Name: Laine Phillips
Age: If COVID doesn’t count for birthdays, I’m 38. Otherwise, I’m 39.
Occupation: Branch office administrator for Edward Jones
Where we found her: Fiesta Café & Bar
Is there a story behind your name? My mom heard it on a TV show and thought it sounded nice, and then added an “i” because she thought it sounded more feminine. Another option was “Lennon” because John Lennon had just been shot and my parents were both big Beatles fans. My middle name is Celeste, so I feel like I have a hippie name, very celestial.
Are you originally from Rochester? No. I’m originally from Sherwood, Arkansas— born and raised there, then lived in Little Rock and North Little Rock, in central Arkansas, until I was 37. Then I moved to Rochester in April of 2019.
What brought you here? My husband Russell, who is also originally from Arkansas. We were just married in October.
OK, tell me the engagement story. Russell had a trip to Las Vegas for work and I tagged along. It was our second or third night there. He knew I’d been to Vegas before, and that I like the Bellagio fountains, so he intended to propose there. But the closer we got, he realized how loud they were. So he decided that proposing under the “Eiffel Tower” would be just as good. He did not kneel because the streets there are disgusting. He basically told me he couldn’t live without me, and then we went out to a delicious Italian dinner. We celebrated the next night at “Friends the Musical” on Fremont Street.
“Friends the Musical?” How have I never heard of this? It’s like the whole series compacted into two hours. It’s funny, and the entire thing is a musical. And the actors were phenomenal.
What do you think of your first winter here? Well, it wasn’t very bad last year. I missed the polar vortex. I bought a huge winter coat in expectation and I think I wore it once. I wanted to experience the cold before I moved here, but every time I visited, it was during a warm front.
Five things you love? Russ, coffee, yoga pants, crisp, cold air that smells like winter’s coming, beautiful sunsets, the moon, and Hattie snuggles.
That was seven, but I’ll let it pass. Who’s Hattie? Hattie is Russell’s daughter, my stepdaughter. She’s 4, and she’s been in my life since she was 1-1/2 or 2. I didn’t think I was going to get an opportunity to have my own child, and I really enjoy that relationship.
Best Saturday? Honestly, just a lot of coffee and watching “House Hunters International” in my pajamas ... for six hours.
Best concert? Regina Spektor. I saw her in Chicago at The Chicago Theatre with my best friend during a big Chicago/New York trip we were on.
Best travel destination? Probably New York City when I went with my best friend, Alicia. We were only there for three days, but we hit the big touristy spots, like the Statue of Liberty and the Met and the oldest pub—where Alexander Hamilton made the deal about where the Capitol should be. When I watched “Hamilton,” I thought, “I was there! I had a soft pretzel!” It was a good trip. I’d watched a YouTube video of a two-hour walking tour of New York City before we went. I’d watch it again now, I enjoyed it that much! When we went to Grand Central Station, I knew to look up at the ceiling—it’s ornate, but they left a little black square of cigarette smoke next to the cancer constellation on it. The ceiling had become just black from cigarette smoke and when they cleaned it, they left that one square, next to cancer, as a reminder.
Scariest moment? Probably moving to Rochester and leaving my job of 12 years. I was very comfortable there—loved the people I worked with; they were family to me. And packing up the apartment I’d lived in for eight years. Going to a new city, a new job where I didn’t know anyone. I was managing a huge property when I first got here and I wasn’t quite sure what was going to happen. All of it was out of my comfort zone. But I’d always had this dream of picking up and moving somewhere else and starting over—to drive as far as I can go and that’s where I’ll stay. So it fulfills that fantasy of up and moving. But it’s harder in real life than in my fantasy!
Your family is in Arkansas? Yes, my parents are originally from Arkansas, but both had fathers that were Air Force military, so they lived all over the place. They went to the same high school and knew of each other. My mom’s family moved away during high school, but she moved back [after graduation]. She was apparently seeing someone, but she had to dump that guy because she knew my dad was it. Nine months later, they were married. They were 19 and 20. I have a brother, too, Clay. He’s a funny guy. He has Down Syndrome, so he lives with my parents. He’s really high functioning. He loves books, reading, movies and bowling—he literally bowls every week. And he’s freakin’ Rain Man when it comes to the actors in movies—he knows what else they’ve been in, when they were born.
Best advice you’ve ever received? Probably the best advice was from Kim, who is one of the people I worked with back in Arkansas. She said: “Listen to yourself. If something feels weird or doesn’t seem right, trust yourself. There’s probably a reason