Friday Links (Jill of All Trades, Edition)

“God sells us all things at the price of labor.”
― Leonardo da Vinci

I decided to give up stress for Lent and a good thing too, since as of this week I’m helping to organise a major event in Dubai, and shipping stuff to Russia for another event while avoiding accusations of espionage, and tracking down collateral from Hong Kong, and sourcing six new design companies for different kinds of products, and reviewing art from a prominent illustrator, and wrangling advertisement campaigns, and proposing budget expansions to investors, and learning some of the financial ins and outs of Sharia law.

Hand on heart, kittens, not a word of this is exaggeration.

Here are your links, tell me what you’re up to in the comments!

2015-02-18 14.52.27

Hello, boys.

Of course they are. I’m only surprised it took so long.

Book covers in the US vs. their counterparts from the Netherlands.

It’s a bit silly how funny I found this.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to get my work fashion back on point after a year and a half of freelancing. Jeff summed it up thusly,  “Sorry, love, I think you’ve got to wear heels again.” With that in mind

Striking pictures from the permafrost.

An interesting and through-provoking piece on ISIS. Worth reading to understand at least some of the mindset and motivations, which the article argues is necessary to engaging with or overcoming it as a movement.

Haunting gallery.

Over on Broadside, Caitlin Kelly is laying down some truth about freelancing, temping, or otherwise hustling. “Forget the word freelance. You run a small business.”

Ooook-lahoma, where the AP history is no more! Apparently because it was insufficiently patriotic and tackled the less than stellar points of the nation’s history. America, I have a harder and harder time explaining you over here.

Tumblr find of the week.

It’s nice to know my medieval history knowledge will help me should I need to turn to prostitution in desperation. (Seriously, this is a thing?!)

Lessons Learned Two Weeks In

“Today it’s important to be present, be relevant and add value.” – Nick Besbeas

The work I am doing now is challenging. There are no two ways about it. I work for a demanding company staffed with a lot of incredibly intelligent people and I either need to show I can muck in with the rest of them or get out of the way. Every day I’m asked to take on an assignment I’ve never done before or put together a workflow that’s totally new to me. I mostly relish this, but it comes with some dangers

As a marketing coordinator, I’m ranked above a marketing assistant and below a marketing manager. The trouble is, we don’t have anyone in either of those positions at the moment. Recruitment is underway for a manager, but in the meantime, the chain of command where I’m to report is divided between three people. Also, there are some executive decisions that need to be made that I’m simply not in the authoritative position to make, but I still have to work towards certain actions and results. I’m learning to be more authoritative (which is saying something, because on my worst day the way to describe me is bossy) and to find ways to step up and try to take responsibility, but it’s intimidating to do so when you know that means you’ll be jumping in out of your depth.

There is real value to being chucked into the thick of things. You either sink or swim. Most of the time I feel like I’ve been able to do the latter, but I’m constantly conscious of the fact that success isn’t something you do once and it’s done. You have to be able to recreate it over and over again. And since omniscience is impossible for anyone, to say nothing of a person who has only been on the job officially for two weeks (my two months of last year don’t count as I was only supposed to be interim help during a handover), I know that I am going to make mistakes and screw up no matter how good my intentions. My ignorance and inexperience in certain things are going to make themselves manifest. And in cases where they already have, I tend to beat myself up about it because I want so badly to do a good job.

I’m learning I have some tendencies that I need to drop. My desire to be acknowledged for good or hard work? Yeah, that needs to go. That’s just the baseline expectation, mellennial. My desire to make everyone happy? A recipe for disaster or burnout. Fear of failure? Get over it, kid.

None of these are groundbreaking revelations, but they are good to be reminded of nevertheless. Work is hard. Get to it.

Friday Links (Managing Project Management Edition)

“A good half of the art of living is resilience.”
― Alain de Botton

Woof, this week. The training wheels are off, kittens. Development, project management, and construction planning is such an interesting industry because there are so many moving parts going on at any given moment. Our project managers conduct architects, artists, constructions workers, heritage societies, politicians, contractors, suppliers, and truly heroic amounts of paperwork. Though slightly less harrowing, working on marketing means that I don’t get to focus on just one project. I’m on all of them, all the time. It’s a lot of fun and the good kind of hard work, but there inevitably comes a moment each week where I feel like I’ve put together a really solid timeline or project and got all the moving pieces into a beautiful line…only to have one tiny thing that no one can control because it’s a provider or external system fall out of the row and take my meticulously laid plans down with it. I knew I’d “arrived” last week when a major timeline was pretty significantly impacted by months and my reaction was not to panic but to sigh, make a cup of tea, and just crack on with some solution options. Britishisation is almost complete.


Pictured: world domination plans for the week falling through. Dealing with it.

Pictured: world domination plans for the week falling slightly through. Dealing with it.

Here are your links, tell me what you’re up to this weekend in the comments!

Perhaps telling you that Katarina and i have legitimately speculated on turning a good portion of 15th century British history into a totally fictitious web series, set loosely in a modern day high school or some place correctly hormone charged and overly-dramatic…will explain why I found this hilarious. No?

And while we’re on Buzzfeed, apparently I’m “West London Posh.” Ha. I’m a quarter WASP, a quarter Slovak, and half who knows, thank you very much!

Very much behind all of these.

Tumblr find of the week.

Downton Abbey has little redeeming value anymore besides being a well-costumed soap opera. So here’s an interview with the costumer! I make no apologies for my continued plan on turning into the Dowager Countess in my old age.

There’s historical treasure everywhere. One of my favorite memories of the PD was being told to bin a ton of paperwork only to discover it was an unintentional archive of information about my alma mater from the perspective of its resident law enforcement office going straight back to the 50s.

Disney has it’s value, but I maintain it’s largely terrible at modeling life choices.

Interesting idea. I think I still have far too many bad American habits that likely set me back this side of the pond.

I have said it before, and I shall say it again. How do you lose something like this?!

This headline stands alone. Also, penguins.

A bit of a downer, but there’s this from the world of Mormon news. Whether you agree or disagree with the actions, this has been an interesting year for excommunications in the community and it’s worth having a conversation about why. You know, if you’re into that sort of conversation. If not, just ignore it.

Long live London.

Friday Links (My Checklist is Insane Edition)

“To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.” 
― Leonard Bernstein

This week I have:

  • Helped spearhead an intense company recommendation. I’ve spent days on this phase (months on the total) and am currently unsure if it will even go out on schedule…
  • Scheduled a full quarter of freelance tasks for a 4 person team
  • Stress-baked on two separate occasions
  • Written and re-written a budget proposal until my eyes crossed
  •  Had a proposed year long timeframe for a major project get shortened down to just a few months and had to come up with a near immediate solution
  • Coordinated some political last minute advertising opportunities
  • Began coordinating a major launch for later this year

I’m tired. Here are your links, tell me what you’re getting up to in the comments!

First lines worth noting.

Oh, Tatler

We are at that obnoxious time of year where it’s freezing cold and wet (it actually snowed briefly on my way from from an event the other night!) but the shops are all displaying shorts and silky tops and festival-wear. That being said, this dress is flirting with me shamelessly.

Words fail me.

Taming of the Shrew, apparently. Which I have opinions about, though Jeff laughed for a solid five minutes about it.


Opinion piece on the NHS vs. American health care. I admit to sharing the conclusion.

At the risk of getting too personal, I am never moving back to Utah.

Horrible cover image, relevant story on women in Silicon Valley.

There is a whole design team now just ten feet away from my desk…and yet the idea of decorating seems as unreachable as Mars to me. I don’t have the touch, which is why at nearly 30, we’re still living largely on IKEA furniture. This round up of house tours on The Everygirl isn’t helping matters by intimidating me as much as I find some people’s knack delightful.


Finally Coming Up For Air

“All happiness depends on courage and work.”
― Honoré de Balzac

Hi, ducklings, I’m alive.

In October last year, I took stock of what I’d achieved with a year in London under my belt and what I wanted to do next. 2014 was my biggest freelance year to date, with my most notable bylines and highest amount earned thus far. But there are unique challenge to working for US clients while based in the UK (not least of which, the currency exchange), and so I decided to push hard to find some actual London based work.

I thought the process of finding opportunities would take a long time. It turned out to take less than a week. In late October I was interviewed for a temporary role as a Marketing and Sales Coordinator for a development firm here in London, and offered it less than 24 hours later. The 19th of December was supposed to be my last day, but they asked me to stick around through the new year, and last week, they officially hired me on in a long term capacity. I’m beyond thrilled to join the team I have, it’s an innovative, design-led company that’s in an exciting phase of expansion with some incredible projects and properties that make my nerdy little history heart flutter.

Nothing wrong with some Victorian chimneys and brickwork.

Nothing wrong with some Victorian chimneys and brickwork.

Some weeks I spend at my desk, organizing reports and spreadsheets, others I put on a hard had and boots and get to go through construction sites and protected historic buildings that we’re renovating and preserving (SO much better than tearing beautiful sites down), and yet others involve heels, LBDs, and events organizing. My baptism (by fire) into the company was throwing an event at Somerset House, a major venue in London, for nearly 80 VIP guests and two weeks to plan. The pace has largely kept up since.

And in the midst of this, I’ve maintained my freelancing. Meaning that after putting in at least nine hours in the main office, I’d come home to more work in the shape of freelance assignments.

Kittens, it’s been a bit brutal. When the most hard working and go-getter woman you’ve ever met says she’s worried about the pace you’re keeping, you know things are looking fairly grim. I literally worked myself sick at one point in January but with the new year (and its attendant rebrands, site overhauls, press releases, and projects) largely put to bed, I’ve been able to come up for air and have a look around. I know we’re a month into it, but consider this my glimpse ahead into the new year.

I’m on track to more than double our income.

We’ve paid off nearly half of our student loans.

We think we’ll be able to pay the other half off with one more year of hard work.

I’ve found the next step to take with my writing and marketing experience.

I finally have the space to work on my own writing projects for the first time in years.

Jeff’s nearly done with his exams.

Everything, as the kids say, is coming up Milhouse.