Month: January 2014

January 31-February 2: what to do/see/eat/drink this weekend in toronto

Happy Friday everyone! I’m sorry I didn’t get a Thirsty Thursday up yesterday, I just didn’t have time to get something together. It is also Superbowl Sunday and whether you love or hate football, it’s a great weekend to get together, eat some awesome food and drink some awesome drinks. Hope you have fun no matter what you do!

Do: The Drake has a unique event happening this Saturday, the 10th annual Guilty PleasuresThe brunch ties together so many wonderful things, brunch which is obviously wonderful and as well as mimosas and shopping. There’s also a hair and beauty bar and a take home prize.

See: If you really want to prove your Canadianness, the Brrrrr! Winter Music Festival is tomorrow at Echo Beach. There’s a number of performances beginning at 5pm, and tickets start at $63 are still available. 

Eat: Winterlicious is back in the city. Running until the 13th of February, a variety of of restaurant have a great prix fixe menu. The website also has some information on which restaurants have availability, even for tonight.

Drink: For SuperBowl Sunday the Office Pub is hosting their 3rd annual party where for $35, you get 3 domestic drinks and all you can eat buffets. There’s also prizes and $5 pints (because you may have more than 3). Sounds like a great way to enjoy the game. 

#BellLetsTalk Day

I know it’s late in the day to be posting about #BellLetsTalk day but I still wanted to write about it, and why I think it’s a great thing.

For those unfamiliar with #BellLetsTalk Day, one of Canada’s large telco company’s sponsors this day every year. This is it’s 4th year and although it’s not done yet, it has been more successful than any other #BellLetsTalk Day. For every call or text on their network today, or tweet with that hashtag or share of their picture on facebook, they donate 5 cents to mental health initiatives in Canada. At last count around 8:30pm, it was over $4.5m.

So why do I think this is so important? And why am I writing about it? I think I should preface this with, I don’t actually own any of their products (for a variety of reasons, none really bad) but they do own TV stations and a lot of other products in Canada so they are all around us.. I’ve seen a lot of people saying that it’s just marketing and that we shouldn’t be promoting the hashtag because it is just advertising for the company. Although this is a form of sponsorship, it’s still $4.5m to mental health initiatives, something that affects us all. I also think that it important for any company, big or small to show that they care about their community. Corporate social responsibility should be one of the number one priorities for any company so if Bell is able to do it on such a large scale, good for them. I hope other large Canadian companies follow.

I think this initiative by Bell is also about more than money. It is about starting conversation. Their spokesperson, olympic medalist, Clara Hughes has embraced being the face of mental health, opening up about her own struggles with depression. She has been on television all day and in commercials for the past few weeks promoting this campaign. It is showing people that it affects everyone and it is something we all need to be paying attention to. The day also had the conversations about mental health taking place in schools today, which is very important. It is important that young people know they are not alone and know that there are people that care and people that can help them. The statistics around mental health are alarming and hopefully days like this start to change the stigma. It is estimated that 1 in 5 people in Canada suffer from some form of mental illness at some point in their lives and that thousands of people miss work every because of it. This is important for our well-being, our economy and our society. One example I’ve seen all day (and a lot recently) is that we need to treat people with mental illness as if they have an illness like any other ailment. It would stop the “snap out of it” mentality and hopefully get the person the help they need.

I’m also very excited that many celebrities outside of Canada have taking interest in this campaign by sharing it with their followers. I’ve seen tweets from Matthew Good (he changed his twitter bio for the day) and from Bif Naked. I’m sure there have been others. Ellen DeGeneres had one tweet that was retweeted over 25,000 times, which is over $1200 from her tweet alone. That is amazing. It also shows that celebrities care about mental health which will hopefully eliminate the stigma around it.

There is still about 2 hours left, if you follow either of my twitter accounts, I apologize for filling your feed (but I’m likely not the only one). If we are at $4.5m, that means that there was over 90 million calls, texts and social media shares today. That means that we care about mental illness and want people to feel comfortable enough to get help. Although this is a corporate begun initiative, it doesn’t mean it needs to stop there. It is about having the conversations. And really, if it helps or saves just one person, isn’t it all worth it? I’d like to think so.

For more information on #BellLetsTalk Day, their initiatives or resources about mental health (based in Canada), visit their website.

review: the wolf of wall street

So I just got back from seeing one of the longest movies I’ve watched in a while. I can also cross a movie off my list!

I really enjoyed the film despite the length. I’ve heard people say that it doesn’t feel like 3 hours, but I wouldn’t go that far. Sometimes I see a film that I think is too long and I think of scenes that I would cut out but I think I enjoyed all of the scenes so it would be hard to cut any of them out. People also talked about the amount of swearing, I didn’t think it was ‘too’ much. It actually seemed very realistic for the theme of the movie. I expect that people who work on wall street actually talk like that. The movie is related 18A in Canada and there isn’t a lot of violence in it but there is a lot of swearing, drugs and sex.

I was surprised at how funny I found the movie. I know that it was considered a comedy during the  golden globes but it still surprised me. I along with the majority of the people in the theatre were laughing out loud. I thought the writing was really great and the performances were well done. I haven’t seen the other nominated movies but will be surprised if it wins a lot of oscars, but that’s really just based on my perception of the other films.

Have you seen the wolf of wall street? What did you think?

finally reading again

In Christmas of 2012, I got a Kobo Mini for Christmas and was really excited when I figured out that I could get books from the library for my Kobo. It was perfect, I never have to get the books physically back to the library on time, I was never very good about that. Sadly, my Kobo stopped working in July and I basically haven’t read anything since then. I know I could read actually books but I didn’t want to spend the money and I knew the library would only cost me more in late fees. After months of procrastinating and forgetting, I finally contacted Kobo and  they sent me another Kobo to replace the one that had broken.

Also, a few months ago, I thought about joining a book club but it seemed to be too complicated. I thought it would a good way to motivate me to put the time aside to read. Then around the time my Kobo issues were being sorted out a friend from high school posted on facebook that she was starting a book club, and even though I haven’t seen her since high school, I asked if I could join. The first book for mid-February is Gone Girl, so I went to the TPL’s website to ‘borrow’ it (you only have three weeks with the book) but they only have a certain number available so I put myself on the waiting list. I wanted to read something so I found a book called “Room” by Emma Donohue.

room-by-emma-donoghue

I had never heard of this book but it sounded interesting. I try not to read the back of the book because I find it gives too much away but really briefly, it is the story told by a 5 year-old being held captive with his mother away from society in a room. It is a interesting and I imagine a difficult way to write a story. The narrative takes a bit of getting used to because it is written from the my mind of a 5 year-old, the grammar and syntax is not correct and usually I can’t overlook that but I powered through because I understood that was the way a story told by a 5 year-old would sound.

Donoghue does a great job of creating a world within the room. I really enjoyed the fact it was from Jack’s point of view because it was an interesting way to interpret the story. It would sometimes take me a few minutes to understand what was really going on because it was from his point-of-view but when you think about their actions, you understand Ma’s actions. It was really a unique way to tell the story. I don’t want to tell you too much more because I want you to enjoy the story.

I’d recommend this novel, not only because it is a really great story but it is also a shorter novel at only 200 pages. It’s perfect if you know you won’t have much time to dedicate but want to keep reading. I started reading last night and I finished this morning. Sometimes a really long novel can seem like a daunting task to start, this is a great novel to get back into reading. I also think that this novel may turn people off because it sounds very heavy but because of the narrative style, it is a more triumphant and inspiring story.

I’ll let you know how my book club goes over the next couple of months.

Happy reading!

January 24-26: what to do/see/eat/drink this weekend in toronto

Happy Friday everyone! I hope your week is wrapping up nicely. Although it is cold outside, there’s still as always so much going on in the city.

Do: Lots happening at 2nd Floor Events this weekend (see ‘see’) but tonight is their midnight mrkt. This pop-up market takes place from 9pm-1am and is $5 to get in. there will be local food and retailers selling products at this licensed event.

See: This is a bit of stretch for ‘see’ but you can see bingo, right? I just thought this event seemed too fun to ignore so it’s going under see! Boozy Bingo is back this Sunday at 2nd Floor Events on King W. This monthly event allows you to play bingo for $1 a card, and drink delicious drinks. The event runs from 3pm-7pm and there is no cover to get in.

Eat: Have you ever wondered what would happen if restaurants joined forces for an evening to create a super mash-up menu? Then you’re in luck, this Sunday from 5pm-close momofuku will host la carnita and home of the brave with a special menu. You can make reservations but they’re also keep spots open for those who want to walk in.

Drink: If you really want to prove your Canadian-ness, be sure to check out the Roundhouse Winter Craft Beer Festival happening at Roundhouse Park next to Steam Whistle. Happening tomorrow from 11am-5pm there will be a variety of craft brewers and food trucks to enjoy. There is a very limited number of tickets at the door for $25 so I suggest being early, it’s perfectly reasonable to drink before noon on a Saturday, right? I think so.

What ever you do this weekend, have fun and stay warm!

thirsty thursday: kings pilsner

Happy almost Friday everyone! I can’t believe we’re approaching the last week of the month. It is crazy. I really don’t know where the time is going.

This week’s Thirsty Thursday is a beer I tried this weekend. I was at Longos in Leaside and tried their Corks restaurant for the first time. Corks is upstairs at this new Longos and is a licensed casual sit-down restaurant. They have a sweet deal where you can get a pizza and a pint for $10. The special isn’t everyday, and I wasn’t able to find the details online but we were there on Saturday, I think the special is all weekend. The pizza is easily enough for two people, we shared it between 3 people because it was late in the day. For the pizza and three beers it was $24 plus tip.

The beer was a local beer from Nobleton (near Vaughan) north of Toronto. I had the King’s Pilsner. I was a little worried when it was set down in front of me that it was going to be very hoppy and I wouldn’t like it because it was a bit darker than what I normally drink. The beer was a bit darker so it did have a nice bite to it but didn’t have that aftertaste or smell I don’t love in darker beers. I would definitely get this beer again, it went perfectly with my cheap pizza.

king's brewery nobleton beer
king’s pilsner from nobleton

the must-see movies

It’s award season so the ‘best’ movies are at the top of everyone’s mind. I admit, I’m not a huge movie person, television is much better for my attention span and even then, I’m often multitasking. Among my friends, its always been a big joke that I haven’t seen the most classic movies that everyone has seen. If you name a movie you think everyone in the world has seen, I’m probably the one person that hasn’t. I find for myself that if I don’t see a movie in theatre, I’ll probably never watch it. I did get Netflix, which you think would make it much easier, but it hasn’t really. I find it hard to make the two hour commitment.

However, there’s a lot of movies I really want to see. There seems to be some great movies up for Oscars this year, and I’d really like to see a few of them before the Oscars happen. So I’ve decided to make a list, so far, its just movies that are nominated and I’ll be able to see in the next few weeks but I’d also love to hear about other movies that I must-see. I’ll keep adding to the list and slowly start crossing things off. Also, lately I’ve been watching a lot of documentaries so if you have any of those I should see, please let me know in the comments!my movie list

how do you deal with the winter?

We’re just about a month into winter and it has felt like a long one already. Between the ice storm and the polar vortex, this definitely feels like the harshest winters we’ve had in a while and I’ve been struggling. I normally start to struggle with the darkness that happens after we fall back. I feel more tired than normal and the cold just makes me want to stay in bed. Although the days have been getting longer, I’ve noticed its still a little bright when I leave work, I’ve still had a hard time staying motivated.

There’s so much to do and so many way I can be productive but it has been hard, so I decided to see what the blogverse thinks. How do you deal with the season? Maybe the season doesn’t bother you, maybe you love winter. But if you have any tips on not losing the entire winter to Netflix, I would love to hear it!

Also, if you’re with me with hating the winter, the hope comes in there’s less than 58 days until spring and just over 150 days until summer. We can do it.

January 17-19: what to do/see/eat/drink in toronto this weekend

Do: It’s the third Friday of the month, which means you can get in to the Gardiner Museum for free tonight from 4-9pm. The Gardiner Museum located just south of Bloor on Queen’s Park. The Gardiner Museum is Canada’s national ceramics museum and wishes to connect and inspire people through clay art.

See: The Google+ group Drink and Click Toronto are hosting a public photo walk this weekend beginning near Yonge/Dundas Square. The walk will last about 3 hours as they hope to capture the sunset to take great pictures of the beautiful city.

Eat: Foodies on Foot have a couple of food tours coming up this weekend. Tickets are between $69-$80 depending on if you have a metropass or not. Their tour tomorrow is their favourites tour, taking you to a few of their hidden gems in the city. One of their most popular tours, it is bound to be delicious.

Drink: The Beaver on Queen W is hosting their ‘Fit’ event tomorrow night beginning at 11pm. There will be DJs and dancing and before midnight, vodka is only $4.

thirsty thursday: thirstday

That title may be a bit of a tongue twister. Doing something a little different this week for Thirsty Thursday, we’ll see how it works. The Jack Astor’s North York (Yonge, North of Sheppard) has started doing Thirstday, so it seemed fitting to include them here, so this week won’t be a specific drink. 

Starting tonight, every Thursday Jack Astor’s will have $5 draft beer (any kind!) or 6oz of wine for $5 dollars. It’s a great way to get ready for the weekend without breaking the bank. They will also have bar flair and free snacks from 4-7pm, perfect for the after work crowd. I saw this special on their facebook page, it doesn’t look like it’s all locations. So if you’re uptown tonight, be sure to check out this pretty nice deal.