Month: October 2014

thirsty thursday: collective arts saint of circumstance

After the aquarium last week, I headed to Loose Moose for dinner. It’s one of my favourite places to go after a game, a show or anything in that area. It’s close to the subway and have a great beer menu.

This time, I tried the Collective Arts Saint of Circumstance, a citrus-infused blonde.

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This was my first time trying Collective Arts, my friends love their Rhyme and Reason. One of the features of this beer, which unfortunately ordering on draft I didn’t get the experience, they have real art work from different artists on all of their bottles. This beer was quite crisp for a blonde, and you can definitely taste the hops and citrus. If you’re a fan of hoppy beers, I’d definitely give this beer a try.

Have you tried any of the Collective Arts beers? Which one is your favourite?

remarkable play: the mountaintop

I was invited to see the Obsidian Theatre’s production of “The Mountaintop” at the Aki Studio in Daniels Spectrum. The show takes place on the last night of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life. I’ve always been fascinated by history and this play did not disappoint. The story was focused on Dr. King’s personal feelings and fears as a leader.

The play stars only two actor’s Kevin Hanchard and Alana Hibbert and they were both phenomenal. The show runs just over an hour and a half and the actors do an amazing job with the script. There are a number of monologues and since it is only the two of them, there is no break for either actor throughout the show. It was hard after the show not to consider how much work and how talented they must have been to memorize and deliver that script so perfectly (maybe it’s my years of drama camp coming back). It was really remarkable, Kevin Hanchard played Dr. King so brilliantly, reflecting on the struggles he faced as the face of the civil rights movement. Alana Hibbert was funny and charming but also extremely passionate, it was impossible not to hang on her every word.

The play took place in the motel room where Dr. King spent his final night. The set design was really great as well. It looked ripped out of the 1960s. It was a great backdrop to this incredible story.

As you all know, I hate spoilers so I don’t want to give too much away. The play was extremely well done. It’s always amazing to see how much talent is right here in Toronto. The show is in its final days, and is sold out tonight but tickets are available for the rest of the performances, the show closes on Sunday.  Tickets are $25, with discounts for students, seniors and art workers with valid ID.

book of mormon in toronto

Yesterday afternoon my brother and I went to see Book of Mormon with tickets we got for our birthdays (because our mother knows us well). My brother had seen it in New York but I didn’t know too much about the story except that it was about missionaries in Africa. And that’s all I’ll say for those who haven’t seen it yet.

The musical was written by the South Park creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker. They wrote the play and the music for the show, which is really impressive. For those who have not seen it, as you may have guessed, the South Park creators are not afraid of offensive humour and this show is no exception. There were times that I couldn’t believe what I was seeing but I was also laughing out loud. If you are easily offended, particularly by religious jokes, I would say that this play is not for you, I would also not recommend it for children, it is quite vulgar. But again, I was actually laughing out loud. The music was very well written, sometimes I couldn’t believe how they could make things so offensive sound like I was watching a regular musical. It’s particularly bad because some of the songs are really catchy and get stuck in your head…

I really enjoyed this show, it was unlike anything I had ever seen before, and I’ve seen a lot of musicals. A friend of mine was recently saying she’s trying to convince her boyfriend to go to a musical but he doesn’t seem interested, I think may be the show she’ll be able to convince him to see. I’d recommend this show for people who like the South Park brand of humour and aren’t afraid of a little (or a lot) of vulgarity. Book of Mormon is in town until November 30th.

a night out: ripley’s aquarium

I can’t believe it’s almost a year since the aquarium opened in Toronto and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to go. I was even more excited that the night I planned to go was also their “Friday Night Jazz“, which happens on the second Friday of every month.

wpid-20141010_195359.jpgUpon arrival, there’s a large mobile hanging from the ceiling. We purchased our tickets online so we basically walked right up once our time came up. The first section you enter into is the “Canadian Waters”. For Jazz Night, they have two bars set up in the aquarium. One right before you enter the “Canadian Waters” and one in the Jazz area in the centre of the aquarium. One of the things I learned was that Canadian fish are kind of ugly. It was a lot of grey fish in these tanks – as well as a few large lobsters including two blue ones.

wpid-20141010_200650.jpgFollowing the Canadian Waters section, we got into more of colourful corals, fish and other living creatures.

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I think my favourite were the polka dot sting ray, I love anything polka dotted (I may own far too many polka dot dresses) so these guys were my style.wpid-20141010_205125.jpg

I had to get a token “Nemo” photo. These guys are so cute. wpid-20141010_204135.jpgI didn’t really get any photos of the sharks because of how close they come when you’re in the tank. The moving sidewalk takes you through the predator tank, where you see sharks, sting rays and other fish and turtles. The jellyfish were also really neat because they light them up all different colours.

The jazz was also really nice. The band was LadyBeGood. They also play the jazz throughout the aquarium so even if you’re not in front of them you can still hear them and they were great.

wpid-20141010_204015.jpgThe evening was really fun. The aquarium is much bigger inside than it looks from the outside, it took us about an hour and a half to go through the whole thing. I know people say it’s a bit expensive and I would agree if it was something I planned on doing all the time. Tickets for adults are normally $30 but they have a discount of $5 after 7pm, which is probably the time you want to go if you’re going with adults. It was a fun night out, something I wouldn’t be doing every weekend but it was something different. I really enjoyed the jazz and drinks as well (which were fairly reasonably priced, my beer was $6.50). I would suggest going on Friday Night Jazz nights since it is the same price as regular admission.

Have you been to the aquarium yet? What did you think?

 

what to do/see/eat/drink this weekend in toronto

It’s Friiiiiiiiiiiiiiday! Of a long weekend, one that involves turkey which I really love. Fall is really ramping up and there’s lots happening in the city this weekend, here’s a few ideas if you’re still making plans.

Do: It’s the second Friday of the month which means it’s Friday Night Jazz at the Aquarium. Starting at 7pm until close, there will be live jazz music and refreshments, which is a cash bar and appetizers. Evening tickets to the aquarium are also $5 off so it’s a great way to see the aquarium for a discount.

See: The TIFF Bell Lightbox is hosting a Back to the 90s festival over the next few weeks with the first edition this evening, the classic Clueless. The film starts at 9pm and tickets are $12.50.

Eat: It’s Thanksgiving weekend and maybe you just want to eat delicious turkey but don’t want to cook or clean or do any of the boring stuff associated with the turkey dinner. BlogTO has pulled together 15 restaurants throughout the city to get your turkey on this weekend.

Drink: Although this isn’t really a ‘drink’, I assume that drinking must be involved to participate in this. The Gladstone will be hosting Shameless Karaoke tonight in the Melody Bar. It’s from 10pm until 2am and the cover is free. Make some shameful decisions while belting out “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Happy Thanksgiving!

thirsty thursday: muskoka craft lager

This week I mentioned my experience at Tuni Talks and how I enjoy pairing beer with networking. So, I thought it would be very logical to make this week’s thirsty thursday the beer I enjoyed this week.

I’m actually a little surprised I haven’t had this beer before, I’ve had other beers from Muskoka Brewery but never their Craft Lager. I really enjoyed this beer, as everyone knows, I don’t like my beers overly hoppy, this one was perfect. It had such a clean taste and a great aftertaste (sometimes that can completely ruin a beer). I would definitely pick this beer up again. Also, good thing to note, it’s on special Fridays and Saturdays at Joey’s, because who doesn’t love a good drink special?

Have you tried Muskoka? What did you think?

networking: tuni talks

I’ve mentioned before how important I think networking is for young professionals. Although statistics vary, it’s quite clear that is how people are growing their businesses and finding new opportunities.

I recently found Tuni Talks on Twitter, where I find out about most things going on in the city and liked the idea. They’re bi-weekly networking events featuring different speakers and best of all, these events are free.

the tuni talks crowd
the tuni talks crowd

Upon arrival, the room was already pretty busy, I grabbed a beer at the bar (I like beer with my networking) and started chatting to a few different people. About 20 minutes later, the host Kurt announced the networking icebreaker, to find someone you hadn’t spoken to and tell them something fun about yourself. Apparently, we both hate roller coasters (why anyone finds that fun, I don’t understand). After a few conversations, it was time for the speaker. Last night’s speaker was Warren Coughlin, a business coach and entrepreneur. The talk was about growing your business and common mistakes people make when they’re trying to grow their profit. Although the talk was not really related to my career, it was still interesting advice.

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speaker warren coughlin

After the speaker, I chatted with a few more people and left around 8:30pm, I was there about 2 hours. I met a bunch of interesting people and plan on going back in the future, likely in November.

The next Tuni Talks takes place on October 21st, the location is still being determined but you can follow on twitter for updates. The speaker at the event on the 21st will be Toronto Deputy Chief Peter Sloly, should be another engaging event.

 

gone girl: the movie

After months of anticipation, Gone Girl was released today. I read the book a few months ago for a book club and really enjoyed it, it was definitely my favourite fiction I read this year.

I will keep this review spoiler-free because spoilers are terrible. It had been a few months since I read the book, but I don’t mind having the time to forget some of the details. My friend I went with reread it within the last couple weeks so he picked up some of the missing parts a little faster than I did. Having said that, they didn’t take much out of the movie, and the things they did take out, I didn’t really miss. Keeping it spoiler-free, Gone Girl is a story about a missing woman and her husband.

The cast was amazing, Ben Affleck did a great job of playing Nick Dunne (and didn’t look too bad doing it either), Rosamund Pike, someone I didn’t recognize played Amy, and did a phenomenal job. The role is very complex and she played it well, you were able to believe her at every turn. The secondary characters were also well cast, I was unsure of Tyler Perry being in anything besides a Tyler Perry movie and he played his role excellently. There wasn’t a casting choice that I didn’t like.

The movie is a little long (usually I start to get restless around 2 hours) but all the scenes were necessary and it didn’t feel really long. I would recommend this movie to anyone who read the book, because Gillian Flynn wrote the screenplay, the movie stays true to the narrative of the book. I think people who have not read Gone Girl will still enjoy the movie, it’s a great thriller, I would suggest if you haven’t read the book, don’t read too much about the movie beforehand and enjoy it as it unfolds. I’m also curious to see what someone who didn’t read the book thinks of the movie.

Have you seen or read Gone Girl? What did you think?

October 3-5: what to do/see/eat/drink this weekend in Toronto

It’s the first weekend of October, which means it’s basically Halloween, which somehow means it’s basically Christmas… but I’ll try not to get ahead of myself. The temperature is dropping but there’s still so much to do this weekend!

Do: It’s the time of year when people seem to enjoy being scared (I don’t understand it, I like my dreams to be nightmare free). But, millions of people can’t be wrong, right? Halloween Haunt is back at Wonderland and for those who really enjoy being scared, you can buy a pass to get unlimited visits to Halloween Haunt, it sounds like my nightmare but I know there are people out there who will love it.

See: One of the biggest events of the year is back, tomorrow night is Nuit Blanche, the overnight art festival. Beginning at sunset and continuing on until sunrise, there will be art installations throughout downtown, it’s a great chance to check out art, people watch and experience the city in a whole new way.

Eat: An activity that could be filed under unnecessary is happening this Saturday and I’m sure it’s going to be great.  Smoke’s Poutinerie is hosting it’s 5th annual Poutine Eating Championship. There will be free poutine for attendees at Yonge-Dundas square from 10am-4pm and an amateur and professional eat-off in the afternoon.

Drink: There are lots of Oktoberfest events happening in the city this weekend. Yesterday, I mentioned the special at bier markt, they are having an event and the Toronto Oktoberfest is happening at Ontario Place tomorrow. Mill St is also hosting their own Oktoberfest at the Beer Hall in the distillery, basically, there is a lot of ways for you to drink beer this weekend in the name of “Oktoberfest”.

I mentioned last week that I’ll be participating in the CIBC Run For The Cure this weekend, there’s still time to sponsor me for this great event. Every dollar counts and is greatly appreciated!

Have a great weekend everyone!

thirsty thursday: paulaner helles

It’s officially October, which based on my twitter feed, makes a lot of people very happy. It also means there is Oktoberfests happening throughout the city. The past weekend was so beautiful, I hit up the Bier Markt patio at Shops at Don Mills for a mid-afternoon pint. They had their Oktoberfest promotion already on so I tried a new beer.

Paulaner Helles is a German beer that is currently on special for $6 pints or $10 steins at all Bier Markts in the province. The beer was similar to any lager, it wasn’t really heavy and wasn’t overly hoppy. It was a delicious beer at a great price. On this trip, I got just a pint but I think a stein may be in order before the special is finished.

Have you tried this beer? Are you doing anything for Oktoberfest?