Media, Darling: Julia McEwen

Julia McEwen has been fixated on all things beautifying since she
was a child sewing clothes for her dolls and giving them radical new hair ‘dos.
She’s a fashion sleuth, facial mask hoarder, self-described dog snob, and
purveyor of shiny fabrics.
She briefly worked as an independent fashion designer and a
freelance wardrobe stylist before joining Canadian Living almost five years ago. Now, as fashion
and beauty director, McEwen is responsible for fashion and beauty photo shoots,
service driven beauty stories and testing the latest products and trends.



Did
you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the
horizon?
Many
jobs — both real and fake — were on my wish list growing up, but a job in the
media was never top of mind. Like most little girls, the prospect of being a fairy princess or a mermaid sounded like a good bet. As I grew older (but not
so much wiser) professional gymnast or Olympic downhill ski racer was the goal.
Next came vet, marine biologist, lawyer, interior designer and then finally I
settled on fashion designer. I went to school for fashion design and fashion
business and while attending one of my electives, fashion journalism, I decided
that was my dream occupation.
Where
would you like to be five years from now?
I’d
still like to be working in print media, but on a larger scale with more of a
focus on fashion. I’d like to be writing and producing aspirational photo
shoots and articles. Ideally this future publication would be located in NYC or
London.
Any
advice for people getting started in your industry?
Try,
try and try again. Oh, and do one, two or even three internships. Perseverance
is the name of the game in this industry. You have to love what you’re doing
because it’s a ton of work for not a lot of pay. Also, never be rude to people.
Being an asshole will get you nowhere, fast.
What
are your favourite media outlets, not including your own? 
Best
interview you’ve ever had?
Surprisingly
enough, one of my best interviews was also one of my first interviews. It was
with reality TV mentor, Tim Gunn. He was very media trained so for a newbie
journalist it was appreciated. He was also astoundingly insightful, charming
and inspiring. What more could I ask for?
Worst?
Carrie Underwood. Seconds before the interview I was instructed not to ask any
questions with a Canadian emphasis. I work for Canadian Living magazine……
Best
advice you’ve ever been given?
“Why
say no when it feels so good to say yes.” – Tommy Boy, the movie.
“Don’t
live in the past or the future, live in the now.” – My friend’s mom, aka Buddha
reincarnated.
What
rule(s) do you live your life by?
Likely
this rule is fuelled by my OCD, but for the last eight years, I plan out my outfit
for the following day. Every detail is decided on in advance, including
accessories and jewelry. It helps keep my closet tidy and gives me plenty of
time to map out the perfect outfit for the day ahead.
What’s
the most important tip you can give PR pros?
When
it comes down to it, a PR person’s success depends on their relationships with
media peeps. We’re all human, no need to send out mass emails or leave awkward
voicemails like you’re reading from a bad script. Just be real, talk openly and
be honest.
Things
that make me happy:

When
a press release has the name of the product, price, availability and arrives
early enough for it to be timely to feature in book for long lead media, e
vents
on the subway line that are first thing in the AM and e
vents/previews/interviews
that start on time and don’t last longer than an hour.

Things
that make me go crazy:

Massive
attachments in email, t
he
phone call follow up less than 24 hours after the initial pitch/event has been
sent or emailed, s
aying
something is exclusive when your direct competitors are being offered the exact
same thing and ev
ents/previews
in the middle of the day.

Best
experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
I’ve
had countless warm and fuzzy experiences with so many wonderful PR pros it’s
difficult to pick an all time best. So I’ll just give a few of them shout outs
for being my PR guardian angels: Katherine Hamilton, Lisa Kruger, Lindsey
Haywood, Caroline Duguay, Sarah Smithers, Anita Matte, Kelly Amsterdam, Isabelle
Randez and Jessica Shamess.
I
hate?
Leggings,
UGG boots and Canada Goose jackets. Especially when worn all together with a
Starbucks in hand. #fashionfail #lifefail
I
love?
Day
sequins, rice and Norwich terriers.

Reading?
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver.
Best
place on earth?
Somewhere
I’ve yet to discoverer. My money is on Anna Dello Russo’s apartment-sized
closet.
Dinner
guest?
Hero?
I
don’t have one overarching hero in my life but there are lots of influential
women out there who inspire me — and one man. Jenna Lyons, Julianne Moore,
Grace Coddington, Cate Blanchett, Gwen Stefani and Tom Ford.


Favourite
app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Vine
is the newest app added to my social media roster. So far it’s tied with
Instagram for top spot. Followed by Twitter, Pinterest and Viddy.
Pool
or ocean?
Ocean.
Public, resort and/or hotel pools are cesspits. 
Voicemail
or email?
Emails
all the way. Even if it takes me one, two or seven plus days I’ll eventually
reply to your email. Voicemails make me ragey.
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Fashion-able: Beauty techniques for 2013

On the fourth floor, we’re always looking to expand our beauty repertoire and switch up our look. Last year brought us the fishtail braid, pink hair and dark lips… what looks are we going to perfect in 2013? Here’s some of our inspiration.


Double-lined eyeliner

A steady hand and a lot of practice is required, but a thick black cat-eye with a coloured or sparkly shade on top? Beautiful. And shows off your mad skills. We think with the help of our new favourite, the Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner and its felt tip for precision lining, this is totally doable.


Beautiful for a special occasion.
Image source.

More subtle, but equally pretty.
Image source.

Dolly Parton-esque curls

This inspiration pic makes us think this look is achievable, without looking like a pageant queen or the misfit with crazy big hair.


We’ll be the ones casually putting on lip balm with beautiful, cascading curls.
Image source.



Interesting French manis

We’re not sure of your position on French manicures, but when Beauty Editor tells us something is trending, we listen, and she says the French mani is back. We might pass on the classic French, as we’re still having flashbacks to terrible gel nails from our teens (and for some of us, early twenties), but we’re open to interesting versions like this one in black, mixing matte and glossy polishes.


So sleek.
Image source.



Hair bow

Is this weird? We’re not sure, but maybe it would be fun to try. Jury’s out on this one.


The hair bow. Literally.
Image source.

Cut crease

Finding the appropriate time and place to wear this one might be the biggest challenge, as we never like to look too made up. However, when Marc Jacobs sent the SS13 models down the runway with this 60s-inspired look, we vowed to try. Definitely possible at fashion week.


Marc Jacobs SS13.
Image source.

There ya go.. our top looks to perfect (or try once, depending on results and reactions) for 2013. We’ll keep you posted on the results!

Media, Darling: Wing Sze Tang

Wing
Sze Tang is the beauty and health editor at FLARE,
and has been working in magazines for more than nine years. She started out as
a grammar cop (a.k.a. copy editor) and still cares about the smallest
details. Back in her freelance writing days, she contributed to Fashion, Elle Canada, Best Health,
Travel + Leisure and Marketing Magazine. She appreciates when
people pronounce her first name correctly (hint: the Sze sounds like
See, but calling her just Wing is
perfectly cool, too).


Photo credit: Adam Moco


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

Looking back, I can see I was always
heading in this direction. Words make sense to me (numbers do not!). I studied
English at the University of Toronto, and all my “grown-up” jobs have been in
publishing.



Where would you like to be five years from
now?
My heart is in journalism. But I have a lot
of disparate interests and ideas, so who knows what the future will bring.
Any advice for people getting started in
your industry?
Don’t assume that being passionate is
enough to set you apart. While it’s essential, know that everyone else
clamouring to work in this business feels the same way. Work harder than them.
If you feel insecure about your experience or skills (we all do sometimes), don’t
let that hold you back; use it to drive your ambition to get better. If you
want to write, read 
 everything. Figure out what makes great writing great. And
then write. Learn from your editor.
What are your favourite media outlets, not
including your own? (i.e.: what do you read/listen/watch?)
I look at the usual suspects in the
fashion/beauty and health beats, since of course I keep tabs on my competitors.
Beyond that, my reading list is eclectic – everything from Toronto Life, Wired
and Gawker to The New York Times, Outside and The Atlantic. I also love the
serendipity of finding a great story via the smart people I follow on Twitter.
I have terrible taste in TV.
Best interview you’ve ever had?
Hard to choose. Since I cover beauty and
health, I get to talk to lots of different people  movie stars and scientists,
makeup artists and MDs, athletes and business execs. The variety keeps my job
interesting. I love interviews that feel like natural conversations, not
interrogations. And I love getting answers I didn’t expect and learning things
I didn’t know.
Worst?
Any interview where I’m allotted a few
minutes. Or where the interviewee delivers coached or rehearsed lines.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
If you want something, ask for it.
What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Don’t let fear rule your life.
Try, try again.
Be curious. Be skeptical.
What’s the most important tip you can give
PR pros?
1. Know who covers what. It’s not a secret
(see: the masthead). If you email your pitch to everyone on staff when I’m the
one who handles the section, I’ll assume you don’t read the magazine. Sometimes
we get packages addressed to people who haven’t worked here in YEARS.

2. Save trees. Keep press releases short
and sweet. Some of the ones I get rival book manuscripts. But deliver the
relevant details (e.g. specifically what’s innovative/new), not fluff or
over-the-top claims. If your pitch has a whiff of B.S., I’ll doubt if I can
trust any of it (or you).

3. Be honest and transparent. If you can’t
reveal the information because you don’t know it, or you’ve given another
publication the exclusive, I’ll understand. But I’d rather hear no than wonder
why I’m getting the silent treatment as my deadline looms.
Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro?
We love to hear about #wins.
Once, an expert source flaked out right
before my deadline and decided he was too swamped to do an interview. Without
missing a beat—in fact, within half an hour—the PR reached out to two different
sources to see if she could secure an equally appropriate alternative for me. I
interviewed one of them later that afternoon. The PR deftly turned a
near-disaster into a win, and I couldn’t have solved the problem faster myself.
I hate? 
Going to sleep. Writing the first
paragraph. Dealing with people who are bitchy for no reason.
I love? 
Sleeping. Traveling. Eating.
Reaching the finish line. Collecting lipsticks and skin-care potions. Escaping
to the movies. Hanging out with my dude and my dog.
Reading? 
I’m slowly making my way through
my Instapaper archive of long-form nonfiction articles. I wish I had time to
read more books for fun.
Best place on earth? 
Depending on my mood:
home, or far away.
Dinner guest? 
Happiness is good food with a
great friend.
Hero? 
My mom, who raised my sister and me
almost single-handedly. We’re very different people, but she taught me that it’s
possible to defy the odds through hard work and sheer will.
Favourite app (or whatever you are
downloading these days)? 
I’m a news junkie, so Twitter is the most addictive. I
tweet sparingly but listen all the time. (Say hi: @wingszetang.)
Pool or ocean?
I can’t swim, though it’s a
life goal to learn. Till then, you’ll find me on the beach under an umbrella, dodging
the sun.
Voicemail or email? 
Email! Fastest for
everyone. I do answer my phone, but don’t call to read me the press release.

City Living: Body Blitz East Launches with a Splash!

What’s better than *one* place where women can go to relax, enjoy a therapeutic water circuit, jump in a sauna and socialize, all the while enjoying a delicious fruity concoction of antioxidants? Two! Toronto’s women’s only, health-by-water spa, Body Blitz is a favourite social destination for women across the city and has become such a popular a haven of relaxation they are celebrating opening the doors of a second location at  497 King St. E. 


The spa’s first location at 471 Adelaide St. W. opened in 2005 and invites hundreds of women through its doors each week. Body Blitz is thrilled to offer another unique space where ladies can escape a little bit from the daily chaos known as life. 


Body Blitz (West).



Smack dab in the middle of Toronto’s beautiful Corktown neighbourhood, Body Blitz East is uniquely designed within 22,000 sq. feet of industrial space made into a buzz-worthy sanctuary. The five part water circuit relay includes a Dead Sea salt pool, hot Epsom salt pool, a cold plunge pool, an aromatherapy steam room and an infrared sauna; all with individual benefits that contribute to a better, more serene sense of well being. 


Body Blitz East Dead Sea salt pool 
Photo credit: Carlos Avalos

And what better way to celebrate the launch of something *so* cool than by hosting one kick-ass party? The highlights: a team of world-class synchronized swimmers from the Durham Synchro Swim Club performing two 10 minute routines, a gorgeous real-life mermaid, and the spiked detox drink. [Full disclosure: one of the spa’s juices got an adult twist. When in doubt, add vodka]. 



Snacking on food provided by Jamie Kennedy, women scoped out their future hot spot, while men relished being allowed into such a forbidden space…October 10 was a guy’s one and only time to see the women’s spa. Their jealousy was apparent. 


More than 250 attendees celebrated the unveiling of the new space, including Jim CuddyKathleen Edwards, 2012 Olympic medallist Adam van Koeverden, actress Meghan Heffern, and dancers from the National Ballet of Canada, and Body Blitz friends and family. 


Body Blitz co-owners Rena (L) and Laura (R) Polley with Jim Cuddy.

The official public opening for Body Blitz East is Monday November 12. For more images of Body Blitz and images from the launch party, check out our Flickr site. 


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
Website: www.flare.com


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
time.



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.


Worst?
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? 
Haters.

I love? 
Lovers.

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

Best place on earth? 
Home.

Dinner guest? 
Ellen DeGeneres.

Hero? 
Ellen DeGeneres.

Pool or ocean? 
Both.

Voicemail or email?
Email.

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.

Fashion-able: Natural beauty products

While we do love the occasional shellac, and we can’t
honestly boast that the majority of our day-to-day beauty products are all
natural, we do like to try and use natural beauty products when possible. Whether it’s for sensitive skin, dry and brittle nails or any other sensitivities, we’ve found that switching over to natural products can be a
pretty quick fix. And while the selection doesn’t always compare to
conventional products, your body will thank you.


Skincare

Consonant Skincare
Consonant Skincare, a line of Canadian-made 100% natural, chemical-free skincare products just recently came out with 100% Natural Matte Finish Sunscreen. Because it’s matte, non-greasy and leaves no white residue, it’s perfect for every day use on top of moisturizer, and makes for a great make up primer.


Consonant’s moisturizer is also a great summer product because it’s light, but also effectively moisturizes and hydrates skin that spent just a little too much time in the sun. 



Another great natural brand is Kiss My Face. Their line of cream and spray sunscreens are available in SPF 30 for the body and SPF 50 for the face. Their sunscreens also contain aloe which soothes and moisturizes skin while protecting it. We also love the Sport Lip Balm in SPF 30, because if you’ve ever burned your lips, you will never make the same mistake again.



Hair care

With a collection that includes six shampoos and four conditioners, not only do Aesop products use the finest natural ingredients, they smell amazing as well. Unlike a lot of natural shampoos, Aesop’s products actually cater to different hair types with options like volumizing, colour protection and equalizing shampoo. 




Green Beaver
Another line of delicious smelling shampoos and conditioners is Green Beaver. This line which includes scents such as Cranberry Delight, Fresh Mint, and Lavender Rosemary is perfect for a summer shower in the lake, or just to stay smelling fresh on hot, humid days. And because no natural line of products is complete without a gluten-free option, Green Beaver offers gluten-free shampoo (we are as confused as you are).





Makeup



RMS
We have holistic nutrionist and owner of Joyous Health Joy McCarthy to thank for this great find. Her favourite product (and one we plan on buying) is RMS lip2cheek. Essentially a lipstick and blush in one, this convenient beauty product combines hydration, protection and mineral colour for a casual, simple look. Another great product they have is a cream eye shadow. We recently fell in love with cream eye shadow for it’s foolproof application and lasting power, so bonus that we’ve found a natural option!





Pure Anada
Made in Canada, Pure Anada has a great selection of completely natural makeup products and brushes. From foundation to tinted moisturizer to eyeliner, there is a product to suit every makeup need.






Nail Polish

Zoya  
We were delighted to find out that Zoya nail polish is toxin-free! We have used many of their 300 colours (and four seasonal collections) in the past and will be using them a lot more now. They also have a great 3-in-1 nail polish remover that is gentle on nails and smells like lavender.



Suncoat
Priding themselves on being “the cleanest nail polish on the planet”, Suncoat is water-based and available in over 30 colours. They also sell a completely natural nail polish remover, so while there aren’t as many colour options as most conventional nail polishes, this polish and remover combination is extremely gentle on your nails. 





While we’ve only listed a couple products from each brand, many have entire lines of natural products. So if you try their shampoo and love it, why not see what their moisturizer is like?