Friday, November 28, 2008

Operation: Pack for New York in Three Days

Ok folks, here's the tentative plan. Try to keep up:

I'm back in St. Pete now. I'm working for the Times through Sunday. I leave for New York for my trial run with Harris on Monday. In that time, I have to go through and pack/clean everything in my apartment. Thankfully, I don't really have that much stuff left.

I'll be in New York Monday - Thursday, and working for Harris on Tuesday and Wednesday. They said if they decide to hire me, I'd start the following week. So I'll have Thursday - Sunday to pack and ship everything else. I'm going to leave pretty much everything I pack this this week with Chris, who I'm staying with and who I'll be living with, so when I come back for good I can hopefully pack everything else and won't have to ship very much.

My parents are coming over on Friday to help me pack up my stuff. Then I'm going back to Orlando on Friday or Saturday to leave my car with them, and then I'm off Sunday! So, to recap, I have tomorrow, Sunday and Monday mornings and then Friday left in St. Pete.

I can't wait to just get there and get into my routine and stop living out of a suitcase. This last month has been so crazy, but so exciting!

Here's a little video I took this past week:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Interview: Part Deux

This was the most meaningful and shortest interview of my life.

Got to the office about half an hour early, after buying some hideous shoes. The Editor in Chief and Editorial Director (who I met with last week) saw me early. I talked with the Editor in Chief alone for a few minutes, she said she just wanted to get to know me a little better. She was very nice and welcoming. Then, she went and got the Editorial Director and she came to talk to me.

She said that they wanted to do a two-day trial run next week and that they'd make a final decision after that. I was so excited that I didn't really ask questions and told her I'd see her at 10 a.m. Tuesday. When I called to tell my parents, they brought up some pretty good questions that I didn't think of. If Tuesday and Wednesday work out, will I start Thursday? Am I the only one they're doing this with? Am I getting paid?

So I got back to Gordon's place and called her back. Right away she said I would be paid, so that was nice. Then, she said, and I quote, "you're at the top of the list." She said they might do this with one other person depending on how next week went. And she said if they made the decision to keep me on, they'd start me the next week.

So basically, if I go in and do a good job, I have it. That's insane! When I told my parents I literally started crying, which surprised me a little. I just can't believe that after all this time this is happening so fast! I could be living in New York the first week of December! Wow. Just wow.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The stars aligned

This morning I was in Orlando. Right now I'm in New York. Here's what happened.

Today was the day of the call, so last night I couldn't sleep. This call could be everything I've wanted since I was 14. So my family and I pile into the car and head to Panama City at 8:30 a.m for a family vacation. At 10 a.m. I get the call:

"Hello, Jessica. How are you?"
"I'm great, thanks."
"I'd like to ask you back to meet our Editor in Chief."
"That's great!"
"Can you be here today or tomorrow?"
"How about tomorrow?"
"Twelve o'clock okay?"
"Um, 12 is fine."
"Great, see you tomorrow."

Half of me was ecstatic, and half of me was terrified. How am I gonna get from the panhandle to New York by tomorrow? Then, the stars aligned.

I get on the phone with a friend who's by a computer. He looks up some flight options for me, none less than $500. Then, my dad, a Delta medallion member, works his magic. He gets on the phone with Delta and books me a flight leaving from Tallahassee at 4:37 that gets me into New York by 9 p.m. and gets me a return flight for 6 p.m. tomorrow that gets me back to Tallahassee by 10:30. Thank God for frequent flier miles, it only cost $180. And thank God Gordon was willing to put me up for a night.

My brother had a tour of FSU planned for 2:00, so my parents dropped me off at the airport before that. It really couldn't have worked out better if we had planned it. There was a little stress with my connecting flight in Atlanta. The flight from Tallahassee was half an hour late, and I only had an hour layover so I had to run to the flight. I barely had time to grab a soda and bag of chips and got to the gate just as they were calling my zone to board.

So here I am in Gordon's apartment, almost exactly 12 hours after I got the call. I flew into LaGuardia for the first time and got the most amazing view of New York at night. We turned a corner and all of the sudden it was lights and buildings as far as the eye could see. Beautiful. The cab fare is also half as much from LaGuardia, so I'll be flying into there from now on.

I better get it now! I'm so close!

Update: To add another twist to the day, I just realized that I forgot shoes! All I have are the white lacey ballet flats I wore to the airport. Looks like a quick trip to H&M is in order before the interview!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A day in New York: The interview

How did it go? Well ... okay I think. I'm not sure. The woman who interviewed me was very nice, but very hard to read.

Here's the deal: I would be on an editorial board with three other women and we would be putting out nine different hair magazines. The reason I couldn't find anything on Hair and Beauty magazine is because that's not what it's called. Their main book is Celebrity Hairstyles, which I've seen in every salon I've ever been in. But they also have eight or so other magazines all about hair.

Me and the three other women would do everything: think of the ideas, get pictures, write everything, etc. I think this is great. I would love the opportunity to do all that. I'd really be able to let my creativity flow.

Now, again, the woman was very nice, but very hard to read. She was very direct and to the point, and I didn't really have a whole lot of time to say much. She said a few times that I was fresh out of college, but she also said that this is a great place to learn and grow, so I'm not sure if being fresh out of college is a good or bad thing.

Also, she surprised me with a copy edit test and a writing test right there on the spot. Now, I was on literally half an hour of sleep. I'm not exaggerating. I worked Monday night till 2 a.m. and had to start getting ready at 4 a.m., and of course I couldn't sleep. So it was all I could do to make sure my own sentences made sense, let alone edit someone else's. I missed two words I should've gotten on the copy test, but I got everything else including subject-verb agreement. I'm not sure how I did on the writing test, she didn't read it while I was there. But she said she liked my hair color and we talked about that for a few minutes, so that's a good sign, right?

The next step would be to go back and meet with the Editor in Chief. They're looking to hire right away and will call me on Monday to let me know if I've made the cut. The pay is much less than I expected, and I would have to get a second job if I got it.

It's a great opportunity. Something like this almost never comes along, especially nowadays. I'd be responsible for multiple magazines and I would have a lot of input in everything.

But I'm also not going to be crushed if I don't get it. I really like the idea of spending the holidays with my family and moving up when I'm more financially secure. It was the first interview and a good learning experience, and a day in New York.

So what did I learn? 1. Don't schedule an interview the day after I have to work.
2. Wear socks. Trying to be fashionable, I wore shoes that weren't supposed to be worn with socks, and I paid for it.
3. Dress warm. It was a cool 36 degrees when I got off the plane at 10:30 and it was down to 27 by the time I left. I wore a heavy jacket and scarf, but the lower half of me wasn't nearly as warm.
4. Be ready for a copy test and writing test right there.

I didn't do a whole lot with the rest of the day. The interview ended around 2:30 and my flight didn't leave till 8:30, so I had some time. But I didn't want to spend any more money than I had to on cabs or trains. So I just went to Times Square which was right around the corner. The office is right by the Flatiron Building, which is very close to where I interned during Fashion Week. I had a bite to eat at ESPN Zone and then just went back to the airport, because I could barely keep my head up. But I bought some pashminas!

It was a whirlwind day. Out the door by 5:30 a.m. and back by 12 a.m. Whatever happens is meant to happen, and I'll be happy with whatever is decided.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Aaahh! I got a call today from Hair and Beauty Magazine for an assistant editor position I applied for a few days ago and I have an interview on Tuesday!!!

This would be an amazing job and I really feel like I'm right for it. Can you imagine? A full time assistant editor position? Come on! Cross your fingers for me!

Finally, it starts

I am writing to you all now in my empty living room. Well, almost empty. Yes, I have finally started to ball rolling. I have finally started to take those steps I've been talking about for so long.

I gave the Times my letter of resignation Friday. My last day is December 12. A month from today. The next day, I put my life up for sale. So far, I've sold my futon, dinette, TV and some art. I still have my bedroom set, coffee table, TV stand, desk and some other odds and ends, but it's a start.

When I sold my table, I stood in the empty space where it used to be and almost started to cry. I'm finally doing it. It's finally real. Finally.

I love my apartment here on the water. It's my first place of my own. I work hard for it and it's beautiful. And I will always look back on my year in St. Pete as the year that launched me into what will be my new life in New York.

With every piece of furniture I sell, I get prouder. Every piece that leaves me is a step toward New York and my dream. This is the first real sign of change. Not just talk, but action.