Run, run away

Last Saturday, my kids participated in the Youth Running Series third run (of ten) of the season, The Aerobics First Gorsebrook Hill Run. Rosie and I did the u6 500m run together. Anna and her girl gang took on 1km, up and down hills. Rosie was very serious and ran with perfect form. Anna crossed the finish line with a huge smile on her face. I’m so proud of these little runners.

On Wednesday it was Global Running Day. I attended a celebration of Kids Run Club at Anna’s school. Olympian Adrienne Power was there. I got dragged into running  enthusiastically ran laps of the field with the school.

Tomorrow, the girls are participating in the Doctor’s NS Youth Run as part of the Bluenose Marathon. And they are SO excited.

Matt’s lucky. He can set out on a 10k run at anytime, no matter how long it’s been. Sure, some runs may be sweatier than others, but as a former athlete he’s still got the stamina to push the limits and just take off for a run. Me, I had to take a breather after one lap of the school field!

Awhile back I got super into fitness for a very short time and was feeling really good. Jillian Michaels’ 30 day Shred, Slim 60 and Bangin’ Bikini Bod ;) for the win. Well, almost. I completed all these programs, more than once, working out daily from my living room. Then totally fell off the wagon.

I’ve wanted to do Jillian Michaels’ ‘learn-to-run 5k in eight weeks’ program next. I’ve been thinking about it for a very long time. Thinking about it is not good enough. After working on a recent article for The Herald, I realize I’m not even at the baseline for physical activity and it’s not cool. Vigorous activity, thirty minutes a day, five days a week, plus some strength training? Minimum? Gulp.

Matt and I agree, we want to be an active and fit family. We love spending a ton of time outdoors. A weekend hike with the dog is great, but it’s not enough. Time to start modelling some active behaviour because right now, the roles are reversed.

Sadly, my days of chasing toddlers around are behind me. Now that was some good cardio. But I’m back to a regular desk job. I barely even get to leave my house for work! The living room workouts aren’t going to cut it anymore. I live here, I work here, I don’t want to work out here too.

So now that summer weather is FINALLY here, where better than the great outdoors? We live near an amazing trail. I can steal some time to myself, outside. My feet are itchy. It’s time to get moving. Maybe I will give it a try. Maybe I’ll hate it. In Jr. High, My best friend and I tried to join the cross country club. We ran one lap of the field, straight out the gates and never looked back! Hopefully this goes better than that.

Are we going to become a running family? Stay tuned...

I wrote a fitness primer for The Chronicle Herald: Go your own pace, but go . Check it out!


Kerry Copeland.jpg

My top 5 tips to working from home

When your meeting gets cancelled & you’re all dressed up with nowhere to go! #wherearemyslippers

When your meeting gets cancelled & you’re all dressed up with nowhere to go! #wherearemyslippers

I have experience working from home. I spent a year working from my condo as Associate Editor of Lifestyle Nova Scotia magazine. Yes, there were lots of meetings and interviews but also long stretches of writing and editing, many times straight through the wee hours of the morning. I can remember my husband coming home from a long day at the office ready to netflix & chill (before netflix & chill was a thing) and me feeling ready to go out and do something - anything - beyond those four walls.

I worked full-time in a very casual office for 5 years, and was often the only one there since my only co-worker was part-time, so I basically treated it like working from home. Especially since for most of those years, the office was just a 10-minute down the street.

And I spent 5 years at home full-time with my kids, though I was the stay-at-home mom who never stayed home. That was the key to survival! I also did some freelance at the same time, and home was my full-time head quarters.

There are lots of pros and cons, so I thought it would be fun to share 5 quicks tips I use to make the most of my freelance life working from home.

1. Get ready

dressmeme.jpg

I work from home but I still get up, shower, get dressed, style my hair and put on makeup. This energizes me, helps me feel professional and makes me a lot more productive. Like they say, dress for the job you want and I don’t want to be a yoga instructor or feel like a couch potato. Of course some days I take full advantage if it makes me feel more comfortable. Working from home allows me to take casual Friday to a whole new level!

2. Ten-second tidy

I’ve been working from the kitchen table, though sometimes I get really crazy and move to the bar at the counter. (Yes, I have a lovely home office space in the attic but it needs some TLC that I haven’t made time for, though now that I have more time to work and a steadier workload I am going to set myself up there so I don’t have put my “office” away every night, and I’m not living out of my kitchen 10 hours a day). But each morning once everyone is gone I do a ten-second tidy (ok it’s more like 5 minutes) to straighten up the space surrounding me. Breakfast dishes cleaned up, random junk shoved into the junk drawer and strewn toys back in their baskets. Sorry clutter, it’s not you, it’s me and I can’t work with you around.

The view in front of me. Nothing out of place.

The view in front of me. Nothing out of place.

The view behind me. Zen. but i think the table needs some tulips!

The view behind me. Zen. but i think the table needs some tulips!

3. Stay focused.

Yes, there are great perks to working from home like being able to switch over the laundry or get dinner going early, but I try not to get caught up in getting caught up on home life. That’s not what I’m home for. It’s hard when you can physically see the floor needs sweeping or the sun streaming in the windows showcases all.of.the.dust but it has to wait. Unless my procrastination game is feeling strong…  and I don’t turn the tv. on. Ever. That would be game over!


4. Get out

The best advice I received when I embarked on my first maternity leave was to “get out of the house at least once every single day, even if it’s just to check the mail.” It was my prenatal yoga instructor who said it and I took it very seriously.  Anyone with a baby, especially a new baby, knows just how long it takes to leave the house (like, I’m talking sometimes 2 hours in the beginning!) and whether it was to attend a class, go for a walk, grab a coffee or just check the mail, I got out every day. I pass this one piece of unsolicited advice on all the time because it was so good for the mind. The same applies to my work-at-home life. I do have to leave the house everyday on school runs, but I’ve also joined a networking group that meets regularly, schedule lunch dates and meetings out of the house and when I need a break or change of scene I’ll go check the mail, take a short walk or hit up a local coffee shop for a work session.

5. Take advantage

Hey, I’m not silly. I didn’t set life up this way to be strict and rigid and all work and no play. The major perk to freelance life, in my opinion, is the flexibility. I determine my workload, my own schedule, my office hours and vacation time. This is not always easy. I need to find all my own work and am hustling all.the.time and there’s no chit chatting around the water cooler. But I’m chaperoning my daughter’s field trip tomorrow, I can book a few days mid-week to getaway to PEI this summer without requesting vacation time, and I can work all night if I want to take the day off instead. Plus, it’s wine o’clock when I say it’s wine o’clock!

Bonus: office dog!

IMG_1350.jpg

Hot off the (online) press

I have two new assignments published this week. First up, my latest for East Coast Living magazine, a step-by-step DIY fresh winter wreath. I paid a visit to Props Floral Design in the Hydrostone and they walked me through the process of making a wreath. I’m planning to make my own this holiday season and will design it to last all winter. I painted the front door navy blue this summer so I am thinking a silver bow, or going rustic with a burlap bow. I think it would look really nice with our warm white Christmas lights. Learn how to make your own here: DIY Fresh Winter Wreath.

Though the Heavens Fall by Anne Emery is my latest book for review over at Atlantic Books Today. I have reviewed books from this series before, and I do enjoy them. I love reading local and having a connection to the setting. (Fictional) Halifax lawyer Monty Collins and his sidekick Father Brennan Burke sure get themselves involved in a lot adventure. What’s not to love about a good mystery? I learned a lot of history about the conflicts in Ireland through this story along with the help of google to keep up, since I really didn’t know much at all. It’s a deep, complicated and still ongoing issue. I thought Emery handled it well with this book. Given the connection to Ireland through Matt’s side of the family, it was neat to learn more about it, and the fictional story is intriguing too.

emery2.jpg

Update

Welcome to my new website! I’m building something more current, more clean and more my own. I’m switching from wordpress to my own site using SquareSpace. Construction is slow as I am learning to build this website as I go but I hope with a little perseverance everything will be in its place in no time, and I’ll soon be smoothly up and running with a functional website and lots of current content. 

I am still plugging away at bringing over all my past blog posts from the old blog site (https://heatherfegan.wordpress.com/). I had no idea how many posts I wrote in two years! Often two a week for many months until I slowed down in the spring of 2015 and then stopped altogether in the summer of 2015. Probably around the time I went into early labour 11 weeks before Rosie was due (held on 9 more weeks before she made her debut!). And from there life raced on. Be sure to scroll down for all the posts from the early days. I still can't believe I started posting content four years ago! 

I’ll continue to bring the posts over until everything is here. I don’t want any of my work to go to waste. Lots of the blog posts are timeless and relevant and I can share those fun “from the archives” posts on social media! I'm sad past comments and discussions will be lost but looking forward to the future and where this website takes me. Of course, my portfolio section of the site is up-to-date with all my freelance work, if you want to check out my articles and book reviews (with more coming very soon!). At the same time, I’ll be adding new, regular posts and updates as I rev this website back to life.

Thanks for dropping by and come back soon! 

Screen Shot 2018-10-11 at 9.34.55 AM.png

A tale of time, part 2

I came across this meme the other day and it really spoke to me. Because it is SO true.

meme.png

What did I do with all of my time pre-kids? No, seriously. I should have been accomplishing a lot of really grand and really great things. I was working a lot more I suppose. Volunteering. Fundraising. Television-watching. Drinking. Well, I still do the television and drinking things (less TV, more drinking).  

But this saying also goes to pre-two-kids me. Based on my last, oh-so-long-ago post, I thought I was so busy with one kid and an older dog and baking cupcakes and party planning and writing. ‘Oh, I have NO time’ was my complaint. But when I look at life now, and the speed it’s been hurtling the last two years, and compare it to back then, I had SO much time.

Or so I think now. Perspective is a funny thing. I thought I had no time at all and yet I’ve added so much more to my plate. While what I want to say is “ok, now I really have no time…”  Guess what. No more “no time” excuses. It’s become clear to me that I will make time for what I want to make time for. Things will shift, space will expand and shrink to naturally make room for what we need or want (or don’t need or want) to accomplish. In a couple years I bet I will take stock of what I’m doing, look back and think, “Why did I think I was so busy? I had TONS of time back then!” And so it goes.

My commitment now is to make productive use of what time I do have. And to make an effort to make time for all I want to achieve, and I have few things up my sleeves. The fact it’s been two years since my last post is terrifying, but to be fair, I have been very busy! I’ll give myself credit for that.  But I do feel like I’m coming out of the other side of a very busy season of my life. A hands-on, don’t-have-time-to-sit-down-and-can’t-get-away kind of busy. Now it’s time to refocus and accomplish some goals. Hope you’ll join me for the ride!

Life update! Since my last post we... 

  • -had another baby!
  • -staged our home & put it on the market
  • -moved out for three months
  • -sold our house and bought a new one
  • -moved to the new house 
  • -embarked on a complete kitchen reno and installed a second bathroom
  • -traveled to California, Italy, Toronto (twice!), Florida, NYC (twice!), North Conway, Ottawa, Quebec City
  • -endured 3 (!) week-long hospital admissions (not counting the c-section for baby #2)
  • -the epic summer of 2017
  • -got a new puppy