Special Media, Darling post: Holidays, Part 2

Remember our special Media, Darling post from last week? Welcome to Part 2! We asked some of our contributors to share with us their holiday plans, New Year’s resolutions and hopes for 2011. Here is what they told us:
Jen McNeely

What’s your favourite holiday tradition?
Wearing a dumb hat from my cracker at the dinner table. It’s probably the only real tradition we have.

Favourite store to receive a gift from?
Store? I prefer spa. Body Blitz in Toronto or Scandinave in Collingwood.

How will you spend your time off?
In my jammies, with a cup of tea, rolling around the carpet with my husband and dog.

Rebecca Zamon

What’s your favourite holiday tradition? 
When I was a kid, it was my dad taking me to the Eaton’s Centre’s Toyland – it was this magical place where there was every Barbie I’d ever wanted. Now that I’m an adult, I enjoy the grown-up version of this; coming across the extravaganzas that are the holiday windows at The Bay and Holt Renfrew. They always depict a fantasyland that I just want to jump into.

Favourite store to receive a gift from? 

Anthropologie. Between the clothing and the home décor items and the jewellery, I have literally never left that store without buying something that I’ve continued to adore for years down the road. It’s a sure bet that if you get something for me there, I’ll love it.

How will you spend your time off? 

In New Orleans! My parents, my boyfriend and I are heading down to NOLA for five days, and I can’t wait to experience the food, music and southern culture.


What is your New Year’s resolution?  
I don’t exactly believe in resolutions. There’s this great quote from author Anaïs Nin: “I postpone death by living, by suffering, by error, by risking, by giving, by losing.” I plan to spend 2011 doing just that – and add “by loving” to that list.
What was 2010’s highlight for you?
Twitter. Since joining in February, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting dozens of talented individuals in Toronto and connecting with many more throughout the country and abroad. Twitter has broken down barriers and made the industry (and the world)  a much more accessible place. For that, I am grateful.

What are you most looking forward to in 2011?
Next steps. New adventures. Leaps of faith. Great writers. Great writing. The last year before 2012. 

What is your New Year’s resolution? 
I don’t ever make New Year’s resolutions.  I try to take advantage of or create opportunities that come my way during the year.
What was 2010’s highlight for you?
So many good blog things happened in 2010, but I really loved my trip to Los Angeles this summer.
What are you most looking forward to in 2011?
It’s really short term, but I’m looking forward to my March ski vacation in Whistler.

What is your New Year’s resolution? 
I am a believer in New Year’s resolutions. It is one of the few common holiday traditions I like to take seriously. I usually try to choose something that is modest and measurable, making it easy to keep, but this year I’m feeling like I’m into audacious, broad, unmeasurable stuff. I want 2011 to be the year of YES. Whether asking or answering, I want my default setting to be on “just go for it”, and see what happens when I throw caution to to the wind and allow myself to be gutsy and uninhibited about doing what I want to do.
What was 2010’s highlight for you?
2010 was a mixed bag of a year for me, full of highlights and lowlights and sometimes no light. Above all, the highest point was also the lowest: the end of an eight-year relationship, a devastating moment that forced me to truly ask myself what I really wanted to do with my life, and then take some kind of action and move. Flying over the Atlantic for the first time to start a new life in a totally unfamiliar city has really been one of the most significant moments of my entire life so far.
What are you most looking forward to in 2011?
I’m looking forward to exploring a continent where everything is very old, but very new to me. Hello Europe, I’m coming over.

Fashion-able: How to network in the fashion industry

With LG Fashion Week coming up, we have fashion on the brain. And, more importantly, how breaking into the fashion industry can be tough. It’s competitive, and a zillion people would kill to get a foot in the door. 
One of the most effective ways to break through is by networking. Getting out, talking to people and just making friends – not necessarily because you are looking for an opportunity, but because making friends is the best way to have someone think of you when an opportunity does arise.

One of the best in the biz is Gail McInnes. She is a pro networker, and has had great success in the fashion industry as a result. She shared some of her tips with us – take notes! 
Visit her online
Twitter: @gailmcinnes

How to Effectively Network in the Fashion Industry
Just like dating, networking can be a nerve-wracking experience for those who might feel intimidated or overwhelmed. Remember, you have something to offer each and every person you meet. Most people in the industry are open to meeting you. We want to support and promote those with talent and passion for our industry. We want to suss out the next generation of talented agents, artists, photographers, models, etc. who we may end up hiring or working with in the years to come – and that might just include you.
The best way to meet people is to go to as many industry events as possible. Never turn down an invite if you can, you never know what chance encounters can alter your career path. Nothing is more effective in getting people to be around you than an infectious smile and, if you love what you’re doing, you will be smiling. A positive attitude is contagious. Carry business cards with you at all times. If you don’t have company cards – make your own. 
Just like your career, building a rapport with someone won’t happen overnight. The more you are seen, the more someone will remember you. If you meet someone for the second time, introduce yourself again, stating what you do, where you work and how you first met as a courtesy. If it feels awkward, it probably is – simply wish them a good evening and walk away. Next time, they may be the first to say hello.
Don’t feel you have to rush to build relationships with people in the industry and certainly don’t force it either. If you are naturally drawn to one another, then it will happen faster than most, but for the most part it will come like any good friendship – with mutual trust and respect.
 Juan Carlos Gaona, Danielle Meder, Anita Clarke and Gail McInnes: 
Fashion friends through networking
Photo: Angela Young Martin

Media, Darling: Danielle Meder

Danielle Meder graduated from Ryerson University’s School of Fashion in 2006. She is an award-winning design student whose graduating collection was featured in Holt Renfrew’s storefront windows. She has won prestigious design competitions sponsored by Zellers and Dr. Martens. She is a successful fashion blogger, developing a unique voice in Canadian fashion media since 2006. Meder is a professional fashion illustrator who has created editorial illustrations for the National Post and The Globe and Mail, and has also been featured in FLARE magazine.

Website: Finalfashion.ca
Twitter: @finalfashion

How can someone grab your attention with a pitch?
Basics: address me by name, contact me for a good reason, and make sure the pitch is a good fit for my site. Bonus: offer me something desirable – I love clothes and event invitations, and I especially adore the chance to meet interesting people in their working environments. The ultimate: match my services with your clients, offer me a gig or a chance to collaborate on something awesome, give me the chance to create original content for my site that no one else will have.

What do you find most useful when dealing with public relations professionals?
It’s a people business. Let’s talk like people talk, one on one. I like PR pros who think like entrepreneurs, are always looking for opportunities, who are genuine social connectors, and who are just as interested in investing energy into my blog as they are in their client’s businesses. It’s not just about links and hits. Great original content is good for everybody, everybody grows, everybody wins.

What is the biggest mistake PR professionals make?
I think it’s the same mistake that bloggers (and even clients) make — getting sidetracked, focusing on the tools instead of the work. Boilerplates, templates and email lists, hits, platforms, widgets, whatever. In the online world, it’s too easy to let the numbers distract you or discourage you. Ultimately, good, real work is about love. Love of creativity, love of expression, discovering who you are, asking for what you want, making your dreams come true, meeting the people who inspire you and light a fire under you, creating a career and a life you are proud of.

Your pet peeve
Being overlooked or ignored by the PR of a brand that I am a fan of and support. There’s nothing quite as crushing as being snubbed when you are only too eager to be a willing advocate of a brand, and go above and beyond. It’s easy in this day and age, with Google and other search engines, to suss out who the real superfans are, and I think they deserve (at least) acknowledgement, ideally gratitude, and ultimately a sense of alliance. Anything less than that is profoundly alienating in a way that really goes beyond just a “pet peeve”.

Any other thoughts you’d like to add?
I am so grateful that so many of the PR people in Toronto have been supportive of my little site long before blogging became a big deal. It is thanks to their generosity that I was introduced to the way the media industry works, and several individual publicists have helped me score amazing clients, cool projects, and significantly raised my profile as an illustrator and blogger. You all know who you are. Big, heartfelt thank you to the hard-working PR pros who’ve helped me along the way.