Earth Hour

This Saturday March 29th, from 8:30-9:30pm local time I’d like to extend the WWF’s (World Wide Fund for Nature) invitation to turn off your non-essential lights and electronic devices as a symbol of your commitment to our planet.  If the CN Tower, Times Square, the Las Vegas Strip, the Acropolis and the Sydney Harbour Bridge can do it, so can you.

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For those of you not already familiar with Earth Hour, the event is a global environmental movement that started at a lights-off event in Australia in 2007 as part of a campaign for action on climate change.  Earth Hour has since become the world’s largest mass participation event in history with hundreds of millions of individual participants in over 7,000 towns and cities.

Obviously turning the lights out for an hour has only a small impact on the environment, but that’s not the point.  Earth Hour’s mission is three-fold: (1) to bring people together through a symbolic hour-long event; (2) to galvanise people into taking action beyond the hour; and (3) to create an interconnected global community sharing the mutual goal of creating a sustainable future for the planet.  As an avid user of electronic devices living in a huge energy suck of a city, it is my hope that participating will help promote energy awareness and appreciation while bringing together families, friends and communities during a brief reprieve from iphones, television, and stereos.

Unbeknownst to my husband, while writing this post I decided that I would host an Earth Hour party at our place.  As someone who loves candlelight and board games, I don’t anticipate having any difficulty with either atmosphere or entertainment; however, I’m expecting some debate about the necessity of powering down our smart phones.  If you’re hosting a party yourself, I recommend making some adjustments to the “first one to touch their phone buys dinner” rule. Perhaps the guilty party buys the first round post 9:30?  Drinks the King’s Cup?  Handwashes all the party dishes?  Why not make a night of it and get creative.  You won’t have photographic evidence of what goes down, so feel free to punish electronic users accordingly.

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Hangover Cures

Given that today is St. Patrick’s Day it seemed timely to share a few of my favourite hangover cures and prevention methods here on the blog. For those of you who celebrated over the weekend and for whom this post comes 24 hours too late, I apologize for not being there for you earlier. I’ve always suffered from terrible, gut-wrenching, head-pounding day long hangovers. When I was in my twenties these hangovers could be predicted and were generally well deserved. Since turning 30, they are as unpredictable as spring weather in Toronto. What felt like a civilized evening out on a Friday all too often feels instead like a frat house keg party on Saturday morning. Truth be told, for me, there’s no such thing as a “cure” to this misery I speak of. There are, however, some things that help minimize the pain and/or help prevent its onset. So for those of you suffering at your desks this fine Monday and for those lucky/irresponsible folks just commencing your day of debauchery, I give you 5 awesome ways to feel less like you’re 50 after a day/night/weekend of imbibing:

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1) The Great Grundy Hangover Prevention Method: You know the old saying, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? It’s worth even more than that when it comes to hangovers (trust). Taken before passing out after a night of drinking, this patented (not really) combination has been known to save many a weekend from complete and utter self (imposed) destruction: one dose of chlorophyll as per bottle instructions to help soothe your ailing liver (pill form is the easiest to shove in your face and avoids the inevitable mess that will result from drunken attempts to measure powder or liquid) taken with a glass of water; 1 banana to fill your belly and your body with potassium; one package of Emergen-C (I’m partial to the pink lemonade flavour) mixed with water to restore lost electrolytes; one dose of vitamin B as per bottle instructions to help your body metabolize the poison; a big glass/can/bottle of sweet delicious coconut water to aid in the rehydration process; and finally, if you’re the drug taking sort and/or prone to headaches, now might be a good time to pop an advil/ibuprofen (not tylenol – see below). Obviously one of the key components of this method is the amount of good-for-you liquids consumed, which leads me directly to point number 2, below…

2) Hydrate: This is an obvious one and we all know that it’s the only real, medically based solution to the damage we’ve caused our bodies. That said, not all liquids are created equal. While sports drinks are an easy go to, we prefer “nature’s gatorade” (coconut water), or, if you’ve got a juicer at home, a big fat glass of hangover juice (roughly one small beet, a couple stalks of celery, a couple carrots, an apple, a handful of kale, a hunk of peeled ginger, about half a cucumber and a big squeeze of lemon juice). There’s also a reason that some people swear by caesars or bloody mary’s the day after – tomato juice is full of vitamins and the drinks contain a good combination of salt, sugar and spice to help your body hydrate and detoxify. That said, the old ‘hair of the dog’ trick is a big fat myth and anything made at a bar or bought from the store is likely to contain way too much sodium. Try mixing up your own tomato juice with a dash of cayenne pepper, sugar and a squeeze of lime to help aid hydration and re-stabilize your blood sugar. Continue reading

We’re Back!

Hello dear readers!!! We’re so sorry to have abandoned you this winter, but we have good reasons, we swear. Besides having a general case of the winter blahs, we were super busy hosting/attending/having bachelorette parties, weddings & showers; adventuring in Hong Kong, Bali & Thailand; celebrating birthdays & cheering on Team Canada; visiting friends & playing in the snow; and as always, eating & drinking all of the things. But the good news is… We’re Back!

We’ve updated our Upcoming Events page and have lots of great posts in the works for you. If there’s anything in particular you’ve been missing out on / dying to know more about, please let us know!

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Warming up to Winter

It’s cold, slushy, grey and by about 5pm, dark.  Weekday nights out, impromptu visits with friends, and long days spent lounging outdoors are all a thing of the past.  It’s winter in Toronto, and in addition to being cold, you’re getting BORED.  Unless you’ve got the budget (and the job flexibility) to become a snowbird, there’s not a hell of a lot that can be done to escape winter. So, what’s to be done?  I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that instead of trying to fight it, we embrace it.  From winterized patios to cross country ski trails, there is fun to be had in Toronto in the winter. Bundle up and read on!

Heated Covered Patios. Pay a visit to one of Toronto’s winterized patios and embrace the true north cold and free over with a spiked cider and an open fire. With it’s enormous fire pit and scattered heat lamps, El Catrin‘s huge outdoor patio is tough to beat, but Big Crow gets major cozy points for their Canadiana styled winter lodge, complete with striped wool blankets.  Drake Sky Yard is another great bet.  Generally reserved for the bottle service elite in the summer months, the Sky Yard transforms itself in the winter into a cozy camp-style setting with patio heaters and an open fire.

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Toronto Island.  Not a popular winter destination for Torontonians, but why not?  Cross country ski the trails, wander Ward’s Island Village and check out the charming, snow covered wooden houses, go for a skate around the lake front, and then warm your bones with dinner and some hot beverages at the Rectory Cafe. Although many of the island’s attractions are closed in the winter months, that’s what makes it so beautiful.  Dress appropriately, pack some snacks, and if you want to dine at the Rectory, plan to go Wednesday through Sunday.
 
Toronto Outdoor Club Activities.  Want to get some physical activity in this winter?  Check out the TOC for a wide variety (overnights in Algonquin to urban hikes for dim sum) of outdoor events in and around Toronto.  The club is free to join and costs to participate are kept as low-cost as possible. Events fill up fast and often result in a wait list, so check out the event calendar now and get yourself signed up!
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New Years Resolutions

The majority of resolutions made by North Americans fall into one of two categories: self-improvement & education, and health & fitness. This year I kept my goals simple, but in keeping with the trend, resolved to learn (how to better use my DSLR) and to adopt a few new healthy habits (flossing every day and drinking warm lemon water every morning). If you too fell in line with the masses (and in particular if your health and fitness goals are loftier than mine), here are some resources to help you keep those resolutions.

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Get Fit

Nike Training Club: We’ve written about this amazing app before and having been in bridal boot camp mode for a couple months now, I stand by our initial impressions.  Looking for a high intensity calorie blasting work out?  A focused 15-minute ab burner?  Help building muscles and gaining strength?  Nike Training Club offers all that and more with minimal equipment and amazing instructions.  It’s easy to follow and crazy effective.  I rely on NTC workouts on days when I’m lacking focus at the gym and it consistently kicks my ass way harder than I kick my own.

Passport to Prana: Another repeat on this blog, but whether your a current practitioner or looking to build a yoga practice, the value of this pass can’t be beat.  Valid for a year following activation, this $30 card allows you to attend a yoga class at all of the participating studios.  There are about 40 studios downtown and at regular prices of $15-$25 a class, the pass pays for itself in no time.  Bonus: there are several participating studios throughout the GTA, so you have no excuse when  you’re visiting relatives in the suburbs :)

Pedometer: There’s nothing new about it and its as simple a piece of fitness equipment as you can get, but a pedometer provides a great impetus to make those small changes to your day (taking the stairs, parking further from the building, walking to the grocery store, etc.) that can mean big changes in the long run.  I’ve been “working” from home for the past couple of months and days where I don’t leave the house are not uncommon.  Had I been wearing a pedometer that informed me I’d taken a mere 100 steps in a day, I think I’d be much quicker to strap on a pair of running shoes!  There are loads of different pedometers out there from the high tech to the very low.  Think about your fitness goals and what you actually want to keep track of and then stop by your local sports store.

Race Goal: The only time in my life that I’ve run even remotely regularly is when I committed to running the Sporting Life 10k a few springs ago.  I am not a runner (in fact I find running to be a painful experience) and knew I would crash and burn if I didn’t train for the race.  And since I joined the race with my new boyfriend I couldn’t possibly let that happen. So I ran. Outdoors, on the treadmill and even on some trails. And come race day, I killed it and it was pretty much the best feeling ever.  If you’re looking for some inspiration, the Sporting Life race is a super easy starter.  It’s mainly downhill, you’re paced with runners your own speed, and now is the perfect time to start training.  Plus I’m now engaged to that new boyfriend, so you never know!

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Learn Something New

Ladies Learning Code:  Since Robyn and I started blogging we’ve been talking about taking a course to learn code.  If you’re a blogger or have ever tried blogging, you know how frustrating it can be to not be able to make your blog look and work the way you want it to.  Ladies Learning Code is a women-run not-for-profit organization that teaches beginner-friendly technical skills in a comfortable, social environment.  I’m waiting for the Photoshop & WordPress for beginners classes to come around again and then maybe I’ll see you there!  If you’re interested in blogging specifically, I’d also recommend staying tuned for the new e-courses coming up soon from A Beautiful Mess. Continue reading