Carrie Underwood's Blown Away Tour

Sunday, December 9, 2012

You know when people says they like all music? Well, I'm sort of like that. This weekend started with Dave Matthews Band (wiki describes them as a rock band) on Friday and ended Carrie Underwood (oh so country, y'all) on Sunday. Musical bookends!

Did I mention that on Friday I won both sets of tickets? One on Facebook and one on Twitter. Sunday's show was courtesy of Sony Music Canada's Twitter page and my oh my was it spectacular! Far more moving pieces than Friday's show. I mean, part of the stage lifted off the ground and moved across the crowd below. Have you ever seen anything like that?

As always, I apologize for the bb quality photos (mission for 2013: buy a phone with a good camera!) but here's a few, anyway. See what I mean about the stage? 

If you happened to be there, do you have any idea where Carrie got the rhinestone Willie Nelson shirt? I need that!

I also discovered (well personally, anyway) Hunter Hayes. Country music star extrodinaire that opened for Carrie. Loved his music... new favourite country song? This one:

Cute. Sad. Perfect! I'm pretty sure we'll be seeing a lot more of this guy very soon. As A put it, he's the country version of the Biebs. Can't go wrong with that!

My playlist tomorrow is going country, y'all!

Dave Matthews Band

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Back in 2002, Dave Matthews Band released Busted Stuff. I can still remember going to HMV (at the mall, of course!) to buy it the day it came out. The CD was on high rotation for probably a year and it's still one of my favourite DMB albums. It’s been a while since I’ve put on a full album and just listened, but I’m always happy when songs like Crash, Satellite and Everyday come on the radio.

The band has toured extensively since then, and I have somehow managed to miss every show in and around the Toronto area. Every show. That is until I managed to score 2 tickets to the show at the Air Canada Center from the awesome guys at FanXchange. I entered a last minute contest on Facebook with a story about my road trip (which I have plans to write about over the next month!) to the Southern States. A few hours later: Dave Matthews Band LIVE!

The 100 section was general admission, putting me about 30 people way from the stage. Dave Matthews... a few feet away from me!  They played Don't drink the water, Satellite, Everyday and a ton of other songs I'm not overly familiar with. Or maybe it was only 5 songs? The band does love individual solos!

Everyday was probably my favourite song they sang during the show (well, that and Satellite). Have a listen... so good right? (and look at the 30 Rock connection! It's Judah Friedlander!)

Of course, there were “no cameras allowed”, so I didn’t bring a real camera, only my mediocre Blackberry (Android, if you’re reading this—help a girl out?) to snap some photos. Here is the best of the bunch:

DMB is back on high rotation!  Tomorrow night is Carrie Underwood at the ACC.

 A weekend of concert ticket wins! 

The First Podcast

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A few weeks ago I was asked to be a guest on the Not So Mad Men podcast (hosted by two great guys at BridgeCom Media). I'll admit, I was worried/nervous/scared. Does anyone like hearing their own voice? I put my worries aside, went in to the office, sat down and we talked for nearly 45 minutes... go figure!

We covered a variety of topics, but the best bit was definitely our discussion on social media disasters.  Here's the final product:

Tis the season... to send cards.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Every year I have grand plans to physically mail Christmas cards, yet I don't remember the last time I actually mailed anything. It sounds good though, doesn't it? It's almost December 1st and I have yet to purchase cards OR ask for people's updated addresses, so it's looking like it might be the digital version again this year.

I've also been deep into the Holiday Card creation for my 9-5. Brainstorm sessions, photoshoots, meetings...  Next week I'll be able to post the greatest holiday e-card of all time, but until then, here's a round up of a few cute cards I've come across in the research:

Buy it here

Buy it here

This is my favourite holiday card. Just everything about it makes me smile.

Where do I even buy stamps?

Vegas, baby!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I've wanted to visit Vegas since watching both Swingers and Vegas Vacation many many years ago. Finally, I had a few days off work and booked myself a ticket. 

We explored nearly every hotel on the strip, stopping for some very touristy photos. Including, but not limited to:

An outdoor ice rink in Vegas! 

While I'm sure the people sitting around me didn't love that I was singing all the songs softly, I completely enjoyed LOVE!

What's a tourist-y trip without throwing rocks in the local canyon?

A self-reminder: Downtown Vegas is NOT the Strip.

 The Hoover Dam was amazing. So much concrete. And memories of Vegas Vacation. Where can I get some damn bait?

Oh course I had to stop at the Vegas sign. There's always so many people around!

This isn't the right song, but it was still just as beautiful. And stunning at night, too. 

And there it is. From the top of Mandalay Bay. Las Vegas is crazy.

When am I going back?

On high rotation

Monday, October 22, 2012

I can't stop listening to Tanlines.

Is there a song you can't get out of your head? 

Eating food: The Toronto Underground Market edition

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The last month and a half has been a whirlwind adventure. No complaints here, just a realization that I needed a solid weekend of sleep to kick the mediocre feeling I've had for a bit. Enter, this weekend.

This weekend has been one of my favourite weekends in a while. Nothing planned, nothing that I had to do (with the exception of work) just a weekend of doing whatever comes my way. Friday night consisted of watching The League (!) at the neighbours and then making my home around midnight. That was exactly the Friday night I was overly excited to have.

Saturday started late with a sushi lunch (and some work) at a new sushi place I came across on King St. W one night when I was walking home. It totally trumps my go-to; it will now be known as my new go-to (it's also cheaper, and the people are super friendly). The morning then took a turn and I ended up at Shanghai Cowgirl-- a great resto on Queen W-- with BG for breakfast (him) and a beverage (me). Lots of travel talks and a keen realization that I want to travel. Right now.  Las Vegas next month?

Then the night hit and I had been invited by KF to the Toronto Underground Market. A foodie's heaven (haven?) with 42 vendors serving every type of food you can imagine. Lobster, Elk, Chicken, street eats, meringues with passion fruit in the middle (drool)-- sold.

I've also had a big pull towards Australia lately. Maybe it's the winter season looming? Maybe it's that when we first walked in, this was the first stand? Meat pies!

I was too focused on shoveling food in to take photos (damn). But my top favourites were (in no order):

Rock Lobster lobster roll
Jack & Lil's Passionfruit Meringues
Hot Bunzz (all 3 flavours: beef, elk, curried duck)

With that, we have: 1. A terrible blurry photo 2. me waiting ever so patiently for Lobster (by far the longest line we waited in) and 3. the "artsy" photo on the street car home.

That night in Toronto

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I’ve wanted to see The Tragically Hip for years. I got this close to seeing them on Canada Day, but a series of events lead me to spend the day beachside at the family cottage. It just wasn’t meant to be.

Somehow I missed the mention in the Metro, all over Twitter and surely in The Globe and Mail: The Hip were playing intimate pop-up shows at Supermarket (the bar) in Kensignton Market. 3pm, 6pm, 7pm, 9pm for 3 days. I jumped at the opportunity to go to the 7pm show—just enough time to finish up work, eat and get to the venue. E and I rocked up to the door (well, the line at the door) around 6:40, thinking the show, like the previous day would be outside. It wasn’t. After about an hour wait, we made it to the front of the line. 150 initial wrist bands and we got 145 & 146. Lucky.

The 7pm show was cancelled. Postponed. Whatever you want to call it to allow the band to eat dinner. I guess no one initially factored that into their appearance schedule, but no one cared. The fans were die hard. I’m pretty sure they would have waited all night.

Around 9pm they took the stage. Gord appeared with a hat on; the man is always stylish. They played for about 35 minutes, a few new songs and a few old hits. The crowd went wild for Bobcaygeon and My music at work. I was singing along, too. Years and years of hearing these songs played on the radio and by every mediocre singer at bars across the world, I finally heard it live. And you know, it was pretty amazing. 

It doesn't get much more Canadian than this.

The greatest view from here

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

And we're already in mid-to-late August. AUGUST. Summer, where did you go? I've spent very little time at the cottage was this year. I've subbed it out for park hangs and days at the island. The Toronto life, I guess. 

I managed to make it to Lake Erie (likely quite foreign to all people in Toronto) for a weekend at the cottage with the Kentucky family. 

Lots of neighbours.

Cottage neighbours with a boat. It was mere months ago I was cruising on Lake Huron on a similar catamaran. Take me back, please.

The "Dad" hammock was a highlight. A novel, beach views and a built in pillow. I think I need one of these for my apartment.

Le sigh.

The evening ended with s'mores. S'MORES!

Please stay summer forever. 

Let's go Blue Jays

Monday, July 30, 2012

It's been about a year since I saw RM last. We worked together ages ago and reconnected in the nation's capitol a couple of years ago when I moved there for work. Although I ran to Toronto pretty fast, he still lives in Ottawa and manages to make it south(west) every now and then.

Anyway, RM texted me a few days ago and asked if I wanted to go to a Jay's game (the answer is always yes). I hopped on a street car and made my way east. We, of course, caught up over street meat(?) and managed to land the best of the worst seats at the SkyDome. I'm sure it felt like 40 degrees and we got seats... IN THE SHADE. And really, not a terrible view for $14 seats.

RM is a long standing Tigers fan (one of the 4 Detroit fans in section 220), so he was happy they won. I on the other hand was just completely disappointed that JP Arencibia is out for 6 weeks with a fractured hand and thus was not playing... and the Jay's lost. But hey, one of us won!

The perfect summertime activity.

Cats and a ($10,000) Contest!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Meet Baby: A long time lover of climbing to the highest spot in the house and attempting to escape from the place at any chance he gets. 

He was a new edition to the family home about 2 years ago.  Who would have imagined the amount of fur that a cat sheds? More importantly, who found out they were allergic to cats? (me).  I'm not a "cat person" but I've become quite fond of this little(!) guy. 

Speaking of homes and cats, my favourite design team, Stephen and Chris, are hosting a contest. A $10,000 room makeover for you (and your own Baby)!  Go to to enter to win and while you're there, get great cat-friendly design tips. 

If you know me or follow me on Twitter, you'll know my fondness for contests. This one is fantastic. A room makeover. From Stephen and Chris? SIGN ME UP!

Update: I just found this little gem. Baby!!!!

 Full disclosure, y'all: this post was sponsored by Friskies® Indoor. 

Summer in the city

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

There are a few things I owe you, dear reader. For example, I have completely neglected my road trip from the great city of Toronto all the way to Charleston, South Carolina. Add in some great concerts and evenings spent watching movies in the park and you have the first few months of my summer. My oh my. Back to it, I promise (again… and again).

I'm going to break the road trip up over a few posts. There's too many photos and stories to share for one post… that will come soon. I'm going to have to wait to cool off from this 45 degree Celsius weather first. I'm melting. 

Until then, I have been spending my time doing this:

And this:

Not a bad summer. 

Be careful what you wish for...

Monday, June 11, 2012

Today I learned a valuable life lesson: Be careful what you wish for. There are many ways to learn this lesson. But here's mine... about 25 years late.

I sent out a tweet. I've sent out 4152 of them in the last few years, but this one reached an author (one of my favourite Australian authors) who was, at the time, partaking in a 24 hour novel (himself and 8 other Australian authors). Genius I thought, I will send this:

Well, I guess I got a little carried away on the genius bit. I, in fact, did not heed the warnings of one Nick Earls:

The man does not lie. I wasn't careful. 22 hours into their 24 hour write-a-thon, I took a peek at my namesake. Miss Steffi was doing what? Panic set in. The previous warnings were brought to light. I'm pretty sure there was a few minutes where I couldn't breathe. SELF, WHAT DID YOU DO? (the answer: you didn't listen to Nick Earls). So, after several tweets and some breathing into a paper bag (ok, that did not happen), he remedied the situation. I was back to myself and Steffi was going by another name. Thank you! 

I took away a few things from the past few hours:

1. Listen to the warnings presented by Nick Earls
2. Perhaps find out the story before lending your name to a novel (more importantly, attempt to avoid this whilst having a name that no one else in the world has)
3. Enjoy the story even more now that you are no longer paranoid a potential boss will stumble upon it. 
4. I will likely never have another character named after me, so it's a good thing I saved the chapter Nick wrote with my name in it.
5. I'm pretty grateful to have been a character, even for a very short amount of time. Thanks for the opportunity, Nick! Maybe next time Stef will get paired with Eric Bana... A girl can dream.

Silly Stef (not me--the other one, of course!)

The city I call home

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

This week has been a strange one.  Full moon strange. First there's a shooting at the Eaton Center. A shooting... at the mall. Then on Sunday, someone is stabbed outside my apartment building at 9pm. I love this city, but what gives Toronto?

An afternoon on Queen St. W.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

After countless weekends that have been absolutely non-stop (and weeks that, somehow, are even more filled) I decided to have a relaxing weekend in. Friday night was spent eating frozen yogurt and watching Being Elmo with MC and the plan for Saturday was organizing and grocery shopping.

Saturday rolled around and with the exception of doing the dishes that have been piling up over the course of the week and grocery shopping for the first time in 2 (3?) weeks, zero organizing was completed. But an awesome adventure with Finn did happen and it looked a little like this...

First stop was Trinity Bellwoods. It would be difficult for this to be any closer to my place. It's hard to tell based on this picture alone, but the rest of the park was jammed. Today was the first really (really) nice days in ages.

On the walk I spotted this in a bus stop. I love artists. 

Tres Chic, an Australian designer, started making these in small quantities and it totally took off. The designs are now situated on a shop in West Queen West. I will be making these with '90s jeans I find a VV. I knew my textile class would come in handy. Who's up for some tye dye?

I then spotting my favourite Australian (umm.. world, are you saying something to me?) magazine at Drake's General Store. Super excited to have found this!

Dolls. WWF dolls.

And in the parking lot across from The Drake was my future car.

And finally (I wish I had a picture of the other one) we landed up at the second back alley vintage "pop up" shop. This one had a table with guak and chips and $3 beer. Legal? Unlikely. Amazing? Completely.

After all of that, it was time to make our way back to my part of the neighbourhood. What an afternoon.

Adventure Time! 

Weekend Playlist

Sunday, March 25, 2012

This weekend was one of those 'no plan' weekends that completely exploded with things to do. Friday night I landed up at the neighbours for drinks and then late night at The Ossington-- hip hop beats flowing out of the speakers, into my ear drums and causing me to dance, albeit not that well. I do love a good hip hop song and this DJ had the jams down.

Saturday brought several Canadian Music Week shows. I wasn't planning on seeing any but landed up with a friends band at Wrong Bar for Nightbox (a band I've wanted to see for ages) and then to The Horseshoe for Poor Young Things and The Reason. 4am last call. I now understand why last call is just before 2am.

The musical selections for this weekend include, but are not limited to:


I'm ready for the summertime

Monday, February 20, 2012

It's family day in this great province and with the unseasonably lovely weather, the long weekend seemed even better. MC and I decided to wander around the city exploring. We headed near the water and came across this 'beach'. It's no ocean beach, in fact it's not even a lake beach but it was spectacular. 

I long for the summer. I can already picture beach chairs and coolers in the court yard. Is it June yet?

I also caught up with an old University friend that sent me this song. His DJing puts him in tune with some sweet songs and this is currently one of my favs:

Trip to Venice Beach soon, please. 

February, 2012 (Oh, What a Night)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Friday night started in a cab jetting from Trinity Bellwoods to Roncesvalle with AK to take a few photographs for her latest venture. I spent the beginning of the evening enjoying several delicious cocktails at The Westerly—the first, a half tart, half sweet blood orange concoction (the owners suggestion) and the second, a glass of Pim’s Cup (which will forever remind me of JB) and soaking in the New York- like vibe. A few photographs and about 3 hours later, it was back to reality and a walk to the Queen St. streetcar.

I’ve been venturing past my 7 block radius much more as of late. It’s easy to stick in this area. There's lots of shops, great food and work is right there (I can almost see it from where I am sitting). So, after an invitation to the other side of the world (ok, it was to Bier Markt on the Esplanade) it was back to the street car at 10pm. We arrived to find that none of the friends that were supposed to be there actually went. Let the random night commence: new friends, old friends, dance parties and beer (or is it bier?). 3:11am street car home.

Saturday was a pretty lazy day (4am bedtime has never really worked out that well for me.) Saturday night made up for what I didn't do during the day. MC, AK and I headed to Yours Truly for dinner without reservations hoping to snag a few seats at the communal table. We ended up at BQM (an Ossington staple) for burgers instead. We rushed to The Mod Club for 8pm to see our friend CB in the band The Set play. A great show, a very small amount of dancing (the kids these days don’t dance at pop-rock-punk shows anymore, I guess) and one drink later we headed to Crawford on College. Greatest DJ, ever.

I strolled home at midnight, thinking it would be an early night but after a text from AM (who is rarely in the city) I managed to pull my tired self out of my bed and walk over to Bovine Sex Club (note: this is not a typical dancing club nor a place to have sex… that I was witness to anyway) for a drink with AM and his buddy. I have walked by this place everyday since moving to my new place and thought it looked like a shady bar with weird stuff hanging off the outside (it is). We then walked to The Horseshoe, another Queen W. “staple” that looks super shady and that I have never been to. After lots of stories and a random encounter with a band member that recognized AM from Hollywood (sorry, who are you?) we made a last minute trip to the newest Hero Burger (open 24 hours!) and a walked home at 3:30am. Another (great) late night.

This finally brings us to Sunday (this weekend has been splendidly long and hence the Oh What A Night title choice) which included some story editing at Starbucks and another streetcar/ subway combo to make it up to Younge and Eglinton for a Second City comedy class comedy show. It was very funny and I’m completely impressed that they all did so well. I fear mine would like a little like Dee from It's Always Sunny

I think I spent all of my money going back and forth on some form of TTC transportation this weekend. Perhaps I should have splurged for a transit pass this month? Tomorrow is Family Day(!) in Ontario and I will be celebrating Monday by sleeping in, eating the banana bread that is currently in the oven, finishing A Good Year, starting The Hunger Games and going on a mini-walking adventure around the (what I imagine will be) closed city. Every weekend I love this city more and more.

Adventure time!

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