Nothing in New York City ever starts on time. At least that’s what I thought until I discovered the Yogasmoga popup events at the South Street Seaport. When I arrived at the free class with Erika Bloom Pilates, I was ten minutes late, embarrassed, and flustered. I signed in, threw down a mat, and quickly tried to regain some Zen as I began my Pilates practice. At first, I’d been skeptical of doing Pilates in the midst of the concrete jungle, but there was one particular moment during the mat work that changed my mind. We were on our backs doing some bridges, the breeze off the river was washing over us, and as I gazed up between the high-rises at a perfect blue sky, I felt bliss. Needless to say, by the end of the class I was on a high and wanted more than ever to learn about the brand behind the event. I struck up a conversation with a couple of the girls representing Yogasmoga, and the next week, I found myself in their NYC Headquarters.
Katherine Bacino, Yogasmoga’s New York Community Coordinator & Editor of Rangoli, the brand’s community platform, served as my leader and guide throughout the HQ. There, I met members of the Yogasmoga team, previewed the upcoming fall collection, and got a taste of what’s in the works for the brand in 2016, all while experiencing just who Yogasmoga is.
Katherine started with the basics and explained the story behind the brand’s name. Yogasmoga comes from a Hindi colloquialism that combines a base word (like yoga) and a rhyming word (like smoga). The meaning is “yoga and the things that go with it.” Yogasmoga is not just a brand for yogis. It’s a brand for those who embrace the principles that go with it: joy, energy, and balance.
Next we moved on to the upcoming fall collection, which embraces the theme “unrestricted movement.” The motif reflects the brand’s belief that activewear should hug and support the body without compressing or constricting it. This idea immediately hit home. I recently got into a discussion with my dance group about how uncomfortable and unhealthy activewear can be that promises to slim your stomach or slenderize your thighs, leaving lines and indentations on your skin. Instead, Yogasmoga aims to celebrate the natural shape and curves of the body with the mindful design of their fit and fabrics. I’m particularly excited for one of the prints in the upcoming fall line called “Topography.” To create this design, Yogasmoga used a technique called bodymap printing. Typically, patterned fabrics are cut for the desired garment at random, which means the print appears on each article of clothing in a different way. With bodymap printing, the pattern on the fabric is specifically designed to suit the garment and the part of the body on which it’s worn. So, Yogasmoga’s Topography print leggings highlight the line of your waist, curve of your thighs, and muscles in your calves.
Finally, the moment of truth arrived. It was time to actually test out the clothes! The minute I slipped on the first pair of leggings, I experienced just how awesome this apparel is. The fabric is rich, mobile, weightless, and just feels good on your body as you move. I’m also completely smitten with the Topography print in the upcoming fall line. It’s a feminine and flattering work of art. I can’t wait to get my hands on a style from the new collection! If you’re having trouble deciding which piece of Yogasmoga apparel to try first, check out the company favorites or some of my own:
- Katherine, NYC Community Coordinator & Editor of Rangoli: Tippy Toe Twist Legging & Oh La La Bra (great for busty girls!)
- Katie, Marketing Analyst: Tippy Toe Legging
- Tom, Director of E-Commerce: Nirvana Short (yes, they have a men’s line too!)
- Emily, Social Media Manager: Tippy Toe Legging
- Faith, Director of Marketing: Vivacity Legging
- Trish, Wholesale Specialist: The entire Vivacity Collection
- “Super” Alex, Customer Service Specialist & Project Manager: Run Jump’N Twist Crop
- Cait, Yogasmoga Enthusiast: Run Jump’N Twist Crop & Yantra Tank
For those in the NYC area, check out the full list of free popup events that Yogasmoga is hosting at the South Street Seaport now through September. Then, follow Yogasmoga on social media, and stay tuned this fall for a series of live panel discussions with the brand. Finally, hold your breath! There’s rumor of a brick and mortar Yogasmoga store opening in NYC next year!
Nothing will rally a group of freelancers living in New York City like the promise of drink specials. The August Freelancers Spark event took a departure from the typical topic-driven meetups and simply offered an opportunity for freelancers to mingle and network over wallet-friendly cocktails. To get the conversation started, we were handed a classic BINGO board upon arrival.
The mission: find fellow freelancers with the given qualities and write their name in the corresponding spot on the board. Get five in a row, and win Freelancers Union swag, either The Freelancer’s Bible or a fun tote.
The most difficult items to match on the board included….
- Has achieved inbox zero,
- Gets dressed everyday (sweats don’t count), and
- Enjoys working on the weekend
I quickly became known as the freelancer who “handwrites their to-do list.” Yes, I still use a physical planner in tandem with Google Calendar to build my schedule, write notes, and track my to-do lists. In extreme cases, I even write outlines or excerpts for pieces in a notebook then retype and edit them on my computer. Somehow, creatively, my brain still works best that way, and although it’s much more inefficient, I write something by hand on a daily basis. Next time you’re in a creative rut, give it a try – it might work for you too.
The Freelancers Union Spark Happy Hour was a purely fun Spark event (even though I didn’t win bingo or any swag). However, most Spark events centralize around a specific topic relevant to freelancers (and bloggers too – Freelancers Union has a ton of applicable information for my fellow bloggers as well!). September’s Spark will focus on how to hook clients with an authentic story (for obvious reasons, I’m pretty excited for this one). Spark events go down once a month in 18 cities around the country. Visit the Freelancers Union site to find yours. Plus, if there’s not a Spark in your city, you can apply to be a Spark leader and bring these awesome events to your neighborhood.
As a resident of New York City for nearly nine years, Alyssa, my friend and fellow writer, is a master at finding the best events in the city. When she emailed me about an event at The New School called the Best Online Editors Panel, I was immediately intrigued. I started typing, clicking, and digging on the web. I quickly discovered that tucked away in Greenwich Village sits The New School, a progressive university that attracts intellectual and creative minds. The event featured a panel of eight online editors from publications like Tin House, Vanity Fair, the New York Times, Dame Magazine, and more. Plus, the panel was hosted and moderated by none other than writer, teacher, and New York Times bestselling author Susan Shapiro. Needless to say I purchased my ticket and replied to Alyssa that I was in.
While the event was geared toward journalists, I found the information to be beneficial for any type of freelance writer or blogger. Whether you’re pitching an article, blog post concept, or even partnership opportunity, engaging with publications or businesses is a major part of journalism, freelancing, and blogging. Ultimately, the panel discussion was centered on navigating these interactions and relationships successfully.
There were three main questions that led the panel. Each of the eight online editors had his/her own unique approach to working with freelancers, and along the way, Susan Shapiro interjected interesting feedback from her students and aspiring writers. Below I’ve summarized the key takeaways from the discussion.
3 Questions Answered by Top Online Editors:
- Should I submit a pitch or a finished essay?
This seemed to be the most polarizing question of the evening. The verdict? A fifty-fifty split. Below are five of the arguments:
- It depends on the publication or an editor’s preference.
- Do your research on the publication and the editor before submitting.
- Kera Bolonik, executive editor of Dame Magazine, suggested writing the full piece and pitching the standout lines in a summary of two to five sentences.
- Another debate arose within the discussion of this question: should you attach your work as a document/PDF or include it in the body of the email? The verdict, again, resulted in a fifty-fifty split.
- Jerry Portwood, a professor at The New School and executive editor at Out magazine, posed a solution: do both so all your bases are covered!
Applying the advice beyond journalism: There’s a fine line between a well-developed idea and a concrete idea with no room for creativity. When pitching any type of concept or partnership opportunity to a potential client, it’s important to research the brand and the point of contact. Be clear on what they expect and show your knowledge of their business in how and what you pitch.
- What should freelancers NOT do?
This question elicited some tough love from the panel. Below are the five key DON’TS for freelancers:
- Don’t submit a piece or a pitch on a Friday. It can wait until Monday!
- When an editor rejects your piece, it’s the end of the conversation. Don’t reply to the editor asking why or looking for an explanation. At most send a simple thank you for his/her time.
- If you have a story, even one that’s not fully developed and could only amount to a few lines, do not publish it on a blog or give it away to an unpaid source if you ever hope to submit or pitch it to an editor.
- Never send a general pitch or simply pitch your services – you must be specific! Don’t make an editor work for the piece!
- Don’t take rejection personally. In this industry, success is all about being in the right place at the right time.
Applying the advice beyond journalism: It’s pretty self-explanatory how these DON’TS can apply beyond the field of journalism. The fourth point is specifically key for any type of freelancer or blogger. Avoid sending general or form emails to potential clients, and don’t make them work for your partnership! Be specific each time you reach out to a brand. This personalized approach will illustrate both your understanding and passion for their company as well as your confidence in your business and services.
- How can freelancers make their work better?
The third question from the panel allowed the editors to give their last words of wisdom for freelancers. Below are five closing pieces of advice:
- Enlist a ghost editor to review your work before submitting to an editor.
- For an even stronger edit, read your story aloud before submitting.
- Learn to love being edited. You can get better every day and with each and every new piece you write.
- Know a publication before submitting a pitch or piece to them. Do your research, know exactly what they’re looking for down to the word count, and show your knowledge through what you submit.
- Be passionate and enthusiastic in your writing. Write the story you just have to tell.
Applying the advice beyond journalism: Much of this closing advice is about the editing process. For other freelancers and bloggers, editing is not always part of the process in a literal sense. However, consider having a friend or colleague review an idea or concept before pitching. Once you’ve secured a client, remember to remain open to their feedback or criticism. Again, successfully building and maintaining relationships is crucial for journalists, freelancers, and bloggers alike.
A final note from the online editors: Buy publications you value. Engage with publications you admire on the web by clicking and sharing links. Support the industry!
This final note from the online editors is, of course, applicable across industries. No matter what type of freelance work you do or blog you have, support your industry!
“Costume is all about developing characters and telling a story.” – Academy Award winning costume designer Angus Strathie
The year is 1937. You’re twenty nine years old, a young mother in your prime. By a twist of fate (and a little magic), your body miraculously stops aging. For the rest of time, you’ll experience the world in a young woman’s figure, but you’ll grow into an old soul.
“Adaline is somebody who has an incredible wardrobe. She’s dressed a little more conservatively because she’s not 29, she’s a hundred.” – Blake Lively
The year is 1976. Although your life is anything but ordinary, you’re still just like any other woman. You find it hard to resist the latest fashions. As the decades go by, your wardrobe is evolving into an archive of memories and moments, past experiences and people.
“Since the piece took place over almost a century, it was extra challenging to be able to find all those periods and all those moods and all those emotions of this character.” – Angus Strathie
The year is 2015. For seventy-eight years, you’ve had to define and re-define yourself, often through what you wore. Each article of clothing holds a sentiment and tells a story of a particular time, a particular version of you. Sometimes, when you head to the closet to get dressed, you find yourself wearing something from every decade.
“What we felt was right was to actually incorporate those vintage pieces into her contemporary look. The 2015 look is contemporary clothes mixed with vintage pieces or vintage accessories.” – Angus Strathie
We all have a relationship with our clothes. After imagining yourself as Adaline, a woman who has lived for almost a century, consider how deep that connection might be with certain articles of clothing. This is how costume designer Angus Strathie employs fashion to enhance Adaline’s story in The Age of Adaline. With a variety of styles and silhouettes from nearly ten decades at his disposal, Strathie makes use of color, pattern, and accessories to reflect Adaline’s character in her wardrobe.
In both flashbacks and present day, variations of red, blue, and black are dominant in Adaline’s wardrobe. I believe Strathie focused on this palette because each color represents a piece of Adaline’s story. Red hues carry a spectrum of meaning, anywhere from danger to love. Because of Adaline’s unique condition, she’s forced to conceal her identity and lives with the constant threat of being discovered. Adaline also spends her life grappling with relationships. Her secret prevents her from allowing herself to build deep connections or fall in love. The color blue continues to illustrate Adaline’s struggle. Blue is often associated with sadness and loneliness. It’s also a color that’s rarely found in nature, much like the miracle of Adaline’s agelessness. Finally, black represents Adaline’s mystery and intrigue. While her beauty is alluring, Adaline internalizes a great deal of vulnerability and insecurity because of her secret. Keeping people at arm’s length to hide her truth proves to make Adaline’s story even more interesting.
Strathie also uses pattern, specifically florals, to characterize Adaline and develop her story. Flowers symbolize growth and renewal. They’re often given as a sentiment at milestones throughout our lives: birth, marriage, holidays, and ultimately death. Because of her inability to age, Adaline circumvents the typical human life cycle, and she must constantly reinvent herself to hide her true identity. Flowers represent the normalcy Adaline so intensely desires.
Adaline’s collection of clothing and accessories helps to keep her grounded despite the lack of stability and consistency in her life. Strathie uses a particularly unique accessory as a signature for Adaline’s look: the scarf. Scarves were a popular accessory in the first half of the twentieth century, during Adaline’s true youth. Although they’re a more unusual contemporary accessory, scarves remain a part of Adaline’s style in present day. For Adaline, the past feels never-ending, but her scarves signify a time when she was purely young at heart.
Strathie’s costume design in The Age of Adaline beautifully illustrates the connection between clothing and storytelling. Whether you’re a wardrobe stylist working with an individual, an editorial stylist working on a campaign, or a costume designer working to develop a character, fashion is a way to express a narrative. Clothing is a part of our daily lives, from what we wear to the magazines we read to the films we see. Most of the time, we don’t realize the impact clothing has on our interpretation of a person or character. However, the saying, “clothing speaks louder than words,” is often true. Within a single article of clothing, an outfit, or a closet, there’s a story.
The Age of Adaline debuts in theaters nationwide this Friday, April 24, 2015.
I didn’t attend Columbia, but when I stepped out of the cab and onto the campus, a wave of nostalgia washed over me. Nothing compares to the energy of a buzzing college campus.
I walked into the Tow Center for Digital Journalism and took a seat next to my friend Alyssa. My youthful feelings faded as I quickly realized we were two of the only non-students at the lecture. At the front of the room sat a long, lanky lady with fitted jeans, a black tee, brown lace-up ankle boots, hair in an effortlessly coiffed topknot, and bright red lips: Ann Friedman.
You may think you don’t know Ann Friedman, when in fact, you probably know Ann Friedman. She writes regularly for New York magazine and the Columbia Journalism Review in addition to contributing to publications like The New Yorker, Elle, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Guardian, and countless others. Still not sure if you’re familiar with Ann Friedman’s work? Then maybe you know her by her famous pie charts regularly featured on The Hairpin.
Ann Friedman is a full-time freelance writer. No, she’s not secretly unemployed. No, she does not live a life of non-office-regulated luxury. No, she’s not flaky or a weird loner or any of the other all too common freelance stereotypes. If you’re wondering exactly what a freelance writer is, look to Ann Friedman. She’s a pretty successful one.
Without further ado, here are three takeaways from Ann’s lecture on Pitching for the Digital Space:
- Kissing Sideways: Don’t kiss up. You should always be kissing down and sideways, to the people who are going to be working alongside you and coming up behind you. Create a strong support group of colleagues rather than seeking out one powerful person to shape your career.
- Writing Something You’re Excited About: It’s a privilege to write something you’re excited about. It took Ann ten years to reach this point in her career. Working with difficult clients, being published in less-prominent publications, writing on subject matter that is of little or no interest to you, getting paid abysmally or *gasp* not at all are all part of the process. Do something on the side (might I suggest a blog?) that represents the work you want to do.
- Breaking the Story: In today’s digital writing world, it’s no longer about breaking the story and being the first person to write on a particular subject matter. It’s about writing on a topic in a new way, with a distinct voice, or for a particular audience that makes a great story.
The backbone of each of these three takeaways is that freelance writing is a marathon, not a sprint. The right person, a particular publication, or a single story will not “make you.” Relentless perseverance, unfading passion, and above all, time are the keys to a successful freelance writing career and ultimately making a name for yourself as a writer.