Fashion-able: Totes, buckets, satchels & more

We On The Fourth Floor understand that not all bags can transition through the seasons. Our bulky black leather purse we’ve been toting around for eight months, while gorgeous, can be a bit heavy and dark when temperatures start to soar. 



We’ve compiled a few handbags we’re coveting, from all different price points, that we think would make a good addition to our summer ensembles. Not to mention also great if you need any Fourth Floor gift ideas. 😉

First up is the always-popular PS1 satchel by Proenza Schouler ($1488), but in a great tropical print. As we’re sure you’ve seen a certain ubiquitous neon satchel, nothing says summer like a fun, bright bag. It may be a bit pricey, but FASHION shows us how to rationalize this investment piece. (Both Natalie & Christina are big fans).




On the other hand Kylie would opt for a classic M.A.C. (Morning After Clutch) by Rebecca Minkoff bag in an army green colour. Always thinking ahead she comments that “their fall colours include maroon and green. They are all pretty beautiful and I’m a big fan of the gold hardware.”

 

This practical chic Filson ($300) satchel caught the eye of Abby who thinks It’s cute, will last forever and the long strap also means that I can wear it while riding my bike. Score.”

For a classic tote at a higher price point Andie opted for a Prada bag ($1730) she’s had her eye on for a while, “I could wear this bag in any season. Though I’m a little wary of a lighter colour getting dirty, I think its the perfect size for taking from day to night. Definitely a good investment.”



Erin is in the mindset for summer and says “all I need is my bright pink rattan beach bag for my towel, sunscreen and a good magazine,” which makes this Rebecca Minkoff tote ($206) perfect for a jaunt to the beach. 


The newest member to our Fourth Floor crew Christie, is a self-proclaimed loyal Coco-follower and heavy advocate of the double C’s. Often the 2.55 is A. overdone and B. not always summer friendly,” but would opt for this Chanel metallic python version if money was no object. Price point? Not in our budgets.  



If money was no object, which bag would have your eye on? 

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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.





City Living: Finding a new home

On the fourth floor, many of us are about to move and as you know, finding an apartment in Toronto isn’t an easy task – and seems to be getting trickier. Recent reports say that rental vacancies are at their lowest point since about 2008 (a mere 1.6% in April!). Here are our tips and tricks for finding the perfect abode before somebody else scoops it up.

– Use social media to your advantage. Abby had to quickly find someone to take over her lease before moving to a sweet new pad. One tweet and one Facebook post later, she had about 25 qualified candidates interested in checking it out. Before Abby knew it, she had a new apartment and someone to take over her previous space, all in a matter of four days.


– Use Craigslist, Kijiji and ViewIt.ca to look for listings, as well as canvassing family and friends. Years ago, these sites didn’t exist. Now they are an amazing tool for research and finding your next humble abode.

– Research the neighbourhood by walking around and talking to potential neighbours. Lots of great places are never posted online, since landlords don’t want to screen hundreds of apartment-seekers. Bring a Moleskine and a trusty pen to jot down notes and numbers.

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– Make sure you know whether the neighbourhood has a reputation for bed bugs. Check out the Bed Bug Registry for more information.

– Bring your blank cheques and be prepared to sign on the spot. This might be a bit aggressive, but remember there is always someone else looking for a place too, and they might snap it up while you’re deciding.

– When you are viewing an apartment or meeting the landlord, dress appropriately. No, you don’t need to rent a suit or wear a formal dress, but don’t go in cut-offs and a dirty tee either. First impressions DO count, especially when someone is deciding whether to let you lease their space. Think of it as a less formal job interview, or as if you’re meeting the parents for the first time (Who What Wear has a great video with tips.).

 Dress to impress!

– Don’t judge a book by its cover. If you find a listing that has everything on your wish list (parking, laundry, deck, grassy outdoor area for Fluffy the cat, etc.) but the pictures don’t look amazing, go see it anyway. You may love it in person, and it’s easier to imagine yourself living there once you see it live.

– Visit the neighbourhood you’d like to live in to make sure it really is the right spot in the city for you. 

Did we miss anything obvious or not-so-obvious? What are your top apartment hunting secrets? Comment below or tweet us @rockitpromo


Rave: Childhood summer vacations

There’s nothing quite like summer to make us nostalgic about our childhood. Two months of blissful, school-free days filled with swimming, ice cream and road trips. The heat must be getting to us On The Fourth Floor, because the other day we started reminiscing about our favourite memories of past summer vacations.


My grandparents used to live on a lake near Parry Sound – it’s my favourite place in the world. We’d be outside all day and in my case, most of the time was spent in the water. At night we’d hang around the fire and play horseshoes. I have such great memories of being up there. Lots of laughter, jokes and love.




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Just picture a mini-Lisa jumping off that dock.


Lara:
I spent every summer from ages nine to 19 at Camp Winnebagoe. Life was good. I made lifelong friends, spent every waking moment outside and learned so much.


I love Murphy’s Ice Cream Parlour in Streetsville. My grandpa used to take me when I was about five, and it was always the happening spot in the summer. All the cute soccer playing boys would hang out there, which was nice little eye candy to go along with the ice cream. I still get a kiddy scoop of Caribou Tracks when I go there now.
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My family always takes an annual summer trip to Stowe, Vermont. It’s the annual Stark Stowe reunion. We make T-shirts every year. We usually stay at the Golden Eagle resort and hit the bike path, alpine slidesBen and Jerry’s factory, and a dinner at The Whip. These trips have become especially fun and meaningful since both my brother and I have had kids.

Michelle:
I loved going to the Toronto Zoo. I always had a fascination with watching animals and thought of it as such an adventure. I still dream of going to African Lion Safari – maybe this is the summer!


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The mighty polar bears at the Toronto Zoo.
Christina

I grew up spending summers in Bass River, Nova Scotia. As a city girl, I adapted quickly to country living (with a ton of allergy pills and nose spray) and soon learned to milk a cow, drive a tractor and race around on a four wheeler. My favourite memory is when we spent two weeks camping across Newfoundland with our best family friends. I think it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. 
I loved the cottage that my family used to rent just north of Sudbury. My brother, sister and I would basically be left on our own for the entire time, and we loved it. We’d swim, fish, explore in the woods, read books (well, only I would do that), stay up late and roast marshmallows over campfires at night. I still love going to cottages, and try to get to a friend’s every chance I get. To me, it’s the essence of summer in Canada.

Debra:
I also spent my summers up at camp in Perth, Ontario. It is where I found my independence, hit puberty and fell in love. I also learned how to build a fire, camp out with just a tarp and play capture the flag. I love the memories that I have and wouldn’t trade those summers for anything.

What is your favourite summer memory? Leave a comment, or tweet us @rockitpromo.


Yum, yum: 416 Snack Bar

If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you would know by now that we like to eat. So when 416 Snack Bar (181 Bathurst Street) opened up just a hop, skip and a snack away from the fourth floor, we were one of the first to check it out.

The transformation from Johny Banana is pretty complete – it’s tough to recognize it as the same space. Owners Adrian Ravinsky and Dave Stewart have done an amazing job making it a cool local bar. They even chronicled the transformation on their site (check it out here).  
 Very cool photo installation on the ceiling.

Longtime friends, Ravinsky and Stewart both grew up working in the restaurant industry (most recently at Buca), and basically held every job in the business – from bus boy to server – except in the kitchen. 

The concept for a snack bar versus a regular restaurant was inspired by a trip Ravinsky took to San Sebastian in Spain. Small local restaurants served communal platters of snacks called centros (shared platters of ham, squid and other treats), which was exactly what he wanted when he was enjoying beverages, rather than a full meal. They figured that everyone wanted savoury, delicious snacks while drinking, and not many bars in Toronto did that. They were pretty bang on. 
The 416 menu.

It’s a great idea, and all of the items on the menu are delicious. The hot dog is house-made from beef short ribs and a bit of pork back fat for flavour, as is the tangy sauerkraut that tops it. The Napolitano pizza pocket is similarly made at the restaurant, including the dough, and is stuffed with fresh mozzarella, basil and tomato sauce. Both were a perfect size to accompany a freshly poured pint of Hoptical Illusion.

Ravinsky and Stewart try to make as much as they can themselves, and you can taste the difference (clichéd, but true). They plan on switching up the menu regularly to take advantage of seasonal produce. There was talk of a grilled asparagus dish and their version of a Caprese salad. Yum. 
The cozy bar

Another fun fact that sets them apart? A no-cutlery rule. Every snack has to be able to be eaten by hand, which will be an interesting challenge for the Caprese salad (maybe it will be skewered?). But we’re definitely hooked enough to come back and find out just how that works. 

This little spot is casual-cool, unpretentious and tasty. Just the way we like our snacks and our local watering hole.

A chat with Zeus

Last week, two ladies from the fourth floor got a chance to check out some live music at XM Radio’s Verge Music Awards. They won all-access passes to see fourth floor faves Tokyo Police Club and Gord Downie perform at The Mod Club (thanks, beat scene!). 
The night was great – busy, good music and lots of buzz about the awards (all of which came with a nice cash prize.). Zeus, formerly Jason Collett’s back-up band, took home the coveted Album of the Year, beating out bands like Arcade Fire, Stars, Broken Social Scene and Hot Hot Heat. 
 Tour manager Jeremy proudly holding the “Album Of The Year” award.
The band was thrilled with their win, and Neil Quin and Mike O’Brien were more than happy to chat with us about their upcoming plans. They’re taking part in Canadian Music Week, playing tomorrow night at The Horsehoe Tavern at 12:20 a.m. They played to a packed house last year, so this show is sure to be just as busy, especially with their latest coup. 
Next, they’ll release their double-sided single Permanant Scar/The Darkness in April on Arts and Crafts. Permanant Scar is a “harmony-laden rock and roll” track, while The Darkness is described as “a thoughtful and moody track”. Can’t wait to hear it, and the new album they’re recording this October.
Neil, Christina and Mike grinning from ear-to-ear after the win is announced (well, at least Christina is). 
We spent the rest of the evening just chatting with them about life in general, including a serious discussion about brunch in Toronto. We were fans before, but are bigger fans now after getting to know them a bit. Here’s hoping that they continue to be recognized for their great music.

Stream Zeus live here, from CBC Radio 3, and find out for yourself what all the hype is about. You won’t be disappointed.