Rave: How we’re spending our holidays

We’ve been counting down to this time of year since, well, last December! Whether we celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, or something else, we’re all looking forward to a few days of rest, relaxation and time with our nearest and dearest. Everyone has different family holiday traditions, so we thought it would be fun to share what we’re up to over the coming weeks.
My fiancé and I are spending Christmas Eve with the in-laws, Christmas Day with my parental units and then taking off for the Dominican Republic (alone) for one week of all-inclusive bliss! After a hectic, fun-filled fall, I’m craving some time off to lay on a beach (wearing SPF 50, of course) and read a good book. I’ve been counting down the days – literally, with a white board on my fridge – to bathing suits, flip flops and snorkeling. Added bonus: we’re gone for New Year’s, eliminating the need to plan for the most-hyped night of the year. 
Michelle was so jealous of my plans, she’s bringing her whole family to a resort down the road. 😉 See you at the airport, Mich!
My family has had a home in Florida since I was very young, so we travel there every year during the holidays. We visit my dad (who lives there six months of the year), catch up on loads of movies and books, eat good food, shop and rest. We have a beautiful lake outside our door and egrets and ducks that run around wild. On New Years Eve, we make wishes off of the bridge over the lake. It doesn’t matter if the weather is warm, or cool – it’s just our very special escape. It’s one of my favorite places in the whole world. Our home away from home. 
Lara
I’m spending my holiday in NYC, my home away from home.  🙂
 
Okay, I lied a little. I’ll actually be staying in Brooklyn at my friend’s house, while she’s away visiting her boyfriend in Switzerland. My plans there consist of:

– Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge at least once to commute into the city.
– Exploring the High Line


– Seeing one of my favourite bands on New Years Eve and Day (and maybe also on December 30 if I end up getting a scalped ticket once I’m there)! 
– Eating dinner at least once at a low-key restaurant I discovered (and am a little hesitant to share, but be that as it may, they deserve it), Alta in the West Village. 
– Trying the banana pudding at Magnolia Bakery. 
– Trying not to eat at all of the restaurants of every chef that I watch and love on Chopped, like Scott Conant, Alex Guarnaschelli, Aarón Sánchez, Marcus Samuelsson, Chris Santos (especially Chris Santos) and Geoffrey Zakarian. 
– Going to Eataly for ingredients to make delicious home-cooked meals in my Brooklyn abode. 
– Doing what I always do when in NYC:  just walking walking walking, looking looking looking, and smiling smiling smiling.

If The Ghost of Christmas Past were to tell me anything, it’s that the first half of my vacation will be spent Christmas shopping. Every year I tell myself I won’t wait until the last minute, and every year I find myself scrambling. I’ll also watch lots of Christmas movies (It’s A Wonderful Life, Elf and Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer are some of my favourites). Then comes the really good stuff…
Christmas Eve
Dinner with my boyfriend, Jesse, and his brother (Kelly) and sister-in-law (Rita). We’re going to have a big feast at my house with lobster as the main course. Jesse’s cooking – he’s the best cook ever.
Christmas Day
Christmas dinner with my entire immediate family, plus Kelly and Rita. So like 10 people and two dogs in my tiny apartment. Turkey and the works. It’s stressing me out. I will definitely be drinking.
Boxing Day
A lunchtime visit with the grandparents (mom’s side). Afternoon/evening – visiting my dad’s side of the family at my grandmother’s house. It’s a tradition – we gather there every year, eat ourselves silly, drink lots of wine and exchange gifts. 
Aside from fitting in as much sleep as I can, that’s pretty much it. I’m sure more fun stuff will pop up, but I’m just taking that as it comes. Merry Christmas!
I live away from all of my family, so the holidays are really the only time I get to see them all at the same time, in the same place. My fiancé, Justin, and I are celebrating Christmas together in Toronto on December 23; then we’ll head our separate ways for family bashes. My family is really big, so it’s always loud and hectic, but lots of fun. Lots of kids, lots of laughs and the odd drink or two.
 Evidently, we are people that put costumes on our pets. 
I’m going to St. Thomas (Ontario, not the Virgin Island, unfortunately) to see my mom, dad, brother and sister at various places over the holidays. One of our Christmas celebrations is at a farm, so we will often hook up a wagon to a tractor and head out into the countryside for a snowy ride (complete with hot chocolate and sitting on hay bales). I guess I am a small-town girl at heart.

I am over going out for New Years Eve. Bars are too expensive, too crowded and ultimately disappointing. So this year, our good friends are having a house party in Leslieville. Everyone is bringing snacks and drinks, and I know it’s going to be a blast. 

I love that holidays mean quality time with people you care about (and, I also love getting gifts).
On December 23, my first day of holiday vacation, I will probably just sleep in and watch some holiday movies. Elf is a favourite.
On Christmas Eve, I am going back to my suburbian hometown, Pickering, to have dinner with my family, which is always entertaining. It’s become a tradition that later in the evening, a few of my girlfriends (who are also visiting back home) and I get together to enjoy some wine and giggles.
And this year, on December 25 at 5 p.m. (yes, I am also counting down), I will be heading south to the Dominican Republic with my mom and two sisters. I won’t be checking email for seven days, which will take a couple of days (make that hours) to get used to.  
I plan on relaxing, reading, tanning, exploring, dancing and potentially having a holiday fling (joking)! I am also happy to report that I will still be in the Dominican for New Year’s Eve, so will be ringing in 2011 wearing a little summer dress, sandals and bare legs!
 New Year’s Eve in the Dominican Republic will look something like this.
For the holidays, I’m a Miami girl through and through. There, I’ll be on a steady diet of Original Pancake House chocolate chip pancakes and Cheesecake Factory grilled cheese. 
 Delicious chocolate chip pancakes.
I can be found by the pool in a mismatched bathing suit, reading Cutting for Stone or Half Broke Horses. During tanning breaks, I’ll be shopping at Barney’s, Bloomies and Saks. Dinners and movies are with friends and family; the food is always good and the movies are always comedies. After a week away, I’ll come back relaxed, tanned and wearing a new Alex Wang outfit. Yesss.
My hubby, Ariel, and I are staycationing. The plan is to put our son into daycare (sorry Oliver!) and enjoy our time together (ALONE!) just doing everyday things. Movies, lingering lunches, massages, naps. You get the idea. Happy Holidays!
My holiday vacation will be filled with shopping, movies, coffee dates, trying new restaurants, cottaging and most of all, partying. 
 Christmas at Muskoka Wharf.
I’m most excited about a tradition with my dad and three sisters, where we spend the day together and shop for Christmas presents for my mom. We’ve kept this tradition going for 20 years, and it is easily our favourite day of the year. Especially since it gives us all time to enjoy lunch together, chat and take in the Christmas-y spirit!

What’s In Your…Lunch Bag?

We’ve already shared the contents of our makeup bags, and now we’re giving you a sneak peak into the fridge On the Fourth Floor. We have some major peanut butter and banana sandwich fans, a few take-out girls and a couple of soup fanatics. 
It was a busy week On The Fourth Floor – we had a few events, a sick boss, lots of gift guides to work on and, of course, the beginning of Hanukkah. Needless to say, some of our usual homemade lunches were replaced by yummy local take-out. PR is busy, and having great lunch spots close to our office is so nice! 

Carly packed a wholesome lunch, complete with a Fibre 1 bar, mini Babybel and best of all, a classic peanut butter and banana sandwich. Yum. Her lunch is never complete without a Starbucks to polish it off. 

Classic PB&B.

Alana has delicious homemade meals for lunch nearly every day, but today she opted to bring in take-out Sorn Thai red beef curry instead (remember her earlier rave?). The amazing smell left Carly a little less impressed with her sandwich. 

 

Since being newly engaged and a recent homeowner, Christina has turned over a new, homemaker-ish leaf. Christina has lots of big ticket things coming up next year (wedding, closing date on a home), so she’s on a budget and tries to bring lunch every day. She made a delicious spicy chili, which despite our previous experience, did not make the office smell badly. It smelled home-y and welcome on a cold, grey December day. 

Abby also enjoys bringing lunch from home, but working late at the Oliver Spencer launch party the night before meant sleep was more of a priority than packing a lunch. She went for a chicken shawarma from Falafel Queen. 


It was filling, delicious and the spicy sauce provided a much-needed wake up, too. 


Lisa and Michelle are the take-out type, and ran across the street to Shanghai Cowgirl for a breakfast-for-lunch. Shanghai Cowgirl serves up quick, tasty food at good prices. Lisa had the classic eggs and bacon. Normally, though, her lunch is a slight variation of this: 

Tim Horton’s should give her stock in the company! 
Michelle went for french toast and homefries, complete with powdered sugar.


Rachelle is a busy mom to the adorable lil’ Oliver, so packing a lunch doesn’t always happen. She’s a healthy eater so she went for a fresh bowl of pho with noodles, veggies and tofu from Pho Phuong on Queen West.
 
The bonus of this yummy lunch? One serving was enough for two lunches. And soup is always better the next day. Now, that’s value.
Finally, Lara went healthy with Kashi cereal and almond milk, plus an apple. This pretty much sums up her daily lunch, even down to the Starbucks coffee for dessert. 

Lara happily munching her cereal at her workstation. 
Look for her Meet Our Team profile coming soon! 

What are your lunch must-haves? Do you brown bag it, or rely on a steady supply of take-out? Tweet us @rockitpromo! 

My ‘Hood: Alana

by Alana
I have lived in the Yonge and Eglinton area my entire life, and love being a short walk away from anything I could ever need or want. The strip is filled with tons of cute shops and restaurants, and over the years I’ve acquired some favourites.
If you’re a fan of traditional Pad Thai like me, then Sorn Thai is the place for you. Located a couple of blocks north of Eglinton, this spot has been around for more than 15 years and is great for fast, cheap Thai food, amazing service and the best Pad Thai in the city (seriously). If that’s not your cup of tea, try an order of their crispy spring rolls and the red curry beef – delish!
I just read about a new café, Jed’s Frozen Custard. I heard a lot of hype about their frozen custard, so I went to check it out. It’s smooth, creamy and cool on a warm day. For the chillier days now upon us, Jed’s also offers baked goods and specialty coffees.
Since Yonge and Eg isn’t only about good food, I couldn’t write this post without mentioning my favourite little jewellery store, I Heart Accessories. This store has become my go-to place to pick up great, inexpensive and beautiful accessories for my girlfriends’ birthdays and special occasions. I often end up leaving with a little something for myself as well. Oops!

Note: It’s a tiny shop north of Eglinton, on the east side of Yonge, so keep an eye out ’cause it’s easy to miss.

Speaking of celebrations, the Little Party Shoppe is hands-down the first place I think of when I need a great all-occasion card or gag present. They have everything from balloons and board games to books and coffee mugs, and literally everything in between. Drop in sometime, especially if you’re planning a holiday party.

Ok, back to food. I forgot to mention that I love anything deep fried, and if you’re adventurous with your food like I am, you should definitely experience the crispy, warm, gooey-ness of a deep-fried Mars bar from C’est Bon. Their other desserts are worth trying, too. (They also have deep-fried bananas.) The picture says it all, don’t you think? Mmm…

My neighbourhood is a great spot for almost anything, and if you haven’t ventured uptown in a while I suggest checking out the awesome businesses of Yonge and Eg. You won’t regret it.

TIFF’10: Our favourite moments

Annnd… it’s over. TIFF’10 was amazing. So much happened, and here are some of our favourite highlights:

Debra
I have many favourite memories about TIFF 2010, but working with Helen Mirren was an extraordinary privilege. At the end of a long day together, I was admiring her Cartier ring and she took it off and told me try it on. Such a fun, sweet moment. And a really, really amazing ring on a really, really amazing lady.

Ashley:
1. To keep warm while working the red carpet for the Alliance Films TIFF celebration, I started humming Broadway show tunes. Just as “If I were a Rich Man…” was flitting through my head, a black SUV pulled up and a man named Harvey got out. I may have *accidentally* started a rock-it-wide rumour that Harvey Fierstein (who originated the role of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof) had arrived, rather than Harvey Weinstein.  Luckily, my colleagues were quick to pull my head out of the stars.
2.  Witnessing PR manager, Lisa Power, down a full bottle of Echinacea in less than a week to combat TIFF-borne illnesses.
   
Abby
1. We were hired to work the red carpet and guest list for a few pretty high-profile events. There was one person who kept trying to crash the parties. I’m not sure that she realized that we were the same people running each event, as she kept coming up with different reasons as to why she should be let in. First, she was a media member. Then, her French boyfriend was on the list. Next, her Canadian filmmaker boyfriend emailed to get her on a list. Finally, she became the VP of a music company. It was pretty entertaining to see the creative ways she kept trying to get in. A for effort. Plus, it made us laugh when we were tired and stressed. 

2. Turning down a $200-bribe to let some guys into the private Festival Music House event. My pride & ethics say “way to go” (as does my boss), but my bank account says I’m an idiot. 

Christina

Walking Juliette Lewis down the red carpet at the Alliance Films fiesta.





Alana
My favourite moment was going to Zach Galifianakis’ It’s Kind Of A Funny Story after party with the girls from rock-it.

Listening to Coeur de Pirate at Festival Music House – the coolest TIFF event ever!  

Lisa

Checking out The Raccoons at Festival Music House.

I also enjoyed getting my mini mani from Joe Fresh Beauty at Tastemakers Lounge.

Matt: 
Getting psyched to see City and Colour at Festival Music House, but then getting a call from babysitter that my daughter woke up barfing. Needless to say, my evening ended on my knees with a sponge, instead swaying in sweaty mob of people.  
1. Seeing the gorgeous Ryan Kwanten (from my favourite show True Blood) and the swaggalicious Terrence Howard at our Tastemakers Lounge at the Intercontinental Hotel Yorkville.
2. Getting to spend quality time with my client, the lovely actress Emily Hampshire. She lives in L.A. so I rarely get to actually hang out with her – and she is one cool and entertaining lady.
  

Meet Our Team: Alana

Every Friday, you’ll either meet one of our team or one of our clients on the fourth floor. 

Alana is a cute, 20-something intern who is cutting her PR teeth at rock-it promotions. She’s bubbly, sharp as a tack and has an identical twin.

 
How long have you been part of the team?
I’ve been part of the rock-it team for three months and it’s been fantastic! As one of rock-it’s interns, I’ve had the chance to experience amazing events and meet a lot of great people. It’s been a whirlwind and I love it.

What is your guilty pleasure?
My guilty pleasure is and always will be eating countless bowls of chips while watching a chick flick with my girlfriends. I could eat a whole bag in a heartbeat. Sometimes you just have to break the “portion control” rule, you know? Plus, who can resist Ruffles Sour Cream and Onion? Mmm…

Favourite outdoor summer time activity?

I’ve spent every summer up north for more than 20 years and there’s nothing I love more than boating and water sports in the summer. Water skiing, wakeboarding, tubing and just boating over to a friend’s cottage is the epitome of summer to me.

Best gift you’ve ever received?

A charm bracelet from my parents. I have a bunch of charms that I’ve collected over the years, all symbolizing something in my life. Whether it’s a hobby, somewhere I’ve travelled, and even a little charm to remember our dog, I try to pick up a charm whenever I travel.

Best part about being a publicist?

The best part about being a publicist (or, in my case, a publicity intern) is the chance to meet so many interesting and influential people in the industry. It’s also amazing to see what the team here at rock-it can achieve for a client. I’ve had the chance to see a few clients’ responses to the team’s hard work and it’s really rewarding.

A little more from the fourth floor:

Website – BlogTO
Designer – Ted Baker
Store – Aritzia
Book – The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Snack – Poutine
Season – Spring
Sexy – Little Black Dress
Inspiration – Successful friends/family
Drink – Caesar
Motto in two words – Think: Karma

Follow her on Twitter! @Avdeguerre