The "Whiz-ard" That Is Dr. Oz

And Other Stories


Leave a comment

Barcelona for Dummies and Type As (Primera Parti)

P1030209.JPG

Some years ago, I’m not sure how many to be precise…scratch that – it was November 2012, so 3 years and 10 months and two days ago, I visited Barcelona for the first time.  It’s called Barcelona for Dummies and Type As people, and I’m no dummy.  I can’t forget a thing, but that’s a story for a different blog.  Anyway, back to Spain…so I visited this city, and fell in love with it’s unique combination of old and new and totally unexplainable.  This is a city that Gaudi helped to popularize, and you will never see anything as amazing as his architecture.   I want you, my furry friends, to love this city like I do, so I’m giving you all my best tips and tricks whether you have one day, or many!

Where to Stay:

Claris.jpg

Image courtesy of hotelclaris.com

This time, I stayed at the very lovely Hotel Claris, conveniently located less than a block away from the tony Passeig de Gràcia area.  I always wanted to use the word tony in a sentence – thank you for making my dreams come true.  Anyway, this hotel is really well situated, it’s absolutely  beautiful and they have the best service of anywhere that I’ve ever been.  The Bell Hop doesn’t let you lift a finger and couldn’t be more helpful.  I needed a drug store and he practically walked me there.  The rooms had the fluffiest towels that I’ve ever experienced, and who doesn’t like a fluffy towel?  They had the best shower…ever…seriously…I never wanted to get out.  You had turndown service at night, and they left you with a fresh pair of slippers AND a chocolate on your pillow. The decor was fab and very modern.  I can’t recommend this place enough.  It wasn’t horrifyingly expensive either, but book in advance for the best prices (the executive room is probably your best bet).

Getting Around:

I can only speak for me, but the first time I went, we pretty much walked everywhere.  The one time we didn’t walk, we took a cab to the Miro museum.  I’m sure transit is easy, but remember, the best way to see a city is to walk, and walk and walk some more.  This time, we took a private tour which was great.  We got to see so much of the city and really got to understand the history of it.  A great option for tired and weary travellers is the trusty “Hop on Hop Off” tour.  The buses are everywhere and they’ll get you where you want to go.  They can also help you orient yourself in the city.

The Weather:

The first time that I went, it was in November, and it was still around 20 degrees celsius.  This summer, it was 28 degrees (celsius) during the day – more than pleasant.  If you are bringing your smart phone, download a weather app.

The People

The people are different than you expect.  They are polite and direct.  They never make you feel like they are in a rush, but there is an unusual efficiency there.

Wireless Connections

These were spotty at best.  The hotel wasn’t great for wireless connectivity, my suggest it to get yourself a decent data plan.  If you can’t roam like home, take a cyber break.

What to do:

Check back for everything that you need to do rumble down Las Ramblas in Barcelona!


Leave a comment

What I Learned This Month – a Mini Post

You are never too old to learn something new, and in true blondish fashion, I learned things in August that perhaps I should have know before such as:

  • What “Wainscoting” is.  I did a survey of approximately 30 people (friends, co-workers and family) and 29/30 people knew what is was.  I was the 30th.  Just so you don’t have to feel like a dummy, its the inner wooden covering of a wall.  Thank you Shai for spelling it for me 3 times, and explaining, very slowly, what it is.  To my other friends, at least one of you could have lied to make me feel better – thanks a lot
  • What Tu B’Av is.  It’s a minor Jewish holiday that celebrate’s love.  It’s also known as the Jewish Valentine’s Day.  Here is a longer, more detailed explanation in case you are interested http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/features/.premium-1.609805.  Unlike Wainscoting, 4 out of 4 people asked had no clue what it was. Thank you Phil for teaching me something new.
  • Last, but not least, I learned that I could sit outside, in the country for an entire afternoon with an incredible group of women and only mildly freak out about the bugs.  Thank you to the hostess with the mostess – you know who you are.

 


4 Comments

A Return to Barcelona

P1030410

Park Guell

When I was younger, and frankly, more stupid, I was eager to explore the world.  Even though I was a world explorer, I wasn’t very worldly and I made a fuss over never wanting to visit the same place twice.  As I became a more seasoned traveller, I ended up with a HUGE first world problem, I had to go to Paris a second time.  It was a huge sacrifice, but somehow I got through it.  Later, I ended up going to Rome, Venice and Florence a second time on a family trip, and what do you know, I somehow managed to survive.  I then went to Paris a third time, and low and behold, I wasn’t even bored.  I somehow ended roaming in Rome a third time, and it wasn’t the end of the world….

…and then, I was FORCED to spend two days in another city that I’ve visited before -Barcelona.  When I visited the city for a second time, something in my blond little head finally clicked…seeing a city or country for a second, third or fourth time means that you get to discover new things.  You get to “finish the job” so to speak and really immerse yourself into the culture.  You get to see things that you’ve never seen before or see things that you have visited before in a whole new way.  Yes, it’s a big world out there, but there is nothing wrong with revisiting an old favourite, and that’s Barcelona for me.  My next few entries will tell you where to go, stay, and what to do when you are there if you have Type A tendencies like me and need to cover as much territory as possible, but first, I just want to share a few photos of the Barcelona that I didn’t get to see the first go round.

P1030438.JPG

Park Guell  

 

P1030434.JPG

Park Guell

P1030427.JPG

Yup Park Guell

P1030417.JPG

And Again!

P1030401.JPG

Ok – I’m a little obsessed with Park Guell

I never got to see Park Guell the first time I went to the Big B and it was spectacular.   I’ll write more about it the Type A entry, but I just wanted you to see what you miss when you don’t return to a city, and I would have missed this.  Lesson learned.

 

 


Leave a comment

Back to Oz-ish

Gail Blog

My brilliant Frousin + Kiwi

I’ve been a little obsessed with travel and other pursuits, but from time to time, I’m going to revisit why I started this blog – overall health, and Dr. Oz.  This was written months ago, but I couldn’t figure out when to post it.  Now seemed like as good a time as any before I start a slew of travel related posts.
Dr. Oz provides his viewers with a lot of advice on nutrition.  I have tested some of his advice from time to time, but have found a number of places where there are inconsistencies.  One day, he’ll recommend something as a super food and the next day, he’s moved on to something else.  There are a couple of times where I’ve just disagreed with him – like recommending coconut oil where there is no scientific evidence that it has any health benefits.  In fact, there are more studies that suggest it’s high levels of saturated fat can actually do you more harm than good.  Before I try any more of his recommendations, I thought I’d speak to a trained dietician – and why not go to one that I know, trust and love – my cousin Gail!  You may remember her from previous blogs since I’ve turned to her before.  We sat down over Italian so that I could get answers to my latest barrage of questions.
First off, I’ve noticed a lot of people giving advice on nutrition.  Can you tell me what the difference is between a dietician and a nutritionist?
Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist, even you.  It’s not a protected title.  Dietitians have a license protected title.  In order to be a dietician, you need to have a degree and have completed an internship of one year including clinical, foodservice and community work.  We have to write a test (usually 6 hours) based on the standards of the province that we are practicing in.  Dietitians have to upkeep our knowledge and belong to the College of Dietitians which is there for the public’s protection.  We, as dietitians, have to stay on top of studies and understand the most up to date information in our field and it must be practice specific.
A nutritionist is someone that can, for example, read a food label, but they do not understand the science behind it.  In the USA, dietitians are called nutritionists so that’s also where some of the confusion lies.
So, I can be a nutritionist in Canada?
Yes!
When should you reach out to either?
A nutritionist is cheaper for a reason.  It’s like going to a holistic doctor versus a medical doctor.  The content of education is different.  A registered dietician bases opinion on scientific data driven by studies.  They are not trying to sell anything like supplements or cleanses.  A nutritionist isn’t covered by medical plans.  A dietitian can be covered by OHIP (or other provincial equivalents) for specific conditions or consultations but if you are consulting them privately, it can be expensive.
You can consult a dietitian when you want to make lifestyle adjustments with diet, and this isn’t just for weight loss.  Weight loss may be a by product of the plan, but medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer,  IBS, Crohn’s or any psychiatric conditions (eating disorders) can benefit from a dietitian.
Is there a danger or risk to seeing a nutritionist?
Yes, particularly if they are recommending fad diets, selling products, creating fear of certain foods or touting elimination diets that have no scientific validity.  They can sometimes offer poor advice that could cause long term problems.  Dietitians often have to deal with issues caused by unsound advice from people calling themselves nutritionists.
What are the ethical standards for a dietician?
There is a huge list of ethical standards.  In Ontario, we are governed by the College of Dietitians of Ontario.  We are covered under the Health Care Professionals Act (the same act that covers psychologists).
What is the worst piece of advice that you’ve seen a nutritionist provide?
Telling people to go on elimination diets is a huge issue.  There are no tested studies and there is no validity to them.  Once you end up eliminating foods that you may not be allergic too, people often get confused and no longer know what to eat.
So what do you think about Dr. Oz?  I know, we’ve talked about this before…
Don’t watch Dr. Oz!  He has a certain pressure to sell his show and it shows in his advice!
For more valuable advice, including Gail’s healthy take on body image, check out her blog on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/gailkardishRD/


2 Comments

No Approval Required

chrissie

Some years ago, I’m not going to say how many to protect the innocent and not so innocent, I started my career in media.  Citytv was unique – everyone thought it was the number one station in Toronto – it was legendary.  It was the little station that could, and the coolest one around.  We were number 3, but if you are going to be number 3, be the best number 3 you can be.  I was beyond excited and on my first day, my then boss gave me a whispered warning – don’t ruin my relationship with the Cityline producer, and whatever you do, don’t get on her bad side.  Quivering on the inside, I was taken around to be introduced to a bunch of people whose names escaped me for awhile, then I was introduced to Chrissie Rejman.

Diminutive, with a British accent, and a slightly bored expression, at least when speaking with this newbie, she said hello, as she looked me up and down, then said her still famous line, “Well, of course you’ve seen Cityline.”  Of course, I responded, a little to eagerly, and went on to say how much I loved Fashion Friday and Mega Makeover Madness!  I was rewarded with a small nod.  Back in those days when streaming services didn’t exist and VHS meant something other than VERY HOMELY SUCKER, we taped our favourite shows and this show was one that made the cut.  If you aren’t familiar with Cityline, it is an interactive lifestyle show with themed days and as it’s producer always said, it’s advice your best girlfriend would give you.  Chrissie was the producer from it’s inception in 1984 until June 30th, 2016.

After many months, and a HUGE project, Chrissie started taking a liking to me, I think she realized that I cared about her show and was willing to work hard.  She even gave me an end credit a few times, I never told her how thrilled I was by that.  Many of you fast forward the credits, but knowing the work that goes into production, I always try to read them.  As time went on, my admiration for Chrissie grew and I started to not only see her as a producer that I had to be able to work with, but a dear friend and mentor.  We started having after work chats at least once a week.  These calls started as I often needed to get approvals for story ideas for clients, but then became our time to vent, and laugh and sometimes even cry.

To know Chrissie is to understand that there was a going to be a certain rhythm to the approval process.  First came the no, with a mild insult.  Often it was “vile”, “ridiculous”, a disgusted sigh or even “Jill, how can you ask me to do this?”.   I’d say “OK Chrissie, I get it”, we’d have a little laugh, then say goodbye.  Then, I’d count down 5, 4, 3, 2…ring (I’d smile to myself as I picked up the phone)!  “Jill, I can’t do that dreadful integration, but here is what I can do…” – 90% of the time, it was always more than I’d ever ask for, and a better idea.

Outside of coming up with good sales integrations, I learned a lot of valuable life lessons from my friend:

  • Remain ageless – it really is just a number
  • Stay passionate about what you love
  • Care about everything that has your name on it
  • There are a million ideas out there, you just have to look for them
  • If someone is applying for a job with you and they tell you that they are a people person, say “Really, I don’t” to see how they react.  I haven’t tried this one, but it’s a brilliant line
  • Keep your friends close and don’t worry about your enemies
  • Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in, even if it’s a fight you aren’t going to win
  • Pick someone that you are inspired by to be your mentor – I did, and she never let me down.  I didn’t realize how much of a mentor Chrissie was to me until I found out she was leaving, then I thought back to all of the life lessons that I acquired over time just by listening to her, and realized how inspired I am by this woman
  • The older you get, the bigger the bigger the jewelry you should wear.  If you want to try wearing big jewelry, own it.  Chrissie is 5 feet (ok a little less than that) and tiny, and she pulls it off

Chrissie – I’ll never quite get the right words to tell you how much you mean to me.  You have been my comfort and my constant at work.  You’ve made me laugh harder and cry harder than I ever thought possible.  You are going to do great things – I don’t doubt that.  You are vital, strong and brilliant.  I love being your friend and I can’t wait to see what you do next.

 


Leave a comment

Savannah for the Type A Traveller

IMG_1891

I decided to remove the “for dummies” out of my entry…mostly because my Mama always told me that stupid is as stupid does.  Yes, my lamb chops, it’s time to move from HOTLANTA to Savannah, and what a move it was!  Savannah was everything that I hoped for…and more!  Haunted, fun, and oh so Southern, the home to Forrest Gump gave this Type A Traveller a real taste of the South.  Magical manors, haunted houses, beautiful squares, cute Southern accents…what’s not to love?

If you need more inspiration to pick up your satchel and head south of the Mason-Dixon line, here are my picks for the top things to do in the Forest City:

IMG_1806

Ellis Square – the Johnny Mathis Statue

  • Check out some, or if your Type A, all of the 22 Squares.  I think we covered 19 by foot, but we saw each of the 22 squares and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  They are especially beautiful at night when everything looks vaguely haunted.

    IMG_1819

  • Speaking of night time, go for a Haunted Carriage ride – there is no better city to do it in.  You’ll learn about all of the ghosts and goblins haunting the city.  The clip-pity clop of the horses hooves takes you back in time, but the sounds of 18 wheelers will remind you pretty quickly that you are in 2016. My favourite – at one inn, a ghost is known to steal bras.   Ladies, make sure you only bring the ones with the wires half out to the 17 Hundred 90 Inn or ghost Anna may help herself to some of your finer delicates.

IMG_1826

  • Walk, walk, walk.  You’ll see more of the city, and it’s really one that you need to stroll through like a proper Southern lady.

IMG_1845

  • Visit Forsyth Park – it’s beautiful and has an amazing fountain.  It’s the perfect place for a photo op for you selfie-lovers.
  • Stroll around the City Market – it’s a cute little pedestrian mall with restaurants, shops and bars.  It’s nicer than River Street which felt a little touristy to me….although considering I am a tourist, I shouldn’t be so judgy-wudgy.

IMG_1907

  • Stay at a historic hotel – we stayed at the River Street Inn – you really felt like you were stepping into another time.  It smelled vaguely like horse poop in some of the halls (thanks to some renos), but the rooms were fresh as a daisy and very turn of the century.  The perimeter of the hotel has gas lanterns lending to the atmosphere.

IMG_1882

  • If you are a movie buff, this is the place for you.  Forrest Gump was shot here. The church in the photo above was used in the first shot of the movie when the feather floated down.  The Legend of Bagger Vance, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (duh), the atrocious Forces of Nature, the foul The Last Song, Cape Fear and Glory are just some of the good, bad and ugly flicks produced here.
  • Hungry?  Then head over to Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room.  Ya’ll will have to wait in line for some down home (well, not my home) Southern Cooking.  It’s served family style, so you’ll break bread with a bunch of strangers.  I was lucky enough to be sitting with native Southerners so they explained what everything was.  Even if your like me, and not a meat lover, you’ll have plenty of options!  Try the black eyed peas, okra and spinach – all excellent!  You’ll walk away chugged full AND it’s one of the most unique dining experiences you can imagine.

IMG_1816

  • Last, but not least, go to the very popular Leopold’s Ice Cream.  The ice cream is ok, but if you are a film buff, the memorabilia is pretty cool!  The parlour is now owned by film producer Stratton Leopold, producer of Mission Impossible 3, The Big Chill, The Sum of All Fears, and many more movies.  Apparently he still helps out when he is in town.

The only thing that I didn’t like about Savannah?  Just the lack of time.  We did all of this, and more in just a day and a half.  Do a circle on a Hop On Hop Off bus, we had an amazing driver, she was hilarious!  We got a real sense of the city and learned more about the history than we could have done on our own.  It was an hour of time well spent!  I can’t wait to go back but first, it’s on to Spain and Portugal!

 


Leave a comment

Atlanta for Dummies and Type As (Part 3)

AV12-AV12_362695_1244403972

College Football Hall of Fame + Really Large Looking Teeth

Dear readers, I saved the best for last. These are your mainstay attractions, the things that all good tourists do while they are in The Big A.  I, of course, being a Type A Traveller decided to do them all in one day (and made my friend suffer right along with me). Don’t do this!  I repeat, learn from my mistakes and barking dogs (sore feet).  Pick two or three of these and do them well!  Or don’t listen to me and do them all in one day…if you dare (insert evil laugh here – MWHAHAHAHAHAHAHA)….

Stop #1 – The World of Coca Cola

Don’t choke on your Coke, but this place was amazing!  Maybe it’s my years in marketing, but I found the World of Coca Cola to be a world of fun!  You start your tour by selecting one of three soft drinks – Coke, Diet Coke or Coke Zero (I picked Zero).  Then, you walk into a room with some very excited guides who join you on the first part of the tour.  Their enthusiasm was contagious (unlike the bored guide at CNN).  They hyped up the crowd, and there really was one in a cool holding area (filled with memorabilia).  After finding out where everyone was from, they gave us an overview of the upcoming self-guided tour, and then we went to watch a 5 minute commercial – I mean movie – about Coca Cola.  So well done that I ended up with a lump in my throat, and no, it wasn’t just Aspartame.  You leave the theatre and if you have three hours, you can line up for a pic with the Polar Bears.  They were just mobbed so I settled for a photo op with the stuffed animals in the gift shop and recommend that you do to.  The only negative thing about this place was the need to charge you for photos at every turn.  You can then go see the safe where they have the secret formula for Coke (yeah right) and as you walk in, you can pose for another $20 photo!  I declined and just enjoyed the little show that they put on.  Next, you can tour the history of the soft drink.  Amazingly, I saw an old ad with a woman who looked just like my beloved grandmother (see above – the lady in the middle is her identical twin).

Keep trekking through, and you can see Modern Coke Art and even more memorabilia including the American Idol couch (another photo op that you can skip).  You can watch the bottling process before you go into the coolest part of the museum – the Taste It Beverage Lounge.  You can literally try Coke products from almost every continent, and that’s exactly how they’ve divided it!  Just don’t try Beverly from Italy.  My friend warned me and I didn’t listen – it was GROSS!!!  A lot of the drinks are very sweet, but if you like that sort of thing, go for it.  You can get a bonus glass bottle of Coke on your way into the gift shop.  I skipped it, we had a lot of walking ahead.  The gift shop was HUGE and the customer service was great.  They gave me 25% off my purchase because I had to wait so long for a price check (and I didn’t even complain).

Stop #2 – The College Football Hall of Fame

Honestly, I’m not a sports fan, but this was pretty fun!  It’s worth an hour of your time, which is how long we stayed.  You choose a team and all of the details are programmed into your handy dandy pass.  You can find your team’s helmet on the wall (photo above, for sure you can figure out which one it is).  I picked Hawaii for no particular reason other than the fact that I like it there.  Take a picture near the Step and Repeat and then your ready to kick a field goal (unless, like me, you are wearing sandals).  Then, throw the ball into a net thing-y!  It was fun – even for me.  After we left the field and headed into the museum, I can’t remember much.  The coolest thing was when you would step in front of exhibits and they would greet you by name.  Other than a “digital” face painting station, and seeing some awards (including the Rose Bowl and Heisman Trophy, it was a little lost on me.

Stop #3 – The Center for Civil and Human Rights

If I can sum this museum up in two words – AMAZINGLY POWERFUL is what comes to mind.  This isn’t a museum filled with artifacts.  It’s interactive and interesting exhibits including one that lets you experience what it was like to be a Civil Rights Activist as they tried to desegregate lunch counters in the 1960s.  See if you can last the full two minutes – and remember that the activists in the 1960s lasted for hours!   I won’t tell you more than that – you need to experience this place.

Stop #4 – The Georgia Aquarium 

 

Yes, we did the Georgia Aquarium too!  We have the Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto which is just as good except that we don’t have penguins or Whale Sharks.  I found some of the aquariums a little blurry including the conveyer belt that takes you through the shark tunnel.  Don’t miss the room with the huge window into their dwelling – it’s incredible.  Have a seat and stay awhile, it’s a highlight.  The penguins were cute too, but they looked a little squished.  I skipped the dolphin show since I don’t agree with keeping sea mammals captive.  Outside of the sharks and the penguins, the sea otters were pretty fun to watch.  The sea lions also looked pretty squished, so if that kind of thing upsets you, skip that exhibit.  Skip the educational part at the end – it’s intended more for kids and seemed like a big time waster.  Don’t skip the Aquarium, but realize that it will be packed and it’s not a meditative experience.  I think I even saw a shark roll their eyes at seeing another tourist.

I think that outside of the State Capitol, Buckhead, The Carter Library and a couple of small things here and there, we literally did everything possible in HOTLANTA.  It’s worth a visit, but three days is plenty!  I wish it had been more of a traditional Southern experience, but stay tuned for more about that in my next entry!

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 819 other followers