A (Desert) Trip Down Rock N Roll Memory Lane in Indio, California – Part 1

By Tuesday, October 25, 2016 4 Permalink 0
Souvenir Desert Trip t-shirt announcing all the bands.

Souvenir Desert Trip t-shirt announcing all the bands.

In May 2016, a very exciting announcement was made: Desert Trip, a 3-day rock ‘n roll extravaganza, was to take place in October at the same venue (The Empire Polo Club) as the renowned 7-year-old annual Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, California, in close proximity to the luxurious desert oasis of Palm Springs. Coachella brings in close to 200,000 people over two weekends and features rock, hip hop, independent, electronic dance & indie music/bands and attracts A-list celebrities and a mostly millennial crowd sporting the coolest boho-chic clothing.

Desert Trip is produced by the same entity as Coachella – Goldenvoice – and would feature the “concert of the century” featuring the biggest names in rock ‘n roll over the last 50+ years: Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Paul McCartney, The Who, and Roger Waters. Following the same format as Coachella, there would be two weekends of Desert Trip as well, attracting 75,000 fans to each.

Passover Traditions, Memories, Borscht Martinis & Drunken Pharaohs !

By Tuesday, March 31, 2015 6 Permalink 1
A Syrian Seder/Feast (photo source: photographer Nir Kafri from www.haaretz.com)

A Syrian Passover Seder/Feast (photo source: photographer Nir Kafri from www.haaretz.com)

Passover is around the corner and in households worldwide, the final countdown has begun. When talking to some of my family & friends and looking at my facebook page over the last week, it’s incredible to see how hard everyone is working to make this holiday feast so special! What many have made vis-a-vis amounts and variety puts me to shame! In yiddish, the perfect word to describe all these enthusiastic, talented (mostly) women is a balabusta (a great woman in all ways who knows how to kill it with her cooking)!!

Are You a Balabusta? (Photo source: http://balabusta.kosherhomemaker.com/)

Are You a Balabusta? (Photo source: http://balabusta.kosherhomemaker.com/) Which Yiddish Word Describes You? (Photo source: Playbuzz.com)

Passover is a holiday that has been in existence since antiquity (over 3,300 years ago) when the Jewish people, then called the Israelites, with the help of their prophet, Moses, escaped from slavery in Egypt (referred to as the Exodus). Since this ancient festival is celebrated around the globe, the foods that are prepared can be very different. For example, the Ashkenazi Jews, emanating from Eastern Europe, eat one food that many, Ashkenazis included, cringe at and often joke about. This well-known dish is called gefilte (meaning “stuffed”) fish, made from carp, whitefish or pike, and served with beet-red-hot chrain (horseradish). This is not a delicacy for the faint of heart! I, however, happen to love it!

Delicious traditional Gefilte Fish! (Made by the Centre Street Deli in Thornhill, Ontario)

Delicious traditional Gefilte Fish! (Served at last year’s seder; made by my favorite, the Centre Street Deli, in Thornhill, Ontario)

Costume Design, Hollywood and the Oscars

By Sunday, February 22, 2015 0 Permalink 0
"Who Ya Gonna Call?" - Bradley & I at Montecito, Toronto

“Who Ya Gonna Call?” – Bradley & I at Montecito, Toronto

The photo above is of my hubby and I at the HighVail Systems Inc. annual internal office after-New Year party, held this past January at the ultra-hip, totally fabulous Californian-cuisine-meets-Canadian-fresh-local-ingredients Toronto restaurant – Montecito – opened last summer by famous Hollywood Producer/Director Ivan Reitman (revered for so many of his fun-filled, comedic films such as Animal House, Meatballs, Twins, Kindergarten Cop, Hotel for Dogs, I Love You Man, and many others) and renowned Master Chef Jonathan Waxman (of California’s Chez Panisse and Michael’s Restaurant, along with New York’s Jams Restaurant; and current Chef-Owner of Barbuto in New York’s West Village) just in time for TIFF (the Toronto International Film Festival). We couldn’t resist holding this little icon of Mr. Reitman’s unforgettable movie, Ghostbusters, whose costumes were designed by both the late great Theoni Aldredge (who also

received Tony awards for Annie & La Cage aux Folles, was nominated for A Chorus Line and Dreamgirls, and won the Oscar for The Great Gatsby), as well as Suzy Benzinger (who worked closely with Ms. Aldredge and who was also the costume designer for the Broadway productions of Movin’ Out, Saturday Night Fever, and Miss Saigon, to name a few).

The evening began with a superb scotch tasting, followed by delicious gourmet treats such as this divine charcuterie/cheese plate & Montecito's signature Kale salad with anchovy dressing and pecorino shavings #nomnom!

The evening began with a superb scotch tasting, followed by delicious gourmet treats such as this divine charcuterie/cheese plate & Montecito’s signature Kale salad with anchovy dressing and pecorino shavings #nomnom!

HighVail Goes “Eat Street” for Family & Friends Soiree!

By Thursday, October 9, 2014 0 Permalink 0
Layla, Jonny & Hady from Jonny Blonde Food Truck; Sil from Core Events Staffing, Shana from HighVail Systems, Raffaela from Core Events Staffing

L to R: Layla, Jonny &

Hady from Jonny Blonde Food Truck; Sil from Core Event Staff, Shana from HighVail Systems, Raffaela from Core Event Staff

Since its inception,

HighVail Systems Inc. has always known that one of the secrets to success is how you treat your employees. The company has created an environment where FUN is taken seriously, both inside and beyond the office. Work/Life balance is also one of our core values. Most importantly, HighVail is not just a place of business; at HighVail, we are a family, and we treat our clients, suppliers, and anyone we do business with as our friends. 

Inspired at CDN Women in the IT Channel Recognition Luncheon #CDNWomen

By Thursday, September 11, 2014 2 Permalink 2
Laura Tsingos & Joanne Lebovits-Brodkin, of HighVail Systems Inc., at the 2014 CDN Women in the IT CHANNEL Recognition Luncheon

Laura Tsingos & Joanne Lebovits-Brodkin, of HighVail Systems Inc., at the 2014 CDN Women in the IT CHANNEL Recognition Luncheon

A few weeks ago, I was privileged to take part in the 4th annual 2014 CDN Women in the IT CHANNEL Recognition Luncheon at the beautiful Estates of Sunnybrook, Vaughan House, in Toronto. I attended with Laura Tsingos, Director of Operations at HighVail Systems Inc., who was one of the distinguished honorees at the 2nd annual Recognition Luncheon in 2012. The event is sponsored by ITWC, publisher of CDN (Computer Dealer News) and Ingram Micro Canada.

The day was action-packed with one inspiring session after another. The morning began with a choice of two interactive workshops. Laura and I chose Exceptional Leading: 17 Ideas on Leading Exceptionally Well in IT, presented by Executive Coach Karen Hanna, of TKB Hanna & Associates and SAP Software & Solutions COO Leagh Turner. Both innovative workshop leaders covered a lot of ground, including Karen’s concepts of the “Talent/Trouble Matrix,” “Borrowing Talent,” “Over-Hiring for Short-Term Gaps,” “The 2:1 Communication Approach,” and many excellent others. The advice given by Karen and Leigh was invaluable for all the attendees in the room, no matter what position one held, and the ideas presented were highly useful for all industries, not solely for IT. 

Dining Al Fresco

By Sunday, August 24, 2014 2 Permalink 2
Origin North's White Sangria (white wine, triple sec, lychee liqueur & peach juice)

Origin North’s White Sangria (white wine, triple sec, lychee liqueur & peach juice)

If you live in a cold climate like I do, one of my favourite things to do when the balmier temperatures hit is to dine al fresco! Somehow dining, & having a cocktail outside, are one step closer to being in paradise!

Luckily, Toronto, where I live, has tons of places to hang out at outdoors. A couple of months ago, on my birthday, my sweet son suggested we go out for lunch to celebrate. We chose the perfect spot: Chef Claudio Aprile’s “Origin North” (at the fashionable Bayview Village Shopping Mall) – a little piece of heaven. We sipped on, probably, the most delicious and exotic sangria I have ever had. Infused with some Vitamin D from the bright sun, we were energized and felt like we were transported far away, at least in our minds.