Saturday, August 31, 2013

Brunch with an editor in chief: Bria Lear of Framework Magazine

The best editors in chief work tirelessly behind the scenes, to make everything perfect. That's exactly what Bria is doing every. single. day.

If, by any chance, I had a long lost sister living in Vancouver, BC, I'm sure her name would be be Bria Lear. Thanks to blogging, I've already connected with so many wonderful, stylish and successful women, but when it comes to the most inspiring ones, Bria definitely tops my list. No kidding. How many girls in their early 20's do you know, who leave their day jobs to chase their dreams, who all by themselves launch a successful, beautiful and inspiring online magazine, who get to hang out with many other successful and inspiring people, and still manage to remain kind, humble, friendly and always ready to help the others? (Insert incredulous face here).

Two of my favorite Framework mag issues: June 2013 issue for the perfect hostess with the mostess, and the love-filled February 2013 issue.

Bria is the brain, the voice, and the creative talent behind my favorite online magazine, Framework. There are dozens and dozens of online magazines out there, but finding the one that truly speaks to me and merits to be read cover to cover can be pretty challenging. I've tested them all, but none really resonated with me the way Framework does. What's truly incredible and inspiring is that Bria built it from scratch all by herself (I'm pretty sure the day she hired her first intern was one of the best days of her life). She's always held herself to the highest standards both in writing and in photography. She manages to step it up a notch with every new issue, which is kind of a big deal, if you ask me. Framework covers almost everything I'm passionate about: fashion and style, delicious eats, inspiring home decor, beauty tutorials... Heck, it even gives fabulous book and wine recommendations! What's not to love? Bria loves to highlight fascinating and successful girls and women, who aren't afraid of following their dreams, whether it's a designer and photographer, eco-conscious beauty gurus, or a TV star who, at the same time, is the ultimate domestic goddess.

And she's doing it all with this infectious smile. You gotta love this girl!

Let's count the ways this ultimate Framework girl inspires me everyday: She has found the secret of living a happy life. She's a confessed lover of everything French and Parisian. And she loves hot pink (I suspect that we were separated at birth). 

She has a an endearing self-depreciating sense of humor. She loves delicious food and is a great cook herself. She always saves room for dessert and makes mean white chocolate scones.  She's not afraid of admitting her frustrations and fears (cause life's not always about macarons, bubbly and butterflies, even in the blogging world!). Bria knows how to throw a great party and her list of life lessons feels like I wrote it myself. And she can draw, too. I mean, she has a degree in fashion design, after all. Oh, and on top of all that, she is beautiful, gracious, and she seems to have an impeccable work ethic. You could really hate her, if she weren't so extremely kind, adorable and supportive! (I should know: I may or may not have tried to pick her brains once or twice). 

From my corner of the world, following the Framework's evolution has been so much fun, and I'm really looking forward to seeing what the future has in store for Bria and her team. I'm pretty sure it'll be awesome. My only regret? That there's a whopping 9-hour time difference between our homes, which mean we can't really hang out each weekend!

Intrigued? You have a unique chance to get to know Bria even better. This is how she answered all my inquisitive questions:

The best piece of advice I've ever received: Don’t wait for others to validate your choices. The only validation you need when making your life’s decisions is your own.

My life & business mantra: Hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard.

My favorite beauty product: It’s definitely always changing, but right now there are two I can’t get enough of: Almay’s Intense I-Color Volumizing Mascara (for green eyes), and Josie Maran’s Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelee (in Pink Escape).

Snapshots of Tamara Taggart's gorgeous home. Photography  for Framework Magazine by Christie Graham

Things I never leave home without: My iPhone and Burt’s Bees lip balm.

My ultimate style icon: Jenna Lyons and Olivia Palermo: always effortlessly chic, and classic with an edge.

My favorite, fail-proof recipe is... My Avocado Alfredo Linguini recipe! Loads of lemon, garlic, basil, and creamy avocado deliciousness – and the 20 minute maximum time needed to make it – has this vegetarian dish on heavy rotation in my kitchen all year round.  I should probably publish this in the magazine… it’s really not fair to keep it to myself!

The ultimate vintage connoisseurs: the girls of Charlie Ford Vintage: Jillian Harris, Tori Wesszer, Alyssa Dennis. Photography for Framework Magazine by Melissa Skoda

Favorite item in my closet: A pair of inexpensive dark skinny jeans from Joe Fresh, with the perfect amount of stretch. Oh, and another steal – a classic LBD from Smart Set that fits like a dream!

I wish I knew how to... Take beautiful photographs like a pro! Photography is always something I’ve wanted to learn more about, and working with some fantastic photographers for Framework has only increased my desire to learn. I also wish I knew more about website coding and could easily make my site updates and designs come to life.

My favorite travel destination: Bali, hands down. I was there about ten years ago with my family, and it is one of the most magical places in the world! The food, the people, the scenery, the beaches… it definitely made a big impression. It’s also where I learned to surf, so that definitely makes it more special.

I discovered Stephanie Sterjovski via her feature in the February issue, and I've been a fan ever since. She's just so cute, talented and hardworking! The perfect Framework girl! Photography for Framework Magazine by Anna Tsoulogiannis.

When I was a kid, my dream job used to be... I think my first dream job was actually working for a magazine (Well, that or a National Geographic photographer…) But, growing up in a small town, I didn’t realize that it was even possible. Since then I’ve bounced all over the place from artist, to fashion designer, to art director, to travel journalist, to teacher… and the list goes on.

My favorite pick-me-up when I'm in a bad mood: A bowl of homemade popcorn and a romantic comedy, or episodes of Masterchef and The Bachelor. Food and love stories (no matter how unrealistic) always do the trick.

3 blogs rocking my word lately: I love seeing what Gala Darling, Bri Emery of Design Lovefest, and my good pal Mikki Fox of Centre Street Style are up to!

Beautiful, cozy and inviting interiors designed by Amanda Evans, the owner of Twenty One Two Designs Inc. Photos by Tracey Ayton Photography

Book I'm reading right now & my all time favorite book: Oh no, you caught me in the very rare in-between-books moment! Next on my list is The Paris Wife or The Rules of Civility. Based on the number of consecutive summers I’ve re-read this book, I’d say that the Josephine B. Trilogy—a series of historical fiction about Napoleon’s wife Josephine and the French Revolution—by Sandra Gulland is my favourite.

My favorite guilty pleasure: Hmmm. Again, episodes of ABC’s the Bachelor or Bachelorette series. I’ve been watching them since the tenth grade and am obsessed… although I really don’t feel all that guilty about it!

If I could meet any woman for lunch, it would be... That’s a tough question! I’d love to eat and chat with Bethenny Frankel—that woman has such an admirable work-ethic, business sense (hello book deals and SkinnyGirl EMPIRE), and not to mention, major gumption! Plus, she’s a total foodie so dining with her would be SO much fun.

Bria always finds the right words to cheer me up when I feel uninspired!

What was the inspiration behind launching your own business? I honestly never thought I would be a business owner, but while working in the fashion industry I was growing frustrated with my lack of a creative outlet (ironic, no?) and wanted to create something that was MINE. I had a blog for awhile, but it just didn’t feel big enough—I like a challenge.

If the Internet didn't exist, what do you think you would be doing instead of running your online magazine? It’s tough to imagine the world today without the Internet! It’s possible I would be honing my cooking and baking skills, teaching something, and finding ways to creatively collaborate with others in my city.

What's the best thing about running your own business? And the worst? The best thing is also the worst thing: being the boss. It gives amazing freedom and control over my day to day and the kind of projects I work on, but it’s also terrifying and puts a lot of pressure on me to “make it work.” Some days I am over the moon about what I get to do, and other days I want to crawl under the covers and hide for a while! Also, working from home makes it difficult to draw the line between a professional life and a personal life. (What is that anyways?!)

A surefire way to liven up a dreary afternoon: the ultimate girly tea party styled and organized by Tamara Taggart, Photography for Framework Magazine by Christie Graham

Where do you find inspiration for your work? A lot of inspiration for my layouts comes from the women Framework is featuring, and the photographs of them. Especially for feature interviews, I want the fonts and colours and overall aesthetic to reflect their businesses and personalities. In a more general sense, if I’m stuck I’ll take a look at some folders of design ideas I’ve gathered, or a stack of print magazines. Usually, the mood of the piece will dictate my design choices.

How would you describe your business in 3 words? Evolving, creative, and a work in progress.

Where do you see your business in 3 years? Any big plans & projects ahead? I can’t say for sure where Framework will be; right now I’m doing a lot of strategizing, planning, and reflecting to figure out which path will be the best not only for the business, but also for myself. I think some interesting and exciting changes are ahead, and perhaps some diversification in the near future… think along the lines of some fun workshops!

 Meet Bria, the ultimate queen of selfies! Told ya, she is adorable!

Thank you so much, Bria, for making time in your busy schedule to answer my questions!

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Friday, August 30, 2013

Beauty: Blushing

Dior Diorblush
I'm a very visually oriented person. Always have been. I love surrounding myself with beautiful things, dressing in pretty clothes, even cooking visually appealing meals. And the same goes for my makeup collection. I'm always drawn to the package first, and once it passed the visual test, I'm ready to learn what miracles that thing can do. My beauty bag is full of beautiful lipsticks, eye shadows (and this eyeshadow palette is definitely on my wish list for fall) and face powders, but there's one thing conspicuously missing to the party: the blush. For some strange reason, ever since I finished my first package of Les Tissages de Chanel, I stuck to the drugstore buys exclusively. Lack of inspiration, I guess. But that's over now. I only perused Nordstrom's blush section once, but I ended up with a mile long wish list. This is the round-up (a short version, I assure you) of my favorites, and I'd love to get your opinion. Which one do you like best? Do you own any of these beauties? If so, are you happy with your choice? Which one should I pick? I'm looking forward to reading your opinions!

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Trend report: Cross my heart

Images via

Ever since Christopher Bailey sent the models down the runway wearing oxblood garments adorned with adorable little hearts, I've had my eyes peeled for the fall collections, wondering how this trend would translate on high street. And I surely am not disappointed. Little (and larger) hearts seem to be everywhere: on sweaters, pajama sets, dresses and jewelry. In fact, the hardest part is picking your favorites. I personally fell head over heels in love with cheeky and beautiful Asos sweaters (seen below). I've never met a striped top I didn't like (my extensive collection is the proof), and those cute heart elbow patches add just the right touch of playfulness and fun. I caved in and bought them all, and I've been wearing my heart on my elbows (duh) constantly. Why on earth should hearts be limited to Valentine's Day, anyway?  

How they wore it
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

How I wear it

Asos heart elbow patch sweater in red // blue // nude
Shop the trend

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