Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Big Plans for This Little Blog

3 more days. 3 more days. 3 MORE DAYS!!!


I have 3 more days left of work before a nice 2 week holiday. Can you tell I am excited!!!! 

As much as I am counting down the days, I still can't believe how quickly the time has gone. It seems like yesterday I was just starting work and moving to Toronto, but it has been almost 6 months already. Crazy. 

What is even crazier, is that in January I will mark my 1 year blog-a-versery and I am planning to "relaunch" the pink hard hat for that occasion. I started this blog as something to do so I wouldn't get bored. I had no idea about blogging, or even what I was going to blog about. To be honest I didn't even read very many blogs. It was completely foreign territory to me. 

In a year though, I have started reading blogs, I figured out what I like to read about, what I like to blog about and what other people like to read about. As much as it is easy to write the "Here is what I did on the weekend" posts, and as much as it is a great way for me to journal, I feel weird expecting people to continue to pay attention to my completely normal life. 

I like blogging about food and fitness, as demonstrated by my Totally Typical Weight loss challenge side project. I also like venting on my blog...posts like my letter to FB and one of my first ones about Sidewalk etiquette got good feedback, and even made some people laugh. I have learned I love reading about what people eat in a day, but not necessarily recipes, and I like reading about people's day to day lives retold with some humor. 

So where does that leave me?

For one, I think I need to blog more. It is hard to actually write what I want when I feel the need to fill everyone in with what I have been up to. For example, this blog post could have been all about my fun-filled weekend, but I just wasn't feeling it. Sometimes when I write about what I have been up to I am writing it with a big fake smile on my face, just because what I am writing about was fun, but how I am feeling that day isn't as fun. That is not keeping it realz yo. 

I also want to get a little more organized, have some focus to this bloggity blog. I really like the blogs that have a specific day for a specific topic, so I may follow that trend. 

I think I actually have to do something to make this blog exciting and fresh. The TTWLC worked because I was blogging about cooking, and going to the gym. It was easy to write because it was focused. Because of the limitless options with this blog, I often have writer's block. 

Soooo in January, I am kicking off year two of blogging with a fresh look of the page, more focus, and more posts. I still want to keep people updated on my life, but that will be a once a week post, not the only posts I do. I am going to spend some time on my Christmas Vacation thinking about this and planning ahead to figure out how I want this blog to go forward.

It is kind of silly actually that I started this blog with no plan and it makes sense that I'm not completely satisfied with my end product. As someone who is typically oober organized, and is obsessed with planning things out, doing something willy-nilly (bonus points for throwing that phrase in there) just isn't going to keep me blogging. 

I may not be blogging much between now and January with Christmas Craziness settling in, but stay tuned for January...because this is when this blog gets legit!


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas Decorating

I made possibly the best rib sauce in the world tonight for supper. I loosely followed this recipe from Epicurious, but I didn't really measure, and made half of it following a similar recipe earlier this week. Whatever happened it was AMAZING, sweet and spicy and garlicy! Sooo good!

But that is just a side note to my actual purpose of blogging...which is that IT IS CHRISTMAS TIME!!!
This is my first offical on-my-own christmas where I wasn't worrying about exams. I am taking full advantage of this.

The "mantle" is decorated
Christmas!!!

The mini tree is up!!!
It is shorter than me!!!

Straight No Chaser's 12 days of Christmas was listened to whilst decorating the tree!

I love that I get to do this all again when I go home closer to Christmas. 

I really wanted to share with you all a nifty little Christmas idea:
Awww homemadeness

I know I totally read this idea somewhere, but I can't remember where (probably a blog). The people got an ornament to represent something new in their lives that year. I think that idea is fantabulous so I stole it. 

At first I was just going to buy a 2011 one, but they were all red and green and expensive, so since I went with a blue and silver theme (to match my normal decor) I decided to make my own. 

I started with a cheap plain silver ball. I bought some scrapbooking letters and numbers and put 2011 on the front, and a M + K on the back (for Mike and Kaylee, if you didn't figure it out). This is our 4th Christmas together, but our first actually being in the same place!

Next I took a pencil and traced the CN tower and city skyline to represent moving to Toronto. I then added silly "Welcome to Toronto" lettering. I then traced over the whole thing with a black pen to keep it simple. 


It probably cost me a total of 50 cents, and is way more personal than a wal-mart 2011 one. I like that anyone could do this and totally personalize it. Yes it looks homemade and kinda thrown together, but I like that about it! I also like that it has the potential to become a tradition, which is awesome!

Christmas decorations make me happy!

Anyone else have cool holiday traditions?




Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Some Late Night Blogging

If by late you are like me and like to be asleep by 11 pm.

I wanted to blog before going to bed for some odd reason, but I'll go with it. I wanted to blog about the November Blahs. I really don't like the month of November. It is too early to be fully Christmas-y, and to me all it is, is cold and dark. November is like the Monday of Winter, it makes me sad because I know I have so much more winter to go. This month was actually a lot of fun because I had a lot of visitors, but recently the lack of daylight, cold weather and FLURRIES have been bugging me.

I think that humans were suppose to hibernate. I seriously dislike winter, and it isn't just because of the cold or the snow, it is simply because it is dark all the time. It makes me want to be a vegetable. Motivation to go the gym is lacking, motivation to do anything productive is lacking, and all I want to do is stay in bed and watch movies. Anyone else get like this in the darkness of winter??


So tonight I tried to get stuff done, even though I really wanted to watch TV. I cleaned a little, made peach oatmeal muffins from Two Cups of Happy (SOOO GOOD!!), cut up 5lbs of carrots and decided to make a veggie soup with kale for lunch/supper tomorrow. I also edited a gas turbine combustion report for the BF. Exciting. Tomorrow I actually have to get up semi early, because I want to go to Body Attack and Body Flow at the gym after work and I need to get my butt moving to get out of the November blahs.


However getting up early has been an issue the past few weeks because it has been so dark out.

Some background info...where I work has relatively flexible hours. You need to work 9 hours, and you can start between 7-9 and work until 4-6. We get half an hour lunch, but if you take a longer lunch you just work longer in the day. Some guys come into work at 6 and leave at 3 because they are crazy.
So this is good in a bunch of ways, it isn't a big deal if you are 5 minutes late, there is no missing the alarm stress, and it is flexible for anyone's personal schedule (ie picking up kids from day care etc).

The downside to this is I like sleeping in too much, and even though I would love to work from 7-4, my morning brain does not like this idea and I end up making it into work around 9. So today I was at work at 8:45 had choir practice at lunch (an hour long) so I was at work until 6:15 and then by the time I got home it was close to 7. And I am in bed by 10:30. That isn't a lot of time to get stuff done.

I have often joked about Morning Kaylee vs Normal Kaylee. Normal Kaylee makes plans to go to work from 7-4. Morning Kaylee has the worst logic in the world, always goes for the snooze alarm, and negates any reasoning to get out of bed early. So at 5:45, which is when I have to get up to make it work at 7, my alarm goes off. I always have an alarm set for this time even though I rarely get up. I think about getting up, then immediately fall back to sleep. This process repeats itself at 6:15, 6:45, 7:15, and FINALLY at 7:45 I haul myself out of bed.  Within 2 minutes of actually waking up I am slightly annoyed that I slept in that long. This happens almost every day.

I find now that is dark until about 7:20 in the morning, I am having an even harder time getting out of bed. I have pretty much given up getting to work from 7-4, and instead have embraced the 9-6 routine. Perhaps once it starts getting lighter outside I will wake up earlier. But that can cause havoc on days where I actually want to get stuff done..like tomorrow. If I go to work from 9-6, I will miss body attack, and then I will probably be discouraged and not bother going to bodyflow.

Ok Morning Kaylee you got the message loud and clear right...work from 8-5 tomorrow so gymmage can happen as planned ok???

How much do you want to bet that tomorrow morning I will sleep in again.

Is it Christmas Vacation yet???

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Just a Normal Busy Week

I can’t believe it is the end of November already! Crazy! It feels like just yesterday that it was June 20th and I had just moved to Toronto.

This past week seemed to go by especially fast, and unfortunately so did the weekend.

My week started off kind of weird with a PUFFY EYE. I woke up Monday morning with a sore eyeball and a puffy eyelid, and thought it may have been something contagious so I called in sick, went to doctor, was told it was just a blocked duct, he gave me some eyedrops and I headed to work for the afternoon. So because of all that mess I didn’t go to the gym on Monday or Tuesday (because my eye still felt weird, that is a valid excuse right).

On Wednesday I went to my first work Christmas Choir rehearsal. At work they form a choir to perform at the xmas party. I joined with some hesitation, but after that first rehearsal I am totally hooked. Taking lunch to go sing fun Christmas carols kept me smiling the whole afternoon. It also totally reminded me of High School, which was the last time I was in a choir, and how much I miss singing/performing.

On Thursday I really really really really didn’t want to go to the normal yoga class I go to (mostly because the normal teacher wasn’t going to be there) so I didn’t go. Didn’t even feel bad about it. Instead I watched repeats of cake boss and made a cake using limited supplies and ingredients. Turned out delicious.

On Friday Mike and I went on a road trip up to Yorkdale mall for Christmas shopping and movies. The issue was that the mall closed at 9:00 and the movie only started at 10:30. We decided to grab food while we waited. The two restaurant options were Moxie’s and Rainforest café, neither option really excited me. Moxie’s had a ridiculous wait, so we went to the Rainforest Café, we got in at 8:50 and they closed at 9:00 so I felt really rushed even though we were allowed to stay for a reasonable time to eat. The food wasn’t that great and somewhat overpriced but our server was really nice.

Since we STILL had time to kill before the movie we went back down to Moxie’s and got dessert. The desserts were really tasty, however if you have never been to Moxie’s, the waitresses are dressed very…umm how shall I put this, minimally. They wear little black dresses, which in theory is fine, but some of them were so short or so low it was actually gross. Gross enough that I probably wouldn’t go back by choice.

We finally went to the movies at 10:30. We went to see the Muppets and it was hilarious. Mike is huge Muppet fan, and we both are huge Jason Segal fans. I got a kids pack of popcorn even though I had just had all that food. I need to have popcorn at a movie, even if it is just a small amount.

On Saturday instead of being a good person and getting up and going to the gym, I slept in and skipped the gym, did groceries, some walmart shopping, and went to buy some kijiji winter tires out in Vaughan. Then Mike and I met up his friend who was in town for a university business competition and we went out for dinner at Real Sports Bar and Grill. I had my favorite the Black and Blue burger. It was very good, but I was so full. On Sunday we went out for Breakfast at Eggspectations with friends and afterwards we gave Mike’s buddy a tour of Toronto (in the rain) since he is moving to Toronto in January for a co-op work term. After he left for the airport, I decorated and Mike did some homework.  I also had a wonderful skype chat with one of my besties who is teaching in France until the summer!

After a homemade supper we watched copious amounts of you-tube bloopers from our favorite
shows. Very productive evening. It made up for doing so much this weekend.

So if you have been following along this past week I didn’t go to the gym at all. AHHHH. And
I ate out quite a bit. Ahhhhh! So for the next three weeks I am going to the gym 5x a day, and
other than Christmas Party events, every meal is going to be home cooked (to benefit my wallet
as much as my health). I started the week off right this time (no puffy eye) and went to Zumba
for the first time in a while. I had so much fun, I am so mad at myself for missing it for the past
few weeks!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Healthy Noms on a Budget

Ok here is my beef (hehe) with the show extreme couponers. I was watching last night and this woman saved 99.9% of her grocery bill. Good for her. My issue is that she bought hotdogs, and pop, and chips, and cookies, for her toddler age children. I am totally for saving money, but I don't think you need to eat junk to do it.

When I first moved to Ontario started shopping at Loblaws because it was nearby and I knew the brand. Every week my boyfriend and I would be spending around 130 a week for groceries. This is included shopping the sales, and the coupons (not extreme coupons though). We typically buy fresh food, and avoid the frozen food aisle and the junk food aisles. So this means we make 90% of our meals from basic ingredients, including lunches.  

At some point I wondered, even though we were saving money by eating home cooked meals, was there anyway to save money on groceries??

First we found a website called soscuisine.com  where you register, for free, then the website looks up all the flyers in your area and gives you budget menus. I don't have enough time to go to multiple places to get the best deals so I use the website to see what is on sale at one spot and plan my meals accordingly. I have used some of their recipes and they are pretty quick and easy. This helped me save money a little bit more, but we were still spending way too much.

Next we tried the going to multiple stores thing. Groceries that week took us 2 hours and we actually spent more than normal. That was a big old fail.

Finally we tried going to No Frills. No Frills is the President's Choice version of Price Chopper for those of you who have never been. The first week we spent $100. The next we spent $80. From then on we averaged out about $90 dollars a week. Some quick math..that is $40 a week, or $2080 a year. That is significant. Only negative that we have found shopping at No Frills is that the fruit goes bad slightly faster than at Loblaws, and...that is pretty much it. There meat and frozen fish is good, and we just make sure to watch expiration dates closely.

So a typical grocery week for me starts on Friday with looking over SOS cuisine for the things that are on sale. I then base my meals on what is cheap that week. Then I am may have to do some recipe research if I can't come up with anything. On Saturday we go do groceries in the AM and fight off the old people loading up because a certain item is really on sale. Very exciting. So on Saturday night not only is my fridge full but I know exactly what I am eating for the rest of the week, and I can spend Sunday doing any prep work, like making healthy muffins, or homemade hummus.

Some quick grocery saving tips:
1. Buy the no-name brand. Sometimes it tastes even better
2. Look above and below. The more expensive items are placed at eye level, so cheaper options are on lower/higher shelves.
3. Shop sales and flyers and coupons, but don't buy something if it is on sale just because it is on sale
4. Plan meals so you don't have a bunch of random food items and nothing to cook
5. Make stuff yourself. 2 cans of chick peas and the spices needed to make 1 L of hummus cost me about $2 bucks, compared to buying a 300mL container for $4 dollars!
6. Eat all your food. It kills me to throw out food so some times I have to be creative to make sure something doesn't go bad!

I guess the entire point of this post is that you don't have to eat poorly to eat on a budget, you just have to be organized! For example this was our meal plan this week, it was pretty delicious:
Saturday: Steak with a blackberry compote, asparagus and roasted potatoes.
Sunday: Veggie pizza (we had a free coupon to Panago, it was really good)
Monday: Whole wheat pasta, shrimp, veggies, cheese and THAI CHILIES
Tuesday: Slow cooker curry chicken thighs, tomato and cucumber indian salad
Wednesday: Healthified Fish and Chips and Coleslaw (first time making coleslaw, it was very pretty!)
Coleslaw w/ LF Mayo, lightly breaded sole, potatoes boiled then slightly grilled for fries
Thursday: leftovers
Friday: Whatever we have left in the fridge and can create a meal out of

For lunches I either have leftovers or some sort of salad. This week I also made pomegranate pumpkin muffins, and spicy hummus for snacking.

I also made a delicious lunch on Saturday that I would like to share:

Open Faced Avagadro Sammich
Avagadro's Sammich
Yes it is a Avagadro Sammich. The nerd that is the BF thought it was HILARIOUS that Avocados sound like Avagadro, and hence we have the sammich name

Makes 2 sammichs, serve with chips and salsa if you want!
Ingredients include:
4 Pieces of Chicken bacon, or Breakfast Chicken as the brand I have calls it.
1 Avagadro Avocado
2 Whole wheat bready pieces
6 slices of cheese (motza tasted good)

Step one. Toast the bread
Step two. Cook the chicken bacon
Step three. Mash the Avocado
Step four. Put half the avocado mash on a toast.
Step five. Top with bacon and cheese.
Step six. Nom

Ok, I realize this recipie was oober simple, but it was SOOO DELICIOUS it had to be spelled out.

And there you have my food life. Organized, on a budget, and delicious. Just like the rest of my life!

Do you have fun grocery/cheap food tips?  I would love to hear it!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Visitors Round 2!!!!

This blog post has been ready to go since Monday, but since I have been having computer issues it's actual posting has been delayed. HOWEVER, I have good computer news! The Mike installed Ubuntu on my computer (Linux based operation) and it is 1000000 times faster than windows. I can now blog and stream videos with ease. It is pretty much amazing. Anyway back to the point....


This past weekend (as mentioned before) my friend Erin came to visit! Well actually she was here on Tuesday night, so technically she was here for more than a weekend which was awesome! On Tuesday Mike and I drove to the airport for a dinner with my dad who was over-nighting before catching a plane to the States for work. It worked out really well since I had to pick up Erin anyway. While we were waiting for Erin, Mike decided to do some studying with this book...


An Introduction to Combustion
It's amazing he didn't get accosted by security. Once we got Erin, we arrived back home late so I was not the most social host and went to bed, since morning was quickly approaching.


On Wednesday, we went out for Sushi at To-Ne (Queen St) with some other friends of Erin’s. She met these two girls from traveling around Europe post-grad. They were both super nice! I was so impressed at how put together these girls looked, especially since I felt like (and think I looked like) a zombie from being up too late the night before. The sushi was good, and the presentation was very well done. Oh look, a lovely picture I took (once again, blogging fail):
photo
Source
By the time we got home it was getting late so once again I had to be lame and go to bed.


On Thursday, Erin and I did something CRAZY. We decided to go to the gym for 3 CLASSES IN A ROW and a hour walk total to and from the gym. We started at 5:30 with Body Pump, then a 6:30 Body Attack, and finished off with a 7:30 Body flow. I have done the attack then flow thing before, but never 3 in a row. It surprisingly wasn’t too bad (at the time). We stopped at Starbucks on the way home (as a treat for surviving) and then made it home and had some supper…and then I went to bed.


On Friday I woke up and still wasn’t that sore from the gym, and went to work, then I came home, we had a nice home-cooked dinner, went to the movies (PUSS IN BOOTS!!!) and out for drinks. We ended up at Nirvana on College St. and had veggies and dip as a snack..healthiest bar snacks ever. The prices were good, and are waitress was fantab. This was a picture from one of the bathroom stalls.
Nerdy Awesomeness
No I don’t normally go around snapping photos in the bathroom, but this couldn’t be missed.


And by the way, by this point both Erin and I were having trouble walking..not from drinks, or from shoes, but from the 3 workouts the night before. It was also freezing outside when we left, so we caught a cab home.On Saturday Erin and I hit up Queen St. West for some shopping. I got a sweet poster that I had been eyeing last week for Mikes office, a clock for an empty space on my wall and some second hand clothes from a "clothing exchange" (aka thrift store)


And we stopped and ate poutine. I don't eat poutine often, but when I do...it better be delicious, and this bad boy from Smokes Poutine was all kinds of delicious.


Mushrooms, cheese, fries, chicken, GRAVY


Erin wanted to find a bag and a new coat, and found both at Winners! Yay shopping success.


Then we came home and made lasagna. I forgot how long it takes to make lasagna, so in a rush we finished it, ate it and then peaced out to get to MAMMA MIA on time. The show was out in Mississauga, so we had a 35 minute drive (or more). We literally got there and sat down one minute before the show started. The show was amazing. The lady who played Donna was one of the best musical theater singers I have ever heard. She blew my mind. Also for those of you who do not know Mamma Mia, it is a pretty funny musical, but for some reason whenever we laughed (at the appropriate parts) a lady in front of us would turn around and glare at us. Sorrrry we were enjoying the show.


After the show we had a super exciting night of watching Gold Rush Alaska, and then falling asleeps. Erin’s flight left at 6:30 am, so she had to be at the airport by 4:30 (silly international flights). After dropping her off, and getting home, I promptly fell back asleep.


It has been a pretty boring week without visitors! Anyone want to come and visit me this weekend??

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Visitors!!!

One thing I love about living in Toronto is that it is a city that people visit, whether it is for work or fun. So this month there are definitely more people saying “I am going to be in Toronto this weekend” than normal and I love it!

It started last weekend with a surprise lunch with my friend Trish (as I mentioned here), and quick trip by Mike’s uncle and little cousin. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see them, but Mike did meet up with his uncle for a after-hockey game beverage on Saturday night. I had a date with Survivor (online from Wednesday night) and a phone date with my friend Lynsey, who got me hooked on Survivor again. It is so weird whenever I think about watching an episode, she normally calls. Survivor telepathy.

Whoa went totally off topic there, anyway….this weekend Trish came back to write the National Dietitian exam so she can become a legit Dietitian. In engineering we do a similar thing where at the end of our Engineer in Training years, we need to pass a law and ethics exam. Difference is the dietitian one is 7 hours of multiple choice, that are all “correct answers but choose the best one” questions. Yikes. Trish is a much braver soul than me. So she arrived on Friday night, and she got some studying done, and Mike got some studying done (midterms) and I watched Americas Next Top Model on my computer (with headphones to not disturb the serious peeps getting their study on).

On Saturday we all got up nice and early (read 6:30am) drove Trish to her test, then Mike and I proceeded to have the most productive Saturday Morning ever. We went to the gym, went and did groceries, and I even went and got a library card and a book for book club. And we were home by 11:00. Then I had a nap to make up for all that productivity.

After Trish was done her test, we went out for dinner with one of Mike’s friends from Halifax who was in town. We went to Salad King, on Yonge near Dundas Square. If you like Thai, and you like being thrifty, and don’t mind noisy restaurants this is the place for you. It was really good and the portions were huge for the price! They also had sweet colorful decor going on. (And yes I am a blogging fail and didn’t take any pictures all weekend so I am borrowing them from the interwebs/old pictures I had, you all can pretend I took the pictures myself this weekend…)
Ooo look it is the Phud Thai I ate
Source

Ooo look at the lovely picture I "took" of the decor

Source
On Sunday Trish and I spent the entire day walking around Toronto. We went down Front Street to Union Station (because it is pretty)...


Union Station (3 years ago, pretend its from this weekend)

....through this place near the Hockey Hall of Fame (because it is pretty)....
Sooo coool (also from 3 years ago)
And then over to St. Lawerence (because it is old, and pretty). We found a sweet antiques sale going on at the market which I may have to hit up at some point. Then we went and checked out Occupy Toronto. It was way more intense than I thought, but it I mean the actual camp set up not the protest. Not much was going on.

Then we went down Queen Street, and headed to Little India for lunch. It was a buffet.  We ate a lot of food.
Source
It is funny, because when I moved to Halifax I hated going to the same restaurant over and over again. I wanted to try as many new places as possible. Here it is the opposite, once I find somewhere I like I keep going back, and Little India is one of my favs. After lunch we spent the rest of the day walking around Queen Street and going west of Spadina (my normal Queen street adventures are mostly between Spadina and Yonge). Little did I know I was missing out. There are so many cool home decor places. Totally out of my price range, but fun to look at!

We drove Trish up the airport on Sunday night, and was back to the normal grind on Monday…but tonight my friend Erin (my roomy and bestie from uni) is coming to visit from Louisiana where she is now living! We have 5 days full of food, intense gymage, and MORE which I will blog about later! This time I will actually remember to take pictures like a good little blogger.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween Part 2: Costume Time

Annnd I’m back. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays; it may even be my favorite. As a kid, I loved playing dress up, and I loved the spookiness of Halloween, it wasn’t even the candy aspect for me, but the event itself. As a big kid, I still love the event, and any chance I get to bust out a costume is fine by me (by any chance I mean musicals, dance recitals and costume parties not just randomly, I’m not that crazy).

So this Halloween was looking a little dismal on the activity front. I did the Halloween Haunt thing, and thought that was going to be it. I didn’t even have a costume prepared or thought about…which is ridiculous considering most years I have 2 or more. So on Wednesday when our friends K and T (same friends as the Halloween haunt kids) invited us to a Halloween party on Friday I was totally sold. But the party was two days away, and I had no costume!! OH NO!!!

So on Wednesday night the four of us hit up Value Village and Walmart with some success. Well, Mike found all of his costume, and the rest of us had some more looking to do. I had decided to be Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s mostly because all I needed was a few accessories. I didn’t find what I needed but I found this knitted/quilted sweater at Value Village and almost bought it, just for shear awesomeness. And yes I totally snapped this pic will the sole purpose of putting on this bloggity blog.
Turquoise and beige..impressive

On Friday I had a perfectly timed day off (one of my earned days off, everyone at the company I work at works 8.5 hours every day to have 1 Friday off a month). So I got to meet up for lunch with a friend who was in town for a conference, and I got to find the rest of my costume pieces. For the past 3 years I have needed a pair of fancy black gloves, and I finally found them at Fashion Crimes, an amazing girly (read expensive) store on Queen St. West. I walked in on a mission and blatantly asked for the cheapest black gloves they had, and I’m glad I did too! The ones I got weren’t out on the rack and they were only $18 compared to the $45 ones I was looking at (and would never buy). The sales people were fantab, and if I ever needed to buy a $700 party dress, I would totally hit up that store. Unfortunately I will never need (read actually waste money on) a $700 party dress.

I arrived back home around 3:00pm, and even though I knew we were only heading to the party around 10:00pm, I decided to start my costume assembly. I wanted to practice the hair because I didn’t want to be rushing with the updo 15 minutes before the party. I copied a video on Youtube, and within 20 minutes had actually done the hair do. I was shocked. So I lathered on the hairspray and at 3:30 I was all done up with no place to go.

Once we actually got to the party, it was a blast, and everyone had super sweet costumes. Our friends went as a bee and a bee keeper, which was an adorb couples costume.

They got asked by some randoms on the subway if they were in love. Hilarious. One of the best costumes of the night were two girls dressed as sushi, and a guy as a sushi chef. Easy costumes, but great effect. It was great to be out and social after about 4 months of not going out!

Mike and I were not very couply since he went as Dexter. Not even the same genre/era/theme or anything. Oh well, at least this year Mike was able to dress up since last Halloween he had a ton of school work, and couldn’t really go out or dress up. You can kind of tell in the pictures that his hair is actually sprayed with a gold/blonde hairspray to make him look more like Dexter. It made me laugh to see him with gold hair.


Yesterday, we went to visit my little cousins during the actual Halloween festivities. They were wired on chocolate, and it was fun to see all the trick or treaters in an actual neighbourhood. Like I said before, as a kid the actual candy part of Halloween was just an added benefit, but now, as a junk deprived adult, I totally would chow down on all that candy and junk!!

And now Halloween is over, and it is on to the next event. I have been reading a lot of bloggers who LOVE Christmas and November 1st officially starts their Christmas count down. I am so not that intense about Christmas, so don't worry you won't be getting any Christmas themed posts until about December 1st...and that is even early for me!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Haunt: Revenge of the Traffic

My computer and facebook are obviously in cahoots. After I wrote that big ole rant 9ish days ago, my computer has hated my life and has been very sporadic with letting me OPEN THE INTERWEBS. I have been reading blogs and watching TV online (using wifi not 3G because I am a smarty pants) on my phone, because it is actually faster than my little netbook. Anyway, finally got the tech savvy BF to  reformat/clean/defrag/perform magic on the netbook...and now it is just back to its normal slowness. (It's actually a little faster, but I'll never admit that to him..oh wait he reads these..ooops!)

Now you get to hear about all the crazy fun stuff I did in the past 9 days!

Last Saturday (the 22nd) myself, the BF and 2 of our friends headed up to CANADA’S WONDERLAND.
The Mountain was so much bigger when I was littler!

We went for the day to hit up the rides because it was about half price compared to the summer and the lineups were about 10 times smaller. After about 5 hours of rollarcoastering, we headed back downtown for a CW break, and then headed back up there for Halloween Haunt, which is an event where they make the park all spooky, and there are a bunch of haunted houses and mazes to do. Very spooooky.

Since the park closes from 5-7 our plan was to head back to TO, give our friends a chance to take their dog for a walk, then head back in time for a special buffet dinner at the park that came as an addition to our ticket. Our dinner went from 6:15 to 6:45 and then you could get early access to some of the mazes. So we left  downtown around 5:30 because that same day it took us 45 minutes to get there.

Well that didn’t happen this time. One of the major area highways was shut down, and traffic was ridiculous. We also drove through the annual Toronto Zombie Walk, cool but not conductive to our plans.  Around 7:00 we finally made it close to the park, and at 7:45 we finally made it to the parking lot. So many people had the same idea as us! Once we finally got in, bought our supper since we missed the buffet, we got to enjoy the haunted houses/mazes. The attractions were pretty cool, and they involved a lot of things jumping out at you, which after the initial shock, I find hilarious, so I spent a good portion of the time laughing. We saw a few  shows, and left the park at midnight when it was all over…Then we sat in the parking lot for an hour and 15 minutes. Without moving. Way to have a horribly designed parking lot Canada’s Wonderland.

We finally made it home at 2:00am. I hate to sound so negative, but that wait at the end, and how much it cost, and the traffic to get there, definitely put a damper on things. I think next time I would probably just go at night, skip the rides, and just do the mazes and the shows. I would take the early supper option (5:15-5:30) get in early, and then leave before 11:30 to miss the rush. I would also go the week earlier because as it gets closer to Halloween, the attendance increases exponentially!

The next day was a lazy day interrupted by a fire alarm at 8:30 am…not impressed.

So in order for this to not turn into a MEGA GIANT POST, I am going to save this week/weekend for tomorrow’s post, where I will talk about my actual halloweening!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Facebook Ennui

Yes I am busting out the word Ennui, because it is the only word I can think of to describe how I am feeling about Facebook. It also makes me think of a berets, a baguette, and Parisian cafe, even though I know that it really isn't a french word. Like bourgeois, that is another one of those pretentious words.

Anyway back to the point, 
For those of you who don't know the exact definition (I had to look it up too) here is a little word of the day action:
ennui\on-WEE\ , noun;
1. A feeling of weariness and dissatisfaction arising from lack of interest; boredom

If I was in a relationship with Facebook this would be the point where we would have to sit down and have a serious chat:

Dear Facebook
I know we have been together since 2006, and you have gotten me through so much. I don't know what I would have done during exam times without your constant support. Your popularity made me make friends in 1st year. You even met my extended family. You changed over the years, but I still loved you. I even looked past the farmville incident. But now, something has changed. 

I remember back to about a year ago when I was pretty much addicted to you. I wanted to see what was going on with friends, people had clever posts and statuses, and it was actually fun to pay attention to the news feed. But you changed on me, Facebook. You started posting more statuses from people who aren't really my friends, you started having a really wired newsfeed. But I gave you a chance, and I thought I could change with you.

But there is still something that is bothering me. It has to do with I don't really care any more. I don't care that so and so went to so and so's party and took pictures with whatisname. I don't care that so and so thinks the current news event is stupid. I don't even care about the silly cat video that people post..and that is saying something. 

I have to admit, I am spending more time with e-mails, texts, and blogs. If someone calls me and or texts me and tells me so and so went to so and so's party I am all over that gossip. If someone starts talking about the current news event in person I would love to have that discussion. If someone msgs me a funny cat video I will laugh my butt off. I love reading about people I don't even know in real life via their blogs. It's not that I am sick of social media, technology or gossip, I just don't want it from you, Facebook, any more. I have to be honest, I have even considered using twitter.


Maybe it is because of the new format, it could be because I am now more interested in the blog world. But overall I think there was a time and a place for us, Facebook. I think I may have out grown you. I don't need you as a distraction any more like I did when I was in school. And I have to come clean. I am cheating on you with my blog. I use that to share with the world what I have been up to. I am using you Facebook, as a way to showcase my relationship with my blog. I am sorry.  

Maybe my love for you Facebook will come back, but maybe it won't. Now don't get me wrong, I still use you daily, and still read through all the statuses, and laugh at some of the funny videos people post. But the true excitement is gone. 

Sorry, Facebook, its not you it's me. 


Monday, October 17, 2011

Insert clever food and fitness related title here

The hardest part of blogging is coming up with a clever blog post.

So before I dive into what I want to talk about, I want to share with you the song that was playing when I was driving home from work today this GEM was on the radio station...tots brings me back to middle school dances.
Sweet Sweet N'Sync. I may or may not have been singing very loudly. It was dark, no one could see me I swear. 

The reason why it was so dark out was because I went to Body Pump and Zumba back to back. Ohhh yahhh. Yes I am blogging about food and fitness today (yes I am the queen of the sweet segways)!

After the end of the totally typical diet I took a full week off from exercise. I just needed a break. But last Tuesday, I went back to Body Pump and realized how much I missed it.  I then went to Body flow on Thursday and added Body Attack on Thursday before Body flow. Body Attack is a SUPER HIGH CARDIO class that makes you want to die in a good way. Apparently if you really exert yourself, you can burn up to 900 calories. It is that intense. So I am back to exercise and upping my cardio!

I started using a little app called MyFitness on my phone to see how many calories I am eating. Mostly because I am on weight plateau and want to make sure I am on track. I am not obsessing about calories or anything, just more watching my average calorie intake. It tracks my nutrients, and how many calories I should eat if I want to loose 1 pound a week. So on days that I go to the gym, I am WAY below my limit, but then on days I don't, or if I eat at a restaurant I am way over. My hope is that over a whole week I will balance out. Last week, which included two sushi meals, and a gyro in all I was 100 calories over my limit. Meaning I loose most of my 1 pound per week if real life was as simple as number crunching (it isn't by the way).

HOWEVER, that does not mean I am a perfect kid all the time. Today there were timbits and cake for lunch, and I may have had way too many rice crispers on Sunday. I find I am getting bored with the food I am making. I need something interesting to eat, but I am not sure what I want to eat. It's kind of like my clothes, I have a full wardrobe full of clothes, but I don't want to wear any of it. I think it may be time to do some food and fashion research...aka reading magazine time.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Happy Belated Thanks Givers!

Hope you all had a good thanksgiving!!

My thanksgiving was awesome sauce, and I am not just talking about the gravy! 

Mike and I met up with a super duper friend of mine, T, at my extended family's cottage north of Toronto. (They were away for the long weekend and offered it to us, which was awesome) The weather was amazing, as those of you in Ontario and the East Coast may have noticed. I was really tempted to jump in the lake at one point on Saturday, but I resisted. 
Look at that gorgeousness
T is a dietitian, and with me being a mildly food/nutrition obsessed part time food blogger, we may have talked about food and nutrition a lot! Worked for me. Don't get me wrong, we didn't skimp on the eating, because after talking about food a lot, we certainly worked up our appetites! 

On Sunday we made a chicken dinner with all the trimmings (a 20lb turkey for 3 people seemed like overkill).  It was my first attempt at cooking a stuffed chicken (T had some experience so we were good to go). I was convinced something was going to go wrong...but much to my surprise, everything was done at the same time and it was DELICIOUS!!!

And it looked amazing if I do say so myself.
Crispy and delicious

The stuffing was a hit, and it is so easy to make:
Stuffing business
All you do is fry up some bacon (3 pieces or so), and with some of the grease cook onion, celery, garlic, and mushrooms, add some walnuts or pecans, stale bread, and fresh cranberries. Insert into chicken/turkey. We had leftovers, so we cooked it in some tinfoil (to kill the gross chicken bacteria) for about 45 minutes. The dryer outside stuffing is a nice side dish, and the inside chicken stuffing is a great addition to the turkey!


Another tip is to make homemade cranberry sauce. It is so easy. On the back of a cranberry package it has instructions but basically all that needs to be done is boil some water with sugar (or splenda) added, and then boil the cranberries for 10 minutes. So much better than canned cranberry sauce!

Other highlights of the weekend were dealing with some creepy crawlers inside the cottage, and moving the little sail boat back under the cottage since Mike and I had used it earlier this summer. It involved a lot of heavy lifting, and me being in the crawl space with bugs, and bats and who knows what else...shudder.

On the way back from the cottage we stopped at the Holland Marsh market and got a weeks worth of veggies for 15 dollars. Man I love that place!

We got this bad boy for a buck fifty.

Pen is for reference
Biggest Zucchini ever. Not sure what I am going to do with it but I guess we will be eating zucchini for the rest of the week!

When we got home Mike and I went out for Sushi (we were sick of leftovers) and went to visit our friends in our building, who were supposed to join us for thanksgiving, but had a last minute change of plans. They had leftover apple pie and vanilla ice cream to share!  Like I said this weekend was full of awesome sauce! 

I can't believe it is already Wednesday, hope everyone is enjoying their short week!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Food for Thought

I like food. I like cooking food, I like shopping for food, I especially like eating food, that is the best part. As I mentioned before I am not so much a fan of baking as cooking, and I am not sure why. Perhaps I am channeling a little Hannah Hart? (If you have no idea what genius I am talking about please check it out, ps NSFW there may be swearing, and drunkenness involved).

But cooking, we are besties. Back in the day, when I was 17ish, I decided to cook a big fancy smancy meal for my parents just to prove I could do it. I snuck all these cook books up to my room the night before, planned my meal, listed the ingredients, made a Gantt chart to schedule the food making process (Seriously made a Gantt chart without even knowing what it was until much later.) I got up early in the morning, bought the ingredients and started to cook.

The menu that day was Zucchini and cream cheese appetizer things, ribs with a Hoisin sauce, greek roasted potatoes, carrots, and an triple layer pastry dessert. So me (and the little brother) started cooking, and cooking and cooking. The meal turned out amazingly even though the zucchini was actually cucumber, and the pastry thing was cooked on wax paper not parchment paper, everything was edible and finished on time.
I still make that rib recipe, it is my go to "impressive meal option." It hasn't let me down yet.

When I moved into my own place, I really started liking cooking more so to cook every day meals than create fancy smacy ones all the time. I really like taking recipes and creating something good out of basic ingredients. I like to mix things up, go off recipe and substitute things that I have on hand. I had been pretty lucky to make some delicious food...until Saturday.

I had the ingredients to make a shrimp/sausage/pasta dish with veggies and hotness. Everything was going well until I decided to add some sauce for flavour. Unfortunately, the sweet flavours of the BBQ sauce mixed with the thai chillies, and the salty shrimp flavours tasted (to me) had a slightly acidic taste...like vomit. Literally like vomit. Bleehhh. Not good at all. Luckily, Mike seemed to like it fine enough, and he ate it with some cheese which he promised hid the flavour. What a good boyfriend.

So that was my first really bad meal I have made. Ever. Boo.

So I redeemed myself tonight by following actual recipes, and creating this:


Green thing: Perfectly ripe avocado. Nomm.
Red thing: Tomato and Lentil Salad modified from SOS Cusine which is a awesome website for budget food shopping and creates meal plans based on what is on sale in your area!

Ingredients:
1 cup of lentils (I used red lentils)
2 tomatos
2 cloves of garlic
2 green onions
2 tsp Dried dill
Salt/Pepper

Dressing:
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp of olive oil

1. Rise and drain lentils. Add the lentils and diced garlic to a pan. Add enough water to cover the lentils, and a few shakes of salt. Bring to a boil, then bring down to simmer (uncovered) until the lentils are cooked (20 minutes). Stir often.
2. While that is cooking dice the tomatoes, add them to a bowl. Add the onions (chopped) and dill and some salt and pepper.
3. Mix the dressing together well to emulsify the oil and vinegar, add to tomatoes.
4. Once the lentils are done drain any excess water and add to salad.
5. Mix and serve and enjoy!

Orange thing: I also made a sweet dumpling squash (cut, seeded and slightly margerined, cooked for 45 minutes at 350) and I could barely finish the meal! It was so filling, and flavorful, and delicious!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Smattering of Things

Now that the totally typical weight loss challenge has come to an end (you can relive the glory here) it is time to focus on the pink hard hat. Not the actual pink hard hat, that is sitting in my closet, I mean this blog.

So today, because I am feeling random, I am going to let you into my brain.

These are the kinds of things I think about/observe while I am waiting for an elevator, stuck in traffic, making dinner, whenever my mind wanders. Seriously this is all over the place, there are no segways whatsoever.
------------
Something that makes me shake my head, the people who come into the elevator on the phone, in an obviously important phone call, and then get REALLY upset when they loose a signal. Seriously, you didn't see that coming??

Also to do with elevators, I once had a piece of toast with PB on it with me, and I felt like I was breaking some sort of no food rule, so I never did it again. The other day a chicky had A BOWL OF COOKED OATMEAL. And was eating it in the elevator. My first thought: "where is she going to put the dirty bowl?"
------------
Food related: I think bringing fish related leftovers to work is gross. It makes the entire office smell like fish. Not that I personally mind the smell of fish, but some people really do! No fish for me for lunch.
------------
Driving stories time! Driving to work lately has been ridiculous. The roads are full any time after 7:20am, and then again after 5:00pm. So if I go to work early, it takes me 15 minutes each way. If I go to work later, it takes me 30 minutes on a good day. This would mean to a logical person that I should go to work early...but no, I am full of lazy in the morning. 

A while ago, I was driving to work and a cop car was near by so everyone was following the rules. Then the cop car started following a mini van. It was pretty much tailing the van, so when the cop car got right on the van, the van sped up. I am not sure why it just didn't change lanes, but eventually the cop car "made" the van go over the speed limit, and then the cop turned on the lights, and pulled over the van. I really hope there was more to the story than I saw but if not it was pretty ridiculous. 

------------
Mike did something pretty funny the other day, and maybe this was a you had to be there kind of thing, but I will try to do it justice. We went out for dinner on Friday, and I ate half my sandwich and got the rest packed up. Right before we left the restaurant I went to the restroom, and when I came back, Mike had this look on his face. He has a goofy "I did something bad" face, like a child. So I start blabbing on about something, and he stops me and says all serious he says "By the way, there may be a bite out of your sandwich when you eat it for lunch tomorrow." Then I proceeded to die laughing because sure enough, I opened the container and there was the smallest of bites gone from it. Super sneaky, that boyfriend is. 
------------

Was that random enough for you? 

Tonight I had homemade beef stew and it was AMAZING! I followed this really simple recipe, but used the modifications the reviewer Corinne suggests. I also added 2 extra cloves of garlic because I love garlic. 

It was delicious, and so easy.
I cooked the meat and onions and put them in a container last night, I also did the Worcestershire sauce/wine/beef stock deglaze mixture and put that in another container and put it in the fridge. I then chopped...well Mike chopped..all the veggies and we put those in the slow cooker with the spices to have a scandelous party over night, and then added the rest in the morning, and when I came home it was READY TO NOM!!

Soo good. 

And with that I bid you adieu with this classic that Mike is now blasting from his phone:


Sunday, September 25, 2011

TV Recap-Why am I Still Watching America's Next Top Model?

I watch way too much tv.

Currently on my roster is Amazing Race, Desperate Housewives, Americans Next Top Model, Glee, Gossip Girl, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, Community, Grey's Anatomy, Survivor and Being Erica.
This year I have added the new Person of Interest show, Pan-Am, and possibly the new sit-com New Girl.

That is 14 hours (ish) of TV. Wow. That doesn't even count the shows I tune in to, but don't watch consistently.

 I don't let TV take over my life though, I watch most of them on CTV.ca or globaltv.ca, so I skip the commercials, and if I miss a bunch of episodes, I am ok with giving up a few shows. Normally I am about a week behind on TV watching.

That all being said, I may throw in some little TV recaps to this blog now that the new seasons have started.

First off, America's Next Top Model Ep 2. (Spoiler Alert)

I actually don't really like America's Next Top Model any more. I am kind of sick of Tyra, and some of the aspects of older seasons that I loved have disappeared. It use to be about amazing photo shoots, and runway lessons, and you know model stuff. Now I find that it has turned into America's Next Tyra Banks. Especially this season. But yet for some reason I still watch it.

They have brought back a bunch of "fan favorites" and are getting them to model/act/host/be famous. Some of them are pushing 30, which in the modelling world is old, so they aren't kick starting anyone's modelling career. Heck, most of them are already successful models because of their first time around on ANTM.

This episode was they got ty-overs, yes they were called ty-overs, and yes a little definition popped up and said Ty-overs: Tyra inspired Makeovers. Seriously, why am I still watching this show? So they all get their hair coloured/chopped/cut etc and of course people freak out...didn't they realize by signing up to do this again that they would be madeover, that is kinda  a highlight of ANTM.

Beyond all that, the thing that really irked me the most was that this branding expert comes in and gives all the girlies a word to be their brand. Some of the words were ok, like Candid, and Daring, whereas others didn't make any sense to the girl they matched up with. For example, there is one girl, Kayla, who is a lesbian, and really is proud of that and wants to be the first lesbian winner of ANTM. So the branding guy asked her what her word is and she said "LGBT" (that is 4 words, but I will let it slide) and the branding guys says "that was ground breaking 5 years ago, but it isn't really a big deal any more" How insulting on so many levels. So instead of giving her a good word, like umm I don't know PROUD, they give her Free. She didn't do well in the photo shoot (posing with Hot Dogs, seriously) because she was confused of the word. How does one be "free" while posing with a hot dog?

Side note they gave another girl proud and this was her photo was awefuuull. Take a looksie here to see them all. I totally agree with this recap/slideshow. Kayla almost went home this week because she didn't get her word, but only 2 of the girls actually posed like their word.

So overall, I am really only watching this season because some of the chickies I liked from previous seasons are back, however that last episode put a funny taste in my mouth, not just because they were posing with messy hotdogs. Perhaps ANTM is getting crossed from my list this year, we shall see!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Weekends

Weekends go by way too fast.

It's already Sunday...noooo!

This weekend was pretty good though. Started out a day early on Thursday night because I had an "Earned Day Off" on Friday. My company gets everyone to work an extra half hour every day so one Friday a month we get a day off to do errands, relax, get extra work done etc. Everyone loves the EDO.

On Thursday I got together with some people from work for our first Book Club meeting. It was nice to get together with other engineers in training outside of work. We are planning to meet every month and try a different restaurant every time. Good food and books, I love it already! We went to this great little cafe in Etobicoke called the Yellow Cup Cafe. Great food and fancy lattes, and a great atmosphere. Totally recommend it! For the bookclub we are reading Mister Pip. I misread the email and thought we were suppose to have the book done on Thursday, but then realized on Wednesday that it was only a kick off meeting. By this point I had most of the book done! Oh well way to be a keener.

After that I came home, went for a run/walk with Mike, then crashed asleep embarrassingly early. I started of Friday by watching some America's Next Top Model, this season is a all-star one and it is going to be epic. Then Mike and I went out to lunch at Khao San Road (Thai food, Spadina and Adelaide) to celebrate the EDO. While we were there, the people sitting beside us ordered too many appetizers and gave us one, for free! I felt kind of weird taking it but they insisted, and after I overheard them talking about their upcoming trip to St. Barts I didn't feel as bad.

After that we headed to Rogers because I needed a new cellphone. My contract was up and it was time to upgrade. I was thinking to get the phone I wanted (some sort of smart phone) it would cost me around $150. But because of a promotion going on, I got it for $0 dollars!!! Wooo free stuff! It is a Samsung Galaxy Captivate that is an android. Yes I just had to ask the BF what it was called. I just know that it is pretty and can surf the internet, and is faster than my netbook.

After a few more errands we came home and proceeded to watch 3 movies back to back on netflix. Super productive evening. Saturday we got up did some groceries/gymage and then went out to dinner for my Aunt's bday supper (The Big Slice, cheap but delicious Italian food, St. Clair and Dufferin) . After supper we stopped by their house and my aunt gave me a "hand me down" brand name purse....legit brand name....LV brand name. I was ecstatic. In return (really doesn't even come close to the value) I am doing some free babysitting this afternoon. After the dinner Mike and I came back to our apartment and helped some friends assemble Ikea furniture and drank some wine. It was a great evening.

I am thoroughly enjoying that when I come home from work I don't have to do anything extra. No homework, no extra-cirriculars, just what ever I want to do. So on Friday it was totally fine if I watched 3 movies, just because.  I think I am going to need a better hobby than that though. Mike is back to school now and his homework will be starting soon, so I am going to need to find a way to keep myself busy so I won't be a distraction to him. Perhaps I will take up drumming...just joking!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A blog post about blogs

First of all I realize it is really silly to have two blogs and only post once in a while in both. So after October 2nd (when the Totally Typical Weight Loss Challenge Round 2 ends) I will be combining my posts to this blog. I still will blog about fitness and good food, because that is a major part of my life, just simplifying my life a little, and the life of my 30ish readers :).
Second of all, on the above mentioned TTWLC site I am going to be posting some awesome recipes and food photos soon!!

In other blog news, the main reason why I can't get around to blogging more often is I am having major computer issues. My laptop died when I had one term of school left and I didn't feel like investing in a big laptop so I went cheap and got a netbook. It worked well until I did my senior project on it (last december) ever since it is slow and can be very fussy about the internet. This makes blogging/reading blogs/going on FB very frustrating. Today, knock on wood, it is being pretty good! 

So with all that being said, I thought it would be fun to do a quick review of some of the blogs I read (this is only the regular posters, I follow some more, but they seem to have disappeared. Sad face.)

Life Category:
Bower Power- Katie Bower writes hilarious posts about her son Will (sooo cute), home stuff, and life in general. This could also fit in the Home decor/DIY category. I found out about her blog from Young House Love..see below. 
Girl Meets Life- Gracie is a 20 something who moved to NYC. I like her blog because her situation is similar to mine, new big city! Her posts are mostly general life stuff, but I totally dig it.
Two Cups of Happy- I actually know this girly! She and I went to High School, and I totally used her "Blogs I follow" section to find some of my favs. J has good taste! She blogs about a great mixture of things, food, decor, fashion, life so it is always interesting to read!
Georgia's Trying Something New- I also kinda of know this chicky. She is dating one of my HS friends. I think her blog is hilarious and I like her fitness posts. She lost a whole bunch of weight since January and is pretty inspiring. 

Food Category:
Whit's Amuse Bouche- Not only is this blog hilarious it also features AMAZING FOOD!! I think her blog summary is the most humourous "Amuse Bouche is your one stop shop for all things food, wine and entertainment related. Unless you're Emily Post. Then, you'll probably be horrified." Bahaha!


Fitness/Healthy Food Category:
There a whole bunch of these and they all kind of blend together but individually amazing. 
Follow my Fitsteps- Natalie is a fitness instructor so she knows her stuff, she also posts great pictures of food for healthy meal ideas!
Hungry Healthy Hilary- Hilary is a Canadian (Ontarioian even) food blogger. Yay! Also writes about her fitness journey (she also lost a ton of weight and runs marathons now!) Lots of pictures for food ideas!
Real Food Katie's Way-Katie is another Canadian food/fitness blogger! Her husband (or BF I can't remember) doesn't eat a lot of healthy food so I enjoy her recipes that sneak in healthiness. 

Home Decor Category:
Young House Love- I have to say, they had me at hello. This blog is amazing, and so popular that Sherry and her husband John blog full time. Yep, it is that awesome. They do amazing and cheap and non-pretentious home decor/DIY projects. They also have an adorable baby. A must read!

Travel:
Coast to Coast: A Motorcycle Odyssey- No I am not secretly into motorcycles, but this blog is by my Step- Uncle (my grandfather remarried when I was nine, so I got a bunch of step uncles and step cousins through my step grandmother, who are all awesome!) He is traveling from Vancouver to Cape Cod, then on to Nova Scotia, the Gaspe and back across Canada, all by himself on his bike. He is also a really good writer, so this blog is like reading chapters of book!


Birtt in Gambia- Another actual friend of mine who has moved to GAMBIA for 5 months to basically teach environmental engineering. Super awesome. She is blogging about her time there, and just started so if you want a new blog to read, this would be a great one because there aren't a million posts to dig through (yet!)


And that is about it. I use google reader to collect all the recent blog posts, that I way I can skim through the new ones without going to all the individual websites. It also tells me when new stuff is posted!


Any recommendations for me to read!? Anyone else got a blog on the go that I should be reading!?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Adventures in the House of Commons

This past weekend I had to fly back to Halifax/Bathurst for a few reasons
1. To visit the famjam and the beach...I had this revelation halfway through the summer that I wasn't going to see the beach and this made me very sadface. So a plan was hatched. And it was good timing because...
2. I had to move my furniture out of my Halifax apartment and officially move out.

Some background about our lovely apartment. I have been on the lease for 3 years. When I first saw the place I fell in love with the bright sunny kitchen, and the old crown molding, the old school stain glass window going up the stairs. However, it was a student apartment, perpetually dirty, a little bit run down, and with a landlord who was hard to get a hold of but would show up out the blue to "check something out" without notice. Between co-ops and different roommates, 14 people have lived there in the past 3 years. It became a place where furniture came to die, mini fridges were collected, and random stuff appeared as people moved out.

Needless to say I was very happy that August 31st was my last day on the lease.

So since I could only get 2 days for vacation I had to wait until the 1st to move my furniture out. I emailed the new girls and asked  begged them to have some compassion for my situation and let me move out the first. One chicky..lets just say D... responded quickly and said sure no problem, as long as her one room was cleaned out it would be fine. Done and done. Got the subletters to take care of that...had all my ducks in a row.

So on the 1st Mike and I arrived early at the apartment, D's room was clean, the subletters had cleaned the place, and we were going to spend the day selling all of our stuff via kijiji and a "yard" sale in the kitchen. Well that was our plan. Only small issue was that the subletters had a problem with there new place and could only move out there stuff at 5:00pm, but it was all in the back bedroom away from the girls room.

Around 10:00 am, I meet D and her dad. They storm in, already cranky for who knows why, and the dad proceeds to freak out about how the cable box works and how he can connect his TV. After that ridiculousness I went into the kitchen with Mike, and we were in shock at how rude this man was. Next thing we know D has decided that even though her and her roommates have pre-chosen rooms, she is going to take the bigger room because "it just isn't fair for her to have the small room"...so glad I am not her roommates (this is the 1 story I am going to tell about D being a spoiled brat..that would be a whole other blog post). Then D and her dad disappeared to the car for about 30 minutes, he was ranting on the phone with someone. At some point D says to me "Oh don't worry about my Dad, he is always like this. He is a lawyer." Well I am an engineer but I don't go spouting equations out of my mouth all the time....anyhoo...

Next thing I know, my landlord who I loved and respected so much appeared and yelled at as politely told us  to dump everything on the lawn, even the subletters stuff. Lovely man. After telling him that we had made an arrangement with D he sure changed his tune. "Oh well then" he says "it is between you and them."

Next thing you know, we are in the porch of our apartment, me, the landlord, D's Dad (both who are like 6 ft tall next to my 5' 2") pretty much yelling at me because I haven't moved out.  Side note--we weren't in the way of her moving in at all. Once I mention that D and I have an arrangement via EMAIL (hard evidence, just sayin) that seemed to have cool the fire. Then the landlord mentioned something about compensation for the day's rent, and the dollar signs went of in Daddy's head. Suddenly here we were...new grads with like NO MONEY...possibly paying rich lawyer man, and his lovely daughter with the stolen room and the bedazzled blackberry.

He didn't ask for the money right then...and later in the day I think I hear his daughter trying to convince him to not take the money because I had been nice to her via e-mail answering questions about the apartment and whatnot..great I think, I am saved $50.

The day calmed down after that, but it was still tense in that little 3 bdrm. Finally as the day is drawing to an end...D comes in and asks for that all mighty $50.  I was soo mad...so so so so so mad. But what can I do, I am but a lowly child compared to Daddy. So I forced a smile on my face, handed the girl her money, and walked away.

I got kind of upset on the way home because I thought of what my dad would have done in the same situation...even if he was stressed, even if we having his worst days...he would have never taken the money. Never. I can't think of anyone who would.

After we arrived back at my boyfriend's families house and told them about my peachy keen day...I decided to google this man, just to see if he was a prominent lawyer. I knew what town he was from...lets just say a major city in the Maritimes, and I knew his last name, and I knew he was a lawyer. With those few key words suddenly his picture appeared. But instead of his scowl he wore all day in this picture he was smiling...he was smiling because it was his campaign picture for the 2011 election, in which he won the seat for his riding representing the Progressive Conservative party of Canada.

Thats right, this man was not only a lawyer...he was a freakin MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT.

Icing on the cake.

It ruined my day, but even writing this blogpost, I am over it. More so like I am just retelling the story. I am not going to seek major retribution for this...considered writing a letter to the editor in the above mentioned place, but it so isn't worth my energy. I heard from my friends who live in this town that everyone already knows he is a jerk, and it was a big shock that he won the election. So it is not even a great news breaking story.

And because I have at least some compassion for people I have tried to keep this little rant as vague as possible, because I am not looking for revenge, just wanted to point out that it was really not cool.

 The rest of my vacation involved a relaxing trip to my cottage, lying on the beach, hot tubbing, and a few glasses of wine. I came back to work relaxed, furniture sold, Halifax apartment keys thrown into the ocean. Ahh bliss.

And with a great story to boot...HA.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

City Chase


Ok so if you know me/follow along to this blog you know that I like the amazing race. Look I mention in this post…and in this post…and in this post. I have been avid fan since season 2. Which started when I was 13. Wow I totally just realized that I have been watching the amazing race consistently for 10+ years, Crazy! (Related note…season 19 starts soon!!!!)
Alas since they do not have a Canadian version of the show I will never get to live my dream to be on it.
But this past weekend I came pretty close! Mike and I were participants in Mitsubishi City Chase Toronto, basically an amazing race-esque chase throughout one city. It is a Canadian thing that started in TO in 2003, and now is an international event. The money raised from the event goes to a charity called right to play which provides children in developing countries sporting equipment (like soccer balls and sneakers). The basics are that at the beginning of the race teams were given a list of 35 chasepoints that are all over the city, you have to complete 10 from the list and travel using your own two legs or city transit (they gave us a pass for the day). First one back wins.
The Championship is in Halifax! 
Here were some of my highlights
Goodlife did a zumba ensipred work out to warm up, and the main chicky was fabulous! The theme of this race was the 70’s so it was set to 70’s music. Next one of the organizers came out in full 70’s costume to go over the race details, and we learned the secret handshake…spoiler alert, you had to turn to a stranger and hug them for 10 seconds, super not awkward at all! 

Then a guest chaser, this older man who runs a crazy amount of marathons for Right to Play, gave a little speech. After that the 70’s guy came back and said “Your clues sheets are at Union Station or the Rogers Centre….go” and everyone took off!


Mike and I ran to the rogers centre to get our clue sheet, along with half of the 500+ teams. We quickly started figuring out clues, and once we got a few we headed to our first stop, solving on the way as we walked. We decided to go to Centre Island Ferry terminal for a chasepoint having to do with acting. On the way there we found 2 more chase points, a kayaking/trust your partner thing at Peter’s Basin (1), and Strip Jenga (2) (it was not as scandalous as it sounds.) 

For the acting one it was actually a charades based game, where there was one team acting out a 70’s movie or tv show. All the other teams there got to yell out guesses and whoever got it right got to go next. From the lifetime of charades training (aka Crainium) Mike amazingly guessed the clue right when we got there, and we got a team to guess ours super fast as well! Huzzah! (4)
After all the waterfront business we streetcar-d over to Ontario Place, did two more chase points (A 4 person ski walk where we worked with an amazing team so we got done really fast (5), and a match the picture to the OP attraction one (6), which we guessed at, and happened to get it right), then we ran to the inukshuk near OP and did a rock painting challenge (7). We went back there on Monday because I think I lost my water bottle there, and they still had all the painted rocks chillin, so I took mine home.
Notice my super sweet 70's inspired hat :P

Tadaa! It is a squirrel…obviously. By this time we had 6 done and it was only 12:30. We were feeling pretty good. The only problem was that the chase points were divided up into sections..you had to do 3/5 for the 1st section, 3/6 for the 2nd section, and the other 4 you could choose from the rest of the clues. We had all 4 optional ones done, so we had to be picky about the mandatory ones we did.

Next we walked up to King and Liberty and did a car pull challenge (had experience with that one!) then took the Dufferin Bus up to Bloor. On the bus we checked the twitter feed from the chase and found out that the winning team had checked in at 12:38. I still don’t believe it! Next we took the Bloor Subway line to Christie park for the Colombia Obstacle course (8) sponsored by Colombia…shocker, and then we continued on the subway up to St.Clair/Spadina and did surprisingly decent at the tightrope walking challenge (9).
Now we only had one left. And we had heard what it was all about. The chasepoint was called “Pick Your Poison” and the clue alluded to something gross. So we asked some other teams we ran into about it, and they told us that one person had to eat a live meal worm, and the other had to put their hand in a box full of the worms and pick a marble, whatever color the marble was corresponded to a different animal, Tarantula, Giant Lizard, or Snake. So Mike and I decided that he was going to eat this live worm thing (I could eat pretty much anything but the alive thing freaked me out) and I was going to hold the creature. One girl told me to pick the blue marble because that was the lizard. I could totally deal with holding a giant lizard or a snake but I have a mad fear of large spiders.
So we get to the chase point, and Mike noms the worm, and I reach in and grab a blue marble. I’m thinking great where is this giant lizard, then the guy starts handing me the tarantula and I was like whoa whoa whoa, this is supposed to be a lizard. But because these poor beasties were being bothered all day they were giving the lizard and the snake a break, so my only option was the BIG HARRY SPIDER.

But I went for it…no fear…I held out my hand and closed my eyes, and the spider crawled on my hand and was surprisingly soft and fluffy…like a cat or a dog fur feeling. So I was just about to open my eyes when the guy took it off my hand, and I was shocked that I only had to hold it for about 7 seconds (10). It was pretty cool to face my fear of big spiders, and find out they aren’t too bad at all!
And with that adrenaline rush we hoped on a Subway to the finish line and clocked in at 5:20. Not bad for 1st timers! We checked the results later and we came in 131st out of 591 teams. We came in just before the super intense marathon runner, which I think is pretty good!
At the after party we got to meet some of the other teams, and they gave out door prizes, and the awards for the top 5 teams. The 1st team told everyone what chasepoints they did and what route they took, and Mike and I have started strategizing for next year!!! Looking back we would have skipped Ontario Place, and stuck to the main transit lines more.  It was an awesome experience, and it only made me want to go on the amazing race even more!!!