Category Archives: coolness

Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful…

Look what I got in the mail today!

Courtesy of KitchenAid Canada, I’ll be testing out the new 13-Cup Food Processor this holiday season, and I can’t wait!

I have been lusting after it ever since I got the email. I LOVE KitchenAid products because they’re so well-made and stylish. I invested in a professional grade stand mixer several years ago and also have their bake ware, cookware and other little gadgety things. Everything has stood up well against my kitchen experiments, and overall they make cooking much easier for me!

I have been considering the purchase of a food processor for some time now. As I grow more adventurous and throw more events in my home, having one would be very helpful. I think the Gods were listening to my prayers because not only do I get a free processor, but the Cadillac of food processors. I can’t wait to learn how to use this puppy and make some delicious noms!

Now to figure out how to set up the bazillion pieces of this…

My stand mixer won't be so lonely anymore

 

My Favourite Book: The Hunter’s Moon by OR Melling

I have a remarkable instance to tell you about!

I can’t believe I haven’t written about it before this.

You see, I have a favourite book, The Hunter’s Moon by OR Melling. I have loved this thing since I was a wee girleen and couldn’t get through the first chapter.

It’s an amazing Young Adult book to read that combines the best of Canada, Ireland and Faerie in one fantastic package. And it gets better! After I read this the first dozen times I discovered that there were 3 other books in the series and I was thrilled.

I was even more thrilled when I discovered that my favourite Irish author somehow wrote about my actual family in the final novel. There’s nothing like finding something familiar/real in a fantasy novel to blow your mind!

So I wrote to her :)

Here’s my letter:

Dear O.R.,

My name is Lisa and I hail from Toronto, Ontario. I’ve been meaning to write to you for years, so I hope you’ll take a moment and read my story…

The Hunter’s Moon is one of my longtime favourite books. I remember when I first got it; I was a young girl and my mother had gotten it for me from the in-school Scholastic book orders. I think I was about 8 or 9 years old.

The first time I tried to read it, I gave up after about 1 chapter, finding the odd Irish names too hard for my young mind to decipher!

Several years later I picked it up and gave it another go. With my reading and comprehension skills improved, I was able to make my way through the novel and into a world I had always secretly dreamed of.

Best friends, romance, Canada and Ireland coming together, adventure and faeries, everything a girl could dream of.

I have treasured this book ever since.

A few more years passed before I discovered the additional books in the series. What a delight! I eagerly devoured them one by one from the library until I purchased the Golden Book of Faerie edition to read the last one, The Book of Dreams.

Imagine my surprise to find you not only writing about an area I spent time growing up in, but also about my family.

You read that right: my family.

I am a descendant of Bridget & Matthew Dowling, of Kilkenny, Ireland. They were some of the first Irish settlers in the area. My grandmother is Evelyn Dowling of Stayner, Ontario; part of the “Dueling Dowlings Clan” as we like to call them.

It was so surreal to read your book and see the story about the Mad River. Often while visiting my grandparents growing up (They now live in Midland, Ontario) we would travel out to the area and my grandmother would point out the Mad River and tell us the story of her great-great-great etc. grandmother naming it. We even have the family history traced all the way back to Ireland!

I feel like this is some kind of great coincidence, or maybe something else? I would love to know more about you and your experiences in that part of the province; how you came to learn about my ancestors and their stories. If it’s true that you can know part of a person through their writing, then I feel like we would have a great deal to talk about!

I’ve been thinking about writing to you about this for several years now, ever since I made the Dowling Discovery. Something always held me back, but this time I just went for it!

I want you to know just how much I love your books, even now at the age of 27 they hold a special place in my library. I give them as gifts to my closest friends and re-read them periodically. I loved them before I even knew I had a personal connection to the characters in your story!

Just imagine what it was like for me to find mention of my very own family in one of my favourite books. Incredible.

I thought I would share this story with you as one lover of Eire and Faerie to another, and I hope you’ll write back!

Go raibh maith agat,

Lisa

 

Melling wrote about my ancestor Bridget Dowling, and how she came to name the Mad River in the Creemore/Stayner area of Ontario. Here’s the excerpt from the book:

“After their meal, they walked to the outskirts of Creemore and stopped on a bridge spanning the Mad River. The water was shallow, trickling slowly over a stony bottom. Trees lined the shore.

“The river got its name from one of the earliest settlers,” Dana told him, remembering a story of her grandmother’s. “Bridget Dowling was one of those tough Irish pioneers. She settled just north of here with her husband Matthew and loads of kids. One day she was coming back from the mill with a sack of flour on her back and a baby in her arms and she had to ford the river. It was wild and rushing. She said later she almost drowned in ‘that mad river’ and that’s what everyone has called it ever since.””

The rest of the novel takes place in areas that I was familiar with growing up; in the Georgian Bay area of Ontario. I really feel as though I could be  in the story since I know the landmarks and locations it takes place in! Woah!

Apparently I was in the Herald Tribune, too

Look! They used a different photo! I kind of wish they had done it in colour…

And also told me I would be in this paper as well! Does anyone happen to have a printed copy of this hanging around that you could send me? I’ll pay postage!

Click for a larger image.

Reuters picked up the story and it ran in the international version of the Herald Tribune

 

 

The Benefits of Freecycling!

I’m not sure how many of you are already familiar with the Freecycle organization, but I thought I’d post this to show that it works!

From their website:

The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 4,949 groups with 8,506,854 members around the world. It’s a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by local volunteers (them’s good people). Membership is free.

It’s a really awesome idea and it works! I’ve been freecycling for years, both getting rid of stuff and finding stuff. A lot of it is in decent condition, and I like to think that it’s a bit less sketchy than the craigslist free ad section.

Today I totally scored and got the following:

That’s 41 mason jars for me to use for canning this year! What an awesome deal! All I had to do was pick them up. I posted an ad yesterday and someone answered it right away. Today I picked the jars up and saved about $42 by doing so.

Saving money, saving the environment… works for me!

Check out the link above to find your local Freecycle group and sign up. It’s definitely worth a gander.

I’m so excited about these jars, I can’t wait to put them to use with all the preserving I’m going to do with my friends this year! I think I should consider keeping a tally of how many jars I fill this time around, it’s starting to get legendary!

Long Weekend Wrap-up

 

Just so you don’t think I’m all about the negative stuff (see my last post), this weekend I also had two instances of excellent service.

1. The Outer Layer

This is one of my favourite shops and is one of my inspirations for my own business I’m launching (more details soon!). The place is jam-packed with just plain old awesome stuff. I can get bacon band-aids there, spiffy water bottles, hard-to-find boutique skin care lines, funny greeting cards and all kinds of awesome. I used to work in the area and would go there almost every day at lunch to shop & look around (Hi, Jett!).

I stopped in this weekend while out with a gal pal and met some of their new sales staff. Maggie was really great and helped me pick out a new business card case. She didn’t pressure me to buy anything and actually spoke to me like a person rather than just a “customer”. I felt like I had a great shopping experience and I’m glad it lived up to my past experiences with the store. It’s all about consistency!

You can follow The Outer Layer on Twitter @theouterlayer or visit their site here.

2. Starbucks @ Yonge & Shuter St.

On my way home from seeing Bridesmaids with some friends I popped in for a latte. The gal there was totally pleasant and explained the differences between a couple of drinks to me. I ended up ordering one and she gave it to me for free! She said that “it was an experiment” for me, so no charge. Totally awesome. I thought I was just getting a free flavour shot, not the whole drink!

A very nice end to the weekend. There is still hope that good service exists out there!

 

Have you had any great or horrible service lately?

That’s a Wrap!

OMG! Food Network’s  Dinner Party Wars called me back! They’re doing a 3rd season after all and the new casting gal found our application in the files and called! (That means 2 people there liked it!)

Me and my bff have our interview with them next Thursday. They’re going to see how well we cook and get along and too see whether we are too crazy (or not crazy enough!).

Wish us luck!!

The Original Hipsters

Is this YOUR dad?

Your dad ate local fair trade produce before you did and he has dirt under his finger nails to prove it. Your dad had a green thumb and leather tanned neck. He worked in the garden and grew his own food, not because he had to, but because he wanted to. So hipsters, next time you’re asking the waitress if the tomatoes in your salad were ethically grown, locally produced, fair trade, sustainable and if the workers were given a livable wage, remember this…

Your dad was the leader of the eating local trend, he contributed to society and you’re just a giant succubus at the teat of it, who contributes nothing, but feels the need to bitch about everything…

and to conclude this conclusion, grow up hipsters, grow a pair and add something to culture other than shitty art and bad music.

 

 

After spending 9 months living with a hipster, I have come to dislike the whole movement quite a bit! Annoying, self-absorbed and “trying too hard” they are only cool in their own minds.

Enter the site Dads: The Original Hipsters.

If you have ever encountered a hipster, you will love this site as it calls out all the particular traits that hipsters pride themselves on, makes fun of them and shows how awesome our dads were for doing all that stuff originally. Hispters are just poseurs, stealing from another generation!

Yeah, my dad was totally an original hipster. Sick.

*I am referring to the annoying hipsters, not the ones that are actual nice, decent people. Though rare, they DO exist.