Rave: Patio Season

All of us here on the fourth floor live for patio season – and thankfully it’s just around the corner. (May is going to bring nicer weather, we know it). In celebration of the return of our favourite warm weather activity, we want to share some of our top patio picks from across the city, neighbourhood by neighbourhood. Enjoy!


The Ceili Cottage, located at 1301 Queen St. E., is a cute Irish pub/restaurant in Leslieville. The patio seats up to 60 people, and with its street-side location, it’s just the right spot for conversation, people watching, and enjoying the weather!

Archeo is a lovely little restaurant in Toronto’s Historic Distillery District at 55 Mill St. Its classic patio is a sheltered oasis with foliage, flowers and cobblestone underfoot. We love this spot best for a Sunday brunch with friends and family. Afterward, take a stroll around to explore art galleries, shops and stunning historic buildings.


The Rushton is a cozy, neighborhood-oriented, French-inspired bistro at 740 St. Clair Ave. W., with a sweet little side patio. Such a lovely, intimate spot for a romantic date night. Enjoy wine and fresh cuisine on a warmer summer night here.

Safari Bar Grill located at 1749 Avenue Road this restaurant boats one of North Toronto’s largest patios – and it’s fully heated with retractable awnings and surrounded by beautiful flowers. Known for delicious food, specialty beers and an outstanding wine list with over 150 premium wines, this patio is a perfect place to go for a weekend lunch or dinner with family or friends.


The Drake Hotel, of course. As you may know, we are lucky enough to have The Drake Hotel as our client, and they have THE coolest rooftop and ground patios in the city. These patios are fun for brunch, after-work drinks or a late night out on the town. Try out one of their seasonal menu items – they are constantly changing, but always delicious!

Vivoli is a classic Italian restaurant located in the heart of Little Italy at 665 College Street. Vivoli has three patios (one rooftop and two street side), making it an amazing spot to head for a pitcher of sangria and tasty authentic Italian pizza, straight from their wood-burning oven. Planning a birthday dinner? Definitely call to book a reservation here!


The Bedford Academy is a classic pub, tucked away in the heart of the Annex at 36 Prince Arthur Ave. The patio is divine since it’s located in such a beautiful neighbourhood, with lots of trees and lush green around you. They also offer five types of Caesars! Yum.

Victory Cafe is an Annex classic, at 581 Markham St. VC is always happening and filled with people enjoying the finest in Canadian flavours from local microbreweries. The service is friendly and the atmosphere is laid-back, making it a perfect destination for an after-work dinner and drink date with friends.

Tell us what your ideal spot to take in some sunshine and delicious drinks with friends in Toronto. Tweet us @rockitpromo or comment below. 

Don’t forget to wear your sun block – or a stylish hat – to protect yourself from the rays while lounging around in the sun. It’s coming soon, we promise.

Media, Darling: Edward Keenan

Edward Keenan is a Toronto writer who works as a senior editor of Eye Weekly (shortly to become The Grid), where he writes a weekly column about politics. He is also a contributing editor at Spacing magazine and a contributor to Yonge Street. He also contributed essays to two books in the Toronto Book Award-nominated uTOpia series from Coach House books.

Although he often writes about municipal politics, Keenan’s interests as a writer have been widespread: he has written frequently about the arts, sports, sex and sexuality, and business, and for a time he wrote a blog about manliness for The Walrus. A four-time National Magazine Award nominee, Keenan is a lifelong Toronto resident who has lived in Riverdale, Scarborough, The Annex, Harbord Village, Greektown and Bloorcourt Village. He has now settled down in The Junction, where he lives with his wife Rebecca and their two children.

What was your favourite class in high school? Why?
My favourite class in all of high school was a senior level history course called “Modern Western Civilizations.” I loved it for many reasons: because it was primarily a class about ideas, because it used a university-style seminar format that allowed for small-group discussion and debate, because there was a lot of reading and thinking involved and very little tedious memorization.

But what really made Mod WestCiv the best class I ever took at any level of schooling was the teacher: George Wrobel treated his students as peers, he was funny, a great storyteller, and many of his stories involved how he put himself through grad school in Cold-War Poland by trading US currency on the black market. He encouraged me to be a writer when no other teacher thought that was a good career path, and helped form my analytical approach to big essential questions. Plus, he gave me a grade of 100 per cent on a 22-page term paper once, which made me like him even more.

How did you get your start as an editor/producer/host?
I went to journalism school and had a false start early on as a trade magazine editor, but then wandered away into the restaurant business and fiction writing for a while. I really got the start that led me to my current career by interning at Eye Weekly and treating it as a chance to learn how to do every element of journalism and prove I was capable. I worked harder as an intern than I did for several years after that, and I suppose my efforts paid off: I got hired at the end of my term as a Staff Writer, which a little later led me into editing.

As a side note, I still consider myself primarily a writer, but I got into the editing side for two reasons. The obvious one is that editing tends to pay better. The less obvious one is that in magazines and especially in newspapers, editors are really the driving creative force behind the publication. Good writers provide the stuff a publication is made of, but editors are the ones who compose the way a reader experiences the publication – choosing the subjects, selecting the right writers to pair those subjects up with, arranging the mixture of stories and other items, working with the art department to manage how things feel on the page. Like a director in film, the editor uses the efforts of other talented people to build something greater out of them, crafting an experience for readers. That control-freak aspect appealed to me.

If you weren’t a Media, Darling, what would you be doing right now?
What would I want to be doing, or what would I likely be doing? Either way, I’m not sure. I considered going into law at one point, but I’m not sure I’d have had the passion for contract parsing required to see it through. I also dipped my toe into entrepreneurship, and I may have pursued more small business ideas… I may still.

And then there’s my love-hate relationship with the prospect of going into politics, which comes up now and again. The thing I’ve most enjoyed as a side project is being a DJ – a couple friends and I had a pretty successful dance night at a local bar for a while. I have no turntable skills or anything, I just love composing a party. Pressing play on a song and having a packed dance floor jump up and down cheering is a powerful rush.

Pitching or follow up: Phone or email?
The truth is that you’re unlikely to hear back from me either way unless I’m interested in what you’re pitching (see: 200+ press releases by email PER DAY, in addition to the other 100 or so assorted bits of other business in my inbox). But email, please, unless it’s urgent and you feel lucky about the prospects of finding me at my desk.

We know irrelevant pitches, calling you the wrong name and eight follow-ups are no-no’s; what else should publicists avoid doing?
Sending me three copies of the same release, assuming that a good cause is equal to a good story, feeling upset that I did not call or write back…

Sunrise or sunset?
Sunset. Just because I’m actually awake when it happens most of the time.

Eau du Tobacco (for a few more weeks, at least, until I finally quit).

Why yes, please.

I like them, but I’m afraid I cannot be bothered to plant them or buy them (special occasions excepted) or take notice much of which is which. Orchid-looking interesting, brightly coloured ones are nice.

Not particularly. I think I got all tickled out as a kid.

Shower or bath?
Not sure anybody wants that mental picture conjured up. But: showers for cleaning, waking up, focusing; baths for relaxing and reading.

I have a few, but they’re the same as everyone else’s favourites: The Godfather and The Godfather II, Glengarry Glenn Ross, Eternal Sunshine on the Spotless Mind, Annie Hall, Pulp Fiction – off the beaten track slightly, Down By Law is probably my favourite of all time.

Orange, definitely. But I tend to prefer Root Beer.

First job?
Flyer delivery. The best week was when we delivered chicken soup samples rather than flyers. I wound up with a year’s supply of overstock that I used to make myself snacks after school every day.

I have a surplus of inspiration, and I don’t find it or the sources of it particularly remarkable (I’m inspired by almost everything and everyone – the world is fascinating and the people in it more so). What I have a shortage of is the time to see all my ideas and ambitions through. If anyone with a science background needs inspiration for a new invention: how about the 48-hour day?

Meet Our Team: Natalie

Natalie is our newest addition on the fourth floor, and we couldn’t be happier to have found her. She graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 2007, with an honours degree in Media, Information & Technoculture, a minor in Comparative Literature and a Certificate in Writing.

She got her first kick at PR when she landed an internship with the Canadian Opera Company. She worked at Alliance Films for nearly three years, and from there, landed a contract doing unit publicity with Battle of the Blades, where she got to hang with Ekaterina Gordeeva, making her childhood dreams come true. A serious pedigree to have on our team – welcome, Natalie!

Follow her on Twitter: @badalie

How long have you been part of the team? 
About two months.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Sleeping in. I don’t do this very often, but I relish the days when I can lay in bed (guilt free) well into the afternoon.

What do you love most about living in Toronto? 
Biking! I love living in a city with such a thriving bike culture. I’m way too much of a wimp to bike in the winter, but as soon as the city thaws, Rupert (my trusty steed) and I are inseparable. Toronto becomes a lot smaller and easier to discover when you can map out your own route. 

Best gift you’ve ever received? 
Last year for my birthday, my boyfriend gave me a custom-made Lara Vincent headpiece. Made of black & cream suede flowers, it is absolutely stunning. It’s the first thing I’d grab from my apartment in a fire (other than my boyfriend).

Best part about being a publicist?
No two days are ever the same. 

A little more from the fourth floor:
Website: www.apartment803.com
Designer: Samantha Pleet, Proenza Schouler, Calla Haynes, Rodarte, Lover, Vanessa Bruno… I’ll just stop now.
Store:  Robber, Rac Boutique, LAB, Jonathan + Olivia.
Book: The Harry Potter series.
Snack: Apples or dark chocolate.
Season: Fall for the clothes, summer for the fun.
Sexy: Boys with beards.
Inspiration: Sally Singer.
Drink: Coconut Bongo tea
Motto in two words: Namaste (keep that extra word and buy yourself something pretty).

To note: one of Nat’s favourite things to do is to have friends over to try out new recipes, ingredients and cuisines. Her current favourite cookbooks are The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser and Momofuku by David Chang. She points out “I’ll be testing out his pork bun recipe soon, if anyone wants to come over!”

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).

Rave: Textuality: 10 Minutes with Carly Pope

Our intern, Amalia, tagged along on our recent press day with for the film Textuality. She sat down with one of the stars, Carly Pope. They chatted texting (of course), shooting in Toronto and juggling university with acting. Textuality opens in select theatres today. 

Today I found myself in the most amazing position in my professional career: I got to attend the press day for the Canadian film, Textuality.

Click for more info.
The film is a lighthearted look at two people trying to get into a relationship, who must first get OUT of the multiple relationships they were managing through their BlackBerrys before they met. At it’s heart, Textuality is a story about living, loving, and most importantly, laughing at ourselves in this intensely digital age. The movie stars none other than the Absolut Hunk himself, Jason Lewis, with the gorgeous Carly Pope playing the leading lady.

Carly Pope at the premiere of Textuality.

I sat down with Carly to chat about her character, Simone.

We understand you first started acting on the stage back in high school. Is theatre something that you’d consider going back to at all?
I would 100 per cent go back to theatre. In the past, I’ve produced and starred in several plays, including a recent play in L.A. It’s something that I really enjoy, and it brings back great memories.
Keeping with the theme of school, did you continue your education while you worked?
At first, yes. I went to the University of British Columbia out of high school for six months. Then, I had to leave because I landed a role in a TV show called Popular.

For the last 10 years, I’ve tried to complete courses through distance education, but I’ve understood what I love about school is being IN the classroom environment. To me, what’s important is the experience. My mom has often told me, “you don’t need a B.A., you have life experiences!”.

In the movie, you play the female lead – Simone. Without giving too much away, can you tell us if the texting theme of the film resonated with your personal life?
I actually set my phone to silent a year ago. I didn’t want the noise and buzz around all the time. I find that dealing with responding to people [via text], you lose connections with [them]; you miss out on intricacies of speech.

My cellphone in Vancouver doesn’t even have caller ID. I honestly want to be pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised when I pick up the phone! Keeps things interesting.
Back to Simone… can we talk about her amazing loft?
Well, the loft and I kinda go back. You see, the producer for a previous film I was in (Young People F*cking) tried to get this loft for my character in that film, but things didn’t work out. So when I heard that we would be shooting at that same loft (and, most importantly, that my character would be living there), I was so excited.

It was a great experience shooting in the apartment. Everything from the walls to the artwork was so inspiring. The combination of the vintage décor and modern art displayed throughout the space gave it such a great vibe.

If you’re wondering: Carly told us the loft is in Cabbagetown. Exactly where? We aren’t sure. 😉
What was your favourite part about shooting in Toronto?
For me, it’s a special treat to come to Toronto. I have family and dear friends that live here, so any excuse to come back is happily welcomed. I also really enjoy the vast differences within Toronto. There’s the financial district, which is the corporate side of the city, and then you have this other rich, lush and diverse cultural scene. It’s amazing, I like the high energy that I feel, and I also don’t mind hitting the pavement every now and then. 😉
Thank you – it was a pleasure chatting with you. 
You too!

Tweet about the film @textualitymovie or join the Facebook group here. Watch the trailer here!

Media, Darling: Arren Williams

As a stylist, designer, editor and leading trend consultant, Arren Williams’ work has popped up over the last decade in many of Canada’s top style mags and newspapers, including Canadian House & Home, Wish, Style at Home, Flare, Chatelaine, Canadian Family and the National Post

He also pops up occasionally on HGTV, and appears as a guest expert covering style and design for Citytv’s CityLine. Online, you can catch him blogging at www.arrenwilliams.com, as well as writing for SweetHome and the National Post’s home and design blog, Posted Homes.

What was your favourite class in high school? 
Art class. I went to a sports and science focused boy’s grammar school and it was the one place I felt like I actually fitted in.

How did you get your start as an editor?
That was with Style at Home a gazillion years ago. They needed someone to take on their upfront news section ‘Home & Style’ and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

If you weren’t a Media, Darling, what would you be doing right now?
Making jam in Provence. Seriously.

Pitching or follow up: Phone or email?
Email, definitely. Nice short and concise, info and low-resolution-image-filled e-mails! 

We know irrelevant pitches, calling you the wrong name and eight follow-ups are no-no’s; what else should publicists avoid doing?
Please check the sex of who you’re contacting. I am a bloke (obviously!) and you’d be amazed the number of times I get an e-mail addressed to Ms. Williams. And getting my ‘feedback’ i.e. mining for ideas on how to pitch/launch/promote their products or services.

Sunrise or sunset?
Sunrise in Palm Springs. Sunset in Hawaii.

None. It gives me a headache.

Dangerous. I’d hafta say Garibaldi, a.k.a. ‘Flies’ Graveyard’ – It’s a raisin cookie from the U.K. that’s hard to find here that I loved as a kid.

I’m more on the greens side of things, really.


Shower or bath?

Digital. 😉

Orange. 😉

First job?
‘Bottling up’ at the age of 12. In other words, filling the shelves with bottles of beer at a local pub.

Pattern and colour, and anyone who can actually pull their finger out and create something beautiful.