estee lauder: special promotion this weekend

It’s fall, which means (sadly), it will soon be winter. On the bright side, this is a time for us to revamp our look with new fall/winter colours as well as update our skin care collection for the colder weather. Not that we really need an excuse to buy new makeup, but I’ll take it!

Starting tomorrow until Saturday, October 19th the Estee Lauder counter at Hudson’s Bay Fairview Mall is hosting an exclusive event to help you get ready for the upcoming season. Estee Lauder just released their new, award winning scent Modern Muse which has a light and feminine scent. Their metallic collections are perfect for the upcoming season and their holiday collection is available, so it is perfect to get started on your Christmas shopping. At this annual event, with a minimum of purchase of $80, you’ll receive a 45-minute consultation with one of their make-up artist as well as a free gift. A professional photographer will be on-site for the entire event taking professional pictures of your new look. You’ll be able to take home a framed copy of the picture as well as link to your social media. This is perfect if you need a new LinkedIn profile, because you’re selfies do not scream professional. You’ll just be disappointed you can’t use it as your driver’s license or passport photo. 

Spots are filling up, so give the ladies at the counter a call 416-491-2010 ext 1-244 and book your appointment today. 

October 15-17: what to do/see/eat/drink on a school night

It’s a short week! Still lots of chances to get out there and have fun in the city!

Do: It’s breast cancer awareness month so go get a maniCURE from The Ten Spot. If you chose pink for your manicure or gel manicure, $1 goes to the Canadian Cancer Society. So treat yourself and support a great cause, its a win-win.

See: If you want to get into a spooky mood as we get into the middle of the month, you can check out “Night of the Living Dead” live at the Passe Muralle Theatre. The theatre is located near Bathurst and Queen and tickets through the week are under $35. The show is set in black and white and promises to be a fun night at the theatre. 

Eat: Once you finish the “drink” section, you’ll know you’ll be trying out the Loose Moose and I would recommend the garlic fries. They are gigantic though, so keep that in mind. I had it as a meal and still couldn’t finish it. It’s garlicky, cheesy and delicious. Goes great with a few flavours of beer. 

Drink: The Loose Moose boasts that they have the largest selection of draught beer in downtown Toronto. What I like the most about this place is that they offer sample sizes that vary in price, depending on the brand but most are around $3. It’s great when you just want to try a new beer but not commit to a full pint. Worth checking out on Front St. near Union Station. 

October 11-14: what to do/see/eat/drink this weekend

It is the weekend! A long weekend at that. Here’s some ideas for you.

Do: There’s nothing more appropriate for Thanksgiving than watching pumpkins get shot out of a cannon! Well, that is possible thanks to Whittamore Farms which is open all Thanksgiving weekend including on Monday. The pumpkin cannon takes happens at 12pm, 2pm and 4pm. There are other fun activities associated with their Pumpkinland festivities but I’d have to say the cannon is the best. 

See: If you’re a lover of the theatre, I would definitely recommend checking out free tour of the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre. The tours start at 11am on Saturday, meet in the lobby. This is a great opportunity to see a piece of Toronto hisotry, as the theatre celebrates its 100th anniversary. 


Eat: Do you want to eat turkey but don’t want the hassle of cooking all day? Oliver & Bonacini on Front St is serving Thanksgiving dinner including turkey and other deliciousness. Perfect for a relaxing long weekend.

Drink: Looking to have some drinks in a fun setting this Monday? The Brewers Backyard is hosting its final event of the season. Admission is free and it is happening at the Evergreen Brick Works. Check them out from 12-4pm and sample great beers from Ontario. 

thirsy thursday: amsterdam blonde

If you’ve read some of my other beverage related posts in the past, you’ll know that I’m a fan of the local amsterdam brewery but mentioning them before is no reason to leave them it of thirsty thursday.
Need locally in leaside, amsterdam brewery boats free tours and samples on Saturdays. The blonde is my favourite beer and has been for the past few months. This is a wonderful light but delicious beer. You can get it at the beer store, lcbo, at their brewery in leaside and at the amsterdam brewhouse by the lake. Its also nice that its local, I love a great excuse to buy beer.

October 7-10: what to do/see/drink/eat on a school night this week

Last week, I started the weekly feature of “what to do/see/try/drink/eat” on the weekend, but while I was researching it, I realized there’s so much going on during the week that twenty-somethings need to know about, so this is the partner feature.

Do: If October has you in a spooky mood, the Tour Guys have the I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghost! Tour, just for you. The walk takes you on a walk of a little over 2km telling ghost stories of haunted buildings as well as what ghost hunters have found. They claim that this tour is from everyone from believer to skeptic. It actually runs Thursday-Sunday until November 3rd but can count as a school night.The cost is $30 plus service fees.

See: Our Man in Tehran is playing at the TIFF lightbox. This is the story of Ken Taylor, the Canadian Ambassador in Iran during the hostage crisis which began in 1979. This is the Canadian side of “Argo”, with a more realistic depiction of that Hollywood film. 


Drink: It’s the last day of Toronto Cocktail Week so you can head down to the Drake Hotel  TWC13 Industry Thank You Party where you can taste the winning cocktails from the Hogtown Shakedown competition and apparently, there’s some surprise entertainmment in store!

Eat: Kinton Ramen is a ramen noodle restaurant on Baldwin St, just off of Spadina, North of Dundas. They have a large selection of soups available and if you finish your dish, you become a KintonBowler. They have prizes for the number of Kinton Bowlers you accumulate, which range from free food to Kinton merchandise. Plus they have beer cocktails, I love beer cocktails. 


following your dream: building a food truck from the ground up

If you’re one of Allen Tan’s almost 4,500 followers on Twitter, you know he is honest, has a great sense of humour and makes some delicious looking rice balls. He is the founder of Me.N.U and his engaging Twitter feed is fun and follows the journey of Allen building a food truck business, with no experience. His social media presence is great, so I had to find out more. 


What has been the best experience to date?
Allen: The best experience has been learning what it takes to start a food business. It’s funny to say this because while in school I felt I was learning but it wasn’t exciting because I wasn’t “applying myself”. At my previous jobs I didn’t feel as though I was adding any value to the company. Now starting my own business – more energy in = more reward out.
Now I am learning everything it takes from the bottom up to start a food truck – marketing, menu development, operations, suppliers, execution, branding, sales, customer service. The more I learn and the more I apply I get to feel and see the reward. I have had the pleasure to learn from many food owners around the world what it takes to start a business. Now in the present, its one of the most exciting times to date. I can actively see myself getting closer to my vision of “success”.

What has been the biggest challenge in developing your truck?
Allen: The biggest challenge have been developing the recipes and processes for the food business. Without that research and development there would be no product to sell. You have to make sure that there is Value added while charging a price that generates a reasonable profit. Learning all of recipies and suppliers and know how took several weeks of practice. It came with a lot of highs and lows, a lot of mistakes but in the end each day we were getting better. 
Currently, we have not priced out how much a food truck would cost – we are trying to develop our brand awareness before be take the next step. I believe that we should develop an audience and engage them before we make the big investment of owning a food truck. Why invest in a food truck and start from scratch when you can have an audience waiting for your food truck to launch?


Allen
Me.N.U founder – Allen Tan



What is something surprising you learned since you started your food truck journey?
Allen: I had the pleasure to job shadowed one food truck owner in Toronto name Fidel Gastro and I got to experience “A day in a life” with him. I didn’t know how hard food truck owners worked and he definitely showed me how hard running a food business could be. We started work at 6 am and didn’t end till 10 pm. We did prep, running around, set up, tear down, cleaning, catering, you name it we did it! It was a good look into my future, it definitely  showed me how hard I would have to work in the future and how many things I still needed to learn. Throughout the day he instilled good habits that I would forever keep in my mind.

Your twitter and tumblr are very honest about your lack of experience and some of your mistakes – do you think this has fueled your success?
Allen: I think I have tried to do something very different then other food truck owners. I have started with no experience and my goal is to show others how to take an idea and turn it into a business. I have documented all my success and failures to share with everyone. I want to be very transparent with my business to share my journey and experience with anyone who is willing to listen. 

I have read a lot of entrepreneur books and business books and they give you insight about things you need to know but the never really show you a step by step guide into how to do it. I am on a journey of SHOWING people how to start a food truck the RIGHT way. 

What advice would you give new grads who have the same feelings you did about a 9-5?
Allen: Read books about business, passion and entrepreneurship. These books will give you a new perspective on how to break away from the social norm. They will show you there is more to life then a steady pay cheque and always being comfortable. Someone quoted, the three worst things in life are heroin, carbohydrates and a monthly pay cheque. 

Turn off your TV and start investing time into something that will get you ahead in life. Self education is a huge part of my daily routine and once your studying for yourself and not for a piece of paper, you will see the world in a new light. 

What’s the next step for ME.N.U?
Allen: My business partner and I are heading back to South East Asia where I learnt how to cook, however this time we are going to try to do Global food pop ups in Asia. We hope to create a story that no one has ever heard or seen in Toronto. After we get back we hope to buy a food truck and start selling to the masses of Toronto! 

Can’t talk about your food without finding out, what’s been your favourite creation so far?
Allen: So far we have only sold one product, Fried Rice balls. There are a couple of recipes that are in research and development but I can’t release my secrets that are going to come in the near future. 


Me.N.U Fried Rice Balls

I want to thank Allen for taking the time to speak with me so candidly. His enthusiasm is truly infectious. Be sure to follow him on Twitter to find out where you can get your next fried rice balls.

October 4-6: what to do/see/eat/drink this weekend

It’s Friday! Here is some ideas for your well-deserved weekend.


Do: Nuit Blanche is happening this weekend. This free art festival will bring locals and tourists out all night long to check out more than a hundred art installations in the downtown area. You can also use the site to plan your evening so you are well prepared to enjoy the event. There is also twenty bars in the city with an extended liquor license until 4am. The weather is supposed to be decent so it should be a great event. 

See: BeerProv is a monthly improv show at the Comedy Bar near Bloor and Ossington. The show is only $15 and starts at 10:30pm. The show consists of 12 comedians competing in an improv championship, in hops to drink from the BeerProv cup. The show is run by Jim Robinson and should be good for some great laughs.

Drink: Bier Markt locations throughout the city again celebrating the month of October with their Oktoberfest. They have a special beer menu for the festival as well as a special food menu. Take this opportunity to enjoy an ice cold beer with a great menu.

Eat: Although Bier Markt has an extended menu, eating still deserves its own section. This Saturday at 3am, it will be important know who is serving food. There is a long list of food trucks that will be feeding hungry art-lovers throughout the event. Be sure if you’re out there, check out the food options available.

thirsty thursday: black creek pumpkin ale

Because it’s almost the weekend.

I tried pumpkin ale many years ago and  it wasn’t very good, so I was a little reluctant to try it again for my first thirsty thursday but I figured I had to because I feel uncool because I haven’t consumed enough pumpkin product this season (I haven’t had one pumpkin spice latte, ever).

This week’s selection is from a local brewery, Black Creek, located at Black Creek Pioneer Village.


At first, this just tastes like a regular ale and then there’s the pumpkin. It’s almost like beer mixed with pumpkin pie filling. It’s really just taught me that I’m not into the pumpkin spice craze. If you’re one of those people that counts down until the pumpkin spice latte, I would assume that this is the beer for you. I will definitely try another one of their ales, also available at the LCBO but I’ll leave the pumpkin for the pies.

movie review: don jon

Two movies this week! Crazy. 


Last night was Don Jon, which I have to say I really enjoy. I like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, not really sure why, something I can put my finger on, maybe its just a childhood crush from his “Third Rock from the Sun” days. So when I first saw the strange but captivating trailer for this movie, I knew I had to see this movie. This is Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s writing and directing premiere and according to his interview with Howard Stern, he has been working on the film since 2008.

The movie revolves around Jon, a macho man who is addicted to pornography. He even claims that he prefers porn to having sex with a girl. The character makes us reflect on how porn has created unrealistic expectations for sex and relationships. On the flip side, he meets a gorgeous woman (Scarlett Johansson) who creates unrealistic expectations of relationship and men through the love stories she watches. It is an interesting commentary on how people create expectations based on completely ridiculous premises. The film also looks at how our world has become so sexualized, mocking the Paris Hilton burger commercial. The movie was a bit repetitive but I think it was a way to build on his character, show that he was very one-dimensional and how he lived his life essentially on repeat. Most of the characters were over-stereotyped people from New Jersey, which could get to be annoying but I think it was meant to be a bit satirical (at least I hope it was). It was also pretty neat that he was able to get some big names for this small budget film.

I really enjoyed this film. I laughed out loud quite a bit but I also cared about the characters which is really important when I’m watching a film. If I don’t care what happens to them, I don’t want to waste my time watching it. I would recommend this movie if you’re looking for an adult comedy with a little bit of substance but still some pretty ridiculous situations. What’s your favourite low-budget film? Let me know in the comments. Happy watching! 

movie review: the family

Tonight I went with my family to see “The Family”. The best way I could describe this movie is a critique of gangster movies but to be completely honest, I’m not entirely sure. I haven’t seen a lot of advertisements for it, the only time I remember seeing a trailer was at the beginning of a YouTube video and to be honest, I skipped it so I didn’t really know what to expect. 

The movie stars Robert DeNiro, Michelle Pfiefer and Tommy Lee Jones. There are a few other characters you’ll likely recognize but needless to say, this movie brings in some pretty big names. The movie starts violently, and we’re introduced to the family. Robert DeNiro is a gangster under witness protection, and his entire family, including the children are aware of the “business” he is in. The plot was a little weak, and there were only a couple of laughs, mostly at how ridiculous the situation or the dialog was. I often worry when I see gangster movies that its going to be overly violent, I hate unnecessary violence, I don’t need to see every gory detail to understand what happened so I was quite happy that this movie was fairly mild. Of course people are shot and there’s a few explosions but nothing too torturous that left me nauseous. 

If you’re looking to watch the next Oscar worthy film, don’t go see “The Family”, I don’t think it will be up for any large awards anytime soon. This movie was fine for a Sunday afternoon, with a group of people who don’t often have a lot of movies they can enjoy together. If you’ve seen it, let me know what you thought in the comments, maybe you figured it out better than I did!