My invitation to the Academy Awards got lost in the mail this year. Tragic, right? I’m the type of person who absolutely thrives on formal events. The atmosphere, the people, the fancy attire, the great food… it all comes together for me and creates a memory in my head that is simply unforgettable.

Academy Awards slight aside, I was fortunate enough to be invited to PPA Scotland’s 2013 Scottish Magazine Awards on the 12th of December. The event was held at the Grand Sheraton Hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland, and let me tell you, it was proper fancy!

When I arrived, all of the attendees were milling around in the foyer while the hotel staff prepared the banquet room. As a book publishing student, I didn’t know anyone, so I grabbed a glass of wine from a helpful waiter and decided to make some new friends. (Yes, that is my personality. It’s a gift and a curse!)

Over the years, I’ve learned to hone my people-reading skills. I wasn’t about to approach a group of old men, deep in conversation about the decline of the world due to technology. Or the tight-knit group of seven ladies who obviously grew up together, came to the event together, and plan to leave together… all in one large formation. Too difficult to pierce that wall.

Instead, as I looked around the room at all the gorgeous people gathered to celebrate the biggest Scottish magazine awards, I saw two young ladies, about the same age as me, looking friendly. Found my target.

I walked over and introduced myself, and through what I can only deem as crazy amazing good luck, one of them was a recent graduate from Edinburgh Napier University! Her name was Jen Neal and we were sitting at the same table. Golden.


Now, I’d never experienced a fancy Scottish event before, being from California and all. But let me tell you, it was a great first experience! The host of the evening was the fabulously funny Susan Calman. There were so many wonderful categories, from Brand Extension of the Year to Online Presence of the Year to awards for editors, writers, design, and more.

Our very own Cassandra Gowans from Edinburgh Napier University won Postgraduate of the Year, and my chance encounter with Jen had allowed me the pleasure of meeting Cassandra before the event had even started. It was such a thrill to see Cassandra up there, and everyone at our Napier table was beaming with pride.

My favourite part of the evening was seeing some of the award-winners saunter up to the stage in their kilts! Being from America, I have a huge obsession with kilts. I think people look so very dashing in them, and I got to see multiple guys walking around in a wide assortment of kilts and jackets.


As the evening wound down after the awards were presented and the table’s wine supply hovered near empty, the stage was transformed into a deejay area and everyone was invited to dance. The award winners certainly had something to dance about, and even those of us lucky enough to just attend had had such a great evening that dancing seemed the perfect way to end the night.

I might just sneak into this year’s Scottish Magazine Awards!