Archive for June, 2013
Winghill Writing School offers seven comprehensive writing courses. That’s quite a lot of courses, particularly if you’re not sure which is right for you. That’s why our director, Alex Myers, regularly accepts writing sample submissions and replies with her expert course advice. She’ll help you decide which course is best suited to your current skill level and goals. Interested in learning how to submit a writing sample to Winghill? Read on.
Before you submit, it’s a good idea to understand the seven different offerings from Winghill. They are:
The Creative Writing course is the perfect choice for anyone looking to explore different writing styles, lengths, and who want a fully customized learning experience. Your personal tutor – a published author – will provide you with guidance and individualized assignments throughout your course.
The Novel Writing course is an excellent choice for anyone who has a story in mind and wants help with character development, plot, formatting, and anything else novel-related. If you choose this course, your goal should be to finish the course with a novel ready to be published.
This one’s pretty clear! If you’re interested in writing romance stories, novels, or anything else – this is the course for you.
The Children’s Writing course is designed for the student looking to become a children’s author. Whether you want to focus on creating text for a picture book or want to write a short story for kids, this course will help you achieve your goals.
The Memoir Writing course offers you the chance to either a) write a memoir or b) write a family history piece. Your tutor will be able to customize your experience and assignments to suit your goals and help you retell the tales you most want told.
The Business Writing course is for those looking to improve their technical and business writing skills.
The Screenwriting course is the newest addition to the Winghill course lineup and will help you prepare a story to pitch for the big screen.
If you’d like help deciding which course is for you, click here to submit a writing sample now.
Spring is officially springing and summer seems almost right around the corner. I always get an itch at this time of year to head outside and start puttering away in my garden. I call it a “garden”, but frankly it’s still a major work-in-progress. I am experimenting with which plants work where, how to create interest and mixture of height and color, and how to keep them all alive. A green thumb I am not. But that doesn’t stop me from trying!
Even if you don’t have too much in the way of outdoor space, or don’t want to tend to a huge array of plants, there are some really ingenious ways that I have spotted to create mini-gardens.
Using old pallets or other constructed planks to create vertical gardens is so clever. Wouldn’t it be great to do this with a variety of herbs?
The other item on my own outdoor to-do list is a window box. Whether you construct it yourself or pick one up at your local hardware store (all of the big box hardware stores carry them), they add a little bit of greenery and colour and warmth to any house. Such a great curb appeal booster.
Even if you don’t actually have a window to hang one under, you can get creative like these guys did here and hang one from a faux window. Let’s take a look…
Click on the following links to be taken to the images/blog posts:
Written by Gemma Bonham-Carter
The Sweetest Digs
Gemma Bonham-Carter has made it her mission to DIY her house into a stylishly decorated home, one project at a time. She believes that good design doesn’t have to break the bank. You’ll find her posts focus on reusing pre-loved items in surprising ways to create something new and exciting.
Diane Merriss believes in the power of education. That’s why she’s enrolled in QC’s Wedding Planning course. Her career has come so far since then, and she is now the owner of her own thriving event and wedding planning business. We’re so proud to share her story with our readers today, from her personal insight into the planning industry, to some seriously incredible photos of her work. Make sure you scroll to the bottom to see them all!
Company Name: Event Wedding Planning
Description: Event Wedding Planning is a full service wedding planning company that can customize any package to make it fit your exact needs. From the intimate weddings to the spectacular – we offer more personalized services, from multi-cultural weddings and events to destination weddings.
Region: Southern California and beyond
Facebook Page: www.Facebook.com/EventWeddingPlanning1
What motivated you to start your career as a professional event and wedding planner and how did you career unfold?
I was into photography for such a long time, and experienced a lot of behind the scenes of weddings and events. I thought that I would love to do it too, as I had always loved to host get-togethers. My ultimate dream goal was to own a luxurious wedding and event venue along the coast. I had thought about that goal many times over the years. I finally decided to go to school to be a wedding planner and start from scratch so I could learn the real way to plan weddings professionally.
I then enrolled in QC Event School’s Wedding Planning course, completed my course, and started by business, Event Wedding Planning, immediately. Less than two years later, QC called to let me know that they added the Core Event course and wanted to see if I was interested. I enrolled and completed it quickly, changing my designation from IWPP to IEWP (International Event and Wedding Planning Professional).
Right after completing the Core Event program, I started Special Event Producers, which is the corporate and private events side of Event Wedding Planning. I have planned many events and still love every minute of what I do.
In 2011 I decided that, knowing all I do about events, it was time to bring in even more education to my business to help with design, color schemes, and so forth, so I went back to QC for the Design and Decorating course. I love it! Adding professional design elements to my business gives me a greater advantage for designing an event from scratch and putting together color schemes. Most seasoned planners seem to have an interior design background, or vice versa.
What are some highlights of your career so far?
1. Planning an entire wedding from scratch in less than three months! It was challenging but fun, and worth every moment. The wedding turned out beautifully, just the way the couple imagined.
2. Having the opportunity to work with not only fabulous wedding couples, but also some amazing and talented wedding and event professionals, along with some amazing locations. We have developed long lasting relationships that are treasured by my business. I consider my preferred vendors and preferred locations like family, and I refer them to all my clients and to anyone needing their specific services.
3. Lastly, I had the opportunity to add “private estates” to my business to rent out for events. Great properties with great possibilities – I am just blessed to have been part of the estate renting experience, as it felt like my own wedding venues!
How did your course prepare you for working in the field?
QC’s courses taught me a lot about the business end, which is so very valuable to any business. Learning how to properly price my services, the do’s and don’ts of business, and legal information has been so very priceless. My business is stricter because of this.
Learning the cultural diversities and traditions that were broken down into detail in the course has been such a blessing for my business as well. I love, love, love the religious traditions for weddings and events! That is one thing that has made my business stand out a little bit more from some of the others. The knowledge of different cultures and religious traditions has brought more business to my company and that is one thing I honestly cherish about my wedding business.
Do you have any advice for anyone starting out with their training or career?
My advice would be to finish all schooling first! I have many interns who want to “just be a planner already” and think they don’t need schooling. I quickly sit them down and tell them how important it is and how it benefits them for their own future businesses. Ultimately, having a certificate shows an employer how serious you are about this as a career and that it’s not just another job you are taking. Schooling shows you the back-end of running a successful business, how to run different types of events, and how to problem solve in worst-case scenarios, so it is very valuable to have.
Let’s have a look at some of Diane’s work…
Kerri & Jim’s Wedding
Photography by Jen Lauren Grant Photography
Great Gatsby Inspired Wedding
Photography by Lin & Jirsa Photography
Jillian & Chris’ Wedding
Photography by Gavin Wade Photography
Photography by Jim Kennedy Photographers
Michael Smith has always been interested in makeup. Before enrolling in QC’s Master Makeup Artistry course his focus had mostly been on special effects makeup for motion pictures. Because of this background he understood the transformative power of makeup, and he was ready to work with the face as a canvas for beauty and glamor.
Michael excelled in his coursework and graduated near the end of 2012. He’s already well on his way to a thriving career as a makeup artist. We’re so pleased to bring you Michael’s story today, and invite you to visit his Facebook page and scroll through some photos of his work below.
A few of Michael’s noteworthy credits:Makeup Artist, “Fish’n with Joe” Youtube episode, “Fishigan in Michigan” (makeup for spokesmodel) Columbus, OH. Makeup Artist, International Talent models’ photoshoot. Columbus, OH. Makeup Artist, 35mm feature “Oracabessa” (Tigest Films), Columbus, OH. (Best Makeup Award Nomination) Makeup Artist, 168Project.com international competition film submission, “Perspectives”, Columbus, OH.
Where are you in your career?
I’m rediscovering my passion for makeup after several years of working in photography. I am building on past experiences, along with my schooling at QC, to better myself as a professional MUA.
What’s your favorite part about being a makeup artist?
What I enjoy most about being an MUA is the variety of work I do. I can do a wedding one day, and then the next day work on a local film production or photo shoot.
What’s your dream job?
I would have to say my dream would be to work on a Hollywood motion picture production.
If you could do anyone’s makeup, who would you love to work with?
There are so many talented and gorgeous models and actresses out there. However, I’ve always been drawn to the glamour of the thirties and forties. I will say that to me, beauty is not just a pretty face. Beauty is also defined by what’s on the inside.
Why did you choose to study with QC Makeup Academy?
In Ohio there are no schools for just makeup application, so I found the distance-learning lessons to be convenient. The materials (books, DVDs) that come with the lessons are good references to have even after graduation.
Some photos of Michael’s work…
YouTube is an incredibly powerful social media hub, currently boasting more than one billion unique visitors each month, over four billion hours of video watched each month, over seventy-two hours of video uploaded each minute – with 30% of this activity coming from within the USA and 70% outside of it. It’s the place to be for anyone and everyone, as you can find nearly anything your heart desires and share just the same. While video was previously more heavily reserved for large companies able to produce expensive commercials, YouTube has helped to break down the barrier and gives everyday people – and even small businesses – an incredibly powerful way to reach an audience. Below, I’ll be talking about how to use YouTube to build your business.
1. Be There, and Be There Regularly
This step is so simply, you’d wonder why more people aren’t doing it. Taking an account only takes a minute, and even less if you already have a Gmail account or use another Google service. Being present on the website and able to check out what your competition is doing, leave comments, and interact with others is an absolute must, and a very easy step one.
2. Subscribe to Relevant Channels
It’s easy to subscribe to channels on YouTube, and after you’ve subscribed you’ll get updated whenever a channel you follow uploads a new video. Try to subscribe to relevant information sources to whatever industry you’re in. For example, if you’re a Florida-based wedding planner, subscribe to copyright free music channels, local bands, floral arrangement how-to videos, wedding DIYs, and anything else you think may help you in your job. Not only will you have unlimited access to these information sources, but you’ll also be building a connection with the channel owner. Hello, networking!
3. Create Your Own Channel
While this may seem intimidating at first, it’s really easy. Think about it, kids are making YouTube channels and uploading pranks, songs, and vlogs – so you can definitely do it, too. Create a channel, upload a good looking profile picture and cover photo, and fill in your bio with any information someone would want to know. Where is your business? What do you do? How can you be contacted? Put all that information into your bio/about me section.
4. Start Uploading
Don’t think that just because you don’t have any subscribers that no one will see your videos, or that there isn’t a point to uploading. People subscribe because you do post videos, not the other way around. Start off with something like an introduction video and talk about who you are, what your business does, etc. Or, you could upload a picture slide show showing off some recent work you’ve done. It’s honestly as simple as that! As you get more comfortable and more advanced, maybe you could show off some video footage of a recent job, event, or a tutorial.
5. Use Tags and Description To Your Advantage
When you upload a video, you get to type in a description, choose a category, and tag it with keywords. Use these opportunities to really tell people what your video is about! Even if someone isn’t subscribed to your channel (yet!) they may stumble across your “how to do winged eyeliner” video when looking for a tutorial. If you don’t enter a video title that makes sense, don’t tag it, and leave the description blank – how they will know they should watch it?
If you have a website, put a YouTube logo on it. Share your YouTube channel URL and new videos through all your social networks, as well as in any email marketing your company does. It could be as simple as sending out a Tweet that says “New Video: Rustic Wedding in Vancouver [insert URL here]”, and only takes a second to do. If you tell people you’re on YouTube, they’ll know. If you don’t, they won’t. It’s as easy as that.
7. Interact with Other Channels
Leave comments, give videos you like a thumbs up, and even reach out to relevant channels in your area via a message. If you support them, they’ll often support you. While asking for “subscribe for a subscribe” isn’t the best idea, it is true that a lot of channel owners will subscribe to you after seeing you’ve subscribed to them.
8. Stick With It
If you don’t think it’s paying off right away, don’t give up. The more you upload and the more you network, the more people will see your channel and want to watch what you upload next. It can be a little discouraging at first, but it’s worth it to help build a buzz around your brand and be able to show prospective clients what you’re capable of doing.
9. Have Fun
Don’t take yourself too seriously! If you’re going to star in a video, try to smile and be your natural self. People love connecting with other people, so try to remember that when filming. If you find it awkward talking to a camera, tape a picture of someone who makes you smile right beside it to make you feel more comfortable and keep you smiling. If you mess up, don’t worry, you can always use a free program like Windows Movie Maker or Apple’s iMovie to edit the video prior to uploading.
10. Keep it Professional
If you’ve made a YouTube channel for your interior decorating business, don’t upload a ten minute rant about your recent break up. Of course that’s just an example, but I imagine you get the point. Keep it professional and try to upload relevant, interesting videos. While you want to have fun making videos, you want the person watching to also feel happy and enjoy them. Try not to be negative, ramble, rant, or draw attention away from the product or service you’re trying to sell. Anything you upload should relate to your business in some way or another, and if it doesn’t – don’t upload it.
Do you have a YouTube channel? If so, leave your link in a comment. I’d love to check it out!
We love public artwork because, well, they’re public! They don’t require expensive museum fees, and they engage people in a world of imagination that they might not otherwise experience. Not to mention they make for fabulous photo ops, especially for tourists! They can get pretty wacky sometimes, but that’s just another reason why we love them. Take a look at a few of our favorites.
Cloud Gate in Chicago
From artist Anish Kapoor comes this 66-foot long, 33-foot high shape of stainless steel. Business districts of major cities are often full of hard, straight lines, and we love how this sculpture bends the skyline and reflects it back to an amazed public.
Gundam robot, Tokyo
I wouldn’t expect anything less from the robotics capital of the world. This 60-foot tall robotic replica has made appearances in a few different Tokyo locations, and it always draws a crowd.
The Bather, Hamburg
This one is no longer on display in Hamberg’s Binnenalster Lake, but we just had to include it nonetheless. When this 98-foot long sculpture, by Oliver Voss, peeked its head above the water’s surface, it certainly took boaters by surprise.
Digital Orca, Vancouver
From Canadian novelist and artist Douglas Coupland comes this not so typical animal sculpture. Looming over the Vancouver harbor in pixilated glory, this massive whale plays around with viewers’ expectations.
Giant clothespin, Liege, Belgium
Finally, the just plain weird. Built by artist Mehmet Ali Uysal, this giant clothespin seems to be holding up the very ground on which it’s planted. We love it!
Do you have any impressive art in your hometown? Let us know in a comment below!
A lot of aspiring makeup artists are nervous to really throw themselves into the industry, because they don’t know what kind of makeup jobs are available to them. The truth is that with the right training – like the kind offered by QC Makeup Academy – there are a number of jobs that new artists are qualified for. Here are just a few to consider:
Freelance makeup artist
This is probably the popular career choice for many new makeup artists. It’s a great way to build up your experience and your contacts, which is always helpful when you’re trying to move up in the industry. There’s very little start-up cost – all you need is a professional makeup kit and a bit of advertising, and you’re good to go! Also, many people enjoy the freedom of working for themselves, on their own terms. One thing to consider, however, is that it’s not always the most stable work, and there can be long periods of time when you’re not earning an income.
Working for a cosmetic company
Many makeup artists get their start working at a cosmetics counter. It’s a great way to build product knowledge, get comfortable working with people, and polish your skills. It also brings the job security that you won’t get from freelance work. One drawback to working for a cosmetic company is that above all, it is a sales job and you will probably be expected to meet sales goals.
Working as a makeup product representative
As a product representative, you will promote and sell your company’s products to consumers. You’ll have to be extremely knowledgeable about cosmetics, as well as a great speaker and salesperson. This position could require travel to different stores or trade shows, and many people enjoy the fact that every day is different. The downside is that you’re not using the creativity that you would if you were applying makeup each and every day.
What are your makeup career goals? Let us know in a comment!
Blogging is a very productive past time. Not only does it help to get your name out there and build your credibility, but it also opens the flood gates for industry connections and for your styling capabilities to continuously evolve. While we’ve all seen at least one fashion blog, it can be intimidating when thinking of starting your own. In this post, I’ll walk you through how to start a fashion blog with an emphasis on starting small and keeping both the cost and time commitment as low as possible.
1. Deciding on a Platform
The two most popular blogging platforms are WordPress and Blogger. Both have their pros and cons, though WordPress generally requires a stronger understanding of HTML and CSS if you plan on customizing the appearance. If you’re an HTML rookie, you’ll likely prefer Blogger and its interactive template designer that does the bulk of the work for you. Blogger is owned by Google as well, so you get all the SEO benefits associated with that – bonus! While we do love WordPress (it’s what we use for The Blog), it can be a little overwhelming for the beginner blogger. If ever you should decide to start with one and switch to another, both offer ways to import your existing blog posts and content so don’t think you’re stuck with whatever you choose to start with.
2. Choosing a Name
When it comes to choosing your blog’s name, think carefully. If you to make it super easy for your visitors to check back in with you, you should purchase the domain name to match your blog’s name. So, if your blog is going to be called Kate’s Fashion Stories you should check to see if katesfashionstories.com is available. What you name your blog should relate to its content and speak to who you are and what you’re saying. So, if you choose a name like “My Shoe Addiction”, readers will expect the bulk of your posts to be about shoes. You can always change your blog’s name down the road, but it’s better to be consistent and choose a great one from the start to avoid confusing readers and losing any page rank you might have gained.
If you’re not the best writer, don’t worry. Blogs are more informal than a website and are meant to be more conversational than formal. You should always check your writing for spelling and grammar errors (just copy and paste it into a Word doc or Google Drive to use one of their spell checkers) but it won’t be the end of the world if you make a mistake once in a while. If you really don’t feel comfortable writing, that’s okay too. Many of the most followed blogs are more image-heavy than anything else. Just be sure your images speak for themselves!
If you do plan on writing, be sure to write on-topic and in your own voice. Don’t try to sound like someone you’re not, and be consistent in the tone and type of language you use. Your readers want to hear from you and learn about your unique perspective, so really try to stay true to your opinion and voice whenever possible. Also, try not to look to other blogs for inspiration too regularly as you might unintentionally end up copying something they’ve done – another blogging no no. While looking at other blogs can be great once in a while and provide you with photo and topic ideas, you should never rely on what someone else is doing for your own blog. It’s about showing off who you are, after all.
If you plan on showcasing your daily outfits, be sure to either have a tripod and remote or have someone to snap some photos for you. Even the camera on most smart phones will do the trick when you’re just starting out. There’s no need to go out and buy an expensive DSLR when you’re just starting! Try different poses, play some music to feel more comfortable, and have fun. If you’re having a good time and smiling, your personality will come through much more in your photos than if you feel unhappy or out-of-place. We love Chiara of The Blonde Salad because she always looks like she’s having such a good time and it definitely comes through in her photos.
A second option for a fashion blog is to share “street style” photos. This would mean heading out on the town and snapping photos of other people. Be sure to get their permission before snapping a photo. It’s also a great chance to let them know who you are and what you do, so it’s kind of a two-in-one. Get pictures of outfits, textures, colors, and fabrics that inspire you. If you need some ideas as to how you should shoot street style, check out Streetpeeper.com. We love their mix of styles and photo types!
Thirdly, you could do something like My Style Diaries and post regular outfit inspiration and how-to collages. This eliminates the need for personal style photos or a camera at all, for that matter! Using Photoshop, Pixlr.com, or Polyvore you can create eye-catching collages and link your readers to where they can find each piece or something similar. Blogging collages can help you show off your range and that you can work with different styles and body types, and is a good idea to throw in once in a while even if you plan on uploading primarily personal style photos.
5. Getting Social
Use the power of social media to your advantage and drive more traffic to your blog from Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Google+ and more. Pinterest is one of the easiest social platforms to use for a blogger, since all you have to do is upload a picture and it automatically links back to the page from which you grabbed it – meaning your blog! Twitter is a fabulous tool for a blogger as well, as it lets you follow fashion news and connect with like-minded people. Maybe you’ll meet another local blogger and can meet up to do outfit photos together? Perhaps you’ll connect with a local shop that wants to send an item to you to feature on your blog? The possibilities are endless.
6. Have Fun
Lastly, have fun with your blog. Don’t take it too seriously, but do understand that some people manage to blog full time and make quite a successful living from it! Try not to restrict yourself to a rigid posting schedule, but make sure you are uploading consistently. So, if you can only post something new once a week, then stick with it. If you want, and can, to post every single day – go for it. It’s your blog and how you choose to run it is up to you at the end of the day. 🙂
If you have a fashion blog, please leave your link in a comment. We’d love to check it out!
Are you still trying to find your perfect denim shorts for summer? You know, the ones that fit you just right in all the right places? The ones that aren’t too short and aren’t too long? In this post, I’m sharing with you my top four picks for denim shorts that are the right mix of versatile and trendy, and won’t break the bank.
Denim shorts are a summer time staple and the right pair can make any outfit look fantastic. The tricky part can be finding a pair that are thick enough but not too thick, that fit your body, and compliment your skin tone. While those listed below are some of my personal favorites, you might have better luck checking out a site like shopstyle.com or polyvore.com that lets you browse many designers and brands at once. You can even input the size and price range you’re looking for to help you from falling in love with something outside your budget!
“Hawks” Shorts from One Teaspoon
These shorts are for the girl looking for something a little edgy, but that can still be worn with a feminine heel. One Teaspoon shorts generally retail for anywhere in between $80 and $130, and are designed in Australia. I recently picked up a pair of these beauties myself and love them! I especially like how each pair is unique and features a slightly different wash and fray.
Cuffed Denim Shorts by Blank
This second pair of shorts is a safe bet for nearly anyone. The classic blue jean wash typically compliments most skin tones and the length is not too short and not too long – they’re not quite “bermuda” shorts but aren’t “short shorts” either. They’d look great with a casual belt and sandals, or with a summer tank and wedges. They might not be the easiest to dress up, so if you’re looking for something slightly more glam – check out the pair below.
High Rise Shorts by Abercrombie & Fitch
These side studded shorts are perfect for the boho-chic girl, glam girl, and any girl in between. This pair features less destruction than the first, and a darker wash than both pairs above – making it a little easier to dress up. Pair with nude heels and a punchy colored blouse for a night out or gladiator sandals and a tank for a day of shopping. The options are endless!
Urban Renewal Boyfriend Denim Shorts by Urban Outfitters
This last pair of denim shorts is sort of a mix of the three before it. It has a whiskered pattern, dark and light wash, minor destruction, and hits lower on the thigh with a cuff. These are the short equivalent of the “boyfriend jean”. These are a comfortable and flattering option for any body type.
Which pair is your favorite? Let me know in a comment!
It’s always a little nerve-wracking to go see the movie adaptation of a book that you love. Somehow, they never get quite the way you imagined in your mind. When they do get it right though, it can be so much fun to watch your favorite story play out before your eyes. Here are a few adaptations of books that we think stand out from the rest. Add your favorite below!
Fight Club (1999)
Director David Fincher does an excellent job of keeping the audience in the limited mind of the narrator (played by Edward Norton). Although he changes up the ending, the twist is just as surprising as in Chuck Palahniuk’s novel.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
I’m pretty sure there aren’t many people who don’t like this movie. It manages to be both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time – the perfect companion to Stephen King’s novella, “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption” (from the collection Different Seasons).
We Need to Talk about Kevin (2011)
This film did not receive the accolades it deserved (particularly for incredible performances by Tilda Swinton and newcomer Ezra Miller). Lionel Shriver’s novel is written in the form of letters, revealing itself slowly. That’s difficult to adapt, but it’s done eloquently in the film, told through memories instead of letters. Personally, I’ve never been more affected by a movie. Warning: it’s not for the faint of heart.
Stand by Me (1986)
Another Stephen King work makes the list! Based on the novella The Body, this is the coming of age story. Director Rob Reiner knew exactly how to pull realistic performances from his young actors that ring true even today. This one is a personal favorite.
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Based on Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Francis Ford Coppola masterfully captured the horror (“the horror!”) of the novel, all while making it relevant to a modern audience by setting in Vietnam instead of colonial Congo, and exposing its absurdities. Considering it famously took the passionate director 16 months just to film, we’re glad he got it right!