Category Archives: Work Fun

Bahamian Shenanigans

I already briefly touched on most of our shenanigans in the Bahamas in this post, but I have just a couple more things before we get to the food stuff.

We arrived last Monday around noon and after checking out our rooms, most of us headed down to that beautiful beach.

IMG_0797

We had a quick kick-off meeting that my CEO led at 3:30, which was in a boardroom inside but no one really minded. We just showed up in our bathing suits, drank the booze that was in the room, and then all headed back down to the beach afterwards.

After a group dinner we decided it would be fun if we all went to the Atlantis Paradise Island casino, so we all met in the piano bar beforehand.

IMG_0808

IMG_0809

This ended up being my favourite bar on the resort. I loved the staff there.

Of course, no piano bar is complete without a piano man.

IMG_4036

And no piano man singalong is complete without Billy Joel’s Piano Man. So of course I requested it.

IMG_4046

I know I look like I am yelling at the piano man in the above photo, but I am just singing “SING US A SONG, YOU’RE THE PIANO MAN!!!” and I was pretty into it. So was he. So was everyone! Singing along with our group I think was one of my favourite memories of the trip. Someone has a video of it, so that will be hilarious to watch.

Anyway, drinks happened with new friends…

IMG_4029

And then we all piled into a couple of van cabs and made our way to Atlantis. It is not a short ride, just a heads up. It’s at least 20 minutes. But we got there.

IMG_4042

This is the only picture I have from Atlantis. We walked into the casino area and everyone lost everyone immediately. It was impossible to find anyone in there and no one’s phone was working so we couldn’t call anyone to track them down. Evan and I had a hard enough time keeping track of just each other. After wandering around for a bit I set up shop at a blackjack table. I am not a fan of slots because I feel like I just put all my money in there and it never comes back to me, but with blackjack I feel like I have more control. I ended up winning $50 in about an hour, so I more than doubled our money! Evan and I took our winnings and used it to get back to our resort. I was pretty happy with my $50, but I found out later that my coworker won $200 on the penny slots! Maybe I need to rethink the slots…

It is my DREAM, my absolute dream, to go to the Atlantis water park one day, it just looks ridiculous. So obviously we are going to have to go back. We only saw the casino, but it was still a fun time.

Day 2 was breakfast – beach – snorkeling adventure – lunch – Scents of love couples massage – pool

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Shower + get ready – romantic dinner for 2 (more on this when I talk food) – party time.

IMG_0820

We found everyone in the piano bar and brought them over to the English Pub (called Crickets and they had the best mozzarella sticks ever) where quite the limbo competition was going on. This guy was pretty impressive.

IMG_0821

He lost there with that hand on the floor, but still he was very limber.

It was a fun night with the coworkers and their friends and (not pictured) lovers.

IMG_0825

And our boss.

IMG_0828

I don’t want to name drop here or give you the wrong impression that I am important, but there were a few VIP’s (on the business front) on this trip with us and it was pretty interesting to see them letting loose in vacation mode.

Eventually we made it outside since it was gorgeous out. And you tell me this pool doesn’t look inviting.

IMG_4045

We wanted in there. We talked about going back to our rooms and getting into our bathing suits, but if I went back to my room I wasn’t coming back out… and the girls agreed. I brought up going in as we were, in our clothes…and surprisingly the girls were in. So, when in the Bahamas…

IMG_0837

Just like our midnight swim in Jamaica. Only this time we didn’t get kicked out of the pool. No one seemed to care at all. We actually played volleyball for a while. And just sat around shooting the you know.

IMG_0846
Quite a time. The funniest thing about these photos is our boss is taking them. 

Day 3 we rolled out of bed and into our bathing suits, and then over to the buffet. After breakfast we hit up the private island where we swam in that amazing ocean for hours and hours.

One of my coworkers was being a paparazzi.

IMG_00001198

We were frolicking.

It was such a beautiful day.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We ate lunch on the island, came back to shore and at lunch again in the snack bar and then hit up the pool for the rest of the afternoon.

Our last night was a big group dinner with everyone off the resort. And that about sums up the activities. More to come on food stuff!

Advertisements

Some Lunch Issues (and my new favourite lunch spot)

I haven’t talked about work stuff for a while, but my office moved at the beginning of July from downtown Toronto to Port Credit (south Mississauga, a suburb of Toronto). If you don’t know the area this will mean nothing to you, but basically the biggest change is that my 25 minute subway ride to work has turned into a 35 minute drive. Unless there is traffic, and then that 35 minutes can turn into two hours. So that’s fun.

The drive isn’t as bad as I expected it to be though, and I was kind of done being stuck on the subway twice a day with 8 million other people anyway, so no big deal. I also really like our new office a lot better than our old one, as it’s a lot more open and bright. So besides the drive this has really only affected my life in two big ways: my reading time and my lunch time.

Taking the subway every day gave me an extra hour of daily uninterrupted reading time, so I do really miss that. I was just powering through all the books for a while, and now I am STILL reading the first Game of Thrones book (but I’m almost done!). I’ve been trying to read before I fall asleep at night, but I’ve been so tired at bedtime lately that I just fall asleep immediately. So squeezing in the reading has been tricky.

And lunch. Ohh how I miss the lunch options that were downtown. I worked steps away from the PATH (basically an underground city) which had countless food courts and restaurants and every lunch selection imaginable. I found the best salads ever in that area.

IMG_5604

Exhibit A (Chipotle, so nothing exotic)

IMG_5656

Exhibit B

IMG_5697

Exhibit C

IMG_5976

Exhibit D

But our new office isn’t very close to anything like that. There’s a natural health foods grocery store which sometimes has good salads, or a Tim Hortons, within a five minute walking distance, but other than that I have to venture into downtown Port Credit if I want to spice my lunch up, and it’s about a 15-20 minute walk. On the bright side, I’ve been packing my lunch a lot more, so at least I’m saving money.

I did find a really awesome restaurant in downtown Port Credit though. It’s called Raw Aura and all their food includes 100% raw ingredients, so nothing is heated. It’s also very vegetable-based, with organic ingredients, and gluten, dairy and sugar-free.

IMG_6910

They’re not paying me to write a review or anything, but I’ve been there about four times and every time has been interesting and beyond delicious.

The first thing I tried was the “ravioli.”

IMG_6847

Which is red beets stuffed with creamy cashews and ricotta cheese, red pepper marinara sauce and kale chips. It was different than any ravioli I’ve ever eaten, and it was surprisingly extremely good. I’ve actually ordered it twice.

I have also gotten the yellow coconut curry “noodles.”

IMG_6911

Which is zucchini noodles with cashew, coconut oil, lemongrass, pineapple, lentils, red pepper and red onion tossed in yellow curry. Also delicious.

And their big kale salad is pretty amazing.

IMG_6914

It comes with half an avocado and a breadstick. I like that.

I also tried some of my coworker’s burrito.

IMG_6913

And it was really interesting how meaty that thing tasted without actually including any meat. It’s a sun-dried tomato and carrot tortilla with lettuce, tomato, red onion, guacamole and refried pumpkin seeds (pretty sure is what gave it a meaty taste). That is a cashew sour cream on top.

It’s kind of weird eating everything cold because I am so used to eating warm food, but it’s a kind of weird that I am really liking. I’d eat there every day but it is a bit on the expensive side for lunch.

And this chocolate cheesecake, that does not actually include chocolate or cheese, just blew me away.

IMG_6917

It was SO good. And I felt really good after eating it, not all full and gross like I would after eating regular cheesecake.

So if you’re in the area I’d highly recommend checking it out. And if you’re not, welp, sorry. Hopefully the pictures didn’t torture you too much.

Have a great weekend! It is the last cottage weekend of the year for me!

The Art of Marketing Conference

I was given a complimentary pass to attend the Art of Marketing conference on Wednesday at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Not because of my blog, it was through my job. But I was excited because it is one of the most renowned marketing conferences and for a one day event it is tres expensive. Communications is more my forte than marketing (I studied journalism, got into communications, and then sort of just branched into marketing since they are sort of intertwined), so I was hoping to hear some new ideas that I could apply professionally (and maybe personally).

They had some pretty amazing speakers lined up: Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter and named one of the most influential people in the world by Time magazine; Seth Godin, author, blogger, and overall marketing genius; Charles Duhigg, a New York Times reporter and author; Jonah Berger, professor and viral marketing expert; and David Usher, musician, frontman of Moist (terrible word/name for a band, just saying), and he also did his solo thing for a while.

David Usher was up first, and to be honest he was the speaker I was most looking forward to.

david-usher

Because I used to really like Moist. I saw them in concert a few times. I immediately tweeted about this…

Screen Shot 2013-06-06 at 10.34.33 PM

(I got it back, not to worry. This was my first big concert and before I learned that maybe flip flops weren’t appropriate mosh pit attire.)

David Usher actually saw this tweet and read it out loud to the entire. audience. (about 2,000 people) during his presentation. I nearly fell off my chair when I realized it was mine. I was so excited.

468513_10151425113856540_377851753_o

Anyway, fangirl comments aside, his presentation was great. He spoke about creativity and how everyone is creative, even if they think they are not. There are many different ways to be creative, as I’m sure we all know. I actually have a lot to say about this so I think I am going to do a separate post about it.

He also performed a bit at the Art of Marketing.

965224_10151425113781540_1759871577_o

Which was pretty awesome. Probably the most exciting conference speaker I have witnessed.

But they were all good. I took something away from all of them. From David Usher I took away that everyone can be creative, and creativity is like a muscle: the more you use it, the stronger it is.

From Jonah Berger I took away the notion that you can engineer your content to be more viral, you just need to use the right tools. I think the biggest tool he covered that stuck with me was to find the “inner remarkability” of things. If something isn’t remarkable, make it exciting. He used Blendtec (a blender company) as an example of this:

How hilarious is that boring blender now?

I mean, my life isn’t all that exciting, but I blog about it anyway.

He also said, basically, tell stories. People like stories. They will share them.

From Seth Godin I took away that bald is beautiful.

SethGodin

And that you should do something that might not work. Something that matters, something original, but something that might fail. And that if failure is not an option, neither is success.

From Charles Duhigg I learned that there is a science in habits. Cue, routine, reward. He also was talking about how it’s been proven that people who make exercise a habit are better at life in general, and he had a bunch of examples for this. It really inspired me to run regularly again (umm, haven’t ran since…but I will!)

And from the man Biz (who, by the way, is really funny), I took away that you can take away something from everything, coincidentally. Everything is a life lesson. And also that you can rave on about anything if you are important enough. Everyone will hang onto your every word.

964299_10151425117396540_1992333578_o

He also talked about philanthropy being the future of marketing, because people are attracted to meaning. I really like this idea, and that is the world I want to live in. I can’t get behind just wanting to make money. That is not something that will ever drive me. I like to feel like I am doing something that has a purpose, you know?

So anyway, the conference was great. My only complaint would be that they didn’t have lunch. I might actually fill out the online survey and for the question that says “What would you like to see at the Art of Marketing 2014?” I will probably write “Lunch. Snacks.”

I didn’t starve though, I found a friend!

linds-steph

I randomly bumped into my fave Canadian blog pal Stephanie Fusco and we had a triple lunch date with her friend Shannon (who recognized me from my piggyback fail video, ooooh). We went to Lonestar Texas Grill across the street for fajitas and margaritas.

margaritas

Texas-sized margaritas. Just living the dream.

Lonestar used to be my favourite chain restaurant. I cannot get enough of their fajitas.

fajitas

art-of-marketing

They have gone down in quality a bit I think since I have last been there. But they make their own wraps themselves and those are amazing.

Anyway, it was a fun day, I learned a ton, and I’m so glad I ran into Steph! Good times all around.

Have a great weekend! Back to paint-fest for me!

New Job, Bob

Last week I mentioned briefly that I started a new job. And by the way, sorry to just leave that there and then not say anything else about it for an entire week. The suspense wasn’t on purpose. I felt like I had other pressing things to talk about (friends, eating, you know).

So anyway, yep! New job! I am still in communications and marketing, but I now work for an executive search firm instead of a marketing agency. Kind of a big change, but it feels like a move in the right direction for me.

Now I realize this may be a surprise if you have been following my blog for a little bit, because you probably feel like I just got a new job. Because I did, in November. And maybe you would be surprised because it wasn’t long ago that I was raving on about how I thought that job was my dream job.

I did think that for a couple of months, and the atmosphere was certainly a dream job. How could it not be? The agency I worked for allowed dogs in the office.

linds-ollie

We had beer cart every Friday.

beer-fridays

We had a guac-off.

guac-friends

We had three Christmas parties.

festive-friends

576314_10151570382701038_48636552_n

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

With booze.

And our St. Paddy’s Day social turned into a pub crawl.

work-girls

I could go on. I loved the people. The entire office was on a Mac. People swore in meetings and in mass emails. We had a cookie exchange. We had exposed brick in the office (I love that). There was family of squirrels living in the window. I could walk to work.

Those are all great things, and I think it would be difficult not to be jealous of someone working in that environment (my friends hated me). But notice I am not mentioning the actual work here, because actual work-wise, I don’t think the job was for me. I think it would have been perfect if I was 25 and just starting my career, but I was probably in the handful of the oldest people there. Plus I went from an office of five employees to an office of 50, which is a big adjustment, and I think I thrive in smaller organizations because I can be more hands-on in different areas (did not realize this until after I left my previous job). And I went from having my own office to sitting in a big common area with many distractions. Ultimately, something started to not feel right. I started to feel like it just wasn’t the best fit.

Things seem to work out though, because my new job headhunted me through LinkedIn (makes sense since they are a search firm), and after about a two month process of interviews and presentations and 100-day plans and SWOT analyses, here I am. And so far so good, I’m liking it a lot! I’m not going to get all crazy and call it a dream job just yet, but it’s good. It feels like a good fit.

I don’t usually make a point to job-hop as much as this (being someone who doesn’t particularly love change, and having my previous job for nearly five years), but sometimes the opportunity arises. I never would have pictured myself working in executive search, but I never would have pictured myself working for a sports organization either, and that has been my longest job to-date. I feel like if you work in communications you can work pretty much anywhere. Kind of like HR.

So anyway, that’s what’s new.

Have a great long weekend! It is my favourite weekend of the year, because it means it’s finally SUMMER!

Irish for the Weekend

Happy day after St. Patrick’s Day you little leprechauns!

I did not celebrate yesterday on actual St. Patrick’s Day, but I was lucky enough to celebrate on both Friday and Saturday, so I think that makes up for it.

On Friday my work was hosting a St. Paddy’s social in the late afternoon , so everyone wore their festive green to the office. And I do mean everyone. Every person I saw all day had their green on. Just green everywhere. This was really funny to me because St. Patrick’s Day wasn’t officially until Sunday, so we were all just eager.

And just a quick side note. I googled St. Patty’s vs St. Paddy’s because I never know which one to use, and I found an official website for this…

paddy-not-patty

No St. Patty’s. Don’t do it. Very good to know. I’ll never use it wrong again.

Anyway, after work on Friday pretty much our entire office made our way to a local pub to get our Irish on.

stpats-group

I found a very attractive hat and beard combo, which I sported for a while…

leprechauns

And this is probably the main reason why I love St. Patrick’s Day. I love to see people dressed like fools. And also dress like a fool.

hat-glasses

I switched my outfit up a couple times.

At one point about 5o of us were jammed into this tiny pub, all in our green gear. We basically took it over. It was rammed.

paddy-crowd

I saw a few other customers make their way in, spot our rowdy crowd, and promptly turn around and head back out.

We hung out there until about 7:30 or so, hanging out and drinking beer. It’s really fun hanging out with work people outside of work when everyone sets aside their business pantaloons for a bit.

work-girls

Moi, Emily, Maria, Melissa

Fun times for sure. And it be noted that I work with a few pretty hilarious characters, so I spent a lot of time laughing.

After the official social ended, about 30 of us turned the night into an unofficial pub crawl down Yonge Street (I know, my work is ridiculous). I made it until about 11 and hit up two other places before I decided to call it quits and subway it home. I still had Saturday to look forward to!

Saturday was St. Patrick’s Day part two with all my pals and their friends and lovers.

girls

Since St. Paddy’s did not officially start until midnight, we did not show up to the pub at 6pm like last year. We hung out at Dawn and Mark’s before making our way over to the bar for around 11.

ev-linds

Evan and the rest of the lads were in attendance also.

Dawn made the most delicious festive cupcakes.

cupcakes

I wanted a vanilla one and it was so big I had a bit of a tricky time eating it… I ended up with my mouth stuffed and cupcake all over my face, so everyone started laughing at me, which made me laugh, which then made me inhale cupcake, so then I started choking. That is always awkward. Choking in front of people is no fun. Your face goes all red and everyone stares at you and asks if you are okay until you are done coughing like a maniac. Good times. Anyway, it was all good, I survived, and that cupcake was really good.

My addition to the food table was green goat cheese and honey dip.

green-dip

Which made Emily laugh so hard she cried when she saw it. And then everyone said it looked like playdough (which it does). It’s fine, you may snark on the green goat cheese dip all you like, it was still delicious. I really went all out with the platter also.

Eventually it was bar time, so we hit up the same Irish pub as last year (last year was insane), the Waltzing Weasel in Oshawa.

It was not busy at all, since it was not actually St. Patrick’s Day yet (midnight!), and we were the only ones dressed in green. But we have no trouble creating our own party.

We did the green beer thing…

green-beer

I love the green beer.

We also met up with this lovely lady…

linds-sherrie

Sherrie had another party to attend, so she couldn’t stay for very long and that was sad. But the rest of us had a good old Irish time.

green-girls
st-pats

St. Paddy’s comes but once a year, so you gotta make the most of it!

A very fun night also. I felt the St. Patrick’s Day love!

stpats-love

I hope you guys all had a great weekend and were Irish for at least a day!

The Guac-Off

I am a little late in blogging about this, but a couple Friday’s ago my work had a Guac-Off (guacamole contest) to celebrate the Super Bowl.

guacs

So much guac. We had nine participants in total.

I have to be honest here and say I don’t even really like guacamole all that much. I think because I just LOVE SALSA SO MUCH so if I am eating my tortilla chips with anything, I prefer to eat them with that spicy tomato deliciousness (and a friggin’ lot of it).

But I do like contests or any sort of competition. Quite a lot. Also, the winner received a bottle of Jose Cuervo tequila, and again, not the biggest fan of tequila, but I think winning is more important than the prize.

So I was on board for the guac-off. And having never made guacamole before, I needed a partner who kind of knew what they were doing with guacamole-making if I stood a chance at winning. So I roped in Evan (who LOVES to cook, have I mentioned this? Score again) to help me.

We went out and bought a ton of avocados (and Corona, as you can see in the background, and we also had tacos for dinner to complete our Mexican night).

avocado

We mashed those babies up with a potato masher, and then just started adding ingredients. We didn’t follow a recipe, or Evan didn’t, because I mainly just supervised and let him take over. He put onions, garlic, tomatoes, lime juice, cayenne pepper and cilantro in the food processor and then just added that to the mashed avocado.

ingredients

Which we then mixed together until we had a beautifully creamy guac.

guac

Which was not quite as fluorescent green as it looks in this picture. My iPhone likes to get excited about colours sometimes.

We thought the guac still needed a little somethin’ extra, so Evan had the great idea to add a little tahini as a secret weapon. I think it was a good call.

Honestly our guacamole was really good. Again, no expert here, but I really liked it. By this time I had been taste-testing guacamole for about two hours so I couldn’t tell anymore whether it was good or not, but the next day I was loving it. We didn’t think it was winning guacamole, but it was good!

We had a bunch of leftover taco beef from dinner, and Evan really wanted to add it to the guacamole, which looking back I think would have been an amazing idea. But at the time I voted that down. I love the idea of buafamole (haha), but I thought people would be weirded out by eating beefy guacamole. I kind of wish we did this though… Ah well. Next time.

I felt confident in my entry for the guac-off. My guac was in good company!

guac2

(my guac is in the middle of the above pic)

guac1

There was some gooooood guacamole kicking around.

guac-friends

Alex on my left had a DELICIOUS and extremely well-presented apple tequila guacamole. He let the apples soak in the tequila before adding them to his guac, and I was definitely skeptical about this guacamole recipe when he told me about it the day before…but it was extremely good. His guacamole bowl was the only one that was completely empty by the end of the guac-off. And Christina on the right made a tex mex guacamole, which was also quite delicious.

Some people chose to bring all their ingredients to work and make their guacamole last minute.

last-minute-prep

Which was a good idea, as then your avocado doesn’t brown.

This guacamole was definitely the best presented:

superbowl-guac

I thought this should be the winner before I even tasted it. So creative. I was kicking myself for slacking on presentation after I saw this.

And then the taste-testers rolled in.

taste-test

And we enjoyed our guac with Mexican beer.

beer

I still can’t get over this beer-at-work thing. It’s great.

In the end,  the winner of the guac-off for both presentation and taste went to the football field guacamole, and one of our interns Christina (not the same Christina pictured with me above).

winner

The boys in the background look a little jealous…

But my guacamole did get three votes for taste! Fine, one was my own…but I didn’t expect to receive any votes at all, so I will take that.

I had an extra container of guacamole left and by then I was so sick of guacamole I never wanted to look at it again. Luckily my friends had a girls’ night that evening to rehash all of our Jamaican stories, and you know we love our food tables… My leftover guac fit right in.

snacks

And that was the Guac-Off. Good times.