Wednesday, June 30, 2010
I am actually writing this from the Fuse office after returning to the states and spending what felt like weeks lying in bed recovering from jet lag and post abroad come down. So the semester is actually officially over and I cannot believe it. Having friends abroad at institutions not dedicated solely to one university (the London Centre is actually an Ithaca Campus, providing for all IC students), I realize that I am so lucky to have had people from the Ithaca Campus in my program.
The London Centre allowed a space for me to get to know people that I may not otherwise. I am in my Junior year, I am settled with friends, housing, my major and so while this lets me get closer to the people that I know it doesn't always open opportunities to meet new people. I am so content with my social life in Ithaca that sometimes I forget to reach out. The London Centre attracted students from all different areas of the US and all different areas of study which was incredible. I went into the program knowing my future flatmates and some friends and came out with so much more. Did I love everyone on the trip? No, there were certainly some personalities I could have left in the states but overall everyone was hilarious, adventurous and outgoing! When I look back on this semester I picture myself constantly having tears rolling down my eyes from was laughing so hard, be it from the characters you meet on the streets of London to having to share a room with three, very loud girls to simply traveling Europe and getting ourselves into ridiculous situations. Even our last night in london started out getting cafe at an outdoor cafe in Camden and ended with an night of dancing at one of London's most popular clubs. The amazing thing about this city is that it is always fresh. I don't think you could ever run out of things to do or people to meet.
What they don't tell you is how much you're going to miss being abroad. I went from the heart of Baker Street, close to Oxford circus and the upscale Mayfair area to the middle of my hometown that has more cattle than residents and replacing cabs with cows isn't easy. The past week has been spent catching up with friends and preparing for my summer in Ithaca but it has also been spent reflecting on the adventures I had abroad. From having a group of attractive Italians cook for us in Barcelona, to almost missing a flight in Prague, to finding thrifty fashions with my best friend (who is still in London and I miss her terribly) I will never forget my time in London. I have a feeling that I am going to have a hard time not missing London.
So I raise my Wednesday Night Special from Belishi's, an ICLC tradition, to everyone that I encountered in London.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
So you're probably thinking, 'hey, Lauren what else did ya' do abroad- just travel and take goofy pictures?' Well kids, I actually spent three days a week in classes and two days a week at my internship-- yes you have to work still when you are abroad! Well, I suppose you don't have to but, why wouldn't you? Cheese-ball fact: learning in London was fun. It didn't take effort to will yourself to do work because it was all interesting and relevant. I love writing papers anyway (nerd, yes) but professors in London expected you to argue points outside your comfort zone, be it a theory on patriarchy for Shakespeare or examining social outliers in British Fiction. Still, the hardest writing I had to do was at my internship. Producing three to four stories a day and corresponding with public relations offices of high street and high-end designers like French Connection, Topshop and Day Birger et Mikkelsen left no room for mistakes.
So here is the rundown on my sometimes scary but always fantastic internship, and what I like to call how to survive an internship in the Fashion Industry.
1) You don't have to wear the high end labels! Crazy, I know but don't be afraid to apply for an internship or job in fashion because you can't afford the clothing. In the international economic conditions it is harder and harder to buy designer clothing. Instead I suggest you either go vintage or try out trends in moderation.
Vintage is the easiest way to get one of a kind pieces on a budget. In London especially it is hard to find vintage that is cheap (In Ithaca I am used to Salvation Army and secondhand stores like Trader K's where a little digging and dedication can find you stylish finds often under $5!). The best option is to find outdoor markets, like on London's Brick Lane, or less publicized shops to get your real vintages steals. Just make sure the piece fits well and looks current- don't just buy a vintage label to own it, buy it to wear all the time! Another option is to look to discount stores like Primark in the UK or Forever21 in the States to find trendy pieces to integrate into your wardrobe. I just suggest you look for fabrics and colours that look more expensive than they are- no one will know your wearing a ten dollar shirt, but you!
2)Your intellectual skills come first! Yes, dressing the part for a fashion editorial internship is vital but you should have gotten the job because of your work ethic and skill set be it in writing, advertising, web design or public relations. Keep strong and work hard, knowing the fashions is important but it is more important that you shine with what you know and were hired for.
3) Read, Breath, Live the styles. One day at work I spelled the designer Donna Karan, Donna Karen in a story. I published it on the web and my editor was upset with me, with good reason because our blog is sent straight to feeds for Google News and is viewed by thousands of people a day. Throughout the course of my internship my editor had to have serious talks with me in the office about the vocabulary used in fashion writing, the pronunciation of Italian, French and even Japanese designers and editing my blog entries to fit the language of our readers. Obviously I would be upset if I felt I wasn't writing up to my editors standards but I was also there to learn. I cannot thank her enough for pushing me and I know it was because she knew I could do it. So while at the start I felt like I couldn't do anything right instead of getting upset I spent hours of my own time doing research. You have to keep current so while my flatmates were watching TV or hanging out in the living room, I would be on the couch with magazines or watching runway shows to get it right. I know this sounds like a make-it-to-the-top lifetime movie montage but it really took that extra effort for me. I loved fashion but I didn't know it. By the end of my time at Fashion For Lunch, I was blogging four stories a day and my editor would have more compliments than critiques. I even got to the point where I could simply post stories and she would read them to enjoy, not edit.
So while it wasn't exactly the Devil Wears Prada I do feel like this internship helped me grow as a writer, and even helped out my personal style. Not bad for an internship I found myself, huh?
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Words cannot explain the beauty of the Greek Islands so I may leave this one up to the pictures. We Toured Santorini, Hydra, Poros and Aegina. Each Island has a unique flavor, literally. Hydra has no cars, the only way to get around is by walking, or by donkey. No, Really. We only had a short time here but I took advantage of the cats, unique gifts and the water that was actually turquoise. The main dock is lined with Cafes so my mom and I were happy to grab a seat, get some lunch and simply enjoy the sites.
But, if you only visit one island, make it Santorini. Known as the location where movies such as Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Mama Mia! where filmed, this island is growing in popularity. It is about an eight hour ferry from the closest port to Athens but it is certainly well worth it. The area looks over a volcano, has small nooks of private beaches and offers some of the best food and shopping in all of Greece. We scored a great deal because of the economic downturn and were able to book the ferry and a fantastic hotel together for super cheap!
The view from Santorini's Restaurant 1500 BC.
Another Dinner Look-out View
Our Hotel's Pool
The waters of Poros
An island cat in Hydra
A quaint Taverna
The streets of Hydra
The only 'rides' on the island, no cars here!
Breakfast at the hotel
...and at night
The cliffs of Santorini at Night
Bye Guys, enjoy the weather.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Who knew that I had a cousin who married a wonderful Greek man an moved to Athens? Not me! So I was elated when my mother mentioned that we had family in Greece (but not Greek family or I would start seriously questioning why I was not blessed with long dark hair and olive skin!), I suggested we go. So, after months of monitoring flight prices and corresponding with family via email and skype it was off to Greece. (PS- my mom came to London but we will get into that later) So it was off on Easy Jet- which is a fantastic way to save money on shorter flights. I know some students from the London Centre had issues with them but it was super easy for me.
Leaving London it was about 40 degrees (F) and the wind chill went through our bones. I was so cold and damp the morning that we left that while waiting for our bus at 5am that I thought I was going to start crying. But I stayed strong and it made landing in 90 degree (F) weather that much more amazing! We met our cousin at the airport with her adorable daughter, who was being accosted by a fellow two year old boy who was trying to give her kisses. I knew Greek men were aggressive but I suppose they start earlier than I expected?
Overall the Greeks were fantastic! My mother and I met a few characters, the most memorable of which were a jewelry designer and a waiter. The designer made these fantastic earrings by hand, which of course I got swayed into buying, she used native coral and turquoise and seemed to like us. It is always a fear to be perceived as a negative American tourist but we talked at length with this women about how the Greek economy was sinking just like the US had- lucky for us this was the thought all over Athens and the Islands and vendors were quick to give us deals like coral necklaces and gold at 80% off the expected price. While we weren't there to shop (okay, we weren't there the ONLY shop) the earrings in Athens were incredible. So after discussing the world economy, getting licks from her adorable daschund and avoiding this women trying to arrange a Greek marriage for me my mother and I had made a friend, and scored some one-of-a-kind bling.
We also found that the waiters in Greece, along with any shop owner were not only willing, but excited, to give you directions or suggestions. The thing that I loved most about Greece was the pride in their country. Not to get political, but I have never had a real sense of American Pride, sure we hang a flag at my house on the fourth of July but I was more attached to New York State than America as a whole. It was so amazing to see such a collective of people so proud of their heritage, and they well should be- Athens is arguably the cradle of civilization from the architecture to the religious roots.
I love love love traveling with friends, even if we got lost , had tension between friends (be careful who you travel with, we had one rotten apple who tried to damper the mood) or were just plain tired I would not change a thing about any of the trips that I took or who I took them with. Still, there is something about traveling with family that is unique and truly special. Being with my mother, seeing the Acropolis and meeting this side of the family that lives halfway across the world was something that I never would have found on my own. My mother kept saying that there was something about being in the ruins that unexplainable, her watched stopped working and she was convinced it was an ancient curse. Kidding aside Greece is a must.... just don't get stuck in Athens too long. Stay tuned for my recap of the Islands!
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
In the true spirit of London, and in celebration of the history of popular British music my roommates and I celebrated our final days in the city we love at the historic Abbey Road.
Famed by the Beatles Abbey Road Recording Studios produced the Beatles' eleventh studio album in 1969. People can debate over what the best album is (I love Revolver and Sgt. Pepper if you want the classics) but the Abbey Road record holds some of the BEST Beatles songs of all time. Including my all time favourite "Something" these studios heard the likes of "Octupus's Garden," "Here Comes the Sun," and "Come Together."
Action Shots at Abbey Road!
We made our place in history by signing the wall giving our blessings to (MY) favourite Beatles John and George and trying (really not succeeding) in recreating the famous album cover. We even finished our day at the Beatles Cafe at the St. John's Wood Tube stop, yum!
You can watch people try their hand at acting like John, George, Ringo and Paul whilst crossing the iconic road here at Abbey Road's live webcam! (http://www.abbeyroad.com/visit/)
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