Alison McGill: I Can’t Live Without My…

alison 11358 1Next up in our Can’t Live Without series is THE authority on all things fashionable for the bride-to-be: Alison McGill. As the long-time editor-in-chief of Weddingbells, Alison’s day job finds her travelling the globe in search of fabulous honeymoon destinations and the latest must-have bridal style.

For a peek into Alison’s world, check out this self-professed Duranie’s Instagram feed, chock full of bridal inspiration, dreamy beauty, fashion and travel pics plus her fabulous feline, Angus.

1. Tech Toys – I am an Apple junkie. There is one of everything around my house and I love each of my devices equally – each has a purpose and a specialty. I’m the person who has to have the newest, latest and greatest when it’s launched (but no, I won’t wait in line for it).

2. Favourite Cat – I’ve had many cats in my life, each with wonderful, wild and distinctive personalities. Though I hate to play favourites, my current feline Angus may be my all-time best-loved. Angus is a rag doll, a breed that is known to be big, fuzzy, floppy, gentle, intelligent and fiercely loyal. He makes days brighter, is a loyal companion and is a patient (and popular) Instagram subject.

 

Caudalie_Beauty_Elixir_30ml_13662136093. Caudalie Beauty Elixir – Quite simply, it’s heaven in a bottle. I use it morning and night (and sometimes in between) after washing my face. It’s a toner-meets-serum chock full of goodness including oil of rosemary, orange blossom, rose and mint. Seven spritzes on the face are all it takes to get a gorgeous glow and an energizing lift!

 

4. Wedding Rings – I LOVE jewelry and accessories but these are my two all-time favourites. I never leave the house without them.

5. Chanel 2.55 Bag – This was a bucket list item that I treated myself to a few years ago for a milestone birthday. It’s a classic piece that makes you feel impossibly chic.

Chanel.255-2

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Québec’s “Wild Chef” Conquers Cayman Cookout

Cayman Cookout, has drawn to a close for another year but those who attended are still buzzing about chef Martin Picard‘s appearance at the 6th annual food and wine event held in Grand Cayman. We brought along a group of Canada’s top culinary journalists and the “Wild Chef” took us on a journey we won’t soon forget. Picard, of the famed Au Pied de Cochon in Montréal, was invited by Michelin-starred chef Eric Ripert to attend the star-studded event with culinary greats like Daniel Boulud, Lidia Bastianich, Rick Bayless, José Andrés, Jacques Torres, Daniel Humm, Anthony Bourdain and others for a weekend of food demonstrations, kitchen war stories and island excursions. The destination has quickly established itself as the “Culinary Capital of the Caribbean” and with the Cayman Cookout as its signature food event, it’s no wonder.

Picard’s memorable events at Cookout included a demo held on Seven Mile Beach where he served his famous Poutine au Foie Gras to an eager audience, laughing as the guests asked how best to burn off the calories in his rich but delicious dish. During his visit, he also teamed up with chefs Bastianich, Andrés, Bayless, Boulud, Humm, Torres and Ripert for a once-in-a-lifetime dinner held at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.

Toes in the sand while enjoying Martin Picard’s famous Poutine au Foie Gras? Pure decadence!

With a culinary imagination that knows no bounds Picard also participated in an event billed as a “Dinner Party at Camana Bay“, the hip new urban centre of Grand Cayman. Starting off in the Veuve Clicquot lounge we then proceeded to Abacus restaurant for starters that included pork rinds, oysters with maple jelly and venison temaki. The inventive menu also included bone marrow and caviar, squid ink poutine, “duck in a can” (served hot to the table only to be opened and served atop truffled mash potatoes), maple glazed pig head, vanilla ice cream with maple taffy and a “pouding chômeur”, among other delicacies. We and the other guests also indulged in a palate cleanser of absinthe served with maple cotton candy which Picard pulled from the flossy machine, assisted by his sweet and smiling children.

Picard brilliance: duck in a can

Vanilla ice cream with maple taffy

Never one to shy away from the decadent and delicious, Picard’s dinner received rave reviews from all who attended, with one guest (hmmm…guess our Fathom Co staffers will go to great lengths for the shot, right @markfathomco?) even getting up close and personal with the pig head that was served family style to our table. Following dinner, Picard joined everyone on the patio for dessert and to show the eager and willing how to saber champagne with an axe (of course!). We envisioned him doing the same at his famous Cabane à Sucre outside Montréal.

Having a little (too much?) fun at the Picard dinner (credit: Melissa Wolfe)

Our final night at Cayman Cookout concluded with a return to the luxury Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman for a final glass of champagne (it was an night of excess, what’s a little more?) and to bid our media guests a safe journey home. The night was capped off in style with a surprise visit to our table by chef Daniel Boulud who was his ever charming self and begged us to take a “photo generale” with him (ok perhaps that last part is slightly exaggerating). Congratulations to all involved for another fabulous Cayman Cookout and merci chef Picard for making the trip so memorable. After such a decadent journey however, it’s time to get back to juicing and the gym while visions of the sugar shack dances in our heads… 

Our media group with chef Daniel Boulud (centre)

 

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A Fathom Co Fall

Fall is always a busy time of year…back to school and back to routine. For us, it goes by in a blur. Working in the food, travel, design and retail industries, we host plenty of events and participate in a variety of initiatives for our clients – all designed to raise awareness for their brand throughout the winter season. Which is why it’s December and we’re talking about fall! But now that we can breathe (for a second), we thought we’d share just a few snaps from our Fathom Co fall…

At the BlissDom blogger conference with Kirstine Stewart (centre), managing director, Twitter Canada

At World Mastercard Toronto Fashion Week with celebrity designer Ramsin Khachi, the Style Guys (Jason Krell and Aly Velji) and Marilyn Denis, host of the Marilyn Denis Show
(credit: Rachael Posthumus)

Celebrity interior designer Glen Peloso (left) joins us at our client’s event held at Binns Kitchen + Bath Design
(credit: Rachael Posthumus)

At the Toronto Life Stylebook party with the Cayman Islands
(credit: Rachael Posthumus)

A photo shoot with the Style Guys (Jason and Aly) and fashion designer Matthew Gallagher in the Cayman Islands – it’s a tough job but someone has to do it!
(credit: Amy Strzalko, Picture This Studios)

 

 

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Ramsin Khachi: I Can’t Live Without My…

We’re starting a new lifestyle blog series! Every month or so we’ll be featuring a Canadian tastemaker and asking them the 5 Things They Can’t Live Without. And while we know (and appreciate) everyone can’t live without family and friends (neither can we!), we challenged each to choose items and/or experiences. So drop by and check out their picks – what 5 things can’t YOU live without?


Ramsin Khachi, owner of KHACHI Design Group based in Oakville, Ontario, is one of Canada’s leading designers and builders. He’s also a regular guest expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, sharing interior styling tips, design trends and the latest home and tech products. To find out more or chat with Ramsin, follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

 

1. Espresso – I love coffee culture and really appreciate a perfectly extracted espresso. A shot of caffeine doesn’t hurt either!

2. Crossfit – This really keeps my engine running. Crossfit takes me to a place where on an ordinary day you wouldn’t dream of getting there. It gives me such an adrenalin ‘high’ and a deep sense of accomplishment when I complete the WOD (workout of the day). I admit it – I’m addicted.

3. iPhone – I have a severe case of Nomophobia! I just can’t leave the house without it. Surely I can’t be alone in this problem?

4. Vacation Time – I’m at a point in my life where I need to explore the planet. There is so much to see. I don’t want resorts or all inclusives anymore, I want to experience new cultures, interesting people, architecture and history.

5. Career – I live and breathe my job…I can’t imagine not doing what I do. www.khachi.com

A recent project from the KHACHI Design Group
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Fathom Co Finds: Summer Lovin’

Summer has ARRIVED – what took it so long?? Despite the weather’s lack of cooperation this year, summer is finally, blissfully, in full gear. Here’s our annual list of ‘must haves’ to help you soak up the season in style…

Certified yum.
It just wouldn’t be summer without ice cream, at least that’s what we tell our waistlines. We’re crushing on this cool ‘electric emerald’ ice cream maker from Hamilton Beach Canada. No salt required, you just pop in the ingredients, turn on the machine and watch it turn to ice cream. Since we’re all about eating clean these days, we’ve been experimenting with nutritious ingredients like coconut and almond milk!

Table candy.
We’ve always been fans of the Chilewich brand, and this summer is no exception. We ADORE these colourful “Brush Dot” print mats for the tabletop which come in four eye-popping colours guaranteed to dress up your deck this entertaining season.

Beachy keen.
We’re in deep love with the pillows at Chapter’s Indigo this year. Bright corals contrasted with nautical navy – all we need is the beach house to go with!

 

EVAP…ASAP.
Summertime means beach time, pool time and cottage time. But chillin’ by the water as you tweet, tweet can be a recipe for disaster (we know, we’ve done it). The average cost of replacing that smartphone you just took for a swim? $800. The new EVAP rescue pouch from Kensington is seven times more effective than putting your phone in rice. For just $20, buy yourself some peace of mind.

Flame on.
The hottest item for your outdoor space? A table flame. They’re everywhere this year – whether built right into a table or simply sitting atop, a table flame adds an instant dash of sexy to your deck. We purchased a stainless steel Eco-Feu unit at a BBQ store and added some white stones to create a South Beach vibe.

Wrap it up.
It’s hard to pick just one item from the stunning Missoni Home collection (available at Saks Fifth Avenue) but we absolutely heart the plush beach towels. Available in the signature zig zag pattern and a wide variety of prints (like butterflies), they’re stylish and beach ready.

 

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Acco Brands Canada Selects Fathom Communications

We’re excited to announce that ACCO Brands Canada Inc., a leading innovator and expert in worldwide branded office and school products, has retained FATHOM COmmunications as public relations agency of record.

Here’s more from the release:

ACCO’s industry-leading brands include Hilroy, Five Star, Day-Timer, Swingline, Kensington, Quartet, Mead, Zwipes and more, which are marketed in over 100 countries.

“We worked with FATHOM CO on a project basis last year and there was a great synergy,” said Jeff Schoo, vice president, marketing for ACCO. “They understand our business, bring fresh strategy to the table and we value their strong relationships with lifestyle media – most notably in Quebec – where we want to establish a stronger presence.”

FATHOM CO will work on a Back to School campaign and provide additional support throughout the year around new product launches for the company’s numerous brands.

– 30 –

ACCO Brands Corporation is one of the world’s largest suppliers of branded office and consumer products and print finishing solutions. Their widely recognized brands include AT-A-GLANCE, Day-Timer, Five Star, GBC, Hilroy, Kensington, Marbig, Mead, Quartet, Swingline, Wilson Jones and many others. For more information about ACCO Brands visit www.accobrands.com.

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Rebel Billionaire…With A Cause

Sir Richard Branson once said, “Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.” While we agree with that statement wholeheartedly, we also think there’s opportunity — and then there’s OPPORTUNITY:  like the chance to meet Sir Richard himself in the Cayman Islands. Yes, that was one ride we weren’t about to pass up…

We’ve long admired the über cool Richard Branson – from the way he looks at the world, to the many ways he’s changed it. So the invitation by friends to attend an intimate dinner with Sir Richard in their private Grand Cayman residence was by far the best email we’ve received this year. And the evening would be made even more special as our designing friends, Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan, would be coming along too – pinch us! This was going to be FUN. (Read about Colin and Justin’s experience of meeting the rebel billionaire here in the Toronto Star). We soon learned that Sir Richard would be visiting the island as a keynote speaker at a financial conference, but was taking some time out to raise funds on behalf of Virgin Unite, the non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group.

Virgin Unite’s mission is to connect people and entrepreneurial resources to create change on tough social and environmental issues. What’s more, 100% of the donations received go directly to the causes themselves. Did we mention the tagline for the charity is “Screw Business As Usual”? Very Richard. Up for grabs at the silent auction were items including: swimming with whale sharks off Isla Mujeres, a visit to Necker Island with Sir Richard himself, and even the chance to pitch your business idea to Richard and hip hop mogul, Russell Simmons. We were thrilled to support Unite and won the “Beautiful Inside My Head Forever” Sotheby’s auction catalogues, personally signed and sketched upon by controversial YBA artist, Damien Hirst (we’ve since learned there are likely less than 10 of these in circulation containing a signature and Hirst drawings).   

Following dinner, guests spilled out onto the patio and we soon found ourselves having a one-on-one with the man himself. Warm, soft-spoken and incredibly genuine, Sir Richard was everything we thought he would be – and then some. Yes the man has CHARISMA in spades. But he also comes off as very down to earth and approachable. He was a wonderful listener – he really, truly listens to you – that’s a skill he’s no doubt found helpful in business. You could say we’re quite well-read on the man and were prepared with plenty of questions. So much so, he stopped the conversation at one point exclaiming, “I love it! You know more about me than I do!” Here are a few snippets from our chat:

On being successful in business: I never start a company with the sole goal of making money. I always ask myself, how can I make a difference and how can I help people?

On what’s important in life: Everything can be replaced. Except your family.

On being an entrepreneur: I learned early on that you have to delegate. You can’t do it all or you’ll burn out. And you need to spend time with your family. You need balance.

On the fire at Necker where his mother was rescued by none other than Kate Winslet: My mum kept saying, ‘What’s all the fuss?’, and I told her, ‘Mum, you’re starring in your very own blockbuster with Kate Winslet. Enjoy the fuss.’

On whether it’s really him behind his Twitter account: Of course! I write all my own tweets but I will admit to once in awhile needing to ask my staff for help on the more technical stuff.

On whether he would bring back his TV show, Rebel Billionaire (which we LOVED btw and was far, FAR superior to The Apprentice): I doubt it. We like to try new things. Did you hear we’re going to space? (he said with a grin)

On his PR stunts: I love doing the unexpected. You may as well make it fun, and I like to have fun.

Speaking of fun…that’s when the night really began. We asked for a photo and he obliged, but in his own unique way of course! Here’s just a FEW of the resulting pics…taken by Colin (Mr. Always-There-At-The-Right-Time), who just kept snapping away as Richard played to the camera.

Famous for his wild PR stunts, Branson also has a habit of physically picking up women wherever he goes. We’re guessing this dip of our president, Laura Johnston, is the tamer dinner party version of Richard’s usual pick up?

Check out this tumblr account “Richard Branson Picking Up Women”. Yes, you could say he’s developed a bit of a habit.

Richard being his spontaneous self. Expect the unexpected!
Mark Johnston (l), Laura Johnston (c) with Richard Branson.

Matching white outfits! #likeavirgin

We came away from the evening with plenty to reflect on – how we can be better at business and better citizens of the world. Richard Branson gives you much to ponder and inspires you to think bigger, think smarter and think fun. And we think his magic rubbed off just a little…

Branson says “Screw Business As Usual”. Do you do business a little differently than ‘usual’? Tell us how below…

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Give Where You Live

Once again the holiday season is upon us – a time to take pause and reflect on the year that was and all we’re grateful for. Last year, we were surprised to learn that more than 26,000 people live below the poverty line in Oakville – the place where Fathom Co does business and where most of our staff live. This simply couldn’t be right…could it??

It’s very easy to get busy during the holiday rush, to forget that there are countless families in need. Or dismiss the idea of donating to a “big charity” – perhaps unsure of where your money will end up. But how about this for an idea: Give Where Your Live.

Not sure where to start? Take a cue from the “Merry Elves” at Kmart who secretly pay someone’s layaway bill, helping a family that perhaps can’t really afford those toys for their kids. Offer to pay for someone’s groceries one day – things are tight this time of year for many. Donate your time to the local Food Bank. Give away those clothes you’ve outgrown. Learn about local charities in your area that benefit families in need. In Oakville, the Christmas Wonders and Beyond program that is run by Kerr Street Ministries is an outreach program that offers gift cards and food boxes to those 26,000 needy families, allowing parents to shop with dignity and choose gifts for family and friends. The charity also sends a post-holiday note to tell you how your money benefited others and enabled them to have a happier holiday season.

Whether big or small, spreading the joy of the season is rewarding – for those you give to, and for the feeling it will bring you. So look for a way to give where you live – giving starts at home and seeing the impact your dollars or time can make is very powerful indeed. And just for the record, we’re not saying you should avoid world charitable organizations outside of your community. If you can give to those too, please do! For example, we love the Oxfam Unwrapped program and Sevenly.com to name just a few – these two charities provide unique gifts and help others at the same time. Genius!

So GIVE. It’s the best gift you’ll get this year.

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Food Trends: Breakfast Anytime

Breakfast has always been “the most important meal of the day”, but new research shows, breakfast foods are no longer just being consumed in the AM. “Breakfast anytime” is a food trend that’s been gaining traction for several years now. Why? It seems our grab-and-go culture loves the idea of quick and easy foods such as skillet meals and take-with-you items like waffle sticks and breakfast burritos.

Our client, Hamilton Beach Brands Canada, a leading manufacturer of small kitchen appliances, has jumped on the trend, launching numerous breakfast products this year. Take the Breakfast Master for example, which allows you to cook waffles, eggs and skillet meals all in the same appliance – perfect for those fussy eaters in your family. They’ve also introduced the Belgian Style Waffle Stix Maker (makes perfect little bite-sized waffle stix ideal for dunking!) and the 3-in-1 Grill/Griddle which has reversible grids that can be used as a grill or a griddle – each with individual temperature controls. Now you can cook your bacon and pancakes at the same time and neither the two shall meet – smart thinking HB!

Fathom Co helped Hamilton Beach launch the new product line with a comprehensive PR campaign including a new Facebook contest “Break Out of Boring”. So head on over, all you breakfast lovers, for your chance to win the latest appliances from Hamilton Beach! (See the prize pack below – Grill/Griddle, Personal Blender, Juicer and Breakfast Master)

Anyone else craving waffles now…?

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Fathom Co Finds: 5 Items to Dress Up Your Deck

It’s the end of July. The.End.Of.July.People. Which means there’s only ONE month left to enjoy the fabulous outdoors. Sweet summer is in the homestretch. Which got us thinking – there’s really no reason to live with a humdrum deck is there? After all, us sun starved Canadians get precious few days to bask in the heat, entertain friends and complain about how humid it is. So here’s our Fathom Co Finds for this season – some stylish and very sleek looking items that would dress up just about any deck. What are your favourites? How do you “dress up” your deck? Tell us below…

Top Left: Rock your deck out with this chic and simple Pebble Side Table from WestElm.com

Middle Left: We’re all about driftwood this year. It adds a beachy and modern look to your outdoor table. A simple Google Images search for “driftwood decor” provides endless ideas.

Bottom Left: We fell in love with these unique cordless lamps from Neoz while dining out one night and have seen them in several restaurants since. While these lamps are from Australia, they can be sourced via numerous online and North American retailers.

Top Right: These uber stylish outdoor torches from Blomus will set the mood for your next deck party. Available at Andrew Richard Designs.

Bottom Right: Tuuci’s one-of-a-kind M1 Stingray “shade sculpture” is function meets fashion for your deck. This guaranteed conversation starter is available at Andrew Richard Designs and other fine retailers across Canada.

Posted in Decor + Design, Fathom Co Finds, Food + Drink | 4 Comments