Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday snoozing

Morgan and Crumpet were lazy this afternoon ... kitties love sleeping on clean laundry!

Morgan and Crumpet
Morgan and Crumpet

Later when we were watching TV ...

Crumpet was snoozing on three pillows next to Gord on the couch
Morgan was snuggled in my arms

Book ~ "Full Tilt" (2015) Rick Mofina

From Goodreads ~ Deep in the woods of upstate New York a woman flees a blazing barn. She is burned beyond recognition and her dying words point police to a labyrinth of "confinement rooms" - rooms designed to hold human beings captive - where they make other chilling discoveries. 

In Manhattan, Kate Page, a single mom and reporter with a newswire service, receives a heart-stopping call from a detective on the case. A guardian angel charm found at the scene fits the description of the one belonging to Kate's sister, Vanessa, who washed away after a car crash in a mountain river twenty years ago. 

Kate has spent much of her life searching for the truth behind her little sister's disappearance. Now, a manhunt for a killer who's kept a collection of victims prisoner for years without detection becomes her final chance to either mourn Vanessa's death - or save her life. 

A woman is found running out of a burning barn.  Though she dies of her injuries, her last words were that there were others.  As the barn is searched, the burned body of a man is found along with a suicide note in a nearby truck.

Kate is a reporter for an online service.  Twenty years ago, she was the sole survivor of a car accident that claimed the lives of her foster parents and her younger sister.  Her sister's body, though, was never found and Kate never gave up the hope that Vanessa was still alive.  She is contacted by the police because a charm matching the description of the one Vanessa was wearing when she died is found in the barn fire.  This leads Kate to pursue this story from a professional level but more importantly from a personal level.  Is her sister alive after all these years?  If not, how did her sister's charm end up in the fire?

This is the fourth book I've read by this author and I thought it was okay.  It was written in third person perspective with the focus bouncing around depending on what was going on.  Though it was an interesting story, I found at times the writing could have been tighter.  It was a bit farfetched in some of the storylines but I just went with it.  I found it amazing how much Kate was able to uncover about the killer's past and identity that the various police agencies didn't (thank goodness she was involved!).

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Topbox - January 2015

I picked up my January Topbox today at the post office ... they tried to deliver it last week and we weren't home.

For only $12 a month, you will receive a Topbox with 4 carefully selected, indulgent, beauty products. Then test the products in the comfort of your own home.

Here's what was in it ...

2nd annual Roundhouse Winter Craft Beer Festival - Two Free Tix Contest Winner!!

Last January Gord and I went to the Roundhouse Winter Craft Beer Festival and had a fabulous time!  Needless to say, we are going again this year ... and so can you!

Advance tickets have sold out for the second annual one ... but I've got two to give away!

For a chance to win, all you have to do is send me an email at and tell me what your favourite craft beer is.

For a second chance at winning, tweet:

I want to win 2 tix to the 2nd annual Roundhouse Winter Craft Beer Festival from @TeenainToronto ... #RWCBF

You have until Friday, January 23, at 11:59pm to enter.


And the winner is .... @HavaGoldberg! Congrats!!

She and her boyfriend are both huge craft beer geeks and she wanted to surprise him with tickets. It was hard for her to choose her favourite craft brew because she said there are so many awesome ones but she picked King Brewery Dark Lager.  Enjoy, Hava!!


Here are the deets of this fun fun festival ...

In snow, sleet, rain or shine, on January 31 from 11 to 5pm, Steam Whistle will once again transform Roundhouse Park into a giant, winter sampling party for craft beer lovers and food truck aficionados.

What’s to drink (more breweries joining in weekly)?
  • Steam Whistle Brewing
  • Amsterdam Brewing
  • Beau’s All Natural Brewing
  • Big Rig Brewery
  • Black Oak Brewing
  • Block Three Brewing
  • Cameron’s Brewing
  • Flying Monkeys Brewery
  • Great Lakes Brewery
  • Highlander Brew Co.
  • King Brewery
  • Lake of Bays Brewing
  • Left Field Brewery
  • Maclean’s Ale 
  • Mill St. Brewery
  • Muskoka Brewery
  • Niagara College Teaching Brewery
  • Oast House Brewers
  • Publican House Brewery
  • Railway City Brewing
  • Side Launch Brewing
  • Thornbury Cider
  • Underdog’s Brewhouse
  • Wellington Brewery

What’s to eat (more to come)?
  • Bay of Quinte Cheddar Ale Trail (partnering with Barley Days Brewery) Chimney Stax 
  • Mr. Corn 
  • Ninutuk Maple Sugar 
  • Pappas Greek 
  • Smoke’s Poutinerie 
  • Sugar Mamma’s
  • The Pizza Truck

What’s to do (exciting, eh)?
  • Sample brews from some of Ontario’s best craft brewers and eats from local food trucks 
  • Get in style with your limited edition 2015 signature Roundhouse Winter Craft Beer Festival toque (first 500 through the door) 
  • Calling all ski bunnies and lumberjacks! Show off your retro ski and winter wear – prizes for the best getups 
  • See a live brewing demonstration 
  • Keep warm and partake in fun winter-inspired activities and games such as giant Jenga and Tug-of-War and ice carving. 
  • Roast Marshmallows on outdoor fire pits 
  • For the bravest Canucks there will be outdoor port-o-potties and for the faint-of-heart, limited outdoor heating and indoor bathrooms and warm-up areas 
  • Own your winter bragging rights

If you don't win the two tickets I'm giving away, you may be able to get them at the gate for $25 at the gate. Beer will only be served in the official mugs with sampling tickets in the form of wooden nickels costing $1 (wooden nickels leftover from the summer Roundhouse Craft Beer Fest will be accepted). Food can be purchased with cash (there is an ATM onsite). This is an age of majority event.

The festival will showcase beer from the association of Ontario Craft Brewers, who have a passion to re-kindle and keep alive the spirit of traditional brewing. Independent ownership, smaller batches, artisanal styles, quality ingredients, all-natural and undiluted beers are hallmarks of their Brewing Philosophy & Standards.

See you there!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Toronto Rock 13, Buffalo Bandits 11

Gord and I are season ticket holders for the Toronto Rock lacrosse team games ... the Rock is a professional lacrosse franchise in the National Lacrosse League (NLL).  This is our third year going to the games and our second year having seasons tickets.

Tonight was their first home game of the 2015 season (they won their first two away games) and they were playing the Buffalo Bandits.

The Bandits warming up
The Rock warming up

The Rock were introduced player-by-player and formed a "T".

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Book ~ "Cold Hard Truth on Family, Kids and Money" (2013) Kevin O'Leary

From Goodreads ~ From entrepreneur, TV celebrity and money expert Kevin O'Leary - a clear, no-nonsense personal finance guide that will help you build a secure future for yourself and for the ones you love.

We all think carefully about the big decisions in our lives, like what career we want to pursue or who we want to marry. But few people spend enough time thinking deeply about the financial implications of their biggest life choices - and that's a serious money mistake.

In his latest book picking up from where his last personal finance book left off, entrepreneur Kevin O'Leary presents another fifty common money mistakes. He provides all the tools you need to avoid making them and to keep more of your hard-earned cash in your bank account. A bestselling author, television star and immensely successful businessman, Kevin O'Leary understands the difficulties of raising a family while working to provide financial security. He walks you through every age and stage of life - from dating, to marrying, to raising a family, to retiring - offering critical advice about saving and spending, debt and credit, as well as tips on how to instill the value of money in every member of your family. After all, your family is your most important investment. Treat it like a precious long-term asset, and you and yours will enjoy a healthy, wealthy future.

I work in the financial services industry (in retirement planning) and like reading books about managing money.  I'd read O'Leary's other books recently and enjoyed them.

There are four parts in this book:
  1. Love - the dating game, choosing a mate and the five languages of money
  2. Marriage - arranged marriages (why they can sometimes work), establishing your financial independence and building the bedrock of your partnership
  3. Kids - Give your kids an MBA (money & banking awareness), having them get a job, single parents, blended families and adopted kids, and letters from Uncle Kevin to your teenager and 20-something
  4. Family - building your business family tree, midlife crises and money mismanagement, and giving your marriage a fighting chance

Though I couldn't relate to the chapter on kids (since I don't have any), I liked the writing style and thought it flowed well.  Since I watched the author on Dragons' Den and Shark Tank, I would hear "Mr. Wonderful's" voice in his writing ... it's direct and there's no BS.  Despite the wealth he has, he is constantly teaching his children the value of money.  For example, when he travels and he takes his kids with him, he has no qualms about buying himself (and his wife) a first class plane ticket and economy tickets for the kids.

There was a bit of a disconnect, though, when he talked about ways of saving money and one is to borrow movies from the library rather than going to the theatre.  While I can't imagine him doing that today, perhaps he did things like this when his family was young and he was growing his business.

There are quizzes throughout such as "Do You Speak the Same Money Language as Your Mate?" and "Are you Financially Independent in Your Marriage?"  There are pictures throughout the book of him and his family throughout the years.

Earls Kitchen and Bar, Winnipeg, MB (Polo Park)

I had a late lunch today at Earls near the Polo Park Mall (I was heading home to Toronto and it was on the way to the airport).  I've been to a couple Earls before and like them.

I sat on the dining room side

I ordered Jeera Chicken Curry and it was good ... not too spicy but spicy enough.

Days Inn, Steinbach, MB

This morning I have a 10am meeting about two hours east Steinbach (which is about 45 minutes SE of Winnipeg) so I stayed at the Days Inn in Steinbach.  It is apparently the closest "most decent" place to stay to where I have to be.

Here was my room ...

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Lagimodière Restaurant, Richer, MB

I had an enrolment seminar to conduct this afternoon in Richer, which is about 45km SE of Winnipeg.

There are only a couple restaurants in Richer.  I had lunch at Lagimodière Restaurant, which is part of the Richer Motor Inn Hotel (the restaurant is on the right and the Cat Sass Tavern is on the left).

It's not a big restaurant ... there were ladies from the Red Hat Society having lunch plus three other tables of people when I was there.

I ordered the Lagimodière burger, fries and gravy.  I replaced the processed cheese with mozzarella cheese.

Inn at the Forks, Winnipeg, MB

I have some enrolment seminars to conduct south of Winnipeg the next couple days and I flew to Winnipeg yesterday evening.  I spent last night at the Inn at the Forks.

Here's my room ...

Book ~ "GI Brides: The Wartime Girls Who Crossed the Atlantic for Love" (2014) Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi

From Goodreads ~ The “friendly invasion” of Britain by over a million American G.I.s bewitched a generation of young women deprived of male company during the Second World War. With their exotic accents, smart uniforms and aura of Hollywood glamour, the G.I.s easily conquered their hearts, leaving British boys fighting abroad green with envy. But for girls like Sylvia, Margaret, Gwendolyn, and even the skeptical Rae, American soldiers offered something even more tantalizing than chocolate, chewing gum, and nylon stockings: an escape route from Blitz-ravaged Britain, an opportunity for a new life in affluent, modern America. 

Through the stories of these four women, "G.I. Brides" illuminates the experiences of war brides who found themselves in a foreign culture thousands of miles away from family and friends, with men they hardly knew. Some struggled with the isolation of life in rural America or found their soldier less than heroic in civilian life. But most persevered, determined to turn their wartime romance into a lifelong love affair and prove to those back home that a Hollywood ending of their own was possible.

These are the true stories of Sylvia, Margaret, Lyn and Rae, who were young English women during World War II.  All four met, fell in love with and married American soldiers who had been stationed there.  After the war, they moved to the States to be with their husbands.  Away from their families and everything that was familiar to them, they made a new life with men it turned out they barely knew, in strange environments and with strange ways and foods.

None of the experiences turned out as they had expected ... they were not easy times and a couple women ended up going back to England (one to stay permanently).  Only one ended staying happily married and even that took a lot of work and patience.  You can read their stories here.

I can't imagine what it was like living through the war, getting married so young and then heading off by boat to another country.  They were so brave!  When they arrived in America, they talked funny and had different sayings, they couldn't find a decent cup of tea, the food was different (one married an Italian whose mom used a lot of garlic and spices in her cooking), etc.  They had no job or money so were dependent upon their husbands for everything.  They didn't want to admit to their families back home how bad their situations were and they had to make the best of it.

I liked the writing style and thought the stories were interesting.  The chapters alternated between the different women's stories and I found this confusing.  I had to keeping going back to the women's previous chapters to see what their storyline was.  I imagine the authors did it to keep the timelines progressing at the same time but it didn't work for me.  I would have rather to have read each woman's full story and then moved on to the next woman.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Old Spaghetti Factory, Winnipeg, MB

I had supper tonight at the Old Spaghetti Factory, which is near my hotel.

I got there at 8:40pm.  Though they close at 9pm, the host still welcomed me and told me to stay as long as I wanted.

Cory was my server and he started me with some hot bread.

Skating at the Forks, Winnipeg, MB

It was a nice night and I took a walk to the Forks. If you are into skating, this is the place to be!

There were people skating under the canopy and tunes playing.

If you got cold, you could sit inside by the fire and get warm.

I walked down the nearby steps to the Red River, which is frozen, and there were lots of people having fun and skating.

Boccone Trattoria Veloce, Mississauga, ON

I had to fly to Winnipeg this afternoon and had a late lunch at Boccone Trattoria Veloce at Pearson Airport before my flight.

I've been there before and enjoyed it.  I ordered what I ordered the last time ... a Calabrese pizza.