God, sometimes I’m so grateful for YouTube. I used to sing this song in the car with my Dad on the way to preschool and it’s insane that after thirty years the chorus is still burned in my memory.
This is how I feel when October comes to a close.
Even though this is technically still the best time of year (the leaves are gorgeous, Christmas is coming, the first snowfall is only a few weeks away, a fresh year is quickly approaching), it’s always hard for me to say goodbye to October. Maybe that’s one reason why this post is so late? I couldn’t bring myself to actually move on? In any case, November has begun. So here’s what went down in my world last month.
The family and I took a train ride along the South Simcoe Railway on their autumn leaves tour and it was prrrretty cute.
I have officially introduced Riverdale into the lives of four other human beings in my life. Do you understand how crazy that is? I feel like every person on the planet is constantly telling everyone else what show they should be watching and we’re all silently ignoring so many of these recommendations because there’s simply not enough time to watch everything that everyone says is great. So when someone actually gets into this show - it makes me immensely happy. It’s just a pure show. Anyway, the new season started and it’s great and I’ll continue to scream about how much I love it. I’ve also started following Skeet Ulrich on Instagram and I think this is the first time I’ve intensely wanted to send inappropriate things to a stranger since I was a teenager? Feels weird.
Watched the first episode of Kidding and really couldn't get into it. Will always love Jim Carrey but this one seems like a hard one to latch onto.
Watched an episode of Rel and all I can really say about it is that Sinbad is the best part. So I guess that’s something. I don’t think it’s possible to make a good family sitcom these days and I don’t know why that is.
Watched the movie Wild and it was really good. In the same way that I really liked Under The Tuscan Sun. I love love love movies about women that aren’t centered around a love interest. The scene where the little boy sings to her made me weep for some reason.
Took a break from The Twilight Zone for a bit and then got right back into it with the episodes The Mask & Number 12 Looks Like You - and man… this is one of the best shows of all time. Better than Black Mirror. Better than everything!
Rewatched Friday the 13th Part 4 and it’s still a good horror movie, but not as good as I remember. Hate when that happens.
Have you ever seen the kids movie The Halloween Tree? I’d never seen or heard of it before recently and I really liked it. I know this is a common thought amongst people who cling to the past, but the animation back then was way better than it is today.
Speaking of kids movies, I saw the second Goosebumps movie with my family and the first one was better? Needed more Jack Black.
Finally watched Popstar at my brother’s insistence and it was really funny.
So obviously I saw the new Halloween. There was no way it could’ve been good, I realize this, but I went anyway because you have to go. The main problem with it? You see Michael Myers WAY too much. It’s ridiculous. It’s not scary if you’re constantly seeing his face. Anyway, the original is really the only good one anyway and I’m fine with that. I forced my niece Layla to watch that one on VHS and that’s the only way that movie should ever be watched, in my opinion. It’s perfect.
Watched Fright Night for the first time and it wasn’t terrible, but dear Christ, that kid who played the best friend? Definitely the worst actor on planet earth. WOOF.
I’ve only watched the first episode of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina but I’m in love with how dark it is so far. I could also relate to all the half breed talk! And Balki’s in it! Excited to see if the coming episodes are as good.
I was on Nathan’s podcast again! Think this is the best one we’ve done together.
I have seen so many posts about how good On The Bun is in Mississauga and… what the hell? It’s average at best. The Burger’s Priest is eons better (and there’s a Mississauga location at Eglinton & Hurontario now too).
Speaking of good food places in Mississauga, Luca Pizza will now and forever be the only place I’ll force my family to order pizza from. So crazy good!
There’s a (somewhat new) Nordstrom Rack in Heartland in Mississauga and IT IS GREAT. If I were to describe why it’s so good, I’d go so far as to say it’s a higher-end/better/still affordable version of Winners.
Gary came to visit from Scotland and whenever he comes I try to make him sightread something that I love on piano and he never disappoints.
Of course the family and I went on our annual Downey’s visit.
I never go to Krispy Kreme mainly because, well, do I have to have a reason? Their donuts are insanity on a plate so I just need to not be near the building. That being said, my niece Layla really wanted to go so we did. And if you ever happen to be there right when the apple fritters come out of the oven? It will easily be the best tasting thing you’ll ever put in your mouth. That being said, they are dense and pretty rough once cold. Not sure how that makes sense, but it’s probably a good thing. The longstanding best apple fritters are still at San Remo’s in Etobicoke.
I hadn’t been to Playdium in Mississauga in maybe fifteen years, I can’t believe it’s still even there. STILL SO FUN. Really hope teenagers are still going on dates here and making out in the go kart line.
My friend Marla gave birth to the sweetest little boy, her second son!
There is new Salted Caramel Coffee Crisp and it is nuts. Watch yourself.
Went to the ROM for I think the first time (?) and it was very meh! I mean, I think it was good technically? I don’t know what I was expecting. Also, maybe I’m being mean about it because the museums in New York are so much bigger and better? I realize that’s a pretty dickish thing to say and yet I’m not deleting it.
Absolutely love everything about this video (below).
Went to the CN Tower with my family and I haven’t been in such a long time, still a good time.
I finally started trying out recipes from Chrissy Teigen’s newest cookbook. The “Taters, Shrooms & Peas with Parmesan Cream” recipe was incredibly annoying to make mainly due to the instruction of “microwaving your potatoes” - why on earth would that ever be an easier way to cook a potato? It took so long with the trial and error of deciding how much water was needed to actually cook them in a microwave, and incredibly frustrating. And it didn’t even taste amazing! So I’ll definitely never make that one again. Her “Jalapeño-Cheddar Corn Pudding” though? AMAZING. I was blown away at how good that tasted. The serving size was so crazy off, though, which seemed odd. It could’ve fed twenty people. So since I’m one for two, I’m excited to try other recipes from the book soon.
I went to Halloween Haunt at Canada’s Wonderland with Layla, her friends and Harmeet and it was such a fun time. The best part of the whole thing are the actors who jump out to scare you, for sure.
I’m not a huge Starbucks fan (I can’t seem to find a drink that’s not terrible for you & actually tastes good), but since they put out a Halloween drink, obviously I had to try it. The witch’s brew frappuccino was actually pretty good! PURE sugar, but good for exactly two sips. The chia seeds were so weird and good.
I finally saw Tews Falls! Been wanting to see this baby for awhile.
I took Harmeet to Long Point Eco Adventures to stay in a camping pod for one night and it was really, really nice. Our stargazing tour did get cancelled because of the clouds, so we made the most of the evening by going across the street to the Burning Kiln Winery and it was a great time. If you know anything about me, you should be aware that this is the only way that I’d ever “camp.” On the drive back, we saw some insanely large pumpkins for sale so I obviously bought one and it’s probably the greatest thing I’ve ever spent money on.
Will never get sick of how New York looks at night.
Baby Dog had an extremely relaxing month.
It should be obvious, but of course this Halloween was the best one in years, mainly because it’s been so long since I’ve given out candy to trick-or-treaters. You already saw my costume. A huge thank you goes to my mom who sewed the zipper onto that red sweater and who allowed me to yell at her for an hour whilst trying to take the perfect costume photo. No idea why some of the people in my life let me get away with murder sometimes, but super thankful for them. So many things happened on Halloween that it’s kind of a blur to me now. I made this craft that really worked out well, I got sick of my costume so I did a Halloween inspired makeup look for the evening, I watched horror movies on a loop all day - everything was perfect.
Can’t get over how much stuff happened this month. Excited for November!
Summer is finally half over!
One more filthy month to go before the best time of the year! Here were the highlights of July:
- So you know how much I love the banana pudding from Magnolia already, but what you don't know is that it's probably my favourite summer dessert to make and bring to parties because people go fucking nuts for it. So for July 4th this year I made it, but I also bought some Coffee Crisp chocolate bars to Canadian it up (if you're in the U.S. then you can buy them in the international foods section at Bed Bath & Beyond), then dumped those bars into a food processor to make a COFFEE CRISP CRUMBLE TO GO ATOP THE BANANA PUDDING. And it was heaven.
- I ate some of the best fish tacos in NYC at Tacoway Beach in Rockaway near the beach. They're crazy simple but so good, I try to get them once a year so I never grow sick of them. Tip: definitely skip the black bean tacos AND the elote because they are both wildly unpleasing.
- I made this Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Spinach Cream Sauce but full disclosure: I bought the sweet potato gnocchi already put together at Trader Joe's, and then just made the sauce from the recipe and it still tasted amazing. There's something I'll never like about buying frozen food from Trader Joe's (I feel like I haven't completely given up on life yet?), but this gnocchi is the exception (this and their cauliflower pizza crust). Will definitely be keeping this one in the food rotation because it was delicious as hell.
- I read two books this month and I refuse to stop saying that out loud to people, but I guess I have to move on since it's August soon, so that sucks. The Simpsons one I read was great and the Ijeoma Oluo one was even better!
- I did start to read Steve Martin's Born Standing Up and wow was it dull. Don't get me wrong, I think Steve Martin is great. But I read about half of it before collapsing in extreme dissatisfaction. IT'S SO BORING. Why do people think that it's such a good book? Famous comedians will gleefully prattle on about how great it is to one another, which is why I wanted to read it in the first place, so this just doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I was going to just suck it up and keep going until I asked Nathan if it got any better and he very politely told me that it did not. Can someone tell me why it's supposed to be so good? It shoulda been called Bore Standing Up! Okay, that's not a good joke, I know, but it's better than WHAT'S GOING ON INSIDE THIS BOOK.
- I tried the frozen Irish coffee at Passage in Astoria finally and... it was great! Duh.
- I watched Hannah Gadsby's Nanette on Netflix and didn't really care for it for the first half. The only reason I kept watching was because a friend of mine echoed the same thoughts of the beginning not being good but it getting good the second half. And she was completely right because the second half was powerful as hell. My real thoughts are just a general annoyance at people who plainly say, "It isn't standup." And maybe my opinion on this matters in no way since I'm not a comedian, but it just bothers me that there's this weird line of what standup should or shouldn't be, as if the idea of anything more being said with no punchline isn't worthy enough for the untouchable standup stage. She's a comedian! She said jokes! She also had more to say, which is great. Especially with what's going on in the world right now, it seems weird to purposely not want to comment on that and focus solely on what a comedian "is supposed to do." That idea just seems strange to me.
- Nathan and I went to a wedding and it was fun and we looked great. Proof!
- I saw a bunch of movies.
- Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (in theatres) - I mean, a Macarena joke made me laugh so it obviously wasn't a good movie, but some of the kids had a good time so that makes it a success.
- Can't Buy Me Love (Netflix) - I'd never seen it and it's a terrible eighties movie so I kind of needed to all of a sudden. Also it was on a list of things leaving Netflix in August so I suddenly felt the urge to grab on tightly before letting it go off into the distance? That's normal?
- Girls Trip (HBOGO) - I have no idea why the urge to see this movie happened inside of me. It actually wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be. Not good, but not horrendous.
- Ibiza (Netflix) - I guess I've been having real moments lately where I've just been missing certain groups of friends and watching these ridiculous movies puts me at ease a bit maybe? I don't know, let's not analyze it. Oh! The music from this one was really great, though. Also, Gillian Jacobs' eyes are so ginormous, I'm always shocked that men aren't looking for a woman with huge eyes instead of a huge ass or boobs, makes no fucking sense to me. Her eyes are insane!
- Obvious Child (Netflix) - Jenny Slate can do no wrong and of course this movie was great. Other than all the cringe-inducing standup scenes (that are supposed to be cringe-inducing, I'm assuming), it was just a nice movie. The music from this one was pretty great, too.
- I tried the new Crispy Chicken at Swiss Chalet and it was really tasty because of course it was, anything fried is most likely amazing. It's funny to me that they're not just calling it fried chicken. Obviously it's purposeful too, like they're thinking that if they did call it fried chicken it'd sound too Americanized or something. That's definitely something they thought. "No, calling it Crispy Chicken just makes it seem healthier, like it was just slightly dunked into hot, frying oil and not, like, submerged for hours."
- I've had an iPhone 5 for three years and the battery had gone completely to shit (ie. dying at 80%) a few weeks ago, so I took it to Mobile Klinik (outside of Wal-Mart on the first floor of Square One in Mississauga) and they replaced the battery for me within an hour and it only cost me $60 and now it's been working amazingly. They were super nice and it came with a one year warranty, so definitely keep this in mind if you're ever in need of their services.
- The only thing I've ever eaten at Dominique Ansel Kitchen was the burrata soft serve ice cream from a few years ago, but I stopped by recently and had the cold pear yogurt and hot toasted granola and maaaaaaan why can't the version I make at home taste as good as theirs. WHY.
- A friend told me about this great site Zaful that has gorgeous swimsuits for crazy cheap and are actually good quality. Are you even kidding me with how gorgeous those marbled ones look?!
- Tried the soft serve at Tom's Dairy Freeze in Etobicoke finally and it was goooooood because all ice cream is good.
- I went to see the Scarborough Bluffs with Marla and some of my nieces and it's such a beautiful place. So glad we went.
- It's Restaurant Week in New York right now (it actually lasts a few weeks), so I'm hoping to eat at some places I've always wanted to go to. So far I've only gone to Astor Court inside the St. Regis hotel, but it was so, so good. Here's what I had.
It's insane that June is over. It's even more insane that I'm keeping my promise and doing another one of my monthly wrap-up posts. So many things to talk about. Let's begin.
Do you remember how I said the HBO show Barry was good but not that good? Well, I finished the first season and the season finale made me realize that it's a good show. So there.
On the first of the month, I went to the Noguchi Museum in Queens for the first time. Tip: the admission is free if you go on the first of the month. And I actually liked it! Something really calming about the whole place.
Nathan, Baby Dog and I went to Atlantic City for a few days since Nathan was doing shows at the Borgata. Great hotel. Even better pool. We saw a free screening of Ocean's Eight (MEH), walked along the boardwalk, and took BD to the beach for the first time. I know that maybe that doesn't sound like a big deal, but it was because she loved it. Also, my best friend Harmeet made this great collage.
I read an article awhile ago about how Chrissy Teigen uses Aquaphor on her elbows to keep them soft, so I tried it out and she's 1000% right. I used to use the Life brand Vitamin E cream found in most Shoppers Drug Marts, but Aquaphor is eons better (although it does get on everything when you use it and doesn't really absorb as good as other creams may). But still. I've only been using it for a few weeks and I'll never go back. Elbs are crazy soft right now.
I can't believe I haven't already told you how much I've been in love with Larabars lately. Actually, only one flavour 'cause the rest suuuuuuhuck. The Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip one is the only one worth a damn, and I only know this because I've tasted 90% of their flavours.
This insane basil vinaigrette is something that I've been putting on everything lately (spinach, chicken, carrots), I can't believe I'm only now learning of its existence.
Many people have hounded me to watch The Good Place, so I did, and okay - I get it. It's a good show. I watched the first season, but I didn't think it was anything crazy special at all. I mean, I'm happy for the people who love it, but maybe leave me alone, I think I'm good!
I finally tried hot pilates and it was... no different from regular pilates. Why do people try to make it sound so much more intimidating? Do people even do that or was I just building it up in my head? Either way, it's so doable for anyone so if you're in any way intrigued, then try it out.
While I was at my parent's house, my brother Gary introduced me to jackbox.tv - which is essentially a digital board game that you can play with people in the same room as long as you have a TV and everyone has their own phone. And the games are actually fun (like Drawful and Fibbage). They're also sort of perfect if you're looking for something to do with friends/family when you're having people over.
Tim Hortons now has poutine. HOW DID IT TAKE THIS LONG FOR THIS TO HAPPEN is the real question here. My verdict? They should call it a wedge poutine. I know, I'm being a pain, but I'm not wrong. Calling something a regular poutine is saying that regular French fries are being used in said poutine. So when wedge potatoes are used instead? You need to declare that shit. I'm being nit-picky here clearly because this is important. That being said, this wedge poutine was fantastic. Which shocks me. Tim Hortons has been putting out some shady products over the past few years, so for them to use real curds and a crazy decent gravy? Whoa.
Won't You Be My Neighbor? came out and I saw it and cried right alongside every other person in that theatre. And here's the thing: I really think everyone should see this movie alone. I'm a big champion on people going to the movies alone, always have been. I just feel like you can really enjoy a movie without the element of having to deal with another person. Does that sound dumb? I feel like it's important to experience things like that alone since it allows your thoughts and reactions to be completely uninterrupted by someone else. Anyway, the movie was great, so many parts were perfect and I recommended absolutely everyone to see it.
I saw Hereditary twice, not because I'm some kind of maniac, but because I went the first time with some friends and then saw it again because Nathan hadn't seen it and that was our date night for the month. I thought it was a pretty good movie! I don't get why so many people hated it.
I went to Wonderland and it was great, as always.
I re-watched the summer classic Now & Then that's inspired an upcoming post about summer television episodes that always make me happy to re-watch, so watch out for that.
Baby Dog has had a pretty decent month in that she's gone to two dog cafes, Boris & Horton in the east village and Chateau Le Woof in Astoria. I think I preferred the one in the east village mostly because there are small laptop-friendly tables in the dog area, and the general setup was a little more welcoming to dogs and owners.
This white bean rosemary soup is the best soup I've had in ages. I ground up some dried rosemary instead of using fresh and it was still insanely good. Have to remember to keep this one in the recipe rotation.
Ate at Campagnolo in Toronto with some friends and everything was reeeeally good.
I finished reading The Duplass Brothers book and had some thoughts over here.
I feel like I've been in a fried chicken mood these past few months and I just ate a great fried chicken sandwich at The Penrose on the upper east side. Remember how I was complaining about how bad The Spotted Pig one was? Yeah, I was right. THIS is how it's supposed to taste.
I also stopped by Two Little Red Hens, which is a short stroll from The Penrose, since I've been hearing about that place for years. I sampled a few small things, but the standout winner? The cupcakes. And hear me right. I'm not a cupcake person. I make fun of cupcake people. I don't believe in buying cupcakes because they're so incredibly easy to make and they taste the exact same as ones you can buy at any overpriced "cupcake shop." But these were different. These were somehow both airy and luxurious. No idea how they did it. I only had the mini Boston cream pie cupcake, so maybe it's only that specific flavour that tasted like God himself came down and whipped that batter. I'll have to go back, try others, and then really let you know.
I made my yearly visit to The Met, and let me tell you. Some changes have been made. First of all, they have "updated" their admission policy. It's only New York State residents now who are allowed to pay their "suggested admission" - everyone else, ie. tourists, must pay $25/per person. And while I could rant about this for days and how stupid it is, I will not. The Met can definitely fuck right off, though, for the record. The only good new thing that they've implemented is this.
I initially went to see this year's rooftop exhibit, but the rain forced me to change my plans and settle for the Heavenly Bodies exhibit indoors. Here are some highlights.
In larger news, I've cancelled my Ipsy membership. There was one main reason and it’s best described by my friend Julia’s Instagram story that you can view over here.
Whoa! Look at all that stuff! Excited to see what July will bring...
Sometimes I really miss Canada because of things like this. Tim Hortons will be offering Timbits bouquets ($12.99 each) for Mother’s Day this year. The bouquet consists of 24 long-stemmed Timbits in a variety of flavours (chocolate-glazed, jelly-filed, honey dip, old-fashioned plain, and more), which is presented in a box filled with tissue paper and wrapped with a ribbon.
They'll be available at participating locations across Canada on May 12 and 13 beginning at 8 a.m and are only around 10 bouquets per restaurant, so I suggest getting there early if you want to get your hands on one.
Also, you might want to keep in mind there’s always the do-it-yourself option: just get some skewers and gifting supplies at your local dollar store, and pick up two dozen or so Timbits to make your own Timbit bouquet. Canada, you're great.
Look, I get it, I’m biased, but my nieces and nephews are the cutest kids on THIS PLANET.
Could not be more proud of this man.
In Florida. Back soon.
My brother Gary's birthday is tomorrow and I hope he realizes how much he is loved and missed (he lives with his family in Scotland). I know I talk a lot about how important siblings are, and I'll continue to do so until absolutely everyone I know is convinced. You're the best, Gary, and I swear I'll try not to make your gift eight months late this year.