Friday, April 11, 2014

Negative Space Glitter Nails

Well this is kind of a wacky mani, sooo... deal with it. A few weeks ago I went into a London Drugs and accidentally came out with this little batch of things, which included both of the nail polishes that were used in today's mani:  Revlon's Diamond Texture and a polish from Nicole by OPI's Gumdrops collection called Blue-Berry Sweet On You.

Nicole by OPI Gumdrops Nail Polish in Blue-Berry Sweet On You and Revlon Diamond Texture nail polish

I really like both of these polishes and was excited to use them together, since they're so pretty and sparkly. Diamond Texture is jam-packed with tiny silver glitters, with some slightly larger round glitters mixed in as well. I love the effect of the two different sizes of glitter - it gives the polish so much more dimension. Blue-Berry Sweet On You is a periwinkle/dusty blue filllllllled with tiny holographic glitter. I didn't actually know what the "Gumdrops" aspect of this polish meant. There was no display there to explain the name, so I just grabbed it and assumed it was some sort of a textured polish.

This is how the OPI site describes these Gumdrops polishes...

"Introducing eight new limited edition matte texture shades designed to give nails a mouth-watering manicure. Gumdrops feature a 'sugar-like' finish that lightly shimmers with fine glitter particles for a brilliant candy colored finish."

........ Anyone else think that "matte" and "shimmers with fine glitter particles for a brilliant candy colored finish" seem completely contradictory? The last thing I expect a "matte" polish to do is "shimmer" or be "brilliant" - right?? Do you guys think that the copy-writer may have been on crack? Just a quick poll of the room.

Both of these polishes dry to a coarse, sandpapery finish, for sure. And they both are certainly sparkly.

Alright enough chit-chat about the polishes - here's what I did with them:

Blue and silver glitter nails

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my "sneak peek" from yesterday that showed how I did this. After painting all of my nails with a base coat, I applied some Essence nail stickers (package shown here) like so:

Essence nail stickers used as striping tape

Next, working on one nail at a time, I applied two quick coats of each polish on either side of the sticker and then removed the nail sticker with tweezers to reveal the "naked" stripe in the center. #SheSaidNaked.

Half blue, half silver nails

The last time I used these nail art stickers, I wasn't jazzed with the outcome. The stickers didn't result in super straight or clean lines. But Joey gave me the tip to only do one nail at a time, rather than painting all of my nails and then going back through with the tweezers to remove each sticker. This results in less tacky polish, and thus a cleaner line when you remove the strip. THANKS JOEY!

Negative space mani using blue glitter nail polish and silver glitter nail polish

So yeah the negative space thing was a bit of a gamble - I wasn't sure how it would look. It still looks a little strange to me, but in a "unique" type of way as opposed to a "What the Actual Fahk?" type of way.

What do you think of this look?
Have you tried any of these Gumdrops polishes yet?
What's your name? Who's your daddy?*

*These questions are optional.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Put This Smoothie Into Your Belly!

I MEAN. Just a friendly recommendation from one pal to another. You're gonna wanna try this. Not only is this a yummy smoothie recipe, but it also doubles as a solid tip for how you can salvage and use your "about to go bad" bananas and berries.

Here's what you need:
  • 1 banana (frozen or fresh)
  • handful of baby spinach 
  • 3 tbsp all-natural peanut butter
  • 2-3 strawberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup of low-fat milk
  • 3 ice cubes
  • Optional: 2 tbsp Nesquik, if you're feeling extra feisty

Spoiler alert - you're going to just put all of those things into a blender and blend them till they're smooth. Sorry if you thought there was some other magical way to get those things into a delicious smoothie form.


Banana into the blender for your smoothie

Next add spinach to your blender for the smoothie

Add peanut butter to blender

Add frozen strawberries to smoothie mix

Add some ice cubes into the blender to make your smoothie chilled and icy!

Add a little milk to make things blend together smoothly

Mmm! Drink up your yummy banana strawberry peanut butter smoothie

So you see in my ingredients that I've listed either frozen or fresh banana/strawberries. In our apartment, we wash the berries that are about to go bad and freeze them in a Tupperware container for future smoothie use. Same with bananas - if they've become too ripe, we peel them and freeze them. Whatever you do - don't put your bananas into the freezer with their peels still on, unless you love battling with a peel that's frozen to its fruit. It's like trying to peel off old wallpaper that will only come up one scrap at a time. #Oy.

This tip about freezing your fruit is especially useful if your supermarket, like mine, never has a berry container that's comprised 100% of "good-looking" strawberries. You know what I mean, right? Like if 75%-80% of the package looks like it's in good shape, I consider that a success at my market.

Any kind of berry will work for this smoothie recipe - blueberries and raspberries are both delicious in it as well. You can even do mixed berries, or swap out the Nesquik for some Swiss Miss mix for a little bit of a different taste.

What is your favorite smoothie recipe? I'd love to hear it!

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{Linking with What I Learned Wednesday}

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Spring Hike on Mt. Seymour

Happy Mondaaaaaaaay! As I mentioned yesterday, we did a Sunday snowshoe hike up Mt. Seymour this weekend. Mt. Seymour is located just about 45 minutes away, in North Vancouver. Ten minutes of that drive is just getting up the winding mountain road to reach the parking lots at the ski resort and trailheads.

I've hiked Mt. Seymour more than any other mountain around here - I think about 5 times at this point? I like this hike because it's full of plenty of steep, climbing parts that really challenge you - but it's also nicely broken up by short flat stretches as well as less-steep grades that allow you to catch your breath a bit. It was a foggy and cloudy hike for us - not unusual around these parts. There were a few opportunities where the clouds broke and a view or two could be had... so I tried to snap as many pictures of those parts as possible.

There are three "pumps" to get up Mt. Seymour - essentially three different summits. Obviously the third and highest is the true summit, but the other two are both nice goals to aim for as well. I've actually never gotten past the first pump of Seymour - I guess we've always just been sufficiently spent after reaching that one that we've never felt the need to keep going. From what I'm told, the first pump has the best views anyway.

We reached the first pump on Sunday around noon, and then stopped to rest and eat our lunch of a Subway turkey sandwich, chips, and Snickers before heading back down the mountain.

Enjoy the pictures!

Hiking Mt. Seymour in North Vancouver

Hiking Mt. Seymour in North Vancouver

April hike on Mt. Seymour in North Vancouver

April hike on Mt. Seymour in North Vancouver

Look closely at the center of this picture... See those black dots in the top-middle?

Climbers ascending Mt. Seymour in North Vancouver

They're people! And they are climbing up some STEEP shit:

Climbers ascending Mt. Seymour in North Vancouver

This is a shot of the first pump, from below...

View of first pump on Mt. Seymour in North Vancouver

Panorama view of first pump on Mt. Seymour in North Vancouver
.  click for a larger view  .
This is at the top of the first pump - Dave took this photo of a hiker in the distance:

View from first pump on Mt. Seymour

This next photo is tricking your eye... It looks like you're looking UP the mountain, but actually this is a shot from the very top of the first pump, looking DOWN the mountain: 

Same with this photo - it's looking down the mountain. 
And check out the dark, ominous clouds that rolled in!

We sat in that spot and enjoyed our lunch before deciding that that black cloud didn't look so good, and we were on our way. 

I hope you enjoyed the photos! Now... when are YOU coming to visit BC?

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Weekend Love & Workouts of the Week

Whoooooo I am exhausted! This morning we set off on a decently-paced hike up Mt. Seymour, and spent about 2.5 hours on the mountain total. I got to set the pace on the way up and did my damnedest to make it brisk and fairly unrelenting. My body is definitely tired now, and my feet are aching a bit - but in a totally good way. Check back here tomorrow for photos from today's hike!

It's been a good weekend around here. On Friday night we went down to the beach for a bit and threw our football around with Dave's friend Evan. It was the first football pass of the season! WHOO! From our beach, we could see a rain cloud across English Bay that was actively pouring rain down onto West Vancouver...

Rain cloud over West Vancouver, raining on the tankers in English Bay

So that was pretty cool to see.

Yesterday I went to pick up a package at a Purolator, and in the process discovered an entirely new-to-me shopping center in Vancouver - the City Square Shopping Center. I swear I stumble upon a new mall every week. Of course I picked up a few things - a sage green fleece vest (on sale for $8.80!), a basic white long-sleeve tee with blue stripes, and a lavender bandana to use while hiking (which I immediately put to use today on Mt. Seymour).  Oh, and the package I was picking up at Purolator? THESE BAD BITCHES*, which you may have seen me post on Instagram:

.  you can find them here!  .
I'M OBSESSED. They're from Forever21 and they were on sale for $25, so it was kind of a no-brainer. And by that I mean, a total impulse purchase that I happened to not regret.

Last night we went out to dinner at The Sandbar, which I've been to (and written about) several times now. For Christmas this past year, David's brother's family gave us a gift certificate to the restaurant, and we were excited to finally get around to using it. I ordered some to-die-for salmon with citrus butter and jasmine rice, and Dave had a salad full of crab, shrimp, egg, avocado, and god knows what else. We also shared some oysters... and both wished that we had ordered way more. #SOGOOD.

We also watched a bunch of movies the last few days - one of my favorite things to do on the weekends. We watched The Fast & The Furious, 2 Fast, 2 Furious, and The Wolf of Wall Street. Have you seen Wolf yet? I really liked it!

Alright, now on to my workouts from the past week ~>

3/30 - 5 mile power walk to Stanley Park

3/31 (lower body and core)
10 mins elliptical
60 bridges
40 weighted v-sit twists holding 15 lbs
60 calf raises, 15 lbs each hand
40 alternating weighted side bends, 15 lbs each hand
40 diamond clamshells each leg
15 deadlifts, 15 lbs each hand
15 squats, 15 lbs
15 squats, 20 lbs
15 squats, 25 lbs
30 cobras

4/1 (upper body and core)
16 mins biking
12 chest press on exercise ball, 10 lbs each hand
12 deltoid flys, 5 lbs each hand
30 weighted v-sit twists, holding 15 lbs
12 close grip chest press on exercise ball, 10 lbs each hand
15 deltoid raises, 5 lbs each hand
12 tricep extensions on exercise ball, 10 lbs each hand
12 upright row + lateral tricep extension, 5 lbs each hand
12 overhead press, 10 lbs each hand
30-second side planks each side
60 bridges

4/2 (cardio)
20 mins ellpitical
0:00 - 3:00 - warm-up
3:00 - 4:00 - all-out
4:00 - 6:00 - moderate
6:00 - 6:30 - sprint
6:30 - 8:00 - recover easy
8:00 - 9:00 - all out
9:00 - 11:00 - moderate
11:00 - 11:30 - sprint
11:30 - 13:00 - recover easy
13:00 - 14:00 - all out
14:00 - 16:00 - moderate
16:00 - 16:30 - sprint
16:30 - 18:00 - recover easy
18:00 - 19:00 - all out
19:00 - 20:00 recover  easy 

4/4 (lower body and core)
5 mins elliptical
40 side lunges + plyometric push-off (each side)
40 weighted v-sit twists, holding 15 lbs
40 calf raises, 15 lbs each hand
40 alternating weighted side bends, 15 lbs each hand
60 bridges
40 Russian get ups, holding 5 lbs
20 deadlifts, 15 lbs each hand
15 squats, 15 lbs
15 squats, 20 lbs
15 squats, 25 lbs
30 cobras

How are your workouts going?
Do we share any of the same common exercise moves?
Seen any good movies lately? Share with me!!

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Rain Drops & Cherry Blossoms Nails

Today's nails are brought to you by the letters V, A, N, C, O, U, V, E and R. It was a rainy day yesterday, and it most certainly influenced my nails.

Rainy nails and cherry blossom nails

In addition to the rainy day, I also happened upon this announcement from CraftyNail which outlined some nail art link-ups that will be happening throughout the month. The first of the April nail art link-ups had a theme of Rain/April Showers, which is especially relevant here in Vancouver... though it's rainy here pretty often, not just in April. Anycrap... hence the rainy nails.

Rainy cherry blossom tree nail art
Rain Drop Nails, Cherry Blossom Tree nail art

And obviously, the cherry blossoms are starting to pop off around here as well, as evidenced by some of the photos that I shared earlier this week. The blossoms were already pretty much begging me to translate them onto my nails anyway, so I decided to combine my rainy nails with my cherry blossom nails.
Blue rain drop nails on white background, with cherry blossom tree
I got to play around with a whole bunch of polishes for this mani. OPI Isn't That Precious, Sinful Colors Rain Storm, Milani Tip Toe Pink, Sinful Colors Snow Me White, Essie Little Brown Dress, and a Revlon Matte Top Coat:

OPI Isn't That Precious, Sinful Colors Rain Storm, Milani Tip Toe Pink, Sinful Colors Snow Me White, Essie Little Brown Dress, and a Revlon Matte Top Coat

OPI Isn't That Precious, Sinful Colors Rain Storm, Milani Tip Toe Pink, Sinful Colors Snow Me White, Essie Little Brown Dress, and a Revlon Matte Top Coat

I did two coats of Snow Me White on all of my nails, followed by the matte top coat. Using Rain Storm and the small end of a dotting tool, I made the raindrops by making a polka dot and then dragging the dot while lifting away from the nail, to create the drop effect. On my ring finger and thumb nails, I painted on the brown branches using a nail design brush. When the branches dried, I covered them in light pink polka dots, and then went back in and added some of the darker pink dots randomly.

Rainy nail art, cherry blossom tree nail art

I actually really like this mani! It's not perfect, but the color combination of the blue and the pinks makes me happy - especially against the white background.

Rainy nail art, cherry blossom tree nail art
Cherry blossom tree nail art on white background

Rainy nail art, cherry blossom tree nail art, pink nail polish, blue nail polish

If all goes as planned, I should be going on a great hiking and camping trip this weekend!! It's been way too long since I've gone for a hike. The plan is to head into Garibaldi Provincial Park and up towards the Red Heather Hut - a little hut that I wrote about back in January as well. We're keeping our eye on the weather reports to make sure that everything stays calm enough for us to camp out. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

What are you up to this weekend?
Anything fancy on your nails today?
Do you get cherry blossom trees where you live?

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Springtime Around Vancouver - Tons of Pics!

It occurred to me over the last couple of weeks that I used to take a lot more long walks around the city than I have been in the last few months. I'm 90% sure that my lack of walking is contributing to a visible reduction in my ab muscles, and we CERTAINLY CAN'T HAVE THAT right on the verge of bathing suit season, now can we?? Nope.

So in an effort to get my groove abs back, I'm making a conscious effort to take more long, brisk walks wherein I force myself to engage my abs while walking. Sounds like ya grandmothah's workout, but seriously if you engage and employ the right muscles, you can turn a regular walk into a Walk+ (please note I've just coined Walk+ as a thing. Tell ya friends. And ya grandmothah.)

Anyway - all this to say that I've been going on walks lately, and naturally that means my camera has come with me! Here are some of my recent snaps from around Vancouver...

Greens in Vancouver
I just admired the way these colors lined up against each other...

Green house, turquoise house, beige fence

Greens in a brick planter

Pink flowers in front of a wooden door

There are cherry blossoms just about everywhere here in Vancouver...

Cherry blossom tree in Vancouver

Cherry blossom tree in Vancouver

Purple springtime flowers

Purple springtime flowers

Tons of little white flowers

Sometimes I'm fascinated when curbs and flowers meet...

Purple flowers against a curb

Purple flowers against a curb

Dandelions against a white picket fence

A rainy railing...

Rainy railings

Rainy railings

Ducks playing in puddles in Stanley Park... 

Ducks in puddles in Vancouver's Stanley Park

Flowers in front of Beaver Pond in Stanley Park in Vancouver

Flowers in front of Beaver Pond in Stanley Park in Vancouver

Green and tree-lined trails in Stanley Park in Vancouver
Trails in Stanley Park, surrounded by enormous greens covered in moss...

Thanks for checking out my Vancouver pictures! Did you have any favorites?

Is anyone else getting down low with their cameras and right up in the face of some pretty flowers lately? Do you tend to bring a camera with you when you go out for a walk?

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