A Vendor’s Life

I write this to you while slurping down a huge caffeinated  drink and wearing comfortable shoes on my poor battered feet, and noise canceling headphones on my ears. Yes, it is the day after ViVA Vienna. What’s that you say? You don’t know what ViVA Vienna is? Have you, or have you not been following my blog over the past few years (probably not, according to my wilted stats!)?  Anyway, just for you, ViVA Vienna is a huge Memorial Day Carnival that takes place in my hood, Vienna VA. It is big, brassy, noisy, and fun filled, and I never really get to experience it the way my family does because I’m a craft vendor at the festival.
Despite missing out on all the rides, performances, and carnival fun, it is still one of my favorite weekends of the year, because I pretty much know EVERYONE in Vienna, and I get to catch up with friends and socialize, and show them what I do for a (sort of) living. I get a lot of love at ViVA Vienna.  I’ve blogged a lot about this event, so I won’t go on and on about the love that is showered on me at this event, and how really sweet Vienna is. If you want, you can read more of that stuff here  and here, oh and here (but if you’re at work, it’s probably best not to waste too much time). The Town of Vienna really should think about hiring me as a publicist.

So, highlights and lowlights from this year’s bash:

-I sold a LOT of shirts. This still amazes me, people like my stuff enough to buy it! Sometimes I’m not sure whether I’m doing the right things in life, but a successful fair always gives me a boost of confidence. I’m a proper designer and all that.

-My children ate more free candy, and brought home more free junk and flyers than I would have liked (it’s tough being that cute, people just foist stuff on you apparently).

-Whenever I got hungry, a friend would suddenly appear with a cookie (yay!), then my six year old would materialize out of nowhere and demand half of it (boo!).

-I met a buyer from a local boutique, who may be interested in stocking my shirts!! I also met a teenager who wants to be my printing assistant. I also met a strange old man who insisted that my American Apparel shirts were all made in India (what?).

-Despite being on my feet non-stop for nine hours a day, and suffering from monumental aches, pains and swelling, my Fitbit steps were non-existent. My husband gloated that he had 25,000 steps after spending a a day of riding the Dizzy Dragons and eating pizza, pffft. They should give me an extra 30,00 steps per day when I’m at a booth. Sore loser, me? Never!!!

-There were horribly quiet periods when I took to counting how many times the man dressed in a parrot suit walked past my tent (nine, if you are interested).

-I got my cute baby fix for the year. The Noctiluna tent gets the best baby guests ever, I will never stop making onesies as long as the babies keep visiting. Sigh.

-My daughter went around picking up tickets left on the streets, and got herself into two rides for free. She told her friend about her scheme, and she found five tickets and five dollars! They are planning a “friendly” competition for next year.

-Neighborhood friends just turned up and put up, and took down my booth for me. They bought me food and water, and spread the word about my booth, and made sure my kids were always looked after. So many friends stopped by for a chat, and my kids’ school teachers turned up to say hi. My heart feels ten times bigger now.

Today, I’m going to take things slowly, but I still have one more Spring fair to go. The Old Town Arts and Crafts Festival takes place in Alexandria on June 11. See you there?

Have a beautiful Monday.





Work, Family, and Self – is there enough nurture for them all?


Everything happens for a reason. There is a reason for this post being written the day after Mothers Day. Not the day before Mother’s Day, not on actual Mothers Day, but the day after.

The day after is a thing for me. When something big and blog-worthy happens, some bloggers rush to their laptops and write a post straight after the event, most will get their act together in advance, actually pre-write the post way before the event, and release it right on time. Not me, I always write the day after, sometimes a couple of days after, sometimes even later than that (cough, sometimes never).

Is this due to a lack of discipline?
Well, its complicated. There are many factors involved in this, but I don’t want to bore you any more than usual, so I’ll simplify things down to one plain fact: I lead a very fractured work life.

What does that mean?
A fractured work life is a life that doesn’t have much flow to it, it stops and starts, and loses it’s train of thought continually. My work week is like a large ice rink, work and non-work commitments are constantly slipping and sliding around, and intersecting each other at the most inconvenient times (much like the thoughts in my head right now). Writing sessions are interrupted by doctor’s appointments, work days are cut short by school concerts, printing jobs are put on hold when a call is made from the school nurse.

Working from home is a big part of the problem. It means that for better or worse, I tend to shoulder a larger proportion of family related duties than my spouse, from homework help and teacher conferences, to sick days and swim classes. In my already truncated work days, I average around two disturbances a day that take me out of my work flow, getting back into it takes a while.

There are days when I get frustrated and wish that I had started my business before I had become a parent. Would things have taken off faster? I’m sure I would have had more time  and energy to put into my ventures.

I’m sure you are finding this all incredibly uplifting. Stay with me!

So, what do I do on days like this, when it feels as if I am running, but not getting anywhere? How do I pull myself out of the rut? Well it can sometimes take a while, but here are some things that I find can help:

  • I get the **** out of my house. Anywhere else with free WiFi, and other humans is a better place to work, trust me.
  • I ignore all the self help advice that is offered by sage twenty somethings living on their parent’s loans, on Bloglovin. Instead, I  write down all my angst to get it out of my system, then forget about analyzing it until I’m in a better mood.
  • I stay away from my TV, read a book instead in the evening (books are my remedy for everything, they offer me escapism that TV just can’t), go to bed early, and then wake up an hour earlier the next day so that I can get an hour to myself to organize my thoughts and feel better.
  • I stay away from my phone, and go and talk to a friend in the flesh. Someone who can put up with my whining without wanting to hit me, and make me see the silver lining in my situation.
  • I tell my nine year old how I’m feeling, and get cuddles from her and the five year old. The best therapy ever.
  • If I have time, I do an hour of yoga. I know it’s counterintuitive to take more valuable time out of my work day, but on tough days this really helps me to think clearly.
  • Finally, I just ride it out, and try to understand that it will pass, just like all the other moments of frustration and self doubt did. Being a bit kinder and more forgiving to myself is something I’m still learning. Things are never going to be perfect, what is perfect anyway?

By the way, there is no way EVERRRR that I would write a blog post on Mothers Day. It’s sacrilegious as far as I’m concerned, I’m too busy completely being a mommy (and therein lies the crux of my problem)! I guess it would be unrealistic to hope for any kind of balance between my home and work life, but I’ll still work on it, and being a mommy is still worth it all.

Happy Day-After-Mothers Day!