Media, Darling: Hannah Yakobi

Hannah Yakobi is an award-winning journalist and communications specialist.
Throughout her career, she has written for the
National Post, OK! Magazine,
Canwest newspaper network and dozens of publications worldwide. She is
currently the editor-in-chief of
FAJO Magazine, an international publication with staff in
Canada, U.S., U.K. and Italy.

Over the past decade, Yakobi has interviewed and photographed many fashion
and entertainment icons, including John Fluevog, Mariah Carey, Jeanne Beker,
Enrique Iglesias, Deepak Chopra, Catherine Malandrino, Paul Venoit and Bryan Adams. A graduate of Carleton University‘s renowned school of journalism,
Yakobi speaks four languages and has lived in five countries. In her free time,
she enjoys raising awareness and funds for various Canadian and international

Dress by David Dixon. Photography
by Robin Gartner for FAJO Magazine.

Twitter: @FajoMagazine,


Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on
the horizon? 

My career trajectory was somewhat unpredictable: I wanted to be a ballet dancer when I was very young (who didn’t?), for many years I dreamed of becoming a fashion designer (I even took some courses)
and later I briefly thought psychology was the field for me. But then, at 18, I became a
reporter and have never looked back. 

Where would you like to be five years from now?
I’d like to continue to do exactly what I’m
doing now, but on an even larger scale.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
You need to be hard-working and dedicated. Some
people have an expectation that fashion is all about glamour and fabulous
parties – it certainly does have that, but in order to stay in this industry
for a long time, you need to earn it. Expect long hours and plenty of stress.
When you start, say “yes” to almost everything. And never be rude to anyone –
it’s a small industry and the word about bad behaviour travels fast. 

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own? 
I grew up reading Harper’s Bazaar, so that
publication has always had a very special place in my heart. And I love the
British edition of Glamour, the small, mini-size version – I’ve been reading it
for years.

Best interview you’ve ever had?
Dominique Szabo, Senior Vice-President of Estee
Lauder. She was remarkable on every level.

This is a hard question. I’ve had some
interviews that didn’t start on a good note. But almost always, after chatting
with each other, the interviewee and I were able to get the conversation

Many of my friends who are also journalists
frequently tell me crazy stories about some of their interviews. I think I have
been lucky to never experience that. At least – not yet.   

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
“University education is very important” is what
my grandfather always used to say. When I got my degree, I understood the value
of those words.

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Hard work pays off. 

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Do the research before you contact media folks.
If someone says they are not interested in a pitch, do not pressure them.
Maintain relationships with people. 

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
The folks at National PR. They are quite

I hate?
Cold weather, pretentious behaviour,

I love?
Charity work, hosting parties, travel and
getting my hair done. 

About to re-read Life of Pi. Just saw the movie
in December and loved it, so decided to read the book again.  

Best place on earth?
Barcelona, Spain.

Dinner guest?
Valentino Garavani. I have great respect for
that man. 

My mother. She is an incredible woman, who has
dedicated her life to my sister and I. She has had quite a spectacular career,
and always has incredible business ideas. 

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?

Pool or ocean?
Can I say “the sea”? Mediterranean sea!

Voicemail or email?
If you want to chat, I’m on my phone. If you
want a response right away and it has to do with business, email is where you
can find me.

Rave: Better Sex in No Time

Maybe there isn’t anything sexy about bulky
winter jackets and clunky boots but there is no denying that one of the best
ways to stay warm during these cold months is, well…body heat. After a long day
of work and trudging around in the snow (or rain, as it happens today), we know you may not be in the mood to
get up close and personal with that special someone – and so does sexpert
Josey Vogels, author of Better Sex in No Time – A Guide for Busy Couples. We had a
chance to speak with Vogels about the book, and a few simple ways to have better
sex in no time.

So Josey, what prompted you to write this book in the first place?
I’ve been writing about
this stuff for awhile, almost 28 years in fact. This is my sixth book and when it came to coming up with another book
idea, one of the things I really felt like I was hearing was that despite all
the great sex advice they’ve heard over the years, between kids and having jobs
and social lives, a lot of couples think “my God, by the time we end up in bed
together, I’m so tired that the idea of sex is just the furthest thing from my
brain.” These are couples that generally like each other
and feel like they want to have more sex, but their lifestyles and
schedules just aren’t allowing it. It seemed to be a really common
problem and on top of that, I think that in this day and age, couples are
feeling a lot of stress because everywhere they look in this
sexualized culture, it seems like everyone is having better, faster, stronger sex. Here they are
saying to themselves, ‘We’ve been together for a while and we have kind of lost
some of the spark; how can we get that back?’
28 years! That’s a pretty long time. Do you think that a book like
this is more necessary now than when you first started out?
Definitely. I wouldn’t want to send us back to the 50s when
most families were living off a single income and mom stayed at home, but the
truth of the matter is that studies have shown that couples were having more
sex in that era. There was just more time
for it and I think that now, the expectations are so high we put a lot of
pressure on ourselves to be involved in everything. And technology, despite making our lives easier, in
some ways actually is a real-time suck. Sometimes it’s easier to zone out in
front of the TV or in front of your computer than it is to really delve into
your psyche and try to dig up that passion and desire for your partner.
Would you say the book is targeted specifically for couples that
have lost the spark? Or as a precautionary measure for new couples as well?
It’s funny, I was just
talking to someone yesterday who was in a relationship that she left because
the sexual compatibility wasn’t there, and she’s now with somebody that she’s
very sexually compatible with. Her boyfriend saw her reading the book and
said “we don’t need that” but you know
what, I wouldn’t be so quick to judge. In some ways, when you’re in
that early stage and you’re just so into
each other, it’s actually a good time to start talking about it. When you’re both really open and you’re
feeling really sexually connected you can build a more varied repertoire so
when things do get a little stale you know how to
change it up and you’re comfortable enough with each other to explore.
The first few chapters of the book really focus on the non-sexual
aspects of the relationship, like romance and seduction and going on
dates. Would it be fair to say that the
major hurdle couples are facing isn’t just a lack of sex, but intimacy?
Absolutely. If there’s one
message I want people to get from the book, it’s that. I hear from couples all
the time that they’re like two ships that pass in the night – they barely
see each other.  They finally get some
time together on the weekend but they are so disconnected during the week that
the expectation that they’re going to fall into each other’s arms is pretty
unrealistic. It’s not all about the grand gestures, it’s about the little things
every day that keep you connected. Connection leads to sex and vice versa, so if you’re staying
close when you do have some time, sex won’t feel so far out of reach. 
Now by the end of the book we see the opposite extreme.  We’re talking whole chapters on toys and
kink. Do you think books like this, and
the popularity of books like 
50 Shades of Grey have lifted that taboo and made it more
I don’t want to say its
more mainstream but it definitely opens the door to curiosity and to women
thinking “you know what, this whole sex thing is kinda fun and maybe I’m
allowed to be more curious and maybe I’m allowed to push the limits of what I
expect from sex.” You don’t have to build a dungeon in your basement any time
soon, but engage in a little light bondage, a little spanking, playing with pain
and pleasure, role playing. When you’re with somebody
for a long time, people fall into a rut  and can start to follow a
script when it comes to sex. One of the things that I think is really great about being a little bit more experimental is that it breaks some
of those scripts and injects some adventure into your sex
We’re pretty open minded up here on the Fourth Floor but we’ve got
to admit, even we were blushing at some parts of the book. What do you
recommend to help the more bashful couples out there, to help them out of their
comfort zone?
Just considering the book
is a good first step. I never encourage people to get so far out of their
comfort zone that it is damaging psychologically or that it creates resentment. I talk a lot about the trust
that you have to have with a partner to be able to go a bit further with your
sex life. I think that it starts with
just talking, and reading a book like this – even just little parts of it. There is nothing that says you
have to act upon it right away. It’s a way of opening up the door a little bit
and opening up that communication so you can discover things you didn’t know about your partner. The whole philosophy of this book is
that everything you want in life you have to achieve in baby steps – you’re not
going to run a marathon tomorrow if you’ve never put on a pair of running shoes. It’s all about taking a step and building on that and not worrying about
what everyone else is doing. Just do
what is comfortable for the two of you and explore it together because you two
are the only ones involved in your sex life (unless you want to bring in
We like that the book isn’t so much about making time, but making
the most of the time that you have.
Exactly, that’s a great way
to put it. People say “we’d love to be having more sex”  but
what does that mean? It’s an abstract goal. What about a deep kiss in the morning before you
leave before work instead of that perfunctory quick kiss, deepening your
connection and just being more in the moment with each other for 10 seconds. If you have a minute, send a flirtatious text or an email letting them know a nice thing
you appreciated that they did that day. All those things build on each other. It’s like
with the analogy of losing weight, though its not a very sexy, you start by taking
the stairs instead of the escalator, salad instead of fries, and then you
eventually achieve your goal. But thinking about it as an abstract thing
that you’ll someday get to is sort of self-defeating.
The most romantic day of the year is coming up. Any special plans
for Valentines Day?
Unfortunately my husband is
working at a car show, and I’ll be working media all day, which is often the
problem we have with Valentine’s Day. We
usually end up celebrating Valentine’s Day on a different day which is fine – my
whole thing is about the focus on connection. As opposed to going for the
grand gesture and big expensive dinner, dozen roses and all the clichés, to me it’s an opportunity to plan a date. It’s marked on the calendar for
you to make a plan that is focused on the two of you. If
you have kids, ship them off with a babysitter and get a hotel room. Hell, order a pizza and throw a blanket on the living room floor
with a nice bottle of wine – whatever works, as long as it’s just the two of you. That’s the most
romantic thing you can do in whatever form it takes.

For more advice from Josey about being in the moment and keeping
things hot in and out of the bedroom, check out Better Sex in No Time.

Yum, Yum: Ryoji Ramen & Izakaya

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year,
you’ll know that Toronto’s ramen scene is booming (yes, we now have a ramen ‘scene’).
So when we heard that 
Ryoji Ramen
& Izakaya
 (690 College St.) was opening its first international location in Toronto
(booming ramen scene, like we said), we knew we had to check it out.

The first thing you notice about Ryoji is the sheer size of the place.
The restaurant seats 103 people via an assortment of booths, bar seats, leather chairs
and a large communal table. Not only is the space huge, it’s beautifully
decorated. Wood, mirrors and lights are the central themes of the restaurant,
creating an ambiance that makes you feel like you’re no longer in Toronto. 

Great ambiance and design.
Wood, lights and mirrored ceilings transport you from Toronto to ramen land.

Not only is the decor spectacular, but the food is pretty
darn good too. The menu ranges from tapas & salads to homemade tofu to deep-fried
and grilled items, and of course Toronto’s food du jour, ramen. We started with
the delicious Poki Salad, a Hawaiian-style salad with fresh fish sashimi and citrus fruit
on top of mixed greens, topped with Ryoji’s sweet chili dressing ($10).
Confused by the Hawaii reference, our dinner guest kindly pointed out that Japan and
Hawaii aren’t that far apart (duly noted for our next Cash Cab appearance).
Hawaiian + Japanese = a luau in our mouths.

What we love so much about Ryoji is that many of the dishes
are specific to Okinawa, an island south of mainland Japan, like ji-ma-mi, homemade peanut tofu ($6). This isn’t
your typical tofu, ji-ma-mi is made from boiled peanut extract and flour that
create a sticky and smooth tofu-like dish. Topped with a finger-licking good
sauce (soy, ginger and brown sugar we think), peanut tofu is something you’ll just have to experience yourself.
Eat like the Okinawans and try the ji-ma-mi; definitely not your average tofu.

Now, we’re not ramen aficionados but this is one seriously
kick ass bowl of soup. Ryoji offers three types of ramen: Otoko-Aji (Tonkotsu),
a rich pork bone broth topped with chashu (pork belly), bean sprouts, scallions
and kikurage mushrooms ($11); Onna-Aji (Shio), a light and flavourful chicken
and pork bone broth topped with chashu, leek konbu, fish cake and dried seaweed ($11); and Ryoji black, the restaurant’s own soya based Ramen – spinach, chashu,
cabbage, menna, leek and yaki-nori ($12). 
Not only were we head over heels with the Shio ramen, but we found a real-life emoji.

Last on the docket was our pick from the fried menu, Ryoji takoyaki – fried mashed potato balls
with octopus, tonkatsu sauce and mayo ($7). Ideal for sharing, these are like a Japanese take on Tater Tots, with an octopus surprise in the middle. 
Deep fry pretty much anything and we’re game. 

As per usual, we suggest going with a group of people so you can sample as much of the vast menu as possible.  

City Living: Patti Smith

Having recently finished Just Kids, Patti Smith’s memoir on her relationship with the late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, we were excited to find more (and local) opportunities to be transported back into the world of the Chelsea Hotel, Janis Joplin and when art was simply a way of life. For those who’ve heard the name but aren’t familiar with her story, Patti Smith is a singer-songwriter, poet and visual artist whose debut album Horses earned her the name “Godmother of Punk” and made her a key influencer in the 1970s New York punk rock movement. 

“Because the Night”, which was co-written with Bruce Springsteen, is Smith’s most widely known song, and reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1978. In 2005, she was named a Commandeuse of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture, and in 2007, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

This winter/spring, Torontonians will be able to experience Patti Smith through her various art forms when the Heart in Hand Theatre company presents Cowboy Mouth, a play co-written by Smith and Sam Shepard, and through her exhibit Patti Smith: Camera Solo, at the AGO beginning next month. 

Inspired by reading Just Kids, co-artistic directors of Head in Heart Jessica Huras and Esther Jun set their sights on producing Cowboy Mouth, a one-act play by Patti Smith and Sam Shepard (playwright, actor, and television and film director) with whom Smith had a love affair in the 1970s. Starring Huras and singer/songwriter and member of Broken Social Scene, Jason Collett (Arts &Crafts) in his theatrical debut, Cowboy Mouth will be on stage at The Cameron House (408 Queen St. W) from now until Thursday, February 14, with an exclusive preview tonight at Soho House. 

For more details visit the Heart in Hand website.

Jessica Huras and Jason Collette star in Cowboy Mouth.
Original photo of Sam Shepard and Patti Smith. 

The production of Cowboy Mouth could not be more timely as the AGO gears up to feature Patti Smith: Camera Solo, an intimate exhibit featuring photographs, personal objects and a short film by Smith, from Saturday, February 9 to Sunday, May 19. This marks the first presentation of Smith’s work in Canada and will highlight the connection between Smith’s use of various art forms. The exhibit will feature approximately 70 black and white photographs taken with Smith’s vintage Poloroid camera, and will include the film Equation Daumal, directed by Smith and shot by Jem Cohen. 

For more information on Patti Smith: Camera Solo, visit the AGO website

Patti Smith, Self-Portrait, New York, 2003

Photo Friday – Nail Art

We don’t know about you, but we are still giddy from the excitement over last
week’s Golden Globes. So many laughs,
memorable moments, and of course head-to-toe glamour. This year we got an extra close up on all
the pretty things with the E! Mani Cam where celebs got to show off their done-up digits, with Zooey Deschanel stealing the show with her film strip nail art. 
Our subsequent mani-mania inspired today’s Photo Friday, and left us
eager to experiment.

Media, Darling: Malcolm Johnston

Malcolm Johnston is the front of book editor at Toronto Life magazine. His work has appeared in Reader’s Digest, the Globe and Mail, National Post and more.  

Twitter: @malcjohnston

Did you always want
to be in the media?
but I suppose I was always decent at putting words together on paper (there’s
gotta be a better way to say that) and eventually realized it was a natural fit.
Along the way I was a sports-camp counsellor and a house painter, taught some
ladies in Burlington how to throw a Frisbee for their dogs – for which I pocketed
a cool, tax-free $60 – contemplated law school and wrote an anti-money laundering
textbook for bank employees.

Where would you like to be five years from now?

Same place and job, but with more abbreviations after my name.

Any advice for people
getting started in your industry?
the urge to create a personal brand. You’ll look silly. Just produce great work
and everything will be fine.

What are your
favourite media outlets, not including your own?

Best interview you’ve
ever had?
TSN SportsCentre anchor Jay Onrait was pretty cool. We consumed numerous
“brewskis” at his local in Kensington and blabbed for a couple of hours. Very nice
guy and highly candid, which is key. Other notables: Malin Akerman.

Scott Speedman,
TIFF 2010. He was perfectly polite; I was unprepared. Never again.

Best advice you’ve
ever been given?
takes all types in this world” – my parents.

What rule(s) do you
live your life by?
act like you’re irreplaceable.

What’s the most
important tip you can give PR pros?
the love of Christmas, read the publication before you pitch to it.

Best experience
you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
hit and miss. Those who aren’t control freaks / habitual hoverers are infinitely

I hate?
habit. On the animal, I’m neutral.

I love?

Baseball, coffee.


Best place on earth?
Mountains, Quebec.

Dinner guest?
friend Lowell.

pops. He’s a gentleman, a battler and very intelligent. Ma ain’t so bad,

Favourite app (or
whatever you are downloading these days)?
Mobile; AnkiDroid, a French language app.

Pool or ocean?

Both beat winter in Canada. If I were forced at gunpoint to choose…that
would be a very bizarre scenario. Ocean!

Voicemail or email?
it’s a spicy scoop and you don’t want to write it down, call, and quick!
Otherwise, email, please and thanks.

Rave: Where Are They Now?

Our love of popular culture began long before we were
adults. Since the majority of us on the fourth floor are
80s babies, we often reference lines or moments from our favourite television shows like
Step by Step (bonus points to whoever can hum the theme song), Saved by
the Bell
and Full House. Which brings us to the question: where are some of
our fave stars now? We did a little digging and this is what we found.

Mara Wilson 
First up, Mara Wilson. This actress was best known as the
magical Matilda, the adorable little girl in Miracle on 34th Street and the
sassy youngest child in Mrs. Doubtfire.


Remember this precocious, adorable little girl?
Image source.
Matilda basically looks the same.
Image source.

No longer acting because “film
acting is not very fun
,” Wilson attended New York University and is still a performer. She currently works as a playwright and thespian in NYC.
Jodie Sweetin
Any 80s child grew up watching Jodie Sweetin as Stephanie
Tanner in Full House. “How rude,” was a catch
phrase long before #YOLO entered our vocabularies.


All smiles and curls.


STILL all smiles and curls. 

Meth addict turned author, Sweetin wrote a memoir called unSweetined,
which chronicles her downward spiral of alcohol and drug abuse that began with
the ending of Full House.
Andrea Barber
While on the topic of Full House, let’s talk about Andrea
Barber, best known as the love-to-hate, mullet-coiffed character Kimmy Gibbler. 


That hair…
Image source.

…didn’t get much better.
Image source.

After graduating college with a degree in English and a Master’s in women’s studies, Barber is now out of the spotlight and married
with two kids and a normal
(with more than 45,000 followers).

Dennis Haskins
Saturday mornings weren’t complete without a bowl of Lucky
Charms and Saved by the Bell starring Principal Belding, played by Dennis


Mr. Belding!
Image source.


Did you know he appeared on Mad Men? We do now! (Thanks, Mr. B)

Besides partying with younger, better looking women at a 2009 paid public appearance,
he released a karaoke album called 
With Your Favorite Principal
 on which he sings “Mustang Sally” with Brooke Hogan. He had a brief stint as a professional
wrestler, with the stage name of, you guessed it,
Mr. Belding. For updates (they are riveting), follow him on Twitter.

Dennis Haskins took to twitter to update to our original post (featuring an older photo):

Haley Joel Osment
As a boy who communicates with spirits, his role in Sixth Sense led Haley Joel Osment to an Oscar
nomination for Best Supporting Actor at age 11.


Image source.


Still cute!
Image source.

In 2006, Osment was charged with drug possession and a DUI after hitting a brick mailbox and flipping his car. According to IMDb, he’s set
to star in
Wake the Dead, a modern-day retelling of Frankenstein.

Jonathan Lipnicki
He stole our hearts as the cutest bespectacled kid in Jerry Maguire and as friend to the furry in the Stuart Little movies. 


From chubs…. 


…. to RIPPED.

Oh. My. Gawd. Little Jonathan definitely grew up! Now a self-proclaimed gym rat, Lipnicki is currently starring in a show called MotherLover (no description provided on IMDb). Hopefully it’s based on this

Who do you want to see in our next edition of Where Are They

Jet Set: London

For those who love seeing the world, travelling is the ultimate joyride. Whether you take a short haul flight to the Big Apple, or book a
safari in the Sahara, there are an endless amount of places to see that are sure to ignite
your senses. These holidays, one of the gang from the fourth floor ventured across the pond to the Mother Land
to ring in 2013 and impressed is one hell of an understatement. London has been one of the most exciting, vibrant and
historical cities for decades – heck, centuries. Rich with culture, the dichotomous melange of old Victorian structures in the
midst of new, modern architecture and boroughs so cool that you can’t
actually pick your favourite because each one is filled with an abundance of unique attributes. London is in a category of its own. 

After spending two nights in the beautiful English village of Crowthorn, the Covent Garden
 became home for the week. If you’re looking for a beautiful, boutique hotel to call
a ‘London cottage’ for a bit, this is your gem. Located in the heart of the theatre
district, steps away from the Royal Ballet and home to the colourful, Neal’s Yard; Covent Garden has everything you need right at your curious fingertips. And if you
need a little assistance finding your way back, the lights draping the streets of the seven
 can guide you home. They saved us a few times.

Here are list of highlights – and yes, their winter weather
may be one of them – it was 10 degrees all week. Unfortunately, you’ll notice ‘befriending Kate Middleton’ didn’t make the cut. Sad. 

The Brits love their curries and there is no shortage of places to find them. Traditional English curry houses welcome people all hours of the day, including late, and very late-night dinners. We were introduced to this divine new cuisine on a whole new level and it left us craving poppadoms, tasty onion bhaji and king prawn peri peri. London is known for their Indian chefs and one spot we can’t stop raving about is the Delhi
. With a great LGBT bar across the street and (surprise!) a pub next door, this spicy jewel located in the heart of Soho greeted us with open arms and sent us packing with full bellies. 

This goes without saying, but the pub culture in
London is incredible. There are easily three pubs at nearly every ‘junction’ and
they’re all full at any given time. Packed with friends, coworkers, groups, couples,
families (with children) – London pubs are a place where people of all ages congregate and celebrate the day’s end. It’s not just the accessibility and convenience of the pubs that is fun, but the environment inside. Often outfitted in dark oak finishes, olde English taps and a no-nonsense atmosphere, they’re small, intimate, and have great service. We hopped on the ‘tube’ to
Notting Hill Gate to enjoy a few pints at the Windsor Castle, a
quaint looking English house from the outside, a proper British pub on the
inside, and home to a lovely, seasonal beer garden out back. Sold. 

of Notting Hill…it really does look like this. And we’re in luck because the
house we fell in love with is only £5,250,000. Brilliant.

Londoners walk rain or shine. From the 7 Dials to the Tower
of London, the coolest way to get around town is your two feet. Walking is not
only amazing exercise for all the curry and pints you’ll be downing, but the
best way to actually see all the city’s offerings. You can cut across Trafalgar Square through
Buckingham Palace – wave to the Queen – over to Westminster Abbey and the gorgeous Houses of Parliament within an hour. Walking extends beyond the London city
limits and well into the English country side. England has more than 15,000 footpaths that are all maintained by their associated counties. We think Welly’s are
fashionable here but they come in awfully handy when you’re trenching through the muddy walks of Great Britain. 

you really don’t feel like walking, the London Underground is without a doubt,
one of the easiest and most efficient public transit services in the world. They’re certainly worth a ride, even just to come back and heckle the TTC a little

You didn’t think we were going to forget shopping, did you? Lucky for us (and our Visas), we took the window-shopping tour down Bond St. on a Sunday when all the stores were closed. Fashion houses like Chanel, Dior, YSL, and yes, McQueen, adorn Old Bond Street and New Bond Street for a stylish mile. Easily one of the most posh areas in London, Bond Street is situated in the heart of Mayfair. In spite of the beauty and elegance that the area exudes, we must admit another grand display of shopping that unleashed an unexpected inner-child: Hamleys. One of the largest, most popular toy stores on Earth! Six impressive floors on Regent St, Hamleys is one of London’s main tourist attractions, welcoming around five million visits a year. It’s worth it, no matter how old you are. You’re welcome, for that one.

All in all, we had a smashing time and hope our tips give you a little taste of this amazing city. Cheers, mate.

Yum, yum: Churros

We’re nearly a month into 2013 and all of our healthy eating resolutions are beginning to feel a bit… boring. After weeks of sugary treats and cheese platters galore, the focus on veggies and whole grains was a welcome (and oh so necessary) change of pace. Now that our jeans no longer feel like they’re cutting off the circulation in our thighs, we’re ready to return to a more balanced lifestyle. Basically, this means we’re craving butter and sugar, and will punch someone if we’re offered another piece of kale. 

With the cold weather officially here, we’re a lot more likely to want to spend some time around a hot stove and a pot of bubbling oil. Don’t worry, the end result is a lot less Game of Thrones’ battle of Blackwater and a whole lot of delicious. Yes, we are talking about churros! The crispy, deep-fried dough is a favourite in Spain and Mexico. We highly recommend serving them with a rich hot cocoa. If you’re feeling especially loco, why not dip your churro in the cocoa?

Churros (recipe via Martha Stewart)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
vegetable oil (for frying)
confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon or a cinnamon-sugar combo (for dusting)

Tools of the trade. 


1. In a medium saucepan, combine one cup water, butter, sugar, and salt; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, and sift in flour, stirring for one minute.

Sift that flour, baby. Sift it good.
2. Transfer flour mixture to bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. On low speed, add eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition; spoon mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large open-star tip.

All ready to be fried!
3. Heat 4 to 5 inches oil in a large Dutch-oven until it registers 325 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer (note: we used a candy thermometer, which worked out excellently!). Holding pastry bag a few inches above the oil, squeeze out batter, snipping off 4-inch lengths with a knife or kitchen shears. Fry, flipping once, until deep golden brown all over, about four minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer churros to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain.

Squeeze that dough. 
Fry that dough. 
4. Roll churros in topping of your choice. Serve immediately!

Ta da! Try not to eat them all at once. 

*Special thanks goes out to Trish Petozzi for teaching us how to fry churros like a pro. Trish works at Cake & Loaf Bakery and has the best sister in the world. 

Yum, yum: Paleo Diet: What’s the Deal?

The paleolithic diet. You’ve heard of it? Great. It’s a way of eating, a lifestyle, that’s said to help us lose weight, prevent disease and generally make you feel clean and full of energy. The basic principle is to eat as the cavemen(women) did. Survive off of hunting and gathering, eating only lean protein, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats. We’ve tried it, and if done right, you will feel full and satisfied, lose weight and kick that bloated feeling.

Dude, we should totally go paleo. I know.

Being a successful caveperson these days is all about planning and preperation. Cook in large batches and freeze portions. It’s best to dedicate a few hours during the weekend to cut up all of your fruits and veggies for easy snack/stir fry/smoothie access. The hardest part of being a paleo is the inability to grab something on the go. However, if you’re in a major jam, you can always buy a banana from your local Starbucks.

Let’s be real, most of us are busy juggling work, family and a social life. The paleo books we’ve read touch on this. It’s ok to have a glass of wine, a beer, in moderation. You have the power to choose how paleo you want to go. Greek yogurt, oatmeal, and whole wheat carbs like Ryvita crackers are some examples of paleo no-no’s we think are worth bending the rules for. Incorporating just some of the paleo principles into your life can be easy, and you will still reap many benefits.

Here is a basic recipe for paleo pancakes that will give you a glimpse into paleo living.

Paleo Pancakes
(1 serving, multiply the ingredients as needed)

Looks yummy, right?

This is one of our favourite breakfasts. It tastes delicious, is almost too easy to make and will keep you satisfied. You can add whatever paleo-approved items you like to these pancakes, just like the real thing.

  • 1 banana
  • 1 egg (no egg whites on this diet, need those yolks)
  • 1 tablespoon of nut butter of your choice (almond, hazelnut – the only nut on the pale-no list is peanut)
  • 1 tsp of coconut oil (this is a staple in the paleo pantry)
  • dash of cinnamon


  • dash of vanilla
  • squeeze of natural honey
  • splash of soy/almond milk (fluffyness)
  • cacao chips (natural alternative to chocholate chips, enjoyable, we promise)


  1. Mash banana in a bowl
  2. Mix in egg and nut butter
  3. Grease frying pan with coconut oil and pour mixture into pancakes


A meal that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This will be a go-to because it’s easy. Again, you can use the basic recipe below, add protein powder or a variety of other spices, flavours.

1 banana
A handful of strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1 scoop/ tbsp of flax seed
1/2 cup of soy/almond/coconut milk


  1. Blend. 🙂

Sweet potato fries or chips

Diet food? We think not. You can also make a paleo approved dipping sauce.

No recipe needed here. Since there is no wheat allowed, natural carbs such as sweet potatoes are beloved.

Spice them up however you want (rosemary, paprika, why not try some curry powder?). There is no added salt in the paleo diet, so other spices are super important. Cut or slice however you desire, toss with olive oil and bake in the oven at 375 degrees Celsius.

You can get as creative as you want with the paleo diet. If you have a favourite recipe or dish, chances are someone has created the paleo version . There are a number of comfort food inspired cookbooks and recipes out there worth checking out.

We recommend the below cookbooks for beginners – tried, tested and rock-it approved.

The Paleo Diet Cookbook: More than 150 recipes for Paleo Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, Snacks, and Beverages

The Everything Paleolithic Diet Book: An All-Natural, Easy-to-Follow Plan to Improve Health, Lose Weight, Increase Endurance, and Prevent Disease

You can also refer to the internet, for lists of paleo approved foods, meal plan ideas, recipes, shopping guides and more.

If you were thinking about going paleo, there is no better time to clean out your pantry and your tummy. New year, new plan – why not? The whole point of this diet is feeling good, being healthy and the satisfaction of treating your body like a temple.

You will go from this… (I’m not bloated, I’m just fluffy)…. 

…to this!