Double Life Series: Tanya from Dans Le Townhouse

By July 17, 2012Uncategorized

Hiya! As I mentioned in this post, this week (and even a little bit of next) is all about leading a double life. What do I mean “double life?” There are many of us whose evenings and weekends are consumed by a passion quite different from our full-time jobs. Some of us are accountants during the day and crafting-obsessed bloggers at night. Some of us are insurance underwriters during the day and midwifery assistants every moment in between. Every day this week I’ve asked several folks to share their double life stories with you. Please show them lots of love!

Today I have Tanya from Dans le Townhouse for our first post and I’m so excited to hear her story!
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My name is Tanya and I blog over at Dans le Townhouse, where I chronicle my (mis)adventures in decorating, renovating, thrifting and DIY project-tackling.  

Thanks to Emily for letting me spill some secrets today.

By “trade” I’m a PhD candidate and I also work at a University as a teaching assistant and research assistant.  Most of my friends are grad students too.  Most of my friends are awesome people.  But most of my friends ask me to stop talking about my DIY projects.  They might feign interest about the desk my Handy Hubs and I welded, or the kitchen chairs we re-upholstered (houndstooth + vintage teak = lots of deliciousness to talk about), but then they’ve hit their limit.  Which is fair.  Even though so many of my projects are budget & student-friendly (I made an Ikea Expedit stylish, on a dime!) most of my friends just aren’t interested in home décor, installing drywall or making things from felted wool.
Looking for people whose eyes wouldn’t glaze over if I mentioned stenciling a poem onto a mirror I antiqued, in 2010 I started a blog.  In secret.  I told almost no one.  Even today, few of my friends and almost none of my co-workers know.  I just don’t talk about it.  I figure, if they weren’t keen on hearing about my wicked new DIY abstracts, they’ll be even less interested in hearing me talk about blogging about my wicked new DIY abstracts.  I don’t want to torment people (luckily, my Handy Hubby is fabulously supportive).
Plus, I worry that if I miss a deadline or don’t attend a work function, co-workers might point to the blog and say, “well, it seems you had time to spray paint a bird . . . “
I also worry they won’t take me as seriously as an academic, if they learned how much time I spend spray painting stuff, like wine bottles and birds (not real ones), taking photos of my townhouse (soooo many) and dreaming up new ideas.
Even though it’s “hush hush,” my blog has filled a major gap in my life and connected me with DIY-savvy folks who are equally jazzed about making over their homes on a budget.  I love blogging.  In fact, I spend too much time blogging.  Because I work from home a lot, my “water cooler break” is snapping some photos or editing a post.  Then sometimes I end up working until midnight to make up for that lost time, because I can never spend “just a couple of minutes” blogging.  I constantly struggle, trying to balance and prioritize the blog and my work.  I have to keep reminding myself which one is the hobby.
I see my colleagues excel, surpassing me in their number of publications and conference presentations and I worry that I am shortchanging myself by focusing time on the blog.  Sometimes I feel totally frivolous, posting about organizing a jewelry box with kitchen wares or sharing photos of my recent thrifty finds or fussing about with vintage items in my newly opened Etsy shop.  I have this nagging voice, telling my I should be doing things that are “better and more important” with my time.  My subconscious is kind of pompous.
But then a reader will write in and tell me how incredibly helpful my post about home evaluations was, or a teenage girl declares she wants to try my feminist mirror makeover and I realize the awesome potential of blogging.
Whether I’m helping someone avoid costly pitfalls by sharing the nitty-gritty of a DIY bomb, or sharing a pretty picture of a project that did turn out, or providing intimate details of our finances to helps other folks manage their own (coming soon), I’m making someone’s day a little bloggier.  Maybe someone without DIY-mad friends of their own.
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Oh, Tanya! We must talk some more. I try not to talk about the blog at work either. In fact, I feel really awkward when someone brings it up. I guess I just don’t want them to think I’m putting more effort into something else other than my full-time job… The truth is, I want to do really well at both! 

I often miss out on work parties too, not because I don’t want to be there, but because the evening is my time to focus hard on the blog and I just can’t afford to miss out on that time. I try to keep a balance – and when it comes to after-work activities, sometimes the blog wins, sometimes work wins – but it’s a constant struggle. 

Thanks so much for sharing! Please check out Tanya’s blog if you haven’t already!

We’ll be back tomorrow with another double life story!

Join the discussion 7 Comments

  • cassie says:

    i love tanya’s blog! she has such great style and wit! and i do take her seriously because she can poke fun at herself in a smart manner. 🙂

  • how2home says:

    We love Tanya’s blog! I totally understand what you’re talking about b/c i dont really tell my friends about what we do as well but sometimes…some how they discover and they give us great feed backs. When people you don’t know give you such great comments/support the feeling is awesome…we are starting to understand and really appreciate it now.

  • I probably get on my friends nerves too, and the blog is so awesome b/c it attracts people just as crazy of a DIYer as me! Can’t wait to check out her blog!

  • Though not completely secretive… I do not share my blog with my government co-workers. My restaurant co-workers are supportive! It does take me a bit to open up to people who ask about the blog though, because do people really care?

  • I love Tanya’s blog and I totally understand about talking about blogging! I try not to bring it up too much because I can tell my friends don’t get it, but it’s hard not to talk about something you love!

    I actually started my blog at work, so all of my coworkers know about it. At first my boss didn’t mind and was very encouraging, but now that I have more readers and posts and blogs that I read he hates it. I’m slowly trying to transition and only blog at home, but it’s hard to break old habits!

  • Colleen says:

    What a great interview/revelation! So many of us have the same thoughts/frustrations. Regardless Tanya seems honest & smart & cute & funny! and talented!

  • Thanks, everyone, for your amazingly kind and supportive words. Some of you (Cassie . . . Colleen . . . ) totally made me blush!

    If other folks don’t get this DIY and blogging thing we love, at least we know WE get it! It was so nice to share today and hear that other people can relate.

    I’m so excited to read other stories and learn how other bloggers balance their day jobs with blogging. Thanks, Emily, for creating this brilliant series!! And thanks again for having me on Go Haus Go!

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