Confessions of a Night Owl…

Just in time for New Year’s, here’s number one on my resolution list!

In an effort to be one of those people who is so successful people actually ask me what the key to my success is (and so that upon answering I can give the now clichéd answer “waking up early” with a smug look on my face…), I’d like to attempt to change my sleeping habits just to see if there’s anything to this recent trend of “look at everything I do before 5am” type of articles…(like this one for example).

My reasons for wanting to start waking up earlier are actually two-fold. 1) I want to be more productive, get more done, be a go-getter, start my day with a workout and maybe some meditation/reflecting, blah, blah, blah and 2) I want to see if it improves my relationship with someone who is on the complete opposite schedule of me. My boyfriend is a teacher and wakes up at 5:30 am every morning (sometimes even earlier, and on his own without so much as an alarm clock or anything…astounding, I know!) Even if he didn’t have to get up that early for work (which he still does even on the weekends where he considers 7am “sleeping in”) he would still be someone who lives and dies by the whole, early to bed, early to rise thing whereas me…yeah not so much.

I’ve always been a night person.  The 11 o’clock news, Jay (Leno) and Jimmy (Fallon) have always been my nighttime buddies and the Friends theme song has sung me to sleep since college, thanks to their all-night reruns and my unhealthy obsession with the show.

Now that I mostly work from home, I am able to have a slightly flexible work schedule and although I still typically start my workday by 9 am, I’d love to adjust that and take advantage of the solitude of those morning hours for some major productivity. Whenever I have been able to rouse myself in the pre-dawn hours I will admit it’s been pretty…nice, there I admitted it.  However, I still think there’s something to be said for those same solitary late-night hours that have provided me with much creative inspiration and productivity bursts in the past. I think morning people and night people are actually pretty similar, and just find inspiration in the quiet and dimly lit hours when the rest of the world isn’t buzzing about yet. I’ve always preferred to pump out work late at night and then go to sleep knowing I already have a head-start on the next day, but maybe switching things up and getting a proper night’s rest before a morning grind sesh would be better for my overall health…I’ll be sure and report back to confirm or deny this.

It should be noted that NYC certainly favored my night-owl lifestyle because I was surrounded by people who didn’t mind working late, playing late and then sleeping in just a bit, knowing that they’d have to do it all over again the next day. Here in RI however, the pace is admittedly a bit slower and it would stand to reason that an early bedtime (and apparently an earlier dinner time, because the whole 9 pm dinner thing doesn’t go over too well here) would make sense. I suppose!

Although I’ve been thinking about making the transformation from night owl to morning person, it wasn’t until I read a recent interview with one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Gilbert, that I was convinced. She isn’t the first writer to spill her secrets of early morning writing binges, but reading about some of her rituals and how she keeps “farmers hours” when writing a novel, made me want to commit to at least giving it a chance. (On a total side note, how great is this sentiment when asked where you can find her writing? She answered “…on bed stands, beach chairs, and train seats all over the world, I dearly hope.” I think she perfectly captured why a writer writes, and that all they really want out of it is for their words to be read, enjoyed, shared and remembered. YES.)

So what do I hope to accomplish in the early morning hours? More personal writing time, better organizing of my daily tasks and life in general, getting mundane and tedious emails out of the way and catching up on news and blogs in a more leisurely pre-workday fashion, for starters. My getting up early “experiment” will be New Year’s Resolution numero uno and will begin on January 6th for those keeping track, so stay tuned for updates and other resolutions (or rather “life goals” since I kinda hate the word “resolution”). Anyone care to join me for a 6 am virtual coffee-date in the new year? (Okay, maybe 6:30 to ease into things…) Tweet me @alliezog and we can be sunrise buddies!

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Officially, Official!

No, I’m not a Mrs., but I am an official RI resident again – with license plates to prove it! After somehow managing to survive more than a year in Newport without a vehicle of my own, I recently purchased my first car after more than 5 years as a car-less city dweller.

Still set in my urban ways, I had no problem walking to the store, taking the train into Boston or home to NY, and even daring to ask if we can “call a cab” when heading out.  (You can’t, in case you were wondering there are maybe two cab companies in RI…). I relied on the kindness of my boyfriend and friends for rides (thanks guys) and walked anywhere I could. I only lived about a 5-minute walk to a grocery store, drug store, yoga studio, coffee shop, etc. and just up the hill from the entire downtown Newport scene, even the beach was less than a mile walk away. I didn’t think twice about walkin’ it, but after a year as “the girl without a car,” I resigned to the fact that a car of my own was inevitably in my future.

I should probably mention that in terms of my job, I am lucky enough to work from home for the most part, only having to go on assignments, to meetings or to an office once a week or so. Because of this, I found a car not completely necessary, and although I love being back in little Rhody, maybe a small part of me was still clinging to the notion of being a city girl…

The lifeline of my NYC car-free existence was my trusty Zipcar membership and when I found out Newport had recently been added as a Zipcar city, I was even less inclined to buy myself wheels. Gas, insurance, EZ pass and even a beach pass included? Yes, please! During the summer months there were cars at a nearby hotel only a few blocks from my apartment but when summer ended and I got the unpleasant surprise that my cute little summer ride was being moved to Salve Regina (the university in Newport that it about a mile or two up the road from me), I knew the time had come.

After a few not-so-fun shopping trips to find said car, which sidenote*, you should never do with your longterm live-in boyfriend whom you are not married to, I took the plunge and am now considered a normal Rhode Islander, meaning that I drive to get my morning coffee, even though there are at least 5 places totally walkable…

I guess there’s no turning back now, so cue up that Rhody fight song!

*Because invasive and pushy sales people will find a way to ask you if you are married/why you aren’t married/whether you plan on getting married and claim it’s to find you some sort of married person discount.  But, in defense of this awkwardness, I did in fact receive a $500 discount due to the fact that my not-husband/live-in boyfriend lease’s a competitive vehicle. Yay for living in sin!

The easy way to start again…

The new year is always a great excuse to start up the regular blogging again.  After being MIA through the holidays, the new year brings an easy no-think idea for a first post to get back on the blogging horse as I like to say.  The new year always seems like such a fresh start but I’ve realized my resolutions often stay the same year after year, meaning I either haven’t accomplished them the previous year or am still working on them slowly but surely.  My “travel internationally” resolution still remains front and center as well as the yearly “write more.”  One clichéd resolution that I’ve actually been sticking to from last year is the committment to working out more.  I began running regularly this past summer and once the cold weather hit in November I joined a gym and actually go (gasp!).  It’s funny, when I lived in NYC and had a comped membership to a fancy gym 21 blocks from my apartment with every amenity I could imagine, I rarely went but now that I belong to a local YMCA going seems a lot easier.  Go figure…

I tried to find my last few years of New Years Resolution posts but as it turns out I’ve been more inspired to share my goals every year around my birthday than New Years.  One thing I wanted out of post-30 life was to find a new hobby.  While I’m not sure it’s the most glamorous one, I’ve become quite the chef recently and enjoy cooking up new recipes (mostly tweaked from Pinterest or food blogs and given a little zog twist!).  I’m thinking of beginning a section on here to share them so stay tuned.

In 2013, assuming I actually stay in one state for a full year, I’d like to get immersed in the New England/RI lifestyle and become as much as a localvore as I can.  (Sorry that I just used such a hipster word…)  I want to re-learn snowboarding because really, how can you live in New England and not have a snow-sport hobby?  Judging by my end of summer yearnings to learn to sail last August, I suspect that might be a possible summer ambition?

As small as RI is, I realized even though I’ve lived here off and on for the better part of 8 years now, I only really know small pockets of the state well (Newport, Narragansett, Kingston/Wakefield) and there are prized areas that remain unexplored.  Providence has recently won all kinds of awards for its restaurants and culinary delights yet shamefully my knowledge of the area doesn’t extend far beyond the Providence Place mall, Thayer Street and one recent trip to Federal Hill.  A few friends lived there after college and I remember visiting there cute apartments and getting coffee at a place called Zog’s Cafe or something similarly named after me (speaking of which, is that place still there??) but beyond that I think we sadly only frequented lame college bars, clubs, The Cheesecake Factory and not much else.

A new year, a new state, a focus on living local, living each day to the fullest, living out my dreams and living well.  Here’s hoping 2013 is my year and your’s too!

5 Reasons Why I’m Blogging Again

Ok I get it.  I’ve been gone for months with no explanation.  I’ve completely ignored my personal blog and personal brand and I’ve got no good reason for it.  I’ve been tweeting and facebooking and instagramming and pinning (my latest obsession – view my boards here) and doing some blogging for work but I’ve been neglecting my often therapeutic, sometimes vent-y personal blog…until now! I’m not really sure why I stopped writing – the answer could be 1) I was busy (lame excuse) 2) I felt uninspired (depressing but true excuse) and 3) I am in a transitional period of my life (my personal life at least) and was waiting for a more permanent situational life change before resuming blogging and finding my voice and my niche.  What I’ve decided though, is my right now is worthy of some coverage so you can expect to find some action over here while I re-discover my voice. In true blogger fashion, here’s my top 5 reasons for getting back on the blogging bandwagon!

1) Post-30 life IS blogworthy! In my twenties, I thought my life was a lot more exciting, funny and blogworthy, but post-30 Allie Life is actually quite interesting and hilarious – maybe just in a slightly less obvious “crazy night out” kinda way…

2) THE LDR community needs a voice! I’ve been in a long-distance relationship for nearly two years which I thought left my in a sort of blogger purgatory, meaning I couldn’t really blog about the single life OR the couple life.  I realize now that I have LOTS to offer fellow LDR’ers and could totally start a whole new genre of relationship blogs!

3) To explore other interests! (also known as “get a life!”) The last few years I’ve pretty much been functioning in the typical NYC mode of “live to work” rather than work to live, which I’m not complaining about because I love my job, industry and coworkers but I do have have other interests besides social media that I want to write about and explore. Social media, marketing and branding play a big part in my life and will obviously be present on this blog BUT I’m excited to have a space to chat about random stuff which may include my travel aspirations, my relationships, this crazy city and anything else that moves me.

4) Personal Branding.  Ok this may sound a little “marketer-speak” to my non-industry friends but hear me out.  I bought the alliezog.com domain more than 5 years ago  and have been going by the nickname Zog (and Zogger, Zoggy, Zogette, Lil Zog, etc.) for as long as I can remember. For all my loyal Zog-supporters and for myself, I want to make sure I am harvesting my personal brand and keeping the Zog traditional alive!

5) For the writer In me. I majored in Journalism in college and thought I’d be a newspaper reporter or magazine columnist as a career.  I wrote my first “book” at age 7 which was infamously deleted from our old Commodore 64 computer never to be recovered.  One of my life goals has always been (and still is!) to write and publish a novel.  I can’t claim to be a writer unless I’m actually writing (more than just emails, to-do lists and occasional non-sensical ramblings in little notebooks).  Step one, write often, Step two, repeat!

I’m open to suggestions for future blog topics as well as words of encouragement to keep me going!  What do YOU want to hear about?

PS – what do you think of my redesign?

Back from Vacay…

I’m back! Back from a week of relaxation in the mountains of Arizona, where my biggest concern was how I wanted my eggs prepared each morning and whether I would prefer to ride bikes, go sightseeing, do something “sporty” or just lounge on the patio reading my new Kindle all day. It was a lot a different from life in the big city so for that reason, it was truly a vacation.

That being said, I realized the beauty of vacations – they are an escape from your normal everyday life and are meant to be temporary. When I lived in Newport, RI people used to tell me my life was like a permanent vacation (which was kinda true) but that got me thinking…what’s so wrong with that??

I think you can determine where your truly meant to live by where you’d vacation if money were no object. My vacation destination preference always, always, always would be a beach. It could be argued that if I lived by a beach I might choose to explore big metropolis’ or jungles or deserts on my vacations – not true. When I lived ON a beach, I still vacationed to other beaches. To me, beaches are like snowflakes in that no two are exactly alike. I dream about experiencing new beaches and beach towns and comparing them all one-day in some giant interactive info-graphic… (the nerd in me speaks)

Sure I want to see other cities (London, Paris, Sydney and Rio De Janiero top my international list), sure I love escaping to some fresh country or mountain air and there are definitely a few non-beach places on my list of must-go’s (Alaska and Central America’s rain forest region to name a few) but my ultimate win vacation destination is beach.

I understand why living at the beach may not be the most practical. I get why people flock to big cities. I obviously appreciate how “lucky” I am to live and work here. I just think that people who do live here aren’t always outwardly honest about how it really is (unless their rich, then yeah, their life probably rocks). If you’re like me and don’t have a trust fund, a rent-controlled apartment or a driver, then you probably do that thing NY’ers do where you convince yourself that your life is really awesome and it’s totally normal to spend $2000 plus a month to live in a glorified closet because yeah, you can tell all your friends that you live in “the city” (because to NY’ers there is only one!). <– *Editor’s note – I sometimes do this too…

I know how after a glorious NYC filled weekend of brunching and central parking and frolicking or even an excitement-filled weeknight adventure (complete with bar-hopping and bomb scares on a Tuesday night) you start to feel that “I love it here and could never live anywhere else” feeling. Despite all my whining on this blog, I’ve felt it often – I promise! My one difference is when I leave the city I am not filled with that “omg I miss it and need to go back” feeling that I hear others are (or claim to be). I am more often than not thinking how I could be happy in X-place and how if I lived in X-place I’d probably be able to have all the things I dream about but can’t afford in NY (little things like…say…a closet, or outdoor space, or somewhere to store my beach chair…)

So what do you think folks, is life meant to be a beach or should I stick it out in NYC just a little bit longer? Comments please!