Fashion-able: Totes, buckets, satchels & more

We On The Fourth Floor understand that not all bags can transition through the seasons. Our bulky black leather purse we’ve been toting around for eight months, while gorgeous, can be a bit heavy and dark when temperatures start to soar. 



We’ve compiled a few handbags we’re coveting, from all different price points, that we think would make a good addition to our summer ensembles. Not to mention also great if you need any Fourth Floor gift ideas. 😉

First up is the always-popular PS1 satchel by Proenza Schouler ($1488), but in a great tropical print. As we’re sure you’ve seen a certain ubiquitous neon satchel, nothing says summer like a fun, bright bag. It may be a bit pricey, but FASHION shows us how to rationalize this investment piece. (Both Natalie & Christina are big fans).




On the other hand Kylie would opt for a classic M.A.C. (Morning After Clutch) by Rebecca Minkoff bag in an army green colour. Always thinking ahead she comments that “their fall colours include maroon and green. They are all pretty beautiful and I’m a big fan of the gold hardware.”

 

This practical chic Filson ($300) satchel caught the eye of Abby who thinks It’s cute, will last forever and the long strap also means that I can wear it while riding my bike. Score.”

For a classic tote at a higher price point Andie opted for a Prada bag ($1730) she’s had her eye on for a while, “I could wear this bag in any season. Though I’m a little wary of a lighter colour getting dirty, I think its the perfect size for taking from day to night. Definitely a good investment.”



Erin is in the mindset for summer and says “all I need is my bright pink rattan beach bag for my towel, sunscreen and a good magazine,” which makes this Rebecca Minkoff tote ($206) perfect for a jaunt to the beach. 


The newest member to our Fourth Floor crew Christie, is a self-proclaimed loyal Coco-follower and heavy advocate of the double C’s. Often the 2.55 is A. overdone and B. not always summer friendly,” but would opt for this Chanel metallic python version if money was no object. Price point? Not in our budgets.  



If money was no object, which bag would have your eye on? 

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DIY: Milkmaid braid

It’s an exciting day on the fourth floor – the launch of our first-ever video! Starring the lovely Andie and Natalie, they’ll take you through each step of creating an easy milkmaid braid.

What should our next video be about? Tweet us @rockitpromo or comment below to let us know.

Teacher’s Pet: Education vs. Experience

Lorena Laurencelle is currently a Public Relations student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. 

Her Question: What level of education is necessary to succeed in the public relations field? Is education more important, or is experience more valued?
Our Answer: Our team comes from a variety 
of backgrounds, experience and education. We look at both sides of this question by asking some with PR education backgrounds (Amalia and Meg) and some with PR experience (Natalie, Debra and Abby) for their advice.
Debra – President
I didn’t go to school for public relations. I have a degree in creative writing and started working when I was 14 years old and moved out when I was 18. I learned from experience. I took every lesson and like to think I got a bit smarter with each mistake I made. I loved to write, always had an easy time meeting new people and I spent years doing shitty telemarketing jobs where I honed my phone skills. Get good at what you love to do and you can succeed without getting a degree. Spend time in a really good internship or two and that’s going to do you a world of good in the PR world.

Natalie  – Publicist

I attended the University of Western Ontario, majoring in Media, Information and Technoculture and minoring in Comparative Literature and Civilization. While at Western, I also completed a Certificate in Writing. While I think that post-secondary education can be helpful in developing your writing and critical thinking skills, I don’t think that a B.A. is necessary for a career in public relations. At university, I learned more about my strengths and weaknesses and began to think that I wanted to work in PR. It wasn’t until after graduating and completing two internships that I knew that PR was for me.
Ultimately, my advice for anyone looking to get into PR is to volunteer/intern as much as you can. While being a good writer is a necessary skill for a good publicist, first-hand experiences are what make a great publicist. So much of what we do at rock-it involves events and the type of on-the-ground experience you get in a (good) internship is what I believe you need. Learn how to run a door, make a guest list, create a clippings package, etc. – these are the tasks that seem menial, but which are SO important to a functioning PR team. You can read about it in school, but nothing can ever beat real life experience.
Abby – Publicist
Ultimately, a bachelor’s degree of some sort is required to succeed; you need basic levels of writing, comprehension and time management to make it in any career. For PR, it boils down to a combo of natural skills and learned skills. For some types of PR, these skills are best learned in school. For others, they’re best learned in the trenches. If you are willing to work hard, ask smart questions, have great people skills and are a strong writer, you don’t necessarily need a PR-specific education. There are lots of related degrees that will help you out – English, communications, journalism, film, a technology background or even science can be relevant. It depends on what area of PR you’d like to work in. 
Communication skills are a must, so if they come naturally to you, then you’re likely able to make it without a post-secondary PR degree. If you’re not the strongest writer, take a few courses to brush up, or start a blog to develop your style. 
PR education never hurts, but landing a great internship, meeting people in the industry and participating in social media are the alternate route to making it in public relations.
Amalia – Assistant to the President
Having a bachelors degree and a certificate in PR (or something related) is very important. I think that having a PR-geared post-secondary diploma is something that will benefit you incredibly. The things that I learned on the first day of school (Algonquin College) are still getting me through the work day…so pay attention and don’t skip class!
Interning is something EVERYONE should do. I did three internships one summer, and it really paid off. Although the money isn’t great, you need to see it as a learning experience and an investment in your own future. They are paying YOU to learn.
Keeping in touch with former bosses and colleagues is also something everyone should do, especially in our field. Staying on someone’s radar is just as important as your experience, education and skill set combined.
Meg – Junior Publicist
After getting a B.Sc. and working in unrelated jobs for a couple of years, I went back to school for a post-grad diploma in PR. I definitely value that education – it taught me PR writing styles and other basics, and gave me an idea of what to expect in this business. I think a PR-specific education is a strong start to a career in this industry. Writing, editing and style are the base of everything we do, and a PR-specific education will prep you with that knowledge.
That being said, all the education in the world won’t allow you to succeed without real-life experience. Interning is hands down the best way to really learn the biz. I would be nowhere without what I gleaned from my time interning. An education is the foundation for the knowledge you gain from job experience. I continue to learn every day by watching the awesome and experienced pros I work with and listening to their advice and know-how.
In Conclusion: There’s no one right answer as everyone comes into this industry with different skills, education and experience to draw on. However, we all agree on the strength and importance of internships and that some form of education is necessary, even just to hone your writing skills.
Have a PR question you want answered? Send it to meg@rockitpromo.com. We’ll choose the best and answer it on our blog.





Fashion-able: Transitional Dressing

Admit it ladies: Even though you love summer fashion, you’re already thinking about rocking that new pair of boots you bought, aren’t you?
It’s cool. We know it’s not very Canadian to dream about cold weather in the summer, but killer fall fashion would have any stylish girl contemplating the cold. There’s definitely been talk of leather boots, thick sweaters and fitted bomber jackets On the Fourth Floor as of late.
With fall comes TIFF and Fashion Week, two events full of long days that may start with warm summer mornings, but end with chilly fall evenings. It pays to be prepared with a favourite fall accessory, folded neatly and tucked into a cute bag.
Here are our favourite staples for the hazy period between summer and fall.
An oldie but a goodie, a chic blazer is a go-to accessory for a chilly fall evening. Blazers jazz up an outfit and keep you cozy too. Plus, they’re great for taking a daytime look to a nighttime one – just add killer heels and a great necklace, and you’re good to go.

We’re also loving thigh-high socks a la Cher Horowitz from Clueless. There are so many events during TIFF that require dresses or skirts, and bare legs might be fine at 5 p.m. but not at 11 p.m. Socks are amazing because they fit into any clutch and can cover up bare legs at the end of an evening.
Cher Horowitz rocking some serious thigh-highs.
Of course, you can’t mention perfect fall accessories without including the timeless silk scarf. Especially in a bold colour or pattern, a perfect scarf adds punch to an outfit (particularly with a messy bun and pink lips) while keeping your neck toasty.

 This Matthew Williamson scarf is a perfect between-seasons piece.

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Spring summer 2011 featured loads of lightweight cropped trousers with tapered detailing. The great thing about this style of pant is that they can be worn with a pair of wedges in the summer, and carry you right through fall if paired with ankle booties and a cozy sweater. 
These 3.1 Phillip Lim draped pocket tapered trousers ($375) are a perfect example. Great for a summer night, greater for a fall day. 
 At ShopBop.com, get ’em while they’re hot.

Do you have a fave fall accessory? Let us know with a comment or send us a tweet @rockitpromo.

City Living: Outdoor Shopping

There’s nothing worse than being holed up in a shopping mall during the summer. The freezing air conditioning, coupled with the hordes of teenagers roaming around makes the entire experience feel like one of Dante‘s levels of purgatory. The solution? Not shopping less (heck no), but to take your shopping outdoors.

Here are some of our favourite spots to for a little retail therapy en plein air

St. Lawrence Antique Market

An antiquing staple in Toronto, the St. Lawrence Antique Market runs every Sunday from dawn to 5 p.m. Stalls are both indoors and outdoors, with a variety of vendors guaranteeing hours of browsing fun. Like most antique markets, going early promises great finds but end-of-day is when vendors are willing to haggle over price.

Made You Look Vendors Market

The amazing Sarah Hamel, owner of Made You Look

Parkdale pioneer Made You Look launched their Vendors Market on June 4 in collaboration with several other local businesses, including ShopGirls Gallery Boutique, The Well of Alternative Medicine, and Rustic Cosmo Cafe, as well as residents of the ‘hood. Running every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., this quirky market offers everything from handmade jewellery and vintage clothing to homemade jam and $1-per-minute massages. 

Check out the eclectic Parkdale ‘hood  this summer – you just might be surprised at the cool pieces you can pick up.

Bay Adelaide Farmer’s Market

The Bay Adelaide Centre is generally known for being part of the concrete jungle, not for fresh, local produce. All that has changed with the introduction of a lunchtime farmer’s market in Arnell Plaza (just outside of the Bay Adelaide Centre). 

Running every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. until September 15, this market offers local produce, great lunches and garden plants. Stop by this market and brighten up your day with some colourful fresh fruits and veggies.


Wax On! Vinyl Record Sale

The fourth floor’s own Natalie and her boyfriend recently inherited nearly 4,000 records (exact number is still unknown) through a Storage Wars-type acquisition. With a teeny outdoor space (and similarly small apartment), they need to unload these quickly; hence, the Wax On! Vinyl Record Sale

This Sunday, July 10 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., stop by the front yard at 1045 College Street and browse through hundreds of records for about $5-10 each. Offerings focus mainly on hip hop and R&B, with a few random gems mixed in for good luck.

What are your favourite outdoor shopping spots in Toronto? Tweet us @rockitpromo.





My Hood: Natalie

To continue our My ‘Hood series, Natalie dishes on her ‘hood – Dufferin Grove. 


Last September I moved from a condo at Queen & Spadina to a house at College & Dufferin. Initially, the move threw me off a bit – Where was my corner H&M? Why can’t I eat dim sum at 3 a.m.? Why isn’t there a movie theatre in my basement? – but I learned to embrace the area’s “slower” pace and discovered a number of local treasures. 

First and foremost in my heart is The Common. Purveyor of delicious coffee by day, cheap wine by night and the home of the best-valued charcuterie plate in Toronto, The Common is the quintessential date spot. If you ever want to meet me for drinks, chances are I’ll suggest this place (and not only because it’s 10 steps from my house).

Cozy interior of The Common.
Photo via
fieldguided.
I love to cook, but some days all I want to do is pick up a cheap, home-style meal after work. Thankfully, I have Bairrada Churrasqueira in my hood. A haven of scrumptious Portuguese food, Bairrada is wonderful for take-out or dining in. They also have an INSANELY large back patio that can accommodate large groups. My go-to meal is their BBQ chicken, rice and potatoes. Whatever you order, please do not forget to get an extra helping of their spicy Piri Piri sauce – my mouth is watering just thinking about it. 

Image source.

Sure, there’s a No Frills at Dufferin Mall, but why buy their limp vegetables when the Dufferin Grove Farmer’s Market is right across the street? Held every Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m. all year round, this farmer’s market is a fantastic place to access local and seasonal goods.

Delicious bounty of nature.
Image source.

Now onto my favourite: shopping. The lack of stores was the hardest thing for me to adjust to, but I’ve discovered some cute shops in the area (note: these places may not technically fall into the Dufferin Grove neighbourhood, but they’re close to me and I love them). 


Penny Arcade has a well-curated selection of vintage items and, just in time for summer, they’re now carrying vintage-inspired swimsuits by Minnow Bathers. Another vintage spot is the newly opened Magwood. The prices here can be on the high side, depending on what you’re looking for, but the pieces are truly one of a kind and span the decades. 

Interior of Magwood via Toronto Life.

And finally, the thing I love most about my neighbourhood is that the air often smells of chocolate, thanks to the Cadbury factory in my backyard. How great is that? 

Assembly line of chocolatey goodness. I like to imagine this is what goes on inside the factory.
Image source.

Have a favourite spot that I should know about in my ‘hood? Tweet me @rockitpromo!