We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Uzer and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ashley, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
So I’ve actually gone through a bit of a transformation quite recently. I’ve always been a bit of a work-a-holic. Either I was juggling multiple freelance projects/clients/side-hustles at once, or I was working a 9-5 job with additional freelance gigs on the side. This past summer was one of the busiest (and most lucrative) summers of my life. While I’m extremely grateful to have been in a good place financially during a tough economic time for many, I also realized I was super burnt out. I got fired for the first time in the fall from one of my jobs, and it made me realize that I was really just doing too much and wasn’t able to give anything (my clients, my personal projects, my friendships/relationships, the time they deserved). So, I decided to take the rest of the year off. Of course, I’m a work-a-holic, so by “off” I don’t mean that I went on vacay or watched Netflix the rest of the year, but I didn’t really seek out any new jobs or big clients. Instead, I focused on my friendships/relationships, my personal projects (such as my blog and Instagram, which are still “work” to me, but something that was always on the back burner), and doing things that had taken a backseat to work all year (like finally hanging art on the walls of my apartment). I never felt bored, and I tried to keep my inner voice from calling me “lazy,” and I really felt great most of the time. Now that it’s a new year, I’m still trying to focus on personal projects while getting into a routine that involves working in the mornings with my phone in the other room. I try to schedule at least one walk/hike/afternoon activity where I can outside and ideally catch up with a friend, and I let myself do what I want to in the evenings (it might be more work, or it might be relaxing with a book). I think I was always someone who worked to “fill the void,” but once I got rid of all the things keeping me busy, I realized that sometimes leaning into the void is a good thing. You can always make more money, but you’ll never make more time.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I think the biggest challenge I’ve struggled with in my career journey is feeling like I had to have it all figured out. Of course, there were times when I was literally saying yes to every project that paid me, but in the moments I wasn’t super concerned with money, I would have moments of self-doubt. The voices in my head would be like, “Why are you doing this project? Does it get you to where you want to be? You need to stop doing so many different things and choose a niche or a clear career path.” While I don’t totally disagree with the things that voice is saying, I’ve accepted that my career journey (and most people’s) are more of a winding path than a straight line, and my preferences for what I want to do change based on where I’m at in life. I’ve been a shoe designer, a journalist, a social media manager, a model, an influencer, a relationship coach, a copywriter, and hopefully a novel writer soon—but at the end of the day I’ve always largely enjoyed what I’ve been doing and been able to support myself, which is what really matters in the end. I honestly feel like if I had stuck to one career this whole time, maybe I would be “further along,” but honestly I’m not sure if I would be, and I think I would be way more bored with it all.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?

Breakfast:

– Egg Tuck for an awesome burrito with a vegan option that rocks
– Kreation for smoothies + acai bowls that cater to any of your dietary restrictions
– La Duree for brunch (the one in Beverly Hills is all plant-based and I’ve been dying to go)
– Locali for the best vegan breakfast sandwich (their cookies and BLTs are great too)
– If you go down to Huntington Beach for some reason, The Donuttery’s PB+J donut lives in my head rent-free (and they’re open 24/7)

Drinks:

– Sunset Grille for a super affordable, local outdoor vibe
– EP + LP for a somewhat touristy, but go-to LA rooftop cocktail
– The Beverly Hills Hotel because it’s iconic and once I saw Carson Daly there as a tween
– Harriet’s is another great rooftop spot at the 1 Hotel

Dinner:

– Catch for a quintessential LA photo-spot and people-watching, but also for bomb food
– Nic’s On Beverly for a cute date night with the hottie you met at LAX, definitely split the toffee pudding
– Fresh on Sunset for great mocktails, buffalo cauliflower, and Instagram-worthy aesthetics (you have to get their Rosy Glow juice too)
– Cecconi’s for a pretty outdoor setting, Italian food, and good vegan options
– Plant Food + Wine for a very Venice-y outdoor dining experience, complete with super healthy (but delicious) food

Going Out:

– Sayer’s Club for great live music and late night vibes (although it might be closed now?)
– Whisky A Go Go for an iconic LA music venue and cute rocker guys
– Poppy if you’re into clubs
– Petit Ermitage for a late night European feel (or topless tanning during the day)
– If my friend was really coming to visit me, I probably wouldn’t take them to any of these places and I’d just take them to house parties (that’s way more my thing tbh)

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My good friend Lokii has been one of my biggest cheerleaders since I started focusing on my own brand vs. building other people’s brands, and I appreciate him so much! Sometimes just having the company of a friend around helps you get through the tasks that you’ve been procrastinating all week, and he edits my Instagram Reels way better than I ever could on my own!

Website: loxandleather.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ashleygiov/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashley-uzer/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ashleygiov

Image Credits
@jameslaw1 @lokiiproblematic n/a @mistuhjphoto @mattdeifer @lokiiproblematic @luciidvizual @samnahirny

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