5 Things Friday: Growing and Renovating

Friday 5: GrowingThis week has passed me by way quicker than expected. We had a public holiday on Monday, then a hectic couple of days catching up on work, kids getting sick, and many new ideas and possibilities.

With so much going on at once (as they often seem to happen!), I thought I would grab the opportunity to do another Friday Five post. And, with spring being truly in the air here in Adelaide, I thought the theme of growth and fixing stuff might be a good one to have.

So, in no particular order, here are five out of a million things that I have been thinking about lately...

1. Planting and growing stuff. My kids love doing a lot of things. And, one of my kids' interests is gardening. My son especially loves growing "a garden that you can eat." My daughter likes that type of garden too. That, and flowers. My son isn't all that fussed about the flowers. Over the last couple of years or so, at about this time of the year, we often try to plant new stuff in our underdeveloped garden. Although many of the things we planted don't last forever, we have enjoyed growing and harvesting some herbs and vegetables over the years. We have even managed to grow some things that seem to have become a permanent part of our garden (and kitchen) - a thriving rosemary bush, a small cumquat (calamansi) tree, and a chili plant. And yes, we have non-edible trees, plants and flowers in our garden too.

Last Monday, I ended up spending some time with the kidlets planting new seeds and seedlings in the garden. We have planted some tomato plants, mint, basil, coriander, bok choy seeds, and a couple of flower seeds. The bok choy have already started to sprout after only a few days, so we're quite excited about that. Now, we'll just have to wait and see how these things will grow.

2. Speaking of growing, I have been thinking about - and exploring - the concept of coworking. I was introduced to the idea of coworking a few years ago, but didn't think much more about it as it seemed abstract to me back then. Then, a little over a couple of years ago I was re-introduced to it when I met David Hood during a work trip to Melbourne and he mentioned Hub Melbourne, which was just getting set-up at the time. I fell in love with the concept and wished to see it happen in Adelaide.

A few months later, I attended TACSI's Social Innovator Dialogues: Innovative Collaborations presentation by Tonya Surman from the Centre of Social Innovation (Canada). The concept of collaborative workspaces was mentioned once again. At the time, I was working full time in an organisation, so coworking wasn't exactly an option. But, I knew that if I ever worked solo again, I would like to try coworking. In a really amazing and inspiring place that would make solopreneurship a lot less isolating and a lot more collaborative.

Today, I visited a potential space for me to base my new company, Vervely for a couple of days a week. The physical office is fantastic, but what's most attractive to me is that the place seems to offer more than just a cool desk space with modern facilities. It has that very positive, innovative, and exciting vibe that I would love to have in a workplace. With plenty of inspiration from people who are doing some really cool stuff.

I have not signed up yet, as I still need to plan and organise a few things. But, if all goes well, I might be announcing a new office for my almost 5-month-old business.

3. Now another aspect on growth and collaboration that I am looking at is the idea of running a blogging/social media mastermind group. You see, I have been recently approached by a fellow blogger who wishes to take their blog on to another level. And, they want to do it with some guidance and a sense of camaraderie. They want to learn how to work on improving the professional aspects of their blog with some help.

We talked about the different ways we can do it, and the concept of running a mastermind group seems to be the one that struck the chord the best with both of us.

And, we are both wondering if anyone else would be interested in taking part in a mastermind group that focuses on bloggers and/or social media users who wish to do these things in a professional capacity (ie, trying to make a living out of it).

If this is something that might interest you, please let me know.

One of these days, hopefully, we can talk more about blogging/social media mastermind groups.

4. Now, back to domestic matters, another thing that my family are entrenched in right now revolve around renovations. Well, we are almost always in some state of renovation mode over the last 6 years since we moved into this house that we're living in. Every year, we try to tackle a major project to improve an aspect of our house. We've changed floorings and carpets. Fixed a fireplace and added fencing. Replaced doors and the old stove that came with the house. We have added a deck, a paved area with a pergola, and a play area in our backyard. Last year, we renovated and refurnished our master bedroom.

This year, my five year old girl has decided that she wants to move out of the room that she's currently sharing with her brother, and to have her own bedroom. A nice room, with her personality stamped right into it.

So, the girl has been trying to be as involved as possible in the recreation of this spare room - from choosing the paint to be used on the walls (something called "fairy wings", if you can believe it) and finding a new bed to choosing the decorations and furnishings. Yes, she even insists on browsing through design ideas on eBay and other websites. And, every time you try to sway her opinions, she would say: "Well, it's my room. I'm allowed to choose what I like, right?" Uhm. Right.

Oh, by the way, when I say "we" in renovations, I must admit that I do very little grunt work. My input is mostly in the planning, choosing, and in some cases, minor physical work. I mostly leave DIY work with the hubby. Heh.

5. And finally (for now), I am thinking about "The G Word". Over the last few years, I have spent considerable time, energy, and other resources in the pursuit of understanding this whole thing. Yet, it's the one topic that I feel very strongly about, but I never felt free to blog about. It's a subject that I very rarely talk about outside my closest circle (unless it gets brought up for some reason), even though I may allude to it in some of my public posts. But, due to a silly sense of taboo, I try not to use that word in closer terms. I avoid it because whenever it is mentioned, I know that the intent and meaning are often misconstrued. That's why it seems such a terrible topic to blog about, even though I know it shouldn't be that way.

Slowly, though, I am trying to muster up the courage to talk a bit more about it. Not to get on a high horse or a pulpit. For me, it's to help shed light on it a little bit, in my own way. And also to help me to make sense of it better.

It's just that if there's one major aspect of my life that I am deliberately censoring myself in, especially in this blog, it's this one. Well, this and the "C Word". Though I probably have mentioned my involvement in the C Word a bit more in my online life than the G Word. But, that's a whole different story.

About the Author Shai Coggins

Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.

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