Category Archives: swag

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

 

Mystery Gift

After another craptastic day at work I came home to a nice surprise:


DRINK ME

Someone has sent me a nice bottle of Black Tower wine and some bracelets! How sweet. And what good timing.

I haven’t been writing much lately because life has just become unwieldy. I’ve realized that I really don’t like my job anymore, don’t want to just get another job somewhere else doing the same thing but I don’t really have a clear idea of what I WANT to do. What a pickle.

Top that off with the month from hell at work with tight deadlines and all kinds of crazy and you’ve got one unhappy gal. Last week I drowned my sorrows in a bottle of wine. It was the first time I’ve ever finished a whole bottle by myself.

Well, not by myself. I did drink the whole thing but I was at my friends’ place for dinner that night so they took care of me. It was bad.

Then I found out that my pup passed away. It has not been great lately, folks.

So this is very well-timed bottle of wine+sparklies. I can either crack ‘er open this weekend as I end another shitty week, or I may save it for my upcoming tea party (one of the few lights in my sky right now).

I don’t know which PR company sent this to me, but thanks. It made my day just a little bit better.

Converse Sneak Peek + Flare 30th Anniversary

It seems that when it rains, it pours! Yesterday I was able to attend two interesting events and walk away with quite the haul!

It was really nice to get out & about and be appreciated in a material way! I know I have written before about the parties and swag that come with my career path–but since the recession it has been terrible! Our salaries are frozen and vendor budgets are being cut, which means that parties, gifts and 4-hour “lunches” are scarce. It’s particularly bad for me because what I work on is kind of boring, and for some reason I get overlooked for a lot of freebies :( Sadness.

Anyway, yesterday the planets aligned: I went to an exclusive preview of the new Converse Spring 2010 footwear lineup (thanks to my blogging efforts), had a half-day vacation and was miraculously gifted (thanks to my job) with a ticket to one of the most-anticipated (and exclusive!) events of the year: Flare Magazine’s 30th anniversary party. There’s a lot to write about so I’m going to split this into two posts so you don’t get bored!

Let’s start with the Converse event.

Converse Spring 2010 Preview

I’ve had the luck of being discovered by a great PR professional. She invited me to an exclusive media preview of the new Converse lines for the spring. I’m pretty sure everyone knows the famous Chuck Taylor All Stars: classic chunky

white rims, the original high-tops, grommet lacing… if you don’t know what I’m talking about, check it out here!

I love this pop-art hi-top!

Well, Converse is famous for the Chucks, but that’s not all they do! They’re quite innovative and plugged-in to the fashion and music scenes, and it is reflected in the designs and styles of their footwear. Everything is easily identifiable as a Converse shoe… but there are some pretty new & modern designs now, too.

I was introduced to some really sleek & clean modernized styles that played on the original design as well as other choices that paid homage to classic rock & punk bands of the ’70’s & ’80’s, pop-art culture, and even a revival of 80’s neon! (Should I be scared?)

I’ve got to say I never realized that Converse sneakers could be so fashionably diverse. The rep that was taking me around was trying to sell me on a new version for the ladies: a boot. It just looks like a giant hi-top that goes up to below your knee. Personally I think they’re ugly, but maybe you won’t? They’re available in the US already, but won’t make it to Canada until January.

Are you ready for the 80's revival???

The collection I personally liked the most were probably what some would consider the most boring. They’re kind of a slim, feminine style in muted colours. They have an ultra-low profile and sport clean lines and just look flirty and fun.

Suitably, they’re called Chuck Taylor “Lights”.

What a cute little flat!
What a cute little flat!

Anyway, enough about the shoes!

It was really fun to check out all the shoes. Obviously I love shoes. I have a bit of a problem with them (they’re taking over my bedroom!) and occasionally indulge in shoe porn. While I prefer the look of the sleek & sophisticated pump, there’s something to be said about having a good, comfy stylish casual shoe. I think the All Stars fit the bill pretty well.

Right right… I was going to stop talking about shoes, wasn’t I? Oops.

So I had my little tour around the “shoe gallery” and learned all kinds of things about Converse that I never would have known. Forย  me, personally I like the feeling that I was somebody “important”, I got a rep all to myself and had a great conversation about blogging, media in general and what I thought about the shoes. You all know I love sharing my opinion! Otherwise why would I be a blogger? LOL

I feel as though I may have finally “arrived” and like I am now REAL media. Like a newspaper! This feeling was reinforced when I noticed that there was a camera crew from CityTV covering the event as well. Very cool! I’m totally confident in who I am as a blogger, but I really felt like I was validated and legitimized by this event.

Anyway, I know you all want to see what I got! And of course I got photos :) The lovely people at Converse were kind enough to provide me with my very own (and first!) pair of Chuck Taylor Lights!

…the best part? They ended up being the colour & style I liked the most! AND they matched my dress! w00t!

They threw in a few other goodies too, like a t-shirt, USB stick and a nifty pair of headphones. Check it out:

Shoe Swag!
Shoe Swag!

So that was my experience in a nut shell! It certainly reminded me of when I was a kid and all the cool kids had a pair of these…

Did you ever have a pair of Chucks? What kind of memories of them do you have?

PS. All the shoes featured will be available in-store around February 2010. If you want a pair for yourself & you’re in the GTA, be sure to check out Get Outside on Queen. They have the most awesomesauce collection. (Or, give me your support by commenting and maybe I can wrangle a pair for a giveaway!)

Teaser

Oh man. I just hit up two events today and I am positively overloaded with

SWAG.

My arms actually hurt from carrying it home (time to hit the gym again!!). It’s all very exciting! I shall post about it as soon as I can…

*giggle*

Fancy Cuppicakes?

They seem to be all the rage these days, cupcakes. I see them at parties, weddings, as cupcake cakes and business gifts. Slews of specialty cupcake shops have opened up (at least here in Toronto!) to cater to this new trend.

Generally I am in favour of cupcakes. They’re the perfect combination of cake, candy and frosting for a person, and in a convenient size, too. They’re pretty and fairly easy to make, and even easier to eat!

Plus, they make great gifts!

Case in point: I recently received some cupcakes as a gift from a vendor. They came from one of those fancy-pants cupcake shops and I’ve got to say I was highly impressed by the packaging! I’ve always struggled to find a good way to transport cupcakes without smushing them in the process.
Take a look:

Inside were two perfectly lovely cupcakes–with no smushing! Man, this bakery wasn’t messing around. They had the cakes sitting in a molded plastic holder made specifically for cupcakes which was then nestled on a non-slip liner. This was all tucked very snugly into the perfectly sized box. This combination protected my cuppi’s all the way home through the public transit system at rush hour, through the hectic grocery store and on the walk home!

This ain’t yo mamma’s bakery box!

They were pretty awesome-looking cupcakes; well-executed. I was fooling around with my camera and managed to get an artzy phartzy macro shot. Here ya go:

So they looked great, but weren’t anything to write home about in the taste department. I find that with these fancy cupcakes, too much attention is spent on the decoration and not enough on the taste.

I found them to taste fairly stale and boring, really just void of flavour. They were dry and crumbly in the wrong way, and had a funny aftertaste. The icing was pretty gross, too. Extra points for not overloading the cupcakes with icing, but points deducted for lack of deliciousness. I understand that you have to increase the amount of preservatives or shelf-stable ingredients (such as shortening instead of real butter) in order to keep the cupcakes in good shape for longer-but I think there is still room for flavour.

I was kind of grossed-out after eating one of these, especially since I had had a really great cupcake from somewhere else earlier in the day to compare it to.

Overall I think that the concept of fancy cupcakes is a great one, but many of the cupcake shops just aren’t able to execute properly. If you’re supposed to specialize in something, then it should be fantastic. These were just disappointing, as were most other fancy cupcakes I have had.

For this reason I don’t think a lot of the exclusively cupcake shops will be around for much longer. In my eyes this is a fad that will soon fade away.

Cupcakes will always be around though–at least in my kitchen! Personally I don’t think that anything storebought will ever be better than my homemade from scratch baked goods! Take that, cupcake industry!

Have you tried any fancy cupcakes? How do you think they compare to your own? And what’s your fave recipe???

๐Ÿ˜‰

Yay for Google!


You’ve got to admit, Google is a pretty cool company. So cool in fact that I’m pretty sure the word google has now become a verb (I googled…I will google, I have googled, iGoogle [LOL!]).

Anyway, today I got a coveted peek inside their Canadian headquarters at Dundas Square in Toronto and it was pretty cool! I got invited to a Google Campus event where they introduce us to their various products such as Google Earth/Maps, YouTube, Analytics, Ad Planner, etc.

I liked fooling around with their new Android smartphones–they will definitely rival the iPhone! I think Rogers is launching them next week, so if you’re interested you can go and check them out! They had all kinds of cool apps you can use and download, as well as the GPS technology we all know and love. The phone itself was cool too, it was touchscreen but also had a full keyboard underneath so you could easily text. That’s great for me since I suck at touchscreens.

I didn’t get to fully explore the Google office (especially since they made me sign a non-disclosure form! eek!) but their main areas are pretty nifty with games, RockBand and PS3, bouncy balls and all kinds of stuff hanging around. The ladies room was really nice too, with some really nice touches like free lotion, mouthwash, etc.

The kitchen was the coolest though. Yes, our event was catered but it looks like they still have an awesome selection of stuff there. They had one of those convenience-store beverage fridges in there stocked with all kinds of drinks (even Red Bull) for their staff to quaff for free, and also a big rack filled with candy, munchies and cereal for the peckish. We were each given a Google cup and encouraged to fill it up with jellybeans, M&Ms, Kit Kats, Ritz packs, bags of chips, granola bars, Swedish Berries, etc. Fantastic! I have SO much at my desk now its crazy.

On our way out we were presented with a nice gift–this time around we get a solar cellphone charger. It comes with multiple tips to fit most phones. Unfortunately it won’t fit mine, but I think I can buy one online anyway.

Wow! I just looked the charger up and it’s worth about $100! Sweet deal! I don’t mind that there’s some Google branding on it! ๐Ÿ˜€

Google knows how to do it right, and I think that’s why they’re doing well and growing so much. I got a preview of some of their neat apps and innovations that will be coming to Canada soon. It was cool to be there as not only an advertiser, but also a consumer and blogger! I learned about some stuff that I might be able to adjust and use for my blog :)

Hmm. I sound like I’m advertising for them but I’m really not. Other than the swag I got from them I’m not being compensated. I just sort of like their products. Hell, I love all the Gmail apps they’ve come up with from Google Labs!

What’s your favourite Google app/program/site? Anything I don’t know about yet?

edit: hahahaha just got another gift sent to me! Now I have a Google notebook and matching pens for my purse. Nice!

Bombay Sapphire Event Review

“Gin-cident”: a negative experience with gin; usually as a result of inferior juniper berries used in the production of gin. Or by being a stupid teenager.

I’ve had one, and I’ll bet you’ve had one too.

I’ll admit it; a few weeks ago, I did not have a very good opinion of gin. I thought it tasted a lot like pinecones and made me want to yak. I was the victim of a gincident. So when I opened up my inbox to find an invitation to an exclusive Bombay Sapphire Gin event from their PR agency, I was a little skeptical.

However I like to think that I have an open mind, so I accepted the invitation in the hopes that I had matured enough to appreciate the unique flavour of this spirit. I love exploring alcohol and had done a tasting and review of Ketel One Vodka in the months previous; I was ready for another round. (Note to PR companies: Send me stuff or invite me out! You won’t be disappointed!)

The venue was the very well-appointed childhood home of Ted Rogers Sr., inventor of the Rogers Batteryless and founder of the Toronto radio station CFRB. We were treated to a variety of gin-based cocktails and tasty hors d’oeuvres by some friendly waitstaff as we mingled in the kitchen and backyard.

I brought my new friend Eve with me to this event, in an effort to bond with her over copious amounts of booze and also to introduce her to that glamourous ad world/blogger lifestyle I like to brag about so much (needless to say she was suitably impressed! hehe).

Once for a change I didn’t know anyone at this event, so I was able to start fresh and maintain my blogger anonymity! Errr… rather just keep my work life a social life separate, I suppose. Eve and I mostly stuck together that evening, but I made friends with the British mixologist and brand ambassador Merlin Griffiths, whom I had previously arranged via Twitter to do a cocktail demonstration with that evening. (That’s right! Ginger gettin’ up there and all famous in the house!)

Long story short, I sampled most of the cocktails on offer, which included my namesake, my favourite of the night, and the always-classy:

  • Sapphire Ginger-Mint
  • Sapphire (Tom) Collins
  • Gin Martini

About an hour into the event we were ushered into the totally dope kitchen area for some cocktail-creation demonstrations, as well as some tips and tricks from a professional caterer on how to entertain at home.

First on the menu: Ginger & Merlin demonstrating the art of the Sapphire Collins! Yes my friends, I got up there like the attention whore I am and showed the world how to do it right, with Merlin guiding me along. I even squeezed the lemon myself! (The photo is Merlin showing us the right and wrong way of making a gin martini)

Ginger presents:

Ha! You thought you’d actually see me, eh? Maybe in the future, but not this time, my friends! however that is a great little instructional video I will be using to jog my memory for all the BBQ’s I’m going to host this summer…

Anyway, the night went along swimmingly with the help of some more Sapphire Collins’ and the good company of my fellow Toronto bloggers. We learned how to make a bunch of drinks that night, as well as a few cool centrepieces and quick meals for dinner parties. Below you’ll see a half-eaten (so classy, I know) charcuterie plate and a delicious Sapphire Collins.

I think by this point you’ve realized that I have started to actually enjoy gin–when applied properly, of course! I’m really glad I got out to this event; not only did I have a great time with Eve, I also learned a lot about gin and met some of the local Toronto bloggers! Bombay Sapphire gin is definitely on my list for booze-I-need-to-purchase, especially now that I know how to use it. And because it has cool “botanicals” in it (top photo). I like herb-y things!

I was a bit of the odd-man-out however, as I did not possess any business cards! Anyone wanna hook me up with some of those free ones uPrinting.com has been giving away? If I keep going to more of these events I might as well advertise my site, right? It’s a bit weird mingling In Real Life though, I’ve got to admit! I’m not sure how I feel about people who have actually met me reading this blog… none of my friends or family know where it is or what I write about!

Speaking of other bloggers, I would like to thank Andrew Louis of Hyfen.net and Raymi of Raymitheminx.com for use of their photos! I meant to bring my camera but forgot at the last minute!

As an end to the night and an end to this post, Eve and I stayed and socialized with ppl until the bitter end, they were practically kicking us out, but it wasn’t even 9pm yet! We scored some killer loot bags and a couple of cab chits on our way out, so I chilled at Eve’s place a bit before heading home. I still haven’t broken out my mad cocktail-making skillz yet, but rest assured they will be well-used in the coming summer months!

Here’s a peek of what we got that will leave you salivating:

If you wanna learn some stuff about Bombay Sapphire Gin or how to make some great gin cocktails, here are some resources for you:

Drink responsibly, dammit!