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  • Started Junior Year Running

    Although it's a bit belated, an update on how my first semester of my junior year went is necessary.

    All of the uneasiness I felt in September — maintaining a work-life balance and being able to put 110% into every project on my plate were my biggest concerns — evaporated as quickly as it came. There was a lot of work that had to be done.

    My first experience co-managing a magazine (Fashion Frank) was one of constant learning. Coordinating the senior staff, photographers, stylists and sources' busy schedules to set up in-depth interviews along with their accompanying photo shoots proved challenging.

    We learned patience.

    Not only were managerial duties expected to be met, but writing all of the content was also Jaclyn and my responsibility. With the creative (mental and emotional) support from our design team (John & Dianne) as well as the freedom and when-needed-direction from our editorial advisor (Jo-Nell), we were able to produce four incredible profiles on professionals in Chicago that in some way touch fashion or photography.

    Our digital publication will be available to download in the Apple App store soon.

    In my Magazine Profile Writing class, I learned to value reading everything I could get my hands on and neurotically thinking about my writing just as much as the actual act of putting a pen to paper. In a blind draw at the beginning of the semester, I picked "profile a professional baker," leading me to Abby Leetz, the owner of Wildflour Bakery— now a community fixture in downtown Valparaiso.

    From this story, I was taught how important the inclusion of movement in a profile can be.

    A very valuable aspect of this course was having the opportunity to work with the Magazine Editing class on building a profile gallery. With Jaclyn as my editor, we crafted a profile on Janelle Stanley that is featured on Native Voices— a collection of profiles about Chicago-area Native American artists, innovators, and activists.

    The process to publication was full of compromise and a lot of communication. That, of course, was a very good thing.

    The most rewarding moment of class was turning in my final draft of a profile on Jaycee Bryant, a 59-year-old Chicago doorman working upwards of 100-hour-weeks at four different buildings in the city. I took my time with this piece. Bryant's story was compelling, filled with humor, struggle and success without material reward— all aspects of the Chicago spirit I see so often but hear about so little. 

    My job at LUSH didn't slow down, either. I officially became a Floor Leader! As our shop's in-store trainer, I trained all of the holiday hires before their hectic December shifts started and continued to further their development up until their time at Armitage came to a close. This included early morning training sessions (I didn't think I could like coffee any more than I already did), preparation and execution of training activities at staff meetings (after a day of midterm exams and interviews for Fashion Frank) and on-the-floor coaching to support their experience as LUSH Sales Ambassadors. 

    Whenever you mutter "holiday season" in most retail environments, you're normally met with cringe-worthy stories and a suffocating sense of dread. Not at LUSH Armitage. I will always be grateful for that.

    And, to celebrate the new year/the fact that I've been alive for 21 years/that I survived this semester, my dad took my sister and me on our annual "Daddy Daughter" trip...but this time, we went across the pond to both London and Paris. In the span of a week. Take a look at some photographs I took on the Canon Elan 7 Mason gifted to me for Christmas here

    Thank you for taking the time to keep up with all of my endeavors. I'm looking forward to another jam-packed semester, and although in the midst of it all I will probably question my sanity, I wouldn't have it any other way.