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 [0830].

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This week has passed at lightning speed – and that’s a good thing, because I have been waiting for a long time to say, Good riddance, August.

It’s always March and August. Are the stars misaligned? Is it something in the air that makes us slightly more berserk than the rest of the year? Is it about the ending of one season and transitioning into the next?

I’ve been slack in enjoying the “little things” as planned last week. But what I have recognised, is that when one door closes, another really does open. Or rather, you need to close one door before you can open another.

I’m ready for the weekend and even more ready to crack into the delicious umeshu that I grabbed for tonight’s dinner.  It’s been a productive week of this issue being signed off by the client, 5th colour selection for our fancy cover, and the completion of “the” pitch. Time to exhale…and mentally begin packing for the big trip! And tucking into those wonderfully thick September issues while contemplating more “what ifs”.

In the meantime…

Why our best ideas come to us while we’re in the shower, as per Woody Allen.

The essential bag/clutch for autumn.

Such elegance – live stream of a Bolshoi Ballet class.

Honesty doesn’t sell.

Love Mrs. Reed Krakoff’s choice Yoshitomo Nara’s work for her living room.

Addicted to cold press concoctions from these guys.

Have an exhilarating weekend!

Photo: Hong Kong, 2012.

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 [0823.]

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This week’s recap comes a couple of days late (apologies) as I needed to unplug after this past week, which was eventful to say the least. My mind has been going a mile a minute in every direction – and at different paces too! – so needless to say, some R&R was much needed.

The end of August is near, and while my eye is still on the prize (North America in a few weeks!), my mind is already on the ‘beyond’. I’m planning, I’m plotting, I’m scrutinising what should/needs to be done, and when. While immensely talented in multi-tasking, I am anything but a planner. While trying to grapple with making sense of last week, I came across this blogger, who summarises it so eloquently: There is no strategising something that has no heart. Don’t plan/plot/scrutinise unless you mean it. Okay. 

This upcoming week will be about reminding myself to glance past the small stuff and to refocus – hard – on the little pieces of happy. Hopefully I’ll have everything sorted enough to share some big news with you soon.

In the meantime…

So ready to put this NYC field guide to good use.

Grown up lunch bags.

Playing with colour palettes and theories with this new app by Yale.

Recently, I seem to be obsessed with the wishbone.

Love every single incarnation of the Penguin Classics.

The best of international breakfasts.

Hope you had a chilled-out weekend!

Photo: San Francisco, 2012.

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.

Week [0802].

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Hello, August…

And the theme of this week is…BIG.

It was announced last Sunday that our mother company will be joining with another industry big-wig in a “megamerger”.  So, we are now a family of 130,000 global employees (!). Wow. We haven’t really felt the effect in China yet, but let’s wait and see.

I now have my ticket home. SO. EXCITED. And finally. I’ve been saving up leave dates for this big trip and now I will enjoy a glorious three weeks back on North American soil. What’s new in Vancouver/NYC? I’m so excited to be visiting my two former home cities. Will make the usual first stop in Vancouver at Tim Hortons for coffee and a honey cruller, then just spoil myself rotten with everything I’ve been missing. Nom. I kind of want to start packing now but packing six weeks before a trip is kind of ridiculous…just so looking forward to the fresh air and good food and friends and fam.

Today is the birthday of a special boy who will never grow up. Even though he’s older than I am. So, big happy wishes to him, and may he forever be on an exciting adventure.

In the meantime…

I have had these delightful desktop backgrounds on rotation all week.

Clever food typography.

Channeling my inner Miranda Priestly via this poster.

Rilo Kiley accompanied me (not in person!) on many a train ride back in the UK. This song is appropriate.

Thoughtful ideas on the aforementioned merger. The new company name suggestions made me chuckle.

On travel blogging: “Many successful bloggers believe that the best way to both thrive and maintain a level of professionalism is to keep the focus on the reader.”

Have a larger-than-life weekend!

Photo: From the birthday boy, NYC, 2012.

Week [0726].

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Shanghai suburbs hit an astounding 42°C yesterday, and we’ve just had a flash thunderstorm reminiscent of those of horror movies. What is happening to the world?

Unbelievably, it’s the last weekend of July. And this weekend will be full of errands, but fun errands – film to develop, letters to send, care packages to put together, maybe throw some paint on that naked easel. And that return I need to make in the spur of a bad choice made during some retail therapy.

Received some bad news from a bestie this week, and I’m crossing everything I can and sending her good vibes. Take care of yourselves, everyone.

And of course I can’t not say, Welcome to the world, little Prince George. George is one of my many nicknames (don’t ask), so I think his parents made a good choice!

In the meantime…

Love the first of these beautifully illustrated quotes.

Being overly ambitious in planning my September North American trip. Nantucket, anyone?

Coffee makes you less suicidal.

It’s good to be nostalgic.

These flavoured lemonades look so refreshing.

Have a replenishing weekend!

Photo: Hong Kong, 2012.

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 [0712].

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I wonder when I’ll stop daydreaming about seashores and beaches and actually get myself to one.

Today’s photo comes from one of my favourite sets of my own, of Brighton, UK. The therapeutic sounds of the seashore, salty taste in the air, pebble beach, fresh cups of seafood and even ducking from seagulls are all currently sorely missed. Brighton Pier, albeit visited as an escape from heartache, solidified how calming the shore is to me. (Raindrops also work.)

I think I’m homesick…but of which “home”? Must investigate this further, though the multiple international Skype appointments over the weekend might actually be detrimental to this thought.

Hmm.

In the meantime…

Cutest bandeau bikini.

How to Live with Introverts.

Stout reminds me of roadtrips to Portland from summers past. These Double Chocolate Stout Upside Down Cupcakes, however, sound like they could remind of of…tomorrow. Ha.

Hello, Lionel. Hilarious eco cup.

Might be a good thing I can’t get my hand on these paint samples.

Have a red-hot weekend!

Photo: Brighton, UK, 2011.

Week [0628].

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When the entire week feels like a blur you really need to stop yourself and think – hey, wait a second, something is not right. And when you figure out (or when it’s blatantly obvious) why things aren’t the way they should/could be, then you’ve got some trouble on your hands. Or if you’re better at this than I am, then you’ll actually realise that this is a good opportunity for change.

CHANGE. The bane of my existence, the motivation that keeps me going. Change is my friend, one of my best friends, in fact, but if so, then why does it seem so unrealistic to hold its hand?

As a true Taurean, loyalty is my best virtue. It is also my worst enemy sometimes because it makes it difficult for me to know exactly when to let go…

Last weekend I attended my first-ever (and the second-ever) TEDx event in Shanghai. 14 speakers in 6 hours surprisingly flown by, and the variety of topics and enthusiastic speakers were very inspiring indeed. It really is great to see Shanghai participate in something of a global scale, and make its own mark with its calibre of success.  I was also very impressed by the audience, who stayed for the full six- hour event.

So here’s to the last weekend of June. 2013 is now officially half over.

In the meantime…

I’m such a sucker for any “design-your-own” branded product anything. Personalised lip balm, what? Loving Elephantastic and London Calling, of course.

The Tiny Instagram Projector. Genius.

The perfect weekend bag. I want one in every colour!

Needed a refresher this week: How to Manage Creative People.

“It is fine to take from the same well – but not from the same bucket.” China’s copycat habit and its influence on architecture.

Have a sunny weekend!

Photo: Amsterdam, 2013.