Fave 5: Spots for your locks

With an office of 10 girls, the topic of where to get your hair done tends to come up… a lot. From blow outs to colour maintenance, we all have our preferred salons and stylists that we are fiercely loyal to. Today we’re letting you in on our top five favourite spots to get our hair did. 

Best blow out 
For a quick and easy blow out, we’ve recently discovered Kristin at Doll Bar (thanks for the tip, Sweetspot)!  She is a professionally trained hair stylist (unlike some other blow dry salons) and you’re out the door in 30 minutes – which is almost unheard of in the land of blow outs.   

On Twitter:  @dollbarinc

Best hair cut 
For a cut, Barberella in Little Italy takes the title. Why? Because Tara Leigh, co-owner and stylist, is amazing at making really current, of-the-moment hair suggestions without compromising your personal style. She injects enough creativity into every cut that it’s always slightly different from what everyone else has. And, if you let her, she’ll push you to expand your boundaries and look outside your comfort zone.

On Twitter: @roxton

Best colour 
The fourth floor fave for hair colouring is Brennen Demelo Studio. We’ve had our locks tinted by Matthew and Justin, but their whole team is experienced and produce the most perfect hues. Their studio is centrally located in a loft on Adelaide and is a great place to relax and catch up on international fashion mags.  

On Twitter: @Bd_haircare

Best treatment 

When our hair starts feeling a little, let’s say ‘under the weather’ (read: crispy), we head for some hair TLC at W Lifestyle on Queen St. W. Their conditioning treatment leaves our hair feeling healthy and refreshed.  

Best updo

For a fancier affair or a night out on the town, we’ll visit Viv at ritual. She’s got mad updo skills and can do sleek or funky, whatever you’re looking for. Best of all, she teaches us along the way, so we can recreate the look ourselves in a pinch. 
On Twitter: @ritual2

Speaking of self-hair styling, we also have our own resident updo haristylist On The Fourth Floor. If you’re looking to save some $$, you can always follow her step-by-step Ballerina bun tutorial.


Media, Darling: Jes Watson

Born to a staunchly feminist mother, Jes Watson rebelled at a young age the only way she knew how — by learning how to cook, clean and craft her way through life. Fast forward to present day and Jes is now the editor of SweetHome on sweetspot.ca, where she gets to bake up a storm and write to her heart’s content on a daily basis.

When she’s not working, she can be found in her Leslieville home with her adorable red-headed daughter, amazing husband and somewhat lazy dog. 

Twitter: @sweetspotdotca, @jeswatson

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon? 
Amazingly, I have a BFA in acting. So I basically earned a degree by doing yoga, chanting through my chakras and dressing up in ridiculous period costumes. About halfway through the program I realized I’d rather be writing the drama than acting it out (but I still do a mean mime wall).

Where would you like to be five years from now?
Oh, gosh. Some cozy cottage in the woods, letting my daughter tumble over me in a field of wildflowers. Or living in some gorgeous New York apartment. Either way.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Don’t be pushy, but be persistent — it’s a fine balance. Curiosity and confidence are your best assets.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
I’ve had a subscription to the New Yorker since I was 18, never met a Granta I didn’t like and I love gawking my way through Vanity Fair. TV-wise, I’m really loving Portlandia and Boardwalk Empire these days.

Best interview you’ve ever had?
Joshua Jackson. Hello, Pacey! It was like 23-year-old me giving 15-year-old me a high five through time. 

I interviewed a celebrity stylist who actually fitted me with a synthetic hairpiece before I left. I walked back to the office with this crazy rug dangling off my head like some sort of mangy dead animal, and couldn’t figure out how to get it off until one of my coworkers managed to wrest me from it.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
A little bad taste is like a nice dash of paprika.

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Own your mistakes and don’t be afraid to mess up. The messes are always more interesting, anyway.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Suggestions are always better than questions. And use the phone sparingly – seriously.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
I always love working with PR on big events like Toronto Fashion Week, TIFF and IDS. There’s a lot going on and everyone is so harried, but it’s awesome to see everyone pulling together to make it all happen.

I hate? 
Slow walkers. Poorly bound books. Sloth.

I love?
Hanging with my toddler. Freshly laundered sheets. Dusk runs and night swims.

Murakami’s 1Q84.

Best place on earth?
My cottage in the dead of winter. You have to ski in and it’s just unbelievably quiet, pristine and beautiful.

Dinner guest?
Fred Armisen. I am so obsessed with Portlandia.Or Werner Herzog — just to hear him talk in that voice for a few hours.

I have a major lady crush on Patti Smith.

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
I really love making dorky family music videos with VidRhythm for the iPhone.  Every song’s a winner.

Pool or ocean?
Ocean, then lake, then pool. But I’ll take whatever is closest.

Voicemail or email?
Email. I don’t even check my voicemail anymore. My mom is the only person who even bothers leaving me messages.

Fashion-able: Twitter accounts to live and dress by

There are tweets that make us laugh out loud (LOL if you will, as per 140-character Twitter standards), those that make us cringe and those that we cannot help but click on the shared link or image every time. Especially when they’re fashion-related. We’ve rounded up a list of our favourite and fashion-able Twitter accounts that we rely on for style inspiration, or just a good laugh.

While not strictly fashion-related, all tweets deal with the “trauma” of a spoiled woman, be it a scuffed Manolo or not being able to get a reservation at Balthazar‘s. Example number one: ‘They just tried to kick me out of the gym for smoking on the treadmill. ‘. Example number two is the true epitome of this poor little white girl: ‘I literally just ate so much water. ‘. A must-follow for a daily laugh (and reality check).

For the skinny (fashion pun intended) on top tier designers – think Miuccia Prada, Carolina Herrera, Marc Jacobs – and their latest collections and collaborations, this is the account to follow. NY-based and best at spilling the news before it can walk down the runway, @Fashionista_com will always keep you in the trendy know.

Our Canadian fashion publications are our number one fashion news source. Featuring local designers and stores, Dorothy said it best: There’s no place like home.

People Magazine’s style guide lets us kill two birds with one stone – celebrities and designer duds. Can’t beat getting our celebrity fix and fashion fix, all in one.

Both have a way with words and work in PR. With content that makes us laugh and updates on their respective brands, we are forever entertained by these girls. Based on their huge amounts of followers, we garner that everyone else thinks so, too.

One of the happiest people we know (or wish we did), Betsey’s upbeat attitude, inspirational quotes and fashion-centric twitpics always leave us smiling more and wanting to do cartwheels.

For those into more funky fashion finds, this might tickle your fancy. Always sharing the most interesting collaborations and keeping us on our toes (when not wearing heels), this account will keep you ahead of the trend and #WQW ready.

There are so many more fashion tweeps that we follow, but we can’t list ’em all, so share your comments on who is your favourite of the fashion Twitterati.

Media, Darling: Gabrielle Johnson

Gabrielle Johnson graduated from London’s Central Saint Martins with a Master’s degree in fashion journalism. Her dreams of becoming a muse to fellow alum Alexander McQueen never came true, sadly, but she did sit next to Stella McCartney at a café once, and that was pretty exciting.
She began her career as the associate editor of FQ and SIR magazines, where she worked with a fantastic team and was given a surprising amount of creative freedom. She spent a year as the beauty editor of Rouge Magazine before joining the Sweetspot.ca family, where she now very happily works as the editor of SweetLife, overseeing fashion, beauty and more restaurant/boutique/spa openings than you can shake a stick at.
Gabrielle lives in Toronto with her husband, their two cats and a small army of shoes. 

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
When I was four, I wanted to be a cocktail waitress; I thought it sounded like an incredibly glamorous career choice.
Where would you like to be five years from now?
Still working in fashion, but I’d eventually like to spend a little less time at my computer and a little more time playing with clothes (preferably in exotic locales).
Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Show people that you’re a hard worker. Say yes to everything. Stay late once in a while. It absolutely sucks that we don’t pay our interns in this industry, but giving off an I’m-too-good-for-this attitude won’t impress anyone. We all have to start somewhere.  
What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
I don’t think I’ll ever stop hoarding magazines, and I never miss an issue of British Vogue, American Vogue, Lula, The Gentlewoman, Living Etc. and Elle Decoration UK.
Online, I get my news from the Globe and Mail, New York Times and The Guardian, my celebrity gossip from DListed, and my fashion and design updates and inspiration from too many websites and blogs to list here. I’m also obsessed with the Tumblrs of angsty teenage girls who like to post photos of Parisian cafés and crumbling castles and Sofia Coppola and macaroons.
Best interview you’ve ever had?
The best was probably Paul Smith, who was lovely and charming and made it seem like we were two old friends having a nice chat. I also enjoyed interviewing Andy Samberg when I had a huge crush on him about five years ago. Nothing wrong with mixing business with pleasure, right?  
I once drove out to the middle of nowhere to interview a flaky socialite at her faux-Georgian mansion. It was 30 degrees outside and she answered the door dressed in head-to-toe riding gear (including boots and a heavy tweed jacket) despite the fact that she didn’t own a horse and had no plans to ride that day – so of course I included that detail in the opening paragraph of my story.
She was friends with my editor-in-chief at the time, and for reasons I can’t explain, this editor broke one of the most basic rules of journalism and sent her a draft of the story before it went to print. The socialite threw a giant hissy fit and demanded we take out basically everything that made the story interesting.  
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t get too caught up in what other people are saying about you — even the good things. Other people’s opinions are usually more about them than they are about you, so don’t give them the power to make or break your day.
What rule(s) do you live your life by?
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Also: you can’t make friends with salad.
What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Please, please, please read my website before contacting me so that I don’t spend half my day responding to irrelevant pitches. Please don’t call me 10 times in one day without leaving a single message; I have call display and you’re being kinda creepy. Please update your media lists on a regular basis so that you’re pitching to the right people (it helps if they’re people who actually still work at the company you’re pitching).
Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
I’ve had a lot of fantastic experiences with PR people who have gone above and beyond the call of duty, but honestly, as long as you’re friendly, helpful and get back to me quickly with the info I’ve requested, I’ll think you’re pretty awesome.
I hate?
Noisy neighbours, slow walkers, endless winters, confined spaces, Gwyneth Paltrow.
I love? 
Carbs, napping, fancy tea and freshly baked scones, Saturday morning quiet time with my kitties and a stack of books, new nail polish colours, being in London, laughter that leads to snorting, my husband’s mad breakfast-making skillz, taking pictures of trees, looking at pictures of trees, packages from Miu Miu waiting to be unwrapped, moody British period dramas and very long walks.
I’ve been reading The Beautiful Fall since 2006 and I’m determined to finish the damn thing this month; I’ll throw a party once I finally reach the last page. I’m also working my way through The Marriage Plot and Sophie Dahl’s new cookbook From Season to Season. I don’t cook, but I enjoy reading about food and imagining myself cooking someday.
Best place on earth? 
It’s a tie between the Four Seasons Maui and the swan pond at Kensington Gardens in London.
Dinner guest? 
Tilda Swinton.
Daisy from the 1980 Judith Krantz classic, Princess Daisy.
Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
I’m an online editor with Luddite tendencies. Pass.
Pool or ocean?
Either, as long as there are no sharks around (yes, I believe in swimming pool sharks).
Voicemail or email? 
Unless we’re actually real-life friends, email.

A visit from….Joanna Track

We love a savvy business woman, so we were super excited when Joanna Track popped up to the fourth floor to tell us all about her latest venture, Dealuxe. Read on to learn more about this inspirational lady.

Joanna is the co-founder and CEO of Dealuxe. She has over 15 years experience in marketing, business strategy, branding and advertising.

After earning a BA in Mathematics at the University of Western Ontario and an MBA in Finance at Schulich School of Business, she worked in the marketing departments of a variety of companies including The Loyalty Group (AIR MILES) and Club Monaco, before landing at Ogilvy & Mather. Joanna built a career at Ogilvy over six years, working on key global accounts, including Amex, FedEx and SAP, doing everything from Brand Advertising to Direct Marketing to Web. Her stint at Ogilvy took her to New York City, where she worked for a year as an Account Director and honed her skills as a marketer, before returning to the Toronto office in the same role.

Joanna’s entrepreneurial spirit grew strong and in 2004, Sweetspot was born.  Seven years, three websites (Sweetspot, Sweetmama, Sweethome), six newsletters, and over 100,000 subscribers later, Sweetspot.ca is the ultimate destination for Canadian women to stay in the know about what’s new and fabulous in their city.  In July 2006, Rogers Publishing recognized this success and purchased a stake in the company, and then acquired the remainder of the company in early 2011.

Joanna has become one of the most well-known and respected digital entrepreneurs in Canada.  She is often invited to speak at business and consumer events and is frequently featured in the media on entrepreneurial and digital business matters.

Twitter: @DealuxeCEO

Where did your inspiration for Dealuxe.ca come from?
As a consumer I was always frustrated with the process of shopping in the US because of unknown duties, returns and shipping fees.  I realized there was a gap in the Canadian marketplace to offer a premier online experience eliminating the barriers from shopping in the states.

What is your idea of a “savvy shopper”?
1. High and Low – someone who knows how to pair investment pieces with the trend of the moment.
2. Versatility – know how to wear one item in many different ways.  Maximize your statement pieces.
3. Confidence – wear what’s right for you and avoid making impulse purchases just because something is trendy.

You were dubbed a “Yummy Mummy” by the Toronto Star. What are your fashion tips for moms?

Try to invest in items that fit well and are functional.  For instance, a classic trench coat, like the Smythe Double Breasted Nylon Jacket, or a pair of dark denim skinnies like the Rich and Skinny Sleek Denim.  

Accessorizing is also key.  It can take your outfit from casual to chic in an instant.

What is the first section of the newspaper that you read?

The Style section! Followed by the business section, of course.

You have mentioned that your grandmother was a shopaholic. What is one trend of her era that you would be timid to try out? One that you would love to try out?
Trend to try: super glam style. Heels, red lipstick, dresses, etc. They knew how to dress to impress back then.

Trend to avoid: I would skip the fur fetish. That was very popular in my grandmothers’ day, but not so much now.

Fave spots to shop in Toronto?
Dealuxe, Corbo, Nyla, Joe Fresh and Gee Beauty.

Thanks Joanna, we loved chatting with you. Come back soon!

*We’re giving away $50 to spend on wonderful items from Dealuxe.ca. To win, tweet us @rockitpromo and tell us what you’d love to buy!
UPDATE: Thanks to all who participated. The winner is @kristinabreckon. Congratulations!


Special Media, Darling post: Holidays

For the holiday season, we thought it would be fun to ask some of our previous Media, Darlings how they’ll be spending their holidays. Here are a few of the answers, we’ll post more next Thursday!
Nathalie Atkinson

 Nathalie and her sister.

What’s your favourite holiday tradition?

Personally, I love wrapping presents. I have a bit of a stationery and wrapping paper problem in that I amass a lot of the stuff, more than I can use. (Especially the individual printed paper sheets at DeSerres, when they go on sale.) I could be wrapping and wrapping and wrapping all year long – I find it really relaxing, sort of methodical and meditative. Slowing down and doing that is my favourite part of such a consumer season. I wrap everything that goes into every stocking, all my extended family’s presents to each other, but that’s still not enough, so now I even offer to do it for my friends and their gifts for other people. I’m not exactly Candy Spelling but our rec room is a temporary wrapping workshop right now. I should probably volunteer for the Salvation Army wrap station or something and get it out of my system.

Favourite store to receive a gift from?
In Toronto? My gourmand side says Good Egg in Kensington Market, hands down. There isn’t really anything in that store I don’t love. I cook a lot (see above) and for my birthday last week a very clever friend gave me a book called The Flavour Thesaurus from there; Mika has great taste and is a terrific buyer; I always find things I’ve never seen before, and her staff know their stuff and can help you find the perfect thing for everyone on your list. Whether they’re a foodster or not. It’s a whole lifestyle store.

In Texas? Anything from Specs, the humongous liquor store chain. I collect hard-to-find small batch bourbons and they have aisles of the stuff. It makes my sister’s Christmas gift to me very easy!

How will you spend your time off?
I’ll be in Texas. Baking, swimming, reading and browsing antique and vintage shops around Houston and Austin. It’s all about spending time with my whole family together, which I don’t get to do very often. My father travels overseas a lot and my sister lives in Texas, where my parents have a second home and my mother spends half her time, so we’re really only ever all together at Christmas. Our French heritage really dominates come the holidays and even my father, who’s from England and is therefore mad about all things Christmas in a different way, gets in on the French-Canadian traditions. He’s made the signature tourtières for years (along with his mince meat tarts and the Bûche de Noël), and my very favourite part of the holidays is the last couple of days leading up to Christmas, and in particular, Christmas Eve. 

 The delicious Bûche de Noël

My sister, mother, father and I are all in the kitchen cooking and preparing the snacks, the cookies, the sausage rolls and the meal all day long. The ovens basically run non-stop, the kitchen is as warm as a bakery, and my dad and I compare notes on the craft holiday beer we’re drinking as we cook. And we listen to our favourite Christmas album, which is Kenny and Dolly’s Once Upon a Christmas, over and over, singing along with abandon like goofy lunatics. It’s really fun.

What’s your favourite holiday tradition?

Growing up, my brother and I had a sleepover every Christmas Eve (sleeping bags and alternating our rooms each year). When we woke up Christmas morning we were allowed to go through our stockings but had to wait until our parents were up to touch the gifts under the tree. The excitement of it all always made me happy and it still stands out as a favourite tradition.

Favourite store to receive a gift from?
That’s a hard one! Indigo has a really amazing selection of stocking stuffers, stationery and home stuff (not to mention all of the books and mags) so I can’t say I’m ever disappointed with something from there.

How will you spend your time off?
I’m heading back to the East Coast to rest, recharge and catch up with friends from home. Halifax can be damp this time of year but there’s nowhere I’d rather be (and then back to Toronto in time to ring in the New Year).

What’s your favourite holiday tradition?
Two weeks before Christmas, buying a tree, setting it up, writing and addressing Christmas cards while watching Bill Murray in Scrooged. (Ed. note: a must-see. Go rent it if you’ve never watched it!).

What’s your favourite holiday tradition?
The nine adults in my family draw names and exchange stockings on Christmas morning. It’s kind of cheesy but doing a lot of small presents for one person is a good way to acknowledge who they are and what they like: specific books, cosmetics, silly stuff, notes, treats. I dig it.
Favourite store to receive a gift from?
Any used book store. I love getting books more than anything. Barring that, Holt Renfrew. 

How will you spend your time off?

I’ll be in suburban New Jersey and New York City at Christmas this year, so I’ll be chasing my nephews and nieces in the snow, and doing the classic Manhattan-at-Christmas stuff. 

Rockefeller Center

Media, Darling: Ashleigh McKenna

Ashleigh McKenna is the editor and general manager of sweetspot.ca, Canada’s first online trend-spotting lifestyle guide of its kind. She first started using the site as a reader, getting to know her new city of Toronto in 2004. A magazine internship here, some freelance work there, and a stint as a newspaper reporter in her hometown of Halifax, and she eventually landed online (and hasn’t looked back).

Twitter: @sweetspotdotca

How can someone grab your attention with a pitch?
Keep it simple. If the idea is there, it’s there. We all like words and coming up with creative ways to say something, but it can still be concise and direct.

What do you find most useful when dealing with public relations professionals?
Someone who knows who we are, ideally how we operate, or if not, has taken some time to look at our site. We’re lucky to have many great PR relationships and it really makes a world of difference to be able to ask someone a quick question and know you’ll hear back as soon as they have a chance or to have all of the necessary information already at your fingertips.

What is the biggest mistake PR professionals make?
Well, we’ve all likely experienced the awkward forgotten Bcc, but that usually just makes me feel bad for the person who sent it since I know they’re kicking themselves (and it’s not like I’m about to start spamming some media person whose email I’m not supposed to have or vice versa). Asking repeatedly for some kind of coverage that we just don’t offer gets uncomfortable.

Your pet peeve (pertaining to PR)?
It’s certainly not a deal breaker, but given the audience and the number of sneak peek events out there, I’m always surprised by how many sneak “peaks” I’m invited to. And the pretend personal emails. There are some invites and releases meant for mass mailing and that’s great, but when four people in the office all get the same email only to them and under the guise of being an individual note, it ends up being an inefficient use of time to reply and sort out who has what information.

Any other thoughts you’d like to add?
A relationship can make a lot of difference and those don’t always happen overnight. Consistency and communication go a long way and are always appreciated (and hopefully reciprocated).