Hadouken Meme

My 90’s childhood was made up of scrunchies, freezies and Street Fighter. Enter the Hadouken Meme, and Cy and I were ready to try this one out.

Judy and Cyrus Hadouken Meme OurTorontoLife FIGHT

Judy and Cyrus Hadouken Meme OurTorontoLife Fireball

So, who wins? Chose your own adventure time – who claims the K.O.?!

Click here if you want CYBORG to win! 
Click here if you want JB to win!

A special thank you to Arezou of Canan Photography for taking these fun pictures for us! She didn’t bat an eye when we explained to her what we had in mind. In fact, she was quick to give us pointers on how to jump and hadouken.

Then, our pictures were in our hands within a week of shooting – that’s super fast! If you want to get some fashion, family, head shot, or wedding pictures done of your own, try booking her ahead of time here.

Also, we would like to point out that we received this special photo shoot via Buytopia deal ($59 for a 60-minute in-studio photo shoot package) as affliliate bloggers.

Disclaimer: Judy and Cyrus were not injured in this photo shoot. When we aren’t play fighting, we are dancing to old rock tunes.


Our Haul from Vaughan Mills

OurVaughanMillsHaul-OurTorontoLife.com

From T-B, L-R: J. Crew Factory Men’s long-sleeve tee, J. Crew Women’s long-sleeve tee, Banana Republic Factory Men’s Houndtooth dress pants, J. Crew Women’s long-sleeve tee, Banana Republic Factory Women’s 3/4 Military Top, and Banana Republic Women’s 3/4 Wrap.

Vaughan Mills has the American outlet stores, cheesy mall feel, and Purdy’s for that dipped ice cream bar snack.

Some of the stores that Cy and I liked include: J. Crew, Banana Republic, Legoland (just the gift store, the admission is $), and Bass Pro Shops.

We are not going to driving down to Buffalo anymore! Thanks to our good friends, C and D for introducing us to Vaughan Mills.

Vaughan Mills 
1 Bass Pro Mills Dr
Concord, ON L4K 5W4


Tip: Wash Your Car in the Winter

We know that it’s spring when we break out our lighter jackets in Toronto. No longer do I have to reach for my brown parka when we go out!

Time to go for walks in our neighborhood with a green tea frapp in hand, ah!
Time to sneak a few pre-summer patio drinks at Origin or Brassaii, ah!
Time to wash your car, oh…

No, really. Wash your car because salt on your car is the worst because when mixed with water – it is corrosive. Damage over time can kill your paint job, and rust away your car’s frame.

Cy and his auto engineering coworkers share a Petrocan car wash card, and they have a pretty serious schedule to share in the 90-day pass for $200. Check out their schedule to share the pass:

Group Car Wash Schedule-OurTorontoLife

It’s fast (click on the Vine snapshot below), and you have a bunch of car wash locations to choose from. Cons? It’s obviously not a perfect wash. The Captain Clean in me says, “you missed a spot,” and “oh, streaks on the bumper!”

Car Wash PetroCan Vine

Contrast that to a hand wash. Cy and I tried one for the first time at EE Auto Group in Markham with a Buytopia deal ($49 for a premium auto detailing package – value of $200) that we received as affliliate Buytopia bloggers.

If you don’t live nearby, it’s could be a bit of a drive. For us, we were on our way to Stouffville because Cy signed up for a go-kart session there.

It’s in a very industrial area, and once you find the building – drive all the way to the end. You’ll find the door that leads into the shop as you see in the picture below (see our dirty, dirty car)!

There was a bit of difficulty communicating with the staff since they spoke Mandarin and limited English. Then, there was Cy and I who spoke English and limited Mandarin. In the end, they were friendly and we sorted it all out!

Car Wash in Toronto-OurTorontoLife

This, I couldn’t capture on Vine because it was a serious 2-hour car wash.

Shampoo, wash, and rinse of the entire car including the inside edges, mats, and rims. Plus, interior vacuum and wipe down the interior of the car – goodbye dust bunnies! The last step was a protective sealant was added to protect the paint from salt.

Sparkle, sparkle. The car looked good – no streaks and no spots! Even the dog that hung out upstairs was barking at this point when it was done. He probably just wanted the guys to finish so he could enjoy a walk in the spring time sun – I don’t blame him!

Dog at Car Wash EE Auto Spa BuyTopia-OurTorontoLife

Schedule your car’s pampering session at EE Auto Group at one of their three locations:

Markham-McCowan
11-152 Bullock Drive
Markham, Ontario

Thornhill-Bayview 
1B-7 Harlech Court
Thornhill, Ontario

Mississuaga
1744 Meyer Drive, Unit 6
Mississuaga, Ontario

And, happy spring! Time to get a green tea frapp.


Goodbye Our Cat: A Few Words About Yuly

Goodbye Our Cat-OurTorontoLife.comThis morning on March 16th, there were sprinkles of snow coming down from the sky. We woke up with our cat Yuly, and took her to her vet appointment at Leaside Animal Clinic. It wasn’t her first time there because she suffered from a poor kidney, infection, and possibly cancer-  and today it was her last time there.

Our beloved cat Yuly passed away at 17-18 years old as we held her.

I started to cry. For the first time, I saw tears in Cy’s eyes too.

The Beginnings
Yuly came to me when I volunteered for the Forgotten Felines shelter in Vancouver about 10 years ago. Her previous owner abused her, declawed her, and scarred her. Plastic bags, loud noises, strangers and the brush would scare her – she didn’t like to be picked up or cuddled. Eventually, we slowly grew to trust each other. She even started following me (and my family) around, and couldn’t stand being alone.

Life with Cyrus
Yuly moved in with Cyrus when I moved to Toronto. At that time, Cyrus had only visited her a few times, and they just didn’t know each other very well. They bonded over Canucks games, weekend reading, and napping on the floor. Imagine how shocked I was when Yuly started resting her face on his hand, and eventually resting her hands on his lap! A cuddly cat was starting to emerge.

One of Yuly's Cutest Pictures-OurTorontoLife.com

Trying Times and More Cuddles in Toronto
Together, all of us moved into a basement apartment, and then into our new house. Around this time, Yuly started to to have some health issues. But, she always had her feisty and persistent personality that both amused and annoyed us at times. Her diet changed from dry food to wet food, and she started to cry a lot to be pet and for more food (at times, she would knock on the door in the middle of the night – up to 2 times, for food). Even in trying times, she kept us company, warm, and happy.

The past 4 days
She stopped eating, and she couldn’t even hold herself steady when we gave her gentle pets on the head. Her usually loud motor of a purr was gone, and it was a coo-ing noise that we’ve never heard before. Our hearts broke when she jumped from her little red bed, and fell on her side. That has never happened before – she was so weak. These past few days, she slept on Cyrus’ stomach through the night.

Now, she is gone. Today is a very sad day for us. I am still crying, and she isn’t here to greet us at the door, cuddle while we watch movies, or join us on the patio as we eat our breakfast.

In a few days, she will come back to us in a cedar box (she loves the smell) with a purple paw print (colour of royalty). We talked about spreading her ashes in the backyard where she loved to explore and eat the grass even when it made her throw up.

We miss you already, Yuly (aka Yuly Bear, Beario, Bear Bear, Fuzzy, Siu Hong Hong etc). We will love you forever.

Our Family Portrait Yuly Cat-OurTorontoLife.com.jpg

RIP, and goodbye, our family cat.

 


#ATSDrive Experience: He Said, She Said on the Cadillac ATS

Cadillac ATS - OurTorontoLife.com

One entire weekend with a Cadillac ATS 2013. We parked our trusty Subaru for this shiny red babe of a car, and took it to floor hockey, mobile programming workshop, pub night, groceries, and a birthday party.

Both Cy and I drove the car, and we both see it as a pretty loaded car. As far as what I know about cars, it’s limited. Then, there is Cy who is a mechanical engineer who has interests in auto cross, driving trips (yes, just to drive) and works for an automotive parts company under the Magna big wigs.

So, this is a he said and she said to get a full view of the Cadillac ATS.

FIRST IMPRESSION

HE SAID GM, good job on the engine – a 2.0L turbo with 4-wheel drive is exactly what this car needs.  The car was a rocket ship on the highway and there was plenty of backup passing power.  Steering was responsive, but could have provided a higher level of feedback and resistance that I would expect from a sports sedan.  The suspension was plenty firm, yet still forgiving.  If we had it for longer, I would have loved to take it on a road trip.

SHE SAID There is a technology dump in this car! Just look at the wheel and touch-screen centre console. Buttons galore! I mean this in a good way. For someone that is drawn to gadget-y devices, this is big, fat gadget in itself. Later we learned, you can connect your smart phone, use voice-activated control, and back up like a pro with the rear-view camera.

Augmented Reality - Augmented Reality - OurTorontoLife.comAugmented Reality - OurTorontoLife.comOurTorontoLife.com

TECHNOLOGY + SAFETY

HE SAID A bit of snow that weekend gave us the chance to test the 4-wheel drive system on slippery ground, and it didn’t disappoint. =) The features that got me excited were the heads up display (overlaying speedo, tach and odo readings on the front windshield), the adaptive cruise control (speed adjustment based on surrounding vehicles, even in stop and go traffic), and the voice control system (one button on the steering wheel allowed me to control any HVAC, radio or nav setting by voice).  Thumbs up in this category.

SHE SAID There are layers of technology and safety features that add to the driving experience. My favourite features included the heads-up display of the odometer and the video game-like experience of the driver’s seat. How do I explain this? If there is a hazard on the left, the left side of your driver’s seat vibrates! Same goes for the right hand side of the driver’s seat. Now, that’s augmented reality!

Styling Stitchin'
DETAILS

HE SAID The brushed aluminum trims and stealth black console certainly hinted at European inspiration, but the classic Cadiallac logo on the steering wheel quickly reminded me that this was the latest specimen from America’s flagship brand.  A detail I really liked was that the over-running alternator decoupler was made by a certain company I might work for… if the designers cared about small things like reducing the accessory drive belt tension with an OAD, I can expect a lot of other details to be well thought out.

SHE SAID Look at that stylish stitchin! Normally, I don’t like contrast stitching but I think that it looks good in the interior of the car. It’s the small details that I look at, and I liked what I saw in this car.

This isn’t the boring Cadillac that I had in mind before. It’s the North American Car of the Year, 2013 for goodness sake!

Thank you Klout PerksGMCadillac, and MacLaren Momentum for this #ATSDrive experience!


Behind-The-Scenes: Big Brother Canada Taping

Big Brother Canada - OurTorontoLife.com

TV magic does exist. Let me get back to this thought in a moment.

BACKGROUND My CEO is involved in a lot of projects that includes consulting for television and film production. His involvement along with my R&D colleagues landed us tickets to the eviction tapings of Big Brother Canada. The first taping was this past Thursday, and it was held at a secret location in Mississauga. How secret are we talking about? No cell phones, no texting, no tweeting,  no video, no pictures, and that kind of thing. That explains my only picture of us lining up before going into the studio (at this point, I saw Ronnie Negus, one of the Real Housewives of Vancouver).

Once we were in, they whisked us away to take our coats. Crew members took us to our seats, and we could see the stage clearly. A shiny stage, fake birch trees, and a back room with lots of screens and equipment. One of the production managers gave us the run down of what was expected of us – clap, cheer, stand up to clap and cheer especially when the host, the beautiful Arisa Cox intro’d came on stage and introduced segments from the show.

Ok, I admit. Big Brother Canada isn’t a show that I watch, but it was interesting to see everything unfold with the contestants and TV drama. After all that, one person was evicted. That person was Kat Yee, and all I have to say is that she left the house and came into the studio very quickly. See what I mean by TV magic?

SUMMARY I enjoyed myself and it was a good chance to see what happens behind the scenes of a reality tv show.

PS. If I were to go on any reality tv show? I’d definitely pick Amazing Race. Or, Extreme Home Makeover!


The Story of My Laptops

Disclaimer: I consider myself tech-y for certain things, but not when it comes to computers. This blog is about my stories including misfortunes with one of the most intimate objects in my life – my laptops (1 of the 5 things that I’d save from a house fire*).

2007-2008 | Toshiba Satellite A Series, 15″

My first laptop was a chunky Toshiba Satellite A Series. I got it on sale when I went back to school to re-direct my career in the field of marketing. That first year of school, my laptop was helpful because I was obsessed with becoming productive every minute of the day to get top grades. After a year, it got slow and I got sick of carrying it around (and sick of studying so much)  since it was so heavy.

Then, I burned it by accident because my halogen light at my desk was too close to the plastic around the monitor.

2008-2012 | Macbook Pro, 13″

I had it with PC, and I swore that Apple made far better products.  Obviously, I just knew that they were user friendly, reliable and looked fantastic. Lucky for me, Cy bought me a Macbook Pro for my birthday. For three years, my Macbook Pro went everywhere with me in a red Acme Made laptop bag.

Then, I left it on my dinner table a few weeks ago and my cat Yuly knocked over a cup of water onto my Mac. My Mac! My heart! My broken Mac heart…

2012- Present | Samsung Series 9, 13″

PC or Mac? I went with the PC after much research that Cy had helped me with. The Samsung Series 9 is like a Macbook Air when tested for features and performance. In fact, some people go as far as saying that it is a Macbook Air but in a PC body with a PC name. After a few weeks of use, I’d say that it does what I need it to do. It lets me do everything that I need to do for work, and my non-work activities like read, blog, tweet, stream tv shows (we don’t have cable) and listen to music. But, what it doesn’t let me do is use iMovie, and I miss that.

Then, something will happen to this laptop one day and I’ll let you know what happens then.

*The other 4 things that I’d save from a house fire would be Cy, Yuly, wallet and cell phone.


Girls in Tech Toronto #PowerHourSocial: 4 Entrepreneurial Lessons for Women

Girls in Tech Toronto

Today, I made my way to the Edelman office in downtown Toronto for my first event organized by Girls in Tech Toronto (@GITdot). Why I haven’t I gone to a GITdot event before? I have no idea because this #PowerHourSocial was amazing.

The concept of driving innovation and supporting women in technology (traditionally dominated by men) is important to me.

I left the event feeling inspired having learnt so much and talked to women who are smart, driven and ambitious.

As the blog post title says, I have 4 quickie lessons that I took away from the presenters:

1. Alison Gibbins (Simplify Analytics) > Baby Simplify lets new parents in on what they need and don’t need for their baby.
Do what works for you as an entrepreneur in terms of using your time. Think about how you want to go about pushing out your business – go-go-go approach or the slow and steady approach? Think about leveraging the opportunities when you aren’t working your full-time job (i.e. maternity leave).

2. Lorena Scott (MommiesFirst) > MommiesFirst delivers customized  best-of- market baby products according to the baby stages.
Be brave because being an entrepreneur is lonely. Women tend to work hard and be even tougher on themselves.

3. Tamar Melissa Huggins (Driven Accelerator) > Driven Accelerator mentors start-up entrepreneurs in an accelerator style. And, they operate as a non-profit organization!
Make a difference in the lives of others. It’s a selfless approach to building a business, and it can and will work.

4. Natasha Baker (SnapEDA) > SnapEDA is a social network for electrical engineers who are looking to share and acquire CAD representations.
Build on your strengths, and leverage them where you see opportunities. In this case, Natasha saw a big hole in the way her fellow electrical engineers were sourcing visual representations of circuit boards.

Sorry, no pictures. The ones that I took were too blurry! I need to bring a real camera next time.

Check out the next Girls in Tech Toronto event here.


My Favourite Fall Outfit

My Favourite Fall Outfit

First world problem: Shopping for new fall and winter clothes that work for my wardrobe and budget. Forget Forever 21, and don’t say that I didn’t try. I looked, and they had nothing even worth even $10 in the sweater department. My search took me to Eaton Centre and the Yonge/Bloor area, and this is what I found:

1.  Twisted Knit Frilled Jumper from Zara. The wide neck, belted waist, and flared bottom makes this sweater more special and dressy.

2. Edit by Jeanne Beker Military Wool Jacket from The Bay. The cape! The cape! The cape!

3. 5B Wax Coated Denim from Zara.  They have a glean to resemble leather pants for the tough kid look.

Final thoughts:

1. Sweaters are so plain expensive . I don’t remember them being so much in the past. Next time, I’m going to the Dixie outlets and purchasing during off seasons when there are more sales too.

2. Sweaters should come with pockets for all your phone, keys and other trinket-y things.

3. Sweaters in cardigan format are the best. They are versatile for layering, and you can wear them more often since you can switch out the inner layer.


My Skin’s Secret Weapon

In Toronto, the temperatures have dipped to the single digits.

Enter dry skin.

Those dry elbows, dangit! I was even called “chalky” by a coworker. My lotion of choice for these past weeks has been a hotel moisturizer. That’s not the brand name, it’s a mini bottle of grassy-smelling moisturizer from a work stay over at the Park Hyatt.

Time for a change, and my skin needs exfoliant and body butter.

Enter GRATiAE, an organic skin care line.

It’s like Breyers ice cream where there are only a few pure ingredients. I like that because loads of stinky chemicals aren’t good for your body.

I tried the GRATiAE Exfoliating Body Scrub ($59.99) and Body Butter ($59.99).

GRATiAE Exfoliating Body Scrub

This is sweet, literally. The tub is full of sugar, and it’s the best natural exfoliant. It’s way better than that apricot stuff.

After rinsing, I noticed that the water beaded on my skin. It’s the sweet almond oil in the scrub that keeps the skin moisturized.

GRATiAE Body Butter

This is heavy cream, and that makes for the best fall/winter moisturizer. If you are a fan of sweet smells, this is it.

Tip for life. Make sure you moisturize right after a shower or bath. After your skin dries, it doesn’t hold moisture of the creams as well.

Oh, and make sure to get those elbows. You don’t want to be called chalky this fall/winter.

 Here is the rest of the GRATiAE Story:

The name of the company derives from the 2nd century when the Roman emperor Hadrian discovered a hidden natural thermal spring in a mountainous area by the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel. The mineral-rich thermal spring became a popular attraction in the entire Roman Empire due to it’s therapeutic, curative and rejuvenating properties and the natural spa of choice of Roman royalty. The Roman empire named the spring GRATIAE, meaning The Three Graces, after the goddess of charm, beauty and fertility in Roman Mythology. 
 
The thermal spring is still a major attractive for visitors around the world who bathe in its revitalizing waters to regain their youth and beauty. 
 
GRATIAE is a skin care line that has been designed with one purpose in mind: anti-aging. It successfully makes use of Gratiae’s thermal spring water and combines it with exclusive materials, flora native to the Sea of Galilee and organic plants.