October 30, 2014

PR Buzz: Advice from a Zapwater Intern

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 8:57 pm


When most people here the word “intern”, they think of the coffee-running, copy-making, phone-answering, college gal or guy. However, when I think of the word intern, I think of an individual who is fast-paced, responsible, organized, creative, energetic and driven.

So far, my time interning at Zapwater has not only taught me valuable skills that I can carry with me when I graduate from college and enter the workforce, but has also confirmed my passion for the Public Relations field.

My day-to-day life can seem pretty hectic to most people. I not only intern at Zapwater three days a week, but am also the Vice President of Valpo’s PRSSA chapter, the Opinions Editor at my school’s weekly newspaper, and have a full-load class schedule. (I attend Valparaiso University, in quaint Valparaiso, Ind., where I am a junior studying PR and creative writing).

While yes, I maintain my composure with a lot of coffee, (Venti Americano with soy, please) but I also have a strategic method to my madness, that keeps me organized and on top of tasks when I am at Zapwater.

For starters, I write nearly every part of my life down. (Including workouts and dinner dates.) I owe this part of my organization to my Lilly Pulitzer agenda. While any planner is key to have when you are an intern, I just love the design and the layout of the Lilly agendas. The pages in the large planner are just enough to write down assignments for class and dates/times of events I am working with the Zapwater team.

Secondly, I travel three days a week from Indiana by the South Shore train, and take the CTA over to Zapwater’s office, which is located in West Loop and then do it all again after the work day. (Total commute time = 3 1/2 hours a day) I use this time on the train to research client happenings, any local or national press they received, read my favorite blog (Man Repeller has my heart) and also to catch up on community and national news. (Very important in PR!) This way, when I get into the office, I am mentally prepared for the work that is given to me. On a daily basis, I do media clippings, complete media trackers, write/send pitches, and help the rest of the team with whatever assignment they need me to do. Zapwater provides me with very hands-on experience, which I have also been able to demonstrate to my PRSSA chapter at Valpo. Every time I learn how to do something new, I make a note of it on my notepad as well as my iPhone.

Staying organized and on top of tasks at Zapwater is very important. I prefer to write everything by hand and highlight the tasks in yellow that I’ve completed. (Hint, find out exactly when a project is due; that was you can prioritize your time best) Papersource is one of my favorite places to get notebooks, notepads, and other organizers; you can even get your notepads personalized! I love this vintage, “Hello Sunshine” pattern.

As an intern, you have to be readily available to give your time to helping the company. I have loved every minute of interning at Zapwater; getting the hands-on experience I was seeking, as well as being able to work some pretty cool events (TheTieBar with Jesse Tyler Ferguson and The Gold Coast Fashion Awards Show to name a few..) Staying organized and on top of everything, even if you have a busy schedule (like mine), is easy when you are able prioritize and stay on top of tasks. PR can be a hectic field, and I feel like I am more than prepared to enter the PR workforce after graduation thanks to my time at Zapwater.

– Emily Doherty, Intern

October 25, 2014

Around Town: Welcome to the Neighborhood

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 10:07 am

It’s no secret that the West Loop neighborhood is booming. Since moving into our digs on Peoria Street in 2011, we’ve had the chance to watch countless new businesses open their doors. Soho House and the upcoming Google headquarters, Nobu and the Ace Hotel may be making headlines, but smaller, local spots have us just as excited.

Most recently, I’ve become a regular at Harvest JUICERY. Sure, my upcoming Mexican vacation has healthy eating top of mind, but who can resist a delicious juice? Located at 1012 W. Lake Street, steps from the Morgan stop on the CTA Green line, Harvest is the perfect lunch time get away. Plus, all of the fruits and vegetables that go into the juices are organic or locally sourced. There are plenty of juices to grab from the shelf or you can order one off the menu to be prepared at the counter. Not to mention, the super stylish spot is totally Instagram-worthy.

See? Our entire team is on board!


My personal favorite drink? The Nutty Oat. So good that most times, I finish drinking it before I even make it back into the office.

Next time you’re in the hood, swing by and check it out for yourself!

– Mary Doyle, Account Supervisor

October 24, 2014

Client Happenings: No Need to Feel GILT-y

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 5:00 pm

Gilt City Warehouse Sale 1

The first step is admitting…and I’ll admit, I love shopping. It’s something that is impossible to hide with my ever shrinking bank account and my ever growing closet. Do I feel a rush with the swipe of my credit card as the sales associate hands over my shopping bag with the current season’s treasure? Of course. Do I feel a tinge of guilt and shame when I’m forced to look at the receipt displaying the total price? Every single time. Does that guilt stop me? Never. Which is why when the Gilt City Warehouse Sale rolls into Chicago, I can fulfill my ever present desire to shop without having to face a bank statement that makes me feel like I’m going to faint.

This season’s Warehouse Sale was one of the best yet, with a heaping handful of Isabel Marant for the ladies and an entire John Varvatos pop-up shop for the gentlemen. Chicago’s most fashionable residents enjoyed sipping cocktails with their friends during this two-day shopping party, where they were flooded with designer clothing and accessories from Gilt’s top brands for women, men and kids, plus home decor and more at up to 90 percent off retail.

Shoppers indulged in hundreds of the most coveted brands, from both up-and-coming designers and the most venerable fashion houses, including Zac Posen, Helmut Lang, Missoni, Vera Wang, Badgley Mischka, Carolina Herrera, Paul Smith and GANT, to name a few

Thankfully, the sale comes twice a year, which means double the GILT with none of the guilt.

– Brigid Parr, Senior Publicist

October 17, 2014

ZAP Style Notes: Zap Dry, Dull Skin with the Best from Now® Solutions

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 8:50 pm

ZB_10.19.14The colder fall temperatures and drier air don’t do justice for our skin and hair – often leaving us dry, cracked and in need of a major moisture boost. Say hello to NOW® Solutions, the personal care/beauty line from NOW® Foods, derived from pure, natural ingredients that are free of harsh preservatives, all at an affordable price. Here are some great products to help combat the elements.

  • Organic Shea Butter has a rich, luxurious texture that penetrates deep to condition and moisturize every type of skin. Organic Shea Butter is derived from the tree nuts of Karite trees, which make a superior moisturizer. It’s great for colder months and as an allover body moisturizer. Using Organic Shea Butter year round can help to soften tougher areas of the skin, such as elbows, knees, and feet.
  • Cocoa Butter Lotionis formulated with 6% Cocoa Butter and Rhodiola Extract to aid in protecting the skin from the appearance of stress. Aloe Vera and Allantoin naturally soothe irritated skin while stimulating cell regeneration. Almond Oil and Lecithin act as emollients, helping draw and keep moisture in the skin. Perfect for dry, flaky skin or to help reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
  • Organic Argan Oil from Morocco is beneficial for all skin types due to its rich fatty acid content. Organic Argan Oil is a multi-functional product. It adds shine to your hair and provides moisture for your skin, hair, scalp and nail cuticles. It also helps to soothe damaged and irritated skin. Because it’s easily absorbed, Organic Argan Oil helps to maintain a healthy skin pH balance as well.
  • Pure Almond Oil™ is a natural oil that’s perfect for nourishing and reviving any skin type, and is ideal for the entire body. Almond Oil is easily absorbed and won’t clog pores, promoting clear, soft, healthy skin.
  • Citrus Moisture™ Shampoo with Vitamins B, C, and A work with Jojoba Oil and Green Tea extract to remove grimy buildup. It leaves your hair strong, shiny and manageable. Citrus Moisture™ Shampoo is formulated with a unique herbal blend to protect, repair and naturally nourish your hair and scalp.

– Alana Horinko, Vice President

October 9, 2014

ZAP Bites – Nate ‘n Al’s

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 11:36 am


As many of you know, Zapwater recently opened a Los Angeles office. I’ve been traveling to Los Angeles for several years, and no visit is complete without a trip to my favorite Jewish deli – Nate ‘n Al’s.


I often have an argument with my friend Iggy as to what is the best Jewish deli is in Los Angeles. He mistakenly thinks its Langers.

Nate ‘n Al’s has been a veritable institution in Beverly Hills ever since it first opened in 1945. The deli was founded by Al Mendelson and Nate Reimer, who originally met while working at Boesky’s Deli in Chicago. They eventually decided to open their very own deli-style restaurant a few years later and landed in the 90210. At the time of its founding, the restaurant was Beverly Hills’ sole delicatessen and could only seat 30. It became such an immediate success, though, that it was later expanded to its current, larger size.


Nate retired just a few years after the restaurant’s opening, but Al stayed on to helm the place and it is his grandchildren who are running the restaurant today.


Each year Nate ‘n Al’s serves up 130,000 matzo balls, 16,000 gallons of chicken noodle soup, and 80,000 pounds of corned beef!


Because of its fabulous food and laid-back attitude, Nate ‘n Al’s has long been a celebrity magnet. On our last visit, we sat next to Jon Voight. Larry King eats breakfast there every morning. There’s even a scene from one of my favorite episodes of Entourage filmed there!


But when I go to Nate n’ Al’s, I have a routine. I start with Matzo Ball soup. Then I get a Hot Pastrami on Rye. They also place a plate of the best pickles on every table. Next time you’re in LA, make sure you stop by. The food is to die for.

– David Zapata, President



October 5, 2014

Around Town: Favorite Fall Family Activities

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 9:17 am

Favorite Fall Family Activities

It seems crazy to think that fall is already here. And yet, though that means back-to-routines and non-stop schedules filled with my girls’ activities – school, dance, gymnastics, and more – it’s my favorite time of year. Why? Not only do I love the crisp, fall air and cozying up in sweaters, but I love the season’s family friendly activities. Here are some of my family favorites (yes, in the suburbs!):

Apple Picking

All Seasons Apple Orchard in Woodstock, Ill., is apple-picking paradise. Families take a wagon ride out to the orchard (more than 10,000 apples trees) to pick 12 different varieties of apples and pears. Of course, the best part of apple picking is making homemade apple cider and apple pie! Get your pick on!


Hands down my favorite Patch/Pumpkinfest is Didier Farms in Lincolnshire, Ill. Not only because I was there six times in three weeks last year (and Maya talks about it EVERY DAY and asks “Is it opening tomorrow?”), but because there’s so much for the kids to do there; from carnival, camel, pony and tractor rides to pumpkin picking and corn mazes. Yes, you have to pay for tickets, but there’s no charge for admission. The kids can stay there for hours, so it’s definitely an all-afternoon activity.

Palatine Stables

We’re lucky to live in a great suburb that provides so many fun family centric events and festivals throughout the year. Palatine Stables in Palatine, Ill., has a one-day Fall Festival offering pony rides, a petting zoo, wagon rides and make-and-take arts and crafts. Throughout the year, they also offer pony rides every weekend, but we usually save these for fall weekend activities!

Homemade Fall Crafts

Fall affords so many opportunities for homemade arts and crafts, from collecting leaves and making leaf collages to painting pinecones in autumn colors. The girls like to collect pinecones year-round, so we have a good stash when fall comes around.

How do you like to celebrate the season?

– Alana Horinko, Vice President

October 3, 2014

Around Town: The Great Chicago Fire Festival

Filed under: Uncategorized — Zapwater Communications @ 8:53 pm

According to Wikipedia, The Great Chicago Fire burned for three days, killing up to 300 people and destroying roughly 3.3 square miles of the city leaving more than 100,000 residents homeless. Though the fire was one of the largest U.S. disasters of the 19th century, and destroyed much of the city’s central business district, Chicago was rebuilt and continued to grow as one of the most populous and economically important American cities.

This Saturday, October 4, around 8 p.m., the city will give homage to this historic event when 14 cauldrons of fire will be lowered into the Chicago River between State Street and Columbus Drive. Three floating platforms, each topped with models of pre-1871 buildings, will be set aflame to reveal symbolic structures rising 40 feet from the water, illuminated by fireworks, while thousands of spectators watch.

According to Chicago Magazine (, The Great Chicago Fire Festival began as a question five years ago: Why doesn’t Chicago commemorate its most dramatic and significant event? “The Great Chicago Fire basically birthed our great cultural export: architecture,” says Jim Lasko, 48, executive artistic director of Redmoon, the wildly original Pilsen-based not-for-profit theater company. “Our event celebrates the grit, greatness and renewal of Chicago.”

The city has thrown a tremendous amount of weight behind this first ever spectacle, hoping that it will herald in a new tradition for the city to be celebrated for years to come. I will be joining the ranks as a volunteer in the VIP event watching tent tomorrow evening. Follow @billieholigay on Twitter and Instagram for live updates!

– Michael Corrigan, Account Supervisor

October 2, 2014

Social Media Spotlight: What I Instagram vs. What Was Really Happening

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 10:46 am

Face it, Instagram is designed to be a photo-sharing app, but it has turned into a highlight reel of the best moments in our lives. Not that I’m judging; I’m the biggest culprit of all! My personal account is filled with perfectly staged photos…”why yes, I woke up with a full face of makeup, and of course, my desk always has fresh flowers and perfectly placed props!”

It’s easy to want to make life look flawless on Instagram, but it doesn’t mean that’s easy to pull off. Olivia Munter, a writer with Bustle, wrote a fantastic article, “What I Instagram vs. What Was Really Happening, or My Entire Life is a Lie.” She writes a laugh-out-loud commentary on the difference between her social media persona and regular life. What additions would you make to this list?

Do you fall into any of these traps below as an individual or even brand?

1.The Clearly Staged Photo

What It Looks Like I’m Doing…How exciting, I just purchased some colorful macaroons from a local bakery. Why don’t I carefully arrange them around this colorful necklace that happens to coordinate perfectly with these paint chips that I had lying around?

What I’m Actually Doing/Thinking…As Munter puts best, “PRETTY THINGS. PUT THEM TOGETHER. AESTHETICS. Who wouldn’t like this? What if it’s too much? Okay, this is clearly staged. But it’s so pretty. It all goes together. Okay, I’m going to post it. What should I caption? Hash tags? No? Ugh.”

2.The Coffee & Shoes Shot

What It Looks Like I’m Doing…Munter writes, “Just casually picking up a skinny, non-fat, soy, two Splendas, non-Starbucks-because-I’m-cool latte, where I will casually sip my coffee and simultaneously plan my week/world takeover on my iPhone. I will post this on Snapchat, too. Because I drink coffee. And I am cool.” I personally believe that coffee and heels should never mix!

What I Am Actually Doing/Thinking…Munster continues, “In reality, I had to hide in a side alley to take this photo, because it embarrasses my boyfriend when I take photos of this sort of thing. I also have to do a weird hunch, arm-hook thing to get the correct aerial shot. My thoughts: “I always forget to take off that damn hair band. Do I look pregnant? I look kind of pregnant. I’m not pregnant. WHAT IF PEOPLE THINK THAT?”

Additional “I swear this is normal shots” that she lists?

  • The Juice Cleanse Shot
  • The Ultimate Selfie
  • The Gourmet Food Shot
  • The Shoes Picture
  • The Farmers Market Shot
  • Pool Day Photos
  • The Cool Pastry Shot
  • The “I Am Productive Shot”
  • Flowers are Pretty

– Jenn Lake, Vice President

September 30, 2014

ZAP Happenings: From the Midwest to West Coast

Filed under: Uncategorized — Zapwater Communications @ 6:30 pm

If you follow our social media channels, you may have seen the news that Zapwater has opened up shop in the “City of Angels.”  Late this summer, I moved to Los Angeles to help open up our first satellite office. We selected LA for a variety of reasons. Some of our clients have a significant West Coast presence; we feel our agency brings something new to the market; and it’s a top media market and the entertainment capital of the world. So far, so good.

As a Midwest transplant, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve been fortunate to have spent a lot of time in Southern California throughout my professional career. I remember my very first public relations event in LA at Hollywood and Highland. We launched M&M’s Ice Cream treats with an ice cream truck manned by Mario Lopez. Marilyn Monroe, Elvis and assorted celebrities of yesteryear joined in the fun and scored us a photo that landed in People. Since then, my work in LA has expanded beyond events to include influencer relations, public affairs and more.

My time spent in LA for work has made for a smooth life transition. As a wellness aficionado, I love the ease of finding fresh produce, the array of outdoor activities and the city’s passion for good-for-you foods that don’t compromise on taste. I’ve fallen in love with Kreation’s kale chips and juices and have taken to cooking a lot. As a dog owner, I’m able to walk Mattie everywhere and take her with me to most establishments. I spend a lot of time on the Westside near the ocean, but still enjoy the occasional night out in Hollywood. The city has welcomed me with open arm — especially the people.

While in our industry it can be hard to predict a few weeks out, let alone a year, I’m optimistic for Zapwater LA’s future. Our company’s culture is based on creativity, teamwork and pushing the envelope. I suspect we’ll fit in just fine.

– Nora Sarrawi, Vice President

September 27, 2014

ZAP Wanderlust: West Coast Road Trip

Filed under: Uncategorized — Zapwater Communications @ 10:45 am

I caught the travel bug at an early age, so I try to take one big trip each year to somewhere new. I love the opportunity to see new places and cultures and of course, some of my favorite memories are from trips I’ve taken with family and friends.

Now, as someone who considers travel such an important part of my life, until recently, I had never been to the Pacific Northwest. This past August, I finally did a west coast road trip with a friend of mine. Here is a list of some of the highlights and recommendations for all you travelers out there:

Seattle, WA: If you’re a foodie, you absolutely need to visit Seattle. Pike Place Market (aka birthplace of the flying fish) is one of the biggest tourist attractions of the city. I recommend going first thing in the morning to watch the local vendors set up. Trust me, it’s worth the early wake-up call. And, if you’re craving caffeine, be sure to hit up the first ever Starbucks. It’s adorable and vintage and almost unrecognizable. You also don’t need me to tell you that the restaurants in Seattle are top-notch. From Bon Appetit rated, The Whale Wins and Joule to Food & Wine’s top pick, The Walrus and the Carpenter, Seattle’s food scene is clearly only going to get bigger.

Portland, OR: Portland is a hipster’s dream. Hailed for being one of the most bike-friendly cities in the nation, you can rent a bike and take it anywhere in the city. I highly recommend doing it, and it’s a great way to see the city. With endless amounts of local beer and breweries, you won’t go thirsty either. If shopping is your thing, be sure to check out the Alphabet District (23rd street) to browse the local shops and swanky boutiques.

San Francisco, CA: San Francisco is probably one of my favorite cities in the US. The weekend farmers market at the Ferry Building is must-see…pick up an assortment of items from local vendors for a picnic and take it to Golden Gate Park. If seafood is your thing and you can handle a lot of tourists, be sure to check out Fisherman’s Wharf too. A word to the wise, the hills are killer so bring your walking shoes.

Of course, the best part about traveling is coming home to the best city in the world. Check back with me in a month or two when the weather drops and I may be singing a different tune :)

– Morgan Bellock, Account Director

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