Week [0117].

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This week’s round-up comes a day early, as I’ll be spending tomorrow up in the air on my way to London, or what I call my “other, other, other” home. Of all the places I’ve lived in, I miss it the most. The city also bears a lot of memories that are very close to my heart. My flight tomorrow, though, most likely won’t be as “spacious” as depicted in this photo.

It’s time to decide where I want the next block (or longer, who knows?) of my life to play out. I’ve told myself the goal of this trip is to do/see everything I haven’t yet experienced. So I’ll be frolicking around town in the rain, visiting cafes I’ve previously missed, nibbling at new restaurants, checking out the Paul Smith show at the Design Museum, to start. I also want to check out the Festival of Imagination. But I’ll likely allow myself to visit old faves like Portebello Road and Hyde Park (in the rain, no less). Right – and I’ll be working from our London office, too!

I’m not sure why it hasn’t hit me yet that I am leaving tomorrow, and for about 3 weeks, too. But I’ll remember when I get there.

In the meantime…

One of my favourite things to style: Bookshelves.

A mixtape of sorts by Girls’ music coordinator.

52 places to go in 2014.

Classy espresso maker.

How big is your vocabulary?

Have a delightful weekend!

Photo: Up in the air, 2013.

Teach (1).

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Our small team of five full-time staff has recently slimmed down by two. That’s right. The three of us now, we churn out a magazine with a circulation of 750,000 every three months, with the help of freelancers and interns. My job is to lead the creative team to make sure all the pieces fall together and that our magazine improves issue on issue. But my not-so-secret motive (and this is one of the most meaningful aspects of what I do) is to help everyone on the team shape their careers.

Of course, I am just lucky enough to work with a group that is as enthusiastic about this as I am, and am at a position where I am able to instigate plans to make things happen. So aside from just “What would be best for the mag?” there are also many conversations of “How does this help you grow?”

But before even landing a job, we all have to start somewhere.

As an editor who first found her footing from a slew of internships, I feel for those looking to break into the challenging, and often times fickle, world of magazines. So I was upset when I saw Condé Nast pull the plug on their internship programme altogether due to a dispute with former interns. It just doesn’t seem right when interns carry out supporting roles so that we can do our jobs better. And while I’m at it, they really should be paid. (I am familiar with the considerations to be made in terms of payment for interns, but allow me to vouch for the newbies here…)

In both the programmes I’ve run in my work place, we treat interns as mini-editors. They do what we do, albeit with more guidance and clear-cut reviews. We hope to support mistakes (acceptable ones!), build interest (or discover lack thereof), hone talent, and for a lack of a better term, ignite passion and  encourage curiosities. Never once has anyone made coffee for someone else. Interns are just as beneficial to us as we are to their budding careers. It’s also fun to see what “grow up” to become. Some of my past interns are now a co-ordinator for a non-profit organisation, a scholar, a food editor, and more. So great.

In another lifetime, I would be a teacher. I owe a lot to the wonderful mentors that I had during my school days – I am fortunate to call some of my past teachers and instructors, friends. They are the ones who taught me, among other things, that there is no point in acquiring skills and knowledge for yourself if you’r unable to pass that on.

What I’m trying to iterate here is, I suppose, that the more you lead, the more you learn. And the more you realise you’re still to learn. So fellow managers, let’s make sure the team of the future is as good as what we share with them, and that one colleague you mentor, among the many in our working lives, rises to become another star in the industry.

PS. I realise this entry is laden with cliches, but sometimes that’s just what it’s all about.

Image: If I Knew Then

Week [0110].

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January’s already proving to be what it’s meant for: reflection and planning.

I made a conscious effort to shift things around this week, and so far it’s working to lull away the post-holiday blues. Basically, it’s just doing all the things I said I would do, or putting forth a step towards it – funny how much satisfaction that gives. Planning for the upcoming trips (more on that later) has also proven to be a good distraction, but of course trip planning isn’t trip planning without some minor stress. AH WELL. Eye on the prize.

While there doesn’t seem to be particular progress on the blog (as I mentioned I would do), there have been things happening on the back end. I de-cluttered the sidebar with cute tabs courtesy of Something Swanky, but think that it still needs some fine tuning. I think I need more focus on the things I want to talk about. I shall keep brainstorming…and typing.

In the meantime…

My best friend sent me these pieces of wisdom for the New Year.

I can’t stop staring at these rings.

One of my favourite magazines has just launched a travel guide and it is so beautifully done.

For the lazy cooks, a one pot pasta.

A grown-up bunny print.

Have a nice, productive weekend!

Photo: Shanghai, 2013.

Happiness.

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I came across this thought by Alan Watts recently and found it resonating – loudly.

The self-conscious brain, like the self-conscious heart, is a disorder, and manifests itself in the acute feeling of separation between “I” and my experience. 

The brain can only assume its proper behaviour when consciousness is doing what it is designed for: Not writhing and whirling to get out of present experience, but being effortlessly aware of it.

This ought to battle my impatience, even if only temporarily…

PS. How to have a year that counts.

Image: Etsy

Week [0103].

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How’s 2014 treating you so far? Given the two-day work week, I’d say it’s been good to me. (Oops.)

Maybe it’s because I’ve lived in China for the past few years, but the “New Year” never feels like it begins until after Chinese New Year. This year, that will be on 30 Jan. And this year, like the last, I will be celebrating in London. And maybe Paris.

I’ve just signed on to do another travel guide, and am happy that 2014’s heading in the direction I want it to. I’m never one to make resolutions but keep having thoughts pop up about what I should/shouldn’t change/do. These range from things like the typical 1) Sleep earlier, 2) Eat healthier, 3) Get off your butt, to the random yet important, 4) Book that dentist appointment. The more personal ones I’ll save for discussion later. Maybe.

I have trips to plan and books to read this weekend, and some New Year hellos with friends, too. Staying connected in person when I can, learning more about my trade, and taking advantage of travels are definitely items 5-7 on that ever-growing list.

I hope you have, in your own way, thought about how you want 2014 to be for you. And I hope, even more, that that’s what it will be, and much, much more.

In the meantime…

So very Canadian: Nanaimo Bar cupcakes.

The Shanghai art scene kicks off 2014 with another must-see exhibit: Yayoi Kusama.

Looking forward to my “Welcome Back to London” tea, hosted here.

Revamp your 2014 wardrobe on the cheap.

Veering off-track already with those resolutions? My latest picks for JADE Magazine will keep you motivated.

Have a calm, rejuvenating weekend!

 

Photo: New York, 2013.

Week [1227].

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It just occurred to me that this is the last [Week] post of 2013.

Huh.

We wrapped Issue 11 yesterday and the office is closed for a few days next week. Hooray. Time to ring in the New Year with a little time away from work stress and to think more about the “big picture” of 2014.

And it shall be big!

The year will kick off with another annual trip to my beloved London. Might be my last for awhile. I will have a few work-free days and usually I will get greedy and hop over to another country, but this year I think I just might indulge in the city a little bit. Get reacquainted with my former home. Stroll through my favourite Kensington Gardens. Have lunch at Borough Market, grab a Monmonth Coffee and do my favourite Tate Modern-Millennium Bridge-St.Paul’s Cathedral-Trafalgar Square walk. Can’t wait.

So hopefully this change of pace will give me a kick-start to the year.

And I hope you have a fantastic time ringing in 2014, because it shall be great.

In the meantime…

Heading to Hong Kong? See my must-do recommendations, commissioned  by AFAR.com.

The 100 books to read to become “well-read”.

Beat the holiday bloat with these juices.

A gender-neutral Chinese character represented by letters of the Roman alphabet? I have yet to encounter this.

This box of tea fuels both my obsession and indecisiveness perfectly.

Have a wonderful, celebratory weekend!

Photo: London, 2012. 

Happy Holidays.

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Hello, Christmas Eve.

Christmas spirit hit me late this year, but when the huge wave hit me this past weekend, it was a speedy effort to get all the baking, wrapping and crafting done.

Being in a country where Christmas is a haphazard holiday does take the majority of the fun away. But really, with something as special as Christmas, there’s really no excuse to not celebrate. So, lesson learned: You must indulge what’s in your heart and make it happen for yourself.

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And come on – just look at the beautiful things this holiday inspires!

What I miss most are those huge family gatherings when we were young, with cousins flying in from around the world, stacks of presents under the tree, and even a lucky draw. What fun.

This year, I’m so glad to have signed off on our Issue 11 just in time to give the team the day off on the 25th. The Chinese New Year issue always ends up going into production around this time, but this year we managed to give ourselves a break. Hooray. This also means I have less than 24 hours to whip up a fancier version of Christmas dinner that I’d anticipated.

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With that said, after December is over, January will be the beginning of the end. Ominous for a time like this, I know, but it’s the twinkles and sparkles and merriment that’s making me feel rather positive about the “unknown” of next year, when some major changes are going to happen. (This is the bahumbug being pushed out of my system…)

I wish you a very lovely, warm and memorable Christmas season, filled with joy and laughter shared in great company. Happy holidays!

Truck & tree / Advent / Mitten Cookies / Ornaments Table / Toys / Window

 

Week [1129].

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They’re back. And I’m re-obsessed with these Starbucks’ Red Cups (yes, capitalised). I blame nostalgia. I blame that music retreat we had back in highschool when these cups were not yet red – just festive, baby blue and bright purple swirled in corrugated wonder. Since then, I’ve been unstoppable. 

I actually downsized my drink yesterday because they ran out of grande Red Cups. Because what is the point of lining up and walking away without it? (Apparently our up design has wider white borders than those in other parts of the world.)

It just reminds me of home.

So the cold has arrived and the bundling up has begun. I’m flying off to Hong Kong tomorrow to escape for a few days, from what has been exciting yet stressful days at the office. I look forward to the family fun, the delicious food, the drinks over memories with friends, and the Christmas festivities that are already lining the streets. It’s always the holidays when I miss “Western” life the most  as we don’t have official Christmas days off in China. In fact, the week through Boxing Day will be the busiest one for us this issue. But such is life, the compromising of good and bad, and the balancing act of it all.

In the meantime…

NYT’s great piece on modern families.

Most recent favourite book for the kiddies.

My 2013 Holiday gift guide, as seen in JADE Magazine.

Love this DIY advent wreath.

Cold temps call for cosy drinks, like this bourbon spiced cider.

Grammar alert: The evolution of the word “because.”

Have a fantastic weekend! (And I promise a coffee-free photo next time.)

Photo: Shanghai, 2013. 

Habit.

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Daily coffees (no sugar), taking the same route to work everyday, right shoe on before the left, reaching the airport gate RIGHT before boarding…these are all habits that I cannot change. Not that I have to (do I?).

As an editor, my work life revolves around discipline and planning, two things I’m not naturally good at, but somehow comes naturally when deadlines abound. Sure, I “plan”, but the conclusion of planning is execution, completion. In life,  I think I just like to think – a lot.

How long does it take before something becomes second nature?

I really should take fewer taxis. And hoard fewer lipsticks in shades I can’t wear every day. Then I should also switch to green tea, and walk more, and sleep earlier.

I should also love this blog in actuality other than just in my mind.

It’s been a few months without a thorough peep from me on this blog. It’s not that I don’t have lines and lines jotted in notebooks with ideas, nor is it that I don’t have folders of photos from my recent travels that I don’t want to share. In fact, it has been a big couple of months. I suppose I haven’t conquered the biggest concern I had before committing to a blog in the first place, that I wouldn’t keep up with it.

Well. With time came changes and decisions and a change of perspective, so I shall work hard on making blogging a habit, and see where this takes me. I feel the need to keep at it, and hope that with perseverance, something good – great – will come. There will come a day when writing in here becomes a natural part of sitting in front of the laptop (with a coffee in hand, no sugar, of course).

Photo: Shanghai, 2013.