22 Hours To Live

What would you do if you only had one day to live?

In the words of the always profound Sean “P. Diddy” Combs: That’s some deep shit right there.

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Deep shit I’d never had to consider – until a few days ago.

I was sitting in my office food court, eating an overpriced salad and reading The Sun Also Rises (basically being unattainably cool), when suddenly, I felt something sharp pierce the back of my throat. I quickly dismissed it as an unusually rough-edged goji berry; or perhaps a physical reaction evoked by Hemingway’s flawless prose (I’ve heard he has that effect on the ladies). Washing away any residual doubt with a swig of coconut water, I returned to my lunch. It was then that I noticed a piece of my plastic knife missing. A solid two centimetres – amputated right at the tip. Collateral damage, presumably, from a struggle with a particularly tenacious leaf of organic kale.

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I searched frantically through my remaining salad for the rogue piece of plastic, but uncovered nothing but quinoa, chickpeas and despair. A slow trickle of panic began to seep over me as I realized what had gone down:

I had ingested a plastic utensil.

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I felt like Homer Simpson upon discovering he had eaten a poisonous Fugu fish and had only twenty-two hours to live.

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My short life flashed before my eyes. I can’t die, I thought, I don’t even have my own reality show yet.

It occurred to me that I had better tell someone; lest I fall into a deep coma, rendering me unable to communicate my transgression to the House: MD wannabe charged with my case. I shot off a few quick texts to friends and family, informing them of my certain and untimely demise.

In an attempt to quell my now-swelling waves of panic, I took to Google. Although several message boards assured me that it would inevitably “pass”, others provided harrowing tales of objects lodged in small intestines, internal bleeding, hemorrhaging and even death.

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Since I am a pessimist with moderate to severe anxiety, I automatically feared the worst. I could die at any moment, right there in the food court. No one would even notice in the lunch hour rush. The cleaning lady would find me, hours later, slumped over my chair, book dangling limply in hand. “We don’t know much about her,” she would say, “Except that she loved salad, and contemporary classics”.

I needed to snap out of it. When Homer was given his death sentence, he didn’t despair. He quietly accepted his fate, making a list of all the things he wanted to do before he died.

I flipped to the notes section of my iPhone and titled a fresh page “Death List”.

1. Sleep In.

2. Eat Cupcakes (Why count calories when you’re a goner?)

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3. Do Yoga. (If I’m gonna die, I might as well be Zen about it.)

4. Tell my friends and family I love them

And so on.

I quickly took stock of my list. “Quit job spectacularly” seemed a bit dramatic. And finding a life-size penguin suit might prove difficult on short notice. The rest, however, I felt fairly confident I could accomplish.

I spent the rest of my day carrying out the items on my list- eating copious baked goods, clearing out my PVR, not wearing pants. Before I went to bed, I called my mom and told her I loved her. “What’s wrong with you?” she asked “Is this about that knife you swallowed at lunch time?”

Since the Larry King version was unavailable on iTunes, I instead chose to lull myself to sleep with The Word of Promise, a star-studded (and extremely misguided) audio version of the bible featuring Jim Caviezel as Jesus, Gary Sinise as David and Jason Alexander as Joseph.

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Confident (and also, strangely comforted) that the last words I would ever hear would be The Loaves and the Fishes as told by George Costanza and Lieutenant Dan, I fell into a deep and final sleep.

I awoke the next morning, heart still beating; drool still warm. Despite all signs to the contrary, it seemed I would live to freak out another day. Like Homer, I promised myself that I would reform: cherish my loved ones, eat healthier, practice the golden rule. But only a few days later, here I sit, eating a cupcake, just as self-absorbed and bitchy as ever. Perhaps bitchier.

That’s not to say I’ve learned nothing from this experience. Although our motives may differ, I’ve joined David Suzuki’s tireless crusade against plastic cutlery. More importantly, I’ve ordered an eerily lifelike penguin suit from Amazon, so that the next time I unwittingly ingest a toxic substance (and sadly, there will be a next time) – I’ll be ready.

Question of the Day: What would you do if you only had 22 hours to live?

Throwback Thursday: Halloween Candy

Halloween is right around the corner, and since I’m too lazy busy deciding which ironic Halloween costume to wear (Miley Cyrus wrecking ball?

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Or Baby North West?),

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I thought I’d go into the vault and pull out this little gem I first published back in October, 2011.

Originally part of a feature I did called Turn Up The Good: Turn Down The Suck, where I profiled a few things that were good, followed by a few things that sucked (genius, I know), this post is all about my favourite thing in the world (besides wine) – Candy! enjoy.

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Halloween is by far my favourite holiday of the year. Not only does it give you free license to wear whatever the hell you want and call it a “costume”, it’s also the day on which such A-List celebrities as Vanilla Ice, Rob Schnieder and (drumroll please)…. yours truly, were born. So that’s why, for this edition of Turn Up the Good, Turn down The Suck – I thought I would focus on one of the best parts of this glorious day: CANDY.

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As a child, I put the “anal” in “analyze”. This was especially true of Halloween. I would return from trick or treating, dump my goods on my bedroom floor, and proceed to spend hours poring over my loot and categorizing its contents; determining which pieces were to be consumed first and which saved for later. By the time I was done constructing all of my little piles, my room looked like an episode of Hoarders: Buried Alive- but it was worth it. My rationing ensured that I would be adequately supplied with candy until Christmas (or at least until my older brothers got a hold of it.)

Sure they look cute… but these boys CANT BE TRUSTED

Anyway- as evidenced by my story, not all Halloween candy was created equal: so here I present to you a list of the best (turn up the good) and worst (turn down the suck) of Halloween candy:

Turn Up the Good

1. Full Size Chocolate Bars: otherwise known as the holy grail of trick or treating. Like unicorns (yes, exactly like unicorns), these were scarce. Neighbourhood kids would discuss which houses were giving full-size bars away, and make special trips just to get them. God bless these generous individuals.

2. Reese Peanut Butter Cups: I realize this one is slightly subjective. You can feel free to insert your favourite fun-size chocolate bar here- but damn I loved me some Reeses. Guaranteed to make the top cut of any sorting round.

2. Full Cans of (NAME BRAND ONLY) Pop (None of that No-name cola shit): I hesitated to add this one, simply because of the sheer weight these puppies add to your treat bag. However, it’s a cross I was always willing to bear in order to have unlimited cans of Pepsi at my disposal throughout November….

4. Homemade Shit: This makes the list due to its elusive nature. Homemade cookies? Quaint little bags of popcorn tied up lovingly with ribbons? CANDY APPLES? Sure they all looked amazing- but kid, you might as well just forget about it. If your parents were anything like mine, all that gloriousness was being thrown in the trash faster than you could say “this isn’t actually a costume“.

Homemade halloween treats- I salute you. Though your creators may be creepy, and you may contained concealed razor blades- your potential deliciousness transcends.

Turn Down the Suck

1. Rockets: AKA a cheap-ass waste of valuable treat bag space…. or, as a friend of mine rightly clarified: “a waste of EARTH space”.

2. Mollases Kisses: You know the ones I’m talking about. A sort of caramel/tootsie roll/ black licorice hybrid that have been around forever, and for some reason still persists. These choking hazards shouldn’t be given to CHILDREN- they should be reserved for old men who are missing most of their teeth so they can kill some time. I’m not feelin it.

3. Unmarked bags of potato chips: This was always a crapshoot. Emblazoned only with the “Hostess” or “Humpty Dumpty” logo all over them, you never knew what you were going to get. You risked wasting potential treats if you opened it up and didn’t like that kind, and for the weirdo kids like me, this created a nightmare for categorization.

Like this… EXCEPT NOT

4. Non-Food Related Items

Pencils, erasers, religious pamphlets… basically anything that made you roll your eyes behind the mask of your Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles costume and go “REALLY?”

Bitches be fundamentally misunderstanding the concept of Halloween, yo..

Question of the Day: What were your favourite/ least favourite Halloween Treats?

5 Tips For Surviving A Rough Day At The Office

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Much like our friend Peter, the lovable yet woefully unmotivated protagonist of the film Office Space, we’ve all had a few rough days at the office. Whether it be a demanding boss, unending office politics, or an overabundance of TPS reports, sh*t is bound to hit the fan and leave you in it’s sh*tty wake.

Unfortunately, you’re going to have to find a way to deal with it- lest you end up shaving your head, drinking tiger blood and setting fires in old lady’s driveways.

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(Yes, I realize I may have conflated a few celebrity breakdowns there. To be clear, I wish this fate upon no one.)

Here are a few things I do to help get me through a tough day at the office:*

(*Note this list does not include wine, because wine is obviously a given.):

1. Listen To Music

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Back when I worked at a law firm and  hated life had my own office, I used to rock Songza all day err’day. Songza, if you’re not familiar, is an online satellite radio program that suggests music for you based on the time of day and the activity you’re doing.

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I found it really helped put me in a better mood while I worked and even increased my productivity. Now that I’m in an open concept environment, I can’t listen to tunes while I work, so I make sure to get my music fix in during other times of the day. I blast pump-up tunes while I get ready in the mornings, rock out on the subway, and go for quick walks with my iPod during the day when I need a little break.

 2. Eat Chocolate

My office building connects to Toronto’s underground PATH system, a veritable labyrinth of underground shopping malls and services stretching over multiple city blocks. This is both convenient and extremely dangerous- mostly because of the Godiva chocolate store right around the corner.

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While I am often successful in thwarting it’s advances, on a bad day, resistance is futile. To avoid dropping $8 on two miniature pieces of candy, I often just walk in and linger long enough for them to offer me a free sample, then slip out undetected. I’m not proud of this behavior. Lately, I’ve also been binging on enjoying funsize Halloween chocolate bars. They’re too small to have calories, right?

3. Stay Caffeinated

Since busting out a box of wine and pouring myself a nice tall glass of Pinot Greeg at my desk is mildly inappropriate, Starbucks has become the next best thing.

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While I’m partial to the PSL (uuh Pumpkin Spice Latte) I’ve also been into David’s Tea lately.

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This mecca of all things steeped has something like 80 flavours of tea.. including “Movie Night”, which has REAL POPCORN IN THE TEA BAG.

I feel like that sounded dirty. Let’s move on.

4. Read A Book

Sad but true story: for 30-45 minutes every day at lunch, I walk to a nearby food court, take out my book, and read. Alone.

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It started as a way to squeeze in my stupidly ambitious 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge, but it’s since become something I look forward to every day; a necessary break for the preservation of my sanity. Plus, I can’t help but feel like someone might see me and write me a Craigslist Missed Connection. (I know. I’m obsessed).

 5. Do Some Yoga

Remember when I first wrote about my experience with hot yoga? Well I’m pleased to report that I actually stuck with it, and am now a bona fide yogi.

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Just kidding, I still really suck, but I have been going about twice a week for the past two months or so. I’ve found it really helps with both the stiffness of sitting at a desk all day and my overall stress levels. It’s also sort of improved my overall outlook on life. Seriously. Yogatta try it.

So there you have it. I’ll be honest- most of the time none of this really works, and I just end up going home, pouring myself a giant glass of wine and crying on the couch to Extreme Weight Loss.. but hey, worth a shot, right?

Question of the Day: How Do you Get Through a Rough Day At Work?

I Ate New York

A few weekends ago I went to New York City. Ostensibly, to visit my friend Jane for her birthday…in reality, to eat as much delicious food as humanly possible.

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Our weekend of gluttony began on Friday night with not one but TWO (count ‘em) dinners – the first at a Japanese restaurant in the East Village called Taishu-Izakaya Kenka.

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Since the look of the menu nearly gave me an aneurysm:

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I left Jane in charge of ordering. She summoned up a delectable feast for us including deep-fried calamari, delicious noodles, and of course, Japanese beer.

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Dessert was do-it-yourself cotton candy from their COTTON CANDY MACHINE.

I love New York.

Although I was already pleasantly full, Jane insisted we check out a hot dog place down the street called Crif Dogs. I’ll admit I was slightly confused as to why we NEEDED gourmet hot dogs after ingesting a full delicious meal, but of course, I wasn’t about to say no (we are talking about food here, people). 

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We walked into a bustling underground hot dog diner filled with hipsters drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon around tables made from upturned arcade games, and I was convinced I was having a true New York experience. 

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Just as I began studying the menu and deciding what hot dog would be getting in mah belly, Jane beckoned my friend Alex and I into to an old timey phone booth at the side of the restaurant.

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Confused, we followed her inside, where she picked up the receiver and dialed “1”.  After a couple of seconds, a trap door on the other side of the phone booth swung open to reveal a  SECRET SPEAKEASY! . 

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I’ll admit I was pretty excited, but also kind of bummed because, well  I kinda wanted a hot dog.  “Don’t worry,” said Jane. “They serve hot dogs in here too”. A private speakeasy that served HOT DOGS? I must have died and gone to heaven. 

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I ordered a specialty Kimchi dog:

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And we shared an order of the world’s most delicious tater tots..which I totally hogged.

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(Don’t worry, I saved some for later.)

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We also sipped on just a few cocktails named after old-timey men involving different varietals of bourbon. 

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When the taxidermied bear on the wall started talking to me, I knew it was time to go; so we stumbled into a cab and went home to crash.

The next morning, we awoke with one thing on our minds: more food. (I told you guys I was on a mission).

Knowing another full day of eating was in store for us, we tried to minimize our caloric impact with a run across the Brooklyn Bridge……which, let’s be honest, mostly involved posing for instagram-worthy photo ops:

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Then, we headed to Smorgasburg, an open air food festival in Williamsburg.

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You guys, I thought places like this only existed in my dreams. Each tent was filled with a delectable culinary masterpiece: malt ball milkshakes; gourmet mac and cheese;

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truffle fries;

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DONUTS

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I didn’t take many pictures because, well my hands were kind of full stuffing my face incessantly… but I think this gif pretty much sums up the whole experience: 

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The big draw of the day was the Ramen Burger, a gourmet burger with buns made out of ramen noodles. The line was over two hours long!!

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I was feeling pretty seedy after already ingesting a year’s worth of cheese, so we decided to pass on that one. (I’m sure it will become popular in Toronto in like, 2016 anyway.)

Pre-food coma

Pre-food coma

From there we rolled back over the bridge to Manhattan where we did some lazy shopping before heading to our next feast at Fatty Crab in the West Village.

Behold: The Big-Ass Bowl Of Crab:

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Unpictured: The most heavenly pork buns that I made QUICK work of.

I wish I could say it ended there, but there was also a bit of this:

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A little of this:

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And a lot of this:

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I can no longer fit into any of my clothes, but you know what?

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Question of the Day: What’s The Most Delicious Thing You Ate Lately?

My Life Through Instagram Vol. 2

What up, homies? I know my blog has been about as active as a Giant Panda on Valium lately, and for that I apologize.

Side note: did you know Giant Pandas spend approximately 16 hours a day eating?? 

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We have so much in common.

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Anyway, it’s been a busy few weeks for your girl BreezyK here: weddings, parties, cottage weekends, and most importantly- a new job!

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(Do I get points for the timely Shoppers Drug Mart gif? No? Ok.)

It’s still in law, but no longer in private practice… so I expect the quality of my life to improve drastically to have more regular hours and thus more free time for blogging. (When my busy schedule of grooming and beauty related appointments permits, of course.)

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Those pictures were completely gratuitous.

Anyway, I know I owe you guys a real post (and to read and comment on some of the great stuff you’ve been writing), but as mentioned above, I’m in panda-mode. So in the meantime, I thought I’d give a little update on my life through my favourite fleetingly popular social media platform: instagram.

(You can see my first installment of My Life Through Instagram here.)

If you don’t follow me on Instagram, then you definitely should: @BreezyK1. I am extremely self-absorbed and post a lot of pictures of my manicures. Who doesn’t like that in their newsfeed??

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1.    Someone’s been making mixtapes!

2.    See, I told you. (Hey, when it takes as long as this did, it deserves to be instagrammed) 

3.    Summer BBQs. If you can believe it, there was actually way more food unpictured.

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4.    We clean up aiight 

5.    Sunset over Sugar Lake

6.    Wine and Cheese with a view.. oh you fancy huh  

7.    This album has been getting me through a lot of tough runs lately. Kanye- you may be a crazed egomaniac with questionable child-naming skills, but your beats are solid and your lyrics genius. So thank you for that.  

8.    Champagne celebrations

9.    I challenge you to name me a treat more delicious than s’mores

You just peed in your pants a little, didn't you?

You just peed in your pants a little, didn’t you?

10.  So I joined a softball league this summer- considering the ability to play softball entirely irrelevant. The only thing worse than my batting average is my attendance- but I do contribute to the team by taking glorious, sunset candid shots like this one.. so I think I’m pulling my weight.

11.  My lovely friend Danielle looking fierce at her wedding

12.  Cottage Adventures

13.  Do you… canoe? (Ok that was lame. Forgive me guys, I’ve been out of the game for a while) 

14.  Little father’s day tribute to my pops.. (and some inadvertent product placement. Mmm. Veggie Thins) 

15.  Delicious Sangria by the pool… I am just noticing now how many of these pics involve alcohol.

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16.  A lifesize “The Claw” arcade game set up in the financial district as part of Toronto’s Luminato festival for the arts and creativity. There was actually a dude inside who, when you put money into the machine, tried to retrieve a toy for you with oversize claw-like implements. Everyone cheered when he got one, and when he missed they played the sad fail music from the Price is Right. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ytCEuuW2_A

Umm this Youtube video has had over 3 million views. I don’t know why, but that’s awesome.

Question of the Day: What has been the highlight of your summer thus far?

Mine’s probably a tossup between drinking that Sangria and watching the new season of Big Brother.. but I expect that to change when I head to Nova Scotia this weekend!

My Life Through Instagram

I haven’t been very inspired to write lately. Perhaps it’s because of my disillusionment/exhaustion/overwhelming desire to kill myself  general sense of malaise from trying to write a novel in 30 days.

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Or maybe it’s the fact that I was sick with the plague a dreadful cold/flu last week (yeah, in JUNE. THANKS GLOBAL WARMING).

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It actually got so bad that I called in sick to work for the first time in three years. I spent a solid 8 hours watching daytime TV, periodically spraying my throat with Chloraseptic in an effort to stave off the black lung (don’t question my methods) and drifting in and out of consciousness.

………….Lemme tell ya, Anderson Cooper fever dreams are one helluva drug.  

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Oh, and I also just joined a Bachelorette pool at work, so now I have to spend approximately 90% of my time trash-talking all of my colleagues. Drew for the win!

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Anyway, since I am still pretty low on f*cks to give, rather than write a real blog post, I thought I’d try a neat little idea I saw on another blog the other day –  a summary of my life  over the past few weeks through Instagram: 

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1. A sick manicure I got a few weeks ago. It took a ridiculously long time, but those damn little chevrons made me so happy every time I looked at them that it was worth it.

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2. A few weeks back, I received free tickets to the Canadian Opera Company’s performance of Salome at the Four Seasons Center. I was really excited because I had never been to the Opera before, and the whole thing just felt so civilized.

I stole this pic from my friend Lia who was with me and is a great grammer herself

I stole this pic from my friend Lia who is also a great grammer

The performance was in German, and I will admit that for the first 30 minutes, I had no effing clue what was going on. (Even though there were subtitles. I’m just that smart.) Seriously guys, I was beginning to think I was being punked. But then someone on stage got beheaded, and after that I was totally into it

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Afterwards we were given a backstage tour and got to look at all the props (not the decapitated head though. I asked) and see how they do all the high-tech stuff. It was bomb, and if I can ever afford to buy my own tickets, I will totally go back again. So probably never.

3. Starbucks Fail. I feel like I should have been more offended by this.

4. A replica of Peggy’s Cove erected in Toronto’s financial district a couple of weeks ago. I actually thought I was seeing a mirage on my way to work in the morning, but then was lured into the display by a charming Tourism Nova Scotia employee with a familiar accent (damn those hard “A”‘s. They get me every time). I was so entranced by the man in a kilt onstage teaching the awestruck crowd how to properly cook a lobster that I ended up being 20 minutes late for work. #WorthIt

5.  I’m usually not one of those people who instagrams their food (OK, I totally am) but my lunch yesterday from IQ Food Co. was just way too good not to capture. I mean…Sh*t is like a healthy food rainbow.

6. This past Saturday I attended the Field Trip Music Festival in Toronto. The festival  celebrated the 10 year anniversary of Canadian record label Arts & Crafts, and featured a ton of amazing Canadian (and international) artists like Broken Social Scene, Feist, Stars, Bloc Party,  Ra Ra Riot, etc. It was an amazing day filled with friends, music and laughter.

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……Except for a brief period where they ran out of beer. BLAME CANADA.

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7. My new favourite show, Family Tree on HBO. It’s written and directed by Christopher Guest (Best In Show,  This is Spinal Tap) and stars mah boo Chris O’Dowd (the hot cop from Bridesmaids). It’s dry, brilliantly written and hilarious and is cheering me up from my disappointment over the new season of Arrested Development. (I’m only on episode 5- does it get better??)

8. Yogurt is good for you, right? (Side note: Nanaimo bars as a topping?? OMG)

9. I went to check out the flowers at Alan Gardens (It’s my “Serenity Now” place) last weekend and stumbled across this Cactus convention, which apparently, is a thing. Guys, there were so many weird cacti!!

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I spent a good hour checking them all out, and talking to the cactus growers who themselves are just as interesting (speaking of Christopher Guest…). Moral of the story: when life hands you a Cactus, make friends with its grower? #BadParable.

Question of the Day: Do You Instagram?

If so, what’s your handle?For more of this groundbreaking photojournalism, follow me @breezyk1

It’s Not A Party Until Somebody Busts out an EpiPen

“Someone call 911!!” my Father shouted, “and for God’s sake would someone go calm down your mother??!”

It was Thanksgiving 2007, and I was standing in the upstairs bathroom of my childhood home, staring down at the (seemingly) lifeless body of my older sister Marija.

Just a few moments before, she had returned from her annual Thanksgiving 10k run and  gone upstairs to take a shower. The rest of my family and I were busying ourselves in the kitchen when suddenly, we heard a telltale “THUD” . We rushed upstairs to find my sister, passed out cold on the bathroom floor, sweatband and dry fit gear still firmly in place.

What she had neglected to tell any of us was that for the past four days, she had been subsisting on nothing but a cayenne pepper and maple syrup concoction (laced with speed, evidently) in an effort to pare down for the holidays. Apparently, this was a diet Beyonce swore by.

Right. So that makes it a good idea.

Unarmed with this essential information, we all feared the worst and launched into full-scale panic mode. My brother hit the floor, attempting to revive her like a scene from a bad Nicholas Cage film, while my mother screamed bloody murder in the background. I, in my usual helpful fashion, did nothing but stand there and sob uncontrollably. My father had just gone to send up an emergency flare in the backyard when my sister came to, staring into the faces of 6 crazed lunatics.

“Guys, I’m fine” she said. “But can someone get me a Gatorade or something?”

I wish I could say that this story was one of a kind; a blip on the radar of an otherwise unblemished Thanksgiving history. But sadly, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Growing up the youngest of 5, Thanksgiving, much like any other holiday, was basically a shit show. If someone wasn’t passing out, they were splitting their hand open with a carving knife, or arm-wrestling over the last drumstick. Just getting us all in one place was cause for celebration in and of itself.

Despite all of this calamity,  I continue to book the overpriced ticket and go home for Thanksgiving every year. Why? Because there’s always the distinct possibility of one of my siblings getting their head stuck inside a turkey. And if so, I’d really like to put sunglasses on it.

Another Thanksgiving debacle in our family is the annual debate over who will say grace. The pre-dinner prayer was a necessary precursor to every Thanksgiving meal growing up, and one my siblings and I avoided like the plague. My Father would take up his post at the head of the table and ask, “Now, whose turn is it to say grace this year?” And inevitably, 5 collective heads would lower, eager to escape this cruel and unusual punishment.

I’m not really sure why we hated it so much. You reference the grub, thank the Big Man upstairs and move on. I mean, sure, there are are some weird, Latin old-timey words in there, but it wasn’t like you had to announce that you still wet the bed or something. Regardless, it was an unwritten rule that the one who had to say it would be forced to carry around a lifetime of eternal shame.

As the youngest, I was often the scapegoat. My siblings would team up against me and insist “It’s Bree’s turn! It’s Bree’s turn!” conveniently “forgetting” that I had recited it the previous 5 years in a row. If I ever thought about objecting, I only had to look at my brothers to know that one peep would result in a year’s worth of Smurf bites and figure four leg locks. Inevitably, I relented, left to mumble “Bless us o lord, for these thy gifts…” into my mashed potatoes as my brothers snickered in the background.

Things only got worse for me when one year, I decided to make a Thanksgiving centrepiece. I was 11, and going through my short-lived “interior decorating phase”. I watched home decorating shows religiously, rearranged the furniture in my bedroom daily, and, if permitted, would have sponge-painted every available surface area in our home. I had seen an amazing centerpiece in a copy of Martha Stewart Living  and was hell-bent on making it, despite my mother’s objections about the mess it would cause and my brothers’ taunts that “no one cared about a stupid centrepiece anyway”. It consisted of fall leaves artfully arranged in a cornucopia made out of a single piece of birch bark: all sprinkled with a hefty dose of glitter. It was magnificent. I just knew having it on our table would make for the best Thanksgiving ever.

Determined, I set off  in search of the perfect fall foliage for my piece de resistance. What I neglected to consider, however, were my chronically severe seasonal allergies. About 20 minutes into rummaging through leaf piles, I was sneezing so hard I could barely see straight, hives popping up on every inch of exposed skin. Think McCauley Culkin in My Girl, minus the anaphylaxis. I was barely able to stumble back home and limply drop my leaves onto the table before my mom gave me a hefty dose of Benadryl and sent me to bed. This was not, as Martha had suggested, A Good Thing.

Luckily, I only had to wait one year for my embarrassing Thanksgiving moment to be eclipsed by my brother Kristin performing what was perhaps the most notoriously stupid act in our family’s history.

We were celebrating our first Thanksgiving in a brand new home, and my mom brought out her gold-plated wedding china for the occasion. We had all been served, and were just about to sit down to dinner when my brother decided to warm up his turkey dinner in the microwave.

Not being an idiot, I of course knew that the combination of gold plating and microwaves did not mix, but despite this did nothing to stop it. Why? Because the irony was much too sweet. My brother; the self-described “science prodigy”. Boaster of many a math and science accolade. Dropper of frequent and unsolicited periodic table-related puns. This was much, much too good.

Just as I (and every known law of physics) predicted, within seconds sparks began flying and the Microwave lit up like a fourth of July picnic. He quickly rushed to press “cancel”, but not before leaving a sizeable hole in the newly microwave and a strong sulphuric tinge in the air. I had never felt so validated.

Shockingly, the mayhem is showing no signs of slowing down, and year after year, our house continues to resemble another instalment in the National Lampoon series. Just this past Thanksgiving, my mother claimed to have taken an allergic reaction to my sister Sherene’s homemade preserves, and proceeded to fan her face and sneeze dramatically throughout the entire meal. She says it was because of the nutmeg. I say it’s because they sucked. Oh well, I guess the old adage is true: it’s not a party until somebody busts out an EpiPen!

           Question of the Day: Any Good Thanksgiving Fails to Share?

*Ok so I know it’s not technically Thanksgiving for me. But I thought I would share this one for all my Amurrican friends. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Check Me Into the Betty Crocker Clinic

In one of my favourite scenes from Sex and the City, Miranda, unable to stop herself from eating a homemade chocolate cake, finally decides to throw the whole thing in the trash. But a moment later, her willpower fails her and she’s back in the kitchen picking discarded cake bits out of the garbage.

Realizing what she has done, Miranda calls Carrie and leaves her the following message:

“I know you’re probably busy having mind-blowing sex, but I feel you need to know that your good friend, Miranda Hobbes, has just taken a piece of cake out of the garbage and eaten it. You’ll probably need this information when you check me into the “Betty Crocker Clinic.”

But in the epic battle of Woman vs. Cake, it was Miranda who emerged the victor when she ultimately picked up a bottle of dish soap and dumped it all over the cake remains, rendering them unfit for human consumption.

Most of us ladies have had a “Miranda moment” at one point or another. Unable to control ourselves with “bad” foods, we do ridiculous things to sabotage ourselves, or the food, in order to put an end to the madness.

“Get these chips away from me!”

One of these such moments happened to me yesterday.

While I hasten to use the word “diet”, I guess that’s really the only term you would use to describe the satanic ritual I’ve been putting myself through lately. In an effort to look svelte and Facebook photo-ready for a few upcoming events, I’ve been watching what I eat and trying to cut out junk. You know, “carbs are the enemy” and all that noise. Anyway, yesterday, unable to face the prospect of one more apple, I took to the grocery store in search of healthy snack options. I perused the extensive collection of rice cakes and “100 calorie packs” before ultimately choosing an overpriced container of designer trail mix known as “Berry Blast”.  For $9.99, there better be a God Damn blast.  Maybe also some flecks of solid gold.

Guys, I kid you not, when I got back to my office and opened that thing I’m pretty sure rays of light and miniature angels flew out. This stuff was seriously addictive. Like a healthy crack.

But the problem with “healthy”snacks is that they, too,become unhealthy when you eat, say, 15 servings of them. When I realized this stuff was disappearing faster than everybody else in the theatre with Fred Willard,  I shoved the container into my office drawer. Out of sight, out of mind.

Putting it within arm’s reach was my first mistake. Within 30 seconds I was again shovelling fistfuls of pecans and dried cranberries into my face. Next, I tried throwing it on top of the bookshelf across the room, confident there was no way I could reach it without a chair or other boosting device. And that would just be embarrassing, right?

You overestimate my pride. Within 5 minutes I was climbing up on my chair and using a file folder as a reaching device to bring the trail mix within my grasp.

After a couple more handfuls (and my self-esteem at an all-time low) I decided that the Berry Blast and I needed a third-party intervention. So I picked up the now half-empty container and marched it down the hall to the office of a trusted colleague.

“I need you to do me a favour.” I said.

“Ok… what is it?” she replied, tepidly.

“I need you to  hold this trail mix in trust for me until I regain enough self-control to have it in my presence.”

Stifling laughter, she pryed it from my cold dead hands  took the container from me.  “Should we develop a safeword?” She asked, “So that I’ll know you’re serious when you come back?”

This seemed prudent.

We settled on “Idaho”. (“Boston”, “California” and “Nova Scotia” were also thrown out there, but all of those places made me hungry.) Then we drafted up a quick custodian agreement setting out the terms of the arrangement. (Just kidding. we’re not that bad).

Thinking that my trail mix troubles were behind me, I went back to work, free from the intrusive thoughts of macadamia nuts and pumpkin seeds.

But later that night, as I lie awake in bed, thoughts of my beloved Berry Blast returned to me. Images of cashews and blueberries danced in my head.

Like this. Only trail mix.

With sleep a distant possibility, I spent my waking hours mentally crafting each and every perfect handful.

The next morning, I marched into my colleague’s office and waved the proverbial white flag. “Idaho” I said,  resolutely.

“What’s that??” She asked, jokingly.

“Idaho. IdahoIdahoIda- oh just give me the god damn thing already”.

Should’ve gone with the soap.

Question of the Day: Have you ever had a Miranda moment?

If you Can’t Take the Heat…. Well, you should probably just get out of the kitchen anyway.

So after admitting to all 3 people who read this blog last week that my go-to meals on weeknights include either (a) cereal or (b) something you can unwrap and put in the microwave,  I decided it was probably time to get my act together. So I went grocery shopping on Saturday and picked up  some fresh salmon, veggies, and all the ingredients for a rice pilaf with the intention of making a lovely, romantic dinner for one on Sunday night.

But you know what they say about good intentions. Hell is papier mached with them… or something like that. Sunday came along, and after indulging in a few too many diet cokes the night before, I had no desire to cook whatsoever. But as I lied semi-comatose on the couch watching a marathon of Millionaire Matchmaker, my guilt about the $85 dime-sized piece of salmon sitting in my fridge (effing inland province) just kept increasing. I could almost hear it taunting me from the fridge…  “coook meeeee BreezyK” It said. “Coat me with your sweet sweet marinade and have your way with me”. It eventually got so bad that I couldn’t even focus on Patti’s sage advice (the penis DOES do the picking) so I pulled myself together and prepared to get my Rachel Ray on.

Slowly but surely, I preheated the oven, marinated the salmon and chopped up some vegetables… by all accounts, things were moving along. Granted, the only similarities between me and Rachel Ray were a muffin top and an incredibly annoying voice… but you take what you can get. The last step involved boiling some water for the pilaf. And this my friends, is where I made a grave, tactical error.  After nonchalantly flipping on the burner, I proceeded to immediately become distracted by the Disney movie Prom that had just come on the movie network. I know. I can’t  even handle how cool I am either. So engrossed was I in the fact that all of the prom decorations had just been destroyed in a random act of vandalism (what was Nova going to DO??) that it took a good few minutes before I noticed a funky smell emanating from the kitchen. Hmm… That smells like………. plastic, I thought. I looked up from my place on the couch to see that the room was slowly beginning to fill with a black, putrid smoke. I ran over to the stove to investigate and discovered that ( DUN DUN DUN…..) I had turned on the wrong element.

Yeah. This happened.

There sat my pot of water, undisturbed and cool as a cucumber on the front element… while on the back burner, what was once a plastic-handled steak knife, now sat a soupy mess of black plastic.  Immediately I rushed for an oven mit to scoop it up.. but it sort of felt like I was trying to pick up a melted marshmallow. (Cause I do that all the time) Just as I got hold of the remaining exoskeleton, the smoke alarm began to ring. And ring. And ring. I quickly opened my patio door and threw the remnants of the knife onto the cold concrete, next deciding what to do about the smoke alarm.

I tried fanning it with a dishtowel- to no avail. Next I took my fan out of my bedroom and positioned it on the floor right underneath it.  But still, the little white dome continued to shriek at an ear-blistering decibel. It would not rest, it seemed, until everyone within a 10 mile radius had been informed of my idiocy. Finally, I decided to open and close the front door of my apartment rapidly, attempting desperately to create some sort of cross-breeze. Of course as soon as I do this, my next door neighbour, who I HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE IN MY LIFE, decides to come out into the hallway to investigate. “Don’t worry!” I shouted, over the alarm. “There’s no fire! Nothing to see here!” You know, except for these incredibly sexual and glamorous (read: ratty, stained and oversized) pajamas I’m wearing. But whatever.. no time to be sexy. I just needed this death machine to STOP SCREAMING.

Finally, it turned off and I stepped back into my apartment to avail the situation. The thick black smoke still penetrated every corner… and the smell. Oh good god the smell. I would liken it to burning garbage meets a homeless convention. My counters were covered with sticky black tar like substance, and the sulphur lingering in the air had rendered everything that had been sitting out on my counter inedible- including the salmon that I had recently taken out of the oven.

Admitting defeat, I googled the nearest Thai delivery place. Ordering in, at least, was guaranteed not to burn my house down. I enjoyed my lovely MSG laden cashew tofu while watching Nova and Jesse rebuild  the prom decorations- and at the same time, their relationship- and  was making my way to the fridge to put my leftovers away when I felt a waft of heat. That’s right friends. I had left my god damn oven on.

I ‘m starting to think it’s more than culinary ineptness. Maybe I just have a death wish.

Question of the Day: Are you a good cook?

Have you had any misadventures in cooking lately?  

A Very Urban Long Weekend

While I would by no means consider myself a Monarchist, I will admit that the Royal Family has done a lot for society. Specifically, Queen Victoria.

Why Vicky? You might ask. Well, for starters, she:

  • was the longest reigning Monarch in history, and ruled the British Empire  during its most glorious and powerful days:

(Just kidding, I bet it was more like this:)

  • harnessed her baby making prowess to produce 9 offspring, which ultimately resulted in one Prince Hot Ginge:

  • gave mad face all day, every day.. like in this photo:

Bitch is not amused, so you might as well just stop asking

  • inspired really fancy and uncomfortable chairs like these ones:

  • and- most importantly, gave us Canadians a brief reprieve from the soul-sucking power of The Man and an excuse to get Sunday-drunk each third Monday in May for the past 150 years. That’s right, my friends- I’m talkin about Victoria Day. Or, if you like to keep it kla$$y, the May 2-4 weekend.

So this past weekend, while pretty much every other pretentious urbanite and their Goldendoodle packed up their Tumi luggage and coordinated casual wear and headed to their million-dollar Muskoka “cottages”, I chose to stay here in Toronto, instead. Why? because I had work committments am a renegade. Yep. bet you couldn’t tell, but under my suit, I’m hiding my own drum.  And guess what? I march to the beat of that sh*t.

My best friend was here in the city too, and we decided to make the most of our long weekend by drinking excessively exploring everything Toronto had to offer.  We started out Friday night with drinks at Lee , a Toronto hotspot owned by famous foodie and Top Chef  alum Susur Lee.

I’m a big Top Chef fan, and have been to Lee a couple of times before, but have never actually caught a glimpse of Susur himself.. so this time, I was really hoping to.

I mean c’mon.. just look at that hair.

While we pretended to be fabulous and sipped on $20 cocktails, I told my friend Lia about an article I had read recently naming Susur’s undergrad-aged sons as two of Toronto’s 30 Most Eligible Men. The bartender I guess had overheard me, and looked up from the ginger he had been muddling with unbelievable precision, and said:  “there’s one of them right there“.

photo via National Post

I turned around to see the older of the two (with the shaved head, above) waiting on the table behind us, and almost choked on my Saketini. Think Taylor Lautner meets David Beckham, but in an attainable sort of way. So what if he was only 21? Don’t they always say there’s something sexy about an older woman? I was admiring his tattoo sleeve and daydreaming about us laughing over Japanese Margharitas and listening to Motown on vinyl as he taught me how to Julienne vegetables, when I heard a voice snap me back to reality:

“Hello”, it said.

I turned on my stool to see Susur standing beside me,  in all his ponytailed, chef-coated glory.

I was like:

Now, let me just preface this by saying that I am from a small town.. and up until this point, the biggest “celebrity” I had ever encountered was Bubbles from The Trailer Park Boys. And I didn’t even actually talk to him.. I just admired his bottle-cap glasses from across the room.

Anyway, I could feel my cheeks burning red, and after what felt like an eternity, managed to squeak out an awkward “hello” before burying my face in my drink and praying for the floor underneath my barstool to open up and swallow me.

I’d hate to see what happened if I ever met an actual celebrity. I’d probably throw up on their shoes.

Anyway, this post was really supposed to be a summary of my entire weekend.. but somewhere between the wing-backed Victorian furniture and that highly unflattering  John C. Reilly gif, I guess the wheels sort of fell off somewhere. (I blame the  tequila.  That shit’ll get you every time.)

I guess you’ll just have to wait until tomorrow to read about Part Two of my epic Victoria Day Weekend adventures… and after the quality piece of literature you’ve just read… well, I can’t see how you wouldn’t be dying to come back. Just don’t all come crashing the site at once now, ok?… my server can’t handle that sh*t.

Ok, I’m really done now.

Question of the Day:   Have you ever met a celebrity??

And if so, did you play it cool, or did you channel Captain Awkward of the Awkward Brigade like I did?