Out Of Bed And Back To Reality – Media Dinner At Green Eggplant

Green Eggplant

As you know, from my rants and rambles whilst on T3s – I have been practically bedridden for this past week or so. While my surgeon DID say to give myself two weeks of rest – I’ve forced myself back to reality because I’m a rebel like that.

*insert ‘…don’t act like you’re not impressed’ Anchorman joke*

While I could say my first foray into the real world was on Saturday for my niece’s birthday dinner/party…I actually bailed on that pretty quickly. A bunch of 10yr olds screaming and running around is NOT what the doctor ordered after having ear surgery. So…I gave myself a few more days of rest and relaxation, which really wasn’t rest and relaxation because I can only manage to get 3 hours of sleep a night, and I’m still in quite a bit of pain in the ear area…so…yeah.

jenn

But yesterday – I jumped back into the hecticness that we all know my life is and headed out for a media dinner at Green Eggplant with a bunch of other blogger friends. And it’s like Mother Nature knew I needed some beautiful weather so she graced us Torontonians with sunshine and mild temperatures. See photo proof in the above selfie.

Thanks, boo. 

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A Night For The Ladies With HiM Revolution

#HiMRevolution

HiM Promotions is back at it again with an all-new, hot and steamy show – and I’ve got a chance for you to catch it!

Did you know that Handsome International Men were selected to promote the theatrical release of Magic Mike XXL. HiM has been featured on CP24, BT Breakfast Television, Global Morning Show, and e-Talk.

Have you seen HiM? It’s time you did.

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What’s New With Ford Canada At The Canadian International Auto Show (CIAS)

CIAS

It may only be February, but 2016 has already been a whirlwind of a year for me…and I’m loving it! This past weekend was no different. I got to head back to the Canadian International Auto Show (CIAS).

I had visited the CIAS briefly on the media day before the show actually launched, but had to leave early to catch my flight to Quebec City. (You’ll read more about that trip soon!)

Ford Canada brought me out on the CIAS media day to learn more about the automaker’s advancements in safety, including Gorilla Glass. The team set up a hail bazooka shooting giant ice balls at your face, don’t worry – we were protected behind the Gorilla Glass! Though I will admit, it was terrifying standing there having giant ice balls shot at your face!

I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself, “What the heck does JennJenn know about cars?!” And that’s a fair question – because, I really don’t know much. But what I do know is that I throughly enjoy heading out on road trips, and more often than not – I like to drag my two young nieces along for the fun. So learning more about the safety features that different brands are implementing is important…because, I love those rugrats to bits! LOL

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Scot on Scotch – The Glengoyne Way

#ScotonScotch

The Glengoyne Way – “Our craftsmanship can be tasted in every bottle that leaves our distillery.”

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to invite a couple of whisky-loving friends out for a private, intimate dinner and whisky tasting with Neil Boyd, of Glengoyne.

Over the past couple of years I have been fortunate enough to attend many different whisky and scotch tastings, and have developed a taste for both. Being able to chat with, and learn from, different brand ambassadors has given me the ability to strengthen my palate and find what I like, and don’t like, about different whisky and scotchs. 

Glengoyne is filled with bold, complex flavours from the slowest stills in Scotland matured in only the finest sherry casks.

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CONTEST | Win A Romantic Valentine’s Day Dinner For Two At Brassaii Thanks To Zomato

#ZomatoValentines

T-minus 10 days until Valentine’s Day…but no pressure or anything!

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and if you have yet to make plans – don’t fret! I’ve partnered with Zomato to bring you a chance to win a romantic dinner for two (wine and cocktails included!) at Brassaii Restaurant and Lounge.

Brassaii Logo

Brassaii Restaurant and Lounge is Toronto’s sophisticated and cosmopolitan destination. Nestled amidst a romantic cobblestone courtyard patio, Brassaii elevates the finer dining experience by surrounding its guests in what can be described as architectural heritage integrated with modern trends of progressive, SOHO-inspired design innovations.

Brassaii

This past weekend I was lucky enough to have the chance to head out to Brassaii. I hadn’t been in years, and when I say years – I mean YEARS. I hadn’t been since before I moved to Las Vegas in 2010! So needless to say, I was excited to check out the restaurant and lounge, and see what changes they have made over the years.

…and changes they have made!

Brassaii

Brassaii‘s Mediterranean inspired menu is constantly changing to give their guests a new and exciting gustatory experience. Executive Chef, Marcus Monterio specially crafted the menu after travelling and working in 25 countries and 100 cities. 

Combing his fine-dining experience with his newfound knowledge and love of new-aged Mediterranean, Monteiro brings an uncompromised approach to Brassaii’s culinary vision and aims to elevate the menu beyond borders to highlight a vast variety of unexpected Mediterranean cultures.

I often go out to eat and am overwhelmed with options. Pages and pages of menu, leaving me confused and unsure what I should order. Brassaii keeps it simple, with a handful of appetizer and main course options to choose from. There is still a wide variety, so you’re sure to find something no matter how picky your palate may be!

Brassaii

To start, I chose the delicious and light, Arugula + Chicken pictured above. 

Arugula, grilled corn, turtle beans, goats cheese, crispy tortilla and lemon vinaigrette. 

Brassaii

I’m a pasta fiend, so when I see that freshly made pasta is being served, I will almost always order it…like I did at Brassaii when I ordered the Taglioni.

Three cheeses, fresh pasta, beef and veal meatballs, tomato sugo and fresh basil.

Brassaii

After our first and second courses were served, the table beside ours had already ordered dessert. Both Jo and I couldn’t take our eyes off of their dessert options! While the Dark Chocolate Mile High Shard Cake did look impressive, I opted for the Blue Moon Cheesecake. (Don’t worry, Jo got the chocoalte cake – so really, I had the chance to try both. LOL)

Lemon, gin and Crème de Violette with warm apple satellites.

Fun Fact: Pastry Chef, Mark Cheese actually baked for the Queen’s mum

Brassaii

Our dinner was nothing short of amazing, so my go-to restaurant app – Zomato – and I want to give YOU the chance to experience a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner for two at Brassaii!

As soon as you walk into Brassaii, you will be greeted with a custom cocktail made especially for the evening by Mixologist Extrodinare, Orlando. You’ll be swept away for a romantic, VIP Valentine’s Day dinner like no other, featuring a three-course dinner, with wine pairings for each course and ending the night with a bottle of Chandon Brut Classic Sparkling Wine to be enjoyed with dessert.

Valentine’s Day Set Menu

Course 1, with wine glass pairings
Option 1 (Salad): Quinoa and Arugula Salad – apple + goats cheese + dried cranberries + crispy quinoa + fresh pomegranate
Option 2 (Soup):  Roasted onion and Sherry soup with fried pickled onions

Course 2, with wine glass pairings
Option 1 (Vegetarian): Roasted red beet and reduced balsamic Risotto
Option 2 (Fish): Pan seared arctic char + fingerlings + sundried tomato + arugula + yellow pepper burre blanc
Option 3 (Meat): Grilled 6 oz AAA Tenderloin + mashed potato + roasted root vegetables + béarnaise sauce and a crispy horseradish garnish

Course 3, accompanied by a bottle of Chandon Brut Classic Sparkling Wine
Dessert: Strawberry Meringue, Dark Chocolate Seduction

(Value of the dinner is $250 before tax and grat)

Let me, Zomato, and Brassaii take the stress out of planning your Valentine’s Day dinner plans!

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Go Sports! Tailgate At Home (Homegate) For Super Bowl 50

#SB50

Sports, go sports!

In case you’ve been living under a rock, or just don’t follow sports – it’s Super Bowl weekend! And last week I was invited out to celebrate and learn how to host my very own #HOMEgating party at Rock Lobster.

Don’t know what #HOMEgating is? Neither did Ibut how do you say no to an invite that reads,

“Food and drink will of course be provided in Rock Lobster tailgating fashion!”

The answer is – you don’t. 

#SB50

So, I put on my most festive Super Bowl gear (just kidding, I was in a skirt and boots LOL), and headed out to Rock Lobster.

While there, I got to chat with some of the NFL Canada team, (shout out to Daryl for hooking me up with an awesome Super Bowl 50 cap – #selfie to come!) and they told us they wanted to change the way viewers watched the game.

#SB50

While tailgating at games is apparently a blast – often people are watching the games at home, with friends and family. So many people create and build on these traditions, watching the games every Sunday (or Monday, or whatever other night it comes on…Thursday too, I think) – so NFL and NFL Canada decided to partner with Chef Matt Dean Pettit to create some delicious recipes that can easily be made right at home.

And just like that, #HOMEgating was born!

Superbowl 50 Cheeseboard

The night was filled with delicious food, fun games (I threw a football for the first time in my life, and didn’t make too much of an embarrassment of myself! *self high five*) and great company.

Just like any #HOMEgating party should be, right?

Chef Matt Dean Pettit put together an awesome menu of Super Bowl recipes including a West Coast Crab Dip made with Dungeness crabs and served in a breadbowl made to look like a football (how clever!) and even a Football Ham with which you can literally…toss the pig skin!

I’m so PUNNY.

While those recipes were delicious in their own right – the two standouts from the night were the Canuck Chili and the Golden Drumsticks.

Y’all know how much I love me some chicken wings, and while these drumsticks aren’t wings, per se…they were just as good!

Superbowl 50 Golden Drumsticks

photo credit: goatrotichronicles

50 GOLDEN DRUMSTICKS RECIPE – via NFL.com

Chicken wings are fun but for Super Bowl 50 let’s bring the MEAT! You’ll need thick delicious chicken drumsticks for the perfect #HOMEgating party! I love my chicken wings so it makes sense on the big day to make 50 of them!

50 chicken drumsticks
1/2 cup light soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper 2 cups unsalted butter, melted

2 cups hot sauce (choose your favourite) Preheat oven to 425°F.

Rinse chicken drumsticks under water, and pat dry using paper towels.

In a large roasting pan, lay the drumsticks flat and evenly pour across the soy sauce, and sprinkle the brown sugar and black pepper. Using your hands, toss the drumsticks to fully cover them in the marinade mixture. Cover the pan with tin foil. Place pan in the fridge for 30 minutes to allow flavours to combine.

On two large baking sheets, divide the chicken drumsticks, laying them side by side. Place one sheet on the top rack and second sheet on the bottom rack in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile in a small bowl, combine the melted butter and hot sauce. Set aside until needed.

Remove the drumsticks from the oven, and turn each of them over. Baste them with the butter and hot sauce mixture. Reserve the remaining butter and hot sauce mixture. Place the drumsticks back in the oven and bake for another 20 minutes.

Remove the drumsticks from the oven, and toss them in the butter and hot sauce mixture. Eat and watch the Big Game!

Looking for more recipe ideas for your very own #homegating party (or just any day really)? Check out Matt’s 5 Easy Recipes For Your Super Bowl 50 Party HERE

Superbowl 50

Don’t forget to add me on Snapchat for more behind the scenes of the debauchery that is my life – find me: awesomejennjenn

#SB50
#SB50
#SB50

#SB50

CONTEST | Enter To Win A Pair Of Tickets To #iLoveSAWine

#IloveSAwine

Guest Post by Angela Aiello of iYellow Wine Club

At the tip of the African continent where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet, is one of the world’s most wondrous and beautiful grape-growing regions: South Africa. With a Mediterranean climate, picturesque landscape, fascinating history and delicious wines, it’s definitely a place you should add to your travel bucket list.

Most wineries are located in and around Cape Town, making it a must-visit city for wine lovers. With winter here a glass of wine is sure to soothe the soul and bring a smile to everyone’s face. This time of year it’s always nice to get more bang for your buck and sip on something delicious and south African wines offer beauty, value and great taste!

South Africa offers some great examples of red and white blends to sip and enjoy. Pair these wines with white/red meats, seafood and hearty dishes. South Africa offers some great examples of red and white blends to sip and enjoy. Pair these wines with white/red meats, seafood and hearty dishes.

Angela’s Pick: Goats do Roam White $14 + Bellingham Big Oak Red (Cab/Shiraz blend) + Thelema Mountain Red

Chardonnay is a popular grape, planted all over the world, but it does especially well in South Africa. Pair it with your favourite fish dish or seafood and enjoy!

Angela’s Pick: Fleur Du Cap Chardonnay $13

Pinotage is South Africa’s signature red grape and is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault (locally once called Hermitage, hence the blended name). It’s unique to South Africa and known for its chocolate, leather, coffee and smoke characteristics. This wine is a fantastic choice for smoky barbecue flavours.

Angela’s pick: The 2012 Grinder Pinotage, $14

The signature white grape of South Africa, Chenin Blanc makes a crisp and refreshing wine that also ages very well. It can be made oaked or un-oaked. These wines are wonderful on its own or with seafood. The signature white grape of South Africa, Chenin Blanc makes a crisp and refreshing wine that also ages very well. It can be made oaked or un-oaked. These wines are wonderful on its own or with seafood.

Angela’s pick: The Pavillion Chenin Blanc Viognier, $11 + The Wolftrap Viognier Chenin Blanc Grenache Blanc

Although it’s grown in many places around the world, Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa tastes amazing and is very affordable. This wine is a perfect wine to sip solo watching your favourite TV show and/or is the perfect refreshment to enjoy while entertaining friends for brunch.

Angela’s pick: Nederburg Winemaster’s Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, $12

Shiraz is also know as Syrah and is another really wonderful and spicy grape that offers great value and really does taste great from South Africa. Best paired with big red meats, and also worth savouring on its own.

Angela’s pick: Porcupine Ridge Syrah and Durbanville Hills Shiraz

WOSA-I-Heart-South-Africa-Creative

Want to win a chance to try the delicious wines from South Africa? Jenn and the City and iYellow Wine Club can help you do just that!

Enter below for your chance to win a pair of tickets to the #iLoveSAwine event taking place on Saturday, February 13th.

You can also purchase for #iLoveSAwine tickets HERE
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CONTEST | La Dolce Vita At The WedLuxe Wedding Show

#WedLuxeShow

How many engagements did you see on your Facebook timeline over the holidays? I saw four or five on mine.

Tis the season for engagements, am I right?

If you’re one of the newly engaged couples, or are still planning your upcoming nuptials – you should definitely check out the Fifth Annual WedLuxe Wedding Show this weekend!

Meet with, and experience over 100 different wedding vendors at the WedLuxe Wedding Show. This year the show is presented by Oliver & Bonacini Events and Catering, and is featuring a ‘La Dolce Vita’ theme.

Walk into an Italian-inspired journey, sipping your delicious welcome beverage and explore the most talented and elite wedding professionals from all facets of the industry.

WedLuxe Wedding Show

“The one-day show is an opportunity to bring our magazine’s pages to life and showcase some of our favourite wedding trends,” says WedLuxe founder and show producer, Angela Desveaux. “However, it’s much more than your typical vendor show. For our fifth year we’ve designed the show to offer a luxurious experience for guests; an opportunity to touch, taste and immerse themselves in the unique exhibits we have planned.”

At the WedLuxe Wedding Show, guests will have the opportunity to meet and discover vendors for every facet of their wedding. From florists to cake designers; decorators to fashion consultants and boutiques; photographers to entertainers, and everything in between.

The experiential showcase includes:

• ‘Bella Acqua’ Capri-inspired day spa where guests will enjoy pampering by celebrity makeup artist Victoria Radford and her team of beauty experts;

• ‘Palazzo Floreale’ flower market by Teatro Verde will present a stunning display of over 50,000 imported roses and each guest will receive their own bouquet;

• ‘House of Juliet Trattoria’ will serve market-style Italian cuisine by Oliver & Bonacini Events and Catering including hand-rolled ricotta gnocchi, with gelato from Hotel Gelato and Italian soda courtesy of FireDog

• ‘The Saint Lucia Sweet Life Cocoa Bar’ will treat guests to a variety of decadent chocolate treats using cocoa specially imported from St. Lucia for the WedLuxe show, in partnership with Patricia’s Cake Creations. Here they will also have an opportunity to win a Honeymoon vacation to one of the island’s luxury resorts.

wedluxe wedding show

Sponsored by Hudson’s Bay Gift Registryand Kleinfeld Hudson’s Bay, the show has received critical acclaim from members of the luxury wedding industry across North America and has been hailed as one of the best wedding shows in the world.

All ticket holders are also invited to the signature luxury ‘Bianco Nero’ gifting bar to receive a tote bag valued at over $100 per guest, filled with special surprises from WedLuxe Media and partners.

The WedLuxe Wedding Show takes place on Sunday, January 10 from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm at The Carlu (444 Yonge St., 7th floor).

Regular tickets ($75) are available until show date.

Purchase 2016 WedLuxe Show Tickets HERE

WedLuxe is a multi-faceted and highly established wedding media company with five core channels including the bi-annual WedLuxe magazine, Wedluxe.com, The WedLuxe Wedding Show, the monthly WedLuxe Trend Report and the ever-expanding WedLuxe social media community. Annually, over 1.5 million people trust WedLuxe to deliver original content, up-to-date information, luxury wedding trends and endless inspiration. For more information please visit www.wedluxe.com.

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Toronto’s Newest Date Night Hot Spot – Paint Cabin

Paint Cabin

I recently headed out for a VIP media event at Paint Cabin and as soon as I walked into the space – I was in love. You can see the hard work that owner Gord had put into building this space over the past year. After taking his first painting class 2 summers ago, Gord knew that he wanted to create a space for beginners and experts alike – where they could develop and create, and have an overall experience like no other.

Paint Cabin

Paint Cabin is a rustic new coffee house and fully-licensed art bar in Leslieville where Torontonians can tap into their artistic potential in a laid-back, social atmosphere with intimate art workshops, quality instruction, top-notch art supplies and great food and drink.

Paint Cabin

Paint Cabin offers an ideal setting for your next date night! Whether it’s a first date, or if it is your 50th – planning an Art Night Date Night is sure to be a great time, even if you think you have no artistic ability.

Paint Cabin

People can be intimidated by art, and here we break it down and make it easy. In building Paint Cabin, we have created an atmosphere of artistic encouragement no matter your level of talent.

Paint Cabin

Worried you’ll make a fool of yourself attempting to create a masterpiece? Don’t worry – I was too! But, lucky for us, Paint Cabin offers 2.5 hour art workshops catered to beginner and intermediate artists. You can try your artistic hand at five different mediums – watercolour, acrylic paint, woodcut art, mixed media and sketching. Best of all – you get to keep what you create!

Paint Cabin

A little liquid courage is always great, right? Your Art Night Date Night can be spent getting messy creating art (don’t worry – Paint Cabin will provide stylish smocks) and sipping on local craft brews and wines. If you don’t want to take a chance creating your art whilst drinking – you can always have some specialty coffee and sweet treats instead.

Paint Cabin

The sweet treats are brought in by local Toronto bakeries, and the menu is switched up regularly. The night I was in, I devoured a piece of banana bread chocolate cake from Wanda’s Pie in the Sky that was like heaven in my mouth. Seriously – I am trying to keep it PG here – but it was one of the best things to ever be in my mouth.

Paint Cabin

During non-workshop hours on the weekends, Paint Cabin operates as an open art studio for budding and professional artists alike, who are welcome to bring their own materials and use the easels and communal art table for as long as they like with a purchase from the cafe. Canvases and other art materials are also available for purchase.

Paint Cabin

Paint Cabin

Et voila! My final masterpiece! I’m in love with it so much!

With mental health hitting so close to home for many, myself included – we chatted and discussed the idea of auctioning my piece off with all of the proceeds going to CAMH…if anyone is interested in doing that – let me know!

You can check out all of the pictures from my experience at the VIP media event at Paint Cabin ~> HERE

So, what are you waiting for? Ask that cutie out – and suggest an Art Night Date Night at Paint Cabin!

#FLM2015 | It Feels Good To Use Your Own Money – Finding Your Financial Sweet Spot with Interac

Interac

Even though I don’t use credit cards often, and mostly rely on my Interac Debit Visa – I will be the first to admit that my money spending and lack of saving habits are not too great. In my early twenties I was working in nightclubs, making cash every night and I would often splurge and impulse shop the very next day, which has resulted in an overflowing closet full of clothes and shoes.

My friends and family have benefited from my terrible financial habits though, because every couple of months I will go through all my stuff and purge. I usually find things that I forgot I bought, which still have tags on them – as well as things that I haven’t seen in years and will no longer wear.  This results in friends and family getting first dibs on whatever they’d like, and then I usually donate the rest.

Then, of course, I see that I have empty closet space – and repeat the vicious cycle all over again.

I have to say though, that over the past few years I have gotten a lot better. I’ve moved a few times, and am now in a smaller apartment with less storage space – so I’m more conscious of my spending. Well that is on clothing and shoes – when it comes to food and eating out – that is likely my biggest weakness right now.

I rarely cook at home, I’m usually out and about at events and then the nights I do stay home – I’m usually too tired lazy to cook – so, I will either head out (I love me some chicken wings!) or order in (#PizzaPartyForOne).

This habit is no good for my wallet – or my waist line!

Interac

November is Financial Literacy Month and Interac recently invited me out  for an evening of fabulous food and personal finance fundamentals, to help me (and subsequently you) find the “financial sweet spot” to suit our unique lifestyle and goals.

Financial temptation comes in many forms. Be it eating out too often, buying far too many clothes, concert tickets, vacations – and everything else – we are surrounded by ways to spend our hard earned moola! Of course it’s ok to treat ourselves, but it’s important to find a realistic balance between spending and saving.

“Money management is not something you learn overnight – it’s a skill that improves with practice,” said Teri Murphy, Senior Manager, Corporate and Stakeholder Relations, Interac Association and Acxsys Corporation. “A conscientious approach to personal finance that consists of creating and following a budget and establishing wise spending practices, including using payment cards responsibly, can help Canadians stay on top of their goals.”

Interac

Over dinner, Interac experts Teri Murphy and Caroline Hubberstey lead an interactive session and open discussion on money management while debunking common myths. We went over different ways that we could save and improve our “financial sweet spot.” It’s important to set goals and ensure you have a plan to attain them.

“Having realistic, measurable and attainable financial goals is key to success. But so is making sure you have the right tools – like a budget – and habits to help you achieve those financial milestones.”

Interac Flash Cards

So, here are a few tips and tricks to help you not only get out of debt – but also take the steps necessary to start saving for the future, meet your financial goals and find your “financial sweet spot:”

  1. Have routines such as creating meal plans and having a set grocery list. Meal plans and set grocery lists will help stretch your dollars, and curb your waistline while you’re at it! Wins all around! (Side note: never go grocery shopping hungry!)
  2. Keep track of all of the money going in and out of your bank account, and pay off your credit cards in full every month to avoid unnecessary interest charges.
  3. Set aside time each month to review your finances and see what changes should be made.
  4. No more impulse shopping. If you really want it, snap a pic – wait a couple days and then look back on it. If you still have that burning desire to buy it – review your finances and if it is feasible without setting you back – go for it.
  5. Compare! There are tons of apps out there, such as Flipp, to help you price match and find the best deals. You’d be surprised just how easy it is! Another great one is Checkout 51 which offers different coupons weekly.
  6. Avoid those fancy schmancy lattes. As a non coffee drinker, I’m sure this is easier said than done – but, ditch the expensive daily drinks. Purchase yourself an at-home machine – like a Keurig, and take your drinks on the go. They’re just as good (so I’ve heard) and will cost a fraction of the price – saving you big money in the end.