Posts Written On December 21, 2011

Cosmic Cab brings holiday cheer to Toronto

So the other day I was running late and had to do the inevitable, take a cab downtown. When my cab came I was pretty surprised. It looked like a Christmas tree on wheels. I got into the cab and the driver Akber offered me a lollipop and gum right away.  I thought, “What a nice guy, and what an interesting cab.”

He had all sorts of Christmas lights, children’s toys, a tv and current fashion magazines in the cab. Akber told me that he had been driving cabs for about 28 years, and that he moved from India to Canada to have a happier life. Other cab drivers sometimes judge him and give me negative comments about his flashy cab but pretty much every single one of his clients have always given him positive feedback and given him more reason to do what he does. The whole Cosmic Cab idea came to life when one day a girl stepped into his cab she was clearly having a hard day. After a few minutes of speaking to Akber, she said to him that the cab ride has made her day and changed her outlook. He decided after that day that if he is going to be driving a cab for a living, he might as well make the best of it everyday and make other peoples lives happier, even if its just for a short cab ride. Akber says he just wants people to be happy and if they are happy, that makes him happy.

Indeed even I was in a bad mood before stepping into the cab. Akber and I had a conversation about how very often people are in too much of a rush and don’t have the time to just relax and be happy, he hopes that his cab brings a smile to his customer’s faces, and that’s what makes him continue to do what he does. He also gives back, the fashion magazines that he has in his car are kept until they are outdated and at that point he donates them to a local charity so that others can enjoy them.

Surely I’m not the only one who thought the Cosmic Cab was a cool idea, Akber and his cab have been featured on The Star, Globe and Mail, Breakfast Television, Global News and the National Post.

For Torontonians living in a fast paced world, it’s not always easy taking a moment to be happy with what you have and what you have achieved, but I’m glad that the Cosmic cab is out there somewhere spreading joy this holiday season.

**side note: The Cosmic Cab is under the BECK taxi banner, and if you’re lucky you might get a cosmic ride**




Under the Stars with Susan Miller & Todd English at @CrossBar_NYC

On December 15, CrossBar hosted Under the Stars with Susan Miller & Todd English in NYC. I was lucky enough to attend a preview of the $225 a person event and get a sample of the delectable food and drinks guests would enjoy a couple hours later.

CrossBar is located in Limelight Marketplace on 20th Street & 6th Avenue. First of all, if you haven’t checked out Limelight, I suggest you make your way over there as soon as possible. Most of us remember Limelight in its former life as a club. Now the hard-to-miss neighborhood landmark and former church is home to a montage of boutiques and restaurants. Opened in June, CrossBar is the latest eatery by renowned chef, restaurateur and television star, Todd English.

Combining food, drink and astrology, the event took guests on a journey through the zodiac, with cocktails, light bites, a workshop by astrologer Susan Miller.

Amazing octopus

Zodiac-inspired ingredients for the cocktails

The zodiac mixologist, herself, Gwen Sutherland Kaiser

Sagittarius cocktail: fig syrup, lemon juice and whisky. Click HERE for the entire recipe and to find the recipe for your zodiac sign’s cocktail!

Todd English and I

Heavenly decor of CrossBar

There was also a holiday pop-up shop featuring Susann Miller Astrology Books, Todd English’s fourth cookbook, Strange Invisible Perfumes of the Zodiac, Zodiac-inspired silk scarves by Gloria Vanderbilt and complimentary CND Shellac Manicures by CND Nail Inc.

 Welcome to shopping heaven

Owner of Strange Invisible Perfumes, Alexandra Balahoutis

Zodiac Jewelry by What’s Your Sign? Jewelry

Accessory Artists

Brocade Home, host of the holiday pop-up shop

The event was produced by Noise 784.

xoxo, Olisa


Holiday Dip + WIN $1million

Dave Hirschkop and his team are sharing one of their delicious holiday dip recipes with us, and giving YOU a chance to win $1 million!

Easy Holiday Dip
1 ½ cups roasted red peppers (from jar or canned)
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
1 Tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon paprika (I like smoked but any will do)
Salt and pepper to taste

Put everything into a food processor and pulse until smooth, creamy and delicious. Serve with fresh-cut veggies (carrot sticks, celery, you know the drill folks) pretzels or pita chips. For you chile heads, add a couple drops of your favorite Dave’s Gourmet hot sauce to spice things up.

Here’s how you can win $1 million:
Dave’s Gourmet is looking for a winner to add to its product line. The winner will get the royalties for six years as well as up to $1 million. The payday starts immediately with a $2,000 advance!!

Just submit your original recipe for a sauce, salsa or dip by Dec. 31st to Dave’s team will test the recipes and choose semifinalists, who will then be taste-tested by a Dave’s Gourmet panel. Finalists will be notified Jan. 12-14. The winner (or winners) will be chosen by food professionals attending the Fancy Foods Show in San Francisco. They’ll be notified Jan. 18.

Good luck!



Ladies Night!

A different kind of ladies night though…A couple weeks ago my friend and I went to Designing Dish in East Aurora, NY, which is about a half hour from Buffalo. We attended their special “Ladies Nights” from 6-8pm, that is every Thursdays.

Designing Dish specializes in pottery painting, glass fusing, and silver clay. My friend and I did glass fusing and my dish turned out better than I thought it would.

They had a bunch of tables with different shapes and sizes of glass that you can choose from. You then place whatever pieces you want on your piece of glass and you glue it. They do the rest by firing the piece of glass! Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of the process but it’s very easy to do and no experience is needed.

Not really sure what I’m going to do with my dish but for now, it works as a holder for random things of mine…My friend made a business card holder (which is the same process I did – they end up firing your glass to whatever you choose). I chose the design and colors so if you don’t like this one, you can do whatever you want – even cutting the glasses to the size you want it to be.

So far I have a penny, a stress ball, and a lipstick holder on it…

Silver clay includes designing your own earrings, charms, necklaces, pendants, and more. When they fire it, it becomes 99% silver! Pottery painting includes choosing one of their ceramic pieces and then a design and colors.

This was a great time to just hang out with a friend or friends and just relax and catch up. It was something new that I never tried either that ended up being a lot of fun. I definitely hope to go back and try pottery painting the next time.

Check out their Facebook for more information, or the link I attached above.