Environmentally & Socially Responsible Event Planning * Consulting * Staffing * Catering

What our clients say about us...

  • “You have extraordinary attention to detail. You took care of the little things (like the place setting utensil twine and the food platter you sent up to the girls’ room) that we didn’t even think about. We’d be able to tell future clients to feel confident that everything will be taken of with style, even the things they may not have thought of beforehand.” – John, on his wedding

Thursday, December 9, 2010

L'Espressing my impressions...

[Possible RANT Alert!]

I have to admit that being in the catering industry for a while tends to make you a food snob and a especially a service sob. I think we often discount real service and what a good waiter is. But I'm digressing.

Variety is the spice of life and I recently went for an Americano with J at a local place down the street. After a day of grinding out proposals and quotes I really was chomping at the bit to get out of the home office and surround myself with fellow hunams and grab a cup o joe somewhere with good company. So, J recommended we go to L'Espresso. We ended up shelling out $45.00 for a chicken panini, salad, Earl Gray tea, Americano and a chocolate pear tart. OUCH.

I wouldn't have minded swallowing the $45.00 for experience. But then the treat pretty much went down hill from there.

The ambiance was indeed nice, its a VERY pretty place. Yet the Americano was quite frankly pathetic and lukewarm. I'm quite sure this is not representative of Italian cuisine. (To put it in comparison, I had a stronger, more full bodied Americano at Aroma later that night just to erase that first Americano from my pallet. - a Franchise-made Americano!)

The chicken breast in the panini was decently juicy if plain. In my humble opinion there are plenty of things you can do to three slices of chicken breast, even while grilling them. Such juicy breasts were dying for some tender culinary love. Ahem. Pesto? Pepper? Anything? Even a light rub of herbs would be lovely. ESPECIALLY for $10.00! It was spicy. That's it. No hint of Italian basil to compliment the tomato bits, and one maybe two sheafs of lettuce just to say they were actually present and accounted for. Not even something to compliment the juiciness of the chicken or detract from the dryness of the toasted panini bread.

What really got me was that I feel we really got profiled by the waitstaff. We didn't even have the waitstaff visit to check up on us, refill my water, or refresh J's tea. Perhaps it was the fact that J was knitting or I was dressed down from my daily biz ware. Service was pathetic. I almost felt like tipping myself for the last bit I am about to mention.

First, I think the sad that this fine dining/ cafe establishment completely forgot the dessert. After nearly bussing the ho-hum waitress came by and stacked dishes our fine china like it was Denny's and was off. (I guess we're just not worth revisiting because we laid down a measily $45.00 bones)

So I went up to get J's dessert. The head waiter ends up realizing that he forgot and simply hands it to me from the fridge, completely cold.  (I guess we're doing self-serve now!)

(For those that don't know, today it was -9, -16 with the windchill. Why the HECK would I want to have a cold dessert with my lukewarm, weak and defence-less Americano?) The end result? A hard tart with equally hard chocolate filling, and clammy slivers of pear in it. Room temperature or even a slight warmth would have really brought out the butter (if any) in the tart crust or even made the chocolate and pear pairing enjoyable.

The saddest part was that I had to get my dessert myself!   The head waiter even unceremoniously handed the cold plate to me direct from the fridge (hint of pre-prepared earlier that morning, since the whip cream that was suppose to accent it was a shapeless white blob.

Above: Bleh.  Its almost like home-style dessert.  Self serve, direct from the fridge and cold

Perhaps if you want a nice place to sit and watch the world go by, go here.  I simply don't think I'd come back here for the food nor the service.   Perhaps it would be a nice venue, I'd just have to ensure that the there was a taste test before spending a dollar and having outside staff for service.  The service at L'Espresso simply was shameful. The food was nothing to write home about and the price was certainly not representative of the experience.

(Sigh.  I guess that's a - YES. I am a food/service snob!)

200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes

Well, math has always been my arch-nemisis. But Hans Rosling's real time illustration really does show how far we have come in the last 200 years, and, how far we will go.
It gives me hope for the future (Watching some of the CBC Doc Zone Documentaries was getting me rather down) and above all I'm glad I and Simplicity are trying to do our part.

We can never rest on our laurels, as there is still much to do. Anyhow. On with the show!

200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Oh noes. Getting sick. Again.

There is nothing worse than that "froggy" feeling in the back of your throat. I absolutely hate getting sick, mainly because of the down time and that fact that it takes me close to 4-6 weeks to get rid of the resulting cough that comes along with whatever I've caught.

The number one way to get sick? Stress. Or rather the release of stress. Don't get me wrong, stress can actually be good. But after the completion of an event or surviving a blitz you're more likely to get sick. Exam time? Definitely a good time to get sick right after you finish.

Thankfully J was completely inspired by Julia Child and made French Onion soup. (Swoon) Melted Gruyere is so yum with the soup.

Anyhoo, here are pictures of the "gang" in action. I will admit I do sometimes refer to them as my "kids". It's a terrible habit sometimes. It's especially ironic as I often seem to forget the age difference when I speak to some of them. "You're how old?!"

Anyhow, here are the photos: Simplicity staff in ACTION! (Merge to form DevasCater?!)

Above: Did I mention we do private house parties?
J, Bridget and Rick help a client take the stress out of having guests at a house warming

Left & Below: Bridget sets up the spread for the Trudeau book signing reception

Above: Here's the staff during a bit of down time before the start of an event

Monday, November 29, 2010

I think the Construction God is happy

Construction was going on DIRECTLY OUTSIDE our bedroom window in the park across the street. Nothing sings the praises of the Construction God Backhoeus than a jackhammer breaking old cold concrete at 8am.

Julie & Julia = Rolo + Inspiration = Actually blogging again

So, I sat down and watched a bit of "Julie & Julia", the recent movie about a blogger and her connection with Julia Child. Her blogging got me thinking in that Japanese sort of healthy envy "iie-nahhh" (sp?) that begs the question "Why the heck am I NOT writing more on my blog. Its easy to say that I'm just too darn busy building a thriving triple-bottom line company. But I'd be kidding myself because the inspiration has been rather fleeting lately!

It wasn't until I looked at the movie that I revisited the question of the main reason why I write this blog. For a while I've had some "cover answers" but I guess I might as well go into them ON the blog instead of talking about it in my head and word of mouth. What really inspired me and got me thinking is the way Julie Powell wrote her blog and compared it to Simplicity. How could a blog about an entrepreneur and his company's exploits to make a difference be something intimate and enjoyable to a wider audience and not just friends family and in industry people? (Heck I don't even know what people think of this. I'm always surprised when people tell me the actually READ it.) Its a funny thing because I feel I want to be positive, not bitch and at the same time be professional. I guess the best way is to continue to be honest.

It seems to me people write blogs for various reasons and I will humbly admit that the quiet little star in me was disappointed in the traffic I receive for the blog. However the altruistic side of me steps in says "HEY thats not the point!"

I write this blog for several reasons some of which can be a bit hoaky but here they are:

1.) For myself - Its a reminder of how far Simplicity has come and is continuing to slowly but surely thrive in what it has set out to do. (soapbox enabled) This is to be a socially and environmentally responsible catering company designed from the ground up to make a difference. (soapbox disabled)

2.) For you - my reader. This includes our clients, supporters and staff. I also secretly hope somewhere out there there IS a fellow entrepreneur who is reading this and thinking. "Crap, its fricking hard to start your own business. I don't know how I'm suppose to pull this shit off and stay sane."

3.) Because its organic. Unlike a website, websites are polished advertising driven, sites that can be a glossy cover. I feel its nice to strip it down and show what makes this growing organization great. It's people. Doing really cool things. I do believe its easier to change and adapt this blog than a fixed website.

Meh. Anyhow, its a Monday and things are off to a good start. Several of our old clients are booking us for Christmas parties and we're actually booking well into June. It's a wonderful thing to see. We also have a new mega-client. I just hope that we can actually settle the vendor pay issue.

(Mental note to self - mega corporations are really hard to adapt and be flexible.)

I also finally managed to extract all the photos from John and Emily's wedding our staff volunteer photographer took. Sadly, huge files are so hard to edit and work with! It took me 3 previous attempts before Picasa nearly had an aneurysm trying to digest the 15 to 17 meg photos. In the end I had to finally copy them group by group.

Also thinking about having a 4 course dinner party at the house soon. Its a tiny place but it sure is cozy. If I'm lucky I'll even update you all on the other events that Simplicity has been doing. (Crosses fingers enabled)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Entrepreneur Tip: Practice Safe USB'ing

Curse you FedEx Kinkos and your sloppy Anti-Malware procedures.  My biz USB key with my portable work now has key-logging malware and other crap that I don't want on it.

So folks, if you happen to use a USB key and plugged it into a public computer, and your PC starts acting funny, check your little baby for malware by clicking on

1.) TOOLS drop down menu
3.) Click on VIEW tab
4.) (Scroll down to "Show Hidden Files and Folders" Make sure that is checked off!
5.) Uncheck "Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)"

Then root around in your User Folder in "Documents and Settings" You may find some random and unfamiliar *.scr and *.exe files that are sucking up system resources.

These are nasty little things that I picked up from my forays to Kinkos to print material. I only noticed them after I get back home and noticed the office comp starting to act weird.

Oh and if you don't know what to look for, ask someone you trust who knows what their doing and can spot malware.

THANKS Kinkos! (At this point I'm considering putting a condom on my USB key.)

Thankfully Google allows me to mail stuff to myself. God knows what key logger software is on their Kinkos comps...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Social Responsibility by Community Involvement: The BICYCLE Program

In my humble opinion it is quite easy to say that you are a triple-bottom line company and not be able to show proof that you practice what you preach. Well here is proof!

Here is a fitting example of how building a company that is socially responsible and being directly involved in the community really works seemlessly. But first a bit of back story!

Recently I have had the fantastic opportunity to be involved in a program called BICYCLE (Bicycle Initiative for Cabbagetown Youth Centre. Learn. Engage) and have been filling in the role of Volunteer Administrator and Event Organizer. In part of this Simplicity has been involved by helping organize a community Bike Clinic, co-ordinating with several other organizations. (More on this later!)

Last Saturday it seems I ended up being on camera during the Toronto Sun's visit to the BICYCLE shop. Article Link (HERE).  Either way I am quite happy to be part of BICYCLE and happen to be in the newspapers, and quite content to be in the background I have to say though the quotes they chose makes me feel like I sound like some sort of Bike Engineer.

Oh well, keep an eye out for our upcoming post which will show the photos of the recent Bike Clinic!

Friday, October 29, 2010

My visit to Second Harvest

One of the things my mom always impressed upon me is to NEVER EVER waste food.
I grew up listening to my mom constantly telling me about how people back in Philippines would starving to have the amount of food I was fed, growing up in Canada.  This made so much more sense to me when I had a chance to actually plant rice in the rice fields of Japan and coupled with working in the catering industry for over eight years. (As well probably why I ended up being a chubby husky little filipino kid that loved to eat and loved to cook.)  But I digress!

So much food goes to waste in the industry and its one of the main reasons why I designed Simplicity as a triple-bottom line company to address help address this issue.

Part of that plan is ensuring the un-plated food goes to the right place, right away.

This is where Second Harvest comes in!

I recently had a great opportunity to ensure the food donated from John and Emily's wedding went to Second Harvest. I thought that there would be no better way than to deliver it myself!

Guaranteed Delivery!

It was also a golden opportunity to finally connect face to face with Melissa Decic, the Foodraiser with whom I had occasionally spoken to whenever we had a donation to pickup, but I simply never had a chance to meet her until now!

I finally meet Melissa!  At the loading dock for the Second Harvest warehouse

I'm really proud that Simplicity is developing a great connection with Second Harvest.  As you can see, no suit for this visit. It was simply too hot and it was all work! On this visit, our client John and Emily donated over 250 pounds worth of food. What surprised me is how timely our delivery was.  Second Harvest truly needed it because Melissa informed us that during the summer months, very little food is donated and their warehouse was quite bare.

Special thanks to our clients John & Emily for making this possible, and thank you Melissa for the great opportunity to finally meet!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Nothing beats fresh bread! ... from the local Cobs Bakery!

Its been a while since I've put a lot into the blog.  But I'm back now, I have my voice back and my throat is all better, so I guess the Fall cold is out of the way.   (mumble...grumble, something about "Environmental Allergies"...)

Its been a crazy summer with a lot of things going on and I've done my best to keep you all updated.  Simplicity has been quite busy doing a lot of work in the community, making new friends, meeting new vendors and naturally, meeting new clients!

One of the many great new friends and suppliers for our events has been the local Cobs Bakery located in the Annex!
"Tim" and Emily at the counter

Nothing beats exploring your new neighbourhood by finding what I like to call "the local secrets".  These are of course the best places to be, best prices, local coffee haunts (Rooster is still my favourite!) and of course, places to get good fresh bread. 

I have to really thank the stars for giving me a chance to meet the people that run this particular Cobs Bakery.  The owner Emily is fantastic, engaging and also a fellow entrepreneur.  What I love most is that her passion for bread and running a bread bakery shows through everything, including the great folks she has at the counter.

Not only has Emily been a fantastic new supplier for some of our summer events, but she has also supported Simplicity in our endeavours to help out the communities we are involved with.  (More on these later!)  It is simply fantastic to team up with a socially responsible supplier.

Thank you Emily and thanks to the awesome crew at Cobs Bakery Annex!

Monday, October 25, 2010

More posts to follow.... but first - Its a sad day for Toronto

I haven't posted in a long while and I'm finally on the mend after a big cold.  But first, my honest thoughts on recent news.

I'm really sad about the way my city's election went.  
My city now has an elected mayor that thinks a streetcar is a "traffic congestion", and that bike lanes only should be placed on streets in which the local community wants them.  Never mind the other people across the city or neighbourhoods that actually use them to get where they want to go.  Certainly I didn't vote for him.

I guess we can kiss "TransitCity" project goodbye and less progress in bike lines in my city.

I think its a sad day for my city's potential growth and a sad day for transit riders and bicyclists everywhere in T.O.

That's about it for the personal view point.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fall Colours, cool wind at my back and an Americano in hand


So it has been a bit since I last posted a blog posting.  Strangely enough it seems more people are reading the blog so I do feel compelled to write a post.  Inspiration has been a bit lacking.  Its down right cold and the winter/fall clothes are still tucked away somewhere after the move.  Today was officially zero degrees (ZERO!) in the city of Toronto, and even with a merino wool sweater I was very cold, especially on a bike!

A lot of things have been happening as we are working to move Simplicity into the "festive holiday season" with dinner party bookings and birthday parties.  I'm already missing the sun and the warmth!  I think the cats have the right idea of sleeping on the radiators... but I digress.

There are a bunch of posts that simply have to come out with a ton of photos.  But for now, I was reading a book that Jasna recommended to me called "Simple Abundance" by Sarah Ban Breathnach and I saw a quote I really do like:

"Simplicity brings with it order, both internally and externally.  A sense of order in our lives brings harmony."

I think that the above quote nicely encapsulates in a different way what Simplicity means to me, and I hope it continues to do this through our events too!  More coming folks.   Let me just find my sweaters!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Back to school, stress and all that jazz...

So we're in the back to school season and I can't help but feel stressed out about it even though I'm no longer (thankfully) in the school system.  I've managed to keep my love of learning healthy and alive despite my experience.  Gone are the days of thinking about  OSAP, application, and enrollment deadlines, along with all the arcane convoluted procedures to get the courses you want, or simply just to get help.

Anyhow.  I wrote a little something for someone to clarify what Simplicity does and why is it a socially responsible company.  I thought it was so nifty that it deserved to be posted here.  You can tell I wrote it from the heart and it encapsulates what we've been doing to make a difference. 

"Simplicity is our turn key event planning division that specializes in taking the stress out of our clients events, at the same time we are a triple bottom line company that is environmentally and socially responsible.  We uphold these three tenets of responsibility through our staff, actions and involvement in the community.

Currently over 95% of what goes into creating our events is re-used, recycled, composted or donated to charity.  We have a close working relationship with Second Harvest and their affiliates so no food goes to waste.  We are also involved in the helping out staff where they need to get by providing them with assistance in, references, career planning, networking contacts, helping them get ready, apply themselves and meet the right people to achieve their personal goals. 

Some examples include, one of our staff whom [we] helped apply for and prepare her University portfolio.  We have also been able to turn events into volunteer experiences for several former Alpha II students who have been hired on as volunteers to acquire experiences.  Several of our staff are artists and entrepreneurs, we introduce them with other artists and vendors we work with to help build their network, or help them with what they need.   We also express our social responsibility through our choice of vendors and suppliers we work with.  We make every effort to work with and build close relationships with local vendors as well as other small businesses that express their own ethical/social responsibility.

In addition to this, Simplicity is deeply involved in the Alpha II community providing volunteer learning opportunities for the students for nearly three years in the school kitchen as well as volunteering time as a "parent" volunteer at events and as a caterer for several major events.   We have also branched out to voluntary cater for Harmony B Co-op's - Its Chez Nous Fest 2 Art Festival and are currently involved in helping with the admin/logistics/organization of the BICYCLE - Cabbagetown Youth Centre - Biking Mechanic program.

Our [personal] mission is to affect change through helping others, no matter how large or small, through our events or by committing our time and effort simplifying their lives and make a difference in the community. "

For those of you who don't know, we do all of this behind the scenes while providing our clients with turn-key event service, great staff and great catering all bundled into one happy convenient package.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Food for thought

Recently I was gifted with a wonderfully juicy sci-fi novel by Neil Stephenson - "The Diamond Age" and its given me a second glance at the works of Confucius.  One quote from Confucius struck a chord in me...

The ancients who wished to demonstrate illustrious virtue throughout the kingdom, first ordered well their own states.  Wishing to order well their states, they first regulated their families. 

Wishing to regulate their families, they first cultivated their persons.  Wishing to cultivate their persons, they first rectified their hearts.

Wishing to rectify their hearts, they first sought to be sincere in their thoughts.  Wishing to be sincere in their thoughts, they first extended to the utmost their knowledge.  

Such extension of knowledge lay in the investigation of things... 

From ... Heaven down to the mass of people, all must consider the cultivation of the person the root of everything besides.                                                             - Confucius

Thursday, July 29, 2010

*Gasp* Rolo finally is back into the cellular world!

Hey all,

Yes I finally caved in and managed to get a new cellphone.  Special thanks to my love J for getting me a wonderful new gadget powered by Google.  Introducing the HTC Dream!

Word to the un-cell-ucated folks.  It always pay to do your cell research because in my journey to cell-dom I've had a rough time indeed.  Not only do different service providers provide you different things, (even among different vendors of the same provider!) but everyone has a nasty habit of "If you don't ask, we won't bother tell you."  Even if that info is rather important.  On top of that there is a whole new undiscovered world of unlocked and "rooted" phones, I'm excited to find out about. 

After our collective experience with contracts, hidden fee's and virtually no support for cell replacements with a service provider that shall remain nameless  (Rhymes with Smell-Us).  We got this wonderful gift.  Sadly another services provider (Rhymes with Robbers) decided to cripple this particular model of phone, locking you to them and their subsidiary.

On the good note, Google has one again come through with their Android powered phones.

Anyhow.  I salute Google and their platform OS Android.  I'm loving using this HTC Dream even though its crippled and I'm stuck with a provider I don't really want.  I hope to fix that some time soon!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

For Queen and Country

So I have absolutely NO excuse not to post our recent event,  since completed it in March and it was such an awesome opportunity.  Thus here it is now!  (In hindsight I realized I finally have the inspiration to write about it now that its done and gone and under our belt.  With a clear head I can reminisce about it and tell you all about it. 

It was with great honour that we had the opportunity to serve the young men and women of the 7th Toronto Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery  (Link).  In particular, our client was the Junior Mess who asked us to cater and staff their formal dinner.   What made this event all the more important for me was the note that several of our guests would be going overseas on active duty.  International Politics aside, it really meant a lot to me to be able to do what we love and do best for several young men and women who are Serving and risking their lives for us and our Country.  For that, I am always eternally grateful that I and Simplicity had a great opportunity to work closely with them.  As well I had a rare chance to briefly peek into military life and be behind the scenes for a formal military dinner.  

 (Above) Here J, Liz and one of our volunteers Tracey, double check the placenames for each soldier

(Right)  Here is a goofy pose of the staff mid setup.  I tried ducking out of the shot to get all of them in the photo.  Weird pose!
 As Bridget looks on, Andy does his best "Blue Steel" supermodel look

One of the great aspects of this event is that we were able to coordinate with the client to provide a volunteer opportunity for highschool students.   In addition to this, though the soldiers had a fantastic appetite we were yet again able to work with Second Harvest and make a donation on behalf of our client.  
We had a great opportunity to work with another environmentally responsible catering company as well.  For this event we worked closely with Evelyn of Hearty Catering to provide the catering for this event.   It was a great pleasure to connect with another catering company that is both environmentally and socially responsible in the choice of local produce and healthy, hearty food!

Special thanks goes out to Pvt. Best EW, (aka. Bunkerbomber) for assisting us with initial consulting work on proper military ettiquette.  Though as a note to everyone.  Artillerymen and Infantry are COMPLETELY different birds with very particular forms of etiquette.  Suffice to say it was a real great opportunity to learn of another form of service to add to our guest service repertoire.  We even had the opportunity to be a part of the event as formal military ettiquette required the staff to line up to receive a toast from the soldiers we served.

Finally, our very special and sincerest thanks goes out to Bdr. Ross VPMC and Bdr. Laplante Treasurer/VPMC of the 7th Toronto Junior Ranks Mess.  It was truly an honour and a privilege to serve you!   


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Yay even more ways to stay connected!

Thanks to the miracle that is the Interweb.  You can now follow the adventures of Simplicity through our blog through our handy RSS feed links!  Enjoy!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Quote of the day

I picked up my well worn copy of "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield, and this quote pretty much encapsulates me lately. 

"... its better to be in the arena, getting stomped by the bull, than to be up in the stands or out in the parking lot."  

Amen to that.  Hoof prints and all.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fest2 - Harmony B Co-op Arts Festival

Ooo. Multimedia is fun! Here is the video of the event we volunteered to provide catering for.

Community, Sheep, Great food. Simply a great idea.

Here are a few pictures of the event.  Courtesy of one of our newest volunteer's, Lance.

This was a triple opportunity for Simplicity.  Not only did we get the chance to branch out and do something for a community outside of Alpha II, we also had the chance to get more exposure AND uphold our philosophy of social responsibility  by providing workplace exposure and volunteering opportunities for youth.  It was a real pleasure to work with Lance, learn more myself and provide him with a snippet in exposure to the industry.

In keeping with his love of Photography he was also able to capture a few of these snapshots. Thank you Lance!

It was a long and hot day but we got the food out and done for the afternoon and evening event. We put together a good spread of fresh fruit, veggies as well as a few other community dishes we did for the Alpha II community events in past years.
There was a really awesome performance by the CORPUS arts group entitled "Les Moutons".

This was a great event and I would like to personally thank Isorine of Its Chez Nous, and Ray and Michaela of the Harmony B Co-op for this opportunity. Food is a great connector of people in a community and it was a honour to be a part of this event!
Me at the end of the day.  Trying to duck behind my Balzac's coffee

Friday, July 2, 2010

Getting in harmony with Harmony

So its been a crazy birthday month for me! Yes I nearly and neatly avoided catching Eventitis myself with a last minute plan to go to a fantastic spot for Dinner. Special thanks to Jasna for reminding me to take some time to celebrate myself!

As well this month I also celebrate my 19th anniversary of my victory over Hodgkins. Its not as special as my 20th but hey its still a fantastic thing to remember. I also have to really thank Danielle for reminding me about it. Special thanks to her because I spent it in good company, dog drool, a fine glass of red wine and take out Swiss Chalet!

Tomorrow Simplicity is embarking on a join venture to help Its Chez Nous with their Harmony B Co-op Arts Festival. Simplicity will be taking what it does for the Alpha II community and volunteering our time to provide catering to the guests, community, and artists of the Harmony B Co-op. This is also a great opportunity for us to assist in creating volunteer opportunties for youth. I'm really looking forward to this event, and as well as an upcoming wedding for a fantastic new client. More news and photos soon!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Face-to-Face Booking not Facebook

Perhaps I'm just old fashioned, but I'm pretty skeptical about new modes of communication.  At times it was great, at other times it was an utter failure in application.

I remember the times when I'd log onto mIRC and meet people.  I met some really awesome people and even got a penpal out of it from Finland.  Then I remember times when it would be just trolling and people would come up to you and automatically write "a/s/l?".  Its as if interactions between people could just be derived from simply classing them by age, sex and location. 

Then we have facebook.  To this day I tend to stay off it, since all I tend to do is collect pokes.  Nevermind calling Rolly out for a coffee or a quick bite to eat.  Just poke him.

I honestly believe that business and personal relations, establishing a connection should be face to face first, technology second.  Sure technology is great, blackberry is nifty and having an iphone is a great status symbol.  But when I see a couple facing each other at a dinner table and both have their faces buried in their Blackberry's, I'm pretty concerned.   Or when friends say "hey did you get my Facebook invite?"  (What happened to calling me?)  I find it pretty scary when I hear of the younger people I know sending text messages or Facebooking another person - "Sorry I'm breaking up with you."

Nothing beats meeting people face to face, and no text message, tweet or emoticon can replace a genuine smile or audibly hearing what their needs are, how they are, and telling them what you can do for them.  Because text can capture the honest relief in their face when you show you care and want to make their life easier. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pear Shaped

Its one of those days in business that can only be called "Pear Shaped".  When everything goes slightly wrong and back logs your entire day.  Sort of like a Florida python eating an alligator until pop! There goes the day, and the snake.

Still at very least, I'm posting on the blog again after a two month hiatus.  In that time much has happened and I'm still feeling the sting of defeat today.  Alas, I can still see the bright side, because its all about getting back up again.  Never ever give up on what you believe in and want to accomplish

Coming up soon:
- Alpha II Stouville camping update, Alpha II - Dinner Impossible, and some new clients, and a two new venues!

Its raining like a torrential downpour here, followed by wonderful humid sunlight, then back to being drenched.  Just seems like one of those days.   Oh well, it happens.  Here is a day brightening photo of me at a friends house holding their baby kitty Theo, before our venture into our own live version of "Dinner Impossible."  More on this later. 

Pear Shaped days do happen, and sometimes they resemble Theo.   Thankfully Theo's good natured about it all.  Especially being upside down.

Monday, June 14, 2010

We've moved!

So you may have noticed in our last post that Simplicity has a new address, and from that you've probably concluded that we've moved! 

This is one of the reasons why things have been so silly busy lately.  Despite a crazy turn around of packing, cataloging, purging, moving and unpacking, the move went relatively smoothly.    The very end was a royal crazy moving convoy downtown but we pulled through. (I guess event planning skills and an awesome and organized gal helps!)
Btw Jasna, did I mention you rock?  Special thanks to Gabe, Chris, Joe, Migs, Andrew & Ada!

Our new digs are really sweet and located closer to downtown.  Sadly I can no longer call myself an "Eastie" but on a domestic note.  We are no longer paying an exuberant amount in Hydro  (Don't get me started on paying for Hydro -  Especially the fact that they pass on their excess debt to consumers...)

But I digress...  our new home base is essentially practicing what we preach as it simplifies our living, expenses and ability to provide greater service. 

Now we face the challenge of purging and unpacking!

We've got mail!

Hey all,

Though we did not get an e-mail from AOL we did get mail from our favourite e-mail and apps provider - Google!  With a company motto of "Don't be evil", we at Simplicity are simply happy as a clam to get a post card from a company like Google, even if it is merely to confirm our address for Google Maps!  

You can now find on Google maps and find all the 411 you need on Simplicity to have us meet your event needs!

Thank you Google!

Friday, May 28, 2010

I am a terrible terrible blogger

Its been a looooong while since I've written in the blog, so much so that I got flak from a fellow blogger Carly about not blogging. 

Its been utterly crazy for the last two months and things have been juggled up in the air but don't worry I will tell all the juicy details.  We've moved, doing several events, doing a massive volunteer effort and much much more.  I PROMISE Carly!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Another great Alpha II Open House!

Well the February 10th Alpha II Alternative School Open House was a success!  We had a great turn out of parents, new students and even former students!  It was good to see some of the former students I had an opportunity to cook with last year.   There was a slightly larger turn out than expected, but thankfully the quantity we cooked up was just right!  

For this event we made a mix of the traditional "Open House fare" along with some juicier elements.  In the centre is a large spread of traditional Thai Rice Wraps with Spanakopita, Pear and Chevre springrolls, Filipino Turun treats and simple yet savoury Smoked Salmon rosebuds served with an avocado cream.  My favourite dish of this spread was the absolutely delicious Bacon-wrapped Scallops drenched in melted butter!

By the end of the day I was absolutely baked!  Here is a rare photo of me keeping a keen eye out on the crowd.   Beside me is Kether, (fellow volunteer and parent of a student) whom I really really really have to thank for all her help!  THANK YOU KETHER!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Alpha II Alternative School - Cooking Class with CHEESE!

On January 29th, I had another great time volunteering at Alpha II Alternative School and combine a great learning opportunity with the students in the kitchen with my rekindled love of CHEESE!

So on that chilly morning we all went down to Alex Farm Products on the Danforth and picked the minds of the resident cheesemongers.    I had had a great time learning more about the different cheeses and I believe that the students were able to really enjoy the exposure to a wide variety of cheeses with samples and questions answered by Elios and James.  Special thanks goes to their manager Angela for giving the Alpha II students a great opportunity to step outside the classroom and expand their knowledge of cheese.

(Thanksfully no cheese string were in sight! - Special thanks to our Parent Guardian Natasha who provided us with these pictures!)

Once they students had a chance to sample, we went to work pricing and finding the best melting cheese for our prep and cooking portion to make Cheese Fondue with baguette and apples!

This particular Alex Farms Products is our official supplier for all our and our clients cheese needs.  Going there is always a new taste experience simply because they have such a relaxing atmosphere and really take the time to find out what your tastes and needs are.  Not only are they a local business but they also provide a wide variety of Ontario and Quebec produced cheeses in keeping with out mandate to support local business and locally produced food as part of our triple-bottom line.

Interested in widening your cheese horizons?  Your local cheesemonger beats generic grocery store cheese hands down.   Here are a few cheeses that we recommend

Appenzeller - Imported from Switzerland, this cheese is simply divine.  It has a sharp note, that works well to compliment a white, or can compliment a cracker and sliver of black forest ham.  Alternately, a light drizzle of honey will add to this taste bud wonder very well.

Alex Cheeses Chevre - Produced in Quebec, this cheese is very creamy and so versatile!  I'd recommend it on anything really, its strong enough not to overwhelm a dish, but at the same time pairs wonderfully with other foods.  (Even in a fajita!) It works well with a breakfast hash, sprinkled on a light and fresh salad or especially with pear.

Paillot de Chevre - (pronounced P'hay-yo) This chevre simply is stunning.  It has a premium creamy texture with a few notes of sharpness that really give you a unique taste experience.  Where as the Alex Cheeses Chevre is very versatile, I feel that this really elegant cheese is meant to be enjoyed with a complement of a smooth red or white wine, and even with a simple selection of crackers and cold luncheon meats.

Coming up:  Alpha II Alternative School  Open House - Wednesday, February 10th!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Its Mid-January and I'm pooped!

Its been a great start to the new year and I'm back at volunteering at Alpha II Alternative school.  It was a bit chaotic but I managed to give the students a lesson in traditional Pad Thai and Thai Beef Curry.  It was good and the Pad Thai went really fast.  So much so that I had to throw together a last minute Veggie Stir Fry when everyone polished off the Pad Thai first.  I had stuff planned later that day but I was just drained and barely managed to dock myself at my new coffee haunt The Rooster Coffee House.  The way they make their Americano is simply and utterly pure tastebud love.  It was a perfect midday treat.

Later that evening J and I hit the dance floor for beginner Salsa lessons at the local studio.  I must admit that I was pretty nervous since Salsa seemed waaaay more complex than dancing to Classic House Music, Dance or Trance music.  But hey.  I had a fantastic time!

Combine all the above and having a really productive Saturday and more networking... I simply feel like poor Ookie (below).   The cute part is the book she passed out on was "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" by Steven Covey.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A GREAT start to the new year!

Yey.  Second post of the year!

So we started this year off right with a doing a private holiday party for a client.  Though I did not have a chance to have a hand in planning, we did have an opportunity to showcase what our staff could do!   Our client was absolutely and utterly fabulous and it was a very intimate and interactive celebration of the new year.   We made quite an impression and met some great new friends along the way! 

This year we finally got a sweet little used-camera from Henry's Outlet completely with snazzy matching case.  Sooo, I finally had a camera to bring to the event.  But alas, the only battery we had was outta juice!  Thankfully one of the guests was more than happy to snap this awesome shot of Liz, Andy and myself during the event.  Thank you Derek! 

Andy was making special martini's through out the night and Liz was keenly making sure everyone got home safely.  I was really thankful for the extra awareness, teamwork and attention to detail that both Liz and Andy exhibited.  As for myself, as a guest I ended up being roped into dancing too and even had a hand in being DJ for a bit!

Honestly this was a great way to "ring in the new year" and we have a great new client and friend out of it.  It was pure synergy of mission, excellence in hospitality and dynamic teamwork that made it possible.  Anyhoo, the picture makes me so bubbly and happy in what I do I have it on my desktop!


Sunday, January 10, 2010

And...we're back!

Happy New Year folks!

Its been a crazy tail end and weird for 2009.  It is truly hard to believe that its 2010! 

Thankfully New Years on our end was very relaxing and a peaceful time, celebrating anniversaries and having a fun time doing it.    Simplicity, as of January 5th, 2010 is now in its fourth(!) year of operation!  In hindsight last year was a lot of infrastructure growth and research, this year is what I'd like to call the year of "connecting".  I believe this is a three-fold approach, in that we at Simplicity are continuing our connection with the community and helping out any way we can.   At the same time re-connecting with our circle of friends and family.   As well, make new solid connections with new friends, contacts and clients.

A whole lotta updates are in order!  I promise to drop down more entries this week!