10/14/14

Retail Insider

Just a quick post today to urge you to pop over to Retail Insider! I'm excited to be writing for this web publication in a freelance capacity.

Check out my first post on the West Edmonton Mall and the trend of "retailtainment" here:
http://www.retail-insider.com/retail-insider/2014/10/wem


10/7/14

Everything in Pink, Please

One of my favourite things about forecasting trends is when I suddenly and unexpectedly feel an attraction to a particular colour. It's fascinating to me that the world of colour marketing is so effective. How incredible is it that even when I feel I could never love a colour again, I suddenly look at my wardrobe and wonder why I own none of it? (The answer is, I donated those things years ago, sure I would never wear them again.)

At the moment I'm craving light pink. I'm not talking about Pantone's 2014 Colour of the Year Radiant Orchid, it's more of a purple-pink. I'm talking baby blanket, extra soft, subtle, pale pink.

“Pink is the color of joy and femininity, it lets you believe in a quiet and beautiful future”
- Christian Dior


My style is a bit more edgy than feminine, more tom-boy than pretty-in-pink. But lately I've been feeling an urge to bring more softness to my style. And of course, I know that this is coming from a larger fashion trend.

Rachel Zoe's blog the Zoe Report has a great slideshow that features this light pink trend as it stormed runways in 2014. Light pink, though it's generally more popular as a spring look, was essential even in Fall collections. There are even a ton of great wool coat options available in pink this winter! Check out the slideshow here.

Mixing pink with basic blacks and whites seems to be the most common and easy way of adding the hue to an existing wardrobe. Which is the way I want to add it--possibly a pretty pink sweater paired with black skinny jeans and heavy-metal-inspired jewellery, a sort of grandma-punk pairing that makes the pretty less saccharine.

The great thing about Pink is that it matches almost anything. In a shoe pale pink is as neutral as nude. Pair them with a green, blue, black, brown or purple dresses easily, or match them with a red, orange, yellow or printed dress if you are more daring.

source









So many things from the 1990's are back. Grungy plaids, doc martins, high waisted jeans... and I can't help but think the upsurge in pink is a small part of that. What is old is truly new again, and we haven't seen a massive popularity in this hue since the mid 1990's. Hot pink and fuchsia took over their paler sister in the late 90's and early 2000's with edgy and garish pairings winning out over more subtle, pretty looks. As we are now tiring of those combinations, a return to pale pink as a wardrobe staple is here.

In the summer I purchased a pink pair of shoes to wear with a red dress. I suspect a pretty pink sweater is in my future, but I don't think I will go as far as a pink winter coat. What do you feel about light pink? Have you felt the urge to purchase pink or have you already?

More pink links:

Check out my Pink Crush board on Pinterest
What do you think of pale pink in home decor?


9/3/14

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

When I type the headline to this post I hear the song in my head. Sadly, I've been well marketed-to because I also picture parents dancing through the aisles of a popular office supply chain picking up back-to-school supplies. Clearly that advertisement worked.


I've always loved Fall. For the most part, I loved school. I love wearing sweaters. I especially love Halloween, Thanksgiving, my birthday (October), and Oktoberfest. And this year, I've added my first vacation in Las Vegas to the Fall calendar and I couldn't be more excited. Look for a blog post on that in late October!

While it seems conventional thinking assigns life re-invention to January, I have always felt the Fall is the best time to reinvigorate personal projects, re-evaluate goals, and to focus on things like healthy eating, exercise, and sleeping well. So in this post, I decided to take a moment to consider the past 8 months and look ahead to 2015.

If you're a regular reader you already know that 8 months ago I quit my job, found a new job, and relocated to small-town eastern Ontario...for love. It's turned out to be a great decision. While I certainly miss some friends and old haunts (a particular pho restaurant comes to mind), the new life I'm building more than makes up for those losses. Friends and family can be visited, there's plenty of new restaurants to be discovered in Ottawa and Montreal, and I'm constantly experiencing new things.

I realized over the past few years that trying new things is essential to my happiness. I'm not alone in this, psychologists agree that new experiences are one key to feeling happy. Once I realized this I found myself able to thrust myself into new experiences with a greater passion. The fear sometimes associated with new experiences is easy to overcome if I simply remind myself of how happy I will feel in the moment.

Some new things I've done in the past 8 months, in no particular order:


Organic Local Hops

  • Learned Zumba.
  • Travelled to Edmonton and saw the Rockies (well, from the airplane)
  • Worked at a trade show...partly in french. (and spoke more french than I realized I knew!)
  • New tattoo by Wes Pratt 
  • Got a tattoo (actually my second, but the first was at 18 and it was very small, so this felt new)
  • Ate an arepa sandwich
  • Visited a new brewery in Halifax (North Brewing)
  • Learned to work from home. (OMG I love this, no wonder everyone wants to do it.)
  • Learned how to administer the 'back end' of an app.
  • Bought my first pair of high-waisted jeans since the 1990's.
  • Started "Walking Wednesdays" with some local friends. It's not complicated, but to paraphrase Mean Girls, "On Wednesdays, we walk"
  • Played softball (To brag; I got a hit at every at-bat. To self-depricate; I never caught a ball.)
  • Visited Griffin Gastropub in Bracebridge
  • Ate a Lancaster Perch roll
  • Caught a show at the House of Targ in Ottawa
  • Visited the ruins at St. Raphael's
Ruins at St. Raphael's
I'm pretty sure there's even more things I did that were new. 
In the next few months, I want to:

  • Learn more French!
  • Do more art
  • Get cross country ski equipment and try out the trails
  • Blog more...always, blog more.
  • Try as many new things as possible

In my blog post about moving 8 months ago I listed five things I wanted to be doing more of:
1. Blogging more often (see above, a perpetual goal)
2. Going to Zumba (check!)
3. Fermenting Things (check...ish. I fermented sauerkraut but it's exceedingly salty and inedible. Will try again.)
4. Making Art. (see above...I'm thinking Christmas gifts will be my motivation yet again)
5. Community Involvement. I've been in touch with the Arbor Gallery and plan to join their board. I am still in the initial stages, but it looks like I will be a volunteer graphic designer with them in the next few weeks.

In closing, I set out in writing this post because yet again I was feeling cruddy that I've neglected my blog. I always enjoy making time for it, because it helps me review my life, and acts as a living diary of places I visit. Recently I got to thinking about the kinds of posts I used to do, about colour, trends, or illustration, and realized that the blog has become less about general topics and more about me. I'm ok with that, because when this blog started it was mainly to establish some of my writing on these topics on the web to help my career move forward. But as my career progressed, and I became published more often on other platforms, this blog became anything I wanted it to be as it struck my mood in the moment.

That said, I want to develop some new direction for my writing in this space and that's on my goal list for the coming months. (Side note, if you are aching for more of my writing, be sure to follow the blog over at Pottery Lane Imports where I talk fashion trends and colours on a regular basis.) What should this space be? What kinds of articles do I enjoy writing most? This is for me to contemplate, before aiming for a blog re-launch in the new year. Feel free to let me know in the comments, what do you like about my blog? What do you want more of? I'd love to hear from you.

7/11/14

Jacquie's Job Search Tips

Here's something I've never blogged about before, but I get asked about all the time. I don't know why I'm asked about this topic often, but it seems people think I have good advice to give. And to toot my own horn a bit, I have helped a lot of people along the way with how to improve their resume, how they should handle their social media lives during job searches, and have given loads of interview tips. I even was the ghost-writer of a resume for someone who had been jobless for many months who shortly after landed a great job. I don't know, I don't have any hard evidence it was my re-draft of her resume...but she was very pleased. So it seems I know a bit about the topic.

I was giving advice again recently and typing out a long-winded email to a former intern on the hunt for a job, when I decided that maybe I should post this to my blog, so that the next time someone asked, I could just give them the link.

This is geared towards people looking for their first "adult" job after university, or people looking to change careers.

1. When searching for work, I would suggest being persistent and following up your dropped off resume, and if you get an interview, send a thank you card afterwards no matter how it went. Don't burn any bridges and say thank you often. You never know when you'll need those contacts down the road. And people LOVE getting hand written notes.

2. Always write a resume customized to the job post. Take key words from the job post and include them on your resume, in case they digitally review them, but it also helps for old fashioned review styles. Make sure you take the job post point by point and reference all items between your cover letter and your resume. I can't stress this enough...be very specific to the job you are applying for, a general resume will rarely work.

3. Don't write a novel. Ideally, a resume should be 1 page, 2 pages if you have loads of relevant work experience or you need to include published articles and so on. Don't list every task at every job you've ever had. A resume is an advertisement that gets them hooked -- leave things to be discussed in an interview. Just include interesting and the most relevant experience you have.

4. Write a custom cover letter for each job. Don't tell them what they are going to read in your resume, instead let your personality shine through, and tell them why you want that job in particular. Be honest and be fun to read.

5. Never say you are "responsible, reliable, punctual, hard-working" or any of those other general words on a resume or cover letter. If you are applying for the job, it's assumed you can handle it if you are applying. Talk about your skills. Managing multiple projects and deadlines is a skill; being a hard worker is not a skill.

6. Before the interview research the heck out of the job and the employer. Read their entire website. Google them and read articles about their industry. Then if they ask you if you have questions you will have questions to ask specific to the company, and it will show you have done your research. It's ok to ask questions you already know the answer to. The point is to show them you know what you are applying for.

7. On the day of the interview, dress conservatively, even if that isn't your style day-to-day. I never wear nude nail polish....except for job interviews and sales meetings with new clients. Once they love you, you can get away with wearing more crazy stuff. The exception to this is if the job is at a fashion company or somewhere else where dressing with flair is encouraged.

8. Know the answer to standard questions and practice them. What is your weakness, what is a challenge  you've overcome in a workplace, how do you handle stress, how do you organize your time, where do you see yourself in 5 years....your answers can be only vaguely true (especially the 5 years one) but practice them and know the answers in advance so you don't have to sit there thinking about it.

9. In the interview don't be afraid to ask them to repeat the question mid-answer (to make sure you are on track) and don't be afraid to tell them you are nervous-if you are. This is an interview, not a contest at being perfect. At the end of the interview, try to find a way to ask for the job. Either ask if they will be doing second interviews, or what their timeline is for hiring. This gives them the impression you're hungry for it, and gives you a chance to tell them you're really interested and can't wait to hear from them.

10. Bring things to the interview. If the job is creative, bring a portfolio of some kind. Don't email them a link to a website, or ask them to download a pdf, or to read your blog. Print stuff out and bring it, or bring an ipad loaded with samples. Always take a copy of your resume and cover letter to an interview in a folder. For one, it's good if the person doesn't have it handy, and two, it gives you something to do with your hands so you don't fidget.

11. Be early. Sit in the waitiing room, or use the washroom, or walk around. Eat a healthy meal with protein beforehand. (This tip in particular is one I've mucked up before and it was a disaster. I was so hungry I got blubbery in the interview...not good).

12. Be aware that the employer may have googled you. Especially if you work in any social field (communications, social media, pr, design) you need to know what your google results say about you. If you don't like what they say, get working on fixing your google results so you do like them (sidebar, should I do a post on how to do that too?) so that you are proud of what the results say. If they google you and there are no results...that is bad, possibly worse than embarrassing results. Put up a LinkedIn page at the very least.

13. On the topic of social media, do NOT say you have "social media" as a job skill if you only use it for personal reasons. Having a facebook or twitter account is not a job skill, unless you have done it for an employer in the past, or to promote something specific other than yourself. Instead, focus on the software you use, for example you might say that you are comfortable in both a Mac or PC environment, and are skilled in using a wide range of software including...

14. Lastly, in my view, little white lies are ok, so long as you will do the work needed afterwards to make it a truth. For example, I was once asked in an interview if I had used Excel before. I hadn't. I had used Lotus 123 (a very old spreadsheet program on my parent's computer as a child) and I understood Excel was a spreadsheet program in the Windows suite. I said yes. In the meantime, I learned how to use Excel and taught myself to write formulas and other basic skills. When the time came to use it I was ready to go, because I'd worked hard to get there.

Let me know in the comments what you think, are my job search tips useful?
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