How on earth is it already December?!

Oops. I did it again.

I let another 5 weeks go by without a post.

Honestly, I have no idea how it’s already December! Time is literally flying! In my last post I shared about my new role as an event planner. I am still loving the new position and it’s still super busy but to use my job as an excuse again would be dishonest.

I’ve just been lazy.

Okay, that is also not entirely true.

Life has been busy. Not just work, life in general has been busy. It’s actually quite a shame that I haven’t been posting because I have had some good stories to tell. Anyway, recently when I get home in the evenings I find it much more appealing to do nothing (like literally nothing) than to sit down and concentrate on writing a blog post.

But I like sharing my stories and adventures and goals and happenings, I like writing. So let this be my second attempt at getting back into blogging.

For my first post “back” let’s recap the exciting goings on of October & November.

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This year for Halloween Lucas and I went as Clarke Kent and Lois Lane. It was a pretty last minute costume. Lucas wanted a costume where he could wear a suit. So this seemed like a pretty easy option. It sort of felt like I was just wearing my work clothes. When Lucas wasn’t around people asked me if I was a boss… Which is a great question to be asked most of the time but on Halloween it wasn’t exactly what I was going for.

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Still, we had fun getting dressed up together. The party that we went to was a little bit of a let down. It was advertised as a blow out dance party at a dance hall but it ended up being a small amount of people in a very large room. Do you remember how awkward dances were in middle school? That’s basically what this Halloween party felt like.

It was at this awkward party that I decided that I don’t like going out. Expensive drinks, strangers, excessively loud music. Nope. No thank you. I would much rather go to a house party where the drinks are free, the people are friendly and the music is the most perfect volume (it’s also the perfect playlist because it’s your iPod). I think it must be the event planner in me, but I would so much rather host a party than go out to a bar. But hey, that’s just me. Speaking of hosting parties, my roommates and I hosted our first (and presumably only) house warming party!

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This is Jessie, Karin, Katie and me. Obviously.

We’re pretty fun and exciting people and we were super pumped about our party. I have to say, despite a slight hiccup, the party was a huge success. Lots of people came out and we all had a great time. The hiccup was a hour long power outage around midnight. Normally complete and total darkness would end a party pretty quickly. But we got some candles and the party kept going well into the morning.

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Another major highlight of this past month was one of my work events. Our annual fundraising gala! This is a big event for us because its a 3 parter. First is a singing competition. A selection of the country’s best opera singers compete for the title of Canada’s next Opera star. It’s a bit like american idol for opera. The audience gets to vote and everything. Part two is a classy little cocktail hour. And for part three, about 300 people join us on stage for a gala dinner. It is incredibly grand! The decor was my favourite part.

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Photo by Ikonica Images

Aside from those major events, I’ve been trying to revamp my workout routine. More on that in another post. I’ve also been reading a lot. Trying to keep up with my goal of reaching my 50 books, although I probably won’t reach that goal this year. Again, more on that later.

All in all a pretty great fall. And now onto an even better winter! Only 19 days till Christmas!

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ONCE; A New Musical

Happy hump day! I hope everyone is feeling alive and well in the aftermath of St. Patrick’s day. When I was in university St. Paddy’s was a big deal. Anyone and everyone busted out their green and went overboard on green beer. It was fun while it lasted but out in the real world that type of behavior is totally inappropriate for a weekday, weekends are still fair game though.

This year, instead of celebrating the luck o’ the Irish with booze, Lucas and I decided to celebrate with Irish music by seeing the musical production ONCE, at the Ed Mirvish Theatre. In addition to being a fun St.Pat’s date night activity, tickets to the show were one of my birthday gifts for Lucas.

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SPOILER ALERT: The remainder of this post may contain spoilers. Similar to how granola bars may contain peanuts. Basically I can’t make any promises…

Before the show Lucas and I decided to go for a nice dinner, because #datenight. We selected a restaurant called Baton Rouge. IMG_6045Lucas got a super delicious looking burger and fries. It had onion rings on it! Mmmmmm! And I got a grilled veggie sandwich and a green salad (eating out isn’t as fun when your not allowed to eat deep fried foods but it was still very delicious).

Then we went to the show! The Ed Mirvish Theatre is one of my favourite places to see theatre. There really isn’t a bad seat in the house (as long as you’ve got your glasses) and the architecture and design is just stunning! High arched ceilings, elegant stair cases, ruby red carpets and curtains! I’ve now seen 6 shows there!

Just for some context, here is the show description from the Mirvish website:

Set in modern day Dublin, ONCE is the story of a Guy who gave up on his music—and his love—and the Girl who inspired him to dream again. This irresistibly breathtaking production is performed by an extraordinary all-Canadian cast of actor-musicians who sing, dance and play their hearts out live on stage. Directed and choreographed by the brilliant team of Tony Award winner John Tiffany and Steven Hoggett, ONCE will dazzle you with its originality, wit and unforgettable music.

IMG_6041The stage was set to look like an Irish pub and during pre-show and intermission audience members were allowed to get beer and water from the working bar on stage! How neat is that?! While people lined up for drinks the performers danced around singing popular irish folk tunes. Talk about audience interaction! It perfectly set the mood for the show!

The music was excellent. Absolutely beautiful! Unlike traditional musicals the instruments were played by the singers/actors on stage. There were 2 violins, a cello,  multiple guitars, percussion, and a piano. All these instruments were onstage the entire time and always played by the cast. In many productions this would have been unsuccessful but it worked really well in the Irish pub atmosphere and it showcased the talent of this cast excellently.

Speaking of the cast, it is entirely Canadian! This is a big deal for me because I am extremely passionate about the growth of Canadian arts and culture. I strongly believe that the best way to grow our artistic scene to a larger scale is by having Canadian artists shine on Canadian stages. Because if Canada doesn’t showcase our talent why would anyone else. Annnnyway, the leads of ONCE were Ian Lake and Trish Lindström (Photographed below). They both did an excellent job of portraying their characters. A heart broken Irish man and a spunky, single mom from the Czech Republic.

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Photo from http://www.mirvish.com

 The downfall of this musical for me was the plot. ONCE is advertised as the love story to end all love stories and that is how it began. It had me getting all emotional and sappy. And then… the end happened. And while it was still beautiful it wasn’t at all what I expected. In fact it didn’t really feel like the ending at all. I was left with questions and confusion and a need for more. But I suppose that makes this musical more realistic than most. Instead of providing a clean cut happily ever after it provides an unsatisfying ending which is lacking closure, which is an accurate description to how most real life relationships are. That being said, it was beautiful, exceptionally beautiful. Even if it didn’t give me the cookie cutter ending I was craving.

For the record, Lucas also really enjoyed the show. He didn’t focus so much on the plot but rather the music. He said it felt more like a folk concert than a musical and he loved that. I wouldn’t be surprised if I come home to find the soundtrack on my iTunes.

All in all it was a fantastic way to access my inner Irish on St. Patrick’s day and it was a super fun, out of the ordinary date night. My final review: 4 Stars out of 5. If you are in the Toronto Area and you enjoy good music, I suggest going to see ONCE!

ONCE is on stage at the Ed Mirvish Theatre until May 31st.

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Photo from http://www.mirvish.com

The Magic of a Good Deed

Today, I woke up to find that winter had a bit of a hissy fit last night. In fact, it is still having a temper tantrum all over the place. That metaphor kind of got away from me… 10665186_343358862502211_4665858284104106075_nbasically what I am saying is that it snowed a lot over night and it hasn’t showed any signs of stopping. My thoughts when I woke up this morning were something along the lines of:

Lucas’s mum thought it looked beautiful and I thought well yeah it is… when you don’t have to go outside. But I commute to work, so I did have to go outside. On a normal day I take a 30 minute bus and then I take a 30 minute train and then I walk for about 20 minutes. When you tack on waiting time (about 5 minutes for the bus and 10 for the train) it takes me about an hour and a half to get to work each morning.

IMG_4994On a not so normal day, like today when winter throws up everywhere, I waited 15 minutes for the bus, the bus then took over an hour to get to the train station, I then waited 20 minutes for the train and then the train took about 40 minutes. The only part of my commute that remained constant was my walk, which was 20 minutes of cold, wet snow blowing in my face. Seriously, I ask myself every year why I choose to live in this climate and then I remember that Canada is awesome.

So this morning when I got on the bus I promptly realized that I forgot my wallet… Yup. As if this day wasn’t already shitty. The bus driver was kind enough to let me ride for free but the train is not so nice. If you are caught without a ticket you are given a $200 dollar fine. A woman who rides the bus with me asked what I was going to do and I said “I guess I’ll have to take my chances”. As I waited for the train I felt a tap on my shoulder, the woman had purchased a round trip train ticket for me. I was so shocked and happy I could have cried. I profusely thanked her and offered to pay her back tomorrow and she smiled and said “don’t worry, it’s Christmas, pay it forward.” Seriously, the kindness that this woman showed me is above and beyond. Sure, it was a small gesture but it absolutely transformed my dreary, snowy day into a great one.

I decided that I am definitely going to pay it forward, so some time next week I am going to go to Tim Hortons (best coffee in the world) and buy some gift cards. Then I am going to give them out to homeless people in the city. Sure $5 dollars isn’t much to you and me but to someone starving, a meal could be a Christmas miracle.  So today I am urging you to also pay it forward.

Share in the comments! How are you going to pay it forward this holiday season?

10 Ways To Get Into The Christmas Spirit

It is December, people! I am not entirely sure how or when it happened but I am overjoyed because the holiday season has arrived! That being said, sometimes between work, finals, grey skies and over crowded shopping malls, it can be easier to say “bah hum bug” at this time of year. Fear not, friends! I have come up with 10 sure fire ways to get you into the holiday spirit this year and every year to come.


1. Go Ice Skating

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Celebration Square Out Door Ice Rink in Mississauga

Most outdoor ice rinks offer free or very cheap skating and some rinks even offer skate rentals. Skating is the type of activity that is great for dates or group hang outs. It is also a great way to get in some exercise during the season of cookies Christmas…

If you are in Toronto check out Nathan Phillips Square.


2. Build a Ginger Bread House

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Myself, Katie & Taylor – Dec 2013

This does not have to be complicated. Grab some friends and head over to your local grocery store. Ginger bread house kits basically come with four walls, a roof and icing. The rest is up to you! Let your creativity thrive!

The best part? When you’re done decorating, you have a delicious snack!


3. Play in the Snow

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This is only possible if you live in a colder climate, which I definitely do, because Canada. But seriously, brave the cold! Get outside! Embrace your inner child! Enjoy nature! There are so many snow related activities, it could be a list of it’s own. Build a snow man, go tobogganing, go skiing, make a snow angel… The possibilities are endless.


4. Take a Walk & Look at the Lights

Tree branches and trunks wrapped in festive lights.

Is there anything more beautiful than a display of Christmas lights? Personally, I love the twinkle and sparkle of bright lights on a cold, dark night.

My favourite? Lights on trees. Sure, it’s a little eerie but it is also so stunning!


5. Cut Down Your Own Tree162788_474587778557_5876635_n

About 25 minutes north west of my house there is a tree farm where people can go to cut down their own Christmas trees. My family has only ever done this once but it sure was a blast. My brother got to wield a hack saw and we got to pick out the most perfectly shaped tree for our living room.


6. Decorate Everything

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Literally everything. Cover your tree with ornaments, put a tinsel garland on your railings, hang stockings from your mantle, put a hat on the dog, put fake snow in the windows, hang snow flakes from the ceiling. I’m not even kidding, decorate it all then your heart can be filled with joy in every room of the house.


7. Attend a Christmas Concert

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 This past Sunday I went to Roy Thomson Hall to see the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) Annual Family Christmas Concert. It was excellent! The whole program was fun and constantly entertaining as it was geared towards children. The TSO started by playing a few familiar Christmas carols, then they accompanied a short film with the help of a narrator. The second act was more carols sung by the Cawthra Park Chamber Choir. As you can see in the picture, Santa even came for a visit at the end of the show. A professional orchestra and Christmas music and Santa?! Does it get any better than that?!


8. Dress in your Holiday Best

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Bust out that ugly Christmas sweater, bedazzle your nails to your hearts delight. Are your favourite colours red and green? Wear them together without fear of judgement. Personally, I opt for a lot of silver and gold during the holiday season.


9. Listen to some Christmas Music

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I am a bit of a music nerd so good Christmas music always gives me the feels. With artists releasing new Christmas albums every year there is so much to choose from! Sure, the songs are the same but the arrangements are different.

This season I have been playing the newly released album by Pentatonix. A-capella Christmas music? Yes please.


10. Take a picture with the Man in Red

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Our 2014 Family Christmas Card. The inside reads “Naughty or Nice”
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This is my bestfriend’s dad. A.K.A. The Best Santa ever!

No one embodies the spirit of Christmas more the jolly Ol’ St. Nick. So head to the mall & have your picture taken with father Christmas himself. A photo with Santa is guaranteed to make a great Christmas card in the future.


Well, there you have it, folks. I’m already feeling more Christmas-y just from writing that post. Did I miss your favourite method of spreading Christmas cheer? Is it singing loud for all to hear? (Elf reference, anyone?) Now it’s your turn, share in the comments!

How do you get into the holiday spirit? 

The Book of Mormon

Wow. So blogging is a lot more work than I thought. The following post has been a week in the making, not because it is the best post you will ever read, but because every time I sat down to write I got distracted by something else. I’m a busy person, what can I say.

Anyway, on to the content that took a full week to compile…

The Book of Mormon. Full Cast.
The Book of Mormon. Full Cast.

Sometimes I think it is incredibly fun and healthy to take time to be a tourist in your own city. I happen to live in a rather large Canadian metropolis so there is a lot to see and do. Personally I am super passionate about theatre and music, and it is nearly impossible to see everything that Toronto has to offer but that doesn’t stop me from trying.

Last Wednesday (November 19th) my friend Lindsay and I had a girls night out, we went to see a musical called The Book of Mormon. But before I get into my review of the show (I have so many opinions) let me tell you about our fantastic dinner! We went to this chic little restaurant called HUSH.

I apologize for the poor quality of all the photos in this post. The restaurant had major mood lighting going on, great for atmosphere but not so great for photos.

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Wine. Lindsay had a White Moscato and I had a Red Malbec.

 For dinner. Lindsay had fish & chips. The fish was massive! We probably could have shared her meal and still had leftovers. But we did not share, we greedily each got our own plate of deliciousness. I had Lobster grilled cheese. Yes you heard me correctly. Lobster Grilled CheeseIt was luxurious and incredibly unhealthy. I loved every second of it. I promise I don’t always eat badly, but when I do… I go all out.

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Lindsay’s Fish & Chips
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My Lobster Grilled Cheese & Fries.

After our meal we wandered across the street to the theatre. I love going to the theatre. There is something about the lights and the curtains that just makes everything seem so magical. Before heading inside we attempted to have a photo shoot with the show posters outside but once again the lighting was working against us. Also, taking pictures with hats, scarfs, mittens, winter coats and backpacks is not easy. #winterincanada

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Lindsay with the Book of Mormon Poster
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We ❤ Mormon
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Me with the Book of Mormon Poster

For those of you who don’t know, The Book of Mormon is a hit Broadway musical created by the same guys who created South Park. That should give you a sense of the kind of humour in this show. Vulgar, yet hilarious.

Let me summarize the plot for you real quick: Two young mormon boys men travel to Africa to spread the word of God and bring people into the Mormon faith. Hilarity ensues. Basically it is a lot of making fun of religion, playing up stereotypes and swearing. So. Much. Swearing.

The Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon

I knew this going into it so I wasn’t shocked or offended but I think the woman sitting next to me was. She left at intermission and never came back. While I thought it was a funny show, I can totally see why someone would be offended by it. I think in order to appreciate this show you have to be aware that the humor is vulgar and base. They are using all means to get a laugh and if you are okay with that it can be a really fun show. I also think its important to recognize that this show isn’t just making fun of the Book of Mormon, it is also making fun of musicals and the musical theatre art form. So it had a lot of cheesy moments and standard characters and the music wasn’t anything special. But again, it is all a part of the humor and because I knew that going in I was prepared. Other hit Broadway musicals like Wicked or Billy Elliot, for example, exist to showcase music and dance respectively, so they shine in those areas. The Book of Mormon exists to be funny and as long as you aren’t easily offended that is, I think, where it shines.

Small thing take away: I really enjoyed the production and I had a really fun night being a Toronto tourist with Lindsay.

If you are near Toronto and want a good laugh The Book of Mormon is playing at the Princess of Whales Theatre until November 30th.

Have you seen the Book of Mormon? What were your thoughts?