There’s something about cruising around Miami with the windows rolled down and the volume turned up that will always make me feel right at home. 

On my way back home from a paddle boarding session on Key Biscayne, I had the wind in my hair, the sun on my face, and it really felt as if I had never even left. When I stopped at the local Publix to grab some groceries and successfully gave directions to a stranger in Spanish, I started to REALLY become convinced that I had never left and that the past 4 years in NYC must have been a very elaborate dream. A very, VERY elaborate, bank-account-sucking dream.

Isn't it strange how a place that you only lived in for a few years can feel so much like home? I suppose it's more about the life that I built in that place than the place itself. Miami was the first place I had lived without the safety net of my family. It was the first place I had the freedom to establish myself as the person I really wanted to be. It was the first place I built my own home in, had my own car in, held down my first industry-related job in, had my heart broken in, and more. It is the place where I really grew into myself. And for that reason, it will always hold a very special place in my heart.

I don’t know if it was the intense sense of independence I felt all week, or just being back on my old stomping grounds, or the high of too much vitamin D and sunshine I seemed to be riding, or the love I felt being surrounded by so many of my favorite people, or a combination of all of the above, BUT…. it’s been a long time since I’ve felt this healthy, productive, motivated, and just generally happy. 

I’m coming back from this trip feeling totally refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to hit the ground running. And boy-oh-boy do I need to hit the ground running. This month is jam packed with setting up a new business, moving to Jersey, and bringing on a few new clients for my digital strategy business. BRING IT, JUNE.

As sad as I am to be leaving South Florida, I am very, very excited to get back to reality and start shifting into the next chapter of my life. This trip has been a perfect reminder of all the things I’ve already done, how far I’ve come, and just how many people (near and far) there are in my life who have ALWAYS supported me and continue to do so.

image.jpg

Miami, no matter what, will always feel like home to me. And there’s no place like home.

I will miss my South Florida fam tons, but this little bear has gotta get back to her NYC grind. The sooner I get back to my grind, the sooner I can come back down and play some more. What better motivation could I possibly ask for?

Soaking up some last rays of sunshine,
xx Nik