The Babes & Babies of Toronto

March 9, 2016 § Leave a comment

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This weekend, I flew to Toronto to see my friends and meet two of their new babies!

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When I arrived Friday evening, I took the new Union Pearson Express train to Bloor station and headed over to Sarah, Phil & Alice’s place. I enjoyed it much more than a cab – cheaper, cleaner, and free wifi with elevated views of the city in the distance around the airport!

When I arrived at Sarah’s, I had hugs for Julia, Blake, and Sarah, then grabbed Alice for a selfie. She’s even more adorable in person!

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After eating pizza at Sarah’s, I went home with Julia and Blake. Julia and I had a good old fashioned sleepover and shared a bed like little kids. Eventually Blake even joined us ;)

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The next morning we went to La Cubana for brunch and were met by Sarah, Alice, Amy, and Karen.

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What? She has a mouse hat too? Oh for goodness sake.

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After we ate, we walked down past some cute Roncesvalles shops and arrived at Jana and Mike’s to meet Leo.

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So adorably new and cute with amazing surfer baby hair!

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Afterwards I met my sister at the hotel we were treating ourselves to that night. After lounging/catching up/charging our phones for a while, we took the subway to dinner at Burdock to meet Sarah, Phil, Alice, Julia, Karen, and Amy for dinner.

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Jenn also fell under Alice’s spell (it’s not hard to).

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The next morning, my brother Ryan and his wife Suzanne came to meet us at the hotel for breakfast.

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Then Jenn and I had to visit Lululemon for some very last-minute yoga pants shopping before both heading home.

“Where were your boys in all this?” you may ask. These photos will answer your question.

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Yeah, we all had a pretty great weekend.

A Quick Solo Trip To Toronto

July 27, 2015 § Leave a comment

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This weekend, I took my second solo trip since Henry was born! I flew to Toronto Saturday morning and enjoyed reading, eating, and listening to music – basically a trip to the spa compared to flying with a small child ;) Untitled

I arrived downtown Toronto around 1:30 and met Sarah and Julia for a late lunch at Fresh, of course. Then they took me to a few cute new shops around Queen & Roncesvalles, including North Standard Trading Post. I’d been meaning to get Henry one of their cute hoodies and treated myself to a few things as well including one of Tami Noa Levy‘s provincial animal series prints.

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Sarah hosted a few lady friends at her new house for cheese and snacks before we all headed out to dinner at Burdock. Her and Phil’s new place is very cute and the cheese was delicious! It was great to see more examples of the homes my friends are starting to own in Toronto because Nick & I are getting very used to the idea (and starting to plan) how to do the same thing in a year or two!

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After dinner, we headed down the street to Bar Neon where Mike, Rob, and Tristan came to meet up with us. P1030769_2

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Although it was only one afternoon and evening of spending time together, I appreciate any time I get to hang out with some of my favourite people in the world. Especially one pregnant Sarah Curtis! That night, my sister Jenn came to meet me for a sleepover at my hotel and although I didn’t get back there til 11:30, we still stayed up for a few hours chatting. I’ll take whatever I can get!

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The next morning, I met my brother Ryan for breakfast at The Beast. After eating the giant plates of food and maple bacon donuts, I agree that it is aptly named!

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After I left Ryan, I made one last attempt to enjoy the weak Canadian dollar before I went to the airport to fly home. Let’s just say, I am set for both yoga shorts and Canadian Dairy Milk for a while!

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It was really nice to get away, even for just one night, but also wonderful to return home to these two guys. I got the best Henry hugs ever when I walked in the door!

See you again soon, Toronto!

Mom’s Weekend Off

February 11, 2015 § Leave a comment

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This weekend was one worth mentioning: it was my first trip alone since Henry was born and so it was also my first night away from him. I know some mothers don’t go this long – and others go much longer – before they are able to spend a night away, but this seemed just right for us. Henry is 15 months old now, and although he still nurses, he doesn’t actually need to. I compiled a very detailed meal plan for Nick to follow in my absence, and from what I heard, it went quite well – or as well as planned meals with a toddler ever go…

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What made me take the plunge and plan my first solo weekend away was an invitation to the Toronto wedding of two of my favourite friends, Karen and Matias! How could I miss it?

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Their wedding was freakin’ wonderful and actually had a strict no social media rule so although I took photos of the party, this one of our cropped heads is all you get. (And no, Sarah wasn’t a naked bridesmaid.)

Deciding to fly to Canada on my own for 30 hours was the best decision I’ve made in a long time. I stayed in a hotel alone for the first time and took full advantage of my free time – when I arrived 3 hours before I had to leave for the ceremony, I promptly practiced yoga, ordered pizza, and watched The Simpsons in bed. At the wedding, I had many moments of pure joy and felt so grateful for the friends I have in Toronto. They really are the best! I kept remembering “oh yeah – I DON’T live here anymore AND I have a husband and child waiting at home for me in another country!”

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The boys had a great time together. Henry, as usual, surprised us in how well he can adapt to new situations. Nick had little problems putting him down for naps and bedtime. He even got this priceless shoulder nap on Sunday!

Here’s hoping my next solo Toronto trip is only a few months away…

The Blackout of 2003

August 14, 2013 § 2 Comments

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If you lived in Southern Ontario or the American Northeast in the summer of 2003, chances are, you have a good story about the blackout of 2003. This blackout wasn’t your typical hot summer day, the grids are overheated sort of blackout. It affected more than 50 million people and for some, the power wasn’t restored for two days. Of course, it was the middle of August and also sweltering hot.

I will never forget where I was when the power went out. I had been working at The Agency Group for just two months and was on reception when I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me as the lighting was getting dimmer. When it finally went out, we all groaned and sat there, waiting for it to come back in a few minutes. When it didn’t, the guys went outside to play basketball while the ladies chatted. Soon, we could see out the window that people were just deciding work was finished for the day. Rather than join the traffic, most of the office just stayed put. We had actually been planning a company party bus trip to London for that weekend and already had a stash of alcohol and snacks waiting. Well, special circumstances dictated we needed to dip into our rations early!

Hours later and still no power, we realized we had probably start to figure out how to get home. Obviously the subways and streetcars weren’t viable options. I was going to walk, but Ralph, a SVP, offered me and Omar, an agent, a ride home. He was parked in the underground parking garage. As we entered, we could see it was dark down there, but there seemed to be some lighting once you got further in. Unfortunately, we were quite far in when we realized the lighting was headlights of a car and once it passed us, we were left in complete darkness.

The office had a huge box of Three Days Grace promo matches that we all kept handy. I had some in my purse and lit one, expecting it to be like a movie and give us some light. It did NOTHING. Ralph was carrying a NOW Magazine and dipped it into the match to use it as a torch. The thing burnt so quickly, he immediately dropped it on the floor. Omar lit his magazine and we got a bit farther before he dropped his too. Now the fire alarm is going off and we are just a bit closer to Ralph’s car. Ralph is growling about how he pays for this parking spot and there should be some goddamn emergency lighting. I don’t know how we got out of there alive, but by the time I got home, I faced another challenge: getting to my apartment on the 17th floor with no elevators.

Long story short, my boyfriend at the time and I had a dinner of peanut butter and crackers and went to bed hot and sweaty. The next morning, we had no running water for showers because the electricity couldn’t pump it that high up. I went to work the next day just to have somewhere to go that wasn’t a hot cement box in the sky. That day ended with the best idea we could think of though: going to see Freddy VS Jason in an air conditioned movie theatre while drinking smoothies.

Bonus photo: Adam Countryman, king of the party bus, (with Greg Henderson and Glenn Vogelsang) on our way to London to see Nickelback, August 16, 2003.

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What’s your blackout story?

(Top photo: The CN Tower is silhouetted against the setting sun, as Toronto was faced with a massive power outage, Aug. 14, 2003. Reuters/David Lucas)

TURF Festival and Toronto Visit

July 10, 2013 § Leave a comment

Nick and I flew up to Toronto for two days this past weekend for what would be our last trip home before Henry comes. Since it was such a short trip and we were actually going so that Nick could see some bands that he works with, we stayed downtown the whole time, which was a nice change.

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Despite a delayed flight, a fight against traffic to get from the airport, and waiting for an hour to check into our hotel, we made it to Fort York’s Garrison Commons for the first ever Toronto Urban Roots Festival.

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We saw one of Nick’s favourite clients, Frank Turner, play plus Matt Mays & El Torpedo, and a few others. The best part for me was seeing all the Canadian music industry friends I hadn’t seen in quite some time. It was overwhelming having my ex-coworkers and all the other great people there, each one a surprise to run into! One of the best moments: Nick telling me how much he loves to watch me interact with “my people”. Ha!

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I also ran into some friends like Alex and her cute little family. Her daughter, Addie, is Frank Turner’s #1 fan.

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On Sunday, we got lunch with Julia, Jay, and Karen at our favourite spot. Then I headed back to TURF without Nick to meet up with friends, even though the sky looked threatening…

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I got there in time to see Yo La Tengo and meet up with Alex, Jana, Sarah, and more (thanks to Sarah for the photo!) We got in some hangs before the skies opened up.

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That night, we headed to Lee’s Palace to see Frank Turner, Northcote, and Larry & His Flask. You may ask “Hey wait a minute, aren’t you nearly six months pregnant? Where did you find the energy to do all of this, plus attend a wedding on Friday night?” Well, I was just so excited to see as many people as possible that I pushed on through two days of festivals and two nights of club shows. By 9:30 on Sunday night though, my belly felt strained from yelling over loud music and I was getting a headache so I sent myself home.

Sadly, I didn’t get to see everyone I hoped to, but I didn’t want to hurt myself. I had such a great time there though, and I’m so glad we got back home to Brooklyn before the massive storm and flooding from Monday night!

I love you, Toronto! The Storches will be back when we can.

Paul

May 10, 2013 § 8 Comments

IMG_0140This morning, one of my former co-workers and old friends at my formative company, passed away. Paul Gourlie was one of the oldest living people in Canada with Cystic Fibrosis and it was from complications with a months-long infection that ended his life.

Paul was one of the nicest people I’ve ever known. From the time I started working with him, as a shy and quiet 22 year-old receptionist, he would always go out of his way to make conversation with me (even that time I was still learning everyone’s names and called him Colin by mistake). Paul was the kind of guy who would make time to stop by the desks and offices of everyone to check in and say hello. It didn’t matter if you were an intern or the CEO, he was genuinely interested in what you had going on.

IMG_1085In an office full of extreme personalities, Paul wasn’t one of the loudest, but he was definitely one of the kindest.

We’ll all miss you, Paul.

Canada in March

March 17, 2013 § 1 Comment

On Wednesday, I flew to Toronto to visit my family and friends!

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My first stop was my parents’ cottage on Burnt River in Fenelon Falls.

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It’s always nice to start my visit here, with just my parents. We eat and talk and go about our usual business and I pretend I live there for a few days.

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It was pretty cold and snowed every day, but Mom and I still went out for ice cream. Kawartha Lakes is known for its dairy, you know.

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On Friday, everyone met at my sister’s house in Oshawa, including Nick who flew in that morning, my grandparents, and my brother & his wife. Ben and Jillian were excited to show off their new pet guinea pigs…

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…and Ben was in love with his new bamboo plant (for some reason).

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Ben, who once had a speech delay, has become unbelievably chatty and keeps his poor sister awake all night. She actually left everyone to have a nap by herself in the middle of the afternoon.

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He could pass for my child, no?

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Nick and I spent the night at the Martin’s. Have I mentioned that the kids love Uncle Nick?

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They really do.

That afternoon, to make the final stop in my Canadian tour, we took the train into Toronto. I was so happy to spend that evening with 8 of my favourite Torontonians! We had a quintuple date at The Emerson. Great call for a place to have dinner, Julia! We sat at a giant table in the front of the restaurant like it was made just for us and ate some delicious food.

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I love these guys so much; it’s always such a tease to see them for just one night. I love that they’re always there when I’m in town though, even though I’d like to just steal them all to live in New York with me. Another cottage weekend this summer, ladies? Gowns!!!

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