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August 20, 2014

Client Happenings: Street Art Takes Chicago During Lolla

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 9:08 pm

Lollapalooza is known to the masses as a weekend of music and outdoor entertainment. It’s one of my favorite weekends each year…I love any opportunity to get out and enjoy the Chicago summer, and I know I’ll leave with a few new bands to follow. But, this year the event took it a step further adding an artistic element.

So, when I heard Shepard Fairey announced that he would be curating an art show to coincide with the events of the music festival, I knew I had to see it. Like many, I knew of Shepard Fairey as the artist behind the infamous Obama Hope poster, but I had no idea the extent of his talent until witnessing it firsthand.

And he definitely did not disappoint. In one of the largest art shows ever done, the show featured innovators in the art world showcasing their work together for the first time under one roof. Entitled “Art Alliance: The Provocateurs,” the show featured everything from street art to pop/political art, and even installations and sculpture all inside a very cool loft space inside Block 37.

Full disclosure, Block 37 is a client of ours at Zapwater, but regardless, it was one of the coolest events I’ve been to in a while. For those who missed it, there is some good news: as part of the show, four murals were painted on Chicago buildings that will remain on permanent display. Chicago is known for its burgeoning arts community, and it’s very cool to see the city embrace something of this scope.

Until next year….

- Morgan Bellock, Account Director

August 9, 2014

Client Happenings: Simply Stylist

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 10:09 am

On Saturday, July 26, Simply Stylist, returned to the dana hotel and spa in Chicago. This is one of my favorite events, so it was a joy to work with their team for the second year in a row. Founder Sarah Boyd established the conference to inspire those with a passion for all things fashion and beauty. It’s the perfect event for those interested in starting a blog, wanting to be a celebrity stylist and fashion enthusiasts in general.

The day started with a networking brunch at freestyle food + drink where Lauren Gores of Lauren’s Lyst delivered a great keynote speech. After the brunch, attendees headed up to Vertigo Sky Lounge for a two-hour panel session, featuring insight from top industry experts. Hosted by E! News Correspondent, Catt Sadler, the panel included Stephanie Mark (Co-founder of The Coveteur), Wendy Nguyen (Wendy’s Lookbook), Annie Finch (Founder of Katherine Cosmetics) and Allie Cooke (CS Magazine).

Following the panel portion of the event, attendees had the opportunity to meet the panelists and enjoy a shopping event on the hotel’s 5th floor.

It’s so exciting to come together to get an inside look at the fashion and beauty industries. I always leave feeling incredibly inspired by both the attendees and speakers and I am already anticipating Simply Stylist 2015.

- Stephanie Reay, Senior Publicist

August 6, 2014

Client Happenings: Kiehl’s Pushes the Pedal to Find a Cure

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 8:29 pm

Guys on motorcycles and beauty products all in the name of charity; I’m down.

On Monday, August 4, Kiehl’s, the renowned hair and skin care line, rolled through Chicago to celebrate the brand’s 5th Annual LifeRide for amfAR, a multi-day, multi-stop motorcycle tour of the U.S. to help support AIDS research. An event complete with motorcycles, delectable bites from Lillie’s Q, celebs and proclamation from the mayor, Kiehl’s Bikes + BBQ Bash was a great way to kick off the tour, which started in Milwaukee with the team making their way to New York. The Chicago team included Kiehl’s President Chris Salgardo; Ben Cohen, World Cup Rugby winner, Gilles Marini from “Switched at Birth”; Teddy Sears from “Masters of Sex”; Malcolm-Jamal Warner from “Sons of Anarachy”; Jesse Lee Soffer from “Chicago P.D.” and more.

But what would this motorcycle tour be without a great cause? Aside from their outstanding hair and skin care products, Kiehl’s has famously been known for the brand’s ongoing and significant contribution to three charity pillars: HIV/AIDS education, prevention and research; protecting and nurturing the environment; and children’s well-being. LifeRide is no exception, with Salgardo and his fellow friends and celebrity riders, touring the U.S. to bring awareness to the need for AIDS research and funding by supporting amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research.

In the past five years, Kiehl’s has made astonishing contributions toward amfAR, helping raise $1,025,000 to fund six cure-related research projects. I mean, that’s HUGE! Even though the Chicago event is over, those who are interested in supporting amfAR can help in a variety of ways. Head to the Kiehl’s website to purchase a Limited Edition Ultimate Strength Hand Salve, a jumbo size of the company’s classic formula, with 100 percent of the proceeds going toward the organization (up to $25,000) — this stuff is bomb.

Don’t follow Kiehl’s on Twitter? For every new follower, they’ll donate $1 to amfAR (up to $15,000), and for everyone who uses the hashtags #HandsOn #Contest, they’ll donate $1 for every participant. Full details about ways to get involved, the stop and riders, and rules on social content are included at: www.kiehls.com/LifeRide.

The Chicago event was an amazing way to remind customers, media and entice new brand followers about the importance of supporting charities like amfAR. We’re happy that so many people were able to join us, and here’s wishing the team a successful ride in 2014!

- Stephanie Poquette, Senior Publicist

July 31, 2014

ZAP Bites: Farm-to-Table with Burpee

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 7:50 pm

In the peak of harvest, now is a better time than ever to get in on one of our favorite cuisines: farm-to-table. We recently worked with one of our clients Burpee Home Gardens on two delicious events which had us coming back for more fresh veggies.

Our first event took place in Vancouver at the lovely Fable Kitchen where we worked with Burpee Home Gardens to showcase how anyone can grow vegetables (even small spaces!). Chef Trevor Bird demonstrated how to use fresh vegetables in your meals while Kathy Schleyer served up some amazing cocktails using fresh strawberries. The two specialize in sourcing local product and delivering great flavors and even shared a few of their secrets with us so we could get in on the action too.

Next up, we worked with Burpee Home Gardens to donate vegetable plants to The Urban Canopy community farm located in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood. Founder Alex Poltorak and his organization are committed to the belief that the urban agriculture movement can help to create a more sustainable and equitable food system by selling their vegetables to local restaurants and farms markets. We had an awesome day getting our hands dirty planting and harvesting vegetables. We literally ate the vegetables fresh out of the ground and they were delectable!

If you don’t have a home garden and aren’t able to grow your own veggies, Chicago provides some awesome alternatives. First off, many farmers markers in Chicago go through October so you can make farm-to-table cuisine in your own home. Otherwise, the farm-to-table restaurant scene is blowing up in Chicago. Choose Chicago reported on a few of their fave farm-to-table restaurants and we can’t wait to make our way through this delicious list!

- Sophia Bly, Senior Publicist

 

July 13, 2014

ZAP Bites: Delish, Made-from-Scratch Holy Omega Granola Bars

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 10:00 am

Made from scratch/homemade snacks and recipes are at the tipping point of going from on-trend to mainstream, especially for health and food enthusiasts who prioritize eating a natural, wholesome and functional diet – free of processed foods and ingredients. In particular, one snack item that seems to be all the rage right now are homemade granola bars, given the combination for ingredients (e.g. fruit, nuts, seeds and more) are endless, they’re simple to make, are portable and can be eaten at any time of day – breakfast, snack/pre-workout, etc.

Chef Suzy Singh, Corporate R&D Chef for NOW Foods, a natural products manufacturer based in Chicago (and client!), created a no-hassle “Holy Omega Granola Bar” that’s pretty incredible, and features non-GMO, trending ingredients, such as Agave Nectar for a natural sweetener and binder.

This is not to be missed, and one batch creates a great snack for the next few weeks. Enjoy!

Holy Omega Granola Bars!

(Serves 8)

Ingredients:

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 400 F (375 F convection). Line quarter sheet pan with parchment paper.

2) In large bowl combine flax seed meal, chia seed meal, and brown rice protein with 1¼ cup of water.

3) Stir for 3 minutes or until mixture thickens to a gel like consistency.

4) Add all ingredients and mix until all ingredients are fully incorporated.

5) Spread mixture onto sheet pan using dough scraper until height of granola bars are ½ inch tall.

6) Place in oven for 25 minutes.

7) Allow granola to cool for 30 minutes or until it has firmed but still is soft to the touch.

8) Cut into 4 inch bars and serve cooled. Store in air tight container for up to 2 weeks.

- Alana Horinko, Vice President

July 10, 2014

Client Happenings: The West Loop’s Modern Mexican Experience – más

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 10:00 am

Mexican is hands down my favorite genre of food. From the complex flavors and vibrant colors to that perfect bite of guacamole, I could eat Mexican every day. So when we had the opportunity to open más, a new modern Mexican restaurant, I couldn’t have been more excited – plus it was in the West Loop and two blocks from our office. Can’t beat that!

más isn’t your typical Mexican restaurant. The kitchen is led by Chef and Partner Yanni Sanchez (formerly of Sabor Saveur on Division) and has a menu full of savory tacos, fresh crudos and sharable plates rich in Mexican tradition but peppered with global flavors presented in a beautiful way that lets chef’s French training sing. The cocktail program reflects the restaurant’s emphasis on freshness and focuses on craft cocktails made with tequilas and mezcals. They also make their own homemade aquas frescas and have partnered with Sparrow Coffee to create a unique brew for the restaurant.

más offers the culinary prowess expected of the West Loop neighborhood in an environment that is both lively and approachable. The space feel contemporary with sleek décor but has a tone of comfort to it too. A custom Aztec-inspired wall fixture serves as a focal point when you enter the space and the lounge area is anchored by a 16-foot bar with an adjacent drink rail for those looking to savor a signature cocktail or two. I’ve already established the Watermelon Margarita as my go-to summer cocktail.

Must try items on the menu include tropical guacamole with root chips, fish tacos with watermelon gazpacho, rajas con queso tacos, Yellowtail crudo, and the Mexican donuts.

For more information on más check out www.barmaschicago.com or follow them on social at @mastacoschicago.

- Annie Block, Vice President

 

July 8, 2014

Meet Team ZAP: Mentor to Mentoree

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 10:00 am

Recently, I was able to take a moment to sit down with one of my professional mentors, Michael Corrigan. Michael is an account supervisor at Zapwater and almost five-year veteran to the agency. I have worked with Michael for numerous projects and wanted to sit down for a quick session to pick his brain about his professional work and what it means to be a great publicist!

AL: What qualities do you need to have to be a great publicist?

MC:  I think, personally, that writing is a really important part about being a publicist, but I sometimes think that our industry puts too much emphasis on it. The difference between a good publicist and great publicist is the ability to understand timing. Timing is how you stay strategic and think ahead. You need to know what media is working on and when they need materials sent. Some other great qualities are time management, thinking quickly and multi-tasking.

AL: How do you show others that you believe in them?

MC: I am huge advocate for positive feedback. I love to celebrate agency “wins.” Also, learning how to give constructive feedback without being harsh is important, and you should be receptive to people coming to you for help and questions.

AL: When is breaking the rules OK?

MC: In terms of creative ideas, there should be no rules. The needs are different for every client. We should not constrict ourselves to something routine. Always be willing to go outside the box.

AL: What does working ‘on’ your business mean to you?

MC:  Nobody is perfect in terms of work or life. So it’s knowing what your strengths are and playing to them and knowing what your weaknesses are, admitting it’s a weakness, and always pushing yourself to improve in areas you are not as strong in.

AL: How and where do you find inspiration?

MC: Social media! Instagram is HUGE for our industry! Being visually inspired is imperative to stay creative in your day-to-day work. Traditional media is just as important, too. I just try and soak in as much information as I can!

AL: How do you keep your feelings from clouding your decision-making?

MC: I wear my heart on my sleeve, so that is something I am always trying to work on. I have a new trick that when I have a tough decision, I try to count to five or 10 before I react. This way, I make a sound judgment rather than an emotional one.

AL: What do you do to live a balanced life?

MC: Don’t underestimate a hobby that you enjoy. I love to read, travel, and take cheerleading aerobics. Of course, living in Chicago I really enjoy eating food! Never underestimate the ability to take a vacation somewhere where you can turn your phone off. Especially in PR—the ability to unplug is SO important to live a balanced life.

AL: Who has influenced you the most?

MC:  My dad. My dad has been working in baseball for more than 30 years now and he STILL loves what he does. That always inspired me to know that life is too short so you should really do something that you love. PR does have its challenges and stress; but ultimately, I know it’s what I love and what I want to do! So I consider myself lucky!

- Alexis Lucente, Assistant Publicist

July 2, 2014

ZAP Bites: A Quick and Easy Summer Recipe

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 10:00 am

Summer is officially here, and for Chicagoans, that means an endless amount of rooftop parties, barbeques, etc. I’ve always followed the rule that you should never show up to a party empty-handed (thanks, mom!), so I’m always in search of the perfect party pleasing dish. While I’d like to pretend, I’m certainly not a master chef either, so simplicity is key.

And nowadays, it seems like dietary restrictions are getting more and more plentiful. Seems like everyone is either gluten free, dairy free, etc. As a result, I’ve been testing out vegan recipes more and more. Much to my surprise, I’ve found a lot of great options that are delicious, healthy and easy to whip up in the kitchen. I was thrilled when I came across this summer quinoa recipe. It’s full of fresh flavor for summer, super easy and packs a protein punch. For anyone planning to attend a summer party, this is a great make-ahead salad too – you can prep it the night before and let it sit in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

Cumin Lime Black Bean Quinoa Salad
Makes 6.5 cups (or serves 4)

*recipe and images courtesy of Oh She Glows, Angela Liddon

For the salad:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (or 3 cups cooked)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans (or 1.5 cups cooked), drained and rinsed
  • 1.5 cups cilantro, finely chopped
  • 3 small/medium carrots, julienned (about 1.5 cups) OR 1 large chopped and roasted sweet potato
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • fine grain sea salt & black pepper, to taste

For the dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1. To prepare the quinoa: Rinse quinoa. Add into pot along with 1.5 cups water or veggie broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low-medium, and then cover with a tight-fitting lid. Simmer for 15-17 minutes until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy. Remove from heat and steam with the lid on for 5 additional minutes. Fluff with fork and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.

2. In a large bowl, toss the quinoa, drained and rinsed black beans, cilantro, carrots (or roasted sweet potato), and green onions.

3. Whisk together the dressing in a small bowl. Pour onto salad and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I prefer to enjoy this salad chilled, so I usually throw it into the fridge for at least an hour.

- Morgan Bellock, Account Director

June 25, 2014

Client Happenings: Chicago is in Full Bloom with Kalla

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 10:00 am

Beautiful bouquets of flowers, decadent designer chocolates and wine straight from Napa Valley… these are a few of my favorite things! And now thanks to Kalla, all of these delightful indulgences are at Chicagoans fingertips.

Kalla, a new luxury floral brand that arrived in Chicago this June, is transforming the way Chicagoans give and receive flowers. Kalla is more than a floral delivery service – it’s a one-of-a-kind experience.  To deliver on this promise of uniqueness, Kalla offers a truly special service from start to finish. Senders choose from a curated selection of limited edition—and stunningly gorgeous—bouquets, which vary according to season. Each bouquet has its own story, offering a window into its origins and design.

Senders can choose to pair indulgent chocolates and expertly chosen wines, which arrive via white glove delivery – arriving perfectly framed and ready to be placed – even the vases and boxes are works of art. Finally, to create a real-time experience, senders can create a video that accompanies each delivery.

To see Kalla’s bouquets in person, visit the Kalla Pop-Up Shop at the 900 North Michigan Shops during the month of June.

-Brigid Parr, Senior Publicist

June 22, 2014

Around Town: A First-In-Class Choice for Childcare/Preschool

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 10:00 am

As a working mom of two little girls, one of the toughest decisions for my kids – and also a top priority – is childcare and education. There are a variety of options, from in-home sitters and daycares to childcare centers and preschools, and deciding on the best choice for your family often takes hours, days and even months of researching, interviewing, touring, checking references and more.

For moms and dads looking for immediate care or starting the process for fall childcare/preschool enrollment, I couldn’t be more thrilled to help make this process a little easier for you, and encourage you to check out The Gardner School [client]. The Gardner School (TGS), with five easily accessible Chicagoland locations – Naperville, West Loop, Glenview-Northbrook, Bucktown, Oakbrook (opened in May!) and Lincoln Park opening early 2015 – is a first-in-class choice families can count on.

Dubbed the “Princeton of Preschools,” TGS is an award-winning, academically focused private preschool offering early childhood educational programs for children ranging in age from 6 weeks to five-years-old (private pre-kindergarten). New this fall, they’ll be offering private kindergarten at the Glenview-Northbrook and Naperville locations.

What I love about TGS:

  • They’re committed to redefining early childhood education by providing a rich learning environment that will stimulate each child’s physical, social, emotional and intellectual growth. A careful blend of traditional- and Montessori-styles of learning create a unique learning atmosphere that balances child- and teacher-directed educational activities. Understanding that each child learns at his or her own pace, TGS’s teaching philosophy incorporates structured play, while remaining flexible enough to foster individual self-discovery.
  • They’re focused on faculty. They go to great lengths to ensure that all teachers meet the qualifications set by the state and complete extensive training and orientation programs. The TGS degreed and highly qualified teachers are carefully selected based upon education, previous teaching experience, love of children and the ability to bond and effectively communicate with their students.
  • They’re focused on family and school-day enrichment. Knowing that many families who choose TGS are dual-working households, TGS offers a suite of enrichment programs during the day to not only enhance each child’s unique abilities and stimulate a well-rounded education, but also to help families maximize their time together in the evenings and on the weekends.
  • They offer unparalleled facilities educationally engineered to foster discovery, creativity and exploration, including a dedicated cafeteria, covered indoor play area, computer lab, and enrichment studio. Parents are afforded peace of mind by the school’s strict safety and security features, including a closed-circuit camera system and unique PIN-codes for entry.

To help you in your search, check out this comprehensive checklist of what questions to ask/what to look for when visiting a potential childcare center/preschool, provided by TGS.

Good luck!

- Alana Horinko, Vice President

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