Thursday, July 23, 2015

{this & that}

Raise your hand if that photo above makes your mouth water. I MEAN. Look at those layers! For days afterward I couldn't stop thinking about it, so I picked up a frozen gf apple pie the next time I was in Whole Foods to get my fill. Long story short, it was nothing like that pie above.

Will someone be my SoulCycle sponsor? Because I'd love to go three times a week but can only afford to go, like, three times a year. {Total first-timer & I just went to two classes in five days. I'm obsesssssed.}

I was in heaven all of last week & weekend because the temps were so high. At one point it was 87 degrees at 10:30 am! But as I'm writing this I am bundled in my classic kempf company sweatshirt/sweatpant combo {both varying shades of gray & two sizes too big}, under a blanket, annoyed at the complete 180. It's super windy, drizzly, & mid-50s.

I know it's the east coaster in me, but when am I going to stop obsessing about San Francisco weather?!

Like I said in this post, I am going home in a few weeks & one thing I'm looking forward to is getting my hair cut & colored. It's been over 18 months since I've had my highlights touched up & it's well overdo. {ps. The fact that I've gone this long also proves how amazing my hair colorist is.}

Anyone else watching season two of True Detective? I thought I was following along but then I read this helpful guide & realized I'd missed like 8 key plot points.

Speaking of True Detective, I pretty much died laughing while watching this interview with Vince Vaughn.

Sometimes I feel like this blog {...when I post, ha} & my instagram photos make it seem like I have my life totally together & that I'm living a super grown-up life. I'll leave you with a story: Besides the Bachelor/ette franchise, my roommate Britni & I both have a mutual adoration for Harry Potter. The movies, the books, the whole nine yards. Nothing too weird or overboard, but enough. Anyway....when Britni woke up a few weeks ago & proclaimed that she wanted to buy the set of all eight DVDs so we didn't have to rent them anymore {once every few months}, I was game. So off we went to Target {no dice} & to Best Buy, only to find the Blu-ray set. But, darn...we don't have a Blu-ray player.

Cut to: Britni & I walking out of Best Buy with the Blu-ray set & a BLU-RAY PLAYER.


Happy Thursday!

Monday, July 20, 2015

{my dog & my beach}

Two significant things happened to my family this spring. They were both really, really hard & being away from it all was both helpful & tough. The physical distance removed me from the thick of it, but it may catch up to me when I go home in a few weeks.

In March, my parents decided to sell our beloved beach house. I knew they were thinking about doing it, but I did this thing where I convinced myself it would never happen...until it did. And even though I understood all of the reasons, it didn't make it any less easy. For any of us.

This summer is the first summer in 20 years that I won't be going to LBI. And it is painful. Being out here in California, living this adult life, I am so nostalgic for those childhood summer days. The days where my sibs & I would run into our rental house with sandy toes (which was carpeted!); build forts during the thunderstorm nights; bike to the end of the island for ice cream at the Carousel; dance on the coffee table to the Gyspy Kings in our underwear while my stepdad was grilling & my mom was setting the table; feeling sticky from sweat & sunscreen; choosing which colors of thread to wrap our hair in; having breakfast & hot cocoa on the beach in our soft LBI sweatshirts; picking up a raspberry pie & cider donuts the second we arrived on the island; chasing Cooper down the beach after he spotted a seagull; smelling the salty air once you hit the bridge from Manahawkin.

Our time at LBI changed over the years, but in may ways it stayed the same. We bought our own beach house instead of renting & didn't dance to the Gypsy Kings in our underwear & stopped building forts. We switched our ice cream place to somewhere else since the Carousel turned into Poppy's (& even though they used the same ice cream recipe, it still wasn't the same). We didn't get hair wraps, & Dyl & I stopped eating the donuts & pies because, well, celiac.

But... we still had breakfast on the beach; that classic salty smell was still the same on the bridge; I still covet my soft, favorite LBI sweatshirts that smell like home; and we still chased Cooper down the beach because Cooper never stopped chasing birds.

Our dog left us soon after our beach house did, & if the house stung, this was torture. He made our human family of six a true family of seven—always there since he came into our lives one fateful Valentine's Day. He was the most peculiar, strange dog I'd ever met & so perfect for our family it was crazy.

I'm dreading this one particular moment in a few weeks. My mom, stepdad, & siblings have all experienced this, but soon I will join the club: I will walk into our house & hear a silence that isn't filled with the paws of our dog racing to greet me at the door. Besides my family, if there was one thing I loved more than LBI, it was Cooper.

I'd always told myself that when the day came to sell the beach house, I'd fly home & stay there one more time. And when we knew that Cooper was really sick, I'd fly home & take him on one last walk. I didn't get either of those goodbyes—& I think that was a good thing—but I do know that my last time with and at each was perfect.

Life, you know? Life. It ends & it changes & it's really hard sometimes, but most of the time it's really great. This season of change for my family, especially my mom & stepdad, is a tough one. But we're all still here & the memories we made will live on.

^^I love this one because we're all laughing at Cooper, 
who has been cropped out because he spotted a seagull & 
tried to crawl between my mom's legs

^^his fave spot at the beach house, besides the actual beach :)

ps. LBI posts: here, here, here, & here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

{my new room: before}

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I moved into a bigger room in my apartment, & after living in it for six weeks, I'm so happy to have made the swap. The space! There's so much of it! When I was face-timing with my Manhattan-residing sister, she enviously said: "Your room is a $%#-ing palace." :) I'm well aware of how much of a gem my apartment is, but thanks Dyl.

I think this room was the original living room since it's at the top of the stairs, faces the street, & has pocket doors into another room. {My old room, actually, but we had our landlord drywall that side of the doors to soundproof the separate spaces.} That's why it's sooooo spacious. The original architectural features—original fireplace, tile, built-ins, light fixture—make the room feel so unique.

Everything from my old room fits in here except for my desk & yellow mirror, so I moved those out into our hallway. I also had to get rid of my beloved curtains, since I only had one panel {the curtains I'm using temporarily were left by my former roommate; their length is eating at me though.} It's also been an adjustment getting used to a closet-less space, since I really dislike everything out in the open {you'll agree when you see the photos}, but hopefully it'll just inspire me to downsize my wardrobe?

Don't let the pics fool you...I moved all of my clutter into the hallway for this photoshoot! I'll chat about my design plans for the room in another post, but for now here is a peek into my new room...


^^this view is so sad & boring :/

What do you think of the garment rack? Should I hide it with a curtain? Or just buy clothes that are all the same color? Lol.

Friday, July 10, 2015

{working girls: britni}

This girl won me over with Snickers & a beautiful apartment. I'd been on so. many. Craigslist interviews & not one of them seemed to be the right fit. Then lo & behold, I walked up to ours. She offered me a bowl of candy & a room in her apartment & the rest is history. We have what we call "Me Day Mondays" where we wear comfy pants, eat pizza, & watch the Bachelor/ette {...yeah she's the girl who turned me back onto the Bachelor franchise after what I thought was a permanent break...} She's one of my favorite people out here in San Francisco & I'm so thankful for our friendship. Meet Britni...

Tell me a little about yourself: age // where you're from // where you currently live
I am 26 years old and grew up in the small town of Hollister, CA (not the clothing store). I have lived in CA for about 15 years now but still don't tan. I currently live in San Francisco and have been here in SF for about 3 years now.

Where did you go to college? What did you major in?
I went to California Polytechnic State University—San Luis Obispo. Also known as Cal Poly - SLO. I majored in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. I was highly involved in the school's American Marketing Association and Enactus (formerly known as SIFE) organization.

What's your favorite thing about where you live?
Okay, so you might find me on a tangent with this question and I apologize in advance.

First of all, throughout my entire life I have lived in small towns. Even college! So the thought of moving to San Francisco was my dream. No, like literally, I dreamed one day I would live in a big city in a tiny apartment and order take out Chinese as I worked all day...weird.. I know. So when an opportunity opened up to move into someone's apartment (by apartment I mean living room) my initial thoughts were 1.) YES! 2.) NO! 3.) I have a fear of driving over bridges! 4.) Can I afford it?  5.) I will regret it for the rest of my life.

Here is how it initially played out. I said YES, I was scared to death driving over that bridge for a solid three months as I commuted to work, I had never had to handle that many people and that much noise and my anxiety was on overload. Sounds like a horrible experience, right? Wrong! I had actually overcome about four fears at once and all the while, met some of the BEST people I could ever meet, ate food I had never even known existed, and I had found myself addicted to the soft rumble of the city. If it was quiet then it got weird, if there wasn't a wait at a restaurant it must not be good, and no store closes before 10! 

And although I have found myself at times angry and annoyed at some inconveniences; I have my best friends, fantastic boyfriend, amazing apartment (not just a living room anymore!), diverse cultures, abundance of activities and a large amount lessons learned ALL thanks to San Francisco. I know it sounds cliche but my heart is in SF and I am totally okay with it.

And if you want to know (yes, I think you do) I still love sitting at my apartment and ordering take out. So I guess, one dream accomplished and many more to go... :)

Let's get down to it: what do you do? Walk me through a day in your life.
I started a new job about only a few months ago so I will walk you through my old role as well. 

I previously worked for a Food Broker as a Business Development Manager in the Consumer Packaged Goods Industry. What's a Food Broker? Well, many manufacturer's like Mars, Unilever, Smuckers etc. pay brokers to manage their sales, new item launches, promotional programming and any company wide goals. So every time you go into the store and see something on sale, a new flavor item, or a cool display it's because someone (brokers most times) have worked with buyers at each various grocery store and sold the programs in. 

Now, I work for a manufacturer (Ajinomoto Windsor) and work on the Marketing Team. Ajinomoto Windsor makes Jose Ole taquitos, Ling Ling potstickers, Tai Pei meals and many other frozen foods. The marketing team is responsible for a wide variety of things ranging from product packaging, item innovation, campaigns on TV, in-store and social media and ensuring we have the right costs and funds to do so. There is so much more we do on this team but I am continuing to learn each day so I will have to get back to you on what MORE we do! :)

Travel back to when you were a freshman in college. Looking ahead, did you see yourself doing what you do now?
First of all, being a freshman in college is the most exciting and nerve racking experience of all time. You FINALLY have the freedom you dreamed of but also the reality that you are now on your own and responsible for your own success/choices! That being said, I think I was a little abnormal in that I had decided at the age of 15 that I wanted to go into marketing. (Before that, I was convinced I could be an astronaut and work for NASA but's a whole different story!) To be honest, what really sold marketing in for me was Donald Trump's "The Apprentice" TV show. They were marketing a car (the Solstice) and I realized how fun it could be to market actual products whether edible or non-edible. So when I was in college my tag line was, "I can always market toilet paper because everyone (hopefully) will always need to buy toilet paper".  I didn't see myself joining a brokerage right out of college but I had a general idea that I wanted to market goods which, let's be real, is VERY broad.

What's your favorite thing about your job? Or, what is most rewarding about your job?
I love being creative and brainstorming new ways to change up our products—whether it's a new package or a new flavor—and then being able to physically see the hard work on the shelves at stores! It's thrilling to walk into a store and see everything that you have worked/collaborated on actually in action!

What do you find most challenging about your job?
I think knowing your audience is always something to keep working on. It's not necessarily that challenging but it can be hard to make sure we aren't making decisions based off our preferences and not the consumers. I also think understanding how products are made, the costs, the energy, and the time that goes into the products can be challenging when trying to be innovative.

I'm always curious about what people wear to work, since it all depends on their commute, their industry, etc. Describe your work style.
Typically the CPG industry is business casual. It's a lot of sales people and executives, but over the course of the last few years it has slowly become a bit more casual. I am able to wear jeans to work everyday because my office is at a manufacturing plant and it's a bit more casual. Now, if I worked at our main office it would be business casual. If ever confused on what business casual is you can always look at your school's career services site and they most times offer insight.

Do you feel like you've nailed the work/life balance thing? If so, how? If not, what is something that you do to that helps you try to maintain that balance?
No, no, no—I will be the first to say that really channeling a good work/life balance is hard. In the beginning of any role, you will want to invest a bit more time to work in order to really grasp the job and put your best foot forward. Now, that being said, I do suggest a good work routine. Make sure you have a solid work schedule that way your bosses, mangers and peers (and yourself) know when they can expect you in the office and when you would like to leave. I work 7:30–4:30, unless a project calls for later. The more consistency in the beginning the better. I also would recommend communicating what's important to you early on with your manager (hopefully during the interview process and before you accept the role). I had a great conversation with my team about their culture, their priorities and  gauging what their style was. They are a great group who sees importance in personal life and family and they asked ME what my priorities are so we can, together, create the best working relationship/schedule.

What's the best advice you've ever been given? Either career, personal, or both.
You won't know what you like to do and what you don't like to do until you try it. For every new role, keep a list of the tasks you enjoy/dislike and when looking for the next step go back and reference your list so you can make sure over time you are molding your career into what you had always envisioned. 

favorite workout song: Tyga Radio on Pandora or Eminem
best meal: Mac n' cheese
must-watch tv show: The Walking Dead
plane ticket to anywhere, you go to: Italy!

You can find Britni on Instagram and Twitter.


Thanks so much, Britni!  I advertise food, so it's really cool to be friends with someone who is on the marketing side... I mean, I didn't even know a food broker existed before I met Brit, did you?

I really loved her honesty about the challenge of her job: "I also think understanding how products are made, the costs, the energy, and the time that goes into the products can be challenging when trying to be innovative." Learning about things like operational logistics was eye-opening when I started my job. In my role (agency-side), we deal mainly with the client marketing team—someone like Britni—on a day-to-day basis, but there are so many other pieces involved before the creative process that I'm not part of: brand, operations, product innovation, franchisees, etc. In short, marketing a product isn't as simple or quick as it seems on TV! :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

{the streets of cannes}

Croissants. Pastries. Sauces. Baguettes. Fresh pasta. These are all things I couldn't eat in Cannes. Just FYI.

Thank goodness the city is so beautiful, because the scenery was a nice distraction from all of the delicious aromas around every corner. Like I mentioned yesterday, when I wasn't in class, I spent my time walking up and down every street in the city snapping pictures. The weather was dreamy the whole time—warm and sunny, with barely any humidity. It's a shame I never had a chance to do a beach day, because it would have been perfect!

I only ended up using my camera once the entire trip, so most of the photos below are just from my phone, but I think they turned out pretty well. Enjoy Cannes...

I want to go back! :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

{the cannes young lions academy}

This blog went radio silent for a bit but I have good reason! I just got back from a little sojourn in France. A few weeks ago, my aunt told me about a program for young advertisers {2-4 years into the industry} that was occurring during the Cannes Lions International Festival for Creativity. Literally 48 hours later I enrolled into the Account Executive course, got accepted, & booked my tickets! Everything fell into place so quickly & before I knew it...I was in Cannes. My aunt was attending the main festival as well, so it turned into a work slash girls trip {heavy on the "work", but still!}

For those who don't know, the Cannes Lions are like the Academy Awards for advertising. They recognize the year's best work in design, branding, public relations, advertising, & more. {Although there is a LOT of amazing work that does not get recognized.} In addition to the award shows, the week is filled with seminars, workshops, & networking events.

The Cannes Young Lions Academy is a five-day intensive course that is a mix of classroom-setting classes & main stage talks. There are four: Creative, Marketers, Account Executive, & Media.

It's really hard to sum up the experience in a few words, but I'll try:

The week was nothing short of life changing. The fact that I was able to attend the Festival at 23 is really crazy, & I'm fully aware of how fortunate I am to have gone. I've been back a little over a week & every single day I've appreciated the trip more & more. In full disclosure, it wasn't cheap to attend. But I knew it was a smart & valuable investment in my career & one that I wanted to make. Now that I'm back, I can confidently say it was worth every penny.

One of my biggest career tips is this: work for a company that supports & encourages their employees to learn. Even if they don't fund grad school or classes, it's enough if they tell you to do it. If I didn't work for an agency who exemplifies this, I would have missed out on what became one of the most defining weeks of my life.

Over the course of eight days I met some of the most interesting & forward-thinking minds in the industry. In my classes, I became friends with people from all over the world—which is especially cool when they have the same job as you. I was forced outside of my comfort zone multiple times. I learned more than I could have every anticipated—about my field, about the future of our business, & about myself. Not only did I come back feeling more inspired than ever to do good work, but I am more confident in my skills to do that work. It was just an incredible week.

And...the setting didn't hurt either! When I wasn't in class or attending seminars, I spent my time strolling the streets & snapping hundreds of pictures, so I thought I would share them here.

Below are some photos of the Festival & tomorrow I'll share some of the city...

^^my class was through those red pillars...not a bad spot!

^^Canned Lions for the Young Academy winners

^^the opening party {which played one of my agency's spots on loop!}

^^Google Beach

^^Marilyn Manson {LOL}

^^Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web

^^the Palais

^^Julia Louis-Dreyfus & the CEO of HBO

^^the co-founders of MY agency...their first time together at Cannes!

^^the creators of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge {who took home many awards}

^^Heineken—Marketer of the Year

^^the Lions

^^our full group! so lucky to have spent the week with them.

^^not the greatest photo but...graduation! 

^^I finished the week with a photo in front of the famous Palais steps

More tomorrow!