Friday, September 30, 2005

Congrats to Monica and Mark!


Our friends and neighbours, Monica and Mark, got married this evening at City Hall. It was a small wedding - a handful of friends in attendance. Their officiant was Pat O'Reilly, the same one who married Gord and I three years ago (a good sign, I said!). After the ceremony, we went outside. Monica's mom surprised her by sending small boxes for everyone. In each box was a butterfly to set free ~ butterflies are the symbol of hope and new beginnings.

Then we went to an Italian restaurant called Veni Vidi Vici in Little Italy. They had reserved a small room ~ there were twelve of us. With lots of wine and good food, we celebrated!

Next weekend, Mon and Mark travel to Windsor along with Mark's parents to celebrate with Mon's parents, friends and family. The following weekend, they head to Brantford to celebrate with Mark's friends and family.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Book ~ "Must Love Dogs" (2002) Claire Cooke

From Amazon.com ~ Sarah Hurlihy is 40 years old, divorced, and happily teaching preschoolers a multicultural curriculum. But her interfering, overzealous Boston Irish family thinks that she should be dating, and with much love she is pushed into answering a personal ad from a gentleman seeking a lady "who enjoys elegant dining, dancing and the slow bloom of affection"; the clincher is that he's a man who "loves dogs." That man turns out to be the last man on earth any woman would want to date, but Sarah pushes on, slowly falling headlong into the dating game with decidedly mixed results. Meanwhile, Sarah's widowed father has his own dating troubles, brother Michael is deep in marital problems, and sister Carol is having difficulty at home with her temperamental teenage daughter, who turns to her favorite aunt for comfort and body-piercing support. Somehow, they all seem to end up on Sarah's doorstep at the most inopportune moments, keeping the laughs going all the way to the not-quite-storybook-perfect ending.

I saw the movie last month with my sister and thought it was cute. I'm always interested to see how close movies are when they are based on books. The premise of this one and some of the characters are the same ~ but that's about it. It was a quick fun read ~ I read it in a day. Don't expect it to follow much like the movie.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Book ~ "Flip the Switch : Lose the Excuses, Lose the Weight, and Get the Body You've Always Wanted" (2004) Jim Karas

From Amazon. com ~ This refreshing how-to by fitness expert eschews schemes, fads or gimmicks and focuses on the achievement of an internal belief in one’s self, which Karas maintains is the prerequisite for successful long-term weight loss. Drawing on a healthy dose of empathy and offering personal stories and pep talks, Karas walks readers through the emotional path of self-examination on the way to that critical juncture where their desire to lose weight becomes more powerful than their desire to eat too much and exercise too little. But the "flipping point" is only the journey’s beginning. Chapter by chapter, Karas, takes to task the constant excuses or "mental graffiti" that stand in dieters’ way— "I don’t have the time"; "I don’t have the energy"; "I don’t have the right genes"—by equipping his readers with time-management solutions, tips for ordering in restaurants, detailed menus and exercises for both mind and body. He also goes after a number of diet beliefs, such as that "carbohydrates make you fat," and stresses that strength and resistance training, not cardio, is the key to battling the bulge. With monthly inventory worksheets, a food diary template, illustrated workout programs and a seven-day eating plan, this guide is thorough and user-friendly.

Nothing new ~ good for beginners.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Drake, Toronto, ON

From Toronto.com ~ Once a railway hostel on the edge of town, the Drake Hotel has undergone a $6 million facelift to transform it into one of the sleekest joints in town. Designed with the art lover in mind, the bohemian boutique hotel offers 19 refurbished rooms, a state-of-the-art underground performance space, a European-inspired lounge, a raw/sushi bar, a cozy neighbourhood cafe, a licensed rooftop patio and a yoga studio and spa treatment room.Rooms, including one suite, offer wireless internet access, flat screen television, phone, voicemail, alarm clock, CD player, in-room safe and queen size beds with down duvets. Non-smoking and air conditioned rooms.

History of The Drake:Daniel Small opened Small's Hotel in 1890 at 1150 Queen Street West, where the Drake now stands. At the time, the corner of Queen and Dufferin served as a hub of the Canadian Pacific Railway linking Downtown with the lakeside summer homes of Toronto's elite. In 1949, Michael Lundy purchased the property, renaming it The Drake, and made many of the improvements visible today, including a grand staircase in the lobby, and the addition of a large lounge and restaurant. By the 80s, The Drake had fallen upon hard times - at times a notorious punk bar, an all night rave den and come-by-chance flophouse. The current owner, Jeff Stober, purchased the property in late 2001 and undertook the extensive renovations that give the hotel its current form.

Around the corner from home is a trendy restaurant/bar called the Drake. It's an old hotel they restored last year and it's become quite an "in" spot. We've been wanting to check out the patio on the second floor ("Skypad") so stopped in.

It's an interesting patio, unlike any other I've been to. Instead of the usual tables and chairs, they have pillows, beds and daybeds. Hard not to get comfy!

When asked, the waitress said their mojitos are "kick ass". Gord, a true-Mojito lover since he discovered them in Cuba in December 2003, tried one and has put them as #1 on his mojito list. I had a couple glasses of bubbly.

It's not a cheap place by any means but worth it if you are going for a couple drinks in an trendy environment.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Book ~ "The Body Sculpting Bible for Women" (2002) James Villepigue and Hugo A. Rivera


From Amazon.com ~ Authors James Villepigue and Hugo Rivera have developed a unique and powerful 14-day body sculpting workout that promises to deliver life-changing and long-lasting results. It's a complete success formula in one easy-to-follow book. 100 b/w photos.

Great weight training workouts (different one for three days a week) using free weights.

Book ~ "Total Body Makeover " (2005) Bob Greene


From Amazon.com ~ Fitness is a lifetime commitment but you can accelerate results and transform your body in 12 weeks, says Bob Greene, best known as Oprah Winfrey's personal trainer. Not for the "move a little" crowd, this program is intense and challenging, whatever your starting level. The eating plan is not a diet--rather Greene describes 5 eating rules to help you eat fewer and burn more calories: curb emotional eating, eat breakfast, establish an eating cut-off time, drink lots of water, and limit alcohol.

Basic info on eating right but has what looks like a great weight training program.

Book ~ "1,000 Places to See Before You Die" (2003) Patricia Schultz

From Amazon.com ~ This hefty volume reminds vacationers that hot tourist spots are small percentage of what's worth seeing out there. A quick sampling: Venice's Cipriani Hotel; California's Monterey Peninsula; the Lewis and Clark Trail in Oregon; the Great Wall of China; Robert Louis Stevenson's home in Western Samoa; and the Alhambra in Andalusia, Spain. Veteran travel guide writer, Schultz ,divides the book geographically, presenting a little less than a page on each location. Each entry lists exactly where to find the spot (e.g. Moorea is located "12 miles/19 km northwest of Tahiti; 10 minutes by air, 1 hour by boat") and when to go (e.g., if you want to check out The Complete Fly Fisher hotel in Montana, "May and Sept.-Oct. offer productive angling in a solitary setting").

Good guide to have if you are planning interesting vacations. I wish I had the $$ to do them all.

Book ~ "The Eat Right for Your Type Complete Blood Type Encyclopedia" (2002) Peter J. D'Adamo and Catherine Whitney

From Amazon.com ~ The essential reference book to answer all your questions about conditions, herbs, supplements, medication and food. From asthma to sore throat, from cancer to thrombosis, this guide recommends treatment for hundreds of conditions, citing rigorous studies that detail the frequency and severity of the conditions for each blood type.

I'll try to do what I can.

Book ~ "Eat Right 4 Your Type" - Peter J. D'Adamo and Catherine Whitney (1996)

From Amazon.com ~ If you've ever wondered why the latest fad diet doesn't work for you ... well, there are lots of reasons, mostly the fact that it's a fad diet. But it could also be that you're the wrong blood type for the kinds of foods the diet recommends. Peter D'Adamo makes an argument that your blood type is an evolutionary marker that tells you which foods you'll process best and which will be useless calories. He covers the entire range for each of the four blood types, from entrées to condiments and seasonings, and also makes type-specific exercise and lifestyle recommendations.

According to this book, I should be eating a high protein/low carb diet because of my blood type. I can't see myself adhering to everything I was told (there's no way I'm giving up potatoes!) but I'll try to add in more of the recommended foods.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Book ~ "Mafia Chic" (2004) Erica Orloff


From Amazon.com ~ Teddi Gallo is a Mafia princess - the apple of her Mafia don grandfather's eye and the recipient of many "found" pairs of Jimmy Choo high heels. But Teddi tries to walk the straight and narrow by running her restaurant, Teddi's, with her cousin, Quinn, and keeping it free of Mafia business, if not of overprotective relatives. So why is Teddi, along with her roommate, Diana, attracting the attention of the FBI, in the form of agent, Mark Petrocelli? It turns out Mark thinks Diana's innocent flirtation with Teddi's cousin Tony is something more sinister but even after Teddi sets him straight, she still notices him hanging around. It doesn't help matters that Teddi is increasingly drawn to Mark over her seemingly perfect TV presenter boyfriend, Robert.

Fast and fun read ~ I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading her other books.