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

Sept.

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Hi there.

I am fervent about blogging regularly (at least I try to be), I failed to be inspired last week. I blame (still) the thoughts that are buzzing in my head. I also blame the lovely taste of autumn that we had that inspired me instead to get out and daydream and wander and jog and walk and pace. So, apologies.

And so we come to a new week. When I’m not curled up perusing the endless gorgeousness that is many, many September issues, I’m mentally packing for my trip (nine days!). Otherwise my eyes have been glued to the #nyfw updates…hooray for Prabal Gurung’s palette, Kate Spade’s escapist designs, Victoria Beckham’s simple chic – and her little Harper who makes even Anna Wintour smile. Too good.

For those of you who are popping by via my JADE Magazine column, thank you. JADE was my first internship ever and I am so glad to still be contributing to the efforts of the lovely ladies on the team.

Hope your week is off to a good start. More soon.

Image: People

Mademoiselle C.

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Sometimes, I wish there was a better word for “inspired”. It’s a bit overused.

But that is how I feel when look at other world-class editors.

Being an editor is about infusing your view, your sense, your pulse of the ‘current’ into a publication. Carine Roitfeld’s is all attitude and personality, sass and authority. And her art direction is immaculate.

So excited for her upcoming documentary.

Image: Carine Polaroid

Week [0816].

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And so it goes.

This was a week where I wished so much that my closest BFFs were near, and that we could grab a coffee and just talk. About everything, anything, many things. But alas, being somewhat of a nomad and having said besties living miles and miles away, it just wasn’t possible.

On the other hand, I have made a big, big decision that’s about to change the game. I will follow through, and then exhale and think, You know what? Anything IS possible.

I’ve received some lovely reader emails this week, and we’ll also be hosting a reader coffee session this weekend. Sometimes it’s things like this to show that hard work certainly pays off. Then again, it’s also things like this that maybe makes you think, alright – my job is done…We had a fantastic cover shoot this week, in a showroom that had gorgeous handpainted wallpaper. The interior decorator in me was swooning the entire shoot.

There’s a quick getaway scheduled for Sunday, and it will be so nice to get out of the hustle-bustle for a day. Looking forward to some clarity being away from it all.

In the meantime…

What a perfect, classic camera satchel.

Devoured these.

Let us all be as happy and imaginative as this little one.

Yup, still thinking about Paris.

Lucky mag’s new, cool editor-in-chief.

Wallpaper*, redesigned.

Have a miraculous weekend!

Photo: Hong Kong, 2012.

In the Mood for…

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Autumn.

Creating a moodboard and concept sheet for an issue is one of my most favourite things about what I do. Afterall, I get to call sourcing photography, surfing Pinterest, browsing recipes sites, and reading magazines my job. This is what this week was all about.

Those who know me know that I am awfully selective about being mainstream. Granted, in producing a magazine, we need to cater to our readers. And our readers are….mainstream. However, as an editor it’s my job to inject some unexpected into the expected.

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The palette we’ve decided on will use a lot of gold, orange and plum with hints of pale green. And as usual I will probably try to sneak in tints of blue, just because I feel it allows eyes to rest while being inundated with visual after visual. It’s difficult to not default to browns and reds so we needed to throw in some pops of contrast. I’m also eying the colours of Moonrise Kingdom.

As we all know, autumn is the season for harvest. But in China, it’s not just about flavours and staples, but more so about eating the right seasonal ingredients to keep your body warm – literally. Therefore we will be incorporating chestnut, gingko, white sesame, taro and ginger into our heartier-than-ever recipes. Lots and lots of wonderful, pungent ginger to keep our systems cosy.

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For this issue, I just want to evoke that special autumn feeling of coming home to something warm. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Coming home to the smell of hearty homecooking, gathering around with loved ones, jumping into piles of crunchy, golden leaves, walking into a room full of laughter. It’s always a challenge for me to fuse East and West together (we don’t have piles of leave to jump through here in Shanghai, or apple pie, for the matter), but it’s fun to see how many ways we can sneak new ideas in.

Alright, Issue 10. Let’s get you started.

Photo: Tart + Tea, London, May 2011.
Images: Bouquet, Lipsticks, Yarn, Apples. Tarts, Citrus, Porridge.

Week [0719].

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Why hello again, Friday. You always seem so far from reach but you’re always, always so welcomed.

Still deep in the embrace of the 38ºC heat, but planning for the autumn issue has begun. Just how I’m supposed to think about sweaters and soups and warmth when I am living in sundresses and salads and air conditioning?! Our food editor came by today for a pow-wow and brought us all some delicious mochi ice cream. I suppose we should savour the flavours and optimistic attitude of summer while it lasts.

I am thisclose to having a plane ticket in my hand for the much-anticipated North American trip in the fall. I cannot wait to be reunited with my nearest and dearest on that side of the world, and to just exhale and breathe in the sweet, clean air. Over the weekend I will be working on a freelance travel piece, hopefully I’ll have more assignments to tide me over until September (optimistic summer attitude in action…).

In the meantime…

Want to be more interesting?

Cute and practical work sandals in my favourite shade.

Simple and sweet, Morse code jewellery.

Latest scent on the roster. I love bergamot!

One of my most favourite non-newsstand mags – so beautiful.

Have a sweet weekend!

Photo: Vancouver, 2012.

Week [0705].

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July is off to a kicking start. It was an unusually stressful production week over here at the mag. I’m relieved to say that we won one of our toughest battles without me even needing to utter a single sound when it came to crunch time. Fantastic.

With a BFF back in town after his exit from the city a couple of years ago it’s been great reliving summers past, albeit changing locations since our favourite terrace has now been reclaimed by the local government (tsk). Multiple Pimm’s have bubbled in my belly but I’m convinced they’re healthy because of the fruits and veggies in the Cup, you know? Perhaps I should learn to savour them on the weekend as opposed to after a 15-hour workday, though. Oops.

This weekend is much, much welcomed.

In the meantime…

A visual anthology of 10 abstract painters’ lives. Matisse remains my fave.

I may or may not be be guilty of a few of these points and I’m not even a designer by trade!

The perfect ring that goes with just about everything.

Obsessed with the Gather Journal.

Book recommendations based on the last read you enjoyed.

Have a revitalising weekend!

Photo: Shanghai, 2013.