Friday, October 5, 2012

A Long Time Coming

This is the post that has been percolating in my head for a while. It all comes down to this:

Four and a half years ago, I was unsure of the course my life had taken. I was working in education and ready to pursue my master's/teaching credential in the fall. Before beginning though, I looked for other work, as I could not shake the uncertainty I was feeling about my career path. I always wanted to write and I wasn't sure if teaching others how to write was the best course of action. I interviewed with Jenny Doh and ended up accepting a position as Assistant Editor at Stampington & Company. When I interviewed, I had a good feeling about the job because Jenny and I just hit it off. When I accepted formally, I remember crying with happiness. I felt like I was moving in the right direction and promptly withdrew from the teaching program.

Months later I moved to Orange County and started my life over. I didn't know anyone when I moved out here. I didn't know where anything was, not even the nearest Starbucks. I remember spending my lunch breaks at my desk because I didn't know where to go and had no one to eat lunch with. But the longer I stayed at work, the more people I met. Eventually I made some of the best friends I have ever had by meeting them at the office. I reinvented myself in a way, and I am so glad I did. I can't picture my life without having lived in Laguna and meeting the people I have met and come to love as my second family. Even as I am writing this, there is still confetti at my desk from my 25th birthday, when my friends decorated my office with pink streamers.

As an editor I have learned to seek out the best and chisel away until the strongest points are left standing. Whether whittling down a wardrobe or writing a sentence, it is the duty of an editor to make sure only the best is being presented. I like to think that in my four years at Stampington I did nothing short of putting my best work and shoed feet forward. No matter what.

I have met so many strong women in this industry who have inspired me to persevere. So that even when I felt like kicking my shoes off and relaxing, I kept moving forward. I want to name them all, but there are too many. If you look through my blog archives, you will undoubtedly know who I am talking about. To the many great women who lent me a shoulder, an ear, an apron, a kind word, I wouldn't have been able to keep going had it not been for you. To those wonderful women who gifted me with art, know that it filled my office and kept me happy while I typed articles about artwear, or maybe even posts on this blog.

The decision to quit my job came at the right time. For years I have yearned to do what many of the women I read about in our magazines do, and quit my day job and follow the dream of pursuing my art. While I am not able to quit to write full-time just yet, I will be taking a nice break from work to write a while, to reflect, to think, to just be. These last few days have felt like a marathon. I am so tired, so drained. I remember explaining to Jenny once, that I am a runner. I love running. I love pushing myself to the near impossible, to only discover there are no limits. I feel like I have been running for a long time, and at long last will be able to catch my breath.

My next adventure will be an entirely different one. I am so excited to do something I never would have imagined doing previously. That is what my whole life has been about these past 28 years, doing the unthinkable; surprising myself; starting over. I no longer am afraid to start over. I welcome change with fresh eyes. I want to use my talents to build another magazine from the ground up, hopefully, and make great contributions to another community, to meet more people who will inspire my life's journey, and maybe even new, close friends. I am sorry to tell you that I am not a crafter. I have always felt slightly guilty of this, as I have worked in the crafting industry. I don't craft anything short of writing and outfits and I feel it best to move on to an industry that is a bit more up my alley. But I am a doer. I have never been one to just say something. I do it. Actions speak louder than the best writing. I like to imagine that my writing and actions deliver upon the promises I make and the most genuine of intent. As I start my new job at Nails Magazine, I am unsure of how much blogging there will be for me in the future. A new job is a big step, and I look forward to giving it my all, which will require hard work and focus. A lot of the future seems unclear right now as I have a few things to figure out. But I am ready. I love that my life has not yet nor has ever been, so planned out.

I leave behind two magazines I founded, apronology and Jewelry Affaire. These are especially hard to leave behind, as I lost sleep, argued, and stayed late to make sure these books become everything I knew they could be. I feel like I am abandoning two very important chapters of my life. The love people have for the apron is unlike any other I have experienced, and I am so grateful to have been clued in to that warmth. The jewelry community has always welcomed me with open arms, and I consider so many of these visionaries my friends. Altered Couture has been nothing but a labor of love for me, as I sought to reinvent and push the bindings of its pages, to make it a must-read and relevant to the fashion and DIY industry. Haute Handbags and Somerset Home were both tasks that I took over from my friend Amanda, and have always tried to show them the same love, care and grace she showed other people. I hope that I have left an artful legacy. I did my best, and I feel that these chapters have been written and are at long last, done. They have ended on what I felt were good notes, capturing the visions I have had of them for years in the making.

The most important lesson of all in doing good work and doing a good job is kindness. It is the single most essential, most unifying ingredient. Treat all others with kindness; respect their work and their feelings; be honest. I have tried to stand my ground while achieving only the best. If I have done so, then I have done so by hopefully remaining kind towards others. I look forward to taking this and the many lessons learned with me to my new place of work. The people there have already shown me a great deal of generosity and it makes me all the more willing and happy to move on.

And here's the thing with moving on: change is inevitable. It is life. This life is short, unpredictable, and forever evolving. Sometimes we feel change does not treat us justly, but when we roll with it and are not afraid to start over, we build new muscle. When we are determined to be strong, no amount of change will ever permanently disable you. Then there are those changes that we are ready for, they are expected, they are even welcome. And with them there is a sigh of relief and lots of hope. My friend Virginia gave me this picture years ago that says, "The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are." I have had this hanging in my office for over 2 years, and every time I looked at it, I was reminded that I knew I had somewhere else to go.

I have produced 41 issues for Stampington & Company. The magazine industry, while changing as we speak, has been a great fit for me. There were days where I sat at my desk and wondered what would have happened had I taught high school English, but it has been a privilege to sit at my computer and write words for others to read. I will continue my work with Romantic Homes magazine  and Made Woman Magazine. You can find me there, and hopefully here, along with some other upcoming projects (fingers crossed), and now at Nails Magazine. If you found this blog because of my work at Stampington, I thank you for reading. I thank you for deciding to come here and read words typed out over coffee from an office in Laguna Hills, surrounded by amazing handmade art, written by a girl who used to want to be a teacher, but took a chance on becoming a real writer.

Onward & Upward,



  1. Congratulations, Beth! I wish you everything you dream for and more!

  2. Congratulations Beth. Your stories are a pleasure to read. Best wishes for your next chapter!

  3. Beth, you are truly a breath of fresh air! So honest and humble...You will always have a special place in my heart, for it was you that gave me the courage to be on the path I am on...for that, I am forever grateful...good luck with your new will be successful in everything you put your mind to...and nothing ever changes, unless something changes! Words I live by daily...sometimes it's scary and you might fall on your face, but at least you don't sit and live in regret of "what if". :-) xo xo

  4. Oh, Beth, I'm going to miss you...YOU are Stampington to me!

    You have always been so receptive to my work and you have no idea how much I have appreciated that. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Congratulations on your brave new adventure and on all your successes at Stampington. Maybe one day you will become an English teacher after all, and tell your students to follow their dreams!

    I hope we can stay in touch a bit.

    Ciao bella,

  5. Congrats on taking a new path on your journey! Writing is an art form, as is publishing! You are a crafter with an eye for the unique~
    Good Luck on your next endeavor :D

  6. Congratulations, Beth! It is so inspiring to see you live life and go for it! Wishing you the very best in your new ventures!!

  7. Dear Beth, this is such a moving tribute to and record of your time at Stampington. I wish you joy and growth in your new job, and hope that you will continue to write, and nurture that talent of yours.
    Love, your French aunt xoxo

  8. What a wonderful post and so inspiring for all of us to remember to follow our passions and to "be true to ourselves". You certainly have left big shoes to fill and I can't wait to see your future endeavors with your new jobs.
    All the best to you Beth!

  9. congrats Beth! Awesome news and way to go. It's tough making career decisions and also very brave, but nothing ventured, nothing gained! Enjoy your new position. I hope your dreams come true!

  10. I am so proud and happy for you! I loved being in Apronology and it was wonderful working with you! I wish you JOY and contentment in your new job.

  11. Beautiful post~ you confessed that you were not crafty.. I beg to differ, you take pen to paper like Picasso did brush to canvas.
    Thank you for sharing your kindness & encouragement with me the couple times during the submission process at Jewelry Affaire.
    Life without change or challenges is simple not living~Good luck on your new changes and challenges
    I cant wait to read about your next chapter~ Best wishes
    Kathy jo
    Vintage Pretty

  12. Congratulation's Beth!! I am so happy for you and I so look up to you for following your dreams and a new path in your life! Thank you so much for your kindness and for making some of my dreams come true by including me in your fabulous publications!
    Best of luck!!

  13. Congrats again my friend. I'm so happy we met and became such good friends. I'll never forget my humble beginnings as a graphic designer at Stampington. Some fun we had, right? I know you'll do great at your new job. Bravo!

  14. Dear Beth,

    I am so excited and happy for you! No one deserves this adventure more than you. Grab it and run like nobodies business!!!! I know you will make us all very proud.


    Jannet xox
    The Empty Nest

  15. I am wishing you an incredible journey! Stay in touch as I will be excited to read all about what you are doing - and of course, will miss you peeking around at the pretties!

  16. How exciting for you! It must feel incredibly satisfying to close this chapter of your life with such contentment and fondness. And the journey you now embark on will be full of new adventures. What a thrilling prospect!

    Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

  17. Congratulations on your new venture. Change is always a little scary but exciting as well. Best of luck!

  18. Huge congratulations Beth. Change is an amazing thing. Enjoy the ride!
    Take good care,

  19. Best of luck to you Beth on your new & exciting adventure!


  20. Congratulations on your new adventure! Over the years, you have blessed me with inspiring conversations, gorgeous features and just kindness- thank you from the bottom of my heart!
    Enjoy each step of your new journey- may it be fabulous growing time for you.
    My best, always,
    Monica xoxo