Bons mots

Slips of my tongue

Reinvention is the mother of necessity

It’s time to move on and grow up.

I am no longer a mature PR student – I am a mature PR practitioner. Yes, I write, plan and practice what I’ve learned in my Communications and PR course. Thus, I have created a brand new blog – Bons Mots. Yes, it’s the same name, but the domain is new – and all mine.

Follow me at Fancy, eh? I have transferred all my archived posts there.

Stay tuned for more shenanigans.



October 31, 2009 Posted by | About me, There is hope... | , | Leave a comment

Love the One You’re With

A friend recently sent me an article called “Why I’m Alone”. It is a response by Huffington Post columnist Lea Lane to the question she is often asked in the years following the death of her husband: Why is she still alone? Why doesn’t she date much?

While I’ve never loved and lost like Ms. Lane, I can certainly relate to the question, “Why are you alone?” In my case, it’s rephrased as “Why are you single?”

“I guess I’m just lucky,” I smirk.

Like most smartass responses, mine comes across as defensive, and I make no apologies for it. I am a strong and confident woman who owns her own condo, is making inroads into a new career and has a stellar credit history.  Yet all that I achieve and accomplish tends to be overshadowed by my marital status.

“Why are you single?”

I could say that I choose to be single but that would be a lie. Take our biological disposition to mate and procreate, add centuries of social conditioning and stir in the fear of growing old alone. Is it any wonder that women get panic attacks when they’re not married by the time they’re 30?

I don’t choose to be single – I’ve just made my peace with it. If it really bothered me, I’d be more diligent in my pursuit of the opposite sex (my recent attempt at speed-dating notwithstanding, which is a separate blog post altogether). As it stands, I’m not in a particular hurry to get hitched. Marriage is not a goal of mine. I just want to find someone who I connect with, can tolerate my need for alone time and recognizes the genius of Tex Avery, Jon Stewart and Neil Gaiman. And I want to take my time finding him.

“Why are you single?”

My friend Catherine put it succinctly: “I sincerely believe that if I’m meant to meet someone, I will. I’m not going to moan about it if I don’t.” Amen, sister.

Until I meet my Mr. Right-For-Me, I’m enjoying my life. Here are my reasons why I’m okay with being single (with gratitude to Ms. Lane).

·         I’m never lonely – I have a wealth of friends who I can see more often than I could if I was in a relationship.

·         Dating provides so much interesting material for anecdotes and blog posts.

·         On weekends, I can wake up late or stay in bed all day.

·         I don’t have to answer to someone else.

·         I can take off for the weekend on the spur of the moment.

·         I have more time to spend with my family.

·         I can watch any movie I want to, even if it’s a weepy chick flick.

·         I look way younger than my years and I chalk that up to carefree living.

·         I don’t have to cook.

·         I don’t have to be disappointed and hurt when a man no longer likes me.

·         I have the bathroom all to myself.

·         I flirt to my heart’s content.

·         I love experiencing the thrill of meeting someone new and imagining what they’re like in bed. I love knowing that I can find out firsthand.

·         I don’t have to date a man I’m not crazy about because I’m “not getting any younger.”

·         No pregnancy/STD scares.

·         I don’t have to shave every day.

·         No one is hogging the bed sheets but me.

·         I can drink milk/juice straight from the carton.

·         NO IN-LAWS.

·         I have total control over the television remote.

What are your reasons?

August 19, 2009 Posted by | About me, There is hope... | , | 3 Comments

A Change is Gonna Come

Barack Hussein Obama, an African-American and son of a goat-hearder from Kenya, was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America.

Read that sentence a few times and savour its deliciousness as it rolls off your tongue. In a country whose identity was shaped in large part by slavery, racism and a blind fear of the different, this is truly a momentous and historic occasion. Only a cold, cold heart could not be moved by the events of the past three months or tear up during the inauguration ceremony.

Is the hype justified? I think it is. Since his election, Obama has shown more concern towards the problems affecting his country than  George  Bush, Jr. has in the last year of his presidency. “Dubya” didn’t care anymore, and it showed.

No one in their right mind believes Obama can or will affect change right away. He inherits a country crippled with debt, riddled with despair and desperate for change; he definitely has his work cut out for him. What transcends all the promises he set out during his campaign and in his inauguration speech is hope. A hope that things will improve. Because frankly, they can’t get any worse.

As a Canadian, I watched with envy as a nation joined together in welcoming their new President. Next week, our Sleeveless Leader, who treats the country like his personal fiefdom, will unveil a budget that will more than likely lead to a third election in as many years. (My math may be off but that’s exactly how it feels.)

So, to my friends south of the border – congratulations! I hope you don’t mind our staring – we just want a little hope of our own.



January 20, 2009 Posted by | There is hope... | , , , | 1 Comment

StandUp For Your Sisters

We interrupt regular blogging for a special announcement…


Isn't this the coolest postcard?

I was approached by my BFF Daniela Saioni (and I don’t use that term loosely – we’ve been best friends for over 30 years!) to volunteer my public relations skills (such as they are) to a fundraiser she is organizing called StandUp For Your Sisters. I am proud to be associated with this project because it provides a venue for upcoming female comics in Toronto’s comedy scene and funds raised will go to Gilda’s Club.

More information is in the release below. Get your tickets now! They’re going fast!

Female comics do it standing up…for Gilda’s Club

Toronto, ON – On Tuesday, January 27, some of Toronto’s funniest new “chicks with shticks” are putting on a comedy show guaranteed to titillate your funny bone. And raise money for a great cause.

StandUp For Your Sisters, a benefit for Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto, is a night of stand-up featuring 12 female comics who are making a name for themselves on the stages of Toronto’s comedy scene. Hosted by one of Canada’s funniest women, Elvira Kurt (popcultured, The Tonight Show), and headlined by Dawn Whitwell (Girl School, The Jon Dore Show), the event promises a night of great comedy to beat the winter doldrums.

StandUp For Your Sisters initially began as a way for a group of burgeoning comedians, most of whom have less than six months’ experience, to showcase their comedic talents in a scene still dominated by male comics.

“On any given night at most of the ‘mainstream’ open mics, you’re lucky to see even one woman in a lineup of ten comics,” says organizer Daniela Saioni. “Yet, when we do play these clubs, we usually do well.  Maybe it’s because more than half the audience are women. So why the lack of stage time? We decided to make our own.”

But the jokes aren’t all about sugar and spice. “Oh, some of us do get raunchy. But when a woman in her thirties does a joke about sex, it tends to resonate with the kind of truth that incites wine-through-the-nose laughter,” Saioni says.

The women decided to donate any proceeds to charity and Gilda’s Club was the obvious choice: they have all been touched by cancer in some way and thought it would be fitting to honour a charity named after the late comedian Gilda Radner – a woman who helped clear the way for women in comedy.

StandUp takes place at Hugh’s Room, a 200-seat venue located in the heart of Roncesvalles village. Tickets are only $20 in advance ($25 at the door), with all proceeds going to Gilda’s Club, and are available at or by calling 416-531-6604. A silent auction will also take place and includes donations by Roots and Alliance Films.

With this much estrogen-fueled comedy, it’s a great night to come and stand up for your sisters, mothers, daughters and friends.

For more details and comic bios and photos, visit

About Gilda’s Club

 The mission of Gilda’s Club is to provide a meeting place where men, women, teens and children living with cancer, as well as their families and friends, can join with others to build social and emotional support as a supplement to their treatment of choice. Gilda’s Club is a non-profit organization where membership is free. For more information about Gilda’s Club, please visit their website at

 – 30 –

January 19, 2009 Posted by | Learning, There is hope... | , | Leave a comment

Niagara Falls: It’s more than just water

I wrote this article for the November 2008 issue of  Ontario Dentist, the journal of the Ontario Dental Association. The subject of the piece, Dr. Mike Lococo, is a wonderful man who is trying to make a difference in his community. I have published this on my blog with the permission of Ontario Dentist.

Be Our Guest

Dr. Mike Lococo Lights up Niagara Falls

The thundering waters of Niagara Falls bring many tourists to the city. Dr. Michael Lococo wants to give them another reason to visit.

“The Niagara region has casinos, wineries and beautiful countryside,” says Dr. Lococo. “Now we have world-class theatre.”

A dentist for the past 40 years, Dr. Lococo is also the co-founder of Silver Mist Productions. Established in 2006 with business partner Linus Hand, the company has staged productions of Aladdin, Jr. and Beauty and the Beast at local theatres. Beast will be returning this year to the Niagara Centre for the Performing Arts beginning December 1. There is also a production of Seussical at the Sheraton on the Falls Theatre starting December 15.

A member of the Ontario Dental Association since 1961, Dr. Lococo has had an avid interest in the theatre since he was a student at the University of Toronto. While his love of the arts took a back seat to his successful career as a dentist, he has recently focused his efforts on rejuvenating his hometown of Niagara Falls through theatre.

Over the last 30 years, industry has been shifting away from the region and with it the economic health of downtown Niagara Falls. Department stores, restaurants and other retailers were closing shop and moving out.

“The first impression visitors get is of a run-down city with boarded-up buildings,” says Dr. Lococo. “It has become a disgrace.”

After the construction of Fallsview Casino, there was a renewed interest from investors and consortiums to inject new life into the city. At the same time, Linus Hand, a general manager of Mirvish Productions theatres for 16 years, moved back to his hometown. Like Dr. Lococo, he believed the way to revitalize downtown Niagara Falls was to turn it into a world-class theatre district.

“This was the thing that is going to bring downtown Niagara Falls to respectability,” says Dr. Lococo.

The two partners started a production company and their first show was Aladdin, based on the 1993 Disney animated movie. After pooling their money and hiring top talent from Toronto’s theatre scene, the production ran in the summer of 2006. The show wasn’t exactly a hit.

“The summer was a disaster,” recalls Dr. Lococo. “We expected the tourists to come. But who thinks of Niagara Falls as a world-class theatre destination?”

The show was remounted in December of that year to coincide with the Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights. Silver Mist also reached out to local schools and got busloads of kids to see the matinee productions. Word of mouth spread and Aladdin became a hit.

The following year they produced Beauty and the Beast. The response was so successful it’s being repeated this year. Actor Gabriel Burrafato starred as the Beast last year and is returning to reprise his role.

“As an actor, you like to have the opportunity for roles like this,” Burrafato says. “The production values are phenomenal. The music and costumes are Disney-certified.”

Dr. Lococo wants to expand his vision beyond downtown Niagara Falls to the entire region. “Our goal is to get the tourists here. We are the key. You get people to the Falls and it’s only a hop, skip and a jump to wine country and beyond.”

While it’s easy corralling locals and tourists to his productions, it may prove difficult getting Toronto residents away from their own theatre district. But Silver Mist isn’t competing with Toronto productions like Dirty Dancing and We Will Rock You.

Beauty and the Beast and Seussical are family shows. Our area is a family area. We’re offering the most economical vacation for families. Our dinner and hotel packages cost just as much as what you pay for one show in Toronto.

“What we’re offering is world-class entertainment at an affordable price,” explains Dr. Lococo.

Richard Ouzounian, noted theatre critic for the Toronto Star is highly complimentary about Dr. Lococo’s efforts.

“Every city ought to have someone like Mike Lococo, who loves the place where he lives and wants to see that the best theatre possible is available there. I find his energy, commitment and taste amazing and I wish we had him in Toronto.”

Despite the time and dedication that goes into producing two musicals, Dr. Lococo still practices as a dentist. He admits there are times when juggling dentistry with theatre wears thin on him and Jackie, his wife of 48 years. Does he sometimes wish he had never become involved with Silver Mist?

“If I had to compare dentistry to show biz, it’s not even close. What I’m doing now [with Silver Mist] is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” he says. “It’s like getting caught in a current.

“But then you watch 1,000 kids laughing and having a ball, their faces lighting up. I think we are on the right track.”

“His heart is definitely in it,” says Gabriel Burrafato. “His passion shows when you meet him.”

Perhaps dentistry and theatre are not that different: they both make people smile.


For more information on show times, tickets and vacation packages visit

December 10, 2008 Posted by | There is hope... | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PR and Online Dating: Part One

Here’s a little tidbit about me: I was once an online dater.

I am not ashamed of my admission, nor do I regret my actions. I made a few friends through the process. I also have a collection of funny anecdotes I can depend on to liven up pauses in conversations.

Earlier this year, I decided to remove all my dating profiles, despite being bombarded with eHarmony ads. (Clearly, their ads are targeted to people who have never dated online.) I did so for two reasons: one, online dating can take up a lot of one’s time, which I don’t have much of anymore; and two, online dating can be a humiliating process – your self-esteem can only take so many beatings, no matter how strong you think you are.  (There is a third reason I give when the question is asked by smug marrieds: “Yes, I AM still single and childless. Why ruin a good thing?”)

All this begs the question: why does online dating have to be so hard? Before the Internet, people would meet each other at bars, parties or through friends. That was truly a WYSIWYG situation; you could size up your potential mate in as much time as it took to drink your beer. But that meant making the effort to put on makeup, venture outside and spend time with countless knobs before you found a decent bloke with nice breath and more than two words to string together.

When I discovered online dating, it was like manna from the heavens. I could scroll through hundreds of men, in the comfort of my home and pajamas, and delete the undesirables with a click of my mouse. It was like picking fruit in a grocery store – I could toss aside the dented, moldy apples to get to the shiny, juicy ones. How can that be a bad thing?

But like most web applications, it’s only as good as the people who use them. There are users who see the tool as enhancing their lives, e.g. increasing their chances of meeting a nice person. And there will be those who see it as a means to their nefarious ends, e.g. how many women can I dupe, date and dump? You can probably guess which group I encountered the most.

I was recently sharing my online dating experiences with a girlfriend. Between the two of us, we accumulated many stories of, to quote the Lowest of the Low, salesmen, cheats and liars. We came up with some basic guidelines on how to decipher a man’s online profile. (For example, using “Tony Montana” as a profile name. Is it their real name or a shout out to a murderous, cocaine-snorting movie character? Answer: they probably have a Scarface poster over their bed.) Conversely, these same guidelines could provide men with tips on how to best market themselves. Then it struck me – online dating is a lot like public relations! My cohort didn’t see the connection but I sure did. The idea may seem ridiculous at first, but bear with me.

PR is about building relationships with your audiences. It involves developing a positive relationship with the public, with the goal of getting them to view your organization in a positive light. It also includes building a strong brand that will attract the right audience, instill trust and confidence and help you avoid pitchfork-wielding mobs.

When posting a profile on an online dating site, aren’t the goals very similar? You want to build a strong brand (profile) that will attract the right audience (women). It should also be an accurate and honest portrayal of what you have to offer; if your brand does not reflect reality or you can’t back it up with quality product, your success rate will plummet. And you will be chased by pitchfork-wielding women.

According to Love Online: A Report on Digital Dating in Canada 37% more men than women use online dating services. That means for every woman using online dating services, there are more than two men. So not only do you have to attract women to your profile, you have to compete with hundreds of other fellows at the same time. How do you make your brand stand out? I called it the 3H factor – honesty, a little bit of humility and a dose of humour.

So as a public service announcement, I decided to embark on a series of posts on marketing yourself through your online dating profile. What do women look for? And what do your profile choices really say about you? (My experiences with online dating are limited to men, so the focus will be on male profiles, ‘natch. Any male visitors to my blog are free to post their own musings about women and online dating in the comments section. Or write a post on your blog about the subject; remember to link to mine to create a lively discussion.) I would also like to thank all my lovely girlfriends who contributed their own suggestions via Twitter.

Part one: The Photo

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and brother, they ain’t kidding. This is the make-or-break item in your profile. It is what makes a woman decide whether to read your profile or block you from ever appearing on her screen again. The following are the types of photos commonly used and why they give credence to the old notion that pictures can steal your soul.

Standing in front of your car. It’s nice that you’re proud of your souped-up Honda Civic. In these times it is impressive that you can afford to drive, what with the high insurance rates and soaring gas prices. And kudos to you for being able to get your entire car in the photo with you!

What it says about you: That sure is a nice sheen on your chassis but you’re so far away that I CAN’T SEE YOUR FACE. It also tells me you’ll probably be more into your car than me. I expect our dates will include trips to the car wash, street racing and a request for a Tawny Kitaen-pose on the hood of your car because you are more than likely a Whitesnake fan.

She'll put a shine on your chassis!

Tawny Kitaen, 80s video vixen. She'll put a shine on your chassis!

The Usher Shot. No, I’m not talking about the singer. It’s that one photo taken at your buddy’s wedding. You’re in a dapper tuxedo and you look absolutely, incredibly handsome.

What is says about you: You look good in a tuxedo. Big deal, most men do. But unless you’re James Bond, don’t bother using it as your main profile photo. Yes, it shows that you dress up real good, but what about the other 364 days of the year?



Group shots. Wow, you have a lot of friends. And they all seem to like you, you party animal!

What it says about you: You’re actually going to make me look for you in the photo? Is this what I’ll be doing every Saturday night when you’re out partying with your buddies – looking for you? In my experience, men who post the group shot are usually the ugliest ones in the photo. While this may not be true in your case, that’s the first thing that pops into my head. Next!

Pictures with attractive women. Wow, those are very attractive women you’re with! You’re such a stud!

What is says about you: So you got a Hooters waitress/Budweiser girl/auto show model to pose with you. Sorry to tell you this, but they’ll pose with anybody. That’s what they are paid to do. And if you are such a chick magnet, why are you on a dating site? You can get women to pose in pictures with you, but you can’t seal the deal?

Dude! They are SOOO not going out with you.

Dude! They are SOOO not going out with you.

Cut and paste shots. Aren’t you creative! You’ve taken a picture of yourself with an ex-girlfriend, cut her out and put “This could be you!” in her place. Awwww.

What is says about you: You think women are all the same and easily replaceable. You’re also a big nerd.

The shirtless man. You’re smoking hot. You must spend every day at the gym working on your six-pack.

What is says about you: You’d rather spend time at the gym instead of snuggling in front of the TV with me, a pizza and a six-pack of beer. You also spend more time in the bathroom than I do. You shave your chest more often than I shave my legs.

You are a walking Backstreet Boy video.



The traveler shot. Wow, you climb mountains, scuba dive and visit exotic locales. Nice shot of you waterskiing/in front of Mayan ruins/snorkeling.

What it says about you: You’re never home long enough for a relationship. And you have no job.

Firemen. Ah, yes, 9/11 has been bery, bery good to you, hasn’t it? What a cheeky shot of you wearing nothing but your, er, hose.

What it says about you: You want a one-night stand. Women of substance do not get a fire down below just because you slide down a pole. (This rule also applies to cops and military personnel.)

Firemen NEVER look like this.

Firemen NEVER look like this.

“Private” or hidden photo. You have to send me your photos first before you see these goods, baby.

What it says about you: You’re cheating on your wife.

No photo at all. You haven’t got a scanner. You haven’t had time to upload photos from your digital camera. You’re probably better looking in person, anyways!

What it says about you: You are a lazy, ugly Luddite.

It’s simple, really. BE HONEST. Don’t post any photo of you that is more than five years old. The picture is supposed to sell you. Think of it as truth in advertising; we will meet you at some point – do you really want us to be disappointed? Do you want us walking away thinking we’ve been sold a bill of goods? Remember, women talk. I had girlfriends who used the same dating sites I did, and we would warn each other about certain men. If I only had a blog back then…

Here’s another way to put it: You want to sell your car and post an ad in Auto Trader. You are selling a Pontiac Sunbird; you wouldn’t post a picture of a Cadillac, would you?

I know it’s hard. A lot of women will flock to the generically handsome men who make all the above mistakes. But be patient – these women will be continuously disappointed with “Romeo243” and “PrinceCharming4567” that your nice photo and funny profile will win them over. You may not look like Brad Pitt, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There are women who aren’t sold just on flash and style; we look for substance behind the brand – wit, charm and intelligence.

Coming soon: The profile nickname.

October 14, 2008 Posted by | There is hope... | | 22 Comments

Kudos to Maple Leaf Foods

Since taking the CC+PR program, I am more aware of the way organizations react when faced with a crisis. After the Sunrise Propane debacle, it’s refreshing to see a company get it right.

Maple Leaf Foods should be patted on the back for practicing great PR after the listeriosis outbreak. If this isn’t a textbook example of good crisis communications, I don’t know what is. They have been open and communicative with their stakeholders – customers, investors, media – from the beginning. They have cooperated with government agencies. They have reached out to their audiences in any way possible: full-page ads in newspapers; news releases; analyst conference calls; their website; and social media (see clip below). As a result, I have yet to come across any negative feedback in the media or the blogosphere.

The recall will cost them approximately $20 million in losses. But maintaining the public’s trust in their brand and reputation will be worth much more in the long run.

August 25, 2008 Posted by | There is hope... | , , , | 4 Comments

Could life get any better?

It has been announced that Tina Fey and Steve Carrell have been cast in a movie together. My two favourite television stars! In a movie together! Let’s hope it’s better than “Baby Mama” and “Evan Almighty”.

From Variety:

Carell, Fey ready for “Date Night”

August 18, 2008 Posted by | There is hope... | , | 1 Comment


If I had to assemble the top ten reasons Barack Obama should be President, this would definitely be on the list:

This was taken from the YouTube account for BarackObamadotcom. I love the fact that social media is being used in the race for the presidential election.

January 26, 2008 Posted by | There is hope... | , , , | Leave a comment

My Fey-vorite Writer

I love Tina Fey. In this world of Paris Hiltons, Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohans, Tina is like the fresh air of the country blowing in your face after escaping the smog of the city . She’s intelligent, witty, the creator and star of one of the best shows on television – 30 Rock – and was formerly the head writer on Saturday Night Live during one of their not-so-bad seasons. Plus, she proves that women can be hot and sexy in glasses. (Which, until recently, mattered to me since I used to wear glasses. Then I got lasik eye surgery because I think I look better without glasses. Yes, I am aware of the irony.)

So when I heard about the upcoming Tina Fey movie Baby Mama, about a single woman who wants a baby, I thought “Oh no, they got her, too!”. After all these chick flicks in the theatres about women as princesses (Enchanted) or bridesmaids-wanting-to-be-brides (27 Dresses) it seems Hollywood hates women over 30 who are single and childless. The world does not need another cinematic diatribe on how miserable it is to be a single woman. Apparently, we have not come a long way, baby – if I had a dollar for every time someone asked me “Why aren’t you married?” I would be rich enough to have these people killed.

But after watching the trailer I have renewed hope. Fey plays a single woman who wants a baby but is unable to have one. So she turns to a surrogate, played by another of my favorite comediennes, Amy Poehler, and hilarity ensues. I hope Tina puts a unique spin on this retched genre. Enjoy.

January 23, 2008 Posted by | There is hope... | , , , , | 1 Comment


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