film screening: sybil and betts: requiem for a friendship

The Alzheimer’s Society in conjunction with MedicAlert Canada is proud to present their 4th annual film screening at Hot Docs on Bloor. I became a little more familiar with the Alzheimer’s Society a few months ago when I attended Memory Ball where I learned some startling statistics about this devastating disease, such as 15% of caregivers are aged 18-24. It is really a disease that affects everyone in someway.

The film they will be screening is “Sybil and Betts: Requiem for a Friendship” which tells the story of two women and their lifelong friendship. Betts is diagnosed with dementia and her friend Sybil rallies friends and family to support Betts. The story shows their strength as they adjust to this difficult reality while finding joy in life. It tells the story of how love can sustain a bond even under the most trying circumstances.

The film screening is on September 22nd, and as mentioned will be screening at the Hot Docs on Bloor, and you can see a trailer here. The film is pay-what-you-can and tickets can be purchased online in advance. There will also be a Q&A following the film with the director, Sybil and Betts’ daughter. This is a great opportunity to see a great documentary and support an important organization in the community.


hidden gems in toronto: the upper beach

I’m always surprised when I find neighbourhoods in the city that not only have I not been to, I’ve never heard of. This city never ceases to amaze me. I was invited to check out the Upper Beach by the people at Streetcar Developments, among building condos, you may know Streetcar Developments as the developers that bought Jilly’s at Broadview and Queen.

If you’re like me, and have never heard of the “upper beach”, it’s basically the area halfway between Main Station and the Beach. It’s a 10 minute walk to the Danforth and to the Beach and an adorable neighbourhood where people seem to know each other and cute shops. We started the evening at our “hosts” – Streetcar Development. The Southwood condos. They told us a little history of the neighbourhood and sent us on our way to our first stop, the Yellow House Gallery – a space that is half gallery, half framing shop. The curator and owner hosts monthly exhibitions, the next one beginning on September 10th “BODY.FORM.COLOUR.” and you can easily go to the opening night and support emerging artists.


Our next stop was the Art of Cheese, owned and operated the “grand fromage” Bill Miller. He has a huge selection of cheese, which we were able to sample with some local red wines. If you can dream it as a cheese, Bill’s store probably has it. We also got to take home some cheese which was perfect on my balcony with more wine (of course).


Our next stop was an adorable gift shop, where I totally stocked up on greeting cards – there was two walls of them. TWO! And the good ones, I hate terrible cards. I should have just bought all of them that day. The store was Collected Joy, which is owned by Sharon Smyl – a former marketing director who quit her job to open her shop. Ask Sharon about any item in her store and she can tell you the story of how it was created and who it was created by. She wanted a store that would be fun to shop in, and she was successful in creating a warm inviting space that you can easily get lost in and find gifts for even the hardest of people.

By this time, we needed a snack. We stopped in at the Stone Pizza and split a few pizzas. This restaurant prides itself on having the freshest ingredients – they don’t even have a freezer on site. The restaurant is mostly designed for take out or delivery, but there are picnic benches outside, as long as the weather keeps holding up.

Of course, that was just a snack so we headed over The Beech Tree, owned by Robert Maxwell, who like Sharon, quit his desk job to open a restaurant. They pride themselves on making everything for the restaurant, including their own juices and infusing their own liquors. I was driving so I didn’t have any drinks here but I want to go back and try their strawberry old fashioned – seems so strange but the potential to be delicious. My favourite food we had was definitely the gnocchi in a sweet corn puree, feta and fennel bread crumble. I can’t wait to go back and eat a whole thing of that to myself.

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We were now supposed to go through the Glen Stewart Ravine, but it was getting dark so we walked through the beautiful gorgeous houses. IT was one of those neighbourhoods you can drive around and pick your favourite houses (I can’t be the only one that does that…) We ended up closer to the beach, at Queen St where were met by Sanna’s Famacia‘s bike. Like a “dickey dees” bike, Steve Sanna rides around his handmade smoothes, freezies and juices. While we were standing there chatting with him, the fire department drove by, we thought they were slowing down to tell us we needed to move but they were stopping to say hi to Steve, it really showed the community spirit of the neighbourhood.

I had a great time thanks to The Southwood by Streetcar Developments in the upper beach – a neighbourhood worth exploring. What are your favourite “hidden gems” in the city? I’d love to check more out!

thirsty thursday: flat roof manor

Happy Thursday! Hope you’re all having a great week. It’s been a while since I’ve had a wine on Thirsty Thursday, so I think it’s time to change that!

This week’s Thirsty Thursday is Flat Roof Manor Pinot Grigrio from South Africa. This citrus-y pinot would be great in a sangria – something that I will definitely have to do before fall officially falls upon us (totally unintentional pun). I would recommend this wine for anyone who likes a drier pinot grigio as it’s not overly sweet.
Flat Roof Manor Pinot Grigio

This pinot grigrio is available at the LCBO and is only $11.25, and until September 12th, you’ll get 7 bonus air miles. I never really know what that means but I think that’s a lot of air miles. I think this wine is great if you’re bringing a wine to a party or like I said, for a sangria (like I will be doing this weekend!).

Have you tried Flat Roof Manor? What did you think?

bourbon loves chocolate

Well the Tipsy Teachers have done it again and this time in conjunction with Jamie from the Bourbon Thing. They hosted Bourbon Loves Chocolate at Boxcar Social in midtown on the patio. It was the perfect evening to sip bourbon and eat chocolate on the patio with friends.


We were lead through four bourbon tastings with notes and history on each of the distilleries. I have mentioned a few times that I never really got into bourbon until I fell for rye with old fashioneds. I never really enjoyed bourbon on its own, turns out I was just drinking the wrong one and missing chocolate!


I think I also may just be becoming more of a “grown up” and that’s why I’m enjoying more “grown up” drinks. It was a great event where I got to learn more about bourbon, a drink I didn’t know too much about and got to eat delicious chocolate, including a coffee chocolate which I really enjoyed (again, more of the almost a grown up thing).

The ladies will be hosting some other great events in the future (including our sold out Detox to Retox, this weekend), and a wine and junk food event (to which I exclaimed “shut up and take my money”) and they promise to do this great event again. :)

Have a fabulous weekend!


thirsty thursday: rekorderlig strawberry lime cider

Happy Thursday! This week is flying by, which makes me a little sad because the summer is flying by. This week’s Thirsty Thursday is the rekorderlig strawberry lime cider. I’ve tried other rekorderlig ciders in the past.

Rekorderlig Strawberry Lime Cider

I had this cider out of the can and it was good but I think it would be even better over ice. This cider is on the sweet side, great if you love ciders like somersby. It was actually closer to a cooler taste than a typical cider but it was really tasty. I would recommend this cider if you like your drinks on the sweeter side, great for the last days of the patio! This cider is available at the LCBO for $2.85 a can.

Have you tried the newest edition to the rekorderlig line-up?

money, money, money #2

I wrote a few months ago about sites online (including Swagbucks and Ebates) I use to save/make money and I thought I’d share some of the others ones I’ve found over the last few months.

DailyRewards – This site is similar to Swagbucks but not as flashy. It took me a little time to figure out how to best use this for me. I mostly stick to the “daily email”, where you get points for just confirming you read the email and the search feature, which has clear rules for how to earn, unlike Swagbucks which is random. You’ll earn 10% of any referrals on this site.

Earnably – I’ve been using this site about as long as I’ve been using DailyRewards and to be honest, I find it more confusing to navigate and earn points but I don’t do a ton of surveys – maybe you’ll have better luck. Like most reward sites, it gives you 10% for any referrals.

MoPals – This site also has a mobile app. On their website, you can go to retailers sites like most other sites. The mobile app gives you points for checking in, sharing photos for venues and adding places to their map. You can check into a place one time for points and add up to 5 photos a day. They can be a little slow to approve new places but if you’re good with check ins and photographing your food, this may be the app for you! This site will give you 200 points for every referral and can be used towards gift cards for coffee, clothing and electronics. I just ordered a Tims card – free lunch for me!

Angus Reid – This is a survey only site, which will occasionally send surveys to your email. I don’t mind doing the surveys on this site, I find they’re well organized and not too repetitive. Angus Reid will give you $2 for everyone who signs up.

That’s all I’ve got for now, but I promise as I keep finding them, I’ll keep sharing them.I think it’s great that you can earn gift cards for doing things you’d already be doing online or in the background while watching Mike and Molly (maybe that describes me very accurately).

In case you missed the post from a couple of months ago, you can find the details here.

monday link love

Happy, hot and humid Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend! Here’s a few things I loved around the web this week.

My next place will need to have space for a desk and a bar cart #priorities. The Sweetest Digs has an example of one you can make yourself with a bookcase.

I love Chinese food, and I have tried making it myself and usually fail – but I’m excited to try these recipes, maybe I can find a happy alternative.

The Girls on Bloor always have great recipes and cocktails, and their pear and ginger cocktail looks like it’ll be no exception – give it a try!

Have a fabulous week!

Tangled Art+Disability

I had the chance to see PUSH!, a show put on for Panamania about para-athletes. I also had the priviledge to speak with the Artistic Director, Eliza Chandler who told me more about Tangled and the production of PUSH!.

Tell me more about Tangled:
Tangled hopes is to bring disability art to mainstream for the last 14 years. This show is the beginning of the season for Tangled. Throughout the year, Tangled will tour in Ontario with events and art exhibits include visual, performance and musical production. There will also be a kids festival with artists and performers with disabilities.

What’s the history of “PUSH!”?
PUSH! was commissioned for Panamania. It’s a unique opportunity to showcase remarkable athletes and Tangled is very excited about the show.

What’s been the most exciting aspect of working with Tangled?
We had an exciting exhibit at 401 Richmond which was 13 exhibits and 13 galleries. The majority of the people attending were just seeking a contemporary art exhibit, but were able to find works by artists with disabilities. It was a chance to celebrate the artistic abilities of people with disabilities.

How does Tangled find artists? 
Artists typically find Tangled. We have partnerships with the Ontario Arts Council, Canada Arts Council and other organizations. Tangled is Ontario’s only multi-disciplinary arts organization for people with disabilities. Through our partnerships, artists are often referred to us.

And if speaking with Eliza wasn’t enough, I also had the honour of speaking with multi-medal winner Martha Sandoval-Gustafson. A quick google of her name will tell you that not only has Martha won many medals, but she has competed in more sports than I’ve probably even tried in my life. She said she was not really into sports until she visited a rehabilitation centre in Mexico where she first saw people playing wheelchair basketball.

Her love of sports didn’t stop there, next she learned to swim, which she assumed would take her one year of training to learn and become good at, but she was swimming within one month. She was then introduced to table tennis and track and field sports. She competed for Mexico in parasports from 1975 until 1980 and first represented Canada at the parapan games in Halifax.

She told me about her love of rugby, basketball, and other sports. When I asked her for her favourite, it was tough for her to pick. Throughout her career (so far), she has won gold, silver and bronze medals in Athletics for both shot put and discus and has also competed at an elite level in rugby and swimming. She holds the Canadian F52 record for shot put. She is truly a remarkable woman. I loved hearing her stories of winning (and maybe knocking over a guy or two in basketball, it gets intense).  She also told me about how she’s tried “slower” sports like curling and cricket and is learning to appreciate those as well.

I asked how she first discovered PUSH! as she told me this was the first time she’s done anything like this and she simply saw an advertisement for a call for actors while at the Lyndhurst Rehab Centre in Toronto. I asked her what advice she had for any young athletes looking to compete and she said to try to focus on fewer rather than many sports and to make sure you’re training safely and properly. Good advice!

It was great speaking with both of these women before seeing the show. PUSH! is the stories of para-sports beginning in 1944 England, in what was the first para-olympic type games. The story tells of the struggles and triumphs of 6 athletes who have competed for Canada in a variety of games, including winter and summer sports. It was unbelievably inspiring to listen to their stories, I really believe that parasports are absolutely remarkable, the passion and determination and the competition definitely rivals that of the panam or olympic games.

PUSH! is part of Panamania and only a couple of tickets remain for the show tomorrow and Friday night, if you can make it out I would definitely recommend it! And if you can’t make it to the show (or it sells out), definitely check out some of Tangled’s upcoming program for the season.

dining out: chachos mexican food

Tucked in behind Yonge and Davisville is a small Mexican restaurant. Chachos Mexican Food is on Merton, just east of Yonge. I went for dinner there with my boyfriend a few weeks ago, he had been before and really liked it, we were in the neighbourhood so we decided to stop in for dinner.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to eat at Mexican restaurants because I hate cilantro and I can’t eat avocado – it’s exhausting to say the least but I do enjoy it. We started with nachos as an appetizer. They were big, definitely more than enough for two of us. And they were delicious. You could tell that they made the chips on site, these definitely weren’t any tostitos (not hating, just saying).


So, I totally thought I took a picture of our main, but I can’t seem to find it. We got the Parrillada Para Dos, which was a big skillet of steak, chorizo, pork and marinated chicken. It came with tortillas, potatoes and salad. We also added the cheese and guacamole (not for me of course). It was really good, we were definitely full after the meal and skipped dessert. The service was really great too, I would definitely go back. And good news for people in the area, you can order them through tasteaway (which often has discount codes and points deals). It’s not the cheapest Mexican (although, I find a lot of Mexican places in the city are on the more expensive side).

If you’re in the area and looking for some authentic mexican, definitely give chachos a try!

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thirsty thursday: ironwood hard cider

Last weekend was my Christmas in July as another Toronto Festival of Beer came and went. I was really impressed with the number of smaller breweries and cideries at the event – many I had never heard of before. I actually may have had more cider than beer at the festival but I regret nothing.

Ironwood Hard Cider is a cidery out Niagara-On-The-Lake. There regular cider is just coming out in the LCBOs and the one I tried is only available through them. Their Screachin’ Peach, is as you’d expect, peach flavoured. They use real peaches in their cider and it is delicious. It was a semi-sweet cider, just the kind I like. I really hope that I’ll be making out to the NOTL region sometime soon so I can pick up some more of this delicious cider.

Have you tried ironwood before? Which one did you have?