Blurry Bliss - Dana Chirps

How on Earth has it been so long since I posted? Well, to be honest, that’s an easy question for me to answer. Life has been busy! It’s mostly been very good things…

February 22-March 19th: Brett and I had our 3-year anniversary, his 35th birthday, and my 33rd (saaay whaaaat!?). We also celebrated my cancer-free day (19 years!).

March 8th: My parents were in my neck of the woods for a hockey tournament (which my dad’s team won!), so we got to show them our home in Newburyport during this brief but wonderful visit. It was so nice to get to have a birthday dinner with my parents.

March 24th: Brett and I got to go to one of his friends wedding in Monteray, CA. It was an Indian wedding, which is something I have ALWAYS hoped to get to experience. We wore the traditional attire, ate tons of Indian food, and loved every aspect of it. It was the most spectacular and over-the-top (in the BEST way) wedding I’ve been to. The groom went to college with Brett, so it was all of his Purdue friends. It was so fun meeting them.

March 30th: My good friend from Fort Lauderdale, Angelica, visited me! It was SO nice to see her and we had a blast catching up. I’m hoping I can convince her to come up to Newburyport in the summer months someday because she saw it when it was pretty dead. Now that it’s summer, the town is vibrant and lively.

April 6th: Brett and I got together with my Nana in early April and took her to see the musical, A Bronx Tale. I had never heard of it, but Brett and Nana had! It was a really good play. I still think I prefer the classic heavy hitters, but it was nice to change it up with something less mainstream. Honestly, I was just thrilled to spend the day with Nana.

April 12th: My family suffered an unexpected and devastating loss of my “Uncle Nick”. He was technically my dad’s cousin and was his best friend in the world. It rocked our entire family. I can’t remember which family member said it, but Uncle Nick was “the best parts of Podgurski”. It was absolutely heartbreaking. And to know how sad my dad was to lose his very best life-long friend was unbearable. There is definitely a piece missing in our family, but I know he is looking down on us - especially my cousins.

April 24th: I chopped my hair off!!!!! This is something I’ve been debating literally for YEARS. I finally pulled the trigger, and did so in a bold way - I went to a different salon with a new-to-me stylist. I’m really glad I did it. I keep going back and forth on keeping or growing it back out. I like both!

May 2nd: I took a public speaking course. Normally, I feel very confident giving presentations but I had gone through a funk where I just couldn’t deliver the way I had in the past. I knew it was all in my head and I had to do something or it was going to eat me alive. I essentially used the course as a “reset button.” The instructor essentially said that I have zero issues speaking in front of people, but that I should focus on everything that happens as I am waiting to speak. He offered realistic and helpful tips. It was a good experience for me and I left feeling like my old self again.

May 4th-5th: Brett and I took a weekend trip to Providence and we both LOVED it (we hadn’t been before). PVD is a city that has been gentrifying. There are still some seedy parts, like any city, but overall we thought it was beautiful. The food scene is unreal. It’s common for chefs to graduate from Johnston and Wales and open restaurants in town. There’s also more Italians per capita than anywhere else in the country - so the restaurants in Federal Hill (think Little Italy) are as authentic (and delicious) as they come. The art scene is thriving with RISD being right there. Scenic canals run through the city. It’s a city that is funky, weird, enthusiastic, energetic, and packs a lot of punch for a small city.

May 17th: Brett got me an ebike! I had vowed to never ride a bike again after using one as a primary mode of transportation in Bermuda. But electric bikes are FUN since they provide assistance (mine has three levels of assistance). It’s still quite a workout though! I love that we can go on rides together.

June 2nd: Brett and I took another trip to Providence. Because we had such a great time when we went in May we went into this trip with a “could we live here?” mindset. We also went to a really cool rooftop bar and restaurant called Mare that I had found on “the gram”. We loved everything about it. My favorite part (other than the food itself) was that the rooftop (and killer views) is accessible all year round, too!

Weekend of June 8th: Brett and I attended a wedding in Philly! It was for our friends Kieran and Sam. They visited us while we were living in Bermuda. We had such a blast exploring city and then celebrating their marriage. It was my first time in that city and I really wanted to hate Philly (b/c I hate the Flyers). But I seriously thought Philly (the city, not their sports) was awesome. The foooooood. The walkability was topnotch too.

The Rest of June: It was a CRAZY but AWESOME month. I was gone the whole second half of it. First, I went to South Florida for a few days where I stayed with my friend Angelica (the one who came to visit me in NBPT back in March). I worked during the day and caught up with more friends at night. Then Angelica, myself, and two other girls took a long weekend to Panama. Angelica is Panamanian and graciously offered to host us - I’ll write a separate post about that trip! But we had an incredible time! After that weekend was over, we flew back into Miami and I spent a day working there before I then flew to Denver for a work conference.

Mondays and Tuesdays: I (still) take painting class twice a week. It is the highlight of my week, every week. I love both my instructor and my classmates. They’re all so brilliantly talented. It’s like a family at this point.

Bermy: He is 85lbs and about 8 months old, ha! When Brett and I both have work trips we send him to get formal training (since we’d be boarding him anyways, might as well!). He is so much more obedient! He’s really transformed into this dog that is just fun to have around. He makes Brett and I laugh on a daily basis. We’re so lucky to have such a sweet and lovable pup.

Work: It’s going great. Although the honeymoon phase is over, I still feel like my decision to join this company was a really good one. I seriously love the team I’m on - such good people, and we each carry our weight in our respective roles - no weak links in this group. One of my teammates and I went to a conference in May. It was a blast to hang with her and be back in the multifamily scene, as it was my first industry conference since moving to Bermuda! It was like a reunion in many ways. The best speaker was the CEO of Travelocity and the best “fun” part was going to event at Tom Tom and meeting both of the Toms from Vanderpump Rules. At the end of June I had another conference which was pretty good. The highlight speaker was our CEO (it was my first time hearing her speak and she was really compelling) and Mindy Kalig. The “fun” part was that one of my vendors rented out The Filmore and had The Struts and Keith Urban perform just for us! Right now I am in busy-season with a whirlwind of quick trips, but I live for the chaos.

So there you have it! I’m alive! Ha! So many more updates and news to share, but that is all for now.

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

New Year Resolutions - 2019 - Dana Chirps

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When I think of 2018, I can’t help but think of the lyrics “thank you, next” by Ariana Grande. I had a lot of major life changes this year and although many of them are exciting, there was a lottt of stress behind some of them. Not to mention there were also intense moments of fear, sadness, and loneliness this year. Here are some of the changes that occurred:

  • Declined a great opportunity to try something different by working at an agency as a writer.

  • Left the agency to go back to doing marketing for luxury real estate.

  • Bought a condo in Newburyport.

  • Moved into said condo and immediately went to work on it - painting, fixing, furnishing.

  • Bought a new car.

  • Bought a puppy.

  • Did I mention this was my most expensive year to date?

Although I’m very much #byefelecia towards 2018, I did have some incredible experiences that I am so very thankful for. The 2018 highlight reel:

  • I made some dear friends in Portsmouth through a boutique gym called Mission. I honestly don’t think I would have made it through this year without them (or that gym!). Each of us is so different from one another… in terms of personality, you really couldn’t have assembled a more wonderfully diverse group of gal pals.

  • I completed two rounds of Whole30! (And learned how to make some DELICIOUS food from doing so!).

  • I went to two weddings and had an absolute blast celebrating the marriages of such wonderful friends.

  • I created “The Lady Den” in our condo. I absolutely love this space and use it almost daily.

  • I had one of my all time favorite Christmas’ with my family. It was also extra special because Brett joined and so did my brother’s girlfriend (who I absolutely adore). My favorite part was when we all played Cards Against Humanity with my parents - it was HYSTERICAL and so much fun.

  • Brett and I crossed off a bucket list concert - Elton John!

  • I spent time with my niece, nephew, and sister. Those kids are remarkable and my sister has done such a good job raising them.

  • Brett and I took an amazing trip to Spain. We went to Tenerife and experienced the black sand beaches and the most over the top resort. Then we went to Madrid which I would consider my favorite culinary experience in Europe thanks to the jamon de iberico, octopus, coffee, and rioja! It was our first major vacation together and I am so thankful that we got to spend such quality time together.

  • When I went from the agency back to real estate, the people at the agency through me a goodbye party and that was one of the funnest nights I’ve had since moving back to the states.

  • I went to Portland, Maine, Hilton Head Island, Burlington, Vermont for the first time.

  • I went skiing for the first time! And I liked it!

Now for resolutions! Before I get to my resolutions for 2019, I wanted to review my resolutions from last year. My thoughts are in bold.

  1. Fitness - I just need to get back into my routine groove. I was doing a good job for a while, and then the whirlwind of the move and interviews and transitional craziness took over. But now that Brett and I are moved in, game on. I am also going to try some local fitness spots... cycle studios, yoga (you read that right), etc. It will be a great way to meet people. Nailed it! At least until around September. Then I fell off the workout wagon! BIG TIME.

  2. Make NH my own - Brett is from here, so it's all "his." His hometown, his family (who all live nearby), his friends, his spots, etc. My goal is to make my own friends, and find my own spots. This was a challenge. Ultimately, I learned that I needed to be closer to the city and that I really didn’t like living in Portsmouth. (It’s worth mentioning that I have a fantastic time spending the day in Portsmouth, I just didn’t like living there.) Moving to Newburyport has proven to be a positive change and it makes more sense for our jobs, as well.

  3. Diet - Clean.it.up. Whole 30, here we come. I have a lot more on this coming, so I'll keep it at that for now. Welllll I did great while on Whole30, and I still kept up with some of the healthy habits I developed. But starting this fall my diet and fitness went to complete garbage.

  4. Work - Contract work has been a blessing, but I am switching gears and looking for a marketing position within a company. I miss being a part of a team, and the level of work that can only be accomplished with the resources and manpower that stems from working for a company. Added bonus: this will also help with goal number 2. Fingers crossed my next endeavor involves a bit of traveling, too. This was also accomplished. Although I’m still in what I call the “honeymoon phase” of a new job - I am really happy so far. It’s challenging, involves travel, and it’s getting to market what I really love - luxury products.

  5. DanaChirps - Continue to write. Continue to photograph. Share more. I also feel ok about this. I took a hiatus from writing in this blog to some degree, but I was still using my creativity through photography and painting.

Ok! 2019 Resolutions:

  1. Get back into a fitness routine. As I mentioned above, I fell off the wagon around September. I don’t feel as good, and am grumpier and lumpier when I don’t workout. For Christmas, I asked Brett for an Apple Watch since having a fitness tracker is extremely motivating for me. My Apple Watch has already helped and I love using it!

  2. Diet. I’ve got to stop buying junk. If we don’t buy it, we don’t eat it. Brett and I are on Day 1 of Whole30 (more on this later) to hopefully reset our habits.

  3. Creative. I’ve picked up my brushes again and my goal is to paint regularly. I also want to keep up with photography and writing. Now that we are “settled” I finally feel like I have enough mental space where I can do these things again.

  4. Go to Boston more. Newburyport has a train that takes you right to North Station and Brett and I need to take advantage of this and get to really know our city.

  5. Go outside more. I think this will naturally resolve itself once we get Bermy (our puppy) on Saturday. Brett also got me a sleeping bag of a warm winter jacket to make this possible. Brett also got me skis, so I’ll be able to do that occasionally, too! Have I mentioned that I am beyond blessed to be with such a giving person that is willing to do anything to make me happy?

  6. Make new friends. This is my most challenging resolution. Most people my age are busy chasing their adorable babies, Newburyport is small, I have a demanding job and a hard time relating to your stereotypical New Englander. Making friends has never in my life been an issue, but here we are.

4 Comments

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

The Lady Den - DanaChirps

In my last post, I told you about the process of Brett and I buying a condo and moving to Newburyport. Although we aren’t done with our projects just yet, I’m excited to show you my favorite room in the house.

Our condo has a small, 10x10’ room at the end of the hallway on the main floor. The moment I saw it I became excited by the potential to have a dedicated room that would allow for me to do all the things I love: write, paint, and work on photos. To be fair, I told Brett he could decorate and design the living room however his heart desired as long as I could have the freedom to do whatever I wanted to this small room. It was a deal. In fact, Brett chummed that he was going to have “the greatest man cave of all time.” Little did he know that I had plans of a lady den up my sleeve. ;)

It is worth mentioning that I (recently) accepted a job offer that is a WFH (work from home) with travel arrangement. Like my passions, my job is creative in nature. I’ll be doing marketing for luxury apartments (which is what I did in South Florida) while also acting as the point person for content (aka writing). So, when there is a special project that requires a higher level of writing, I’ll lead that particular aspect of the project. All of this to say that I needed to make sure this space was designed to inspire creativity while giving me the environment to act like the #bossbabe I am on a client call.

Here is the “before” photo with the former owner’s stuff in it.

It took four coats of white paint to cover the green.

It took four coats of white paint to cover the green.

Although the green didn’t offend me, it wasn’t my style at all. I also wanted to make the space feel bigger so I opted for a bright white. Every piece of furniture was selected with the mentality of “what is the biggest size I can get away with that won’t dwarf the room size?” I chose a rug the shape of the room–again, to give the illusion the room is larger than it is.

I purchased the rug on sale for $70 on Overstock. The white center of it has colorful specks stitched throughout, which is perfect for camouflaging when (not “if”) I drop paint on it.

Lady Den Rug - DanaChirps

Like most people that paint, I have loads of supplies and tubes of paint. I searched online for creative storage ideas and stumbled upon this example. Then I went on the hunt for wood to use and was mostly looking at already finished wood signs. I saw the bull at Hobby Lobby but wasn’t sure if the wood would be strong enough so I ended up going to two other stores. But I kept thinking about that bull and Brett was confident he could make it work. So we went back so I could get it (50% off, for $30 total). Brett was kind enough to drill the hooks and set it up for me since I don’t quite have tool skills (yet). I am absolutely thrilled with how it turned out.

I love the easy access I have to my paint. It also helps me keep tabs on what colors I’m running low on. I keep my camera on top of the black drawers. It’s so convenient to be able to grab it and go!

I love the easy access I have to my paint. It also helps me keep tabs on what colors I’m running low on. I keep my camera on top of the black drawers. It’s so convenient to be able to grab it and go!

At Home Goods I bought the desk ($150) and the black drawers ($120). I bought the art cart online at Target for about $100 and painted it grey (we had paint leftover from our living room) to soften it up. The chair was a Pier 1 splurge at $173 due to shipping and surcharge fees (eye roll), but would have been $130 otherwise. It is mega comfy and I love the bowed mid-century modern legs.

Overall, I am so delighted with how this room has turned out. I am still on the hunt for a couple more pieces, the light fixture being the most significant. But I have already begun to do more of the things I enjoy the most, now that I have the space.

The Lady Den. My favorite room in the house.

The Lady Den. My favorite room in the house.










Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Three Month Whirldwind - DanaChirps

Has it really been over 3 months since I wrote a blog post? That’s easily the longest I’ve gone without hitting “publish.” Weird, but explainable…

After Brett and I moved back to the states from Bermuda late last fall, we moved into his condo in downtown Portsmouth, NH. It’s a grey, beer-drinking town with a funky art scene that I’m pretty sure boasts more plaid shirts per capital than anywhere else in the world. The restaurants there are top notch and you can literally walk to Maine or drive a traffic-free 20 minutes to Massachusetts. Brett had renovated his condo just before we moved to Bermuda so it was fun to finally get to enjoy the fruits of his labor.

Portsmouth on a rare sunny day.

Portsmouth on a rare sunny day.

But there were several reasons why we ultimately decided to move out of Portsmouth. Although we were completely fine with the amount of living space, Brett’s condo didn’t have the storage space that we both wanted. I was working as a writer in Amesbury, MA, about a 30 minute drive each way. Brett flew and continues to fly in and out of Bedford, MA. Even with logistics aside, I felt “trapped” in Portsmouth and too far away from the city life that makes my soul come alive. And the independent woman in me (cue the Z-snap) loathed living in a place that was Brett’s - his town, his condo, his friends, etc. It’s hard to not feel like a guest in your own home/town with that set up. That’s not to say that he didn’t do everything he could to make me feel like it was “ours” - because he did and I love him for that. I just happen to be deeply passionate about living in a place I can make my own, that we can make our own.

We started looking for new places early on, initially out of curiosity. Thankfully, Brett’s best friend since forever is a (wonderful) local realtor and was happy to show us options. At first this process stressed me out beyond belief because I was already forced to leave Bermuda and move somewhere that wasn’t my top choice (though, it’s far from my bottom pick), I had never bought a home before and was terrified of the idea of planting roots (regardless of location), and I didn’t know the area well enough to know if I was formulating smart opinions. However, looking back, even as hard as it was, I am glad we did this because it helped me get to know the different towns quickly. As soon as I saw Newburyport, I loved it. (For the Richmonders reading this, imagine Monument Ave + The Fan but with a nautical New England vibe.)

Last March, Brett had dropped me off at an appointment and he went to tour a condo in Newburyport to kill time. When he came back to pick me up, he blurted out, “I found our place!” I told him to call the realtor to see if I can go see it since we were in the area. She didn’t answer. So he called his best friend (our realtor), who connected with the realtor representing the condo. It’s after hours. There were already four offers. So in true New England real estate fashion, we offered well above the asking price (so did the others) but sweetened the pot by offering a move-in date that we knew would appeal to the owners. And we got it. Yes, we put an offer on a house before I had laid eyes on it. I know, I know. Such a classic Dana move. But I trusted that Brett would never take the chance on being wrong with something as big as buying a home.

So we moved into our condo early July. It’s 2/2 and about three times the size of our condo in Portsmouth (which we rented out). We have been doing house projects ever since. So much painting. Pealing paint. Painting paint. Hiring painters to paint. So many coats of paint. Sanding. Patching. Ordering furniture. Sending furniture back. Hanging things on walls. There is a sense of urgency because it’s impossible to do stuff during winter and because living in a place that feels incomplete drives.me.batshit.crazy. We’re THIS close to having the place be presentable enough to have people over.

Although we are in the midst of approximately 12,000 house projects, it feels so good to live here. We have plenty of space, plenty of storage. We both love living in Newburyport. We are two blocks from the water and appreciate how it’s such a focal point in this town. The downtown is smaller than Portsmouth’s, but Newburyport is more open. There are tons of parks, trails, and paths which we take advantage of regularly. We are a five minute drive from the beach, Plum Island. There is a train in town that takes you to North Station in Boston. If we wanted to drive into the city, we can easily do so, too.

I have the space to do the things I love. The space to walk and explore. The space to think and write and paint. For the first time since moving back to the states, I finally feel like I can breathe.

2 Comments

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.