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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cindy La Ferle - A Victoria Reader's Dream Comes True

Victoria has been one of my favorite shelter magazines since it was first published by Hearst -- and I've saved nearly every issue. As a freelance writer and author since the late 1980s, one of my goals was to see my work published in this beloved magazine.

While I'd already published pieces in other national glossies, including Country Home and Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion, a byline in Victoria still eluded me. Meanwhile, the original Victoria folded, then Hoffman Media restarted it in 2007.

Over a year ago, I wrote a garden essay from threads of a talk I gave at a regional Master Gardener Society meeting. With high hopes, I submitted "The Art of Midlife Gardening" to the new Victoria. And then I waited.

Months passed -- which isn't unusual in this line of work -- and I nearly forgot about the piece. So you can imagine how thrilled I was when Victoria's managing editor contacted me last year to ask if it was still available for publication in the March/April 2010 issue.

That issue is now on the stands, and my essay's on the back page. While my work has appeared in dozens of national magazines and newspapers, seeing that first byline in Victoria was truly a highlight in my career. When I found a copy today at our local Barnes & Noble, I did a little happy dance right there in the magazine aisle.

-- Cindy La Ferle: Cindy La Ferle's Home Office: www.laferle.com

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Victoria I Remember - Christi Bunn

Everyone who loves Victoria magazine has a story... for me, it began as a young bride -- making my way as a young wife -- newly married and so wanting to "get things right." I needed inspiration and desperately wanted to infuse beauty into my modern and very "80s" life. You must remember that this was the day of Punk Rock, massive shoulder pads, and even bigger hair. Always a very visual person, I looked for this inspiration amongst the pages of what would become a beloved friend, Victoria magazine. If it seems odd to you that a magazine could be a friend, then perhaps you have never had the pleasure of her company.

I was married in December of 1986, and a few months later my very first Victoria arrived in our mailbox. The discerning eye of my beautiful Southern Belle of a grandmother had spotted the lovely Premiere Issue on a magazine rack in my hometown and promptly ordered a subscription for me. She recognized then, as so many of us have along the way, that Victoria was the magazine we had always longed for but didn't realize it until we saw her. It was truly love at first sight, as we were treated to page after page of sheer delight to the senses, both visual and literary. A splash of poetry here, a gorgeous photo there, and a poignant quote in between gave us a richness of content that no other magazine has before or since.

Each month I looked forward to the articles and regular features, and I looked for ways that I could incorporate bits of that beauty into my life. This might have involved arranging a bouquet of freshly cut flowers by my bedside, having classical music playing as I cleaned, getting a lovely fragrance such as Nantucket Briar from Crabtree & Evelyn so that our home would instantly delight the senses, or putting on soft music and lighting candles as I drew a soothing bath after a hard day's work. It involved making choices in clothing that were classic -- the kind that do not quickly go in and out of style but get better by the year. It taught me new ways of taking tea or offered a new flavor and suggested that a silver service was not just something to put on display but something to be used and loved. She recommended fabulous books, timeless classics like The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables, Pride and Prejudice, Little Women; classic authors like Isaak Denisen and Colette; or new classics such as Alexandra Stoddard's Living a Beautiful Life. Then there were her Writers and Artists in Residence, such luminaries as Tasha Tudor, Madeleine L'Engle, Jan Karon, and more. All of this and so much more I gleaned from the pages of this marvelous magazine.

I have learned recently that the magazine was not put together with the specific purpose of selling advertisements, although that surely was a part of her success. But according to those who worked on the original version of Victoria and contributed to her content month after month, it was truly a labor of love. It could not have been otherwise, for her pages fairly resonated with a beauty that can only come as a result of the most devoted skill, creativity, and care.

And as Victoria matured, she became more lovely and refined. Her pages continued to inspire and bring beauty into my life even as I was expecting my first baby and planning the nursery. My mind went instantly to the beloved images painted by Beatrix Potter, and I knew that my nursery would include those colors and themes from her stories. And indeed, it did.

Like a treasured friend she visited me month after month, her pages o'er brimmed with new literary delights, new places to discover, and fresh ways to bring loveliness into everyday life. And because I have kept every copy and carried them through six moves (to date), I can revisit these bits of loveliness as often as I wish. And amazingly enough, I still manage to find new bits of beauty among her pages.

I know that there are others of you who share my affinity for Victoria, and I would love for this blog to become an ongoing Victoria story. Would you be willing to share your story with me, so that I could post it here? If so, please contact me

- Christi Bunn