{wish list}

Ok, so I admit I dropped the ball a little on the holiday blogging this season. Partly because I’ve been so busy and also probably because I have literally zero Christmas shopping to do this year (hooray!) so it wasn’t on the mind weeks ago like most folks. The only thing I miss about Christmas shopping is the wrapping. I love wrapping gifts. But I do not like malls and because I’m a last minute type of person, as amazing as the ‘net is for shopping, I never seem to have my act together early enough.

But on that note, IF I was to put together a wish list this year or if you have a creative(ish) person on your list this is what you may find: 


{window shopper}

Hope you are all tucked away safely in your home during this winter wonderland. Well there’s isn’t that much of the white stuff in Toronto so far but I’m sure I’ll be biting my tongue sooner than later.

Ever dreamed about (ok well maybe just wondered) what it’s like in the Big Apple during the holidays? Thanks to TV & movies I think we all may have a romantic idea of what that may be like. I’ve actually been there during that time and what you don’t see on TV or movies is ALL the people who are also there. Lots and lots of people. Like LOTS!

but – something that I love about New York during the busiest time of year is the big department stores and their holiday themed windows. Other than the big Bay store on Queen Street and fancy Holt Renfrew on Bloor, which you only see living in Toronto we don’t really have all the big & grand department stores that New York has.

I just love how each store uses this time of year to really be über creative. They each manage to take something that has be DONE. TO. DEATH. and find a way to re-invent it or show a new perspective. It’s creativity at its finest. I always wonder about the person who’s behind the idea. Like “what is going on in that person’s head?!”. It’s especially nice to see stores going all out after a couple tough years.

Here’s some highlights from some of the biggest players this year (click on image to see larger view):

Macy’s: The theme is Virginia for the holiday by Macy’s east director of windows, Paul Olszewski. (ref: wgsn)

Lord & Taylor: The overall look of the windows created by Lavelle Olexa is very similar to previous years, an update incorporating social networking sees quotes from Facebook fans talk about their most precious holiday memories in Share the Joy. (ref: wgsn)

Henri Bendel: Visual director Gilberto Santana has brought the Bendel girls together with the classic Nutcracker in his fun and cluttered display with a brown-and-white striped look. (ref: wgsn) 

Bergdorf Goodman: Bergdorf Goodman’s senior director of visual presentation David Hoey sticks to a traditional look in the travel theme Wish You Were Here, with different scenarios created to look like film stills. (ref: wgsn)

Barney’s New York: Simon Doonan at Barneys has created the whimsically cluttered windows under the theme Have a Foodie Holiday. The windows pay homage to ground breaking cooks and gastronomical geniuses. (ref: wgsn)

Now didn’t that just make you all worm and fuzzy inside? Window shopping? Window art is more like it.

{christmas wish list: 20 sweet things to love}

{christmas beauty}

I know, Christmas talk already…sorry I don’t mean to make you barf all over your Halloween costume. If it makes you feel better, I’ve been designing Christmas at work since about June. That is, in fact, the topic of this entry.
What I do.

If you know me personally, you know that I’m a Graphic Designer for Shoppers Drug Mart – working in the Studio at their head office in Toronto. You’ve probably heard me talk about this project that I loved or this other project that I didn’t love so much or how I had a day at a photo shoot or a day with my eyes glued to my computer screen. If you don’t know me, well, see above 🙂

I decided to take an opportunity to showcase one of my more recent projects. Not only because I enjoyed doing it and I think it was an overall success, but also so that some of you actually know what I do now when I talk about work.

I work on mostly all the beauty projects at SDM (includes BeautyBoutique). I’m officially the “beauty girl”. Which is kinda funny if you know me and my lack of makeup skills before I started working here. Every year we do a Beauty Book for Christmas but this year I was given the creative freedom to be a little more edgy, modern and outside the box (well for Shoppers). Thankfully my boss was so busy that she basically just left me and my coworker to do whatever we wanted. Thankfully for her, ‘we did good’.
I watch ALOT of America’s Next Top Model and what’s funny is that as cheese-ball that most of it is, some of it is actually true! I’ve picked up a bunch of makeup tips, heard lots of good stories and yes, even heard the phrase “smile with your eyes”. As far as product shots, you would be surprised what’s hiding behind some of those product or the hijinks it took to make things stand just right. Most of those shots are actually made up of 4-6 different shots that are blended together.

It’s all an illusion my friends. Except for that model’s skin. It really was that amazing. I hated her. And she had a good personality too. I hated her even more. I kid. She was really funny.
Here are a few snapshots of my favourite shots & spreads including some directors *notes. Look for the full book in your nearest Shoppers or delivered in your newspaper.
* This actually the 2nd cover. We had to scrap the 1st one because people didn’t seem to love it as much as I did. We had to have a whole other day scheduled with the model, photographer & makeup artist. But I love it…especially the sequin!

*the photo re-toucher said he’d never had so little re-touching to do on a skin shot before

* this is my favourite product shot from the book.

* sometimes you get requests like, can you please show ALL of these products in one shot and also all of the boxes they come in? It can spell disaster but I love how this turned out. Example of how restrictions can make you more creative.

And of course, this ain’t no one man show. I worked very closely with my creative co-ordinator at work (Juliana) who kept everything organized and the following amazing & creative people:

Model photography – John Van Der Shilden
Model – Vlada from Elite Models
Makeup & Hair – Veronica Chu
Product photography & Styling – Michael Crichton Photography