Friday Night Workout

Had a pretty long day… make that a pretty long week.

Trying to keep up with my workouts and eating clean habits…

But it’s a constant struggle, especially with my busy and tiresome schedule.

Wanted to go to the gym but just couldn’t get my butt out of the house…

So I did these workouts at home instead.


50 reps alternating back lunges


repeated circuit 2x


repeated circuit 3x


repeated circuit 2x


and ended with another 50 reps of back lunges.

I really need to do a better job at balancing work with my healthy lifestyle.

But really… I feel like there is not enough time in the day!

Anyway, let me know if you try these workouts…

🙂

The New Job

Transitioning into the new position hasn’t been bad at all. My boss laid out all the expectations right from the start – before I was even officially hired – so that there wouldn’t be any surprises going in. I was forewarned about the fact that my new store isn’t as “luxurious” as my old store. That there will be many challenges that will come up when trying to execute our big (and sometimes even little) projects. But. Yes there is a but. Even though I was warned about the possible challenges and able to mentally prepare myself for these challenges… walking into a whole new territory can still be very intimidating. I know I’m still with the same company. So, of course, the values and goals of the company as a whole remain the same. But each individual store has its own diverse culture…their own way of doing things. And being “the new girl” comes with its good and bad…trying to familiarize myself with the store and different sales departments… trying to remember who’s who and remembering their names (and trying not to get on anyone’s bad side). I’m pretty resilient. And so far, I’ve been doing a good job. I won’t be “the new girl” forever, right?

I will say this. It’s been a crazy experience so far. In a good way. And I’m totally lovin’ the process. Just because I have 3 years of Visual Merchandising experience doesn’t make me an expert. I’m far from it. I still consider myself a baby in this industry. And in the short amount of time since I started this new position, I’ve learned a lot of cool stuff.

On my very first day, I got to paint a wall, format and set up a wall, and make my own lettering. (I’ll show you what ‘lettering’ means in a second). See, at my first Visual Merchandising job back in the day, all of our marketing tools and props and visual directives were delivered to my store and I’d just map, plan, and execute all the new floor sets and transitions. I never really had to build anything from scratch. Almost everything that we used came to us ‘ready to go’  and all I’d have to do is assemble it. Pretty easy. Sort of. Well this job… we’re not so lucky. Especially in a small store like ours… we don’t have the luxury of having everything sent to us the way the bigger (and most times newer) stores do. So when I say ‘lettering’, I am referring to the letters you see posted on the walls to spell out the different brands our store carries.

My very first project was a presentation of Hello Kitty handbags. Was so excited when my boss told me I had to paint the wall pink. I’ve never painted a wall before. Wait. Let me rephrase that… I’ve never painted a wall at work before. I don’t care if you think I’m weird for thinking how cool that is… but you try painting a wall at your job and tell me how your boss reacts to that. 😛

Not bad for my first project, right? I’m a perfectionist and of course, I noticed right away that my “hello” wasn’t exactly the same… it bugged me so much that I just had to go back and re-do the lettering. It still didn’t come out the way I wanted it to…but the store manager and regional directors that visited the store the very next day loved the end product, so I guess that’s all that matters, right?

my 2nd try at “Hello”

and yes I did make the letters, thank you very much 😛

People who aren’t familiar with my line of work think I have a cool job because I get to style mannequins all day. Yes I style mannequins but that’s not all I do… I saw their heads off, too. 😛

Say what? Sounds pretty crazy, right? Like I said, we’re a small store with limited resources that we literally have to work with what we have. It’s funny… every time my boss and I have to brainstorm and come up with creative ideas, I hear Tim Gunn in my head telling me to “make it work.”  Anyway, back to my story. We have some pretty old mannequins with heads that just… well… I’m just gonna say it. They’re ugly. And trying to make them look hip and edgy isn’t easy. Our solution? Off with their heads!!!

So together, my boss and I searched through our cluttered visual office work space and found a couple of saws (one was an electric jig saw) and went right to work. Oh what a sight it was! Can you imagine me holding down a mannequin and decapitating it? Yeah, some of the guys on the Receiving Team who passed by had to do a double-take… I think they were a little creeped out about the whole thing. Oh well. After we chopped their heads off, we taped up the top of the neck and spackled them bad boys and tada! We got ourselves some headless mannequins!

and yes those mannequin heads are sitting on a shelf in our work room

Now you kinda have an idea of what it is I do. Never a dull moment in my work life. Love that I am forced to think creatively every second of my work day. And get paid for it. How friggin’ awesome is that? It’s not an easy job… but it sure can be fun. And I would not trade it for the world.

I bet… with everything I’m learning… I could totally build my own house from scratch and have no problem with interior decorating it. I see lots of DIY projects in my future. 🙂 Now that would be awesome.

The Next Chapter

I have some exciting news to share!!! I’ve kept quiet about it because I did not want to jinx myself until everything was ‘set in stone’ or finalized. No, I’m not pregnant — sorry, but I know some of you were thinkin’ it…especially the fam bam who are impatiently waiting for it to happen. But don’t worry…it’ll happen one day… just not quite yet. 😉

Anyway, here it is… I have officially been PROMOTED!!! Yay!!!! I’m so freakin’ stoked…Ya’ll just don’t know. I have been working my butt off to get this position and can now say I HAVE MADE IT! Okay, okay, that’s a bit much. And I haven’t made it. Not yet anyway. BUT! I am definitely on my way to being made. 

For you to truly understand this level of excitement for me, you have to know my history. I used to be a Visual Merchandising Manager for Gap Kids/Baby Gap years ago. Didn’t know I loved the job until I left it for an office job. (For those of you who’ve read MY STORY, you kinda already know this). It wasn’t until I got laid off and forced to look for another job did I realize just how much I missed what I did in fashion retail. And that I wanted to get back into it again. And even though I had 3 years of experience under my belt (and I was pretty dang good at it too), it wasn’t enough to get me back into it. It took me over 8 months of job searching (and full of rejection letters) to finally land a merchandising job for a well-known department store. However, this job wasn’t what I truly wanted. I had to start all over again. “Bottom of the barrel” so to speak. It was an “on-call” position (which meant getting anywhere for 0-30 hours a week)… and the starting pay was nowhere near what I was used to getting paid. But a job is a job…and I needed to pay my dues. I really needed to get my foot in the door… so I accepted.

After accepting the merchandising  job, I made a goal for myself. To make something happen within a year. To move up. To advance my career…in whatever direction it took me. There have been several opportunities along the way that weren’t right for me, in which I turned down… only because I felt it wouldn’t benefit me much in the future. (Explaining the reasons why would take forever…so you’ll  just have take my word for it). I would love to be doing both Visual and Merchandising, but this company has them both as separate departments. So I had to choose. And I decided to pursue Visual.

There was an opportunity back in April to work as a Visual Trimmer at one of our stores in the Beverly Center Mall in Los Angeles. I wanted it soooo bad. Was highly recommended by my boss as well as the Visual Manager at my store. But in the end, a candidate with much more experience was chosen over me. I was devastated. Even became discouraged. Almost gave up on my dream of moving up in that direction. So I started to explore other job opportunities. Which is why I decided to get Job #2. Never thought I’d find myself workin’ in that kind of retail (Optical Retail — still fashion related!)…but still a job that offered lots of opportunity for growth. And I am always open to such opportunities.

Anyway, about a month ago, a Visual Trimmer position for Job #1 opened up at another store location. My boss approached me about the position and asked if I wanted to interview for it. I was wary about it at first… had completely lost all confidence in my talent and ability and almost turned down the opportunity. But something in me told me I’d hate myself if I didn’t at least try. So I did. I met with the Visual Manager and was hired on the spot unofficially. Lots of paperwork and stuff needed to be taken care of before she could officially extend an offer to me…but in the end, it happened…and am now sharing the news with you.

I am excited for things to come. Nothing but pros have come out of all this. I am beyond thrilled to finally be moving in the right direction. I do have to say, that my last day as a Merchandiser for this company was very bittersweet. Yes I’m still with the company, but I’m moving to a completely different location. New people. New environment. I absolutely loved the people I worked with and will miss them dearly…especially a couple of the girls who I’ve become quite good friends with. I was even sad to be leaving my boss. But this growth is a good thing for me. And that’s what’s important, right?

What I’ve learned from this entire experience can be summed up in the following 3 very common (and cliche) quotes: “Everything happens for a reason”, “good things come to those who wait”, and “timing is everything”. Not getting the job in LA was just not meant to be. As cliche as that sounds, it’s the truth. This job turned out to be the better deal. The biggest pro of all: it’s closer to home. It’s less than 4 miles away from my house (I was driving 30 miles to work every day). And it’s a smaller store — which means a better opportunity of being trained in all retail departments instead of just one which will benefit me in the long run when I’m trying to get into a bigger store.

Oh! And you know what the best part is after all is said and done? Last week marked my 1 year anniversary with the company. That means I achieved my main goal. The feeling of accomplishment is one of the best feelings in the world. And it’s getting to be rare these days…to be able to accomplish big goals. So yes… I am so very proud of myself and what I’ve accomplished thus far. I absolutely cannot wait to see what comes next…

Here’s to me…and the long journey ahead. 🙂

Because I’m Crafty Like That

It has been a CRAZY past few weeks… so much to share with you… but it looks like I may have to break it all into parts. I could do the whole ‘chronological order’ thing but I’m kinda too tired to really sit here and think about everything that I want to share with you. So I’m going to share with you the most recent event/thing (whatever you want to call it) that has happened.

Saturday August 25th, was my little sis-in-law’s baby shower. And I volunteered to do decorations and the dessert/candy station. The creative Martha Stewart wannabe in me wanted to do ALL KINDS of fabulous things. I’m pretty good with making desserts, so I had the bright idea to do everything myself instead of having them made professionally. I figure…it can’t be that hard, right? Anyway, before I go on to tell you the projects that “failed”, I will show you the final product.

Tada!!!

Looks pretty doesn’t it? And I made most of it myself.

🙂

Marshmallow Pops. So easy to make. My niece loved ’em.

Candy covered pretzel sticks.

YUM.

And for decoration… a diaper cake. It was a cupcake themed baby shower, so I couldn’t help but go overboard with “cupcake” decor. The cupcake topper is actually a ceramic piggy bank. Baby Arianna’s first piggy bank.

🙂

So the “projects” that failed and didn’t quite make it were 2 things.

1. Cake Pops

2. Homemade Tissue Pom Poms

My sister made cake pops for her wedding favors. She told me exactly what to do and what not to do. She told me not to use the entire container of frosting if I decided to use the super moist cake mix. Did I listen? Nope. Totally didn’t take her advice. Didn’t realize I had bought the super moist mix. And guess what… my cake pop balls were too dang moist and literally fell off the stick. So those stayed hidden away in the fridge, but fret not… they did not go to waste. We munched on them throughout the day. And both guests of honor and parents-to-be loved ’em, too.

I also wanted to make tissue pom poms to place on the table for a lil decoration. And I bought the materials to make them. However, I went for the cheap tissue paper and you really pay for what you get…even with tissue paper. There wasn’t enough tissue paper in the bag that I bought to make a nice full tissue pom pom. Oh well. Next time.

All in all, I’d say that the baby shower was a success. The parents-to-be loved the details and enjoyed themselves very much. And that’s all that matters.

Other party details:

Cupcakes, Belly Cast, and Baby Shower Keepsakes…

1st time parents-to-be

Love you guys! Can’t wait to meet (and spoil) baby Ari!!!