Cooler and Warmer…

Cooler & warmer. That’s the slogan, along with a new logo, that was unveiled Monday, as the result of a $5-million marketing campaign for RI Tourism.  Ok, you’ve finished the sentence but have you figured out what that heck that means? No, not yet? Ok, I’ll ask again later…

cooler & warmerWhen I first heard that my adopted home state (more on that later) would be devoting big money to promoting tourism, I was psyched. I’ve been a one-woman Rhody billboard since first landing here in 1999 and learning the Rhode Island fight song at URI. I managed to convince my now-husband to move back here with me, despite the fact that he’d never stepped foot in the state before. Oh, also my brother and sister-in-law now reside here and my lifelong NY/NJ raised parents are considering spending their golden years here too. Safe to say, I’ve been singing the praise of RI and reveling in showing visitors all that the state has to offer for years. After college and a few years spent living the good life as a single gal waitress/wannabe writer in Newport, I finally caved to the unspoken golden rule that if you want a successful career (especially in my chosen field of journalism/PR) you need to move to a big city – ideally THE big city.

In 2006 I headed back to my parents house on LI, purchased my first pant suit and began my first grownup job in PR. I stayed in NY for 6 more years, transitioning into social media, moving into Manhattan, climbing the proverbial ladder, handing out my business card like I was a rock star, riding the subway daily and spending way too much money on rent. In the back of my mind I always secretly hoped I’d land back in RI one day, but the job prospects seemed slim. No one goes from NYC to RI as a step UP do they? Depends what you’re looking for I guess. For me, I needed to find a place that my now-husband and I could agree on (he was living in Buffalo, NY the last two years I was in NYC), and I knew the beach, the people and the charm of RI would welcome me back with open arms… if only I could find a job.  On a whim I applied to a Craig’s List posting and was on an Amtrak to Kingston a few days later for the interview. Long story short, that job wasn’t what I’d hoped for, but it got me back to RI and led me to find that there ARE a lot of great companies, creative talent and brilliant minds here. There are also unlimited possibilities for creating your own opportunities and shaping your career into exactly what you want, especially in the age of remote work.

So where am I going with my long and rambling life story? My message is this. I find it disheartening that RI essentially chose to ignore all this local talent, all the people who may have come from elsewhere but CHOSE to live and work here. All the people who were raised here, educated here at some of the best universities in the country (not claiming my alma-mater URI is one of them, but I think we can all agree RISD & Brown are pretty damn impressive on a resume) and have stayed here to lend their talents to a place they are proud to call home. The designer behind the new logo is Milton Glaser, who’s responsible for the iconic “I Love NY” logo. I think we can all agree that’s a classic. Simple, and to the point. It’s the stuff T-shirts and mugs are made for. Heck, I own a cheesy Christmas tree ornament with this logo emblazoned on it. I think it’s safe to say I will NOT be hanging a “Cooler & Warmer” ornament anytime soon… Plus, THE GUY LIVES IN NY! You mean to tell me in a state brimming with artists and art students (Remember, RISD?) you couldn’t find one local “up and comer” to design something a bit more authentic?

Despite my initial reaction to the logo and slogan (and those of other well-respected locals) I still have high hopes for this campaign and hope to see it succeed and bring great things to our state. I won’t even get into the other well-publicized blunders so far, but you can read about some of them here, if you’re so inclined.

Hey Gina, Betsy and the rest of the team, I live here, I love RI (you can often find me tweeting and instagramming my #rhodylove) and I KNOW I’m not alone. One amazing thing I’ve seen come out of all this is the outpouring of ideas and passion from the creative community here.  Let’s work together, utilize local talent and showcase our great little state.

Rhody Love Forever,

Allie Zog

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Officially, Official!

No, I’m not a Mrs., but I am an official RI resident again – with license plates to prove it! After somehow managing to survive more than a year in Newport without a vehicle of my own, I recently purchased my first car after more than 5 years as a car-less city dweller.

Still set in my urban ways, I had no problem walking to the store, taking the train into Boston or home to NY, and even daring to ask if we can “call a cab” when heading out.  (You can’t, in case you were wondering there are maybe two cab companies in RI…). I relied on the kindness of my boyfriend and friends for rides (thanks guys) and walked anywhere I could. I only lived about a 5-minute walk to a grocery store, drug store, yoga studio, coffee shop, etc. and just up the hill from the entire downtown Newport scene, even the beach was less than a mile walk away. I didn’t think twice about walkin’ it, but after a year as “the girl without a car,” I resigned to the fact that a car of my own was inevitably in my future.

I should probably mention that in terms of my job, I am lucky enough to work from home for the most part, only having to go on assignments, to meetings or to an office once a week or so. Because of this, I found a car not completely necessary, and although I love being back in little Rhody, maybe a small part of me was still clinging to the notion of being a city girl…

The lifeline of my NYC car-free existence was my trusty Zipcar membership and when I found out Newport had recently been added as a Zipcar city, I was even less inclined to buy myself wheels. Gas, insurance, EZ pass and even a beach pass included? Yes, please! During the summer months there were cars at a nearby hotel only a few blocks from my apartment but when summer ended and I got the unpleasant surprise that my cute little summer ride was being moved to Salve Regina (the university in Newport that it about a mile or two up the road from me), I knew the time had come.

After a few not-so-fun shopping trips to find said car, which sidenote*, you should never do with your longterm live-in boyfriend whom you are not married to, I took the plunge and am now considered a normal Rhode Islander, meaning that I drive to get my morning coffee, even though there are at least 5 places totally walkable…

I guess there’s no turning back now, so cue up that Rhody fight song!

*Because invasive and pushy sales people will find a way to ask you if you are married/why you aren’t married/whether you plan on getting married and claim it’s to find you some sort of married person discount.  But, in defense of this awkwardness, I did in fact receive a $500 discount due to the fact that my not-husband/live-in boyfriend lease’s a competitive vehicle. Yay for living in sin!

“How I spent my summer vacation…”

Remember as a kid when you had to recap your summer in those first hazy still kinda summer/not quite fall days of school? Well, yeah, I’m bring that back on the blog today and as I attempt to explain my 3(ish) month blogging hiatus. My sorry excuse can be best be summed up by the three simple words SUMMER-IN-NEWPORT because basically, yeah, I’ve been out enjoying it (as well as writing about it on other blogs and publications) and thus, my poor little blog has severely suffered.  Here’s a quick recap of my summer, which is sadly coming to a close.  More to come, promise!

First beach

“How I spent my summer vacation”

-Moving to a new fabulous apartment (and hosting a tour of friends and family now that we have guest accommodations!)

-Day-tripping to Block Island (and swimming in the bluest water around at the “secret” Mansion Beach)

-Rocking out at the Newport Folk Festival and a Zac Brown Brand show

-Hanging at Easton’s Beach in the locals section (AKA to the left of the “Meat Sticks”)

-Telecommuting from my newly minted home office or my favorite coffee shop in town Empire Coffee and Tea on Broadway

-Exploring the rest of Rhode Island (meaning I “crossed the bridge” and went “off Island”) and finding new favorite spots in Jamestown, East Greenwich, Watch Hill and Narragansett

The easy way to start again…

The new year is always a great excuse to start up the regular blogging again.  After being MIA through the holidays, the new year brings an easy no-think idea for a first post to get back on the blogging horse as I like to say.  The new year always seems like such a fresh start but I’ve realized my resolutions often stay the same year after year, meaning I either haven’t accomplished them the previous year or am still working on them slowly but surely.  My “travel internationally” resolution still remains front and center as well as the yearly “write more.”  One clichéd resolution that I’ve actually been sticking to from last year is the committment to working out more.  I began running regularly this past summer and once the cold weather hit in November I joined a gym and actually go (gasp!).  It’s funny, when I lived in NYC and had a comped membership to a fancy gym 21 blocks from my apartment with every amenity I could imagine, I rarely went but now that I belong to a local YMCA going seems a lot easier.  Go figure…

I tried to find my last few years of New Years Resolution posts but as it turns out I’ve been more inspired to share my goals every year around my birthday than New Years.  One thing I wanted out of post-30 life was to find a new hobby.  While I’m not sure it’s the most glamorous one, I’ve become quite the chef recently and enjoy cooking up new recipes (mostly tweaked from Pinterest or food blogs and given a little zog twist!).  I’m thinking of beginning a section on here to share them so stay tuned.

In 2013, assuming I actually stay in one state for a full year, I’d like to get immersed in the New England/RI lifestyle and become as much as a localvore as I can.  (Sorry that I just used such a hipster word…)  I want to re-learn snowboarding because really, how can you live in New England and not have a snow-sport hobby?  Judging by my end of summer yearnings to learn to sail last August, I suspect that might be a possible summer ambition?

As small as RI is, I realized even though I’ve lived here off and on for the better part of 8 years now, I only really know small pockets of the state well (Newport, Narragansett, Kingston/Wakefield) and there are prized areas that remain unexplored.  Providence has recently won all kinds of awards for its restaurants and culinary delights yet shamefully my knowledge of the area doesn’t extend far beyond the Providence Place mall, Thayer Street and one recent trip to Federal Hill.  A few friends lived there after college and I remember visiting there cute apartments and getting coffee at a place called Zog’s Cafe or something similarly named after me (speaking of which, is that place still there??) but beyond that I think we sadly only frequented lame college bars, clubs, The Cheesecake Factory and not much else.

A new year, a new state, a focus on living local, living each day to the fullest, living out my dreams and living well.  Here’s hoping 2013 is my year and your’s too!

An escape…


Rich greens, deep blues birds chirping and ocean breezes-things I rarely (ok never) see from the confines of my 15th floor NYC apartment were all just part of the norm at a place I like to call paradise. Nope, not the Carribean or even Hawaii, my slice of heaven can be found in the wonderful little state of RI, and most recently on Block Island, RI.

Life in RI is so simple and peaceful and when my boyfriend and I recently visited ‘the Block” we honestly felt like we were on some fantasy island. People were friendly and said hello as they passed you by, cab drivers were jovial and helpful and chatty in the good way not the-I’m on my phone speaking erraticly in a foreign language-way. Ironically both cab drivers that we had while visiting (you only needed a cab to and from the ferry, the rest of the time you strolled or rode a bike-ahh sighhhh) were people that lived on Block Island year-round and loved the peaceful picture perfect setting. One guy told us he came for a job as teacher and never left. At this point I was convinced that I should cancel my return trip and apply for a job at the Block Island Times but my cab driver just laughed and agreed that they “probably didn’t pay much.”
After a lovely and relaxing trip of seafood, beaches, coronas, moped-riding and pretty sunsets, we headed back to NY and I found myself wondering “Am I really a city girl, or do I belong in a tiny little beach town?” I’m constantly torn between the desire to be really successful in my career which probably requires at least a few years in a big city and the desire to live in a quaint town near the beach. Unfortunately I’m not sure there’s much of a market for a Social Media Marketer, blogger or otherwise-at least on Block Island. In fact, I kinda got the feeling that if I tried to explain what I did to any of the locals, they’d be confused in the way that my 80-year grandmother is.
For now, I’m back to city-girl Allie, but I can’t wait for my next vacation! I highly recommend a visit to Block Island for anyone looking for a relaxing and perfect little beach getaway in the Northeast.