Monthly Archives: July 2017

Book Report: ‘Heart of The City’ by Robert Rotenberg


In the latest thrilling crime novel from bestselling author Robert Rotenberg, Homicide Detective Ari Greene discovers the bludgeoned body of Toronto’s most reviled developer behind his controversial new construction site.

When Detective Ari Greene was charged with the murder of the woman he loved, he stopped at nothing to clear his name and uncover the real killer. After his acquittal, Greene fled to London to get away from it all, but now he’s back. And he’s not alone—with Greene is his twenty-year-old daughter, Alison. The child he never knew he had.

Determined to leave his life as a cop behind him, Greene gets a job on a construction site for one of Toronto’s many new condos. It seems he has finally found peace as he settles into a new career and new role as father, helping Alison adjust to life in Canada.

But when Greene stumbles upon the corpse of hated developer Livingston Fox, he is plunged back into the life he tried so hard to leave behind. As the body count rises, Greene is forced into a reluctant reconciliation with his former protégé, Daniel Kennicott. The pair must delve into the tight-knit world of downtown development, navigating tangled loyalties, unexpected corruption and family secrets, some of which are closer to home than Greene could have ever imagined.

In a world where the stakes are high and the profits are even higher, Greene and Kennicott race against the clock as they follow the trail of blood and money to its shocking end.


You will be hard pressed to find a mystery/suspense read this summer that’s as gripping as ‘Heart of the City’ By: Robert Rotenberg. Talk about riveting and at the same time swoon worthy.

If you are a Toronto native and know the city well you will be swooning at the exterior shots verbalized within the course of this read. Augusta, Kensington Market and the downtown core peppered with cranes and construction sites  being resurrected on grounds that once held something very different.

A murder that slaps you in the face early on – makes the reader question in a Clue type fashion each character that is slowly introduced. Don’t let their dry wit, quirky stories and fronting bylines mislead you.  There’s an ominous darkness that slays John Grisham.  Yes, I went there. This book is written by a top criminal lawyer and reads as such.

I appreciated the deep rooted plot development that Rotenberg sinks his teeth into in ‘Heart of the City’. There is a hint of ‘Street Legal’ and ‘CSI’ motifs throughout the novel.  I languished in Rotenberg’s historical development of a young Toronto and how its character emulsified to harbour the characters crimes, loves, lost legacies and weird interiors.  Relish Rotenberg’s visual worded paintings – they are sugary and perfect for tucking into your purse and travel bag as you hit the road this summer.


Summer Gold: Gold Bond Medicated Anti-Itch Cream


I was down in High Park on my @essentrics #essentrics #30daychallenge run today and of course I got a few mosquito bites and a slight sun burn on my arms.

So I picked up a tube of GOLD BOND MEDICATED ANTI-ITCH CREAM. It should be an essential part of every first aid-kit and your summer packing list! It’s the ideal product to treat targeted itching due to minor skin irritations, from insect bites to minor cuts, allowing you to continue with your summer fun!

Gold Bond Anti-Itch Cream contains a unique blend of emollients, Aloe and Vitamin E to gently soothe irritated skin and two medicated anti-itch ingredients:

Menthol 1% and Pramoxine Hydrochloride

1% for fast-acting itch and pain relief.



Lastly, Gold Bond Medicated Anti-Itch Cream is dermatologist tested, steroid-free and fragrance-free.

#sun #sunburns #cottage #summer #insectbites #goldbond

A ‘Fitness’ Game Changer: Essentrics

I picked up co-founder, Miranda Esmonde-White’s book ‘Aging Backwards’ a few years ago. I realized that I needed a bit of a life overhaul when it came to my exercise regimen and thought I would give it another chance a few weeks ago.

The human body is designed to remain pain-free, energetic and healthy throughout its lifespan. With ‘Aging Backwards’—gone are the days when we had to accept the negative consequences of aging as inevitable and a “normal” part of getting older. In reality, we should never have to surrender helplessly to chronic pain, hip and knee replacements, loss of energy and mobility, poor posture, weight gain—regardless of our chronological years.

Most of us are unaware that the process of aging is triggered by cell death. In ‘Aging Backwards’, Miranda explains how you can slow down and reverse the speed in which your cells die—showing scientifically, how anyone can stay feeling young and vibrant their entire life!

Everyone, no matter their age—can benefit from the breakthrough knowledge and advice provided in Aging Backwards. It’s never too late to take control of your body and never let aging get in your way!

In her book, Miranda discusses:

◦How correcting our posture can make us look like we’ve lost 10 pounds and 10 years in just 10 seconds

◦How to prevent muscle atrophy and cell death—and jumpstart weight loss—in only 30 minutes a day

◦How to live in a pain-free body no matter what your age

◦How we can reverse the physical changes that occur to our bones, muscles, and skin as we get older

◦How we can maintain our weight, flexibility, strength, attractiveness, and good health in middle age and well into our golden years

Pick up ‘Aging Backwards’!

I have also been dabbling in Miranda Esmonde-White’s ‘Classical Stretch’ television series. It is the #1 fitness show on Public Television — ‘Classical Stretch’ has been helping people of all ages and fitness levels rebalance their bodies, increase mobility and keep joints healthy and pain-free. Based on the intelligent fitness technique Essentrics—each 30-minute episode of Classical Stretch features a full-body workout with dynamic strengthening and stretching exercises: all-standing, all-floor or all-barre.

In the last few weeks, I’ve noticed an immediate increase in flexibility and the release of tension in my muscles after each episode–improving their posture and range of motion. Stress is released and aches and pains are soothed through the gradual unlocking of the entire body.

In the weeks to come I’ll explore more episodes that are working for me and that perhaps you can try out when you have a moment.

Pick up the super cheerful pricing for online streaming through the Essentrics website. It has become my go to every night after a long shift.  My body has been thanking me daily for the practice.

Book Report: ‘The History of Bees A Novel’ By: Maja Lunde


In the spirit of Station Eleven and Never Let Me Go, this dazzling and ambitious literary debut follows three generations of beekeepers from the past, present, and future, weaving a spellbinding story of their relationship to the bees—and to their children and one another—against the backdrop of an urgent, global crisis.

England, 1852. William is a biologist and seed merchant, who sets out to build a new type of beehive—one that will give both him and his children honor and fame.

United States, 2007. George is a beekeeper fighting an uphill battle against modern farming, but hopes that his son can be their salvation.

China, 2098. Tao hand paints pollen onto the fruit trees now that the bees have long since disappeared. When Tao’s young son is taken away by the authorities after a tragic accident, she sets out on a grueling journey to find out what happened to him.

Haunting, illuminating, and deftly written, The History of Bees joins these three very different narratives into one gripping and thought-provoking story that is just as much about the powerful bond between children and parents as it is about our very relationship to nature and humanity.


Have you ever seen that Ellen Page documentary titled “The Vanishing of the Bees”? It’s a game changer. ‘The History of Bees A Novel’ By Maja Lunde is your literary game changer.  This read speaks to the early texture of the bee crisis in relation to keepers and their work.  A slightly different view of a hive and how bees have coexisted with humans over the last over 200 years.  It hints at perhaps where we went wrong in a fictional sense with a quiet nod to science.

We unpack the keepers own crisis’ and the threads of their own plights, their cultural disconnects and a quest for new beginnings in an age of change. A read that is perfect for the summer at the cottage or back in forth to work.  Think the Joy Luck Club meets Never Let Me Go.

Lunde’s writing is poetic, detailed and if you don’t close attention – be ready to be a worker bee buzzing around wondering where you were left in the hive.

Each chapter is intricately bee combed with the sweetness of stories that dig deep and touch upon our own sensitive stings. We are doled out jars of honey that are labelled with histories that show us not only the deterioration of the keepers esthetic but ultimately how that energy has effected their end product.

Review: Odysseo: ‘Larger Than Life’ at the Hershey Centre (Mississauga, Ontario)

The horse has marked human history and progress more than any other animal. Horses have taken us to the ends of the earth, enabled us to build bridges between cultures and expand civilization. It is the beauty and harmony of this ancient relationship, this meeting of two worlds – those of horse and man – that inspired the creators of Odysseo. As friends, partners and inseparable performers on stage, 65 horses and 50 artists lead the viewer on a great journey in yet another world – a world of dreams – where, together, they discover some of the planet’s most unforgettable landscapes.

Odysseo marries the equestrian arts, stage arts and high-tech theatrical effects at never-beforeseen levels. A veritable revolution in live performance, Odysseo comprises a list of superlatives: the world’s largest touring production and traveling big top, the biggest stage, the most beautiful visual effects, and the greatest number of horses at liberty.

Scenography and Visual effects

To give life to this extraordinary equestrian adventure, a 1,626 square meters stage was created with a hill rising three-stories tall. Some 10,000 tons of rock, earth and sand are trucked in and then sculpted to create the vast space of freedom where humans and horses come to play in complicity. Above the stage hangs an imposing technical grid capable of supporting 80 tons of equipment including a full-sized merry-go-round far beyond anything attempted to date on any touring show and comparable to the best-equipped theaters of Las Vegas, London or New York.


  • Odysseo features 65 horses of 12 different breeds including the Appaloosa, Arabian, Canadian Horse, Holsteiner, Lusitano, Paint Horse, Percheron Hanoverian Cross, Quarter Horse, Selle Français, Thoroughbred, Spanish Purebred (P.R.E.) and Warlander.
  • The horses are from Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, the United States and Canada.
  • There are 50 artists – riders, acrobats, aerialists, dancers and musicians.
  • The artists are from around the world including the United States, Canada, Brazil, France, Italy, Guinea, South Africa, Poland, Russia, Spain and Ukraine.
  • There are 350 costumes and 100 pairs of shoes and boots in the show. Artists may have up to seven different costumes.
  • An artist may have no more than 30 seconds to do a quick costume change between numbers.
  • A team of 13 dressmakers, one property master, one designer and one shoemaker worked in the Odysseo studios to create the costumes.
  • Materials used in the costumes include linen, silk, cotton, leather and some imitation fur. The use of natural fibers gives the clothes sheen and lets them fall in a way that synthetic fibers simply cannot match.
  • The costumes are adapted to the artists’ needs, especially those of the acrobats and riders, to facilitate their onstage movement while not compromising their appearance.
  • The on-tour costume department consists of one wardrobe person and three dressers who launders, mends and cares for the costumes. At times during the show, they juggle 15 simultaneous wardrobe changes. They have two sewing machines, one shoe-repair machine and one overlock machine.


Standing 38 meters tall, the White Big Top is a traffic-stopping addition to the skyline of each city Odysseo performs. When visitors enter, they are immediately transported into a lavish and intimate environment reminiscent of any permanent theatre.

Following the instant success of the company’s eponymous show in 2003, creator and artistic director Normand Latourelle began to dream of how to break through the limitations of a big top tent. The biggest challenge was to open up the performance area. Latourelle knew that such unprecedented flexibility would allow him to showcase more horses and acrobats to create mind-boggling scenes. This involved removing supporting masts from the stage, a common staging issue in tent shows. A specially-designed big top was created in Europe, where the weight of the structure shifted from masts to three arches above the tent. The Italian firm Canobbio, in collaboration with Normand Latourelle, designed the tent and supervised construction. Asteo of France and Genivar of Canada oversaw engineering operations. The arches that support the massive structure were built by Show Canada.

More than twice the size of the structure created for the first production, Odysseo’s White Big Top is the size of a CFL football field. The 1,626 square metres stage, larger than a hockey rink, and the 15 meters wide backstage area offers a vast playground for more than 30 cantering horses. The grandiose stage also offers incredible possibilities for large-scale staging.

A total of five tents comprise the Odysseo village. The White Big Top houses the stage and backstage, seating and lobby areas under a single roof. The Rendez-Vous tent hosts VIP ticket holders for dinner, an open bar and photo opportunities with the artists. This package includes a private tour of the stables and the best seats in the house. The horses live in a climate controlled stable tent complete with showers, tack shop and a blacksmith department.

Between the stables and White Big Top, the Warm-Up tent is where the riders rehearse with the horses before and after the show. This area also includes wardrobe, makeup and dressing areas for the human artists. A staff kitchen tent prepares more than 300 meals daily.

Assembly of the White Big Top

  • There are 3 arches that support the White Big Top. Each arch consists of 8 sections that are 2,5 metres wide by 9 meters long. Once assembled, each arch is 27 meters high by 62 meters long.
  • The masts of the big top have been specially engineered to be able to lift the arches into place.
  • The canvas is held in place by 1,310 one-meter long stakes holding down the 250 anchor plates
  • 26 motors are needed to raise the canvas onto the structure, resulting in the White Big Top.
  • The length of all the steel cable used to attach the structure to the ground is equal to 5.8 kilometres.


The overall experience at Odysseo consisted of a melding of magic and majesty. Between the performers friendly smiling beckoning nods as they rode by on the most beautiful horses to the horses giving the audience knowing glances – the 2.5 hour performance left us moved, emotional and feeling grateful to have taken in such a journey.

The fairy like acrobatic dances versus the African vignettes made for beautiful interludes as horses were revolved for even more extraordinary dancing and running sequences. As the worlds transformed in front of us we the audience participated in sing offs between sections led by the acrobats – these moments proved to be well rounded and interactive.

Highlights could be seen in the Merry Go Round vignette which was mesmerizing and hypnotic. How can you not gawk at the tremendous and taut bodies of the artists?  It made me not want to eat another brownie at the break and do some sit ups when I got home that evening.

The lake of water sequence was also exciting and thrilling. To see the horses and the artists run and play together as the basin magically filled made us smile with glee and breathe in a different texture of the night’s performance.

There was a moment when one rogue horse ran off as the other horses participated in a dance with their individual artists. No one flinched.  The artists carried on with the performance while the rogue horse had its moment and came back into line.  It was neat to see that even a show as perfectly coordinated as Odysseo can’t control a wild horse looking for a little fun on their time.  The horses are truly in charge of the show.

I recommend the RENDEZ-VOUS VIP PREMIUM experience when booking your Odysseo tickets. It will put you that much closer to the horses, artists and a wonderful behind the scenes luxe experience.


With your Rendez-Vous VIP Tickets, you will be invited to relax in the private RENDEZ-VOUS VIP Lounge 60 minutes before the show, during the intermission as well as after the show. You will also be enjoying the following:

  • VIP Pass.
  • Variety of complimentary snacks and beverages
  • Exclusive stable tour after the show (The stable tour was truly the icing on the cake. We were able to meet the artists and horses in their milieu. The artists were incredibly hospitable and took their time answering our questions. The horses were friendly too and were keen to stand beside us and take loads of pictures for prosperity).

Catch Odysseo ‘Larger Than Life’ at the Hershey Centre (Mississauga, Ontario) before it leaves on July 23, 2017!  Use the Promo code SOCIAL at for an additional discount off pricing.

Cavalia Handle: @Cavalia
Hashtag: #OdysseoSAUGA