Author Archives: thirtyfourflavours

About thirtyfourflavours

Canadian. South Asian. Lifestyle Writer. Master of Arts. Total sweetheart.

@hotdocs 2020 “Daddy”

The 2020 Hot Docs Film Festival features the International Premiere of Daddy, which follows American anthropologist, Brendan Cooney, in his new full-time job as a stay-at-home father. As part of the Hot Docs World Showcase programme, Daddy gives audiences an outsider perspective on fatherhood when Brendan turns the ethnographer’s lens on himself to examine his own childhood abandonment in an exploration of fatherhood and a journey to adapt after settling to a new life in a new country. Daddy will be accessible on the new online Hot Docs platform as of May 28, 2020 – June 15, 2020.

@hotdocs 2020 “Shut Up Sona”

“SHUT UP SONA”, like Sona, is laced with sarcasm, wit, and a bite of craziness. “SHUT UP SONA” resonates with every woman’s search for an equal space in a culture ridden with millennia of misogyny. This is a film about music, art, social change, and a clashing of the ancient and the modern. It’s about our right to exist, with a voice.

@Hotdocs Festival Online opens Thursday! Single tickets now on sale!


Single Tickets Are Now On Sale for Hot Docs Festival Online!

Visit the Crave Online Box Office and buy now to secure your films—only a limited number of streaming tickets are available for each film! More than 140 official 2020 selections start streaming this Thursday, May 28, direct from

See more and save! 10? 15? 20 films? Now you can buy as many 5-Film Screening Bundles as you can handle!

Master of Arts

Hello again! 😉

I know I have been away for a good two years from this website. The work I have contributed has been minimal mainly because my brain energy has been sucked dry in other areas of my life. I’m sorry for my absence.

I wanted to slowly circle back into my Thirty Four Flavours community. I have been away because I was completing my Master of Arts from Ryerson University in Toronto. I am almost done. I am set to defend my research in June. It’s been a ride, let me tell you. But it’s done.

Hmmm…where do I start?

Well I have worked full time, studied part time and completed some personal projects on the side. For a girl, who doesn’t like mornings – I learned to love them. I would spend my mornings, writing, researching and if I could, I would sneak a nap in here and there.

My full time job is hardly easy. In fact, it’s stressful. But I used my full time work as a respite to make sense of the theory and research I was conducting. It was a gift, albeit emotionally, mentally and physically draining.

In the midst of my studies, I took up hiking. I have shared my adventures through my social media accounts. I have always hiked in the past. It all began for me in California, and then onto Oregon and Seattle. Now, I hike in Ontario. There’s nothing like hiking in your own backyard.

Along with the hiking came deep thoughts and reflection into my own life and healing. Healing for mistakes made, healing towards moving forward and healing in accepting and giving of love. Nature and walking through it’s amazing glory taught me those tiny themes. As a result, they have embedded themselves into my work and research. I discovered, I have so much more learning to take in. It doesn’t end with a Master of Arts.

I have also learned that I am no longer tolerating oppression or discrimination in any way. In the past, I let things slide and thought, ‘…is it even worth fighting about this?’. I guess with time, my own work on myself, making peace with myself and loving myself –  I am officially pushing back. I’m letting go of those dangling threads and toxic relationships.

What else?

This pandemic has come at the most opportune time. I pray for all of us as a community. I have been forced to slow down, enjoy the quiet that I have always relished and have become reacquainted with making art, handiwork and dreaming of my next adventures. This Master of Arts has been the best investment I have made for myself and I’m going to put it to good use. Not only from a lens of social justice for youth in my care, but to stitch in love, kindness and spirituality into my practice and into my own life.

Take sometime to watch the video I have inserted above. It resonated for me and my academic journey. Plus, it gives you a glimpse into my hiking love affair. My dream is to do this hike one day. I feel it in my heart, if I can do an MA in my late 40’s, I can do that hike. I’m visualizing it happening.

I’m leaving you with this quote for now. More to come in the weeks, months and years ahead. Thank you for following me, my thoughts and adventures. Wishing you love, happiness and good health in the days ahead.

Melanie xo

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” Henry David Thoreau


The Canadian Opera Company presents “Hansel & Gretel” February 6, 8, 11, 15, 16, 19, 21, 2020 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts


Everyday magic comes alive in a new production that transplants Hansel and Gretel’s adventures from a wooded forest setting to modern-day Toronto. As the siblings make their way through a contemporary high-rise neighbourhood in search of food, they must rely on their wits – and each other – to outsmart danger along the way. All throughout, cutting-edge stage technology paints a picture of the characters’ vivid imaginations, creating a theatrical experience unlike any other. Hansel & Gretel runs for seven performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on February 6, 8, 11, 15, 16, 19, 21, 2020.

Joel Ivany, award-winning Canadian stage director and artistic director of Against the Grain Theatre, brings his inventive theatrical vision to this beloved classic. Ivany’s boundary-pushing work has been credited with “chang[ing] the opera game” (National Post) and, together with Katherine Syer as dramaturg, the pair have created something entirely unique for the COC stage. In this Hansel & Gretel, relatable fears, such as income inequality and environmental sustainability, weigh heavy on the children’s minds, along with the fantastical threat of witches in wait. COC Director/Dramaturg-in-Residence Julie McIsaac joins the team as Assistant Director and S. Katy Tucker has dreamed up sets and specialized projections that weave storybook elements into modern day landscapes. Toronto-based Ming Wong is behind the production’s costumes and lighting has been designed by JAX Messenger, who last joined the COC for the world premiere presentation of Pyramus and Thisbe in 2015.

American mezzo-soprano Emily Fons has been called one of opera’s rising stars by Opera News and sings the role of Hansel. She is joined by a strong Canadian cast that includes three established COC Ensemble Studio graduates: soprano Simone Osborne is Gretel, mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó is the children’s mother, Gertrude, and tenor Michael Colvin is the diabolical witch, in a role debut. Seasoned Canadian baritone Russell Braun lends his “tremendous voice” (Toronto Star) to the role of the children’s father, Peter, and current Ensemble Studio soprano Anna-Sophie Neher sings the role of the Dew Fairy/Sandman.

COC Music Director Johannes Debus conducts the COC Orchestra through Humperdinck’s beautiful interpretation of the Grimm story, alongside the Canadian Children’s Opera Company singing the children’s chorus.

Hansel & Gretel is sung in German and presented by the COC with English SURTITLES™.

Hansel & Gretel is presented in partnership with the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.


If you are looking for an easy opera to immerse yourself into whilst fighting off winter’s chill, consider catching the Canadian Opera Company’s “Hansel & Gretel”. It is a quiet and serene production that echoes moments of reflection. If you have little children in your life or would prefer a night out on your own, “Hansel & Gretel” will provide you pure contentment and a space to take in a well earned fairy tale.

American mezzo-soprano Emily Fons plays Hansel. She exposes the audience with a colourful and robust performance that will shine light from any darkened stage. Soprano Simone Osborne plays Gretel exudes warmth that further accentuates her talent. Krisztina Szabó is the children’s mother, and tenor Michael Colvin is the diabolical witch who challenge the production to the next level with their diversity in vocal performance and depth. The talent on stage is decadent during this relaxed performance. It pushes the booted up audience to giggle, to smile and just have a good time for the two hours or so they are together.

The “Hansel & Gretel” set was beyond magical and will be sure to mesmerize any child or adult. Think strewn fairy lights and a starry sky worthy of getting lost in. An apartment complex and a diverse cast that grounds the production in Toronto. “Hansel & Gretel” goes well beyond just an opera but more a rousing ode to a city that calls the Canadian Opera Company home. The production is a true treat for the home town crowd and for those visiting Toronto. It will leave you with a sense of Toronto’s grit but also its cheekiness.

Valentine’s Day and Family Day are just around the corner, grab some time and immerse yourself in the pure love and joy of opera. “Hansel & Gretel” will not disappoint, in fact it will fill your heart with enough warmth to carry you through until the spring.

FREE TICKETS GIVEAWAY to The Toronto Tea Festival! (Saturday February 1 and Sunday February 2, 2020 at the Toronto Reference Library)

Whether you are a newbie or an aficionado of tea culture, the Toronto Tea Festival will enable you to discover the world of tea from the traditional to the trendy. You will be able to sample hundreds of teas and learn from experts in the industry at one of the complimentary presentations. Taste a variety of teas uniquely and exquisitely prepared by exhibitors; noting how the flavours may differ depending upon place of origin, processing techniques, and preparation styles. Shop for all your favourite tea wares, teas, and related products – this is the perfect opportunity to shop for your Valentine. Take some selfies in front of the selfie wall and enter the raffle. Experience the event to the fullest by engaging with the exhibitors and learning about all things tea.

If you haven’t attend this gorgeous festival in the past, here is what you can expect:

Friday night, January 31st, VIP event – Rare Tea Tasting with Kevin Gascoyne

Demos and workshops, e.g. a kombucha demo, a tea tasting with sommeliers, Chinese Tea Ceremony workshop. Check out The Steep Off competition!

“Millennia Tea” will be presenting Flash-frozen tea.

“David’s Tea” will be presenting Concept to Cup.

“Soo Cha Tea” will be presenting Korean teas.

Tea sommelier/Author Linda Gaylard will be giving a talk entitled “Botany of the Tea Plant”.

Halifax Tea House, “World of Tea’s” owner Phillip Holmans will be giving a talk entitled “Survival Story of a Tea House”.

Lastly, immerse yourself in the “Tea lover’s Choice Awards” winning teas available at winning vendors’ booths.

Thank you to the TORONTO TEA FESTIVAL who has given Thirty Four Flavours a pair of tickets for their Sunday February 2, 2020 festival date.

What are the rules when entering the Thirty Four Flavours and TORONTO TEA FESTIVAL Ticket Giveaway?

Simple! Please sign up to Thirty Four Flavours Facebook, Twitter, or email subscription to enter the draw. Please also like the tea festival’s Facebook and Twitter pages. When you have signed up please send me a Facebook message, a tweet or email ( telling me what you are excited to see at the TORONTO TEA FESTIVAL.

Deadline for the Thirty Four Flavours and TORONTO TEA FESTIVAL Ticket Giveaway is Thursday January 16, 2020.

For a complete listing of the Toronto Tea Festival events and to purchase tickets in advance, please visit –


Review: The Toronto Symphony Orchestra presents Handel’s “Messiah” with special guests the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (Dec 20, 2019)


Photo credit:  Jag Gundu

Over the holidays I took some time with friends to enjoy the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Handel’s “Messiah”.  It proved to be a restorative evening out with some delicious moments to reflect upon as the year drew to a close.

A quick snapshot, “Messiah” is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible, and from the Coverdale Psalter, the version of the Psalms included with the Book of Common Prayer. It was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742 and received its London premiere nearly a year later. After an initially modest public reception, the oratorio gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.

We felt ourselves getting lost in “The Trumpet Shall Sound”, “Hallelujah!” and “Behold the Lamb of God” early on in the performance. Think epic, reflective and a perfect anecdote as we wrapped up the decade.

The talent on the evening included the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and four dazzling Canadian soloists. Alexander Shelley, Music Director, of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, conducts Handel’s Messiah with large doses of kindness and softness. Jane Archibald (soprano), Emily D’Angelo (mezzo-soprano), Isaiah Bell (tenor) and Russell Braun (baritone) blew the house down with emotion and verve. These talented individuals drew the audience together with rich hymns and high brow drama.  Close to the end of the performance, with programs in hand, the audience joined the soloists on songs that have truly lasted the test of time.

Jovial, thoughtful and purposeful was the tone felt in Roy Thomson Hall on the night. There were many times during the performance that I felt my mind thinking about my year and what brought me joy, what I have been forced to let go off and what has truly changed me. It’s funny how music can cement transformations and leave space for new growth.

Thank you to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Happy New Year! Looking forward to more performances in the year ahead.

Parkbus, Your Ride to the Great Outdoors!: Active Days Ontario – Trip to Hilton Falls

The holidays have come and gone in a pinch. I made sure to squeeze in a trip to Hilton Falls with Active Days Ontario and Parkbus so I could stretch my holidays out. If you don’t have a car and want to leave the driving to someone else after a busy week – Parkbus can help!

Active Days encourages folks to try something new, expand their comfort zone and/or engage in something they already love.  Walking or hiking in parks during the winter is great for your mind and body. It can be a wonderful way to reflect on your own about the year ahead. I made sure I took time for myself during the hike. But I also mingled with others who like me, needed time to reflect on where we were are at in the moment. Simple. Easy.

Here’s what we go up to!


9:45am – Pick-up MEC Toronto. 300 Queen St W

10:45 – Arrive at Hilton Falls

10:45 – 1:00pm – Hike to the waterfalls

1:00-pm – Lunch Trailside. Lunch was not provided

1:30pm – 2:15pm – Winter hike to feed chickadees, spot cool birds head back to the visitors centre

2:15 – 2:30 – Optional Hot Chocolate or Coffee

2:30pm – Depart Hilton Falls Conservation Area

3:45pm – Estimated Return to Toronto


Lunch – Pack some sandwiches, fruit and snacks. We stopped by a campfire and roasted a big bag of marshmallows.

Tea (optional). You can even bring a thermos of water if you feel so inclined.


Weather appropriate clothing. We layered up because it’s better to be safe than sorry out on foot in the woods. Winter boots, a hat, a scarf and mittens are essential.

Camera – to take a lot of shots for social media.

After a long day of hiking, climbing rocks, watching waterfalls and enjoying good company, we were on our way back to Toronto. We had a great time with Active Days and Parkbus. Check out their winter hikes – they are going quickly.

A heartfelt thank you to Parkbus. Tell them I sent you and have fun! @ParksCanada @Parkbus @mec @environmentca @OntarioParks @TourismeOntario #OurNature #goodtimesoutside #parkbusgotmehere

Have fun! Looking forward to my next trip with Parkbus!

Media Profile’s Holiday Party (2020): “Illuminate the Night”


Media Profile celebrated their annual holiday party last Thursday night and as usual – it was epic! Media Profile prides itself on being an independent, entrepreneurial and tenacious public relations firm. Their communication campaigns are based on a healthy blend of research and imagination. They use all the tools in the toolbox, whether media relations, social media, content creation and marketing etc. So clearly it was no surprise that their holiday parties resemble who they are and how they work. Think fun, fantastic and guaranteed to go late.

We love the historic Burroughes Building space. The aged brick, high ceilings, swooping arched doorways, NYC elevator shaft and roof top patio – makes you feel welcome and ready for a good time. It was no surprise that Media Profile’s guests were keen to take photos throughout the space for prosperity.

This year we indulged upon custom cocktails which were named “Profile Punch” and “Media Mixer”. Sixty Six Brix’s maple sugar station was buzzing as they drizzled the most gorgeous of maple syrup onto a bed of ice. Sixty Six Brix’s maple sugar station doled out gourmet cheese wrapped into ice hardened maple syrup like an ensconced sweater. We like to spend as much time as possible inhaling these delights when we are at Media Profile’s Holiday party.


The DJ was sure to cloud the air with cool mixes as we danced the night away while also saying hello to new friends as they breezed into the space.

The holiday decorations were minimal but celebrated modern winter scenes. The holiday lights beamed overhead as we took in the reindeer screen print that looked like something Toronto graffiti artist, Anser, would create.

We took advantage of the photographer/selfie station that came equipped with wooden moustaches and lips for cheeky shots. A young lady then printed shots on the tiniest printer you have ever seen as a takeaway bonbonierre.


Media Profile will always be known as the most crashable holiday party in Toronto. It’s epic in stature, the attention to detail is always on point and most importantly the vibe is consistently friendly, accommodating and authentically warm. Perfectly symbolic of the Media Profile brand and people.

Until December 2020!

Happy Holidays! #MPParty