The View From Here

"Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa," sings Nat King Cole. I'm sitting at my computer, writing, as the music plays on. I'm wearing the typical uniform, my family immediately recognizes it now. Sweat socks, leggings and my University of Toronto sweater are topped off with a high bun. My door is closed, but my window's open, allowing sunshine and cool breeze to flow inside. On my white dresser there's a pot of green tea, a large pitcher of water and a bowl of almonds that I'll likely run downstairs to refill. Outside my window there's a view of a large tree, and my neighbour's bedroom window. I'll try to convince myself that this is the best way to work, in my room, with minimal distraction (but of course, hours of time wasting are a mouse click away). I can't work in total silence. But here all of the background noise comes from inside, not out. A phone rings, my sisters call out to each other, pots clang and the television blares. I tell myself that this is the best setting for me to work in, and I know I'm lying.

You see, it's about what's outside. I have an affinity for views. As an intern, I luckily worked with a full view of downtown Toronto. In Italy, I spent hours sitting on the terrace, looking out at the coast. It's not so much the scenery, as the promise of what's out there waiting for me. Everytime I make my way downtown I am immediately filled with energy. Suddenly not only can I write, but I want to write. There's no sense of time or routine, only the freedom to wander without a designated endpoint. The lights keep shining and the people keep walking. I've known for years that I want to live downtown, and the feeling never gets old. I imagine myself in my first home, writing away to the sounds of Nat King Cole or any alt/indie rock made famous by The OC or Grey's Anatomy. The inside will likely be the same - magazine tears on the walls and piles of scribbled notes strewn across my desk. But outside will be different. Sounds from the city streets will pour in through my window, and I'll know that some of the greatest sources of inspiration are just steps away.

Are you there, Joe Zee? It's Me, Erica

I know, I know. You're sick of the quotes. But the past week has been quite the emotional roller coaster. It's time like these when I need someone, even Joe Zee, to remind me that things will happen. The link below to Fashionista was so timely for me, I had to share it with you.

"I moved to NYC with only one goal: to work in magazines. It was the early Nineties and there was a recession but I didn’t care. I still sent out 18 resumes and got 16 job interviews." -- Joe Zee, ELLE's Creative Director. Click for more gems. 

Lately, I've been applying for jobs, setting up interviews, pitching stories and wondering if I'll intern again this summer. Things are quite uncertain, but I may have more exciting news to share by the end of the week. Anyone out there interning this summer? I'd love to hear all about it, because from what I've heard so far, positions are filling up fast.


Scene & Heard

Who: My teacher/editor and my classmate/friend
What: Discussing the editing process
Where: In class (Advanced Feature Writing for Magazines)
When: After dinner, before bed, or very late for someone who began work that morning at 5:15 (yours truly)
Why: Because "there are no great writers, only great re-writers"
How: Casually, openly, honestly

Teacher: "You may want to begin by cutting unnecessary adverbs."
Student: "But adverbs are my drug of choice!"
Teacher: "She said, delightedly."


International Gloss

I spent the majority of last week cooped up in my room, hunched over at my desk, working on my 2000w feature assignment. It was a rough couple of days spent reading and re-reading, writing and re-writing. Finally, when I'd reached the point when I just couldn't look at it anymore, I hit send. But during that final day of writing, I received an unexpected surprise. My cousin Daniela, who ditched Toronto for love in Spain sent a package my way. 

When my sister got home she noticed the large envelope sitting at the front door. I tore it open to find the most thoughtful of treats, an issue of Spanish VOGUE and it's accompanying special on the collections. I was overwhelmed to say the least. I've never been to Spain and don't speak Spanish, but my family certainly had a laugh listening to me try to read the cover lines out loud. Before I delve in to these foreign pages, here are some of my favourite images.
ps. Thanks Daniela! This little dose of fresh inspiration couldn't have come at a better time!

Sunshine & Spring Things

Last week I had planned a springtime post, only to have the sun disappear all weekend. When I left the gym this morning to see the sun shining I knew I had better take full advantage. And now, a few things I love about spring:

Nude Shoes
I've been holding out on shoe shopping because I'm afraid I'll commit too early to a pair before we've seen the last of winter. But every time the sun comes out I feel the urge to run out and grab a pair. You see, I'm quite selective when it comes to shoes. I find a pair and wear them out. When I find the perfect pair, I tend to cling to the vain hope that no one else has them. As long as none of my girlfriends sport the same ones, I can keep this deluded view alive. This spring, I've got my eye on a chunky nude heel. Me and every other fashion fan, right?

Some gravitate toward bags, others toward bracelets, but when I'm older I hope to have an enviable collection of sunglasses. I've always been drawn to the idea that a pair can add a touch of mystery, or 1960s-style glamour, depending on the frame. From the pink aviators I think I picked up years ago at Claire's (yikes! I know) to the Tom Ford pair I wear today, they've always been my idea of a luxurious treat to myself. Last summer I came home from Italy with very few souvenirs, magazines and a pair of sunglasses. 

Spring is for strolling, the kinds of aimless walks that lead you to explore new places, or those that simply allow you to see something differently. When the snow melts I can't help but think of those school days spent heading hand-in-hand with RLB to the nearest coffee spot. Before the assignments piled up, we'd stop to walk almost everyday, lazily passing the time. In my mind, these are what movie moments are made of.

Pick-Me-Up Nails
You know I consider manicures a treat at any time of year, but the colours in spring are such a treat. After rediscovering a spa gift certificate I received for Christmas, I decided to book an appointment and check out OPI's Hong Kong collection. I chose Panda-Monium Pink for a soft, pastel shade to shake up my loyalty to nudes and greys. It reminded me of the days when I was blind to any colour that wasn't pale pink.

Spring makes me want to get up and go. Suddenly I'm filled with hope for what's to come. Promise hangs in the air as I try to find more writing opportunities, more job prospects and more travel destinations. To my sister, quite easily "the coolest girl in the world," now you're also one of the strongest. Whether we're discovering new Toronto spots or living your Gossip G dream in NYC, I hope we have some adventures of our own this summer. No matter what happens, I promise that some day we'll sing this one together.


Dream a Little Dream

Sundays were made for dreaming, for setting goals and having the highest hopes for the future. As I prepare for another week of blogging, writing, sending emails and praying for responses in return, I think the following Tommy Ton quote is quite fitting. 

"We've witnessed within the past year that you can be anyone living anywhere and become influential over night." -- JakandJil, FLARE and Style.com photographer Tommy Ton, on the cover of Self Service

Whether you're planning for the week ahead or lounging in the present, I wish you all sweet dreams on this Sunday.


Step One and Other Thoughts

It was the day of my very first interview for an internship. I wore a dress I no longer love (polka dots), and shoes that I still adore (I'm a BCBG devotee). I changed in a campus washroom after class and skipped toward the home of both of my future internships. I was scheduled to meet with a Promotions Manager. We had spoken over the phone and via email, and I was confident that this would be a big day for me. I stepped off the elevator excited and not at all nervous. This was going to happen for me. Beyond the glass doors was a cheerful receptionist who asked me to wait. I shoved my oversized bag under my seat, hoping the fashionable editors walking by didn't notice it. As a commuter, my black bag was stuffed with books, clothes, food and other essentials. The receptionist made a few calls and then we both sat in silence. After a while she told me that the Promotions Manager had left early because she was sick. I didn't know what to do, but immediately recognized that the receptionist felt really bad for me. Did I look that hopeful, or rather hopeless?

Finally she got on the phone and called the Fashion & Beauty Editor. She wanted my trip to at least be worth my while. Thinking this could be a break for me, I took out my resume and waited. When a woman with dark curly hair came rushing down the hall, I realized that my supposed "opportunity" was completely disrupting this editor's day. I handed her my resume, immediately embarrassed that it had my retail experience on it. It was clear that I was standing there, in a polka dotted dress, wasting her time. She looked up at me and asked me to write my email on it (Oh dear, how could I forget to include it?). With that she turned back toward the office and I realized that there was no way I was going to hear from her. 

Though I landed the Promotions internship, I never got the chance to work with her. I leaped at the chance to help her when the Editorial Intern was busy with other tasks. I respected her and dreamt of having the chance to assist her with editorial. Her writing still stands out to me and the fact that she blogs is just an added bonus. In one entry she discussed her views on being called "soooo Sex and the City," and just happened to read my mind. 

"Don't be mistaken, I've seen the show. I've seen the movie. If there is in fact a sequel, I will see that too. Why? 'Cause it's pretty. I watch it for the same reason I watch Doris Day and Rock Hudson movies: the colours are brilliant, the clothing is smart and the men are dashing. But it is neither groundbreaking nor brain teasing. It's eye candy." -- Freelance Writer, Marilisa Racco on Sex and the City, from her blog, The Chic Storm

Thank you, Ms. Racco for pointing out that going out for drinks with friends doesn't make you Carrie Bradshaw. I love this post and smiled at the Doris Day mention. Not only do I own Pillow Talk, but I even let it play on mute while I tidy my room sometimes. 


Love/Leave April 2010

There was a week last semester when all of my classes seemed to focus on the same topic, the magazine cover. After hours of commenting on what sold and what didn't, I should've immediately thought about the possibility of covers on my blog. Instead I continued to post only when covers really grabbed my attention. Last month Magazines Canada posted cover critiques and the sounds of last semester immediately came back to me. Colours, balance, lines, numbers and photography, they're all elements of an attention-grabbing cover. Though I love receiving my mags via snail mail, there is a certain satisfaction that comes from visiting to the newsstand to discover this month's issues before jumping onto the subway. Of course, these are just my thoughts and I'd be more than delighted to hear yours. On that note, Love it or Leave it, Take 1.

The arrival of spring means that it's time to shop at FASHION. The peach tones are certainly on trend and let the brand come through without resembling OPI Big Apple Red. As far as personalities go, I'm not particularly interested in this actress or her upcoming film with Johnny Depp. "Shops for Every Shape" and "Green Beauty" don't appeal to me personally but I've always adored the Test Drive column (SNP in the Prada hip-waders was a favourite of mine) so that's exciting to see on the cover. The addition of "Why You Shouldn't Feel Guilty" makes me think that this issue is focused on what dressing for spring means in 2010, and isn't recycling typical lines about florals. My teachers have said that numbers really attract readers at the newsstand, but they do nothing for me. Whether I'm told that there are 243 or 24301 pairs, the bottom line is that I'm going to see shoes. 

FLARE's April cover differs from FASHION's in that it's all about the personality. All I see is Coco, and I'm thankful for it. She's an opinionated, creative young Canadian and I want to read more about her. If spring's "New Pretty" involves lilac, jewel tones and that much sparkle then count me in. The "Spring Extras" cover line complements the styling, as Rocha's   look is all about the accessories. Unfortunately, hair stories are things I skip over, but I would love to read about Canadian fashion stars (do I know them already?). Like I said in my previous post, lately I feel like I'm recovering from SAD. So why not indulge in a little fantasy? Plus, the price special won't hurt this commuter's budget either. 



I may be the perfect example of a person with seasonal affective disorder. After months of feeling down because I couldn't answer the questions on my mind (When will I get my first full time job? When will someone respond positively to my query letters? How long before an interview actually leads to a place on a masthead?), the sun has finally started to shine.

And so, days have passed in which I've skipped blogging in favour of watching The OC. I've tried to take comfort in the fact that I'm not alone. But the truth is, that doesn't comfort me, not one bit. I've been searching for ways to write for as long as I could remember. In elementary school, I took each short story assignment extremely seriously. Sometimes I wrote about friendship, others I wrote about genies. High school came and so did the essays. I may have not loved writing about Waiting For Godot, but I always had my diary (yes, I've gone back and reread it) waiting for me at home. I knew I wanted to study English in university, and have now gone on to Ryerson's Certificate in Magazine Publishing. My time as a student is running out, and I'm so eager to find out what comes next.

Earlier this week, LVS inspired me (not the first time that's happened). She believes that being unsure at twenty-something doesn't have to be a bad thing. According to her, not having my dream job right now isn't a bad thing. We can volunteer, we can travel or we can research careers we never dreamed we'd be interested in pursuing. Suddenly, I realized that I just have to continue shaping my own experiences. 

Lists of things to do are strewn about my room, along with disorganized piles of magazines (these are my text books these days). I've got assignments to work on and emails to send. As the sun shines outside my bedroom in suburbia, I hear kids playing instead of busy city streets. Just for a minute I really don't mind.