Me My Life The Blog

A New Direction

I had planned to do a straightforward recap of the Alt Summit, 2012. I’ve tried to sit down and write it all down for you, but I’m struggling. It isn’t because Alt wasn’t amazing (it was), or because I had a bad time (I had fun and learned a few things). I’m struggling because of some news that awaiting me upon my return. My last seven days have felt something like this: nervous, eager, reaffirmed, happy, delayed, scared, and finally, hopeful.

Tuesday: Nervous

The usual thoughts ran through my head. Did I pack the right things? Was my panel prepared? Would my family fare well while I’m gone? Could I get through all of the work I needed to do, before I had to leave?

Wednesday: Eager

I had prepared as much as I was able, and it was time to go. I was on the very first panel at the first Alt Summit in 2010, and I watched the summit via twitter last year, sad to be missing out but too pregnant to travel. I was excited about going back again, and looking forward to it. This was going to be fun!

Thursday: Reaffirmed

Alt came this year, for me, at the tail end of a lot of work. I’ve been doing more than ever, trying to juggle my blogging commitments with my family life, taking on too much at times, and having to put my head down and work. Being surrounded by my peers though, so many passionate, hard-working, and successful bloggers, reaffirmed that I’m heading in the right direction. I’m fortunate to have a job, unconventional as it is, doing something I love. I want to see Making it Lovely grow, and realize all of its potential.

Friday: Happy

Alt Design Summit 2012 - Friday morning

Jordan, Kelly, me, and Maggie spoke about Growing a Readership. I’ve put together a recap of the Twitter conversations that happened throughout our panel, which was one of the most well-attended! My weepiest moment of the day came as Ben, the co-founder of Pinterest, gave a particularly inspiring keynote and received a standing ovation. His infographic feels especially relevant right now.

The entire conference was amazing; everything I’d hope it would be and more. Thank you to Gabby, Sarah, and Kate, and to all of the people who help make Alt the blogging event I most look forward to each year.

Saturday: Delayed

And homesick. De-icing the plane, flying against a strong headwind, and landing in an airport that was under construction all contributed to my plane landing two minutes after my connection left. I was placed on standby, with a confirmed seat on a plane for Monday afternoon. I spent the night in the hotel closest to the Pheonix airport.

Sunday: Scared

The next day, while other passengers lost their tempers and berated airline employees, I was able to get a confirmed seat on a plane home in the late morning (it’s always better to be nice). We were delayed though, and spent an hour sitting on the runway before takeoff due to weather conditions back home. We were finally given the OK to fly into Chicago, and I arrived home approximately 25 hours after first leaving the hotel in Salt Lake City. I then picked up the kids and immediately turned around to go to my mom’s house because we were supposed to be there for a birthday party.

All of that made for a very long day, but it wasn’t the reason I was scared.

Brandon lost his job. He had found out on Thursday, but he waited to tell me until I had finally arrived home with the kids late Sunday night, after we had put them to bed.

Monday: Hopeful

Our dream has been to reach the point at which Brandon could leave his job. While we had assumed it would be in a planned, responsible way, we will have to embrace our new circumstances.

Do we go all-in on the blog? I’m not making enough to solely support my family, but we have to look at the numbers and see if I could get it there. How long would it take if we were devoting all of our time and energy to it? (Six months? A year? Longer?) Should we do something a little crazy, like buy a store? It has never been a goal of ours, but if you’re one that believes things happen for a reason, the universe seems to be aligning in that way. Or does Brandon look for another steady, 9-5 job? He has been the rock that has made it possible for me to get to the point I’m at today. While the benefits and stability that come along with traditional employment are reassuring (especially with a family and a mortgage), I’d love for him to be as fulfilled in his work as I am. These are all things that will be weighing heavily on us, and we need to figure out our next direction.

I’m hopeful. But I’m still scared, too, to be honest.

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  • Andrea
    January 24, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    what a tough situation to come home to, but what a loving husband to let you enjoy your time away without burdening you with the inevitable news. and, since it was an inevitable situation (brandon not having that job, not necessarily losing it before deciding to leave), i’m sure things will work out just fine. it’s just a leap of faith and you’ve gotta trust you’ll land on your feet. and we’ve all got faith in you and your lovely family. =)

  • silly eagle books
    January 24, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    I”m sorry about your husband losing his job! But I know you will find something new that works for you. I love your blog and know you could take it as big as you need it to be.

  • Sierra
    January 24, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    I too believe everything happens for a reason…although this has to be scary as hell with a family and mortgage. I’m rooting for you guys…good luck with everything!!

  • Lynn
    January 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    I have no idea how a blog makes money (I have a blog but do it for fun) so I can’t begin to understand how that part works, but just want to say, I love YOUR blog and you have taught me so much, linked me to many others, and I am in awe of all you young women (I’m 67)with your creativity and energy and fearlessness in ‘living’ in this blog design world!

    If I were younger……………………….

    but I’d really rather quilt, knit, embroider, weave…………you get the picture! ha

  • Jamie Tinaglia Lee
    January 24, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    My heart goes out to you both… It’s definitely a frightening time but ripe with opportunity. I remember feeling those emotions when I lost my job about 6 months after we bought our house and 6 months before we were getting married. Looking back I can say it was divine and God’s timing is so perfect. Now a struggling Realtor but I LOVE what I do and am so fulfilled. I hope you find what is best for your family at this crucial turning point.
    <3 Jamie Lee

  • Sarah van Loon
    January 24, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    I’m never sure what to say in situations like this, but one thing I do know, Nicole, is that you are an incredible woman with immeasurable talent, and a whole ton of people just waiting to come out and support you. Know that we (your readers) are here for you and want to see you (and Brandon/your whole family) succeed! – and if we can help make that possible, we would love to.

    Sending happy vibes your way.

  • Lisa
    January 24, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Sorry to hear about Brandon. I wish you both strength, inspiration and clarity as you venture into weighing your options and making decisions. I am a huge fan of your blog, as well as many others :), and am sending you lots of positive energy! Good luck!

  • aunt J
    January 24, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    If you build it, they will come. Why not open “making it lovely,” the store? Feature fun stuff from your blog. You can also have an office in back that your interior design career can come out of. You have soooooo many followers that love you. I bet your family could help you get it off and running. Something to consider……. hummmmmm.

  • Molly the Waffler
    January 24, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    As a long time reader of your blog, I’ve watched it evolve and I know you (and Brandon, if this is what you decide) can take it anywhere — you’re so creative and you’ve got a strong and supportive fan base. Good luck!

  • AnnW
    January 24, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    It’s always something. If Brandon wants to join you in your business, I’m sure you could really expand the blog and ancillary services. But, someone should get a part time job like at Home Depot, or Starbucks so that you can get good health insurance. Don’t panic and start slowly. He can help you out while exploring your options. Looking forward to the results. Ann

  • Alison
    January 24, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    You really should read the blog
    her husband lost his job and they up and moved for one year to Hawaii.
    No matter what you do, I’m sure everything will be A-ok.
    I was at ALT and loved your panel.

  • Tonia B.
    January 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Regardless of what you decide, I wish you luck. I love your blog and know you will be successful at whatever you put your mind and heart to, however scary it may be!

  • Becca B.
    January 24, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    I’ve loved watching your blog and your family grow! So sorry to hear of this unexpected change, but you are SO creative and talented…I’m sure that you’ll find the perfect path!

  • Anne
    January 24, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Bummer, and best of luck to you guys. Were you thinking about a certain fun store in OP that’s currently up for sale? That could be very interesting…

    • Making it Lovely
      January 24, 2012 at 2:42 pm

      The timing is auspicious, no?

      • Alana
        January 24, 2012 at 2:47 pm

        Hey, go for it. I was tempted, but decided to focus on Bluebird Goods. I think you’d be great there. You can count on me for a decent percentage of sales! :)

      • Kathryn Humphreys
        January 24, 2012 at 4:00 pm

        Clearly meant to be (at least from a public pressure standpoint). Finn would be your beat officer :)

        I’m sorry you guys have to go through this.

  • Chris
    January 24, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear about Brandon’s job. If he is at all interested in it, I know Oak Park is in desperate need of a microbrew pub. I’m too chicken to do it but hoping that someone else isn’t!

  • Megan
    January 24, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Your seminar at Alt was lovely! I felt similar all week but I wanted to give you a little bit of support.

    My husband lost his job our of no where almost a year ago. We are both designers but he always wanted to work at an agency and I always wanted to do my own thing. So he was the one giving me the ability to freelance, blog, and do what I wanted with his consistant income. When after being with the company for 6 months he became unhappy and began dreaming of beginning his own business with some friends. But had no solid plans of how or when.

    When he and one of the guys dreaming beginning their company both were let go VERY unexpectantly we went through a time of complete terror. Being young neither of us had the funds to built up yet to support us both being freelance. I had a ton of work coming in but not what I thought we could live on solely. Losing consistency may be one of the hardest things.

    This time of him losing his job drove us to both dig in our heels, figure out how to live on less and be content with less. We learned to enjoy simpler things and it made us get serious about life in the best way. Now a year and a half later his company has taken off in and he is about to become the bread winner in the next few months. As for me I was able to prove to myself that I could support us and if all else failed still we could run my business together. I was able to see my own potential and really find my passions amongst all the craziness.

    Sometimes the most unexpected can be what drives you into a place where you have to find who new part of yourself you never knew existed. This is true for yourself and for your relationship. I love my husband more and value our relationship more than I day the “shit” hit the fan.

    You guys are about to begin an amazing journey of struggle, growth, and learning to rely on each other and your relationship. I am 100% sure you will look back and know it was the best thing that could have ever happened.

    Hope that all makes you feel hopeful and supported! It is hard but awesome all at the same time ;)

  • Little Gray Pixel
    January 24, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear about Brandon’s job loss. Stupid @#$(@#* economy.

    On the bright side …

    Life changes like this are never easy, but each day is a new one and before you know it all this turmoil will be in the past. Sometimes a drastic turn of events is just the catalyst you need to do exactly what you want to do. I have my fingers crossed for you both. Make some lemonade!

  • Jackie
    January 24, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    I’m sorry to hear about the recent unexpected changes. I do believe that things in life happen for a reason though and this could be just the opportunity for something even better for your family! I can only imagine how scary it is right now though so I’ll be thinking happy, peaceful thoughts for you. And, if it is an OP store that you’re opening, expect me as one of your customers! :)

  • Squirrell
    January 24, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Sorry to hear your news, but we have found that things that seem disastrous at the time are often the push you need for a whole new phase. Wishing you all the best.

  • simplygrove
    January 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    You have had quite the week!! So sorry Nicole:( Rachelle and I had the same experience coming home. They even lost my luggage and ruined Rachelles…ugggg. You and your fam are most definitely in my prayers. You are a strong strong woman!

  • Alana
    January 24, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    He does print production, right? Tell him to email me. I might have a few leads.

    I also have a gig open for digital production at our downtown offices. Madison & Wabash.

    No worries! You guys will be fine. The design industry is chugging along pretty well and good people are hard to find.



  • Geo
    January 24, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Make a bad thing into a good thing. It works. Good luck and have fun!!!!!

  • Jill Browning
    January 24, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Things will work out for the best, but here’s to hoping that happens sooner rather than later. Hang in there!!! You’re doing such a great job! :)

    • Jill Browning
      January 24, 2012 at 2:52 pm

      Also, thanks for sharing the news with us. I’m sure that wasn’t easy.

  • Alisha Vernon
    January 24, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    So sorry. I came home to the same news 4 months ago. It’s a crazy whirlwind of emotions and reevaluating for sure. I hope things settle and you’re both able to find your way. We’re still in this weird limbo mode.

  • Diana
    January 24, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Nicole, even in this difficult situation, never forget that you already have the most important thing in the whole world: a loving family and ever-supporting friends. Everybody is already rooting for you!!

    English is not my first language so please forgive my lacking vocabulary. There is a song in spanish that says: “Saber que se puede, querer que se pueda/quitarse los miedos, sacarlos afuera/pintarse la cara color esperanza/
    tentar al futuro con el corazón”

    To know it’s possible, to want it to happen
    to get rid of our fears, to expel them
    to paint our faces with the colour of hope
    to tempt the future with our hearts

  • Small House Life
    January 24, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    My vote is no to the store.

    If you took even half the money it would take for bricks and mortar store, and invested it in your site (and possibly 2nd site, maybe one Brandon could run with) you’d have the income AND a much more flexible lifestyle.

    Dee :)

    • Making it Lovely
      January 24, 2012 at 5:44 pm

      Yes, that’s something we have to consider.

  • Cara Crowley
    January 24, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Oh Nicole, my heart goes out to you. What a roller coaster of emotions. I was at your seminar at Alt and I am a believer that if you build it, it will come I (I may have borrowed this idea for a movie but I still believe it :) ) Keep on pushing forward building and designing the life you, Brandon and your family want. The stability will come.

  • Josephine
    January 24, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Ooof… what a week. I don’t have any pearls of wisdom, but I hope that the force will be with you all. You seem to be resourceful, hardworking folk and I sincerely hope awesome developments are in your immediate future.

    Best of luck!

  • jbhat
    January 24, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    I have so much faith in you that the scariest part of your story to me was reading about the dicey weather conditions that were so bad that they impeded safe travel. Darn that Mother Nature! I am excited for you–and I know that as you and Brandon figure this out and decide what to do and how to do it, that it will all be….lovely, in the end. Best of luck!


  • jenn aka the picky girl
    January 24, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Oh my goodness! What a whirlwind of emotions in such a short span of time. I’m so sorry about your new and hope you have peace and decisiveness by your side as you attempt to realign your life. I’ve been through something similar (but on my own), and it’s never easy – but it can also give you a direction you never had before.

  • Andrea Howe
    January 24, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Wow Nicole, what a lot of wonderful support you have surrounding you guys. It is so scary to go through this but you guys will figure it out. When i was 7 months pregnant Art quit his job to start his own company. Looking back it was a kinda crazy stupid thing to do, especially since we didn’t have much in savings. But really at the time it was the best move because things were going south and he probably would’ve been laid off eventually. Anyhow, 7 years later come February 7th, it was the best decision he could have ever made, as scary as it was. Sometimes we choose our course, and sometimes others choose it for us. Looks like someone is telling you it’s time to chase your dreams, no matter how scary that seems to be right now.

  • Julia
    January 24, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Nicole, best wishes as you all make big decisions! Things absolutely happen for a reason. I’m sure it will all work out. Just think, if you could grow a blog with Brandon’s support, what can you and Brandon choose to do together? God’s watching out for your family for sure. I can’t wait to see what comes of this all.

  • Rebecca @ beautiful square feet
    January 24, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear that has happened to you Nicole – with 2 little ones myself, I completely understand why you’re scared. I really hope things sort themselves out for you very soon, whatever you choose to do x

  • jana
    January 24, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    I appreciate the honesty and transparency of this post. We have been living “scared” for a couple of years now, and by scared I mean things are always up in the air financially and unknown BUT what I have come to realize is that it doesn’t have to be a negative feeling or something that sends your cortisol levels sky high. We have learned to live with it and by simplifying our life financially and limiting our time commitments we have settled in for the long haul. Now what was a scared/unknown feeling feels more like excited about the possibilities/unknown feeling.

    I cannot wait to see what the future holds for you and your family…

  • Donaville
    January 24, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    I too, like others have voiced, am a firm believer that when one door shuts, another one opens. And it seems like you two will be successful at whatever life has in store for you!

  • Elisabeth@YCCII
    January 24, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Nicole, I’m so sorry to hear it, but I’m excited at new prospects for you guys.

    What would Brandon’s role be on the site? Would you consider launching an online store? With far less overhead than a brick and mortar, it’s less of a risk, plus you capitalize on your online notoriety. I know it would be filled with lots of lovely things in pink.

    • Making it Lovely
      January 24, 2012 at 9:35 pm

      Brandon’s good at video (both editing and shooting), so that’s an option if we come up with some great video content. If we bought a store, we would also have an online component, but it wouldn’t be a solely online shop.

      • Elisabeth@YCCII
        January 30, 2012 at 10:22 am

        DIY videos from you would be a huge hit! I look forward to seeing what the future holds for your family. You’re gonna do great. :-D

  • Kim
    January 24, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Sorry, I don’t comment often but wanted to let you know that I’ve followed your blog since you were just pregnant with E and are confident that you and B can turn this thing to your advantage. Hang in there!

  • Jen
    January 24, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I’m a long time reader and want to send as much support your way as I can through the interwebs!

  • Didi
    January 24, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    So sorry to hear about your current stressors. You have mega talents and will land on your feet. I agree w/ those who suggested an online store. More fiscally conservative. I would also suggest that you begin to take on clients and branch out into interior design. That seems to be among your many talents! Best of luck. I think there are wonderful things in store for you!

  • Lauren
    January 24, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    I’ve been reading all the amazing re-caps of Alt and hope to get there next year, but I just wanted to pop on and say that my word for the year (like I’ve ever had a word for the year before!) is “leap.” Holding you and your family in the light. Quakers often talk about something called a “way opening.” If you’re quiet and trust, the way will open. xo

  • Emily
    January 24, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    With great risk comes great reward! I was laid off 5 years ago (when the economy was just getting horrible) and took a big risk. It definitely paid off! Good luck to you.

  • tracy
    January 24, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Sometimes these little pushes (although really hard) are just what you need to soar.You are a HARD WORKER and full of great ideas. This year will be filled with new things and sure you’ll have your tough moments but you’ll be able to connect yourself with your readers, your colleagues & GROW GROW GROW.

    I have faith in you. 2012 is going to be your year.

  • Karin
    January 24, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Virtual hugs from your devoted Philly reader. Despite the scariness of the present, opportunities and adventures most definitely lie ahead. I’m rooting for you guys!!!

  • cara
    January 24, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    i’m so sorry to hear about Brandon losing his job. i know ya’ll are are strong couple & you’ll get through this. i know there’s a lot of great bloggers out there that you can talk with about what could come next.

  • Nick
    January 24, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Sorry to hear about the bad news…

    You guys are smart and mega-talented, so I don’t worry about you landing on your feet :)

  • Kelsey
    January 24, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    My husband lost his contract job 3 years ago due to budget cuts and the business I was working for closed in May.

    It didn’t seem like it at the time, but both events have been the best things for our family in the long run.

    My husband ended up with a permanent position the day before a hiring freeze and I am currently doing bookkeeping from home while enjoying the company of my kids while I look for a job. And keep up with your blog.

    Everything happens for a reason….you may not know “why” right now, but you’ll get there. Your blog is amazing and genuine and I’ll continue to read your blog(s) throughout this journey.

  • Beck's Chic Life
    January 24, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    Everything happens for a reason… I think the universe is telling you something. Listen carefully and follow your heart!

  • Mrs. Kinne
    January 24, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    I have no advice– just a million positive thoughts that I am sending your way.

  • Katie Truelove
    January 24, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    I am so sorry to hear that. I truly look forward to hearing more about what you guys decide!

  • Lilis
    January 24, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    I’m sorry to hear that,must be a very hetic day after such long trip& busy day. I too will be jobless end of Jan, and still thinking what’s my next direction. scared but hopefull is also what I feel right now. Hope Brandon can do something that he loves. Like most of the comments, I also believe everything happens for a reason, although I still pulling my hair out, asking what should I do next :p

    • Making it Lovely
      January 24, 2012 at 9:40 pm

      Thanks, Lilis. I hope it all works out for you too.

  • Kelly
    January 24, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear that! I’m hopeful for you and am sure that whatever you decide to do it will be lovely and wonderful. Your blog is one of my favorites and I looking forward to continuing to follow you on whatever your new direction might be.

  • Shoshana
    January 24, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    Your blog is my favorite and I am sorry for what you both must be going through now.
    It’s funny–we’ve never met but I feel touched that you trusted me (your readers) with this news and I hope that we come through with support for this difficult time.

  • Melissa
    January 24, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    i’ve never really commented here, but that does not mean i’m not a huge fan of yours via your blog and twitter. reading today’s post broke my heart, yet it also resonated with exactly where we are in our lives too.

    the only thing which continues to get us through every day is the belief in one another and our dreams. i truly believe everything happens for a reason despite how damn hard it feels at times.

    keep looking forward, pursue your dreams, and try to enjoy the ride no matter how bumpy it might feel along the way. you are extremely talented, and you will continue to be a huge success.

  • Helen and The Fox
    January 24, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    I’m sorry to hear your news. I’ll be keeping your family in my thoughts and wishing you and your family the very best in this next chapter of your lives.

  • Robin
    January 25, 2012 at 12:17 am

    I love your site and am always so inspired by your creativity and amazing energy to take on new projects and challenges. I was so sad to read your post today but so thankful for your honesty and openness. You have demonstrated time and again that you are the queen of putting together and executing an inventive, courageous game plan. Here’s to another amazing (albeit unexpected) project – I’m sure you’ll find a beautiful solution.

  • Christina W.
    January 25, 2012 at 12:24 am

    Eek, that is scary for sure. Well, at least him leaving his job is something you guys were throwing around, so you have a skeleton of a plan sketched out in your minds. I think you would have a LOVELY store. Having a little store that I could mind every day with my dog in tow is a life dream of mine, but I have no idea where to start. If that’s the direction you head in, I will be taking notes!

  • Courtney
    January 25, 2012 at 2:13 am

    I’m a new reader of your blog, and I love it! You inspire me! I’m sorry to hear the news about your husband’s job. I know first hand how hard it can be when your husband loses their job and things change. I encourage you to embrace each other and learn from this experience. It will be hard, but you two can get through this! And like a previous commenter said, just view it as another project to accomplish! I’m excited to see where your journey continues to take you. My prayers are with you are your family! Thank you so much for sharing with your readers this personal event :)

  • Adriane
    January 25, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Oh Nicole! I actually went through this last year, at 7 months pregnant my husband lost his job…it was so tough. But, like anything, it always works out in the end. And if ANYONE can make the best of a bad situation, you can! I can’t wait to see where you take Making it Lovely…best blog ever!!!! xo

  • Kayla
    January 25, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Nicole! I am so sorry to hear about your husband losing his job. I went through the same thing with my live-in boyfriend back in 2009 (we are now engaged). He was out of work for 9 months. Luckily, between my day job and his unemployment checks we were able to get by. After the initial shock, it was actually a great time of learning and exploration for both of us. We considered several different self-employment jobs, but in the end, he took a position within his industry at a small firm where he has been able to flourish. Always easier said than done, but really try to explore all sorts of options that you never would have before…you’ll both learn a lot about yourselves in this period. And something will eventually work out – it always does. Best of luck!!

  • homespicelife
    January 25, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Nicole, so sorry to hear about Brandon’s job. I have full confidence that you both will be able to pull through beautifully and be better for it.

    You have such a beautiful family and an incredible amount of talent. There is a huge market for what you can do. I for one am the biggest fan and getting your blog posts are the highlight of my day (I am an MBA student now, so no too much inspiration of that sort in my day-to-day). I look forward to seeing your next chapter. I and many others are rooting for you!

  • Liz Hernandez Nunez
    January 25, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Hi Nicole, I love your blog and have been reading for a couple of years:) Everything will be ok, I promise you! I absolutely promise you:) Like you said, things happen for a reason and I am super excited for you and your family’s future. Keep looking up…I will have you in my prayers..

  • barbara
    January 25, 2012 at 9:37 am

    So sorry for your bad news, I know how tough that is. It happened to us in last March when I was in the middle of chemo. Our talents lay in house flipping, we had done it in the past but were wary because of the economy. I got my realtors license, and we took the plunge. It has worked out very well for us. We sold our second house last week and have made close to the old salary this year. All in all our lives are better than they were. Being self employed is wonderful. The only kicker is health insurance- Cobra is frightfully expensive!

    You are so talented, such a good eye. I think very good things lie ahead for you and your family!

  • Nicole RJ
    January 25, 2012 at 10:03 am

    So sorry to hear about Brandon losing his job, I hope you’re both able to turn it into a great opportunity!

  • Karin Sullivan
    January 25, 2012 at 10:07 am

    So sorry to read about Brandon’s job. We’ve been through two layoffs in the past two years…and ended up in a much better place for both of us. (I even survived going back to work full time at a heinous job, which led to a good job.)

    Perhaps the universe is telling you to buy Fly Bird??? It’s for sale, you know….

  • Danielle Comstock
    January 25, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Things will work out fine! They always do :)

  • Amanda
    January 25, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Liking that buy Fly Bird suggestion!

  • Brittany Lauren
    January 25, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Sometimes bad news leads you to a place you never thought you would be and the changes that are being made now could be the most amazing and bold experiences you and your husband can make. Wishing you the best for your family – and can’t wait to see a store open :)

  • Jayna
    January 25, 2012 at 10:46 am

    I’m so sorry to hear that Brandon lost his job :(

    I know it must be a scary situation – but I can relate… I lost my job last March, and it forced me to try some different things for money. You’re the kind of person that inspires others, so I know your talent and creativity will pull you through! Best of luck and I hope whatever you decide to do works out for you.

  • Marcella
    January 25, 2012 at 10:47 am

    I will be thinking of you and your family, but I am a firm believer in everything happens for a reason. I say embrace the scary and go for what you both truly want out of your lives and for your family! Your blog will continue to be a success. I hear more and more people talking about it!

  • Caitlin
    January 25, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Wow – what a post! I’m sorry that Brandon lost his job :( I just took a huge paycut to work in a new position because I was miserable at my other job and couldn’t find a new one for TWO years! We are really afraid how we’ll make ends meet, but we have started to build an etsy shop so hopefully that will help out a little.

    I know it will all work out for you, good luck in this new adventure!

  • Helena
    January 25, 2012 at 11:01 am

    First, you are right, it is always better to be nice! I think that’s how I nudged my way on the plane TO Alt (5 of us were bumped and one – the one who didn’t FREAK OUT – got back on).

    Second, so sorry to hear about Brandon. I know how hard it must seem to HAVE to make this decision now rather than being able to make it over time. Do you work with an accountant or someone to help plan things out (sorry, I’m a CPA and this is always my first mental reaction to everything).

  • Dusa
    January 25, 2012 at 11:27 am

    The CatMan has been unemployed for almost a year, and this week accepted a full-time position. The past year has been a rollercoaster, but we have come out the better for it. The main key is to keep communication open and express frustrations and concerns in a clear, non-judgemental way. You’ll be amazed at how your marriages grows stronger!

  • Mika
    January 25, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Good luck! I hope things go in a good direction and this turns out to be a positive experience. In the meantime, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for things to go well for you!

  • Jen @ Rambling Renovators
    January 25, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Nicole, first off, I’m so very happy we got the chance to meet in person at Alt. You are so endearing in person and humble too. Maybe I expected a rockstar persona to go along with your rockstar blog? Instead, I was so impressed by how down to earth and lovely you are.

    Do you remember that conversation we had? When you talked about the possibility of Brandon working with you, the thing that struck me most was hopeful and excited you seemed about the possibility. It seemed like the right goal for you, your family. Did I tell you that I lost my job about 4 months ago? In that short time, things started falling in place – my new venture BlogPodium, the Style At Home article, TV appearances – and there is more to come. And when I told my friends and family about my job loss, NOT ONE of them was sorry for me. They all said it was great because now I could pursue my passions. They were right.

    When I’m scared, I fall back on these thoughts: 1. Life is too short not to be doing something you love. And 2. I’m too smart to end up homeless. If I had to sell and move into a smaller house, or take a part time job in Home Depot in order to pursue my dreams, I could do that. All I need to be happy is my family around me and a reason to wake up each morning. I think the same about you – you are a smart lady and have the savviness and skills to really take this blog anywhere you want it to go. Maybe give yourselves a deadline? The option of looking for a job is always there if you change your mind.

    Good luck to you & Brandon. I’ll be cheering you on.

    • Danielle Comstock
      January 25, 2012 at 9:13 pm

      That is very inspiring Jennifer!

    • Alda
      January 25, 2012 at 11:40 pm

      Lovely words, Jen.

  • Roni
    January 25, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Wishing you and your family lots of luck and amazing new possibilities. xoxo.

  • machenblog
    January 25, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    What a wind out of your sails sort of event… life rarely happens according to plan.

    Times are tough these days. Our family has been hit with a similar situation, too. I’ll say that consulting is a great way to fill the gaps, and requires next to zero capital and next to zero risk. It might be something to look into~

    Who knows, this could be just the opportunity your family needs.

  • RebeccaNYC
    January 25, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    oh I can relate to this! 3 of the 4 men in my family are under-employed, leaving the women to hold down the jobs, as unconventional as they are.(I’m an opera singer, for crying out loud) Change is good, and I can’t help but feel that this might be the swift kick you did not think you needed to make some changes that deep down you wanted. I know you are scared…but ONWARD! you will be fine. xoxoxo

  • Yuliya
    January 25, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    Good luck! You two are going to do amazing things together!

  • Justine
    January 26, 2012 at 12:20 am

    Scary… but just remember some of the best stuff in life starts out with scary! Praying it’ll all work out!

  • rena campbell
    January 26, 2012 at 12:43 am

    Rejection=Direction…. Smile and move toward your positive thoughts, they will show you the way through your temporary fog. Love your blog. Best wishes for your new exciting year. rc

  • Jen @ Eco and Elsie
    January 26, 2012 at 7:14 am

    I say go for it. The universe works in mysterious ways and maybe this just a little push to trust yourself. You have an amazing blog and I can’t wait to see what new things are happening for you!

  • steph
    January 26, 2012 at 7:23 am

    I’ve never read your blog before. I got here via Design Crush’s review of AS… However I cried as I read it. I am so sorry that you are in such a terrifying place. I am sure I am tearful because I identify. I also am compelled to remind you to revisit the things that made you tearful about the Pinterest session. Whatever was speaking to you was perhaps preparing you!?!?!?! That graphic seems to be exactly where you guys are! And look at your blog – it’s beautiful! I would DEFINITELY shop at your store and I will look for ways to promote your blog to my little circle of influence. YOU CAN DO IT!

  • CourtneyOutLoud
    January 26, 2012 at 10:45 am

    I’m sorry to hear your husband lost his job. When I lost mine, it was scary and depressing and nerve wracking but ultimately proved the catalyst I needed to make my dreams happen. I know you will crunch the numbers to see if it can work and all I can say is that you have to try if you can afford it. Give yourself a timeline and a deadline and go “balls out” (sorry if that offends)…… will think back if it succeeds as a great experience but if it fails, you know you will have given it your all so no regrets!

  • Monica
    January 26, 2012 at 11:28 am

    I lost my job 7 years ago. A lay off came and my husband was in school at the time (he’d just gone back to school too). We were so scared but we gave ourselves a couple of weeks to sort through our emotions, and we even cashed in our airline miles and went on vacation the very next week. I really highly suggest giving yourself a little breathing room and enjoying each other’s company for a minute before making any hard decisions. Anyway, just so you know I started my own business and it’s like I couldn’t have planned for a better situation. My husband completed his education and we’re all the better for the entire experience. I know the same will happen for you.

  • Daniela
    January 26, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Hi Nicole, i’ve never commented here but your blog has inspired me so much in so many aspects of my life. Thank you! I am sorry to hear what happened, but i am confident that you and your family will find a good solution. Your endless creativity and enthusiasm in life will lead you to only better future. Good Luck!

  • Carla
    January 26, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Wishing you so much luck. My husband and I are both stuck in jobs that we hate. It is so inspiring how you are turning this scary time into a beautiful opportunity. Here’s hoping you can both do what you love!

  • Maura
    January 26, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few years now and echo the comments before. Thank you for trusting us with this scaring, exciting and unexpected news. Sending all my good thoughts and vibes your way. Good luck with everything that is to come.

  • Monique
    January 26, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while. In fact, you were the first blog that I followed! It is one of my favorites! I wish you the best in this uncertain times!

  • Erin @ The Great Indoors
    January 26, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    I’m right there with you. My husband actually lost his job a few months before we got married three years ago, and we’ve made it work since then (he finally did get a part-time gig recently). It certainly teaches you what you can live without– and when you get back on sure footing, some of those things never make it back in the budget again. Which is okay. What it boils down to is that if you are supportive of each other in whatever direction you decide to take, you come out on the other side stronger.

    January 26, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    I am so very sorry for what you & your family are going thru, Nicole. Your blog was one of the first I ever followed & you have always had kind words for me over the years. Just know that you have legions of supporters, readers, friends out here in the blogworld. Wherever you & Brandon decide to take MIL, we’ll be there right beside you!

  • Andrea @ Our Little Gems
    January 26, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    i am hopeful for you and your family. maybe you speaking on growing your readership was the world’s funny way of preparing you for this next stage. i love your blog and i’m thinking of you!

  • Molly
    January 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Being brave is so hard when it comes down to being able to keep the lights on. I get myself into a panic and forget that no matter what I have family and friends who will always support me.

    I’m about to take a big leap with my small business and I’m totally scared out of my mind. But I’ve gotten myself this far and I think I can do it. That is half the battle right?

    Be brave and know you have the support of literally thousands of us!

  • Lindsey
    January 27, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    What a range of emotions you went through last week Nicole. My heart goes out to you. A roller coaster of up and downs its hard to decipher the signs some times isnt it? As a long time reader I have to tell you what a JOY it was when you settled down into that turquoise chair next to me in the lounge at ALT. I was so happy to be able to tell you in person how much I have enjoyed your work. I love when the world gets a little smaller and allows me to make those connections.

    Want my two cents? GO FOR IT.

  • Dayle
    January 29, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Im so sorry to hear about your husband losing his job. I know things will work out, stay strong and focused. It was really nice meeting you at Alt Summit. When I read your post, I felt your emotions. When it is all said and done, we are just human and we have our ups and downs. It’s ok to be happy, sad, nervous, etc. I have always felt that when you let your feelings show it makes you stronger. It’s like an energy pill. Just get it out of your system and move on. I will be thinking of you.

  • Tamara {Delish Mag}
    January 29, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    Oh wow. That is definitely one of my worst fears…you are (readership/reach/reputation/quality) where I would like our little site to be one day…and until then, my little venture is funded completely by my husband and his wonderful job. We don’t talk much about what could happen — could he lose his job, etc — but we should.

    I wish you the very best of luck, and hope that you can figure out something that works for you, for him and for your whole family. I’ll be reading and hoping for you!

  • Rebekah Wolf
    January 30, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    So sorry to hear about Brandon losing his job. I’ve been following your blog for about a year and love it. You are so inspiring, and the work that you do makes me hopeful that doing what you love is a possibility for everyone as long as we help each other get there. I’m curious to see how this next adventure unfolds for you. Good luck! We are all rooting for you guys!

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