Rave: Crazy, Stupid, Love

Paul Aguirre-Livingston checked out the latest Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Steve Carell and Julianne Moore flick, Crazy, Stupid, Love, courtesy of Warner Bros. 

Crazy, Stupid, Love is crazy, stupid, good
Movies have become obsessed with documenting the complex realities of human existence, specifically interactions of a highly personal – and once highly private – nature, like love, sex, family, divorce, death, coming out, finding peace, etc. Crazy, Stupid, Love is just one of many voices in the chorus of our current cinematic opuses that attempts to examine and dissect that very thing at the centre of it all. 
The film begins where most love stories end and journeys of renewal begin: in divorce. Steve Carell and Julianne Moore are a couple with three kids and a 25-year marriage in shambles. Carell plays Carl, a New Balance sneaker-wearing dad who drinks vodka-cranberries like a freshman, and who is left devastated by the news that his wife Emily (Moore) wants a divorce. He moves out almost immediately when Emily turns the knife by revealing she slept with the office douchebag David Lindhagen (played, appropriately enough, by Kevin Bacon).
After a few weeks on the bench at the local too-cool-for-dads watering hole, resident ladies’ man Jacob (Ryan Gosling) grows tired of Carl’s incessant bitching and moping. Jacob, a self-described “tomcat in the sack” who looks like GQ exploded all over him in every single scene, sets on a mission to transform Carl into the man he lost somewhere along the way. And he succeeds. But once the ladies come and go, all that remains is Carl’s desire to be with Emily, and he tries to parlay his newfound confidence into winning his soulmate back. 

The film’s merits lie in its hilariously well-planned plot and the strength of the performances by its supporting cast. Storylines and sub-plots are weaved together to mimic the silent attachments we form with people – people who may not know we exist or people who only exist because of us.

Newcomer Jonah Bobo plays 13-year-old son Robbie, a kid wise beyond his years. He is hopelessly in love with his 17-year-old babysitter Jessica, played perfectly by former Top Model finalist Analeigh Tipton (named “one to watch” by The New York Times because of this role). Thing is, Jessica is secretly in love with Carl. But Carl still loves Emily. And Emily loves Carl, but Lindhagen wants her. See what I mean now? The whole film is clusterfuck of love triangles fit for Shakespeare. And I won’t give away the juicy bits.

Emma Stone rounds out the impressive cast with barely enough screen time, but all her moments are gold, tracing a smart, young, professional woman’s willingness to take a chance on a one night stand she barely knows (Jacob), complete with cheesy pick-up lines and a seduction routine that includes re-enacting Dirty Dancing’s iconic final dance (“the lift!”).  
Despite its Haggis-like plot interactions (see: Crash) that threaten to undermine the film’s strong sincerity and makes you question its real-world probability, Crazy, Stupid, Love succeeds in attempting to explain the intricacies of why we come together. More importantly, it asks why we should make it last. Like many of its cinematic contemporaries and the great tales of love before it, Crazy, Stupid, Love ends up at the same conclusion: none of it will ever make any sense.
And although it can all seem a little crazy, and be a lot stupid, it’s always about love. See what I did there? Yup, the film will ask you that same silly question too. And you won’t mind at all.  

Media, Darling: Lisa and Wendy from Hip Urban Girl

Wendy graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.Sc. Honours degree. Prior to co-founding The Hip and Urban Girl’s Guide (HUG), a women’s lifestyle website, Wendy spent eight years in marketing, event planning and project management for both private and public sectors. She recently retired from her corporate job to fulfill her startup dreams and is now juggling the blogging life with her role as Director of Adfluent Media Inc.
When Wendy is not pulling rank on Google or shamelessly being entertained by Facebook and Twitter (she does unplug!), you can find her at the Biography section of Chapters, dining out, jetsetting around the world, or getting involved in community service. Wendy has lived in Vancouver and New York City but currently calls Toronto home.

Lisa is the Editor-in-Chief, and co-founder of The Hip & Urban Girl’s Guide, a lifestyle website for busy women in the city. She can usually be found hunting down the best cupcake for her food features or going on her next getaway to bring back the best travel tips. Her passion for food, travel, style and events led her to launch The Hip & Urban Girl (hug) in June 2010 with Wendy.

The beautiful minds behind The Hip & Urban Girl’s Guide: Lisa and Wendy.

Twitter: @HipUrbanGirl, @BossLadyWendy, #hugTO

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
Wendy: At 16, I wanted to be a psychologist but after my first year at U of T, I got a summer job at a publishing company and was introduced to advertising. I fell in love immediately and figured that I can always be a shrink in my next lifetime. I’m really lucky that I’ve never had to think twice about what I wanted to be when I grow up. I’ve been blogging for a year and have been in the marketing/advertising industry for eight years now. I still have the same passion as I have since day one.
Lisa: I seriously thought I was going to pursue a career in musical theatre and sing and dance on Broadway. I did a lot of community theatre when I was a kid and even attended a theatre arts high school in Mississauga. I also started DJ-ing weddings and events while doing my political science and cinema studies degree at U of T. The DJ-ing turned into a full-time job (company is called hello DJ!) that I have been running for over six years. So really, it was a smorgasbord. I’m really happy to be working in media now because it ties up less of my weekends in the summer.

Where would you like to be five years from now?
Lisa: I would love to see the readership of The Hip & Urban Girl grow and expand into a few other cities.
Wendy: +1 for what Lisa said above. Right now so much of my life is online, so I’d like to balance it out with an offline component and give back to the community. Ideally I hope to be financially ready and have gained enough business knowledge and experience to start a venture capitalist company. Plus, I’ll be a mommy then!

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?

Lisa and Wendy:
For anyone looking to run a successful blog, be consistent and re-evaluate your editorial direction every two to three months. We wrote about everything and anything we could get our little hands on when we first started out. Install a good analytics program such as Google Analytics (it’s free) and constantly check your data to see what’s working and what isn’t. Talk to other bloggers, read books about the business, and pick a niche to focus on. 

We also find it funny when people think we’re going to steal their ideas. The way we’ll become successful could not possibly be the same path as someone else who finds success in the same industry. There’s enough to go around. Stick to your guns and do what you do best. Don’t worry about other people and what they are doing – what works for someone else may not work for you.

What are your favourite media outlets?
Wendy: Toronto Life, the Globe and Mail, One Degree, Mashable, Daily Candy, CNN, History Channel and A&E, 99.9 Virgin and Z103.5.
Lisa: I read the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, and watch CP24 for quick updates on the weather and news. I never go to bed before catching Lloyd Robertson on the 11 p.m. news. Love that Lloyd. I’m a magazine addict and rotate through Toronto Life, InStyle, Nylon, Glamour, Style At Home, House and Home, Real Simple, Lucky, Lou Lou, Shape, Self and many, many others.

Best interview you’ve ever had? Worst?
Wendy and Lisa:
Josie Dye of 102.1 The Edge and Oh-So-Cosmo is incredibly down-to-earth and had some great advice to share from her own life lessons. She spoke with such conviction and passion from her position as a successful hip and urban girl.

HUG has never had a bad interview, but I did have one in my other career that I can share. I don’t want to mention names, but during a public interview, someone I worked with was the worst while being interviewed. All team members were there, but this person hogged the microphone, answered on behalf of everyone, and at the end, she thanked all the clients and people in her professional circle, but forgot to mention her own support team and family (who were all present)! Yes, she did achieve a milestone in her career, but sadly, she forgot about her roots. Obviously what got her there won’t get her here.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?

Wendy: Be true to yourself. This means following your instincts and passions and not falling for temptations or short-term gains. Much easier said than done!

Lisa: Never overestimate others and underestimate yourself.

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Wendy: My golden rule: don’t seek to be validated. 
On a professional level, conduct business with integrity and transparency. At the end of the day, all you have is your reputation. Define success in your own terms and let passion drive you. The money will follow. 
On a personal level, surround yourself with people who have a positive energy. Don’t wait for special occasions to light that candle or wear that cashmere sweater, the present really is a gift. Work hard and play hard but don’t forget to smell the roses along the way.

Lisa: I wrote a whole post on rules I now live by, but the biggest one is not to be a doormat. I was raised by my shy parents to be nice, not to ruffle too many feathers, or be overly assertive. I definitely got taken advantage of because I was always more worried about being liked over what I really wanted or cared about. I would get stuck doing crap I didn’t like because I thought it was the stuff I should be doing. Yeah, never again.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Wendy: Blogs should be treated as seriously as any other type of traditional media.

Lisa: Please don’t make it seem like you’re doing us a favour by inviting us to an event. I also won’t write a story for a linkback on your page or review a product I have never tried. 
Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
Wendy and Lisa:
We love working with the rock-it promotions team because they are always organized and responsive. They know who everyone is and you know it’s not going to be some sort of frenzy when you arrive. They also have a great roster of clients, are innovative and they get the online space. (Ed note: Thank you very kindly, ladies.)
I hate?
Wendy: People that fake it ’til they make it. Also close-mindedness and self-centredness. The world doesn’t owe you anything.

Lisa: Entitled people who are rude to waitstaff or those working in customer service. I worked in retail for most of high school and university and you wouldn’t believe some of the jackasses you get. 

I love?
Wendy: My family and friends because they help me become a better person. I also love food and New York City. I used to live there and a part of me has never left.
Lisa: My husband, Paul. We’ve been together since high school. Runner up? Exploring new cities, trying new foods and travelling to new places together.

Wendy: I just finished The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I got a lot out of it, it’s an easy and fun read.

Lisa: The 4-Hour Work Week (again). It reminds me to work efficiently and not to get sucked into bad habits like constantly checking email and mindlessly surfing the web.

Best place on earth?
Wendy: In my husband’s arms… is that cheesy? I travel a lot and have shared so many unique experiences with him. At the end of the day, no matter where we are in the world, it can’t beat the comfort and safety I feel lying beside him.
Lisa: Monterosso Al Mare, Italy. It’s as beautiful as it sounds.

Dinner guest?
Wendy: Is this a dead or alive question? My beloved grandmother who passed away two years ago.

Lisa: Oprah Winfrey.

Wendy: I don’t really have one hero per se but I greatly admire women in general who have been struck by some catastrophe (cancer victims, suppressed women in war-torn countries, wives who lost their husbands in 9/11) and manage to keep an optimistic outlook in life.

Lisa: My grandmother. She was lovely and had a need to feed everybody.

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Wendy: Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and the Weather. I keep things simple.

Lisa: Urbanspoon lets you find cool restaurants in major cities across North America. It’s great when you’re travelling.

Pool or ocean?
Wendy: Ocean. I lived in Vancouver for a bit and there’s just something about being surrounded by water and the mountains.
Lisa: Poolside with bar service.

Voicemail or email?
Wendy: Email. People still make calls?
Lisa: Email, please. I’m a night-owl and I like to work late at night. Email is much more convenient.

City Living: Outdoor Decor

With this summer heat wave upon us, there is nothing we like better than to chill en plein air with a refreshing glass of lemonade (preferably our Lazy Days kind) and a fashion magazine in hand. But it’s hard to imagine your backyard as a summery oasis when you are perched on a rickety plastic patio set. 

In June, King Street East became even more stylish with the opening of the chic casual furniture store, Fiber Living. With the help of owners Ion Nicolae and Michael Guerra, who both hand-pick all pieces in the beautiful shop, you’ll be sitting pretty without breaking the bank. 
One-stop shopping spot for your backyard beautifiers.
Here are the top items we want in our outdoor space:

Outdoor Fireplaces
Summer conjures up memories of crackling fires, camp sing-alongs and gooey s’mores. The fireplaces ($5900) from Magnificô Innovation are a perfect investment piece for your outdoor space in the city. These warming wonders are made in Canada, with sliding doors that open should the need to roast marshmallows arise. Cozy up to your cutie and relive the days of camp flings without battling hours of traffic on Highway 400 (it’s still cheaper than a Muskoka cottage!).
Singing “Kumbaya” never looked so good.

Posh Patio Sets
Canadian summers can be crazy, rainy and windy one moment, sweltering hot the next. Make sure your patio furniture can withstand the elements without cracking or fading. For the style-conscious, function shouldn’t trump fashion. Create a comfy, colourful environment with these simple pieces from Fiber Living’s Viva Designs collection. These patio essentials are made from natural materials and are 100 percent recyclable. When the weather turns chilly, you can also bring these pieces indoors. 
 One-seat lounger ($1950), side table ($450) and two-seat lounger ($2450) are all lounge lizard-approved.

Trendy Lighting 
Large, luxurious backyards are a rarity in the city. If you are lacking the space to add a fireplace or full-fledged patio set, jazz up your (literal) pied-à-terre with these funky light features. Designed by Italy-based Slide Design, these one-of-a-kind globes (from $325 to $1025) create a unique vibe for your balcony.
Lighting features that mimic crystal balls – looks like a fabulous backyard is in your future!

What are your top outdoor decorating tips? Comment below or tweet us @rockitpromo

Yum, Yum: Lazy Days Lemonade

It’s HOT outside (obviously). On the Fourth Floor, we’re always looking for ways to cool down that also include tasty beverages (preferably to be enjoyed outside). Enter Lazy Days Lemonade, which is a perfect summer cocktail made from a refreshing combo of white wine, vodka and lemonade. This light drink is great to sip pool side, on a dock or even just on your apartment front porch.
Image source.
Lazy Days Lemonade

1 750 mL bottle of white wine (we like Pinot Grigio)
1 26 oz. bottle of vodka
1 package of Crystal Light lemonade
A splash of lime cordial
1 bottle of club soda

Mix all together in a large jug or punchbowl. Garnish with a slice of lemon and add ice to each glass before serving.

This recipe works best in a large juice jug for multiple servings and multiple friends. We love this one from Crate and Barrel for $49.95.
Image source.

What’s your favourite summer cocktail? Tweet us @rockitpromo.


Do Me A Solid: Stuart Knight’s Top Ten Event

Jumping from an airplane, kissing your high school crush, and climbing Mount Everest are the types of things that generally make it onto a bucket list. Stuart Knight has taken the bucket list concept one step further to create the Top Ten Event – a dynamic social evening with real meaning.

On Thursday, August 4, 10 high profile Canadians will come together at the Isabel Bader Theatre for the first Top Ten Event to share one thing people should know before they die. Each renowned speaker will share a life-changing piece of information based on their area of expertise or passion.

We love how this event combines a fun evening out with raising money and awareness for a wonderful organization. A portion of the proceeds for the event go to the Stephen Lewis Foundation, supporting grassroots projects turning the tide of AIDS in Africa.

Here’s the lineup for the evening:

Rex Harrington, Artist-in-Residence at the National Ballet of Canada, and guest judge on So You Think You Can Dance Canada speaking, on Partnerships.

Rex Harrington
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Entrepreneur, philanthropist and host of Risky Business, W. Brett Wilson, discussing Success.

W. Brett Wilson
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George Kourounis, storm chaser and host of OLN’s Angry Planet, will share tips on Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone.
George Kourounis
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Philanthropist Lisa Ray will also be on the panel. As a successful actress, cancer survivor and having just launched a new yoga studio, Moksha Yoga Brampton, Ray will offer wisdom on Accepting Life.

Lisa Ray 
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Bruce Poon Tip, founder of GAP Adventures, speaking on Adventure.

Bruce Poon Tip
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Shevaun Voisin, founder of Motivated magazine, will discuss the Power of Audacity.

Shevaun Voisin
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With first-hand experience as a medical professional working to make a difference in some of the worlds most war-torn areas, Dr. Samantha Nutt, founder of War Child Canada, will discuss Making a Difference. 

Dr. Samantha Nutt
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The beautiful Kelly Carlson (Nip/Tuck) will be on hand to discuss Manifesting Your Life.

Kelly Carlson
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Chef, cookbook author and co-owner of Mildred’s Temple Kitchen, Donna Dooher will speak on Food. 

Donna Dooher
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And last, but not least, music producer and Canadian Idol judge Jake Gold will share the one thing you should know about the Music Industry. 

Jake Gold
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Tickets are open to the public and are on sale now ($40 and $60). Buy them here and join us for this inspirational evening! 

Fashion-able: What to wear to a sporting event

Here on the fourth floor we love being outside, taking advantage of our fleeting hot weather. We’re definitely not sports jersey wearers but don’t want to stand out like prissy city girls either. We got to chatting about what’s best to wear to the game and still look appropriately sports-friendly.
Here’s a breakdown of our favourite looks to wear out to the diamond, arena, field or park.

Jay’s game:
Going to a baseball game means lots of sun, especially if you are sitting in the 100 or 200 levels, since there is no way to grab any shade time. That being said, we love a good ball game and nothing gets us out the door feeling fresher than a pair of cutoff shorts, a casual cotton tee (bonus points for a vintage tee supporting your home team), a pair of Chucks, sunnies and a hat with a good brim.
See what we mean?
Keeping with the idea that you will spend a few hours in the sun sitting down and watching the boys in red, you want to pick something really comfy. We love to pay tribute to soccer classics by wearing a cute pair of shorts (check out the great pair below), paired with comfy shoes like Toms to keep you in tune with the soccer superfans. Never know when you might need to chase after an errant player….er, ball.
Love the way this girl has paired colours and patterns.
Casual game of (insert sport) at the park:
So, now we’re in different territory. You are out with friends at a park, playing a game of Frisbee, football or whatever floats your boat and you want to look the part, but not be a sissy on the field.
There are two things to consider. One, you want to be able to keep up with the game. Two, you want to look cute in case a group decision leads you to your local pub for after-game pints.

A summery romper will do just the trick. The key to your success will be in accessorizing. We recommend bringing a change of shoes so you can play in a cute pair of running shoes and then switch into more stylish a pair of sandals.

We love the playful print of this romper, perfect for a pick-up game of Ultimate in the park!
Argos Game:
The thought of wearing a dress to a football game might seem a little ridiculous, but give it a minute. If you are going to be out in the sun, sitting down and hanging with your friends, why not enjoy the requisite game food (hot dogs and cold beer? Yes, please!) without any tight waistbands? The fast-food-friendly roominess of a maxi-dress is perfect.
Cute, check. Practical, check. This lady has got the look down pat.
We hope whichever look you go for will rock the stadium and make you the cutest fan (or player) there. Got any other ideas of what to wear to a sporting event? Let us know! @rockitpromo.

Media, Darling: Rita Zekas

Rita Zekas is an entertainment/lifestyle/fashion/decor writer. She originated the paparazzi page/gossip column Star Gazing for the Toronto Star and stalked bold face for decades, before returning to her former love — shopping — doing retail detail in her Store Gazing column in the Toronto Star. She can be found in better stores everywhere — usually in the shoe department.

Twitter:  @TorontoStar
Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
I was going to be a best-selling novelist, writing from a cliffside white-washed cottage in some random sunny port in Greece.

Where would you like to be five years from now?
Reading in an oversized chair overlooking the olive groves in a mountain-top villa on the Tuscan/Umbrian border in Italy.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Be prepared to work with little remuneration and even less sleep. Deadlines, baby.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
I listen to CBC Radio and NPR when I can get it. I read the New York Times online and in print on Thursdays and Sundays — those two days for the Style Sections.

Best interview you’ve ever had? Worst?
Best is Betsey Johnson, who has such a great persona, she could have enticed me to turn cartwheels on the catwalk with her.

Worst is Ivana Trump, who spent most of the time screaming invectives at her minions over the phone.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t Google yourself.

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Do your research and never spear the easy targets.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Don’t double dip. If you have snared an interview with a media outlet, don’t book another one with a different writer. It wastes everybody’s time.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
Working with PR pros like Pru Emery, who was the doyenne of PR people and her successor, who I would have to say is Deb Goldblatt. They just grease the interview process so it’s in and out and no one gets hurt. Or bored.

I hate? 


I love?

Autobiographies. Everyone, even Einstein inevitably was dissuaded from following their basic instincts. And I read everything by David Sedaris, a comedic genius.

Best place on earth?

Dinner guest?
I don’t cook; I reheat.

Cancer survivors.

Favourite app?
I don’t app.

Pool or ocean?

Voicemail or email?