Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Human-Sized Spider Tried Showering With Me

Hey do you guys remember that time I was almost eaten by a human-sized spider (practically)?

That son-of-a-bitch's cousin came back this weekend to claim some revenge.

Its plan was decent enough: Wait till I am naked, unarmed and completely unassuming in the safety of the bathroom in my empty apartment, with no one around to help me or even hear me cry for help. He thought he was safe, crouching along the side of the tub in the dark corner of the room, partially veiled by the shadow of the shower curtain.

As I drew back the curtain to suddenly reveal his hideous form...

Huge g.d. spider in my bathtub
.  jesus christ  .
 .... he made his move!

Huge g.d. spider in my bathtub

I MEAN. GOOD GOD. I don't need to describe its girth- you can clearly see the shower drain in there for scale. This is no joke people!

Too bad for him and all of his enormous limbs, he forgot to consider the fact that he was perilously close to a drain, and that I had ready access to water. So I washed his ass down the drain! But I swear to god guys, he tried to CLIMB BACK OUT. With his huge arms! Like at the end of [insert title of any action/horror/suspense movie ever] where you think the bad guy is dead, but in reality he's not quite dead yet and is coming back for one more go. It was momentarily TERRIFYING till I, again, remembered which one of us was in charge of the situation and turned on the spout.

Guess he never heard that classic warning song for arachnids - The Itsy Bitsy Spider. Or maybe he thought it didn't apply to him, since he was neither itsy nor bitsy.

In any case, I live to fight bathe another day.

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Few Good Things, My Workouts of the Week, and Fireworks

A couple of weeks ago there was a Sunset Beach Social going on along Sunset Beach. We walked across the Burrard Bridge to check it out. Here's the view of the party tents from the bridge above:

Sunset Beach from the Burrard Bridge

After walking around the social for awhile, we putzed around downtown for a bit until it was nearly sunset, then made our way back over the Burrard Bridge as the sun set behind the mountains:

It was the night preceding the July 12th Super Moon, so even though it wasn't quite super, the moon was still pretty big that night:

Nearly full moon in Vancouver

By the way, that photo above was taken at sunset - so at about 9:15 at night. That's how bright the sky still is at 9:15 at night around here during the summer. Isn't that nuts?

Moving along, here are all my workouts from this past week. My calves have been sooooo sore from the Thursday lower body workout I did (see below). I guess upgrading to holding 25-pounds in each hand (versus 15-pounds) really makes a difference to my muscles!

7/21 (upper body)
5 mins elliptical
3x:  15 chest press on exercise ball, 12.5 lbs each hand
3x:  12 rear flys, 7.5 lbs each hand
3x:  12 overhead press, 10 lbs each hand
3x:  12 deltoid flys, 7.5 lbs each hand
3x:  12 bent over rows each arm, 20 lbs
3x:  12 deltoid raises, 7.5 lbs each hand
3x:  15 close grip chest press on exercise ball, 12.5 lbs each hand
3x:  12 tricep extensions on exercise ball, 7.5 lbs each hand

7/22 (cardio and core)
20 mins biking
40 crunches on exercise ball, holding 15 lbs
40 Russian get ups, holding 8 lbs
40 weighted v-sit twists holding 15 lbs
40 alternating weighted side bends, 15 lbs each hand
40 cobras

7/24 (lower body)
5 mins elliptical
3x:  12 squats, holding 30 lbs
3x:  40 diamond clamshells each leg
3x:  40 calf raises, 25 lbs each hand
3x:  40 bridges

7/25 (core)
40 alternating weighted side bends, 20 lbs each hand
40 alternating bird dogs
40 Russian get ups, holding 8 lbs
40 weighted v-sit twists, holding 15 lbs

The weather finally turned nice again this weekend, after a grey week. On Friday night after my core workout, I walked downtown to try to stretch out my sore calf muscles. While down there, I ended up grabbing dinner at a restaurant on Robson St. called Abode. Sitting out on their sidewalk patio and sipping on a sugar-rimmed cocktail called Summer Sandals...

Summer Sandals cocktail from Abode on Robson St in Vancouver
.  summer sandals  .
.  vodka, grand marnier, raspberry liqueur, sparkling wine  .
... was a nice way to unwind after the work week. Unfortunately, the instant my pulled BBQ chicken sandwich was set down before me, an intrusive honey bee began dive-bombing my plate and my table till I was forced to say "uncle" while waving my white napkin and running inside to the dining room. No matter - they found me a nice booth inside their dining room next to a window, so my view was nearly identical anyway.

Pulled chicken and slaw sandwich from Abode on Robson St. in Vancouver
.  pulled chicken & slaw sandwich  .
.  slow roasted chicken, super slaw, fresh spinach on ciabatta  .
Yesterday I spent the morning getting some important things done around my apartment, and then headed out with a blanket and my iPod to catch some sunshine on the lawn at Kitsilano Beach for a bit. It's seriously so nice to have the sun back. It changes the vibe of the entire city.

Kits Beach
.  mad peeps on the beach!  .


Speaking of the entire city, I got to check out the first night of the Celebration of Light fireworks last night, which was awesooooome... and it certainly seemed like the entire city was out for it. I was able to watch them right from my beach....

And there were so many people who came out for it! The fireworks were an awesome 25-minute display. Most of my pictures came out terribly, but this one was alright...

Fireworks from 2014 Celebration of Lights in Vancouver

Well it's supposed to be another fabulous day today, so I hope to spend a good portion of my day outside. Have a great Sunday!!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Quinoa Burger Worth Writing About

This is just a quick blog that I felt compelled to post about an amazing burger I ate recently in my Kitsilano neighborhood.

To set the scene, I was out running some errands when suddenly it began to rain... and then POUR. I was caught without an umbrella, several blocks from home, with a what-feels-sorta-like-leather handbag. I HAD NO CHOICE but to declare 4pm a totally acceptable time for an early dinner and duck into the first restaurant I happened upon. It was Romer's Burger Bar, a place that, incidentally, I'd been wanting to go to for awhile anyway. Its location is just far enough down 4th Ave that we rarely walk that far for dinner or lunch, but here I was on that suddenly rainy afternoon - presented with the option of either dining there or running home in the downpour. I chose the former, obvi. That's what this blog is about. You know that.

Anyway. It didn't take me long AT ALL to figure out what was goin' in my belly that day:  their quinoa burger and their watermelon salad. Nom. Nom.

The details:

Keen-Wa Burger: A hand-crafted quinoa patty, skinny bun, avocado aioli, local goat cheese (which I skipped because EW GOAT CHEESE), tomatoes, greens, mustard vinaigrette, and what appeared to be julienned apples. I don't know why the apples weren't listed on the menu, but they was alright with me.

Watermelon Salad:  With watercress, watermelon chunks, feta cheese, and some sort of citrusy vinaigrette for dressing.

The damn things:

Amazing quinoa burger from Romers Burger Bar in Vancouver



I MEAN. Good lord. Lookin good, quinoa burger! LOOKIN REAL GOOD. Tastin' real gewd, tew. Mmm... The orangey-citrus dressing on the watermelon salad was really bright and delightful as well. The quinoa burger fell apart a good deal, as most veggie burgers do. But look at those gorgeous little quinoa beads up there in that picture! LOOK AT THEM! For a golden burger to be made out of something so exquisitely natural and healthy... it's perfectly fine with me if I have to eat some of it with my fingers after it falls apart onto my plate. Still tastes delish.

So that's all I needed to say/show you from Romer's. Probably not the best review of the entire place, since it's a burger joint and all, and you'd probably be going there for the meat and the beefy burgers. But if you're a fan of veggie burgers and looking for a good one in Kitsilano... now you know that Romer's has you covered, brah.

Romer's Burger Bar
1873 West 4th Ave
Vancouver, BC

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This post isn't sponsored. I just love food.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Two Polka Dot Accent Nails

Two polka dot accent nails, what whaaat!  But... one is a fake polka dot nail and one is a real polka dot nail. Can you tell which is which?

Nail polish, two accent nails, polka dots
Well if you guessed that the green nail was the real one, you were right. The other one is just part of the Polka Dots line of Color Show polishes from Maybelline.

Blue nail polish, two accent nails, polka dots on green nail


Blue nail polish and two accent nails, polka dots on Essie Mojito Madness

I could make up a story about these nails being inspired by a fashion blogger's outfit or a cool painting I saw... but in truth they were inspired by a pair of underwear that I own.

Polka dots on Essie Mojito Madness

... And no, there won't be a photo of the underwear here on my blog. 
Just know that that's what's up with these nails.

Sally Hansen Pacific Blue and two accent nails
On my left hand, I've got two coats of Sally Hansen's Pacific Blue on my pinky, pointer and thumb nails. On my ring finger are two coats of Sinful Colors' Snow Me White, topped with 3 coats of Maybelline's Clearly Spotted. I used two coats of Essie's Mojito Madness on my middle finger, which I finished off with some white polka dots. On my right hand, I reversed the green and blue nails (so the middle finger on my right hand is blue with white polka dots).
Snow Me White, Mojito Madness, Clearly Spotted, Pacific Blue, nail polish

Clearly Spotted from Maybelline Color Shot as an accent nail


It's still been as gloomy and grey and rainy all week in Vancouver as I was fussing about in my blog on Monday, but today the weather is supposed to turn summery and sunny again for the weekend. I've shaved my legs in preparation. I suggest you do the same. 

Seriously though, this weekend should be decent. The first night of Vancouver's 3-day Celebration of Light is on Saturday. This huge fireworks competition is something I missed last year because I was home in Massachusetts for my friend Jenna's wedding, so there's a heightened degree of anticipation for me this year. Each night of the celebration is represented by a different country, and they compete to be named the best fireworks display. Saturday night is actually going to be Team USA, soooo.... GO 'MURICA. Wednesday July 30 will be Team France, and August 2 will be Team Japan. It's supposed to be pretty fantastic - it's the largest offshore fireworks competition in the world! 

What are you up to this weekend? 
Does your town come up with cool reasons to set off fireworks randomly?
What are you rocking on your nails today? Go link up with Jennie :)

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{Linking with The Nail FilesFriday's Fab Favorites and Beauty Buzz}



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Afternoon Tea Service at The Urban Tea Merchant

A few weeks ago, fellow Vancouver blogger Whitney posted a recap of an afternoon she'd spent at The Urban Tea Merchant sampling some of their services. Her review made the entire idea of an afternoon tea service sound so g.d. delightful, that I immediately set to work planning a trip there myself with some other local bloggers (including Whitney!), which went down this weekend!

Urban Tea Merchant Vancouver

Macarons

Part "tea salon," part cafe, and part tea retail boutique, UTM is located in downtown Vancouver at Georgia St. and Burrard St. You can go there just to grab a casual tea and some macarons, or to enjoy a full afternoon tea service, like we were doing that afternoon.

Joining me were Jayne, Britta and Whitney, and the four of us unanimously decided to order UTM's special summer service - the Pink Flamingo. Sounds amazing already right? It was:

Pink Flamingo Tea Service at Urban Tea Merchant in Vancouver, menu

The entire service began with an adorable little sample of one of their brand new teas - a jasmine something-or-other (I asked our waitress twice what this one was called, but then I promptly forgot what she said each time). It was SO good that I accidentally kept making audible "mmm" noises after each sip.

Small glass of jasmine tea

Next came our Pink Flamingo Cosmopolitan signature cocktails (which 3 out of the 4 of us ordered as alcohol-free mocktails instead). This was really lovely and tasted like a coconutty-sherbet, slightly-fizzy, holiday punch. It was even garnished with a small dried rose bud.

Pink Flamingo Cosmopolitan, Urban Tea Merchant, Vancouver

Partway through our drinks we were brought out our pots of tea. Each of our tea services came with an $8 credit towards a pot of any of their teas. There were SO many incredible-sounding teas to choose from. I debated between some minty or jasmine or fruity options before deciding on a whim to go with their Caramel black tea. SUCH A GOOD DECISION. It instantly made the air smell delicious when the pot of it was set before me on the table. I finished the entire pot, which lasted me throughout the rest of the 2-hour service.

Cup of caramel black tea
Soon they brought out two large glass trays of gorgeous and colorful sweet and savory food and set it down in the center of our table. All four of us being bloggers, we all immediately took several pictures of the display before any of us dared to disturb the photo op by digging in.

Pink Flamingo Tea Service, full tray of food

Hanging out with other bloggers makes a mandatory food photoshoot seem completely normal, by the way. I like that.

.  check out britta's huge camera on the left  .
.  jayne is instagramming at the top of the pic and whitney is IGing from the right  .

Savory dishes on the menu for us included:
  • miso-maple glazed sable fish in butter lettuce (this was my FAVORITE!)
  • “Dignitary’s Tea” chicken cone (a sophisticated chicken salad in a sesame waffle cone)
  • wasabi and smoked salmon with ponzu jelly (salmon folded onto a piece of brown bread with a jelly)
  • “Tokyo-Singapore Tea” seared tuna tataki (like a mini-wrap of seared tuna and cabbage)
Sweet items on our menu:
  • a TWG Tea “Bain de Roses” macaron (this was my first macaron ever, I'm pretty sure)
  • “Pink Flamingo” panna cotta (topped with a raspberry and a blackberry)
  • “Pink Flamingo” petit ├ęclair - the daintiest little eclair I've ever seen
.  as seen on my own IG  .
As mentioned above, the sable fish in butter lettuce was my favorite. I love butter lettuce (Dave has referred to it as "the Cadillac of lettuces"), and the crispy strips that topped the fish added such a nice crunch. The rosey macaron was so unusual, in that it's sort of strange to eat something that tastes so floral, but ultimately I liked it!

On top of the drinks, tea, and food being so enjoyable, the company was fabulous as well. Whitney, Britta and Jayne are all very nice, interesting, and easy-to-talk-to ladies. (Ladies? Girls? Women? I never know what term to use to refer to a group of females in their 20s/30s. Help me.) I'm glad we got together over something so classy ;)

.  left to right:  jayne, whitney, me, britta  .
.  thanks britta for letting me steal this pic ;)  .


Oh and speaking of classy, I did don a dress for the occasion and had fun picking out some accessories to go with it:
White lacy dress, beige booties, brown bag, fishtail braid
.  blurry selfie!  .
White lacy dress, beige booties
.  lacy dress  .
Stacked bracelets
.  banglez n frecklez  .
If you're in Vancouver and looking for something fancy to do with your girlfriends, you would be wise to go to The Urban Tea Merchant at some point or another. There are several different tea services you can choose from, plus a separate menu of more traditional food items you can order from.

Have you been out to "high tea" anywhere in your town?
What's your favorite type of tea to drink?

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Dreaming of Beach Days

So last week was full of gorgeous sunny days, warm temperatures, blue skies and beach days... until Friday, when it turned grey and gloomy. It hasn't let up much since! "Reading a book on the beach" was LITERALLY on my list of things to do this weekend, and I wasn't able to do it once! Hey Mother Nature - WHAT GIVES, GIRL? It's July, you know. Not February. Let's get that sun back out here, pronto.

To hold me over till the next showing of sun, here are some beachy pictures from last week. Just imagine me snapping these photos while lying leisurely on a blanket on the hot sand beside the water. That's what I'll be doing.

Sunshine in a blue sky



Sunshine in a blue sky while lying on the beach
 3 sailboats

Kayakers in English Bay in Vancouver, from Kitsilano Beach

Kayaking into the sun in English Bay in Vancouver, from Kitsilano Beach

David in the water, English Bay, Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver
.  david in the water  .

Seaplane in the blue sky, Vancouver
.  that speck in the sky is a seaplane  .
View of downtown Vancouver from Kitsilano Beach

Wishing you beach days this week as well!!

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Farmer's Market, Picnic + My Workouts of the Week

The last 7 days have been good to me, I have to say. I've been keeping busy but also managing to take plenty of advantage of the gorgeous sunshine that we had all week long (aside from the last couple of days, which turned grey again). The gym is still very much a part of my routine, as you've seen, but I don't feel bad taking a day off from the gym and just taking a long walk out in the sun instead.  Here's what's been going on this week, in a nutshell:

Sunday: Walked to the Kitsilano Farmer's Market on 10th and Larch, where I bought some local kale, blueberries, and dark chocolate truffles.

Mixed berries from the Kitsilano Farmers Market in Vancouver

Fresh basil at Kitsilano Farmers Market in Vancouver

Monday: Went to the gym and relaxed on the beach after work, followed by a walk downtown before dinner.

Tuesday: Walked to Second Beach in Stanley Park for their Fresh Air Cinema series. Each Tuesday of the summer, they set up a big outdoor movie screen on the lawn, and you can come and picnic and watch the movie...

Fresh Air Cinema Stanley Park in Vancouver

... I put together a picnic dinner for us that included baby carrots, sandwiches, watermelon, chips, caprese skewers, and chocolate-dipped shortbread cookies. The picnic was delightful, and it was a warm and sunny evening. Unfortunately, the sunshine was such that the movie wouldn't be able to start till 9:40pm, which was really too late for us, so we packed up and headed home around 8pm.

Tomato basil mozzarella skewers

Wednesday: Gym and beach after work.

Thursday: I headed down to Robson St. with David so he could pick up a few goodies for his nieces and nephews. While we were down there, I popped into The Body Shop (for the first time) and picked up a new body butter and a hand creme. After that, we got Red Robin for dinner and finished our downtown trip with a stop into Chapters to find a good animal book to accompany the other gifts Dave was bringing to his nieces/nephews.

Friday: In the early morning hours (around 4am), I brought David to the Vancouver airport for his 6:00am flight to Massachusetts. He'll be there for the next week visiting with his family. Friday night after work I went to the gym, picked up a quinoa salad for dinner, and finally rented Frozen from Redbox. I was crying like a baby by the 11-minute mark, and cried several more times throughout the 90-minute movie. Don't judge me. I also managed to eat an entire bag of Jiffy Pop by myself. So.

Saturday: After a completely leisurely morning at home, I walked down to Robson St for what was marketed as "the Robson Street Summer Fest." Once there, I was confused and disappointed to realize that I didn't really see anything resembling a "summer fest" going on. Some of the shops had balloons out in front on their sidewalks, but that's about it. Nonetheless, I managed to spend money in both Lush and Forever21 while I was down there.

Yesterday evening I spent some time going through my makeup collection to try to weed out some of the more useless space-taker-uppers. I was definitely able to get rid of some products, but not as many as I would have really liked. Anyone else have trouble throwing away makeup products?

My night ended last night with a satisfying trip to Scoop for some raspberry frozen yogurt and a million chocolaty sweet toppings. Mmm. Which brings me to this important question:  How are there people in the world who don't like sweets?? What in god's name is going on inside your brain and mouth that you don't LIKE sweets? TELL ME.

Anyway, speaking of being on a path towards Type 2 Diabetes, here's what I did at the gym this week to try to counteract the effects of eating too much sugar:

7/13 (lower body)
5 mins biking
3x:  12 sumo squats, holding 20 lbs
3x:  40 calf raises, 20 lbs each hand
3x:  40 bridges

7/14 (core)
40 weighted v-sit twists, holding 15 lbs
40 alternating weighted side bends, 15 lbs each hand
40 crunches on exercise ball, holding 15 lbs
40 cobras

7/16 (upper body)
5 mins elliptical
3x:
   - 13 deltoid flys, 8 lbs each hand
   - 8 overhead press, 12.5 lbs each hand
   - 8 deltoid raises, 8 lbs each hand
   - 13 bent over rows each arm, with 20 lbs
3x: 20 alternating chest flys, 8 lbs each hand
3x: 13 chest press on exercise ball, 12.5 lbs each hand
3x: 10 tricep extensions on exercise ball, 8 lbs each hand

7/18 (lower body)
5 mins biking
3x:
   13 sumo squats, holding 30 lbs
   60 calf raises, 20 lbs each hand
   60 bridges

This afternoon I'm going out to do something rather fancy and fun - an afternoon tea service at The Urban Tea Merchant in downtown Vancouver. A fellow Vancouver blogging buddy, Whitney, posted a recap of a recent afternoon she spent at the UTM and it sounded so delightful that I rounded up a group of ladies to go there to try it out ourselves. Whitney is even coming, too! I can't wait. 

I hope you guys are all having a great weekend!

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