Monthly Archives: December 2015


I recently noticed a social media post about a brand new barbershop opening in the downtown Toronto financial district that brings a little bit of swingin’ stylish London to town.  As my friend and longtime hairstylist, Cathie Dimitriou, has recently taken a barbering course, I thought I should alert her to this famous company and their awesome products that are suitable for any manly James Bond type!

TRUEFITT & HILL has been catering to the most discerning gentlemen clients for over 200 years in prestigious locations around the world and they are now open in Brookfield Place, Toronto (T: 416-214-4646). Offering both traditional men’s facial and hair treatments, they also offer their luxury line of products that include shaving creams, aftershave balms & lotions, colognes and signature shaving accessories (below).
Lavender shaving creamshaving mugWellington shaving brushtruefitt-_-hilltruefitt_hill4959_49de5ac0-ac65-4bd6-8ff1-7d5921c37e95_mediumTheir sophisticated fragrances include West Indian Limes (one of my favourites), 1805 (a very manly oceanic fragrance), Trafalgar (spicy and distinguished), and there’s even one named Authentic No. 10 (ideal for any future Downing Street resident perhaps?). All the fragrances and products can be seen on their website, as well as information about the Toronto store services:

Thanks to their media rep, Heather Kirk of Immedia PR, I was fortunate to receive a beautiful presentation package of product samples from Linda Mountford of Truefitt & Hill North America. Bowing to her expertise and knowledge (and the fact that I don’t have a man in my own life at this time), I gave them all to Cathie to try on her husband Stelios (below) who immediately embraced the products. He observed that “the Shaving Cream worked into a smooth, rich lather with a masculine fragrance and I found applying the shaving cream with a brush gave me a better, all-over lather. The Aftershave Balm was smooth and absorbed quickly into the skin…..and my skin feels so smooth. My wife, Cathie, really likes that!”
IMG_3084 IMG_3092He continued…“All the Truefitt & Hill colognes are amazing – they remind me of that “old school” quality with a luxurious feel and fragrance. They each remain true to the scent description and don’t dissipate into thin air after a few minutes which is a welcome change from other so-called luxury brands.”

All Truefitt & Hill products have been carefully crafted in England since 1805 and they embody the essence of the British heritage at its best. Their dedicated team of highly skilled professionals, chemists, designers and craftsmen work tirelessly to deliver their products known today for their distinctive tradition of innovation and excellence. The Truefitt & Hill iconic ranges will continue to be produced in England as the company constantly endeavours to bring new and exciting products in response to their customer’s needs. essential_bf63e218-9bf6-4e23-8022-9489b00201b6_mediumI encourage you to visit their website or visit one of their locations in person to enjoy the luxury and service of this veddy veddy British company. You will feel like a prince – in fact, Truefitt & Hill work under Royal Warrant to Prince Philip, H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh!



So I celebrated my birthday today – December 26th, a.k.a. Boxing Day or St. Stephen’s Day for the more religiously inclined. I usually spend birthdays safe at home, locked away from the post-Christmas crazies at the malls, hoping that someone will remember to call or send me a Facebook greeting, or at least re-gift some god-awful Christmas pressie as my birthday treat. This year, however, I decided to head out and join my dear friend, Donna (with whom I shared many an “adventure” when we both worked at Yuk Yuk’s Komedy Kabaret in the 1980s) at Toronto’s latest hotspot – the Shameful Tiki Room on Queen St West (just past Dufferin).

Donna Lypchuk (L) and me (R) enjoying a festive Hawaiian feast

Donna Lypchuk (L) and me (R) enjoying a festive Hawaiian feast

Haven’t hung out with Donna for a while so there was a lot to catch up on other than birthdays and our various aches, pains and bitching about our sags, bags and WTF is that growing there?…LOL!

The lovely folks at Shameful Tiki made us a sumptuous repast and as I arrived early, I sat at the bar waiting for Donna to arrive and got stuck into a “Pain Killer” cocktail that certainly lived up to its name (below). 20151226_172952The drinks are all very affordable and pack a real punch. Many are rum-based and I admired their drinks menu which was reminiscent of the bar “placemat” at the old Trader Vic’s in Waikiki where I used to spend many an hour killing time between flights to and from Australia. All you have to do is just point to the picture of which drinkie you’d like and the barkeep at the Shameful Tiki Room will create a masterpiece in a glass, complete with garnishes and fancy swizzle stick.20151226_173120When Donna arrived, we moved to a cozy booth at the back of the room surrounded by all sorts of tiki memorabilia and mid-century Hawaiian nic-nacs. The music was right out of Mad Men and each time the song changed I found myself humming along and singing with Deano, Frank, and even a little Don Ho! Talk about authentic…wow20151226_191005 20151226_175313 20151226_190925The food menu is short but sweet…all sorts of nibblies and treats so we opted for the tiki platter that gave us a selection of everything and I highly recommend the awesome Huli-Huli chicken wings, all sticky and spicy. I also enjoyed the teriyaki fried broccoli and the Spam fried rice ball…yummm. We made short work of the platter and ordered even more wings. It was a virtual luau!10393732_10153303299456156_6749900993358948186_n 20151226_181701 20151226_185248 20151226_185252 We were so stuffed..Donna offered up a ladylike burp (below)20151226_185302…while I sucked those damned chicken wings dry!!!20151226_185333More drinks? Sure….then we got a bit sloshed. “allo, sailor!”20151226_185358 20151226_185409 1931325_10153303299266156_4407212793007193257_nFellow diners at a neighbouring table got stuck in to one of the “mystery bowls” announced to all in the tiki lounge by the bartender striking a big noisy gong. They were such a fun bunch…20151226_194118So here’s to the wonderful SHAMEFUL TIKI ROOM, 1378 Queen West, Toronto. Yes, we’ll be back for more…lots more. I have an entire double-sided drinks menu to point-n-guzzle my way thru this coming year!1926876_10153303299416156_7242844379031104999_n 969020_10153303299321156_5865649038342119551_nSee you all there:


I recently heard about an exciting new online service for Toronto’s foodies, catering to those inflicted by “sweet tooth” syndrome like me and I knew I just had to share this with you all as we head into the hectic festive holiday season. is the city’s first-ever online bakery marketplace, and after being in business for one year they’ve just launched their new on-demand home delivery program in time for the holidays. Shopbake allows Torontonians to order and receive delectable “party in your mouth” goodies within 90 minutes of placing an online order. OMG, dear readers, these are now my new food besties!  The outstanding selection of baked products are sourced from Toronto’s leading bakeries, confectioners and cake-makers including Mary Macleod’s Shortbread, Toronto Popcorn Company, Sweets from the Earth, For the Love of Cake, Rose and Cole Crackey as well as Shopbake’s own signature kitchen.IMG_0014 IMG_0122
p_648_759_648 p_228_340_228IMG_0136“After our first year, my executive team and I have used our customer feedback as a starting point to create a more sophisticated platform that will enhance the user experience for both buyers and sellers,” says Monica Abramov, founder of “Our goal is to create an online bakery shopping experience that is fast, intuitive, more user-friendly and of course, delicious.”p_257_559_257So whether you’re serving dinner for the family or planning a fancy-schmancy celebration and don’t have the time or energy left to create a fabulous dessert, can help you out fast ‘n’ tasty. They offer sweet treats that are gluten free, too, so there’s something for everyone and every palate.  From pop-cakes to flavoured popcorn, cupcakes to candied brittle, cookies to shortbread – you name it, will get it to your dining table in 90 minutes! And for those last-minute “oh crap, I forgot…..” Christmas emergencies, they can deliver these festive goodies( below)p_503_837_503 p_698_864_698And they even offer seasonal spice blend sachets if you’re serving an old fashioned mulled cider or wine! No Scrooges here…LOLMulled cider stuffIf this blog hasn’t got your juices flowing, you ain’t human!! So stop licking your lips and hurry on over to now to place an order and tell them I sent you. Yum yum yum yum……


I can’t believe it’s been a whole week since I logged onto the Grammy nominee list, cuppa coffee in one hand, mouse in the other, scrolling down as I held my breath….Category 30, New Age Album…….blah blah blah blah…and RON KORB for ASIA BEAUTY. Yaaaay!!!!12096026_10153033946140448_2532998975567882371_nAfter a very busy year of composing, producing and performing, Toronto-based flautist and composer Ron Korb awoke last Monday morning as a Grammy nominee! Having worked with Ron over the summer to promote the release of Asia Beauty, I am so proud and excited for him at the prospect of walking the red carpet on Grammy weekend (mid-February) rubbing shoulders with the likes of  Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks, and fellow Canuck nominees, Drake, The Weeknd and Justin Bieber.logo

As soon as the nominations for all the categories were announced I started working my media contacts here in Toronto – all the TV and radio networks, the dailies, the music bloggers – how would you like a Grammy nominated artist on your show?  Sadly, as is typical these days, we had few takers. Unless you are an international, multi-award winning artist, they just don’t care. But hang on…..that’s exactly what Ron Korb is. Ron has won countless international music awards, has performed in some of the world’s most celebrated concert halls and collaborated with numerous other award-winning artists, has produced over 30 hit albums in various genres (Celtic, Latin, Jazz, native American, African, classical, Japanese….) composes film & tv scores, and he’s also the third most well-known Cdn in China which has the greatest buying power in the universe these days.  Ron has performed for Queen Elizabeth, Princess Takamado of Japan, Princess Bopha Devi of Cambodia, and was featured on the World Youth Day recording for Pope John Paul and the Dalai Lama’s World Festival of Sacred Music in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He has also shared stages with Peter Gabriel, Jane Siberry, Tia Carrere, Liona Boyd, The Yardbirds, Olivia Newton John and Cesaria Evora.

With fellow Cdn artist Liona Boyd

With fellow Cdn artist Liona Boyd

So how come Canadian media doesn’t recognize his accomplishments and want to brag about them to their viewers/listeners/readers? Beats me!  At least the Toronto Star and CTV Headline News acknowledged Ron’s accomplishments…..

TorStar Dec 9Ron and his lovely wife Jade, who took all the photos for Ron’s Asia Beauty album which included a 32pg full-colour booklet, have worked long and hard to promote Canadian music and artistry around the world. Asia Beauty has already won “Best of Show” at the 2015 Global Music Awards as well as awards for Best Instrumental Solo performance (Blue Bamboo) and Best Album Design. The CD also won Best Instrumental Album and Best Instrumental Song (Two Mountains) at the Akademia Music Awards in Los Angeles. Ron has toured countless times around the world and when composing his 2014 Europa album, he performed in venues where classical legends  – Mozart, Beethoven, Bach – once trod the stage. Ron even shared the cover of a recent online edition of Billboard with Keith Richards……keith and ron….so why no love from our own media? This is the sad reality for most Canadian artists. No matter how brilliant, how popular, how well covered by int’l media or how awarded you are by other countries, Canada apparently doesn’t give a rat’s ass about its own artists. So hopefully I will be proven wrong and more editors, columnists, bloggers and news directors will realize the treasure they have under their noses and will step up as we head into Grammy month (Feb/16) and my phone will be ringing off the hook for interviews with the amazing Ron Korb!  Why not see for yourself why he’s such a superstar….

Post script: in his usual humble manner, Ron played a special Christmas concert on Saturday at the St. Paul’s Anglican church in Newmarket – the perfect way to end the hectic and exciting week. Here he is performing to the packed pews!su3IlLSoGq9IKL8EMgK2QECzFI7aLqOftJOwUl5-z3U SnUyYlWoD14w3bUuGCGogFsN8MHisTXgTpDNP7hwUQc


After 20 years of producing and performing in Toronto’s favourite family holiday musicals, Ross Petty will hang up his Spanx and take his final boo as Captain Hook in a brand new production of PETER PAN, The 20th Anniversary Family Musical PANto-monium now playing at the Elgin Theatre in downtown Toronto.  While Petty will continue to produce the annual family holiday musical, this year will be his final stage appearance as a notorious evil-doer and the last opportunity for the exquisitely twisted form of love he revels in as ‘the man who must be booed.’peter-pan139-e1432559389141Joining Ross for his “glorious goodbye” are Panto stalwarts Eddie Glen (TweedleDum/Smee) who has appeared in 12 of the 20 productions; and Dan Chameroy (Tinkerbum) who starred in the first panto production at the Elgin Theatre in 1996 as the titular Robin (2)Yes, this is the story of the boy who wouldn’t grow up and his evil nemesis Hook. The title role of PETER PAN is played by the super cute Anthony MacPherson, a brilliant singer, dancer and actor. The hilarious (and glamorous) Jessica Holmes (below) plays the very frisky Queen of HeartsJordan Clark is Alice and Steffi DiDomenicantonio plays Wendy. The dapper Mad Hatter is played by Lamar Johnson and the ever-smiling Cheshire Cat is purrformed (!) by Taveeta Szymanowitcz.Jessica Holmes as the Queen of HeartsWhile I was unable to attend this glorious extravaganza of the absurd (whew, what a mouthful!) myself, my friend Ayda (9yrs old) who lives down the hall went on my behalf with her mum and dad and she came home with her head filled with wonder and a whole list of great things to say about the show. Here is what she told me:

The mixture of scenery, costumes, make-up and dancing made the prefect onstage cake. Mmmm, yum…just the right amount of each ingredient (you can tell Ayda loves to cook, eh?).   The costumes were amazing, especially the Queen of Hearts who was dressed in a big poofy red sparkly gown. The Mad Hatter and Cheshire Cat looked awesome, too.  The stage was designed with lots of colourful scenery and made me feel like I could actually be in Wonderland. The actors and actresses all did a good job and I loved it when the Queen of Hearts called Peter “Fwying Pan” in her weird accent. Haa haa haa. All of us in the audience could sing along with the songs which were re-written with new lyrics to match what was happening on stage. My parents and I danced in our seats to a special version of “Uptown Funk”. Yes, I loved Peter Pan in (3)So take the hint from Ayda and take your family to see this traditional Christmas show that is so much a part of the British theatre heritage. I myself performed in several Christmas panto’s back in the UK in the early 70’s when I was a bright young actress in the Cheltenham Rep. Company – my fave role was playing Puss in Boots in brown tights, plunging neckline and thigh-high highheeled leather lace-up boots. I think my Puss was a bit more Benny Hill than Mother Goose!!

Tickets are on sale now for PETER PAN, The 20th Anniversary Family Musical PANto-monium, running at the historic Elgin Theatre (below) from now until January 3, 2016.  Follow this link to purchase your tkts: thank-you to FLIP Publicity for my media passes and although I really wanted to go myself (post-surgery aches, pains and fuzzy-headedness prevented me from attending), I know young Ayda was given a real appreciation for actors and live shows; she’s a true theatre convert now.


Meet Toronto’s JOAN ANDAL ROMANO, the featured artist for December at URBAN GALLERY

I headed down to URBAN GALLERY (400 Queen St East, Toronto) on an unseasonally bright and sunny Saturday afternoon to attend the opening soiree for local artist JOAN ANDAL ROMANO, whose beautiful and colourful works will hang on the gallery walls until January 9th in her solo show GRATIARUM/GRATEFUL.  I had the pleasure of interviewing Joan in between receiving congrats from her friends and family on such a stunning showcase and here’s what she told me about her work and inspirations…

20151205_143955Above, Joan chats with a friend as her young daughter looks on….and below, everyone was snapping pics of Joan and her work.20151205_144129Below, Wayne Abell of UrbanSource Catering enjoys the paintings with KJ Mullins, publisher of news website.20151205_144250The festive spread by UrbanSource Catering is always a fabulous treat and Joan’s launch event was no exception. I managed to grab a quick pic before it was “appreciated” by hungry gallery guests….20151205_144628…and drinkies were served by Michael (below R) ably assisted by gallery director Calvin Hambrook (below L)20151205_145659Here are more of Joan’s paintings….20151205_145605



And this one already has a RED DOT – SOLD!

This one (below) is my favourite…something about the delicate colour palette, the pretty light yellow background and the pattern of the kimono. What do you think?20151205_143918You can learn more about Joan by visiting her website –  or why not visit Urban Gallery yourself and view her works in person? Gallery hours:

But if you’re too busy with Christmas shopping, join me for a quick virtual walkies thru the gallery here: