work out: spokehaus

I went and got my sweat on tonight! I was invited to try the new spin classes at Spokehaus this month so I filled up my water bottle, found my favourite workout clothes and headed down to Dan Leckie Way (near City Place) to try out the classes.

The studio isn’t very big, there’s one room with the bikes, a couple of change rooms and a locker area. Upon arrival, you’ll sign in and get your shoes. When you register online you pick your bike so you don’t have to worry about getting there early to get your favourite spot, just make sure you sign up early. I would also say, unless you can’t, try to come in your workout clothes, the change room although very nice and stocked with lots of toiletries, it isn’t very big.

People from the class before me were coming out covered in sweat, basically like they had all been in a hot yoga room, I was starting to get worried. I went into the room, found my bike and with the help of the very friendly staff, I got set up and locked in. On the bike was a fresh towel and a set of small weights. The class is 45 minutes in a dark room, with very loud music. The music is very important to the classes at Spokehaus – it’s like a workout in a club (without people touching you). If you ever watched Kimmy Schmidt, it’s like a legitimate version of the spin class on the show, you know, without the grossness at the end.

Although I’m not a very active person and the class was difficult for me, it wasn’t impossible and the time went by pretty quick, two things I look for in a workout. As the class was ending, two staff members came in with cool towels which felt amazing and smelled like aloe, possibly. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but it was so refreshing.

The class was over and I took of my shoes, grabbed the stuff from my locker and watched the steam come off my body. It was a great workout in a lovely facility, definitely worth checking out if you like a more energetic workout.

You can sign up for Spokehaus here and for a limited time, your first time is free.

Have you tried Spokehaus? What did you think?

upcoming show: carbon Q&A

I mentioned last week that Carbon is showing this week in Toronto. I got the chance to ask some of people involved some of my favourite questions to ask about Toronto and theatre. Here’s what some of them had to say:

 

Luke Reece- Artistic Director/Performer:
How did you get involved with Carbon?
I decided to produce this show early in 2014, just over two years ago now. I was still finding my way into the poetry scene, and doing a lot of independent theatre producing. This show seemed like the next step, and it’s been exciting to see what it has now grown into.

What excites you most about this show?
The fact that everyone’s stories are authentic. You are hearing the words come out of the person who wrote them, and I think that’s something special.

What do you love most about performing in Toronto?
The audiences that are going out to poetry performances and theatre are starting to grow…slowly, but surely. Every time I have an opportunity to perform for new people in Toronto it’s a chance to continue this growth. It’s a chance for us to feed their soul with our art. I want to give them a taste of my work, and I want them to like it, so they’ll continue to see more shows in the city.

Cass Brennan – One of the Poets/Performers:
How did you get involved with Carbon?
My involvement with Carbon dates back to 2014 when I was assistant directing a show called Slammed at York University’s playground festival. After that show, our group of poets expanded to produce Carbon Copies with Little Black Afro Theatre Company. Carbon then resulted after thinking there was still more to explore with this group of artists.

What excites you most about this show?
The fact that even we as performers have no idea how the show will progress each night, is so exciting to me! There is no prepared, all encompassing emotional arc that we can bring the audience along with us on throughout the show- instead we as artists must work diligently to convey the story and feeling of each poem individually. This requires a lot of excitement and energy from both the cast and the audience who chooses the progression of the show!

What do you love most about performing in Toronto?
I love the diversity of experience that exists in Toronto. Every few days I hear about the birth of a new theatre company  with a new group of artists and am given more fuel to keep creating theatre.  The theatre community in Toronto is one that is willing to explore, to get messy, to fail, to blend mediums… And I feel honoured to be a part of that.

Jordan Laffrenier – Director:
What excites you most about this show?
What excites me most about this show is the risk involved. Jordan Tanahill in his book Theatre of the Unimpressed argues, “risk and failure [are] preconditions of a transformative live event.” We can not “fail better” as artists if we do not take risks. I understand, the nature of young artists: not seeing plays and then debating about ‘how theatre needs to change.” We are not doing this. We are playing with, but building on, ideas that have been done before. We are examining questions like: what happens when the neo-futurist aesthetic (using people who do not primarily identify as performers, having them play themselves, no set linear structure) meets slam poetry?

What do you love most about performing in Toronto?
The aspect I love most about directing in Toronto is the amount of support. We have an amazing community here in Toronto and experienced directors are accessible. I recall a conversation I had sitting in the basement of the Obsidian office across from Philip Akin. He talked about the importance of building young artists on the shoulders of season artists, that when he was young he did not have many theatre artists that he could look to for support, certainly none that “looked like him” (and were black). I am lucky, because of artists like him, there is a support system in Toronto. And I hope to continue that support.

I love asking people how they get involved in these awesome productions and projects going on in the city and because I’m such a Toronto nerd, I love hearing what others love about this city.

Carbon starts Wednesday, March 16th at the Aki Studio Theatre and runs until the 19th, tickets are available here, starting at $16.

dining out: the baro

Last night, I checked out this neat salad place at Queen and Spadina. Only open since February, The Baro is redefining the chopped salad.

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this is about half of the toppings you can choose from

At The Baro, you can build your own salad or you can choose from a menu of salads. I went with the baby spinach walnut and I added dried cranberries and chicken. Once you’ve picked everything, they throw it on the board and chop it up for you using a mezzaluna (super fancy knife), to your liking (there’s actually a chopped scale). My boyfriend went for the nicoise, a salad that has me until the olives.

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I chatted with one of the owners, Bill – who was super friendly and very patient as I mulled over my salad options. He told me that him and the co-owner John built the restaurant themselves. Which is crazy! The space is fun and open, which bench and bar seating to enjoy your salad. Most of the people in there last night appeared to be coming from or heading to the gym (or they just love their yoga pants – no judgement).

Bill also told me that they are obsessed with fresh. Everything to the best of their abilities is sourced locally and they make all their dressings and juices in house. And they are also obsessed with being sustainable. All of their utensils, bowls, cups and napkins are biodegradable. Nothing goes in the garbage, it either goes in the compost or in the recycling bin.img_20160309_183330.jpg

The best part about the chopped salad is every bite has some toppings. The best part of the salad is never the lettuce, so its perfect for me as a person that would actually just eat a salad of cheese and nuts (I don’t think that’s a salad anymore).

If you’re looking for something healthy in the Queen and Spadina area, which might be a great thing because there is so many yummy dessert places there – definitely check out The Baro.

Have you been to The Baro? What did you think?

coming soon: carbon

I’ve mentioned it before how I’m always blown away by the amount of theatre available in this city and now there’s another show I want to share with you.

Carbon: A Workshop Performance is coming to Toronto. This show was originally “Carbon Copies” at the 2014 Hamilton Fringe Festival (who knew Hamilton had a fringe – so. much. theatre.) and with the support of the Ontario Arts Council, it has now been developed into Carbon.

This show features five poets from the GTA. The show aims to heighten the theatricality of poetry performance and storytelling through Slam Poetry and Spoken Word. The show has a short run at Aki Studio Theatre at 585 Dundas Street E from March 16th-19th. Tickets start at $18 and there is a discount for students and art workers with 10% of the Box Office going to support Louder Than a Bomb Canada, a poetry festival in Hamilton, organized by the Hamilton Youth Poets and Nea Reid.

Tickets are available online now.

detox to retox: junction brewery

Happy 1st day of March and happy first (real) snowstorm of the winter!

I’m happy to announce that tickets are on sale for the next #DetoxToRetox. We’re excited to be returning to Junction Craft Brewing in of course, the Junction. If you’re new to Detox to Retox, it’s an hour of yoga and an hour of a delicious beer tasting.

Hopefully you’ll be able to join us for our next #DetoxToRetox but please keep in mind, Junction is a cozy facility so there is limited tickets available so get ’em before they’re gone!

having *the talk*

I always joke that I’m getting old. Friday and Saturday nights used to mean being out until last call (or later if we had to stop for snacks) and now sometimes I feel like Cinderella, if I don’t get home by midnight, I’ll turn into a pumpkin (that’s how that story went, right?). Not that I never go out, if you follow my blog or twitter, you probably know I stay busy but staying out until 3am actually stresses me out, I know there’s no way I’ll get a great night’s sleep! I never thought that 27 would feel so different from 23, I didn’t realize the difference a couple of years could make, it’s like we’re actually grown-ups now.

Not only does it feel like every day someone is getting engaged or having a baby on my Facebook, but I also notice that the people around me are getting older. We’re expected to be responsible and know things, that we always just expected the adults to know – but now – we’re the adults.

We’re now expected to know how to file our taxes, what an RRSP is, book our own appointments and most importantly, what do to in an emergency.

Bayer is trying to get the word out about how Aspirin 81mg may help save your life or the life of someone you love in the event of a heart attack. A recent survey by Vision Critical found that while 75% of Canadians feel they know the signs of a heart attack, only 10% were able to actually identify the correct symptoms when asked. Common signs of a heart attack include: chest and upper body discomfort (including in the arms, jaw, neck and back), shortness of breath, sweating, nausea and light-headedness.

Many of us may know that Aspirins 81mg may help save a life in the event of a heart attack, but probably aren’t exactly sure how. In the event of a heart attack, call 911 then crush or chew two Aspirin 81mg tablets. With heart attacks happening every 7 minutes in Canada, that information could save a life.

So now you can be a real grown-up and tell everyone you know. Have The Talk with your friends and loved ones, it could save somebody’s life.

disclaimer: this post was sponsored by bayer aspirin 81mg

contest: st. party’s day toronto

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner – tomorrow is March, it’s crazy. And that means there are lots of great ways to celebrate the Irish in all of us coming up in Toronto.

One of those is the annual Carlsberg St. Party’s Day, happening this year on March 12th inside Brassaii on King St W. It’s time to find your best green outfit, hit up the dollar store for some ridiculous accessories and grab your best beer loving friends and celebrate the luck of the Irish with Carlsberg.

And you’re in luck! Carlsberg’s St. Party’s Day has given me not one, but two pairs of tickets to some lucky readers! Contest is on now until March 6th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And don’t want to wait to find out you’ve won and just want to get your tickets now? No problem! Tickets start at $15 and are available online, there are different entry times but once you’re in, you’re in and can party on until 2am!

dining out: the gladstone

West Queen West is a bit of a trek for me, so I don’t make it out to that neighbourhood too often. Last week, I was seeing Venus’ Daughter and my boyfriend and I needed to grab dinner before. I don’t know the area too well so we just started wandering along Queen and then I remembered that I had once had amazing fish and chips at The Gladstone, so The Gladstone it was.

Unfortunately the Melody Bar has changed their menu since I was last there but the options looked good so I wasn’t worried. img_20160217_185224.jpg

I went with the fried cauliflower sandwich, clearly something I enjoy (see Maha’s) which came with fries that were really good. The sandwich was great, there was coleslaw, mayo and sharp cheddar on it. I didn’t notice the sharp cheddar in the description so it was a delicious surprise. My boyfriend got the tempeh “bacon” BLT, I’m not exactly sure what tempeh is, but his sandwich was also good (mine was better, just saying).

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I forgot that the Melody Bar always has fun things going on, on Wednesday nights, they have Music Bingo. What is Music Bingo you ask? Well, you get a bingo card with songs on it and a couple of dabbers and the DJ/caller calls out the songs and plays a short clip. People are singing and shoulder dancing. We only got to stay for a few songs because we had to head over to the show but it was fun and I’d definitely recommend it if you’re looking for something fun and not-to-crazy of a thing to do on a Wednesday. They also have adult colouring and wine drinking on Thursdays, I mean it’s not too far off of my typical Thursday night, but perhaps I could be more social about it 😉

What’s your favourite activity at The Gladstone?

dining out: asian bowl

I usually don’t like eating around Yonge and Dundas, it’s so busy and touristy which usually means over-priced and not very good but a couple weeks ago, I was going to the Mirvish Theatre and didn’t have a ton of time, so Yonge and Dundas area it was for dinner.

We tried to get into a couple different places but it was all busy but we walked by a brightly lit Asian restaurant and decided to give it a try. We ate family style, which is usually my favourite way to eat because you can have a bit of everything.

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We started with the lotus wrapped rice and spring rolls. Turns out, the lotus leaves were not my cup of tea. My boyfriend loves them so he got to eat his and half of mine. The spring rolls were really good. I try not to get spring rolls if they’re the frozen ones because they’re just terrible but these were definitely made on site and delicious.

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For our mains, we got the cashew chicken and the singapore noodles, we also added a side of steamed rice because you need something to soak up all that saucy goodness. Both dishes were really tasty and I think you can tell from the size of the photo, they were also gigantic. We definitely had enough to have lunch the next day.

Service was pretty quick, we were in and out in less than an hour which was perfect for us. For dinner, we spent less than $40 including tip although we didn’t have any drinks (it’s crazy how much of a price difference it can make adding drinks even non-alcoholic to the bill). So, if you’re in the neighbourhood and want to avoid a chain restaurant, I’d recommend Asian Bowl!

What’s your go-to in the Yonge-Dundas area?

thirsty thursday: left field brewery

TWO POSTS IN ONE DAY?! I just had to share this Thirsty Thursday with you and I had to tell you about Venus’ Daughter in case you still needed things to do this weekend.

This week’s Thirsty Thursday is actually how I spent my Valentine’s Day because my valentine is a pretty cool guy. I saw that Left Field was having a beer and chocolate pairing and I just had to go. Side note: Left Field seems to have a ton of awesome stuff going on in the next couple of months so make sure you check them out.

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For Valentine’s Day, they paired up with chocolates x brandon olsen, a fancy chocolate maker in Toronto. They did a chocolate and beer pairing for 2 people for $25 and it was totally worth it. At first, I was a little concerned about the chocolate flavours but they were amazing. I’ve included the tasting menu, so you can recreate it at home, if you desire.

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My favourite by far was the lime ginger black pepper, not something I would think would go in chocolate but absolutely it does and it was delicious. Not only was the chocolate (and beer) delicious but the chocolates were such beautiful works of art. The chocolates would be a fantastic gift (again, with the beer).

So if you’re looking to spoil yourself or someone else, definitely pick up some locally made chocolates x brandon olsen and left field and make somebody’s day.