Tuesday, April 9, 2013

follow your bliss

You've heard that expression:

Welp, that's me. I feel beyond blessed.

Just a little background on my journey to become an interior designer. But, let me get one thing clear: I'm still on my journey. I'm not there yet. I have a long way to go, but I'm on my way.

Let's go back to spring of 2008 when I was getting ready to graduate from Long Beach State with a Bachelor's in Communication Study. I was currently working for DirecTV as a paid intern and feeling pretty proud of my big girl job. I had my own cubicle, computer, and ID badge. I was working in the marketing department and my boss offered for me to continue my internship through the summer which would most likely lead to a full time position. I should be happy. right? I mean, this is the way life is supposed to go? Right? Nope. Wrong. I felt suffocated. The horrible office lighting would beam down on me and make my brain go fuzzy. The whiteboard that was hanging in my cubical was covered in quotes like "dream big" and "do what you love" but all I could read/see was HYPOCRITE! I did not love what I was doing. I didn't even really like it. I couldn't wait for the clock to strike 5:00 so I could run to my car to try to beat everyone to the freeway, to sit in an hour of traffice, to get home, to go to sleep, to do it all over again. One particularly boring day, I had a conversation with a co-worker who happened to be in their mid-40's. It seemed like everyone was in their mid-40's. He was talking about how he really loved to travel and how he couldn't wait to see the world. He also talked about how he wished he could do what really loved to do, which was to be a fitness instructor. Now, I get it. Not everyone has the luxury to just quit their job and follow their bliss. You become an adult, get married, have kids, a mortgage, bills, bills, bills, bills. the whole 9 yards. And before you know it, you're life isn't yours anymore. This story is probably the most common story ever told and I'm positive that I've heard it atleast 47 times. But for some reason this particular conversation really got to me, and all of the sudden I couldn't breathe. I didn't want to get trapped like he did. I was terrified of closing my eyes and opening them when i'm 43, only to realize that i had never really done what i loved. I had to get out.

I quit my internship and got a job waitressing.

After a few months, my boyfriend and I moved from Long Beach to his hometown of Haleiwa, Oahu with one suitcase and absolutely no job prospects. It was the best idea we ever had. Seriously. After a few weeks, he landed a job as a property manager of an amazing residence on the beach. We were paid an overly decent salary and got to live in one of their 4 guest houses free of rent. It was paradise. I worked for the owner of the property, helping him to write a small autobiography so he could remember his life and his many accomplishements. He was an elderly man, a self made millionare, and had quite some interesting stories to tell. But, after countless hours of listening to someone who really got out there, took risks and went after their dreams, I started to question myself. Was I going to be the type of person who listens to stories about people who turned their dreams into realities, or was I going to be that person? I knew the answer to that one.

Now the question was, what was my dream?

A big part of "following your dreams" bit, is that you have to know what your dreams are. Once I allowed myself to entertain the fact that I was in control of my life and could make it whatever I wanted, it was so obvious. Interior design. It's the only thing that I have truly, truly enjoyed since as far back as I can remember. It's more than just enjoyment. Interior design is what I think about when I can't fall asleep. It's the first thing I think about when I step into any home I visit. Growing up, my Mom was one of those cool moms that would help me redecorate my room once a year. I would come up with a new scheme and she would let me run with it. In 1996 it was clouds. 1997, sunflowers. 1999, animal print. 2001, Paris. The list goes on. Growing up, my idea of fun on a Saturday morning was driving around to model homes and walking through them with my Mom. Interior design got me (and gets me) all jazzed up. It excites me. The only shows that I want to watch on TV are ones that have to do with interior design.

So, while living in Hawaii, and trying to figure out my life, Cole (my then boyfriend, now husband) said to me one day, "Why are you sitting here watching all these people do what you want to do? It's like your watching other people live your life. Go out and get it." And that was it. The next day I applied for the Interior Design program at FIDM Los Angeles. I was accepted and moved back to California a few months later to start in January 2011. Before I move on, I can say without any hesitation that without Cole, I would have never been able to do any of this. He basically had to force me to move back to California. I remember that day when we made the decision that I was actually going to go. I cried so hard because I did not want to leave him and put us through a long distance relationship. And he didn't either. But, because he is the most selfless person on the planet, he wouldn't allow me to not follow my passion no matter how hard it was going to be. He figured that if we couldn't survive a long distance relationship, then we probably shouldn't be together anyway. He promised me that we would make it. I can't express how important it was for me to have a partner who not only believed in me, but also pushed (and still pushes) me to be better. Living 2500 miles apart was the biggest challenge of our relationship thus far, but we made it through. Cole - thank you for being my true soul mate, for holding up a mirror for me to see who I truly am and truly can become. My heart is forever grateful. I love you more than life.

This was that moment in life when you are standing at a fork in the road. One path seems easy, the other path seems more challenging and difficult. And you are forced to make a choice. I chose to listen to Frank A. Clark when he said:

So I started FIDM in January 2011 and on the first day I knew I  had made the right decision. I knew I was exactly where I needed to be. I found an internship with Jennifer Bevan Interiors in October of 2011. I graduated FIDM in March of 2012 and that same month I was hired at JBI and have worked there ever since. For the first few months, I was paid for 3 days a week, but I loved my job so much that I came in five because I didn't want to miss anything. I am in love with my job, and that feels really really good. My boss is amazing, inspiring and oh-so talented and my co-workers are awesome, fun and supportive. It's a small residential design firm. Small in terms of staff, not in terms of number of projects or size of the projects themselves. I literally could not have fallen into a more perfect job. I am constantly learning and growing. It's exactly what I want to do and I know it's exactly where I'm supposed to be. It feels really great to walk into work every morning with a huge smile on my face, knowing that i am living my dream. If you get the chance, you should really try it.

Now, here are some pictures of what I have been up to lately.

my office

selecting paint makes me happy

selecting carpet

(part of) our fabric library- it's never ending
jobsite walkthrough


jobsite framing walkthrough

stone schemes and inspiration

installation (a.k.a - installing furniture/accessories once the construction is complete)

3 stories make for a challenging installation

handmade hardware by one of our vendors

every single piece is molded by hand

range hood design

kitchen remodel troubleshooting

and i'll make sure to keep you updated on completed projects and other fun stuff i get to experience at my job!

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