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I’m back! (with a vengeance)


The last two months have been very turbulent for me. As you know from my last post, I lost some friends that I cared deeply about, and THEN! a few weeks later, I was let go from a job that I was invested in and very excited about. The company took a different direction, and I was left by the wayside, wondering where I had gone wrong.

The thing is, I didn’t go wrong. I didn’t do anything wrong. The company changed directions, and I was not part of that change. It’s such a weird thing to have happened, but I’m sure this happens a lot. People change their minds. Big companies change their minds. Not everyone will like me, no matter how loveable I might think I am. This was a bitter pill for a died-in-the-wool people-pleaser like myself, but it’s been a huge lesson for me, and I’m thankful. It’s forced me to get stronger.

I admit it took the wind out of me for a bit. I felt lost and confused. But now that I’ve had a month to sit with it (and maybe it’s still too early to say that I’m already over it and moving on but), I think it was probably one of the best things that has happened to me in a long time. Hard things tend to work like that. I was forced to regroup and look deep inside myself to find purpose and a plan.  It was tempting to give up. I wanted to move home with my parents, stay in bed for a year, and cry…But you can’t give up when you are a single mom living in an expensive apartment with a teenager, and your parents live in an HOA that doesn’t allow for grown children under the age of 55. Giving up is not an option!

So you know what I did? I rebranded.

SAJ is back and stronger than ever. Check out my portfolio! I packed it with my latest work and I hope to add more. Matt has been a long-suffering excellent (web designer!) partner who has spent countless hours poring over code to override my quirky WordPress problems. But I love it now. Secret Agent Josephine is a one-woman creative agency, and I’m adding clients already.

I can survive on my own! Isn’t it amazing? I’m so happy, lucky, and grateful to have options like this. I might not be “the corporate jet setter working woman,” but I’m me, doing what I love, and most importantly: I’m okay in a super stressful, financially unstable time. That’s what matters; I’m okay.  Everyone said I would be, but it was hard to see that when I was in the murky depths. Now I see.


Guess what else is back?

Slideshows! Sorta… Click on those squares, and you’ll see a slew of photos. I stumbled across this little plugin in the long, arduous process of learning how to create a better portfolio. Now I can have slideshows within my blog posts, and they aren’t grainy automated gifs!

I’m still learning and tweaking but pretty cool, right?

Bug and I went to Crystal Cove this last weekend and spent some time poking around the tidepools and enjoying the coastal super bloom. We love where we live, and I’m so thankful for time with my teenager before she’s all grown up and moving on.


Another comfort during these last few months has been my tiny little patio garden. I’ve spent many hours here watching the plants grow and contemplating my next move. I’m thankful for this little spot of peace. Bug and my mom decided to plant tomato seedlings a while back, and now I have twenty-some full-sized cherry tomato plants growing knee-high on my tiny patio. It’s going to be a jungle soon. I can’t even imaging what it will be like late summer.


Then there’s my cozy room. I did a massive furniture rearrange because that always does a spirit good. I’ve also spent many hours cuddling with my crazy hugging cat. Who has a hugging cat? I do! She’s so funny. I can’t sit down on my bed without her climbing up on me, tucking her fuzzy purring head under my chin, and reaching both paws around my neck. It’s quirky, weird, and sometimes even annoying, but I think she’s a special gift sent from the universe to help me get through the tough spots in life.


  • Gingermog

    Heloooooa I’m loving your new redesign and I’m loving your beautiful, colourful banner! ?? As you know I’m a veteran freelancer myself and it’s a real sucker bunch, when a company you’ve thrown your heart into pleaseing suddenley goes in a different direction and your left by the wayside wondering what went wrong. They just changed their mind. poof ! I’m really proud of you how your regrouping and coming back stronger than ever after such a major disappointment. I do think following your own star and being true to yourself is the best way but I know it’s scary when there’s bills to pay. I believe in you xx

    • SAJ

      Thank you, Lynne! I couldn’t do this without you cheering me on. You have been so great listening to me and all my woes. Thank you!

  • Kuky

    I love the redesign and the slideshow squares with the caption box. I was so surprised the down arrow actually brought me somewhere to read more. Very unexpected!

    I’m really glad I’m back here in this space reading your words. I always loved how well you could articulate your feelings and the glimpses of your life you’d share. Really thankful that you announce in your stories when you put up a new post. I don’t read any blogs anymore and can’t even remember the feedreeder I used to use. Ha!

    • SAJ

      What down arrow? I’m totally confused. Lol. I’m still getting the hang of it too. Yeah, I don’t know what happened to RSS feed readers. I miss them too. I hate posting on Facebook because that’s where all my family lives, and I don’t love to share with them all the time. I like sharing on IG because that feels like more my people, but I also hate getting in people’s faces like an attention whore. I don’t know what the answer is. Maybe I’ll start up a “Brenda’s junk mail” newsletter. Cause we all need more spam in our inboxes. Arg. But I’m super thankful for all of you friends who still read. You have kept my spirits up and going on so many occasions.

      • Leanna

        Brenda, you are an inspiration, and a free thinking, creative force to be reckon with. The Universe will answer your prayers. ?? your new banner and keep us (your fans) in the loop.

  • Debra

    Site looks AMAZING !! I wish I had a fabulous party to hire you to make invites ! And so happy you are keeping the blog, wow I’ve been reading since Bug was an itty bitty.

  • Cathy

    The whole site re-do is beautiful. So is your patio garden and your furniture re-arrange and the banner – makes sense! I’d love to think the banner is a hint at a new side-gig (I saw those boutinnieres!) Glad to see you thriving in the face of the turbulence – go, you!

  • Stacey

    Just popping on to say I love the design, LOVED the slide show. I’m usually a lurker but FWIW I still use Feedly. I also follow in IG though. Cheering you on!

    (Also, I usually use Mom24 but your site won’t allow it. Not a big deal, just letting you know.)

  • Tiffany

    So glad to see you back here and the re-design looks great! I still use Feedly and you pop up there for me. Sorry that the big life lessons and revelations often come with some pain, but it sounds like you’re making the best of it. Looking forward to more glimpses into what new and exciting things you have coming – or even just the mundane day to day – sometimes that’s what keeps you going.

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