This post’s out easily a week later than I wanted it to be, its author on the tail end of a week relentless with its to-do list. But with Halloween and my son’s second birthday party both in the past, I can put a little more time back into writing and the tale of how I finished October with a new phone in my pocket, eyes open to an entirely new world of deliciousness, and all other sorts of random in the life and times of Casey Palmer!
Before I start, this post is indirectly brought to you by Google Photos, because without a visual history of what I’ve been up to, I’d have no clue of what went down every week.
I finished October with my family game on fleek, spending most of my time either at the 9-5 getting things done or at home with my wife and son, the little joys that pop up in the days. How cute Little Man looks when he’s done his breakfast in the morning and wants to fake a nap with his parents. Or hitting up a Halloween party for the neighbourhood toddlers, watching at least a dozen 2-year olds run around as their parents sat watch at the edges of a plush, carpeted basement (Pro Tip: if you’re going to a potluck, be the one who brings the beer!) I used a SportChek credit to keep my underwear gear on point with the Saxx Underwear Company’s Platinum line; we made our preparations to celebrate the Little Man’s second birthday… even when I wasn’t living it up as part of the #BloggerLife, I feel blessed that life had plenty in store to keep me satisfied, always reminding me there’s more to life than the mischief I get into online.
But if you think the #BloggerLife took a week off, trust me — you don’t know CaseP; there was still plenty afoot in the week leading up to Halloween — let me tell you a bit about it!
Satisfying My Cravings with Fresh Burger
Sometimes it’s good to enjoy a meal outside of the #BloggerLife, checking new places out not because I’m asked to, but because I want to.
After working on and off in Toronto’s Yonge/College area for the past four years, foraging for lunch has become more of a chore for my colleagues and me than anything we look forward to, our usual haunts growing stale after the umpteenth time we ordered the same meals.
One day I decided I couldn’t stand the same ol’ and explored for something better. It took a little Yelping, but I eventually came across something promising that didn’t look like it’d break the bank — Fresh Burger in the heart of the Village, a mere 10-15 minute walk from the office!
The brainchild of Jacques Kavafian, a former stock trader and investment industry analyst turned restaurateur; Fresh Burger keeps it simple with a menu featuring hamburgers, fries, and a few toppings to bring out the flavour.
But don’t be fooled by the simplicity — I’ve tried burgers all over the city and know a good thing when I taste it… Kavafian’s definitely onto something, and with plans to expand to 10 locations across the GTA by 2017, I have a feeling I’ll be stuffing Prime Burgers with a side of poutine to my face for some time yet!
The ZTE Axon — a Solid Android Device When You’re All About the Sights and Sounds!
Personally speaking, the ZTE Axon couldn’t have entered my life at a better time.
When a previous phone bit the dust in a series of unfortunate events that’ve yet to be detailed in the blog, it forced me to downgrade to the Samsung Galaxy SIII I’d won at HoHoTO back in late 2012. You know — the one I put through its paces so much that its battery can barely hold a charge? The one that’s been used and abused with the wonky charging port? Yeah — that one. The one I thought I’d never use again.
But the days of ignoring calls, texts and anything else on that accursed phone are over — when I hit the ZTE Axon media event on the 27th, I knew it’d be a device that I wanted to try.
I’ve gotta admit — when I was first approached to attend the event, I was a little hesitant — despite ZTE being the third-largest Android manufacturer and the fourth-largest smartphone supplier in North America, I’d never heard of them, so what the heck was this Axon going to be about?
Turns out — a lot.
It’s been just over a week that I’ve spent integrating the Axon into my life, and it’s definitely stepping up to the plate! Here are some of my favourite features:
Great Look and Feel
This thing feels right in my hand. It could be the aluminum casing, the Corning antimicrobial Gorilla Glass, or the 170-gram weight that’s not so light you can’t feel it and forget your phone, but not so heavy that it’s cumbersome. Still, it’s definitely a phone I’ve enjoyed carrying in my pocket so far!
The Hi-Fi, OMG the Hi-Fi!
Though I’m in dire need of new earbuds after my Shure SE535s fell victim to some foul play, I’m stunned by how great my Spotify picks sound on this phone!
With my tastes strongly leaning to rap, I’m always looking to get the maximum production value from my music. With so many modern producers using countless instrumental layers in their work, it’s easy to miss the subtleties if you’re using inferior equipment.
But even with stock headphones that come with a phone, the Axon had me grooving on my morning commute, mouthing the words to all sorts of inappropriate songs!
I call this a success!
The Fastest Camera in the West
I’ll admit — even as an experienced photographer who knows his way around a camera’s settings, it’ll take me a bit to get used to everything the Axon can offer. With its promise of a camera that autofocuses in milliseconds, a massive f/ 1.8 aperture and a shutter speed as quick as 1/90,000 of a second, it should be able to capture just about anything I want to shoot — even my fast-moving son who often shows up as a blur!
I look forward to learning more as I continue experimenting!
TL;DR — it’s a great device to add to my arsenal, and we’ll see just how much it changes the game for me!
But it’s like the ZTE team peered into my soul, because not only did they give me a new phone to play with, but also a sweet backpack designed to complement anyone who’s all about the devices!
If you wanna talk a backpack that’s constantly on Beast Mode, Tylt’s Energi+ backpack is the business. With a 10,400 mAh battery pack included that can charge 3 devices simultaneously; dedicated slots for your phone, tablet, laptop and sunglasses; and for you hardcore techies, it even has NFC* built in (so you can do all sorts of cool stuff on your phone by simply tapping your phone to your bag), I basically turned a mushy pile of goo over how much I could do with this thing. If I wasn’t sold on ZTE before, I’m pretty sure this went and sealed the deal!
Eat to the Beat 2015
Not being much of a foodie myself, I don’t often hit events with the sheer scale of options that Eat to the Beat offered to fill your face with delicious. As my eyes took in the possibilities, Justin and I had at it, trying as much food and drink as our appetites would allow, only slightly dismayed when we looked at social media later, realizing just how much we’d missed by not checking out the event’s inner ring of vendors.
Overall, it was a solid event where I crossed paths with people I hadn’t seen in entirely too long, like Anita, Yashy and Adrienne. Still, with the size of the crowd and the sheer magnitude of things to do and see, I learned a few tips that’d make things even better should I get invited back in the future:
- Go early and go HARD: It took a bit to conquer the night’s first bottleneck — the cash-only coat check run by Roy Thomson Hall. If you get there early enough to avoid the line — or better yet, arrange transportation so you don’t need a coat at all — you’ll have more time to enjoy the food, chat with the super-friendly chefs, and enjoy things at a pace where you enjoy what the night has to offer… not just frantically shove deliciousness into your mouth.
- Come ready to spend: The raffle prizes definitely caught my eye — a trip for two to Newfoundland valued at $6000? A complete Le Creuset cookware set worth $1700? For a $20 ticket (3 for $50) against maybe a thousand attendees, it’s worth the gamble! I didn’t win, but I didn’t feel horrible about it, either.
- Have fun! With the multitude of people looking to nosh on everything they could at Roy Thomson Hall, I was surprised at how many would push and shove to get to the food, scowls on their faces, probably cursing themselves blue that the event was “so much better 10 years ago”. But seriously, lighten up — it was a great event for a very worthy cause; enjoy the moment, grab some grub, and put a smile on that face!
All in all, my night was great, and I’d totally go again! Next time, though, I’ll need to figure out what time the event ends so I’m not running on overdrive the whole time!
THIS WEEK’S CHALLENGE: Find Your Favourite Frugal Activity!
One of the good things about The Week That Was series is the flexibility to chat about whatever’s happened in a week, including things I can’t always find the time to put in their own posts, especially with Christmas madness afoot**!
One such example comes from Personal Capital, a personal investment firm who stumbled across this series and challenged me to speak on my favourite frugal activities — December’s a notorious month for costly social outings, and we can sometimes use the reminder that we don’t need to blow wads of cash to have a great time! (And while you’re at it, remember that the bill man cometh in January, so there’s no day like today to get a handle on your personal finances, and Personal Capital has some tools that might help!)
Some of our best time spent as a family barely required any cash at all, whether it’s impromptu dance parties in the kitchen to whatever’s playing on the radio, biking down to the park and reading stories under a tree, or just having play dates with other kids his age in our neighbourhood, he’s helped remind me that living’s more about making the most of our experiences than it is about having the most expensive stuff.
The Week That Was the Last Week of October — Getting That #BloggerLife On Before the Cold Comes In
Right — so even though it took two weeks to get here, that’s it. We’re done. That’s what I got up to in the last week of October. Way longer than I thought it’d be, but hey — now it’s one less thing cluttering my poor mind!
But we’re far from done — there’s still the week that followed as we prepared for my son’s second birthday party and a few other posts with stories from the likes of TELUS, Swiffer and Netflix. The year’s end creeps ever closer, and I want to wrap 2015 up as neatly as possible so I can start 2016 with an unburdened soul, ready to handle whatever comes my way — not least of all the further expansion of my family and everything that comes with it!
Thanks a ton if you managed to make it this far — you’re a superstar! Here’s a couple of things I liked from this week to reward you for your efforts:
My Tweet of the Week:
So now that both of my parents follow me on @instagram, I guess I better tone down the content, huh?
"Hey! Little Man! LOOK LESS CUTE!"
— Casey E. Palmer (@CaseP) October 29, 2015
Until the next,
*Near Field Communications, for you heathens who don’t know about this awesome.
**Yes, that’s right — I said the “C-word”. Even if you haven’t started thinking about it, brands have, and guess who I work with?