Best On The Fourth Floor posts from 2011

For our last post of the year, we’ve put together a round-up of some of our favourite and most-read posts from the last 12 months. We have had almost 175,000 page views since we started in the summer of 2010 thanks to you. Fist pump. xo

Our first Media, Darling of 2011, Sasha Tong, was fun to interview, and her post full of good advice and insider secrets is our most popular to date. 

The snowboarding vs. skiing debate raged in our office in February, when we went head to head with each other to see which snow sport reigned supreme. The verdict? Find out here.

Back in March, we went to visit a brand new little resto that opened just around the corner from us called 416 Snack Bar. We chatted with owners Dave and Adrian, and have literally been back almost weekly to sample their tasty wines and homemade snacks. It really is our Cheers.

We eloquently expressed our rage regarding biking in the city in April, since we’d just taken our trusty steeds out of winter storage and were still getting used to the new “war on bikes” era ushered in by Mayor Ford. We hate to say it, but things didn’t really change for the better when it comes to biking downtown. Maybe in 2012?
We were excited when PR maven Kelly Cutrone stopped by the fourth floor in May, to give us some advice (and record a funny video with our own Matt Austin, a former Power Ranger). 
Delicious cooking made an appearance on the fourth floor in June, with a delicious fiddlehead and ramps recipe, complete with quinoa. Yum.

Our appreciation for art increased with our trip and subsequent post about the Abstract Expressionism exhibit at the AGO, featuring Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock and others. 

Lazy summer days gave us plenty of time to ponder email etiquette, so we put those thoughts on screen and generated a strong response. People have opinions about email etiquette.

We checked out the brand-new Black Hoof cocktail bar. Needless to say, we were impressed with the clever and careful concoctions. 

TIFF was busy and exciting, and we celebrated our favourite moments and memories from a festival that were full of encounters with talent, great music and fun after-parties (in between all the work!).

Immediately after TIFF, we dove into fashion with LG Fashion Week Beauty by L’Oreal Paris. Guests really brought their style, so we snapped shots of our fave looks. 

We got our craft on at Miracle Thieves and created some clever and sassy pumpkins. 

Finally, we closed out 2011 strong with our very successful step-by-step ballerina bun post. If you see these pretty hairstyles around the city, and want to DIY, read this

Thanks again for reading, commenting, tweeting and subscribing. It means a lot. We have some fun things planned for 2012, so keep on coming to visit us on the fourth floor. Happy and safe new year to you all. xo

 

A visit from…Kelly Cutrone: Fifteen “normal” minutes

Kelly Cutrone was recently in town promoting her new book, Normal Gets You Nowhere. The fourth floor had the chance to sit down with her for a quick chat before she headed out to her book signing at the Eaton Centre. 
We loved sitting down with Kelly. Not only is she hilarious, but she is a great mom, entrepreneur, boss and friend. It was a blast picking your brain for a bit – thanks Kelly!

Image via Mama’s Rolling Stone.
In the book you talk about not succumbing to being ‘normal’.  What exactly constitutes being normal, to you?
It really isn’t my definition as much as it is Webster’s definition of normal – of average intelligence. Who wants to be of average intelligence?

When you are growing up, people tell you, “act normal, sit normal, why aren’t you normal? Just do the right thing.” And it’s like, what is the right thing? What is normal? Why would  you want to fit it? Because most people that are really successful aren’t average, they didn’t fit in and they transformed themselves and their community – and, ultimately the world.


When you realized you weren’t normal, what was your reaction?
Well I tried to be… When I was young, I was skinny and pretty, I went to college, got a really good job doing PR, and then married a famous artist, Ronnie Cutrone (Andy Warhol’s protégé).

I did all the things that I was told would make me happy, and it just felt really wrong. I knew I wanted to be able to be myself, or otherwise I would die (a spiritual death). So I slowly started peeling off the façade, and arrived at this all-black, no make up look (laughs). I had to start demanding that I live my own life and do things my way.


How do you find people who have read your book are reacting?
The message is resonating. People can relate to the examples that I use. When young people walk down the street and see a homeless person, I want them to think, “This isn’t okay, this person needs help,” not look the other way, then walk into American Apparel and buy a tee.
Sometimes there’s a price to pay [with being your true self]. There was a gay kid, a student at Brigham Young University, who after reading my first book, went home and told his parents he was gay and his parents beat him. So you have to deal with those consequences. It can be dangerous, and there might be a price to pay. But at the same time, there’s also a price to pay for living a life in silence, following someone else’s rules. 

What does Ava (Kelly’s daughter) teach you on a daily basis?
She teaches me to be consistent, keep coming home. Before I had Ava, I was much more of a fly-by-night girl; but since having her, I’ve learned about consistency, and it’s weird – it almost feels like mother nature puts this chip in your head and you stop doing things. Like I cross at the light all the time, and I don’t get on motorcycles anymore.

What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
When things are bad, just pick your self up and keep going. The first couple of times things went wrong for me, I was devastated. I thought I was losing everything. My mother would say, “Get up tomorrow, hold your head up and do it (or fix it) till you get it right.”
Young people should know that however you are feeling now, things will change. We are not like the seasons, we don’t go from winter to spring. Sometimes we get winter, winter, winter, but spring eventually comes.

What golden rule or rules do you live your life by?
I need a Mary Poppin’s bag full of mantras. For work: time, energy, money. For business: what’s the problem, what’s the solution. Chaos always brings chaos, so I tell my employees “shrink it, fix it, grow it.” It’s really important to simplify things, get clutter out of the way.

Any career advice for someone starting off their career, and looking to construct their own path?
Just know that when your employer hires you, they want you to stay. It’s kind of a surprise to some people because they think they hired you to fire you. 

When you get hired at a company, the owner or management team pour everything into you, so you can become empowered to do your job, with hopes that you will pay it forward when the next new hire comes in. Most people spend half the day wondering in their busy little heads if they are going to be fired because of the emotional climate, or because someone didn’t say hi to them, or acknowledge them or whatever. They don’t want you to leave, that’s why they’ve devoted all this time teaching you about the company (ed note: it’s true. read this twice.).

Golden rules to remember: 
  1. They hired you because they like you, NOT because they want to fire you. 
  2. Be the first one in, and the last one out (within reason).
  3. Schedule time with your boss if you have a question. See their assistant, or request time to chat through e-mail. Note importance level: not urgent, within the next month, etc.
Any upcoming projects that you are excited about?
Yes! I’m starting a clothing company called Electric Love Army (ELA) with Chris Burch who is the founder of Tory Burch. ELA will launch September 2012.

I’ve also got a show developing on MTV, I’m a correspondent on the Dr. Phil show, and now I’m out promoting Normal Gets You Nowhere. Buy it here.


Anything else you want to add?
Yeah, I love rock-it. 


Thanks, Kelly. We love you, too.

To stay updated on all of KC’s projects, check out her website or follow her on Twitter: @peoplesrev

We’re Not Just Pretty: Christina Krcevinac

We’re happy to welcome back Christina Krcevinac to the fourth floor, this time as a PR professional. Christina shared some of her thoughts and insights about working in PR at Diesel Canada as Communications Manager. 
How long have you been in your current position?
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I’ve been at Diesel for six years, and no two days have ever been the same. 
 
How does your company leverage PR?
The Diesel brand has become about more than just apparel; it’s a lifestyle brand. From our new Italian-made wine and olive oils, to our quirky home collection, and even our very own Diesel Fiat, every approach has to be new and unexpected. We have to keep the media on their toes, and excited about every project we pitch to them. We always want to give the media and consumer an unforgettable experience. 
 The sexy new Diesel Fiat.
 
What qualities are most important to you when hiring a PR team member?
Passion. Passion for the brand is most important. You can have all the right education, but a connection, belief and understanding of a brand is what will keep you getting your hands dirty, thinking out-of-the-box and making sure not even the smallest of details is overlooked. 
 
Who is your mentor or professional in the industry you admire?
Our president Joey Adler inspires me every day – as a woman in business, as a philanthropist, and her ability to always surprise you, when you finally think you know what she’s going to say. I learn from her every day. 
 
What are your feelings about how PR has been positioned in the media in more recent years, on popular TV shows?
PR is not all about cocktails and celebrities. You would never see Samantha on Sex and the City sitting on the floor in her couture, putting together gift bags, or missing a party because she’s in the back alley (at minus 40 degrees) waiting for celebrities to come through the secret entrance. There is a lot of gritty behind-the-scenes work before the red carpet or photo finish. 
 
What’s your biggest piece of advice for PR pros, both junior and senior?
Working in PR means anything can happen. It’s all about jumping over any hurdle that might come your way, and never letting your client see you sweat. 
 
What do you love most about your job?
That every day is an adventure and a new challenge. 
A little more from the fourth floor:

Website: diesel.com of course! You can shop, listen to Diesel:U:Music, and experience all that the Diesel planet has to offer.
Designer:
Sophia Kokosalaki, her Wild West-inspired Diesel Black Gold collection shown at New York Fashion week is the perfect mix of boho and rockstar.
Store:
DSquared2 in Milan – its like a little piece of Canada on the other side of the world! You can almost hear the national anthem when you walk in.
Book:
If You Have to Cry, Go Outside by Kelly Cutrone (Thanks for reco, Deb G!)
Snack:
Vega bars (I never leave home without one in my purse!)
Season:
Summer. Especially in Montreal!
Sexy:
Confidence
Celebrity Crush:
James Franco
Inspiration:
Innovation
Drink:
Water – Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!
Motto in two words:
Go BIG
Idea of perfect happiness:
Good friends, good tunes, good food.
Indulgence:
Magazines… lots and lots of magazines!!!
Favourite tweeter to follow
: I might be the last person not on Twitter…

Meet Our Team: Michelle

Michelle Easton, a stellar publicist, loves fashion, music and Queen West-West. She adds spunk and sass to the fourth floor. She may or may not have a tattoo in an interesting place….

Michelle’s current client roster includes Shopgirls Gallery Boutique, Emily Hampshire, Passport to Prana, You Name It Baby! and Tastemakers Lounge, among others.

How long have you been part of the team?
One glorious year!

Ideal vacation spot?

A deserted beach in Costa Rica.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Wine. Oh, and of course, the amazing show True Blood (I’m addicted.)

Favourite movie of all time?

Romeo + Juliet (Baz Luherman)

How do you like to relax?

I like to sit in a park reading a fashion magazine while listening to music on a sunny day. It’s so calming and lovely.

Best part about being a publicist?

I love that I get to meet and chat with so many interesting and wonderful people.

A little more from the fourth floor:
Website Beautiful Things to Share
Designer – Stella McCartney.
Store – Chatelet
Book If You Have To Cry Go Outside by Kelly Cutrone.
Snack – Heavenly hash ice cream.
Season – Summer: I love sunshine and wearing sun dresses.
Sexy – Confidence.
Inspiration – My mother.
Drink – Vitamin Water.
Motto in two words – Love always.

Fashion-able: Fashion isn’t always shallow (video)

The Power Publicist Meets a Power Ranger
Kelly Cutrone and Matt Austin Sadowski dish on Amma in Toronto.

Last week, rock-it promotions teamed up with People’s Revolution to help spread the word about the amazing humanitarian, Amma, who recently visited Toronto as part of a North American tour. The event was a huge success – thousands and thousands of people came to receive darshan, or a blessing in the form of a deep and sincere hug.

Most people have gotten to know Cutrone as a tough love fashion PR guru on The Hills, The City and Kell On Earth. While this may make up a part of her personality, in reality (not the pseudo-reality of “reality” TV), she is an open, warm and spiritual person.

Kelly has been genuinely affected by Amma and her message of love. She is committed to using her fame and notoriety to help spread the word – pro bono. Plus, she’s funny, sarcastic and has personality to spare.
Here’s an unedited insider’s glimpse of the real KC at our offices on the fourth floor. Stay tuned for a future Q&A with her and more projects with rock-it and People’s Rev!  Check out her regular web series Wake Up and Get Real (co-hosted by Justine Bateman) or pick up her NY Times best seller If You Have To Cry, Go Outside.