11/28/09

Design Your Own...Education

Applications picked up again this week. I’m trying to apply for jobs with an open mind and not let daydreams of my ideal position get in the way. I felt a little Ryerson love when one of my teachers forwarded some job openings to the class. As always, I try to prove why my experience would make me a good fit. Despite having always known that I wanted to work at a magazine, I like to think that I’ve designed my own education. I’ve sought out internships, informational interviews and tried my best to grasp at insight wherever possible.

This week I attended Ed2010 Toronto’s latest event, an interview seminar led by Megan Griffith-Greene of Chatelaine, Bonnie Munday of Best Health and Jenny Pruegger of Transcontinental HR. And now, some notable points…

-The Bigger Picture: Remember that HR will be the first to review your resume. They’ll be looking to see whether or not you’d be a good fit for the company/publisher.
-Do Your Homework: Know your role. Know your superior’s role. Know the magazine and have a sense of their reader.
-End on a Good Note: Ask questions about the role and how previous employees have been successful.

I loved seeing the room filled with mag-lovers and readers. Chatting with other writers and interns reminded me that I’m not alone. There’s always going to be someone with a little less experience, and someone with one more enviable opportunity. Regardless, now's the time to set myself apart.

11/25/09

Where No One Knows Your Name

In terms of vacation wardrobes, is your escape an entirely new way of dressing or are you more inclined to relax in the same old beach rags? I love reading about the ways in which people attempt to sum up a city’s style sensibility. They can never truly encompass it all, but I can’t help but feel that certain places evoke their own unique aesthetic. VOGUE UK’s Emily Zak recently blogged on the subject:

“Here stereotypes do apply. In Italy it's body hugging and the highest of heels; in California, colour, hippie chic, fleece and flat sandals; in France, low heels and understatement; in New York whether down or Uptown, polished and put together; in Japan the extremes of conservative work wear and Harijuku girls.”

For me, it depends where I am. Florida is an annual trip in our family and we all look forward to the empty schedules and sun. My plan? Swim, read, swim, read, swim. If I’m caught wearing old t-shirts and bathing suits day in and day out, forgive me. Trips to New York and Italy are meant for style, but this one certainly isn’t.

11/19/09

The Comeback

A week of procrastinating and then finally writing came to an end last night. Draft One (a comforting thought considering I know it needs work) of my major profile assignment was due last night. As usual I continued to re-read my work right up until the last minute before I had to leave for class. I quickly wrapped up the end (was my writing even coherent by then?) and sent it in. Though I was doubtful, I am truly excited to continue working on it. Working on this ongoing project means having piles of notes, sheets and style manuals handy along with a healthy dose of hope. I hope I can finish this and still be proud of it. I hope I can find the perfect quote. I hope – boy do I ever – that this may appear in print someday.

Whenever I finish a big assignment you can guarantee that my appearance is completely frazzled, from my au natural hairstyle to my choice of outfit. On a good day it’s a cozy knit, anything less and I reach for the good ol’ TNA sweats. Yesterday I managed to avoid the tracksuit and opted for a dress instead. Large ballet pink scarf is always a must – especially when the goal is to catch a nap on the subway.

Enough of from my guide on how to appear like a hobo – I got to Ryerson and of course half of the students weren’t there. They’d emailed their assignments and then stayed home. Why didn’t I think of that? Regardless, my teacher is an inspiring lecturer with countless stories to tell about on-the-scene reporting, so I stuck it out.

Afterwards we headed to a pub to ‘toast to our deadline.’ It was fun to hear more of our teacher’s stories, chat about our assignments and what we learned along the way. Working on this assignment was definitely a highlight of the course so far (along with being called a “graceful” writer). It was nice to take the time to chat about where we’ve all been and where we see ourselves going, until it’s time for Draft Two that is.

11/11/09

How to, Ways to and the Top 5 Reasons Why

“How to lose a guy in 10 days!” my sister blurted out before I’d even finished. I was trying to explain to her that I needed to come up with three service story ideas for one of my classes.

Yesterday I spent the majority of my day waiting for something to strike. Of course, in the final hour before class things started to come together. I scrambled to print my research and ended up with ideas for an entirely different publication than the one I had set out to brainstorm for.

I suddenly decided to check out if this mag had any job info or openings on their site. They didn't. The energy that came with the flow of ideas must have taken over, because before I knew it I was on the phone with the EiC. Despite the WTF in her tone, I could not be shaken. I simply asked where to find out more. She said that they are not currently accepting applications or queries right now. After she hung up I had to laugh. I expected to get contact info from the receptionist, not to interrupt the EiC. Personally, I think I'd be a good fit for their magazine, and I intend to prove it. But I didn't have time. I had to get to class.

So what if I was a little late? I needed to make a quick stop for green tea. Plus, my story meeting with my teacher (an executive editor) ended with some encouragement on his part and utter excitement on mine.

A Love Letter to my Holiday Issues

They arrive each month in my mailbox but this month they bring something along with them – some holiday cheer. I want to write about, forecast, and inspire readers with the latest in fashion and pop culture. And so with the arrival of my holiday issues came a flurry of ideas about gifts, parties, friends and outfits. Each month when the mags I subscribe to arrive, I pick apart what I love about each issue. I consider myself a collector. I’ve got a library of back issues in my room and if my sisters want to use them to decorate their walls or create collages, they have to go through me first. That’s what second copies are for.

My sister asked me yesterday if I actually read my magazines. Read them? I flip first, then go back and take it in cover to cover. As I continue to take courses at Ryerson I find myself reading differently too. I’m constantly looking for signature items, writers, interview techniques and whatever inspires me overall. There was definitely no shortage of inspiration in my holiday issues.

FASHION? Thanks for Rebecca Tay’s “Show Down.” It’s your combination of commentary and whimsy in your writing that keeps me coming back. FLARE? If the buzz about GaGa isn’t enough to lure you in (I’ll admit I’m not a fan but the cover photo’s lovely. Plus I had to see how the accompanying feature spun the Haus of GaGa and all of it’s glory) flip to “Bright Young Things.” The sparkly spread captures a holiday party at Rolly’s Garage in Toronto. Though I’ve already been caught wearing eye-catching earrings and my hair in a bun, I can only wish that my holiday looks like this much fun.

So thanks, dear holiday issues for keeping me going. You intrigue me, surprise me and remind me of what I want to be apart of.

With Love,
Erica

11/6/09

Adventures in Flats

If absence makes the heart grow fonder, have you missed me? This week I discovered that Christmas comes before the Halloween candy is even finished, assignments can pile up without a moment’s notice and if you want something, go ahead and ask for it.

On campus I got to transcribe my own interview. I looked through shelves of books on instant photography. Apparently choosing to write an assignment on the inner workings of a Polaroid camera was a bad idea. I can barely believe that I spent Monday going through the motions of work and school – and by Tuesday a lengthy list of assignments seemed to magically appear. I sat in the library, waiting for ideas to strike like lightning. Current research includes hand sanitizers, fashion design stereotypes and pubs in Toronto (help!).

On Bay Street I met with a friend of a friend at Indigo for a chat. She contacted me to discuss all things internship, and naturally I was happy to oblige. The main theme that we kept coming back to was to ask for what you want. Curious about job info? Reach for the masthead, that’s what it’s there for. No one’s going to hand you your dream opportunity.

On Bloor Street I popped into Holt Renfrew to check out wares from a specific designer. The sounds of carols immediately had me in the holiday spirit. Embellished silver ornaments made it easily feel like Christmas was around the corner. Snapping back into the present, I sought out a particular rack in the name of research...

On Queen Street West I got a true taste of life as a fashion writer. I interviewed Toronto-based designer Erin Kleinberg and got to tag along on a trip to her fabric supplier. She’s young, funny and extremely determined. Her ambition and business-minded view of fashion was inspiring. She attributes her work ethic to the infectious New York energy she was exposed to while interning with W Magazine stylist, Alex White. Surprisingly, the gentleman at the supplier even suggested I work as Kleinberg’s assistant (too bad she has one). Hey, it worked for Elana Fishman [former Teen Vogue Fashion News intern, currently Jason Wu’s assistant] didn’t it? Either way, this jobless glossy-lover had to smile. If meeting Kleinberg taught me anything, it’s that all you can do is keep going.