There's a Path for a Reason

by Lisa Lombardi in ,

In 2001, I quit my job, moved all my stuff into storage, and spent the next four months driving around the country by myself. There’s hardly a week that goes by where I don’t think about that time – usually with wistful longing and an aching homesickness for the time in my life when I legitimately had no home.

And then, sometimes, I remember how that was also the time I almost died.


Both of my arms were shaking as I braced myself against the inner walls of the crevice. I tried again to lift myself up and over the edge of the cliff, back to safety.

Not happening.

Twelve feet below my dangling legs was the compact desert ground, littered with rocks and small boulders. Overhead, the gray sky rumbled and drops of rain continued to fall, getting faster with every minute. I could see the parking lot in the distance.

My racing heart suddenly slowed and I felt a surprising clarity.

Okay. So this is how my trip ends.


Here’s the thing: I swear I’m not a careless idiot. I’m the girl who spent more than six months meticulously planning the aforementioned four-month-long solo road trip. I’m that weirdo who accompanies all decisions, from college to dates, with a pro/con list. Y’know the nerd who never had detention a day in her life because she always followed the rules? Present.

Yet there I was, hanging off the edge of a cliff somewhere in the heart of Devils Garden in Arches National Park, all because I didn’t stay on the trail.

I had made it halfway through my hike and was ready to turn back when thunder crackled in the distance. The trail was empty; the dark clouds had deterred everyone else that morning.

A flash of lightning. I needed to get back to my car now.

In that moment, I made the cardinal mistake that derailed everything: I tried to take a shortcut.

The parking lot peeked just beyond the horizon and I recklessly thought I could get there before the skies opened up if I made a beeline straight for it. I scaled boulders that made backtracking impossible and dead-ended on the edge of a small cliff.

As an experienced jungle gym scaler and rock climbing dabbler, my solution was simple: I’d wedge myself in the large crack in the cliffside and shimmy down. But as soon as I lowered myself over the edge, my brain finally kicked in: WHAT. NO. TOO HIGH. WHAT ARE YOU DOING. ABORT. ABORT.

I froze.


There was no way back up. There was no one around to help me. The only way was down.

I took a deep breath and made peace with the fact that I was probably going to break a few bones. Then, I let go.

I fell, scraping and banging against juts along the way. The ground rushed up, uneven and angry, and – miraculously – my feet each landed on impossibly narrow channels of dirt between the large rocks.

For a long minute, I was numb. Then the burning of my skinned shins kicked in; the throbbing of my bruised hips. There were tears on my face and my hair was soaked from the rain, but... nothing more. I took a hesitant step. Then another. My legs were still in tact.

I hobbled the rest of the way to the parking lot and got in my car, the lone vehicle remaining.

I sat for a minute behind the wheel, and two crucial thoughts pulsed in my brain.

  1. My mom must never know about this.

  2. Stay on the path, you dummy.

Job Description Outtakes

by Lisa Lombardi in

Are you looking for a creative gig, but find most job descriptions to be utterly boring? Do you wind up losing interest before you even get to the "Apply" button? Have you noticed how most descriptions seem to start with a set of vaguely upbeat questions?


I was asked to revise some job descriptions and thought it would be worth exploring an option that was entertaining, engaging, and might just stand out in a sea of Indeed results. Needless to say, that option did not get used, so its final resting place will be here.

The company-specific info at the beginning has been removed — just know that you're missing out on an excellent Cheers and Frasier analogy.

Associate Creative Director, Design

We’re looking for an innovative creative leader to spearhead our marketing design efforts and help guide the entire team to greatness. Someone who is an expert at their craft and can inspire fearless brainstorming and concepting with the end goal of more creative, well, creative.

Eight years of design experience at an agency or in-house team, please. Digital and e-commerce knowledge is key, and creative dictators and prima donnas will be turned away at the door.

Now… what else?

Necessary People Skills, Tech Skills & Brain Skills

  • Endless curiosity.
  • Strategic thinking that puts Risk champions to shame.
  • Robot-like organizational powers.
  • Plays nice with others ( well, too).
  • Sense of humor — the drier, the better.
  • Keeps data and customer insight on speed dial.
  • Experience managing managers, preferably in a style that’s somewhere between Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson.
  • Master of Adobe Creative Suite and fluent in Invision and Sketch.
  • Go-to person for typography, layout, photo composition, and print dilemmas.
  • Creator and tinkerer of graphics systems, pattern libraries, and design principles.
  • Walking Digital Best Practices reference book.


A Million Bonus Points for...

  • Experience with motion design and video.
  • Hours logged on photoshoots or collaborating with those who do.
  • Familiarity (or deep obsession) with home furnishings, and interior design or fashion.
  • Print experience! It’s not dead yet!

A Day in the Life for This Role

8:45AM | Check out the latest store displays on the way into work, because our office is in. a. mall. (!!!)
9:00AM | First dose of coffee. Powwow with the associate creative director of copy and creative director.
10:15AM | Think about the customer.
10:30AM | Brainstorm with the Marketing and Promotions teams.
11:45AM | Think about the customer.
12:00PM | Grab food from either the numerous snack walls or the three Sweetgreens within walking distance. (Or, heck, Chipotle. We don’t judge.)
12:30PM | Think about the customer.
12:45PM | Review projects with product designers.
1:30PM | Meet-up with the Social and PR teams to find out what’s doing well.
2:00PM | More coffee.
2:15PM | Think about the customer.
3:00PM | Attempt to reach inbox zero. Digest performance data. Rattle off questions and ideas to the appropriate teams.
4:00PM | Quick stand-up with the Creative team. Make sure all the brands remain distinct but equally awesome.
4:45PM | Pivot strategy for the latest major campaign. Brainstorm a new, attention-grabbing theme.
5:45PM | Celebratory cheers with the team at one of the beer kegs in the kitchen.
6:00PM | Think about… what’s for dinner.

Portfolio Checklist

  • Include one. Seriously.
  • Insight-driven conceptual work.
  • Projects for unexpected channels (ambient, experiential, out-of-the-home — all great!).
  • Successful creative that influenced a positive change in customer behavior.

So, You Come Here Often?

by Lisa Lombardi in

Normally, I'm pretty anti-social media, but my most recent project for AllModern's Instagram and Facebook accounts was really fun!

It all started with a throwaway comment that we should create some cheeky Valentine's Day "cards," and transformed into, well, this.

I present to you: "Flirty Texts from Your Furniture."

Click through to see them in action — they're animated!

Happy belated Valentine's Day.

AllModern 2017 Holiday Catalog

by Lisa Lombardi in

It's in the mail, folks! And I hate the be the bearer of bad news, but word on the street is that it's the last AllModern catalog ever. So hang onto your copy, because that thing's gonna be worth millions some day.

If you didn't make it onto the list but still want to see the final product, head over to my portfolio page and get a headstart on the holidays. (Me? I'm already writing for Cyber Monday sales. Oh, the joys of retail.)


AllModern Holiday Catalog Outtakes

by Lisa Lombardi in

Just in time for fall, we've wrapped up the AllModern Holiday book! I listened to Christmas music for almost two weeks straight in order to write this one, as is clearly evident in the latest editorial device: the candid carol.

Cabin Fever.JPG

Sign up now so you can get yours in the mail next month! It won't have any of these gems in it, but it's still pretty good — scout's honor.

AllModern Fall 2017 Catalog (+ Outtakes)

by Lisa Lombardi in

I'm neck-deep in holiday (and, somehow, early spring and late spring) planning at work, so I almost missed that the AllModern fall catalog dropped today! If you're not on the list to get one (seriously? still?), you can view it on my portfolio page.

Like last time, I've saved some of my favorite outtakes from the writing process... there are fewer this time, but I'm still bummed I couldn't keep my original intro paragraph. Ohhhhh well.


P-Town Getaway

by Lisa Lombardi in

This summer's been go, go, go — which has been great for satisfying my restlessness, but not so great for catching up on blogging. Whoops. Let's see if I can remedy that in a whirlwind of updates, shall we?

Sometime during the recent endless replay of dating app intros, it hit me that I've lived in Boston for half a decade. I haven't stayed in one place that long since, well, I was underage and legally had to. And with that realization came this accompanying reality: there's still so much I haven't seen or experienced yet, especially in the greater New England area.

My Maine road trip was a big check off my list, and a few weeks ago, I crossed off another must-experience destination: Provincetown. Situated on the very tip of Cape Cod, P-Town is known for its beautiful beaches, great food, thriving art scene, and gay-friendly community. I've barely even approached the Cape in all my time in Massachusetts, so I was ready to dive in headfirst with a weekend trip to Provincetown.

My partner in crime this time was my buddy, Jamie — someone with a love for planning that almost matches my own, but paired with an easygoing demeanor that's key for travel. Plus, she's goofy and curious and adventurous, so... any outing with her is pretty much guaranteed to be interesting, hilarious, or both.

After much debate, lengthy pro/con lists, and an email chain that may have broken from its own sheer weight at some point, we finalized our strategy:

Warning: The ferry gets pretty windy.

Warning: The ferry gets pretty windy.

METHOD OF TRANSPORTATION: Bay State Cruise Company Fast Ferry ($90 roundtrip + $14 with bike)

Popular topics of conversation in Boston include: the Patriots and/or Tom Brady; now what's wrong with the T?; and traffic. Most often: Cape traffic. I've heard enough wailing about the drive from the city to the Cape to make me pretty much never want to do it, ever. Especially on a weekend in the middle of summer. Plus, isn't there something romantic about traveling by sea? It's like being on the Titanic, only minus the classism and, hopefully, sinking.

Jamie was equally entranced, and we figured Heywe're not going to make a habit of this, so we splurged and ferried our way out Friday evening after work. Pros are, obviously, the coolness factor, but also convenience: the ride was an almost-exact 90 minutes, and delivered us straight to the center of town.

ACCOMMODATIONS: The Outermost Hostel ($40 per person, per night)

Confession: We had originally planned on camping, but hemmed and hawed too long in our decision-making to secure a site for the weekend we wanted. For a hot second, it looked like our P-Town dreams were ruined, but we stumbled upon the second-rate website of what is literally the only hostel in Provincetown, and made it our hail Mary play.

Jamie did the heavy lifting and made numerous calls to the hostel, leaving messages for the owner and praying we'd get a call back. When she finally got a response, she was told that we'd need to provide a credit card number to secure a reservation, but would need to ultimately pay in cash when we arrived. All in all, slightly shady but not terrible.

The night before, I was doing my typical pre-packing obsessing, and tried to look up the hostel so I could see if I needed to bring a towel or not. When I did, I discovered a slew of abysmal guest ratings along with it.

Having now stayed at the Outermost Hostel, here's what I can say about it: the guest complaints I read were all fairly valid, but I think your stay all depends on your expectations. I've stayed in some really nice hostels (in Europe) and some really shit hostels (also, coincidentally, in Europe). We were planning on camping initially, so really, pretty much anything with a bathroom attached was a bit of an upgrade. If you go, just know that you're in for some bare bones accommodations — bare bones, but still very much providing of all the necessities, and with a location (right by the Pilgrim Monument) that really can't be beat for the price. Seriously. If we had camped, we would have wasted so much time walking or riding bikes from the site to town that we definitely would have missed our ferry going home instead of just almost missing our ferry going home. (Blame it on the frosé.)

Note: You don't need to bring a towel! Or sheets or a sleeping bag, for that matter. But you might want to, depending on your germaphobia or thread-count standards. I'd still go back.


The Canteen:
We started and ended our trip here, and if we had just eaten here for every meal in between, I think I would have been fine with that. A varied menu with interesting takes on the basics (I got to have another bahn mi hot dog! Let's continue this trend.) and a sick back "patio" (you're literally on the beach) make this the perfect chill P-Town grub spot.

Happy Camper:
The Canteen's sister spot, Happy Camper serves coffee, ice cream, and donuts — along with a variety of vintage-inspired merch that'll have you wanting to rewatch Camp Nowhere and Heavy Weights just to keep the camp nostalgia going. We actually discovered this spot via the local farmer's market, where they had a booth set up on Saturday morning, but also visited the brick & mortar shop several times after during our stay.

Mama Matcha Green Bar:
Too often, I find myself eating nothing but overindulgent crap when I'm traveling (see: hot dogs, donuts, endless servings of ice cream. Thanks, Maine.), so I was overjoyed to start our mornings by sampling from two trendy, healthy spots. Mama Matcha served up the prettiest avocado toast I've ever seen, and it was seriously tasty (it includes chopped tomatoes, sprouts, sunflower seeds, and crumbled goat cheese). Think I've officially earned my Millennial Card now.

This place was on no one's recommendations list, and we probably would have walked right past had it not been for the fact that (1) it was our dear friend Scott's birthday that weekend, and (2) he and his wife had honeymooned in Provincetown. We simply couldn't resist picking up a t-shirt for him and, well, if they wanted to throw in a free cupcake, we certainly weren't gonna turn that down. Scottcakes serves exactly one type of cupcake, varying only the size (regular or mini); each is plain vanilla with gloopy pink frosting, and each is crazy delicious. If you're like me and your preferred type of birthday cake is boxed funfetti from the grocery store, you'll love ScottCakes.

Grab 'n Go Health Bar:
Had my first-ever acai bowl. Felt super hipster, and then felt super full because those things are huge. Next time, I'll be splitting mine with someone.

Super cool graphic designs representing a variety of major cities, all for sale as prints, t-shirts, tanks, tote bags, and more. I was seriously tempted to get a Boston or Provincetown one, but in the end, my overflowing t-shirt drawer at home made me decide against shelling out for another. But you should!

Marine Specialities:
It's hard to describe this store, which is nothing like the many boutique shops that also line Commercial Street. Need an irregular top from Urban Outfitters that has just slightly crooked seams? How about random vintage army patches? Camping gear from brands you've never heard of? It's all here, crammed into every available nook and cranny. I could have wandered this place for hours, but it gets crowded easily due to, well, all the stuff.

Post Office Cabaret:
I got the impression that no visit to P-Town was complete without seeing a drag show, and we were enticed by the offer of priority seating at the Caberet since we had grabbed a late lunch there. It's a tiny theater, with short rows of seats that extend waaaaay back... but we were plopped in the very first seats, and didn't need to wait in any line. Thanks, soup & sandwich! We saw Raja: Gawdess, starring one of the winners of RuPaul's Drag Race. I'd probably go for a more traditionally campy show next time, but it was an interesting and entertaining experience, for sure. (Raja's boyfriend in the audience may have been my favorite part.)

Dolphin Fleet Whale Watch:
Our whale watching experience was 100% the highlight of the trip for me, and would be my number-one reason to encourage anyone to visit Provincetown. The Stellwagon Bank National Marine Sanctuary is right off the coast of Provincetown, meaning it's only a short twenty-minute ride to get you to prime whale-viewing territory. In other words, we spent nearly the entire four-hour trip seeing whales, including the famous humpback Salt, who was first spotted in the 1970s and has been a staple in the area since. We were lucky enough to be the first to see her this season, along with a mother and calf that literally swam under our boat and just hung around, playing, for a solid half hour or so. It was the coolest thing I've seen in a long time, and I can't recommend the experience enough.

Race Point Beach & Herring Cove Beach:
Our last day, we finally put our bikes to use and rode out to first Race Point Beach and, later, when we were ready for lunch, Herring Cove Beach. Race Point was the nicer of the two, but Herring Cove had the benefit of a snack bar so... there you go. Neither was particularly crowded, but if you're looking for a more kids-free (yes, please) experience, go with Race Point.

Provincetown, I finally get what all the hype is about.