Special Media, Darling post: Holidays, Part 2

Remember our special Media, Darling post from last week? Welcome to Part 2! We asked some of our contributors to share with us their holiday plans, New Year’s resolutions and hopes for 2011. Here is what they told us:
Jen McNeely

What’s your favourite holiday tradition?
Wearing a dumb hat from my cracker at the dinner table. It’s probably the only real tradition we have.

Favourite store to receive a gift from?
Store? I prefer spa. Body Blitz in Toronto or Scandinave in Collingwood.

How will you spend your time off?
In my jammies, with a cup of tea, rolling around the carpet with my husband and dog.


Rebecca Zamon

What’s your favourite holiday tradition? 
When I was a kid, it was my dad taking me to the Eaton’s Centre’s Toyland – it was this magical place where there was every Barbie I’d ever wanted. Now that I’m an adult, I enjoy the grown-up version of this; coming across the extravaganzas that are the holiday windows at The Bay and Holt Renfrew. They always depict a fantasyland that I just want to jump into.

Favourite store to receive a gift from? 

Anthropologie. Between the clothing and the home décor items and the jewellery, I have literally never left that store without buying something that I’ve continued to adore for years down the road. It’s a sure bet that if you get something for me there, I’ll love it.

How will you spend your time off? 

In New Orleans! My parents, my boyfriend and I are heading down to NOLA for five days, and I can’t wait to experience the food, music and southern culture.

 

What is your New Year’s resolution?  
I don’t exactly believe in resolutions. There’s this great quote from author Anaïs Nin: “I postpone death by living, by suffering, by error, by risking, by giving, by losing.” I plan to spend 2011 doing just that – and add “by loving” to that list.
What was 2010’s highlight for you?
Twitter. Since joining in February, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting dozens of talented individuals in Toronto and connecting with many more throughout the country and abroad. Twitter has broken down barriers and made the industry (and the world)  a much more accessible place. For that, I am grateful.

What are you most looking forward to in 2011?
Next steps. New adventures. Leaps of faith. Great writers. Great writing. The last year before 2012. 

What is your New Year’s resolution? 
I don’t ever make New Year’s resolutions.  I try to take advantage of or create opportunities that come my way during the year.
What was 2010’s highlight for you?
So many good blog things happened in 2010, but I really loved my trip to Los Angeles this summer.
What are you most looking forward to in 2011?
It’s really short term, but I’m looking forward to my March ski vacation in Whistler.

What is your New Year’s resolution? 
I am a believer in New Year’s resolutions. It is one of the few common holiday traditions I like to take seriously. I usually try to choose something that is modest and measurable, making it easy to keep, but this year I’m feeling like I’m into audacious, broad, unmeasurable stuff. I want 2011 to be the year of YES. Whether asking or answering, I want my default setting to be on “just go for it”, and see what happens when I throw caution to to the wind and allow myself to be gutsy and uninhibited about doing what I want to do.
What was 2010’s highlight for you?
2010 was a mixed bag of a year for me, full of highlights and lowlights and sometimes no light. Above all, the highest point was also the lowest: the end of an eight-year relationship, a devastating moment that forced me to truly ask myself what I really wanted to do with my life, and then take some kind of action and move. Flying over the Atlantic for the first time to start a new life in a totally unfamiliar city has really been one of the most significant moments of my entire life so far.
What are you most looking forward to in 2011?
I’m looking forward to exploring a continent where everything is very old, but very new to me. Hello Europe, I’m coming over.

Meet Our Team: Lara

Lara is the newest addition to the rock-it team, and we couldn’t be happier to have found her. After graduating from the University of Western Ontario, Lara worked in television production and fashion styling before pursuing a career in publicity. After a short time at The Mint Agency, Lara joined the rock-it team, bringing her happy-go-lucky attitude with her.
Lara is obsessed with cereal for lunch (with almond milk), and is on a never-ending search for the perfect cheek stain to get that all-over glow (which we think she already has).

Twitter: @laratobinstyle

How long have you been part of the team?
Two months.
Ideal vacation spot?
Travelling is a huge part of my life, so narrowing it down is impossible. But give me anywhere with mountains and water and I’m in heaven.
What do you love most about living in Toronto?
Whenever there are city events, like a parade or outdoor concert, I have the same thought every time, without fail: “Whoa… Toronto is way bigger than I realize.” I feel T.O. pride when I see huge numbers of people coming out to participate, giving our large city a smaller community feel.
Best gift you’ve ever received?
A pinky ring from my mom (ironically, for her 50th birthday). My mother, my sister and I each have one; it represents our own sorority. 
Best part about being a publicist?
Letting your creative juices flow. I’m a people person, and love to meet and talk to new people. I also love to write, research and learn; all of which PR holds the key to. 

A little more from the fourth floor:
Website: http://www.theselby.com/
Designer: Alberta Ferretti and Gwen Stefani (L.A.M.B)
Store: Holt Renfrew Last Call
Book: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. I can’t find my copy though, that’s gotta be bad karma.
Snack: Nachos
Season: Summer
Sexy: Summer
Inspiration: Family. Everyone at rock-it. Spiritual thinkers and optimistic folks.
Drink: Beer, especially Magic Hat, which is only available in the U.S.
Motto in two words: One Love

Rave: Great vacation reads

Vacation time is here, and one of the ways we love to relax is with a good book. Whether on the beach or inside by a cozy fire, we’ve found some great reads for our break. Here are three that we’ve been sitting down with:
Set in 1962, The Help is a story about the white children of Jackson, Mississippi, and the black women who raised them. The story begins when Skeeter Phelan comes home after graduating from Ole Miss to find her much-loved maid, Constantine, is gone. When her mother offers no answers about Constantine’s whereabouts, Skeeter embarks on a journey to find her. 
Skeeter asks two maids to help her – the always-loyal Aibileen and the always-loud Minnie. In doing so, Skeeter is exposed to the tough realities of racial divide. While Skeeter’s journey begins as a pursuit of the truth, together these three women start a movement that forever changes their Southern town. Written by Kathryn Stockett, The Help is a hopeful book about the boundaries that exist and the time to cross them. 

Transitioning between the past and present, Sarah’s Key breaks the silence on Paris’ Vél’ d’Hiv’ roundup of Jewish men, women and children. The book begins in 1942, when French police arrest Sarah and her family. With no foresight of the danger that lies ahead, Sarah locks her brother in her family’s apartment cupboard to try and keep him safe. While the French police hold the family captive at the Vel’ d’Hiv’, Sarah holds the key to her brother’s life in her pocket.
In 2002, journalist Julia Jarmond’s editor assigns her to write an article to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Vel’ d’Hiv’. As Julia begins her investigation, the information she discovers connects Sarah’s past to her own family’s future. Following Sarah’s journey from the roundup on, Julia’s life becomes forever intertwined with hers. Written by Tatiana De Rosnay, Sarah’s Key is an unbelievable Holocaust story about our duty to always remember. It’s not a light read, but will be one of the most memorable books you pick up.


After giving birth to a daughter during a monsoon in a remote Indian village, Kavita has no choice but give her up. Kavita brings her baby to a Mumbai orphanage with nothing but a silver bangle. Meanwhile, in California, American-born Somer and her Indian husband Kris decide to adopt a child from his birth place, Mumbai.
Though she loves her adoptive parents dearly, Asha takes a break from college life to discover her roots. She returns to Mumbai to find out who she is and where she came from. Switching between the stories of the two families, The Secret Daughter, written by Canadian Shilipi Somaya Gowda, tells the story of a mother suffering the loss of her daughter, and a daughter’s search for the mother who gave her up.

Pick up one of these books and become immersed in another world, giving you the mental break that you deserve during vacation. Happy reading!

What are your top vacation book picks? Tweet us – @rockitpromo!

Fashion-able: Bags vs. Clutches

If you like to peruse fashion blogs (and by “like to peruse” we mean “are obsessed with”), you might have come across the online debate about bags versus clutches. The Bag Snob likes, well, bags. And The Man Repeller prefers clutches. It’s a fascinating debate that seems to have online peeps pretty evenly split. It got us chatting about this choice up on the fourth floor, and we were pretty evenly split as well.
We know that many of you will not be purchasing $2,000 purses, but we couldn’t have a post about bags and clutches without mentioning some heavy-hitters in the accessories world! But, we also mixed in some affordable alternatives. Here are some options to satisfy all of your bag and/or clutch needs, whether high-end or high-value.

Clutches

Serious splurge: Derek Lam Evie Studded Clutch ($589 – sale price at Barney’s! Regularly $990)

 
Work this lovely little piece of heaven for a look that’s rock-and-roll chic. With a flap front and magnetic closure, this clutch comes with cool metal stud embellishments. Lined in fabric and featuring Lam signature ram hardware, the clutch has also has great woven lace-up trim detail. Perfect for day or night, this Aries-inspired clutch will take you from brunch all the way through to dinner and dancing. 
Score a save: Matt & Nat Sondre Wallet/Clutch ($75)

Vegan (and Canadian!) line Matt & Nat has been producing gorgeous bags, clutches and wallets since founder Inder Bedi was challenged to become vegetarian for 30 days. Each piece produced is environmentally friendly, with linings made from recycled plastic bottles. This pretty little clutch doubles as a wallet, and has a similar studded design as the Lam clutch above, but without the hefty price tag. It also comes in a cool peacock blue.

Serious splurge: Hunting Season Leopard Envelope Clutch ($1,432)
If you aren’t already completely decked in this season’s must-have print, then we have the clutch for you. Hunting Season’s luxe Leopard Envelope Clutch ($1,432) is made of patterned calf hair and trimmed in black snakeskin. With bold prints and a ladylike shape, find this clutch in the pages of Vogue and Elle.  

Score a save: Club Monaco Emily Clutch ($198)

Incorporating leopard into an outfit with an accessory is a subtle way to rock a trend, and won’t set you back a ton. This clutch from Canadian favourite (well, formerly Canadian) Club Monaco is sleek and simple, ensuring that you’ll have it around for a few years.  
Bags

Serious splurge: Marni Goat Hair Leather Bag  ($1,500)

 
Because a girl can never have enough fur in her closet. This quirky Marni leather cross-body bag’s goat hair is shaggy in the front and shaved in the back. With all the “it” factor a Marni girl could want, the bag has an adjustable strap and black leather trim. If you are already on PETA’s wanted list, then this bag is surely for you. 
Score a save: Zara Faux Fur Handbag ($59.90)
 

We think this Zara faux fur option is pretty cool, even though not exactly the same as our Marni pick. It will make those who are PETA-friendly feel good about carrying something that resembles fur, and will add some edge to your look. The colour palette will go with almost any outfit, but steer clear of wearing anything else fur related. 

Serious splurge: Miu Miu Leather Hobo Bag ($1,186)



Words cannot express our love for fringe, but let us tell you in the words of Rachel Zoe – it’s mah-jor. Carry this statement piece in the season’s neutral colour palette of choice. Embellished with leather fringe trim, this nude-hued bag is timeless, cool and original. Designed with a fold-over flap and clasp closure, the bag comes complete with an adjustable and removable shoulder strap and strategically placed pockets. Bag lovers, make room in your closet for this fringe take on a Miu Miu classic.   
Score a save: Danier Leather Fringe Purse (on sale for $69, regularly $139)

Though not as fringe-tastic as the Miu Miu purse, this Danier version is still really pretty and very chic. Made from soft lamb leather, the purse is a cute size, with just a bit of fringe detailing, meaning you won’t get sick of it in just one season. The braided handle adds a fun bit of subtle boho. It’s also available in black and grape. And the sale price is impossible to beat.

After weighing all of our great bag and clutch options, our verdict in the great debate? Go for both! You can never have too many choices.

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

Special Media, Darling post: Holidays

For the holiday season, we thought it would be fun to ask some of our previous Media, Darlings how they’ll be spending their holidays. Here are a few of the answers, we’ll post more next Thursday!
Nathalie Atkinson

 Nathalie and her sister.

What’s your favourite holiday tradition?

Personally, I love wrapping presents. I have a bit of a stationery and wrapping paper problem in that I amass a lot of the stuff, more than I can use. (Especially the individual printed paper sheets at DeSerres, when they go on sale.) I could be wrapping and wrapping and wrapping all year long – I find it really relaxing, sort of methodical and meditative. Slowing down and doing that is my favourite part of such a consumer season. I wrap everything that goes into every stocking, all my extended family’s presents to each other, but that’s still not enough, so now I even offer to do it for my friends and their gifts for other people. I’m not exactly Candy Spelling but our rec room is a temporary wrapping workshop right now. I should probably volunteer for the Salvation Army wrap station or something and get it out of my system.

Favourite store to receive a gift from?
In Toronto? My gourmand side says Good Egg in Kensington Market, hands down. There isn’t really anything in that store I don’t love. I cook a lot (see above) and for my birthday last week a very clever friend gave me a book called The Flavour Thesaurus from there; Mika has great taste and is a terrific buyer; I always find things I’ve never seen before, and her staff know their stuff and can help you find the perfect thing for everyone on your list. Whether they’re a foodster or not. It’s a whole lifestyle store.

In Texas? Anything from Specs, the humongous liquor store chain. I collect hard-to-find small batch bourbons and they have aisles of the stuff. It makes my sister’s Christmas gift to me very easy!

How will you spend your time off?
I’ll be in Texas. Baking, swimming, reading and browsing antique and vintage shops around Houston and Austin. It’s all about spending time with my whole family together, which I don’t get to do very often. My father travels overseas a lot and my sister lives in Texas, where my parents have a second home and my mother spends half her time, so we’re really only ever all together at Christmas. Our French heritage really dominates come the holidays and even my father, who’s from England and is therefore mad about all things Christmas in a different way, gets in on the French-Canadian traditions. He’s made the signature tourtières for years (along with his mince meat tarts and the Bûche de Noël), and my very favourite part of the holidays is the last couple of days leading up to Christmas, and in particular, Christmas Eve. 

 The delicious Bûche de Noël
 

My sister, mother, father and I are all in the kitchen cooking and preparing the snacks, the cookies, the sausage rolls and the meal all day long. The ovens basically run non-stop, the kitchen is as warm as a bakery, and my dad and I compare notes on the craft holiday beer we’re drinking as we cook. And we listen to our favourite Christmas album, which is Kenny and Dolly’s Once Upon a Christmas, over and over, singing along with abandon like goofy lunatics. It’s really fun.

What’s your favourite holiday tradition?

Growing up, my brother and I had a sleepover every Christmas Eve (sleeping bags and alternating our rooms each year). When we woke up Christmas morning we were allowed to go through our stockings but had to wait until our parents were up to touch the gifts under the tree. The excitement of it all always made me happy and it still stands out as a favourite tradition.

Favourite store to receive a gift from?
That’s a hard one! Indigo has a really amazing selection of stocking stuffers, stationery and home stuff (not to mention all of the books and mags) so I can’t say I’m ever disappointed with something from there.

How will you spend your time off?
I’m heading back to the East Coast to rest, recharge and catch up with friends from home. Halifax can be damp this time of year but there’s nowhere I’d rather be (and then back to Toronto in time to ring in the New Year).


What’s your favourite holiday tradition?
Two weeks before Christmas, buying a tree, setting it up, writing and addressing Christmas cards while watching Bill Murray in Scrooged. (Ed. note: a must-see. Go rent it if you’ve never watched it!).

What’s your favourite holiday tradition?
The nine adults in my family draw names and exchange stockings on Christmas morning. It’s kind of cheesy but doing a lot of small presents for one person is a good way to acknowledge who they are and what they like: specific books, cosmetics, silly stuff, notes, treats. I dig it.
 
Favourite store to receive a gift from?
Any used book store. I love getting books more than anything. Barring that, Holt Renfrew. 

How will you spend your time off?

I’ll be in suburban New Jersey and New York City at Christmas this year, so I’ll be chasing my nephews and nieces in the snow, and doing the classic Manhattan-at-Christmas stuff. 

Rockefeller Center