“So much of my happiness comes from just living how I want to live.” That’s how Christina Loff thinks about the rich, creative life she’s sculpted since moving from her native New Jersey to San Francisco after college.
As the Senior Marketing and Publicity Director for Chronicle Books and previously as a leader for Minted, CreativeLive, and Hello!Lucky, Christina has worked with creative visionaries across the board. On the personal front, she’s happily partnered with her longtime boyfriend and their cat George. At 44, she’s an example of crafting exactly the life she wants to live, which now includes her new side-hustle handmade jewelry business, Tweet Sweet.
What’s Christina’s approach to getting over the jumbles of life in order to progress to new and better chapters? I believe it’s her strong sense of self. Christina knows who she is and isn’t willing to compromise her individuality for the sake of pleasing others.
It’s going so well and really saving me mentally during this quarantine time. I started the jewelry business because I found that I was working way too much and not making enough time for a creative activity in my life. And it kind of forces me to shut off from work and other things I might be stressed about. It’s a forced balance that I’m happy I created in my life.
I’ve found over the years that I need to do something creatively to shut my brain off and exercise a different part of my head. Making puts me in a meditative state — whether it’s painting, writing, or bead weaving. And being an extroverted marketer, I guess I couldn’t help but make my latest creative obsession into a small business. It’s still very much something I do for fun — and hiring someone to design my branding, running my own ads, taking photos of my product, and doing all the shipping is equally as fun for me as the actual creating.
There’s something really satisfying to have something to work on that’s all mine. It’s a small operation, but I get so much joy working with customers on custom projects and making the packages super fun to open.
Right now is such a weird time, so most of my concerns are around what’s happening in the world. My brain is jumbled with separating work from personal life when it all happens in the same place right now. I’m concerned about how this pandemic will impact the lives we once had — our economy, our cities and neighborhoods, and honestly a low-grade constant fear of contracting the virus and what would happen to me if I did get it.
Being in the moment as much as possible. Being grateful. Really stopping at some point in the day and thinking about how grateful I am to have my health, a great partner, a home and job I love, and so many good friends and family who care about me. It always helps me to step outside — now with a mask, of course — and take in fresh air. Walking always clears my head.
Honestly, my 40s don’t feel terribly different than my 30s. I feel more confident, I care less about what people think about me, and I don’t second-guess my decisions as much. Maybe that’s it — like, I feel just as youthful and fun as I did in my 20s — I just make better decisions. Getting older doesn’t have to mean you lose anything or life gets worse in any way.
To me, the 40s are still young. I want younger women to not worry so much about getting older. There’s nothing to be afraid of and you define your own success. You don’t need to get married and have kids by a certain age, unless you really want that. But if it doesn’t happen, that’s OK. I had a minor freak-out about that in my early 30s because I felt the biological clock ticking, and I felt pressure to do things I thought I was supposed to do like have kids and marry.
I never had kids, and I don’t regret it for a second — I love my life. I have a partner I’ve been with for 10 years; he’s very much my life partner and I don’t feel like we need to be married. I guess that’s come with getting older — I just don’t care if people judge my choices, and I used to care a lot. I was never someone who had a five- or 10-year plan. I just kind of did what I believed in and pursued what made me happy and I really like where I’ve landed.
I’m so lucky to have worked for so many amazing creative companies run by smart creative people. Although I shouldn’t say it’s luck! I worked hard to build my career and sought out companies I admired and wanted to be a part of.
Career highlights definitely include booking three authors on the Oprah Winfrey Show (way back when she had a talk show) and getting to meet the queen herself. I also was lucky enough to work on Snoop Dogg’s cookbook in 2018 and got to meet him — that was a surreal experience.
Beyond meeting famous people, though, I’d say one of my favorite jobs was working at CreativeLive and helping to build their craft channel vertical. I’ve never worked with a smarter, more motivated group of people who just knew how to get shit done — that’s what happens when you work with producers, I guess.
Throughout my career I’ve gotten the most satisfaction helping creative people build their careers. Whether it was the artist community at Minted, the teachers at CreativeLive, or the authors I get to work with at Chronicle Books, I love using my marketing and publicity skills to help creative people. And the smartest career move I made was leaving a job I was very comfortable in to try something new. That job was Chronicle Books — and years later, after working for many different companies in many different industries, I’m back at Chronicle Books managing a smart team I’m so proud of. You never know where your career might take you, so be open to new opportunities and don’t be afraid to go after jobs you want.
Gathering with people! I’m an extrovert who’s just fine being isolated right now, but, man, I miss going out with friends and traveling. I want to visit my family on the east coast, fly to Palm Springs, hang out in my friends’ homes, go out to eat at a restaurant — and go to the office! I never thought I would miss going to my office as much as I do, but I miss my co-workers and my team and having a separate space to work that is not my kitchen table.
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Amy Cuevas Schroeder is the founder and CEO of Jumble & Flow, the new lifestyle brand that empowers women to thrive in midlife. By day, she works as the director of educational content for Unusual Ventures. She started her first business, Venus Zine, in her dorm room at Michigan State University, and later sold the company. She now lives in the Chicago area, and is raising twin girls with her husband, Martin, a social worker. Between Venus and Jumble & Flow, she’s worked as a content leader for Etsy, Minted, and Abstract, and has written for NYLON, Pitchfork, The Startup, West Elm, and more.
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