Friday, 22 February 2013

On Being Your Own Best Friend

touque (US translation: beanie) {Steve Madden via Century 21} - sweater {Forever 21} - black skinnies {Old Navy}
brown boots {Steven by Steve Madden via Century 21} - photo credit {Kiki}

We all know the cliche "you have to love yourself before someone will love you" and while I know that this saying probably causes a lot of eye rolling, I think there is some truth to it. I am an "alone" person and what I mean by that is I enjoy spending time by myself. I'm not talking about the regular day to day things that you do on your own, like riding the subway to work/school or going to the gym. I'm talking about hanging out with yourself. Taking yourself on adventures, be it an afternoon of shopping, exploring a new part of the city, sitting down at a restaurant for a solitaire meal or going to a museum or even a movie by yourself. I think this is an important part of figuring out who you are, or maybe more importantly, who you want to be. I believe that you have to know who you are as a single before you can become a pair. This comes inherently to some people, while others have to learn to be comfortable being by themselves. I don't know if I've always been this way, but I certainly know that I've spent a lot of time by myself over the past two years and it has been good for me. There is a certain freedom that comes with being by yourself because you get to do whatever it is YOU want to do. You don't have to cater to anyone else's feelings or desires or make any sacrifices whatsoever. This may seem selfish but I think that being selfish sometimes is necessary. It's necessary in the sense of personal development and growth but also in the sense of building and maintaining relationships (both friendly and romantic). I mean, if you don't want to hang out with you, what makes you think other people do?

New York is the perfect city for hanging out with yourself because anything goes here. You wouldn't look "weird" going to a restaurant (or even a bar!) on your own. I get a rush sometimes when I'm walking the streets solo, listening to my tunes and I know that I can do whatever I want, go wherever I want. It's liberating, in a sense. I wonder if being single has enabled me to spend more time by myself (in a word, yes). But even if you are in a relationship doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't make time for you. I think it's important to find out what makes you tick. Someone once asked me if I ever got bored being by myself. The answer was a resounding NO! Quite the opposite, really. I do all my big thinking and pondering when I'm alone, come up with all my best ideas. Like there is consistent chatter with another person, there is consistent thoughts running through my head and when I'm alone, I have the chance to sort through them and decide what to do with them.

If you are one of those people who would rather not spend time alone, for whatever reason you may have, I encourage you to try it. Start small, with baby steps. If the thought of going to the movies sans your posse makes you cringe, try taking yourself out for coffee first. What is your favorite thing to do with your closest friend, give it a try on your own and see how it feels. You may just surprise yourself and end up enjoying it. Learn to love being by yourself and in turn you will end up learning to love yourself. And since we're all kind of stuck with ourselves for the rest of our lives, that may just be the best gift you could give yourself.

j.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

To My Bestie, On Her Birthday!

photos of my favorite flower child that I creeped off her facebook...

Happy happy birthday Sasha Rae! You are truly one of a kind. We have spent most of our birthdays together over the last ten years so I am very sad to be missing this one. I hope today is YOUR day and you spend it with the people you love doing what you love to do. I will be there in spirit today and this weekend!

You inspire me on a daily basis, whether we're together or apart. I remember the first time I saw you, at one of those orientation things for us babies in residence, almost ten years ago. Your hair was long, blonde and unruly (the unruly part hasn't changed). You were wearing itty bitty denim cutoffs (still do) and a tank - you looked like a little surfer girl. Even at eighteen, you had a sense of confidence and self assurance, without ever being full of yourself, that was admirable. You knew who you were and I knew I wanted to be your friend. And friends we became. Best friends. Who did EVERYTHING together!

We have been through many things together, the great, good, bad and ugly and each and every one of those experiences has only strengthened our friendship. You are my friend. My family. My person. Now and always Sash. I love you and miss you more than you could know!

Happy birthday beautiful. xo

J.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

"Presidents/Family/Some Other Word" Day Long Weekend

floral blazer {Target} - grey top {Loft} - polka-dot jeans {Gap} - boots {J. Crew} - necklace {Kauai}


Some call it Presidents' Day (Americans), while others call it Family Day (Canucks...well those living in Alberta, BC, Saskatchewan and Ontario...so the only ones that matter anyways). Whatever you call it, I call it a holiday and that's good enough for me. Good fortune had me because I got to spend the day and all weekend with my Mom (and Dad for a couple of days). 

Friends will ask me what I did and where I took my parents while they were here and I'm going to have to come up with a better answer than the truth. Because the truth is that we did a lot of eating...and shopping. Even my Dad wanted to shop! For himself anyways, in one store only and he didn't want us tagging along. That man has a thing or two to learn about shopping, mainly that it requires going to more than one store. My Mom and I tried to get my Dad up the Empire State Building or to see a show but he was quite happy walking Central Park, shopping at Brooks Brothers and eating way too much Italian food for a 48 hour time period. Ces't la vie! I did get my Mom to Brooklyn today and we saw the play, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, with Scarlett Johansson, which was really good. Never really cared much for her in movies, but after this play I will say I am a ScarJo (is that a thing?!?) fan all the way.

I hope you all whooped it up real good for old Georgie's bday or at the very least gave your Mom a hug today!

j.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

That Time I Was Backstage at a Fashion Show



At an hour that was way too early for a Saturday morning, my phone started buzzing. Usually I would sleep through something like that, but for whatever reason, on this morning I heard it. It was my supervisor at the PR agency sending a somewhat panicked text, asking if I could come help out at the Rebecca Taylor show. There had been a snowstorm (hardly, says the Canadian) and I imagined that some people they were expecting to help out had been waylayed due to the inclement weather. As much as I had been looking forward to sleeping in, it didn't take any convincing for me to agree to help out. I arrived a little while later and was assigned to backstage check-in with another person. For the hour and a half leading up to the show, press and photographers arrived to take photos backstage and conduct interviews with Rebecca Taylor herself. My job was to escort them up a flight of stairs to the hair and makeup area and connect them with one of the account execs who I work with. From there they would get their chance to ask the designer their interview questions. It was fast-paced and at times hectic, especially once things got a bit behind schedule. I learned that you have to be firm and authoritative but always polite, even when people are losing their patience and sound like they might pass out if they continue to sigh so heavily. The majority of people were understanding and very nice, as being behind schedule tends to be the nature of the beast (the beast that is a fashion show). I also had my first Aha! moment when I realized the Power of the Clipboard. Holding onto this little plastic board makes you look important people. And people then think you know things and know who everyone is and where they are at that given moment. I won't lie and say I didn't like the power the clipboard gave me because I did, but unfortunately it did not give me ESP so I usually couldn't answer the questions I was being asked.

The real fun came right before the show started though. I was a few minutes too late trying to get to the front of house to watch the show so instead I stood to the side of where the models line up before strutting their stuff down the runway. I have to say, any disappointment I may have felt about not getting to watch the show subsided quickly as I stood there and watched magic happen. It was different than anything I've experienced in this world so far. I still got to see all of the clothes, and probably in more detail than you can see on the runway because I was literally right next to the models. The moments before a show starts are extraordinary. Most of the models are stone faced and in the zone. A few were dancing and cracking jokes. It literally takes an army of people to get a model ready for her 15 seconds of fame. At one point, I looked over and there were FIVE people surrounding one model. One crouched down, zipping up her shoes, another rubbing lotion (maybe shimmer?) into her legs, one dresser wiggling leather gloves onto her hands, a hair stylist pinning and spraying her do into place and finally, my favorite, the person with the lint brush giving her sweater the final once over.

The show starts and finishes within a few minutes and my favorite moment was after the final walk. The energy that could be felt backstage as the models walked off the runway for the last time was infectious. The dressers and stylists all starting clapping and cheering and it was impossible not to join in. Many models wore ear to ear grins (maybe happy they didn't bail on the runway...oh wait that would probably just be me!). Others ran over to their stylist for a celebratory hug. Last fashion week, I talked about my favorite moment of watching a runway show as being when the designer comes out at the end of the show. Well, this time I got to see the moment right after that, when Rebecca Taylor came backstage after taking her bow. Her happiness was palpable as she posed for photos, returned excited hugs from models and received congratulations from every direction. It was an incredible moment to witness and be a part of.

Thanks to my internship for giving me this amazing opportunity, these are going to be moments that I'll remember forever!

j.

Friday, 8 February 2013

#IFBcon

gif courtesy of Alex and Ani jewelry


 On Thursday, I went to the IFB Conference (Independent Fashion Bloggers). I was lucky enough to be given tickets from my social commerce professor. I'm struggling a bit to write this post, because I don't want to be negative or ungrateful, but if I'm being totally honest...I was a little disappointed. To be fair, I was only able to go one day and the first day (which I didn't attend) sounded more interesting to me. I also had to leave in the early afternoon, so I was only able to see a handful of speakers. Let me tell you why I left feeling less than excited.

I think I was expecting too much. Or perhaps just more than I got. The thing is, I went to this conference a year ago (remember?!?), when I was all shiny and new in NYC. It was only a one day event then, and since then it has grown to be much more (more days, more bloggers, more sponsors, more everything!). I loved my experience a year ago, I learned many valuable things about fashion blogging and social media, in general. I also loved the panel style, where several bloggers or industry professionals answered questions or commented on certain topics. Unfortunately for me, the panels were on the first day this year. The second day was made up of "workshops", as they were called, with just one or two speakers on a given topic. To me, workshop implies something creative or at the very least, interactive. The speakers had a presentation to give and some seemed more prepared than others. The sessions were all very much geared to bloggers who want to be doing this as their sole career (which is fine, it's just that I don't). I just didn't find myself feeling inspired by a lot of the speakers (or maybe just the topics that were being presented on). On a positive note, and in an effort to draw learning moments out of every situation, I did walk away with a few things. I learned some tips on improving your blog's photography, I have a halfway understanding of what affiliate marketing is and I learned more about the eyewear company, Warby Parker (the highlight for me).

Neil Blumenthal, the CEO and co-founder of Warby Parker gave a short (too short!) talk on how he started the company, the process of market research (use your friends), how he decided on the name (a mash-up of characters' names in a Jack Kerouak novel) and how their first fashion presentation was a "hush mob" in the New York Public Library. For those that have not heard of the online eyewear retailer, you need to check it out! For only $95, you get a complete pair of stylish prescription glasses. AND they donate a pair of glasses to someone in need for every pair sold! It's the TOMS of the eyewear world. Anyways, I'm sold and I plan on visiting their showroom in SOHO this weekend to try on frames before I make my order online.

For this presentation alone, the conference was still worth it for me. Maybe if I had been able to attend the full two days, I would have left feeling more inspired. I hope I haven't sounded too negative about the whole thing, but with all of the growth this conference has seen in only a year (including a price tag that is TWICE as much!), I was expecting a little bit more.

Props to the jewelry company, Alex and Ani, however, for having a free photo booth that not only printed out instant photos, but also emailed you a "gif" of the photos you took!

j.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Chambray + Polka Dots





polka-dot chambray shirt {Macy's} - belt {Old Navy} - black maxi skirt {Joe Fresh} - 
tan boots {The Bay} - photo cred {Kiki, as always!}


I finished my first week of classes and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. There were a few classes that, based solely on their titles and heresay, I was not looking forward to. After attending them myself, I am feeling a bit better about them. There are two classes, in particular, that I am most excited about: social commerce and merchandising workshop. In social commerce, we get to learn all about social media and how it applies to businesses. In merch workshop, we basically get to create a brand and take it through all of the steps from inception to right before creation. 

This is a big week for fashion folk in NYC. Of course, it's the start of NYFW and it's also the IFBCon (Independent Fashion Bloggers Conference). I was lucky enough to be given tickets from my social commerce prof, so expect a little recap later on in the week...or next week if we're being realistic.

On a quick note about the above outfit I'm wearing. Is it possible to be wearing too many trends at one time? The answer is probably yes and I am probably guilty. Chambray, polka-dots AND a maxi skirt. Although I don't think I consider maxi skirts as much of a trend as the other two, so maybe I'm safe. What's definitely not safe, however, is wearing a maxi skirt sans leggings in the middle of winter in NYC. Just sayin.

j.