September 2013 Archives

Sport Clips Haircuts on the Queensway

Getting my little man's hair cut is always a challenge. He hates to sit still, doesn't like the water on his neck and isn't afraid to express his fury at the whole process. That's why I'm so glad Sport Clips on the Queensway opened. Sports Clips offers haircuts for men and boys in the perfect setting: surrounded by giant HD TV screens playing sports.

Sport Clips Queensway

Sport Clips Haircuts for Men & Boys

There is no appointment needed, no waiting, and the Sport Clips "MVP Experience" only takes about 20 minutes. You get a haircut with a scalp massage, a classic hot steamed towel treatment and a relaxing neck and shoulder massage.

Sport Clips MVP Experience

The stylists are great. They really know how to cut hair. The service at Sport Clips is fantastic; everyone was so patient and friendly with our little guy. Owner Andrew was incredibly helpful and kind, and stylist Camille was just wonderful.

Sports Clips Andrew & Camille

Camille gave little man the best haircut of his life, and she did it fast. She was amazing. He can't stop checking himself out.

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All the men in my life will be back. Fast, trendy and affordable haircuts with sports on TV everywhere you turn... it's a no-brainer. Sport Clips is located at 1602 The Queensway, across from Canadian Tire. They are open seven days a week. Rosie :)

Big Grips for iPad Now Ships To Canada

ipad.jpgWe are big, big fans of the iPad in my house. Our toddler particularly has many apps he quite enjoys including The Monster at the End of this Book starring Grover and Hero of the Rails starring that really useful engine Thomas. You may ask, how do you let your small child use an iPad so freely, particularly on the ceramic-tiled kitchen floor or at the top of the stairs? The answer is the Big Grips. This protective case is a simple piece of thick rubber that encases the iPad so securely that if it takes a tumble down the stairs, it is completely okay. They are very light, easy to clean and even doubles as a teether (although I suspect the Big Grips designers don't encourage that.) These iPad cases for kids are amazing but the challenge up until recently for Canadians is that Big Grips didn't deliver to Canada. That has changed. Now you can order all the models of Big Grips (including the new slim model that fits in a charging cart) from Canadian supplier Planet Micro. They ship very quickly at a cost of $12-$15 for a single box in Ontario. Rosie :)

First Annual Toronto Bourbon Week

I discovered bourbon and bitters when we got really into Mad Men and wanted to drink Old Fashioneds with Don and Roger. Bourbon has become a lot more popular and today marks the first day of the inaugural Toronto Bourbon Week. There are seven events at seven different locations, each with its own theme and bourbon selection to try. The seven days of bourbon runs from September 27 to October 3rd; some events are general admission and some require tickets which you can buy online. Rosie :)

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Canada's Baking & Sweets Show 2013

Friends of mine who are really into baking love this event. Canada's Baking & Sweets Show takes place September 27th to 29th at the Toronto Congress Centre. There are dozens of exhibitors showcasing the latest in baking and dessert trends, and cool things to see like enormous handmade gingerbread houses. This year, the theme is "Alice in Wonderland" so I bet there will be some extremely creative confections. There are a bunch of celebrity chefs who will be appearing: Anna Olson, Brian Emmett and the Cupcake Girls will be there on Friday September 27th at 7pm. For more information on show exhibits, the hands-on class schedule or to buy tickets online (save $2 on admission) visit the Canada's Baking & Sweets Show website. Rosie :)

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Sweet Olenka's | South Etobicoke

Every so often, I require an amazing chocolate brownie. I have been hearing about the salted caramel brownies at Sweet Olenka's, a European-style artisan chocolate shop on the Lakeshore just west of Mimico. I went to this place, and found the perfect brownie.

Sweet Olenka's Salted Caramel Brownie

The salted caramel brownie was my favourite, but the double-chocolate brownie, chocolate coconut cluster and other chocolate treats that found their way into my pastry box were also fantastic. So moist and rich, but not too cloyingly sweet.

Sweet Olenka's brownies & clusters

Owner Olenka uses the highest quality all-natural ingredients to bake her brownies, truffles, chocolate bars and other goodies. She bakes several times a day and everything is so fresh. You can taste how pure everything is. There is also ice cream available, with a fun selection of sugar cones.

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If you want to treat a chocolate-lover with something really special, drive to Sweet Olenka's in south Etobicoke and buy what is pictured below. Rosie :)

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The Pie Commission

There is a new place to get savoury meat pies in Toronto. (And it's right in my hood, which is a bonus.) The meat pies at The Pie Commission are delicious. Everybody is talking about it. Please meet the Beef 'N Beer Pie, made with Great Lakes Red Leaf Lager. What a nice touch to use a local brewery; it's just a few blocks away.

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The pastry is the best I've ever had. Flavourful and hearty, this is a really tasty lunch that is a welcome change from the usual for under $10.

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You can get takeout to eat right away, or pies to bake later at home. The flavours are amazing: braised beef, butter chicken, thai green chicken curry, chicken cheddar mash, and a couple of vegetarian options as well, one with a gluten-free crust. Rosie :)

InspiraTO's Playwriting Contest

Do you want to write a play? What about starting with a really good ten-minute one? If you would like to see your work come to life on stage, you should take a crack at the InspiraTO playwriting contest. Canada's largest ten-minute play festival is entering it's ninth season and is looking for talent. It takes place May 29 to June 7, 2014 at the Alumnae Theatre in Toronto. The deadline to submit your work is December 18th, 2013 and there are no submission fees. Click here for more details. Rosie :)

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The Unity Button

When I worked at TIFF this year in festival venue operations, I met a ton of wonderful new friends including Davor, who gave me a unity button. I love it. The Native Canadian Centre of Toronto describes the button as "a celebration of our identity as Aboriginal people and the diversity of our many nations. The most important part of each button is the centre, because this is where the spirits of the four colours meet." In the tradition of aboriginal storytelling, elders teach about equality and respect for people of all four colours.

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When you are wearing this button, people often ask you what it means, and that is the point. It is meant to get us talking to each other and to share our pride and respect for not only our own culture, but for all the cultures in this world. Rosie :)

Ten Years of TIFF

2013 marks a couple of big milestones for my husband and I. Ten years of marriage, and ten years of attending the Toronto International Film Festival. TIFF makes the end-of-summer-blues much easier to handle. When September rolls around, the excitement of the festival takes over. The Scoop is going to be very busy with TIFF over the next couple of weeks so I thought I would share some of my favourite photos from the last decade of festival-ing until I return. (Movies on our 2013 schedule include American Dreams in China, Prisoners by Canadian director Denis Villeneuve, the George Clooney-produced August: Osage County and Enough Said starring the late great James Gandolfini.) It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Our first batch of TIFF films. Primer, Shane Carruth's science fiction drama about the accidental discovery of a means of time travel, absolutely blew us away. It was one of my favourite Q&A's of all time.

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I couldn't care less about celebrities except at film fest, because they bring their cinematic awesomeness via their writing/acting/directing skills to my beloved city. Stars love TIFF because Toronto film fans are typically very chill and don't freak out. Here is Adrian Grenier, whose documentary Shot in the Dark details his journey to track down his estranged father. It was excellent.

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The Last Kiss, a 2006 romantic dramedy based on the 2001 Italian film L'ultimo Bacio, brought some serious talent to Toronto.Tony Goldwyn directed and Paul Haggis wrote the screenplay. One of my favourite festival moments happened when they walked on stage and my husband leaned over and whispered, "I am blinded by the talent!"

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Philip Seymour Hoffman made his directorial debut in the 2010 romantic comedy Jack Goes Boating. He was also the star. He was absolutely delightful introducing his film, and during the Q&A after.

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Sometimes, something happens at film fest where you see a movie like the 2004 British drama The Libertine which starred Johnny Depp as the debauched 17th century poet the Earl of Rochester. You think it is absolutely fantastic, and then when it comes out in theatres later it's a complete dud. That also happened in 2009 with Jennifer's Body, a black comedy horror written by Diablo Cody. I truly thought Megan Fox was amazing in this movie, but she got absolutely no love for it when it came out later.

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We have seen dozens of amazing movies over the years including the Tony Kaye abortion documentary Lake Of Fire, the British drama The Last King of Scotland starring Forest Whitaker, Jason Reitman's satirical comedy Thank You For Smoking and one of the sweetest films I have ever seen, Mon Meilleur Ami. There have been some duds in there too- I love Colin Firth but Trauma, the 2004 psychological thriller he starred in, was awful. (He was completely charming at the Q&A of course, and that almost made up for it.) Good or bad, I love each and every film fest experience we have had. See you at the movies! Rosie :)

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