Interview: Sandi Tighello, Editor of Onya Magazine
Sandi Tighello has good news. Not only has this lovely Australian-Italian bella launched a patriotic Aussie mag in ONYA to much acclaim, but in recent news, she’s defying the odds and taking her little beauty to print in 2010. Many people who launch online mags will never even dream of taking the leap, but here she is in all her glory, revealing how and why she became a wordsmith, in a testament to why she doesn’t let anything get in her way. You can catch Sandi writing for ONYA, Trespass Mag, and in her personal blog, www.inthethickofit.wordpress.com Plus, look out for her as she releases some delectable coffee-table books soon as well. This is one girl you need to read to believe. Enjoy!
I started writing when I was six years old – I’ve always loved it. I used to write poems, songs, musings, stories – I still have quite a few of my old journals – most importantly the one I wrote when I was six that declared, ‘When I grow up I want to be a writer.’
It wasn’t until I hit high school that I pursued the idea further – working on the school newspaper and the end of year poetry anthology. When I was 15 I started writing for my local newspaper on a fortnightly basis – reviewing films and books and writing opinion pieces. In Year 12 I entered a competition being run by The Age. It involved writing a piece on maintaining balance throughout Year 12 and the winner would have their piece published in the newspaper. I got home from school on the Friday at 4.15pm and remembered that the competition closed at 5pm that day, and, even though I had every good intention to submit something, I had not written a word. In fact, I completely forgot all about it. So, I sat down, wrote and then submitted my piece without even reading back over it. On the Monday afternoon I received an email, from the Editor of The Age, saying I’d won the competition and that I had, ‘The gift of words.’ And that was it. From then on, I knew writing was exactly what I would do, because I loved it, and because someone else out there did too.
From there I wrote for university newspapers, print publications, street press, blogs and online publications. I was offered the position of Editor for Mink Magazine when I was 22, and stayed with them for two years. I then launched my own publication, Onya Magazine, on June 1st, this year.
Writers that work from home tend to comment about the merits of being able to work their own hours, or work in their PJ’s all day. Is that something that appeals to you, or do you tend to structure your day around a routine to keep you more productive?
My days really do vary. Some days I have a brilliant routine – rise early, exercise, healthy breakfast, work, lunch break, work, cup of tea, work and switch off. Other days, I roll straight from my bed to my laptop (or sometimes have the laptop in bed) and am in my PJ’s until 3pm, having worked all day straight. Some days I’m in meetings, dashing from one meeting to another all over Melbourne’s CBD. Some days there are interviews to conduct, places to visit, things to see. I like the variety. I like being able to take a couple of hours out of my day to visit an art exhibit, or roam the streets, or catch up with a friend, or see a movie. In saying that, if have a fairly luxurious day, I usually pay for it by working late that night and on weekends. But I’m happy with the trade.
In addition to having a general media degree, you also have a postgraduate diploma in media production. Was it always important for you to have an additional qualification in production so that you can work with various technologies/opportunities that could take your writing to new heights?
I have a Bachelor of Arts from Melbourne University, with a double major in cultural studies and cinema studies. Throughout the course I also studied history, politics and creative writing. I loved it. Arts was, despite some people’s preconceptions of it being a course people head into when they don’t know what they want to do in life, exactly what I wanted to do. It was my number one preference. I initially thought I should do Journalism at RMIT University – I even completed the entrance test and got accepted – but the thought of studying short hand and interview skills and analysing media issues for three years made me want to tear my curly hair out. I wanted to do Arts because I wanted to know more about the things I loved; history and politics and popular culture and film, and I wanted to debate and research and be immersed in it. Journalism was so restricted, and I felt it better to be more educated, rather than more qualified.
The Diploma in Media Production was, honestly, my way of staying at University for another year (without having to do Honours) – because I loved Uni, and the lifestyle (good training for a freelancer) and the people. The environment is hard to let go, and being at Melbourne Uni was honestly a dream – the lecturers, the resources, the best place for what I loved. The Post Grad course I did included some hands on photography skills – which is another passion of mine – as well as more of the hands on side of media – tech and computers. It was something I was interested in, but knew little about, and it has been invaluable – particularly in this era, when online and digital media is not just the future, but also the present.
Why did you create Onya Magazine, and how have the first few months since its launch been like for you?
There were many reasons as to why I decided to create Onya Magazine, the main ones are because:
- I wanted to do something that was mine. That I controlled, and drove, and could do as I felt with. Something I was passionate about. Something that I loved.
- I was sick of perceptions, from abroad, that we’re a country of singlet wearing bogans that have kangaroos hopping down our city streets.
- I was sick of reading about clothing designers from Denmark and shampoo from the US and shoes from Spain, when there were people and businesses here making the same things and getting no exposure.
- I was sick, and still am, of picking up item after item and seeing them all imprinted with Made in China.
- I was over mainstream Australian media that constantly over exaggerates, people bash and saturates everything – I wanted to create, and portray, a slice of Australia that was positive, whilst still being honest.
- And mainly because I was sick of Australians themselves – for thinking that Australia Day is just an excuse to get drunk. For not supporting our artists and designers and creatives. For thinking that to be somebody you’ve got to hop on an aeroplane and go somewhere that matters, because Australia doesn’t. For thinking anything that’s associated with Australia is cringe-worthy. You see, I believe, and my Australia is one that’s filled with class, and humour, and intelligence, and beauty and a hell of a lot of talent. And I wanted to showcase and support that.
On December the 1st, Onya will celebrate its sixth month as an online publication. We are still so young, but I often think of Onya in much the same terms as Australia – a country so young, bursting with talent and ideas, but with such a long way to go. The first few months of being at the helm of Onya were great – and they still are now. Each week we’ve grown, and each week, each day, I’ve learnt something new. I’m so fortunate to have such an incredible bunch of writers to work and collaborate with, and to be able to provide their work a platform to be published on has been one thing I’m very proud of.
I still don’t feel like I’ve completed it. It’s a constant work in progress. The ideas are never ending. But, when it went live an hour before our launch party on June 1st, I felt incredibly proud. Because whatever it was at that moment in time, it was good. And it could only get better. And it has. And will continue to.
One thing I’m very insistent on is quality – because I believe, particularly in online media, there is too much rubbish around. I will not publish something of terrible quality, or something that I do not believe falls in line with Onya’s values, just to get website hits. My stance on quality has proved challenging at times – I’ve not accepted work from writers because it’s under par, and Onya doesn’t do under par. I’ve knocked back more businesses (for content and advertising) than I can remember because their company may be Australian owned, but their product is certainly not Australian made. It’s about ethics and values and I won’t budge on those.
The other challenges are time and money. There never seems to be enough of either. I do most things at Onya and I am most people. I’m the advertising sales manager, and the editor, and the director, and the online content manager, and the receptionist and the list goes on. My inbox seems eternally full. My to-do list never ending. And just when you get on top of it, it fills up again.
You can spend all day working on something, but see very little in terms of results. You can have a lot of brilliant ideas, but not necessarily the money to bring them all to life.
Doing so many things is what I wanted though – I wanted to captain the ship. I wanted to steer it. And I’m learning so much, and meeting so many amazing people.
You also do a little bit of blogging, and write columns for various print and online publications. How important is it for you to stay abreast of other editorial opportunities despite having created your own in Onya?
Oh, it’s incredibly important. I’m trying to balance it further, to ensure I don’t spend every moment on Onya, because it’s not healthy and you can lose sight and focus very quickly. There is so much more I’m interested in beyond Onya and I still want to be able to nurture that. It’s important for my writers that I keep it up too – so I don’t become stale or my ideas stagnant. And it keeps my foot in the door with other publications, other personal opportunities. I’m the Editor and Director of Onya, but first and foremost I’m a writer, and I always will be.
What is a typical day in the life of Sandi Tighello, freelance writer?
Well, it’s pretty typical for me to not have a whole day devoted to writing anymore, because so much of my time is devoted to Onya, but a typical day (and one that I’m working towards perfecting and re-enacting more) is; kick starting the day with some exercise and then a big breakfast and coffee, replying to emails, writing or attending to Onya editing/uploading, having a break, organising future articles, liaising with writers, and then doing some personal writing for my columns, blog or future book – or even some photography.
What are some of the perks associated with your job? And what are some of the difficulties?
The freebies. Beauty products, books, tickets…the freebies are a definite perk. It’s funny, I went to see a movie the other day and I was almost slightly annoyed that I had to purchase my ticket (I’m only joking, well…half joking). Also the people I’ve met and the friends I’ve made. The media industry really isn’t that big and I’ve made some truly incredible friends from it. The best perk, hands down, would have to be what you can do and learn. One day you’re interviewing a musician, or a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor, the next you’re creating a media kit, or brainstorming with a team of creative folk and then the next day you’re writing a review on a theatre show and having a nice dinner.
Time is a perk. When everyone is commuting, stuck in an office, then commuting again, it makes what I do seem rather luxurious. But it’s not. And that’s one of the difficulties – some people don’t take you seriously. They view your work as frivolous. It used to bother me, but I couldn’t care less anymore. A steady wage is another difficulty. And because the media industry is so small, there never appears to be enough jobs available – especially when companies are chopping people from publications left right and centre and using the GFC as an excuse.
But you don’t launch into this career without knowing that. So, I believe, if you accept it before you launch into a career as a writer, then you shouldn’t complain. Because I don’t know many other people, honestly, that wake up every morning with the same zest for life and enthusiasm that I do.
Have you consulted any mentors or guides to make the process of establishing writing career a little easier?
I haven’t had any one mentor that I’ve consulted with over and over again, it has been more of a case of collecting small gems of wisdom along the way. I’ve certainly met with various people over the past couple years – some incredibly accomplished, famous authors, like Tara Moss, that I’ve had coffee with for an hour and have drilled and had wonderful advice passed onto me, but I’ve also been just as inspired by the randoms that I have come across – the bookshop owner, the café entrepreneur. If you’re interested, everyone has a story and you can learn something from every person you meet.
What is the freelance feature writing like? Did you find it difficult to establish contacts that enabled you to get some freelance work?
It’s usually fairly easy to find a contact, but sometimes getting work from them can be hard. Once you’re in though, you’re usually in. And if you’re a good egg, you can usually stay around for a while. Feature writing is great – so many words and so much to say – but doing so effectively and clearly can be difficult.
Who are you writing for at the moment? / What are some of your current projects?
I’m writing my column, ‘The Small Matter Of…’ for Trespass Magazine, and I’m also writing articles for Onya. I started a new blog called In The Thick Of It a week and a half ago, and it feels great to be back blogging. I’ve also got a few projects lined up with other publications – print and online – but none are set in stone as yet. And I’ve just started working on a coffee table book, which will be a merging of my writing and photography, and it’ll be incredibly motivational and pretty.
Are we allowed to have a sneak peak at your goals list?
Sure. My current goals involve completing and publishing my coffee table book, marking Onya’s place in the print world as a publication of brilliance and uniqueness, building my new blog, and writing, writing and more writing.
How does it feel to be able to take Onya Magazine to print?
I feel the best way to sum that up, because you can probably get a sense that I tend to waffle rather than be succinct, is to read this post that I wrote when I broke the news: http://www.onyamagazine.com/articles/extra-extra-read-all-about-it/
What advice would you offer to aspiring novelists, freelancers and wordsmiths who want to follow a similar career path?
Every writer has a style. Don’t be afraid to embrace yours. The best compliment I’ve ever received was someone who told me that when they read my work it was almost like I was sitting there next to them, talking. It was uncomplicated and fresh.
And there’s my next piece of advice – don’t overcomplicate things. I’m a strong believer in keeping things simple, but that’s just my style. I’ve always thought that there’s no real reason to be overly academic in your writing unless you’re writing an academic paper – because if you’re work is not accessible, then no one will access it.
Don’t be afraid to put out a strong opinion – you’ll always get strong opinions back, but that is only fuel for a stronger fire within.
To write well, you must read well.
If you start your own business, do it because it would be an injustice if you didn’t. Don’t do it to be cool or popular or to get discovered. I guarantee you that three months into your growing business, the work will swallow you, and if you don’t love what you’re doing and if you’re not prepared to put time and effort into it, then you will be a world away from cool and popular.
Don’t expect to be a brilliant editor, if you are not a brilliant writer. As far as I’m concerned the two are intrinsically linked.
Ten in the Hot Seat:
- Describe yourself in one word: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
- Biggest accomplishment to date: I take nothing for granted. Every piece I’ve ever had published makes me smile. Every time I publish a writer’s work in Onya I smile. But, if I had to choose, probably building a business on my own, from the ground up, all on my own with no backing, and succeeding so far, has been a point of great satisfaction in my life.
- You wish you wrote: Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr Suess
- Can’t leave home without: My BlackBerry, notebook, pen, lip balm, keys and wallet. And sometimes my MacBook Pro and Canon EOS.
- One thing you are currently writing: I never leave a piece unfinished. That’s why I haven’t dared to write a novel yet. But I’ll get there.
- First thing you wrote: Without retrieving the journal, it would be hard to say, but one particular pearler that stands out is this line by six year old me, ‘If a kid ever beat me in a running race, I’d probably bash them up.’
- Addicted to reading: Yes, entirely addicted to reading. It’s safe to say I devour words, so if it’s in a book, magazine or online, I’m generally reading it.
- Top spot on your goals list: I have a couple, in equal place. Publishing Onya Magazine – the print version – in late 2010. It’s going to be one hell of an adventure. And getting my coffee table book completed, and published.
- If you were a character in a classic, you’d be: I’d love to say Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s but I’m much more like Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird.
- The best thing about being a wordsmith: Being read. Every time someone reads your work you are making them think or feel or remember. You might even teach them, or inform them, or better still inspire them.
I know I have been a bad blogger of late. I have been tired, and bothered by everything, and unable to do anything. And to top my bad and bothersome mood off, I found out earlier this week that I have to give a ten minute presentation in front of all the media staff at uni about my thesis. More precisely, it has to be about a certain methodological, conceptual or structural problem that I am having with my project.
And although that might seem to make things easier for me as I try to pinpoint exactly what I am going to talk about, it actually doesn’t on account of the fact that I actually have not done much thesis work at all this year on account of my various dramas/misfortunes/illnesses. SIGH. That, coupled with my general discontent writing-wise and my prolonged stupour in the land of writer’s block does not fill me with confidence or optimism about the week ahead. In fact, all I really want to do is pack a load of summer dresses, burn many of my belongings (I feel so oddly cluttered in both a physical and emotional sense) and buy a rash-purchase plane ticket to Greece where I will subsequently bask in the glory of ancient ruins and sit on a Santorini beach soaking up sunlight before returning to a beautiful verandah to drink tea, eat Greek biscuits smothered in syrup and write a best-selling novel frantically (but in a very inspired manner) on my laptop.
Lord, if only I could give my actual work this much (detailed) thought instead of staring wistfully into space every three minutes and dreaming unachievable dreams better suited to the princesses of Walt Disney as opposed to the Plain Jane’s of Wannabe Wordsmith Land. Truth be told, I am in a very whimsical mood today and all I find myself doing is:
- Crushing on yet another Taylor Swift song (much to the fiance’s dismay) and feeling rather melancholy about my youth slipping away from my fingers. Taylor has this effect on me as her lyrics and film clips remind me of my highschool life.
- Sincerely believing that a Lotto win is just another ticket purchase away.
- Contemplating, nay wishing, whether I could quite possibly intern with the costume designer of the musical Wicked (this is despite the fact that I have no experience in fashion design and nothing but a very good eye for the styles of by-gone eras – hardly a concrete resume – but this a wistful moment nevertheless and not something i am likely to pursue). I saw it yesterday and it was bloody fantastic in every aspect possible. I urge you all to watch it because it is worth every cent of your precious, wordsmith-earned cash, even if it is hard to earn said cash as a wordsmith.
- Acutely reminding myself of the to-do list waiting for me at home. There is much to review for you Wordsmith Laners (and it is exciting stuff, some of which will be perfect for Christmas gifts to treat yourself and others); much to clean and sort out for the year ahead, and much pitching to be done. Not to mention the wretched uni work.
- Checking my bank account every few hours. At this stage, it is yet to magically multiply. In fact, it will more likely eradicate itself as I pay my way through Christmas gifts, wedding presents (for other people) and library fines (I was in hospital when my ‘courtesy notice’ came, and it was days before I checked my email and found myself owing in excess of $60).
- Thinking about my new books. Have recently acquired Marian Keyes’ latest offering (The Brightest Star in the Sky), as well as the not-so-thrifty Thrift Book by India Knight (it was $35!! But I shall advise later on if it was worth it) and the Daily Candy A-Z book (also unthrifty). There is also another one about a writing class, but I shall leave that for a proper review as I think you guys will find it pleasantly enjoyable.
- Speaking of writing classes, I am also looking to undertake a fiction class next year. Any recommendations? I think I will go with the NSW Writer’s Centre offerings at this stage, and I will blog about the experience should any of you be interested. I really must take this fiction writing things to new heights in the coming months.
- Craving stir-fry. Well, I am not all philosphical and whimsical, I am prone to fits of humanness and shallowness and yes, anger and impatience.
So anyway, after this post-with-no-point, in which I clearly display an ability for uncontrolled ranting, I am still thinking of Writer’s Block. Do I have it? Is it real? If not, why can’t I write? What is bogging me down? It must be the block – but alas, fellow writer Samuel Webster thinks Writer’s Block is nothing but myth. What do you think?
Elsie Kassis, Blogger at www.diaryofafashionmuse.blogspot.com
Tell us about your wordsmith career path so far: I have been writing for as long as I can remember. As a child I kept journals which I kept going right through my early high school years. After that, when it came apparent that a career within the fashion industry was my ideal path, those journals simply evolved into scrapbooks. During my years of studying fashion design and then production, along with sketching and sewing for classes, I continued to write in my spare time at home. Those scrapbooks became my world. I filled them with various forms of inspiration from magazine cut outs, to quotes, to drawings, to article and story ideas and so forth. After years of studying and working within the fashion industry, I finally decided that writing about fashion was my real love and Diary Of A Fashion Muse was born.
You’ve gone from being a fashion student to establishing a widely-read fashion blog that has now been nominated for ‘Best Fashion Blog’ at the Australian Fashion Awards. Does it feel like you’re heading in an entire different direction in terms of career? Absolutely. I started Diary Of A Fashion Muse due to my complete and utter obsession with all things fashion and my love of writing in general. It was an opportunity to see the ideas and thoughts in my head come to life. Almost like an online ‘scrapbook’ if you may. I started out wanting to be a fashion designer and along the way, it evolved into becoming a fashion commentator of sorts and I couldn’t be happier. Being nominated by my Industry peers for Best Fashion Blog when Diary Of A Fashion Muse is still less than a year old has certainly made me one happy little blogger!
What appeals to you about blogging, and how often do you post and why? Diary Of A Fashion Muse is a Fashion Industry Blog which covers all the latest collections from around the Globe, designer information, store openings, celebrity and model style, current trends and how to wear them, Industry news, the latest Advertising Campaigns, what is hot right this minute plus personal anecdotes of the trials and tribulations of fashion and shopping from myself, my friends and my readers. Diary Of A Fashion Muse is for the Fashion Obsessed as well as the Fashion L-Plater.
I like to constantly inform my readers of the happenings within this Industry whilst giving them some personal information about my life as well and I love how I am able to do this instantly. I love the immediacy of blogging. How as soon as I get an idea about anything at all I can communicate it with the world in an instant and I think (and hope) that is what my readers like about it too, that they are constantly informed and ‘clued’ in. Due to this I happily post several times a day.
What is a typical day in the life of A Fashion Muse? It truly varies. Some days I will have meetings or interviews to attend, other days I am holed up at home typing away on the blog or for various other websites. If I have a full day at home I get up, shower and dress (as if I am physically leaving for work) and walk the 5 or so metres to where my PC is situated (a long and tedious commute clearly) where I will check and reply to my emails. I then reply to any messages I have received both on facebook and twitter and then go on to reply and approve any comments that have been left on my blog. If I have any assignments I need to complete or get started on I concentrate on those first and once they have been completed, I begin researching my next blog post. If I do have a meeting scheduled, I then obviously would take more care in regards to my outfit selection, do my hair and make up and grab my very cute LV Agenda and head out the door, stopping along the way to grab various newspapers and magazines to devour and to check my post box. I take breaks throughout the day to clear my head and regroup where I take my dog Harley for a walk, meet friends for lunch and go window shopping (it’s research, honestly).
Are you writing freelance for any other fashion publications, or do you prefer to concentrate solely on your blog for the mean time? I do contribute to other websites so when I am not blogging on Diary Of A Fashion Muse, I am pitching ideas or working on articles for them as well as pitching ideas for other publications (ahh, such is the life of the freelancer!)
Most bloggers find that, at least ininitially, it’s very hard to get writing read by a large audience. What do you think has helped AFM succeed? Shameless promotion usually helps! Seriously though, I find that by posting relevant links on networking sites such as Twitter or Facebook helps spread the word however I have also realised that word of mouth seems to be working in my favour with Diary Of A Fashion Muse. The power of the Internet is truly amazing as I constantly receive emails from various readers informing me that they stumbled across the blog by accident. It has really has just grown on it’s own.
How did the idea for your blog come about? I had been wanting to start a blog for such a long time for me to really just share my love for all things fashion with other like minded people. It was Christmas Day 2008, I was at home aimlessly surfing the Net and just thought ‘Why not?’ and so I did. It really was the perfect step for someone like me who loves fashion and loves to write so by fusing these two areas together, I found that having my own blog was the perfect platform to successfully communicate both my interests to a wider audience.
What were some of the difficulties you first encountered when trying to establish an audience, build up the site, find your niche etc? I knew from the beginning that Diary Of A Fashion Muse would be for anybody interested in the fashion world, whether or not they were already in the industry, trying to break in or just had pure love for it. I also knew that the blog needed to be filled not just with industry news and information but it also had to have a personal slant to it as I found that when I shared any personal experiences, my readers tended to respond positively as they could identify with my anecdotes themselves. I have been extremely lucky in the sense that I never really encountered any difficulties when I established Diary Of A Fashion Muse as due to the various contacts I had within the industry, getting the blog out there was never a major issue for me.
Did you consult any mentors or guides to make the process a little easier? Not particularly. From the moment I decided on setting up Diary Of A Fashion Muse, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it so I just kind of went with what was in my head I guess!
Niche fashion and beauty blogs have really taken off in the past couple of years. Why do you think this is so and does that make you continue to strive hard to ensure AFM always has a point of difference? I think it is due to the aforementioned immediacy of it. With the popularity of the Internet, people are able to visit any website to get the information they crave constantly and in an instant and I also think it is because readers can really relate to the bloggers themselves and to what the blog is really all about. I know that before I started, I would read other blogs religiously and think to myself that I could possibly do something along those lines as well. I think Diary Of A Fashion Muse is fairly unique in that it is professional yet not intimidating. It really is just me in a nutshell as I share the things that I love in a way that is fun and enjoyable. I am approachable and have such a love for what I write that I believe (and hope) it comes across on screen.
How do you work with your blog? Are your postings inspired by press releases and industry news, your own sense of style and shopping patterns, or do you rely on the questions asked by your readers to write up your bits and pieces? A mixture of all of the above. My posts cover industry news, the latest collections, information on designers and the new advertising campaigns. There is also quite a strong focus on both model and celebrity style as well as personal photographs of my own style and anecdotes from my own various experiences. Readers will also quite often email me queries on particular subjects that they would like to know about and I happily oblige.
How do you think the layout, pictures and colour scheme of the blog enhance the overall writing experience? People respond well to images which is why I tend to use a whole range of photographs and illustrations throughout. I try to keep the layout fairly simple and straightforward as I prefer to keep the focus on the actual content of my posts.
Do you have a goals list that the Wordsmith Lane readers can have a sneak peak at? I don’t tend to plan too far ahead to be honest however at this stage I really would like Diary Of A Fashion Muse to keep expanding and to continue to reach the fellow fashion obsessed all over the world. Establishing my blog has really opened many doors for me and if anything I would like that to continue!
Give us one good reason why we should follow your blog. As I mentioned before, Diary Of A Fashion Muse is really for everybody, from the fashion obsessed to the fashion newbie. Come here to learn about the industry and to get to know what I am all about.
What advice would you offer to aspiring bloggers, freelancers and wordsmiths who want to follow a similar career path? My advice for bloggers is fairly simple: know what industry you want to write about, find your target market and just write. If it is truly a passion for you, it will come fairly easily. For freelancers, you will need to pinpoint exactly which area of the media you aspire to be involved with. You need to know that particular publication inside and out when pitching your ideas to them. For everybody who wants to write one way or another, you will need to become a vicarious reader if you are not already. Read everything from newspapers to magazines to press releases to newsletters. You need to be like a sponge and soak up all sorts of information from all areas of life in order to be a successful writer.
Ten in the Hot Seat:
1. Describe yourself in one word: Curious
2. Biggest accomplishment to date: Being nominated in the 2009 2threads Australian Fashion Awards for Best Fashion Blog
3. You wish you wrote: The Alchemist. Such a simple, beautiful tale that has changed the lives of so many across the Globe.
4. Can’t leave home without: My purse, which is simply an extension of my body (albeit a stylish one).
5. One thing you are currently writing: A piece about ‘Store Stalking’ – when you constantly visit the same store to lovingly stare at or repeatedly try on a particular item that for what ever reason you just can not bring yourself to purchase. This is what I call ‘Store Stalking’ and we are all guilty of it!
6. First thing you wrote: An Illustrated children’s novel I was working on at home and which I gave to my 8th grade English teacher to mark!
7. Addicted to reading: everything and anything. My tastes are endless.
8. Top spot on your goals list: To expand Diary Of A Fashion Muse into an ‘interactive’ website.
9. If you were a character in a novel, you’d be: Jo March in Little Women.
10. The best thing about being a wordsmith: Being able to communicate in various mediums when you have a love for the written word is priceless.
TO VOTE FOR DIARY OF A FASHION MUSE IN THE ‘BEST FASHION BLOG’ CATEGORY OF THE 2THREADS AUSTRALIAN FASHION AWARDS, CLICK HERE: http://www.2threads.com/fashionawards/vote#u
When I went into hospital almost a month ago, my then boyfriend did not leave my side. He had planned to propose on the day I went in, and I now know that he had sat in there for one and a half days with the ring in a box in his pocket. I was being pumped with a drip at the time, and everytime it would go into my veins I’d sook like a baby and bemoan my predicament. Other times, I would sulk about being there, about all the things I had to do, about how crappy the food tasted and how I just wanted to come home and have a shower.
When I came out of hospital three weeks ago, he went home, bought loads of pumpkin, sweet potato and the like, and froze me batches of immunity-boosting soup to get me going strong again. Through out most of the times in this relationship, I was the centre of attention. The spotlight was always on me and what I wanted or needed. He always came second to me and my needs – even though it was he who worked 15 hours in a row on some days, and put his life on the line everytime he got into his uniform.
It’s taken me the time I got out of hospital to realise he had no food while I was there, and that he was probably bored, and he didn’t get to go home and shower when he felt like it, and that he was practically my slave. And then on top of that, he went ahead and slaved in the kitchen to help me get the nutrients I needed in a manner befitting my tastebuds and lifestyle.
When I walk down the aisle in exactly 383 days time, I know I will be the luckiest girl in the world. He supported me when I was being unglamorously wheeled down hospital corridors, when I walked back into academia, when I decided I wanted to waltz down the difficult wordsmith path. And because of the likes of him, I am inspired to be a better person everyday — firstly by taking out the time to myself with a good book and some made-with-love soup in order to strengthen myself physically, mentally and emotionally; and also by learning to go that extra mile in a manner so humble it’d take the person receving your good works three weeks to realise what you have done.
And personally, I don’t think there’s any better remedy for whatever ailment you’ve got. Being a great person goes a heck of a long way — for better or worse, and in sickness and health. Do that all the days of your life, and you shall know peace, calm and serenity.
Hmmm. I am not a watch collector by any means. And this is, by many accounts, a limited number of watches, and certainly not on the designer side at that. But the fact that my friends laugh at me for constantly being on time (to everything and anything) has finally just resonated with me…and maybe it’s because I always have a pretty watch on my hand to stare at, thus ensuring I’m never behind on anything. And with the likes of these watches, that’s style included.
From Left to right:
- White One Teaspoon Watch: Tip-on with the December 09 issue of Cleo. Catch it while you can and you too can look fashion-forward for eight bucks.
- Gold Guess Watch: Searched Europe far and wide for a gold man-style watch. All I could find were pretty dainty ones. Although I expected to pay very little (in comparison to Aussie prices that is) for a Gucci or D&G number, I walked away with this Guess one. I paid more for it in Europe than I would have here, but to date, I am yet to see the same one in gold (although I have spotted it in silver here and there).
- Guess Patent Navy watch: A preppy little baby I bought in year 11. It was my first graduation to a designer watch…and I am still very in love with it, even if it is worn and torn.
- Guess light blue watch, with sparkly diamante face: A bargain buy that is still my fave to this day.
- Jag two-tone watch: A simple piece for the plain jane in me. I love that I can wear it with both gold and silver jewellery. I wear this when I need to feel toned down, elegant and classic. If I could ever afford a Cartier, I’d wear their simple classic silver square watch everday.
- Pink Fluro Watch: The time piece that is identical to the $345 Toywatch watch, but with a $20 price tag. As seen in Monday’s post, and my fave of the summer season.
PS: And for those checking out my necklace, let me just say that this is 18 carat gold, circa 1993 – yep, I was ahead of Miss Carrie Bradshaw at the ripe young age of seven. My nanna sent it to me from Lebanon, and I have loved it ever since.