Tag Archives: toronto
I’m sure you all know it’s that time of year again.
While I will be spending the afternoon of February 13th with my favourite lady friends for #GalantinesDay, I will be spending the evening at iYellowWine’s annual South African Wine celebration at 918 Bathurst.
Thanks to the lovely ladies at iYellow, I have a pair of tix to give to one of you as well.
If you don’t know what to do on this Hallmark holiday (beyond watching How To Be Single, obviously), there’s really nothing better than spending 3 hours tasting 24 wines (including 8 from Vintages) with your favourite person.
To enter, email me at email@example.com with the subject line “I Love Wine” and mention the session you prefer to attend (specify either 2pm or 7pm).
If you want to get your plans for the high pressure weekend solid asap, you can buy your tickets here today. There’s no better way to surprise your boo, promise.
Contest closes and the winner will be contacted via email on Wednesday February 10th.
Well, the end of January is here – and I had planned to post this review of 2015 a few weeks back, but then David Bowie died – and it felt wrong to post about my year when I (and the world around me) was feeling so sad about losing this music legend. So I put it off… but then I wasn’t sure if there was any reason for me to write about Bowie after literally anyone and everyone wrote everything that could be said about him.
But then I remembered how shitty I felt (in retrospect) for not writing about Lou Reed when he passed away. Lou’s I don’t give a fuck attitude made him arguably even more of a personal icon for me than the colourful Bowie, so I wasn’t expecting Ziggy Stardust’s death to hit me quite as hard as it did. I am well aware that I will be a mess when Dylan (and Springsteen) leave this world, but I wasn’t expecting it with Bowie. Maybe because I had never thought about it, because he really did seem like a beautiful immortal alien.
What I will say, is that I hope everyone can exit the physical world with the level of creativity, grace, humour and acceptance he did with Blackstar. As he always did, he used his fame to shine a light on something seemingly scary if you’re struggling with it (gender, sexuality, diversity… being different in any way, and now death) and made it into something beautiful.
Now for that 2015 year in review I wrote…. Well, the last one I posted was all the way back at the end of 2012.
By the end of 2013, I was working my ass off during Christmas break for free – the year end was so stressful I just didn’t have time to write about the year as a whole – but the majority of the year was actually some of the best times of my life – I traveled for free to many festivals, I attended all the events, ended toxic friendships, met someone special, and opportunities came my way that I will remember forever. While I don’t know that this Weakerthans song really summed up 2013 for me, it was an important one for a few reasons, so it gets the title.
In 2014, some shady shit went down. I made mistakes, for sure, but something so vile was done to me that I didn’t feel it would be a positive thing to write about. My privacy was violated in a huge way and lies were spread – I could have sued (and some say I should have because of the proof I have) – but my decision was instead to let it go and use my time in more positive productive ways. The experience made me understand completely why so many Ghomeshi victims chose to stay silent about what happened: you can try to get justice, but you will only stress yourself out more – and after the months I had already spent being in a constantly stressed out state, the last thing I wanted was more stress. I chose to focus on being happy, and put it behind me as much as I could. As the year came to an end, I was very happy. My song of 2014 was Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off. It was the anthem I needed, right when I needed it. Just remember, if you address the lies, you are playing into it. Don’t spend your energy on negativity, it will only drag you down with them.
So here I am at the
end of 2015 start of 2016. My song of 2015 is Ryan Adams version of Shake It Off, because 2015 was hard as well, but for personal, rather than outside reasons. This song fully exemplifies the way it feels when a truly important relationship ends and you’re trying your best to move on. Taylor’s version is the anthem you need when people that don’t matter are fucking with you (haters gonna hate), Ryan’s is the version that feels exactly right when it’s someone who matters the most (players gonna play).
2015 was a hard year. I hadn’t fully healed from what happened in 2014, and it’s quite possible I used my relationship to ignore it. If I had someone, I was okay, and I could forget what happened to me and how it tainted my relationship with the thing I had always loved most – music.
As my relationship ended, I struggled deeply to be happy. I had lost my passion for the local music scene, and now I had lost my best friend.
I am lucky enough that I had great friends to pull me through the hardest days. They lifted me up and invited me out, stayed up with me until the sunrise made it safe to sleep again, and reminded me to shake it off, and to know my worth. I also have amazing parents, a family that loves me, and a pomeranian who is still the light of my life. So, while I felt a giant void from the events of the last 2 years, I am well aware how lucky I am, and how the ones that matter never go away, or make you feel like you’re unworthy of their time.
2015 was also the year that I moved to a new apartment. When facing heartbreak, a new home is a good way to wipe away memories and start fresh – but after 7+ years living on Cameron street in the literal heart and soul of the city, I really did not want to move. I started my blog there, ran my business from its moldy, damaged walls, and watched my life radically grow from something I was bored of into the purpose driven, opportunity drenched one I created.
Basically, all the good things that happened in my life happened while I lived there. My life only started to feel like it was mine when I was able to wake up every morning and see that big THIS IS PARADISE Cameron House sign out my window – reminding me that it was paradise – and that my life would never again be like it was before I lived there. Before I knew how to be me. Before I knew who I was supposed to be. I had graduated University when I moved there at 22, and here I was, newly 30, having to leave my first real home behind.
I am now 4 months into the radical shift that is Liberty Village life, a whole 20 minute walk away from my former intersection. And I’d be lying if I said I love this neighbourhood even half as much as I loved Queen and Spadina – but I do love my new apartment – and no longer living in a dilapidated, rundown 3rd floor walk-up (that briefly had mice) is actually quite nice. My giant balcony has a view of Lake Ontario, and I have about double the space of my former place, along with a game room, an onsite gym, free parking, storage, and a park for Mr. Bojangles to play in – aka I giant change from Cameron Street. Oh and I have so much counter space, so I can fulfill all my cooking dreams #growingup.
Speaking of cooking – I set out a bunch of hefty goals in 2015 – and I think one of the only ones I successfully completed was learning to cook. I had a goal of cooking one new from scratch recipe a week – 48 total – and while I didn’t hit that number – I still did pretty damn good. I didn’t want to be 30 and still eating chemically modified food from a box, and thankfully I will never have to worry about that again.
My intentions for 2016 are, as always, quite large, but I finally feel like I am back in the headspace to make them happen. I have no more distractions and I know the path I need to take to reach the next big goal.
A redesign of TTRO is in the works, and when it happens, things will feel different – but the content itself won’t change because it will still be my thoughts, ramblings, experiences and opinions. I might be writing more about healthy living, and less about drinking all night watching bands, but that’s because I am no longer 24 – as I was when I started this. My life goals are a little different now, so as I change, the blog changes too.
This is my 2016 manifesto: I will not waste a minute of 2016 on people who don’t have a minute for me, as I have done so much in the past. On guys who don’t text back within a respectful timeframe, on “cool” people I think I need to impress, on writing I don’t want to do, on anything that doesn’t inspire me and anyone who doesn’t give me back as much as I give them and want me in their life as much as I want them. I will spend more time working on the big projects I am excited to produce; with the people I know will always be there for me; and doing more things that are good for my health and well-being.
I hope you had a great 2015 (or at the very least, one filled with big lessons as mine was). Here’s to a productive and kind (rest of) 2016.
Any Queen fans around here? That’s what I thought.
There is a symphonic production coming to the Sony Centre on Wednesday November 25th spotlighting the music of Queen, and I have a pair of tickets to give to one of you.
I have always been a fan of blending different mediums together to make them more accessible to various tastes. This is another example of doing just that.
If you would like to see some talented musicians perform the epic songs of Queen with the symphony, all you have to do is email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘Queen Ticket Giveaway.’
You can also get a bonus entry by following me on Instagram and hearting the photo about this giveaway once it’s posted.
One winner will win two tickets to the Toronto performance at Sony Centre on November 25th, and will be contacted via email by Monday November 23rd at 5pm.
You guys already know how much I love Amex for all their entertainment based perks. They are the one company that seems to focus squarely on the kind of person I prefer to surround myself with and write for: culture and entertainment nerds.
While other credit card companies might give you the basic travel insurance perk, Amex goes above and beyond, especially when it comes to those of us who love the nightlife and live music.
I’ve told you about their Front of the Line partnership with Live Nation before as part of the overarching Amex Invites program, and, I’m happy to reveal that the deal has been renewed, and this time it’s even bigger and better.
For 26 years, they’ve partnered with some of our favourite entertainment providers to bring exclusive access to their Cardmembers, and in recent years, Canada’s largest concert tours (from Van Morrison to Nick Jonas) have had almost 50 percent of ticket sales sold through FOTL presales. Yes, that means if you want good seats to the big shows, you should probably have an Amex card in your wallet.
The best part of course, is that these perks aren’t just reserved for those big spenders with the Platinum cards – any Amex Card will give you access.
Every Front of the Line experience I’ve ever had has been above and beyond – the real VIP treatment – no matter if I was seeing Kelly Clarkson at the Amphitheatre or Daniel Lanois at Massey Hall for Luminato.
With the new deal, advance ticket access will more than double, meaning there will be over 600 events Cardmembers can snatch up the best seats in the house to in the coming year.
And don’t worry, they’ve also renewed their deal to be the official sponsor at Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, so Cardmembers still get to skip the line and hang out in that awesome lounge before the show.
To learn more about the partnership and upcoming shows, check out Amex’s official press release.
This post was sponsored by Amex Canada, but all opinions are my own!
As summer 2015 came to an end, the people at Ford decided to create an epic event to showcase their latest development, Ford’s Sync 3.
The new touch screen technology in their Escape allows you to easily navigate the city, call anyone in your contacts, change radio stations (or play your music from Spotify), hear text messages, and so much more – hands free.
The event began with a group of influencers coming together at Rock Lobster for a private, delicious lobster roll lunch, where we were paired up with another blog team to take on #TheHunt – a challenge a la The Amazing Race – where we jumped into the new Ford Escapes and, with a list of tasks in hand to complete in just 2 hours, we raced to complete as many challenges as possible.
Being the introvert that I am, at first I didn’t love the idea of being paired with strangers for the race, but it turned out it was a match made in heaven as they were just as competitive as we were, and they’re also super smart, sweet girls attending Ryerson, with a killer sense of style, so it was a fun day.
Our competitive spirit led to earning 3rd place out of maybe 10 teams (?) which we thought was pretty great, considering we never once cheated by splitting up to complete tasks.
After the challenge was over we drove to the Big Crow for a fabulous BBQ dinner, and then it was time to drink. There’s nothing like an open bar after a day of adrenaline pumping competition.
While the point of the challenges was to get us familiar with Sync and how many great features it has to help out in just about any situation, it was the creativity of this event that really stuck with me. Too often, bloggers get invited to events with the intent to promote a new product and yes there might be food or an open bar, but that’s about it. I applaud the incredible PR team at National for coming up with something this unique, while also giving us a chance to experience the product features in action.
As for the car itself, I chose to let Tiffany do the driving during the race as we figured it would save time if only one person drove (competitive, right?) but I took it home this past Thanksgiving weekend, and I can’t rave about it enough.
I’ll admit I am known for my bad habit of radio channel flipping (ask anyone who’s ever been in a car with me while I’m driving, or sitting passenger). It’s one of the only stupid things I do when driving, because I can’t bear to listen to a bad song when I know there are all those other stations out there that might be playing a better one.
Being able to just say the name of the channel I want to listen to and have it change to that station is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me, car wise. My eyes stayed on the road at all times, and I got to switch songs as much as I pleased.
Other amazing features include a camera for backing up, a beeping notification if you’re getting too close to an object (talk about avoiding bumps and scratches), heated seats, hands free (!!) parallel parking, and for an SUV – it only cost me $39 to fill up – which means it is incredibly fuel efficient.
If you’re in search of an inspired connected car, this is one worth taking out for a test drive.