Rags and Mags – The It Blog

GlobeT.O. 28-06-08

Lucinda McRuvy is in the Globe and Mail today, looking right at home beside Barack Obama. How zeitgeist-y!

Globe and Mail 28-06-28

Amy Verner wrote a fantastic article about Rags and Mags, the site I created with Carolyn Rohaly. Click the image to see the scan full size. Thank you Amy!

Anticipating that we may get a bit of buzz from this, Carolyn and I created a masthead to introduce new visitors to the Rags and Mags cast of characters. Ever wondered what Bernie, Mimi M., Elmo, and Basher look like? Now you can see.

the late review – Six Weeks to Toxic

Six Weeks to Toxic by Louisa McCormackI had the great luck to discover Louisa McCormack’s work in a roundabout way. I had recently discovered Auntie Fashion and of course was fascinated by her glamour and wanted to learn more. I googled around for recent interviews with Simon Doonan and discovered this one by McCormack.

However, when I asked Auntie Fashion if she was in fact Louisa McCormack, Auntie corrected me. She is Prunella Crudsworth, fashion’s most enduring muse. That was that.

I was still curious about McCormack… and my curiousity turned to fascination upon the discovery of her website. I love authors who blog, and Louisa’s Latest is both candid and clever.

This led me to her novel, Six Weeks to Toxic which I purchased new on Amazon.ca.

I liked the cover, which promised risky fashion. Is the girl in the pink tights and mules wearing what appears to be a laser cut ultrasuede skirt? Wow. The book itself was like nothing I’ve ever read. It is not Weisbergerish fashiony chick lit. Nor is it an Atwoodian Toronto fem-literary. McCormack describes it as “chick literary” but you can be sure that all references to Baudelaire fly over my fashion-schooled head.

The descriptions of the outfits, and the beauty products, that these women wear does hit home with me. Critics with literary pretensions may scoff, but I am the kind of reader for which the words “Happy and Herbal Essences” do in fact tell me exactly what kind of woman Bess Grover thinks she is.

The women in the novel are adventurous dressers. I wonder if the novel is a bit of a time capsule for 2001 – I can’t remember, was there really that much velvet being worn back then? I can’t help but think that Auntie Fashion would approve of all the outrageous outfits. McCormack and Auntie Fashion also share a penchant for the word “soupçon”. I had to look it up. It means “a dash” as in a very small amount. Again, McCormack and Auntie Fashion are not the same person. There is a whole continent of separation between their many coincidences.

I think my lack of experience being 30-something and single kept me from identifying with the characters too closely. All the banter – often witty – made it hard to extract the character’s real feelings from their ironic chatter… a lot like real life in the city I think. We all develop a superficial skin to survive socially and McCormack does a good job of showing that. It takes sensitivity to tone to read the increasing tension between the two leads… and it makes the ending seem very abrupt. Given the excruciating nature of best-friend-breakups, I would have found it satisfying to dig deeper into the character’s discomforts, beyond the dialogue.

Also, sex scenes. I have never read a book with so many detailed sex scenes – and deftly done. Also, Toronto. Yes its snowy streets do play a role in the story without being intrusive or exclusive.

The review? Six Weeks to Toxic is an enjoyable long-weekend read, and you will get extra kicks from it if you have lost a best friend, love your novels liberally peppered with fashion and sex, or have lived in Toronto.

Things I Love Thursday

acre of sky

We are back from the road trip.  It was good for me to relax in the passenger seat after last week, but the trip had bittersweet moments.  Uncertainty is in the distance, and objects in mirror are closer than they appear.

Never mind, it is Thursday.  I have been enjoying Gala Darling’s Things I Love Thursday posts for a while now, and her gratitude never fails to inspire some of my own.  Today, I’ll share three with you.

  • Fresh herbs.  Such fragrance and flavour!  I love picking them, chopping them, and of course eating them.
  • Riding in Ray’s new car.  Its small and fits the two of us perfectly.  I always feel safe beside him.
  • Trees.  Their shade is cooler than any man-made shade.

Try TILT, it feels good.

road trip

Monteagle Valley

Ray and I are taking a little trip north.  I will daydream in the passenger seat, and Ray is the man with the plan.

Things are going to change.  It is time to explore.  I will be back soon.

some things I’ve learned

I have had a rough week. It was not a bad week, just excruciating.

Some nice things happened. Ray and I celebrated six years together. I saw a funny comedy show and laughed a lot.

Some crap things happened. I had a bad freelancing experience at the start of the week. The bad feeling still has not worn off.

The same old stuff happened. Did a regular job for a good client. A lot of admin stuff this week. Tried to keep up with Rags and Mags.

Some peculiar things happened this week too. It wasn’t any one thing, and I don’t want to talk specifics either. There were three events throughout the week where I made mistakes of varying degrees. None catastrophic; but all of them were hard to deal with, and my own actions made them worse.

Now I am looking back thinking I won’t do it that way again and wondering why I have to learn things the hard way so often?

Six years ago I was very socially anxious, entering fashion school. Wrong clothes, clueless and I knew it, intimidated by the other girls. I spent a lot of time alone in the library, methodically working my way through the fashion section, working in the dark archives by myself, worrying, and generally avoiding human contact.

I have changed. Now I am perceived as very outgoing, and I am. I like meeting new people, I enjoy the occasional party, I have made many friends that I am so grateful to have. I have found lots of opportunities, and tried many, a few with success. I have achieved a level of confidence I have never had before, and sometimes I even go too far and get arrogant in my ignorance.

While I am still a very flawed human being, I have managed to learn some things in the past few years. Just enough to give me hope that I can continue to improve with effort. These are all basic lessons, mostly learned by doing the exact opposite.

  1. Other people are human beings. They all have inner lives, feel things, eat food, sleep, think, try, struggle, make mistakes, get lost and confused, escape, suffer, strive, thrive. We are all alone, together.
  2. I am no big deal. Most of the world does not care about or even notice what I do or what I say, and that is okay. It is often a good thing; my gaffes go mostly un-noticed.
  3. Make mistakes. It is the only way I can get experience, there is no easy way. Success rarely comes the first time. Try anyway.
  4. Be confident. Accept myself, be myself, enjoy myself. Never rely on the approval of others.
  5. Make an effort. There is no such thing as perfect; but it is important to strive for the best.
  6. Be positive. Focus on what I can offer, not what I can take. Be creative, not critical. Cultivate enthusiasm. Pursue happiness.
  7. Patience. It takes time to find my voice, it takes time to develop the confidence and skill to be audacious. It takes time to get to know people. The good kind of success takes perseverance.
  8. Trust my instincts. I tend to over-think all sides of a situation. Yet I get my best results when I remember to listen to my intuition.
  9. There are no limits. There are always more opportunities, there are always second chances. Things always change.
  10. Keep it real. Be honest. Eat well. Sleep well. Take care of my surroundings and myself. Be good to the ones I love. Be thankful.

Simple lessons. A bit of common sense. Yet it took all my life up to now to discover and appreciate all of these insights. My life is better than it has ever been, even with all the ups and downs. I am more sure, less overwhelmed. I have a greater sense of perspective.

Proust Questionnaire

Via The Sub Adult YearsInspired by the YSL Exhibit in Montreal. Why not fill it in yourself?

What is your chief characteristic?

What is your main fault?

What are your favourite qualities in a man?

And in a woman?

Who is your favourite historical figure?
Elizabeth 1

Who are your favourite heroes in real life?
My mom and dad.

If not yourself, who would you be?
I don’t know.

What is your idea of happiness?
Freedom, food and love

What is your idea of misery?

Where would you like to live?
In a nice studio.

What talent do you wish you were gifted in?

For what fault have you the most tolerance?

Who is your favourite painter?
David Downton

And composer?
Joni Mitchell

What is your favourite colour?

What do you hate most?

Do you have a motto?

What would you like to do right now?
Drink coffee

Who Dressed Lucinda and Max?


Carolyn and I asked Rags and Mags readers to help us pick outfits for Lucinda and Max’s MMVA adventures. We received many terrific ideas for ensembles from talented designers and stylists. Picking two winners was a challenge.

The winners did a great job picking looks that suited the event and the character’s sensibilities. Find out more about the winners here.

Be sure to check out Max’s soaking wet red carpet experience.

And you must read Lucinda’s best quotes from all the most stylish attendees at the Revolver After Party.

Thank you everyone for sharing your outfit ideas with us!

Last Day to Dress Lucinda and Max

NOW 12-06-08

Andrew Sardone notes in NOW Magazine that today is the last day to dress Lucinda and Max for the Much Music Video Awards!

Since it’s Friday anyway, take a few minutes to browse the web for some cute dresses and accessories that you think would suit our favourite fictional friends, collage them up, and send them in. If we pick your terrific outfit I will draw it, and you will get original signed line art and full colour postcards to share with your friends… plus you will get your Name Dropped on Rags and Mags.

Andrew also mentions my drawn-out Doc Martens design campaign. Can you kick it?