Do What You Love Is Bad Career Advice, Or Is It?

Hatchards in London is the United Kingdom’s oldest bookshop, selling books since 1797. It was so fun to visit and, yes, I bought a few books to bring back to the States!

Hatchards in London is the United Kingdom’s oldest bookshop, selling books since 1797. It was so fun to visit and, yes, I bought a few books to bring back to the States!

This weekend, I was invited to participate in a panel discussion at one of my alma maters about becoming a communications consultant and entrepreneur and leaving a stable corporate job. When someone in the audience asked how to go about securing new business and focus your energy, I advised to focus on doing what you love because you’ll attract work you want to do. Following my answer, someone else in the audience said something to the effect that while the mantra of “doing what you love” is nice, she wanted to caution people that sometimes reality dictates the kind of work that comes your way.  

What I heard is that doing what you love is bad career advice. I think she’s wrong.

To use another too-often used mantra: Life Is Short. So damn short. Why would we want to work on stuff we hate? Of course, we all have bills to pay and work we have to do that we don’t always love. I get that. And when I first began my business 12 years ago this month, I took on work for clients that I wondered whether we’d be a good fit. Some were, some weren’t. But every single one of those clients and editors taught me something – even if it was that I don’t love working on those types of projects and to steer away from them.

In the course of these twelve years, though, I also learned the kinds of clients and work I love doing and want to attract more – work that focuses on: art, architect and design (including landscape architecture and gardens and trees), environment and sustainability, food and food justice, health (especially mental health), travel and culture, and women’s and children’s rights. It’s a lot, right? I also really enjoy writing profiles and biographies, as well as features. I love interviewing people and learning their stories. I love telling their stories. I find research fun. This is why I love my work. I’ve written and/or worked on all of these topics in one way or another during the last 12 years.

Rather than take on work you don’t love, why not focus on attracting work you do love? And what better way to do that by doing what you love in the first place? Volunteer for organizations you feel strongly about and network within that space, attend conferences or read trade magazines in the topics you’re interested in, connect with people already working in companies that you might like to work with in the future and let them know you’re available if they need someone like you. The work may not come immediately and it could very well take years, but by constantly putting yourself out there and doing work you love, you’ll start to earn a reputation and that becomes your business card.

Deliberate Freelancer

Recently, I was recently interviewed for Deliberate Freelancer, a new podcast by Melanie Padgett Powers on how to build a successful freelance business. During the podcast, Melanie asked me how I organize my day and stay on task. I’m a planner and I like to plan out my month in advance, then by week, then by day, then by hour and then by 15-minute increments.

Right now, I’m using an excel spreadsheet (you can view a template of it here) because I can drill down that deeply into my day. Similar to a Bullet Journal, what doesn’t get done on one day “migrates” to the next day (or gets saved for next month, depending on the project). The idea is that every project or work on this week-at-a-glance or specific day of the week has to work for its spot. Further, each day has a financial goal attached to it so that by week’s end, I’ll hit my financial goal. If I have a meeting out of the office that isn’t going to generate income (let’s say a networking event), that gets captured on one day but that means another day has to make up for this non-revenue-generating day.  

I’m fascinated with how people plan their days and hit their revenue goals. This format works for me but I realize this can put some people over the edge because it’s so specific. They prefer to have more fluid schedules. That’s totally fine with me – but that approach doesn’t work for me. I’m deadline-driven and goal-oriented. If I don’t have a deadline, it won’t get done. If I don’t have a goal, it’s much harder to get motivated to complete something.

Embracing Creative Pursuits

Appreciating the need to give myself more space to be creative, I’ve been intentionally seeking and embracing more opportunities to welcome creativity and the arts into my life.

As the weather improves in Chicago (thank goodness, the rain this week notwithstanding), I’m so excited to get outdoors more. I’ve signed up for a bookbinding workshop at Bari Zaki (come join me!), booked ceramics classes through the Chicago Park District, and bought tickets to see a friend’s improv show with my girlfriends. My friend Katie inspired me to take up drawing (thanks, Katie!). I’ve visited a Chicago arts shop and bought some art supplies to try some new mixed media projects. I scheduled a baby goat yoga session (don’t judge - I’ve been wanting to do this for years!).

All this to say, I’m ready to play. I’m continuing my weekly Artist Dates, which have been truly a delight to plan and do every week. I’m seeing my friends in real life more regularly, which has been a joy. I’m experimenting with new work and clients, with some surprising results. I’m working out more regularly. It’s all good.

My family and I visited London last month to spend time with friends and family. One of things on my bucket list was to go to the U.K.’s oldest bookshop named    Hatchards    (photo at the very top). Those who know me well know I adore book shops in every form, from old bookstores like Hatchards to Little Free Libraries. I had the pleasure of finding a darling Little Free Library in an old red phone booth! Too bad I couldn’t fit the whole booth in my suitcase. Now I want to build something like this in front of my home. Hmmm, a summer project, perhaps? Anyone want to help me build this?

My family and I visited London last month to spend time with friends and family. One of things on my bucket list was to go to the U.K.’s oldest bookshop named Hatchards (photo at the very top). Those who know me well know I adore book shops in every form, from old bookstores like Hatchards to Little Free Libraries. I had the pleasure of finding a darling Little Free Library in an old red phone booth! Too bad I couldn’t fit the whole booth in my suitcase. Now I want to build something like this in front of my home. Hmmm, a summer project, perhaps? Anyone want to help me build this?

I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud - Week 6

Daffodils William Wadsworth

Many of us live in a world of constant chaos. Noise surrounds us: both audible and visible. It’s no wonder by the end of the day we’re fried, hoping we can find solace in the comfort of a hot bath or warm cup of tea.

In his poem, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, which I share below thanks to The Poetry Foundation which has it on its website, Wordsworth welcomes the silence, calling it the bliss of solitude. He ends his poem with:

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

Silence and mindfulness are not something many of us, I’ve quickly realized, are comfortable with even though research has shown that silence helps to reduces stress. I’ll raise my hand and admit I was among those people. While I need complete silence to write and work, silence when I’m not working felt off to me. Like I needed to fill in the time and space with something, anything. But I pressed on, hoping I could get to a place where it wouldn’t feel odd.

This week I ran the first time without my ear buds playing music to help me. I forced myself to take in my surroundings, hear the birds chirping, the kids laughing at the playground during their recess, the hum and honks of the cars driving past me. What I didn’t realize is that it wasn’t just the new sounds I was hearing, but the new smells I was inhaling, too. Without the music to distract me, all of my senses were on alert - including my sense of smell. I took deeper breaths to take in the intoxicating scents of spring - little wisps of sweet hyacinths and the odor of manure mulch a landscaping service was unpacking from their trucks near a home.

I missed listening to my music and using the music to help me get through my run but then as I paused to think about it, why was I using the music to help me “get through” something? Is it possible I might enjoy running more if I was more attuned to how my body was reacting during the run? I don’t know but I plan to found out next time I run outdoors. Right now, I still plan to put those earbuds in when I run at the gym.

In the meantime, if you made it this far, thanks for reading and I hope you’ll enjoy a moment of silence today, as I did, and seek out some daffodils that are finally making an appearance in my part of the world.


I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud 

By William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed—and gazed—but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

 

Pausing To Notice The Beauty In Front Of Us - Week 5

Jason Brammer Artwork.jpg

My artist date streak continued this week, week 5, with an exploration of the Humboldt Park neighborhood on Chicago’s west side. I’m in this neighborhood every week but I never venture too far from where I need to be. This week, though, I decided to take a detour. As I wandered down 1000 N. California, I stumbled upon this large-scale mural on the side of a building. Turns out it’s by a Chicago visual artist named Jason Brammer. His storefront studio is in this building.

If you follow my Instagram account, you may notice that I love any type of art, but especially public art. One of the reasons I love Chicago is because there is so much art around this city, from large sculptures in parks to murals beneath viaducts. Sometimes we just need to take a moment to let us see what’s in front of us rather than constantly rushing or allowing ourselves to be distracted.

Thank you, Jason, for making our city a bit more beautiful for us.

Why I'm Dating Again + A Surprising First Quarter

My daughter and I brought a new weeping pussy willow home this month and I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to see it bloom. She named it Steven. Once the weather cooperates, we’re planting Steven in our backyard to replace the fruit tree that died a couple of years ago. She and I agreed we need more trees in our lives so Steven will be a nice addition to our backyard.

My daughter and I brought a new weeping pussy willow home this month and I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to see it bloom. She named it Steven. Once the weather cooperates, we’re planting Steven in our backyard to replace the fruit tree that died a couple of years ago. She and I agreed we need more trees in our lives so Steven will be a nice addition to our backyard.

March, thankfully, brought in the first day of spring on March 20. Man, was I ready. I embraced the day with wide open arms as I was looking forward to finally shedding my winter slump.

With the first quarter of the year in the books, I took some time to reflect. I read and am now re-reading and putting into daily practice The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Early in the book, she writes:

“It is often said that what you give attention to grows in importance.”

Ain’t that the truth.

This can be said of the things and activities we plan but also the company we keep, right? In late 2017, I wrote about the importance of showing up. Having felt like I was neglecting some of my friendships, I had vowed to make more time to nurture those friends I hold dear. I cannot tell you how much it means to me that many of my friends have taken the time to meet with me this quarter. Friends I haven’t seen in both months and years.

All I had to do was reach out and ask and they made time for me. It felt so good to hear how they were doing, share in their struggles and celebrate their successes. I’m so grateful and I am committed to continuing to make time to see my friends. An unexpected benefit is I’ve also met several new friends simply by pushing myself out of my comfort zone and allowing those new relationships to slowly take root.

Why I’m Dating Again

New relationships and rekindling old ones are important to me but I’ve also begun something new in March: I’ve started dating again. Those dates are with myself.

One of the things Cameron recommends in her book is to schedule weekly artist dates. I used to do these regularly before I had kids and smartphones took over our lives and it reminded me how important they were to my psyche. I also read the piece by David Brooks in the New York Times last week: Longing for an Internet Cleanse. If you’ve been following my monthly updates, you know I’ve been trying to minimize the time I spend online needlessly. These weekly artist dates have been nothing short of amazing and necessary. If you’re interested in what I’ve been doing this month, here is where I went on Week 1, Week 2, Week 3 and Week 4. I highly recommend scheduling your own artist date.

A Couple Of Recent Projects & A Tease

This month there are two projects I wanted to highlight because I’m so proud of how they turned out.

  • The Designers’ Designer: Shumaker Design + Build Associates. I had the pleasure of working with Suzanne and Garry Shumaker to write the bio for their architecture design + build firm based in Evanston, Illinois. It was such a fun writing project and it doesn’t hurt that Suzanne is a gifted photographer, too, and her images accompany my words on their site.

  • EatingWell magazine. Seeing your byline in print never gets old, at least for me. It was such a treat to write the Food With Purpose column for the April issue of EatingWell magazine (out on newsstands now!). My editor was great to work with and I loved interviewing Dave Miller, the CEO of Iroquois Valley Farmland REIT, the subject of the profile.

  • Coming up…speaking of interviewing CEOs, I had the pleasure of interviewing a new CEO who recently took the helm of a 150-year-old company. That interview was so fun to do and I can’t wait to see the story publish (which should be sometime this week!).

Books I’m Reading Or Am Excited About

I have a talented group of friends and several have books that either recently come out or they have their pub date soon.

Coming Soon - but you can pre-order now!

That’s it for now from me. I’d love to hear from you. What’s going on in your life? In the spirit of keeping my calendar open, if you’re up for a coffee date or lunch or visit to a museum, let me know!

Here’s to an even more beautiful and rich April, friends.

Appreciating Art In All Its Forms - Week 4

This week I took a little detour as part of my artist date. I tacked it onto a client meeting I had in the Loop and decided to go a bit earlier so I could stop and really enjoy the Marc Chagall mosaic located in Chase Tower Plaza. The piece is called Four Seasons and since I come to it from the east side since that’s where I get off the subway, I rarely ever have the chance to walk around the entire thing and just take it in. I intentionally gave myself extra time so I could enjoy all four seasons, like we have in Chicago. It was such a lovely experience, just to sit and look at the piece on the west side as well as the north and side sections. It helped that it was a gorgeous day so many people were out and enjoying the weather and their company.

Marc Chagall’s Four Seasons in Chase Tower Plaza in Chicago.

Marc Chagall’s Four Seasons in Chase Tower Plaza in Chicago.

After my meeting, as I rushed to grab the train back since I had plans that afternoon, I decided to pause and walk into St Peter’s Church on Madison. In all the years I’ve lived in Chicago and worked downtown and trekked into the Loop for client meetings and passed this church, I’ve never once walked inside. Granted, I’m not Catholic so that may be one reason since it’s a Catholic church. Still, I craved the solace and my daily morning meditation has helped to remind me of the importance of slowing down so I figured, why not…I’m going to walk inside.

I guess I wasn’t the only one who needed the solace and quiet from the busy-ness of life. While I wouldn’t say it was packed, for a Thursday afternoon, there had to be at least a good 30 people in the pews. The church is massive and beautiful. Marble statues, rows of wooden pews, candles lit, it really felt so calming. I left feeling not as rushed or anxious and it was a lovely feeling.

St Peter’s Church on Madison Street in Chicago.

St Peter’s Church on Madison Street in Chicago.

Stopping to Smell the...Tulips? - Week 3

I’ve been visiting the Chicago Flower and Garden Show annually for several years now and one of the reasons I love it is because it makes me hopeful that winter is on the way out and spring is around the corner. In this case, spring arrived (at least on the calendar) on Wednesday, March 20. We still need to wait a couple of months before we can plant any vegetables but I’m hoping to get started with growing my herbs indoors next month before I bring them outside. Baby steps, friends!

Pink tulips are my favorite spring flower. Seeing them annually at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show makes me smile.

Pink tulips are my favorite spring flower. Seeing them annually at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show makes me smile.

Women’s Journeys in Fiber usually has an exhibit at the Chicago Flower and Garden Show and I love to walk through it and take in the art. This one by Natasha Lehrer Lewis made me pause. It’s not big but it caught my attention. The theme of this year’s exhibit had to do with time and her piece, entitled Time, asks the viewer to try and recall the last time we took the time to stop and smell the roses. The piece has a little girl clutching flowers, inhaling their aroma and appreciating the sunny day and the innocence of childhood. “In time, storm clouds of life gathered in the distance, and the rumblings of adulthood could be heard,” the artist writes in her description of the piece. “Before long, these clouds hung over us, dark with the cares that now preoccupy our once creative minds.”

She goes on to write, “I am learning more with each passing day, to make choices and find balance for my soul. Never let the child-like innocence be clouded out by your storm clouds. Life is just too short.”

The art piece by Natasha Lehrer Lewis made me pause. Perhaps not to smell the roses, but to consider how I’m trying to balance the storm clouds and life’s demands with more opportunities to feed my creative soul.

The art piece by Natasha Lehrer Lewis made me pause. Perhaps not to smell the roses, but to consider how I’m trying to balance the storm clouds and life’s demands with more opportunities to feed my creative soul.

It was another great week of seeing friends and meeting new ones. I’m really enjoying these artist dates as well as getting out to see people. This winter has been brutal for me so it’s nice to feel more alive and happy. Thank goodness the sun has been making more appearances, too!

Soaking In Nature and Natural Light - Week 2

If you read last week’s post, you’ll know that I’ve embarked on a new year-long project to take an artist date a week. This week’s artist date appears to have a bit of theme as it reminds me that spring is around the corner and I cannot wait to get outdoors more often, in open space and around nature.

Plant Shop is the perfect little shop that is packed with beautiful plants for your window sill or corner in your room that needs some greenery.

Plant Shop is the perfect little shop that is packed with beautiful plants for your window sill or corner in your room that needs some greenery.

I learned of a new-to-me plant shop, appropriately called Plant Shop, so I set out to find it. It’s as darling and charming as I read and so glad I visited. I followed-up that visit with a trip to the New Independence Library, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite libraries because natural light streams through the enormous windows.

The New Independence Library’s windows and stepped seating area are among the many reasons I love this contemporary Chicago Public Library. It’s easy to get a lot of work done in this space since it feels both open and calm.

The New Independence Library’s windows and stepped seating area are among the many reasons I love this contemporary Chicago Public Library. It’s easy to get a lot of work done in this space since it feels both open and calm.

Sometimes it’s fun to explore in nearby neighborhoods. A change of scenery can do wonders.

Sometimes it’s fun to explore in nearby neighborhoods. A change of scenery can do wonders.

Finally, I had a pocket of time and the weather was nice enough that I decided to go for an extended walk with my dog Scout. Across a busy street from where we live, there is a small neighborhood that is filled with beautiful American Craftsman homes. We trekked in that direction and one corner home always has something to catch the eye. I was drawn to these pretty bird cages that hung from one of her trees.

My New Love Affair - Week 1

Don’t these handmade papers beg to be touched?

Don’t these handmade papers beg to be touched?

There are many things in life that make me happy. Textiles, handmade paper, art, and trees are among them. Books and coffee, too. So when I set out to start dating again, to take myself out on “artist dates” as Julia Cameron from The Artist’s Way calls them, I started jotting down some places I could visit to reclaim some of the creative feelings I seem to have lost in the bustle of day-to-day life. I suppose it’s no surprise that my first date was to BLICK, an art supply store in Chicago’s Loop.

While Cameron advocates for time alone during these artist dates, and I’m committed to doing them alone, I’m also trying to schedule more time with friends. I was able to follow-up this lovely artist date with a real date with a friend who I met for lunch nearby at Miller’s Pub, one of my old haunts when I worked around the corner and attended graduate school at DePaul University.

If you care to follow along, I’m hoping to use my blog to stay accountable and an online diary of sorts as I post my weekly artist dates here. If you have any recommendations on places to visit, please let me know. My goal is to keep these dates going through the end of the year.

Feeling Grateful and Ready for Spring 🌷

Headspace Tip.jpg

Photo above is a screenshot from my phone of the Headspace app tip. The photo in the background is a shot I took of a sculpture of natural stones Chloe and Alex created when we were on Washington Island in Wisconsin last summer. 
 
What a month it’s been. It’s been a rollercoaster on so many levels. February has always been my hardest month. It’s when Chicago’s winter really grips you and you feel like your heavy winter coat has become a part of your body. February truly depresses me and I’m always happy when I turn the calendar to March because we get to celebrate the first day of spring. Shout out to my awesome friends and family who made this past month bearable. Here’s to longer days and warmer nights and dress weather! 
 
For those who’ve been following my meditation progress, I’m happy to report I’m still practicing daily. Not breaking the chain has been motivating me and it’s crazy how being forced to sit still and just *be* changes my outlook and carries through my entire day. Friends and I have been sharing things or books that have been particularly helpful and one that keeps popping up is Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. I’ve talked about Cameron’s work before since she’s how I learned of the Morning Pages but many people were reminded of her body of work since she was featured in the New York Times earlier this month. I highly recommend reading it if you’ve not yet. 
 
Professionally I gave my very first webinar this month, which was a blast. I continue to write mostly about food as well as architecture, interior and landscape design this month. I have a piece coming out next month in a major national consumer print magazine that I’m excited about so I hope I can share it once it’s published. My clients continue to keep me excited about the work they’re doing around social justice, clean energy and sustainability. I’m so honored to be part of their teams. 
 
Personally, I’m excited to be plotting out my backyard garden and deciding with my family what we’re going to grow this summer. Tomatoes will always be a part of our plan but any recommendations for Zone 5 vegetables and fruits are welcome! I can’t wait to make our annual pilgrimage to Lurvey’s Garden Center and load up the back of our car with plants to add to our garden. Then we’ll hit up our local farmers market to fill in the rest of the gaps. Last year we had amazing results with zucchini but we learned we need to give them space. They crowded our raised bed and didn’t leave any space for our eggplants. We’ve been planting our tomatoes in containers and I think that didn’t give them enough space for their roots so this year we’ll plant them directly in the dirt. 
 
Three more weeks until spring. We got this, right? I’m so ready to put my boots away and get my hands dirty! 
 
What are your plans this spring? How are you holding up this season?

Focusing On Where We Are Right Now

43 days straight, just over 7 hours and 48 sessions. That’s how much I’ve been able to commit to daily meditation since I started in late December. This may not seem impressive to many people, especially those who practice meditation regularly. To me, though, this is HUGE. It’s the longest stretch I’ve been able to keep meditating and while there are days I just don’t want to set aside the 10 or 15 minutes, like any physical exercise, there is never a time I’ve not felt it’s been worth it. Never. In fact, most days I’m looking forward to the forced stillness.

Yesterday afternoon I spoke with an editor of mine who has become a dear friend (and if she’s reading this right now, she knows who she is!). I hadn’t meditated yet and I mentioned that sometimes I wonder if this meditation thing is working because I’m not sure how it should feel if it is (or isn’t).

Then, yesterday evening, when I finally did meditate, the dreamy accent of the person behind the Headspace app starts off by reminding us we need to be “focusing on where we are at this moment, rather than how well we’ll progressing.” It’s like he knew how I felt and overheard my conversation! Like when you read your horoscope on your birthday and think it’s been written just for you! He reminded us to stop judging our progress because that’s where we get into the zone of frustration and stress.

Trust The Process

Even if it doesn’t always feel like I can get this meditation thing right, even if it doesn’t always feel like I’m able to focus for one minute, let alone 10, I continue to meditate. Why? I knew I needed to make changes in my life after last year.

Perhaps you know the feeling? Have you ever felt like sometimes we’re on a hamster wheel? Going through the motions and checking off the boxes but not feeling like we’re actually going anywhere? I lost a client I had been working with for years. One I loved and long respected and admired. Until something happened within their organization and it all came crashing down. Out of my control, but still, it was a painful reminder that no matter how much of our heart and soul we put into something, it can be lost in snap. We were doing great work together, checking the boxes, going through the motions and then, poof. It all came to a screeching halt and it felt like I got whiplash. That’s how much if 2018 felt for me and why I wanted to put things in place early this year to make changes.

Meditating is helping, even if I can’t really see exactly how. I can feel the changes. I can feel that I’m calmer (yes, my word of the year!). I’m reaching out to organizations who align with my interests and values in the sustainability and social justice space because those are the places where I want to focus my energy and work. Have I secured new work with any of those organizations yet? Not yet. Do I think I will this year? Absolutely. Why? Because I trust the process. I know what I’m capable of doing and I know the decision to bring on a communication consultant is rarely done in a vacuum or without thought about how to budget for it.  But I know for sure that if I don’t continue to reach out to those organizations and let them know I’m available, the odds of me having the opportunity to work with them will be considerably lower. So I continue to put the time and energy because I know if I stay with it, something will happen.

That’s why I continue to meditate.

Consistency Matters

Much has been said about quality over quantity. If you want to produce good work, put the effort in and produce good work. While I don’t disagree with the sentiment, I also know this is a numbers game. You want to run a marathon? You have to log in the miles. You want to become a better writer? You have to write. You want to secure better clients? You have to let them know you’re available. Not just in December or January. But every month. Because you never know when that call will come that tells you thanks for the five or 10 years of working together, but this will be our last month.

Last night I was at the rock climbing gym where my kids practice as part of a team and I overheard their coach pushing one of their teammates to try to finish a challenging route. She was so close, just one step away from making it to the top, but she didn’t feel like she could finish it and was going to let herself fall off the wall. Her coach wouldn’t let her. “Try, just try,” he said. Buoyed by his encouragement, she tried. She didn’t make it and ended up falling off the wall.

“You’ll fall the same distance if you try and don’t make it,” he reminded her. “But you might make it, so why not try?”

Even if we don’t always hit those high notes or finish those routes or secure the clients we want or the stories we pitch, we have to keep getting out there. We have to keep trying. Consistency matters. And so does focusing.

What are you hoping to try this year? Have you taken any steps in January to inch closer to making it happen? Anything I can do to help? Let me know! Until then…stay warm, friends!