April 2013 archive

Gemma Correll at the Magic Pony

 

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I had no idea that Gemma Correll was going to be at the Magic Pony until I glanced at my Twitter feed. I’m so glad I was able to go to the opening of her illustration show!

Gemma is a British illustrator that draws adorable comics about her outfits, cats, and pug dogs. She is very talented, and also very nice! I was lucky to meet her and have her sign a book for me. Gemma has illustrations on display and has created some fun merchandise that’s for sale. She’s also done adorable drawings on the walls with marker.

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The  Mr. Pickles Fan Club, is at the Magic Pony until May. 11th. Don’t miss out to see her cute drawings in the flesh!

The Magic Pony, 680 Queen St W, Toronto, ON

California dreaming with iYellow Wine Club

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When I first came across iYellow Wine Club, I was intrigued. I’ve been to wine classes before (notably, the LCBO class I took a couple of years ago) but I am by no means an expert. I was very excited to be a guest at the final session of one of their classes.

Angela and Chris

Angela and Taylor

The founder of iYellow Wine Club is Angela Aiello. She designed the club to help build wine confidence. With this club, you can taste, learn and have fun with wine.

The Winter session classes were held weekly at the lovely Ritz Carlton Hotel from Feb until April. Each class ran from 6-7:30pm and is $45 per class. At each class you get to taste 6 wines all paired with (DELICIOUS) cheeses specially selected from the TOCA Cheese Cave. The theme for the winter classes was California Wines.

blind taste test!

blind taste test!

I unwittingly arrived on exam day. The class had to blind taste  6 wines, 3 white and 3 red. We had to guess the grape, vintage (how old the wine is) and region. Needless to say, I just watched. And was amazed! This class knew their stuff. The class was fun and informal. Sommelier Taylor Thompson and Angela were charming and informative as we tasted each wine.

Here are some things that I learned:

  • Wine legs are the streaks of wine the fall down the glass after you have swirled the wine. If the legs fall quickly, the wine could be from a cool climate.
  • If wines are called a specific grape, it must contain at least 75% of the grape
  • Don’t know what to say about tasting notes in a white wine? Try pear, there is almost always a note of pear in a white wine
  • If the wine is a ruby red colour, it’s a young wine. Red wine gets brown with age.
  • If the wine has less acidity, it could be a warmer wine.
  • If you taste leather or earth, the wine has been aged.

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The wines we tasted included: Entwine, Bonterra Piont Noir,and Silver Palm chardonnay. Yum.

After the quiz, our wines were accompanied with some fantastic cheese (and really good bread) from Toca’s cheese cave.

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I snuck a quick peek at the Toca cheese cave

I loved this class, and would definitely recommend signing up for their next session. In addition to classes, iYellow Wine Club organizes day trips and wine events around Toronto and outside the city. On May 25th they will be hosting a Prince Edward County Tour and they have several other Toronto events. If you’ve always wanted to learn about wine, but were too afraid, this is the club for you.

http://www.iYellowWineClub.com

Wedding Night

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I’m always filled with anticipation when I first find out about a new Sophie Kinsella book. The chick lit queen has written many other books, her most famous being Confessions of a Shoppaholic. I quite enjoy her stand alone novels, and usually devour them in less than a day. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Wedding Night!

Lottie is pretty sure that her long term boyfriend, Richard, is going to propose. In fact, she’s so sure that she’s kind of already bought him a ring. It’s only fair. Presumably he’s bought her one as well. Only….he hasn’t. He doesn’t propose. And she is devastated.

Fliss knows her younger sister quite well. When she finds out that Richard has not proposed, and that they broke up, she knows that there can only be one outcome. Lottie is about to have an Unfortunate Incident. Although she claims to be fine, Fliss just knows that Lottie will show her pain in the form of an ill advised tattoo, or possibly join a cult. (Again.)

To make matters worse, Lottie’s ex boyfriend Ben pops back into the picture, reminding her of their “If we’re both still single at 30, let’s get married,” pact. Soon (like, incredibly soon), Lottie & Ben are making plans to get married and honeymoon in Greece.

 Fliss is horrified to hear of this plan and so is Ben’s best friend, Lorcan. Together, they decide to intervene. What follows is a thoroughly entertaining chase.

That’s all I’m going to say about the plot!

Now, before Sophie Kinsella was writing under her pseudonym, she was using her given name, Madeleine Wickham. I’ve read some of her earlier books and I found that they are a little heavier and deal with darker subject matter, such as a little boy drowning while under the care of his mother, etc. They also had more of a family element. Her more recent books are always hilarious and very light.

I feel like this book bridges the gap between both Sophies. This book deals with slightly heavier subjects. One of the main characters is going through a bitter divorce and has a small child. However, this book is still super funny. Lorcan ended up being my favourite character!

Wedding Night will be out on Tuesday April 23rd. If you love Meg Cabot or Sarra Manning, you should pick up this book!

Tiger of Sweden lands in Toronto

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Photo courtesy of SlavinRaphael via RockitPromo

Listen up fashionistas! Hipper-than-thou Ossington has acquired a new shop  from Sweden! The aptly named Tiger of Sweden has landed in Toronto in a brand new, well designed 3,600 ft space. This brand is incredibly popular in Europe and is available in 18 countries.  I went to the launch last week to check it out!
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This flagship location carries high end collections for both men and women, as well as shoes and accessories.  The collection features clean lines, tailored suits and bright patterns for spring.

Internationally, Scandinavian fashion is receiving well-deserved recognition for its distinct aesthetic, attractive cuts and cool factor,” said David Thunmarker, CEO of Tiger of Sweden.  “As a brand, we’re thrilled about the opportunity to present our collections in a discerning and fashion-forward market such as Toronto.”

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Go check them out! Tiger of Sweden is at 56 Ossington Avenue, Toronto.

 

Nu Bugel in Kensington Market

Earlier this month, I found myself downtown on a Saturday afternoon with time to kill. After thinking about what to do, I realized that I could use this time to visit one of my favourite neighborhoods in Toronto (Kensington Market) to check out Nu Bagels!

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Nu Bügel
opened earlier this year. They specialize in traditional Montreal style wood fired bagels. (I have a bit of an obsession with these bagels and can been frequently seen toting bags of bagels from Fairmont Bagels in Montreal. Just sayin’.)  Montreal bagels are Jewish in origin. These bagels are boiled in honey sweetened water before they are popped into a wood burning oven.

The shop is family owned, and I spent some time chatting with the owner and his son as I put my order in for 1 dozen bagels. I’m a bit worried because it’s 5pm on a Saturday- just one hour till closing time. Will I be able to get hot bagels?

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During the day, these long skinny poles are filled with bagels ready to be scooped up by hungry customers. During my visit, they are empty, empty poles. Ssold out!) The shop, however, is buzzing with activity. Their baker is hard at work sliding long thin trays of bagels into their brick oven.

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I’m rewarded with fresh, piping hot bagels in minutes. I order a dozen sesame seed ($9) and the owner warns me not to close the paper bag, or else my bagels will become soggy. I immediately sit down and demolish a bagel. It’s sooo good. Crisp on the outside and chewy and slightly sweet on the inside. Perfect.

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In addition to sesame, bagels are available in poppy seed, everything, plain, and onion. For those of you who prefer to eat your bagels in sandwich form, this bakery will also prepare fresh sandwiches and salads from their diverse menu. You can also enjoy coffee and tea with your bagels.

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Nu Bügel is located at 240 Augusta Ave. Toronto.

Spa Week by WaySpa.com

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It’s spring, and spa-aaah is in the air. Next week is the official kick off of Spa Week. I was treated to a little preview earlier this week.

What’s Spa Week, you ask? Spa Week occurs in tandem across North America. It’s a special week where an array of spa services are available for $50. You can get facials, manicures, massages, body polishes…the list of treatments are endless. And only for $50!

I really like this, because it gives people that wouldn’t necessarily go to a spa a chance to experience it. Many of these treatments are about $100, so it’s a great deal!

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Around the room, I was able to get a taste of what Spa Week had to offer. Dove Spa was treating guests to mini manicures. Trendy oxygen facials were being done by Moksa Spa.

I booked a massage at Holt Renfew’s Spa. Can’t wait! There are many services being offered for only $50! Book your treatment today,spots are filling up fast! Spa Week is from April 15th- April 21.IMG_8162

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