Call to the Bar
After a long week at the office, it’s fun to relax and kick back with some friends over a cocktail. As it’s the middle of winter, here’s a little tipple that just drips tropical sunshine.
1 part vodka
1 part melon liquer
1 part Sour Puss apple
3 parts pineapple juice
1. Fill your martini glasses with ice so they are cold, or put them in the freezer a few hours before your guests arrive.
2. Half fill a martini shaker with ice. Add vodka, melon liquer, Sour Puss, and pineapple juice. Shake.
3. Pour into cold martini glasses and serve with a maraschino cherry or two- — and, of course, a cocktail umbrella.
— Gail J. Cohen
Steaked in Vancouver
I love meat and potatoes. It is no surprise then that I was excited when I received a coupon in the mail about a new restaurant, Pinky’s Steakhouse & Cocktail Lounge, which opened in trendy Yaletown in December 2007. Who doesn’t like eating some nice juicy steak and a chance to save 50 per cent off your second entrée? All I needed was a friend. I ended up with three.
We went on a Sunday night and the restaurant wasn’t busy. Overall, my experience was average.
Despite the description on the coupon of “sexy design” and “glamorous decor,” I felt that the decor was not anything out of the ordinary compared to other restaurants in Yaletown, and that the place was like many other steakhouses — dark (except for a flashy “Rockstar” sign at the back).
Although the selection of food and wine and the service were good, and the prices reasonable, the food was mediocre. We generally enjoyed the side dishes (such as horseradish mashed potatoes and scalloped potatoes) and I liked my 8-ounce tender, juicy, medium-rare “millionaires filet cut,” but we were disappointed with the quality of the appetizers (such as the coconut-crusted prawns, crispy fried calamari, bacon-wrapped scallops, and the Caesar salad) and the sauces for them. The only dessert we sampled was the black forest cake, and that tasted ordinary.
I felt that Friend A said it best: the restaurant (and the staff) appear to be still working out the kinks. Friend B (Vancouver Canucks fan) mentioned that he liked the pay-per-view hockey on TV. Friend C noted that the napkins smelled great — like Bounce.
And me? I forgot to give our server the coupon.
— Charmane Sing, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Getting organized in Toronto
I was never the type of law student who highlighted and annotated notes. I always assumed being organized was a genetic trait, like a strong metabolism or red hair.
But then David Allen entered my life. I am still no organizational machine; however, reading Allen’s Getting Things Done made an enormous difference in my practice. The whole book is a must read and the tips I’ve used have made an enormous difference.
Tackling the inbox. He recommends keeping a clear inbox. I keep a mostly clear inbox. His basic advice is: if you can do it in under two minutes, do it. This keeps the e-mails from piling up, creating a mountainous to-do list. If you need to delegate it, do it. If you need to trash it, do it. And if you need to think about it, create a folder to review later. The just-do-it plan works.
Rid yourself of demoralizing daily to-do lists. Allen suggests keeping an ongoing “work” list instead of a daily list. This is key. Ridding myself of a daily list of things I didn’t get to helps me focus on the many things that need to be done.
These are small strategies that have made a difference in organization and productivity.
— Jennifer Nees, Bomza Law Group
Toasty in Toronto
As soon as the temperature dips below the freezing mark, my outerwear suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Sure, my trusty old black parka is warm and my Napoleon Dynamite-esque snow boots keep my feet toasty, but the ensemble doesn’t exactly scream “pulled together.”
Imagine my happiness when I came across the SoàÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€¹Ã…“a & Kyo outerwear line. Once the mercury dipped, I figured I would update my drab winter coat with something from their fall/winter collection. The current collection features 16 chic lady coats and parkas —in multiple colours and patterns, making it hard to choose just one.
S&K is the sister, or I should say brother, company of Montreal-based Mackage — famous for their gorgeous (and expensive) leather- and fur-detailed coats. Ilan Elfassy designs the S&K line and he’s the brother of one of the Mackage designers, Eran Elfassy.
The two lines share the same attention to detail — oversized buttons, smooth belts, asymmetrical lines — but while a Mackage coat can run between $500 and $800, S&K coats are in the $200 to $400 range.
After much flip-flopping, I bought the “Gemma” in cherry-coloured wool at Toronto boutique Girl Friday (776 College Street). The coat’s quite versatile — wear it with dress clothes and heels to the office, or with jeans and flats on the weekend.
Either way, the entire look is stylish and fun. In a sea of three-quarter-length black wool coats, it’s nice to stand out in my red lady coat.
Visit www.soiakyo.com for the store locations across the country or easy online shopping.
— Kirsten McMahon [email protected]
Do you get motivated by insipid motivational aphorisms? Do such statements, sprinkled around your office on posters, energize you and make you a better lawyer? I didn’t think so. For those of you who wish to rise up against the tyranny of vacuous business-speak, Despair Inc. has the answer. Its web site has a variety of products (posters, t-shirts, calendars) with a slacker’s approach to motivation (or is that demotivation?) Some of my personal favourites: “Cluelessness: There are no stupid questions, but there are a LOT of inquisitive idiots” and “Consistency: It’s only a virtue if you’re not a screw-up.” Check out www.despair.com for more information.
I like food. I also like cooking. I can’t go one week without checking out www.epicurious.com. For the uninitiated, this site contains over 20,000 recipes from Gourmet & Bon Appétit magazines. If I am looking for a recipe to use the kohlrabi or kumquats I bought on the weekend, this site has the answer (six and 43 recipes, respectively, at last check). You can even see other users’ comments about the recipe you are thinking of using. This site also has a bunch of other features, like weekly automatic e-mails with recipes and, for members, the ability to keep an e-recipe box and to post your own comments for the online recipes.
— Jeff Scanlon, Purolator
Twisted in Toronto
Basic black is all well and good in a suit or a little dress, but I’m not keen on luggage, or even a laptop bag, that’s plain and simple. For me, a little colour (or a lot) goes a long way.
In steps the Golla Orange Twist laptop bag. What’s not to love? It’s stylish and practical, and weatherproof to boot!
Golla’s bags amply hold a laptop up to 15.4 inches in width, as well as a good number of files. There’s a place for pens and cell phone and even a few other accoutrements. The laptop compartment is padded with a drawstring for extra protection.
The bag is made of water-repellent nylon and is light as a feather, so you’re not starting off at a weight deficit before you add your computer and other jazz. The strap is padded and comfortable, and long enough to wear across your chest, which when you’ve got a long walk while changing planes, makes a whole lot of difference.
The comfort and practicality of the bag are second only to its flashy red designs and embroidery. Now, there are people who might like a little flash but not quite so much orange. For them, the Golla bags come in an array of colours including red, white, brown, dark green, and grey. Still, for me, the best part is the bright red corduroy on the inside of the big orange flap.
Available at Best Buy
— Gail J. Cohen