Monthly Recap: July 2017

Monthly-Recap

This new ‘Monthly Recap’ series captures daily (well, almost daily) celebrations around the world. It’s an eclectic collection of bizarre observances and hilarious commemorations of the past month. Check out my blog on a regular to see what we’re celebrating each day (well, almost)! After all, there’s an international day for everything isn’t there?!

 

July 6, 2017

Today is, believe it or not, Umbrella Cover day. When I heard about this I thought it was a made-up day to commemorate something as useful as the exterior shower curtain (NOT useful at all, btw). For those of you who are not posh enough to own an exterior shower curtain, it’s the second curtain that falls outside of the tub for aesthetic purposes. You would think that its main purpose is to add an extra shield to prevent water from escaping the shower area but if you think about it, it only actually directly backs-up the interior curtain. Thus, providing no extra coverage at all. Still reading? I’m shocked because this is the most boring topic I’ve ever written about and that’s my POINT.. UMBRELLA COVERS?! What the H. Christ??? umbrella coverWho cares!! But apparently, plenty do! There’s actually a website for these bizarre people who collect the umbrella covers and apparently a GUINNESS WORLD RECORD of someone who owns the most umbrella freaking covers! Congratulations lady- you have collected a large, useless amount of fabric that does nothing, for no good reason.

 Sources: Umbrella Cover Museum / Umbrella Cover Day

July 7, 2017

Today is WORLD Chocolate Day! Chocolate is one of those things that not many people dislike. But always if you ever meet that one person who dislikes (maybe even despises) chocolate, you wonder to yourself, “what kind of monster hates chocolate?!” And it’s true! It’s like chocolatesaying you hate rainbows, puppies or getting a head massage. These people are reckless, they are indecent and should be examined under a microscope. FACT about me *ahem*: I don’t, ah, I actually don’t love chocolate myself but do appreciate a good craving of it here and there. Now, enough about me- here are some wonderful chocolate facts in honour of today:             Continue reading

8 Questions on Reading

The last book I read that I would never recommend reading is/are:

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins. This book irritated me very much. I enjoy books with different points of view but this was too much. into the waterPaula Hawkins wrote from ten different perspectives and from three different periods in time. It was exhausting and every chapter after the next was unmemorable and frankly, a big waste of time.

What motivates me to read is:

My need to always be reading anything. I am a thinker and sometimes my thoughts overwhelm me and require distraction. Racing_mindReading to me provides a way for me to escape the world around me (as lovely or sometimes as awful as the world around us can be). Reading is an individual journey but can, at the same time, be shared with someone else.

I want a book to:

Make me feel like I’m not reading at all. While I am a lover of language, the power of the written word and how it forms our thoughts and expressions- it’s the books that make you forget you’re reading words on a page; the book that’s got you racing, page after page, to the very conclusive ending that truly gets me excited.

Books make me feel…

True joy- good books only though. joyBad books remind me of being in high school and being told what to read. There is nothing worse than being told what you have to read and even worse, when the book sucks and you cannot UNREAD or STOP.

The section of the newspaper that I visit first is:

The entertainment page if I have to say which section first but I do pay attention to the major news headlines, local news and the advice column.

I am a fan of reading…

Anything but fantasy, sci-fi and young adult. I love memoirs, historical fiction, chicklit, biographies and contemporary fiction. awardI tend to gravitate towards real-life or relatable stories. My sister tells me that if a book subject includes rape, war, depression, polygamy and/or the holocaust I will read it. And she isn’t wrong!

I get book recommendations from:

Just about everywhere! I have a running TBR list that is longer than most doctors’ CVs! I get book recommendations from television shows, subway posters, book store feature shelves, random lists reading on bus(New York Times, every bestsellers list etc), magazines, bathroom stall scrawls, what people are reading on the bus, Goodreads’ newsletters, the best bets section at my local library, previously-read authors’ new books, the newspaper, book blogs and I’m sure plenty more places that I am not able to think of right now.

The last few books I read that I would recommend are:

Every book I have written a good review for on my blog including the one I’m reading now, Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips. 

FIERCE-KINGDOM-DEMY-HB-REVISE

Table 21 Kitchen & Wine Bar

Guess who’s back?! Ash and I are back with a vengeance (okay well, maybe not with a vengeance because who’s angry? Not us! And to be honest, did we really leave!?! No, no we did not). We are excited to be starting the next installment of our food journey continued from where we left off in 2011 (okay, maybe we are “back”)!!

Ash was kind enough to do much of the leg work on this one, sending me a few options to pick from. And pick I did! I decided our first stop this season should be to Table 21 Kitchen & Wine Bar. The website was streamlined and offered brunch and dinner menus which I am rather generally fond of. Truth be told I really only looked at a couple and decided on this one based on the aesthetics of the website. Note to restauranteurs out there – websites are IMPORTANT!

Located in the west end of the city, at Bloor and Royal York, this posh eatery is smack in the middle of some of the city’s oldest multi-million dollar homes. This quiet and quaint neighborhood, which is very reminiscent of its easterly neighbor (Bloor West Village), is perfect for enjoying afternoon window shopping and weekend strolls.

Upon entering the restaurant I realized that my concerted efforts at reserving a table online were not necessary. (My general paranoia stems from a time we waited over an hour and a half for a table. Needless to say, I vowed “never again” with a strong fist.) Based on the lack of patrons, my expectations immediately started deflating until I looked around and noticed a sleek and modern space. The alley-like layout of the restaurant was flanked with a large, full-length bar with a beautiful, rustic white brick wall backdrop. All this was punctuated by a tasteful and charming dark gray stucco ceiling which created an intimate space all around. However, as modern as one half of this space was, the wall across the bar was strangely out of place and the decor, outdated (think Subway sandwich posters). In the end I felt the space was somewhat lost and short on character.

IMG-20170501-WA0004 The food: I ordered smoked salmon eggs benedict (surprise, surprise).  What was actually a surprise was that there were no substitutions from me (which is VERY rare). I have to say, first off, if ever there were a restaurant that matched my rigid, picky-dining soul then Table 21 would be mine. Let me explain why. I have a problem; I have a problem with food and my OCD-ness does not allow me to enjoy food the regular human way. I am unable to function properly as a member of society if, say, a seed/pit were part of my garnish on my plate. Table 21 for whatever reason pleasantly surprised me with their attention to detail (and let’s admit, something as minute as removing a lemon seed is my definition of attention to detail). And whether this was on purpose or good things really do happen to good people, but the food was all served in separate small dishes (never touching one another and in a non-cluttered, clumsy way) and I appreciated it- I appreciated it very much.

I absolutely wanted to give this restaurant a full score but the decor wasn’t there for me and as much as food is the star of any restaurant, the space has to fall in line as well. Was this the best restaurant stop to date though? Yes, yes indeed- I’d bet everything on the table.

4-star

 

A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown

10382547Cupcake Brown’s memoir, A Piece of Cake, is a literary tour de force- not so much because of her writing (as captivating as it was) but because of her unbelievable tale. Cupcake Brown lets down her walls for the first time, untangling all the lies she’s learned to tell throughout her life in order to protect herself, and jumps through a hurdle of debilitating fear to bring us a fiercely raw, wildly suspenseful, no-holds-barred and intimate story of how she came to be the woman, motivational speaker, lawyer and survivor she is today.

Cupcake begins her journey detailing vivid memories of an idyllic life she once lived and what that could have afforded her had the most traumatic event in her life (at the age of 11) not occurred– the sudden passing of her beloved mother and discovering her lifeless body. Instead of seeing a young, vulnerable child fumble through her youth lost without the unconditional love and commitment of a dedicated mother, we see Cupcake Brown go down a dangerous, unpredictable and treacherous path that involved substance abuse of every drug in the book, violence, domestic abuse, gang activities and child prostitution. Her story of survival, in the unforgiving streets of California’s most notorious neighborhoods, is nothing short of a miracle.

What makes Cupcake’s story stand out from most memoirs is her candid and brutally honest voice- only ever telling it like it is- and at times wrought with an embarrassing, self-deprecating clarity. She writes from the perspective that she has a responsibility for her life’s story; that her actions are not only the result of the circumstances that were handed to her but that ultimately her regrettable decisions were hers and hers alone to make (often heavily influenced and driven by substance abuse and the sometimes misdirected anger at the system that she believes failed her).

This is not just a memoir- this is an important coming-of-age tale that needs to be read by every single adolescent (whether you are White, Black, Asian, rich, poor, well-adjusted or awardterribly lost) because not only is this a warning for what can happen to a life interrupted but this story is a message of hope- that it is never ever too late to do what is right, no matter the cost. 

North of Normal by Cea Sunrise Person

North of NormalCea Sunrise Person is abnormal. She is abnormal in all the ways a human being can be (in her upbringing and circumstantially at least) but her eternal and universal longing to fit in is what makes her one of the most relatable people I’ve ever read about (and I’ve read plenty). And so this is the premise of Cea’s extraordinary tale. Her journey begins with unforgettable stories from her wilderness childhood filled with memories of living off the land miles and miles away from concrete civilization, and completely being immersed in, her then normal, the vast natural Canadian landscapes that surrounded her. These memories live alongside painful ones Cea has found courage to relive and write about- memories of innocence lost and overcoming abusive trauma time and time and time again. At the root of her life’s journey is a painful, difficult, frustrating and complex relationship with her mother. It would be hard to imagine any woman, much less a mother, reading this book without feeling a sense of heartbreak and disappointment for Cea and the mother she was handed. But just like Cea, hopefully we all will learn that perspective, acceptance, and forgiveness are at the core of every happy soul.

In retelling her truths, Cea Person normalizes the singular fear we all feel and lets us know, we are not alone.

This book is for everyone- everyone who ever felt like they wanted to fit in; for awardeveryone who ever felt like giving up and everyone who ever felt like they weren’t enough. This book is for every Person.

There is unique strength born from a youth spent longing for something different.

-Cea Person