Rants and Raves – Gossip in the Workplace

We’re the first to admit we love us some good dish, whether it’s the latest celeb news on Lainey or Perez, or the rumblings of an amazing new restaurant coming to town. But for the most part, gossip isn’t cool, especially in the workplace.

First off, gossip can’t be trusted. It’s like that game Broken Telephone; facts get twisted or left out altogether. If you don’t hear the juicy details directly from the person it’s concerning, consider it a rumour, take it with a grain of salt and don’t spread it around. 

Mean Girls. Hilarious on screen, not at work.
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We think another good rule of thumb is to never put anything in writing you wouldn’t shout from the rooftop. This goes for email, text, social media like Facebook and Twitter, blogs, and even the good old written word (remember pen and paper?). You could send your message to the wrong person, or you might write something that could come back to haunt you down the road. Once it’s out there, you can’t take it back.

When a co-worker or higher up does something that gets under your skin, toughen up. Chances are it wasn’t personal. Don’t spread it around the office. It wastes time, contributes to a negative energy in the office, and won’t improve the situation. If you really need to vent, take five minutes for some privacy and call a friend or family member to let off steam. (Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, so if you are legitimately being mistreated at work or feel you need assistance to resolve an issue, hit up your boss or HR department.) 

Gossip can damage your relationships.
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We’re not fans of “you didn’t hear this from me, but…” either. If you need to preface yours news that way, you probably shouldn’t be saying it at all. Besides, there might be more to the situation than you are aware of, and leaking private info could do more damage than you anticipate, especially if it includes sensitive information regarding your company, your clients or your boss. 

Spreading gossip works two ways. We’ve all heard someone claim “I don’t gossip, I can’t stand it,” and then watch them happily soak up whatever piece of dirt someone is sharing. Just because you’re not the one spreading word, doesn’t make you guiltless. It’s perfectly acceptable to politely say “I’m not really comfortable discussing this,” and change the subject. 

We know gossip can be a fun distraction, but most of the time it’s not worth it and can have some negative consequences like damaged reputations, a dip in morale and increased anxiety. And really, it’s just plain unprofessional. So next time you’re feeling that urge to spread word about something that probably isn’t your business, bite your tongue and remember that karma is a bitch. 

A version of this post first appeared in http://www.huffingtonpost.ca. 



Fashion-able: WMC Fashion Week Preview

After weeks of wishing we were in on the action at fashion weeks in Paris, London and New York, it’s almost time for Toronto to strut its stuff. We can’t wait to see what our Canadian designers have in store this season at World MasterCard Fashion Week in Toronto. Here’s a look ahead at a few of the shows we’re most excited for.
We can’t help but love these sisters, who have quickly become darlings of the Toronto fashion scene. We’re still dreaming about that leather backpack from a few seasons ago. They always have something interesting to show, so we’re looking forward to seeing where they went this year.
The 3-buckle backpack.
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With outerwear and accessories inspired by Canada’s wilderness and defined by a raw and rustic aesthetic, expect rich leathers, fur-lined hoods, and a lineup of beautiful people wearing sexy jackets.

Rudsak’s hot leather-clad motorcycle gang, F/W 2011
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Sunny Fong’s collection is always one of our favourites, and we’re even more excited this year as he previews VAWKKIN this season. With a slightly lower price point than VAWK, VAWKKIN is designed for the “young, professional, fashion-forward female.” Sounds like a lot of girls we know. Known for having models of all ages and sizes walking the catwalk, he always presents a fun show featuring beautiful womenswear.

Elisha Cuthbert wearing VAWK on the red carpet at the 2012 People’s Choice Awards
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Soïa & Kyo 

Considering two of our team sport Soïa & Kyo winter coats, we can honestly say we’re majorly excited to preview the chic outerwear collection for 2012. With a line inspired by the ‘hipster urban traveller,’ we can’t wait to welcome them to the Toronto catwalk for the first time.

Who on the fourth floor have you spotted wearing this FW 2011 Soia & Kyo coat?
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Triarchy/Martin Lim/Travis Taddeo

These three very different, but all very cool lines were part of last season’s Mercedes-Benz Start Up Competition for emerging Canadian designers. It’s going to be interesting to see what they’ve been up to over the past few months, as each shows independently for the first time.

Triarchy denim
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Such a full calendar, so little space. We can’t wait to head for the tents at David Pecaut Square to see what all the designers have been working on. Check the FDCC’s official WMC Fashion Week calendar here. 

City Living: Best Arts Programmes

We love attending as many events around the city as possible, but a busy social calendar can be a strain on the wallet. That’s why we take advantage of the amazing discount ticket programs that many arts organizations in our fair city offer patrons under 30 years old. Over 30? Find your youngest friend/cousin/colleague and tag along as his or her companion. Several of these organizations will give you the deal, too.

Opera for a New Age

COC’s Tosca
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The Canadian Opera Company reserves 150 seats at each performance for its Opera for a New Age program. If you’re 29 or under, tickets to each performance are only $22. If your companion is over 30, this program allows you to purchase a ticket for him or her as well, regardless of age. Tickets for the spring calendar, featuring The Tales of Hoffman, A Florentine Tragedy / Gianni Schicchi and Semele, go on sale March 31. Don’t wait too long, because the discounted tickets sell quickly.


The Game of Love and Chance
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$12.50 will buy you a ticket to see live theatre, courtesy of Canadian Stage’s C-Stage program. Tickets are available to purchase two weeks before the performance, and you must be a registered member of the C-Stage program to take advantage (registering is free). Your companion must also be under 30 to qualify for a discounted ticket. Tickets to Dark Matters are currently on sale, while The Game of Love and Chance goes on sale April 1.


The Sleeping Beauty 
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The National Ballet of Canada offers its DanceBreak program for people 16 to 29 years old. Join the free membership program, and you are eligible to purchase $30 tickets on the day of the performance. Over 29? You can still find affordable tickets through the Rush Tickets program. Beginning at 11 a.m. on the day of an eligible performance, tickets are available for $35 each at the box office. We’re especially excited about The Sleeping Beauty, running March 10 to 18.


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The Toronto Symphony Orchestra offers $14 tickets for patrons under 35 through the tsosoundcheck program. Spend an evening listening to live classical music by great composers like Brahms and Beethoven, or experience more modern fare with the Pops series. Tickets typically go on sale a week before the performance, so check the website for upcoming concerts. Subscription packages for the 2012/2013 schedule are on sale, with tickets as low as three concerts for $66. We already have our eye on West Side Story with Orchestra in May 2013, a screening of the movie accompanied by a live performance of the musical score.


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Have you fallen in love with the arts through these programs? We thought so. Now get your arts fix with Opera Atelier’s Operatix program. Opera Atelier performances are a unique blend of theatre, opera and ballet, and people under 30 may purchase discounted tickets to any performance for $20. The next show is Armide, playing April 14 to 21.

Fave 5: Oscar Snubs

The Academy Awards, aka. the Oscars, aka. the Superbowl for Women, aka. Hollywood’s Big Night Out (okay, we made that up). No matter what you call it, you likely have an opinion on it – from what Angelina is wearing to who wins the night’s big prize, it all makes its way into water cooler talk the next day. What isn’t talked about though, are those artists and films not nominated. So to give everyone their due, we present our top five Oscar snubs of 2012.

Michael Fassbender (Best Actor)

From the moment we laid eyes on his emaciated frame in Steve McQueen’s Hunger, we knew we’d be seeing a lot of Michael Fassbender on the silver screen. His reunion with McQueen for Shame was one of our favourite performances of the year (and not just because his, errr, member appears in the first two minutes). Not only was Fassbender’s performance raw, honest and gritty, he was also naked for most of the movie. Poor guy.

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Verdict: The Academy hates penises, loves baseball (see: Moneyball).

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (Best Film)

So, let’s get this straight. The Academy decides to open the Best Film category to include room for ten films, and then they only nominate nine? Not only that, they shut out the final film in one of the most epic movie franchises in history? This film had everything: action, drama, romance, heartbreak, joy – the whole shebang. And it’s not like they haven’t rewarded epic fantasy films in the past (Lord of the Rings: Return of the King won in 2003). 

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Verdict: The Academy hates magic, loves animals (see: War Horse).

Bridesmaids (Best Film)

Again, ten spots and only nine nominations. We know it’s rare for a comedy to take the top prize (the last time was in 1960 for The Apartment), but we were shocked that Bridesmaids didn’t even get the nod. This film was hilarious, sure. But it was also touching, well-acted, really well-written and one of the first all-female leading cast films our boyfriends were happy to watch for a second time. At least Melissa McCarthy got her (very well-deserved) nomination.

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Verdict: The Academy hates women, loves Woody Allen (see: Midnight in Paris).

Tilda Swinton (Best Actress)

We need to talk about We Need To Talk About Kevin. Has any film ever made you question the nature vs. nurture debate more? Swinton’s performance as the long-suffering mother of a mass murdering, school shooter chilled us to the bone. We empathized with her the entire film, but also experienced a very acute sense of schadenfreude.

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Verdict: The Academy hates serial killers, loves goth hackers (see: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo).

Albert Brooks (Best Supporting Actor)
What can we say? We loved Drive! The soundtrack, Ryan Gosling, Brooks’ villanous turn, Ryan Gosling, the costumes, the 90s throwback aesthetic, Ryan Gosling. Okay, we’ll be honest: we’re less outraged by Brooks’ snub than we are that our last shot of having The Gos at the awards in a tux. Le sigh.

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Verdict: The Academy hates Ryan Gosling. Period.

Tune into the Oscars this Sunday! Who do you think was snubbed?

Media, Darling: Gabe Gonda

Gabe Gonda is the Globe and Mail‘s Arts editor. In his previous post at the Globe and Mail, he ran the Focus section. Before that, Gabe spent 12 years at the Toronto Star, where he worked on every desk as a copy editor, writing editorials, running the letters page, covering city hall, writing features, working as an assignment editor and running the Saturday Insight section for three years. Gabe went to the University of Toronto, where he played a year of varsity basketball, ran a student journal of political theory and dropped out to edit a campus newspaper called The Newspaper. That was before the Internets were a big deal.

Twitter: @GlobeArts

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
When I was a kid I wanted to play for the Blue Jays, other than that I had no career plan.

Where would you like to be five years from now?
Buenos Aires.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry? 
Have a good luck charm.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own? 
The New Yorker, TMZ, ESPN.com, the London Review of Books.

Best interview you’ve ever had? Worst?
Lots of good ones. Worst was Jerry Stackhouse of the Detroit Pistons. He kept looking at me like I was birdshit on his shoe.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Be curious.

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
The Ten Commandments, at least that’s what I tell my rabbi.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Know something.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
The best PR work, like good refereeing or good editing, is invisible.

I hate?

I love?

Whenever I can.

Best place on earth?
At my dinner table, with my wife and two sons.

Dinner guest?
Anyone who asks strange questions, like my friend Ira.

My grandfather. He owned a newspaper in Paris before World War II, but had to drop everything to save his family from the Nazis. He wrote for Hearst in Geneva and finished a Ph.D in history before starting over in America at the age of 42. Moved back to Paris in his 60’s and won a prize from the French academy for his book on the Treaty of Versailles a few weeks before dropping dead in 1982.

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Happily app-less.

Pool or ocean?

Voicemail or email?

Fashion-able: Don’t stray from stripes

It started with twinsie moments, as members of our office kept showing up in outfits adorned with stripes. Then Joe Fresh hit, New York Fashion Week began and it turned out that we were right on the trendy ball. Stripes are running rampant all over Toronto and beyond.

A dress by Victoria Beckham, NYFW F/W 2012

The style is a clean segue from the colour blocking trend. It’s suitable for both men and women, and frankly, we feel the more stripes, the better. 

A jacket on the Rag & Bone runway at NYFW F/W 2012

If you are curious how to incorporate stripes into your everyday wear, we’re here to help.

1. Try a striped tee under a blazer with a mini or cigarette/skinny pants. Think leather leggings. Add an arm party ,or a ton of chunky, funky rings, and you’re set.
2. Go one step further and tuck a striped tee or sweater into a high-waisted skirt. People can be wary of stripes, especially when horizontal. Tucking the stripes in will highlight your shape.
3. For a pared-down striped look, striped flats or wedges can add pop to a neutral outfit.

They say what goes around comes around and fashion is no exception. Here is some style inspiration from some style icons. We’re not the first to love stripes of all sorts.

Coco Chanel:

Audrey Hepburn:

Edie Sedgwick:

The return of the stripes is one trend to embrace. Combine that with a marine-inspired look (stay tuned for our next trend alert post) and you’re nautical by nature.

Rave: NYFW highlights

For the last week, New York Fashion Week has dominated our news feeds, time lines and Twitter. After seeing the collections online (and a couple in person), we can’t help but get excited about our very own World MasterCard Fashion Week just around the corner.
Fashion week can be overwhelming, so much to see, way too much to read and a ton of collections, new designers and trends to follow. Here, we’ve picked a few of our favourite shows with looks we’d love to rock.

New Zealand based Karen Walker showed a collection full of great pieces and accessories including her sunnies and amazing shoes. We fell in love with the jackets, featuring pops of colourful shirts and the very wearable skirts and dresses, take a peek at the full show here. We’ll take one of everything please. 

Images via Fashionologie.
Beads, pom poms and tassels were all over Altuzarra‘s FW collection. All of Joseph Altuzarra’s looks were fun, flirty and we could find a place to wear each and every one. Check out the full collection here at Style.com.

Altuzarra Fall 2012 Ready-to-WearAltuzarra Fall 2012 Ready-to-WearAltuzarra Fall 2012 Ready-to-Wear
Images via Style.com.

Always a great show – Marc Jacobs incorporated oversized hats with their structural dresses and chunky knits to put on an eccentric show with lots of texture. Though we may not be stepping out in a big fuzzy hat anytime soon, the skirts, dresses and shoes are on our radar for fall. 
Images via NYmag.com.

Other notable show shout-outs include Gen Art’s Samantha Pleet show, Theyskens’ Theory and Derek Lam.
And as with any fashion week, outside the tents models, editors and fashion-forward attendees are stopped for their street style looks. After hours of enviously following our favourite sites, we’ve picked some of our favourite bloggers with street style we covet. 
Elin Kling always manages to look effortlessly stylish – she mixes a palette of black, greys, leather (all staples in our wardrobes) and pulls them together in fashion-forward looks. 

Images via Style by Kling.
Hanneli Mustaparta always has a chic, polished look. Being a former model probably doesn’t hurt either. She does great things with colour and can really do no wrong in our eyes. 

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Leandra Medine, the Man Repeller always makes our lists – her innovative combos and mixing of prints, patterns and fabrics inspires us to increase our layers, amp up our accessories and experiment with new looks. Isabel Marant sneakers paired with a cocktail dress? We’re into it. 

Images via ManRepeller.com