WHAT YOU MISSED: #AfterWorkDrinksTO 8 — The Dress for Success Edition

As an event becomes more popular, you can’t keep it free forever. From its humble beginnings in February 2012 where every tweetup starts — a group of people from Twitter meeting up to go out and have a good time — After Work Drinks Toronto keeps raising the (wait for it) bar for events of its kind, building greater partnerships to make sure that anyone going can have an amazing time.

There’s only one way to start this post — I’ve never seen a tweetup get so full so quickly. By the time the event was an hour in, there were easily already 40-50 people in the bar area, ready to slake their thirsts with Mount Gay Silver Mojito cocktails (ridiculously addictive), Melville’s Craft Lager and Innis & Gunn beers and a decent selection of red and white wines!

Much like before, I volunteered my time and camera to Amanda and Graham because I believe in what they’re doing with After Work Drinks Toronto (or AWDTO for short). [Disclaimer: In return, they were kind enough to give me a free ticket, but that’s not why I offered my services in the first place.] Nothing worthwhile happens overnight, and through their hard work and diligence, AWDTO is really coming into its own. Each instalment continues to set the bar higher, and I hope we continue to see many more as we finally head into the summer!

 

The night went well — it was a mish-mash of food; drink, comments from our wonderful organizers (Amanda and Graham, as mentioned above) and sponsors (Mahit Lehang from First Choice Bartenders representing Melville’s Craft Lager and Innis & Gunn; representatives from Mount Gay Rum; and of course, Robin James Wynne, mixologist at Fynn’s Temple Bar); prize giveaways (none of which I won, don’t worry); caricatures (by Valerie White); music (by Matt Morgan and Craig Johnston of the Emerson Street Rhythm Band — at times accompanied by Joey deVilla); and just a lot of being social.

There was all sorts of activity going on, from discussion to dancing — if you looked out the corner of your eye, you could even see Christine helping run her weekly #RBchat Twitter chat at one of the tables! When you got in, you got an envelope containing tickets for beer sampling (of the Melville’s Fruit Beer — Innis & Gunn beer was on special for $5 a pint, though!), a Mount Gay Silver Mojito and  wine; a raffle ticket; and a playing card to play in the Best Poker Hand Draw, where you’d team up with four other people to come up with the best poker hand for a prize (a clever icebreaker)! They also drew for the person who was best-dressed as voted by the crowd, with the winner going to the County in the City festival with a friend!

While not conducive to heavy foot traffic, the Fynn’s of Temple Bar definitely has all the makings of an excellent pub…

Food Was Amazing

If I wasn’t trying to take photos and mingle, I would’ve stolen plates of bacon-wrapped scallops, pulled pork taquitos and duck confit on tangy pineapple flatbread and sat in a corner all night stuffing my face. The apps were glorious, and my stomach wasn’t taking “no” for an answer! The full list of food was as follows:

  • Duck confit on tangy pineapple flatbread
  • Pulled pork taquitos
  • Seared mahi mahi sliders
  • Potato & kale croquettes
  • Bacon-wrapped scallops with red pepper mayo
  • Spicy pork dumplings

Drinks A-Flowin’

I only had time to try a Melville’s raspberry Craft Lager and a Mount Gay Silver Mojito (which, again, was utterly delicious and ridiculously addictive), but there was a ton being offered up that night:

  • Mount Gay Silver Mojito (a strawberry basil peppered mojito)
  • Beer samples: Innis & Gunn’s Melville’s Fruit Beers in strawberry, raspberry and ginger beer flavours
  • Wines
    • Whites: Henry of Pelham Spring rivalry, Domain Faively Chablis, Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc, and Uma Torrontes
    • Reds: Creekside Estates Shiraz, Torres Tempranillo, Pelham Catherine Cuvee Rose, Malivoire Ladybug Rose

Live Music

 

The night’s entertainment were Matt Morgan and Craig Johnston of the Emerson Street Rhythm Band who were both talented and entertaining, doing a mix of crowd-pleasers (see Neil Diamonds “Sweet Caroline”, for example) and always making sure to interact with the crowd and keep the energy levels riding high! You can see some more details on the experience on Joey deVilla’s blog, who would accompany them for several songs later into the night!

Great Service

Robin and his Fynn’s staff were amazing — all smiles and service as they made sure that gusts were well-fed and having a great time (I will not confirm whether the alcohol samples paid any contribution to the great time being had)!

Killer Caricatures

I just missed the window to get one done, but Valerie White was super-talented, whipping up amazing profile drawings of various attendees in mere minutes for a pay-what-you-can donation to Dress for Success! Here’s some of the awesome that she whipped up:

What You Missed

In the end the event raised $383.45 for Dress for Success, and though I don’t know the specific turnout, from the photos and who I know was there, I’d guess a good 50 or so people in attendance, experiencing what AWDTO had to offer.

But that’s not what you missed.

 

What you really missed at After Work Drinks Toronto this time around was an opportunity to expand your social circles beyond what they are right now. The chance to meet people actually interested in exploring new things with you and not just out to give you excuses for why they can’t come (I heard of at least 2 groups of new friends going out for a bite after the event!) Events like AWDTO help remind us that we’re in control of our lives — in control of who we choose to hang around and what we choose to do with our time.

After Work Drinks Toronto reeks of possibility — so hopefully you make it out to the 9th instalment!

Change your life!

You can see more about the event at any of the links below.

The Epilogger run-down of After Works Drinks Toronto 8

My full gallery of 113 photos from the event on Google+

–case p.

COMING RIGHT UP: After Work Drinks Toronto 8 — The Dress for Success Edition

If you want to make the most out of social media, one of the most important things you need to do is meet people. Gone are the days where you can simply exist behind a screen name and expect to change your life — people want a person they can relate to; someone they can understand… and no amount of detail on an online profile ever does this justice.
I met my first online friend back in 2005, and I haven’t stopped since — it’s a massive world out there; how’re you going to know how you fit into it if you don’t start exploring?

After Work Drinks Toronto (or AWDTO) has always been a good place to start doing this. Run by Amanda Blake with help from her boyfriend Graham Rowlands and a cast of friends, AWDTO has always been about enjoying a casual time out with friends (both old and new) over drinks, and preferably on a patio (but definitely not with the weather Toronto’s been having as of late!) I’ve been to a couple so far, and even though I constantly think that I’ve met everyone I could meet on social media in Toronto, I’m always pleasant surprised to come across even more at AWDTO sessions, such as Adeline, who’s a nutritional consultant, brought cupcakes to my birthday party last year and sees me as her “older brother”; and Taylor, who I’d wanted to meet for ages and never got the opportunity to do so!

Since the AWDTO Movember edition, AWDTO has given back as a not-for-profit event, and this time is no exception! $5 of every ticket goes back to the Dress for Success charity, which focuses on promoting “the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life” (and coincidentally based out of my church in The Annex!) And if you’re wondering — the rest of the cash goes back to the event and to make sure that future AWDTOs are just as amazing!
This edition of After Work Drinks Toronto will feature:
  • the best of Scotland with an Innis & Gunn sampling;
  • a special pint pricing on Innis & Gunn for AfterWorkDrinksTO guests;
  • a Caribbean getaway with a Special AfterWorkDrinksTO  Mount Gay Rum cocktail prepared by Robin James Wynne @djrobinjames, a Canadian award-winning mixologist and Mount Gay rep;
  • getting fancy with Select Wines for a wine tasting (region TBA);
  • a great selection of canapes to pair with the drinks;
  • live band playing awesome funk and Motown music (dancing encouraged!); and
  • great prize giveaways & swag!

Don’t think for a second that you need to be in downtown Toronto to get in on the AWDTO action — it’s open to anyone, anywhere, who wants a bit of fun, and to sweeten the deal, they’re giving away:

  • a $25 Hailo credit which you could definitely use to get through that rush hour traffic to the event; and
  • 2 tickets to After Work Drinks Toronto (worth $40)!

Use the Rafflecopter below to enter (and feel free to get a few extra entries — you never know when a free taxi ride will come in handy!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, if you grab your tickets by Sunday, April 14th, you’ll be entered in a draw to win two (2) free Toronto FC tickets valued at $54! So get on it!

So come out. Meet new people. Do something different. After Work Drinks Toronto 8 is $20 in advance (and are no longer being sold at the door — this party’s gotten that live!!!) and at Fynns of Temple Bar on Tuesday, April 23, 2013. Find further details at http://afterworkdrinksto.eventbrite.com/ and we’ll definitely see you there!

–case p.

A November to Remember, Verse 4: Of Motive and Movember

Jim Sullivan, special guest speaker, sharing his story of surviving prostate cancer.

What’s the difference between a good person and the ones to be wary of? Or a good and an evil action? What helps us to draw the line between right and wrong in anything we do?

Reasoning. Intent. Motive.

Motive. Motive makes all the difference. It defines the things we do for personal gain versus those we do for people simply because we care about them. It’s why we look down on the common thief yet admire Robin Hood. Motive defines how we are perceived, always working in the background behind every decision we make.

So Is It WRONG To Be Selfish???

We can all be a little selfish sometimes — as seen from my notoriety for winning stuff….

Yesterday we took a look at selfishness. When I brought forth the idea that selflessness is completely possible, I got some interesting counter-points, like:

“There’s no such thing as true selflessness. The act of giving or pursuit to assist others is in and of itself a means of self indulgence.”

Justin Baisden

“Being selfish is an important part of our own survival. If we don’t always consider ourselves first, the probability of our own survival declines immensely. I don’t even know that it’s a bad thing. Our social conditioning throughout the ages is that the strong survive. ”

Zach Bussey

“Yes, people derive satisfaction from doing things that benefit others. But I think in many (if not most cases) we would do something “selfless” because we genuinely want to see someone else benefit/prosper/succeed.”

Erik Kingissepp

Summarizing:

  • everyone’s a bit selfish — so what?
  • we need selfishness to survive
  • selfishness  isn’t the root of the problem; the real problem is when our self-interests don’t align with the interests of the greater population

I’d agree with Erik, though, and would argue that motive is the key difference between selfishness and self-interest.

My reasons for being at The Big Give definitely started out as selfish — my notorious luck in full swing, friends had already told me that I’d be going home with a ridiculous amount of swag on top of whatever else I happened to win. To me, attending wasn’t even an option. But there’s a blurry line between our selfishness simply adding to our lives… and that selfishness negatively affecting the lives of others. It’s fine to do something for your sake alone now and then, but too much of it will make you unpleasant company to just about anybody.

With that said, the very next day, it was time to change the tune. Amanda Blake, a friend of mine, was throwing one of her After Work Drinks Toronto (#AWDTO) events,  where she’d asked me to attend as the official photographer. And because I like Amanda and the great person that she is, I said yes. But why else?

#AWDTO Movember Edition: Selflessness Is Possible

Family. Friendship. These are the kids of bonds where the entire idea of selflessness comes from. We’re taught from a young age that if we behave; if we do what we’re told — our actions will equal to rewards. But as we grow older, we discover the inequities in life. We find out that sometimes no matter how hard we try, we’ll see no improvements to our lives — sometimes there’re simply no rewards for the blood, sweat and tears that we put in!

The simple fact: it is so easy to get screwed over in life!

So why do we help if it’s unrealistic to expect anything for what we do?

Because we can be selfless. We can do things for others simply because we like them. And because this is completely possible, events like #AWDTO: Movember Edition can exist. Above, Zach pointed out that selfishness is important to our survival. But he also commented on the nature of selflessness and where we’re going next:

“[W]hen you’re able to consider others and give back… everyone goes “Hey that’s awesome good for you!” and we give praise… because we recognize that value in doing it. Our new world of having plenty (in Canada at least), is teaching us to do more… social good, giving back, charity, caring for others etc. 

Overnight will we all become charitable/giving/caring/selfless etc… no. Takes time to reprogram ourselves… but it is definitely taking hold in the collective consciousness.”

— Zach Bussey

 Giving a Little Mo’

In the course of 24 hours, I’d gone from seeing people clearly out for their own interests, willing to nearly trample one another to go home with a bit extra — to a different kind of crowd altogether. Some where there to support friends. Some to network. Some people eyed the prize table as soon as they came in. But the glitz was gone. The glamour was absent. In the end, there was just a room full of people just looking to have a good time.

And we would. We would meet new people We’d learn about the experiences of a prostate cancer survivor and why it was important to support the cause. Some of us would win prizes, all of us would leave a little changed — and I don’t think that anyone was worse off for it.

Not only did he help organize, but DJ Andrew Lo was on the 1s and 2s for the night’s party!

So if anyone tells you that we’re all inherently selfish, or say that everyone is ultimately out for themselves — I want you to remember this: a selfish world cannot work. If we all cared for ourselves alone and never for the people that we care about, society couldn’t grow. We wouldn’t collaborate. Ideas that need more than one person’s abilities wouldn’t happen as often. Humanity would stagnate.

We all need each other to keep growing in this world. So let’s all be a little less selfish and make it happen!

–case p.

Next in the series: That time when Casey and Sarah took a little break to cruise in the Caribbean and what it taught them about themselves and WHY they appreciate Toronto.

COMIN’ RIGHT UP: NANOWRIMOvember

“Suddenly, a wild November appeared!”

–no one in the Pokémon game series ever

 

Before I start talking about November, let’s talk Halloween.

When Did Your Inner Children Die?

When did people forget how to have fun? When did anyone worry about whether dressing up was “cool” or not? Seriously — when did you people let your inner children die?

I wore my aforementioned Ghostbusters outfit (sans proton pack, which I haven’t fixed yet) to work, only to discover that I was the only one dressed up.

Totally uncool. The fact that everyone was so worried about keeping up appearances (or on the other end of the spectrum, didn’t care enough to bother dressing up) that they couldn’t cut loose for a day and have a little fun (or, again on the flip side, are too beaten down by life to bother) really bothers me. Policies? Guidelines? Permission???

Are you kidding me? It’s HALLOWEEN!!!

Anyway. Gives me a lot to think about — the environments I’m in, the people I hang with — but that’s not the point of this post.

NANOWRIMOvember — Where I Grow Facial Hair and Grow Tired of Writing!

Movember Day 1 with a clean-shaven face and head to match!

So we’ve finally reached the final stretch of 2012, where we wonder where the year went, worry about what to get people for Christmas and get fat off of all the holiday parties that tend to go down!

Well, we’re not quite there yet. We still have to make it through November.

November is an anomaly of a month. Not only is it one of the few months without a statutory holiday in Ontario, unlike its cousin named June, there’s very little that we tend to like about it. No hot weather, no looking forward to the summer — just reminders that we’re getting back to layering up and grey — oh so grey — skies above.

But not all is lost in November…

I Got 50K Problems, Being Done Ain’t One

Can I write a 50,000-word novel in a MONTH? Time will tell…

As if I’m not busy enough (because we Torontonians love to be busy), somehow I decided that being part of the National Novel Writing Month (NANOWRIMO for short) would be a good idea this year.

The basic premise: write a 50,000-word novel through the month of November. To put that in perspective:

  • a good length for a blog post is around 400-500 words
  • when you’re writing an essay for school, a double-spaced page is about 500 words

So about 100 blogs and/or 20 or so essays over the course of a month on top of regular blog posts and Mansformation.

Not exactly my brightest idea, but no one can ever say I’m unambitious! But fortunately, I’m brimming full of ideas, so stay tuned, amigos!

http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/participants/doomz

Gimme Some Mo!!!

When all else fails, trust the Mo.

With Movember comes events, awareness and a solid excuse for guys to grow some wicked awesome beards! I’ll admit that I never got around to participating until this year, but I look forward to seeing what I can come up with after a month! (If my post-Africa pics are any indication, apparently not much.)

I’ve drawn a quick mock-up in good ol’ Photoshop to let you see what my facial hair would look like at the end of Movember in an ideal world…

I call it… the “Evil Overlord”!!!

…but I fear that a beard of awesome won’t be a dream soon realized.

I don’t fight alone against prostate cancer, though — friends like Amanda Blake are throwing events in support of Movember! You can find me at her After Work Drinks Toronto event (or #AWDTO for the hashtag-inclined) on November 8th snapping photos and hanging out with some great company. With a $10 price tag (going right to Movember) to have free beer samples, more fun than you usually ever do and the chance to win some great prizes, I definitely encourage you to show up!

But no Movember blog post would be complete without a little self-promotion! I believe in supporting causes to help humanity improve — I support friends who climb towersride bikes and do all sorts of activities through the year in the name of various causes, but I rarely enter the fray myself. So now that I have, I hope that friends can give generously and help contribute to the fight for a better (and prostate cancer-free) future!

You can find my donation page at http://mobro.co/CaseP

Play Me Off, Keyboard Cat

So while the news might tell you that it’s time to get yourself in Christmas mode (only 53 shopping days left, people!), November is no month to be glossed over!

So while I’m rockin’ the Mo’ and writing fo sho — what the heck will YOU be doing all month?

–case p.