A Day in the Life of a Magazine Intern

chatelaine intern image A couple of months ago, I was lucky enough to go behind-the-scenes at a Chatelaine photo shoot.  While I was there, I met Megan Thomas; home intern at the time.  Now let me tell you, I've heard some crazy intern stories but Megan and I got to chatting and I became so intrigued.  Ever since I was young, I've always wondered what it would be like to work for a magazine.  So I thought, why not hear an intern's perspective on working for Canada's top women's magazine?  If you've ever wondered what that would be like, keep reading.

1.  Please tell us more about yourself.   My name is Megan Thomas – I’m 24 years old, currently living in Oakville, Ontario. I studied Interior Decorating at Sheridan College and had a blast doing so!  My hobbies include, DIY’s, photography and antiquing…I love music and anything vintage with a story and some history. Get me saddled with a DIY and I’m one happy camper. Antique shows and searching for treasures at the Salvation Army and local thrift shops are some of my favourite pastimes.

2.  What made you decide to study interior design? and where do you think your love for design originated from? After completing only one year at McMaster University and one semester at Mohawk College, I took some time to re-evaluate what it was that I truly loved to do – what was I good at? After digging up some old house drawings I'd done as a child, I began to think…perhaps I’ve known all along – even as a child, I always took pride in what my room looked like. This has since turned into a bit of OCD! However, my love for interior design really began when our family moved to Minnesota – I was in awe of our brand new, entirely decorated home. It had been staged to sell and I had never seen anything like it. My room was painted powder blue with fluffy white clouds sponged on the walls. I was in love. From there – I began to visit open houses with my parents – a tradition we continue to this day. I can also thank my dad for instilling in me a deep love and appreciation for art and design. Back in the day he painted, made furniture and did all sorts of DIYs (my favourite).

megan thomas, chatelaine intern

3.  Where do you get your inspiration from? The internet has become a great source for inspiration...images on Pinterest, design blogs and magazine sites. I also adore receiving the newest issue of almost every design magazine! However, I’m a firm believer in staying true to who you are, and decorating with what you love.  What's on trend may in fact not be what’s going to work for you. I like to take a few minutes in my head and let the “feeling” that I want the room to have, inspire me.

chatelaine intern

4.  If you had to choose one or 2 styles that best describe your taste, what would they be? I'm a lover of all things vintage and old. I have a real appreciation for the past (so much so, that during this past summer I purchased a vintage lounge chair from Paris at a local auction. For $350…whoops!) Having said that, I love to mix styles. Transitional decorating really appeals to me – a mix of modern and traditional elements.

5.  Where do you see yourself in 5 years and what would be your dream job? In 5 years, I hope to be a happy and successful interior decorator. I would love to have my own business working in residential design. I appreciate the creative flexibility and unique touch you can put on each home. My goal is also to be living on my own in a space that I can put my mark on. It has long been a dream of mine to buy an old house with tons of character and renovate (this may be a 10 year goal...).

6.  You were an intern at Chatelaine.  Can you tell us what the interview process was like?  How long have you been an intern? I was so excited when I came across the Home Intern position on Chatelaine.com! To be honest – I had never really considered anything like this before, but thought I’d give it a try. As I was just coming out of school after graduation, I was looking for some real practical experience. So, I sent off my resume and shortly after received a kind email from the Home Editor, Emma Reddington. As they already had a summer intern, I was to contact her again just before Labour day to set up an interview. I came extra prepared with a folder full of reference letters and work I had done.  Emma was kind beyond words as we discussed my background in design and my hopes for the future. She asked me to write a blog post on "10 Ways to Decorate for Christmas" to demonstrate my skills. (This was in September – soon would I learn you're always working a season or two ahead!) I left not knowing whether or not I had the job, but felt inspired and determined. I heard back from Emma a few days later. I got the job! I was beyond thrilled and surprised to have been chosen. My internship ran until the end of December. 

7.  What would a typical day be like for you at Chatelaine? 

9:00 – Arrive at the office 9:05 – Find out what the day has in store! Photo shoot, web post, etc. 9 to 12 – Answer email, organize prop closet, send out mail, etc. 12:30 – Break for lunch in the building’s cafeteria (coffee is a must!) 1:00 – Back to work 2 to 4 – Work work work! (Could be packing up a photo shoot, finding items in the prop closet, working on web stories, etc.) 5:00 – Time to head home!

chatelaine intern

 8.  Has your experience been anything like you expected?  What are the most valuable things you have learned during your internship at Chatelaine?   I honestly had no idea what to expect…which really made it all the more exciting and new. I learned so much during my time at Chatelaine and am truly grateful that. This experience has taught me to work hard, think on my feet and to welcome each challenge as it comes. I believe these are all important lessons to becoming successful and thriving in life and in business.

9.  How has the internship prepared you for working in the field of design? During this internship, I was exposed to so many new and different things. It taught me to think on my feet, problem solve and to simply learn as I go. I gained confidence and learned to conduct myself in a more professional manner. Aside from the practical experience, I was introduced to many resources and contacts within the design world. Designers, trades, retailers, bloggers and more. This internship really solidified that I am indeed, right where I’m supposed to be – in the wonderful world of interior design!

10.  Can you tell us one thing about working at Chatelaine that might surprise us? It’s not like the Devil Wears Prada…at all…haha

I was sort of expecting it to be high pressure, fast pace and nutty.  And sure, there were some days like this, but most days were cool and calm. Everyone working there was kind and helpful and made me feel so welcome. There is a great sort of “family dynamic” there.

11.  What advice would you give to anyone considering an internship at Chatelaine? Go for it! Working at Chatelaine as an intern was truly one of the best experiences of my life. It opened my eyes to so much and offered me a foot into a door I never knew would open for me. If you want to get all that you can out of this experience, be prepared to work hard and be flexible. Each day was different and you have to role with it. For me, not knowing what to expect turned out to be a blessing. I had no expectations and therefore accepted each challenge as it came.

chatelaine intern

12.  My top 10 favourite moments at Chatelaine (in no specific order -they were all great!) 1. Hudson’s Bay Christmas preview (Brian Gluckstein was there!) 2. Meeting Interior Designer Samantha Pynn 3. Meeting Michael Penney and visiting his beautiful design store “Penney & Company” 4. On set at Cityline for the Chatelaine edition (with Sarah Richardson and Kimberley Seldon!) 5. Jamie Oliver in the Chatelaine kitchen ;) 6. Photoshoot at Home Editor, Emma Reddington’s amazing house 7. Writing web post’s for Chatelaine.com 8. Chatelaine hosts West Elm shopping event 9. Sears home preview 10. And last but not least - working along side wonderfully creative minds and meeting amazingly talented individuals!! Editors, photographers, contributors, etc.

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Thanks so much Megan, for sharing your experience with us!  You can check out more of Megan's work here:

How to throw an impromptu new year's eve party Cool DIY Advent Calendars Cozy blankets for your autumn home

And speaking of Chatelaine, I'm over at Emma's blog today so go check it out!

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Image 1 via Domino Image 2 via Megan Thomas Image 3 via Pinterest Image 4 via Megan Thomas Image 5 via Chatelaine

Love On Sunday on The Marion Housebook

the marion housebook Today is the day I get to share my exciting news!  I am BEYOND thrilled to say that I will now be a contributor on Emma Reddington's blog, The Marion Housebook!

via Kristin Sjaarda

Emma's eclectic style is a constant source of inspiration for me and many other bloggers and designers across the globe.  As a mother of 2 children, home editor of Canada's top women's magazine and a successful blogger, she's living proof that if you keep doing what you love, somehow everything will fall into place.

emma reddington quote via West Elm

So join me every Wednesday over at The Marion House Book as I will be sharing anything and everything that inspires me.  You can check out my first post today.  Hope to see you there!

West Elm and Chatelaine Holiday Shopping Event

west elm and chatelaine event 2 of my favourites under one roof plus food, shopping and great company?  Yes please.  West Elm is pretty much my go-to for home decor and Chatelaine...well, I don't think I need to elaborate on that one.  Last night I got to mingle with other bloggers as well as chat with some of the editors from Chatelaine magazine.  Fun times!

Each editor shared their must-haves for the holiday season and my favourite was Emma's fireplace scene.  I'm loving all the natural textures and pieces she chose for this look.

west elm and chatelaine event

west elm and chatelaine event

west elm and chatelaine event

west elm and chatelaine event

west elm and chatelaine event

west elm and chatelaine event

west elm and chatelaine event

west elm and chatelaine event

I left with a few things such as a scented candle (my must-have for the holidays!), a throw blanket and this cute little tea towel which I think I may have to frame in my kitchen.  Just a little reminder for the dishwasher in the house ;)

Behind the scenes with Chatelaine (Part 3)

Chatelaine, December Holiday Issue, Behind the scenes Here it is.  The third and final installment of my behind the scenes experience with Chatelaine!

By the way, did you get your copy?  It's on the newstands now so grab it people.  The holiday issue is chock full of design ideas and yummy desserts!  And it's also very pretty (sidenote:  out of all the Canadian decor mags, I believe Chatelaine has the best use of typography.  If you didn't already notice, you will next time you're standing at the grocery checkout line.  Compare and you will see.  They use the best fonts!  And yes, fonts are a big deal to me.).

I was able to watch a full day of photography and styling as Emma and her team put together some amazing shots for the December Issue's '12 Days of Decorating.  Chatelaine approached their favourite designers and bloggers to share some of their holiday decorating ideas.  And now that the issue has been released, I can share more of the fun, work in progress photos!

chatelaine behind the scenes

This first image was taken in Emma's living room.  I'm still amazed at how they managed to mount that deer head so perfectly.  From what I recall, they pretty much eyeballed the centre, busted out the concrete drill and hung that baby up.  I was pretty impressed.

behind the scenes with Chatelaine, December issue

And can you believe the wreath on the left was actually held up by hand while the room was being photographed?  The room was actually quite dark so I had to edit the below photo.  It was a dark and gloomy day so it was fascinating to watch them shoot the scene with no extra lighting.  A great tip I learned:  an extremely slow shutter speed is perfectly fine when you have a tripod.

behind the scenes with Chatelaine photoshoot

Chatelaine, behind the scenes

This shot for hostess gift ideas was taken right by the window on a gorgeous antique wooden desk.

Chatelaine behind the scenes, christmas decor

I love the vintage tea tins as well as Emma's old box of matches which were added to the photo last minute.

behind the scenes with Chatelaine, hostess gifts

And check out this amazing gift wrapping.  I LOVE making all my gifts look extra pretty for the holidays.  Presentation counts!

Chatelaine behind the scenes

This was also taken in Emma's living room.  I love how they used a weathered chair for the backdrop.  Such a simple piece which adds so much character!  You can see from the photo on the left how dark the room actually was.

behind the scenes with chatelaine, homesense giftwrap

And finally, this wreath created by Jillian Harris.  Interior designer and creative director of Charlie Ford Vintage.  She created this wreath with old sheets of music.  And it has lights!

chatelaine behind the scenes

This was taken in Emma's bedroom.  How gorgeous is that mirror and fireplace?

behind the scenes with Chatelaine, wreath by Jillian Harris

If there's one thing that stood out right from the get go, it was how calm everyone was during the entire shoot.  I honestly expected the atmosphere to be a little more chaotic and I was even terrified of getting in the way but that wasn't the case at all.  Everyone was so laid back and welcoming and it was great to watch Emma and Andrea style up a storm and create some amazing shots for the December issue.  Some simple tips I took away by just observing and asking a few questions:

  • take your time and don't rush (simple but I'm guilty of this.  Especially when you want a great shot before the sun goes down!)
  • music helps to set the mood
  • a very slow shutter speed can work well for shooting as long as you have a tripod
  • don't focus on making everything look so perfect; trust your vision
  • look for other items in your own home that can add a layer of interest or help make the scene look more realistic

Sometimes it's the simple things that are often overlooked, right?  These are definitely points to remember when I'm styling or photographing pieces for my blog and hopefully it helps you in some way as well!

chatelaine behind the scenes, Emma Reddington

What an inspiring and invaluable experience.  Thanks again to Emma and Chatelaine for an experience I will never forget!

Missed Part 1 and 2?  You can check it out here:

Behind the Scenes with Chatelaine, Part 1 Behind the Scenes with Chatelaine, Part 2 (An Interview with Emma Reddington)

Behind the scenes with Chatelaine (Part 2): Q & A with Emma Reddington

q & a with Emma Reddington, behind the scenes with Chatelaine, part 2 You know that feeling of seeing someone's home online and thinking, 'yeah, I could live there'.  I'm sure it happens all the time, right?.  Now imagine experiencing that in the flesh.  Emma's home is truly an inspiration to me.  It's stylish yet functional, refined yet comfortable and absolutely timeless.  All the characteristics I would want for my own home.

Emma Reddington Interview, Emma Reddington dining roomPhoto credit: Kristin Sjaarda

As the home editor of Chatelaine as well as the editor behind The Marion House Book, I knew Emma would be a wealth of knowledge and she was kind enough to answer a few of my questions:

With the growing amount of decor bloggers in Canada, how do you think this has influenced the content in magazines?

Generally speaking, I think readers of both blogs and magazines have come to appreciate a more undecorated look. Certainly blogs like The Selby and Design*Sponge have heralded homes of everyday people that are less decorated (or at the very least not decorated by professional designers) than what magazines have shown in the past. I think if the homeowners are interesting and the story is good readers are willing to look past so-called decorating flaws.

emma reddington, marion house book kitchen

There are so many talented bloggers and stylists who are self-taught. Do you think they are at a disadvantage by not having a design degree? What advice would you give them?

Style and taste are two things that are hard to teach. I think you either have it or you don’t. For some jobs like styling having a good eye (along with an assortment of other talents) is all that is needed. Interior design, on the other hand, takes some hard earned knowledge that is hard to pick up on your own (though not impossible). Building code, space planning, material specifications, detail drawings and above all making spaces safe and aesthetically pleasing takes time and discipline to understand.

Emma Reddington Interview, Marion House Book Kitchen

You've mentioned that since starting your blog almost 4 years ago, it has opened many doors for you. What advice can you give bloggers who want to develop their own brand?

Make it your own. Above everything else you have to blog about things that personally move you. If you have a unique or interesting perspective on the design world or are super DIY handy or take beautiful photographs then showcase those talents. There are already thousands of people reposting stunning images of interiors everyday so what is going to make your site stand out. I think the blogs that rise to the top are the ones where the personality behind the blog rises to the forefront.

emma reddington home

Your blog, The Marion House Book showcases the transformation of your beautiful Victorian home. What tips can you give to new home-owners looking to turn their house into a home?

Take your time! For me the most interesting homes are ones that tell the story of the people that live there. Objects accumulated over time, family photos, antiques handed down through generations all add layers of intrigue and make a house into a home.

Emma Reddington Marion Housebook kitchen

interview with Emma Reddington

What is your most favourite thrifted find and where is it from?

The round circular wooden frame I picked up at Post and Beam Reclamation in Toronto was just a cast off in the back corner but every time I went into the store it called out to me. I eventually brought it home and turned it into the mirror in our hallway. I probably get an email a month from someone wanting to buy it off me!

mirror, post and beam reclamation, marion house book, emma reddington interview

You have almost 4 million Pinterest followers that look to you for inspiration. Where do you find your inspiration these days?

I still get so much of my inspiration from magazines. There are also certain bloggers I always try and visit. Some people just have their finger on the pulse and I definitely try and cull from that!

interview with Emma Reddington, behind the scenes with Chatelaine

A big thank you to Emma for taking the time to answer all my questions.

Also, the December issue of Chatelaine will hit the newstands on Monday November 18th so don't forget to grab your copy!  Did you catch a sneak peek of the cover below?  Christmas is fast approaching and trust me when I say that this issue is going to have some serious inspiration for the holidays.  Stay tuned for my last behind the scenes video next week!

Chatelaine december 2013 cover

Behind-the-scenes with Chatelaine, Part 1

behind the scenes with Chatelaine I've been looking forward to this post for weeks and I'm so excited to finally share it with you all!  For those who missed my earlier post, my letterpress business cards won me this amazing prize at Blogpodium:

Chatelaine Magazine, behind-the-scenes via Anna With Love Photography

I died.  I'm a huge fan of Emma's blog, The Marion House Book.  So when she invited me to their holiday photo shoot in her home I pinched myself about a thousand times.  It has always been a dream of mine to see what it's like behind the scenes and I honestly learned so much by just observing Emma and her crew at work!

There is just too much goodness for one post so I've decided to split it up into 3 parts.  Obviously, I can't reveal too much since the issue doesn't come out until November 18th (by the way, it's a goodie so get your hands on it, people).

In the meantime, I've put together this short video for you to enjoy:

Check back next week to see Part 2 or 3!

Follow me on Instagram @amy_loveonsunday or like my Facebook page to see more behind the scenes photos. 

My First Blogpodium Experience

Signing up for Blogpodium was probably one of the best decisions I've ever made for my career and personal growth.  I've always been a little shy so attending a large conference on my own definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone. But I knew I had to do it and I'm glad I did because I feel more motivated and inspired than ever.

Blogpodiium 2013

The event was organized by the amazing Jennifer Flores who is an inspiration to me and I'm sure many other bloggers out there.  I admire people who believe in something, work hard, and make their dreams happen.  She makes everything look so easy and one of them being this conference.  I know she worked her butt off but honestly, I was so impressed.  From the programs, to the sponsors down to the tiniest detail - it was amazing.

blogpodium 2013photo via AnnaWithLove

Sarah Richardson was the keynote speaker.  It was great to hear more about where she came from and how her love for design evolved.  I love how she said, "...you all know I don't have a degree in Interior Design, right?"  She spoke openly about her education and experience which I loved.  Instead of going back to school, she taught herself by doing everything she possibly could to learn about the design industry.  She said:  "The best thing you can do is go out and do it. That's how you learn, that's how you grow"  Some other statements that really stuck with me were:  "You have to believe in what you're doing and you have to invest in what you're doing" and "If you keep second guessing yourself, you'll never get anything done". 

Some great advice to remember.  Especially for someone like me who's just starting out.

Blogpodium 2013

There were some great workshops that I attended but two of my favourites would have to be The Art of Monetization by Karen Bertelsen and Negotiating Partnerships with Big Brands, by Keka DasGupta.

Karen was absolutely HILARIOUS.  She was candid about how much money she makes off her blog and what steps to take if you're looking to monetize.  She really did keep us laughing until the very end!

I found Keka to be very informative, she provided some invaluable information on how to approach brands and what they look for.  Another point that really resonated with me was her own experience of dealing with success. Some women downplay their abilities and accomplishments in fear of sounding boastful.  Quite the opposite of our male counterparts.  As a VP of Marketing, she herself was guilty of this and she explained how important it is to recognize your strengths and believe in yourself no matter what position you're in.  It's so simple but I think A LOT of women downplay their achievements (I'm definintely guilty of it).  Let's be proud of our accomplishments ladies, we work too damn hard to be quiet about it!

Blogpodium 2013

And speaking of accomplishments, one of the big moments for me was the business card contest.  All attendees were asked to hang their business cards on this pretty little display:

Blogpodium 2013

and Emma Reddington, Home Editor of Chatelaine magazine chose the best business card.  It turns out she loves letterpress and gold foil just as much as I do because she chose mine!!!

Blogpodium 2013

The prize is so unbelievable I am still pinching myself, like really hard.  Never in a million years did I think I could experience something like this.  A behind-the-scenes look at a decor story and learn about propping and styling at Chatelaine?  Oh, hellz yeah!  It's honestly a DREAM COME TRUE.

Blogpodium 2013 photo via AnnaWithLove

Blogpodium 2013 photo via AnnaWithLove

I had SO much fun at my first Blogpodium.  I learned a ton and made some amazing new friends! I'm still amazed at how supportive and helpful this blogging community is and I feel so proud and fortunate to be a part of it!

Blogpodium 2013

Blogpodium 2013

Blogpodium 2013

At the end of the day I left with new friends, an AMAZING prize from Chatelaine, personal notes full of great tips and to-do's, a full belly, a huge bag of swag, a Ryobi string trimmer/edger (which I also one from Home Depot!) and a feeling of reassurance and happiness telling me that this is what I'm supposed to be doing.  I finally feel like I'm on the right track and being successful at what you love is absolutely possible.