Listening Recommendation Week 6: Let’s have a laugh…

Listening Recommendation Week 6: Let’s have a laugh…

They say laughter is the best medicine, so I thought I’d do a listening recommendation that will help you de-stress on the way to work. I can’t think of too many people funnier than Tina Fey. Okay, maybe there’s a few, but I do appreciate her humour, which is why I decided to download her audio-book Bossypants.  Written and narrated by Tina Fey herself, Bossypants is a comedic autobiography that basically covers Fey’s life, from birth to the point at which she wrote the book. Fey hilariously pieces together the story of her life and career, with several quirky anecdotes, and often goes off on amusing rants about this, that or the other thing. You are sure to get a laugh listening to this.

Check out an excerpt from the beginning of Bossypants, where Fey goes on a short rant about her scar. Good news, Bossypants is available on OverDrive, so enjoy!

What are you listening to? 

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Listening Recommendation: Week 4 …Are you hungry yet?

Listening Recommendation: Week 4 …Are you hungry yet?

Since my last post was all about delicious food, I thought I would share a listening recommendation that literally made my mouth water.  That’s right, an audio-book that makes your mouth water! The Lost Recipe for  Happiness, by Barbara O’Neal, narrated by Bernadette Dunne, is a delectable story about a female chef, Elena, who finds herself with The Lost Recipe for Happiness on Libraries on the Gothe opportunity of a lifetime –the chance to run her own kitchen.

Of course, opportunities like these are often attended by a great deal of self-reflection and Elena is forced to face her past, while working hard to build herself a happy future. This story offers a bit of everything, with some romance, drama and action, accompanied by several traditional Mexican recipes, that when read aloud, will make you want to either cook or eat, or most likely both.

Barbara O’Neal does a fantastic job of character building, giving you the sense that you are meeting the new characters and getting to know them as Elena does. Likewise, Bernadette Dunne does a beautiful job narrating, giving the characters life as she uses tone and accents to give each one a unique voice. If you love food and love to cook, this is a book for you. Happy listening!

What are you listening to?

Listening recommendation: Week 2

Listening recommendation: Week 2

What are you listening to? Here is my weekly listening recommendation…

For my second weekly listening recommendation, I am suggesting an audio book I listened to last fall. I enjoyed this book so much that, although I would primarily listen to it while running, I found myself also listening to it while sipping on a glass of wine on a Friday night and even before bed.

The book is called Before the Poison by Peter Robinson, presented by HarperAudio (HarperCollins Publishers) and performed by Susan Lyons and Toby Lennet Moore.  The story begins in present day, with the move of a successful Hollywood film music composer, back to England after the death of his wife. Moving back to his hometown in Yorkshire, the main character Chris finds himself in an old isolated house that he bought sight unseen. The house proves to be more than he bargained for when Chris finds out that a Book Cover of Before the Poisonprevious owner had died there sixty years ago and his wife was convicted and hanged for his murder.  As Chris gets pulled into the mystery and learns more about the characters that were a part of this event, we the listener find out about the life of a battlefield nurse in World War II and the serious implications that it had.

This story has lots of twists and turns. More than just the story itself, I truly enjoyed the performances of Susan Lyons and Toby Lennet Moore. If you love a good mystery with a bit of historical fiction, you will definitely enjoy this book as well!

You can find the audio book on Libraries on the Go, as part of the Southern Ontario Library Service (and I am sure others) or you can purchase it online. Happy listening!

What to listen to while you drive…

What to listen to while you drive…

In my last post I talked about steps to surviving your commute.  The one thing that really gets me through my commute is listening to something. I would even go so far as to say that I enjoy the commute, because of what I listen to. I am not a picky listener either. I will listen to pretty much anything and everything, but some things are definitely better than others!

My top three sources of pure listening entertainment…

  1. CBC Radio 1 – I LOVE this radio station. I promise they aren’t paying me to say this; they really do have great content. I love Matt Galloway’s Metro Morning and if I am driving early enough to hear him, I will tune in. For my evening commute back home, my go-to is CBC’s As It Happens at 6:30 p.m.. Carol Off and Jeff Douglas make me laugh, and sometimes cry, with their quirky rendition of the day’s events. While they can be serious with some of the issues they cover and seem to take a strong stance on controversial topics, they are enjoyable to listen to and interview some very interesting people from across the globe. I always chuckle to myself, both at the odd-ball stories they tell and the inevitable pun that gets delivered at the beginning of every episode.
  1. OverdriveOverdrive is an app I have on my phone that connects me to Libraries on the Go. Many local library memberships in the GTA give you access to Libraries on the Go, which hosts hundreds of eBooks and audio-books. If you live in a suburb and work in the city, you may be able to get a membership at both local libraries, giving you access to even more online books! I use Overdrive to download audio-books, which I listen to during my drive. They are more convenient than audio-books on CD and they are way more affordable. Of course, there are some additional considerations that factor into liking an audio-book or not, the narrators voice and style being major ones. I have enjoyed most of the books I’ve listened to. It’s like being a kid again, listening to a bedtime story… except they are adult books and they do not put you to sleep (hopefully).
  1. Podcasts – I listen to podcasts in the car a lot less often than audio-books or the radio, but there are some fantastic podcasts out there and they fill in the gaps between books. It was also a podcast series that got me through a winter of running outdoors last year. I’ve been hooked ever since. There are so many podcasts to choose from, and with millions of topics and stories there is something for everyone. They are convenient too; you can listen to a podcast episode right on your phone. Apple products come with their own Podcasts App, as do most other Smartphones out there. Many podcast producers also have their own apps from which you can stream or download episodes.

With coming up on four years of listening experience, I would like to share the best of what I have heard. On Sundays, I will start getting you ready for your week by posting an audio-book or podcast that I recommend, and if I happen to hear a good radio segment on CBC, I will share that too. My aim is to spread the word on audio-books, podcasts and talk radio, to help my fellow commuters everywhere find a bit of enjoyment in the ride.  Even if you don’t commute, maybe you run. Consider taking these audio gems out for a spin; they may just get you to run an extra kilometer or two.

What are you listening to?

Goodbye Toronto…

Goodbye Toronto…

Before I get into all of the wonderful ways my life has changed after moving to the suburbs, I want to give credit to the move itself, because…well, it was hard. I had to say goodbye to a city and a neighbourhood that I really loved living in.

Just over a year before meeting my partner Taylor, I was living (post university/ post world-travel) in London, Ontario. London is a city of approximately 350,000 people and home to the University of Western Ontario (my undergrad University).  I had just made the rather large decision to move to Toronto to live with my girlfriends from Western. It was a decision that would truly change my life, but in a way I could never have imagined.

My first year in Toronto, I lived with two girls in a large rental house on Ossington Ave. The house and location were great, but within a year one of the girls decided to move on. That left my friend Kendall and I, so we decided to find our own place. We ended up in a gorgeous two bedroom apartment, right

kendallme
Kendall & I in our Toronto, Yonge St. apartment

on Yonge St. We got VERY lucky with this apartment. The owner of the building was an older gentleman, named Joseph. When I say Joseph was a gentleman I really mean that. Our new landlord gave us an amazing rate and promised it would never go up. On the cold February day we moved in, he stood outside the building and made sure we didn’t leave the door open too long, so as not to freeze out the other tenants. That’s the kind of landlord he was.

Not only did we have a great landlord, but our new place was in the prime location of Yonge and Bloor – just five minutes from both of the subway lines in Toronto and a short ten minute walk to work.  We were surrounded by great restaurants, bars, entertainment, yoga studios and shopping. We had struck Toronto renters’ gold!

However, by the time we moved in I had met Taylor. Just three weeks prior in fact. On our second date Taylor helped Kendall and I pick up our new furniture for the apartment and came over to build a set of table and chairs that needed assembling. He was a keeper from the very beginning, and over the course of the next several months I came to realize that he was ‘the one.’ Despite the distance between us, we spent a lot of time together and I was going out to see him in Milton almost every other weekend. The next step was definitely moving in together, and because Taylor worked for his family business in Milton, my moving to Milton was the only choice. I had to say goodbye to Toronto.

7 things I miss about my old ‘hood in Toronto:

  1. IAM Yoga – A beautiful, privately owned Yoga Studio on Yonge at Isabella. The studio was small when Kendall and I lived here, but it has since moved to a larger space (across the street) and now has several rooms and many types of classes. They’ve really made the most of their new space and it’s arguably one of the best studios in Toronto.
  2. Bar VoloBar Volo was a bar on Yonge and Dundonald that served up a large selection of craft beers, alongside delicious food. The bar has since closed, caught up in the mass development along Yonge. But don’t worry, they’ve opened a spin-off called Birreria Volo  on College and are expected to set up a replacement for Bar Volo on Church St. in the future.
  3. Fire on the East Side – This is another Yonge St. gem that has since closed. Unfortunately they don’t seem to have established a new location. This restaurant was directly across from our apartment and served up amazing Southern Comfort food. I remember them best for their sweet potato quesadilla (think puree sweet potato, walnuts, nutmeg and smoked bacon) and their breakfast poutine (this one speaks for itself). Yum!
  4. Bloor/Yorkville Shopping There are shops upon shops on Bloor, just East and West of Yonge St. You can get anything from the GAP to Louis Vuitton and everything in between. Yorkville is another shopping mecca that isn’t too far away. My favourite spots to browse in Yorkville are Anthropologie and Teatro Verde.
  5. Burrito Bandidos – I am very happy to report that Burrito Bandidos on Grosvenor is still open for business and sell (in my opinion) the best burritos in the city. Their fillings are fresh and always delicious and they grill them to perfection. They now have several locations across Toronto, so there may be one close to you. I highly recommend the mix Chicken and Beef.
  6. Queens Park – Queens Park was just around the corner from our old apartment and this is where I found my running legs. Queens Park is a great spot to train yourself to run. If you want to learn to run 5 km, this is the place to do it. The loop works out to be approximately one kilometer, so it’s easy to track your distance without constantly checking your devices. It also makes it easy to get started with the run/walk technique. You can start running by jogging ¼ of the circle and walking ¾, working your way up to to ½ and ½ and reducing your walking distance from there, until you are eventually running the whole loop.
  7. Manulife CentreThere’s nothing like having a gigantic book store (Indigo), a movie theatre, grocery store (Bloorstreet Market), an LCBO and drug store right in your back yard. This plaza really has it all and is very convenient to boot. I miss being able to walk everywhere!