Monday, 8 January 2018

WHY I BLOG

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After spending hours on yet another blog post that got lost in the abyss of the internet, I asked myself: why do I bother with blogging? My posts don't get many views, and since I stopped going on commenting sprees, I don't get any comments. If no one's reading, shouldn't I just shut up and log off? Well, as I'm sure you can guess since you're seeing this on said blog, I don't think ditching Technicolour Dreamer is the answer...

Today, I thought I'd share why I spend so much time sprucing up my own little corner of the internet. And if you're having blogging doubts, I hope this will reassure you to keep on keeping on!

Page Divider Claire Petersen outside a Brooklyn Townhouse

Photos by Kaye of Fordtography

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It's well known amongst the blogging community that running a blog is hard work, practically a second full-time job if you're on the daily blogging buzz. If you're bored of your blog design, there's no web department to turn to, you've got to figure out the HTML and CSS for yourself. And every small blogger knows the struggle of getting people to actually notice your blog - that's why it's essential to be social media savvy. You're your own PR person, graphic designer, marketer, not to mention the writer and photographer. Although it sounds like a struggle, in my experience this is the appeal of blogging.

The fact that my blog gives me a chance to try my hand at a bit of everything means I gain skills in writing content, photography, editing, web design, marketing, and PR. I've relied on these skills in past jobs, and I've no doubt that this experience will help me secure my next role. Plus, the fact that it's all online for the world to see, means that I can use it as a sort of portfolio. Whenever I apply for a job I am sure to mention this website, so prospective employers can see my skills being put to use.

Page Divider Mid shot of Claire PetersenClaire Petersen sitting outside a Brooklyn Townhouse

Top: River Island | Skirt: Topshop | Shoes: H&M

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That's why I don't fret if no one actually reads my blog, though I know there are a few followers out there! That's why I won't fret even if no one ever reads my blog again! Though, I do hope that's not the case! I will continue to promote my blog, and of course I hope it grows, but it's important for me to realise the real reason I put so much effort into this ridiculously time-consuming hobby. By sharing my life online, I'm learning so much.

If you're a small blogger, I'm sure you also have reasons that go beyond readership. Let me know what those reasons are in the comments. I'm carving more time out in my schedule to interact with other blogs, so I promise I'll return the favour!

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Thursday, 4 January 2018

HOW NEW YORK WILL CHANGE YOU

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You've changed is usually considered an insult, right? But let's be real, if the aim is to morph into our best self, change is essential. Living in New York for a year did change me. Here's how I'm different post-NYC, and how you could be to...

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Photos by Kaye of Fordtography

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1. You'll develop thicker skin

There's no way you can live in New York for more than a few months and not develop thicker skin. When the going gets tough there - and boy does it - every day becomes a test of your mental strength. That sounds extreme, but New York is an extreme kind of place.

Whenever someone asks me about life in New York, I always stress that there are good and bad days. It may sound redundant, but hear me out. The good days are no short of f*cking fantastic. You're taking on the capital of the world, and killing it. On the flipside, there are the bad days. Now you'll find that everything is a struggle and you miss home and you just want to stay in bed but you can't because you have to survive NYC which means hustling every day which means always being busy and and and... you get me.

It may be mostly concrete and buildings, but there are no shades of grey in this city: it's the best time of your life or the worst, it's black and white. As you survive the down days - the rejection, the ghosting, the days when you want to take a break but can't afford to - you'll naturally build thicker skin. Eventually, job rejections won't sting as much. In fact, you'll be grateful that they bothered to reply at all (more about NYC ghosting)! And even when external events do affect your mental state, you'll find that you've developed an ability to self-sooth. The city may wear you down, but it can't break you!

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Jumper: Topshop | Leggings: Primark/Penneys | Jacket: Vintage

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2. You'll become more cynical

This, along with all my points, is relative. I was not an overly cynical person before, and I don't think I am today. However, there's no doubt that I just... trust people a little less since New York. Don't get me wrong, the vast majority of people I met in New York were friendly and supportive, especially my employers. But after being ghosted by so many, and after one particularly bad experience, it's probably sensible to be slightly more weary. I've heard enough New York horror stories to assure me that there are a lot of untrustworthy people at play, so live there long enough and you'll likely encounter a few.

There are a number of reasons why I've never shared my own story here before - even though I desperately wanted to mention said "employer" in this post. But now that I've moved home, I'm in a position to divulge some more information, so here we go: I worked for an entrepreneur for over a month, in person for a couple of hours a week, and from home too. They seemed friendly enough, and the business seemed legitimate, so I wasn't really concerned about getting my paycheck at the end of it all, I presumed it was a given. However, warning flags started flying when they constantly belittled the work I did, saying they couldn't use any of it. At one point they said they wouldn't pay me for what they couldn't use. Finally, it transpired (read: I copped on) that they had no plans to pay me at all.

It was the beginning of my time in New York, I was inexperienced at freelance life. I had not asked the entrepreneur to sign a contract, it didn't even occur to me that this was a done thing. Because there was no contract, because the person completely ghosted me, and because they worked at coworking space at unpredictable hours, there wasn't much I could do to rectify the situation. I was appalled at my own naivety, at the fact I blindly trusted someone in such a big city. Now, though, I'm almost grateful for the encounter. I know it's a mistake I'll never make again. So thank you New York, for that horrible experience. I've learnt from it.

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Image of Claire Petersen in DUMBO

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3. You'll become more ambitious

People from around the world come to New York to make it. Entrepreneurs, creatives, executives... they all flock to the city because they're either already on top or have plans to get there. Why else would you decide to live in such an expensive and stressful city?

I've always been somewhat ambitious, but spending my formative years in rural Ireland forced a cap on that ambition. Moving to New York blew that right off. People all around you are achieving their dreams here. Admittedly, there are plenty of people failing too, but they are so motivated and aiming so high that you know - or at least hope - they are going to bounce back.

Spend some time in New York, and you just may find yourself ditching your goal to open a coffee shop, and replacing it with an ambition to build the next Starbucks. Everything's bigger in the Big Apple, and that includes your dreams.

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Claire Petersen in DUMBO, Brooklyn, New YorkClaire Petersen in DUMBO, Brooklyn, New York Page Divider

For better or for worse, New York changed me. If you've ever lived to New York I'd love to hear your thoughts! Or perhaps you're planning on moving there. Let me know and we can have a chat in the comments!

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Tuesday, 2 January 2018

HAPPY 2018, LET'S MAKE IT A GOOD ONE

I feel like I'm in the minority when I say that I enjoy New Year's Eve. For me, it's a time to celebrate successes of the year, and start the next one on a high. As long as you opt for a house party - ideally one with a couch to crash on - and avoid the city centre at all costs, you've the makings of a good night.

And so, with a party to attend, I got glammed up to ring in 2018. I opted for a crop top and a sheer orange shirt - a pretty decent charity shop find, it's a River Island Rihanna top! Pretty much all the buttons have fallen off, but that's okay I usually wear it open anyway, plus it only cost me a couple of euros to begin with, so I can't complain. And for the bottom-half I wore my white Topshop stripped. Oh, and old heels that I've owned for years. The cost-per-wear on those bad boys must be down to cents!



Crop top: Forever 21 | Shirt: River Island | Trousers: Topshop | Shoes: Primark/Penneys

So, that's all for now, just wanted to drop a quick little post to mark the start of a new year. Wishing you a happy and healthy 2018, let's make it one to remember!