Category Archives: Whimsical

A LOVEly Valentine’s Day

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Alone on Valentine’s Day? Do not fear, for Aphrodite is here (jokes, it’s just me)! Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and while being with that special someone on this holiday is always great (if you have one), who better to spend the day of love with than your girl friends? These ladies are, after all, the ones who have been there and supported you since the beginning. What’s also amazing is the fact that we live in a vibrant and fabulous city with tons of potential for V-Day fun.

Firstly, what’s better than a night full of food and gossipping? Nothing! Toronto has a wide range of restaurants and pubs that have the perfect Valentine’s Day atmosphere. For those (like me) whose heart is dedicated to Hogwarts, there’s The Lockhart near Dufferin Station. For those (like me again) who like sweets, there’s the Nutella Bar! Another entertaining idea is going to a theatre production. Possibilities? Kinky Boots at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, The Winter’s Tale at the Coal Mine Theatre, Gaslight at the Ed Mirvish Theatre, and many more.

If your ideal girls day is one of relaxation, what better way to spend it than at the spa? Toronto has a variety of spots doing Valentine’s Day packages. Want to stay home instead? A DIY spa is easy to make.  Glamour has some great tips, including how to make a sugary scrub and tasty (healthy!) drinks. Another way to relax on Valentine’s Day is to watch a rom com. Whether at home or at the movies (How to Be Single is coming out on February 12th), binge-watching romantic comedies with your besties at a sleepover with popcorn and nail polish is a good idea any time of year.

Hope you feel the love! XOXO!

Printables: February 2016 Calendar

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February 2016 Calendar now available for print! Instructions on these origami roses can be found below

Introducing the February 2016 calendar! The January calendar was a hit, so I’ll be continuing this line of printable calendars until April!

The calendar is available in two different sizes (click for a dropbox link)

a smaller one

and

a larger, full 8.5 ” x 11 ” one.

I tried to keep this calendar as universal as possible, but I just couldn’t waft away the aroma of Valentine’s Day! Whether you’re single or in a romantic relationship, Valentine’s Day is a day of love and care. You may go with a simple card from your local craft store for your friends, a box of chocolates for your family, or even a bouquet of roses for your special someone. Why not go with something handmade like an origami rose (this one will last you a lifetime!) Check out the pdf here for instructions.

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A stem for the roses can also be made from rolling a small piece of green paper. (Disclaimer: I did not make this rose myself!)

Happy February!

My TAs: A Confession

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We’ve discussed professors in the past, whether they’re nice or loud or mean or weird… but have you been observing your TAs, too? Here is what I think of mine!

I have three TAs this semester. The first one for film studies is a near-middle-aged man, light-brown skinned, possibly from Romania or Italy or Spain or somewhere in the Middle East. The day I saw him, he was wearing an oversized brown-buttoned shirt, and a pair of grey jeans. It was not interesting. I thought that he was experienced in the subject matter, but whether he was or not, he didn’t seem to want to share his experiences with his students. He spoke with the voice of a dying mosquito, and seemed very nervous. He can never finish a sentence in one breath, like he’s always thinking madly about the next possible word to say so we won’t think he’s talking rubbish. AND he said he did not know what Twitter was!

My next TA is in my computer science tutorial. Unfortunately, and ridiciously, his voice is shy monotone. He’s young and tall, and  the first time I saw him he wore a maroon turtleneck with a pair of old blue jeans. The class gave him the silent treatment, and he just stood there, hunched, with a silly smile on his face, and I suspect that in his head, he was screaming “Somebody say something for God’s sake! I am so terrible at this.”

My last TA was also in film studies. She is very talkative and easy-going! Hurray! This TA gave us a pretty thoughtful and fun lesson with plenty of questions and discussion. So, does this mean that females are better at being TAs? I sure hope not! Man! What are all you male TAs doing these days? Straighten your backs and show us your strong, confident male selves! That being said, despite all their different characteristics I do like all of my TAs. I hope I can say that for the rest of my degree!

Musical Review of The Wedding Singer at Hart House

The Wedding Singer is a musical adapatation of the 1998 movie of the same name. Because most of you have seen it, and are familiar with the plot (even if you’re not, it’s a predictable rom-com) I’ve decided to skip to the good stuff. This is a review of Hart House’s ongoing production of The Wedding Singer, set to the music of the main theme/opening number of the show. Enjoy!

I saw this play 3 hours ago
I’m still humming some of the songs
‘Decided to write a review
Of what went right and what went wrong.
Now indulge me a moment, if you please;
I have a lot to say about this show,
and the actors I thought were good
and bad.
Here it goes:

Isaac has that “X-Factor” –
an accessible actor.
But his pitch control could
use improvement.

Ashley Gibson wasn’t bad,
and her singing really had
a lovely quality
that makes us all love her.

Cortina was a great, strong crooner
even when her mic went berserk.
But she couldn’t bring the humour
to her lines – they needed some work.

Horsman was a delightful dancer,
and her songs really brought
us to the moment.
Cattel was a rapping grandma –
what can I comment?

The ensemble was quite strong,
even in the weaker songs,
and their dancing was all
memorable.
This show is just lots of fun
(‘cept for those who’ve seen it once).
I would recommend
you see it sometime soon.

(L to R) Ashley Gibson as Julia and Isaac Bell as Robbie. Photo credit to Scott Gorman.

 

Note 1: Yes, it’s not perfect. Considering the constraints – a review deadline and an imposed rhyme scheme and working in people’s names and accurate descriptions of their performances – it’s really not that bad. Seriously, if you’re looking for someone to write the opening for the next Tonys…

Note 2: Apologies to Mr Bell, who is treated with undue familiarity for the purpose of meter.

Note 3: There is some precedent for the moment/comment rhyme, imperfect though it may be. See Shakespeare’s Sonnet XV. I take full responsibility for the mangled syntax.

 

 

The (UofT) Student’s Guide to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival

In a Nutshell

The Stratford Shakespeare Festival is an annual theatre festival in Stratford, Ontario. Although it is primarily dedicated to the works of William Shakespeare, the Festival also produces musicals, contemporary classics, and new plays. The Stratford Festival has an international reputation for the high quality of its productions. Each show, from the largest musical to the smallest comedy, is the result of the talent and work of dozens of accomplished, gifted artists and producers. The Festival runs annually from April through October, and is the highlight of the summer theatre in Southern Ontario.

Choosing a Show

The Festival programme includes 12 different and diverse plays, but unfortunately, I’ve only had the chance to see 2. That hasn’t stopped me from making this handy-dandy guide as to which of those 2 shows – Tommy and Waiting for Godot is right for you.

I like plays to be…
  • Loud
  • Raucous
  • Exciting
  • Subtle
  • Clever
  • Thought-provoking
I want to talk about the play with…
  • Parents (& other nostalgic folks)
  • Music geeks
  • Professors and classmates
  • Theatre geeks
I go to the theatre to be… Entertained Educated
My ideal souvenir is… A soundtrack A mug with a witty message
I prefer… High-brow pop culture Accessible high culture

I want to see…

Tommy

Waiting for Godot

Or both!

Of course, you could also go with any of the other ten.

Buying Tickets

As you may have noticed, we at blogUT are really all about the green. That doesn’t end when it comes to theatre tickets – we’ve got the goods on getting the best (and most dramatic) bang for your buck. Play On tickets go for an even $25, but are available only for select performances and not always in advance. Don’t worry – there are plenty of Play On shows left before the festival ends. And if even that’s too much, Play On tickets are available for only $20 when you’re seeing Othello. All you need to do is prove that you are 16-29 years old with photo ID.

Getting There

Road trips and voyages out of town are often seen by students as too costly to be worth it, but the Stratford Festival has that covered. Tickets are only $10 each way on the Stratford Direct, and the bus drops you off at any of the four Festival theatres (pick-up is at Front and Simcoe at 10:00AM and 3:30PM). The buses are comfortable and roomy, and have wi-fi, a bathroom, and undercarriage storage for large bags. An added bonus: riding back into the city in a bus full of people to talk to about your experiences at the Festival. My perfect day at Stratford ended yesterday with a lovely conversation with some other festival-goers, who were sitting behind me. We traded reviews and recommendations for almost an hour.

Other Things to Do in Stratford

Only 30,000 or so people call Stratford, Ontario home, but there’s still plenty to do there. In addition to myriad book and antique stores, the best shopping prospects are the warm, inviting candy and chocolate shops that line the town’s quaint streets. A terrific place to sit down for a hot or cold drink after or before a show is Balzac’s coffee, a small chain with a few locations in Toronto as well. I had dinner at Boomers Gourmet Fries, a small burger shop with a big menu and fantastic prices. And, obviously, delicious gourmet fries. For dessert, you can head next door to Scooper’s Ice Cream, which also serves shakes and frozen yogurt at excellent prices. If you’re more of the picnicker type, I recommend staking out a bench by the water on Lakeside Drive and watching the swans and ducks go by.

 

Why I Never Want to Have a Wedding

I don’t know about you, but the idea of a wedding really freaks me out.  But, contrary to what you might think, I don’t shrivel up into a ball of fear when I think about the “most important day of my life” for the most conventional reasons. I’m not scared of committing to one person for the rest of my life, nor am I hesitant about the love I have for my partner.  I don’t squirm at the prospect of waking up beside the same guy every morning, and I’m not repelled by the thought of someone knowing all of my dirty little secrets.  I love the idea of spending the rest of my life with the person I love, but I don’t feel the need to stand up in front of a bunch of my friends and family to prove it.  I want to show my love without a caterer, flowers, and dresses; I want to see everyone happy for my love without the need to buy me a gift; I want to spend the money I have on paying off my school debts and maybe thinking about buying house.  And so, dear reader, I give to you:

The four reasons why I don’t want to have a wedding.

1. Money.

It really is the root of all evil.  But honestly, if I’m going to drop 20,000 dollars on something, it’s going to be for something worthwhile, like debts, mortgages, or a really awesome bedroom with a fridge built into one of the walls.  I’m not going to spend seven thousand dollars on ONE dress that I can only wear once.  I’m not going to ask four to six of my friends (depending on where we all are in life, and, you know, if they became weird or not) to drop at least 200 bucks on something that will always clearly be a bridesmaid dress, no matter what colour it is (and face it, even the most neutral colour will always have that braidsmaids-y feel to it).  And, most importantly, I’m not going to fork over God-only-knows-how-much to get bland food that is almost never finished.  I mean, I understand that the most important part of a wedding is the open bar (for those of you who are NOT planning an open bar: stop.  Stop right now.  You are failing at weddings already.), but why do I need to do the ceremony part too?  Can’t I just have, like, a really sweet party at a bar with everyone I care about there?  And they can all wear whatever they want: tank tops and shorts, jeans and a blazer, an old bridesmaids dress, anything is possible!  I know I’ll probably show up in jeans, boots, and a t-shirt.  And do you know why?  Because that’s what I’m comfortable in, and I’ll be damned if I’m uncomfortable on my wedding day!  Which leads me to my next point…

2. Comfort

I know that there are a lot of women out there who LOVE dresses and can’t wait until summer to slip into one.  They love how flowey and free dress make them feel, the breeze blowing lightly against their nether regions, and the materials come in a variety of cute colours and pretty patterns, almost irresistible to the feminine brain.  But whenever I wear a dress, all I can think about is what would happen if a zombie apocalypse happened, like, right now?  I’d be stuck wearing that stupid dress while I tried to run away from those cannibalistic cretins, probably trip over it, get eaten, and die horrible.  And I always picture myself hanging out with Daryl Dixon when the dead inevitably rise, so the dress thing is kind of ruled out for me.  Now, if that’s how I feel about dresses that are cheap and made in China, can you image how awkward I would be in a really expensive dress that’s made of white fabric and is all pretty and pure?  Ugh, the thought of wearing something like that makes me cringe, let alone walking down an aisle in front of a ton of people.  And, knowing me, I’d probably spill something on myself, or have an overwhelming urge to fart halfway through the ceremony, and ruin the whole thing for everyone.  Gross.  Next!

3. Effort

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m really not a lazy person, but the idea of planning a wedding just exhausts me.  It’s not just because everything has to perfectly mapped out for, like, at least 50 people to be happy, and—if television has taught me anything—I’ll probably be freaking out when things inevitably go wrong.  I don’t want this; no one wants this!  I want my wedding to be a completely relaxed affair without all the fanfare that seems to be a requirement.  Stag and doe?  No thanks.  Bridal shower?  Pass.  Another bridal shower for the other side of the family because my mother-in-law couldn’t make it to the one my mother threw for me?  Um, no. Bachelorette party?  Well, if you insist…  But honestly, I could just go out with my friends and get drunk any old time.  I get that it’s kind of a tradition and the symbolism behind it is quite appealing (last night as a single person…even though we’ve been dating for eight years, have lived together for five, call each other husband/wife already, and are completely committed to each other in every way imaginable.  But still last night as a single, woo hoo!).  And it’s not just I who has to put all the energy into getting this thing out of the way: my parents, friends, in-laws, acquaintances all have to contribute in some way.  People have to fly in from out of town, buy new socially appropriate attire, fret about losing weight, get their hurr all did, get their makeup done, write speeches, pretend they care, etc.  Really, all of this just requires far too much…

4. Time!

For every hour that I spend planning my wedding I lose one hour that could go towards me playing StarCraft.  I’d rather play StarCraft.  In fact, there are a lot of other things I’d rather be doing with my time than deciding on a theme or colours for the wedding.  I can’t think of anything right now, but I’m almost positive there are more productive ways to spend my time.  And it’s not just my time either; everyone has to rearrange their schedules to fit whatever I want.  What about those weirdos who decide to have their wedding on a Friday?  What the hell is that all about?  Not only does everyone have to take at least two days off of work, but a lot of people will have to cancel at the last minute because something important came up.  I recently had to do this myself: I had an exam (in Toronto) scheduled for the time the wedding (in London) was supposed to start.  The out-of-towners have even more to think about, because nobody is going to fly into Toronto from Vancouver for just a weekend!  I guess it helps eliminate the extra people that were invited for the sake of it, but come on!  Just don’t invite them if you don’t want them there!  It’s your wedding, after all.

So, there you have it, the reasons I will not be having a wedding.  Of course, this isn’t to say that I won’t do a common-law marriage and then just have a really awesome party afterwards where everyone can show up and get sloshed without worrying about the tab!  Because THAT’S what a good wedding host should do: make the party fun for everyone.  Nobody wants to sit through the boring ceremony, so just go do that on your own time.  We go for the free booze, the dancing, and all the other shenanigans that come with a wedding reception, so if your wedding is just going to be me getting wasted with you on your special day, I’m game.  As long as it doesn’t fall on a day that I’m busy, feel bloated, or have my period; nor will I have to spend money on a dress, or wear any kind of dress for that matter, then I will officially deem your wedding a success and you may proceed with a happily married life together.