Photo Friday: Fall

When we think fall, we think the delicious Thanksgiving feast, beautifully crafted leatherware and the crisp crunch of leaves under our feet. Our appreciation of the season gets squeezed in somewhere between the craziness of TIFF and the start of World MasterCard Fashion Week. Delightful tastes, colours and fashions- autumn is one of our favourite times of year, but before we know it it will all be replaced with mall Santas, snow storms and big down jackets.  

Image via Rudsak. 


Media, Darling: Carlene Higgins

Carlene Higgins started her publishing career as an
administrative assistant at Salon Magazine before joining Flare nine years ago. As
beauty director, she’s responsible for award winning photo shoots,
up-to-the-minute beauty stories and testing the latest products and trends.

Twitter: @carlenetweets

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what
other careers were on the horizon?

I graduated with an Environmental Studies degree with a
minor in English. I worked in advocacy for a bit but it didn’t suit me. I felt
good about making a difference in the world but ultimately, I wasn’t happy and I
don’t believe that’s doing anybody any good. I needed more structure and
creativity and once I stepped foot in the magazine world, I knew I was in the
right place.

Where would you like to be five years from now?
Dunno. I’m really happy with where I’m at right now. I
love my work, I’m being challenged, I’m learning and I’m given the freedom to
push my work creatively in different areas I want to go. Sometimes I think
about being an editor in chief or starting a website, and other times I dream
about going in on an independent project with somebody and making trillions of
dollars on a really great idea instead of writing about other people’s all the

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?

Be really good at whatever it is you do. If you suck at
photocopying and filing, nobody is going to keep you around long enough to find
out what you really are good at. Make yourself indispensable, pay your dues,
and every once in a while, push to go in the direction you want to go. Also,
forget the attitude problem you mastered in high school. It won’t work in the
real world (my tongue bled from all the biting those first few years). You need
to quickly adjust to find new ways of settling matters. Hint: it involves
removing your feelings from any work situation. It’s tough. Practice your poker
face in the meantime.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own? 
I took a year long break from TV watching but television
seems to be having a moment right now. I’m pretty convinced Game of Thrones and
Girls could be the best shows ever to air, just comparing to a few years ago
when I actually thought Lost was a really good show.

Best interview you’ve ever had?
Justin Timberlake. My husband still questions my
daughter’s true DNA.

I’d tell you, but I’d get in shit from the PR
company tomorrow.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Writing well is using the least amount of words to say
the most you want to say (thanks Dad).

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

Be brave and forgive yourself when things don’t always
work out. It was worth a shot.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Calling an editor to follow up on whether a package
arrived is the equivalent of telemarketers calling during dinner.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear
about #wins.
I am so happy when a press release comes in with
A) the name of the product B) a description of its benefits including key
ingredients C) the price D) the launch date E) arrives 3 months before the
launch date. 

I hate? 

I love? 

A book that is so similar to Downton
Abbey it’s a bit scary.

Best place on earth? 

Dinner guest? 
Ellen DeGeneres.

Ellen DeGeneres.

Pool or ocean? 

Voicemail or email?

Rave: Our All Time Favourite Movies

With the memories of TIFF ’12 fresh in our minds, the office is still buzzing with
celebrity gossip and movie chat, which got us talking about our all-time
favourite movies. Turns out that here on
the fourth floor, we all love a good chick-flick, but like to balance it out with a good comedy or classic ’90s flicks every so often. 

Here’s a list of our favourite
movies of all time which we feel are “must-sees.”  

Disclaimer: We’re not saying these were the best-written, best-directed or best-acted films we’ve EVER seen – just feel-good ones we’ve watched over and over because they make us feel good, spark our imaginations and let us escape to another world once in a while.

As if we even need to explain this choice! Clueless is the ultimate high-school chick
movie that had us all dreaming of Cher’s luxurious life. Who wouldn’t want a sunny L.A. lifestyle, your own brand new Jeep to practice driving and all of the purple clogs you can
squeeze your feet into? And seriously,
who doesn’t like a great makeover scene? Best part of a chick flick, always.

We’re suckers for a good romance and this one might top them all. Maybe some of us are lacking a bit of romance
in our lives, but despite that, The Notebook ranks as one of our top choices
because of its combination of real-world struggles and a love that’s deeper
than infatuation. And there’s nothing quite like a little Gos.
Eye candy. You’re welcome!

This movie is one of the best of Paul Rudd’s, one of our fave funny men of recent years (coincidence that he’s also in Clueless? Hardly. He’s become a sign of a great comedy). This movie makes us laugh to the point of tears, and makes us cringe from his
character’s sheer awkwardness. One of
the most quote-able movies we could come up with and could watch again and
again. Schlappa da bass…..

We are putting these two together simply because they both
made our list for the same reason: we love a little magic and fantasy every
once in a while (some of us a little more than others). These movies – all 11
of them – combine beautiful imagery and creative stories that capture our
attention so that we can watch for hours at a time. We may have done this more than once. Believe what you want. 😉

Who doesn’t like a little bit of teenage drama and
scandal? We couldn’t resist adding one
of our favourite flicks from 
high school to the list. It was awesome back then and it’s even more
awesome now to look back and shake our heads at what we thought was a
life-altering script. We also can’t
forget that this was the beginning of Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe’s
real life romance. (It doesn’t matter
how that turned out.)

And now for the ultimate in chick flicks. We couldn’t leave this one

Young Patrick Swayze as eye candy, Jennifer Grey’s endearing
portrayal of Baby (pre-nose job, how we prefer her), the dancing, the music, the dresses, the shoes, the dancing… what’s not
to love? We don’t even need to go on.

Yum, Yum: Dr. Augusta’s Samitorium

If the name hasn’t already piqued your interest, just trust us and keep reading. Dr. Augusta’s Samitorium is Toronto’s newest player
in the gourmet sammy market (in Kensington Market, no less) and we’re happy it’s arrived. 

Owned by Chris Bobbitt and Vlad Vujovic, who met while working together at
Canoe, this spot has an old-school feel and offers fresh, new flavours. Besides the fact that the pair’s creations are
delicious, they make homemade sodas that, to our delight, can be made into
an ice cream float – inducing thoughts of Archie’s favourite hangout, Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe.

Dr. Augusta’s Samitorium is a welcome addition to the gourmet sammy market in Toronto.

It took us a good 10 minutes to decide which sandwich we wanted, and in the end we settled on the breakfast biscuit ($7.65). Now, before you judge us for getting a breakfast sammy for dinner, let us say two things: 1. Breakfast is good any time of day, and 2. The breakfast biscuit consists of braised pork belly in a soy ginger glaze with a fried egg, all topped with aged cheddar between two homemade flaky buttermilk biscuits. So breakfast for dinner is sounding pretty good now, isn’t it?

Start the day off right with the braised pork belly breakfast sammy. 
Image source.

As for the sodas ($2.75 or $5.75 for a float), we sampled cream soda and root beer, and only need one word to sum it up: YUM. These are no “Italian sodas” that you get in chain coffee shops. No, these are the real deal. The Samitorium uses a century-old recipe for their syrup-based concoctions. Root beer was spicy and sweet at the same time, while the (not pink!) cream soda made us imagine we were in a 1950’s soda shop. Other flavours include lemon, ginger and grape. 

Sodas from a century-old recipe are made right in front of you.

We’ll definitely be back for the lobster roll, the po’boy (which is now a menu staple after moonlighting as a special), roasted pork sandwich and homemade soups. What makes this place even better is that they source almost everything they use locally; it doesn’t get fresher than baked bread from Blackbird Baking Co. and meat from Sanagan’s Meat Locker. We only wish it was closer to the fourth floor!

We’ll definitely be making a return trip to this Samitorium. 
Image Source

Dr. Augusta’s Samitorium is located at 602 Dundas St. W. (corner of Dundas and Augusta) and is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Follow them on Twitter at @DoctorAugusta or visit them on Facebook

Fashion-able: Fall beauty, naturally

Here on the fourth floor we are
digging fall. Feeling good layering plush sweaters with soft leathers,
bringing cozy patterned and knit scarves back into rotation and adding comfort
and class to any look with our favourite boots (we love Rudsak‘s luxurious leather selection).

While we’re always watching the
runways to stay on top of fall fashion must haves (texture, shine and wine hues
are big this year – look for brocades, rivets and leather trimmed items) we
never forget the importance of putting our best face forward.

Fall runways featured vampy lips,
bright jewel hues and graphic eyeliner, but the biggest trend of all? Raw
natural beauty. Below we share our secrets, direct from an office full of
women, to getting the natural healthy glow that is so now and how to sport
other trendy makeup looks without looking like you’ve been unfavourably cast in
a Reitmans commercial.

The Natural Look:

We love Bette Franke looking naturally beautiful for Balmain. 
Image Sources: Face, Runway

The goal here is to look healthy
and youthful. The
basic rules of natural makeup still apply; numero uno: look like you’re wearing
none. Trending this season are big brows and barely there blush.

Brows: If you’re like us, you’ve been growing out your brows for a while now. However, even if you haven’t,
or if you’re stuck with sparse ones, don’t fear. A little eye shadow or a
brow pencil can help. To keep it looking natural resist the temptation to
overdo it and opt for a shade slightly darker than your hair colour.

Eyes: If you’re like us and live by
the motto ‘work hard, play harder’ you probably want to start with concealer to
brighten up the area around the eye and reduce the dark circles that sometimes creep up there. Sweep a neutral powder (close in colour to your skin tone) from
eyelid to brow bone and blend a brown toned shadow into your crease. Stay on
trend by selecting a brown with hints of bronze, gold or burgundy. Avoid liner.
To open up the eyes press black eye shadow into the outer half of the upper
lash line. Finish with mascara (for longer lashes sans mascara, try Peptalash).

Cheeks: Sable tinted blushes are
great with fall colours, but when selecting your blush, work off your lip colour
and skin tone. Most important here is blending. When you are done, there should
be a hint of colour on your cheekbones, like you’ve just returned from a crisp
fall hike.

Lips: Three signs of healthy,
youthful lips are fullness, colour and smoothness. It’s easy to keep your lips
smooth by applying a balm every night before bed. A lip stain or tinted gloss
can easily add a healthy touch of colour. Stick to natural red, pink and coral tones and veer away from mauve, magenta and really any purple hues. If you’re not endowed with big
smackers, a gloss or lipstick close to your skin tone is your best bet for
faking fullness. Select a matte nude lipstick to max out your pucker.

Skin: Smooth, even porcelain skin is super hot this fall. If you fear looking pasty (though we say, rock the pale), a bit of well-blended bronzer on the “3” zone looks lovely. The best
tip for good skin is the same as ever: wash your face every night (we loooove
Consonant’s Organic Foaming Face Wash!).

Complete the look: Braids, sleek side parts and tousled boho hair are big again this season. When it comes to nails anything goes so don’t be afraid to go long, short, pointed, square, bright or neutral (just stay away from the gel French manicure – try a reverse French manicure instead).

Vampy Lips:

While the heavy eyes and lips look great here, keep your eyes neutral for real life wear.
Image sources (clockwise from top left): light eyes, dark eyes, Fox, Bosworth

Deep red is huge this year! On the runway we saw bold, rich red lips take on a Gothic form: pale skin and bleached out eyes and brows paired with black-reds created an interesting bold-yet-fragile look. In addition to the Gothic look, this season’s beauty editorials also feature a daring combination of dark smoky eyes, bronzed skin and burgundy or Bordeaux lips. Deep red lips can absolutely be worked into daily life, but when in the office instead of on the runway avoid extremes in eye shadow. Stay on trend by keeping the peaks of your lips slightly rounded. Tip: buy a lip brush! It will make all the difference in application.

Jewel Hues:

Get inspired by these bold jewel tones, but wear them in a way that isn’t over powering.
Image sources (clockwise from upper left): ruby, sapphire, amethyst and amberMcAdamsOlsen, Bell 

Many designers paired this season’s powerful prints and colour blocking with bright emerald, sapphire, amethyst, amber and ruby shadows. We love that it’s cool to express yourself through colour like fashion divas Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry but we like to keep it cool in the office with subtle hints of colour that highlight either the upper or lower lash line or crease, but don’t dominate. Remember to keep the lips neutral when playing up the eyes

Graphic Eyeliner:

Graphic designs inspire unique liner looks this fall.
Image sources (clockwise from upper left): linear, cat, graphic, artsy, Adele, Swift

Think of the trends you’ve seen in colour blocking and nail art but in beauty! Let your artistic side out with intricate liner detailing. For the slightly-less-steady of hand try cat eyes a la Taylor Swift or other blocky, punk or retro (think Adele), inspired liner designs. Once again, tone it down for the office (and don’t be discouraged if you can’t match the best beauty editorials – Photoshop helps a lot).

Under Eye Shadow:

This look is not for the timid!
Image source (clockwise from upper left): white and black swipes, liner, shadow

Seen most recently at London’s s/s 2013 fashion week, bold eyeliner and shadows under the eye are our new favourite trend. Nothing says you’re confident in your looks like purposely adding to the shadows under your eyes. To get the look simply add black shadow or Khol liner to the natural look described above. Warning: must be worn with confidence. That’s where true beauty lies anyway.

Jet Setter: New Brunswick

While we obviously love jetting to exotic locales in other countries, sometimes the best trips are found in our own beautiful, huge country. Case in point? New Brunswick. We don’t think too many people consider this a vacation spot, but trust us – it’s gorgeous and interesting, and just far enough away from Ontario to make it feel like you really are gone. One of
our rock-it’eers recently ventured to Canada’s only bilingual province to
enjoy some small-town love in the village of Hartland. Now, when you need a break from the
city’s hustle, headaches and traffic, this is, without a doubt, a perfect

The small, modest town of Hartland (population: 902) is
actually a lot more popular than many would assume. Among its greenery, natural
beauty and east coast hospitality, the community celebrates itself as the proud
home of the World’s
Longest Covered Bridge
. Opening in 1901, the bridge extends across the St.
John River to connect Hartland and Somerville, and has since become a tourist
attraction for many guests. The bridge has been iconic in New Brunswick since
its inception but was officially declared a National Historic site in 1980 and
a Provincial Historic site in 1999.

In Gen-Y terms, the bridge has garnered the attention beyond
passers-by that are travelling Canada’s East Coast, but somehow landed
the on the radar of none other than search-engine powerhouse, Google, and their
ever popular
. On July 4, 2012, Google featured the bridge to commemorate its 111th

While the bridge is super cool to see, what keeps people coming back to the East Coast is the infectiously friendly demeanour that you can’t help but take in, relish and potentially take back to the big smoke. Plus, the wondrous surroundings of the endless green landscape and stunning sunsets make for some serious eye candy. In fields (or backyards as we know them) or over the rivers, the province’s sunsets never fail. Sure beats a patio anywhere in Toronto.

From the minute you see New Brunswick from the plane, there is green. Trees, green, and a lot more trees; the sight lowers your stress and deadlines seem to just disappear…just for a second. Waking up to water and nature has its therapeutic perks. 

After building up an appetite on your nature walks and scenic drives, it’s time for a snack! Head on back to someone’s house– anyone’s really– if people are outside, you’re likely welcome to stop by for a little brook trout! While its by no means a delicacy in New Brunswick, this tasty treat comes with laboured preparation: fish, gut, freeze (in river water) and then fry up in one on the biggest frying pans you can find (with what seems like an insurmountable heap of butter) on an outdoor, human-made BBQ. Because in NB, these are kinda legal!

Next stop…PEI!

Media, Darling: Sandra Martin

Toronto freelance journalist Sandra Martin specializes in parenting
and personal finance — two very hot topics. In her previous role as executive editor of
, she appeared regularly on television news and current
events programs to discuss everything from diapers to drinking underage.

Before joining Today’s Parent in 2005, Sandra worked double duty as personal finance correspondent for Global TV and as a reporter with the Financial Post. She also launched the National Post’s FP Weekend money section. Prior to that, she spent nearly five years at MoneySense magazine, where she developed a reputation with TV and radio producers as an approachable, understandable on-air source.
Since then, she has appeared often in television broadcasts, including Citytv’s CityNews, Breakfast Television and Cityline, CTV’s Canada AM and News Channel; CBC’s The National and NewsworldThe Mom ShowET Canada; Global Ontario’s News Hour, as well as the now-defunct Morning News and MoneyWise personal finance magazine. She has also taped segments for Til Debt Do Us Part on Slice.
In print, her byline has appeared in ChatelaineMoreCottage LifeReader’s DigestMoneySense and PROFIT magazines, as well as the National Post and The Globe and Mail newspapers.
Sandra holds a degree in journalism from Ryerson University and has also completed the Canadian Securities Course. She lives in Toronto with her husband and two young daughters.

Twitter: @SandraEMartin

you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the

Once I was honest with myself, yes, I always wanted to be in the media. But
for a long time, I tried to be practical, entertaining the idea of becoming (in
this order): an architect, an accountant and a technical writer. Oy.

Where would you like to be five years from now?

For the first time ever in my career, I don’t have an answer to that – and
it feels really, really good. This spring I gave my notice at Today’s Parent,
after nearly seven great years. As much as I love the brand, am invested in the
brand, it was time for me to move on and challenge myself with something
different. Don’t get me wrong; I bawled like a baby when I handed in my letter
of resignation; it was a really emotional move for me. But in the media,
stagnation is the death of creativity. And if you lose your creativity, you
might as well kiss your career goodbye.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?

I graduated from journalism school at the height of a recession, and except
for, well, now, I’ve never been without a salaried job. My newbie mantra? Work hard. Be humble. Speak up when you have an idea. And don’t stay in one place
too long. (See, I almost didn’t take my own advice.)

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?

My addiction to is becoming a bit of a concern for all those who love me. I think they’ve
nailed everything that my demographic wants in a shelter mag; the interiors are
a little bit quirky and totally approachable – the rooms don’t look as though
they’ve been staged to an inch of their lives. Plus you get to see the
homeowners; you get to know them, as well as their spaces.

Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows I’m a music fan (and wannabe guitarist)
– and I love music trivia. and are two of
my go-tos.

Best interview you’ve ever had?

You mean in the course of researching an article? The biggest thrill has to
have been when I was granted 20 minutes on the phone with David Cronenberg, who
was promoting the premiere of his film M. Butterfly at TIFF. He ended up
speaking with me for an hour.


Either I haven’t had a complete train wreck, or I’ve wiped it from my memory
in order to protect my sanity.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?

“Why don’t you just do it.”

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

It sounds corny, but I treat people I work with – bosses, peers, those who
report to me – the way I’d like to be treated. I take it as a huge compliment
when people come to me with their problems, and I respect the fact that they’ve
chosen me to confide in. Also, I hope to live my life with no regrets. That
goes for my interactions with people, as well as the path I choose for myself.
I don’t ever want to look back and say, “What if I had….”

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

Don’t rely on email programs. I can’t tell you how many pitches I’ve
received addressed to “Sandrae” because my Today’s Parent email
address uses my first name and middle initial squished together. If you start
out misspelling my name (which is really, really easy to look up), you’ll have
to have some phenomenal pitch to win me back.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.

Hmm, I can’t pick out just one, but I really love when PR pros work with me,
like a partner. If I come to you all flustered because a hole has opened up at
the last minute, and I need a high-res image for the magazine, or props for a
TV shoot, I’ll so appreciate it if you’re willing to scramble with me to put
together what I need.

I hate?


I love?

Free stuff.


I’m coming down from a bunch of back-to-back rock bios; for some fiction, right now I’m reading In One Person by John Irving. He’s one of my favourite
authors ever.

Best place on earth?

That depends on my mood. Today I’m going to say New York City (I feel like
my people are there, and I can’t believe I’ve never lived there). Sometimes,
I’ll say a remote woodsy place. I’ve never been to Tofino, BC, but I just know
I would love it there.

Dinner guest?

Dave Grohl.


Ever since I read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, I’ve had a helluva
lot of admiration for Rebecca Skloot. Every journalist should read that book,
and remember what the pursuit of the truth is about.

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?

I could not live without BlackBerry Messenger, but I’m afraid other media
types will think I’m terribly uncool for saying that. There’s nothing I
download more enthusiastically than music; I feel like I need to backfill my catalog
with some of the seminal albums I didn’t grow up with (my family was very pop).
Maybe Some Girls by the Rolling Stones?

Pool or ocean?

Pool. I’m not a strong swimmer, plus I’m a control freak – so I like knowing
the edge is never more than a few strokes away.

Voicemail or email?

Email. One hundred per cent.