Passage to Publishing: My Time at Atlantic

By: Kristen Joseph

Flashback to a couple years ago: I’m sitting at my desk waiting for my teacher to start regaling the class with all her tales about the wonders of algebra. I grab the Harry Potter book that I’m currently reading (Half-Blood Prince, I think? It’s been a while…) and start to skim a page to occupy my time. So far, I’m enjoying it, and I’m just about to fully immerse myself in the story when I find something within the pages that will stick with me for the rest of my life ­– a mistake.

a1Normally, when I find a small grammatical error in a book I’m able to get over it quickly, after cringing a bit. But that time, I just couldn’t. Percy— one of many Weasley brothers — was the main topic of discussion in the small section I had been reading. His name was mentioned at least five times on a single page. Percy, Percy, Percy, Perry, Percy… Wait, what? Perry? That’s not right, that is completely 100% wrong, how did no one catch the misspelling of this character’s name even though it’s mentioned four other times on the page?!?

Yeah, that was my reaction. And that small inaccuracy, — an r instead of a c — marked the beginning of my journey into the publishing industry.

Working with books was —and still is — my dream, but I was also considering a law career, a more feasible and reliable career choice. I assumed it would take me at least ten years to actually work in the publishing field, if the fates would allow me to pursue my dream job. So when I was looking for summer internships a couple months ago, with the plan to send resumes to half the law offices in town, the last thing that I expected to find was a publishing company, in my hometown, that actually accepted interns!

I was incredibly excited and nervous about this job prospect with Atlantic (because there’s always the chance that you won’t be hired for a position that you’ve applied for, and you’ll have to begin your job search all over again). Luckily, the application process was incredibly pleasant and easy-going, and I got the job!

a4I’ve been here for a mere ten weeks, and I’ve enjoyed every second of it, even the less exciting tasks. I always have a range of assignments to accomplish, so if I start getting tired of doing one thing I can switch to another. Editing, proofreading, placing photos in books, creating indexes (which falls under the category of “less exciting tasks”), researching future book topics – I now have experience with each of these topics, and so many more.

The most unexpected part about this internship has been learning so much about marketing, a side of the publishing world I hadn’t really considered. I had anticipated a lot of reading and fact-checking, maybe some editing; I never thought that I would learn how to create and manage Amazon ads, and now I’ve made a bunch of them! Watching the sales increase for products I’ve made ads for is honestly one of the most rewarding feelings. I know that all of the editorial work that I do for the company helps them out, but it’s really great to see tangible results from my contributions to the company.

a3.jpgNonfiction books typically aren’t my genre-of-choice when I’m reading, but I’ve sincerely enjoyed working at a small nonfiction book publisher. I learn so many new things everyday – from the books I’m prepping, the various projects I’m working on, and from all of the great people that I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Thank you all so much for helping me to take this wonderful first step into the world of publishing. I can’t wait to keep on traveling through it!

The Art of Editing, Mysterious Cats, and Phone Scams: My Time at Atlantic Publishing

By Yvonne Bertovich

During my first day in the office at Atlantic Publishing last July, the phone rang and one of my fellow interns picked it up. I thought to myself, “Obviously that must be pretty important. Probably some designer or author following up.. I’m glad I’m not the one answering.” I’m one of those people who gets all twisty inside when I don’t know the answer to something, but I’m definitely quick to admit my shortcomings. Listening in to that phone conversation provided me with my first lesson about Atlantic. “Ma’am, I’m sorry, we’re actually Atlantic Publishing.. You’re referring to Atlantic Publishers. We’ve found out that’s actually a scam company claiming to be based in Colorado.” OK, noted. I work for Atlantic Publishing — names are a big deal, people.


Another gem from Shutterstock, but honestly not an exaggerated visual representation of these calls.

Unfortunately for us, it was a rare day in the office if we didn’t receive at least two or three accusatory phone calls (usually from older folks) asking where in the heck their magazines were. “Atlantic Publishers” (whoever they are) sends out fraudulent mailers warning magazine subscribers to hurry up and send them money because their subscriptions are running out. Due to the influx of phone calls we received, clearly a lot of people fell for it and thought it was us.

Atlantic Publishing specializes in adult and young adult nonfiction books on a wide variety of topics from taking care of worms to becoming a fashion designer. It’s truly a fascinating range. As an editorial intern, you might assume that every day of work would be about the same — but it hasn’t been. Working at a book publishing company, I assumed I’d constantly be surrounded by books, both old and new, both crisp and shiny or even sour and water damaged. Sure, we have a few books in our office, and our distributing warehouse is right on-site too, but most of my job entails a lot of computer work. Microsoft Word has quickly become my domain, even though I tried to make Pages a thing for a large portion of my life (sorry, Apple).


I have edited and proofed and added my own bits here and there to manuscripts  for works about the Peace Corps, a massive handbook for restaurant managers, a book about John Quincy Adams, a book about the Russian Revolution, a guide for waiters and waitresses, how to care for cats, how to become a U.S citizen, how to survive long distance relationships, a guide for filmmakers, a guide to studying, a guide for new professors and new teachers, a book about living a healthy lifestyle, etc. I’m forgetting many, I’m sure. I was even able to undertake a re-write project for a young adult’s book on pet-sitting (coming soon) and write regular blog posts.

One of my favorite moments was helping interview the second-oldest Pearl Harbor survivor, Lt. Jim Downing, for a book in our historical anniversary series. Downing, who had recently celebrated birthday number 1-0-3, provided a wealth of information in a warm, yet lulling voice. You could feel how much the ordeal stuck with him. Downing, also interviewed in publications such as Time Magazine, shared a story of how he helped send handwritten letters home to troops’ families — being especially useful in narrating the words of those who were recovering in the infirmary. He even took on the painful task of gathering dog tags of the deceased and further detailing deaths to family members overseas. He knew all of his 1,500 shipmates on the USS Virginia personally, because of his position as postmaster on the ship. He’s not sure how many handwritten letters he sent, but he estimated well into the hundreds.

Like Downing, I believe there’s something very special and personal in handwritten letters. Another small project I loved at Atlantic was when I wrote thank you notes to contributors to the young adult title “So You Want to Be a Fashion Designer.” The main contributor was the winner of Project Runway Junior, and I recognized the names of several other contributors from the regular version of the show.


Considering that I have been involved with Atlantic for roughly 10 months, the office landscape has changed in small ways (for example, there was an office cat at one point that mysteriously came and went who I lovingly named LeBron), but my acquisition of knowledge has remained pretty steady, as well as my love of sorting through hundreds of corny stock photos to find ones worthy of use for our books (personally, I think the cornier the better, but it’s all about the readers).


One of my favorites that Shutterstock had to offer when I searched for “college students.”

Once you assume the role of an editor of other people’s work — real work that will be produced sold in the real world — it’s hard to turn this switch off when proofreading your own writing. I am incredibly thankful to have gained an even greater appreciation for the written word and yes, even good grammar.

Being an editorial intern all these months hasn’t made me into a perfect writer, no. That’s the beauty of writing. It’s ever-fluid and ever-changing. One word swap can change the meaning of a whole block of text. It’s one of those areas where there is always room for improvement. I’ll read something I wrote three months ago, three weeks ago, or even three days ago and scoff at myself, “Wow, what was I thinking.” Some people call it self-deprecation but I call it fun. Your toughest opponent in life is yourself (or some other weird slogan with an 80s aerobic gym flavor). Or, in some cool cases too, I’ll reread something I’ve written and re-inspire myself for a current project or enjoy revisiting something I’m proud of.

Working at Atlantic has caused me to be even more critical, analytical, and curious. It has reaffirmed that I’m at least somewhat on the right path to having a successful career due to the support I’ve received from my editors Rebekah and Lisa, and my boss, Doug. I’m honestly just thankful it got me out of the newsroom, at least for a while. I may be a journalism major, but I’m no newsie.

Let’s Get Writing: Tips for Becoming a Better Writer

By Yvonne Bertovich 

For every thing you’re good at, there will always be someone who is better — that’s just how the world works. However, there is a bit of cruel comfort in the notion that there are plenty of people who aren’t better than you at any given thing, too. Because I’m sitting here attempting to give you advice on how to become a better writer does not mean I automatically think I’m better than you. The fact that I used the word thing twice in the first 50 words of this post would send my AP Language Arts teacher’s right eyelid into a twitching fit — the woman despised the word, and fervently implored that no one in my class ever use it. But whatever, that just brings me to my next point that for every thing you’re good at — and you may be dang good — someone out there will still feel otherwise. “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness despite the crushing weight of personal expectations and the insatiable desire to please others” is the resounding motto of our country, after all.

OK, enough of the pleasantries and unnecessary backstory — I’ll make an example out of myself with my first tip:

  1. Be concise. Get to the point — because you hopefully have one — with everything you write within a reasonable amount of time. Stringing readers along for paragraphs and paragraphs of nonsensical nuances and metaphors can be fun sometimes, but, chances are, they may get tired of reading and just quit. The amount of brevity (another word for concise) you will need to exhibit will depend on the nature of the written work and the subject, especially if you are constrained by a word count.
  2. Vary your sentence structure. This may not be something you have ever really considered. Varying your sentence structure and intermingling side notes and short, punchy sentences can really make your writing more special. It takes a seasoned writer to master long sentences with multiple clauses (not to mention using commas and punctuation correctly), but this doesn’t mean that you can’t do it, too. Knowing where exactly to place commas can be determined by using the next tip.
  3. Read your work aloud. Even if you are only able to mutter it under your breath, it will proofreaderhelp you. Reading your work aloud can determine where you would naturally pause, and thus, where you should place commas. This will also point out confusing sentences or areas where you may get too wordy. This also usually helps point out if you missed important words or made a typo that spell check didn’t catch.
  4. Read your work from the end to the beginning. If you are working on a particular piece for a long time or you have the bad habit of speed-reading, it may be easy to get caught up in your own writing. Reading your work from the end to the beginning will help you notice errors a lot more easily than if you read it how it is actually organized.
  5. Use your voice. You don’t always say the same thing or use the same words or the same cadence with everyone you interact with. I’m gonna be bold and assume you have some amount of personality. Or, if you’re kinda dry and monotone, own it anyway. Don’t be afraid to use your voice in your writing. Adding personal touches or side comments within your body of work will keep the reader entertained and more in-tune to who you are. It’s much more fun to write pieces in a conversational manner — and much easier, too.
  6. Use spell check and any proofreading service you have access to. Having a bunch of misspelled words and cruddy grammar will quickly cheapen even the most otherwise well-written pieces. Even if you have spell check on, having it run through your document again before you finalize it can never hurt. Have someone you trust read over your work to look for grammatical errors. Or, if you trust yourself, trust yourself less. Act like you’re reading someone else’s work and use strict scrutiny. Did you use the right form of “to/two/too” or “their/they’re/there?” Did you use the right pronoun? Do you need to be more clear? This takes us to our next tip.
  7. Keep it simple, stupid or K.I.S.S. I’m not sure where I heard this phrase first, but it’s something that has stayed with me for several years now. In my own writing, I used to get so caught up in trying to think of the most eloquent yet academically challenging words and phrases I could possibly use to sound as intelligent as possible that I probably just made my writing more confusing. Case in point, I just kinda did that in my last sentence for effect. Honestly, though, you shouldn’t write anything that you wouldn’t feasibly say out loud in a conversation with someone. So, if you can’t ever see yourself using the term “cacophony” to describe a noisy environment, don’t put it in your writing. I should also note, though, that it is also great to test your comfort zone and use new words, especially in narrative pieces where you have more creative freedom.
  8. Write something every day. Something, anything. For the love of Pete (who the heck
    is Pete, anyway?) dream up a fancier way to write your grocery list. Another great tip is to not get too caught up in lingo and slang. Don’t become one of those people in the professional world who have forgotten how to write a proper email. In case anyone hasn’t told you yet, 79 percent of adulthood is about knowing how to properly email. I personally love using slang and weird phrases, but that doesn’t mean that I let my grammar and punctuation falter, even in the most trivial of text messages.
  9. Read something every day. Am I stopping you mid-eyeroll? You don’t have to read a reading up closelot to reap the benefits. It can be as simple as reading a few tweets or Facebook posts. However, challenging yourself to read higher-level work will benefit you further. Not only will this help you to examine styles that you like and dislike, but it will also help to improve your vocabulary. If you are reading work from talented writers, you will subconsciously start to think and write in their style.
  10. Keep your audience in mind. This is perhaps the most important tip, and it sets the parameters for anything you write. If you’re writing a term paper, essay, research paper, free response, dissertation, news story, feature story, or whatever else — ACT LIKE IT. If you’re writing to your employer or a potential employer, put your best words forward in every exchange with them. Don’t be lazy. If you’re texting your best friend because you’re bored at 2 a.m. — do whatever ya want. You don’t speak the same exact way to everyone in real life (even though writing is real life, too) so your writing should vary as well.

In an attempt to take my advice for being concise (total lies, and I rhymed, yeesh), I’ll wrap this up quickly — thanks for sticking with me. If you want to learn more about how to improve your writing, check out The Young Adult’s Guide to Flawless Writing for $14.95 on Amazon. And let’s change that motto to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness through better writing,” no?




The Blog Post About Blogging

By Danielle Lieneman

Let’s write a blog post about blogging! How meta!

It used to be that when I thought about blogging, it was never something that I thought was for me. I envisioned someone infinitely more talented than me, with more time and a better understanding of HTML, but boy was I wrong. Not only can anyone become a blogger, but the very process makes one a better writer and is infinitely rewarding.

Why start a blog  

Blogging can be a great outlet for those who love to write. Even if no one reads your blog (which happens to the best of us at the very beginning), it’s cathartic to write out your thoughts. For me personally, there’s an added pressure to keep up with my blog posts and writing if I know that people are reading the blog and expecting more posts

Types of Blogs

There’s no set type of format to follow or subject matter to cover when blogging. Blogs can range from entirely personal blogs with personal writing samples to blogs about cooking, makeup, and of course, my personal favorite: books. Usually the easiest part about blogging is deciding what kind of blog you want to create for yourself; you know your interests better than anyone. However, to make your blog stand out there needs to be something special that differentiates yourself from the millions of other blogs on the internet. For example in my personal book blog, instead of just being another blog that writes book reviews, I take the lessons that literature teaches us and apply them to the world around us to learn about different perspectives and cultures. My most recent post was about Frankenstein and how the monster is representative of minorities and anyone that identifies as an “other” within society.

Starting Your Blog

WordPress is easy to navigate and personalize, but other blogging platforms include Wix, Blogger, SquareSpace, and Weebly. No matter which site you use, coming up with a unique and creative domain name is an integral component to your blog’s success. Your blog domain name should be something unique that relates to your future content in some way. Not all sites allow for a change in domain name, so it’s important to be sure before creating the site. For example, my original blog title name was daniellesreadingcorner (I mean honestly, how boring is that??) before I then changed it to livingintheplot to become more engaging and interesting to potential readers.

Most blogging sites provide basic themes free of charge that are fairly easy to personalize with added pages and widgets. This is an important function because the blog should not only be polished and professional looking (especially if you want to include it on a future résumé), but it should reflect who you are and what you want to be. The best part of free themes is that they require little to no knowledge of HTML!

Benefits of Blogs

Creating and maintaining a blog has numerous benefits. It gives the writer experience writing material that other people are going to read. It also provides the opportunity to connect with people from all around the world with similar interests, something that may not otherwise be an option depending on where you live.

If the blog is professional and organized, it could be an item at the bottom of a resume. I’m still convinced that the reason I got an internship at Atlantic Publishing was because I researched the company before, saw that this blog existed, and proceeded to bring up my interest in this blog and my own personal blog. While putting in the research and finding this blog certainly was beneficial to the interview, I think that my obvious passion for books, reading, and writing were what put my interview over the top.

Even if blogs don’t land you a dream job some day, they are a fun way to organize your Screenshot 2017-03-03 10.54.01.pngthoughts and find new friends. Even when I think that no one is reading my ramblings about my latest read, I have a record of how I felt about the novel and can connect with people about it. If you are inspired to start your own blog, or even if you already have a blog and just want some pointers, please don’t hesitate to contact any of us! There’s nothing we would love more than to inspire our readers to start their own blog (We even wrote a book about it to show you how! Available here).

If we’ve convinced you to start your very own blog, send us a message with the URL. We would love to see our reader’s hard work!

~Shamelessly adding a link to my personal blog~

Time Traveling With Atlantic Teen: John F. Kennedy

By Danielle Lieneman 

Happy President’s Day!

Here at Atlantic Teen we have an understanding and appreciation for how important our history is at forming the world we find ourselves living in. This appreciation for our past is why we’ve launched our Historical Anniversary Series. In honor of President’s Day, we’ve decided to give you an excerpt of our book focusing on one of the most well known United States presidents: John F. Kennedy.

Think of five U.S. presidents as fast as you can. Got them?

Was one of them John F. Kennedy? For many of you, he’s on your list. He was born too late to be carved on Mount Rushmore, but he was one of the most well-known and well-loved presidents of the 20th century.

His death in 1963 was mourned by not only our country, but across the entire world. With all the movies made about him, somehow it feels like he lived longer. That makes it even harder to believe that it’s been 100 years since he was born!

When he died, Kennedy was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. His grave is marked by the Eternal Flame. It was lit by his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, and has been kept lit ever since. The symbolism of the fire is that Kennedy would serve as a light for all of America long after his death.

Kennedy was born into a large Irish Catholic family in the middle of World War I. Did you know that he had an older brother? One whose shadow he lived in for his entire childhood? Joe Jr., first born of the Kennedy brothers, was handsome, athletic (he played football, rugby, and was on the row team), and a natural leader. When Joe Jr. was born, his grandfather, who was then Mayor of Boston, said, “this child is the future president of the nation.”

In comparison, JFK was one of those kids who was always sick, and he attended five schools between first and eighth grade. He had appendicitis at age 13! Before he could even graduate high school, he was diagnosed with Colitis, a type of inflammation of the colon. He even had one leg that was shorter than the other. That was just one of the reasons he had back pain most of his life.

As the second born, John might have grown up feeling like he was in Joe Jr.’s shadow.but it wouldn’t be long before tragedy shifted all of the family’s hopes for Joe onto John’s shoulders. Joe Jr. died in WWII. Just as John was trying to figure out what he wanted to do with his life, he lost the older brother who shined so bright in his home. That didn’t stop his dad from wanting a son to be president, so he looked to John to fulfill that dream instead.

How you would feel if your brother died, and your dad wanted you to fill his shoes? That had to be hard. Kennedy dealt with it, and even through all the challenges he faced (his health was never great), he made his dad proud.


ST-C22-1-62 04 August 1962 President Kennedy and family, Hyannis Port. L-R: John F. Kennedy Jr., Mrs. Kennedy, Caroline Bouvier Kennedy, President Kennedy. Photograph by Cecil Stoughton, White House, in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

Kennedy showed a strong talent for writing. His college thesis became a bestselling book. He later wrote “Profiles in Courage,” which won the Pulitzer Prize. If JFK hadn’t become president, he might have been one of the best authors of his time.

John went on to become a congressman, then a senator, and then president. Along the way, he had a lot of “firsts.” He participated in the first televised presidential debate. He also changed the way the country thought about some things. Even in death, his legacy lives on. If you are a woman or minority, work done in Kennedy’s name has benefited you.

John fought communism in the Cold War, but championed peace when he established the Peace Corps and challenged college stu- dents to serve poor and needy people all over the world. He then told NASA that Americans needed to be the first people to reach the moon, and we listened to him.

That pretty much covers all of earth and space — we can definitely feel Kennedy’s impact all around us.


If you’re interested in learning more about John F. Kennedy (and who wouldn’t? He’s led such an interesting life), be sure to buy our book here.


Student Life: A Balancing Act

Here to tell us about the balancing act required with being a student, an aspiring writer, a lover of books, and a show choir star is Raylee Dawn.

In my life as a student and a living person, I find that balance is the root of the tree. I love to read and write, but the problem is trying to find the time while I study for classes and practice for the school show choir.

I find that if you take your class syllabi and a planner from Wal-Mart you can mark all of what is going on and the due dates. You might have to change some of them, so do that in pencil. Then I can mark free time. I don’t rely on this time to be constantly open, so its just a perk. I also think as free time as a reward that I get for doing my work, so I do try to keep it free.

However, this might not work for some people; it didn’t work for me for a while. As a result, I would spend one day of the week on one subject, so I didn’t get bored. This worked really well since I only have seven classes. Sometimes I might know of an upcoming test, so I would switch days but only on the week right before. You must remember that most people only remember 25 to 50% of what they hear so you should study a few days or weeks in advance.  I like to have an hour or 30 minutes to read a day but that doesn’t always work.

I try to attend after school activities that allow or implore me to read and write. A book club can be nice, and you can even get ideas on what to read next. An art club is good for those who like to draw; there’s a local art gallery that lets me sell some of my pieces. Clubs are fun and always have something for you to do.

Now that I’m done explaining how I do all these things and still have the energy to stand up, I think its time to tell you why I do this.

Half the clubs I’m in, Honor and Show Choir, I’m in to get in to a good college with the best musical program. While that is true for the other half I’m in, its not true for the other half: the reading and the writing clubs

The only other reason I have for this is to keep myself entertained and not bored out of my mind just thinking of school. I meet new friends at these events, and while I know that makes me sound like a cliché, its true. I don’t belong to one clique because I hang out with multiple groups at school. If one clique kicks me out, a new one always finds me because I am in these clubs and choirs and libraries. I’m no jack-of-all-trades, but I can throw up a good disguise.

Raylee is a 13 year old star student with dreams of becoming a writer. Besides her love of the written word, Raylee is also passionate about the performing arts. She’s a member of 2 choirs at her middle school. One day you’ll see her on Broadway with a book on the NYT Bestsellers list.

If you’re interested in contributing, we would love to hear from you! Contact us here if interested.

Giveaway: Blind Date with a Book

With an idea shamelessly inspired by our intern Kylie’s efforts at the University of Florida library (read about it here), we’ve decided that our Valentine’s Day giveaway will be our own “Blind Date with a Book.”

If you’d like the opportunity to be a part of your very own “Blind Date,” please read the rules below:

Any one of the following count as a 1 entry:

Contestants are able to enter up to 6 times with no more than 2 entries on the same social media platform. For example, you could share on Facebook 2 times, retweet 2 times, and comment 2 separate times tagging a total of 4 friends on Instagram for a total of 6 entries.

The giveaway will last a week from today, closing at 11:59 pm on February 21.

Once selected with a random generator, the winner will have the opportunity to pick from 3 wrapped books.

*Giveaway open to U.S residents only*

Don’t miss out on this easy and fun opportunity!

Keeping up With Reading When Life Gets in the Way

By Danielle Lieneman

It can be difficult to find the time to keep up with your daunting pile of books waiting to be read once life gets in the way. As much as reading is an enjoyable and relaxing part of my book stack w: mug.jpgday, all too frequently I realize that it’s been three weeks since I’ve touched a book that wasn’t for work or school. Here to help combat life (and that Netflix addiction), I hope that your love of reading is fulfilled.

Create a set amount of time that you want to read every day.

Treat this time like an appointment and put away all distractions (Twitter can find out what your reading AFTER you’re done!). This time can be entirely dependent on your schedule, as long as you make it a part of it, and can be as long or short as you want. You’ll be surprised how quickly 15, 20, and 30-minute increments can add up.  Last semester, I started setting my alarm 40 minutes earlier than I needed to actually wake up to give myself some time to read while enjoying my morning coffee, and I managed to get through five books!

Carry a book with you everywhere you go.

While the daily commute on the bus or subway can seem like a waste of time, if you’ve got a book in your hands what better way to pass the time! If the doctor’s office is behind (as always seems to be the case), or your ride is running late, you won’t be bored if given the opportunity to read a few pages. This doesn’t need to be a physical, hardcopy of a book because those can get cumbersome while on the go, but downloading the Kindle app on your phone is a great way to always have access to thousands of books.

Listen to audiobooks.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of audiobooks for the longest time, but now I can’t get enough of them. They’re the perfect companion when driving to work or school or walking around campus. Although as a disclaimer, I must say be careful when choosing your book choices for that car ride. I just finished Lauren Graham’s Talking As Fast as I Can and between laughing and crying at the Gilmore Girls reminiscing I swear I was about to crash my car!

Make a book club with your friends.

I know that book clubs are something only middle-aged women do, but I’m here to tell you
that simply isn’t the case! What better way to motivate yourself to make time for reading than the promise of discussing it with your best friends over brunch. No one wants to be book club .jpgthe only one who didn’t finish and who doesn’t love a good reason to eat a Belgian waffle from your favorite brunch locale? Book clubs are also a great way to find new books that wouldn’t typically be up your alley. There’s even some celebrities who have a running book club list (Emma Watson, Oprah), so there’s not even the excuse of being unable to pick a book!photo-jan-15-3-14-59-pm

I know it’s easier said than done, but once a routine has been established, it becomes much easier for reading to become a part of your regular daily habits.

So You Want to be a Fashion Designer

By Danielle Lieneman

The fashion industry is one that’s alluring to many, especially with shows like America’s Next Top Model and Project Runway dominating cable. It’s an industry that’s competitive, creative, and captivating. There’s nothing more awe inspiring then seeing the formal gowns donned by movie stars at the Oscars or the edgy outfits gracing the models on the cover of Vogue. We’ve had the pleasure to speak with Ermelinda Manos, a Las Vegas based fashion designer, about what inspired her to join the fashion world, her creative process, and the industry as a whole.

My inspiration when creating a collection comes from films, traveling, and fabric sourcing. My designs are effortless and timeless. I like to accentuate the female form, as I design for a confident and elegant woman.

First, I start off by making mood boards, with inspirational images that help me keep ermelinda-case-study-1focused on the style I want to design. This is helpful to maintain a cohesive collection. Elements, styles, and colors within the collection should be cohesive and all effortlessly flow together, or be able to mix and match the looks with each other. I start sketching my ideas out on my sketchbook, and I sketch the entire inspiration based on how I envision the model on the runway— from hair, makeup, shoes, and accessories to go with the design. After I make several sketches, I make a list of the elements that stand out the most and the fabrics I want to use. I always do a color and trend forecast to make sure that the colors I pick are in season. One of my favorite parts of designing is going to the garment district to source the fabrics, trims, the beading, and all of the materials needed for each design. Sometimes, the design is created after I find the fabric that inspires me.

Next, I lay out all of the fabrics and the materials as I play around with them and create more sketches. This allows me to have a clear vision of what each design will be, as I narrow down my sketches to six to 12 looks that would be the final looks created for the collection.

Ermelinda Case Study 4.jpgThe production begins, and I always have music playing in the background as we start creating the samples. All of the patterns are either draped or drafted, but I prefer draped a lot more. I’m very hands on with the sample processes as it is the most crucial part of the design; there’s room for adjustments during sampling that you cannot do once it’s finalized. I love to sew by hand, more than sewing on the machine, which is why you will find my designs have a lot of details that are handmade. Usually, our fit model is always a standard size when we try on the designs to ensure they are wearable and fit correctly for the ideal woman we have in mind— and that the design is flawless. Once the sampling and fit is approved, we then produce the final look or make multiples of the design.

Hand sewing and creating dresses has been my first love since I was a child. I’m fortunate to be able to live out my childhood dream, but the fashion industry isn’t always so glamorous. I spend many hours in the studio sewing, sampling, or running around downtown for endless hours to find the right bead or the right zipper. It’s a fast-paced industry, and there’s not a lot of time to sit and daydream when creating. Sometimes I have deadlines to create a design within hours, which is a lot of pressure. The results are very rewarding— the moment you see the gown draped on a woman’s body, and the woman feeling confident and beautiful in my design. To be able to have my designs be part of women’s lives, to be a reason for them to feel beautiful and smile, that is what makes everything worth it.

Her advice is so intriguing! I never thought about how fast paced the industry must be and the constant struggle of being creative on a deadline. What do you find most fascinating about the fashion industry?

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Senioritis: 4 Tips to Cure the Inevitable

By Danielle Lieneman

It’s senior spring for many of you. You’re almost there! It’s such an exciting (read: completely overwhelming) time, and sometimes it just seems easier to give the bare minimum to your schoolwork. To be completely honest, I think that my senior spring was spent stressing over college decisions, ignoring all responsibility while watching movie musicals, freaking out over financial aid and paying for college, reading the entirety of the brick that is Les Miserables in a week (I still don’t know how I had that much focus), and finally cramming for my AP exams at the last minute.

As someone who’s going through her second round of senioritis, I have some tips that I wish someone had told me while I was in high school.

  1. Find motivation. Whether it’s to get into your new university’s honors program, move up in your class rank, or even just the satisfaction of beating your sibling’s grades, having a set goal will allow you to stay focused and on track. Your grades really do matter, and colleges have been known to revoke admissions for students whose GPAs have fallen too low. organized-desk
  1. Make a schedule. As you might remember from my organization tips post, I have quite a love for organizing and scheduling. While my high school planner wasn’t color coded, it did have scholarship and letters of recommendation deadlines, exam and project dates, and a study schedule. I find that if you take the time to plan out your week and schedule study time, it’s a lot harder to procrastinate with a good conscious, and the guilt will force some studying to occur.
  1. Leave time for fun. As important as grades and scholarship applications are, take the time to hang out with your friends and family. In a few short months, you will be however many miles away at college, simultaneously making new friends, and missing your high school BFFs more than you think you thought possible. The plans can be as big as a multi-day road trip or as small as a “road trip” to the beach/lake when the weather is warm enough. Explore the nature trail you always drive past but never ventured into or go prom dress/tuxedo shopping in the next town over. What
    beachyou do doesn’t matter so much as who you’re doing it with.
  1. Don’t forget about self-care. This is different from the above recommendation, I promise. Sometimes having a weekend entirely dedicated to dates, mall trips, and family outings adds to the stress, and exhaustion that inevitably come with senior year. Take some time to focus on you and only you. Whether that comes in the form of doing your nails and watching Gossip Girl (is that a show that people still watch? Please tell me I’m not that old), working out and watching the newest Marvel movie, or curling up with a book you’ve been meaning to read since you bought it over winter break, the ability to turn off all outside stressors for a few hours will do wonders for your stamina as your high school career comes to a close.

The biggest thing to remember as your high school career comes to a close, is to be proud of yourself. It’s been a long journey since getting dropped off at kindergarten with your cartoon character backpack, one that has been full of ups and downs, more memories than you know what to do with, and an experience that can never be relived. Enjoy that walk across the stage, you deserve it!