My ‘Hood: Lisa

Some of you may recall reading my original My ‘Hood post, when I wrote about the Fourth Floor’s neck of the woods. I moved recently, so now I’m sharing some of my favourite places around my new ‘hood: Dupont and Lansdowne.

My place is a short walk from the Corso Italia stretch of St. Clair West, and on weekends I like to hit up Tre Mari Bakery (1311 St. Clair Ave. W.). Family-run for more than 50 years, this bakery/grocery store makes amazing bread and pastries. I like to sit down inside with an espresso or cappuccino and a treat, and read the newspaper or people-watch as shoppers come and go. I usually end up leaving with bread, cheese and olives in tow.

Old school shot of Tre Mari Bakery.

When the weather is nice, I take a walk with my dogs to Earlscourt Park, a 36-acre park with soccer fields, a baseball diamond, a wading pool and an outdoor ice rink. Bordered by St. Clair West and Davenport to the north and south, and Caledonia and Lansdowne to the west and east, the park also has an outdoor track that I like to run on sometimes. Plus, La Paloma (1357 St. Clair Ave. W.) is steps away; hello gelato.

My walking pals, Angel and Roxy.

Speaking of my dogs… while not in my immediate neighbourhood, my new favourite dog groomer isn’t too far away on St. Clair West, just west of Bathurst at Pinewood Avenue. I recently discovered Woof and Shloof, an eco-friendly and cage-free grooming, daycare and dog training company. The owner, Jesse Sternberg, is great and answered all my questions with patience, and I felt good leaving my dogs in his care. My dogs look adorable after their haircuts and baths, and they had fun chillin’ with the other pooches while they waited for me to pick them up. I haven’t tried their daycare or training services yet, but I’m thinking of checking out both very soon.

I like to meet friends for dinner at Marcello’s Pizzeria  (1163 St. Clair Ave. W.). Try the Diavola pizza if you like spicy; it’s topped with tomato sauce, mozarella, hot soppresatta, hot peppers, onions and black olives. The pasta is great here too.

Marcello’s interior.

Keeping with the Latin flavour theme, I recently tried a new-ish Mexican resto, Guacamole Mexican Bistro (1216 St. Clair Ave. W.). Totally in love with their Pescado a la Veracruzana – tilapia filet cooked with tomatoes, olives, chiles, green pepper, capers, herbs and garlic. They also make amazing homemade complimentary tortilla chips, guacamole and salsa. Awesome food, great service, well-priced.

What are your favourite spots in this area? Tweet us @rockitpromo or comment below.



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.




Image Source
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.
Image Source.
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!


Image Source.
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.


First jobs: Lisa

To continue our first jobs series, Lisa tells us all about the days she rocked the blue vest at Wal-Mart.

Lisa being silly.
It was August and I was 15 years old, enjoying my summer like any teenager. One day, my mom decided I should get a part-time job. She sat me down, and began looking through the newspaper for job postings. The next thing I knew, we were marching into Wal-Mart armed with a very sparse resume, and filling out an application. Before I knew it, my new wardrobe staple was that blue vest. I was Lisa the Cashier, and spent my days scanning everything from diapers to shovels to cat food. 
My favourite items to process were condoms and pregnancy tests, mainly for the look on the buyers’ faces – everyone was so embarrassed, which I thought was hilarious. Eventually I moved on up from cashier to courtesy desk associate. Even there, contraceptives seemed to be front and center. One time, a woman came to return a pair of shoes, but her gigantic purse was knocked over, and at least 20 condoms came pouring out. I remember she turned to her boyfriend and said “Crap, honey. I just dropped all the rubbers!” 
Not my store. But we did have big meetings like this from time to time.

Another time, I fell for a prank played by a bunch of kids. They asked me to page their friend to the front of the store, who’s name was Jackie Chan (this was right around the time Rush Hour 2 came out). I was suspicious, but thought to myself “what if his name actually is Jackie Chan? I guess I better page him.” So, my voice went over the loudspeaker: “Attention shoppers. Could Jackie Chan please come to register 7? That’s Jackie Chan to register 7.” The kids all burst out laughing. I felt like an idiot. 

Definitely not the Jackie Chan that I was paging.

I met some great people at Wal-Mart, between the weirdos and the actual work – not just confined to cash registers, I also helped out on the floor (toy section was my fave, I hated ladieswear), worked the layaway desk, and helped train new “associates” as we were called. Most of us were around the same age, so going to work was a lot of fun (though, I didn’t think so at the time. Ahhh, hindsight!) 

The girls would giggle, gossip and hang out on weekends, and we all had crushes on different boys who worked there. It was such a great time in my life, full of some really fond memories. Thanks for the good times, Wal-Mart!

What was your first job? Tweet us @rockitpromo.

Meet Our Team: the baby edition *with a prize!*

You’ve met our whole team over the past few months and now we have a challenge for you. We’ve dug through the photo archives (back when photos were printed on paper, not stored on computers), and pulled out shots of ourselves when we were in diapers.


Your challenge: Guess which chubby face belongs to which gal on the fourth floor. You’ll win tickets for two to an upcoming Canadian Stage production.


How to enter: Email your guess with the whole team matched up to the right baby to
carly.intern [at] rockitpromo [dot] com.


This first correct guess wins. Go!

 Our team: Carly, Rachelle, Christina, MichelleDebraLisaAlana, Lara and Abby







My ‘Hood: Lisa

Lisa and Michelle live in the same Parkdale apartment building, so rather than double up on the West Queen West ‘Hood, Lisa wrote about our office ‘hood: Queen and Bathurst.


Our ‘hood in 1928. It was cool even then.



Besides sharing The Burroughes Building with cool peeps like Jessica Jensen and Philip Sparks, we love our work ‘hood for its interesting characters, yummy lunch eats, shopping and endless supply of coffee.

Jessica Jensen and Philip Sparks keep it fashionable at The Burroughes.



We’re not kidding about the coffee – there are three shops at the Q & B intersection. Tim Hortons and Starbucks are staples, and Lit Espresso makes an amazing Americano and tasty savoury scone (find them on the first floor of Design Republic, which also lives in The Burroughes).


After we caffeinate, we like to shop at American Apparel, H&M, Heel Boy and Mac Cosmetics, which are all just a short walk down the street. We also love popping in and out of the antique stores that line this section of Queen for cool, vintage décor.





When we’re not busy shopping (or working), we eat. We love Smoke’s Poutinerie (they once surprised us with free poutine to the office!), and Reggie’s Sandwiches for something a little lighter.

 Mmm…poutine. Image source.



Sometimes, we head to Shanghai Cowgirl for all-day brekkie (okay, maybe that’s just me) or after-work beers. And for dessert, TeamBuy.ca intro’d us to Blushberry, AKA frozen yogurt heaven. (Plus, they have the super cool Mberry tablets. Try them).





Convenience and curiosity come in the form of Shoppers Drug Mart and Drake General Store (Bathurst), respectively. We love the former because it carries everything you could ever possibly need, while the latter carries everything you will never need, but won’t be able to resist just the same (plus, it’s a go-to when we really need a creative gift).



Do you need a Curiosities Kit? No. But it’s still sweet. 





Come check out our ‘hood. And while you’re here, pop in and say hello.

What’s in Your….Shower Stall?

On most mornings, our alarms go off, we hit snooze once (okay, twice), then shuffle over to shower. Being an office full of ladies, we love talking products, from the latest leave-in conditioner to the body butter discovered while travelling. 

Here some of the products we gotta have when we’re lathering up and getting ready to tackle the day.


Alana:
The top thing I have in my shower is a comb. Brushing my wavy hair once it’s dry will take out the waves, so I comb in the shower to get the knots out. I love Goody’s Curl Wide Tooth Comb and Lift

Next is a good shower gel and loofah. Sephora’s Vanilla Cupcake body wash smells amazing and makes my skin nice and smooth.


Dove unscented soap is always in our stall. It doesn’t irritate and I can also wash my face with it. I get tons of free shampoo, so as long as it lathers, I use it. 



And I always have a very good deep conditioner for my hair. Aveda and Matrix Biolage are my go-to’s.


I have a million wonderful and girlie products all around my bathroom that help keep me clean, soft and pretty (many of them from gift bags). 

These are the staples that I use up and replace often: Dove Revive Body Wash, MoroccanOil Restorative Hair Mask, Victoria’s Secret Coconut Passion Hand and Body cream from the Secret Garden Collection.


Christina:
I love Kevin Murphy’s shampoo for colour treated hair and his Angel Rinse deep conditioner. I’m not a natural blonde, so thanks to Ritual2 for introducing me to this awesome line. It smells fab, and my hair is the healthiest it’s been since Grade 8 (before I was introduced to the world of bleach, dye and CHI hair straighteners).

I also love Mary Kay makeup remover. The shower is the perfect spot to remove my mascara and MK is the only one I’ve found I’m not allergic to.

I always have a pair of exfoliating gloves in my shower; everything else is on constant rotation. 

My latest obsessions are two products that I discovered when I was in NYC over NYE: DevaCurl No-Poo shampoo and Jessicurl Confident Coils Styling Solution. The No-Poo doesn’t lather and it makes your hair really knotty at first – but, when you rinse it out, your hair feels amazing and is tangle-free. It’s all natural, with no sulphites or other fake things. I’m in love.


Lisa:
Dove bath products, especially conditioner. I’m doomed without conditioner, my hair gets all bird-nesty.

Also, Formulab face cleanser, and a loofah.


Carly:
When it comes to products, I’m a Kiehl’s girl through and through. Made from all natural ingredients, their packaging is also recyclable. It’s really the least I can do to help save the environment.

The Crème de Corps Soy Milk and Honey Body Polish has all the right ingredients to moisturize and exfoliate my skin. For a liquid body cleanser that’s oh-so green, I’m currently sticking with Aloe Vera Biodegradable Liquid Body Cleanser. 

With their latest limited edition bottles designed by Jeff Koons, any bathroom can be instantly updated in true contemporary MOMA style.   

What are your shower must-haves?

Tweet us @rockitpromo

It’s Valentine’s Day – got plans?

Whether you’re single, in a relationship, or “it’s complicated”, the pressure’s on to do something today. Fear not – if you haven’t yet figured out your game plan, we have some non-cheesy ideas to help you out.
Flying solo?
The great thing about being single for V-Day is that you don’t have to consider anyone else when making plans. Pretty sweet.

If staying in, grab some wine, takeout and a classic romance like The Way We Were or Breakfast at Tiffany’s. These flicks focus on good storytelling and great acting, so you won’t roll your eyes at the love stories.  


Lisa: My best Valentine’s Day ever was at my friend Fran’s house. We were both single, so she invited me over, cooked her famous KD, with dill pickle-flavoured Crispers and tortilla chips with spinach dip. We dimmed the lights, lit some candles, and laughed more than I ever have before on Valentine’s Day.

Take the pressure off to do something romantic and hang out with friends. The Drake Hotel’s 86’D Monday, Valentine’s Edition, is a great night out. Bartenders will compete for the honour of best Pink Squirrel. What’s a Pink Squirrel, you ask? Find out tonight at 7 p.m. There’s also great live music from Boot Knives to go along with your cocktails. 
 This is not the Pink Squirrel that will be at The Drake.

Michelle: Being single on Valentine’s Day can be super fun. I’ll have dinner with my other single friends at Woodlot and dance up a storm at The Modern Love Affair party at Footwork. Valentine’s Day doesn’t just have to be about romantic love.
A deux
Of course, being in a relationship for Valentine’s Day is great. On what other day of the year is it acceptable to publicly proclaim your affections in the most over-the-top way you can think of?
Instead of typical roses and chocolates, why not show your love by making something yourself? The effort put in will be majorly appreciated. We love Bakerella’s massive list of sweet treat suggestions. Like her 14-layer cake. 

Bakerella’s mega-impressive 14-layer cake
Rachelle: Valentine’s Day will always hold a special place in my heart. I got engaged on V-Day in Quebec City during Winter Carnival. My husband Ariel proposed in front of 80,000 onlookers at the annual Winter Carnival parade. We became local celebs, made it into two newspapers and were the photo of the day on Le Soleil’s website.
Just because you’re taken doesn’t mean you have to have a quiet, candlelit dinner. Go for a skate on an outdoor rink with some hot chocolate, then play a board game at Snakes and Lattes. Some friendly competition, a wobbly pop and a few good laughs is a lovely way to spend an evening. 
 Play nice! Image source.
Christina: Favourite spot? My house! I hate going out to restos because more tables are crammed into the same space. This year, the fiancé and I are grabbing some lobsters, a bottle of wine, and watching America’s Funniest Home Videos. Wow… I just realized how domestic that sounded. 

Another fun idea is a staycation. Find a deal on Hotwire.com, or get a package from a hotel like The Drake or the Yorkville InterContinental. It’s a getaway without the hassle of travel, and you won’t even have to make the bed in the morning.

Debra: For one of my fave Valentine’s Days, Matt had our friend Chef Ezra Title drop off a delicious meal at our house. Matt’s a fantastic cook, but this was nice as he didn’t have to do anything but follow some simple instructions, and we had a brilliant meal at home with nowhere to go after but our living room to listen to music and drink wine.
 

 Happy Valentine’s Day!