Category Archives: Family-friendly

20160726_145916

Playing hooky mid-week in Port Hope!

Earlier this week, as Toronto sizzled and steamed, my friend Teresa and I played hooky and journeyed the 50 minutes east to the wonderful lakeside town of Port Hope (my fave small town in Ontario).  Over the past couple of years, Port Hope and I have become good friends – the welcoming shopkeepers and cosy cafes, the historic restored Capitol Theatre, the stunning Municipal Building, the charming little beach and the tumbling Ganaraska River have all worked their magic on my soul.

As per usual, our first port of call was a visit to Kenneth Bell – the king of bling, the sultan of sparkle, my go-to guy for all things fabulous! I managed to get Teresa into a tiara, too, so we now have matching crowns!! Below, Teresa meets Kenneth for the first time…a match made in bling heaven! Follow Kenneth-Bell-Fashion-Accessories on Facebook.20160726_120435 20160726_123212 20160726_120517 20160726_122852 20160726_123339Next door to Kenneth’s shop is the always-awesome Queenie’s Bake Shop where we indulged in some deelish lunch sandwiches. Both Teresa and I were so brave – we resisted the incredible giant strudel and cookies on the front counter (sssh, don’t tell Teresa but I snuck home with a couple of their famous butter tarts). Follow Queenies Bake Shop on Facebook.20160726_113232 20160726_113235A littler further up Walton Street we found Bubbles and Gems, another fab fashion house where Teresa found a cute skirt and I found these amazing cushions…something for everyone at 20% off!  www.bubblesandgems.com20160726_130124 20160726_130130 20160726_130148 20160726_130327 20160726_130314 20160726_130501We walked past Holton Flowers who always have fabulous arrangements in the windows…we went inside to find floral heaven!20160726_13244620160726_132434We dropped in quickly to G. Facey’s, another fave fashion store of mine, where Teresa found a few more additions to her wardrobe, then down to the new Joie de Vivre store (below) where Teresa found some sweetly fragranced body creams. The new store is twice as big as the previous location further up the street, and offers a lovely range of goodies for your face, body and mind.  www.joiedevivrearomatherapy.com20160726_134850 20160726_134855One of the new Walton Street shops we found (new to me, anyway) was the Marche 59 cafe and artisan bakery (below) offering organic breads, vegan and gluten-free tasty treats and all sorts of goodies from local producers. Must give ’em a try next time I’m in town. www.marche59.ca20160726_132750 20160726_132754Time to head over to the beach so we made our way down Walton Street, past these beautiful hibiscus pots, along the riverbank to Teresa’s car parked near the Municipal offices….20160726_135057 20160726_144822…then over to the lake (Lake Ontario). Wow, what a lovely glimpse of the beach (below)20160726_14575520160726_145915We even saw a dad teaching his son how to fish…so cute!20160726_150323Thanks again, Port Hope, for your warm welcome – it always feels like coming home for me. See y’all again real soon.20150613_111719

 

20160724_121530

Join me for a tasty trip to the TORONTO BAKERS’ MARKET!

If only we had a “taste-o-vision” app where you could actually “taste” the yummy food photographs. Well, I’ll do my best for you here as I take you for a walk around the brand new TORONTO BAKERS’ MARKET held monthly in Leslieville www.torontobakersmarket.com

When I arrived at the market on Queen East just past Broadview at 12 noon, there was a line-up of hungry shoppers all excited to see what deelish treats awaited us inside. The doors were opened and we were welcomed by one of the organizers, Kathleen, so why don’t I let her tell you about it before we head inside….

Now let’s walk thru the doors and see who’s there…20160724_120206First off, I said hello to Katarina of Dolled Up Desserts (above), a local gluten-free and vegan bakery www.dolledupdesserts.com  Lots of dainty dolled-up treats here!
Next to Katarina were the fun ladies of Jammy Dodger, a bakery specializing in “whimsy and yum”. Check out these crazy Benedict Cumberbatcheos (below).  www.jammydodgerbakery.com20160724_120250 20160724_120257Then the next booth was deadly for me…they offered sticky toffee buns. I was proud of myself that I resisted…sort of. I only bought one from the Sugar Rush Bakery (below).  It’s already disappeared, tho, so apologies for not posting a close-up. Trust me it was deeeelicious!  You can follow them on Instagram: @sugarrushto20160724_120309Holy Cannoli was a very popular booth – I kept seeing shoppers walking around the hall with freshly stuffed cannolis courtesy of these cheerful bakers (below). www.holy-cannoli.com 20160724_120410 20160724_120415By this time, most of us needed a quick cuppa coffee to counter the sugar overload and Sparkplug Coffee certainly delivered. In fact, that’s what they do – coffee delivered to your office or home.  www.sparkplugcoffee.com20160724_120428Back to some serious nibbling…. next up, Molly’s the Bar Bakeshop.  Lots of yummy (and healthy!) bars to enjoy.  You can follow them on Instagram at @mollysbars20160724_12052320160724_120539Franny & Co. (below) offered some elegant and very decadent desserts, all gluten free, sugar free, plant-based and with sustainable ingredients. www.frannyandco.com 20160724_120616I was completely charmed by Sol Cookies (below) – a Toronto-based Peruvian bakery that incorporates some exciting “secret” ingredients (eg. anise) that really elevate them to a whole other level. Here are some tiny sample cookies – they have a soft shortbread quality to them with a special filling. Definitely recommend checking this company out. www.solcookies.ca20160724_120713 20160724_120720More cheery bakers welcomed me to the Fancy AF Small Batch Cookery booth with their cookies and fresh biscottis. You can follow them on Instagram  @fancyafcookery  Don’t you just love their fancy pinnies (pinafores)?20160724_120756 20160724_120814Rosie B Baked Treats (below) was a very popular booth; her home-baked fruit pies were fantastic! Couldn’t get close to her for a quick chat, thanks to all the crowds. Follow her @eugeniarb20160724_120829Lovely to see my Yorkville neighbour, the Dessert Lady who brought along her staff to help serve samples to the market visitors (below). So many yummy treats including custom cakes and Moon Pies (Sheldon Cooper’s fave dessert – for all you Big Bang Theory fans)  www.dessertlady.ca20160724_120836 20160724_12090620160724_120914Dollop Bakery offered delightful tiny treats (below) – they specialize in miniature, bite sized desserts ideal for parties, wedding favours or kiddies.  www.dollopbakery.com20160724_121011Local  chocolatier M.Thompson Chocolates served up their milk and dark chocolate boxes (below) – good job the A/C was working full blast – no melting, no worries! www.mthompsonchocolates.com20160724_121045Next I dropped in to say hi to Keiko, one of the organizers of the Toronto Bakers’ Market. Like all the vendors today, she had a big happy smile on her face. Everyone in the hall seemed to be smiling which made shopping all the more enjoyable. 20160724_121123Oh yummm…here’s Monkey Butter, the gourmet peanut butter company and oh what fab packaging! You gotta visit next month and try a mouthful of this…..it was eye-rolling to heaven time! www.monkeybutterpb.com20160724_121153 20160724_121205Clarke’s Bread is simply awesome! After one little sample, I bought a loaf of crunchy fresh sourdough (below). OMG, as soon as I got home, out came the breadknife and I enjoyed a couple of thick slices with some scrambled eggs. Yumm. Follow them on Instagram: @clarkesbread20160724_121237Just look at that elegant tiered cake by Tiffany Hoo Fatt! She also brought some easier to carry delights from her Tiered Cake Boutique such as cupcakes and cookies. Follow her on Instagram: @tieredcakeboutique20160724_121313 20160724_121322Oh! Cocoa Balls hand-crafts their all-natural energy bites that are gluten, grain & dairy free with no refined sugar. And they taste great, too. www.cocoaballs.com Perfect for those of us needing to cut out all the bad stuff while enjoying the naughty stuff…LOL20160724_121405 20160724_121410I just love these ladies at Desiree Cakes & Baked Treats.  It was the cute as a button Peter Rabbit cake (will somebody please buy me this cake for MY birthday?!) featured in my title photo (up top) that stopped me in my tracks…then I explored their table further and discovered so many delectable treats, all daintily displayed.  You can follow Desiree (pictured below L) on Instagram: @desireebakes  20160724_121536 20160724_121552Here’s balabusta – lots of fabulous sweet & savory breads and other treats handcrafted in Tal Prashkovsky’s own kitchen. Another busy busy booth where I couldn’t chat with the in-demand baker. Follow her on Instagram: @balabusta_by_tal20160724_121604 20160724_121640Meet Karen & Laura from Honeydew Creations (below). So many cookies to choose from, so little space left in my tummy! Lovely packaging and delicious flavours – pick your own from here: www.honeydewcreations.com 20160724_121649 20160724_121653 20160724_121700Well, by now I was starting to get a wee bit tired but like a real trooper, I kept on going and I made it to the next booth, Baking in the 6ix. (below) More super deelish sweet treats including pretty in pink cupcakes and iced donuts. They’re on Instagram at:  @bakinginthe6ix20160724_121736Whew, I made it to the Klusters booth…gourmet nuts, seeds, fruit & kale trail mixes. Aaaah, that should get me thru to the end of this foodie trail! Founder Michelle Spring is a holistic baker and nutritionist – guess I should have asked her about my own diet which was definitely challenged today! www.arealhandful.com 20160724_12180920160724_121817 20160724_121822The Blue Eyed Baker certainly added a little eye-candy to the market (ladies, any man who bakes this good is a treasure, blue-eyed or not). Let’s all go Friend him on Fcbk!  www.facebook.com/theblueeyedbaker200820160724_121848 20160724_121858Chocolate chocolate chocolate….THIS is my kryptonite!  Mary’s Brigadeiro are fine Brazilian chocolate truffle-like treats that are a “party in your mouth”.  You MUST try these – simply heavenly. Check out www.marysbsweets.com for more info and hopefully Mary will be back at the next Toronto Bakers’ Market – you’ll have to stand behind me as I will be first in line then!20160724_12261520160724_12261020160724_120146So a big CONGRATULATIONS to sisters Kathleen & Gillian Gook, Jayne Ambler and Keiko Flower who organized this fabulous new local foodie market. I look forward to the next one, August 21 at the Ralph Thornton Centre, 765 Queen East (just a few blocks past Broadview). See you there, folks! www.torontobakersmarket.com

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20160604_120237

Take a walk with me thru the annual RIVERDALE ARTWALK in Toronto

Hosted annually by The Artists’ Network Board, the RIVERDALE ARTWALK takes place this weekend (June 4 & 5) at Jimmie Simpson Park on Queen St East. Each year, I love strolling through the tents and exhibits, meeting old friends and making new ones among the multi-disciplinary artists participating in this first of the year’s outdoor art shows. It was such a lovely sunny day today, I headed down to the show early so come and take a virtual stroll with me as I introduce you to some of the talented artists…..

First off, here’s Stephen Cooper who is a photographic artist specializing in vintage cars….or should I say the rusted skeletons of vintage autos.  www.wstephencooper.com20160604_120643 20160604_120646He turns dusty old heaps of metal into stunning works of art…here, let Steve tell you himself

I loved the cool, calm tones of Nicky Hindmarch‘s seascapes (below) www.nickyhindmarsh.com Her booth was perfect for taking a breather and sheltering from the hot sun beaming down on the park.20160604_121248 20160604_121253Kate Taylor has been a Facebook friend for a long time and I love seeing her new art each year. Look at these gorgeous vibrant pieces….  www.katetaylorstudio.com20160604_121441 20160604_121452I’m lucky to own an original Ian Busher work of art, so I was intrigued to see his new focus this year which is quite  different from what’s hanging on my wall. Love love love the bright colour blocking featured below. www.studiobusher.com20160604_121619 20160604_121526

The ladies of the Women’s Art Assoc. of Canada were a hoot…here’s a group of artists who really love their work! www.womensartofcanada.ca20160604_120826More fun sights…..20160604_120904 20160604_120445And here’s the fabulous artist/teacher Rea Kelly who is always pleased to welcome visitors… www.reakelly.com20160604_12494820160604_125009I discovered these powerful paintings by Mississauga artist Christopher Masoure  www.studiomazur.com20160604_121925…and I enjoyed meeting Morgan Jones www.morganjonesart.com whose work I had seen at ArtaGallery and included in an earlierr blog from The Distillery District (3rd pic)20160604_122004 20160604_12214220160522_164722(0)The charming and talented Gaya Kairos invited me in to her booth to cool off and enjoy the shade. It was her first time at the Artwalk so I asked her to share her thoughts on the experience.  www.art-gaya.com 

20160604_123951 20160604_123942Peter McLennan was a great new find for me.  His photographic artworks were masterpieces in minimalism and as I stood in his booth, I overheard so many ooo’s and aaah’s. Hope he sells ’em all! www.PeterMcLennan.com20160604_122509I think my biggest discover at this year’s show has to be Gordon Shadrach whose paintings of men’s shoes, socks and powerful portraits took my breath away. www.shadrachartworks.com 20160604_122711 20160604_122717 20160604_122725

I love Karola‘s paintings, esp. her charming chickens …..one day I hope to have one of her colourful roosters on my wall! www.Karola.ca 20160604_123245 20160604_123317Liz Menard invited me in to see her etchings (below) and I loved the delicate designs and colour palette she uses. www.lizmenard.ca 20160604_123623

If the weather holds up for tomorrow (Sunday June 5) I really recommend you visit the Riverdale Artwalk in person. Located at Jimmie Simpson Park @ Queen Street East & Booth Avenue, there is an indoor showroom, too, which I totally missed today so if it’s raining you can still enjoy more art. www.artistsnetwork.ca 20160604_125205

20160527_101806

ONTARIO…YOURS TO DISCOVER – so I did, and I learnt it’s a real fun place to live!

Thanks to my friends at Tourism Toronto, I was invited to attend the Celebrate Ontario Tourism promotional event held at Union Station this morning (#DiscoverON) and I’m so glad I put the alarm on for the early call.IMG_2085I arrived shortly after the Hon. Michael Coteau, Minister for Tourism, Culture & Sport opened the event with a brief address promoting “stay-cations” in our home province of Ontario, something I always love doing (ain’t that right, Port Hope?).  So I “hopped on the bus” and toured around the exhibits featuring the province’s top attractions.

First off, I indulged in a deelish butter tart offered by these charming pioneers from Sainte-Marie-Among-the-Hurons which is located only a couple of hours north of Toronto. www.hhp.on.ca20160527_093418 20160527_100514Next door, it was shark attack time! The fun and fabulous folks from Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada let me play with their friendly mascot Sharkee although I think they threw me in as tasty shark bait/breakfast ..LOL!  www.ripleysaquariumofcanada.com20160527_092149 20160527_092201I’m looking fwd to taking a tour of the giant aquarium, conveniently located at the base of the CN Tower, so I can post a blog editorial complete with photos of the real thing…ooooo scary!

While I was “chumming” for sharks, I ran into Lorrie Pella, VP of Visitor Engagement & Northern Mkt’g for Ontario Tourism www.ontariotravel.net  What a fun lady she is…here she is (below) with the equally fun and groovy Chef Scott Savoie, Founder & Chief Eating Officer (!) of Toronto Food Tours.  www.tofoodtours.com20160527_093508I ran into a couple of knights from Medieval Times, along with this gorgeous bird of prey who posed so elegantly for me. www.medievaltimes.com/plan-your-trip/toronto20160527_093903I swear I then saw Yogi and Boo-Boo take off with a picnic basket so I ran up to Ranger Sheila Wiebe at the Ontario Parks booth to see how I could help. She told me everything was fine and that perhaps I needed to learn all about fishing & camping – frankly, I consider Holiday Inns as camping ….but she introduced me to several of Ontario’s premiere camping locations, including one at Bronte Creek, not far from Toronto, where I could actually “camp” in a yurt (yes, there are flush toilets on-site so this city slicker could cope). www.ontarioparks.com20160527_09394920160527_094000 20160527_094009Ranger Sheila’s colleagues (above) were promoting this beautiful waterfall located up north in the region made famous by the legendary Grey Owl in the 1930’s.

Bringing me back to civilization, these guardsmen introduced me to the City of Toronto Historic Sites & Museums  www.toronto.ca/museums  This weekend is the annual “Toronto Open Doors” festival where the city’s finest old (and new) buildings open their doors to the public for free tours. What fun!20160527_094322(0) 20160527_100915Back to this century, I then hung out for a while with the folks from KX96 New Country radio, where DJ Tim Lawrence broadcast live from the show (centre pic). Here he is with tech coordinator Lucas, and further down, there’s the lovely Tanya (Mkt’g Consultant).  www.kx96.fm20160527_094643 20160527_094750 20160527_094854The ladies representing the Ontario Science Centre obviously love their jobs…and who wouldn’t with all that cool nerdy sciencey stuff?! I haven’t visited there since 1980 so I think it’s about time I get my geek on and pay them a visit. Another fun blog to plan, eh?  www.OntarioScienceCentre.ca20160527_095519Next up was…UP, the Union Pearson Express that takes passengers to and from the airport and downtown Toronto, by-passing all that horrible traffic.  www.upexpress.com   They were running a pick-n-win contest and although I didn’t win a free trip, I did win a lovely prize pack that included a yummy cookie, thanks ladies.20160527_100025 20160527_095718 20160527_100045One of the more popular stops was the City Sightseeing Toronto / Mariposa Cruises booth where they gave out tons o’ goodies and showcased many of the downtown Toronto attractions. Jeez, nothing like getting photo-bombed by SCTV’s own Edith Prickly, eh?  20160527_100253 20160527_100259 20160527_100506www.citysightseeingtoronto.com     www.mariposacruises.com

Time for a quick refreshment break and I found 2 awesome booths, first the Kawartha Ice Cream folks…love the chair, love the ice creams! www.kawarthadairy.com20160527_100936 20160527_101724…then on to the Hawthorne Food & Drink booth for a refreshingly cool glass of  rhubarb lemonade. www.hawthorneto.ca20160527_101051 And finally….the biggest/tallest attraction in Ontario (sorry, Niagara Falls) –  the CN Tower!  If you’ve ever taken the elevators all the way to the top, you KNOW how awesome the tower is. Betcha haven’t done the EdgeWalk?! Yes, you get put into an orange jumpsuit then hooked up to safety rails as you take a walk around the outside edge of the CN Tower waaaaaay up top. Definitely an OMG moment in anyone’s life.  www.cntower.ca  20160527_101137 20160527_101615Above, the tower’s Sales, Mkt’g & Communications Manager Krista Kalbfleisch chats with out of town visitors…the woman is definitely considering the Edge Walk – go for it, girl!

So I had a blast and am certainly glad I got up 2hrs earlier than usual to join all the other visitors to this special show-and-tell of Ontario’s leading tourist attractions. Congrats to all at Ontario Tourism and thanks to all the booth reps for extending such warm hospitality.
Check out ALL the Province’s many attractions at  www.ontariotravel.net 20160527_091823 20160527_092126Y’all come back now real soon….Sharkee’s hungry!!!

 

20160522_133232

ARTFEST BRINGS EXCITING ARTISTS AND CRAFTSPEOPLE TO TORONTO’S HISTORIC DISTILLERY DISTRICT

Over the long weekend, my bestie, Erena, and I made a quick visit to the annual ArtFest crafts and fine arts market in the Distillery District of downtown Toronto. We also visited some of the established art galleries located in the enclave of 19th & early 20th century warehouses and cellars. It was so crowded that it was hard just to get in to some of the tents so Erena and I focused on just a few.

Our very first stop was at Joseph Calleja‘s handcrafted silk & cotton scarf display The Toronto-based photographer & artist incorporates many of his own photos into the unique and beautiful prints in multiple colours, shapes and sizes. Some are pure silk, others a cotton/silk blend as well as long wraps in the softest of cotton. Erena purchased 2, one a vibrant pink and the other…the blue one she’s modelling below. www.callejascarves.com20160522_133428 20160522_133236I then noticed a very talented sculptor, Chaka Chikodzi, who hails from Kingston, ON, which has become quite the artists’ colony thanks to the great light quality in that area (about 3hrs east of Toronto, on Lake Ontario). This one charming piece of carved Springstone is a a guinea fowl and it really called to me. Perhaps next time he comes to Toronto, I will have the $s to make it mine!   www.chakachikodzi.com20160522_141408Erena and I wandered around some more trying not to trip over the cobblestones (hint: NEVER wear your Manolo Blahniks to the Distillery District!!) and saw lots of returning exhibitors from last year which I previously covered in my blog, so we sought refuge from the hot sun inside the Thompson Landry Gallery and discovered all sorts of amazing artists we’d never previously seen, for example Tommy Zen from Montreal. He is descended from several generations of Venetian cabinet makers and artisans, eventually discovering his own love for clay and ceramics. The gallery (there are actually 2 amazing Thompson Landry Galleries on-site, opposite each other) proudly displays his giant ceramics, each gilded with sparkling gold and vibrant colours. Below are 2 of my favourite pieces, each well over 6ft tall!!  www.thompsonlandry.com20160522_160806 20160522_161353Many more artists are showcased there including this massive 10′ x 6′ canvas of a raging bull (titled Turbo) by Dominic Besner (below). This was Erena’s fave.20160522_161251I also liked these pieces…what do you think?20160522_16131520160522_160924We then walked over to artagallery where I found some more gorgeous works of art that really resonated with me. I really liked these two: below left is P. Colbert’s “Dream Creek” oil on canvas (36″x48″) and below right is I. Stoyanov’s “Yellow #18″ mixed media on canvas (68″x48″)  You can find out more at www.artagallery.ca20160522_164359I also found these florals engaging…and happy!20160522_164730 20160522_164742….and Erena made a bee-line for the playful pieces featuring wildlife!20160522_164839artagallery offers some unique display settings, too – I really liked this rusted old boiler plating (below)20160522_164702The next Artfest takes place over the labour day long weekend (Sept. 2-5) in the same venue; if you’d like to check out the shopping, dining and sight-seeing opportunities at Toronto’s Distillery District, visit their website for hours & directions: www.thedistillerydistrict.com20160522_164631

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Shane Kuhn

YEE-HAAAW! TORONTO JOURNALISTS COWBOY-UP TO LAUNCH THE CALGARY STAMPEDE’S 2016 MEDIA CAMPAIGN

Last night I had an absolute blast with the folks from the CALGARY STAMPEDE and their local PR reps, Immedia PR at the Boots & Bourbon Saloon on Queen St East. All us city-slicker media types had a hoot’n’hollering good time pressing the flesh with all the cowboys, rodeo queens, the beautiful and charming Indian Princess and marketing representatives of the “greatest show on earth” taking place out west this July. 20160428_174224So nice to be greeted at the front door by such pretty cowgirls (above) who were all well-versed in the history of Canada’s premiere outdoor western festival. I brought along my singer/songwriter friend Laura Rock (www.lrockmusic.com) who immediately became a fan of country music!!20160428_180430The drinks and food were simply outstanding! The catering was handled by Good Son Restaurant as well as Boots & Bourbon’s own team, and the mouthwatering BBQ treats would satisfy even the most jaded old trail hand. They were all served by the cutest waitresses and bartenders. Ladies, you looked after us so well, thank you, and the massive buffalo cheesy balls (2nd pic) were incredible….yummmmmm20160428_183007 20160428_180159(0) 20160428_180007Lots of great photo opps with all the Stampede celebs and mgmn’t….here I’m flanked by (LtoR) bullrider Kynan Vine plus dancer, language keeper, traditional storyteller and cultural presenter Treffrey Deerfoot and chuck wagoneer extraordinaire Mark Sutherland.20160428_181118I participated in the event social media challenge, hashtagging all my Instagram pics and videos…whew, that was exhausting, but I was thrilled to see Likes and Follows from as far away as Texas, Florida, California and even Mexico!20160428_175935I was particularly excited to see that a Ft. Worth boot designer liked this pic I snapped of our lovely Indian Princess’s stunning hand-tooled boots…what do you think of them?20160428_194116Even shots of the Boots & Bourbon interior garnered lots of social media attention…20160428_17452220160428_183032We were all a little nervous about seeing the mechanical bull set up…no, don’t make me get on. I wouldn’t last 2 seconds let alone 8, especially after a couple of drinks…yikes!  Fortunately it disappeared before the intro’s and official announcements were made. Whew!20160428_182933Everyone was excited to hear the entertainment line-up at this year’s Stampede, especially these folks from Budweiser who were particularly impressed with the announcement of Aaron Pritchett as one of the musical guests.20160428_192212 20160428_192446The entertainment was provided by The Washboard Union band who had everyone up on the dancefloor…20160428_193319

I followed (stalked?) sponsor Jonathan Welsh of Banff Trail Riders through the crowd….great jacket!20160428_193449I then ran into one of my fave reality TV hosts Kevin Brauch (formerly The Thirsty Traveller, from back when reality tv really was fun and entertaining!). Kevin (below) had received his souvenir white Stetson earlier and had spent time “decorating” it for the event….LOL20160428_184853 20160428_185433…and I loved all the cowgirl fashion. When I was little, all I wanted to be when I grew up was a cowgirl. These ladies are lucky to be living MY life…grrrrr20160428_182257 20160428_182304After all the western fun, food and friendship, Laura and I rode the rails (subway rails, that is) home. I’m sure we scared a few fellow riders with our antics. LOL!!

20160428_200842 20160428_200915And when I walked in my front door I just had to share my adventure with my own western compadres….20160428_202336 20160428_202422Check out some of the goodies in my gift bag…20160428_202642Thank you to EVERYONE involved in presenting such a fun media launch. If you’ve never been to the Calgary Stampede before, this is the year to go. All details can be found at www.CalgaryStampede.com and please visit their sponsor sites, too.

Banff trail Riders  www.horseback.com

Alberta’s group of Fairmont Hotels:  www.Fairmont.com 

Boots & Bourbon Saloon: www.bootsbourbon.com

The Washboard Union band: www.thewashboardunion.com/

Jelly Modern Donuts:  www.jellymoderndoughnuts.com

Immedia PR: www.immediapr.com

Blog title photo courtesy of Shane Kuhn

Photo Credit: Shane Kuhn

Photo Credit: Shane Kuhn

Photo Credit: Chris Bolin/ Calgary Stampede

Photo Credit: Chris Bolin/ Calgary Stampede

Photo Credit: Bill Marsh

Photo Credit: Bill Marsh

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ROAD TRIP! COMEDY HYPNOTIST ADAM GRAEME ENTERTAINS THE CDN LEGION MEMBERS of TRENTON, ONTARIO

I love joining clients at gigs, especially when it involves taking a road trip and visiting audiences outside of the big city. Last night, I joined brilliant stage hypnotist ADAM GRAEME  [www.adamgraeme.com] when he entertained members of Trenton, Ontario’s Canadian Legion (Branch 110) – the event hall was full of enthusiastic folks, some of whom were definitely skeptical, but within a matter of a few minutes, Adam proved why he is considered one of the brightest, most innovative comedy hypnotists working in the country. First, he warmed up the audience with a little mystic psychology (below)20160226_191535…and then he called for volunteers.  A couple of ladies hesitantly approached the stage area, then before long, all the chairs were filled with willing participants. “You can’t hypnotize me,” one volunteer said, but she under-estimated Adam’s powers, much to the amusement of the crowd.20160226_194020Very soon, Adam had them driving imaginary cars (below), showing off their kung-fu prowess, talking smack to a teddy bear, performing as Frank Sinatra complete with back-up singers & a kick-line, and even trying to count  their own fingers which one confused young lady just could not do – she’d forgotten how to count to ten!20160226_201340The entire evening’s entertainment was clean, family-friendly and so much fun. None of the volunteers did anything too naughty but we’re sure there are a few husbands and wives still teasing their spouses about their stage antics that brought the house down!  I recorded several post-show testimonials (see end of this blog) and I’m sure Adam will be called back for another show soon. Thanks to all at the Legion Hall for their warm hospitality, especially groovy bartender Tammy who waited patiently to turn out the lights while we packed up all the gear.20160226_17100020160226_173705I also have to thank Erin & Adam Keats who run the charming Trenton Delicatessen (below) as they stayed open long enough to make me a delicious ham & Swiss sandwich and potato salad after my long journey from Toronto. Oh yummm! They have a wonderful selection of Dutch treats and I made sure I picked up a few sweeties to go. If you visit Trenton, be sure to drop in and say hello to the Keats.20160226_173208 20160226_173216 20160226_173231

Here’s what the audience thought of Adam Graeme’s show…

Adam is available for corporate events, family-friendly festivals, private parties and club dates – www.adamgraeme.com

MEET ADAM GRAEME – CANADA’S COOLEST COMEDY HYPNOTIST!

I recently welcomed new client ADAM GRAEME – he’s a very talented comedy hypnotist who offers that special bonus for corporate clients and family-friendly events: he works clean! No naughty nasties here – Adam creates laughter from the reactions of both the on-stage participants and those sitting out the the audience without resorting to the all-too-familiar vulgarities or f-bombs!  I recently sat down with Adam to review his career so far and the direction he’s looking to take his stage act over the next few years.  Let me share some of his comments with you and I encourage you to follow him on social media as well as visit his website for more information – contact info can be found at the bottom of this story.Adam, how/when did you discover your “gift”?
The ability to be able to hypnotize someone is not so much a gift as it is countless hours of study and practice. I have been studying in one form or another for over 15 years and continue to learn more with every day and with every performance.
What inspired you to take hypnosis to the comedy stage and corporate arena?
Comedy has always been a big part of my life.  From a very young age, I fell in love with comedy by watching comedy icons like Martin Short, Dan Aykroyd, Steve Martin and Robin Williams. I admire talented comedians who relied solely on their wit instead of crude shock comedy. I believe hypnosis to be an overlooked phenomena that has the potential to change the world and what better way to bring about awareness than through making people laugh!? So armed with the desire to bring back honest and palatable comedy plus an obligation to inform the public about the powers of hypnosis, I took to the stage.Who are your heroes as far as comedy hypnotists, illusionists or comedians?
This is a tough question as so many entertainers have had such a positive influence on my career.  My favorite comedy hypnotist I would say is a tie between Marc Savard and Catherine Hickland. Marc is a Canadian who has the longest standing hypnosis show in Las Vegas and keeps his comedy at a very high standard. Catherine is one of my mentors and such a dear friend. How will you know when you have met Cat? Because you will find yourself asking, “Who is that person and why is she carrying a chicken around all the time?” Yes, she has a pet chicken named Nugget who goes on tour with her.
What has been one of your most memorable performances to date, and why?
There is one particular performance that was pretty great and happened just recently. I have five kids all under eight years old and so it’s very rare that my whole family has an opportunity to be with me for a show. In January, I performed to a sold-out audience in a Niagara Falls theatre where I was able to get all the kids in. I created a new Star Wars skit just for my boys and it went flawlessly. The video is on my website and it’s one you have to see.You’re a hands-on dad so do you use your powers of persuasion to get the kids to bed on time or to eat certain healthy foods (i.e.“broccoli is good for you and it tastes like Coco Puffs”)?
Yes, it works on kids, too. My son, Grady, will attest to this on two separate occasions. One was when he absolutely refused to eat perogies. Much like a Dr. Seuss book, he would not, could not eat his perogies! After a few short moments, he was gobbling them up and asking to have them again another night. With a little “persuasion” we now called the perogies “dumplings” and with a little reinforcement in how delicious they were, it was all it took. The second instance was when Grady was playing on my iPad in bed and accidentally turned on my insomnia self-help CD. Ten minutes after, I was walking by his room and heard my voice; I opened the door and saw him completely passed out. It was amazing.
I understand you’re also able to use your hypnosis skills for health and wellness eg: stopping smoking, weight loss/gain…. Have you ever been approached after one of your stage shows and asked by an audience member for help in those areas?
In all the years I have been performing, I don’t think there has been a single show yet where people haven’t asked me about helping them with something they’re struggling with and that’s the reason why I created my MaxU hypnosis self-help program. I would love to be able to help everyone on a one-on-one basis but unfortunately I would end up spending all of my time working on therapy with only the amount of time to help a small number of people.  The cost of working with me on an individual basis may be too high for the average person, so with the desire to help as many people as possible, I set out to create a system that could give everyone the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of hypnosis in their own home at an affordable price. The end result was MaxU. All the information is available on my website and if you or someone you know is struggling with weight loss, quitting smoking, insomnia, has a fear or anxiety, I highly recommend taking a look.
Many people scoff at the ability to hypnotize or be hypnotized…can you explain the simplicity of the power of suggestion without giving anything of your act away?
Of course!  Hypnosis is a state of mind between an awake state and a sleep state. It is not conscious or subconscious but rather a state of super conscious where your mind is so intently focused on a single point that it allows the hypnotist direct access to your subconscious mind. Think of your conscious mind as the filter that does your critical thinking and acts as the gate keeper to your subconscious. It decides what to let in and what to reject. Your subconscious stores memories and controls your automatic functions like your breathing and your heartbeat. With hypnosis, we distract the conscious mind with relaxation and concentration so the subconscious can come out and play. It is very real and anyone that enters my theatre may come in as a skeptic but definitely leaves as a believer.
2016 is looking like an “expansion year” for Adam Graeme’s career – what’s on your wish list for performance venues or occasions?
Yes, it seems like the expansion started a couple years ago and hasn’t really stopped yet which is quite amazing. I have been very fortunate to have such great support from both family and friends. More and more people are seeing the show which is leading to more and more work to the point of having to hire extra staff just to keep up. The very top of my wish list is to be able to perform at Disney World in Florida and we are in the middle of getting the paperwork sorted out to make that a reality and I’m very excited.
Anything else you’d like to share with my readers?
The most important thing to remember in life is that your reality is fluid. If you don’t like something in your life, you possess the ability within your own mind to change it into whatever you want. I have helped countless people through hypnosis and if you’re a non-believer, come out and support your local comedy stage hypnotist to see just how powerful it is and how it can change your life as well.

Adam recently attended the annual trade show for the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies in Toronto and met some other entertainers you may recognize including Doo-Doo the Clown (below) who recently made news headlines by rescuing a woman being pursued by a potential mugger….…and fellow corporate entertainer, illusionist Lucas Wilson (below)

http://www.adamgraeme.com/

www.facebook.com/adamgraemehypnosisshow   Twitter: @GraemeHypnotist

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JOIN ME FOR A VIRTUAL TOUR OF PORT HOPE’S HOT SPOTS!

Join me for another virtual trip to one of Ontario’s most picturesque and charming historic towns, PORT HOPE, that sits on Lake Ontario, just 50 minutes east of Toronto. With the Ganaraska River flowing through the downtown, it’s a photographer’s delight, as you will soon see here. My PR intern Gabriella Luchetta is a talented young photographer and most of the photos featured here are hers.  So let’s get started….the first stop on any trip to Port Hope is always Queenie’s Bake Shop. The food, the staff and customers all contribute to that warm welcoming “olde worlde” feel and I recommend Queenie’s for all your refreshment needs. Check out the foodie fun Gabs and I enjoyed with master baker, chef and owner Adam Pearson (below) doing his best “meals on wheels” impression!.DSC08217 File 2016-02-04, 7 17 38 PMFile 2016-02-04, 7 16 13 PMFile 2016-02-04, 7 15 13 PMNext, we went next door to visit the king of bling…the god of glitz himself, Kenneth Bell. I can always find something fabulous there and Ken makes everyone feel so welcome. You HAVE to visit his wonderful jewellery and accessories store – you can find something for every taste from Audrey Hepburn to Rihanna – Ken will kit you out perfectly! www.KennethBell.com DSC08224 DSC08227 DSC08239

 

 

After Gabriella and I injected a little moolah into Ken’s cash register, we went up the street to visit a few more retail friends of mine….here we are at Bubbles & Gems checking out some cool cushions and their “Purse Gallery”  bubblesandgems.comDSC08255 DSC08256 DSC08259Had a blast playing store clerk with Tammy at Susan Dewhurst Limited, a fab fashion boutique that carries so many stylish yet easy to wear designers….and I always buy a pair of their cute socks each time I drop in. Sadly the store will be closing in the Spring as owner Susan is retiring so get your butt in there soon as the deals are going fast.File 2016-02-04, 7 20 46 PM DSC08271 DSC08267 DSC08263

see my new Buddha socks!

see my new Buddha socks!

Further along Walton Street, we passed the stunning floral display in A.D. Holton Flowers. They always put on a fantastic show in their windows.DSC08278 20160204_134153Diane, owner of Joie de Vivre, the sweet smelling bodycare and aromatherapy shop, welcomed us and told us that she’s in the process of moving into a larger store further down the street (45 Walton) in the Spring. The product lines she carries are so lovely and luxurious (see below), and I wish her continued success as she moves into the new space.DSC08288 DSC08287 DSC08290

We decided to stick our heads in the gorgeous old Capitol Theatre (www.capitoltheatre.com), an historic building that rivals Toronto’s Winter Garden Theatre. This year’s calendar of shows and concerts include Broadway hits like The Wizard of Oz, Mamma Mia, Crazy For You, August: Osage County and they welcome many professional touring companies. We were greeted by Lynn (with me below) who gave us a tour of the lobby bar and popcorn concession as well as the beautifully decorated theatre itself.DSC08205 DSC08206 20160204_120615 20160204_120636File 2016-02-04, 7 14 55 PMNow it was time to drop in on Teri who runs G. Facey’s, one of the coolest fashion boutiques in PH…they carry both men’s and women’s fashion-fwd clothing and accessories and it was so nice to be welcomed in such a warm fashion (Gabs, you really shouldn’t photograph me from behind…argh!)  http://www.gfaceys.com/DSC08297 DSC08300 DSC08301We then wandered the streets checking out the sights and signs of the town….DSC08220 DSC08292 DSC08294 20160204_140405Now this sign in the window made us giggle way too much. A couple of locals walked by and gave us a wide berth as Gabs and I were making suggestive comments about how we need to experience “a handful of fun”…haaa haaa haaa20160204_140145We headed down to the Ganaraska River to take the obligatory “touristy” shots like these…20160204_140427 DSC08318 DSC08319and here’s my “touristy” video of the fast-flowing river.

By now, it was time for afternoon tea so back to Queenie’s we went for some sustenance before we hit the beach then home to T’rona!File 2016-02-04, 7 23 38 PM DSC08317 File 2016-02-04, 7 23 27 PMJust time for a few more snaps before we left….DSC08251 DSC08252DSC08324You can check out our visit to the Port Hope beach in the previous blog – what a fun day and both Gabriella and I look fwd to the next visit when we can check out other stores, the B&Bs and maybe the nature trail & boardwalk once the weather gets a little warmer. See you soon, Port Hope!File 2016-02-04, 7 26 10 PM

www.porthope.ca

 

 

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BEACH WEATHER IN PORT HOPE!!

Is that Waikiki? Bora Bora? How about world famous Bondi beach in Sydney? No, believe it or not, this is the lovely little beach on the shores of Lake Ontario at Port Hope, a charming historic town just 50 mins. east of Toronto. And with our unusually warm weather in the middle of what should be winter, my fabulous intern and photographer Gabriella Luchetta and I decided to take a little road trip yesterday so we could have some fun as well as getting work stuff done! Come run your toes thru the sand with us on this virtual beachcombing stroll…..File 2016-02-04, 7 30 14 PMI grabbed my Samsung Note 4 and started shooting video and snapshots…stand still please, seagulls!20160204_145223 20160204_145703

Here’s Gabriella in action…20160204_145047

and this is the shot she just took…File 2016-02-04, 7 25 56 PMWe took some cool “boomerang” videos, too, and I’ll upload those later. I’ll also take you for another walk along the streets of my favourite town and intro you to my PH friends who welcome visitors year-round to their stores and restaurants in another blog that should be published by the end of today. Until that’s uploaded, enjoy the beauty and peace of Port Hope’s lovely little beach….where’s my sunscreen???File 2016-02-04, 7 30 49 PMwww.porthope.ca