Category Archives: Toronto

TO Light Fest and other things (mostly food-related)

I’ve been working on a cartoon post this week but it’s taking longer than expected, so in the meantime here’s what’s been happening around here.

Last week Evan and I met up with our friends Emily and Corey at the Toronto Light Festival, a new thing going on this year in the Toronto Distillery District. We had planned to all go to the Christmas Market together back in November, also an annual thing in the Distillery District, but unfortunately the stars did not align for that and it never ended up happening. So, Toronto Light Fest was our back up plan.

It was originally advertised with a stock photo of tunnel of lights, so Emily and I were a bit disappointed that wasn’t actually a thing, but the exhibits were pretty cool. We wandered around the area for a bit and checked out the sights.

Big kitties!

The love locks, which are always there.

This thing…

The Uniting Lightstar…

And my favourite, the Angels of Freedom by the OGE Group, an architectural firm in Israel.

I love that Marcus has his own little halo over his carriage.

If you go there, take a picture with the wings and then post it using the hashtag #MillStLights, Mill St. Brewery will donate $1 to the Daily Bread Food Bank. Pretty groovy.

We didn’t get a chance to see everything and one of the exhibits we missed was My Light is Your Light.

(photo from BlogTO)

I would have loved to see that and I’m not sure how we missed it. The light exhibits are there until March 12 though, and it’s free, so we might have to go back!

Evan has reservation-making skills and somehow managed to get us into El Catrin, a Mexican restaurant in the area (that I actually went to for Eat The World Mexico). It was totally packed and they were turning people away at the door so we were very lucky to get in. A note that if you’re planning on eating in the area during the TO Light Fest, try to make reservations in advance! I think we just called at the right time. I don’t LOVE the food at El Catrin, but they have great drinks (important) and one of the best atmosphere’s I’ve experienced in a restaurant so I guess I’ll forgive them. Evan and I started with corn on the cob though and that was insanely delicious.

The rest of our food was fairly mediocre but I will be talking about that corn for years to come.

The weekend was pretty low key, which was exciting. Usually January and February are a bit slower on weekends but this year they seem to be exceptionally busy — we have had stuff going on every weekend so I just assumed we were busy this weekend as well. When I actually looked at our calendar and saw nothing was happening I was ecstatic. We watched Outlander on Friday (I assumed I’d be watching it by myself but Evan’s mom and aunt were telling him how good it is so he was actually interested), Saturday morning I went to Orange Theory, ran some errands, and then in the evening Evan and I had a pho date at our usual haunt and came home and watched Gilmore Girls (still slogging through the sixth season).

On Sunday we met with our wedding officiant (for our Toronto family wedding, not the Cuba wedding) in Newmarket at a restaurant called Made In Mexico. Heather, our officiant, chose the restaurant, and I could not have been happier with the selection. I got the enchilada sampler and it was so, so good.

I could not have been happier about our officiant, either. It was our first time meeting her — Heather reached out to me through my blog last year when I mentioned we were getting married in Cuba but wanted a Toronto ceremony first. I love blogging for things like this!!! We wanted to do lunch to sort of get to know each other before the ceremony, and we absolutely loved her. I’m feeling really excited that she is performing our ceremony and so grateful she emailed me about it!

On Monday I went to I Can’t Keep Quiet with Choir! Choir! Choir! and MILCK that I mentioned in my last post. Before the show I met up with my blogger friends at Loblaws in the old Maple Leaf Gardens by the Phoenix Concert Theatre (where the event was happening). We figured it would be good for a quick dinner. I grabbed soup and a mini baguette, and then since they have a Nutella Cafe in there this had to happen…

Because of course. So good!

We headed over to the Phoenix just before 7 and found a lineup that stretched longer than a city block.

That’s just behind us, there was probably double that in front of us. It was awesome that so many people came out, and there were pussyhats in abundance! We had printed our I Can’t Keep Quiet signs.

Me, Casey, Michelle, Shanondoah (they’re all coming to our Cuba wedding which I am so excited about!)

I’m sure we held our signs upside down half the time, but that’s okay, you get the point. There was one sign there that I was

MILCK came out and Daveed and Nobu taught us how to sing her single I Can’t Keep Quiet which went totally viral for the Women’s March, I like this video especially:

Anyway, it was a really cool experience.

Singing that with strangers gave me all the tingles. MILCK sang the lead and the hundreds in attendance sang a three-part harmony that Daveed and Nobu taught us. I’m so glad we went! I hope my blogger friends had a good first Choir experience, though I have to say it ran a little longer than a usual session and all of our legs were dying by the end so I hope that didn’t ruin it for them. I can’t wait to see the video!

Here’s a good article about the whole thing on BlogTO. I’m not a fan of that “Women, Their Rights, And Nothing Else” sign, though. There are plenty of other things. Human rights and nothing else, yes.

All proceeds went to the ACLU, in this case, but past events have supported many Canadian charities (they raised over $25,000 for local charities in December) and C!C!C! has also raised over $60,000 to sponsor two families from Syria and Iraq. It’s something I’m proud to be a part of!

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High School Eating Parties

It feels weird to be writing normal things right now. I’m devastated and terrified about what’s going on in the world and it doesn’t feel right to just be writing as usual. I don’t really know how to handle it and my blog seems so trivial right now, but I don’t currently have anything genuine to add to the conversation that will help bring about change. Or at least nothing that I feel comfortable writing an entire post about. But normal is comforting. So, I’m going to do some weekend recapping.

On Friday evening my high school friends and I had a dinner party with two of our former teachers turned friends, Marni and Mr. B (I still can’t call him anything but that!). We planned this back in November and it’s been a while since I’ve seen either of them so I’ve been looking forward to it. I was also really looking forward to talking to Mr. B about everything that’s been happening since Trump’s inauguration. He was our history teacher all through high school and many times lately I’ve wished I was back in his class discussing how NOT NORMAL (but unfortunately not unprecedented) this is. Mr. B was always a voice of reason and I had so many thought-provoking discussions in his class so I wanted to hear what he thought of this insanity.

We got those discussions out of the way early on and then had a really great night telling stories and reminiscing about our high school times.

My side of the table missed the memo about having a meatball prop.

Pretty similar picture to a dinner party we had at Mr. B’s a few years ago.

It was summer then, though, so we’re definitely all looking a bit brighter.

We went through all our old yearbooks, which is always a good time. Dawn and I in Grade 9!

I’ve really only ever had two hair styles, middle part and side part.

That picture isn’t in black and white because it was just soo long ago, but because our school was so small we didn’t have a big yearbook budget. Everything was black and white.

Also Grade 9, semi-formal.

You may recognize myself, Joel (back when he had luscious locks), my friend Beth, my bestie Lisa, Emily and Dawn. Just babies!

We had such a good night. I had a big love burst for this group.

Saturday morning I got up early and headed to an OrangeTheory class. I’m still loving it. I upped my membership to unlimited, so I’ve been going four times a week the last few weeks. I’m definitely seeing some results, too, which is nice. Mostly in my limbs and chest right now, which is the story of my life. Nungas are always the first to lose and first to gain (this is more annoying than it sounds). It takes a while for my midsection to catch up.

Saturday night Evan and I  had a dinner date with my pal CathRON (she’s appeared in my blog a few times, Kitten the Cat‘s owner for context) and her boyfriend Trevor.

That picture is from 2013, we need a new one. The flash on my phone at the time sure liked to make me look fluorescent. Anyway, Catherine and I met when we worked together at Diary Queen when we were in high school. It was a high school themed weekend. I also worked with Trevor at Dairy Queen, they recently reunited which makes me so happy!!!

We went to Loka on Queen West, which opened in 2016 and is known for having inventive, locally-sourced dishes. Our original plan was to do the Winterlicious prix fixe menu (Winterlicious is an event that runs for two weeks every year and gives Torontonians the chance to try a value menu at many of the city’s restaurants) but then we noticed we could taste the entire restaurant for only $12 more per person. That seemed to be the better value to me. Super small portions though. For example our first dish was a whitefish chowder, and while delicious it was literally one spoonful.

Afterwards Evan was all “I bet they had an entire giant vat of that chowder back in the kitchen, they couldn’t put a full ladle in our dishes?!” Yeah. I feel that. I should mention that Evan did not like this restaurant at all, it was just not his thing. On Sunday he said he had a nightmare Saturday night that we were back at the restaurant eating more food. We had a really good time because Catherine and Trevor are a good time and we LOVED our server (well I did) but I agree the food wasn’t anything to write home about. A few things were pretty good though. I liked these little sourdough toasts topped with preserved plums and goat milk jam.

And we all loved the pan roasted mushrooms with truffled potatoes and deer lichen. I think it was the stand out dish of the night.

Deer lichen is a moss that grows on trees, so we asked our server where the moss came from and he said they have a guy who is a local forager that they source it from. I thought that was interesting. I asked our server if I could become a forager and just bring them things that I find out in the wild but he didn’t make it seem like Loka would go for that…

We also tried the bone marrow. Both mine and Evan’s first time trying, but Catherine and Trevor had been telling us earlier how much they both loved it (not from here). As soon as it arrived at our table I saw Catherine side eye that bread. She said bone marrow was best served with soft bread as opposed to crusty bread, so she was not impressed.

It definitely wasn’t Evan’s thing but I enjoyed it. I liked that it was all smooth and buttery. I do agree that it would be best served with a soft bread to sop up all that marrow goodness. The crusty bread was pretty useless. And we needed more of it!

We had eight courses in total, which sounds like a lot but they were so tiny that I left there barely full at all. We had a lot of beer though, so that helped. It was a good night and I’m excited to hang out with those two again!

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Livin’ on the Edge

Back in the summer (and I’m sad it’s over) my pal Casey asked me if I would be interested in doing the CN Tower EdgeWalk with her this year for her birthday. If you are not familiar with the CN tower, it is the giant focal point of the Toronto skyline.

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Pretty sure I mentioned this when Evan and I went up there with Emily and Corey a couple years ago but it is the tallest freestanding structure in the western hemisphere and the fifth tallest in the world (it was the tallest until 2010). It’s about 1,800 feet, so it’s tall. It is large and in charge. You’ve always been able to go up inside the tower. It’s a pretty big tourist attraction and it has a revolving restaurant and a glass floor and a few other things happening. But in 2011 they started the EdgeWalk which is a walk OUTSIDE – around the circumference of the roof. You are tethered the entire time so it’s not quite as scary as a free walk. But it is still scary.

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It’s kind of been on my radar to do for a while, but it’s expensive and I live here so I figured one day, but I’ve never really had an excuse. Evan can’t even walk on the glass floor up there so there’s no way I would ever be able to get him to do it. When Casey asked me it was all the encouragement I needed! So a few Sunday’s ago I met up with Casey, her mom and her friend Erika and we got suited up for our adventure. We were looking goooood.

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They take you out in groups of eight, so we had some new people with us. The two guys on the right in the above picture were visiting from Sweden (here for the World Cup of Hockey) and the couple on the left were from San Diego. We were the only Toronto natives!

I read reviews beforehand and the main point that kept coming up was that they take safety extremely seriously, and I have to agree on that. They are super super safety conscious. We had to be wearing rubber soled shoes, we could not bring anything out with us that could potentially fall, any jewelry we had on needed to be stored in a locker, and they triple checked our suits and harnesses. Once we were suited up in our attractive red jumpsuits they took us up a dedicated Edge Walk elevator, double tethered us to a track that goes around the entire building outside, and we were walking out over 1,600 feet in the air above the city.

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Pretty crazy.

Heights are not really a fear of mine, but that feeling of falling sure is. Evan is absolutely not a heights fan and he thinks it’s so funny when I say that I’m more afraid of falling than afraid of heights, he’ll be like “But that’s the whole point!!!!” But I mean that just standing up high doesn’t get me. The feeling of free falling though, that terrifies me so bad that I worry I’m going to die of anxiety on the Drop Zone at Wonderland. So for me I think I found it easier to do something like this as opposed to jumping out of a plane.

But even though heights have never really bothered me, when we first walked out I felt breathless when I looked down. It was an adrenaline rush for sure and it was a pretty weird and unsettling feeling. The very first activity we did was called toes over Toronto, where you walked to the very edge and kept only your heels on the platform. Eep. I think that was the toughest for me. But after that I started to trust my equipment and feel comfortable with the height.

The next activity was where we walked backwards to the edge and leaned back. We got a video of our entire experience afterwards so I made a short clip of this…

Did the CN Tower #edgewalk today, and it was a time! Thanks for organizing @wafflingblog! 😬😅

A post shared by Lindsey Evanoff (@happyorhungry) on

The first time was definitely scary, but by the time I did it again I felt like an old pro!

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We were outside for a good half an hour walking around the tower, pointing out our city’s landmarks and and doing activities. Another one was leaning forward over the city as opposed to backwards. Our guide was fantastic and I’m kicking myself for not being able to remember her name – she remembered all of ours after a very short time and that was really impressive.

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I would definitely recommend the EdgeWalk whether you are visiting the city or live here. And if you don’t like being up high, we had a guy in our group who was super afraid of heights and he didn’t do all the activities but he was okay, and I think even he was feeling more comfortable towards the end. It is expensive at about $200, however I feel like it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and it was definitely worth the money. We received a couple printed photos and a full DVD of our experience, all included in our package. We also split the photos package between the four of us – It was only $20 extra so $5 each for all the photos taken of us that day, so that seemed worth it to us.

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It was a good time! Super cool experience that I can cross off the ol’ bucket list. Thanks for inviting me, Casey! I don’t know how you’re going to top this on your next birthday…

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Blue Rodeo and CNE Date Night

Evan and I had tickets to see Blue Rodeo on Saturday night at the Molson Amp (again, I feel like I live there) and because you have to walk through the Canadian National Exhibition grounds to get to the concert venue we got into the CNE for free! aka the Ex. aka where all the crazy food is!!!

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The CNE only runs the last two weeks of summer, until Labour Day, and it is a quintessential Toronto summer activity. I used to go for years with my Nana when I was younger and she would go on all the rides with me! These days I prefer to check out the food situation – the food building is ridiculous. I was completely overstimulated and overwhelmed in there. I didn’t know where to look, let alone what to eat. I wrote a post last year on Buzzfeed about all the crazy foods. They add new food every year (and it keeps getting crazier) but they still had the old favourites, like the cronut and donut burgers that were all the rage a few years ago.

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That churro cheeseburger might be new though. And pizza in a cone.

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I guess I’m falling for the novelty of it because I do quite like the idea of pizza in a cone.

Evan and I did a lap of the perimeter and settled on sharing snow crab fries to start.

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Ehh, overrated. Too many fries, not enough crab. The crab was good but it was so skimpy that I can’t recommend for $11. Keep walkin.

Keel walkin right on over to the Vienna food stall with the POUTINE BALLS!!!!

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This was worth every penny. Little balls of mashed potato and cheese, deep fried and served with cheese curds and gravy. OH GOD YES. That was as good as it looks. Maybe even better than it looks. No regrets!

As we were walking out we passed the Japanese street food booth and this caught our eye… the RAMEN BURGER.

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That is a burger with ramen noodles as the bun. What a dream. I don’t know how you say no to that, so we got it to share. Really good. Kind of weird, but weirdly delicious. 100% would eat again.

After all the eating we walked around the grounds for a bit before heading over to the concert.

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Blue Rodeo was wonderful but seeing them on Saturday night meant we were missing the last Tragically Hip concert, which I was initially a bit bummed about. I have seen the Hip before a long time ago, but I know watching it would have been such an amazing and emotional experience. Although maybe for the best because I couldn’t even watch a commercial about the concert without tearing up…

I’m aware I have a lot of American readers (like, mostly American somehow) so just in case you’re not up to speed – the Tragically Hip is a Canadian rock band that is SUPER popular here in Canada. Strangely they don’t seem to have garnered much of a following outside of our country, but this means that we Canadians have been able to keep them to ourselves for all these years and we feel sort of protective towards them. They are ours. You might know Ahead By A Century.

Or maybe Bobcaygeon? Probably my favourite song to listen to at the cottage!

Ah, they just remind me of summers growing up.

Gord Downie, the lead singer of the Hip, was diagnosed with Glioblastoma (an aggressive form of incurable brain cancer) back in December, and so they announced they were going to do a final Canadian tour this summer.  They played three shows in Toronto a couple weeks ago and their last concert was Saturday night in their hometown of Kingston, Ontario. I can’t imagine traveling and performing like Gord has been over the last couple months while suffering from brain cancer. Truly amazing.

What the World Can Learn from Canda Tragically Hip -1-X2

Because this was such a big deal and so many people wanted to watch, the CBC (our national broadcaster, similar to NBC) decided to stream the concert live for the entire country. This bumped out Olympics prime time, and what I think is the most impressive thing, they streamed it without any commercials! CLASS. ACT. There were viewing parties all over the country, in bars, in parks, in homes, everywhere, and like a third of our entire population was watching live. Nuts! Our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was even there sporting a Hip shirt and a Canadian tuxedo! Here’s a good article about the whole thing. I think it was amazing that we can rally together like that for a rock band. It makes me very, very proud to be Canadian.

Anyway, so we were at Blue Rodeo and missed the Hip party. But that’s okay, we plan on watching it later and making a night of it. And Blue Rodeo was so good! They actually played Bobcaygeon in a very fitting (Blue Rodeo is also popular mostly in Canada, although maybe not quite on the same scale) and VERY emotional tribute to the Hip, while they showed CBC footage of the concert on their screens.

They also played Lost Together, my very very fave of theirs.

Evan and I slow danced during this and I was basically melting the entire time. Also Try, Hasn’t Hit Me Yet, and Five Days In May. So many of their hits. Hasn’t Hit Me Yet was also a pretty emotional experience, as it was the last song they played and this was the last concert Blue Rodeo would be playing with Bob Egan, their longtime pedal steel player (who is super impressive) because he’s leaving the band to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a librarian. I kid you not. They got the crowd to sing the first two verses of the song to Bob and you could just see him tearing up and ah. It was happy sad. I may have cried. You go fulfill your dreams and be the best librarian, Bob! Here’s that moment live (they actually start singing at about 2.40 in the below video):

Bob Egan SLAYS that steel!!! Evan and I loved them live and had such a good time.

We walked back through the CNE grounds when the concert was over, and it was all I could do to not get everything on these signs…

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I heard there were deep fried Reese’s peanut butter cups and I wanted them so bad but I couldn’t find them anywhere! I’m going back next week so I am making it my mission to find them. Instead I got an ice cream cone. Maybe for the best.

I also really wanted a little Pikachu. Evan is really good at games, as you may know, so I thought this could actually happen…

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We were wandering through the midway looking for a game Evan could easily win, when we came across the balloon darts game. Done. Evan was all “what do I have to do to win a Pikachu?” they gave him 8 darts and told him he needed to hit a balloon on every single throw. He not only did that, he got so cocky he started calling the balloons like he was playing pool. He’d be like “PINK! Bottom left! Yellow, top right!” I was dying. I got my Pikachu!

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And then we went on the gondola ride that goes over the entire park.

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He is not a ride fan so it’s the only one he’ll go on. Even that was almost too much for him, and it moves slowly! I get it, carnival rides arrive in a truck and are put together on site so I understand the apprehension about that (although I think the gondola is up all year). Gimme all the rides though, I love it. Minus the Zipper. No thanks.

It was quite the date night!

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Toronto Times

One of the things I really wanted Eric and friends to experience while they were here was Choir! Choir! Choir! I know that going to choir on your vacation doesn’t exactly sound like the most fun time. Believe me, I wouldn’t have pegged myself as a “choir” joiner, even though I do love singing (by myself in my car)…but C!C!C! is different. I was pretty apprehensive my first time, but once you start singing you feel more comfortable and now I think I’d even go by myself if I couldn’t find someone to come with me. It’s also in a pub so, that definitely amps up the coolness. It is truly an amazing experience. Someone described going to C!C!C! as taking a soul bath and I think that is pretty accurate. It is uplifting and stress relieving and I always come out of there feeling so happy. I love it.

So last Tuesday after work I roped Eric, Kenya and Dixon into joining me at choir, and Emily and Dawn too as they have been wanting to come with me for a while. Party! C!C!C! happens at Clintons on Bloor West, so first we all went out for dinner at Ka Chi, a Korean restaurant just down the street (same restaurant I went to for HoH Eats The World – Korea). I LOVE the bibimbap there.

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So good.

After dinner we walked over to Clinton’s. It was a SUPER hot day so we were all sweaty and shiny-faced, but everyone was so at least we weren’t alone.

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I know that none of them have really done anything like this before so I was excited for them to experience it. We sang The Beatles – Tomorrow Never Knows in honour of the 50th anniversary of their album Revolver. Definitely an interesting (and psychedelic) song choice… I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out, but I know that all of Daveed and Nobu’s arrangements are amazing so I was pretty confident that it would be awesome. It totally was. And we got in the video!!!

Prominently. Dawn and Emily are right up front, just in front of Kenya and I (I’m wearing glasses in the vid), so we’re pretty much in the entire thing – although I wish I hoisted Kenya on my shoulders! Eric and Dixon are singing mids behind us. Eric’s bright shining face is prominently featured at exactly 3 minutes in, and you can catch a good glimpse of Dixon’s luscious locks in the beginning. I love it. And I feel like it’s a good souvenir of their trip! Pretty groovy. You can watch the video here if it doesn’t load above. They all said they loved the experience and were glad I dragged them to choir (probably better than the time I dragged Eric, Kenya and Dixon up a mountain in the pouring rain). I’m still a cool sister!

I got off work early on Friday so I picked up the trio and we met my dad at Nana’s, who just turned 102! She was SO EXCITED to see Eric.

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Although at first she didn’t realize who he was. I introduced Kenya and Dixon as Eric’s girlfriend and best friend, respectively, and she said “And how is Eric?!” and we were all “he’s standing right there!” and she just about lost her mind. She just kept saying “What a surprise!!!!” and of course “Beautiful! Wonderful! … Fantastic!”

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She is nearly completely deaf now so we write her love notes to communicate.

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Sometimes she writes back instead of speaking. I’m amazed at how quick her mind is and how great her writing (and spelling and grammar) still is. I asked her how she was doing and she wrote back “Very bad. Pain everywhere, all over my body, all the time. But…” and then she made a what-can-you-do motion with her hands and said “It’s okay! I’ll just carry on.” Aw, Nanners. That was sad, but she is so funny and never feels sorry for herself, so we didn’t dwell on it. I can’t imagine how crappy that must be though, and I am not sure how she stays so positive. Anyway, it was a cute visit. She was not understanding that Dixon was in fact not a girl (the hair confused her) so that was pretty entertaining.

After Nana’s we ordered takeout Chinese and watched the Opening Ceremonies back at our place.

On Saturday we went to da island!

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I like to show it off to the tourists. It was again a super hot day and Eric and Kenya have seen the more touristy side of the island with the gardens and Centreville amusement park, so we went to Hanlan’s Point Beach!

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It is the most beautiful beach on the island, in my opinion. A bunch of us had a great day there last year, you may remember me posting about it. And yes it’s a clothing optional beach and no our clothes did not come off. I mentioned last year that we all stayed fully clothed also and someone recently commented on that post and said “What a sad bunch of prudes” which…is the opposite of how I would describe my friends – they are very happy and inappropriate. I am in favour of doing what you feel, and I personally do not feel comfortable leisuring around in the nuddy-pants in my own city where I might actually run into people I work with. Awkward. Also this time my brother was here, so, that would be weird…

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We spent most of the day lounging around on the sand and swimming. The water is gorgeous! So clear and blue.

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Speaking of gorgeous…

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That hair.

My friend Hannah and a friend of hers met up with us for a while in the later afternoon (Hannah knows Eric as she came to Taste of the Danforth with us last year)

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This photo unfortunately had to get cropped as there was quite the bare bum behind Evan. This is my life in PG, always remember.

After beaching it up we got changed out of our bathing suits and headed back to the docks. We had to wait a bit for the ferry so in the meantime SKYLINE PHOTO SHOOT. I love Toronto!

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After we got back to the mainland we wandered around the harbour to the Amsterdam Brewhouse on the lake. We needed to hydrate so BEER FLIGHTS!

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And lots of water. I got the smoked brisket sandwich and I have zero regrets about it. Delicious.

I’m really going to miss those three. Luckily not for too long ’cause I’m heading out west on Labour Day weekend to stay with them for a couple nights (with Lisa, Sherrie and Sherrie’s friend Yamina from Switzerland – we have quiiiite the road trip planned that includes some camping in the mountains and hopefully some white water rafting, so I am super excited for those adventures!

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Toronto Waterfront 10k Recap

Back in March I signed up to run my first 10k race, the Toronto Waterfront 10k, and this past Saturday was the day!

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Yeehaw!

I have run several 5k races in the past, but that’s all I’ve done as far as “racing” goes. If you can call that racing. I was apprehensive about the distance as 10k is actually the furthest I have ever run before. It was a real big deal and I have been training for it for the past several months.

Initially I followed the Couch to 10k app on my phone, until I got past the 5k distance and then at the end of April I switched to Hal Higdon’s novice 10k training plan. I really liked doing Couch to 5k to get me started, but once I got past the 5k mark going to 10k was difficult because of the amount of time required. It was getting to the point where every run was 60+ minutes and it was difficult to fit that in three times a week, especially when the weather was getting hotter. I found Hal Higdon’s plan much better as I got closer to race time, not that I followed it to a T. I didn’t exactly do the strength training and I didn’t always do the full long run distance (I am so weak-willed sometimes…especially when it’s really hot and humid out).

Anyway, the longest distance I ran before the 10k was 8k, and at a pretty slow pace, so for the 10k I didn’t really know what to expect of myself. My 5k PR is just over 30 minutes, but 10k is a different beast. I doubted I could do it in an hour. And then last week I suddenly got really, really sick. I am talking threw up for nearly 8 hours straight, plus a fever. That kind of sick. The sickest I’ve ever been in my adult life and I thought I had food poisoning, possibly from the wedding, but it only happened to me so it looks like it was just the flu. Fun!

Needless to say, that left me drained and weak. The worst of my sickness was on Wednesday, so by Friday morning I was starting to feel human again and decided I was still going to run the race. But I dropped any sort of time goal. I was running with my good friend Melissa (who I blew across the lake with, and you may remember her from her ridiculously fun Jack and Jill, and then her wedding this past November), and she is in the same running boat as me. We’re pretty equally matched.

She slept over on Friday night (I was feeling back to normal by then but we had too much wine and stayed up too late talking, maybe not the best of ideas), and we got up at 5:30am on Saturday, made our way downtown, and promised each other that we would do whatever it took to run the entire thing together. Even if it was at a super slow pace!

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We also met up with my friends Michelle and Casey (this race was Michelle’s idea in the first place, I cursed her at times but now I’m glad she got me to do it).

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At 7:45am we were off! It was HOT, and it was humid, and that wasn’t awesome, but for some reason I felt awesome. We started off running down Yonge Street to Lakeshore and that part was a bit of a downhill and it may have had something to do with this, but I felt better than I have ever felt while running. I was chatting to Melissa and Michelle and around km 3 or so and I remember thinking that I wasn’t even out of breath (Missy and I stayed with Michelle for the first 5k, Casey took off like a gazelle immediately ’cause she is freakin SPEEDY). That was crazy to me because normally I can’t hold a convo while running. I don’t think. I only really run by myself and I don’t really talk to myself, but I really didn’t think I could. My friend Emily texted me while I was running and I just responded with this selfie:

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Feeling good! Until about 6k when I started to deteriorate. At km 7 we had a turn around and were running directly into the sun and I went rapidly downhill. There’s a big uphill around there too which was not my favourite. 8k was the worst. I really wanted to stop and walk and I know Melissa was right there with me, but we soldiered on!

I am so happy to report that we ran the entire race, no walking, no stopping — though we ran super slowly through the water stations while dumping water down our throats, and onto ourselves. Gah, it was hot. We finished in 1:14:16 and I am super happy with that time!

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Yeahhhh!

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Afterwards we found Michelle, Casey and their friend Stephanie. We were all proud of ourselves. That Casey man, she ran it in 55:07. Crazy. Maybe one day…

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I think I caught the running bug. I am already thinking of what 10k I could do next (I’m not ready for a half marathon yet, if ever, but 10k I can do!).

Afterwards we went out for brunch at Hunter’s Landing. I have seen a picture of their recovery Caesar before and I knew I had to have it, even though it wasn’t 11am yet and they weren’t serving alcohol. I was okay with a virgin one. The garnishes made up for the lack of vodka.

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I always say I like Caesars because they are a drink and a snack all in one… In addition to your usual spicy bean, celery stick and olive, this Caesar included sausage, cheese, bacon, pizza slice and a freakin lobster tail.

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Ridiculous. I loved it.

And then I went to a fish fry party with my friends and spent the rest of the day eating, but more on that later!

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