Rave: The perks of eating at home

It’s 6 p.m. Work
clothes are off, couch mode is fully activated. The tell-tale rumble of an
empty belly reminds you it’s been hours since sustenance. You: 


a)    Download the Pizza
Pizza app on your iPhone. Rollin’ with garlic dipping sauce in 40 minutes or
less (and with minimal human interaction).
b)    Treat yourself to a
can of Zoodles and a margarine sandwich.
c)    Take three shots of
NyQuil and pretend it never happened.

If you answered yes
to any of the above, for shame! Food is fuel for your bodies, people, and you
wouldn’t put sugar in a gas tank would you? Granted, stepping into the kitchen
for the first time can be a little daunting, and while there are a million and one
reasons not to, learning basic cooking skills is an integral part of an adult
life. Before you go spouting off the same old excuses as to why you should stay true to
take-out and frozen food staples, like “But I’m a terrible cook”  (Have
you tried trying?); “But it’s just so hard cooking for one!”  (It’s
called a freezer, rookie); “My kitchen is infested with raccoons and I’m
afraid to go in there.”  (
You need to address that ASAP); take a look
at all the perks of learning your way around a kitchen.

Start small and dedicate a week to eating at home and in no time you’ll find yourself:
1. Happier

We all have to start somewhere.

Just like with
anything, practice makes perfect. If it’s day one in the kitchen, we wouldn’t
suggest trying to whip up some coq au vin or puff pastry but there are plenty of recipes for beginners that are so delicious and straightforward, you’ll wonder why you
ever ordered Swiss Chalet in the first place. Even if your first forays into
culinary excellence are not so much Giada at Home and more Kitchen Nightmares,
learning to cook can be a hilarious and rewarding experience.
There’s a reason why
the cliché about the way to the heart being through your stomach exists. Think
about it. Being able to make a meal for somebody is proving that you’re able to
provide one of their most basic needs. Aside from how impressed your
friends will be when you coyly wink and say “Oh this? It was nothing”, the personal
feeling of pride and accomplishment that accompanies putting together a
beautiful meal for yourself is a real attitude changer. You could have that
every day!
2. Healthier
Make the healthy choice.
When you make the
decision to put together your own meals as opposed to relying on
take-out, delivery or pre-made meals, you’re taking charge of everything that goes
into your body. It is much easier to keep track of what’s going in when you’re
sourcing ingredients yourself, as opposed to making sense of nutritional labels
or in the case of most restaurants, having no nutritional information at all.
What do you think your body wants more: fresh food from your friendly
neighbourhood grocer? Or a stranger showing up to your house with food that
has passed through the hands of two or three other strangers before getting to
you? And it’s not just your health on the line, preparing food on your own
reduces the amount of packaging involved with take out and pre-packaged foods,
and Mother Nature thanks you for that.
3. Wealthier
A day at the market is more fun than fast-food any day (and cheaper in the long run).

Short term, hitting
up the McD’s dollar menu might seem more wallet friendly than going to the
grocery store but the trick is to keep a well stocked pantry of dry goods. Once
you’ve got the basics (things like rice noodles, pasta, rice, herbs and spices – all
stuff you can get on the cheap), you can supplement with fresh produce, tofu and meat
for meals that cost under $5 .
Places like Kensington Market, Chinatown, and St. Lawrence Market are a mecca
for frugal foodies, or if you’re really ambitious, roll your sleeves up and
start urban farming for unlimited fresh fruit and veg. If a
day in the market or digging in the garden just isn’t your bag, sign up for
organics delivery (like Organics Live) for delivery that won’t leave you with a wicked food hangover (but slightly lighter in the pocketbook).



Some of our favourite blogs for getting started with cooking are:

1. Smitten Kitchen: some recipes are advanced, but there are some very good basics here with tons of helpful tips and tricks. Plus, these dishes always turn out. 


2. Skinny Taste: Appealing food, pretty photos, lots of options for entrées and desserts, and most importantly, the recipes are healthy.


3. Food Network: This site, home to the popular chefs that you see on TV, has some great recipes and a ton of hints to get started if you’re a noob. Chef Michael Smith and Rachel Ray (seriously) are good ones to look to first.

Rave: Best Cover Songs

Let’s just preface this whole thing by making two things
clear. The first thing is
 when we say we love covers, we don’t mean you should attempt to perfectly
imitate your favourite artist or song 
(we are looking at you, guy at a house party with an acoustic guitar and a roster full of DMB). Second thing, Glee doesn’t count and if you’ve
ever said “I like the Glee version more” then we’re going to have to clear our
schedules for a little sit-down music appreciation talk. So while it’s true
that we aren’t
anti-remake,
we are a little picky about  them. We like to think of a well-executed cover as an homage: a piece that honours the integrity of the original
while still putting a unique or personal spin to it. That’s why these are some of our
favourite cover songs.

Hugo – 99 Problems

If you’ve ever needed a sexy banjo, boot stomping anthem
about the problems you may or may not have, this bluegrass Jay Z reinterpretation is
exactly what you’re looking for. While it may not exactly be considered a
“cover” by some since it only shares a chorus, it is one example of how
well a song can translate across genres.

Civil Wars – Billie Jean


One does not simply do
a Michael Jackson
cover. To try and emulate the King
of Pop
would be a mistake. Instead, the folk duo took the iconic tune and
spun it into a sultry, harmonic acoustic jam that is more like the Chris Cornell version
than the original. It’s the most fun we’ve had with questionable paternity
since, well, any episode of Maury.

Ben Taylor – I Try


Macy Gray’s signature raspy voice is what made the song
famous, but is nearly impossible to replicate without giving yourself a vocal
polyp. When Ben Taylor’s pretty lullaby version appeared in a Cheerios commercial, the world was finally able to sing along.

Hey Ocean! – Sprawl II


If somebody came to us and said “You’re going to love this cover of an Arcade Fire song” we’d
probably be like “Yeah, and you’re going to love
this over the top eye-roll” but Hey Ocean! pulls it off with a goose-bumpy,
harmony-layered version with a full band (including horns!) that they filmed in somebody’s basement.

Ray Lamontagne – Crazy


“I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind” because we could not have listened to the radio for more than ten minutes without hearing this Gnarls Barkley song and by the end of it, yes, it did make us
crazy. But along comes ol’ rumbly voice Ray with a soulful, bluesy rendition
that we have yet to get enough of. 


Did we miss anything? If you know of any cover jams that are as good as (or better) than the originals tweet them @rockitpromo for our next instalment!

Rave: Our Favourite Gingers

You know who
gets a lot of flack? Redheads. Not to throw shade at the Betty’s and Veronica’s
of the world, but as far as hair colours go, redheads don’t always have it
easy. The victims of
Internet memes, inappropriate social behaviour and bizarre stereotypes (not
to mention the constant rumours of impending extinction), these pigment-lacking
carrot tops are often the butt of jokes and
discrimination.
Because we feel for them and their inability to tan (and certainly not a secret
agenda of
anyone here on the fourth floor) we’d like to take a moment and acknowledge our
favourite beet heads.


Conan O’Brien


While this
tall, gangly ginge’s fame is usually attributed to his career as a late night
host, Conan’s resume is much more impressive than simply interviewing celebs
from behind a desk and his
signature string dance. The Harvard grad and former Lampoon president spent two years as a
staff writer for
Saturday Night Live
before heading to
The Simpsons’
writing room, where he went on to pen some of the most
memorable episodes. His
hosting career started when he took over Letterman’s gig at Late Night, where
he stayed for 13 years before taking on the iconic role of the
Tonight Show host. His position there was abruptly
cut short after only seven months when he got the boot due to network politics and
a
chin-heavy antique car collector whose name will not be spoken here. He handled the
situation with grace, signing off with
 an amazing, heartfelt speech
and can now be found on TBS with his show,
Conan.
Florence Welch

At only 26
years old, intense frontwoman Florence Welch is one of our most inspiring flameheads.
More than just an impressive set of pipes, Flo is an thoughtful songwriter and
eccentric boho style icon. For having produced only two albums (Lungs and Ceremonials), her music
has had tremendous influence, permeating pop culture and creating some of the defining anthems of our generation. Anyone
who hasn’t had the chance to see her perform live is missing out – it’s truly an
experience.

Prince Harry

There are few
people who send our hearts fluttering like His Royal Ginginess. He may not be
first heir to the throne, but we’d be lying if we said we hadn’t considered
using his face as currency. The playboy Prince’s most endearing quality is that
aside from a royal title, he kinda just seems like a normal dude. He went through a rebellious teenage phase, was the first royal to engage in active military service in 735 years, and from the looks of things, can appreciate
a fine get together. And since we’ve heard
through the grapevine that he is currently “100% single”, we are hereby
throwing our fancy British-looking hat into the ring. Somebody
tell Kate and Wills what fun aunts we would make.

Christina Hendricks


Mad Men’s most sultry lady harnesses all of
her firepower. Don’t 
be fooled by her soft voice and femininity, her character
Joan Holloway owns her sexuality and defies the passivity expected of women of
her time.
 Christina’s vintage look and
hourglass figure remind us that knockout beauty comes in all shapes and colours
but regularly speaks out against discourse where the talents of female performers are overshadowed by catty and debasing comments about their looks.

Ron Howard


Arguably the
most successful child actor of all time, Ron has two iconic acting roles under
his belt as Opie Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show
and Richie Cunningham on Happy Days. He is
the voice of Arrested Development and
has a directing career that brought us Cocoon,
Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind. He’s been happily married to his high school
sweetheart since 1975, proving that not only can true love exist in Hollywood,
but that gingers must have souls. The man even
had a comet named after
him. 






Fave 5: Book/movie crossovers in 2013

Oscar
season is officially over which means it’s time to let (Ar)go and look at the silver
lining(s playbook): the 2013 movie bonanza begins. Being a well-read group of
ladies, we took a look at some of our favourite books-turned-movies that are
coming to a theatre near you in the future. Let’s take a look, shall we?


The Great Gatsby
This is not the most uplifting book in the library. But a hefty number of affairs,
betrayals, and extravagant parties make this quite an interesting read. Why we want
to see it: The great Leonardo DiCaprio takes on Jay Gatsby, the 32-year-old
millionaire who desperately wants to win the heart of Daisy Buchanan (Carey
Mulligan). The over-the-top parties, the drama, the soundtrack… we’ll meet you
there on opening night. Look for it on Friday, May 10 (finally, after several upsetting delays). 



A cult
classic, Ender’s Game is a well-known story to all who love science fiction.
The story follows Ender, an unusual third child born on a futuristic Earth, one
that has been ravaged by war against an elite alien species. He is selected to
go to military school to learn to fight against the “third invasion”. Alright,
we hear you. It sounds a bit… lame. But just trust us, okay? Read it – you won’t regret it. The hotly
anticipated film opens on Friday, November 1. 




Catching
Fire
If you
haven’t already been swept up in the Hunger Games trilogy, stop reading this
right now and get to the library! Just kidding, keep reading. But then go.

Catching
Fire
is the second installment in the impossible-to-put-down series. Katniss
Everdeen is back, battling the Capitol with Peeta by her side. Without giving
away anything, the movie will be sure to ignite your own inner rebel.
Catching Fire lands in theatres Friday, November 22.  



The Hobbit:
The Desolation of Smaug
The fact
that The Hobbit has been split into three installments instead of one should
infuriate us. How dare they make us wait to see what Bilbo gets up to next! Three
years?! But the truth is, we loved the first one so much we can’t wait for the
next film. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug follows the dwarves, wizard, and
hobbit (adorably charming Martin Freeman) as they continue their journey to
Erebor and the Lonely Mountain to fight the dragon. Benedict Cumberbatch as the
voice of Smaug is just the icing on the cake. Watch for the fire-breathing
adventure on Friday, December 13. It’s almost got us looking forward to next December. Almost.


The Devil
in the White City
Leo again
enthralls us with his unusual choices in roles. In Django Unchained we saw him
as a malicious slave owner, and he’s about to turn evil in The Devil in the
White City
. Still in preproduction, DiCaprio is rumoured to be taking the helm
as producer and star in this movie about two very different men in 1893. One is
an up-and-coming architect about to astonish the world with the Chicago World’s
Fair; the other is a charming serial killer who lures victims with his
charismatic personality. No film date has been set (yet), so you have plenty of time
to get reading! 


Rave: How to get back up

If we learned anything from The Oscars (and our BFF J Law),
it’s that no matter
who you are,
everyone falls on their face sometimes. However, it isn’t always quite so literal. In our line of work we see all kinds of falls
and blunders and part of our job is to help you pick yourself up with the most
grace and least damage – to you and your reputation. We’ve got a couple simple
pieces of advice to help you recover from your next fall (psst, the fall is a
metaphor).



Plan ahead

The best defense is a good offense. It is wise to always have a contingency plan
in place, should things go wrong.




Be Quick

Alright, you can’t plan for everything. However, don’t wait for somebody else to
notice your mistake before you take action. 
As soon as you see a mistake
or an issue, it’s time to spring into problem-solving mode. In the PR world, we
say the first 48 hours of a crisis are crucial – you’ll want to get ahead of it before
it gets ahead of you.
Get Real

It’s cool man, everyone makes mistakes, but no situation will
be made better by lying about it.  It’s
time to appeal to people’s humanity – it is easier to forgive a mistake than a
mistake and a lie. Communication is
key! Angry people are often confused people. Clarify what the mess is and how you’ll clean it up.




Have a support system

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Depending on the situation,
a good friend, a solid PR team (ahem), or in Jennifer Lawrence’s case, two of
the sexiest men alive can help back you up or see a solution you may not.

Learn from your mistakes

Seize the moment; it is an opportunity. Sure, nobody loves
making a mistake but it is certainly a way to learn. There are very few
memories as palpable as ones full of embarrassment or guilt, and while
that sucks, it can keep history from repeating itself.



Rave: Oscar Predictions

Hollywood’s big night is just days away – the 85th Academy Awards take place this Sunday, February 24. As the entire awards season leads up to this, anticipation is high. If you give a hoot about these awards, then you’ve likely got an Oscar pool you’re participating in (we highly recommend entering Lainey’s annual pool for some kickass prizes). While we aren’t going to reveal all our picks today – because duh, we want to win, too – we will share our insight into the nominees and the evening, in general. 


The BFF Connection


Wonder if Matt is jealous of George?



If anything has become evident this awards season, it’s that Best Picture is Ben Affleck’s to lose. Argo has been riding a massive wave of dominance, which is partly attributed to Affleck’s Best Director snub, partly because of the “perfect family” show he and wife Jennifer Garner have been putting on the past few months, and a lot due to his bestie and co-producer George Clooney. Clooney knows how to play the game and he’s been pressing a lot of flesh on behalf of Argo. Who could resist the Clooney charm? Not us, that’s for sure. The only real question left to ask is, will Clooney bring girlfriend Stacy Keibler with him to the Kodak? That would be two trips in a row, a new record. 

Tightest Races


Classic moments from JLaw & Bette.

There are a few categories that are way too close to call, among them Best Director and Best Actress. Also, Best Actor. We know, you’re all thinking “oh hey, who can challenge Daniel Day-Lewis? Nobody.” and yes, you’re right. But maybe, just maybe… Hugh Jackman can rip the bald statue out of DDL’s hands? That would be an upset. For Best Actress, we’re saying it’s between Jennifer Lawrence and Emmanuelle Riva. We love JLaw, but this won’t be her last time at the Kodak. Can’t say the same for Riva (sorry!). Finally, the most contentious category: Best Director. After the high-profile snubs of Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow, we weren’t sure what to think. Still don’t, to be honest. The power of Harvey Weinstein has us leaning towards David O. Russell, but Steven Spielberg and Ang Lee are also strong candidates. 

Locked Down


Shaved head + singing cry face = OSCAR!



We’ve already called Argo for the Best Picture win, but we’re sure you’re wondering what other categories are a lock. While there’s always a chance Academy voters will go rogue and have a change of heart, calling Anne Hathaway for the Best Supporting Actress win is about as close to a sure thing as you can get. Considering Amour was nominated in both the Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film categories, we’re also pretty sure that Amour will take the non-English category. 


Lowered Expectations


Stewie! 

After the excitement of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosting the Golden Globes, we just can’t muster up much enthusiasm for the Oscar’s host, Seth MacFarlane. Don’t get us wrong, we love Family Guy and were thrilled to hear some of the show’s writers were contributing to the Oscars. And while MacFarlane is a talented vocal actor, we always want a little bit of Broadway (i.e. singing and dancing) in our telecast and don’t know if he can deliver. Not to mention, he’s already claimed that this is a “one-time thing” for him. Doesn’t really engender the most confidence. 


Magic Oscar


Please God, let this happen on Sunday. 



This year’s show has an impressive list of presenters and special guests, including the cast of The Avengers (Robert Downey Junior, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans and Samuel L. Jackson), Barbara Streisand, Adele, Nicole Kidman, Paul Rudd, Jennifer Aniston, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Channing Tatum. There’s so many things we want to know! Is Babs going to sing? Will Aniston bring fiance Justin Theroux with her? How does Clooney feel about Theroux?  Are Kidman and Naomi Watts still besties? And, most importantly, is Channing Tatum going to take off his shirt? 

Rave: TV Show remakes that need to happen

Some people scoff at Hollywood remakes, thinking they are unoriginal and redundant, but maybe some things are just too good to let go of. Okay, so we agree some of them are actually the worst but we are really excited about the upcoming Girl Meets World and the return of Arrested Development. Here are some other shows we believe deserve to be reincarnated: 


Breaker High


Nana,
nanana heyhey!
We cannot think of a single reason why there is no longer a
show on TV about teenagers going to high school on a boat. People WANT to see that. It has all the drama and adolescent
turmoil of your favourite teen dramas, with a spicy nautical twist. Also, if
the original Breaker High helped propel Ryan Gosling
into megastardom (um, Young
Hercules
?)
who knows what young
heartthrobs a new incarnation of the show would produce?

Third Rock from the Sun

Who didn’t love this quirky fun lovin show about a misfit
group of extra terrestrials with the same mission we all have – to try and
understand the human condition (deep, right?). We believe planet Earth is ready for the second coming of the Solomons.
A lot has changed since the series ended in 2000 and it would be interesting to
watch the original cast reprise their roles to see how Dick, Sally, Harry and
Tommy would fare in a world with iPods and Justin
Biebe
r. We would love it if Dick
could rekindle his romance with Mary
Albright
(even though he erased her memory, MIB style) and bring back Larisa
Oleynik
as Tommy’s love interest. Truth Time: We really just want to see
more JGL.

Gilligan’s Island


We are not talking
about this (or LOST for that matter). It would be cool to see a reboot of this classic
set in a modern era. We’re sure a killer
cast could breathe new life to the archetypal characters in a way that honors
the original. What would happen if a
three hour tour went horribly awry in 2013? Would the professor be able to fashion an iPad out of a coconut? Only time will tell.  
  
X Files

Guys-the truth is STILL out there. The recent real life will
they/won’t they rumours
about David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson got us reminiscing about our
supernatural sleuth pals Mulder and Scully. Without giving away too many
spoilers to all of you who are only now halfway through the series on Netflix (we feel
you), we are dying to know happened between then and now. Plus, David Duchovny’s
hit Showtime dramedy Californication
was great, but the last couple of mediocre seasons have left that cancellation
axe dangling pretty perilously and we’d just really like to see him settled
already
.

Supermarket Sweep


If we have to watch one more reality TV show called Extreme Couponing or Help! I Live in a Supermarket Dairy Case
(sidebar: only one of those shows is real. Guess which one!) we might have to
cancel our cable. What happened to good
old-fashioned quiz shows and shopping sprees? All this TV show remake needs is a perfect host – we nominate Dustin
Diamond
. Until the TV Gods hear our plea, we’ll be stuck running up and
down the aisles filling up carts and looking for bonus prizes. 

What shows or movies would you like to see remade (or left alone*) for our next edition? 
*creepy cat eaters can stay in 1990