Fashion-able: To ruffles or not to ruffles

Carly tackles the challenge of recreating a high-fashion runway look on a more realistic budget (i.e. $100). Can she do it?
If you are like some of us on the fourth floor (ahem…), you would skip lunch for a month to buy Elizabeth and James’ Laurette Blouse in Night Sky print. You wouldn’t hesitate to give up your latte habit for J Brand’s Mid-Rise Skinny Leg jeans in red. You’d do it again when you notice the blue ones are just as cute. 
If you are like us, your piggy bank is always empty by the end of the season. So when presented with a challenge to recreate a look from the runway that had all the fashion editors talking, you take it. 
With a budget of only $100, I’m aiming to make all my Jil Sander colour-blocking dreams come true. We begin with a look at my inspiration board (that’s right, Oprah is not the only girl with one of these).

Image Source.
Image Source.
Take notes: we’re going simple and white on top, bold colour on the bottom. The runway look featured a ruffle, while Kate Bosworth worked it without one.  Decisions, decisions…

Without the luxury of time to Shopbop my heart out, I head to one of my favourite places in the city, the mall.

After waiting only 30 minutes for a parking spot (score!), I set off in search of a maxi skirt in a bright shade, with a little volume. I find my JS-inspired skirt at Zara. Long, flowing, hot pink, and retailing for just $59, it’s a keeper. I hand over my card, and debate getting an Air Miles reward card. Wouldn’t this skirt look even better in Miami?

Image source.

With no ruffles to be found on my skirt, I take a trip to the store for wardrobe basics, Gap. There, I face a tough choice. Do I dare to replace the skirt ruffle with a top ruffle?


While usually I’m not one for truth or dare, this time I do dare. I choose Gap’s white tee with ruffle sleeves. Ticket price is $29.99.  At checkout, my bill comes to only half my expected total.  Lucky me, I’ve hit a half price sale. My horoscope predicted a three-star day, and I’m one happy Aries. 

Image source.

Back home, I toss on the basic top, add one colourful skirt, and end up with a look that totally says Spring 2011 Fashion Week. Not too bad for $85. Eat your heart out, Kate Bosworth. Fashion success.    

Carly’s version of the Jil Sander maxi skirt.
Pretty fashion-able, non?

Teacher’s Pet: Mistakes during internships?

Question six in our Teacher’s Pet series comes from Laura Chang, a student at Humber College’s PR program. We chat internships and humble pie. 

Her Question: We’ll be starting internships soon and I had a question: What should I do if I make a mistake during my internship?
Our Answer: Start by taking a deep breath and remember that mistakes are part of the learning process, and every intern (and full-time employee, for that matter) makes a few.
We haven’t met an intern who has yet to make an error, but you know what? That’s completely okay. We don’t expect interns to know everything. That’s why they’re here – to learn! So, if you make a mistake, don’t panic. It will be fine.
While your first reaction may be to cover it up so you don’t get in trouble with the boss, we’d actually rather you to step forward and let us know what happened. That way, we can correct it as soon as possible. Trust us. It’s much better to admit you screwed up and ask for help than to ignore it. By not reacting right away, you actually risk worsening the situation, depending on what it is.
If it was a small error, simply apologize and offer to help fix it. Do your best not to let it happen again (it’s a bit of a pet peeve to have to correct someone on the same error more than twice) and try to observe the steps taken to solve the problem. That way, you really understand the impact your mistake had and are more likely to not repeat it in the future. Win-win! 
For more complicated errors, sometimes your senior team may need to move quickly, and they may not have time to explain all the steps they’re taking to improve the situation. If there is something you don’t understand, make a note of it so you can discuss it with your manager later. After the dust has settled, ask your higher-ups if they can go over the steps they took to recover the error, and consider it a learning experience. And again, remember to apologize – humble pie may not be delicious, but it should be part of the menu sometimes.
Being upfront about a mistake shows maturity and honesty, two qualities any potential employer loves to see. Everyone makes mistakes and a good employer will help you learn from it, rather than chastising you or making you feel badly. 
Trying to solve the issue or at least coming up with some suggestions to correct your mistake shows you’re taking your job seriously and are willing to work to learn. We love that.
Got a burning PR question that you want us to answer? Email amalia.intern@rockitpromo.com. We’ll feature you on a future Teacher’s Pet.

Yum, yum: DIY Whoopie Pies

Carly was feeling domestic again, and decided to take on the project of baking her very own version of the uber-trendy dessert, whoopie pies, complete with her very own expert (Bubbie), photographer (Dad) and intern/clean-up crew (Mom). Success or #fail? Read on to find out. 

Like most good cooking blogs, this one begins with a trip to the mall. To get your Bakerella on, buy whoopie pie mix, courtesy of Williams-Sonoma. You’re well on your way to success, and no one needs to know that it’s not from scratch.

Back at home, take your mix and line it up with your other ingredients. That’s one egg, lots of butter, and a jar of Marshmallow Fluff. Smile big for the camera.


Beat the butter until whipped. For those of you that forgot to leave the butter out for optimal room temperature whipping purposes, feel free to microwave the stuff. I did. Then, mix ingredients together:

 
Add egg.
Pour in mix.

Beat until there’s no more nasty clumps. 
If your mix looks weird, call in the expert. It is likely that you forgot an ingredient. Just sayin’.
Pour in forgotten ingredient (in this case…milk). Beat again.
Spoon clump-free batter into 16 cookie shapes on parchment-lined baking sheet .
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees Celsius. Wear chic oven mitts with your stripe-on-plaid outfit, and take out when fluffy. It is also not a bad idea to pre-heat the oven (oops).

On to the filling: it’s Marshmallow Fluff time. Use the whole jar. 

It’s a sticky situation, so have your expert on hand.

Let’s put these whoopies together now, people. Begin with one chocolate cookie. 

Spread the icing over the cookie, and top off with a second cookie. If I made the icing bit look easy, trust that it isn’t.

Press cookies into place, and show off your new polish change in Blue My Mind by OPI.

Enjoy them, but not too many of them. It will hurt your stomach.

Serve these special thank-yous to your crew. 

Special shout out to my expert baker (Bubbie), photographer (father) and clean-up crew (thanks, Mom).

Fashion-able: P.S. I Made This, the fur bootie

Erica Domesek sees it, likes it and makes it. As creator of the hit blog, P.S. I Made This, Domesek has started a DIY fashion revolution. She has made Chanel-inspired SS11 runway earrings, Louis Vuitton-like bow topped pumps and her own Cartier’s Charity Love bracelets.  Erica Domesek is one crafty fashion girl.

And so it begs the question: can those of us without Parsons design degrees pull off runway-inspired DIY projects?

P.S. We’re gonna try.

Read on, as rock-it promotions investigates. We’re tackling the fur bootie.

Such a task requires a little arty touch, some hot glue and a girl with a faux fur obsession. If there was ever such a girl, it’s our intern Carly. She not only knows her way around a glue gun, but her love of fur is so great, she almost purchased a pair a fur combat boots. Note: she would be wearing them now if her friends hadn’t threatened to cut off all contact.
Here is her crafty tale: 


It begins with me sitting looking pretty, and mentally preparing for the task ahead.

Here are all the supplies needed to make runway inspired fur boots. I’ve got fur (veggies and vegans, it’s faux, I swear), my chic and handy pink glue gun, my mother’s chicken cutters, and my latest Target purchase, my brand new socks. 

Step 1: Cut the feet off the socks. FYI: this picture was staged. I am left-handed and was unable to cut with right-handed meat scissors. Lefties taking on this project should be sure to have an intern (or mother) on hand to do the dirty work.

Step 2: Cut the fur to match the length of the sock.

Step 3: Get glue gunning. Left, right or ambidextrous, glue gunning is easy for all.

Step 4: Glue fur, place sock and fold. Ta da! You have made your very own furry boots.

Step 5: Put them on and show them off.

Step 6: Enjoy them while they last, because they don’t last long. See the fur clumps beside me for details. 
Step 7: Start cleaning. These things shed big time, and your floor will be covered in black fur. It is unlikely hypoallergenic.

The end result? Easy, quick and good-looking. However, just using a glue gun is not enough to keep the fur on the socks. Better to have some back up with a needle and thread (or, aforementioned mother to reinforce for you).  

Special thanks goes out to my photographer (Dad), intern and clean-up duty (Mom) and of course, Erica Domesek.

Meet Our Team: the baby edition *with a prize!*

You’ve met our whole team over the past few months and now we have a challenge for you. We’ve dug through the photo archives (back when photos were printed on paper, not stored on computers), and pulled out shots of ourselves when we were in diapers.


Your challenge: Guess which chubby face belongs to which gal on the fourth floor. You’ll win tickets for two to an upcoming Canadian Stage production.


How to enter: Email your guess with the whole team matched up to the right baby to
carly.intern [at] rockitpromo [dot] com.


This first correct guess wins. Go!

 Our team: Carly, Rachelle, Christina, MichelleDebraLisaAlana, Lara and Abby







What’s in Your….Shower Stall?

On most mornings, our alarms go off, we hit snooze once (okay, twice), then shuffle over to shower. Being an office full of ladies, we love talking products, from the latest leave-in conditioner to the body butter discovered while travelling. 

Here some of the products we gotta have when we’re lathering up and getting ready to tackle the day.


Alana:
The top thing I have in my shower is a comb. Brushing my wavy hair once it’s dry will take out the waves, so I comb in the shower to get the knots out. I love Goody’s Curl Wide Tooth Comb and Lift

Next is a good shower gel and loofah. Sephora’s Vanilla Cupcake body wash smells amazing and makes my skin nice and smooth.


Dove unscented soap is always in our stall. It doesn’t irritate and I can also wash my face with it. I get tons of free shampoo, so as long as it lathers, I use it. 



And I always have a very good deep conditioner for my hair. Aveda and Matrix Biolage are my go-to’s.


I have a million wonderful and girlie products all around my bathroom that help keep me clean, soft and pretty (many of them from gift bags). 

These are the staples that I use up and replace often: Dove Revive Body Wash, MoroccanOil Restorative Hair Mask, Victoria’s Secret Coconut Passion Hand and Body cream from the Secret Garden Collection.


Christina:
I love Kevin Murphy’s shampoo for colour treated hair and his Angel Rinse deep conditioner. I’m not a natural blonde, so thanks to Ritual2 for introducing me to this awesome line. It smells fab, and my hair is the healthiest it’s been since Grade 8 (before I was introduced to the world of bleach, dye and CHI hair straighteners).

I also love Mary Kay makeup remover. The shower is the perfect spot to remove my mascara and MK is the only one I’ve found I’m not allergic to.

I always have a pair of exfoliating gloves in my shower; everything else is on constant rotation. 

My latest obsessions are two products that I discovered when I was in NYC over NYE: DevaCurl No-Poo shampoo and Jessicurl Confident Coils Styling Solution. The No-Poo doesn’t lather and it makes your hair really knotty at first – but, when you rinse it out, your hair feels amazing and is tangle-free. It’s all natural, with no sulphites or other fake things. I’m in love.


Lisa:
Dove bath products, especially conditioner. I’m doomed without conditioner, my hair gets all bird-nesty.

Also, Formulab face cleanser, and a loofah.


Carly:
When it comes to products, I’m a Kiehl’s girl through and through. Made from all natural ingredients, their packaging is also recyclable. It’s really the least I can do to help save the environment.

The Crème de Corps Soy Milk and Honey Body Polish has all the right ingredients to moisturize and exfoliate my skin. For a liquid body cleanser that’s oh-so green, I’m currently sticking with Aloe Vera Biodegradable Liquid Body Cleanser. 

With their latest limited edition bottles designed by Jeff Koons, any bathroom can be instantly updated in true contemporary MOMA style.   

What are your shower must-haves?

Tweet us @rockitpromo

Fashion-able: Can You Pull Off the Turban Trend?

Based on the Spring 2011 runways, turbans will be a hit come April showers and May flowers. Check out some hot turban looks below. What do you think?


Giorgio Armani, SS11
Issa, SS11
Jason Wu, SS11
John Galliano, SS11
Milly, SS11
Vena Cava, SS11

Turbans: rock ‘em or toss ‘em?

What’s In Your… Carry On?

We all know by now: whether it’s a short flight or you’re in for the long haul, keep your prods to a minimum. And by minimum, we only mean 30 mL or less. In terms of how many items you want to bring on though, well, that’s still left up to you and the size of your travel bag, luckily. We asked our office what their carry-on staples are, and this is what we’re rocking:



Michelle: I typically bring a mix of magazines in all sorts of genres so I don’t get bored. My selection would look something like: Toronto Life, Flare, Nylon, Adbusters and one tabloid like Us Weekly.


I would DIE without music, so always have to have my iPod. It helps me tune out the sound of other people snoring, kids crying, someone coughing, etc. And I have a huge fear of my luggage getting lost, so I always bring one outfit and pair of shoes in my carry on, just in case.
Lara: As soon as I clear customs, my traditions kick in. First stop: Starbucks for a Frappucino. 

Second stop: mindless magazines and a bottle of water. These are added into my overstuffed carry-on, which also always has a few other things, like ear phones. 

I barrel through new releases on flights. I never travel with out my various chargers – Blackberry, iPod and camera. If there’s one place where I find the leggings trend appropriate, it’s on a plane. Enter comfort zone as soon as the bathroom light comes on after take-off.


Rachelle: My top 3 must-have carry-on items: Rosebud Salve lip balm: It can be used on basically anything dry (lips, face, hands). Baby wipes, which are great for the babe, and to clean my hands if the bathrooms are not vacant. Otrivin nasal mist: I know, kinda gross, but my sinuses kill me on the plane.
Carly: Apparently, there is something to be said about packing light. Don’t ask me about it; I have never done it. When choosing between my Michael Kors wedges and Pedro Garcia booties, I bring them both.

Then I throw in my Stuart Weitzman’s for good measure. So what’s in my carry on bag? All the shoes I can’t fit into my suitcase.

Christina: I’m one of those weird people who loves to fly (comparable to the weird people that enjoy going to the dentist). This is because I usually take the opportunity to catch up on sleep. After boarding, I enjoy a glass of Merlot and then catch up on my zzz’s. 

My carry on includes items that make my snooze a little more comfortable:

A good book. I read a little until the Merlot kicks in and I get to snooze. Gum for when I wake up from my snooze. Also, great to chomp on while descending. I pack Pur Gum in spearmint. It’s aspartame-free, and one of my New Year’s resolutions is to cut this chemical out of my diet.
 

Sunglasses. The second I get off the plane, I slide on my sunny gees to cover my sleepy eyes.

Debra: I never go on a plane without regular flavoured Bubbalicious (for take-offs and landing), a spray toner that I transfer into a small spritz bottle (I like Dermalogica), and Rosebud Salve lip balm. I also always have a pashmina in case I get cold.

Lisa: A really warm sweater! Airplane blankets are never warm enough and I always get chilly on planes. I would also bring a full-sized pillow if it would fit. I like to be comfy.

Alana: First and foremost, a good book. I love reading at night, but find that I’m out like a light after three pages, so taking a good book with me on vacation is always a must. Bonus: it also gives me a chance to actually finish the book in a normal amount of time. 
Second, snacks. If I’m travelling out of the country, I’ll always bring something small but filling, like granola bars, just in case of delays or as a potential life-saver from unappetizing foods (as tempting as those chicken feet look, I think I’ll pass). 

Other essentials include a travel toothbrush and face wipes and anything else that will make my trip run smoothly!

Abby: Number one carry-on must-have is a good book or two, depending on how long the flight is. I wear my glasses and bring contacts to change into before I land (they get way too dry on the plane). And toiletries: a toothbrush, my makeup bag to look a little less rumpled (Benefit’s benetint is the single best way to do this) and a hairbrush. 



I love Nina Garcia’s words about airplane travel – something along the lines of “flights are not an excuse to wear yoga pants. Look presentable, wrinkle-free and comfortable, not like you’re going to the gym”. I try to live by this (sorry Lara!).

Yum, yum: Delicious soups

We’ve been chatting lots about cold weather noshes, like coffee and hot chocolate. We asked the crew on the fourth floor about another delicious way to warm you from the inside – soup. There are a million varieties of soup and a hot, steamy bowl is just the thing to make you feel warm and cozy when the snow is blowing outside. 

Our favourite picks were a surprising mix of restaurant faves and recipes from mom. Enjoy!

Alana: The absolute BEST soup I’ve ever had was at Auberge du Pommier. Their Cappuccino de Truffe soup is served like a cappuccino (obviously), but filled with pureed mushroom and truffle soup with velvet shank cream and a hunk of parmesan cheese (that you put in your soup to melt). It’s also accompanied by a delicious Parmesan biscuit. It’s pricey at $19, but in my opinion, worth every penny, especially for a nice treat. You won’t find a better mushroom soup out there – trust me!

Debra: I adore the lentil soup at Mashu Mashu in Forest Hill Village. It’s hearty, thick and great on it’s own or with pita and hummous. I used to live across the street and loved going in regularly to get this soup.  

Rachelle: The Senagalese Peanut Chicken from Soup Nutsy. It’s filling, spicy and has tons of flavour. The crunchy peanuts are a nice touch. Soup Nutsy bowls are always awesome, and this is one of the best.  


Lara: I’m not a very big soup person, it just never appeals to me. However, if I do have soup, it is from a few places. I like the pea soup from United Dairy Bakery. I also dig a good bowl of pho, but haven’t yet found a great vegetarian option. Any suggestions?

My favourite soup is my mom’s incredible curried cauliflower soup. You wouldn’t know its cauliflower, and the drizzle of honey on top is a not-too-sweet surprise and cuts the curry. The rich flavour comes from how long the cauliflower is roasted for. Yum.


Michelle: I am not really a huge soup person, but I do love a classic chicken noodle soup once in a while. I mainly eat soup when I am feeling sick, and I will make myself Lipton Chicken Noodle soup and break up a lot of soda crackers into the bowl and let them get a bit mushy. For some reason it is the only thing I can eat when I am feeling under the weather. It makes me feel all warm and cozy so I can rest and get better quickly!


Carly: When in culinary doubt, I see only two options – Google Martha Stewart or head to the nearest Pusateri’s. This gourmet foodie shop has the best PB + J party sandwiches, red velvet cupcakes and asparagus soup. Made with puréed asparagus and a little something spicy, this green soup will fill your daily veggie requirements. Add some cheese, and trust me, this is no cup of Campbell’s.


Christina: My favourite soup is A. Walters’ (a.k.a. my mom’s) homemade potato leek soup. The name doesn’t sound appealing, nor does it look particularly appealing, but it tastes fabulous. It’s thick, a little nutty and warms the heart on a cold winter day. Added benefit? Both my brother and sister aren’t fans, so it leaves more servings for me when I go home for a visit. Ma Dukes is usually great about making extra (thanks, Mom!) and sends it back home with me. 
 
Abby: I am a huge Thai food fan, so I regularly crave the shrimp lemongrass soup from Thai Paradise, a tiny little restaurant in Baldwin Village. It’s pretty authentic, spicy, and the shrimp are so fat and tasty. I love the complex flavours of the soup; lemongrass has got to be one of the most delicious seasonings ever. My mouth is now watering.


Lisa: I don’t care what anybody says! My mom makes the best soup in the whole entire world (ahem… Lara and Christina…). My fave is mushroom. Made with cream, loads of mushrooms, a little flour, some butter, and salt and white pepper to taste. Simple. Savoury. Super fattening. It’s so good. I would tell you all to try some, but she lives in North Bay. 
 

Where do you get your favourite soup? We want to know!

A holiday message for you


Happy holidays from all of us on the fourth floor! 
Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and fun holiday season.


xo
Debra and the team

From left to right, top row – Carly, Rachelle, Lara, Christina, Matt, Alana and Abby
Bottom row – Debra, Michelle and Lisa