Let’s Crunch!

Hey all!  It’s been awhile, but alas, I have not given up on you.  I’ve had quite the busy month and neglected my blogging duties, but fear not, I will always return (dun dun DUN!).  From where I’m sitting right now, things have been pretty hectic.  I have one more month before my semester wraps up and I’ve been striving to get everything done.  Additionally, my new job requires way more thought than I had thought and I’ve been busy getting that cash money.  It could be said that it’s crunch time for me now and the clock is ticking to get everything done in a neat and orderly way.

There’s a lot I wanted to recap on, but perhaps the biggest thing I need to go back in time and tell you about is very Boston related.  This year marked my first (and hopefully not my last) St. Patty’s day in Boston.  I spent the day slowly sipping cider, getting my buzz on, and watching everyone around me go from drunk to hot mess.  It was pretty bizarre being the only semi-sober person at the party I was at (which essentially was a BU Law Party).  But I will tell you this: If you wear green jeans on St. Patty’s day in Boston, every drunk Irish man will tell you he loves your style and thinks your amazing.  I think drunk Irish men know what they’re talking because I am amazing.  Just joshin’, I’m silly.

Me, with my delicious cider on St. Patty's day. Note the peak of green jeans at the bottom of the photo.

Yes, ladies and gentleman, it's the green house you wish you grew up in. I saw it on St. Patty's day and felt it was necessary to stop and snap a photo.

Moving on, let’s talk high school.  Not really, but in terms of me doing my observation hours there.  For graduate school in education, students must sit in on classes and observe teacher behaviour and interaction amongst students and the interaction between students and teachers.  It’s very standard and before a grad student is put in front of class in the state of MA as a student teacher, they must complete 70 observation hours.  So far I’ve done 25.  The teacher I work with is absolutely amazing and I think she’s the bomb diggity when it comes to having fun with her class but still maintaining a controlled learning environment.  The area where I observe is not directly in Boston, but is in one of the cities that is considered part of metro-Boston.  The mix of students at the school is really interesting and it’s very different from the almost all white suburb that I went to high school in.

Someday, I hope my students are as excited to learn as this kid.

Anyway, I wanted to talk high school because there is an issue I (and some of my classmates) have been dealing with; getting mistaken for a high schooler.  Some days I wear jeans and nice blouse or shirt to class, but perhaps because of my young face (I’m 22) and my height (I’m short) I’ll get stopped in office or the hall and mistaken for a student.  I’ve taken to dressing up and making sure I don’t look like a students in order to avoid this confusion, but many of the teachers I work with wear jeans, a blouse, and jackets to work.  This hardly seems professional (though it IS comfortable) and that makes me wonder what happened to “work attire”.  Being a teacher is a business, so should teachers not take more pride in their appearance and make sure that they appear to be neat and professional when they stand in front of their students?  A classmate of mine recently sent me this message and it’s one I entirely agree with:

“Do you notice people kind of hate on high heels in school? Lol I have huge heels on and people are like staring at me… Teachers don’t really dress up like they used to… ”

When you’re a tiny woman teaching in high school, where some the boys are already well above six feet, it helps to have heels to give you those extra few authoritative inches.  I’m 5’4″, but when I wear a comfortable heel and I’m 5’7″, the people in the office treat me with more respect and the students know that I’m not a teacher.  But because the dress code in many work places has become so much more casual, when you do dress up, people look at you like you’re crazy and I don’t think that’s fair.  The woman I observe is a very tall woman and I think that does help her control the class and she doesn’t need heels to make herself look older or taller.  But my friend who commented on people staring at her for wearing heels is in her mid-twenties and is very small.  I think dressing up is necessary for some people, especially younger people, because it gives an air of experience and authority that may otherwise be overlooked.  I mean…I don’t really have a proclamation to make here, but I think that looking put-together and professional should come back into vogue and I, personally, think that dressing up for work is a pathway to success, especially when you are on the younger side.  And this cannot be overstated for interviews.

It's really not that hard to look business casual, and it looks so much more put together.

Finally, I have some words about organization.  Maybe I’m just on a spring cleaning trip or something, but I’ve been organizing my life and I feel like I’ve accomplished something.  I cleaned out my room, got rid of some old clothes, and I bought a sexy new desk from Crate and Barrel.  Be jealous, be very jealous.  Instead of having organized stacks of papers and books on the floor in my room, they now have a home on my desk.  I think it does help to do work on place that designated for work.  Too often I start typing a paper on my bed and end up waking up drooling on my laptop in the morning, wondering when the heck fell asleep.  I feel like having a desk has made me a more productive human being and less of a lazy betch.  Also, since my new job at Chi Chi has managing responsibilities (without the pay…but that’s something we’ll talk about next time) and I’m in charge of client services, I have to have a space to bring my work home with me and review some of the things my boss wants me to think about.

Say hello to my little desk. P.S. This photo is from Crate and Barrel.com. I wish my apartment was this neat...

Anyway, sorry I’ve been such a sorry excuse for a blogger these past few weeks, but I’ll remember to post to you all and make sure that we discuss these job/school topics that have been hounding me/you so much.  Remember, if there’s anything you want me to talk about when it comes to graduating and looking for a job or just being lost in that post graduation abyss, shoot me an e-mail.  I want to hear from you guys and I want to know what I can bring to light that may help us all out.  And now I leave you with an oldy, but a goody (and muy sexi, también)

 

And You Can Call Me Back At 617-555-5555

Sometimes at our jobs we have to do things we don’t want to do.  This is just how it goes.  I’d be hard pressed to find one single person who is completely content, 100% of the time, with all the tasks they do at work.  But some things are worse than others.  Trust me.  Being a retail slave sucks, but one of the worst things I have to do is cold call some of our best clients to make appointments for them to come in.  A typical phone call usually goes like this:

Me: “Hi (insert name of unsuspecting callee).  My name is Lor over at Chi Chi and I’m just calling to let you know we just got our new spring collection in.  We have a lot of bright new colours to add to your closet.  So, if you want to come in or make an appointment, give me a call back at the store at 617-555-5555.  And again, my name is Lor.  Have a nice day and see you soon!”

This is essentially what my typical customer looks like (dresses like). Comforting, right? This is also the same woman who screams at me on the phone.

There is nothing I despise more than making these calls every day.  I hate when people call me for these kinds of things and I feel incredibly guilty harassing my customers and blowing up their phones.  A relief washes over me when an answering machine picks up, because I’d much rather do these calls like band aids; quickly.  I get stunned every time a person picks up the phone and I have no idea what to say, so I just end up bumbling and trying to make polite conversation.  Usually, the people are pretty nice and will hear me out, but every once in awhile I’ll have someone scream at me to take their number off whatever list we are calling from.  It’s a major bummer.

Making phone calls to strangers invokes this face and this finger gun pointed at my head.

 

And I’ve tried to avoid these calls.  I really have, but my boss made me do them the other day, and it was just miserable.  I feel like my voice is being sacrificed against my will.  These people come home from work after a long day, hit the button on their machine, and it’s my voice that’s annoying them.  Let me give you an example of the message I’d rather be leaving these potential shoppers.

Me: “Hi lady who I’ve never met before.  It’s Lor over at Chi Chi and my boss told me I need to harass you.  I need you to come in and spend your hard earned money on our clothes.  I’m sure you’re wearing last year’s colour palette and you probably look like shit, so let’s change that.  You should call me back at the store and make an appointment with me, so I can tell you everything looks lovely on you (even if it doesn’t!).  Hope to see you soon and I hope even more than you’ll drop major bucks over here.  Ta Ta for now, bitch!”

Just kidding.  I never lie to my customers and tell them things look good on them when they don’t.  People, surprisingly, value honesty when it comes to their clothing.

I WILL tell you that the crochet romper looks like a diaper on your butt. And you WILL thank me for it later.

 

Moving on, I’ve been observing at a high school around Boston for my master’s program and the school is a really nice place.  The teacher I’ve been working with is totally cool.  I have no other way to describe her. I really wish she had been my Spanish teacher in high school, because she’s just so COOL.  And not the kind of cool where she tries to be “hip and in” with the kids.  She’s just a no nonsense kind of teacher and will tell it like it is to the kids.  And usually, that’s what they need/want to hear.  Kids want to spoken to like adults and if you baby them, they’re going to act like babies.  I’m learning a lot from this teacher and I feel really lucky, because when it comes to public school teachers there is a high chance of being placed with someone who just doesn’t care.  And that’s sad.

But anyway, yesterday during my observation hours, the high school had a multicultural fair, which was something totally new to me.  I went to a small town, super white high school.  This school is only 30% white and a large portion of the student body is either immigrants or children of immigrants.  Once a year, the school does this fair, where kids can display items and food from their “home countries” and they perform dances that are traditional to their cultures.  It was an amazing thing to observe and while I was stuffing my face with Indian food I realized that going to a big urban high school has it’s benefits.  Kids were smiling and having fun, and because each country had it’s own table staffed by students there were kids interacting that may never usually have the chance to talk.  Additionally, this kids who performed dances had to create the program themselves and audition, so a lot of work went into these performances.  I commend this school for this practice and I hope this is a common practice throughout Boston.

Speaking of Boston, I went out on the town with my soul twin, whom I’ll call Lady J, the other night and she showed me this hole in the wall restaurant, Moogy’s, that is my new thang.  It’s breakfast and diner food all day and they have a bar that has $1 beer.  I really could not ask for more.  I’m almost certain that someone opened this restaurant with me in mind.  I mean, come on, they have 5 different types of French fries.  5!!!!  Doesn’t that sound perfect to you?

 

The bar at Moogy's. Super nifty place that you should check out.

Now onto some important matter.  Where should I take my summer trip this year?  Every year I try to go to a random city and bum around.  This year I really want to go somewhere I’ve never been.  I was thinking down south or the midwest.  Any suggestions?  Hit me with them.


The City of Boston Has Seen My Ass (and Loved It!)

Hey chicos y chicas!  I’m sure I have your attention with a title like that, and yes, the city has seen my butt.  It was a beautiful thing.  No, just kidding.  It was cold and extremely embarrassing.  But more about that later (yup, ya’ll have to wait!).  But don’t worry, it’ll be worth it.  Now I’m digressing from what I truly want to touch on today.  Stress.  It’s a bitch, but it’s something we all come into contact with whether it be at work, school, with co-workers, or friends.  Sometimes it’s a combo of any of these things.

Dave Grohl and his corncob pipe want to know whose butt you'd rather see, his or mine? Wink wink.

Now, I feel like it’s necessary that I tell you a little about myself, you know, like…as a person.  I’d like to think I’m generally a pretty stress-free person.  When I have a lot on my plate I just try to get it all done in an efficient and only slightly procrastinated manner.  And anyone who knows me would probably agree (though they would add that while getting anything done I’d be complaining about it, but hell!, what can I say?  I love to complain…hence this blog).  Very rarely do I get stressed to the point of not being able to function and therefore just decide to do nothing.  However, this week was one of those weeks where I had so much to do that I just sat in my room two nights in a row and did nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  I simply could not process the amount of stuff I had to do and I froze up.  Eventually I got everything done, but I was paralyzed and for no good reason.

Grad school homework was my number one priority, then came my paying job as a managing retail slave, then finally came the work for the company I started with a friend.  Now, if it were up to me I’d reverse the order of that list, as I enjoy my work as a marketer for my snack food company, but it doesn’t pay me (yet!) and paying the rent and getting good grades are necessary priorities.  So what do we do when we have bills to pay, work to get done, and yet we still want to create something on our own time (whatever time left that you can consider “your own time”)?  I’ve been so busy lately that I feel like I haven’t been able to cater to what I really love and want to be successful in.  And I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.  I recently was catching up with a friend and he’s trying to make music, work with a friend’s band, and get a secure job so he can do those things without being a starving artist.  Another one of my friends wants to begin a career in photography, but in order to go to school for photography she’d have to give up her job, and even if she apprentices with someone, she’ll still be getting paid way less than what she makes now.  Are we all fucked?  Honestly, it seems that if you aren’t doing what you love now, you’ll never be able to make time to do it, ever.

See, it's not all it's cracked up to be...

This is nothing new.  How many time have you heard some stuffy crusty middle aged lawyer/doctor/salesman talking about their youthful dreams of being a artist/writer/poet/traveler/singer/etc?  How can we change this trend of regret?  I don’t want to hit 50 and realize I’ve been living a lie and I hate everything about my life.  I am aware enough to realize that you can’t support yourself on most of these “dream careers” unless you are highly talented, as well as driven.  Duh.  But there must be some middle ground.  I don’t know.  Like I’ve said before, I don’t have any answers, I’m just here to put this question out into the world.  All I’ll say is that it seems that being a creative mind in the 21st century is a dangerous and daunting endeavour, but if you make it all work somehow, it can be highly lucrative.  There’s a lot of risk associated with doing what you love, but the payoff can be worth it.  You just have to be ready to deal with the fallout if you fail.  Sorry if that’s depressing.  I’m just being the realist up in here.

Truth. See, this is me being a realist, except in my case we need to replace solitaire with facebook.

Ok, since I’ve thoroughly depressed you, I’ll reward you with a story about my glorious hinny.  My new job at Chi Chi is very different than the previous retail jobs I’ve worked and surprisingly, I really like the company.  They treat us, their worker ants, pretty well and they seem to hire a pretty nice group of people to man their stores.  For once, I can’t complain (but just give it some time…).  Unlike the other stores I’ve worked at, Chi Chi relies very heavily on repeat client business, specifically the big spenders making appointments to try on and buy every season’s new collection.  In order to give these clients the best possible experience, as well as get their $$$ we hold parties at the start of every new season.  They come, they buy, they look great, and we make cash money.  Pretty simple.  These events have food, beverages, music, models, and other good stuff.  And balloons.

As a shift supervisor (basically the manager’s bitch), I have the power to leave the store during my shift in order to run errands for the store.  Of course, it was my job to get the ballons, because that’s what the manager’s bitch does.  And I had no problem doing this, mostly because I like walking around Boston, especially when I’m dressed like a pretty pretty princess.  The day before the event my boss talked me into buying this very flowy, very light, pleated dress.  It looked cute.  Until I went outside.  How many of you have seen the lovely Marilyn Monroe film The Seven Year Itch?  Maybe this will refresh your memory:

Not as cute as it looks. Just ignore Marilyn for a hot second and check out the creeper look on the dude's face. Yup, it's not as cute anymore, is it?

Anyway, this dress was the same kind of dress she was wearing in the film and looks great when indoors, but step outside on a windy day and you better be wearing tights made of wool or fur.  I had the skirt under control all the way to the T (Boston’s subway) and even while I was riding the T, but as soon as I was leaving the subway a gust of subway air blew my skirt up to my head.  Needless to say everyone behind me got a real nice look at my butt (at least I was wearing acceptable underwear and not granny panties…it could always be worse).   So I finally got to the supermarket to purchase the balloons, and by this time my butt was pretty cold.  So I purchased 8 very large balloons and was on my way back to Chi Chi.  Now talking a huge bouquet of balloons is not really good subway etiquette and it was a nice day (minus the wind) so I decided to walk back to the store.  Not a problem, right?  Wrong.  So wrong.  Essentially the whole half mile walk back to the store consisted of exposing my ass to the city of Boston.  For anyone who saw me I’ll say this, I’m sorry if I scarred you, or if you liked what you saw, you’re welcome!  But it doesn’t matter, because it was pretty funny, and everyone smiles at a girl with balloons (or does everyone smile at a girl who shows them her butt?) and after the whole affair, I still got a picture with a bunch of balloons, which was all I really wanted anyway.  But as a final note, the Marilyn Monroe dress blowing up thing is not as cute when you are the girl whose dress is blowing up.

An "appropriate" picture of my Marilyn Monroe dress and my big balloons.

 

And on a completely unrelated note, my friend and I spent Friday afternoon stuffing her cat into a Hunter boot.  It was too cute to handle.  Can you handle it?

Well, can you?

Talk to you soon, buddies, and happy weekend!


Busy Busy, Running Around This City

I’m back, finally, with a post for all of you!  I’ve been very busy, with school starting and beginning a new job, but I think things are finally a bit calmer.  It can be really hard to find “me time” when it seems like 20 hours of a 24 hour day are occupied by school, work, and homework.  It’s hard enough trying to fit all that in, but now it seems like I have to schedule in time with my friends.  It’s brutal.  But we’ve all been here before.

Perhaps the thing I’m struggling with the most is my new job.  I really like Chi Chi and I don’t mind the people I work with.  They’re pretty upbeat, and since the location is right in the centre of Boston it’s easy to make huge sales.  However, I’m not quite sure I’m in love with my position in the store.  I’m a shift supervisor, which means I do some managerial tasks but technically I’m still a sales associate, not a manager.  But that makes it really hard to discern where I land in the retail slave food chain.  I’m not just a sales associate, as I have the authority to boss associates around and have them do some of the tasks I don’t want to do (like cleaning the store in the AM while I do manager duties).  But I’m definitely not a manager because while I can open the store, I can’t close it.  And I don’t have the pay of a manager (which is the biggest bummer).  The good thing is that I have the hours of an assistant manager (20-30 hours versus the 10-15 hours associates get).  Whatever.  Personally, I think that the more responsibility you have at work the more money you should make, but maybe I’m just crazy with these newfangled ideas.  Also, the store “highly encourages” all workers to wear heels, aka wear those spikes on you feet or get fired!  I think my feet are slowly going from being made of flesh and blood to being made of iron and steel.

Bane of My Exisitence

Moving on, I dont have much to say about school, except that I have to read a new book every week for my English class.  I have read three Nathaniel Hawthorne books in the span of three weeks.  Be impressed, be very impressed (mostly with my patience).  Remember The Scarlet Letter, that book we all read in high school?  Well, apparently it’s still worth discussing in graduate school.  I misheard one of classmates when he said “bastion of puritanism” and went on a tirade about “bastardization of puritanism”.  Needless to say, my professor was impressed.  I’m now debating whether I want to catch the commuter rail out to Salem, so I can find Hawthorne’s very own House of Seven Gables and burn that motha’ down in an act of revenge.

I'm Nathaniel Hawthorne and I like to use quaint and obvious metaphors to discuss the human condition and New England Puritanical guilt.

Now with V-Day fast approaching, I’d like to breach that topic.  I’m not much a lova’ girl.  I think Valentine’s Day is an all-right holiday, but I mostly think it’s good for spoiling yourself.  I used the occasion to buy myself a new dress to take myself to dinner in.  It’s blue.  I look like a sexy beast in it.  But these are things you don’t need to know.

My "sexy beast" dress. When I put this thing on Katy Perry has to call me to ask for her body back.

What you do need to know is how amusing I find V-Day shopping.  I’m a very bad present giver and usually just stick to the basics on V-day, lest anyone get the wrong idea and think I’m actually attracted to them (God forbid!).  Past presents have included: a 3 pack of boxers (from J. Crew!), books, a poster, and a teddy bear hanging from a noose (that was a joke for a friend and it was a really bad year for me…).  Anyway, my point is that I don’t get crazy.  So this year I went into American Apparel thinking I could pick up a small tchotchke for a cute little gift.  As I was browsing through the store, one of the sales associates came up to me and asked if I was shopping for Valentine’s Day.  I said yes, and then added I was just looking for a little something. She grabbed me and led me over to this wall of t-shirts.  Grabbing a white t-shirt with an American Flag vertically printed on the shirt she said “I got this for my boyfriend.  It’s really cool and just kind of ironic.”  Now, I’m usually a pretty nice person and will just say something along the lines of “Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind,” but today I felt like being a dick and I rarely get such an open opportunity to mock-a-hipster.  So I looked at the shirt for a moment, then met her eyes and said “How exactly is it ironic?”.  She had no answer except for “Um…I don’t know.  It just is!”.  I bought some socks and left the store, shaking my head as I went.

Ironic? Apparently.

Talk to you soon, and Happy V-day, graduates!  Don’t let this upcoming holiday become a massacre (of emotion)!  Get it?!  I made a history joke.  I slay myself sometimes.  Here’s my gift to you, the gift of new Katy Perry!


A Moment of Zen

On break, from work, school, and life. Aka, my moment of zen. Don’t worry all my fellow graduates. I haven’t forgotten about you. A post for you soon!

20120207-131359.jpg


A Pessimistic Optimist

It’s been awhile, people, and for that, I’m sorry.  But, alas, I am here!  I took a brief hiatus from the web life to upgrade my real life.  Here’s the good news on my side.  I got a new job at Chi Chi, where I am a shift supervisor.  For those not in the retail “know”, that puts me somewhere between a sales associate and a manager.  Woot woot to moving up in the retail hell food chain.  But unfortunately that mean that I have higher expectations in terms of sales.  No more slacking off.

The top I bought from Chi Chi for my first day of work. It'll allow me to maintain my homeless-chic look.

I also started classes in my Master’s program.  In case I never mentioned it, I’m getting a master of arts in teaching, which means that I’m a student until next May, at which point I will be released into the world to educate future generations of Americans.  Be afraid, be very afraid.  So in the two weeks I’ve had classes I have noticed a continuous trend in my peers, one that disturbs me deeply.  They are all optimistic pessimists.

Let me backtrack a moment and explain.  I’m sarcastic, blunt, and snarky.  When a person initially meets me they may be under the impression that I am a pessimist.  This is untrue.  I generally believe most people are good and do things with the best intentions in mind.  This usually works in my favour, though sometimes it can be a smack in the face when the random occasion comes around that I get taken advantage of.  With that in mind I have to say it’s one thing to be optimistic and a whole other thing to be naive.  I think that as a future educator I will be able to impart change on the community and surrounding area I’ll work in, but I don’t believe I’m going to change the world.  Sorry, but I have to be honest.  Most teachers do not create radical difference.  Some do, but very few can start a movement worth mentioning.  Additionally, as a teacher, you have to be realistic.  If you walk in the classroom the first day thinking that you will get every child into the best colleges and they’ll grow old with cushy jobs, you’re going to be disappointed very fast and burn out even faster.  It’s only fair to yourself to walk into a school knowing that most kids will absorb your knowledge and then move on.  And there will be students you never reach.  The kids that just don’t give a shit.  My classmates look at me like I’m insane and see me as being pessimistic, but there’s a difference between a pessimist and a realist.

This is the man version of me. Does THIS look like a pessimist to you?

My peers in the M.A.T (Master of Arts in Teaching) program are the ones who are pessimistic.  If you look at the US education system there are some major gaping holes in terms of how effective it is.  But compared to most other countries in the world, we’re doing pretty well.  These people that I’m in class with, they have a very negative view of the world.  They see it as something they need to change, not alter.  They want to gut the system, radically.  I find it funny that the people who think today’s youth are in desperate need of help think I’m the pessimist.  They put on a smiley face and talk about all the change they’re going to enact, but underneath that shit-eating-grin there’s a frown.  They’re the pessimists and they are trying to be optimistic about what they ultimately see as a bleak future unless they do something drastic.  Me, on the other hand, well, I think things are ok (not great, but ok) and that with incremental measures things will get better.

Who the pessimist now?

Anyway…

I’m scraping to make rent this month due to my meek wages in January, but hopefully this new job will be a cash cow.  I plan on making myself dal every day for the next two weeks as it costs almost nothing to make.  Essentially, it’s the less lazy person’s ramen.  Stay tuned for my awesome dal recipe.  I promise you’ll make it and then proceed to drool everywhere.  Something that I must share with ya’ll is that for my one and only elective I am taking English and my professor looks like a heroine-chic Ernest Hemingway.  I could not ask for more.

So H-A-W-T! J/k...but only sort of

And finally, a question I pose to you, my brilliant readers:
Does anyone know how to add volume to sad flat hair in the winter.  My hair looks like schiesse (that’s shit in German!).

And I leave you with a song.  I expect you to dance around your house/apartment to this (just like I’m doing right now).  I also highly encourage you to get the The Knocks’ EP on itunes.  So worth it:


Indulge in Some Joy

In one of my last posts I mentioned that I would be interviewing the founder/artistic talent behind Francesca Joy Palm Beach and I can now present to you, my lovely readers, that interview.  Elise Francesca is a friend of mine from college.  We used to run cross country together and I can honestly say that she is someone who dreams big.  We used to talk books, music, and boys as we ran through the woods waiting for our coach to whip by us on a bicycle and I remember during our freshman year she showed me her artwork.  It’s funny, but I never would have predicted that she’d start a wildly beautiful business, one that is gaining in popularity every week.  I’m really happy that she’s made something out of just an idea.  That’s really hard nowadays and taking that seedling of an idea and bringing it to fruition is really amazing.  Perhaps the thing I find most interesting about Elise is that she decided to drop out of one of the best colleges in the country to pursue a dream.  This is a huge risk.  But she succeeded.  One of the reasons I felt it necessary to interview her was because I tout this blog as being a common ground for people in the post college abyss, but I don’t believe academia is the only way to make a career and a life with your talents.  Elise is a prime example of someone who knew what they wanted and dove in, head first.  But I’ll shut up now and let her tell you about her experiences in the real world.

The woman behind the brushes, Elise Francesca

1) I remember in college you used to show me paintings and sketches that you worked on.  When and how did you get the idea to turn that art into something commercial?

I always wanted to develop something that was wanted.  Something that brought people to another place, another mindset, something that reminded them of something from the past, or even something unrecognizable that they could instantly understand.  It’s complicated, I suppose.  Paintings and sketches are ideas, and bringing that idea to fruition is a choice: to share or not  to share with the world. Color is universal, but means something kind of different to everyone, and I wanted to give these ideas in my head life.  It’s like writing, you know, you translate those ideas/thoughts in your head to paper.  That’s the “creative” side of the choice, the business side of the choice is making money, and marketing a product/concept strategically within the context/boundaries of the time which you live.  We live in an insane time.  Sometimes I hate it, and sometimes I love it. We’re a generation picking up pieces and constantly recycling, making old new again, but once we run out of the old, the retro, it’s time we make something that speaks about us, thousands of years from now.

Ciao, a painting by Elise

2) Was it easy to go from making art to making a print for fabric?
I wouldn’t say it was easy, on the technical end.  I had to do a lot of research, and speak to people in the industry on what the best route was.  I consciously chose to go the “green” way and seek out the highest quality fabrics, made in America, that are sustainable.  It’s progressive.  Stella McCartney is a great example of this. Fabric, however, was always my intention.  I wanted my audience (you must always create your audience)  to come to me, yes, but you must shape who you are and they then decide if they want to fit your mold.  That’s up to them. I wanted them to feel happy and like my designs- the paintings- and then I hoped that if I printed fabric, they’d want to wear it.  I don’t know how I feel about fashion, really.  It’s perhaps a love-hate thing, because I don’t consider myself nor do I consider my goals “trendy”.  I believe in the power of expression and art through garments.  I chose to view it as a form of entertainment because it’s not as boring.  People in fashion aren’t really risk takers because they all do the same thing.  It’s as though everyone has one big closet, so we all look the same.  Fabrics and garments should be a show of their own.
They should never be dead.

Sick of your boyfriend's sad boring ties? Brighten up his style with a tie (or bowtie!) from Francesca Joy

3) Where do you draw your inspiration from?  And which artists have the most impact on your work?
I draw my inspiration from music, mostly.  Fashion photographers help, too.  I love ads. They are captivating. O’Keefe, some Andy Warhol, and Matisse.  I like Southwestern influences for color, too.
4) I’ve noticed you often name prints and designs after musical artists and songs.  What role does music play in your artwork?
Music is everything to me.  I am not musical as a person, however my brother, dad and uncle are all very talented musicians.  It defines the direction of which I wish to take the colors in my art and fashion.  How to make the sound of an electric guitar come through in a combination of hot pink, orange, and lemon-lime.  It’s a crazy chemical mix of the senses and feelings.  Rock and Roll, and Fashion should always be married.

This print, Mrs. Robinson, would make Simon and Garfunkel jealous.

5) I love the vibrant colours that bring life to your work.  But having grown up in New England that’s not always what people go to first when selecting a colour palette for their wardrobes.  So what gave you the idea to combine New England prep and Palm Beach colours?
New England Prep plus the Palm Beach colors is like the vacation for New Englanders.  From a marketing point of view, it’s taking the concept of resort with what you know, what you were brought up with.  I went to a boarding school in Connecticut, and when you’re kind of ‘trapped’ in the walls of a campus on wintry, blah days up north it provides you with the spark to start dreaming of other places.  Maybe it’s somewhere exotic, or maybe it’s Southern California.  Palm Beach and New England are a given, easily combined. The winter and summer versions of each other via wardrobe. But the New England background gave me a desire to want to create sunshine, and vibrant color.  

This is my personal favourite tote. It has a map of CT (Yay home state!) in bright Palm Beach colours and a sailboat. Perfection!

6) Do you think a college education is necessary?  What if someone, like yourself, has a talent that can’t necessarily be nurtured in college?  What do you feel you gained from attending Mount Holyoke College versus what you learned when working in “the real world”?
Without higher education, I would not have known that college wasn’t for me.  I gained the wisdom while at Mount Holyoke College to stand on my own two feet and take a risk.  If I lose, I lose.  But a risk is a risk.  I gained the most amazing friendships and bonds from college, especially at MHC.  Being around the most academic and disciplined young people is contagious.  But you have to apply that to you personally.  The real world is the real world- no grades, just your reputation and the definitive choices that make up that time-line of your life.  You are never safe, and you face yourself whether you want to or not.  I make mistakes everyday, and that’s how I learn.  The failures and the competitors.  They are the teachers.

It may be winter, but summer can decorate your phone all year!

7) Take me through a few milestone moments in the history of Francesca Joy.  What were the struggles and obstacles that you had to overcome as well as the celebratory moments that made it all worth it?
The biggest struggle is starting a business with no money.  I started FJ with the dollars I saved on paintings I sold.  I started it with just believing in my concepts and the movement of fashion & art.  The celebratory moments: being featured only a few months into starting my business as Top 5 South Floridian Designers to watch in 2011 by Boca Mag, being on AOL/Luxist, the first 3 months in.  The response has been kind of surreal. That’s the fun part.

8) What values would you say embrace the core concepts of Francesca Joy?
Fashion can be selfish.  I never want Francesca Joy to be associated with that behavior.  If we can give back at the end of the day, then we’ve done a good job.  The core concepts boil down to that.  We can try to do all these great things while we’re on earth, but we have to help each other. That’s why I started our fundraiser with water.org .  I clearly don’t have millions of dollars, but with the money I have from some of the totes and products, the smallest amount we donate really makes a difference.
On the art side of things, the values I stick with is to always be unique and true to my style.  You can’t make everyone happy.  You have to be yourself and the way you draw something or design something is you- the best mirror.  I won’t change that, and I won’t copy anyone.

Want to treat yourself? Get a silk dress. I promise you, it feels like love caressing your skin.

9) What is your proudest moment so far?
The customers, walking around with FRANCESCA JOY.  It was an idea, that they can now wear.  I’m proud that they are happy.  It’s about making them smile.  It will always be that way for me.
10) What’s next for Francesca Joy PB?  Any new products you are looking to expand into?  And what about the art, is there anything new we can look forward to?
We’re working on bow ties, and possibly custom sandals, which is exciting.  Someday we’ll do swimwear.  I have a million ideas for bikinis! Hopefully some home inteirors. The prints are marketable, and there’s something for everyone.
I wish for the art to progress naturually, and take customers, fans, and admirers into a different place.  I want them to feel like they’ve never seen it before.  Every time. I want the works to feel like performances, and entertain.

A new tote from FJ's new collection. I want this to be real so I can jump into the stores and houses.


11) And finally, it’s so hard these days for young entrepreneurs to make a splash and get noticed.  What is your advice to the people out there taking a risk and trying to do something on their own?
Have an idea that sticks out.  The message, the vibe, the overall concept has to be fresh, and the best way to present that is in a non-pretentious, non-jaded manner.  I wanted to start this whole thing young because I believe my ideas now are so unaffected; they are so virgin on so many levels.  I always have high school students in their teens help me with fashion shoots or intern for me because what they have to say or what they have to present is so valuable.  You can’t get that anywhere else.  But take the risk.  You may have a lot to lose, and you may not have the means, but if you feel in your gut you want something, you will always get it.  And you have to fight.
If you love what you see (and I have no doubt you do!) you can find Francesca Joy at:
or you can shop her items at
Thanks so much for the interview Elise!  And keep up the amazing work.  This summer I will definitely be hitting up the beach with a FJ tote.