Category Archives: Media

Books, Blogs, News, Movies, TV and Social Media

Beyond the Brown Exterior (hint: NAC ticket giveaway!)

Beyond the blah-brown exterior of our country’s National Arts Centre is a vibrant group of employees, volunteers and an ever-evolving programme of theatre, music and dance.

Don’t believe me? Well, here’s proof for you: their marketing department has a cyber-marketing division. How hip is that?  

This same cyber-marketing division is hosting a “Blogger Night” at the NAC on Wednesday, September 30th. By a Blogger Night, I gather that they’re aiming to secure third-party endorsement and generally create some buzz over their programming by inviting a group of local bloggers to attend an event. And it’s working, isn’t it — cuz here I am talking about it!

But more than that, I am also inviting you to attend with me. No, it’s not a Seinfeld event or even a performance by the National Ballet (hey, don’t snicker! Ballet is cool, don’t ya know?), it’s classical music.

I’ve never been able to get into classical music, have you? I’ve always been more attracted to music with words. No surpise really, since I just love anything with words strung together in interesting ways.

But like the brown exterior of the NAC building, I suspect that classical music offers something truly satisfying … if I could just get “inside” it. And if you’re like me, here’s our chance.

Beyond the Score
Mozart’s Final Piano Concerto

Why it’s Different:
Aiming to take attendees beyond the basic score of the music, there will be an actor playing the part of Mozart and a narrator describing actual events that were happening in Mozart’s life at the time when he wrote this musical piece. This interpretation part will take place during the first half of the event, and in the second half the music will stand on its own just for listening.

At least that’s how I understand it. And I think it sounds so interesting. If you do too, let me know by dropping me a quick comment.

You’ll need to be able to be in Ottawa for the evening of Wednesday, September 30th. The winner will be able to pick up 2 tickets at the front box office before the event. I’ll do a random draw on Sunday morning from those who have commented and post the winner’s name on the blog.

Good luck!

5 Comments

Filed under Learning, Living, Media

I’m still here, are you?

I started this blog in June. Within 2 weeks, I was an addict. My head is always spinning about, thinking about potential blog posts and ruminating about other people’s posts. I just love how the blogosphere keeps my mind a-buzzin’.

Most of all, I love the fact that people actually come here, read my words and take the time to comment. Oh, I love, love, love that! Not sure why, but if you want, you can pay a therapist to figure out why I need this type of affirmation. As for me, I’ll just keep carrying on.

And on this theme, I thought I’d share with you what I’ve got in the works. It’s a new blog design!

I am really excited about it, but trying to squeeze it all in between my paying gigs has resulted in a slower process (thanks for being so patient Brendan!). It’s almost ready for show now. The design idea was developed by my friends over at AN Design Communications. They know me well, and managed to visually create something that looks like it came right out of my head.

So, all this to say, it’s been 4 months. I’m still here. I hope you’ll stay with me on this journey.

12 Comments

Filed under Blogs, Learning, Living, Media, Observations

4 Ingredients — episode 3

Ah, wondering why I’ve tried another recipe so soon after the last one? I know, it’s out of character but hubby’s away. And while hubby’s away, this wife must cook.

Well, okay, not really — he did leave two meals for me in the freezer. And I admit to ordering in pizza last night. But tonight, those chicken breasts sitting in the fridge gave me the guilts. As in, “if you don’t cook me tonight, you’re throwing good money into the garbage!”

So, don’t get too excited now … I’ve got another (wait for it), yes, CHICKEN recipe for you again! One day I may venture out of the chicken section of my 4 Ingredients cookbook. In fact, after tonight, that day may just come sooner than expected.

Here’s the recipe, exactly how it appears in the book …

Cranberry & Orange Chicken
Serves 4.       Y.u.m.m.y!
4 chicken breasts
1 pkt French onion soup
3/4 cup cranberry sauce
3/4 cup orange juice

I didn’t have the onion soup or the cranberry sauce, so I picked them up this afternoon. I almost decided to cancel the whole exercise when I realized that every package of French onion soup in the grocery store listed MSG on its ingredients. I also heard my husband’s voice in my head saying, “never trust a recipe that lists soup as an ingredient!” But I didn’t listen.

Silly me. Cause it was Y.u.c.k.y! And I think it was all because of the darn onion soup. I ended up scraping off all the topping before serving it up. We did eat it, but only because it didn’t have a speck of the actual recipe left on it.

I may just need to venture farther out than 4 Ingredients to become a half decent cook (and I do have some great suggested learning sources now thanks to the commenters on episode 2!). The promise of cooking with only four ingredients is so compelling though that I think I’ll give at least a meat recipe a shot.

There’s no scoring for this one because we didn’t even eat it. (And Lynn, I’m purposely not listing the instructions this time. I don’t want you to bother!)

6 Comments

Filed under Books, Family, Learning, Living, Media, Shopping, Tales

This was our ‘dirty’

Looking back, I can see why my parents continued to fork over what was a considerable sum of money so that I could keep up with my dance classes. I still have no idea how they managed to afford it since I find two children’s activities costly, and they had four. But they did. Somehow.

Sure, they knew I loved it. And I begged to take as many classes as could humanly be squeezed into a highschooler’s schedule. Only now, as a parent myself, do I start to realize there could have been another reason.

Dirty-Dancing-movie-08[1]You see, while other highschoolers were indulging in house parties on the weekend, my circle of dance friends would get together and watch Dirty Dancing. We just never tired of it. I have no idea how many times we repeatedly watched this film (and White Nights — of course!) during those late 80s years.

I hadn’t seen Dirty Dancing since then, though. In honour of Patrick Swayze’s death, I just watched this iconic scene “Nobody puts Baby in a Corner.” The fact that Swayze is just as fabulous as what I remember didn’t surprise me. What did was that we actually considered this “dirty.” Compared to today’s pump-n-grind antics on the dance floors, this dirty dancing seems downright virginal.

Get it now? My parents must have thought that every penny spent on dance classes was worth it if it meant that my weekends were occupied with such relatively innocent behaviour — chocolate consumption and Dirty Dancing.

I’m sure glad they did. Cause I had the time of my life.

R.I.P.

10 Comments

Filed under Family, Headlines, Living, Media, Movies, Observations, Tales

4 Ingredients — episode 2

It’s okay, you’re forgiven for thinking that I’d given up (again!) on the idea of teaching myself how to not suck at cooking.

My first post on this topic sparked comments from readers that reassured me that I am not the only female lacking in such talent. Instead of mocking me, these lovely folks were sympathetic and encouraging.

This propped me back up because despite it being an age of so-called gender equality, people do tend to go on and on about just how lucky I am that my husband cooks for the family. I wonder if my husband’s male friends go on and on about how lucky he is to have a woman that does the dishes every night? 

While my husband has been working his way through the complicated recipes in the latest Food & Drink magazine (and people wonder why I can’t keep weight off), I have worked my way through the 4 Ingredients cookbook.

Okay, so not really. But I did do one more recipe. Sure, it was another chicken recipe, but it was a recipe. And no, it didn’t work out like it was supposed to, but it was edible.

Here’s the recipe I picked:

Chicken with Lemon & Honey
1.  1 chicken, cut into pieces
2.  2 lemons, quartered
3.  2 tbs. honey
4.  2 springs of rosemary

And here’s how it went:

First of all, I didn’t have a whole chicken. This is just too much for a squeamish, former vegetarian. Instead, I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts that magically grow in plastic packages at the supermarket. (I was nervous about this switch but checked with hubby and he assured me the recipe would still work.)

Then the next hiccup was a lack of rosemary springs. So I just pretended that they were not a part of the recipe and went about my business.

The result was a fresh tasting chicken that the whole family deemed enjoyable. My husband did remark on the lack of rosemary, saying he’d been thinking about the delicious combination of it with lemon. I explained I didn’t that we didn’t have any. He explained we had some growing on our deck. Who knew.

The ratings: Hubby gave it an 9/10, Stella gave it an 8/10, and I gave it an 8/10. It’s easy and the mild taste goes down well with the younger set.

The cookbook I’m using for these posts was written by two Australian women. It’s readily available in Australian and in the U.K. since it’s been a huge hit. And here’s why: (1) All recipes have 4 or fewer ingredients, (2) All can be measured in terms of cup, tablespoon and teaspoon, (3) The methodology is explained on average using 4 sentences, and (4) All recipes use ingredients mostly found in your pantry or fridge already. If you’re one of my Canadian or American readers, fear not, you too can get a copy! Here is a link it on Amazon.ca and here is one for Amazon.com

11 Comments

Filed under Books, Family, Fitness & Food, Learning, Living, Media, Shopping, Tales

Glee-ful reminder!

gleeDon’t forget — there’s something good on the tube tonight! Check out Glee. It premieres tonight on Fox at 9/8c.

Edited at 10:05 pm to add: Did you like the premiere as much as the pilot? When I watched the pilot, it seemed so fresh, so hilarious. But the premiere, not so much.

2 Comments

Filed under Media, Television

SIGG: not so super, afterall?

Sending back my Siggs

Sending back my Siggs

We’ve been using Sigg bottles for ages. And that really says something, since we don’t spend our money lightly on fads. We’re talking $30 for a water bottle to put in a child’s lunch box. When there’s a plastic alternative that’s less than $5, we’ve clearly drawn a line in the sand.

Why? It’s enviro-friendly not to be constantly purchasing plastic water bottles all the time. Sigg bottles are also extremely tough and survive even the worst treatment — from my husband’s camping trips to the disaster that is the back of my car. And last but not least, we didn’t want any chemicals to be leaching into the water we drink.

Naturally, then, I was surprised to find that the inner liner of my Sigg bottles contained BPA. Thinking back now, I can’t actually recall ever reading that Sigg didn’t contain BPA, but I had somehow linked the Sigg brand with safety.

Sigg is now fighting the PR battle of its life. And it all started with a proud announcement that it had developed a new liner — the EcoCare liner — which is apparently 100% BPA-free. This caused many existing customers who’d been using the older models to step back in alarm: “Huh? That means my old liner was not 100% BPA-free?” (Here is the letter from Sigg’s CEO explaining the whole mess.)

Yep, that’s right. Sigg may not be so super, afterall. I’ve recommended these bottles to countless friends. And frankly, the levels of BPA potentially present from the old liners is hardly anything to worry about. (Here is an independent study on BPA levels, published by Z Recommends.) But still … I feel like I was duped and I feel silly for pushing these pricey bottles on my friends.

Sigg is now voluntarily replacing (note: this is not a recall) customers’ old bottles for ones with the new liners. If you’d like to send yours back, go online to www.mysigg.com/liner and click on the menu item “Exchange Program.” Be sure to download the shipping label for Canadian customers.

Naturally, there are many who will refuse to use Sigg products again. They’ve simply lost trust in this brand. If you fall in this boat, here is a comprehensive review of alternative BPA-free bottles for you to choose from.

5 Comments

Filed under Family, Fitness & Food, Gadgets & Goods, Headlines, Learning, Living, Media, Shopping