Rave: long weekend

The first long weekend of spring! You can practically taste the beer on the patio now.

Whether you celebrate this time with Easter eggs, Matzoh balls, splashing colour on someone’s face or some other way, enjoy this day off by taking a walk outside, scout out some crocuses and be thankful that it seems (fingers crossed) that the snow is gone for the year.

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Media Darling: Karl Lohnes

Karl Lohnes is a design
journalist of all good things related to the home. He reached millions of
viewers for eight years while appearing on America’s This Small Space on HGTV and was one of the founding editors of
Style At Home magazine, with which he was associated for almost 15 years. 
He is currently the
on-air home decor expert for CTV’s Canada AM and The Marilyn Denis Show, offers
up a monthly style report on CHUM FM’s
All About Style with Marilyn Denis and is the weekly home columnist to Metro
News
in Canada and the United States. He is a popular speaker at consumer/
trade design shows and is an avid shopper. Lohnes also runs a private design and
décor consulting business and loves to cook, bake and entertain.



Twitter: @KarlLohnes

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon? 
The world of media fascinated me from a very early age, especially magazines; those names on the mastheads were like gods to me. I thought editors of a magazine were the ultimate in media power, then I started to work for some only to realize they are everyday people making a living. I studied  marketing and advertising in college and fell in love with design/decor in my mid-twenties. I worked at advertising agencies, for a major bank and the phone company before realizing that wearing a tie was not for me. I started my career in design by working at furnishings store Urban Mode on Queen St. in downtown Toronto. 
Where would you like to be five years from now?
In five years from now I hope to have expanded my media reach through newspapers, television, radio and magazines. Truly, the only worth that a media personality has is how many people they can speak to. 
Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
In the design world, the best thing you can do is look and listen…It’s the only way to predict trends and absorb the vibe on the street. In media, the best thing you can do is be humble and not expect everything to happen overnight.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own? 
My favourite media outlets are airplane magazines; they incorporate culture, city buzz, travel, food, fashion but rarely decor…They tend to be nice monthly capsules of what’s happening out there. 

Best interview you’ve ever had?
About me: The Washington Post. They coined me ‘The Dr. Phil of Decorating’. I lived off that nickname for personal appearance booking for about ten years. Best interview I’ve conducted? My interview with Diane Von Furstenburg when she launched her home decor line. I realized that the more famous someone is, the less they actually have to say publicly. 
Worst?
The very first time I appeared on Canada AM. I was promoting Thanksgiving turkeys and the interview segment went horribly wrong. Its one of my biggest career lessons; stick to what you are best at and don’t try to be something you are not (like a turkey expert!).

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Stay focused on your passions and incorporate them into your work. All of a sudden, work becomes a good reason to wake up to each day. 
What rule(s) do you live your life by?
If you want respect, you need to treat everyone the same…Whether you are nice or an ass; just be consistent. 

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Your media contacts will always outlive your client contracts.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
Getting follow up after I’ve publicised your client’s product. Its a very rare thing to get a thank  you these days. 

I hate?
Having to deal with three different PR contacts for the same media opportunity; the senior account director who secures the opportunity, then an associate account manager that sends the information, then the intern who tries to communicate with me

I love?
Having a weekend brunch or coffee with one of my PR contacts. It shows they go far beyond 9-to-5 role in their career.

Reading?
Hopefully my own book really soon…Until then, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. It’s 782 pages long so wish me luck.

Best place on earth?
The Jasper Park Lodge Resort. A magical place where time stopped in the mid-1950s.
Dinner guest?
Martha Stewart; although we have dined in the past, I have never cooked for her at my house.
Hero?
Any and all of my editors for making sense of the messages I write.


Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Olson Recipe Maker…Helps me with my cooking, baking, food prep etc. Couldn’t live without it when at the grocery store.
Pool or ocean?
Ocean; peeing in the water becomes less guilty.

Voicemail or email?
Email; it means I can respond any time of the day or night. 

City Living: Perks of a Publicist BFF

After the positive response to our “Pros and Cons of dating a PR pro” post, we decided to examine another type of relationship that our jobs affect. Then it hit us – we make for pretty rad BFFs. Why is that? Well, we’re glad you asked!

Met a cute new guy at a party? No problemo. Our social media savvy (read: supreme stalking skills) means we’ll find out where he works, his relationship status, the name of his puppy and his favourite sports team by the end of the following work day. 


Happy freaking birthday. 



Built in event-planner. From red carpets to intimate media dinners to launch parties for 300, we’ve organized events of every shape and size. How does this benefit you? Well, over the course of our friendship we’re sure you’ll need assistance planning a birthday party, bridal shower or Cinco de Mayo fiesta. Because we love you, you get our services free of charge. On the flip side, we know this makes us a little intimidating to throw a party for. Pro tip: fancy balloons, flowers and lots of bubbly wins us over, every time. 


“It’s, like, a totally important designer.” 


A closetful of party dresses. Again, the life of a publicist involves many, many events. This means we’ve spent way more money than we’d care to admit on new clothes. The downside is that we get sick of them pretty quickly, especially after a particularly event-heavy time like TIFF, and are delighted to share with our bestie. 

Samantha Jones, the ultimate PR BFF.

Your ticket to the inside. We don’t want to hammer home the point, but hammer home we shall: the life of a PR girl involves many events. Lucky for you, we sometimes get to bring our BFFs along for the ride. Free food and drinks, eclectic guest lists, first listens of new albums and bands, fancy venues and perhaps best of all, the occasional stocked swag bag all definitely beats the pizza and reality TV-fueled evenings you normally spend together. 

Look at this face. You can take us anywhere!

We’re great plus ones. Whether we’re accompanying you to a random house party or heading to a super-exclusive event, we’re pretty awesome dates. We can hold our own chatting with strangers but chances are we know most of the people in the room, so can entertain you with insider info all night long. We can also map out the hors d’oeurves serving route within the first 5 minutes of arriving, so you’ll never go hungry.  

City Living: Life’s a beach! Ganbanyoku (Rock Bathing)

You’re on the beach. The heat from the hot sand wraps your
body in a warm embrace. We all deserve a little escape from the daily grind, but you don’t have to travel to the Caribbean to get it. 
Ganbanyoku (rock bathing) is one of the hottest Japanese spa trends. With over 4,000 rock bathing spas in Japan alone, we thought it was time to investigate this wellness trend. 


We visited Iyashi Bedrock Spa, located in uptown Toronto, which is the first of its kind in North America and the only place you can experience rock bathing in our fair city. 

Inside the The Traditional Suite at Iyashi Bedrock Spa. There are 17 glorious beds. You can also book the Deluxe Suite which offers a more intimate experience with just 4 beds (couples retreat?). 


The secret to the hot hot heat is in the black silica stones. They provide two main activities Far Infrared Rays (FIR) and Negative Ions. Basically, the rays from the stones detox your body and provide benefits that include anti-aging, pain relief from conditions such as arthritis and of course, you will sweat out tons of calories. 


If you’re not a fan of saunas and hot yoga, you may want to consider rock bathing. We tried the hot yin yoga. A slow yoga practice, all of the moves are done in a sitting or laying down position. You’ll experience a deep stretch that will leave you feeling rejuvenated. The warmth of the hot stones is especially nice on the sitting bones in your back. The room itself is not heated,  the heat is emitted through the floor, so you won’t experience that choking feeling. 

You can do your own yoga stretch or just enjoy a detoxifying nap. 
You will sweat buckets! Yet, it’s recommend that you
don’t shower for two hours after leaving the spa. If you’re
thinking that you may not be able to tolerate your smell, think again. The
sweat that your body produces from this kind of heat is different, believe it or not, you will not smell. The odour-free sweat is a great treatment for your skin and hair.

With a group of 10 guests you can rent out the Traditional Suite. A great idea for a day with the girls, or even an activity for a bachelorette party. Go all the way there with some green juice from Belmonte Raw.
Ingredients like ginger, kiwi, cucumber and carrot will give you an energy boost and keep your insides clean. 



There’s nothing like a good sweat with some good friends. 



If you’re interested in trying it out and getting a little stress-relief (Toronto Life ranked it 10/10 for reducing stress) check out the site below. Give them a call or just wander on in. You’ll love it! Namaste.



2662 Yonge St. (between Eglinton and Lawrence)
416.488.ROCK (7625)

Fashion-able: Favourite moments from WMCFW

It’s a wrap! After months of planning, another successful season of World MasterCard Fashion Week is behind us. After a restful weekend, we’re just now having a chance to take a breath and reflect on a few of the amazing moments we experienced last week. From the front of house to the backstage, the ladies of the fourth floor saw it all. Here are are a few of our highlights.


We always love when
talent comes out to support Canadian designers. 
One highlight was seeing the beautiful Elisha Cuthbert, who
came out to see one of our favourite designers, Sunny Fong for VAWK. A true supporter (she’s rocked VAWK on the red carpet), it’s always great to see talent supporting each other. Other fave faces spotted include Rudy Gay, 
Arlene Dickinson, Stacey McKenzie, Jessica Lowndes, Amanda Brugel, Carrie-Lynn Neales and Danny Fernandes.


Image credit: CityNews.ca

So many of our designers are so sweet and humble during their big moment! For us, watching
designer Travis Taddeo take a well-deserved walk down the entire studio runway
with one of his models after his show was the best. After all their hard work, the designers
should be celebrated, so we love when they poke their head out from backstage for
more than a couple of seconds. 



Photo credit: George Pimentel

We love seeing what calendar regulars are up to each season, but we always love a new show or face on the runway. Seeing an absolutely filled room for the long-awaited return of Stephan
Caras’ show made us really happy. Every seat in the house was full – with 150 people standing around
the top to get a glimpse of the black and white collection. It was amazing to
see such a warm welcome for the veteran designer returning to show at WMCFW. Similar feelings seeing the outpouring of love for Izzy Camilleri with her return to the runway this season.



Photo credit: George Pimentel
We love seeing how the designers incorporate their personal inspiration in their collections. Another best fashion week moment was during the David Dixon
show – he created a powerful video and audio montage that played for a few
minutes before the models took the runway, and set the tone that women were
strong and powerful – and do not need to “know their place”. The show that
followed was similarly strong and the mood in the room was pretty incredible.
Made us feel full of girl power.

Photo credit: George Pimentel

We may all try to be fierce and stylish at fashion week, but sometimes a little humour is necessary. From our post guarding the backstage door, we had to smile as the (amazing) volunteers encircled Mackage’s black latex runway  – guarding it against anyone stepping on it!



We also love a good zen ‘tude shown by a runway veteran. This season, it was a pleasure working with Soia & Kyo designer Ilan Elfassy. He was so laid back and relaxed
before his show on Thursday that we wanted to bottle up his relaxed energy. We also
wouldn’t mind having a few pieces from his collection.

Photo credit: George Pimentel
Front of house also provides some great moments: particularly the designer guest entrance doors, which are always a fun spot to stand. Chock-full of the designer’s friends and family, the line is always buzzing with excitement. This season, we had the pleasure of chatting with the lovely Ms. Chloe comme Parris – their mom – first in line to see her daughters’ show. 

Photo credit: Slice.ca
In a similar vein, we love the energy of a fan of fashion experiencing the excitement of the runway for the first time. We had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know one lucky Vancouverite who won an all-expense paid trip on Facebook to World MasterCard Fashion Week in Toronto. She brought her friend from Calgary and the two attended all the shows from Tuesday to Friday. They were always first in line to ensure they got the best seat for every show; and watching their excitement and awe of the atmosphere (and seeing Jeanne Beker up close) was incredibly memorable. 

Who doesn’t love the non-models rocking the runway during Heart Truth? Such a fun atmosphere, we love it when they show a little personality! This year’s highlight? A toss-up between beautiful 91-year-old Gladys walking the runway to a standing ovation or Jennifer Valentyne killing it with a little flash of her heart-print panties. 

Photo credit 

Finally, the show-stopping gowns at the Pavoni runway show, complete with a confetti cannon, was the perfect exclamation point on a beautiful and inspiring week of Canadian design.


Photo credit: @mikaelderderian (instagram)



 

Photo Friday: World MasterCard Fashion Week Fall 2013

Today is the last day of World MasterCard Fashion Week Fall 2013. It’s been a jam-packed whirlwind of beautiful men, women and clothes. If you missed a minute of the runway strutting, celeb spotting or general fabulousness this week, feast your eyes on today’s Photo Friday and FOMO no mo! 



 




Media, Darling: Miranda Purves

Miranda Purves was appointed Editor of FLARE in
June 2012 and is responsible for evolving the editorial vision of the magazine
and leading the content team as it inspires Canadian fashion, beauty and style
enthusiasts.



A proud Canadian with an impressive 20-year international track record in the publishing industry, Purves spent 12 years honing her skills in New York. She was most recently with ELLE US where she was originally hired to establish a living section before being promoted several times, eventually to the position of lifestyle editor.


Purves previously spearheaded the launch of the stand-alone colour fashion newspaper US Fashion Daily and worked as a senior fashion editor at Mademoiselle. In Canada, she has worked for both Saturday Night and the National Post. Purves has also done freelance writing for the likes of the New York Times and the Paris Review.

Self portrait from my corporate bathroom series. Took a
photo of myself in the same mirror everyday of my first six months at Flare.



Twitter: @FLAREfashion
Website: Flare.com

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other
careers were on the horizon?
I’ve always wanted to charm, surprise or move, and be
charmed and surprised or moved, by the intersection of words and images. And
I’ve always wanted to be, if not at the centre, at least on the periphery of
*the* conversation. The media is where that took me.

Where would you like to be five years from now?
As I wrote in an editor’s letter a few issues ago, I’d like
be furthering causes of environmental and social justice more than I am now.
Less grandly, I’d also like to have reached some work-life balance that would
allow me to work out more regularly. I used to be low level but consistent, but
these days I can’t seem to make the time. I’m terrified to hit my fifties
without more muscle mass. After 40 it’s all erosion. You’re so much better off
having more to erode.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Be dogged and be rigorous, make sure your resume looks good,
fits on one page and is grammatically consistent. Don’t send unnecessary emails
to busy people, be useful to them and try to empathize rather than personalize.
Hone your craft however and whenever you can.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your
own?
 
Man, that’s too hard! I scour tons of print media, mostly
what you’d expect: The Grid and Toronto Life are both fantastic, Globe and
Mail
, Toronto Star (their metro reporting kicks a**), New York Times and the
magazines (am awed by Deborah Needleman’s surgical redo of T even as I mourn
Sally Singer), New York, New Yorker, Paris Review, TLS, New York Review of Books when I find it, ELLE US (where I used to work; they have fantastic
features that don’t get nearly enough recognition, which I think is a weird
sexism) the British fashion mags, Worn, the recipes in Chatelaine, I’m enjoying
Vanity Fair after a long hiatus… I just like gorging. For several years New
York Magazine
was definitively my favorite but —this
is unfair – it’s so good that the so goodness gets old hat! Being at the
airport when the September Vogue has just dropped; it is embarrassing how happy
it makes me. Online: my brother’s smart, funny blog that intertwines his civic
and personal life in Montreal http://briquesduneige.blogspot.ca/.

Best interview you’ve ever had?
The artist Jenny Holzer, over emailI had to cut it down to a nubbin, but she is a genius and it
felt like a dance between us.
Worst? 
I don’t remember specifics because when an interview is bad
I blame myself and throw it into the vast ocean of self criticism that ebbs and
flows within.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
So much of it is personal! My sister-in-law hipped me to the
adage “Never apologize, never explain,” and I call
on that in times of trouble.

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Don’t work for capitalism, make capitalism work for you.
Love more, complain less (that’s not always in effect).

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
You can assume that if the story is one that makes sense for
that editor or that outlet, they will want it. All we need is the information.
We don’t need announcements on two-inch thick slabs of Lucite in heavy stock
boxes tied with ribbon. —It creates more work for the mail
room and custodial staff and is bad for the environment. And if it’s from an advertiser’s PR, we have
to pay attention, so that goes double.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear
about #wins.
Well, I was happy to get that righteous block of Parmesan
from Max Mara PR for Christmas. But aside from thoughtful edible gifts, it’s
satisfying when a story is personal and mutually beneficial. For the April
Flare (out now) we worked with Ann Watson, Club Monaco’s PR VP, on a well story
in which Peter Ash Lee shot the BC-born model Mackenzie Hamilton in Club M
mixed with other designers at the design director Caroline Belhumeur’s lovely
Victorian house, followed by a profile-ette of her. The catalyst was my own
curiosity. —I was impressed by their recent
ad campaigns and their clothes, so I investigated her and wanted to do
something that expressed something about what she was expressing in the
clothes. That led to her house. 

As a fashion magazine we’re pretty focused on
designers, but chains are what most of us can afford, and I like the way they
are starting to steer away from creating a faceless brand (Jenna Lyons!). The
shoot took a lot of trust (it was her house) as well as coordinating and
persistence because everyone involved had busy schedules, but Ann wasn’t scared
off by that. She knew the reality of making something special happen. It felt
warm and organic and I think that reads in the story, which is about both of
our stories, in a nice way.

I hate?
Man’s inhumanity to man and unnaturalness to nature. People
who gut houses of original detail and stick potlights everywhere. Egotism, bad
taste and a lack of imagination: horrible combination.
I love?
Watching my eldest son’s gesticulations that began when he
first started talking, persist. I want those hand gestures to never go away.
Professionally: my colleagues who bring real thought and care to their work. It
makes the days good.

Reading?
The second installment of Susan Sontag’s journal entries and
the latest Diana Vreeland bio.

Best place on earth?
Please! That answer can only be metaphorical and
metaphysical!  But right now I’m enjoying
bourgeoisie pleasure zones, such as the king size bed in our rental house when
my husband and two sons and I are all on it together snuggling, just before my
husband gets too grouchy and needs coffee, my two year old bangs his head
jumping, and my seven year old will not cease talking like a Pikachu (whose
language consists of pica over and over.) 

Hero?
There’s a long list: George Tiller, the abortion provider
murdered in Witchita, Kansas; Barbara Lee, the only person in the US congress
to vote against the Iraq war in 2002, Paul Watson, whale savior, … unionists, suffragettes, abolitionists, environmentalists,
all the people, now and throughout history, who conduct themselves with
inimitable bravery and tireless focus, for what they (and I) believe is right
and incrementally, maybe, help society evolve.

Dinner guests?
My friends are dauntingly adept conversationalists, I’m not
sure a famous figure could compete.

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
I debated putting apps on my hate list.

Pool or ocean?
Ocean

Voicemail or email?
Email, except for maybe five specific voices for which I
would stop the earth at any moment to listen to over several repeats.