Thursday, January 28, 2016

Anthro Life : Working Creatively

One of the reasons that I stepped away from the blog this past fall was because life got busy. I took a part-time job working as a sales associate at Anthropologie in Hoboken, and the holiday shopping season was a bustling one! Fortunately, I have been able to stay on post-Christmas and yesterday marked three months with the company.

While I enjoy working as a sales associate  getting to know the product, helping create an inviting, beautiful store experience, and interacting with customers — what has truly been a joy and a surprise is getting to put my passion for calligraphy and hand-lettering to use. It all started with an early morning employee breakfast "party" for which I made pumpkin muffins and a matching sign. 

My managers and the regional visual manager were so impressed that they asked me to make holiday signage to help accent local store displays. I made those happily and eagerly, in many different versions. I'm not sure where they all ended up, but one was displayed in my store, in Hoboken — and it sure looked pretty surrounded by all of our gorgeous home wares!

I was then completely over the moon to later be asked to head to the Anthropologie on Fifth Avenue in New York City, to spend a morning lettering a large mirror with a cocktail menu for a vignette in the store's home section. My first time writing on a mirror, or glass for that matter, proved challenging, but it was worth all the time, energy and sore lower back (from hunching over and shifting around that heavy mirror!). It really was such a treat and an honor to have my work on display in a NYC store. And a few weeks later, while in the neighborhood, I was so proud to show G the mirror in person.

Last week, our Hoboken store hosted its very first shopping party and as soon as I found out I volunteered to create any necessary signage for the event. I was tasked with creating small, place card-size signs for the sips and snacks, as well as a larger sign to hang on the rack of "stylist picks." Luckily, I was able to work the party  for which I slipped on my new Anthropologie dress — and see my signs in action. If only I had a chance to taste that pear and ginger fizz refresher; it looked so good!

I'm looking forward to continuing to put my creative passions to work  literally!  and maybe even moving into a more creative role within the Anthroplogie family. Because work doesn't really feel like work when you are doing what you love.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

On the Horizon : The City by the Bay

San Francisco, here I come!
Right back where I started from

Well, that's almost the song and that's almost true.

About a week into the New Year, G received the news we had been waiting on pins and needles to hear: where we would be transferring to next. Yes, yes, we've only been in Jersey six months. But with G's promotion to first class gunner's mate last fall, we were 99 percent sure we'd be moving again come summer 2016. Currently, he is working a GM2 job even though he is now a GM1, so it just didn't make sense for the Coast Guard to keep him here. So we sat down months ago, talked about our options, made our dream sheet with eight picks and G submitted the list. 

Of our choices, only two jobs were on boats and both we put at the bottom of the list, due to their location and the fact that they would require G to go to school first. Our top four were all on the West Coast: San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle. While G and I were really pulling for our No. 1 pick  the hubs has been homesick for SD ever since we arrived in Jersey  we were lucky to have G assigned to our No. 2. He will be supervising the armory at MSST San Francisco.

At G's promotion ceremony in November.

My husband is ecstatic to be moving back to California but honestly my initial reaction was less than enthused. I am a bit sad to be leaving the NYC area so soon; I feel like there is still so much to see and do and I wish we had more time to explore. (Though, I will be doing my best to make the most of our last five months here!) I am also not looking forward to the whole packing up and moving across the country thing again. Our last two experiences were less than smooth. 

And my nervous, hesitant reaction to the SF news was made only more so when we learned that we would have to live in military housing in Alameda. There goes the dream of having a yard for the dogs, something we told each other was non-negotiable on the house hunt this time, and now we have no choice whatsoever in where we live.

OK, time for some good news. Now that I've had a few weeks to process the idea, I am able to not only recognize but actually celebrate all the positives in moving to the Bay Area.

We will be back in our home state of California. While NorCal is very different from SoCal in many respects, we are more familiar with the area than we were when we moved to St. Pete or Union City. We both have visited and vacationed in San Francisco several times and G even lived in Alameda for a couple months. And, it goes without saying, the City by the Bay is an incredibly dynamic place to live. Plenty to see and do there as well!

The biggest pro to moving back to California though is that we will be much closer to our friends and family. It will be easier and less costly for them to visit us and for us to visit them. After living 2,500+ miles away from nearly everyone we know and love, it will be wonderful to be just a short flight or a 8-hour car ride away.

G will be working a land job again, which means he won't be getting underway (at least, not on any regular basis) and will be home most of the time.

And while I am still disappointed that we won't get to choose which neighborhood we live in or have an opportunity to rent a home with a yard, living in military housing comes with many benefits. It may not be glamorous or updated, but we will never worry about whether we have enough money to pay rent and utilities; it's covered! We will likely be living much closer to San Francisco than we would have been able to if we were given BAH (basic allowance for housing) to live on the economy.  And we will be living in a community of other Coast Guard families, so making friends, connecting with other Coastie wives and participating in base- and spouse club-hosted events will be easier.

So, there is a lot to look forward to, even if leaving is bittersweet. That's military life. You're never in one place for too long! Though, our tour in San Francisco is a four-year billet, so maybe — just maybe — we can actually get settled in for longer than a year.

All San Francisco photos by Victoria Smith 
Cherry blossoms via Refinery29. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Snow Day!

Winter Storm Jonas hit the northeast this past weekend, dumping two feet of snow on Jersey and NYC. I was scheduled to work Saturday and Sunday, but both shifts were cancelled due to the weather as well as a "travel ban" in Hoboken  and this California girl got to experience her first snow day! Truly, it was much like any other lazy Saturday: We stayed in, watched too much TV, cooked yummy food (G baked chocolate chip cookies!), I worked on my calligraphy, and we snuggled with the dogs. The hubs and I also got a lot of laughs watching our pups hobble around in their brightly colored booties, which they were not yet accustomed to, and explore the snow on our balcony. (Thank goodness for that balcony! We didn't have to venture outside while the blizzard was at its blustery peak.) The snowfall was mostly restricted to Saturday and, even though it is now Tuesday, there are still mounds of snow lining the streets and sidewalks as well as a pretty, white dusting on the neighborhood rooftops. Considering I've only been in falling snow twice before (during a college internship in Washington, D.C.), it was quite the sight to see. It was like a scene out of a movie, watching the snow slowly bury the cars on the street outside our apartment building and, the next day, watching neighbors dutifully shovel the sidewalk. We are most certainly not in California, anymore! The snow was coming down hard and fast and it was smart to stay inside, but a small part of me wishes we had ventured out into the storm, if only for a few minutes. But I'm sure we'll have another chance to play in the snow, make snow angels and build a snowman. Winter has only — finally — just arrived.

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