WOOFSTOCK 2014

This weekend Dan and I took Frankly to Woofstock. For those who have no idea what it is, it’s essentially a giant festival all dedicated to – you guessed it – DOGS! We were partly going because we had never been there before, but we were also showing our support for Frankly’s best friend – Paddington – who was going to be in the dog fashion show.

I remember when Woofstock first started in Toronto, it was on Front Street and took up an entire block. HA – that seems laughable now because this year Woofstock has grown to attract THOUSANDS of people and their dogs, and subsequently this weekend it was held at Woodbine Park to accommodate it’s growing scale.

The whole experience for me was fun – but I think we got more joy and excitement out of just seeing Frankly super happy more than anything else.

This must be what parents feel like when they take their kids to Wonderland or Disneyworld. It’s not REALLY fun for the parents but just seeing their kids SO excited makes it all worth it!

Here’s a breakdown of how the whole day went down:

1. Woke up early in the morning since the festival started at 10am!  I kept asking Franks if she was excited for Woofstock.  She didn’t know what was going on except knew we were going somewhere.

2. In the car heading to Woodbine Park I tried to once again, ask Frankly if she knew what was going on. She had no idea, she was just preoccupied with being in love with Dan.

Frankly Enroute

Frankly looks sad in the pic below. She clearly didn’t know up from down, so I had to breakdown exactly what Woofstock was for her and how she would get to see HUNDREDS of different dogs.

Frankly Enroute 2

This explanation seemed to have gotten through to her because she became focused on wanting to get to Woodbine Park. LETS GO!

Frankly Enroute 3

3. Parking – ughhhh – there was a line to pay $15 for parking in a special designated lot OR another section where you pay the meter. $15 seemed outrageous to me so we opted for the meter lot and I was thankful! It was only $4 BUT the line up to pay for the meter had about 20 people in it and growing! It took us half an hour at least to pay for parking. Below pic is of Frankly waiting in line with us and meeting another dog while we waited – Golden Retriever puppy (my fave!)

Waiting for parking

4. SNACK TIME (for Mom) – all the hustle and bustle of getting out the door made me feel ravenous. Had to go to the food trucks and try some festival delights – I got something Malaysian. It was NOTSO great. Below is Frankly + Dan patiently waiting for me as I waited in line to get food (story of their lives).

Getting a snack

5. While waiting for the show to start, Frankly got really tired. So she actually ended up laying on the grass and finding a friend to chill with. And by finding a friend to chill with, I mean she found a big poodle and decided to use the poodle as a pillow. The poodle’s owner didn’t seem to mind. See below:

Poodle pillow 2

Poodle Pillow

6. FASHION SHOW STARTS – Frankly waiting and watching the show. Here were her thoughts:

“What’s happening??”

Being Held

“OH is it starting yet??? I can’t see anything. I’m thirsty.”

Is it starting

“OHHH I SEE PADDINGTON!!!!”  (look at that face of pure joy!)

This show is so good

Look how cute Paddington is in the sweater he was modelling. These two are crazy about each other. We all need BEST FRIENDS in life!

Paddington Fashion model

“OK the show is over now. Can we go home now?? I’m tired”

Are we done yet

7. After the fashion show, we were all exhausted. So we promptly went home.

See pic below of her parking herself in front of the door, so she would be alerted if we decided to leave. She seems to be growing smarter (sometimes)!

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Shopping at Kensington has become one of my favourite things to do early Saturday mornings.  Prior to this, the bulk of my grocery shopping was done at Maple Leaf Loblaws – which I still have a soft spot in my heart for – however I have come to realize how outrageously expensive it is compared to what I can get at Kensington.

Kensington generic pic

Here’s the thing – shopping at Kensington Market is actually AMAZING and can take the same amount of time it takes you to shop at a big grocery store, but you can get WAY more stuff for HALF the cost. Not only that, the stuff I’m getting is actually better in terms of quality (locally sourced, hormone free, sustainably raised, etc).

Here’s my guide for tackling Kensington because it can be overwhelming if you’re not familiar with where to go. The key difference is that unlike a big box grocery store that’s got dozens of aisles, the things you need to regularly get (i.e. protein, cheese, fruits & veggies) are spread out across different shops along the streets of Kensington.

Kensington Drawn Map

Please use my exact routine below as a guide for you to experience Kensington on your own terms! Note: Shopping in Kensington is also amazing for anyone who likes to snack while they shop! If you see me there next time – don’t judge me if I’m stuffing my face with food.

Jimmys Coffee

 

Jimmys Hot Mess

1. Jimmy’s Coffee (191 Baldwin Street)

I always start my voyage to Kensington with a trip to Jimmy’s first to get caffeinated! Nothing makes me happier than starting the weekend off right with a great cup of java, and Jimmy’s NEVER disappoints!

2. SNACK TIME! After getting my coffee, I always like to indulge in a treat to start my day. The following are places I’ve indulged in for my treat, I highly suggest you try any or ALL of them:

Patty King

Patty King (187 Baldwin) – best beef patties EVER! Seriously! But they have tons of other patties too: chicken, goat, vegetarian, etc.  They don’t call ’em the king for nothing!

My Market Bakery (172 Baldwin Street) – baked goods galore!! SO many it makes my heart sing. I always get the Portuguese egg tarts here, and they’re a steal for $1.00 a pop vs. Le Gourmand (so bougie) charges close to $3!

Panchos Bakery (214 Augusta) – I get their churros here. DIVINE. You even pick what you want your churro filled with and can watch them inject your churro with your desired filling. I always choose dulce de leche 🙂

Ok – after I’ve taken care of 1) Coffee and 2) Snack then it’s on to actually doing some legit grocery shopping!  Lets continue…

Sanagan's Meat Locker

3. Sanagon’s Meat Shop (176 Baldwin Street)- owned by Peter Sanagon who they dub the “Ethical Butcher” – this place is for SERIOUS carnivores! I trust everything that I buy here as everything is locally sourced.   All their meat and poultry is provided by small Ontario farmers who ethically raise their animals.  Going here reminds me of grocery shopping with my mom when I was a kid, when we could go and have to get a ‘number’ from a little dispenser and then you wait until your number is called before you’re served by someone.  Straight up old school style here but don’t be fooled – the staff KNOW THEIR stuff.

I don’t even have to QUESTION anything I’m buying here. If you’re ever having a barbecue, this is the place to get quality cuts of meat. Ever since Dan & I started shopping here, we’ve also been more adventurous in our cooking because there’s just all these different types of meats that we would normally not be inclined to buy at a regular grocery store.

4. Global Cheese Shoppe (76 Kensington) – anything and everything cheese here.  No more shopping for overpriced fromage at Loblaws! I can get the exact same cheese for almost half the cost here – and the taste is WAY FRESHER.

5. Kensington Fruit Market (34 Andrew Street) – this place is the bomb for anything and everything fruit & veggie related.  I love cooking with leeks and when I would get it at Loblaws it would cost $4! That’s crazy if you think leeks are the equivalent of an onion! Here – Leeks are $1.99. NO CONTEST

206 Hooked

6. Hooked (206 Baldwin Street) – I had been taking a holistic nutrition workshop for the past 6 weeks and the instructor RAVED about getting her seafood from Hooked. There’s only 2 locations in Toronto and one of them is in Kensington (YES!). The seafood here is way more expensive than what you get at Loblaws BUT all their seafood is guaranteed to be fished with ethical and sustainable methods – Oceanwise certified. This place is owned by professional chefs who bypass the traditional supply chain and just buy directly from the producers so they know exactly where their fish is caught.

Below are also two of the best places in Toronto to get all things health or organic related! Products I purchase from either stores include: vitamins, supplements, spices, gluten free flour/anything, spices, organic chocolate, organic ANYTHING:

7. Tutti Frutti (64 Kensington Ave)

8. Essence of Life Organics (50 Kensington Ave)

BREAK TIME!!!!! Ok so I’ve taken care of all my grocery shopping for the week and now I’m HUNGRIES again. BACK to the snack train – here are 2 favourites I’ve recently visited that I MUST add to my rotation. Note these are better as breaks for lunch:

Seven Lives Taco

Seven Lives Tacos (69 Kensington Ave) – TACOS TACOS TACOS for $5. SOOO good. I have only been here once and got the blackened mahi mahi taco and now I must go back to try all of them. I take my tacos seriously – addicted to Grand Electric and La Carnita – BUT I have to say 7 Lives definitely measures up to these heavy contenders. TRES delicious to end your Kensington grocery trip with a little taco reward.

rasta-pasta-toronto

Rasta Pasta (61 Kensington Ave) – best jerk chicken ever. This tiny little place PUNCHES your face with the overwhelming smell of jerk chicken as soon as you step in. Get the Jerk Chicken Lunch special – rice with beans, some veggies and succulent pieces of jerk chicken that they place directly in your container from the barbecue – all for $5.00! You can’t beat it.  Note: man in the above pic is the one on barbecue duty! Sir – you KNOW what you are doing. #thatsall

 

Ok I know I had been raging earlier about the difference in price (not to mention quality) btwn shopping at Kensington vs. Loblaws. So just as a simple exercise, I included what I got on a recent grocery trip I took at Kensington – the grand total being $85.  Compare everything I got below with getting the equivalent at Loblaws which normally would set me back btwn $150-$200!  #WINNERWINNERCHICKENDINNER

Sanagon’s Meat Shop ($30)

– 3 beef siracha sausages

– 2 chicken breasts

– 200 grams of roast beef

– bundle of pepperettes

Global Cheese shop ($18)

– Applewood cheese

– Stilton

– Goat milk’s feta

– Container of organic sun-dried tomatoes

Hooked ($13)

– 2 slices of cod

Kensington Fruit Market ($24)

– 2lb bag of carrots

– Leeks

– 2 sweet onions

– bag of arugala

– mushroom buttons

– large zucchini

– kale

– 1 yellow + 1 red pepper

– baby bok choi

– broccoli

– thai chili

JAY Z VS. SOLANGE: THE WORKING THEORIES

HOLY CANOLI I haven’t been able to focus since yesterday when the video of Solange Knowles (if you’re living under a rock that’s Beyonce’s kid sister) blew up the Internet with her trying to beat the crap out of Jay Z in an elevator after the Met Gala. Here’s what we know:

1. This happened AT the Met Gala in the elevator of The Standard hotel in NYC

2. Beyonce was in the elevator first along with a body guard when Jay Z and Solange breeze through – that’s when things start getting PHYSICAL

3. While Solange is throwing fists and lunging after Jay Z, the body guard had to step in and restrain Solange

4. Emotionally absent from all of this was our dear BEY! She watched the whole thing go down in the corner of the elevator – not moving or doing anything!

This elevator footage was taken a few days ago when the Met Gala occurred. Fast forward to present day where Jay Z and Beyonce were seen watching a basketball game courtside, even after the video was leaked. This was a purely calculated move which makes me want to bow down to QUEEN BEY! They were clearly sending a message to us: UNITED FRONT – nothing is going to tear down Hova and our B! Sidenote: I know this is really selfish of me but when all this stuff was going down, my first thought was: Oh no! I hope this doesn’t jeopardize the JayZ/Beyonce concert I have tickets for in July! ha

Now everyone and their mother is wondering WHAT THE FUNK happened to enrage Solange? Here are my theories:

1. Solange caught Jay Z getting some strange (haha I learned that phrase today from my dear coworker, I literally had no idea what it meant) and that caused Solange to FLIP out in defense of her sister!!! Nobody and I mean NOBODY cheats on her sister!

2. Jay Z catches Solange doing something bad, VERY bad. Maybe he catches her in the midst of a huge coke binge and tries to stop her, thrashing his arms and throwing away all the coke she was in the midst of snorting up her nose.  He heads back to the elevator to his dear wifey and Solange LOSES it because she has a drug problem and NOBODY stands in her way of getting her fix!

3. Jay Z and Beyonce have some sort of physical altercation that Solange witnesses. She does not take kindly to anybody tumbling her sister around and races to catch up to him in the elevator screaming “YOU HIT MY SISTER??!!! I HIT YOU” and then cue all her limbs flying that we see on the footage.

4. Solange is manic and bipolar and has had a long history of tantrums and erratic behaviour.  This is the strongest theory I can glean from the Internet so far, since there seems to be multiple reports of her “blowing up” in the past, including that very night she allegedly screamed at many people including the fashion designer Rachel Roy.  Beyonce, knowing her sister’s long history of erratic tantrums and behaviour stands silently in the elevator because she’s “use” to her sister and feels like she has to disengage from it all.

SO FAR nobody is confirming or commenting on anything, so the Internet world is left to pour threw every morsel of social media to infer any facts. Newest revelation is that apparently Solange deleted all but ONE photo that contained her dear sister in them. The rest are now all MYSTERIOUSLY gone.  CLASSIC passive aggressive move Solange, CLASSIC.

And now we all wait in anticipation until someone officially comes forward with what is going on. In the mean time, my list of “theories” continues to GROW!

LIVING WITH A SPECIAL NEEDS CONEHEAD

Sad conehead

Sad conehead

2 weeks ago Frankly got spayed! If any of you have had a dog, you can likely sympathize on how sad it is to see your dog wear the cone of shame (but kinda cute and funny too since they look ridiculous!). I knew that she was going to be bummed after it happened but what I didn’t expect was all the ADJUSTMENTS that Dan and I would have to make in the Broten-Hung household to accommodate the special needs of her cone.  The following is a list I’ve compiled of the surprises and adjustments we discovered:

Sleepy conehead

Little to no movement for the first 4 days: Franks is normally quite the mover and shaker so it was pretty heart breaking to see her not move around like she normally did. First four days pretty much consisted of her laying on her bed. When she did move to go towards her food and water, it was more of an uncomfortable shuffle.  Not to make it about me or anything, but it definitely bummed me hard when nobody was whining and begging me not to leave in the morning or racing to come see me as soon as I opened the door. All I got was a dazed look from a pup in pain!

Sleeping with Conehead

Giant Frankenstein scar on her abdomen: I thought being spayed was a fairly routine procedure – and it is. But I guess I didn’t REALLY know what was involved or how invasive of surgery it is.  Turns out that ugly Frankenstein scar was because they REMOVED HER UTERUS AND OVARIES.  No WONDER she was lifeless for the first four days. If someone removed my reproductive system, I would imagine the recovery time would be much much longer.

Walking conehead

No spacial awareness of the cone: Frankly’s cone is like inviting a bull into a china shop.  She has NO awareness that the space required to accommodate her head is tripled due to the funnel. She returned to her relatively normal rambunctious self on day 5 and tried to do all the same things she did before in terms of running and playing around. Her cone however had OTHER ideas. Many things were bumped, scratched or jostled due to the needs of the cone! When I was home with her, I was constantly running into the living room once an hour because I thought something crashed or fell on the ground. NOPE – always her, bumping her cone around like it was a grand ol’ party.

Oh god SHE SMELLS:  So normally we bathe Frankly about once a week. Well timing was poor when she had her surgery because it fell on a Wednesday, and the night before she actually had her puppy class where she runs around with dogs 2-3X her size who slobber all over her (she loves it! I don’t).  So Tues evening by the time she got home, it was so late that neither Dan and I felt like giving her a bath.  BAD IDEA – because the next morning she immediately went to get fixed and after, the vet told us she a) had to keep the cone on for 10 days and couldn’t get wet and b) we couldn’t give her a full bath until 2 weeks from the date of her surgery!! OH great, not only did we submit a smelly dog to get fixed, we would be stuck having her get smellier and smellier until we could give her a bath 2 weeks later!  Lets just say by day 8 – it was pretty unbearable for all of us.

Conefree

All in all, I can happily report that Frankly has recovered quite nicely from her surgery and has returned to living a life that is CONE FREE.  Mom, Dad + Pup are QUITE happy about this – all for different reasons likely. HA!