Friday 31 March 2017

Liberty Commons at Big Rock Brewery, Toronto, ON

Gord and I had supper this evening at Liberty Commons in Liberty Village.  We'd been there in February just after it opened and enjoyed it.

It was jammed when we got there but we were able to get a table.

Gord started with a Scotch Egg ... he loves Scotch Eggs and loves theirs.

He also had Beef Brisket, which is what he ordered the last time.   He said it was really good.  I tried a piece and the beef was really tender and I liked the smokey taste.

Sunny Morning, Etobicoke, ON

Gord and I had brunch today at Sunny Morning on the Queensway.

They recently expanded into the former sub shop next door and renovated.

Gord love love loves breakfast.  He had bacon 'n eggs and had fruit as his side (for an extra charge).

Happy birthday, Gord!

Wishing my husband, Gord, a very happy birthday!

Thursday 30 March 2017

Book ~ "The Marriage Lie" (2016) Kimberly Belle

From Goodreads ~ Iris and Will's marriage is as close to perfect as it can be: a large house in a nice Atlanta neighborhood, rewarding careers and the excitement of trying for their first baby. But on the morning Will leaves for a business trip to Orlando, Iris's happy world comes to an abrupt halt. Another plane headed for Seattle has crashed into a field, killing everyone on board, and according to the airline, Will was one of the passengers on this plane. 

Grief-stricken and confused, Iris is convinced it all must be a huge misunderstanding. But as time passes and there is still no sign of Will, she reluctantly accepts that he is gone. Still, Iris needs answers. Why did Will lie about where he was going? What is in Seattle? And what else has he lied about? 

As Iris sets off on a desperate quest to find out what her husband was keeping from her, the answers she receives will shock her to her very core. 

Iris and Will have been happily married for seven years, have a beautiful home and are ready to have a baby.  Will is a tech guy and is flying off to a conference in Orlando.  When a plane that was heading to Seattle crashes, Iris isn't concerned until the airline contacts her later that day and tells her that Will was actually on the plane to Seattle and is dead.


When Iris confirms there was no conference in Orlando and Will wasn't on a flight to Orlando but was, in fact, on the flight to Seattle, she wonders why he was heading there.  She and her brother, Dave, head to Seattle to see why.  While deal with her grief, Iris discovers that she didn't really know her husband at all.

This is the first book I've read by this author and I liked it.  I thought it was an interesting story and it kept me wondering which way the author would take it.  Was Will really dead or alive?  Why was he heading to Seattle, not Orlando?  I liked the twist right at the end.

It is written in first person perspective in Iris' voice.  I liked Iris and she had a good support system in her family during this difficult time.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

I look forward to checking out other books by this author.

Monday 27 March 2017

Book ~ "The Futures" (2017) Anna Pitoniak

From GoodreadsJulia and Evan fall in love as undergraduates at Yale. For Evan, a scholarship student from a Canadian logging town, Yale is a whole new world, and Julia - blonde, beautiful and rich - fits perfectly into the future he’s envisioned for himself. After graduation, and on the eve of the great financial meltdown of 2008, they move together to New York City, where Evan takes a job at a hedge fund. But Julia, who has only known a life of privilege, feels unmoored and increasingly shut out of Evan’s secretive world.

With the market crashing and banks failing, Evan becomes involved in an increasingly high-stakes deal at work -a deal that, despite the assurance of his Machiavellian boss, begins to feel more than slightly suspicious. Meanwhile, Julia reconnects with someone from her past who offers a glimpse of a different kind of life. As Evan and Julia spin apart into their separate orbits, they each find that they are capable of much more - good and bad - that they’d ever dreamed, and that betrayal is easier than they ever imagined.

Julia and Evan met in university.  She came from a rich family from Boston and Evan was there on a hockey scholarship from the middle of British Columbia (his parents own the only grocery store in town).  They started out as friends before they got together.  Four years later, they have graduated and have moved to New York and live together.

Evan has gotten a job right away with a hedge fund.  His salary is high but the job has a lot of pressure and he has to work a lot of hours.  Julia gets a job as an assistant at a foundation.  She doesn't know what she wants to do with her life and doesn't find the job overly fulfilling.  Evan becomes part of a project at work, which keeps him at the office even more, and Julia has to fill her time, eventually connecting with someone she'd gone to school with.  Eventually they begin to drift apart.  In the background is the stock market crash of 2008 and what was happening in the financial markets at the time.

This is the debut novel by this author and I liked it.  It is written in first person perspective from Julia and Evan's points of view ... that chapters alternate and are labeled so you know whose voice it is.  This was an interesting style as the same incident is described at times but from the different perspectives.  I liked the writing style.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

The characters are young and fresh out of university.  Neither has the maturity to realize what their actions (or lack of actions) is doing to the relationship.  Yes, he did ignore Julia because he was so driven to succeed but I didn't mind him.  I didn't warm up to Julia at all during the book even when things were going well between her and Evan.

I'll keep an eye out for future books by this author.

Saturday 25 March 2017

Toronto Rock 13, Vancouver Stealth 7, 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.

It was an all-Canadian match-up with the Toronto Rock against the Vancouver Stealth.

We got there early so watched the teams warms up.

Scotty Newlands sang the national anthem.

Friday 24 March 2017

Double D's, Toronto, ON

I had lunch today at Double D's on Dundas Street W (just east of Dovercourt) ... this is their second location in Toronto and they just opened it on Saturday.

The pizzas are made to order and take at least fifteen minutes.  Surprisingly there are no stool at the tables if you are waiting or if you want to eat it there, which I did.

I love love love pizza and had never had a Chicago-style deep dish pizza before.  I ordered a personal Chicago Classic (pepperoni and Italian sausage).  The crust was really good.  There was a lot of tomato sauce ... too much, I thought.  The pizza and the abundant sauce wasn't overly hot, though.

Thursday 23 March 2017

beautybox five - March 2017

My March beautybox five arrived today.

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 $109US for a year.  Shipping is free ($3/month to Canada).

Here's what I received ...

Wednesday 22 March 2017

Book ~ "I See You" (2017) Clare Mackintosh

From Goodreads ~ You do the same thing every day.

You know exactly where you're going.

You're not alone.

When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it's there. There's no explanation: just a website, a grainy image and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it's just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman and another the day after that.

Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make.

Zoe Walker works as a bookkeeping in a small firm.  She has two children who are in their late teens and have finished school and are still living at home.  She's been divorced from their father for many years and is now living with Simon.

One day Zoe sees a picture of herself in a newspaper ad in the dating and escort section.  The phone number accompanying it doesn't work and the website asks for a password.  Her family thinks she's imagining things and urges her to let it go.  But she starts to see other women's pictures in the same ad every day and realizes they are victims of crimes (murder, theft, rape, etc.).  She's afraid she will be next.

Kelly is a former cop who has been demoted to a transit cop.  Zoe contacts her when she makes the connection and Kelly manages to get herself integrated into the investigation.

This is the first book I've read by this author.  I thought the story was okay.  I didn't guess "whodunnit" when it was revealed towards the end and, to honest, I wasn't buying it.

The story takes place in London and I'm assuming the author is English.  I found it was a different writing style than I'm used to and probably because of the serious nature of the story, it seemed like I read it at a slower pace than usual.  Plus there were references to things in London using their terminology that I wasn't sure of, which I sometimes found confusing.  It took me a while to realize that Kelly was I guess what we call a transit cop.  It's written in first person perspective from Zoe's point of view and from the website owner's point of view.  The rest of the book is in third person perspective from Kelly's point of view.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

Monday 20 March 2017

Book ~ "Power of 10: The Once-A-Week Slow Motion Fitness Revolution" (2003) Adam Zickerman

From Goodreads ~ Fitness expert Adam Zickerman presents a revolutionary exercise program – slow strength training – that will forever change the way people work out. 

The Power of 10 seems to contradict nearly everything we're accustomed to hearing about exercise. Forget hours on the treadmill and forget daily visits to the gym. This new program offers 20 minute workout sessions, once or twice per week, with an alluring emphasis on rest and recovery on your days off. 

The principle behind The Power of 10 is simple: by lifting weights in slow motion, making each rep last 20 seconds (10 seconds lifting and 10 seconds lowering) instead of the typical 7 seconds, you can maximize muscle transformation. The short workouts are so effective that your body will need days to recover and repair properly. Studies have shown that such routines can increase lean body mass, help burn calories more efficiently, and prevent cardio–vascular disease more effectively than aerobic exercise alone. 

In 2004, I joined a gym, hired a trainer (Yvette, who is awesome!), lost a bunch of weight and got healthy.  Then Yvette moved to a gym in the east end of the city and I switched to a different gym closer to home in the west end.  I wanted to keep up with weight training and eventually bought this book as it sounded similar to the principles that Yvette had been using with me ... heavy weights and slow reps.

Then life got busy, I got lazy and gained weight back.  The book has sat on a shelf for years.  The pages of my workout log are still tucked inside the book so I can see I used it about 15 times.  Since July, I've been back on track and have lost 55.5 pounds (as of two weeks ago) with about 15 pounds to go.  I feel that it's time to get back into weight training again (I've just been doing cardio).

The principle behind this book is reducing the speed of each repetition to a cycle of 10 seconds up and 10 seconds down, with no rest between. According to Zickerman, when you slow down repetitions, your muscles are forced to work harder, unable to rely on momentum to propel movement. And because your movement is less jerky, the risk of injury is reduced.  When you can't do another rep, you keep pushing for another 10 seconds to ensure muscle fatigue.

There are three "pillars" in the book and each is explained:
  1. Exercise (once a week)
  2. Nutrition
  3. Rest and recovery (four to seven days)

The routines are clearing explained and there are pictures of every exercise in the routines.

Sunday 19 March 2017

Book ~ "Bridges: A Daphne White Novel" (2017) Maria Murnane

From Goodreads ~ It’s a piece of news Daphne never expected to hear: her globe-trotting friend Skylar, who vowed never to get married, is engaged! Time to celebrate in Manhattan - Skylar’s treat, of course. After years scaling the corporate ladder, she can more than afford it.

Daphne arrives in NYC with news of her own - the novel she’s finally finished appears to be going nowhere but the trash bin of every publishing house around. She’s devastated but plans to keep her disappointment under wraps, something that becomes trickier when she sees Skylar’s spectacular apartment. Could her life have been like this if she’d chosen a different path?

What Daphne doesn’t know is she’s not the only one with a secret. Skylar and their friend, KC, are also holding something back but what? As the trip unfolds, the truth about each woman emerges, along with tears.

And laughter. And love.

Daphne had gotten together with her two best friends from college, Skylar and KC, last year on a Caribbean island to celebrate her fortieth birthday.  Skylar has recently gotten engaged (something she said she'd never do) and wants Daphne and KC to come to New York to celebrate for a long weekend.

In college, Daphne had had dreams of being a successful journalist but ended up devoting her life to being a wife (she's now divorced) and mom and working part-time in a flower shop.  In the last year, she gotten back her writing passion and has written a novel.  She sent it to 36 agents and the rejection emails have been coming in.  Her feelings of frustration and lack of confidence intensify when she stays at Skylar's new apartment and sees how successful Skylar is and perhaps how successful she could have been.

This is the third book I've read by this author and I enjoyed it ... it was a fun book.  I liked the storyline and the writing style.  It's written in third person perspective.  I like Daphne, Skylar and KC.  They each had very different personalities and lives but were able to joke and poke fun at each other ... and are there for each other when it matters.  Though we met the three friends during their vacation "last year" in Wait for the Rain, you don't have to read that book to read this one as it works as a stand alone.

I look forward to reading other books by this author.

Saturday 18 March 2017

Book ~ "How to Lose a Marathon: A Starter's Guide to Finishing in 26.2 Chapters" (2017) Joel Cohen

From Goodreads ~ In "How to Lose a Marathon", Joel Cohen takes readers on a step-by-step journey from being a couch potato to being a couch potato who can finish a marathon. 

Through a hilarious combination of running tips, narrative, illustrations and infographics, Cohen breaks down the misery that is forcing yourself to run. From chafing to the best times to run, explaining the phenomenon known as the "Oprah Line," and exposing the torture that is a pre-marathon expo, Cohen acts as your snarky guide to every aspect of the runner's experience. 

Offering both real advice and genuine commiseration with runners of all skill levels, "How to Lose a Marathon" lets you know that even if you believe that the "runner's high" is a complete myth, you can still survive all 26.2 miles of a marathon. 

I've always wanted to be a runner but never have had the wind for it.  I remember back in grade four or five when we had to do athletic tasks to qualify for Canada Fitness Award Program badges, I'd have a hard time with the running part ... and I was a skinny kid back then.

I have a couple friends who do 5km runs and marathons, which I find inspiring, and a couple weeks ago I decided I'd try to become a runner.  Even if I never go into a 5km run, I figured it would be a good cardio workout.  I found a "Couch to 5km" running program and downloaded the app ... it takes eight weeks of training three times a week.  I got through the three days of week one.  Because of my work schedule last week, I didn't get to the gym at all so I'll get back at it and do week two this week.

In 2012, Joel was overweight, lazy and approaching middle age.  One day, he decided he was going to start running.  Rather than doing it in an organized manner (like I am), he just started running and eventually he was running faster and longer distances.  Then he was inspired to run a marathon and that's when he started following a program.

I liked the writing style as Joel wrote about his experience starting to run and eventually being in the New York Marathon.  There was valuable information and it was presented in an amusing manner (rather than dry and boring) ... Joel is a writer on The Simpsons, among other things, and that comes through.  There are also his doodles throughout the book.  The book covers why he started running right up to the mile-by-mile description of when he was in the New York Marathon in 2013.  There is an explanation of the various terms, essential items you need (and those you don't), etc.

The author admits he doesn't enjoy running ... he does enjoy having run, though.  I'm finding it boring (I need to be stimulated and haven't gotten into "a zone") but I find listening to tunes helps (I can run the running app and my Spotify app at the same time).  I had thought about downloading books and listening to them to keep me distracted and this is what Joel did so I'm going to try that.

I would recommend this book for those wanting to get into running so you'll know what to expect, what you need to do and yes, you can do it!  Runners will also enjoy it because they will be probably be able to relate to Joel's experiences.

Friday 17 March 2017

Toronto Rock 11, Colorado Mammouth 14, 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.

The Rock were playing the Colorado Mammouth.

Former Rock captain Colin Doyle's number was retired last week.

Because it was St. Patrick's Day, there was a traditional Irish band.

Book ~ "Vij: A One-Way Ticket to Canada with India in My Suitcase and Lessons I Learned in Life" (2017) Vikram Vij

From Goodreads ~ Fragrant with the smells of cumin, turmeric, fennel, and cloves, Vij reveals the story of Vikram Vij, one of Canada’s most celebrated chefs and entrepreneurs. Co-owner of the world-famous Vij’s Restaurant in Vancouver, his story is a true rags-to-riches tale of a college dropout from northern India who made it to Europe’s temples of high cuisine, then with a one-way ticket bound for Canada, found fame serving some of the world’s most transcendent Indian cuisine. Vij’s Restaurant, originally a fourteen-seat establishment known for its extraordinary flavours and spice blends, along with a firm no-reservation policy, received accolades from restaurant critics and patrons alike.

A culinary journey that began in India as a boy enjoying the praise of visitors for his chai and biscuits, Vikram’s passion for Indian cooking and his lifelong mission to bring awareness to the culture he left behind have fueled his tireless drive in building a world-renowned food empire. Driven to succeed, Vikram realized his dream to launch five major initiatives under the Vij’s brand by age fifty, but with challenges and sacrifices along the way.

For the first time, Vikram opens up about his struggles with prejudice, his mentors’ lasting lessons, and the painful demise of his marriage - both the successes and the failures that have shaped and sharpened one of Canada’s most unique and revered culinary talents.

Though I haven't been to any of Vikram's restaurants, I became aware of him from his stint on Dragons' Den.  He seems like an interesting guy, I like reading bios and he lives in Canada.

Vikram starts his story by telling us about his upbringing in India.  He didn't want to go into his father's business so ended up going to hotel management school in Austria.  After that, he got a job working in a hotel in Austria where he caught the attention of a Canadian hotelier from Banff.  That's what brought him to Canada as a young man and he has been here ever since.  His goal was to have five businesses by the time he was fifty and he tells how he was able to do that.  It wasn't always easy and it was interesting to read the behind-the-scenes experience of opening restaurants, having the vision but also of going into debt for them.  He is honest about his relationships ... with his parents, his ex-wife, Meeru, and his two daughters.

As I was reading his story, I could hear Vikram's voice.  As a head's up, he swears but I was okay with that.  I liked the writing style and found his story interesting.  While he admits he has an ego and likes attention, I think he would be fun to hang with.  He sounds approachable and uses this style in his restaurant with his guests.  I had seen him in the wine line at the Good Food & Drink Festival a couple years ago but assumed he wouldn't want to be bothered.  After reading this book, he probably would have been okay with it.

Island Foods, Toronto, ON (King Street W)

I had lunch today at Island Foods (Dufferin Street/King Street W).  Though I love their rotis and have been going there since 1998, I have been eating more healthy since the summer to lose weight and haven't had a roti since April.   I got there early enough to beat the lunchtime rush.

I had a long busy week and was craving a chicken roti!  It was delicious, as usual.

Island Foods Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday 16 March 2017

PIE Wood Fired Pizza Joint, Woodbridge, ON

I love love love pizza and had lunch today at PIE Wood Fired Pizza Joint.

The dining room
Depending on how hot the wood oven is, it takes less than
three minutes to cook a pizza