Monday, 21 August 2017

Pretty Ugly, Toronto, ON

Gord and I read about Pretty Ugly (on Queen Street W, just west of Dufferin Street) in last week's Toronto Star about how they have created new booze-free concoctions that taste, look and smell like a real cocktail.  This sparked Gord's interest because he doesn't drink.

We had an errand to run in Parkdale so we stopped in afterwards to check them out.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Book ~ "Understanding Color in Photography: Using Color, Composition, and Exposure to Create Vivid Photos" (2017) Bryan F. Peterson and Susana Heide Schellenberg

From Goodreads ~ Veteran photographer and instructor Bryan Peterson is best known for his arresting imagery using bold, graphic color and composition. 

Here he explores his signature use of color in photography for the first time, showing readers his process for creating striking images that pop off the page. He addresses how to shoot in any type of light and looks at color families and how they can work together to make compelling images in commercial and art photography. 

He also helps readers understand exposure, flash, and other stumbling blocks that beginning and experienced photographers encounter when capturing images, showing how to get the most out of any composition. 

With its down-to-earth voice and casual teaching style, "Understanding Color in Photography" is a workshop in a book, helping any photographer take their images to the next level. 

I take a lot of pictures and have done a few photography courses and workshops, though I'm still quite an amateur.  I like reading books about photography so I can learn more, get ideas and see things through the eyes of a professional.

This book focuses on understanding colour and the chapters are:
  1. Introduction
  2. Light, exposure and colour - light and the science of colour, exposure and colour, and white balance and colour temperature
  3. Colour and composition - using colour for high-impact images, the colour wheel, complementary colours, using colour as a seamless background, using motion and more
  4. Color and mood - the psychology of colour, red, orange, yellow, etc.
  5. Using tools to enhance colour - filters and Photoshop

Though some of the stuff in the book went over my head, for the most part I found it interesting.  I liked that there were lots of vibrant colour pictures and the descriptions (shutter speed, aperture, etc.) were under them.

I shoot pictures in "P" mode and the only thing I change is the exposure compensation ... I tend to have it at -3 or -7 which is something the author also recommends.  He also suggests having the white balance set on "sunny" or "daylight" whenever you are outside (I tend to leave it on auto).

I liked the chapters on the colours ... in the "red" one, for example, there were lots of pictures that had red in them which emphasized how it stood out.  The author mentioned in the "green" chapter that he didn't have a lot of "green" pictures in his portfolio ... I was in High Park yesterday and saw and was inspired to take lots of pictures that would have fit in that chapter.

High Park, Toronto, ON

After lunch, Gord and I walked to High Park.

High Park is a municipal park in Toronto, Ontario. It spans 161 hectares (400 acres) and is a mixed recreational and natural park, with sporting facilities, cultural facilities, educational facilities, gardens, playgrounds and a zoo. One third of the park remains in a natural state, with a rare oak savannah ecology. 

High Park was opened to the public in 1876 and is based on a bequest of land from John George Howard to the City of Toronto. It is the largest park entirely within the city.

We entered it from the northwest corner.  We went down the stairs off Bloor Street W ... I lived in the 'hood from 1996 to 2001 and I didn't know they were there (I spent a lot of time in the park and usually entered further east near High Park Avenue).


There's Gord!

Shakey's, Toronto, ON

Gord and I had lunch today at Shakey's on Bloor Street W in Bloor West Village.


We sat inside and it was nice and cool.  If you are a hockey fan, you would like it because there is tons of hockey memorabilia on the walls (the restaurant was originally owned by former Toronto Maple Leaf Mike "Shakey" Walton).


Gord started with mushroom soup, the soup of the day.  He was it was delicious (he ate it all) and he'd get it again.


He also had Crab Croquettes.  He said it was really good and he'd get it again.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Toronto Wolfpack 50, Newcastle Thunder 0, Lamport Stadium, Toronto, ON

Toronto Wolfpack is a Canadian professional rugby league club, based in here in Toronto, which began play in the 2017 League 1 season.  They are notable as being the first Canadian team to play in the Rugby Football League system, the first fully professional rugby league team in Canada and the world's first trans-Atlantic rugby league team.  Their home stadium is Lamport Stadium (aka "The Den"), which is just a couple blocks from where we live.

This afternoon they were playing the Newcastle Thunder.  This is game four of the Super 8s and the Wolfpack were 16-1-1 going into this game.

Seating is general admission (so you can sit where you want) and Gord and I sat where we usually sit ... in the middle on the east side.

The Wolfpack's cheerleaders are the She-Wolves and they entertained before the game started.


God Save the Queen and O Canada were sung before the game.

Hula Girl Espresso, Toronto, ON

I went for a long walk this afternoon and stopped in at Hula Girl (on Ossington Avenue, just north of College Street).  I'd never been there before because I don't drink coffee (it's a coffee shop) but the big ice cream sign drew me in.  Apparently they recently started selling it.


I had a scoop of creamy orange and a scoop of death by chocolate.


It seemed kind of frost bitten, not creamy and wasn't overly flavourful.  I wasn't sure if that's how it's supposed to be so I asked the server where the ice cream came from.  He didn't know.  Hmmm ... I would think that he should.

Maybe they should stick with being a coffee shop.

Hula Girl Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, 18 August 2017

Book ~ "13 Dates" (2017) Matt Dunn

From Goodreads ~ When Noah Wilson first encounters the quirky, opinionated and very beautiful Angel Fallon, his world is turned upside down. It’s clear she’s not his normal type but Noah can’t stop thinking about her - which doesn’t bode well for the blind date he’s already late for. 

Convinced by his friend (and self-professed dating expert) Marlon that thirteen dates is all you need to fall in love, Noah decides to give it a try with Angel. They should be incompatible: she’s impulsive and he’s a planner; he wants to settle down and she doesn’t ‘do’ relationships - or anything, for that matter - the way Noah is used to. But there’s something about Angel and Noah can’t shake the idea that all they need is twelve more dates. 

Despite some near-disasters involving rock climbing, saddle sores and jellied eels, it seems his plan may actually work. But even if they do reach the magic number, can that really mean they’ll just fall into their happily-ever-after? 

Noah is in his mid-thirties and runs a small art gallery.  He is on his way to a blind date when he stops to use the washroom at a Starbucks and meets Angel.  He can't get Angel out of his head and eventually tracks her down.  When he tells his friend and colleague, Marlon, about her, Marlon said that it takes 13 dates to fall in love.  Noah is determined to have Angel fall in love with him.

Noah is a planner and eventually wants marriage, kids, a house, etc.  Angel, though, lives for today and isn't willing commit to a relationship and has a secret she is keeping from him.  Once he finds out what the secret is, Noah has to decide whether he is willing to put aside his future dreams for a life with Angel.

I've read many books by this author and I thought this one was okay.  I liked Noah ... he seemed like a funny loser.  I wasn't crazy about Angel until she revealed her secret to Noah ... but the way she kept going on about it got a bit tiresome.  I figured out the nature of her secret early on.

I enjoyed the writing style and found it amusing.  It is written by an English author so their brand of humour was there.  It was written in first person perspective from Noah's point of view.  As a head's up, there is some swearing.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Ipsy Glam Bag - August 2017

My August Ipsy Glam Bag arrived today.
  • 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.


Here's what I received ...



Total value: $50US (without the make-up bag)

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Book ~ "150 Fascinating Facts About Canadian Women" (2017) Margie Wolfe

From Goodreads ~ Did you know that, in 1875, Grace Annie Lockhart graduated from Mount Allison University as the first woman to receive a degree in any British Empire country? 

Or that in 1920, the Women's Labour League was formed calling for equal pay, maternity care, and birth control? 

Or that all Black, Japanese, Chinese, and South Asian Canadian women couldn't vote federally until 1949? 

Did you know that in 2008, Shannon Koostachin, a 13-year-old girl from Attawapiskat First Nation, led a rally to Parliament Hill that galvanized the movement for safe schools for Indigenous communities across Canada? 

These are only a few of the fascinating facts about Canadian women who have - for much longer than 150 years - helped to shape this country. 

This book has 150 facts about Canadian women and is a quick read.

Women of many cultures, backgrounds and races have always been workers, inventors, caregivers, scholars, factory labourers and creators of visual and performing arts.  They have advocated for social and judicial reform, fighting for change when it was needed and fighting for our rights when they were denied.

In addition to those facts listed above, here are some I found interesting ...

  • Before 1909, the kidnapping of any woman over the age of 16, except for an heiress, was legal in Canada.
  • In 1986, Sharon Wood was the first North American woman to climb to the summit of Mount Everest.
  • In 1946, Viola Desmond, a black beautician in Nova Scotia, refused to vacate a seat in the "white section" of a movie theatre.  She was arrested and convicted.  It wasn't until 2010 that she was pardoned.  In 2016, the public voted for her to appear on the 2018 $10 bill.
  • In 1996, Ottawa's Alanis Morissette became the first Canadian artist to win the Grammy Award for Best Album of the year for Jagged Little Pill.  She won three other Grammys that year.
  • Before 1952, women could only work for the federal government if they were single.  Once married, they either resigned or were fired.

Topbox - August 2017

My August 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 = $23.85 value

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Book ~ "Finding My Badass Self: A Year of Truths and Dares" (2017) Sherry Stanfa-Stanley

From Goodreads ~ Fighting midlife inertia, Sherry Stanfa-Stanley stares down fear through The 52/52 Project: a year of weekly new experiences designed to push her far outside her comfort zone. 

Her escapades range from visiting a nude beach with her seventy-five-year-old mother in tow to going on a raid with a vice squad and SWAT team to crashing a wedding (where she accidentally catches the bouquet).  While finding her courage in the most unlikely of circumstances, Sherry ultimately finds herself. 

For midlifers, fatigued parents and anyone who may be discontent with their life and looking to shake things up, try new things, or just escape, "Finding My Badass Self" is proof it's never too late to reinvent yourself - and that the best bucket list of all may be an unbucket list. 

Sherry is divorced mother of two 20-somethings sons and in her mid-50s.  According to her web page, she's a "writer, humorist and squeamish adventurer".  A couple years ago when she was 52, she decided to push herself outside of her comfort zone and start the 52/52 Project ... for a year she would do something she'd never done before every week (so for a total of 52 new adventures).  This book is the compilation of those experiences.

The things she did included spending time at a nude beach (with her mom nearby), online dating, hot air ballooning, heading to the airport and jumping on the first flight flying domestically, babysitting quadruplets, unplugging from electronics, going to the grocery store in her pajamas, auditioning for Survivor and more.  Some adventures were successful and she enjoyed them ... others she was glad she did but would never do again ... and there were just a couple where she said no way.

I gave her props for doing the 5km marathon.  I've always wanted to be a runner but I've never been one.  Runners make it look so easy!  I've been trying to do a 5km program (I have an app on my phone) since the spring and it's HARD ... I don't know if I'll ever be able to run (walking briskly is no problem, though).  I've already done some of the things which was a new adventure for me.  It was interesting to read her experiences doing a float and high ropes course ... I love floats and I'm with her re the high ropes course.

I enjoyed this book and found it a fun read.  Sherry is my age and I could relate to her, though I think anyone any age could.  I liked the writing style.  It was amusing and conversational.  I bet Sherry would be a fun and friendly person to hang out with.  As a heads up, there is some swearing.

Milestone's Grill and Bar, Toronto, ON (Yonge/Dundas)

Gord and I had a late lunch/early supper today at Milestones on the upper level at Yonge Street/Dundas Street E.  Surprisingly we've never been there.  Sister Sarah and her husband, Joey, had given us a gift certificate a couple weeks ago for our anniversary for Milestones.

We sat in the dining room

Monday, 14 August 2017

Book ~ "Stardust" (1990) Robert B. Parker

From Goodreads ~ When a Hollywood-based TV series schedules filming in Boston, Spenser smells trouble. When he signs up to protect the show's star, Jill Joyce, he knows it's on its way. 

First, there's Jill herself. She's spoiled, arrogant, drugged out -- made worse by fear. Someone is out to get her - does she imagine it, or is it real? 

Spenser monitors her neurosis, but finds evidence of harassment. It escalates to murder. Now begins the dangerous part - while the act may have ended, the murderer lingers on.

Spenser is a private detective in Boston.  Jill Joyce is a popular 40ish TV actress in a hit show and they are shooting it in Boston.  When she complains that she’s been receiving threatening phone calls, Spenser is hired as her bodyguard.  He is also supposed to figure out who is harassing her.  He starts to think that maybe she is making it all up to draw attention to herself ... until someone is murdered.  Spencer gets no help from Jill because she lies all the time and denies everything ... plus she's usually drunk and/or stoned so he's on his own to investigate.

I thought the story had potential as it sounded interesting but I didn't like it.  I hated Jill ... she was an awful unlikable person.  She was always drunk, smoking and doing drugs.  She kept coming onto Spenser and Hawk and then acting like a bitch when they turned her down (and then passing out).  Everyone knew she was like this but no one did anything about it.  I found her character unbelievable and way over the top.  I was glad when the story was over and I wasn't buying the "whodunnit" and why.

This is the seventeenth in the Spenser series (there are currently 46, with the last six written by Ace Atkins after Parker's death in 2010).  Though it is part of a series, it works as a stand alone.  I'd read many of the books over the years and recently started reading them from the beginning of the series ... my intent was to get through the series.  I read the first seventeen in the last couple of months and need a Spenser break.  It was sad to see a progression of bad storylines and lame and annoying characters.

I did like the writing style ... I found it humorous at times.  Spenser is a tough guy with a wisecracking sense of humour.  It's written in first person perspective in Spenser's voice.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

I'm not a fan of Susan, Spenser's love interest ... she has become picky and princessy as the series progressed.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Waterfront Trail, Toronto, ON

It was a gorgeous day (sunny and hot) and I wanted to go for a walk to get my 10,000 steps done.  It was a fabulous walk and I ended up walking 8.5km by the time I got home.

I wanted to be near the water so I caught the Queen Street bus (the streetcar currently isn't running because of track repairs) and got off near Park Lawn Avenue.  I walked south down Park Lawn and ended up at Humber Bay Shores Park.  I started walking east ...