Sure, D.C.’s role as our nation’s capitol comes with some of the trappings you already think of– stuffy suits, ill-fitting silhouettes, and more conversations about government contracts than you care to finish. But many — like NoMa-resident Yasmine Nashed– is none of those things.
A 24-year old self-described “fashion lover, food junkie, and sports fanatic” Nashed was a White House intern under the Obama Administration. Less than a year later, she landed at the Pentagon as an analyst at the Department of Defense.
But despite being stationed inside the high-powered world of the federal government, a passion was growing for the world of fashion and lifestyle blogging.
“Working at the Pentagon for our country is what I love, and something that I am very passionate about. But I use blogging as a way to follow another passion – and a way to bring people together. [I want to] inspire others and give back in any and every way that I can.”
So how does Nashed manage a demanding job and all-consuming side gig? We sat down with her to talk passion, time management and sacrifice:
On Lifestyle Design, Blogging & Time Management
To Yasmine, time management is everything.
“It’s crucial to handle your time correctly when it comes to any growth and success within your field.” She sets aside one day a week to plan her schedule and visualize her upcoming week.
“Making adjustments will always be necessary. It requires me to have a lot of late nights and early mornings, but it’s all so worth it when I get positive feedback from the people following my blog and my supervisors at work.”
A Life Without Screens
Yasmine’s planner is a mainstay in her daily routine.
“My planner is huge in powering my priorities,” says Nashed. “I like to write out my thoughts, what I plan to do, and what I plan to blog about. I feel that sitting away from a screen with a pen and planner in hand stimulates my mind, because I am away from other distractions.”
But digital can play a role too – she uses the calendar on her phone to set reminders throughout the week that keep her on task, in the very moment she needs to be at her best.
“Without my planner I would be setting myself up for failure between the stresses of working full-time and being a blogger.”
On Priorities & Side Gigs
What are the benefits, in your opinion, of moonlighting?
“There are many benefits to moonlighting. One being that you can chase your passion and work towards something you love (for me that is fashion) while still working and/or studying. It is a good escape from the stress of a job or school.
Although blogging itself can also be stressful, it is something I am passionate about and have fun doing. So, it is definitely not the same kind of stress. There is no better feeling than when you see your own growth and success in it. Everyone works and studies, but not everyone does what they truly love.
Blogging has opened my eyes to so much and has allowed me to make connections that I never thought I’d be able to make. I would’ve never known that something that I love doing would open so many doors for me. All you need to do is take the right steps in the right direction.”
“Just like everything, moonlighting also has its disadvantages. To me, the biggest disadvantage is having a lot less time to do other things. Moonlighting requires a lot of time management and dedication. If your time management skills are lacking, things could get messy and you could easily fall behind in other important things going on in your life.
Since I have started, my social life has definitely not been the same. You have to be willing to skip out on events, hang out less with friends, and even lose a lot of sleep. You have to learn how to prioritize and start saying “no” to things of less importance. You also have to be wiling to sacrifice your ‘off’ days. I don’t remember the last time I had a free weekend.”
Is your side gig your passion? If so, do you hope to do it full time one day?
“My side gig is most definetely my passion. However, I know I have a long way to go if I wanted to pursue it full time. As of now, I don’t see myself leaving a government position to take on full-time blogging.”
“I use blogging as a way to escape the same wearisome everyday routine. My goal is to create a platform that could help and inspire others. Right now I feel that is being accomplished on a small scale, but I hope I continue to grow my platform. I am happy with even the slightest and smallest difference it could be making in inspiring the lives of others.”
Why haven’t you gone full time yet?
“I have not gone full time because I am currently just a micro influencer. I also love working for the government and hope to grow in that field.”
“Working at the Pentagon for our country is what I love and something that I am very passionate about as well. I use blogging as a way to follow another passion and as a way to bring people together while also showing them that they can do the same. You can always go after your passions no matter your current situation.”
How do you currently juggle these two very intense priorities in your life?
“These past few months have really taught me the significance of time management. Time management is truly everything. It is crucial to manage your time correctly when it comes to any growth and success within your field. I set aside one day each week to plan my schedule and visualize my upcoming week.”
“Making adjustments to your schedule is very necessary. It requires me to have a lot of late nights and early mornings but it is all so worth it when receiving positive feedback from both people following my blog and my supervisors at work.”
What tools do you use to power your priorities?
“My planner is huge in powering my priorities. I like to actually write out my thoughts, what I plan to do, and what I plan to blog about. I feel that sitting away from a screen with a pen and planner in hand stimulates my mind because I am away from other distractions.”
“I also use the calendar on my phone and set reminders throughout the week to keep my priorities straight. I feel that without my planner I would be setting myself up for failure between the stresses of working full time and being a blogger.”
Take the First Step
Yasmine lives a life true to doing the work one feels called to do, while pursuing the things that she cares deeply about. She leaves us with this advice:
“I would’ve never known that something I love doing would open so many doors for me. All you need to do is take the right steps in the right direction.”
Photography by Timothy Hoagland