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January 29th, 2013

My Life, My Blog

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I always say I’m going to start blogging again, because I really do miss the old days (like, a decade ago) when I could look back and see what I was doing, feeling, thinking and sharing. Reading some of my old LiveJournal entries has really solidified how drastically I’ve changed as a person, but am still sort of the same. Besides, there are lots of really exciting things that have happened to me in the last few years, and I have made no real attempt to save the details for posterity. Now that I have the time, I should enjoy my favorite Hobbies – Blogging is one of them.

I’m not interested in a Blog Audience, I’m interested in saving and sharing and documenting my life experiences. So, with that in mind – lets go over some of the more important events of my life in the last 12 months (picking up exactly one day after where I left off);

Getting Engaged
April 21 2012

Even though I’d help him pick out the setting, and stone… Eddie still shocked me by asking me to marry him in the most casual way possible – after I came home from the movies one wonderful afternoon. I was so overjoyed and happy – I sort of attacked him with hugs before he got the words out!


Here are some of our official “Engagement Photos”

Visiting Alberta
June 29 – July 8, 2012

Visiting Eddie’s Family and Friends in his hometown was a real treat! We got to drive through the mountains from Edmonton to Jasper, down through Banff and to Calgary. I can honestly feel like I’ve seen all of Alberta, and it is very beautiful – even if it’s always cold in the shade, and never fully dark in the summer.

It was a great trip and I was so happy to spend time with all the people so important to Eddie – I miss those awesome folks all the time!


Getting Married
August 3, 2012

Eddie and I both knew that we never wanted a ‘Big’ wedding, in fact, when planning out going to the Bahamas to get hitched the original plan was just us, but in the end my mother and his parents joined us – and it was beyond a dream come true.

I got to marry the man of my dreams in paradise… nice. I’m so lucky, and so happy with the way our whole trip went, I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect wedding!


“Back home in Toronto, as Husband & Wife” ~ via Instagram

Getting Knocked Up
Well, that was quick!

“Lets start trying strait away” I said, “You never know how long it’ll take” I said… “First Try – BAM!” He said. Sigh.

Anyone who has ever known me, ever, knows that I was quite vocal about never wanting to have children. Rather than feeling like a hypocrite, I like to think that my life has changed so much for the better, that the possibility of having a family is now an option, where previously it would have been quite irresponsible

As of writing this, I am 24 weeks along – and my brain is fully soaked in Pregnancy Hormones to the point that Chantelle of 2 years ago wouldn’t even recognize Chantelle of today. I’m so overwhelmed with emotions, it’s pretty exhausting but very, very excited to have a Baby!!! Since he’s allergic, we’re not calling it a little “Peanut” – it’s “Baby Carrot” and we won’t be finding out if it’s a little boy or girl till it arrives on (or around) May 20th.

I am pretty certain this event was the major catalyst for starting up this blog again. Not because I want to become a “Mommy Blogger” – quite the opposite actually. This has been a project of mine for nearly a decade and a half – I want to have my own interests, hobbies, and experiences that don’t only revolve around having a Baby. I’m under no illusion that the majority of my posts may end up being about it anyways – but I also hope that it’s more of a reflection of my life as a whole – and not just a Baby Blog.


Baby Carrot, at exactly 21 weeks

Moving into the Condo!
November 16, 2012

Eddie bought his “Swanky Bachelor Pad” about two months before we started dating. I doubt very highly he was anticipating getting hitched & knocked up in the meantime. But here we are, in our Married People Condo on King West.

The few blissful months I spent in Yorkville will be forever missed, being a block from three subway stations, and mere steps from about eighty Starbucks was wonderful.

However, the streetcars at King & Bathurst are decent (if not loud), and there’s actually two Starbucks within reasonable walking distance from the condo, as well as a fancy french coffee shop opening in the floor level of our building – so my First World Problems aren’t even that serious.

We live in a strange state of almost-moved-in. Our Couch, Dining Table and Chairs are all ordered, pending delivery. We’ve made small improvements, such as awesome Kitchen Lighting – but still don’t have any shades or blinds for the 60+ feet of floor-to-ceiling windows, instead we currently have sheets taped up to the windows in the Bedroom. It’s classy as hell.

On top of getting ourselves moved in, it’s becoming ever more important to start acquiring mass amounts of Baby related furniture and accessories. I’m woefully unprepared for the tiny roommate we’ll have in 16 weeks!!!

2013 + Beyond!

So as you can see, 2012 was a big year. Not to mention visiting Vegas, My Best Friend’s Wedding, TIFF 2012, and lots and lots of other interesting and exciting things – exactly the sorts of events I will try and keep on top of in the coming year(s)!

[via ChantelleJoy.com]

My Life, My Blog

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I always say I’m going to start blogging again, because I really do miss the old days (like, a decade ago) when I could look back and see what I was doing, feeling, thinking and sharing. Reading some of my old LiveJournal entries has really solidified how drastically I’ve changed as a person, but am still sort of the same. Besides, there are lots of really exciting things that have happened to me in the last few years, and I have made no real attempt to save the details for posterity. Now that I have the time, I should enjoy my favorite Hobbies – Blogging is one of them.

I’m not interested in a Blog Audience, I’m interested in saving and sharing and documenting my life experiences. So, with that in mind – lets go over some of the more important events of my life in the last 12 months (picking up exactly one day after where I left off);

Getting Engaged
April 21 2012

Even though I’d help him pick out the setting, and stone… Eddie still shocked me by asking me to marry him in the most casual way possible – after I came home from the movies one wonderful afternoon. I was so overjoyed and happy – I sort of attacked him with hugs before he got the words out!


Here are some of our official “Engagement Photos”

Visiting Alberta
June 29 – July 8, 2012

Visiting Eddie’s Family and Friends in his hometown was a real treat! We got to drive through the mountains from Edmonton to Jasper, down through Banff and to Calgary. I can honestly feel like I’ve seen all of Alberta, and it is very beautiful – even if it’s always cold in the shade, and never fully dark in the summer.

It was a great trip and I was so happy to spend time with all the people so important to Eddie – I miss those awesome folks all the time!


Getting Married
August 3, 2012

Eddie and I both knew that we never wanted a ‘Big’ wedding, in fact, when planning out going to the Bahamas to get hitched the original plan was just us, but in the end my mother and his parents joined us – and it was beyond a dream come true.

I got to marry the man of my dreams in paradise… nice. I’m so lucky, and so happy with the way our whole trip went, I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect wedding!


“Back home in Toronto, as Husband & Wife” ~ via Instagram

Getting Knocked Up
Well, that was quick!

“Lets start trying strait away” I said, “You never know how long it’ll take” I said… “First Try – BAM!” He said. Sigh.

Anyone who has ever known me, ever, knows that I was quite vocal about never wanting to have children. Rather than feeling like a hypocrite, I like to think that my life has changed so much for the better, that the possibility of having a family is now an option, where previously it would have been quite irresponsible

As of writing this, I am 24 weeks along – and my brain is fully soaked in Pregnancy Hormones to the point that Chantelle of 2 years ago wouldn’t even recognize Chantelle of today. I’m so overwhelmed with emotions, it’s pretty exhausting but very, very excited to have a Baby!!! Since he’s allergic, we’re not calling it a little “Peanut” – it’s “Baby Carrot” and we won’t be finding out if it’s a little boy or girl till it arrives on (or around) May 20th.

I am pretty certain this event was the major catalyst for starting up this blog again. Not because I want to become a “Mommy Blogger” – quite the opposite actually. This has been a project of mine for nearly a decade and a half – I want to have my own interests, hobbies, and experiences that don’t only revolve around having a Baby. I’m under no illusion that the majority of my posts may end up being about it anyways – but I also hope that it’s more of a reflection of my life as a whole – and not just a Baby Blog.


Baby Carrot, at exactly 21 weeks

Moving into the Condo!
November 16, 2012

Eddie bought his “Swanky Bachelor Pad” about two months before we started dating. I doubt very highly he was anticipating getting hitched & knocked up in the meantime. But here we are, in our Married People Condo on King West.

The few blissful months I spent in Yorkville will be forever missed, being a block from three subway stations, and mere steps from about eighty Starbucks was wonderful.

However, the streetcars at King & Bathurst are decent (if not loud), and there’s actually two Starbucks within reasonable walking distance from the condo, as well as a fancy french coffee shop opening in the floor level of our building – so my First World Problems aren’t even that serious.

We live in a strange state of almost-moved-in. Our Couch, Dining Table and Chairs are all ordered, pending delivery. We’ve made small improvements, such as awesome Kitchen Lighting – but still don’t have any shades or blinds for the 60+ feet of floor-to-ceiling windows, instead we currently have sheets taped up to the windows in the Bedroom. It’s classy as hell.

On top of getting ourselves moved in, it’s becoming ever more important to start acquiring mass amounts of Baby related furniture and accessories. I’m woefully unprepared for the tiny roommate we’ll have in 16 weeks!!!

2013 + Beyond!

So as you can see, 2012 was a big year. Not to mention visiting Vegas, My Best Friend’s Wedding, TIFF 2012, and lots and lots of other interesting and exciting things – exactly the sorts of events I will try and keep on top of in the coming year(s)!

[via ChantelleJoy.com]

September 7th, 2012

Of all the years I’ve attended TIFF, the only time I went to a movie on Opening Night was the year I won Opening Night Film Tickets, and it was great. Sometimes, I don’t do much of anything to celebrate, but this year I went for dinner at Luma (at the TIFF Bell Lightbox), and The Drake Hotel’s opening night party with the ever delightful Angelina.

null
My two highlights of the evening were not very exciting, to be honest.

First, I totally saw Cameron Bailey coming out of the washroom at The Lightbox. That’s my first quasi-celebrity sighting.

Second, the line up for The Drake was long an generally boring, except the weather was delightful, and we could hear the band through the windows…
It was almost like being in a better, non-alcoholic, version of the club.


Not being a huge fan of music, I really don’t know who The Darcys are, but we got in just in time to see them play. We found a comfy booth and enjoyed our successful evening. Nothing much more to it then that.

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Tonight kicks off my first film of the fest, Anna Karenina featuring TIFF sweetheart Keira Knightley, I had also hoped to snag tickets to Seven Psychopaths, but it was the one film that played illusive with me this year. I may still pop by Ryerson for the Red Carpet though, hoping to get a glimpse of the all-star cast.

EDITED TO ADD: We Got Tickets to Seven Psychopaths!!!, See you tonight Colin Ferrell ;)

See you at the movies!
Chantelle

Thanks for reading! Feel free to tweet me your comments @ChantelleJoy, or head back to my main 2012 TIFF Site

[via ChantelleJoy.com]

August 24th, 2012

2012 TIFF Blog & Film List

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Here we go again.

A lot has happened in the last year. I got engaged, and I got married. I finally moved to The Big City (no more Horrible TIFF Commutes), but as much as things change, some things remain the same. It’s Late-August, which means its time for me to obsess over my Google Calendar, cross reference, double check, dot t’s and cross i’s – and somehow form a reasonable schedule for my favorite annual cultural event – The Toronto International Film Festival.

Last year, as with most years, I over extended myself. I got some decent articles posted as a Citizen Contributor for CBC.ca, but at the expensive of ChantelleJoy.com. Not this year, kiddos. I’m trying to ease back on my professional obligations during the festival and focus more on what matters, watching the movies, enjoying the movies, and sharing with anyone who will listen, my own personal take on the entire experience.

This years scheduling process was slightly more difficult on account of having TheRoamingLife.com‘s @Anzi coming along full-time, and my regular TIFFBFF, @AhliCake.

Juggling three people’s movie wish list, and avialblity was a bit tricky, but these girls are the best, and let me go whole-hog and book them up at my fancy. I’ve come up with a pretty decent Schedule Draft that fits all our top priority films in, and doesn’t look too exhausting.

Here are a few of the films I’m most looking forward to seeing, and why.


Everybody Has A Plan

Director: Ana Piterbarg. Starring: Viggo Mortensen

It’s Viggo, need I say more? TIFF simply wouldn’t be complete without at least one film from the prolific Mr. Mortensen, and between the two options showing this year I’m much more interested in seeing this one. (Let’s not mention that the other one includes My Least Favorite Actress of All Time). For more on TIFF’s Love Affair with Viggo (or perhaps the other way around?) read my 2011 article “Toronto Loves Viggo, and the feeling seems mutual!” on CBC.ca

Love is All You Need

Director: Susanne Beir Writer: Anders Thomas Jensen Starring: Paprika Steen.

There are about four legitimate film makers in Denmark. Susanne Beir, Anders Thomas Jensen and Pakprika Steen are three of them (Lars Von Trier being the fourth, of course). Having had the pleasure of being a part of one of the first audiences in the world to see Von Trier & Beir’s last colloaboration; Best Foreign Film Oscar-Winning ‘In A Better World‘ at the 2010 festival, I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ll do with this much lighter subject matter. I have unashamedly been turned into a Danish Film Nut, which you can read all about in another article on CBC.ca from last year: “Learning, then Loving, Danish Film“.

The Hunt

Director: Thomas Vinterberg Starring: Mads Mikkelsen

Has it really been three whole years since Mads has has a film at TIFF (with COCO & IGOR). Time Flies. And clearly my memory of Mr. Mikkelsen’s ethnicity do as well, as I completly forgot he was Danish, and therefore should have been included in the above-listed film-makers of Denmark. However, he does have the uncanny ablity fo enjoy boysterous success in Hollywood, while remaining a indie darling. Someone should get him and Viggo in a room together! Also, he won Best Actor for this role at Cannes, so it’s gunna be good.

Great Expectations

Director: Mike Newell Starring: Robbie Coltrane, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes

It’s going to become a cliche if Harry Potter alumni keep working together! (Although, Bonham Carter did not appear in Director Mike Newell’s instalment of the franchise). Even still, I always look forward to an emotional and deep performance by Ralph Finnes, and this Charles Dickens classic is just the right material for him. Similar to 2010′s The King’s Speech, I simply have a gut feeling that this may soar to the rafters, especially come Oscar Season. A least it’ll be better than the 1998 version, right?

Much Ado About Nothing

Director: Joss Whedon Starring: Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathan Fillion, Fran Kranz & Clark Gregg.

Wheadonverse Superfriends join forces to reinterpret this Shakespeare classic. I mean, it just looks awesome, and I’m super excited to see it!

Byzantium

Director: Neil Jordon Starring: Gemma Arterton, Saoirse Ronan.

This is quite a combo, Gemma Arterton (of 2010′s Tamara Drewe), Saoirse Ronan (of 2011′s Voilet & Daisy) play vampire sisters. Master storyteller Neil Jordon directs this moody tale, and I’m excited to see if his opinion of vampires has changed since he made Interview nearly two decades ago. This is the one film that all three of us had on our top “MUST SEE” List.

The Deep

Director: Baltasar Kormákur

Similar to Danish Film, I have a soft spot for anything Icelandic. Although I will admit that I have been way out of the loop in the last few years (and the TIFF selections have been pretty weak). However, I did see Baltasar Kormákur’s 2006 film Jar City, and enjoyed it, so happy to patron this newest offering. The Bad Luck part of this screening is that it’s at the very end of the film festival, and I havn’t actually attended my Last Film Screening in the last two years. Hopefully this year will fare better.

There are several other films I’m going to see that I’m sure are going to be super-good. View the rest of my planned schedule on TIFFR.

See you at the movies!
Chantelle

Thanks for reading! Feel free to tweet me your comments @ChantelleJoy, or head back to my main 2012 TIFF Site

[via ChantelleJoy.com]

April 20th, 2012

Ride Bike and Naps

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About a year ago I bought a Bicycle. Approximately 30 minutes after the purchase, I experienced a pretty bad accident involving some streetcar tracks. This not only left my knees in pretty rough shape, it also caused me to cancel a trip to NYC I had been pretty excited about.

Since then I’ve been back on the bike, quite a bit actually, but only in the Suburbs. I’ve always been afraid of biking in The City – and the accident only made things worse.

However, after just two short months of living in Toronto, I’ve realized something. Everybody Bikes, like, Everywhere. Especially when it’s nice out, there are literally HERDS of Cyclists all around the city. It’s impressive, and I really want to be a part of the club! So, yesterday (when it was over 20 degrees out!) I headed to Canadian Tire to outfit my bike with a Proper Bell, and a Side-Mirror, and filled my tires, and was on my way!

I biked along Bloor about 8Km from Yonge Street to High Park to see the Sakura Blossoms (while I still had the chance – a few pics I took can be seen here). It went GREAT! I then biked back along the waterfront to Sugar Beach with no issues! I’m feeling quite proud.

Which brings me to my next topic.
I must be part cat.

Laying down a big beach towel and sprawling out for a nap in the sun under the Cherry Blossom Trees was possibly one of the most relaxing and wonderful moments I’ve had in The City. Later, leaning back on the Muskoka Chairs at Sugar Beach with the sand under my feet was glorious. Finding a nice, quiet, relaxing spot in the city can be difficult – I want to share my experience and knowledge with others on this topic, so I’ve decided to start documenting my outdoor naps, and hopefully catch on and become a fun new project for me, we’ll see if I get bored with it. For yesterday’s (all all future) entries, see ChantelleJoy.com/Naps.
I’m going to update throughout the whole summer as I plan to relax on many a lawn and beach in the sunny days to come.

In the meantime, however, there are lots of exciting things on the horizon. I’ll be heading to Vegas May 4-6 for @Anzi & @BillyBobMac‘s Pastafarian Wedding. I’m pretty stoked about that, and I’m certain I’ll find a poolside or two to add rank on the nap list – so stay tuned!

[via ChantelleJoy.com]

March 24th, 2012

Dreaming of Jiro’s Sushi

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It was just about a year ago when I first heard about the documentary on the 3-Michelin starred Restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro, and its octogenarian chef/owner Jiro Ono. I couldn’t wait to see it. I was heading to NYC for Easter Weekend, and was excited that I’d be able to attend a screening at the Tribeca Film Festival. Sadly, my trip had to be cancelled and I had to sell my tickets. The film got rave reviews, and made a pretty big fuss as the first film to be sold at Tribeca in 2011. I moved on, but it never left my mind.

I was constantly reminded of the resturaunt at work, and whenever I went for sushi I’d think about Chef Ono and his skill. Similarly to how I was able to vicariously enjoy the food of El Bulli via Cooking in Progress, I wanted to experience his miraculous sushi. Then (to the rescue, as always) TIFF announced a limited run of at the Lightbox – I bought my ticket the very same day to see the film I’d been longing to see for ages, Jiro Dreams of Sushi.


(My original ticket for Tribeca’s screening on April 22, 2011. I finally saw the film on March 22, 2012)

Director David Gelb tells Jiro’s tale, the story of his tiny 10-person restaurant, and how he got to the height of culinary excellence with hard work, obsession, and focus. In that last sentence I wanted to write the word “creativity” but ironically Jiro’s food isn’t considered groundbreaking or innovative. Unlike the cuisine of the majority of what are considered “The Best Restaurants in the World“, we’re not talking about deconstruction and reconstruction, or molecular gastronomy, or even anything but traditional flavours and ingredients – we’re talking about fish on rice. Jiro hasn’t reinvented the wheel, he’s perfected it. He’s looked at every single aspect of his art and constantly tried to improve it. He’s spent decades (and decades) fine-tuning the entire process to make what is simply considered the most delicious sushi in the world. Simple.

If you are familiar with the Michelin rating system you’ll know that it’s not exactly the chefs themselves who receive the stars. It’s their restaurants. I’d say at the majority of Michelin rated restaurants in the UK, Europe and USA the chefs whom were awarded the honour of the stars are very likely not doing service day-in and day-out. The majority of the work on any meal is a team effort, and while the chefs are certainly credited for their inventions and recipes, it’s the executive chefs, chef de cuisine’s, chef de partie’s, sous-chefs, and stagiaire’s who are churning out the quality and consistency that’s required to receive those stars. In the documentary we do get to meet the young (and not-so young) apprentices that work under Chef Ono to keep the tradition of quality and excellence at this restaurant, but make no mistake that Chef Ono is still there, every day, creating the finished product for nearly every one of his patrons. In many ways this makes him personally more deserving of the Michelin stars than many other chefs who have been bestowed the same.

The documentary also lets us get to know Ono himself, from his difficult childhood, through the second world war, on to family life and cuisine, and finally his legacy. Older son Yoshikazu works tirelessly at his side, and is for all intents and purposes a younger version of Jiro – teaching and perfecting the skills and knowledge that he has learned over his lifetime from his father, awaiting his turn as the head chef, while knowing that it’s unlikley to happen while his father is alive. Ono’s younger son Takashi was sent forward with his father’s blessing to start his own branch of Sukiyabashi Jiro in Roppongi Hills – a mirror image of his father’s restaurant (as he is right-handed, Jiro being left handed) he is considered a master of his craft as well. We get to experience the vivacious fish market, meet a few of Jiro’s choice vendors, and learn exactly what he thinks it takes to be the best in the world at something.

Beautifully shot by Gleb, who clearly has the utmost respect for Jiro Ono. He makes fantastic use of a wonderful score and hyper-slow-mo for some food preparation shots. At one point our guide Japanese restaurant critic Masuhiro Yamamoto refers to the meal that you’re served as a symphony, and Gleb plays directly with this theme throughout by taking you on a journey to experience the breadth of the story he is telling, to experience the resaturant, the chef, and an entire meal as best you can on film.

I will have to say that the pacing did stumble only slightly near the 2/3rd mark of the film. Documentaries can be tricky on finding the right tone and story to tell, and I just think that they offered a bit of a summary too early – I honestly thought the film was winding down, luckily my disappointment was soon relieved as the film continued to its rightful length.

Sukiyabashi Jiro is considered a restaurant that is worth an entire trip to Japan, in which case it only stands to reason that Jiro Dreams of Sushi is definitely worth making a special effort to see (3 Michelin-Stars AND 96% Fresh! What are you waiting for?).
The release is extremely limited, so at the very least watch for it coming to DVD.

[via ChantelleJoy.com]

March 17th, 2012

Urban Food

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I think it finally hit me this week. I know that’s probably a funny thing to say after nearly a month, but it finally hit me that I Live In Toronto. What’s worse, is that I realized in many ways, it’s seriously no big deal. I don’t think I ever realized exactly how well suited I am for Urban life. I love it. Like, it brings me to tears how much I love it.

I think the first time I realized something to this tune was during my move from Hamilton back to Oakville 3 years ago. I loved my apartment in Hamilton and since I had a car at the time it was pretty easy living (even if it was in Hamilton *shiver*). My mom, however, needed a roomate and my apartment wasn’t big enough for two so she asked me to move in with her (also in Hamilton). I really, really, really didn’t want to. I really, really didn’t. So she suggested we try and move back to Oakville – my knee-jerk reaction was this “Yes, please – there are Starbucks’ in Oakville!”. Now, obviously Oakville is way more suburban than Hamilton, but the point is that I crave and need a connection to wherever I live. I love Starbucks (sorry), and Oakville offered that. Toronto has way more Starbucks’ – so we’re already starting off in a good place.

One of my most favorite things in the world is grocery shopping. I think it’s the Chantelle Equivalent of shoe-shopping, or clothes-shopping for normal girls. Given the right environment, I could probably shop for two hours strait and enjoy myself. Another major reason I moved back to Oakville was for the Whole Foods. Shopping at No-Frills, or Food Basics, or even the slightly-better Fortinos is just not as pleasant an experience. For someone so profoundly invested in the experience of shopping, Whole Foods is right up my ally. I’m not vegan, or celiac, or on a raw-food diet, or even all that concerned about Organics – I just like the experience. In fact, when it comes to food itself I don’t have many strong opinions. Lactose-Free Milk (Soy or otherwise) is probably my only peculiar weekly item. That being said, if given the option, I will almost always choose to buy Local. It just makes sense to me. If it’s not an option, then I will gladly eat blueberries from Costa Rica, but I’ll never choose them over Ontario ones.

With that in mind, last week I signed up for a CSA Farm Delivery service. It’s a bi-weekly share of veggies & fruit from Fresh City Farms (from Toronto), and Monforte Cheese (from Stratford), and costs about $40 every two weeks. My first delivery was this Wednesday, and it was OK. The veggies were mostly top-knotch and don’t even get me started on the Cheese (Phenomenal), but I realized something important – it wasn’t about the food at all.

This isn’t a replacement for grocery shopping (also, why would I replace something I enjoy doing so much?), this isn’t for necessity, it’s for fun! Like going out to a restaurant, or what I love most about grocery shopping – it’s about the experience. Food in General (but more specifically Local-Sourced, Organic, Free-Trade Produce & Cheeses) is definitely my New Favorite Hobby. Like this guy says, it’s sort of a bit of an adventure. It’s the best possible replacement for my smoking habit, costs about the same and it actually super healthy for me.
(Behold the amazing salad I made from the Box – so good))

I know that this is something I could have done in Oakville (actually, not with this parciular company, but you get my drift), but I’ve equated it with a perk of living downtown – perhaps it’s because Fresh City’s main farm is at Downsview Park, I don’t know. I’ve already got my feet wet with the local restaurant scene in Toronto, I feel like I’m fairly up-to-date on the major goings-on on that front, now it’s time to get to know the next layer of the onion (har har – food joke!). Stay tuned!

[via ChantelleJoy.com]

March 14th, 2012

This entry is about four things. Food, Booze, Games & Cars.

Food

It was January 13th when I read my first review of Yours Truly, and have been nagging No-Twitter-Eddie to take me there ever since (I have the email chains to provde it, Jan 18th, Feb 9th, March 7th…). Finally March 8th he agreed, we’ll go on the 10th since we were making double-date plans with @JanelleAwesome and @RobHester, and they were game.

For some reason I was under the impression they didn’t take reservations, so I didn’t even try. Of course, the day before our dinner Toronto Life decides to name Yours Truly #1 in their top 10 New Restaurants. #FirstWorldProblems

We were extremly lucky, however, as there was space at the communal table, just as we arrived, and we enjoyed some really fantastic cuisine with some really fantastic company. I’m missing a few photos of the Amuse’s offered (Cauliflower Soup, Spinach Leaves), a couple ‘Snacks’, and was entirely too tispy on Asahi Blacks (YUM!) to remember to take a picture of desert, but here’s the rest of our plates [click pics to embiggen];



< The infamous “Truffle Falafel” which was the only dish delivered to the table without any description by the chefs, and a found me exclaiming “I know this, this is a trick!”. Eddie also found himself tricked, when he tried to eat the raw rice it was served on. Oh, sad.


>Salt Cod, described as “inari, kewpie, nori, rice” which literally could not sound more Japanese if they tried. I was extra proud of myself knowing that Kewpie is Mayonnaise (AH-HAHAHA HA). Looked great, but it wasn’t my dish so I have no idea how it tasted.


</b>< I’ve learned something fairly recently about Trout. I love it. I think I my first experience at Colborne Lane, when I mistook it for Salmon. But more recently I ate The Whole Thing in Brooklyn. Third time is the most charmed and I enjoyed this offering the best, even if it wasn’t my favourite dish of the night.


</b>> This was my favorite dish of the night. The duck. OMG! Words fail me. The Crispiest of Skins, the tenderest of meats! The onions, parsnips and elderberries matching perfectly! I rarely complain about portion size of food of this quality, but damn, I could have eaten 4 plates of this. One of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten, in my whole life.

After this lovely meal we stopped for a pint on Ossington, then headed to Second City for the new comedy show. Where I proceeded to literally drink my face off. I lost track of the end of the night, but I do remember loudly declaring that I bought a shirt (and it’s so long!), and having a bit of an emotional breakdown over wanting a cigarette once we got home. It was a very exciting night, and after dealing with the hangover-aftermath all Sunday I have come to a certain sort of revelation.

Booze

Not to bum everyone out, but I simply want to document my absolute concern over the fact that every now and then, I cannot mitigate my drinking and I’ve got a real binge problem. It’s not too often, maybe 2 or 3 times a year, but when it happens, it’s bad, and it hurts. A lot of people do the same, and can deal with it. Not me. The emotional aftermath of over-drinking is some of the worst depression I’ve felt in my whole life, and it’s absoluly avoidable. I’m a grown-ass woman, not some clubgoing 20-something. 90% of the time I can have just one or two drinks, but every now again again I just can’t stop. I need to be In Charge of myself, so I’m putting myself on a self-restricted 1-Drink Maximum for the time being. I cannot bear (nor do I believe it nessisary) to quit altogether (especially on Downton Thursdays), but I think this will help me be mindful, and avoid over-drinking as a whole.

Games

Maybe i’ll employ the same technique I did for quitting smoking, and turning my attention a lot more to games. I played an obscene amount of Guitar Hero on my iPhone in the first few days (weeks) of quitting smoking, and will continue that trend, although it’s going to cost me. I’ve been upgrading song packs, at $1.99 each this might hurt my budget. I nearly bought $20 worth of upgrades on Angry Birds on Facebook (they take Interac Online, it’s too easy!), next thing you know I’ll be the queen of Foxy Bingo.

Cars

Wanting to end this whole thing on a positive note: I passed my final driving test – finally! For anyone still paying attention who may have been around seven years ago when I last took (and failed) the test, this is a pretty big deal. No more driving tests, ever. Proof of my procrastination is that the whole Graduated Licence System can be completed in as little as 1yr 8months, if you take drivers ed which I did the year I first got my G1, in 2000. *pulls at collar* whaaaat?

So, I’m literally one step closer to winning the Driven To Quit Challange.
I’m ready for you, my new car named Peter Jackson.

[via ChantelleJoy.com]

March 1st, 2012

T Dot Denizen

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So, I officially moved to The Big City last weekend. Again.
Third time is the charm, right?

The other two tales of my attempt to move to Toronto are wrought with failure and sadness.

In the summer of 2001 I moved to into a Bedroom/Bachelor (with Washroom) Parkdale for 1 month, bad idea since I was unemployed at the time. In the fall I tried again, near St. Clair/Dufferin in a rental Bedroom, got laid off and promptly moved back to Oakville with my mother. Not proud moments.

Here I am, 11 years later, fully employed and living with My Boyfriend in Yorkville.

I’m actually quite underwhelmed. Having spent 2-3 days a week in this apartment, in this neighborhood, in this city over the course of the last 1.7 years, I’m acclimatized. However, there are certainly a few wonderful perks that I’ve already enjoyed.

1) Eddie’s bed is officially The World’s Most Comfortable Bed. Officially.
2) I am less than 2 full city blocks from my B(Non-Ex-Wife)FF, Ahli.
3) I bought a TTC Metropass today for the first time, and am giddy at the theoretical Unlimited Subway/Streetcar Rides I shall take.
4) Food. Everywhere. I haven’t bought groceries yet, but need to go out of my way to do so since otherwise it’ll be a problematic situation. I simply cannot eat burgers and pizza all of the time simply because it’s available, everywhere.
5) Booze. Everywhere. Seriously, you’re always within a 10 minute walk to a Liquor or Beer store – it’s amazing. No more waiting 4hrs for Dial-a-Bottle.

Although it’s not all fun & games.

My commute to work right now is over 3hrs a day, although I’m hoping to slightly adjust my schedule to get it around 2.5hrs *fingers crossed*

Not living with Angelina is sad. In theory. We never really spent all that much time in the apartment at the same time anyways, but having her stuff around me felt like having her around me, and now that’s gone. Luckily we’ve got a weekly standing date, Changelina Thursdays – the first couple months will be spent getting her caught up on Downton Abbey – it’s going to be super-great.

So that’s what’s new with my living situation.

In other news, I have recently realized I love Dubstep and Dance Remixes. So, there’s that.

[via ChantelleJoy.com]

February 20th, 2012

Quitter Update

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Who would think that the one thing to motivate me to update this blog more often (other than the Film Festival) would be quitting smoking. Although, I do have to say that I think it will be less frequent in the coming weeks.

Today is Day 11 and I have to say that the last 2-3 days have been a lot easier than previous days. There are whole hoursthat pass during the day that I’m not thinking about cigarettes, and the cravings that come pass much quicker than before. While the first few days I was having 30+ minute panick attacks, it’s now less intense. The want to smoke has waned from “OMG I really WISH I COULD SMOKE RIGHT NOW” down to “Oh, this would be the perfect time for a cigarette, oh well.”

To keep me on track now, I try to think of all those times I’ve had a cigarette when I didn’t really want it (which, to be fair, were not that often) – how deflated and gross it felt, this has to me my ongoing perspective on the entire habit. I can’t glorify it and long for it any more, I really have to start to dislike (even detest) it. (Even if I’ll never stop liking the smell of it – I’ve never thought it was gross, and I doubt I ever will).

Eleven Days without a cigarette is the longest I’ve gone without smoking in ten years. I recently went on a hunt to find any documentation of the last time I quit (which apparently I did for no other good reason than I seemed to be bored of smoking) and found this entry from my LiveJournal in September 2002, which includes this quote: “… keep in mind that I’ve been smoking since 1994. That’s 8 years. And I’m only (almost) 21!” which made my heart sink deeply – that was nearly a decade ago and I thought Eight Years was a long time to have been a smoker!

Also, another mildly amusing fact from that entry is that my past philosphy on quitting is eerily similar to my current one: “Here’s my one step program, to help all you smokers out there quit. Its 100% effective if you follow it; Step #1: Don’t Smoke.” Sadly, the quitting only lasted until my birthday in November that year (I blame Tequila), and it’s been full-time since then.

But I am certain this this time it’s for good. I’m optimistic, especially after last night.

I’ve been certain that I will definitly remain smoke-free in March (as I am dead-set on winning the Driven To Quit car), but also being aware that getting to March was going to be the the hardest part. I honestly feared that if I were to slip-up it, I knew would be before the end of the month. I’ve not yet really come close to doing so. Untill last night, when I was packing I found these these;


Tools of the Devil!

I flicked the lighter a few times, only because I realized I hadn’t done so in a while. I held a cigarette in my fingers and thought, would it be worth it? Even just a puff? The tightness in my chest returned and I realized… I’ve got to distroy these, I don’t want them at all.

So, down they went.
(The lighters will be donated to my Mom)

So, while this entire episode may have brought on one of the most sustained anxiety attacks I’ve had in the last five days (which inspired me to distract myself by writing this entry), I’m feeling quite proud. I didn’t give in, and hope that I won’t have to make the same choice again anytime soon. If I do though, just follow the golden rule:

#1 Don’t Smoke.

It really is that simple,
but not necessarily that easy.

[via ChantelleJoy.com]
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