Dream Interpreting and Why I Need to Move to Nashville

I’m going to start this out with a disclaimer: Take everything you are about to read with a grain of salt. My thoughts are about as fickle as a 5-year-old trying to decide what to have for dinner and some days I want to just do charity work for the rest of my life and learn to play a banjo and ride rescued horses around Paramount Ranch…but, those dreams are about as far-fetched as the story I’m about to tell you (see last line)

These past few months I’ve gone on two “life changing” adventures. One in December to Nashville, TN and the other to George, WA for the Sasquatch Music Festival last month. In PR, you deal with a LOT of publicists, some nice….some NOT so nice and I have to say that music publicists (at least the ones that I’ve dealt with) are some of the nicest pr’s in the business. Added to the fact that they get to run around town with uber cool, talented musicians…equals my dream job.

Nashville, TN trip in December was NO DOUBT one of my favorite places to spend a weekend. PR TIP: Just like you manage client expectations (Yes, we will totally pitch the Ellen Show for you to go on and talk about your new feet warmers), you must manage vacation expectations. I had a dream that Nashville was “bright lights, big city” but, in fact it was one of the coolest “little cities” I’ve ever been to. I did my research on elle.com and sussed out some of the new hot spots in the city. It’s so cool how they convert old filling stations to restos/bars/shops, like imogene + willie. Have you heard of this denim shop? You MUST MUST check out their story here. I was watching the video yesterday and it literally brought me to tears. The hard work and dedication of the people behind this brand are what America truly stands for and just what we need now. And that to me is true Nashville. Although Jack White and The Black Keys and a number of artists have made their home in Nashville, one thing is for sure,  omit any LA attitude you might have before you go there. The people in Nashville are true class, true talent, and some of the most hard-working people I’ve ever seen. The roots of one of the biggest movements in music happened here and its now an emerging mecca of the new era of music. I have dreams of moving to Nashville and just casually sitting on the porch sharing fashion secrets with Karen Elson…perhaps this is where my Jack White dream comes in?? Hmmm…mysterious. PR TIP: This is a seriously promising scene for music styling.

If you’re not a fan of the whole “scene” that Coachella has become, then I HIGHLY recommended taking the trip out to the Sasquatch Festival . About 2 hours outside of Seattle, in George, WA and the main stage overlooks the beautiful Columbia River. Most people choose to camp (glampers need not apply, we’re roughing it here people), thankfully I had an RV to stay in which I highly recommend. The highlights were definitely seeing Bon Iver perform after sunset (brought me to tears) and Jack White (see dream reference above). PR TIP: Connect with the music publicists here before the festival for  your clients, as they are really open to receiving gifts/free goodies for their artists.

All in all, I don’t know why pr’s haven’t yet got on the band wagon of the incredible opportunities available for their clients with these festivals. It’s not just Coachella! Loosen up your feather headband and seek out these other cool summer happenings (SXSW, Outside Lands, Bonaroo..) and create some cool life experiences while you’re at it. Who knows, it just might create some really amazing dreams about Jack White that seem to recur every other day and end in a happy marriage and a few incredibly talented mini Whites running around in Nashville with genes like that of Karen Elson’s. (This never happened….)





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Wanna Ride Bikes?

In case you’ve been living under a rock this past week (or just hiding under one like some of us), you know that it’s that special time that comes around once a year that people actually get involved in taking steps to better our planet. For some special earth dwellers, you’ve been practicing your green thumb year ‘round before Earth Day comes and to you I say Kudos! Thank you for helping to make our home a little bit greener.

So this week, I’ve got an extra special initiative that I would love to share with you from the people at Steaz. They just launched an incredible campaign a few weeks ago that is all about bringing people together to celebrate and showcase what makes them unique through a video forum. You submit your video on mysteaz.com and Viola, you are entered to win 5k for yourself and 5k for a charity of choice. On the heels of that, this Sunday the Steaz team is getting together on electric bikes and riding the South Bay board walk to help promote the Steaz-y lifestyle, mysteaz.com, and pass out free Steaz! Sunshine, the beach, bike rides, and tasty organic beverages…I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my Earth Day. Oh wait, I could! Did I mention that my two favorite Canadians in the entire world will be doing the My Steaz ride (@Janette_Ewen and @CarineRedmond) And if you don’t come out for that alone, perhaps this will entice you: The last time Janette and I rode bikes together we were on a tandem bicycle in Venice on the boardwalk and literally getting run over by everyone else, not to mention that I fell off the bicycle about 3xs. I didn’t realize that riding bikes isn’t as easy as “riding a bike.” It should be a circus people. Come on out.



(Last two images from mysteaz.com)

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The 25 Things You Don’t Know About Me

I love reading those features in the weeklies that highlight the “25 things” that you don’t know about certain celebrities and personalities and it got me thinking….There’s a lot that you don’t know about me! Like….I have a dog named bullfrog and that I have a serious obsession with lotion (I mean literally I put it on at least 10 times a day). So I’ve opened the door a little bit into my background and have released the demons (not really but I just think its fun to say that). May I present….The 25 things you dont know about me! And feel free to tweet me @vanguardpr if you want to know anything else. Happy Wednesday everyone.


  1. Im Polish, Irish and English
  2. Extensions once ripped out a ton of my hair
  3. I had bleach blond hair….ONCE!
  4. I’ve been a vegetarian for 10 years
  5. I have a dog named bullfrog who I cook meals for everyday
  6. Im obsessed with the dr oz show
  7. I prefer one piece over two piece bikinis
  8. I always put CHIA seeds in my water
  9. Pilates is my favorite exercise
  10. Bon Iver is my favorite band right now and I cried when they won at the Grammy’s
  11. I don’t like change (and im not talking about money)
  12. I lived in Canada for 7 years
  13. About a year ago I combined my first and middle name to make KristinAnn
  14. My favorite sport to watch is NFL football.
  15. I will swim in the Atlantic but not in the Pacific
  16. I really like warming my clothes up in the drying before I put them on
  17. Im learning French and next up is Polish
  18. I used to be a VIP door girl in college
  19. I hardly ever wear makeup
  20. Im really bad at painting my own nails
  21. Im really good at drawing other peoples hands
  22. I went to a NKOTB concert when I was little and had a NKOTB comforter
  23. Apples and peanut butter is my favorite breakfast
  24. I’ve won numerous spelling bees
  25. My favorite food is Grandma Utz’s potato chips in Crab flavor (even though Im vegetarian)
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Allison Pigden: Who Are You and Why Do We Care? (Sharing Love: Creating Your Own Destiny)

Not to sound like a bitter person, but Valentine’s day to me is like New Years Eve; a whole love of expectations and a big let down. So this year, I’ve decided to focus not on finding love, being in love, or wishing for love, but instead wanted to write a post about finding yourself. This year has brought about some HUGE transitions in both my personal and professional life (don’t worry I’ll get to that at a later date) and I am a strong believer in attracting the right kind of energy, surrounding yourself with positive people, and creating your own destiny. Now is the time! If you don’t like something about your life (no matter if its a boyfriend/girlfriend or work environment), change it!  Only you can be responsible for your own success.

When you are able to think clear about your goals and your future, you will not only attract love, but find that everything will begin to fall into place just like its supposed to be. I’m hoping that this post( with one of my very good friends Alli) will inspire you all to follow your dreams and give you the courage to take the leap of faith to whatever career path you might want to stroll down. I first met Alli when she was styling for MTV Canada and she is now known a successful and incredibly smart PR girl. Read on about her transition into “our world.”

VG: Who are you?

AP: A fashion savvy social butterfly taking in the world of PR one stiletto step at a time. Small town Winnipeg girl moves to Toronto to follow her dreams, attend’s Ryerson University’s Fashion Communications program, and lands her first job as stylist to the hosts for MTV Canada (Amazing!) Followed by a big leap into PR. The leap has brought nothing but new experiences, new knowledge and self discovery.

VG: What makes you tick?

AP: Fashion. Starbucks. My little yorkie. Time with girlfriends. Spa days.Travel. A good workout. A fabulous meal and…. Fantastic wine (bliss).

VG: Name your top 5 personality traits or characteristics that you feel have enabled you to be so successful:

AP: Confidence. Charisma. A polished and classy appearance. Organization. The drive for success.

VG: Why do we care?

AP: Im definitely seeking out more community and volunteer opportunities in Toronto and look forward to getting out there and putting my charisma and charm to good use 🙂

VG: Tell me a secret (really, tell me a secret)

AP: I’ll tell you a good one over a glass of wine…

VG: Where are you?

AP: Downtown Toronto

VG: What did you have for lunch?

AP: Spaghtetti squash with sundried tomatoes, eggplant & roasted chickpeas – healthy! (I was still hungry and was anxious for snack time…)

VG: Paste your last tweet here:

AP: Seriously thinking Coachella needs to happen with @VANGUARDPR @Janette_Ewen @SupplyDemandLA and possibly @rachieskar

VG: So now what?

AP: I’d like to leap up that PR career ladder, possibly to a different city in Canada, the U.S or even Europe. Within 5 years I’d like to see some outstanding cities in the U.S that are on my list, take a minimum of a 2 week trip to Italy and see as much as I possibly can, take a wine course or become a certified sommelier (on my bucket list), marry the person I see myself with for the rest of my life (he’s currently taking a while to show up… jeez) and eventally thinking about the possibility of starting a family.

There’s nothing like having goals and big dreams – the best thing is achieving them and here’s how she did just that:

AP: After four intense and incredible years in Ryerson’s Fashion Communications program, 2 years at MTV Canada with the coveted wardrobe stylist job “that a million girls would kill for” it was time for a change and a new challenge. That change landed me smack in middle of the fast paced world of PR. The transition was quick and exciting! The most interesting thing about the transition was going from playing the role of ‘the media’ to the person who reaches out to and communicates with the media. However, I feel that has played a very strong part in my success in the PR world at this point.

PR is such a communication based industry that I would advise future PR savvy peeps to stay true to who they are, network as much as possible, stay up-to-date on what’s happening in not only the world but your immediate city (resto openings, events, etc) and get out there and socialize! Live the life of what you do, do it in style and have fun while doing it.

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Defining success in the PR World

Everyone defines “success” in different ways. When I made the leap from being in a corporate in house PR position to starting my own agency I had a LOT of expectations that had to be met in order for me to feel comfortable jumping off the deep end in a world of the unknown. I was scared of failure, I was scared of not having a paycheck every other week, and most of all I was scared of disappointing those that had put their trust in me. I think as a business owner, you still live with those fears (a little bit) everyday BUT what soothes this anxiety a bit is that I am incredibly confident in my abilities in PR (otherwise I wouldn’t be doing what I do) and work for clients that I consider some of my closest friends. I’m sure I could take a poll of people in this industry that take on clients that they may not totally love (but need to take on for financial reasons), which makes it a bit difficult to enjoy pitching, working 12+ hours per day, and putting your heart and soul into making sure they are happy as a client.

The success of our company is not only build upon the virtues of honesty, respect, communication, and love for both what we do and who we work for, but it is also upon the fact that everyday I wake up and am honored to work for people who are truly grateful for what we do for them. My success is defined by knowing that I have surrounded myself with people in work and in life that propel me, support me, and have a genuine love and respect for what our agency is able to achieve for them.

I asked a few of my closest and most successful friends in the PR industry what defines their success and here’s what they had to say.

Carine Redmond, carineredmond.com

“You know you’ve made it as a publicist when you’re the story.”








Kate Slean, Communications Coordinator

“The first time I felt that I’d made it was when a reporter called to set up an interview only minutes after I’d hit send on the email pitch. That was pretty special.”







Lisa Kwong of Tait PR

“You know you’ve made it when…You throw a huge launch party that everyone is still talking about six months later. A clear sign you’ve done your job well.” 







Brigitte Foisy of PRdepartment.com

“You know you made it when…you get up in the morning and feel you’re exactly where you should be, accomplishing what you were put on this earth to do. It is living and breathing with the confidence that you are making a difference with the gifts, talents and strengths god’s giving you. Being where you should be just brings joy and fulfillment that makes you the person you should be without regrets or compromise. The best person you can be for your family, for your organization, for your clients.”





Charise Mariel Garcia of Kaeru Communications

“You know you’ve made it when… you receive an email in your inbox with the subject line “URGENT VOGUE REQUEST”







Heather Davis former publicist at Think PR

“When you get a call from a friend telling you she saw your business in Oprah mag” or “When you tell a stranger your business name and they tell you they read the article about you in xxx”

Crosby Noricks of Prcouture.com

“You’ve know you’ve made it when you get to decide where, when, and with whom you work for.” 







Christie Hill of Colour.ca

““You know you’ve made it when—your boss stops calling/emailing after 8pm because she knows you’ve got it taken care of””

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One of my really good friends in Toronto, Janette Ewen recently gave me an impromptu tutorial about this “tumblr” thing and I have to admit I started to break out in a cold sweat. The mere thought of having to handle another online/social media platform had me feeling like I was about to spontaneously combust from technology overload. So I began to ask myself, how do we as pr’s stay relevant, current, and interesting with our content in the age of twits and blog hogs. I looked to the successful and savvy Crosby Noricks of PR Couture to give us some of her dos and dont’s when it comes to social media for fashion pr’s. Check it out below:

We could argue until Betsey Johnson retires (never!) about which department should “own” social media — marketing, PR, branding, customer service? (Short answer: like your BFF’s closet, social media was made for sharing). In fashion, however, some of the greatest social media success stories occur when PR is at the helm. A quick glance through Lucky Magazine’s relatively exhaustive list of fashion brands on Twitter shows that in addition to social media darlings DKNY and Oscar PR Girl, Tibi, Elizabeth & James, and Stuart Weitzman all promote a decidedly PR-centric approach to social media. And why not? In-house fashion PR reps are connected to the day-to-day of office goings-on. In the know about everything from upcoming press placements to celebrity dressing, the fashion PR perspective can effectively extend the brand personality into social by providing “behind-the-scenes” content and, by engaging with fans and followers, build long-term rapport and loyalty between brand and consumer.

Yet, for many fashion publicists, their professional background is more pitching media than PPC, more credit checks than custom application development. As a result, the ins and outs of platforms like Facebook and Twitter are often misunderstood and misused. Here are five ways fashion brands are getting it wrong when it comes to social media strategy:

Fashion has a Police; Facebook has Promotional Guidelines
While it is remarkable how many fashion brands still have profile pages instead of business pages, the single biggest faux pas on Facebook is fashion brands that run contests on the wall. These contests often come in the form of status updates asking fans to post a picture or leave a comment for a chance to win something. The skinny is that while you can promote your contest on the wall, you must use an application to manage the actual entries. Solution: commit Facebook’s Promotional Guidelines to memory and then find a Facebook-approved vendor or developer to help you execute Facebook contests or sweepstakes.

The Perils of Improper Tweeting
No, I’m not talking about the serious lack of tact shown by some fashion designers and PR agencies for capitalizing on international tragedies to promote their own agenda (really, Kenneth Cole?) but a far simpler issue regarding how tweeting actually works.

Twitter is a powerful tool for building relationships with customers, bloggers and fashion editors. A great way to start the mutual adoration is to reference another Twitter user in a tweet for all your followers to see. However, an oft-repeated oops looks like this:

@fashionblogger wrote a great piece featuring our Evergreen leather satchel for fall

The problem with the above is that by beginning the tweet with @, only the Twitter account referenced, and any who happen to follow both the brand account and the blogger account will see that tweet. Not very effective…

A quick fix would be:

Loving the @fashionblogger piece on fall essentials featuring our Evergreen leather satchel

Moving Beyond the Fashion Blogger Brat Pack
As fashion bloggers become an integral part of PR, and even advertising campaigns, smart fashion brands have moved away from the standard email pitch and are instead working collaboratively with these influential digital content producers to curate and develop original, branded content.

However, the fashion community appears to be wearing blinders when it comes to developing partnerships with up-and-coming bloggers, or those with a non-traditional look, choosing instead to work with a handful of traditional glossy-approved bloggers that function (and look) more like models than true brand collaborators. Yes it’s fashion, but can we please do something besides another (yawn) photo campaign?

A Tumblr is Not a Content Strategy
Another day, another fashion brand launches a Tumblr. Ad Age reports that, “about 20% of approximately 40 million daily posts (about half of which contain photos) on more than 27 million Tumblr blogs are concerned with fashion in some sense, whether it’s bloggers documenting street fashion or opining on trends.” While brands like Anthropologie and Kate Spade have put effort into the design, personality, and types of recurring content, many fashion brands have simply used a free Tumblr theme and proceeded to blog and reblog haphazardly, with no clear purpose or process and rarely do they promote the existence of their Tumblr through to other social channels and Websites. Clearly, there is a lack of strategy. Before getting set up on Tumblr, consider the following:

  • Tumblr is built upon users “reblogging” each other’s content. What is your plan to both identify, follow and reblog content?
  • How will you drive traffic to your Tumblr?
  • What types of content should be posted to Tumblr?
  • How will you differentiate that content from what is on your company blog, Twitter account or Facebook account?
  • Tumblr doesn’t provide an analytics dashboard; how will you measure and report on your efforts?

Disclosure is more than divulging your secret shopping haunts
This thing happened. It’s called the FTC Blogger Guidelines and while it’s not likely that anyone is going to be put in an orange jumpsuit anytime soon, it’s certainly on the up and up (and just good ethics) to abide by their disclosure around “Material Connections.” This means, essentially, that the FTC considers anyone, even those with Facebook profiles, a “blogger.” As such, anytime a fashion PR agency posts about a client on social media, they must indicate that they are talking about a client. I like to either make it obvious in the copy or using #client on posts. This extends through to working with bloggers. Let’s all encourage and assist bloggers with disclosure in posts where they are writing about anything they were paid for, or any gifts/samples that received on behalf of a brand.

Fashion publicists provide welcome content that bring brands and consumers closer together, providing a level of access through social media that is not only a smart business move, but damn fun too. By ensuring that social media receives the same strategic thinking and best practices as traditional PR plans, and ensuring that fashion publicists receive the proper training and support, fashion brands can continue to reap the benefits of putting PR Girls in charge of social strategy.

— Crosby Noricks

About Crosby Noricks
Crosby Noricks has more than seven years experience in fashion and consumer marketing. She is the founder of PR Couture, an award-winning blog about fashion PR, marketing and social media, named a Top 25 PR Blog by PR Web. She won Blogger of the Year at the inaugural InfluenceSD awards and was named favorite Blogger/Tweeter by 944 Magazine San Diego. Crosby is director of social media at Red Door Interactive, a premier strategic Internet Presence Management firm, working with a multitude of clients including Charlotte Russe, Eagle Creek and Quiksilver. Follow her on Twitter @PR_Couture

Article credit: http://www.apparelinsiders.com/2011/09/five-things-about-social-media-that-fashion-pr-often-gets-wrong/

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Jill Barber: Who Are You and Why Do We Care?

Often times in love and life, I get a little jaded. I stop to think that maybe this whole “stars aligning”, falling in love, and finding your true passion might not work out, but then I read about someone like singer, songwriter Jill Barber who seemingly has always followed her inner voice. If you have been lucky enough to catch the smooth, sultry sounds of Jill in person or have heard any of her songs (my personal fave is Took Me By Surprise) you will probably find yourself tapping your toes or dancing on air around the room. Its just the type of music that picks you up and get you in that happy, romantic mood. Her sound breaks barriers (with influences by Ella Fitzgerald) and is just the thing we need right now in this world. I admire her artistic touch and unwavering ability to always follow her heart.

VG: Who are you?

JB: I am a modern day torch singer performing original material reminiscent of classic standards.  I was born in Toronto, followed my heart to the east coast, then later followed my heart to the west coast, where I now live with my husband. I guess you could call me a romantic?

VG: What makes you tick?

JB: Bike rides. Road trips into the wilderness. My husband’s blue eyes. Being on stage playing music with my band. Cocktails with friends. Good food. Record players. The south of France. People who cheer loudly. Champagne popping. Amazing people doing amazing things. Men that wink. Hat revivalists. My incredible family.

VG: Name your top 5 personality traits or characteristics that you feel have enabled you to be so successful.

JB: I always follow my heart, I don’t let pride stand in my way, I’ve assembled a great team around me, I take advice, and I make those around me feel appreciated (my team, my band, my fans.)

VG: Why do we care?

JB: I’m bringing back the romance, and providing a soundtrack to your perfect evening, whether it’s a night on the town, or sipping wine by the fire.

VG: Tell me a secret (really, tell me a secret).

JB: I’m a fan of Lionel Richie.  There, I said it.

VG: Where are you?

JB: On a tour bus driving between Montreal and Drummondville, QC.

VG: What did you have for lunch?

JB: It’s still morning, but for breakfast I had a bowl of Fiber 1 with almonds, blueberries and keffir.

VG: Paste your last Tweet here:

JB: “Picking up the tour right where we left off… In La Belle Province!! Tonight in beautiful Beloeil, QC at the Centre Culturel de Beloeil.”

VG: So now what?

JB: In 5 years I see myself balancing touring life with family life, making new records, and becoming a better cook!  What does it take?  I think it takes asking yourself where you see yourself in 5 years, and making it so!

Make sure you follow Jill on twitter @jillbarber for all the latest updates on her tour schedule and releases!

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