Monday, 20 February 2017

Book ~ "Gizelle's Bucket List: My Life with a Very Large Dog" (2017) Lauren Fern Watt

From GoodreadsLauren Watt took her 160-pound English Mastiff to college - so, of course, after graduation, Gizelle followed Lauren to her first tiny apartment in New York. Because Gizelle wasn’t just a dog; she was a roommate, sister, confidante, dining companion and everything in between.

Together Gizelle and Lauren went through boyfriends, first jobs, a mother’s struggle with addiction, and the ups and downs of becoming an adult in the big city. But when Gizelle got sick and Lauren realized her best friend might not be such a constant after all, she designed an epic bucket list to make the absolute most of the time they had left.

Bursting with charm, this unique, coming-of-age story of a girl making her way through life is a testament to the special way pets inspire us to live better, love better, and appreciate the simple pleasures. "Gizelle’s Bucket List" is the humorous, poignant lesson our pets teach us: to embrace adventure, love unconditionally, and grow into the people we want to be. 

Lauren's mother bought her a English Mastiff puppy on a whim when she was 19.  That puppy, Gizelle, grew into a 160 pound dog and became Lauren's best friend.  When Lauren went to college, Gizelle went with her.  Then they moved to New York together.  It was an adjustment for a huge dog from Tennessee to move to the big city and live in a tiny apartment but they made it work.

Everything seemed to be going well ... Lauren had a "real" job, her best friend was her roommate and she was dating a professional who loved her dog.  When Gizelle was about six, one of her legs starts bothering her and it was discovered that she has cancer.  Lauren was determined to make Gizelle's last days the best they could be, hence the bucket list.

I like reading stories about animals and that's why this one caught my eye.  Gizelle sounds like she was an awesome dog and a fabulous companion to Lauren.  It's always tough to say good-bye for our furkids.

I liked this book.  I liked the writing style of this book and I found the author made Gizelle come to life for the reader.  Gizelle was there for Lauren when she was dealing with her mother's drug addiction and alcoholism, her parents' break-up, looking for a "real" job, dating and more.  As a head's up, there is some swearing.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Screen Queens: "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure", Royal Cinema, Toronto, ON

One of my favourite movies is Pee-Wee's Big Adventure.  I've seen it tons of times but never in a theatre on the big screen.  It was playing tonight at the Royal Cinema (on College Street and Clinton Street).  Gord's not a fan of the movie but knows I like it so offered to go if I wanted to go.  I bought the tickets before he could change his mind!


Screen Queens is one part Mystery Science Theatre, one part Drunk History, with a dash of Elvira and add lots of booze. Get ready to experience movies like never before.


The cartoonish and childish character Pee-Wee Herman goes on a big adventure for the first time ever when his beloved shiny new bicycle is stolen by his nemesis Francis Buxton, a fellow man-child and neighborhood rich "kid." And he sets off on an obsessive cross-country journey, determined to recover it.

$12 early bird while they last/$15 after




ABOUT US: Come join the one and only drag queen extraordinaire Allysin Chaynes for a cinematic journey through your favourite cult films. FULL movie, live and potentially very drunk commentary, special guests, performances, drinking games and plenty of surprises. This is a licensed event.

It wasn't well organized at all.  The doors didn't open until 7:45pm and the movie started at 8:30pm.  The line-up at the concession stand was so long they delayed the start of the movie ... had they opened the doors on time, they could have started on time.

The hosts were a couple drag queens.

Allysin Chaynes and Fisher Price
Allysin lip-synced to Bicycle Race by Queen

I knew ahead of time there were be "commentary" by the hosts.  I thought it would be like the Die Hard Quote-Along we've been to the last two years ... the host occasionally jumps in with comments.  Not here!  Allysin and Fisher babbled non-freakin'-stop the entire time and weren't really funny.  They were louder than the movie so it's a good thing the movie was closed-captioned because it was hard to hear what the actors were saying.  It was annoying but I was able for the most part to tune them out.  Plus I've seen the movie so many times that I could recite a lot of the lines.

There was an intermission halfway through the movie.  It was obvious Gord wasn't enjoying the movie either so we left.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Toronto Rock 12, Georgia Swarm 13, Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON

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 fifth year going to the games and our fourth year having seasons tickets.   Gord's colleague, Roger, and Roger's dad, Ben, joined us.

The Rock were playing the Georgia Swarm.  Going into tonight's game, they were tied for first place in the east division.

It was Nick Rose (the Rock goalie) bobblehead night.  The first 5,000 fans in the door got one.  The four of us were there early enough to get one.  Sweet!

We were also early enough to watch the Rock players warm up.

 Scotty Newlands sang the national anthems.

Topbox - February 2017

My February Topbox arrived today.

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 I received ...


Total value = $83.70 value

Boston Pizza, North York, ON

I had lunch today at Boston Pizza (Yonge/Park Home Avenue).  It's been awhile since I've been at a Boston Pizza.

I sat in the lounge area

It's been years since I've had a pizza at Boston Pizza as I usually order Broken Lasagna.  Today I ordered an individual Meateor pizza with regular crust.  It was really good and filling.  I'd get it again.

Thin crust is 520 calories and regular crust is 880 calories

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Book ~ "The Barefoot Bingo Caller: A Memoir" (2017) Antanas Sileika

From Goodreads ~ In "The Barefoot Bingo Caller", Antanas Sileika finds what’s funny and touching in the most unlikely places, from the bingo hall to the collapsing Soviet Union. He shares stories that span his attempts to shake off his suburban, ethnic, folk-dancing childhood to his divided allegiance as a Lithuanian-Canadian father. 

Antanas has a keen eye for social comedy, bringing to life such memorable characters as ageing beat poets, oblivious college students, the queen of the booze cans, and an obdurate porcupine. 

Passing through places as varied as the prime minister’s office and the streets of Paris, these wry and moving dispatches on work and family, art, and identity are ones to be shared and savoured. 

Antanas Sileika is a Canadian novelist and critic. He was born in Weston (then a suburb of Toronto, now part of Toronto), the son of Lithuanian-born parents.  His parents still had their Lithuanian traditions which was a bit of a conflict (though respectful) for a young boy and man born here in Canada and wanting to enjoy the era of Woodstock, hippies and free love.

This is a collection of 17 stories of his life.  They include when he is a young boy and he and his buddies are obsessed with building toy rockets, how his parents made him take Lithuanian folk dancing, his summer jobs when he was in university, living in Paris to be with his now-wife, teaching English to immigrants newly arrived in Canada, heading to the Soviet Union to write a political piece, returning to his parents homeland, and more.  Some stories are cute while others are more serious.

Before I came across this book, I hadn't heard of Antanas.  I found his writing amusing and engaging, even when he was writing about the more serious things.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Book ~ "Starting Over on Blackberry Lane" (2017) Sheila Roberts

From Goodreads ~ Time for a change - or three!

Stefanie Stahl has a husband with renovation ADD. He can't seem to finish anything he starts and her house is littered with his "projects." If he doesn't smarten up, she swears she's going to murder him and bury him under the pile of scrounged lumber in the backyard.

Her friend, Griffin James, is suddenly single and thinking maybe she needs to sell her fixer-upper and follow her career bliss up the ladder of success, even if that scary ladder is clear across the country. Getting her place ready to sell proves harder than she originally thought. She needs help.

She's not the only one. Cass Wilkes, their neighbor, has an empty nest - with a leaking roof. When her ceiling crashes in, she knows it's time to do something. 

When Grant Masters offers his handyman services at a fund-raiser auction, the three women go in together to outbid the competition and win their man (Cass's friends think she should win Grant in a different way, too!). Now it's time to make some improvements ... in their houses and their lives.

Grant had retired to Mexico to fish and drink beer.  This got old really quickly so he moved back to Icicle Falls with the intent of starting a part-time handyman business.  He's been a widower for a couple of years and is considering getting back into the dating scene but isn't sure how to do it.

Stephanie and Brad have a house that needs repairs.  Brad starts the repairs, gets in over his head and then abandons that job to start on something else.  So that's why Stephanie's tub is just sitting in the bathroom but not hooked up while Brad moves on to remove a wall downstairs and then gives up on that.  Eventually this pushes Stephanie over the edge and she hires Grant to finish the things that Brad has attempted to "fix".  This puts a strain on their marriage as Brad assumes that Stephanie has no confidence in him.

Griffin has just broke up with her fiancé weeks before their wedding.  She wants to get her house fixed up so she can sell it and move to New York to build her career as a photographer so she hires Grant.

Cass is the best baker in town.  She's divorced and her grown children have lives of their own.  When her roof caves in, she hires Grant to fix it.  Her interest in Grant is more than professional and though there is a mutual attraction, Grant doesn't want to pursue it because he feels there is too much of an age difference (Grant is in his early 60s and Cass is in her mid-40s).

I've read many books by this author and like them.  It is the tenth in the Icicle Falls series and I've read them all.  Though it is part of a series, it works as a stand alone as each book in the series focuses on a specific character or characters and you get enough information about the others to know the background.

It is written in third person perspective, with the focus shifting among the characters and you get to know what they are thinking.  These books always end with happy endings so it's great if you are looking for a nice "feel good" story.

As a bonus, there are some recipes at the end.

Trius wine club - February 2017

Our February Trius wine club box arrived today.

Gord and I have been members of the Trius Wine Club for almost fifteen years.

Every month, 2 bottles of our best wine will be delivered to your door along with Winemaker Craig McDonald’s tasting notes and Executive Chef Frank Dodd’s recipes.

The cost is $46 a month and it's only available in Ontario.

Here is the newsletter ...

Here is what we received ...

  • Showcase Clark Farm Pinot Noir (2015) - $36.20 - the recipe included it's paired with is Corned Beef Hash Cakes and Fried Eggs
  • Trius Rosé (2015) - $15.95 - the recipe included it's paired with is Salmon BLT with Dill Aioli

Shawarma Max, North York, ON

I had lunch today at Shawarma Max (on Yonge Street at Park Home Avenue).

I ordered a chicken shawarma.  There were lots of veggies to choose from along with spreads and sauces.  Since I'm not a big veggie fan I just got tomatoes and but ordered extra chicken (for an extra cost) along with a garlic mayo and tahini.  It came to about $12 with a pop.  It was really good!  After they cut the chicken off the post, they put it on a grill to I guess heat it up more.  I'd go back and get this again.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Ipsy Glam Bag - February 2017

My February Ipsy Glam Bag arrived today ... the theme is carpe p.m.
  • 4 to 5 beauty products in a collectible makeup bag 
  • Monthly videos showing you how to get the Look 
  • Win free products in contests and giveaways

Subscriptions are $10US a month or $110US for a year.  Shipping is free in the U.S. and $4.95US per month to Canada.  It works out to $226.36CN for the year ($18.86CN a month).

Here's what I received ...

Total value: $48.50US (without the make-up bag)

beautybox five - January 2017

My January beautybox five arrived today.  It had gotten lost in the mail and beautybox replaced it (thanks!).

Beauty Box 5 is a subscription-based, beauty sampling service that delivers 5 deluxe samples and full-sized products right to your door every month.

Subscriptions are $12US a month or $99US for a year.  Shipping is free.

Here's what I received ...

Value = $40.39US

Monday, 13 February 2017

Book ~ "Death, Taxes, and Sweet Potato Fries" (2017) Diane Kelly

From Goodreads ~ When the IRS is tasked with assisting the border patrol in pursuing unscrupulous “coyotes” who’ve transported illegal immigrants across the border, Tara finds herself at odds. Not only must she investigate Brett Ellington, her old flame whose landscaping business employs such workers, but now Tara has to convince her romantic partner in crime, Nick Pratt, that she doesn’t still carry a torch for Brett.

Now in addition to proving her love to her own fiancé, Tara is on the hunt for a trail of bogus 1099s in the Dallas area. Someone, somewhere is using the IRS as a pawn in a cunning game of revenge. Will Tara be able to identify the culprit making the false tax reports - before her sweet-potato-fry addiction forces her to get her engagement ring resized? That is, if jealousy doesn’t get the best of Nick first.

Tara is a Special Agent with the IRS.  She has two cases on the go.  Someone is transporting illegal immigrants into the U.S.  Sometimes they live in the process but sometimes they are abandoned and left to die.  In the other case, someone had filed false tax reports on contest winnings never won and Tara has to follow the clues to see how the people are connected.

In the meantime, Tara has recently gotten engaged to Nick and they are planning a fall wedding.  Since they are busy with their jobs, they have left all the planning to their mothers.  In any other story, there would be a clash but Tara and Nick's mothers get along and things are progressing well.  She has also developed an addiction to sweet potato fries and a Spanish soap opera.

I've read many books by this author and I liked this one.  I liked the writing style ... it was funny and sarcastic at times. It is written in first person perspective from Tara's point of view.  As a head's up, there is some swearing.

It is the eleventh book in the Tara Holloway series (I've read them all and like this series).  Though it is part of a series, it works as a stand alone and you don't have to read the others to know what's going on.