It’s been another summer of big change for me. The past few summers have been dominated by big career changes and adjustments to living in new countries (before moving back to Portland in 2016, I spent time living in Chengdu, China). With my career more settled than previous summers and finding myself fully settled to life state-side, I had anticipated this summer to be a bit more quiet. I always plan on summers being my relaxing, mellow time of year but they always seem to end up more hectic than I plan—I’m sure some of you can relate.
With a full year of blogging under my belt and my Instagram following at an all-time high, I’ve found my side hustle / passion projects becoming more than a hobby and turning into a second full-time job. I have weeks where I’ve put in a solid 80 hours of work! (I try to give myself some solid breaks from writing and social media in order to create a better work/life balance). The increased amount of work over the summer though has helped me get even closer to some of my life goals. While I’ve done some smaller partnership/trade work, I’m doing my first official paid-partner work on Instagram this August. Opening the door to partnerships can be really fun for me. I love when I have the opportunity to work with a business that alines with my own passions. This also allows me to increase the budget I have for improving my photography and video equipment so I can continue to improve the quality of content on my blog and social channels.
In addition to the expansion on my blogging, this summer has been a time to make some bigger decisions for my future. While I love traveling and intend to continue exploring the world, I’ve also felt like it’s a good time to become a bit less of a nomad and “settle” down a bit. This is why I’ve finally decided it would be a good time in life to adopt a dog. I’ll be expanding my little self-made family with the addition of a new puppy (I’m expecting to take him/her home next spring). I currently already have a cat Wilma (she was a stray and much like Holly Golightly and Cat, we just ended up meant to be with each other) and a beautiful beta fish, Sr. Johnathan Wellington III. While having a dog has been on my goal list for years, the official decision to become a dog owner has made me reevaluate my current living situation a lot.
I have spent most of my time in Portland living in a large, older Portland home in the Southeast side of town. We’re a corner lot, with a full yard and garden, which is one of my favorite parts of the house. The kitchen is fairly sizable, the living room expands the entire length of the house and my bedroom is roughly the size of my old studio apartment. I’ve called this place home for some six years or so now. But being a large older house means that I share it with other people, and it has lots of older house quirks. It’s been an amazing space and great for decorating during the holidays, but as a rental I’ve pretty much done everything I can to decorate and bring a theme throughout the house. The interior walls in the shared spaces are all due for an updated coat of paint and the living room wall color has driven me nuts for years (it’s that older hospital green color—the same color of the wall in the hospital I spent time in in China).
After a lot of thought, I decided it’s time to close this chapter in my life and move to a new place in Portland (one without mint green living room walls). This place has been the first place that felt like home for me as an adult and is where I spent the most time living in my 20s. I feel good about the idea of moving on to a new space that’ll be my own, where I don’t have to consider other people’s opinions on decorating or worry about my nicer things getting ruined through misuse (the risk of having roommates). A place where I can open the fridge and it only has my things (having a fridge to myself is what I always miss the most about living alone). After so many years of calling this place home though, I do feel really sad at the idea of leaving it. Living somewhere else in the city just feels a little strange and I’ll probably have mixed feelings about it until I’m actually settled down into a new space.
When ever I start to feel overwhelmed about the idea of moving (which I’m not planning on doing until after the holiday season), I find myself looking at dishes and other home goods I’ll be needing when I move. It amazes me sometimes just how happy beautiful home goods can make me feel and how motivating the idea of putting together my dream home can be.
GRETCHEN IS A WRITER-BASED IN PORTLAND, ORE. SHE GOT HER START AS A JOURNALIST WORKING ON THE SUSTAINABLE FASHION AND RESTAURANT BEAT BEFORE MOVING INTO COPYWRITING AND ADVERTISING WORK. SHE CURRENTLY BLOGS AND WORKS AS A FREELANCE WRITER.