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
Today’s
Parent
, 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

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

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 covetgarden.com 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.
exploremusic.com and www.alancross.ca 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.


Worst?

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?

Rudeness.


I love?

Free stuff.


Reading?

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.


Hero?

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.




Yum, yum: National Hot Dog Month

After the National Post declared
hot dogs the victor
in the nutritional barbecue battle against the hamburger (at least, strictly in terms of calories), we
got thinking about our deeply rooted childhood love for hot dogs: from campfire-roasted spidey dogs to street meat to ballpark classics. With July being National Hot Dog
Month
(yep, it’s worth all 31 days of this month), we round up the best diggity-dogs in the city.


Sometimes,
you just don’t mess with a classic. 
The Stockyards (699 St. Clair Ave. W.) dog is all-beef with the traditional fixin’s:
mustard, ketchup and red onion. For another $1.50, you can hit it out of the (ball) park
with bacon and cracklings. Pork on pork on pork, yum…

Who doesn’t? 
(A rhetorical question, we know there are those that don’t indulge in the other white meat).
Image source.

For more in the pork bonanza, try a foot-long from Burkie’s
Dog House found in the ACC and at Real
Sports Bar
. Get ‘em covered in bacon, pulled pork, chili or mac and cheese
in one of their many heart-stopping varieties. For some true patriot love, dig into
the Poutine Dog made with hickory sticks – très bon, n’est-ce pas?

We swear, hickory sticks on a poutine-covered footlong is amazing.
Image source.

After savouring one of Quebec’s most beloved dishes, check
out The Little Dog (566 College St.) for another Montreal classic: steamies. Now, these are no
icky New York “waterdogs.” At Little Dog, they claim steaming is the only way
to go, locking in the flavour and juiciness whereas grilling causes the casing to split. True to their name, these
babies are the two-bite brownie of the hot dog world, ringing in at under $2. Bonus? It shares space with The Big Chill, so snack on some ice cream afterward.

Simple menu, outstanding flavour.

If it’s toppings (of the non-pork variety) you want, check
out The
Hot ‘n Dog
 (216 Close Ave.) With more than 120 condiments, you can load up your hot
dog – either a beef-pork blend or veggie – with everything from asparagus to
maple syrup to crumbled blue cheese. “Less is more” is definitely not the motto
of this Parkdale establishment.


When all else fails, hit up one of our city’s oldest and
most omnipresent “street food” hubs: the hot dog cart. The
cart at St. George and Beverly is the stuff hungover undergrad dreams are made
of. Plus, the same guy (we think) has been serving up U of T students for 20 years – hot
diggity!


Joining the hot dog scene, Fancy Franks Gourmet Hot Dogs is set to open at 326 College
St. No word yet when we’ll be able to dig into their dogs, but you know we’ll be first in line. 

If you’re celebrating a month of hot dogs at home, get
creative with the condiments and nix the sodium-packed ketchup. Chatelaine
has fun alternative toppings for your cookout, including the “Mediterranean quartet”, “Enticing
Indian” and “Southern corn relish”. 

Dig in and enjoy. 

Media, Darling: Liz Cabral

Liz Cabral started
her career as Fashion Editor with
Chatelaine magazine, and in 2004 she joined
FLARE as Style Editor. In 2005, she was promoted to Fashion Director. During her
tenure, she has given
FLARE’s fashion coverage a fresh, distinct point of view
that successfully combines inspirational fashion editorial with down-to-earth,
how-to information.  


An esteemed stylist and creative visionary, Cabral has
won multiple industry awards and worked with some of the world’s top
personalities, including Daria Werbowy, Coco Rocha, Fergie, Taylor Swift,
Dakota Fanning and Zooey Deschanel. A sought-after fashion expert, she
frequently appears on such shows as Breakfast Television, CityLine, MTV, Fashion Television, ET
Canada
and eTalk. A designer in her own right, Cabral has been
involved in two very successful collaborations: the first-ever FLARE/Aldo shoe
launched in 2011, which sold out in weeks; and, in partnership with The
Shopping Channel, was the creative force behind the FLARE designer-inspired lamb leather convertible shoulder bag.



Did you always want
to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
I always knew I wanted to be in the fashion industry,
but I didn’t realize magazines were my calling until I actually interned at
one – Flare, actually – back in university.

Where would you like to be five years from now? 
Either living in the eye of a chaotic fashion hub like
Paris or New York, or the complete opposite and living in a California coastal
town growing organic vegetables.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry? 
There’s been a lot of controversy and hullabaloo around
interning these days, but it is one of the most invaluable experiences you’ll
have if you take proper advantage of it. It allows you to meet people you’d
never otherwise be exposed to and gain experience. I’ve hired countless interns
on as editors and never once been disappointed. I believe the right internship can
really lead to your dream job 
 it did mine.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own? (i.e.:
what do you read/listen/watch?)
My Internet surfing is very fashion-oriented so WWD, Style.com,
The Cut (although I could do with a little less snark; that’s certainly the
downfall of a lot of websites these days). I read all types of magazines from
every edition of Vogue to Women’s Health to Esquire and Wired.

Best advice you’ve ever been given? 
Never make a decision based off of fear and follow
your gut.

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Never wait until tomorrow to fulfill a dream or
passion.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Read magazine mastheads and don’t call a senior editor
asking who covers what beat; you should be reading the publications you’re pitching and know all the players. I can’t tell you how many times I get an
email addressed to someone who worked at Flare 10 years ago.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
The pros know how to relate and talk to editors
without sounding like a press release 😉

I hate?
I hate to hate. Nothing goods comes of it.

I love?
Travelling. Nothing brings you life experience and
education like travelling the world and experiencing different cultures. You’re
a more interesting
person for it.

Reading? 
Eckhardt
Tolle’s The Power of Now – a little self discovery is always good.

Best place on earth?
Hard to pick just one. But in the last year I’ve been
to Morocco, New Zealand and Japan; I’d say those are all up there on the best-of list. Along with Italy and Bali and the California coast and……..

Dinner guest?
Nothing beats dinner with my best friend/husband.

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Whatever app my husband downloads on to my phone, he’s
a computer engineer. ‘Nuff said.

Pool or ocean?
Ocean. Salt water is great for your hair and heart.

Voicemail or email?
Email. Easier to hit reply than pick up the phone.

Media, Darling: Tyler Franch

Tyler Franch is the Assistant Fashion Editor at Chatelaine. Prior to this he lived in London where worked as a style advisor and creative associate for Topshop/Topman. Although he grew up in the east end of Toronto, Tyler considers himself a west end boy as he has lived there for years. He is at his best while cycling the city, having eats and drinks with friends or
hanging out in the grass with some good reading material.



Twitter: @tylerfranch

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
 
I’ve always loved fashion and beauty. Working as an editor turned out to be the perfect fix for my style addiction.



Where would you like to be five years from now?  

Anywhere and everywhere! As long as I can keep my integrity, I’ll be happy.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry? 
   
Internships are the best way to get noticed in this industry. Nothing shows more dedication, passion, loyalty and skill set than working for free AND DOING IT WELL!


What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own? (i.e.: what do you read/listen/watch?) 
Vanity Fair and almost any British fashion publication.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
 
Possibly the importance of a first impression. Something everyone should work on down to the handshake.

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
 
I’m not one for rules. I do care a lot about manners. Please and thank-you go a long way with me.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
 
Have fun with it. We aren’t saving lives here.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
 
Anyone who has taken the time to get to know me and understand what I’m trying to do. It’s all about the communication. We are practically all in relationships.

I hate?

When people don’t cut the vents open on the back of their jackets.


I love?

Whoever is styling One Direction.


Reading?

Two words – Hunger Games.

Best place on earth?

My friend’s cottage in Nova Scotia.


Dinner guest?

Gucci Westman or Guido.


Hero?

Mom, of course.


Pool or ocean?

Ocean.


Voicemail or email?

Email. Who has the patience to always check voicemail? If the question were “Phone or Email ?”- my answer would be phone.


Media, Darling: Flannery Dean

Flannery Dean graduated from the University of Toronto with an M.A. in English Literature in 2001. Shortly after graduation, she decided to try her luck in the world of magazine journalism, though every once in a while she returns to the 12th floor of Robarts Library to fall asleep with a copy of The Canterbury Tales under her chin.

A freelance writer and editor, she’s written for TV and has contributed to CBC.ca, ELLE Canada, Chatelaine, Glow, Toronto Life, the National Post, Dogs in Canada, The Bark, and the Ottawa Citizen. She blogs daily for Chatelaine.com.

What was your favourite class in high school?
Any class I got kicked out of definitely makes the top five. So English, Biology, Geography, Gym, and French would qualify.
Why?
Short answer: No human being hated school as much as I did. I need to be free!

How did you get your start as a journalist?


Nepotism. My mother is a writer and when I graduated from U of T, she helped me get an internship at Where Toronto magazine. It was unpaid though, so nepotism has its limits.

If you weren’t a Media, Darling, what would you be doing right now?
Parasailing with George Clooney in Lake Como.

Pitching or follow up: Phone or email?
Email is preferred. But I love to talk to a living breathing human being sometimes, too.

We know irrelevant pitches, calling you the wrong name and eight follow-ups are no-no’s; what else should publicists avoid doing?

 
Saying no to my requests for an interview with their clients – that is just evil.

Sunrise or sunset?
I’m greedy, I want both – and all in one day.

Scent? 
Scent of a Woman by Al Pacino. Very exclusive. Only available to a select group of TBS viewers.

Cookie?
I will eat any cookie put in front of me and I’ll probably eat yours when you turn your head.

Flower? 
Peonies, hyacinth, irises, and everything currently blooming in my mother’s garden.


Ticklish?
Painfully. It’s a problem.

Shower or bath?
 
I’ve patented the decadent shower-bath. You start with a shower, then while the water’s running, you plug the tub and wallow in your own luxurious bilge water until someone tells you to get the hell out of the bathroom because you’ve been in there for at least an hour already.

Film?
Arthur (original). The Palm Beach Story. Topsy Turvy. I spent my youth watching TVO’s Saturday Night at the Movies.

Crush?
Many! Currently Francois Arnaud, The Borgias. It’s possibly mutual as I’m pretty sure he winked at me during the season finale. 

First job? 
Dishwasher. Real confidence builder.


Inspiration? 
My mortality. 

Media, Darling: Arren Williams

As a stylist, designer, editor and leading trend consultant, Arren Williams’ work has popped up over the last decade in many of Canada’s top style mags and newspapers, including Canadian House & Home, Wish, Style at Home, Flare, Chatelaine, Canadian Family and the National Post

He also pops up occasionally on HGTV, and appears as a guest expert covering style and design for Citytv’s CityLine. Online, you can catch him blogging at www.arrenwilliams.com, as well as writing for SweetHome and the National Post’s home and design blog, Posted Homes.

What was your favourite class in high school? 
Art class. I went to a sports and science focused boy’s grammar school and it was the one place I felt like I actually fitted in.

How did you get your start as an editor?
That was with Style at Home a gazillion years ago. They needed someone to take on their upfront news section ‘Home & Style’ and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

If you weren’t a Media, Darling, what would you be doing right now?
Making jam in Provence. Seriously.


Pitching or follow up: Phone or email?
Email, definitely. Nice short and concise, info and low-resolution-image-filled e-mails! 

We know irrelevant pitches, calling you the wrong name and eight follow-ups are no-no’s; what else should publicists avoid doing?
Please check the sex of who you’re contacting. I am a bloke (obviously!) and you’d be amazed the number of times I get an e-mail addressed to Ms. Williams. And getting my ‘feedback’ i.e. mining for ideas on how to pitch/launch/promote their products or services.

Sunrise or sunset?
Sunrise in Palm Springs. Sunset in Hawaii.

Scent?
None. It gives me a headache.

Cookie?
Dangerous. I’d hafta say Garibaldi, a.k.a. ‘Flies’ Graveyard’ – It’s a raisin cookie from the U.K. that’s hard to find here that I loved as a kid.

Flower?
I’m more on the greens side of things, really.

Ticklish?
Absolutely.

Shower or bath?
Shower.

Film?
Digital. 😉

Crush?
Orange. 😉

First job?
‘Bottling up’ at the age of 12. In other words, filling the shelves with bottles of beer at a local pub.

Inspiration?
Pattern and colour, and anyone who can actually pull their finger out and create something beautiful.