“You can’t knock the hustle.”
— Jay-Z, “Can’t Knock the Hustle” Reasonable Doubt (1996)
It’s been a long time, I know. Here on the other side of the screen, the hustle is real, filling my schedule with so much that the blog became a sad afterthought for a while. Seeing your numbers drop is frustrating when you know you could keep it all going if only you had more time, but we need to keep realistic. You can’t force the words out. You can’t expect to mine gold from within when your soul’s worn out. Even when the gravy train’s speeding along and everything’s going amazing, you can’t buy into your own hype — because it’ll bring your house of cards tumbling down, leaving you emptier than you started, needing to rediscover to get back on that horse.
April’s underway and everyone’s dusting the cobwebs off, getting ready to take advantage of the little good weather we get each year. Bloggers in particular get chomping at the bit as brands look to increase their real-world visibility since influencers aren’t trapped in their homes anymore. 2015 got me started early — January and February came laden with more experiences and opportunities than I’d ever expected, but March really drove the point home that I’m going to need to handle the blog with a level of professionalism I’m not used to, learning how to continue evolving while keeping my message firmly in mind — a balance I think most too readily let slip through their fingers.
But let me do better than just talk about it and show you what went down in the month that kept me from the blog, feeling like a sign of things to come.
March: The Month That Was — Gluttony, Gadgets and a Good Helping of Glamour!
When last we met, I was at the tail end of a giveaway spree, my creativity reservoir emptied for a set of posts that brought the blog some much-needed attention. Things were looking good as the emails rolled in, getting me eager for further opportunities ahead as I kept finessing my rough notes into some of the best content I’ve ever written. But with all that pressure I was putting on myself, I quickly hit a wall, paralyzed whenever I tried writing anything of substance. The #BloggerLife was still as demanding a mistress as ever, but with a willing body and ailing mind, I found it difficult to keep up. However, even as a pale shadow of myself, I still got into plenty of trouble in March. In 31 days, I managed to:
- Help Nissan figure out what to launch at a car
- Get excellent advice on the blog’s future over my favourite pizza and delicious charcuterie
- Celebrate birthdays, including my buddy Marcel’s at the Pauper’s Pub
- Start trying out some new analytics software for the blog
- Get down with Zomato
- Dine with a UFC fighter; and
- Catch up with old friends at coffee shops, so engrossed in conversation, we forgot to order coffee!
Things don’t just stop — life continues challenging you to find ways to fit all the things in your life; but even when your schedule’s filled to the brim, sometimes you challenge yourself with experiences that subtly test your comfort zone, giving you just enough to sprinkle your stories with things a little different than what everyone’s accustomed to.
March was no exception.
The Children’s Place 2015 Spring/Summer Preview
It’s apparent you’re a parent blogger when brands like The Children’s Place reach out to give you an exclusive preview of the clothe they’re offering for stylish boys and girls in their spring/summer line-up.
I’d never been to an event like this, so I hadn’t the faintest of what to expect — but seated at a hotel conference room table, the only guy in the room, rubbing elbows with parenting magazine editors and CEOs of large-scale parenting-focused sites, I knew I’d stepped into entirely new territory.
With my son young as he is without many opinions on what he’s rocking when I take him out every morning, I haven’t had to do much in the way of shopping for his wardrobe. We’ve had a baby shower, we have hand-me-downs from church and friends who’re parents that’ve been at this a little longer than we have. Save one oneside from Threadless in our late 2014 trip to Chicago, I’ve invested my dollars in food, toys and experiences for my son — but this won’t last forever.
Looking at The Children’s Place’s clothes kinda got me amped for the future, knowing there’re brands out there committed to keeping kids looking good — I come from a history of sweatsuits and BiWay couture… my parents did what they could to keep clothes on my back. And I know I’m going to do the same, but I also know that I’m in a position to do it a little better than they could.
So if you’re a parent like me who wants the best for their kids — even with their clothes — you should check The Children’s Place out!
And speaking of fashion….
The 2015 World MasterCard Fashion Week — or — How to Fake Your Inner Fashion Blogger
Despite being about as fashionable as a man with less than a dozen acceptable dress shirt in his wardrobe can, I spent some time at the 2015 World MasterCard Fashion Week courtesy of Charming Media x The Collections, rubbing elbows with countless people who know far more about the industry than me.
Hitting four shows over two evenings from the likes of Helder Diego, Triarchy, Malorie Urbanovich and Klaxon Howl (admittedly none of who I’d heard of prior to attending their shows), there’s a lot I learned from WMCFW 2015:
- That a lot of work goes in for what’s often a 15-minute runway show.
- That some have a burning passion for the latest trends and looks that I clearly don’t share.
- That when seating’s unavailable, I’m more than comfortable building a nook for myself on the floor to relax between shows.
- That girls will still talk to an overtired, married father, likely because of the weighty photographic equipment he lugs around.
- That were I born 10 years later and still had the same amount of life experience, I’d have hit every runway show, party and afterparty, simply because it was the place to be.
- That my days of being truly fashionable are likely behind me, but I can live with that, aiming to be the best-dressed dude at every play date ahead of me.
So for me, Fashion Week was more an interesting social experiment than anything else, seeing how my contemporaries live on the other side of the runway. You’re more likely to catch me in restaurants than in the Fashion District but I enjoyed the novel experience!
The 2015 100 — The Ever-Growing To-Do List That Just Won’t Leave You Alone
Ah, The 2015 100 — the annual list I write to keep myself on track, but inevitably serves as a reminder of all the things I don’t get around to, failing to build in the needed flexibility for all the things I simply can’t anticipate, like working with TELUS on their national launch for the Samsung Galaxy S6, or getting flown to NYC for a media roundtable discussion with Anthony Anderson… the #BloggerLife: always interested, but with no shortage of things to do to keep a blogger occupied.
2015’s made subtle changes in my life so far — ordering new and different beers whenever I’m out on the town, now using Untappd to keep track of it all (#1); applying to the Toronto Business Development Centre’s Business Inc. program to really put the blog in overdrive (#7); the aforementioned trip to NYC completely reversed my decision to return Roam Mobility’s equipment (#11); my sock investment for the year started with a bold pair from Socks by William via my friends at Charming Media (#20); and my old cables lay sitting in a box on my front porch (#29). Working with TELUS is an awesome experience and will put a Samsung Galaxy S6 in my pocket (#45); I’m going to order my Mint Meltaways right after this goes up (#47); and I’m faithfully poring through the sheets in my desk, bolstering my belief that every idea we have is connected — if only we can piece the map together to show us the way.
TL;DR — while I’m not pacing at one item every 3.65 days, I’m happy The 2015 100’s helping me develop! We’ll see where I’ve made it by the end of April.
April 2015 — And the Beat Goes On….
A blogger’s work is never done.
While I’ve started feeling that I’m getting things back under control, I know I need to get ahead to keep my momentum. Too often I play catch-up, and though the intent is there to get back on that horse, the days lost soon become weeks, and months if we’re not careful.
No — I’ve still got my 8 million stories to tell, and perhaps I need to get a little more intentional on getting it all down to unburden my soul and allow myself permission to continue experimenting as I search for the ways to best communicate my tales.
But for now I’ll tackle April a day at a time, using whatever free time I can find to build a proper content calendar and really show everyone what this blog can do.
We all have one life to live — it’s up to us to maximize it and fight to exceed even our greatest expectations.
Because a life of regrets is no life at all.
See you at the next post!