Thursday, 18 April 2019

Union Chicken, Toronto, ON

I had a late lunch today at Union Chicken at Union Station.  I had lunch there last week and it was good.

I ate in the restaurant
There is a take-out part

Monday, 15 April 2019

Free samples at - April 2019

A couple weeks ago, I had answered an emailed survey from SampleSource and a box of free goodies (free!) arrived today.  This is the ninth box of samples I've gotten from them over the years.

Here's what I received ...

Looks like some fun stuff for Gord, Crumpet, Muffin and I to try ... there is something for us all!

Topbox - April 2019

My April 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 ...

  • Sebastian Professional Dark Oil: Hair Styling Oil
  • Brune Nail Polish (#05) 
  • Hadaka Butterful Harula Butter Cream (Marula)
  • Yves Rocher Concentrated Shower Gel - Mango Coriander 
  • Saturday, 13 April 2019

    Book ~ "Emily, Gone" (2019) Bette Lee Crosby

    From Goodreads ~ 1971. When a music festival rolls through the sleepy town of Hesterville, Georgia, the Dixon family’s lives are forever changed. On the final night, a storm muffles the sound of the blaring music and Rachel tucks her baby into bed before falling into a deep sleep. So deep, she doesn’t hear the kitchen door opening. When she and her husband wake up in the morning, the crib is empty. Emily is gone.

    Vicki Robart is one of the thousands at the festival but she’s not feeling the music. She’s feeling the emptiness over the loss of her own baby several months before. When she leaves the festival and is faced with an opportunity to fill that void, she is driven to an act of desperation that will forever bind the lives of three women.

    When the truth of what actually happened that fateful night is finally exposed, shattering the lives they’ve built, will they be able to pick up the pieces to put their families back together again?

    It's 1971 and there's a big music festival happening on a farm outside the small town of Hesterville, GA.  Lots of "hippies" invade the town and there's loud vibrating music all weekend.  The townsfolk complain but there's nothing the local sheriff can do since it's outside the town.

    The Dixons live not far from the festival.  Tired from not getting a lot of sleep all weekend, the rain comes masking the sound of music and Rachel and George finally get a good night sleep.  When they wake up the next morning, they discover their baby, Emily, is missing.  The sheriff investigates, posters are put up, a reward is collected and ads are placed in newspapers but Emily is never found.  Hoping for the best, it takes years for Rachel and George to move on and they pray that Emily is being raised in a loving home.

    Vicki and Murph are at the festival.  Stoned and hungry on the last night of the festival, Vicki convinces Murph to stop at a dark house so she can ask for food.  The door is unlocked and Vicki walks in.  Instead of taking food, she discovers Emily asleep in bed.  Vicki had given birth to a stillborn whom she named Lara a few months earlier and thinks God is replacing Lara with Emily ... and Emily grows up as Lara.

    I thought this book was okay.  I loved the concept of the story ... a baby is taken, the girl grows up and discovers she was kidnapped at birth.  I was interested to know how it was discovered and what were the repercussions.  Then the "how" happened.  Up until that point, the book was a solid 4/5 as I was enjoying the story and the writing style (it's written in third perspective).  When the "how" was revealed, I thought "SERIOUSLY?"  It was way too coincidental and I wasn't buying it.  The happy ending was nice but it was too neat.  It dropped to a 3/5 for me.

    If you are looking for a nice clean wholesome story, you will like it.  I've read many of this author's books and this is her style.  Though I am not religious, the characters in this book are. 

    The Craft Brasserie & Grille, Toronto, ON

    Gord and I had supper this evening at The Craft Brasserie & Grille in Liberty Village with some friends.  Gord was celebrating his recent retirement and his recent birthday.

    Below are Dawn, Liz, Darlene, Craig, Alfred, Kevin, Gord, Sox, Christine, Rosemary, Rona, Jacob, Roger and Martin ... Ian joined us later.

    Everyone ordered a variety of dishes.  I had a Grilled Chicken Club sandwich (minus the onions and lettuce) with a side salad.  My sandwich was good as was the salad.

    Everyone seemed to have a good time and it was great to see everyone.  Brigin was our server and, though it was busy and we were a big group, she took good care of all of us.

    The Craft Brasserie & Grille Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Friday, 12 April 2019

    Toronto Rock 13, New England Black Wolves 12, Scotiabank Arena, 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 sixth year going to the games and our fifth year having seasons tickets.

    Tonight the Rock were hosting the New England Black Wolves.  Toronto had already secured a playoff spot.  This was the last home game of the season.

    We got there early enough to watch the teams warm up.

    Tonight the Rock retired Jim Veltman's #32 in a ceremony before the game ... he was the first captain of the Rock.

    Thursday, 11 April 2019

    Book ~ "Daisy Jones & The Six" (2019) Taylor Jenkins Reid

    From Goodreads ~ Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity ... until now.

    Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

    Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant and, with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

    Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

    Daisy Jones was a young groupie in the late 1960s and living the life of drugs, booze and sex.  She had everything she wanted including money and freedom and her parents seemed more caught up in their lives than hers.  When she is about twenty, she records a record that is a big hit.

    During this time, Billy Dunne and his brother, Graham, have started a band called the Dunne Brothers, eventually renamed The Six.  They are also on the rise.  Billy has been dating Camila and she moves with him to L.A. when the band relocates.  The band starts to draw attention and head out on tour.  Camila discovers she is pregnant and though Billy loves her and marries her, the fear of being a good dad gets to him and he gets wild on the road with booze, drugs and women.  Camila eventually makes him make a choice ... clean up or he loses his family.

    A producer suggests that Daisy and The Six get together to record a record for even greater success.  They do and they become Daisy Jones & The Six.  While Billy struggles with sobriety, Daisy is out of control on drugs and booze, yet there is a creative spark between them.  Their record and popularity explodes and they have to deal with this on the road.

    This book is the story of how Daisy & The Six came to be, their internal struggles, their tours and the eventual break-up of the band.

    I liked it this book.  I found the writing style interesting and it worked for me.  It is the compilation of interviews the "author" had done in researching for the story of the band.  The book is laid out in chronological order of events and is told in chunks from interviews with the band members, Camila, the producer and even a hotel concierge.  This worked for me as I got the different points of view of the events from different perspectives.  For example, at times Billy thought everything was great whereas band member, Eddie, was extremely pissed off at the same situation.  As a head's up, there is swearing and drug use and drinking.

    Wednesday, 10 April 2019

    Union Chicken, Toronto, ON

    Union Station has spent a lot of money and years renovating.  One of the benefits is that there is now lots of choice of  places to eat.  They now have a foodcourt and restaurants.

    Today I had lunch at Union Chicken.  It's been open for about a year.

    There is a take-out part
    I sat in the restaurant

    I'm back on Weight Watchers, which encourages you to eat protein rather than carbs, so I ordered the Spit-Fired Rotisserie half chicken.  The chicken was good.  The spices from the skin (I didn't eat the skin) and the dipping sauce had a bit of a kick, which was fun.  It came out rather quickly and that showed as the chicken and dipping sauce could have been hotter.  The pickles were tasty.  I didn't eat the slices of bread.

    Sunday, 7 April 2019

    Open Cribbage Tournament, Royal Canadian Legion - Branch 31 Mount Dennis, Toronto, ON

    Gord and I enjoy playing cribbage.

    We discovered that cribbage tournaments are held every few months at the Royal Canadian Legion - Branch 31 Mount Dennis.  We went to the one in January and had fun so went again today.

    There was a big turnout ... 70 teams!  They had to keep bringing up tables and chairs from downstairs to accommodate everyone.

    Saturday, 6 April 2019

    Book ~ "The Light Over London" (2019) Julia Kelly

    From Goodreads ~ It’s always been easier for Cara Hargraves to bury herself in the past than confront the present, which is why working with a gruff but brilliant antiques dealer is perfect. While clearing out an estate, she pries open an old tin that holds the relics of a lost relationship: among the treasures, a World War II-era diary and a photograph of a young woman in uniform. Eager to find the author of the hauntingly beautiful, unfinished diary, Cara digs into this soldier’s life but soon realizes she may not have been ready for the stark reality of wartime London she finds within the pages.

    In 1941, nineteen-year-old Louise Keene’s life had been decided for her - she’ll wait at home in her Cornish village until her wealthy suitor returns from war to ask for her hand. But when Louise unexpectedly meets Flight Lieutenant Paul Bolton, a dashing RAF pilot stationed at a local base, everything changes. And changes again when Paul’s unit is deployed without warning.

    Desperate for a larger life, Louise joins the women’s branch of the British Army in the anti-aircraft gun unit as a Gunner Girl. As bombs fall on London, she and the other Gunner Girls relish in their duties to be exact in their calculations, and quick in their identification of enemy planes during air raids. The only thing that gets Louise through those dark, bullet-filled nights is knowing she and Paul will be together when the war is over. But when a bundle of her letters to him are returned unanswered, she learns that wartime romance can have a much darker side.

    In 1941 during World War II, Louise is living in a small town in England and working in a store.  Her mother has her life planned for her ... when Gary, a local man who Louise had a couple dates with but had no interest in, returns from the war, they will get married and raise a family.  But Louise has bigger dreams ... she wants to have a life outside their small town, perhaps even go to California (she has a postcard of California tacked to her wall).

    Louise meets a pilot named Paul at a local dance and they fall in love.  When Paul is shipped out, Louise also yearns get away from home plus do something to help with the war effort so joins the woman's branch of the British Army and becomes a Gunner Girl.  She and Paul are able to exchange letters so keep in touch.  Louise had started keeping a diary when she was working in the store and continues when she goes into the army.

    In present day, Cara is working for a crusty antiques dealer.  Divorced, she had moved back to live near her grandmother.  While cataloging the estate of the recently deceased Leonora, she comes across an old tin biscuit box containing a the diary of "L.K.", a small compass, a locket and a picture.  The box doesn't belong to Leonora so Cara is determined to reunite the contents with the "L.K.'s" family.  With the help of her new neighbour, Liam, a history professor, they try to learn what they can of L.K.'s past.

    This is the first book I've read by this author and I liked it.  It's written in third person perspective ... alternating in Louise's voice and Cara's voice (the chapters are labeled so you know whose voice it is).  Included throughout the book are the entries from Louise's diary and the letters she had received.  This worked for me as it gave me an opportunity to know what was going on in their thoughts.  I found the story of Louise's life after the army a bit too vague, though ... I would have like to have more details.

    I didn't know anything about the Gunner Girls so it was interesting to learn a bit of history.

    Friday, 5 April 2019

    Toronto Rock 12, Buffalo Bandits 11, Scotiabank Arena, 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 sixth year going to the games and our fifth year having seasons tickets.

    Tonight the Rock were hosting the Buffalo Bandits.  The Bandits were leading in the eastern division so has secured a playoff spot.  The Rock were in third plan and had also secured a playoff spot.

    Former Rock player Sandy Chapman was honoured by being put in the Rock Hall of Fame this week.

    Scotty Newlands sang the national anthems.

    Thursday, 4 April 2019

    Book ~ "Air Fry Every Day: 75 Recipes to Fry, Roast, and Bake Using Your Air Fryer" (2018) Ben Mims

    From Goodreads ~ The air fryer is the newest must-have kitchen appliance and it's easy to see why: favorite fried foods come out perfectly crispy and crunchy, using little to no oil, and have a fraction of the calories that their traditionally fried counterparts have. The high-powered convection heating translates to faster cook times and with so little oil, you'll have easy clean-up too. 

    "Air Fry Every Day" shows you how to use your air fryer to create healthier fresh takes on comfort food classics, crowd-pleasing snacks and kid-friendly dishes such as buffalo wings, coconut shrimp, shoestring fries, stuffed blooming onions with lemon aioli, and spiced sweet potato wedges with garlic yogurt dip. You'll also find deliciously unexpected ways to put your air fryer to use in recipes such as golden bread crumb-crusted cider-brined pork chops, crispy air-fried rice and beautifully bronzed whole heads of cauliflower. 

    An air fryer is also incredibly versatile: with its powerful convection heating, it can bake, roast and steam at superfast speeds, so in addition to craveworthy "fried" foods, you'll find recipes for roasted meats, breads, pizzas, and even desserts and sweet baked goods--you may never turn your oven on again. With recipes that are creative, fast, and foolproof, and essential tips and techniques to maximize your air fryer's capabilities, "Air Fry Every Day" is the best reason why you should add this tool to your arsenal of kitchen gadgets. 

    Gord and I received an air fryer as a Christmas gift in December.  We liked it so much that we bought a second one.

    This book started with an introduction about the air fryer.  Included was a history of how it was created a decade ago to give French fry-obsessed Europeans a way to make French fries in their tiny apartment kitchens without the hassle of heating gallons of hot oil and figuring out how to disposed of it afterwards.  I didn't know that!  Next is Air Fryer 101 ... how to choose an air fryer model, how to use presets, shake stir fry, don't overload the basket, know your hot spots, use pans to expand your air fryer possibilities and how to use oil in the recipes.  Then he discussed making your ordinary everyday foods such as frozen foods, toast, leftovers, cookies, etc.

    The recipe sections are:
    • Breakfast and brunch
    • Appetizers and snacks
    • Main events
    • Vegetables
    • Savory breads
    • Sweets

    There were lots of delicious sounding recipes that didn't sound too hard that I would like to try.  It would have been nice if there was a picture included for all the recipes rather than just a handful.

    I liked that there was a short story before each recipe make it more personal for the author.  It would have been nice if prep times, cooking times and nutrition (calories, amount of fat, protein, carbs, etc.) had been included with the recipes.

    I read this book on my iPad and I found that it wasn't formatted well for it.  Regardless of whether I held my iPad horizontally or vertically, the recipes sprawled over different pages ... it would have been nice if all the information was viewable on the screen rather than being cut off to another page (I wasn't able to reduce the font size to make it fit).

    Here is the recipe for a Samosa Vegetable Pot Pie that sounds and looks delicious:

    Wednesday, 3 April 2019

    SinglesSwag - April 2019

    My April SinglesSwag box arrived today.

    Every month, enjoy full-sized, hand-selected products exclusively for fun and fabulous single women. 
    • Organic beauty fun
    • Trending fashion accessories
    • Delicious snacks and treats
    • Best selling books
    • Other surprises

    You can get the SinglesSwag (receive 6-7 full-sized products every month for $224.99US for six months) or the SinglesSwag Petite (receive 3-4 full-sized products every month for $139.99US for six months) ... I ordered the SinglesSwag.  Shipping is free in the U.S. but there is a shipping cost for them to send it outside the U.S.  The link I went through gave me a discount and it ended up costing me $261.50CN for six months ($43.58CN per month).

    Book ~ "For Better and Worse" (2018) Margot Hunt

    From Goodreads ~ On their first date back in law school, Natalie and Will Clarke bonded over drinks, dinner and whether they could get away with murder. Now married, they’ll put the latter to the test when an unchecked danger in their community places their son in jeopardy. Working as a criminal defense attorney, Nat refuses to rely on the broken legal system to keep her family safe. She knows that if you want justice ... you have to get it yourself. 

    Shocked to discover Nat’s taken matters into her own hands, Will has no choice but to dirty his also. His family is in way too deep to back down now. He’s just not sure he recognizes the woman he married. Nat’s always been fiercely protective but never this ruthless or calculating. With the police poking holes in their airtight plan, what will be the first to fall apart: their scandalous secret - or their marriage?

    Natalie and Will started dating in law school.  Seventeen years later, they are married with an 11-year-old son named Charlie.  Natalie is an criminal defense attorney and Will is an estate lawyer.  Of the two, Natalie is more the controlling and structured while Will is more laid back.  Over the years, the two have drifted apart.

    When it's discovered there is a pedophile in their community, Natalie knows the justice system will probably not punish him and it will be the children who were victimized who will have to suffer even more.  So she decides to take matters into her own.  When things go wrong in progress, she calls Will to help her and against his better judgement, he does.  The two of them have to live with what they've done and and do whatever it takes to keep their family together.  For Natalie, that is no problem ... for Will, it's a big problem.

    This is the first book I've read by this author and I enjoyed it.  I thought the storyline was intriguing and it was interesting to see how Natalie had planned things out and handled it when things started coming out.  I didn't find Natalie likable, though.  Though it was obvious she loved her son, I found her cold.  I thought she was good as a defense lawyer because she was able to turn off her emotions with her cases.  Will, on the other hand, was the opposite and had a hard time handling everything that was going on.

    The book is written in first person perspective ... the first and third chapter are in Natalie's voice and the second chapter is in Will's voice.  This worked for me as I got to see what was going on in their heads as things were happening.  I thought the ending had an interesting twist.  As a head's up, there is swearing and some violence.

    Monday, 1 April 2019

    Book ~ "Humor That Works: The Missing Skill for Success and Happiness at Work" (2019) Andrew Tarvin

    From Goodreads ~ If you want to increase team productivity, relieve stress, and be happier at work, you could hire a bunch of workplace consultants, invest in scream therapy and put Pharrell Williams on repeat - or you could just read "Humor That Works".

    Written by Andrew Tarvin, the world’s first Humor Engineer, this a business book on humor. No, that’s not an oxymoron. It really is a business book and it really is about getting better results by having more fun. Because people who use humor in the workplace are more productive, less stressed and happier. No joke; sources included.

    The goal is not to make you funnier - though that may be a side effect - but to make you effective-er. You’ll learn to develop a personal humor habit that’s not about spitting wisecracks or telling the funniest stories but a way of seeing work in an energizing new way. You’ll build on some of the most important business skills for today’s work environment, develop techniques for leveraging humor, and take action to improve your work immediately. And you’ll have fun doing it.

    There will be stories about grandmas who text, multiple mentions of milkshakes and exactly seven references to zombies. Oh, and there will be puns (you’ve been warned). Looking for success and happiness at work? Discover the missing skill of "Humor That Works".

    I like reading "business books" and the fact that this one was based on humor that works made it even more interesting to me.

    The author has a degree in computer science and engineering.  He started his career at Proctor & Gamble as an IT project manager.  With experience in improv, he realized that people are more likely to do something if it was fun so he started adding humor to his presentations, email and started an internal blog.  A few years later, he left P&G to become the world's first "humor engineer" to solve corporate problems using humor.

    This book will help you improve your humor skills but not how to be funnier.  The chapters are:

    I.  The What and Why of Humor
    • Humanity's desperate need for humor
    • Why choose humor
    • Defining humor that works
    • The skill of humor

    II. The How of Humor
    • Humor and execution
    • Humor and thinking
    • Humor and communication
    • Humor and connection
    • Humor and leadership
    • Success and happiness at work

    III. Debrief - includes "no excuses" resources

    I liked this book.  It was a good reminder that there are things you may not like to do but if you add fun and humor to it, you may enjoy it more or at least make it bearable.  If there is something you don't like about your job, you are responsible for it ... it's up to you to either change it or change the way you think about it.  This book lets you know how to make your work environment fun whether you are an employee or in a leadership role.

    I also like the writing style.  It was interesting, and humorous and silly at times.  I'd like to read other books by this author.