Fashion-able: The Halloween Mustache

It’s one of our favourite days of the year – the day when we can wear whatever we want and eat candy without judgement. 


We’re big fans of costumes, especially those that require a little brain power to come up with (costume puns are the best). But for those of you that have procrastinated and left the costume to the absolute last minute, here is a quick solution – the Hallowee’n ‘stache. Everyone loves a good mustache, right?


This is a super easy DIY project and, like Jen Loves Kev, you can use this party trick to make photos from any occasion a little more fun. All you will need is:

Black bristol board
Tape
Shish kabob sticks (you will need one for each mustache you make)
Pen or pencil

Start off the mustache-making by tracing a 1/2 inch curved swoosh (almost like an XL-sized Nike swoosh) on a pre-cut 3” x 2 ” piece of black bristol board. Cut the outline of the swoosh, and then fold into the remaining half of the bristol board piece. Trace the cut out pattern on to the bristol board, unfold the piece and cut out new traced part. 

This is where you would trace the swoosh on the other side of the bristol board, making it a full mustache. 


This will make both ends of the mustache even, like pictured above. Once you’ve traced your desired ‘stache pattern, keep using the first template to trace more mustaches and replicate them.


Next, take the shish kabob sticks, and attach them to the mustaches. Using small pieces of tape, attach the sticks to one side of the mustache. Stick placement is important – off to the side is best. 

Make sure you secure the shish kabob stick securely to prevent any accidents


As you can tell, we love a good ‘stache On The Fourth Floor. Have a very Happy Halloween!

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Teacher’s Pet: Education vs. Experience

Lorena Laurencelle is currently a Public Relations student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. 

Her Question: What level of education is necessary to succeed in the public relations field? Is education more important, or is experience more valued?
Our Answer: Our team comes from a variety 
of backgrounds, experience and education. We look at both sides of this question by asking some with PR education backgrounds (Amalia and Meg) and some with PR experience (Natalie, Debra and Abby) for their advice.
Debra – President
I didn’t go to school for public relations. I have a degree in creative writing and started working when I was 14 years old and moved out when I was 18. I learned from experience. I took every lesson and like to think I got a bit smarter with each mistake I made. I loved to write, always had an easy time meeting new people and I spent years doing shitty telemarketing jobs where I honed my phone skills. Get good at what you love to do and you can succeed without getting a degree. Spend time in a really good internship or two and that’s going to do you a world of good in the PR world.

Natalie  – Publicist

I attended the University of Western Ontario, majoring in Media, Information and Technoculture and minoring in Comparative Literature and Civilization. While at Western, I also completed a Certificate in Writing. While I think that post-secondary education can be helpful in developing your writing and critical thinking skills, I don’t think that a B.A. is necessary for a career in public relations. At university, I learned more about my strengths and weaknesses and began to think that I wanted to work in PR. It wasn’t until after graduating and completing two internships that I knew that PR was for me.
Ultimately, my advice for anyone looking to get into PR is to volunteer/intern as much as you can. While being a good writer is a necessary skill for a good publicist, first-hand experiences are what make a great publicist. So much of what we do at rock-it involves events and the type of on-the-ground experience you get in a (good) internship is what I believe you need. Learn how to run a door, make a guest list, create a clippings package, etc. – these are the tasks that seem menial, but which are SO important to a functioning PR team. You can read about it in school, but nothing can ever beat real life experience.
Abby – Publicist
Ultimately, a bachelor’s degree of some sort is required to succeed; you need basic levels of writing, comprehension and time management to make it in any career. For PR, it boils down to a combo of natural skills and learned skills. For some types of PR, these skills are best learned in school. For others, they’re best learned in the trenches. If you are willing to work hard, ask smart questions, have great people skills and are a strong writer, you don’t necessarily need a PR-specific education. There are lots of related degrees that will help you out – English, communications, journalism, film, a technology background or even science can be relevant. It depends on what area of PR you’d like to work in. 
Communication skills are a must, so if they come naturally to you, then you’re likely able to make it without a post-secondary PR degree. If you’re not the strongest writer, take a few courses to brush up, or start a blog to develop your style. 
PR education never hurts, but landing a great internship, meeting people in the industry and participating in social media are the alternate route to making it in public relations.
Amalia – Assistant to the President
Having a bachelors degree and a certificate in PR (or something related) is very important. I think that having a PR-geared post-secondary diploma is something that will benefit you incredibly. The things that I learned on the first day of school (Algonquin College) are still getting me through the work day…so pay attention and don’t skip class!
Interning is something EVERYONE should do. I did three internships one summer, and it really paid off. Although the money isn’t great, you need to see it as a learning experience and an investment in your own future. They are paying YOU to learn.
Keeping in touch with former bosses and colleagues is also something everyone should do, especially in our field. Staying on someone’s radar is just as important as your experience, education and skill set combined.
Meg – Junior Publicist
After getting a B.Sc. and working in unrelated jobs for a couple of years, I went back to school for a post-grad diploma in PR. I definitely value that education – it taught me PR writing styles and other basics, and gave me an idea of what to expect in this business. I think a PR-specific education is a strong start to a career in this industry. Writing, editing and style are the base of everything we do, and a PR-specific education will prep you with that knowledge.
That being said, all the education in the world won’t allow you to succeed without real-life experience. Interning is hands down the best way to really learn the biz. I would be nowhere without what I gleaned from my time interning. An education is the foundation for the knowledge you gain from job experience. I continue to learn every day by watching the awesome and experienced pros I work with and listening to their advice and know-how.
In Conclusion: There’s no one right answer as everyone comes into this industry with different skills, education and experience to draw on. However, we all agree on the strength and importance of internships and that some form of education is necessary, even just to hone your writing skills.
Have a PR question you want answered? Send it to meg@rockitpromo.com. We’ll choose the best and answer it on our blog.





Media, Darling: Jason Anderson

Jason Anderson is a film critic and columnist for The Grid (Eye Weekly before that). He also writes about movies regularly for the Toronto Star, Cinema Scope, Movie Entertainment and Artforum.com. He won a Western Magazine Award in 2006 for his music columns for Swerve Magazine in Calgary, and is the author of Showbiz, a novel.

He teaches film criticism at the University of Toronto, programs for the Kingston Canadian Film Festival and plays keyboards in the Toronto band The Two Koreas. You can read his blog at jandersonesque.com

@jandersonesque

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
I always loved writing but discovered in my teen years that scribbling record reviews was a great way to get free music, too. I never really believed that there was a career in writing about whatever art works or cultural ephemera I was most (or least) enthusiastic about – after two decades or so, I still have a hard time believing it. If this all hadn’t transpired, I would have comfortably slid into a life in academia, which is why I’m happy the journalism has led to some opportunities to do some teaching at U of T.

Where would you like to be five years from now?

Hoping to continue to diversify my career with lots of other endeavours beyond journalism (e.g., teaching, programming for film festivals). I also hope to have found the time to crank out a second novel — hell, maybe a third, too.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?

Don’t put your eggs in any one basket, make sure to cover your bets and… damn, I can’t think of a third cliché. Anyway, my experience suggests that the wisest thing to do is have lots of projects on the go and not be precious about any of ‘em. You never know what’s going to pick up momentum – it could be your most seemingly practical idea or your looniest, most self-indulgent lark.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
Still loyal to lots of print magazines, especially about film and music (e.g., The Wire, Mojo, Entertainment Weekly, Sight & Sound, Film Comment, Cinema Scope). The New Yorker and the Sunday NY Times, too. Like a lot of folks (young ones, too), I can’t read anything but the shortest items online so my existence is still cluttered with paper.

Best interview you’ve ever had?

I’ve had so many good interviews but I’m proudest when I have pleasant, lively conversations with subjects generally deemed to be impossible or downright nasty (two words: Lou Reed).

Worst?
The worst of all time was an especially bored and sullen Jewel, who entertained herself in between her monosyllabic answers by lighting matches and flicking them into an ashtray in front of us. How charming!

Best advice you’ve ever been given?

Keep your head down and keep moving.

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
See previous.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Please don’t be mad at me if I make an otherwise reasonable request that may deviate from your plans. I don’t mean to be difficult.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
Too many positive ones to mention. Always impressed with the professionalism and friendliness of 99 per cent of the PR people I deal with in Toronto.

I hate?
Rudeness, small-mindedness, Maroon 5.

I love?
My wife and daughter, heavy metal, Stevie Wonder, racquet sports, Scandinavian movie comedies, dessert.

Reading?
Lately: Simon Reynolds’ Retromania, Reza Negarestani’s Cyclonopedia, Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad, recent tomes on American horror movies in the ‘70s and Hollywood screenwriting.

Best place on earth?
Negril, Jamaica or my backyard.

Dinner guest?
Dr. John

Hero?
John Berger

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Mostly fresh music.

Pool or ocean?
Ocean.

Voicemail or email?
Email.

Rave: High Tea

Whether it’s an alternative to coffee in the morning, a cozy drink on a cold rainy day or a relaxing way to end a meal, there is nothing like a good cup of tea. As lovers of tea, one of our favourite indulgences is going for High Tea. 


We were first introduced to High Tea while living in London, England one summer. It was a friend’s birthday and instead of going out for dinner, we opted for traditional afternoon tea. Dressing up in our most elegant summer dresses, six of us headed to the Savoy Hotel to enjoy scones, tea sandwiches, pastries, tea, and champagne for the birthday girl. It was divine.



Image source.

Whether it’s for a special celebration, or simply an outing with girlfriends (it’s a great alternative to brunch), we’ve found three places in Toronto that offer both traditional and variations of this popular British custom.

The Windsor Arms Hotel –  18 St. Thomas St.
Perfect for a bridal or baby shower, or even just an afternoon tea, we’ve found that The Windsor Arms offers the most authentic High Tea experience in the city. With options to sit in the French-style lobby tea room or the majestic purple room with its original 1927 working fireplace, you feel as though you’ve been transported to another time and place. The price ranges from $30 during the week to $38 on the weekends for “Full Tea”, which includes scones, tea sandwiches, desserts and a selection of teas. While the Windsor Arms is definitely on the more expensive side, it is well worth it for the experience and delicious food.



Image source.

Red Tea Box – 696 Queen St. W.
While High Tea at the Red tea Box is not exactly traditional, it is most definitely a whimsical experience. When walking into the store/restaurant, you feel as though you’ve just stepped into the world of Alice in Wonderland, with colourful, ornate pastries and quirky mismatched furniture, silverware and tablecloths. A variety of prix-fixe options are available including the “Mad Hatter’s Tea Party” (including scones, sandwiches, tea cakes and tea for $27), Tea Bento, South East Asian Tea, Tea Feature, and Dessert Bento. We’ll be heading back again to try each of these cool options.



Image source

T Buds – 3343 Yonge St.
For a more casual yet equally fun and delicious High Tea experience, T Buds on Yonge (north of Lawrence) offers an extensive selection of teas and sandwiches available for afternoon tea. For $22, you’re served the traditional High Tea spread upstairs in the Tea Lounge. A bonus at T Buds is that it is first and foremost a tea shop. The staff are very knowledgeable, and if you enjoyed the tea you sipped, you can buy it downstairs to recreate a tea party at home.



Image source

If you’re looking for something new and different to do in Toronto then we definitely suggest you try High Tea; if not for the tea, then at least for the tea sandwiches! Who can say no to delicious little crustless bites of goodness? 



Fashion-able: Streetstyle at LGFW

Half the fun of fashion week is seeing what people off the runway are wearing. We were continually impressed by the creative layering and fancy footwear we spotted on guests throughout the week, despite the rain and chill. We decided to bring our camera on day five to capture some of our favourite end-of-week ensembles.

Name: Caryn Ceolin (Ryerson University)

Favourite LGFW show: Pink Tartan

Could not survive LGFW without: Tights. She always keeps an extra pair in her purse in case of rips and/or layering.

What we love about her: Caryn’s leather-trimmed cape caught our eye first, but we’re obsessed with her spiked Marc by Marc Jacobs heels.

Name: Jacqueline Flaggiello

Favourite LGFW show: Chloe Comme Parris

Could not survive LGFW without: Snacks and red lipstick.

What we love about her: Her silky wide-legged pants paired with a silky button down top is the most refined version of the trendy “pyjama dressing” we’ve seen yet.

Name: Diondra Ascenuik

Favourite LGFW show: Baby Steinberg (her sister works for the designer)

Could not survive LGFW without: Comfy, yet stylish shoes

What we love about her: The sweet blouse, structured handbag and full skirt are very ladylike, but her leather dress adds a bit of edge and keeps it from being too sweet.

Name: Randi Bergman (online editor, FASHION)

Favourite LGFW show: Chloe Comme Parris

Could not survive LGFW without: Cab chits

What we love about her: We’re torn between her custom-made Pink Cobra jacket and her to-die-for Prada heels. Either way, what a babe!

Name: Bella Mumba (blogger, Hey Do You)

Favourite LGFW show: David Dixon

Could not survive LGFW without: Good vibes and bright colours

What we love about her: In a sea of black, Bella’s refreshing combination of colours and prints is a sight for sore eyes.

*All photos courtesy of the talented James Lourenco

LGFW: The final day

The last day of LGFW always brings its own special energy, and even though we’ve seen so many shows at this point, we love it the best. Here are some of our top moments and looks from Friday. 
Anu Raina’s show was pretty and colourful. The fresh prints on the feminine dresses and skirts had us longing for spring and sunshine. 


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The statement necklaces in the Micalla show. The expert combination of jewels and precious metals resulted in stunning, sparkling pieces.


Baby Steinberg’s show was titled “Remnants” and was made up of scrap material. The designer impressively weaved these scraps together to create form-fitting, multi-coloured designs.
We loved her eco-conscious/sustainable designs and can’t wait to see how her work develops.

Crisp tailoring paired with avant-garde styling and prints at Cydelic by Choryin. Love this chic white outfit. 

The beautifully draped dresses, stark black and white prints and thick black eyeliner at Lauren Bagliore impressed us. 


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This stunning yellow dress from David Dixon was one of our faves from the evening. A great pop of colour in an otherwise black and white show.
Denis Gagnon’s anticipated closing night show didn’t disappoint. The playfulness of the models and the music gave the room a boost of energy and inspiration. His modern take on a bride and groom (two women) was beautiful and reminded us of the freedom we fight for and, in this industry, so fiercely embrace and support in Canada.

And that’s a wrap! See you at the tents again – it’s mere months away.

LGFW: Wednesday & Thursday

Days three and four of LG Fashion Week Beauty by L’Oreal Paris were just as exhilarating as the first two. As we head towards the Fashion Week finish line, here are some of our thoughts on the past two days:


Wednesday, October 19


Sid Neigum



New York-based Neigum’s avant-garde designs blur the line between menswear and womenswear, featuring excellent leather pieces for both sexes. We were, however, less than enamoured by the harem-style pants he had the male models walking in. Difficult for ladies to pull off, so we’re not sure how our men will do it. But kudos for sending something different down the runway.


Marie Saint Pierre



Instead of a traditional runway show, Marie Saint Pierre held a presentation in the Studio space. Mannequins and models mixed on a raised platform while guests circulated around the room. The intimate set-up was a welcome change and offered the opportunity to examine Saint Pierre’s collection up-close.


Korhani Home Rug Runway Show


Korhani took to the runway for a second season to showcase their fast fashion-esque rugs. This playful show featured outfits inspired by Alice in Wonderland and the 80s. While we won’t be wearing any rugs to our next soiree, we’re excited to inject some flair into our home decor.


Pink Tartan



Kim Mimran’s latest collection is as beautiful and classic as we’ve come to expect from the celebrated designer. In an unexpected twist – Andrej Pejic, the gender-bending model du jour, walked the runway in an indigo shirtdress. Never has a boy looked so chic. 


Joe Fresh


One of fashion week’s most sought-after invites, Joe Fresh S/S 2012 featured bright contrasting colours, cool whites and clean lines. We were especially impressed with the menswear; we can’t wait to see our boys strutting the streets of Toronto in some of Joe’s patterned pants and blazers. 


Thursday, October 20


Sarah Stevenson


Stevenson’s intricate textile patterns printed onto gorgeous silks (and in picture frames surrounding the models) epitomized springtime. Those walking outside by the large studio windows couldn’t help but to peer in at the latest looks from this talented designer.



Krane



Ken Chow’s Krane began with accessories (a waxed cotton and leather carryall to be exact) and has since evolved into a menswear line. While Krane’s bags are still front-and-centre for Spring/Summer 2012, his clothing offerings will surely appeal to many urban-dwellers. 


Bustle



From the backdrop of bathing beauties drinking champagne on a boat, to the upbeat, pop soundtrack, Bustle provided a much-needed mood-booster on the fourth night of fashion week. The clothes were equally as fun, combining crisp tailoring with coral, lavender and grey.


VAWK



Perennial favourite Sunny Wong dazzled spectators at last night’s show. As usual, VAWK was infused with glamour –  think metallics and sheer fabrics, paired with muted blush tones. We wouldn’t mind wearing a few of his gowns to Operanation tonight.


*All images via FDCC, except Sarah Stevenson’s which are from QMI