Monday Blues Solution: The Travelling Barista from Espresso Uno

Espresso Uno Travelling Barista
Today, my CEO Steven Stein treated the whole office to coffee. No, I’m not talking about a  Timmies run. I’m talking about a bringing in a travelling barista to brew and mix gourmet coffees and teas.  Talk about the ultimate beat down of the Monday Blues!

Michael Scott from Espresso Uno (@GTAEspressoUno) was our personal barista for 3 hours. My co-workers and I had our pick of different specialty coffees including cappuccino, latte, mochaccino, hot chocolate, mocha, and pumpkin spice latte!

I tried the cappucino (flavourful and rich) and pumpkin spice latte with a dash of cinnamon (I can’t get enough of pumpkin).

Q&A with our Travelling Barista, Michael Scott:

1) What is the most popular drink that people order? Latte.

2) Fill in the blank: I can’t leave home for work without: ______? Ghirardelli Chocolate Syrup for the Famous Mochaccino.

3) How are you going to take over the world with Espresso Uno? One Bean at a time. :)

Thank you, Steven for bringing Espresso Uno to the office! Talk about a swell guy!

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The Concise Winter Tire Buyers Guide in Toronto

The Consice Winter Tire Buying Guide

The office clock hits 5pm and as you look up expecting to be soothed by a skyline wrapped in warm sunshine, you experience… darkness.  As you emerge from the gates, a wall of cold air slaps you in the face, your mouth goes dry at your first breath, and you feel the fallen leaves crumble beneath your feet.  Grab your battle gear, old man winter is nearly here.

One of your keys tools in surviving winter’s worst will be a good set of winter tires.  After a week of research, here’s my summary:

1. Not all winter tires are made equal, and it’s not always related to price.
2. Buy tires on a second set of rims and change them yourself (it’s like changing a spare!)
3. “Performance winter tires” handle great and last longer in dry weather, but don’t work well in winter… trust me, I know.
4. Your final cost is likely $1200 at a major chain, $800 at a discount warehouse, and $400-600 for a used set on Craigslist/Kijiji.
5. If buying used, don’t get anything older than 1 season (winter tires 5 yrs old or with less than 50% tread should be recycled).
6. Winter tires will give you more road holding ability, but they’re no added benefit without careful driving.  Being able to stop faster is no good if the guy behind you doesn’t invest in tires as well =)

My picks, in no particular order:

Michelin X-Ice2 — Consumer Reports’ best pick, best compromise for snow, ice, wet
Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 — best user reviews/ratings from tirerack.com, I got 1 year old WS60’s
Continental Extreme Winter Contact — comparable to the two above, improved road noise
Gislaved Nord Frost 5 — Company owned by Continental, spectacular tire, but a bit noisy
General Tire Altimax Arctic — Company owned by Continental, on par with all the above, cheaper, rebranded Gislaved Nord Frost 3

Happy Driving!
Cy


My Birthday Outfit

My Birthday Outfit
My Twitter profile tells you that I’m a hoodie and jeans girl. It’s true, and no one gets it as much as those who know me the most. Take Pia, Middy and Kerby, my best friends, who got me a dressy version of my “uniform” for my birthday! I can do dressy; afterall, I’m in Toronto now.

Billabong assymetrical jacket with hood from Middy and Pia
Perfect for layering under a winter jacket, or layering over a simple tank.

Club Monaco sparkly gold belt from Kerby
Perfect for that extra bling and creating that cinched waist look.

Thank you, girls!


Grace Kelly: From Movie Star to Princess

Grace Kelly at TIFF Bell Lightbox

The Grace Kelly: From Movie Star to Princess:

The TIFF and the Bell Lightbox bought the Grace Kelly collection to the public to showcase the life of a movie star turned princess.

FYI: Grace Kelly was her real name, not just a made-up Hollywood one. How fitting because she is remembered as a woman so full of grace as captured in her movies and her real-life role as princess.

As a hoarder of memorabilia, Grace Kelly had  collection of her personal effects including homemade dried flower collages, movie posters, telegrams from co-stars like Frank Sinatra, Dior gowns, and letters.

Exhibit time: About 1 hour to take everything in. This includes staring at an exact replica of her wedding dress for a good five minutes.
Curator: Grimaldi Forum Monaco
Interesting facts about Grace Kelly: She had a 21 inch waist, a designer Hermès bag named after her, and a very short engagement before the marriage to her husband, the Prince of Monaco.

**** 4 stars. One star missing from being a 5 star exhibit. Why? There were huge chunks missing from her life that weren’t depicted in the exhibit such as her family, marriage, and the real Grace Kelly behind the movie star and princess version of Grace Kelly.

Still go, it was fascinating. It’s rare that I read every single placard like I did for this exhibit.

Runs until January 22nd, 2012.


Vancouver vs Toronto

Cy moved to Toronto from Vancouver a few weeks ago.

For me, I’ve already lived here for 1 year, 4 months and 9 days in the “Centre of the Universe.” I can safely say that comparing Vancouver to Toronto is like comparing apples to oranges.

In our wedding poll, we asked:

Which city do you enjoy more? Vancouver or Toronto?

a. Beautiful Rainy Vancouver
b. All Business Snowy Toronto

Poll results heavily favoured Beautiful Rainy Vancouver – 94.3%. Not a surprise since a lot of website visitors – friends and family were from Vancouver.

But, I’m going to compare the basics anyways – it’s only natural. See Cy’s perspective below:

Weather
– “In the summer, the one big difference would be the temperatures in Toronto. It stays warm even at night –  patio culture!”

Food
– “Where are all my cha chan teng (Hong Kong style cafes that serve quick, tasty, and well-priced food)? There are easily accessible Chinese food in Vancouver and Richmond. In Toronto, I hear you have to go all the way to Richmond Hill or Markham (we haven’t explored those areas yet). Aside from that, I don’t think there are differences. For example, Pubby food is pubby food.”

People
– “It’s not too much different. But, you do notice a bit of a patience difference – Toronto has less of it.”

Traffic
– “(Haha) everyone here thinks that they are a race car driver – it’s every man (or woman) for themselves. Yellow means drive faster. Red means maybe I can squeeze through. You can’t trust the drivers, even the unexpected – it will be expected.”

Intrastructure
-“The highways, there are a lot of them. And, there are cliffs that look like lemmings would drop off of. Also, distances on maps are deceiving – it takes forever to go from one place to another.”

Housing
– “Most houses are OLD, 60 year homes are typical in Toronto.”

So, I ask which city does Cy like better? He says, “Oh no! (he didn’t want to really answer this) It depends. For our careers, new city experiences – it’s Toronto for us.”

But, “you never forget where you came from” says, Cy.


Welcome to our little web home

Our old website was gottabethegoodlife.com. It started like this:

“Thanks for dropping by to visit us. This is our living home to the news, stories and plans around our wedding event, Gotta Be The Good Life.”

Now, the wedding has come and gone. And, it was wonderful.

Our realization is that we still have so much to document – the rest of our lives especially for our family and friends (and everyone else on the w).

Gotta Be The Good Life lives on here.

To the start of this new blog, cheers!

Judy and Cyrus