It’s official!!! I am moving to DTLA!
That means I have also checked off the FINAL BOX of my Post-Grad Checklist, and all in only 1 year.
You know what else happened in one year?
I created this humble little lifestyle blog exactly one year ago. It has been quite a journey since then, as well as a stepping stone towards my career. I couldn’t be happier with how these past 12 months have shaped me, I feel so blessed and I praise the Lord for watching over me every day because of it. Now I want to share my short story with all of you. Let’s review.
1 year ago I started itsaLisa.com, here’s what has happened since:
May: itsaLisa.com is founded
From George Fox University with a BS in Interior Design, Fashion Merchandising, and Marketing. Now I have a pocketful of knowledge, and a pocketful of friendship; I miss those crazy kids.
Move back to Huntington Beach, and in with my parents. I told them I wanted to spend my summer focusing on a blog because it was something I always wanted to do. I had just spent my entire life in school to get a degree and then a career, so I needed this break to “focus on me.” What a line ;)
Become a blogging and social media expert.
I went to the library and checked out every book about blogging and social media marketing that I could find. Here’s what I learned: (1) find your niche, know your audience (2) feed the people what they want and (3) don’t read books about social media, they’re all outdated. …If you have taken any marketing class ever you should already know the top 2, so basically, stop researching, sit down, and get to work.
itsaLisa.com is born: May 31, 2013. Cheers!
DOD was my first major networking event. It was also one of my first blogs, I look back and think “wow this blog post is so ugly. But every blogger must start somewhere. This event was a big convention in DTLA for interior design. This was also my first time in DTLA as an adult, I loved it. There’s just something about those hot and bustling streets lined with skyscrapers and palm trees…
At the event I networked with fellow ASID (American Society of Interior Design) members, and flirted with all the design booths. Which is when:
Gabbing is really a game; it is the ability sustain a conversation long enough to keep it interesting, and short enough to not be a nuisance. Your goal is to have them remember you, and for you to remember them well enough that you could use each other again as contacts later in life. Always exchange business cards.
Networking Hint: Collect as many business cards as you can (make it a game if you want) and add them all on LinkedIn right away. Do it that night - Don’t wait! If you do it the same day they might actually remember you better, and once you’re Linked In you’ll be connected forever.
July: Rethink Healthy
Senior year of college did not treat me well, I gained about 10 pounds that year alone. I blame it on stress, but it was probably the food stamps: $200 a month is pah-lenty to live on for food, don’t let any advocates tell you otherwise. So I joined an awesome bootcamp in Huntington Beach to snap back into a shape that made me feel truer to myself.
It took me 5 months, but the first half was all in the first 6 weeks of bootcamp. :) The second half was just from being more health conscious. Keyword: HEALTH. NOT weight, NOT a number, just health.
As a side note, It takes a lot of courage to post before and after pictures on the internet. I’m proud of what I was able to do, which is why I bit the bullet and posted one. I also know that this is a very common inner-struggle that so many people deal with. If weight is something you battle with, please feel free to connect with me and I would love to help you boost that body confidence!
August: Find a Scooter, Find a Job
I waved Old Blue, my beautiful 1991 Lexus, goodbye in June as she sat idol on the side of a freeway. I was carless for 2 months after that, which meant I was biking everywhere. It also meant I was virtually grounded and only got around when my parents would oh so kindly let me borrow their car, or my friends would oh so kindly give me a ride. However, since I hate being dependent on others, I mainly just stayed home during those months to focus on my blog and cleansing my life. Saving money, etc. …It was a very cleansing summer.
My goal was to have a job by the end of summer, but a job also meant I needed transportation. So I went for the cheap alternative, and it turned out to be the best decision I have probably ever made… which was….
I found my little scooter right as it went live one Saturday morning, the 2004 Kymco People 250cc. I had been obsessively watching Craigslist for weeks, while learning everything I could about scooters. (Hit me up if you’re in the market, I am full of scooter facts.) Now that I have one, I will never look back; (except over my left shoulder before changing lanes so I don’t die). If your local weather permits and you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up. It is so choice. ;)
September: Ties.com & Scarves.com
I landed a job at the company behind Ties.com and Scarves.com. I actually found the job before I found my scooter, they came hand in hand. – Yet another reason why I thank Craigslist (God’s gift to modern man), and this blog, for the past year of my life!
Social Media Marketing and Blog Content Writer.
I became their new social media girl. I took care of the whole social media package for both sites, as well as writing awesome fashion blogs full of clever info-graphics made by our cool creative team. While there, I learned how to take on the voice of a company and work as a team to write blog posts that would appeal to the target audience. You can view my writings here on their girl blog: Sparkle & Fuzz.
October: Off to Neverland
I chose this costume because I had short hair and I wanted to be a fun character that would work with this hair length that I could also create a blog post around. I made the costume from scratch, wrote a blog, and made a short (and real dumb) YouTube video.
Youtube FAMOUS (ok not really)
That video has now received over 4,000 views, and the blog post ranks #1 when you ask google “how to make a peter pan costume” HOLY SCHMEE! It is my most successful blog post to date. You can even buy your own Peter Pan Hat on Etsy, if you don’t feel like making one.
November: New York Baby!
I flew to the big city for the first time to visit my best friend Michelle who moved there indefinitely, and my Father who was there on business.
I just felt so alive in New York. It is even more romantic in person. I mean, I’ve seen it in every movie ever, I’ve seen it as I obsessively watch FRIENDS and every TV show ever, but IN PERSON, the city had me at every corner. My eyes swelled up every day as I took in the beauty. I
hope need to visit again soon. Highlight: I schmoozed my way up to the top of the flatiron building. (SHHHHHH don’t tell security!) ;)
You can watch me derp my way through New York in this quick 10 minute video.
December: Crate & Barrel
I found a seasonal job working at Crate & Barrel(thanks to Craigslist, once again). Here, I learned the art of customer service, I made new friends, and I got a sweet discount. Most importantly, I now know the different of a pilsner glass and a blonde glass. Oh, and I got to wear a headset.
Make it Happen, Make it Count, Make it.
While at Crate & Barrel, I made a handful of new acquaintances. My coworkers were all really cool, and it was fun getting to know an assortment of part-time working moms who were picking up extra Christmas cash, versus the salesmen who were there to make a living. This brief job is where I coined the phrase Make it Happen, Make it Count, Make It, because I was inspired by all the hard working individuals who each had their own motives and passion to perform. *To making each day count!*
January: For SALE
My parents put our house, my childhood home, on the market. They wanted to retire to Arizona, that meant that as soon as we sold, I would need to hustle and find somewhere else to live in a matter of weeks. I had two options in mind:
- 1) Move to Spain, teach English, learn Spanish, and enjoy life before I became tied down with a full time job.
- or 2) Move out and find a full time job.
- (keep reading in the later months to find out what happened)
I also started going back to church. Getting connected in a Christ centered community is very important to me, and something I had been missing out on since I graduated from George Fox University. So I started going back to the church I grew up in. I’ve been going to their young adults group as often as I can, if you’re ever in Orange County I highly recommend attending: Seabreeze Church, click here for details.
February: Make Cool Stuff
I opened up an Etsy shop, where I sell my Peter Pan Hats the very same one you saw me make in my Peter Pan video, as I mentioned earlier. I also plan on making jewelry and greeting cards, so stay tuned!
I designed these Leather Tassel Keychains (with bottle opener) because I liked the trend, and I wanted to make something even more practical, hence the bottle opener part. I sell them at an adorable boutique in Long Beach called Blue Windows. Note: if you love local boutiques and the things sold at anthropologie than Blue Windows is to die for! Walking into a store and seeing your work displayed on a table marked “local artist” is like the coolest feeling ever. These keychains will be available again on my Etsy store soon, or shoot me an email if you’re interested!
March: Laid Off
Here’s where things get interesting….
Ties.com laid me off. It happens. At the end of the day a business is about profit, not the individual employee. I had been looking for work since January just because I needed something full time, but this was the KITA I needed to really get hustling. So I started scanning Craiglist for ANYTHING. Preferably Marketing, but Writing, Blogging, Creative was always on the background.
I temped for a week as a Marketing assistant at an OBGYN. They paid me well, and that was when I realized my worth. I have a college degree – I am worth more than minium wage damnit! There would be no looking back, no more settling for less.
It was late on a Sunday, I was on Craigslist again, and that’s when I saw it, the headline: “FULL TIME DIY/Craft Projects Creator/Writer.” My eyes went blurry as I skimmed over it, what? Am I really reading this? Is this really an ad asking for a full time person doing exactly what I’ve been doing for fun as a hobby at home???? I read and reread the post, I closed out of it. I said no, this is too good to be true, what’s going on. Then I opened it up again and wrote a kick ass cover letter.
I heard back a day later. They wanted me. THEY WANTED ME! I was “the creme of the crop” I JUST MIGHT BE A BLOGGER!!! …2 phone interviews and 1 in-person interview later, and I found myself standing in the middle of a very large and very empty studio in DTLA, at the heart of our new DIY studio for DiyReady.com.
April: Move into a career – Move out of my childhood house
This is the crazy month.
Our house finally sold! Which meant I had to find a new place to live PRONTO. I moved in to a two bedroom apartment in Long Beach with three other girls still in college. I reside here temporarily through June before their 4th roommate comes back from abroad. Just call me a squatter, but surrounded by all my worldly things.
I began showing up at work right away, first to build our studio from the ground up, then to start blogging. I spent my days making cool things, photographing them, and writing step-by-step tutorials online. (check them out here!)
So if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll remember how I ride a Scooter. That’s kind of a long way, to scoot from Long Beach to Downtown LA… My scooter does freeways just fine, she’s a beast. However, risking my life isn’t necessarily on my bucket list, so I take the metro instead.
I am one of the lucky people in Los Angeles who works right next to a metro line. I don’t know how I got so lucky, seriously it’s such a blessing. I scoot to the metro station 2 miles away, then I ride in to work on the Blue Line.
I love it, I love the freedom of not having a car, and I love feeling like a New Yorker! (it even gives me time to read the New Yorker!) ;) I’ve also met some pretty cool people on the metro. People you wouldn’t typically meet in a car. I have one fashion friend, we’re basically the only two white girls who ride into town, and we have the same stops so we walk to work together. How precious is that?
May: Work it
Never Get Too Comfortable
Work continues to be rad, we’re trying to focus more on video content now instead of the blogs. However, being part of a new company also means bumps in the road. The truth is, I have no idea how long this amazing job is going to last. I love it so much, My coworkers are awesome, my whole floor (Maker City LA) is full of really cool creative people. But perhaps it really is “too good to be true.” All I can do is soak in every minute and enjoy my position while they need me, and hope for the best. As with anything in life, I’ve learned to roll with the punches, and I just keep pushing.
No matter where I end up, I will always pursue happiness. The other day I was drafting a dress for one of my tutorials, and as I pinned it together I started feeling so alive. It was like waking up from a daze I didn’t even know I was in. I was on fire! My coworkers even mentioned “you look like you’re on your game right now.” I said yes, yes I am! So ladies and gentleman, it looks like sewing and pattern drafting is in my future, it was in my past, I used to work in the costume shop on my college campus and loved it. How could I not pursue something that makes me so fired up??
Once again, I spent hours on craigslist looking for an apt. I finally found a spacious living room (yes, living room) just outside downtown to call home. The whole complex looks like an Italian Villa, it’s gorgeous. I move in June.
HILLSONG is coming to LA! They’re a church originally from Australia, you might know them from their music group: Hillsong United. Since I know I’m moving to the city soon, I also need to find a new home church. The timing couldn’t be more perfect. I’ve already sent emails out to their volunteer department and am getting connected! I get to be a part of the start of the coolest church (in my opinion) around. Can’t wait to see where this goes.
And that sums up a year.
Since I began my blog I have reached over 40,000 views. I have passed 500 twitter followers, 500 Instagram followers, 400 Pinterest followers, and 100 WordPress followers totaling approximately 1,500 followers.
I know it’s not much, it really isn’t, but a wise professor once told me how important it is to celebrate every milestone, no matter the size. So I am throwing a mini party to myself to honor my 1 year Blogiversary. Ok actually maybe I’ll throw a real party – Mimosas at My Place - post coming soon! To the small milestones! *cheers*
What’s next? Stay tuned to find out. ;)
Thank you for supporting me, I love you all! Please drop a hello in the comments below, I would love to hear from all my readers. You guys are seriously the best.
Connect with me @itsa_Lisa on Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest