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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Unique Things To Do This Summer

By Wendy Kam Marcy

As much as I love traveling I always make it a point to stick around for the summer. Toronto offers so many unique festivals, shows and activities, there is definitely no shortage of cool things to do at any given week.

A lot of these events are put on by our friends and fellow bloggers. They are more unique, less commercialized and not always widely advertised so mark your calendars and get ready to have some fun in the sun!

May 28 | Singles Night at Metro will be hosted by media personality and romance expert Jen Kirsch. Yes, we're talking about THAT Metro in Liberty Village which named as one of the Top Ten Places in the City to meet singles.

June 5-7 | Every food lover’s dream comes true at the inaugural Mac and Cheese Festival. Taste, indulge and vote for your fave while giving back to the community through FoodShare Toronto.

June 7 | Dani Gagnon who you likely know from The Like Button is also part of a grunge rock band! Rock it out with her at the KINK Album Release Party featuring Black Cat Attack.

June 13, July 11, Aug 8, Sept 12 & Oct 10 | It's peony, tulips and lily season so head to the Toronto Flower Market to celebrate locally grown flowers and buy direct from the growers that cultivate them and the florists that style them.

June 14 | Local Toronto vendors who make vegan food, art, and other products will be showcasing their goods at the Vegan Pop Up at D-Beatstro.

June 14 | I was in Thailand for Songkran (New Year) and got blasted with 20 waterguns and buckets of water. Now you can too at the Toronto Watergun Fight. BYOW of course!

July 1-Dec 31 | Are you an Andy Warhol fan? Andy Warhol Revisited: A Mirror For Today is a rare opportunity to view one of the world’s largest collections of his original prints and paintings.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

#UofTreunion & My 12 Pearls Of Wisdom

By Wendy Kam Marcy

Woah throwback! Look at me back then haha!

So it’s UofT's annual alumni weekend on May 27-31 and I'll be going back to school!

This year they will be celebrating graduating classes ending in 0 or 5. But all U of T grads are invited back to check out the exhibits, lectures and class dinners.

This time there will be no over-nighters at Robarts Library, multiple choice exams and those ridiculous papers worth 50% of your grade! Instead catchup with old friends and roommates (or maybe not!) and find an eclectic mix of fun and illuminating ways to celebrate your hard earned degree and commemorate your alma mater.

Click here for a full listing of events including the SHAKER flagship event, college/faculty BBQs, open house tours and family-friendly brunch.

As I think back to my grad over a decade ago, I'm thankful that the roller-coaster of life has taken me to a good place.

Here are my 12 pearls of wisdom I've gathered along the way and wanted to share... hold on because it'll be one heck of a ride!

  1. When it comes to work do what you love but be strategic. Don't just find a job but invest in a career.
  2. Learn to say no and set boundaries without feeling guilty. Before you say yes, understand what you are really getting into.
  3. Resist the need to always justify or defend yourself. It's ok to agree to disagree.
  4. Less is more.
  5. Unplug... I promise you are not missing out! My husband came up with Router-free Sundays where there is no wifi in our home and we focus on quality real "face-time".

    Tied the knot at UofT Knox College

  6. Keep that 10 year plan around for a good laugh later. Even if everything were to happen, you will be 10 years older (and wiser) and may not care for those same things anymore. Be realistic and start with a 2-5 year plan.
  7. Don't be a control freak! Life happens!
  8. Make a decision. Even if it turns out to be the wrong one at least you were not standing still.
  9. Don't wait for permission if it feels like the right thing to do.
  10. Forgive yourself. Let it go.
  11. Normal is boring. Get out of your comfort zone and embrace change.
  12. If you encounter bouts of sadness and anxiety know that it is normal and it too shall pass. Then when things are good again, you will appreciate it even more.

Wendy is a New Mom to a curious and rambunctious little boy. Plugged in she is the Co-Founder of HUG and the Director of Marketing at Adfluent Media - an Ad Agency that specializes in Online Advertising, Google Adwords and Affiliate Marketing. She also teaches the Business of Blogging and Content Marketing workshops at Camp Tech.

Friday, May 22, 2015

An Update on My Water Well Project!

By: Lisa Ng

Hello Everyone! 

I announced earlier this year that I am raising money to fund a water well for a community of 500+ people in a developing country with So far, Paul and I have raised $1500 and we have only $3500 to go and I need your help.

A little background on how this all got started.

I was making a list of goals I wanted to achieve this year and one of them was to leave behind some sort of legacy. Something that would make an impact for a group of people and would leave the world a better place than I had found it. 

Slide The City - So when Los Angeles announced that it would be bringing in an 8-block long waterslide event called Slide The City, I of course immediately signed up. There was a charity portion that was optional for a non-profit called

I had never heard of this charity before, but once I learned more about how they build water wells around the world for communities in need - I was on board to fundraise! Paul and I were going to raise $5000 in one year to fund a water well. 

Due to the drought, the waterslide event was cancelled - but Paul and I were committed to finishing what we started...which means we are going to build this water well!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Toronto Firefighter Calendar

By: Lisa Ng

Things are getting hot!

The Toronto Firefighter Calendar is launching on Wednesday June 10, 2015 at Tattoo. So gather up your besties for a fun night out to support the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. Doors open at 7 pm with the show starting at 8 pm. 

Be entertained as Toronto’s hottest firefighters compete for a chance to be in the 2016 Toronto Firefighter Calendar. All proceeds support the Fire Fighters’ Cancer Research Fund at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre - one of the top 5 cancer research centres in the world. 

Tickets are $25 online in advance or $35 at the door.

To learn more visit: 
Tattoo at 567 Queen Street West, Toronto
Doors open at 7:00pm and show starts at 8:00pm 
Must be 19 years or older to attend.

Lisa Ng is also the Editor-in-Chief of This Beautiful Day, a lifestyle blog for smart women. You can follow her online @helloLisaNg + on Instagram @ThisBeautifulDay.

Headwaters Getaway

By: Alison Silveira

Earlier this month, I had an incredible getaway in the Headwaters Region of Ontario, which is a mere 40 minutes drive northwest of Toronto. The Headwaters Region is a great travel destination for the urban dwellers who need a break from the fast-paced city life. The region includes the communities of Caledon, Dufferin County, Erin, Mono and Shelburne. I immersed myself in novel experiences and saw beautiful unspoiled nature, rolling hills and rural farmland as far as the eye can see. 
Where to stay: I relaxed in a luxurious suite at the Best Western Plus in Orangeville, which is in close proximity to the Hockley Valley Golf & Ski Resort and the Island Lake Park Conservation. My suite was quite large with two queen sized beds, a seating area and a kitchenette. Enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast to start your day on the right track. Take a dip in the pool to cool off after a busy day of hiking. Other amenities include room service, a fitness centre and complimentary WiFi.

Where to eat: Cabin is a chic and modern restaurant located at the Hockley Valley Golf and Ski Resort. Serving gourmet fare, Cabin sources local produce and fresh meat and fish. I enjoyed a delectable feast consisting of multiple courses. To start, I had the asparagus salad with beets and greens. The divine cheese ravioli with fiddleheads, ramps, peas, asparagus and crema provided excellent combinations of textures and tastes. The main course was a juicy and flavourful beef tenderloin accompanied with mushrooms, bacon and rapini. The perfect ending to the meal was a creamy rhubarb and strawberry panna cotta with delightful white chocolate popcorn. 
For a truly unique and authentic country-style experience, I highly recommend paying a visit to Landman Gardens & Bakery. My fellow travellers and I were taken on a tour of the Landman farm, where we saw week old chicks, pigs and learned how goats are reared. After the tour, we dined in an intimate Blackhouse, which is a small a dry stone house built on the farm. We enjoyed delicious food, including pickled asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, homemade goat cheese, fresh salads with ingredients plucked right from the garden beside the Blackhouse and a smorgasbord of meats and cheeses. The intimate setting is perfect for a special occasions with family and close friends. 
Things to do: Go on a sightseeing flight over the sprawling countryside and view checkpoints of the Pan American Games torch relay route. I marvelled at the Cheltenham Badlands, which is an eroded section of dry land that is rust in colour and has small rounded hills. An experienced pilot at the Brampton Flight Centre showed me the sights of Caledon, Belfountain, Inglewood and Alton in a Cessna 172, which has room for three passengers.
After your exhilarating flight, visit the neighbouring Great War Flying Museum, which houses replicas of WWI aircrafts. 
Attend an equestrian event during the highly anticipated Pan American Games at the newly renovated Caledon Equestrian Park in July. 
Take a cooking class with the Chef Pam Fanjoy at the Friendly Chef Adventures Inc. Chef Fanjoy is a dynamic and hands-on instructor that teaches practical kitchen skills. We were taught tips, tricks and knife skills that she had learned while training at the famed George Brown Culinary School. We made quick and easy rice paper rolls and simple yet delicious cashew nut chicken stir-fry. 
Handcraft your own jewellery with instructor Carol-Ann Michaelson at the Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre. I exercised my creativity by fashioning tubular shaped, colourful earrings. I worked with polymer clay using the Japanese metal-working technique called mokume-gane, where the materials are fused together to create a unique pattern. 

Take in an entertaining performance of a play or musical at Theatre Orangeville. The company encourages the production of Canadian talent and stages plays by one of Canada's preeminent playwrights, Norm Foster.

There are no shortage of activities to engage in, food to taste, and places to explore in the beautiful Headwaters Region. I was pleasantly surprised and will certainly return to escape the hustle and bustle of city life in Toronto. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Mr. Burns: A Post Electric Play

By Shari Archinoff

Like most kids that grew up in the ‘90s, I’ve been watching The Simpsons for the majority of my life. There was a time when a good chunk of my lexicon consisted of Simpson’s quotes, and even now some friends and I have made an art of commenting on each other’s Facebook status with the perfect quote or reference!

Which means that, despite a discernible lack of any survival skills, I probably would fare quite well in the post-apocalyptic world of Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play.

When I arrived at Toronto’s historic Aztec Theatre to see the play, I really wasn’t sure what to expect, but the tone is set as soon as you enter the lobby. The walls are covered in handmade missing persons signs, as well as hand drawn posters featuring advertisements for shows, maps, how-to’s, and of course, Simpson’s characters. It was all a little eerie, which was clearly the intent.

The play itself is divided into three acts, all performed without the use of electricity. Act One takes place shortly after the electric grid goes down, causing the meltdown of every nuclear power plant in the country. We’re introduced to a group of survivors who attempt to recreate an old Simpsons episode as a means of distracting themselves from the terror and chaos of the world in which they now live.

Friday, May 15, 2015

3 Boozy Events Not To Be Missed

By Wendy Kam Marcy

Roundup your besties and make a date at Brassaii for their World Famous Le Brunch!

Come for the French-Mediterranean dishes and stay for the fun say fans of this popular King West hangout where the main attraction is the bar, people-watching and the cool patio.

This is a monthly event and the next one is on Sunday, May 24. $45 Prix Fixe Menu and bottle service is available. Reservations required.

Join School House Booze & 20 Something in swapping your brunch plans for a little Sunday stretch. If you are not convinced, how about a flight tasting of beers to coax you into downward dog? Yep, you read it correctly, yoga for an hour + beer tastings for another hour.

Detox to Retox is the perfect way to finish off your weekend or start your week off right!

This event is BYOYM (Bring Yo’ Own Yoga Mat) and happening Sunday, May 24 at Left Field Brewery in the Danforth neighborhood.

Toronto’s annual sake ‘matsuri’ (festival) has sold out over the last 3 years and it's back on Thursday, May 28 at Fermenting Cellar in The Distillery District.

"Kampai" means cheers and "sake" refers to the alcoholic fermented rice beverage from Japan.

The largest sake event in Canada, Kampai Toronto will showcase over 140 sakes paired with a myriad of appetizers from top Toronto sushi and Japanese restaurants including Ki, Blowfish, EDO and more.

Inside My Beauty Drawer

By: Lisa Ng

I've been testing a few new beauty and makeup products lately. I like to switch things up every once in awhile so I don't get stuck in a rut or the same old beauty routine. Here are a few fun things you'll find inside my beauty drawer right now and products I am loving:

Poppy Picnic Palette – This gorgeous cheek and eye palette from Tarte Cosmetics is the perfect little addition to my make-up collection. I was looking for a fresh floral-inspired spring update and the Poppy Picnic Palette gives it to me all in one go. The blush (glisten) is super flattering for my skin tone without being too hot of a pink.

I use the eyeshadow Summer Breeze everyday as a highlighter under my brow line, Barefoot in the Grass all over my lid and then either Peach Poppy or Sweet Tea in the crease. Bonus points for this palette for being formulated without mineral oil, parabens and sodium lauryl sulfate. 

Neal’s Yard Remedies –  This brand out of the UK that specializes in organic and natural beauty products. All of their products are certified organic and made in Britain. They sow their own ingredients, bottle everything themselves and sell their products in their own retail shops and online. 

The Rejuvenating Frankincense Toner was quite cooling and removed any excess oil and dirt off my face after cleansing. The aloe vera in the product was very soothing  and the different fruit oils smelled great and helped brighten up my skin.

The Frankincense Hydrating Cream was very light, not thick and oily like many other organic and natural creams that I have tried. It was great for all-day wear under make-up and the ingredients also feature different oils to help hydrate the skin. There is no mineral oil, parabens, silicones, GMOs or synthetic fragrances either!

Monday, May 11, 2015

In Conversation with David Chang + Corey Lee

By: Lisa Ng

Chefs David Chang and Corey Lee of Benu will be in Toronto on Wednesday May 27th, 2015 to discuss their culinary inspirations and careers. The chat is part of George Brown's 'In Conversation' series and will run from 6:00 PM — 9:30 PM at the college's The Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts.

Corey Lee is chef and owner of 3-Michelin starred restaurant Benu in San Francisco. David Chang is the chef-founder of the Momofuku restaurant group. A 90-minute chat between the two friends will run until 7:30 PM and will be followed by a reception and book signing. Wine and food from Momofuku will be served.

The $75 ticket also includes a copy of Cory Lee's new cookbook, Benu. To continue the conversation, ticketholders are invited to Momofuku Nikai after the event ends for discounted cocktails and snacks.

To learn more visit

Lisa Ng is also the Editor-in-Chief of This Beautiful Day, a lifestyle blog for smart women. You can follow her online @helloLisaNg + on Instagram @ThisBeautifulDay.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

7 Great Travel Apps

By: Lisa Ng

Whenever I travel, I like to live like a local and avoid anything super touristy. I have a couple apps that I swear by when I'm visiting a new destination. 

It's always fun surprising Paul, my friends and my family with a really cool spot. They're always asking - how did you find this place? Here are 7 great apps that I swear by when I'm traveling to help take your trip from good to great!

1) Urbanspoon – How do you know where to eat when you’re in a new city? Get thee to Urbanspoon and hit the nearby button. This populates a list of place around you and you can pick a place with the highest rating. I just like to make sure that a sushi place isn’t sketchy or chance it that I will have a terrible meal. Traveling is also all about the food for me, so I swear by this app.

2) Yelp – I find that Yelp is very popular in the US and a great place to read reviews on local businesses if you’re unsure about a place. I use this to check out restaurants, spas or when I run into a snag and I need a dry cleaner, auto glass repair shop or any sort or specialty service.

3) Tripadvisor – When you want to make sure your hotel is not bedbug-infested or too good to be true, check Tripadvisor to read user-generated reviews. It’s come to the point that I don’t ever book a hotel without checking Tripadvisor first. I’ve also been able to find some bargain gems using this site, that I may not have considered before.

4) XE Currency – How will you know if you’re overpaying for something? The XE currency app lets you calculate current exchange rates on your phone.