Thursday, November 26, 2015


It's Thanksgiving, and I feel more thankful this year than I have in a very long time.
I have been really happy recently. I mean happier than I have felt in a really long time. The best part about this type of happiness, though, is that it is coming from me, rather than another person or situation. For the first time in my life, if I get rejected by one thing or another, I have back-up plans to the point where I can stay grounded in my sense of self. I know that in the past, multiple things fell apart one by one in quick succession. I've been there, done that, and now, I feel like I will never let that happen again.

However, as they say- happiness is not a destination. It's a journey. A confusing ghost from my past appeared unexpectedly a couple days ago. It's like...I don't know what to do with this information. I just laid my head down for a minute. I didn't feel sad. I didn't cry. I didn't feel happy. It was just...Wow. I need to sleep on this.

But thankfully, the minute that ghost appeared, life literally knocked on my door. Friends visiting me. Friends texting me. Going out and spending time with people. Working on my personal projects and my business. Thinking about my students, and what project I will do next at work. Doing volunteer work. Networking events. Planning out my future. House shopping online, even though I won't be able to afford one for another year. Reflecting on how one year ago, I would have NEVER imagined I could afford a house in two years. Thinking back to the point in my life where I was so lost, and so clingy to any little tiny bit of happiness that came my way.

I realized about a week ago that my life right now is actually exactly what Young Shannon would have wanted. Like those dreams you have as a kid that evolve over time. Most people ignore how excited those dreams used to make them.  I'm going to try to remember all of my dream jobs, from oldest to most recent.

1) I wanted to be a cowgirl. I'm not one, but I embrace my country side a lot.
2) I wanted to be a pop star. I didn't become one, but I worked for a music producer when I was 18-19, and I sang in choir, musicals, and had solos and stuff. I realize when I'm older that fame is not for me, even if I had been talented enough.
3) I wanted to be an author.  I published a thesis, and I am constantly writing books and coming up with new ideas. I haven't published any of my books yet, but I see it being in my future. I write constantly.
4) I wanted to be a counselor for teenage kids. My current job is actually being an academic adviser for a special program for college Freshmen, so it's constantly going to be teenagers coming in. Some of these kids came from bad situations, and I am helping them get serious about their grades in college, which is going to hopefully change their lives.
5) I wanted to be a lawyer. I realized that being a lawyer in the traditional route was not for me. I recently went to a networking event with people in the legal field, and spent a good chunk of time speaking with a judge who had worked in education for 12 years before going to Law School. I realized that a lot of the more successful people in the room waited to go to Law School. Now, I am going to hopefully do a joint MBA/JD program, or I might get a Master's in College Administration. We'll see. It depends on other factors.
6) I wanted to be an entrepreneur. So I am. It is my goal to be making enough money from my business alone that some day, I could start a family and still bring in an income while being a mom at the same time.

So I'm very thankful for all of that. I think that refusing to ignore my inner child, refusing to ignore my goals and dreams is the only way I could ever feel as happy as I do right now. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Successful Women...

People on Tumblr have this annoying habit of putting subtitles to scenes in movies where the dialgoue was never there in the first place. Take the ending scene from Coco avant Chanel, for example:
"Oh, mon cheri, Successful women do not fall in love."...Reblogged over 100,000 times by people on Tumblr. The thing that pisses me off the most is the fact that there is no dialogue at all in this scene. (I saw this movie 3 times)

It bothers me a lot, because if anything, Coco Chanel did fall in love, but she lost him.

She lost the one and only man who truly understood that she was more than just a seamstress, and a woman who deserved the financial support to start her own business. He was also one of the only men who fell in love with Gabrielle, her "old" self rather than Coco...when she was just an orphaned girl struggling to make something of herself. Boy was irreplaceable, and when he died, she threw herself into her work and became one of the most successful women who ever lived.

The thing is, as a woman, love and success are next to impossible to have going on simultaneously.

As women, we ultimately end up being the ones who sacrifice the most. If we fall in love, get married, and start a family, we carry the child. We have to feed it with our bodies. Biologically, we cannot deny the fact that a woman has to do more, no matter how helpful her husband may be.

I can only speak for myself, but I know that when I was really, truly, deeply in love, I would have given up everything to be with him. I would have moved to another country, given up my job, and sacrificed anything just to be with him....but he also supported my dream. He wanted me to succeed, and he always encouraged me to keep fighting for what I wanted.

However, that dynamic does not always exist in all relationships. One person expects the sacrifice of the other. As a society, a woman who works and leaves her child with a nanny is sometimes seen as selfish and uncaring. A man who finds child care is seen as determined and successful. Some women have the bad luck of loving a man who is not willing to support her dreams. Other times, it just doesn't make financial sense to get child care. Yes, love can get in the way, but sometimes, love IS the success. Having a family IS the dream. You do not have to be Coco Chanel to have a successful and fulfilling life.

Even as I say that, I realize that once you are on the track to being successful and getting what you want out of your career, there is little to no time to meet anyone and even begin to fathom giving up your dreams. Successful women DO fall in love. I think it's insulting to even insinuate that we don't, as if having an entrepreneurial mind means you need to be a frigid woman incapable of adoration.

Successful women know how to stand their ground and not to give up the life that will make them feel the most fulfilled, regardless of whether they are in love or not.

Even just at my job, I can see the gender wage gaps as clear as day. In order to be a successful woman in the work place, you have to HUSTLE. You have to go above and beyond to prove to everyone around you that you are made of steel, and falling in love can jeopardize that. I get it, mysterious person who added that inaccurate subtitle on Tumblr. I get what you're trying to say. But you're wrong.

Sunday, November 1, 2015


NaNoWriMo has officially started, and for the first time in years, I have an idea that I feel really passionate about....I'm keeping it a secret. I'm not going to tell anyone until it's finished, because if I were to try and sum it up in a few sentences, I feel that no one would truly "get" it, or they might think it is too lofty of a goal.

I have written a few books in the past that will never see the light of day. All of them were too melodramatic, personal, or attempts to cash in on current trends. I knew that maybe I was too young, and I needed to just keep living in the Real World for a while longer before I found out what I am trying to say. I think I finally found it.

Before I begin writing, I have been doing a lot of research. I want to know what other people have said about this topic before I contribute my own ideas. So far, I hear and read little bits and pieces of knowledge that are really helpful for me.

I have also been doing a lot of world-building. It is all coming to life in my head. This past week, something will pop in my head, and I will think, "But of course," as if the rules of this world are logical, at least to me. No matter where I am, I carry a notebook, so I scribble ideas down immediately so I don't forget.

In the past, I followed along with the NaNoWriMo website's format of copying and pasting the word count into the website, but I don't think I'm going that this year. I'm writing it all in notebooks.

Notebooks cannot get hacked. They work without electricity. I can go to my family's shore house and write on the beach. More importantly, I can sketch out illustrations of the people and the world. J.K. Rowling did this. I saw a video of her holding up boxes upon boxes of spiral bound notebooks filled with notes and doodles about different characters in the Harry Potter universe.

In one of the videos, J.K Rowling would say how she could tell you the entire life story of one of her characters as if they were a real person. I have never had that sort of depth in my stories, until now. I don't want to jinx it, though. This book could be another dud, which is why I am keeping quiet.

Another reason why I don't want to participate in the NaNoWriMo word count madness is that I would rather do this story the "right" way.
They say that killing your darlings is the only way to keep pushing forward and producing a lot of books, but I may not be that person. I may only have one good manuscript in me. I really don't know.

I wish I had a photo to go along with this post. I planned on driving to the shore today and having a secluded cottage-style writing marathon, but I ended up being productive in entirely different ways instead.

If there are any updates, I guess I'll post them on here later.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A Day In My Life

I re-posted this from Facebook (with some minor tweaks and additions) because I am severely lacking on blog entries.
A Day In My Life

In the morning, I have to wrap and send packages of things that sold on my stores the night or weekend before. I also do any errands I can squeeze in before work, which is usually a trip to the post office, and bringing my dad grocery shopping, since he currently does not have a working car.

My desk at work.
I go to work for a few hours. Sometimes, I have to start at the campus closer to home, and also go to a different campus in the afternoon. If that happens, I usually just top it off with driving a few more miles for a trip to the warehouse to buy more inventory.

If I get the full-time job I applied for, it will be a lot more time spent at the farther campus. Sometimes, I am able to squeeze in personal projects in my office, but 99% of the time, there is so much to do, it's all administrative work happening there, unless I show up early to use the office for a place to write. (NaNoWriMo is coming up in just a week, and I actually have a story I am excited to work on).

Buying inventory is always fun, and I have to do it constantly so I can keep the business going. Soon, I am going to use money from my new job's paychecks to branch out to buying in more places on The Main Line and Manhattan so I can expand.

Shopping is fun, but the tricky part is finding daylight hours where I can do the photo shoots and actually
I use natural sunlight for the photos.
get those products online. (I need to buy box lights) Thankfully, we have a new room built on to our house where I am getting it done. It just doesn't have any insulation yet, so it's just a wooden skeleton. I have to wear jackets and bring coffee when I go in there. Scanning sewing patterns is easier, because I can do it in the dark.

When I am home, I also have to clean, cook dinner, help my family, run errands, etc. just like anyone else, and none of that responsibility has lessened since I got this new job.

Things sell so quickly, I have to keep putting up new items to replace them. I put my new products online while I listen to music, podcasts, or audio books. That whole process takes Photoshopping, writing descriptions, market research, customer service, etc.

I don't relax very often. If I even stop to watch YouTube or Netflix, it is while I eat a meal, getting ready in the morning, or I am going through sewing patterns and checking to see if they are complete. I watch a lot of TV shows because, unless I am writing, I cannot stand to be in silence while I work.

I have a really big problem with relaxing, because I feel guilty about it. I think, "You're being lazy. You need to make more money." I get antsy and I need to do something with my hands.
If I am out with friends, I have no problem leaving working behind, but if I am just sitting, I must be working as well.

Honestly, I love this life. I love how busy I am, and I love that I can decide on any given day what needs to be done, and what can wait. I have little traditions on certain days of the week. If I need a day off at work, they give it to me, no questions asked. I have the freedom where if I have the money, and I want to go somewhere, I just go. If my brother comes home, or if a friend stops by, I can drop everything and spend time with them, because at the end of the day, working hard is my choice, and no one is forcing me to do it.

I want to be making enough money where my spontaneous trips are not just to Princeton, Montclair, Philly, or New York. I want to be able to say, "Hey, I feel like going to London this weekend" and just go. Obviously, I want the normal things- Paying off my debt, buying a house, etc. but the real motivation is to just have ultimate freedom, and to not have to worry about money the way my parents did. Money was always at the core of why they fought all of my life. I don't want that to be my future.
I also want my parents to be happier. I am already helping my parents right now, but I want to give them a more comfortable life, and build a comfortable life for my future family, if I ever get to have one.

On Friday night, I went to buy wine, and the guy working could tell I was not going out partying, because I was in a t-shirt and sweatpants. He knows I normally dress up for work, so he said, "Flying solo tonight?" I summed up for him what my life is like, and he said, "Keep going, baby girl. Don't stop. Keep hustling and don't worry about the things you think you're missing. You want to work hard so you can relax when you're older. You don't want to get to my age and still be working as hard as I do."
I get advice like that all the time, but it still feels really good to hear it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Work Work Work

I have a new job, and I may get another promotion soon. (Fingers crossed.)
I decided I don't want to reveal exactly where I work on the blog. I haven't been saying too much about the job at all on social media, because I need to keep confidentiality for the people I help. It is not anywhere near the level of client confidentiality of what I would be dealing with if or when I became a lawyer, though. Right now, the job is part time, but if I get the promotion, it will be full-time with a lot of extra responsibility tacked on.

A few weeks a go, (in the department I may be leaving if I get this new position) we had to work on a project that frustrated me to no end. We worked 12-hour long days, and I had to work on a team, which is something I am not used to anymore. I have worked alone for the past 2 years, because I have an business. I know exactly how to be the most productive I can be when I am working by myself, but when there are ideas being tossed around on "how do we tackle this project?" I'm over here already starting. So when someone says "no no, you should do it this way..." It just...UGH. I'm so not used to it. It made me feel very anti-social in the beginning, but after two or three weeks, I think I am back on track with interacting and working with other human beings.

During that crazy week of 12-hour days, I would come home exhausted, and not able to get anything else done with my time. My business was suffering. My own personal deadlines were being pushed back. It was a struggle to get anything done after work. I was nearly in tears, because I knew I wanted to apply for the full-time position, but I do not want to give up my business, either. On top of that, I have so many other aspirations, like writing a book and becoming fluent in French. That week, I was so stressed out and drained, all I could do when I got home was eat, watch Netflix, and go so sleep.

Thankfully, the new part-time job I have is in a totally different office, in a different town, accomplishing very different things. I actually love it. I already loved my old job, and I didn't think it could get any better, but it did. Since I'm still only part-time, I only have 4-hour shifts, but they completely fly by. I did not have very much down time at all. It was back-to-back productivity, and it is fun. It dawned on me today: If 4 hours flew by, then 8 hours should be fine.

I guess I am writing this because I want to be grateful for all of this. I want to talk about how grateful I am. Even if I do not get this full-time position, I have a part-time job that I love doing, and that is more than so many people can say. I also have a full-time business that I love. If I got the full-time job, Hopefully I would love it too. I feel like I can do this. It's basically going to be two full-time jobs, but so would being a mother. I don't have kids, so my business is basically the baby I have to come home to. Or hell, even being in a committed relationship. I'm young and single. If there was ever a time to work as hard as I possibly can and make as much money as I possibly can, it would be now.

Saturday, July 25, 2015


A few years ago, I was talking with my friend Mike, and I told him how I wanted to lose weight. I was going to the gym or dieting or whatever I was doing at the time. He told me, "Just start running."
Three words. Simple as that. He went on to explain that any time he wanted to tone up, he would do that. He also said how he used to jog in Central Park when he lived in New York.

At the time that Mike gave me that advice, I thought- there is no way that running could solve everything. However, I still always admired runners. Ever since I was a kid, I got exhausted after running even the shortest distances. I remember feeling extremely self-conscious about how hard I would breathe, and how red my face would get during the days in gym class when we had to run the mile.

Now, years after, I decided to start running. I would jog in the past, but it would only be maybe once a week, even at my best times. I was always trying different health food kicks, going to the gym, etc. etc. but my weight never stayed off.

I got a container of C4 Sports powder from the marketing guy at the company, asking me to write a review. At first, I was like- What the hell do I do with this? I can get into the gym for free at the college where I work, but since it's the summer, they are doing renovations on the entire police academy, where the gym is located. That means I can't get to the gym until September. I thought- What can I do to test this powder out NOW? Reviews need to be written quickly, after all.

It wasn't just Mike's advice, either. I began seeing signs everywhere, as if it was a sign from God. I randomly watched an episode of The Flash, which I never do- and the scientists are telling him; "When you run that fast, you're losing so many calories, you're going to pass out if you don't eat more," and watch him stuff his face every episode. I just started noticing signs all around me lately.

So, I went running. I decided to just push myself as far and long as I could go, and I felt amazing afterwards. I did it again the next day...and the next. Before I knew it, I was running every day for two weeks straight. As soon as I took a day off, I noticed a huge difference. I have been happy...I mean REALLY happy. Consistently in betters moods every single day whenever I run. (Endorphins are real). I also sleep better, I have more energy, I think more clearly, and I really am toning up.

It has been 3 weeks so far. My stomach is getting flatter and flatter by the day, and my legs are more toned. I'm already basically cellulite-free on the back of my thighs. My calves are rock-hard. Pretty soon my stomach will not only be flat, but afterwards, it will hopefully concave. And this is all without even really dieting. I think the running naturally curbs my appetite, and I watch what I eat, but I still eat candy, coffee, etc. When I can afford to, I am going to go out and get all of the organic fruits and vegetables I can get.

Even right now, as I am typing this, I just had a really bad day. Until a few minutes ago, I struggled to calm myself down. My first instinct was to punch a pillow or something.
Now, I am thinking, "Run." I realize now that it's so much more constructive. It's an outlet for so many things.
Angry? Go run.
Ate too many sweets today, so now you feel guilty? Go run.
Can't figure this issue out? Go run.
"Run" seems to be the answer to almost anything, and it works.

I get addicted to things really easily. This is why I know I need to be careful around alcohol, and why I can never try drugs. However, if I get addicted to running, I am totally OK with that.

Now, I think about Mike's story in entirely new light. I envy how easy it must have been to walk across the street from his house and enter Central Park- giving him miles upon miles of safe, shaded, paved running space where he could see interesting things all around him, and possibly choose different routes on any given day. I have yet to see all of Central Park. I see a new section every time I visit. Now, I daydream of jogging my way through it all. Right now, I run in a park too, but I'm confined to the same little paved circle, passing by the same things over, and over, and over again in the raging summer sun.

This is me right now, after 3 weeks. I guess the only real difference between Week 2 and Week 3 is that my waist looks the same by my hips look smaller, and you can kinda sorta see the lines of abs beginning to form?
In a few more weeks, I'll feel confident enough to run with just my
sports bra like this. I gave myself blonde highlights last week, and I have been allowing myself to keep
nicer clothes that I find, because I'm feeling like I finally going to "deserve" them, if that makes any sense. I'm not going to stop this time. Writing about it makes it real. I'm going to do this.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


I realized something about myself this week: Love is the one thing that motivates me and pushes me forward above all other things. It's not enough for me to want something for myself. It's not enough for me to want a lot of money, or anything else. Any "selfish" desire is not enough to push me to work as hard as I possibly can. I realized this week that I need someone I love tied to that goal in order for me to do my best.
I have always felt this way deep down, but I honestly did not put two and two together until now. For the past two years, I have been trying every possible trick in the book to get myself more motivated, and nothing has been working.

This week, my dad told me that he can no longer afford to buy food for the family. He is on Social Security Disability, and since my younger brother just graduated from High School, the amount of money he got every month  was cut in half. Every single cent he has needs to go into the property taxes on the house and utilities, and it leaves nothing left to eat. He is afraid to apply for food stamps, because they often force any adult in the house to go to Welfare jobs that pay roughly $3 per hour. People don't understand how shitty having welfare and food stamps can be until you have to go through it. It's literally not worth it. When we are all adults, it just makes more sense to hustle and find ways to feed ourselves.

My dad knew this moment was coming, and he warned me about a year ago. That's why I got so good at couponing. I have stocked up shampoo, laundry detergent, razors, soap, deodorant, etc. for the entire family. It has helped us save roughly $3,000 so far. I have been able to donate to friends of mine who are also struggling, but I have never gotten very good at stockpiling food.

I only heard the news that the day had come from my dad two days ago. It has been enough motivation for me to jolt out of bed at 8AM instead of 10:30 or 11:00. It has been enough for me to go into overdrive when it comes to cleaning, cooking, and couponing. I have also been working harder than ever on my business, because I know we need more money. It's not about me needing the money anymore. "I want to be rich" was never enough motivation for me...but when I am told my younger brothers, who I love more than anything on this planet, are going to go hungry if I don't do something, then I am running around like I've had 5 cups of coffee.

Believe it or not, I am actually pretty excited about this. I do not resent this new responsibility at all. I see it as being handed the motivation I was severely lacking for the past two years. I cannot concentrate when the rest of the family is home, which has been a huge set-back for my productivity, so the answer is waking up earlier than the rest of the family. Honestly, 8AM probably isn't early enough. I may have to start aiming for 6AM.

My hope is that from here on out, our family may lose weight and become healthier. I plan on spending most of my money on fruits, vegetables, meat, and whole grains. Sure, I'll still buy pasta and things like that, but if I am in control of the food, I am going to make sure it's healthy, especially since I know it's actually cheaper to shop at the farmer's market. I can make $20 of veggies last longer through cooking meals than $100 of packaged garbage from the grocery store.

Working harder to earn food money will also probably mean making more money for myself, too. I have had dreams of making my business into this massive thing, but I never had enough motivation to push me harder before. My dad compared me to Willy Wonka. He said, "You already built the candy factory, but you just need to up your production."

Hardship does not have to be a bad thing. It does not have to cause fights. It is just an opportunity to push yourself to work harder and be the best person you can be for the people you love. There can be no resentment for the sacrifices I am about to make when there is so much love that is being protected.