Category Archives: TRAVEL TORONTO

DAY# 112 of 365- EARTH DAY and the Magical Japanese Cherry Blossoms in High Park!

Happy EARTH DAY!

Today I had planned to do something else for ‘Earth Day’, but a dear friend invited me to see the Japanese Cherry Blossoms in High Park, instead. I like to go with the flow and I don’t really have a set plan everyday during this 365 day journey (and my plans over the past 3 months have often changed the last minute), so I decided at the last minute to go with her and be one with nature. I don’t do this enough, and the weather is getting much warmer and everything is in bloom and coming back to life now that spring is here. So today was the day. Getting out and enjoying nature is one of my favourite things to do.

After seeing the movie ‘Avatar’ yesterday and loving the message of the movie which to me was to ‘appreciate, protect and respect the beauty of nature’, I am reminded to get OUT of my tiny downtown apartment and enjoy nature. And a lot of people are not aware that, Toronto is over 18% PARKLAND, so there is a lot of beautiful nature to enjoy in the big city!

Today marks the 1st weekly series on Toronto 365 of “NATURE IN THE CITY” and I thought going to see the Japanese Cherry Blossoms in High Park, (that were a gift to Toronto from Tokyo many years ago) would be a fitting beginning of this series.

It was my first time seeing the Japanese Cherry Blossoms, even though I was born and raised in Toronto. Its one of those things that I always said I was going to do one day.

What a beautiful expression of nature. It was like we were transported to Japan.

People were walking, talking, singing, taking pictures, eating and EVERYONE was happy and smiling walking through this natural wonderland. When the soft pink petals fell it was like huge pink snow flakes were falling on my head. Living in Toronto for 30-something years, I cant believe this is the 1st time I have witnessed this hidden gem.

Japanese Cherry Blossoms in High Park, in Toronto, Canada

Here is an article about the history, and some interesting information about the Japanese Cherry Blossoms and how they arrived in Toronto….

Celebrating Japanese cherry blossoms in Toronto

I particularly liked this sentence in the article….

“In Japan, cherry blossoms are called sakura, and the delicate and ephemeral blossoms are said to remind the Japanese that life is short, and already over before we really understand that it has begun.”

As my motto for my 365 Day Vacation or Journey through Toronto says…. “Life is to be ENJOYED and LIVED, get out and have FUN!”

I have been fortunate to have vacationed in over 40 countries and 100’s of cities around the world, and after over 3 months of having a daily mini vacation in my home city of TORONTO, I can honestly say this has been my best vacation ever! I love discovering and rediscovering my city. I am having the most fun, meeting so many positive and friendly people, experiencing and learning something new everyday. I LOVE T.O. :-)

Being that is EARTH DAY, I am not going to get on a soapbox and preach to people how they should recycle more and turn off their lights, etc. because I don’t believe that is the most effective way inspire people to respect and take care of nature.

I may be wrong but I personally believe that showing people the beauty of nature or taking their hand and walking them through one of the many beautiful expressions that nature gives us, (as I captured in these pictures below) I think is much more effective and inspiring.

How could anyone not want to protect, respect and take care of NATURE after seeing and experiencing such beauty?

ENJOY

DAY #113 of 365-Real Friends & a day at City TV’s-’CityLine’-Day Time TV Show-FASHION FRIDAYS

Today my dear friend Rose invited me to a live taping of CityTV\’s daytime lifestyle show CITYLINE with \’Tracy Moore\’ The show topic was “Fashion Fridays”.

Here is a a FULL EPISODE of last Fridays Fashion Friday Show…

City Line Apr.23,2010-Fashion Friday Video of the show

The episode we attended will be on Friday April 30th at 9am-10am.

The spring and summer fashions on the show were stunning.  It inspired me to go shopping :-) .   I need to update my wardrobe for the season…its a new and exciting year.  Here are some of the products and clothing from the fashion show….

Jones New York http://www.jny.com/ . All shoes and accessories in JNY segment from the Bay The The Bay Esprit http://www.esprit.com/ Shoes in Esprit segment from Nine West Nine West ADDITIONELLE (JESSICA BIFFI TAPE) Addition Elle

I loved Tracy’s dress.  She said it was from BCBG.   On my shopping trip next week, I will be making a stop there!

The expert guest was the beautiful Lisa Rogers.

Also the very talented, and BRILLIANTLY funny and warm hairstylist Bill Angst of Angst Salon

( located at 240 Queen Street West. Phone: (416) 360-5942).  He kept everyone in stitches throughout the entire show (someone get this man his own show ASAP lol).  Loved him!   Bill Angst did an AMAZING, on the spot makeover on a lady, he plucked from the studio audience, minutes before the show started.  Her best friend volunteered her, you have to love a good friend LOL.  She looked fabulous.  I cant believe he did that in under an hour.  I need to make an appointment with him to get a summer hairdo.

Annesley Broadhead of Cargo Cosmetics was also a one of the expert guests.

It was a really fun day!  I met some really funny and cool fellow audience members.  A lot of laughs and ooh and ahhs at the beautiful clothing, shoes and the results of the fabulous make over.

I have watched the show for many years (CityLine is Canada’s longest running lifestyle show), so it was great to be at a live taping and see how everything happens behind the scenes.

All the City Line staff were friendly and very nice.  The host Tracy Moore is an absolute sweetheart.  She spoke to many of the studio audience members, before, during and after the taping of the show.  Real and so personable.  She is the type of person that when she speaks to you, you feel like you are the only person in the room.  It was such a pleasure meeting her.

And at the end of the day we got a great gift bag.  Some  Nivea body care products and a cotton bathrobe, Cargo Cosmetics lipstick and lipgloss, a Esprit tank top and notepad, Burt\’s Bees Body Kit, and a Jones of New York bag. We were all very happy and grateful! It was a total surprise to me.

So thanks Nivea, Burt’s Bees, Cargo Cosmetics, Esprit, Jones of New York and Tracy Moore and all the wonderful staff of City TV for the gifts, laughs, inspiration and a totally fun morning.

And my friend Rose who is also a hair extension specialist Rose Hair Creations, won a $200 gift bag from Burt’s Bees.  I was so happy for her, she has been such an INSPIRATION to me and a REAL and supportive friend, during the ups and downs in my life.  I admire her strength in the midst of her struggles (just a couple of years ago she had a full kidney transplant… most people would never guess looking at her or speaking to her, she always looks her best and I have never seen her without a smile on her face and she is always the life of the party, making others laugh and feel comfortable) .  Rose ALWAYS positive outlook on life and her words of wisdom are priceless.  She deserved to win this gift.

BTW Tracy is a fellow blogger.  Here is her blog…  Tracy Moore\’s Blog

Thanks City Line and staff and special guests, for making the morning with a dear friend FUN and FABULOUS!

********************

UPDATE:  I almost forgot to mention that Tracy’s new gorgeous long hairstyle is done by Rose.  Yes Rose is nice and super talented too!  (She also has done a previous Miss Canada’s hair extensions).

DAY# 111 of 365- How the Play a ‘FABULOUS DISASTER’, Mended My Broken Heart…After I Experienced a Breakup Via a Facebook Message…(yes you read that correctly)!

Today started off as a beautiful day (spring is finally here) and a happy day, which was exactly what I needed.

I have had an extremely busy and stressful last few months, and not getting enough sleep has left me sleep deprived.  You know that saying … ‘things happen in 3’s’, well since I have started this journey it has been more like 33’s.

From major tech problems and issues with my website and computer and I am NOT a tech savy person, to health issues, my dad being recently admitted to the hospital, to being a victim of bank fraud and financial issues like I have never experienced before, discovering who my true friends are and not, and my TV, stereo, computer, phone and car all breaking down within 2 months (the technology gods must be angry at me lol), etc.

I finally made the time to see the movie AVATAR, with a friend.  Loved it!  Absolutely beautiful nature scenes and cinematography.  Very appropriate for EARTH MONTH.  Loved the message of the film and how it reminded us that we need to take care of and be more connected to nature.  NATURE is powerfully moving and inspiring we have to respect it.
I was inspired, happy and on cloud 9 after watching the movie…

Now this part of my day, is hard to write about……

I came home and saw a message in my Facebook message inbox from my new boyfriend…
He broke up with me via a FACEBOOK message.
I know I am a self confessed fan of  Facebook and all things social media …but breaking up with someone via a Facebook message is very inappropriate.
The fact that he is a man in his 40’s made it even more shocking.

When I started this website, I made a conscious decision to make sure I focused on uplifting and inspiring others and myself to LIVE and ENJOY life and to have FUN, and sharing helpful and fun info about my city that is accessible and affordable to everyone.  I am not a critic, I like to call myself a ‘positive storyteller’.  For example, if I attend an event or a restaurant, etc. and I did not find it fun or was not pleased, I simply do not write about it.  I will do something else and write about that instead.  My belief is the NEGATIVE things and people already get ‘too much’ attention.  I don’t want to play in that sandbox.

My goal and mission is to shine the spotlight on all the POSITIVE PEOPLE and things in this great city and the world. So I will not lower myself to bash him.  That is not my style anyways.

Of course I was heartbroken and hurt, mainly because he did it via facebook (still shaking my head at that).
It felt like I was in a Seinfeld episode, I was looking around for George, Kramer and Elaine LOL
His Facebook breakup reminded me of a Sex In The City episode when the main character, Carrie was dumped via a sticky note. LOL

I really wanted to stay home, in bed under the covers and cry a little.  Then mend my heartbreak with a bucket of Haagen-dazs Cookies & Cream LOL.

But I had tickets to go see a play at one of my favourite theatre houses in the city, at the Factory Theatre ……
the play was called a A FABULOUS DISASTER

…and created and performed by the very talented ‘Denise Clarke’ and produced by One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre company of Calgary.

A Fabulous Disaster is a dark comedy that deals with a woman dealing with a broken heart, “poignant and elegant, the one woman play bounces through the themes of love, jealousy and belonging that everyone can relate to.”

I thought oh no how timely, maybe I should pass on seeing this one because I thought it would be too sad.
But I forced myself to leave the house and get out and have a FUN night regardless.  I knew if I didn’t, I would stay home and be depressed and I have vowed to never allow anyone, ever again to rent space in my head!  Nope not like I use to in the past.

I am so glad I did, because seeing this MAGNIFICENT play lifted my spirits.

The healing power of arts!!! The reason why I love the arts so much.
The play was so darn funny that I laughed until I cried…literally. (I am giggling as I type this, just thinking about some of the funny scenes and lines)

I totally laughed out loud throughout most of the play.
I was laughing so much my cheeks hurt.  It was that funny!  The entire audience was in stitches.

The very talented actress Denise Clarke, was hilarious with a capital H.
The story was so layered, fun, creative, unique, interesting, thought provoking, moving but most of all FUNNY.
Exactly what the doctor ordered.

I purposely waited around after the play to meet the actress, so I could personally THANK her for lifting my spirits through her artistic talents.  Also for inspiring me to change my perspective, and making me laugh out loud when just a few minutes before I arrived at the Factory Theatre, I was hiding my tears from the other riders on the TTC streetcar. This play reminded me that loosing myself in the ARTS, is much more healthier, fun and healing for the soul, mind, heart and body than a gallon of Haagen Dazs ice cream (and much better for my thighs too LOL).

I will definitely see it again before the run ends this Sunday.  Highly recommended if you want to see some great live theatre for not much more than the cost of a movie ticket.

Life is short, I will always try to remember to get out and have fun.

One of my favourite quotes is by Maya Angelou…

“Love life, engage in it, give it all you’ve got.
Love it with passion, because life truly does give back, many times over, what you put into it!”

At the beginning of this year I made a promise to myself to live my life to the fullest, every single day.
So I will not internalize his inappropriate actions and take it personally.
I refuse to lay in bed crying for a week, and eat my sorrows away, like I would have done in the recent past.
I know that there are a lot of great men out there, so his actions are not a reflection of all men…Nope not even close to the majority.  There are a lot of good men in this world!

One thing that I have been constantly reminded of on my 365 day journey of love for my city (and for myself) is there are so many GOOD and KIND people in this great city and in this world.  Even though the negative people get a lot more press and attention,  they truly are the minority.  We cant forget that.

Lesson learned…

I will remember to listen to my intuition (it is never wrong)

…and everything happens for a reason because, any man that thinks it is appropriate and respectful to break up with someone via Facebook is not the type of man I want to be with.  So it never would have lasted anyways!

As someone said at the theatre last night, ‘Darling he actually did you a favour, so thank him!’
So true, and I do…
A BIG blessing in disguise.

I KNOW and have total FAITH that the right guy is out there for me and I ‘will’ find TRUE LOVE.  I can feel it deep in my heart and soul.

If you know of any kind, loving, intelligent, funny, mature, courageous and handsome men…I am open to being hooked up.  I heard that this unknown guy in the picture is single, I cant remember his name for the life of me>>>>

…so if anyone has his direct line, let him know that I am available and I would think about going for coffee with him lol

Match.com here I come LOL!  I have always wanted to try speed dating, it looks like fun…anyone ever try that?

I have moved on!

***The lesson learned from all of this is….I will continue to have FUN, love and laugh, dance…and live a FABULOUS life, even in the midst of DISASTER!

ReelWorld Film Festival-’Our Stories, Our Talent, Our Films’~April 7- April 11

I cant wait to attend the REEL WORLD FILM FESTIVAL that starts tomorrow, Wednesday April 7th to Sunday April 11th.

It is one of my favourite film festivals in Toronto.  There is such a wide variety of, interesting films I want to see I want to see at the festival this year.  I wish I could see them all.

Here is a brief description of the film festival…

The ‘ReelWorld Film Festival is a five day festival that screens features, shorts, documentaries, animation, music videos from the Aboriginal, Asian, Black, Latino, Middle Eastern, South Asian and other multi-racial communities. This unique Canadian based film festival truly reflects the racially diverse cultures of the World around us.’

Black Business and Professional Association to Announce *TODAY*-Award Recipients of the 2010 Harry Jerome Awards “Celebrating Excellence”

Black Business and Professional Association to Announce the Award
Recipients of the 2010 Harry Jerome Awards
“Celebrating Excellence

Toronto, ON – March 25th 2010- Media are invited to attend the announcement of the 2010
Harry Jerome Awards recipients with BBPA President, Pauline Christian and Harry Jerome
Awards Chair, Karlyn Percil. This momentous occasion is celebrated with great honour and
pride, as the BBPA gears up to present these outstanding individuals with their due reward in the
upcoming ceremony. African-Canadians have made great contributions to the landscape of this
nation and we are proud to recognize their achievements.

The 28th Annual Harry Jerome Awards Ceremony is taking place on
April 24, 2010
.

See the website below to purchase tickets to the event…

www.bbpa.org

For more information about the celebrated Canadian track and field runner and gold medal OLYMPIAN, Harry Jerome

click the link below…

Harry Jerome-Canadian Track & Field Olympian & Canadian Walk of Fame Inductee

I will be attending the announcement and excited to be there as I was a recipient of the

Harry Jerome Scholarship  Award in high school for my academic achievements and community

involvement.

The BBPA National Scholarship Fund-available to students attending accredited Canadian universities or colleges

I am very grateful to the BBPA for the scholarship award, because the monetary award enabled me to attend my

1st year at York University, without financial stress, and that made all the difference!

This is a full circle moment for me

Stay tuned for my blog post to come…

DAY#58 of 365- The Amazing Volunteers of ‘Crisis Camp’-Toronto

Today I helped out a bit doing some admin work, watched,  documented and blogged about the amazing tech volunteers of the  Crisis Commons Toronto division of the great non profit charity Crisis Commons.org .  A group of people who decided to use their Saturday to help people half way across the globe who are going through a crisis.

From the “about page” on the Crisis Commons Website…

“Founded in March 2009 through an impromptu Tweetup at Government 2.0 Camp, a small band of idealists and innovators gathered to discuss the idea of a creating a common community through a mash-up of citizen volunteers, crisis response organizations, international humanitarian relief agencies, non-profits and the private sector. Within minutes, the CrisisCommons communitywas born and CrisisCamp events were created to unite communities, seek common ground and cultivate innovation in the use of technology for mobility and efficiency during crisis.”

Today’s camp was originally going to be dedicated to the relief efforts in Haiti.  But another earthquake happened in the early morning, in Chile.  So there was a change of plans to help the people of Chile during those very important and critical first few hours and days right after the crisis.   A CBC writer and reporter was also in attendance.

I first heard about Crisis Commons during a seminar I attended called “Tweeting for Haiti” at ‘Social Media Week’ conference and the Toronto coordinator Heather Lesson was on the discussion panel.  You could just see and feel how passionate and dedicated she was in  helping those facing a crisis in Haiti (and elsewhere), by utilizing her skills and talents to assist where she can.  Some people are just helpers and givers and she is one of those people.  Some people say they want to help and give back,  and from what I learned about how much she has given of her energies and time, she is definitely a ‘doer’ and not just a talker.

We need more people in the world like her and the other volunteers I witnessed today.

I said I would help by doing anything as long as it is not tech related (i.e. admin stuff, take pics and videos, take notes, pick up lunch, etc.) as long as I did not have to touch a computer beyond email and social media sites.

I am not very tech/computer literate, it is not my strength.  Yes I know, hard to believe because I write a daily blog.

But I am just starting to get the hang of it…and very slowly & a little too slowly I might add (you can hear my frustration)!

I believe in the power of social media to help make positive changes, raise awareness of great non profit organizations and for fundraising efforts that we have recently seen for the earthquake relief efforts in Haiti.

Below is an interesting article about how a man raised money through social media…

\”How one man used social media to raise $91,\” 000 for charity\”

This is a great non profit organization, I have seen the the positive results of their efforts, I believe in and will support in whatever way I can.

If you can help, or know someone else who may be interested, please check their website/wiki page for a crisis camp chapter near you or you can start one, or the Toronto camps blog below

Crisis Camp T.O. Blog

There are a lot of good people in the world!  And the people of Crisis Common are a perfect example of that.

Red Olympic Mittens, “Canada” Hat & Scarf *GIVEAWAY #3*!

The “I BELIEVE”– Red Olympic Mittens, the “Canada” Hat & Scarf Give Away!!!

This will be the 3rd time I will be giving away these mittens, in the  past few weeks!

To enter your name in a draw to win a pair of the popular 2010 Olympic red mittens, hat and scarf….. just say the word “HELLO” in the comment section below…

Thats all you have to do to win. Good Luck!

(And you dont have to be Canadian to enter it is open to everyone!)

News clip about the popularity of the Red Olympic Mittens

 

***Olympic mitten, scarf & hat CONTEST Update:

The deadline to enter the contest has been extended through Friday, March 5th. GOOD LUCK!

*Thank you for following me on this journey.  (I have had some major website technical difficulties over the past few week which have THANKFULLY  just been resolved, by my professional,  patient & very helpful web guy Tony of  Akira Studio .  Tony has been a life saver, for this very tech illiterate woman lol!  So my backposts will be reloaded over the next couple of days) .

I just want those who are following along to know that your patience, comments, emails and words of encouragement are very appreciated!

I am really doing all of this on a ‘budget’ and I am not that tech literate at all lol.

So a big THANK YOU! :-)

 

And dont forget your feedback and suggestions for FUN things to do in the city are VERY welcome!

Have a fun-filled week!

…and remember “Life is to be enjoyed & lived, get out and have FUN!”


***Olympic mitten, scarf & hat CONTEST Update:

The deadline to enter the contest has been extended through Friday, March 5th. GOOD LUCK!


***And stay tuned, I will be giving away the Red Canada Olympic hooded sweater and 2 of the very popular “CANUCK”  T-shirts for women.

DAY#7 of 365- A 1hour Massage is an Instant MINI Vacation

Most people when asked what would they do if they won the lottery…the most common answers given is go on vacation and buy a house.  I say….hire a live in , 24hr on call massage therapist.  Available to give me a massage whenever I wanted.   For the past six months I have been saying that I was going to get a massage, as I have neck, shoulder and back injuries from a car accident years ago and I needed one badly as I was in pain…Today was finally the day.

I am not one of those lucky people who have a health insurance plan that covers massages (yes I am jealous…so many of my friends who do, NEVER take advantage of it?  Crazy!) so I opted for a student to do the massage for ONLY $37 ….at the prestigious  Sutherland Chan School and Teaching Clinic at 330 Dupont St. Suite 400 (1 block west of  Dupont subway station) Call 924-1107  ext. 10 ….to book an appointment

www.sutherland-chan.com

These are qualified students that are supervised by professional teachers that randomly monitor the massage.  Since I have had a lot of massages over the years, by some amazing therapists, I was honestly a bit worried whether I would like the quality of the massage.  Gladly, it was amazing. The students name giving me the massage was Josh.  He was a very nice and had a very calming personality that put me at ease.  Due to my injuries I did not choose to do the relaxation massage, which is a choice, but instead choose to focus on treating the problem areas.  He worked on the injured areas for about 40 minutes after he did the initial first assessment.  I will try the relaxing massage next time.

The massage area was one large, very clean and nice room, with thick curtains dividing the different massage beds/stations.

I felt so much relief of the pain that I had when I 1st arrived.  Left feeling relaxed and refreshed.  I went home and took an Epsom salt bath which is recommended after a massage.  Heavenly!

A great massage… AN INSTANT MINI-VACATION in the busy city for *only* $37.00!

http://www.sutherland-chan.com/template1.asp?content_id=333

They also do specialty clinics for…Seniors, Pregnancy, Sports Injury, Breast Massage,Pelvic Chronic Pelvic Pain, Central Nervous System Clinic….

All these clinics if you are eligible are * only* $15 for a 1 hour appointment.

I qualified for the breast massage clinic because I had surgery a few years ago.

Will let you know how that goes next week.

I need to win the lottery ASAP, I need a massage everyday! ;-)

***I have completed 1 WEEK of FUN in Toronto!  Only 51 more weeks to go!

Please send me some ideas and recommendations of FUN and interesting things to do in the city!  (Unless it is a worm eating contest lol…one of my smart Alec friends suggested that).
I would also like to thank everyone for your comments.  Keep them coming I really appreciate them and they encourage me to keep going and to finish this exciting New Years Resolution! And please forward my blog to your friends and family. I will be announcing the details of my 1st contest/ give away this week…so subscribe and keep on reading. See you tomorrow

DAY#8 of 365- The X-Weighted.com National Weight Loss Challenge and Saturday Night Ice Skating Party

Today I went to register for the “X-Weighted Challenge” nation wide weight loss challenge, event with a friend.

http://xweighted.ca/national-weigh-day-2010  .

It took place at X-Treme Fitness Gym at Yonge and Dundas.

They gave us a gift bag, containing a measuring tape, granola bar and coupon, portion control fridge magnet, a blue nap sack and a pedometer.

It is a 26 week journey to get into shape and in the end there is 7ooo dollars worth of porizes for the winner!  I am crossing my fingers and I am feeling lucky.

Why don’t you join me if getting back into shape is one of your New Years Resolutions?  Week 1 starts today.

Every Saturday night at the Harbourfront there is free a DJ Skate Nights.

http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/skating/

A live DJ plays music until 11pm.  Tonight was a 50 and 60’s dance party theme.  Next week it is house music.

It was so much fun, even though I was on my behind half the night.  It has been almost 20 years since I have skated.  I forgot how much  fun it was.  I rented skates for 5.00 but will buy a pair of my own skates.  And its also a fun exercise!

They even provided free hot chocolate the entire night and that is until Feb 13th.

They also sell other hot beverages out of a vending machine for only 1.00… like coffee, soup, cafe mocha.  Or food and drinks in the indoor cafe which is a great place to take a break, play games, chat with friends and family and warm up.  Or fill up your thermos at home and bring it with you.  The last day to skate is March 5th.

Just remember to dress warm and you will be fine…

It was a fun night and I will go back a few times at least, before the season ends.

I am going skate shopping this week and for some pink laces like I saw one woman had.

The next time I will strap a pillow to me for protection :-) .