Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Solo in the City + The Halloween That Wasn't

It's been kind of a dull couple of weeks with Dave away. We are pretty good at going off on mini-adventures together - even if it's just to spend an afternoon walking all over the city. Without him around, I still love going on walks... but solo walks tend to end up being a bit shorter due to a combination of boredom and my desire to not walk alone in the dark. It stays pretty dark here in the mornings until almost 8am and then gets dark again around 6pm, so my window for walking after work isn't huge!
.  fall things, things fall .
On top of that it's been very rainy (duh), which also makes walking less appealing. Going on drives out of the city hasn't really been on the agenda either since our car window was smashed. I haven't been able to get it repaired yet because it's not my car and I'm not sure how insurance will work up here in Canada, as we haven't gotten Canadian car insurance yet. Dave will be coming home tomorrow (whoop!!) and we'll have to deal with it then. In the meantime I did an ultra ghetto patch-up job of duct taping a black garbage bag over the gaping hole in the door. It's funny b/c the guy with the truck beside ours (whose truck window was also smashed) has a very nice, clear plastic temporary seal on his window that looks like a professional did it, and ours looks like Oscar the Grouch stopped by to help out with the repair.

I did manage to take the car to a gas station yesterday in the pouring rain and spent some time vacuuming the glass up out of the backseat (and trunk and front seat and window pockets and under the rugs and inside the center console and seatback pockets and and and and GEEZUS THERE'S A TON OF BROKEN GLASS HERE!!). As soon as I started driving away from the gas station, though, a fresh cascade of broken glass fell out of the window frame and left a new pile on the floor in the back of the car. Awesome. Dave very helpfully pointed out to me last night that, "Car glass will not stay together broken. It will just keep crumbling." Now you tell me!

You might be asking why I opted to do all that in the pouring rain, and to that I say: a) Hey, it's always raining here. What, am I going to wait for a sunny day to vacuum? b) It was something that was hanging over my head and I just wanted to be done with it.  c) ... I actually just didn't notice it was raining before I left my apartment to undertake this project. I didn't bring an umbrella or wear rain-appropriate footwear either. When I returned home a half hour later, drenched from head to toe, the 20-year-old in the elevator with me timidly suggested that I ought to get myself an umbrella. So I stabbed him. #jk

What else is going on this week? Halloween. I took turns emotionally dressing up as both Debbie Downer and a sad panda this past weekend as Facebook was flooded with pics of people dressed up in ridiculous costumes and partying with their buds. I absolutely love Halloween and I always have. When we were younger, my sister Mallory and I used to start planning our Halloween costumes in November practically. My mother used to frequent fabric shops like JoAnn Fabrics (#whatupPittsfield?) and there was always an entire section of pattern books in the back of the store. Mallory and I would pore over these books looking at Halloween costume ideas, literally any time of the year. Fast forward to 2012 and I am still planning my Halloween costumes nearly years in advance. I even started setting calendar reminders for myself in my phone - i.e Early last year I actually set "South park character halloween costume" as a reminder for myself in my calendar for October 1, 2011. No jokes.

This year was the first year probably in my entire life that I didn't dress up for Halloween. I had no one to spend it with and no house party to attend!! WAH WAHHHH. Dave said that we could watch Halloween movies together when he gets home but we'll just see how that pans out. Mostly because there is no such thing as a movie store anymore and I'm pretty sure Redbox is fresh out of The Nightmare Before Christmas and Hocus Pocus. Netflix, I'm not even going to bother with your streaming library. I know you don't have what I need.

In the absence of current costumes, here is a look back at some awesome Halloweens past:
.  2003 halloween at umass - i'm in the middle as bedtime bear . 
.   halloween 2004 at umass.  super troopers were the costume to beat that year, chuggin' ron roberto out of syrup bottles  .
.  2006 halloween at umass - bonnie and an apparently deceased clyde. whateva  .
.  halloween 2009 boston - all black everything .
.  with princess leia and smurfette, photobomb courtesy of a wild thing . 
.  halloween 2010 boston - another year, another carebear. apparently everyone wanted to be childhood toys this year . 
.  we are laughinnnnnnnng .
.  halloween boston 2011 - mr. and mrs. potatohead and me as neon. so on trend .
I might not have dressed up in a costume this year but I sure have been eating as if I went trick-or-treating. Not sure where all this candy came from or why I'm trying so hard to give myself Type 2 diabetes but... Dave might come home to find that I've turned into a Rocket or a chocolate-creme cookie.

Hey here's something totally unrelated - Taylor Swift, the little angel-faced sweetheart, has a new album out that everyone is going nuts about because it has sold over 1 million copies in its first week. This isn't the important part. The important part is that this is putting good old 'NSync back in the news because they hold the all-time record for albums sold in one week, with 2.4 million sold. What up No Strings Attached and the year 2000?! If you knew me during high school, or paid any attention to my life at all, you would know that I was obsessed with 'NSync from at least the years 1999-2003. How obsessed? So obsessed that I knew without Googling it that No Strings Attached was released on March 21, 2000.

On that note, watch this:

And hell, watch this too:

Oh those boys, with their music video hijinks and puppet metaphors!

What did you dress up as for Halloween? Did you hand out candy? What was your favorite costume that you saw this year?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Gettin Muh Sweat On + Workout Music

I made it to the gym 3 times this past week and am starting to feel like I'm getting back into my regular groove - where I'm actually looking forward to going to the gym and find myself (dare I say) day-dreaming about working out.

Here's what I did at the gym during my workouts this past Monday, Thursday and Saturday:

30 mins elliptical
20 squats, 12.5 lbs each hand
60 standing "booty kicks",  30 each leg
80 weighted v-sit twists, holding 12 lbs
40 deadlifts, 12.5 lbs each hand
- :30 plank
- 30 cobras

10 mins elliptical
12 overhead press, 12 lbs each hand
40 dynamic side planks, 20 each side
12 bicep curls, 10 lbs each hand
on exercise ball, 10 lbs each hand:
   - 12 chest press
12 deltoid flys, 7.5 lbs each hand
40 weighted side bends, 12 lbs each hand
on exercise ball, 10 lbs each hand:
   - 12 chest flys

30 mins elliptical
30 squats, 12 lbs each shoulder
40 plank knee to elbow, 20 each side
40 weighted calf raises, 12 lbs each hand
50 weighted v-sit twists, holding 15 lbs
40 deadlifts, 15 lbs each hand
60 side lunges + plyometric push off, 30 each side
40 weighted side bends, 12 lbs each hand
- 40 bridges
- 1:00 plank
- 30 cobras

workout musicHere's some of the music that randomly came on my iPod while I was working out that I did not skip past:

- Frontin' - Pharell and Jay-Z
- Feel Good Inc - Gorillaz
- New Day - Kanye and Jay-Z
- Forever - Chris Brown
- Love Sex Magic - Ciara and Justin Timberlake
- Full Moon - Brandy
- See Me Now - Kanye
- Trapped In Me - Slick Rick
- Unleash the Dragon - Sisqo (< yup, this happened)
- Runaway - Kanye
- Hola Hovito - Jay-Z
- Still Dreaming - Nas and Kanye
- Black Republican - Nas and Jay-Z
- That's My Bitch - Kanye and Jay-Z
- Fu-Gee-La (Refugee Camp Remix) - Fugees
- She Knows What She Wants - Gang Starr
- Don't Say Nothin - The Roots

In other music news, I happened upon some videos on YouTube recently that introduced me to several new-to-me female rappers. Many of them did little to impress me - but then again most rappers don't impress me these days, male or female. One who did stand out to me was a girl (woman I suppose) named Dessa who was not exactly a rapper, but a poet/songstress of sorts. I don't want to even bother trying to categorize her really, because no two songs of hers seemed to sound alike. There was one song in particular, Dixon's Girl, that stuck to my eardrums and has rendered me a bit obsessed for the past 5 days at least. I urge you to listen to this:

I've listened to it so many times that it's on perma-replay in my head now. 

What are your favorite songs to workout to? Who is your favorite female rapper? Mine is Lauryn Hill!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Urban Outfitters Lollipop Nail Polish

A couple of weeks ago I posted about purchasing two new nail polishes from Urban Outfitters - Dust and Lollipop. Dust was awesome and I've used it again since, but today I wanted to blog about Lollipop because it is even more unique than Dust and I have never seen anything else like it. (Let me know if you have!)

Lollipop has a very sheer lilac base with an entire party's worth of confetti inside! It's got two different sizes of glitter -  small rounds and chunky hexagonal.  Both glitters come in multiple colors:  blue, green, red, pink, silver and yellow. The below pics were with either 3 or 4 coats - I may have lost count!

urban outfitters lollipop nail polish
.  inside  .
urban outfitters lollipop nail polish
.  outside  .
urban outfitters lollipop nail polish
.  sew cewl . 
urban outfitters lollipop nail polish
.  urban outfitters lollipop  . 
It reminds me of those old school plastic clowns/plastic birthday balloon cake toppers:

clown cake topper
Not an everyday look but it's fun and I'll definitely get plenty of use out of it. What do you think? That ish pretty cray right?? 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

In Which Canada Effs Us in the A

Our (Dave's) car was broken into on Tuesday night, while it was parked inside of our building's locked parking garage.

I finished working at 3pm on Wednesday and got all ready to go to the gym. I was feeling pretty good, pleased that I was getting to the gym so early in the afternoon. I stepped out of the elevator into the garage of our building and as I approached the car said to myself.... "Is that back window open??" I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. "Shit.... Did I leave a window wide open???"

NOPE. Didn't leave it open.

.   fahk  .
The back passenger window had been completely smashed to oblivion. There was glass ALL over the ground next to the car, inside the car, under the car. I had no idea car windows could be demolished so thoroughly - parts of the window had been reduced to not much more than glass powder.

A quick check showed that yes, some things had been stolen. I was most heartbroken to see that Dave's huge book of like 300-400 CDs was gone - music that he's been accumulating his entire life. My own CD book was stolen from my car back in 2003 and I can honestly say I never fully emotionally recovered from it (I'm serious), so I couldn't imagine how David was going to feel when he heard the news.

Eventually I noticed that the truck next to us had also had one of its windows smashed:

.   a-holes  .
UGH. Why are there people out there who do shitty things like this? I don't think we'll EVER be able to remove all this glass from the car.

I filed a police report but nothing will come of it. I was told to clean it up as best I could and to just go get the window repaired. Terrific.

Meanwhile I'm now more uncomfortable than I already was about going down to the parking garage by myself.

On a semi-positive end note, Dave let me know last night that he had just recently completed a massive project of loading ALL of his CDs onto his computer. No music was lost in this B&E.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

One Picture Inspiring All Sorts of Creative Projects!

Every once in awhile I see a picture or image that inspires me to make a collage. Oftentimes these inspirational images are on interior design websites, which I find creatively stimulating. One of my favorite design sites is style files, which is chock-full of photos of beautiful and unique interior designs.

I've let images from style files inspire collages before - like this one:

Which inspired this collage:

Most recently, I came upon this image on style files:

And fell in love with the color scheme! I immediately knew that I wanted to make a collage, a manicure and a painting all based around this picture!

One of those three projects has been completed so far - the manicure! Check out the below pictures for the colors I used, and the final product:

.   orly - bailamos / essie - mojito madness / orly - preamp / love&beauty - mint /
sinful colors - snow me white / l.a. colors - green tea  .
.  thumbnail is sinful colors snow me white with one coat of l.a. colors green tea on top  .
Here is step one of the collage that I'll make:

.  collage project, stage one  .
First I go through magazines as well as my stash of magazine tear-outs and select images that will possibly make it into my collage. In this case, I had a handful of specific colors I was looking for, so I tried to find as many different textures of those colors as I could. I sorted them into stacks by color, as you can see.

Next I'll arrange them onto posterboard that I've pre-cut to sizes like 11x14, 4x6, and 5x7, until I find arrangements that I love. Then I'll glue them down and frame them! If you look in the upper left of the above image you can see that I've started doing some arranging already, very preliminarily. I'll definitely blog about it when I'm finishing up this project - hopefully within the next couple of weeks!

Finally I hope to paint a version of the picture, using canvas and acrylic paints. Last spring I took a painting class with my friends Steph and Kara at a fun place called the Paint Bar in Newton, MA, where we painted these:

.  fake boston skyline  . 
And it kind of inspired me to start painting more, even though it's been over a year and a half since I went to the Paint Bar and I've only painted like 3.5 things since. So hopefully that style files picture will be my next painting endeavor, and I'll blog about that for sure if/when I actually get around to it!

 Do you like to be crafty? What is your favorite creative outlet?

Monday, October 22, 2012

That Shet I Don't Like

Here's some of that shet I don't like:

- Neighbors using the hallway as a substitute playground for their small, noisy children. Literally bringing small basketball hoops out into the hallway to play with their kids, as well as staging (and participating in) actual sprinting races up and down the hall. One word: echo. A few more words: Your noise is loud as shet inside my apartment. The communal hallway of your apartment building is not the place for field day, any more than it's the place for me to come out and blast Stankonia from my speakers. Your poor child needs to go outside to have this sort of fun with you. I know we live in Vancouver and it's raining outside - that's why Wal-Mart sells ponchos and galoshes in both yours and your child's sizes.

- Ordering eggs over-medium and receiving eggs over-easy. I've already mentioned how often you can find me at a breakfast place on a Saturday morning, so I run into this problem often. I never knew there were so many uncertain cooks working at breakfast joints. Look, I totally understand if it's your first time frying an egg and you're all, "Ahhh I'm not sure, I think it might be at just about over-medium but gahhhh what if it's just about to be over-hard?! WE GOTTA GET THIS EGG OFF THE GRIDDLE, STAT!" You panic, you prematurely take the egg off the heat, I get an over-easy egg. I can let that slide once or twice.... hell, I'm not a great cook - I'd let that slide at least 3 times because I know you'll eventually get the hang of it and get to be really adept at knowing when an egg is over-medium. But dude... it's not your first day. You're a weekend cook at a breakfast diner - you're supposed to know what you're doing at this point! You should be able to give me an over-medium egg in your freaking sleep. YOU SHOULD HAVE THIS. Go home and practice.

- Laundry. What the feck. Why do I have to do laundry, whyyyyyyy can't it just do itselffffffffffff?

- Cooking. I feel the same about cooking as I do about laundry.

- These bugs. I don't want to alarm you, but I saw a mini-version of one of these the other day in our bathroom. It was small enough that I couldn't make out all of its creepy little legs very clearly, but could still see how freaking fast it moves, which is by far the scariest thing about these bugs. I kind of want to throw up even thinking about it. Blagh!

- Football pre-game shows and post-game shows. Are you kidding me? Three hours of different men in suits just shooting the shet about what might happen later in the big game, then three hours of a football game (with ridiculous commentary throughout, including gems like, "Now, they're going to want to get that football into the endzone here, if they want to score a touchdown"), and then several MORE HOURS of the same suited men shooting the shet about what we all just watched??? It's too much, guys. It's overkill. And it's unnecessarily testing the patience of every woman in the world on Sundays. I'm serious.

And that's that shet I don't like. Here's something I do like - a lot:

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Productive Saturday Followed by a Thus-Far Unproductive Sunday

Yesterday was filled with doing things. I even made a to-do list! Huzzah!

The day started well with a phone call to my sister Mallory, who turned 29 yesterday. I followed that up with a call to my UMass friends, who were all tailgating and partying it up together on the East Coast at a UMass football game at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. They passed the phone around and I got to hear the voices of several of my favorite people. There was lots of yelling, plenty of garbled conversation, many "wait, what???'s", and lots of UMASSSSSSSSSS! Love those guys fo' life.

Next I got pretty real with myself and decided it was seriously time to do something about the mountain of dirty dishes piling up in the dish bucket. The kitchen looked effing awesome by the time I was done with it, which filled me with the inspiration to actually cook something that night.

At this point it wasn't raining yet, so I took advantage of the sorta-sunshine and set off on foot to do some errands as well as continue my Saturday morning ritual of getting breakfast out at a restaurant.

I was going to (gasp!) repeat a restaurant and go back to Cafe Zen, but was deterred by the long line. I then noticed that there was another restaurant right next door, Abigail's Party, that was also serving breakfast and had no line. I scooted over there and was able to be seated at the end of a longer table immediately! Holla! That is one of the perks of going out to breakfast alone (Dave is still geo-manning in the Arctic) - it's not hard for restaurants to find room for one person. My seat even had a perfect view of the two cooks who were very professionally preparing the food and crafting the dishes behind the open serving station. I may despise cooking myself, but for some reason I love watching other people cook and put dishes together. It gave me something particularly interesting to occupy myself with while I was waiting for my meal, as normally I'd just people-watch and scope out the design of the restaurant space. I'm a very seasoned solo diner-outer.

My Brunch Clubhouse Sandwich was spectacular:  avocado, fried egg, bacon, local greens, multi-grain bread, aged cheddar, aioli. Really incredible. The smell of it as I took my first bite reminded me of Esselon Cafe in Hadley, where Dave and I met in 2007. #WhatUpHadley. My sandwich was also served with some of the best homefries I've ever had. They had the most delicately crispy exterior and were seasoned with dill (an herb that always makes me think of my Grandmother and her amazing coleslaw recipe, which is heavy on the dill). They basically just melted in my mouth. It's making me hungry just thinking about it! I'm definitely going to go back to this restaurant, and I can't wait for Dave to try it as well.

After breakfast, I headed up the hill to 4th Ave to find the post office.

[Sidebar, I was wearing a brand new, extremely freaking cozy, minty-colored sweater that I just picked up on Friday night from the Forever21 that's a breezy 45 minutes away. I was slightly devastated when I learned that Vancouver does not have a Forever21 store at all. (#SickJokes.) I was slightly less devastated to see that they're actually in the process of opening one Downtown :)  But truthfully my glee upon seeing the Forever21-in-progress was diminished by how much more work it appeared needed to be done before it would be ready to open. Fortunately, Google guided me to the nearest store in Burnaby, a town to Vancouver's slight southeast... but in Vancouvzie's traffic (which sucks) it was not a quick trip. After meticulously scouring the 2-floor store for about 2 hours, I ended up buying the mint 1/2 sleeve sweater and a new pair of earrings. Whoop!!]

The post office near my place is actually located inside one of Canada's many versions of a Walgreen's/CVS, Shopper's Drug Mart (who came up with that one?). I managed to not buy any new nail polish while I was there. Of note was that my two favorite face washes (this scrub and this cleanser) are sold for $10.49 each here in Canadian dollars (that's $10.54 US dollars, as of right this second. Curiously the US dollar has become slightly more valuable here in the last 72 hours), compared to the approximately $6.50 that they each cost in the States. So that sucks. #CanadianProblems

I mailed some bills (super exciting), bought my first Canadian stamps, purchased an In Style magazine to cut up for an upcoming collage project, and picked out a special card for my good friend (and loyal penpal) Stephanie.

Quick stop at a slightly inconspicuous coffee bar off of 4th Ave for a mocha before continuing on to
Urban Outfitters, where I walked around for 25 minutes holding two more of their nail polishes before deciding that I wasn't going to purchase anything else and probably shouldn't buy the nail polishes either. So I put them back and left.

After my morning of spending Canadian money, I headed back home to tackle my laundry issues, of which I had many. Like four loads worth of issues. It finally started raining while I was moving things from washer to dryer, prompting one of those popular "weather conversations" between myself and a stranger in the laundry room.

While the laundry was in the dryer I slipped in a grocery trip to make good on my promise to cook something that evening for dinner. With a 45-minute window I made it to the Safeway and back, picking up some kale, ground turkey, parmesan cheese, chicken broth, *cough* chocolate cake *cough*, sweet potatoes, and bread.

I had big plans of making a fancy grilled cheese for dinner, with kale chips and a sweet potato on the side. Successssful on all counts!

My grilled cheese consisted of:
  - cheddar cheese
  - parmesan cheese
  - sauteed onions
  - mango chutney
  - baby spinach

I'd never made kale chips before and I was only assuming that the mango chutney would taste good with my grilled cheese. That they both turned out very well was a pleasant surprise! Cue chocolate cake and ice cream for dessert. Cue also guilt for not having gone to the gym since Thursday night.

I finished out my evening by watching The Other Guys (which just recently popped up in my Netflix streaming options, to my joy and surprise) and the newest episode of South Park. 

Today I didn't even get out of bed until 11:30 - that never happens! Ever!! I blame it on both my new pillow and my lack of children. And also on the dreariness of the Vancouver rainy season, because it makes our bedroom extremely dark in the mornings.

Now it's 3:34 pm and the most constructive thing I've done today is paint my nails while writing this blog and half paying attention to the Patriots game. Perhaps not coincidentally, I also just played the word "LAZY" in my ongoing game against my brother in Words with Friends.

I hope you're having a great weekend! What have you been up to?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Favorite Fall Nail Polishes

As mentioned last week, I really enjoy collecting nail polishes and painting my nails. Fingernails are like ten tiny little canvases, as far as I'm concerned, and painting them actually makes a fun creative outlet. I don't always feel like I've got time for a full-on craft project, and painting my nails is a less time-consuming way to feel artistic. 

Pair my fondness for craftiness with my compulsion to peel the polish off of my nails almost immediately, and you're looking at a pretty serious need for a large nail polish collection.

That said, this blog will be about a combination of two of my favorite things: autumn and nail polish. 

Below is my line up of nail polishes that I love this fall. I know there are some pretty "major players" missing from this list (I'm lookin' at you, Lincoln Park After Dark), but these are just the ones that I happen to love and (in most cases) own.

.   outlined below, from left to right  .
Essie - A List:  A darker red (not a darrrrk red, but a darkER red). It's more of a cherry than it comes across in pictures.

Ruby Kisses - Fuzzy Navel: The color I think of when I hear the phrase "blood orange." Definitely a "New England foliage" type of bright red-orange.

NK Nail Enamel - Vibrant Orange/Milani - Metallic Mango (these two colors are pretty much dupes for one another):  A rusty, citrusy tangerine with golden yellow shimmer.

China Glaze - Heart of Africa: A dark merlot with a fine red shimmer.

Essie - Sew Psyched: A "brighter-than-army green" earthy green. Have you ever smelled the Gap perfume/candle "Grass"? Sew Psyched reminds me of that scent.

Sinful Colors - Rain Storm: The name is very appropriate - this is a "stormy day" blue with a greyish/greenish undertone.

Orly - Bailamos: Let the rhythm take you (and your fingernails) over. This is a rich, jewel-tone turquoise that's perfect for fall.

Orly - Mysterious Curse: A holographic, oil-spill, galaxy-esque purple/blue polish.

Sally Hansen - Luminous Tulip: A mashup of dark pink and lilac purple with blue undertones and gorgeous flecks that catch the light. It's a great way to wear something pink in the fall, b/c it looks good even against (perhaps especially against) paler skin.

Essie - Mochacino: Yum-my. A light, earthy brown with fine silver flecks. Combines my love of light brown with my love of silver!
<< Orly - Buried Treasure: A shimmery bronze, perfect for fall metallics lovers.

>> China Glaze - Desert Sun:  A mustardy, brownish yellow. I don't actually own this one... yet! I've been on the hunt for it but haven't been able to locate it in a store. The color is very "fall" but a little bold for me to wear in an article of clothing - I can't picture myself getting much use out of a "desert sun" shade of jeans, for example, but in a nail polish it's the perfect splash of fall!

What are your favorite fall nail polishes? Did any of your favorites make this list? Do you not give a crap about nail polish? Let me know!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Workouts This Week

I've only managed to get to the gym twice this week so far.... eek. Here's what I did while I was there:

25 mins elliptical
40 deadlifts, 12 lbs each hand
80 weighted v-sit twists, holding 12 lbs
30 jump squats (alternating wide and narrow stance)
40 side lunges + plyometric push off, 20 each side
30 squats, 12 lbs each shoulder
- 30 bridges
- 20 single leg hip lifts, 10 each side
weighted side bend exercise
.  weighted side bends aka "tick tock"  .
.  screenshot from FitZoner1 video  .
- :30 plank

25 mins elliptical
12 deltoid flys, kneeling on bosu ball, 7.5 lbs each hand
80 weighted v-sit twists, holding 12 lbs
12 overhead press, 12 lbs each hand
on exercise ball, 12 lbs each hand:
   - 12 chest press
40 weighted side bends, 12 lbs each hand
12 deltoid raises, kneeling on bosu ball, 7.5 lbs each hand
- :45 plank
- 30 cobras

Ummmm hopefully I'll go to the gym tomorrow as well and add to the above. David just left last night to go to the Arctic for 2 weeks (geo-man things), so I might as well fill my spare time with workin' on my fitnesssssss. Sure as hell not spending it cooking, as evidenced by the extra large pizza that I ordered tonight.

Which reminds me, I found a great pizza place here that does NY style pizza, and I've already begun bonding with the delivery man. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Walk in the Vancouver Rain

In case you hadn't picked up on it yet, we really enjoy going for walks. If a destination is within 2-3 miles of our home, there's a solid chance we'll opt to walk to it rather than drive. I'd add "weather permitting" to the end of that last sentence, but I'd be lying to you. Even when weather is not permitting, we'll still usually walk. Case in point:  we once casually walked from our apartment in Falmouth down to the beach... during 2011's Hurricane Irene, with tree limbs large and small ominously scattered EVERYWHERE and wind whipping tiny pieces of who-knows-what into my eyes and face.

Well that was all quite a lot of build up to get to, "We went for a walk in the rain the other day." Sorry.

This past weekend was so rainy but it seems like a waste to not go for a walk in our new awesome neighborhood. We live right next to the beach and a great bike/walking path that conveniently takes us right to the popular Granville Island, so how could we resist taking a stroll along the oceanside walkway?

Even in the fog and rain, our tree trunk-lined beach and the large ships in the English Bay are a sight to see.

.  dark spots in the water in the background are ships  .

As I've mentioned before, Vancouver is very well set up for getting around on foot or bike, with special bike lanes on the roads and drivers who appear to be very respectful of giving pedestrians and bikers the right of way, when appropriate. They also have this great bike path that goes along the beaches - the aptly named Seaside Bike Path.  Here's part of it, where you can see it's split in half and demarcated for bikers and walkers:
.  very little room for confusion  .
Here are some things we saw from the path:

.   Downtown Vancouvzie  .
.   bitches be sailin'  .
.   let's get dangerous  .
Granville Island is a popular market area beneath the Granville Bridge. It's sort of a cross between Disney World and Pike Place Market in Seattle - lots of vendors of all different kinds of food, goods, shops, fishing boats, and what-have-you. I'd imagine it's pretty bumpin' on a sunny day.

.  Canadian Epcot  .

Our walk was about 3.5 miles (5.6 km) round trip:

.  professional map-doodler by evening  . 

Everything seems so very walkable here - look how freaking close we are to the city! It reminds me of living in Brookline, when we'd take walks from our apartment in Coolidge Corner all the way down through Boston to the harbor. Here in Vancouver, we're even closer to the city - with the bonus of also being right next to beaches and mountains and bike paths and big bridges. Not. Too. Shabs.

Eventually we'll put our walking to even better use and hike some of these mountains!

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Greedy Pig + Hulk Fists

What: The Greedy Pig
Where: Gastown, Vancouver

When it was decided several months ago that Vancouver would be my next place of residence, the only thing I knew about it was that an old friend of mine from Pittsfield, Chris, lived here.

Neither Dave nor I had seen Chris in about 5 years (when he moved away from western Massachusetts), so we were excited to catch up with him soon after we arrived in Vancouver.

As it turns out, Chris is the head chef at The Greedy Pig - a bar/restaurant in the Gastown neighborhood of downtown Vancouver. We made a point to head there within just a couple of days of arriving in our new city, making our way on foot across the Burrard Bridge and straight through the center of downtown till we reached the cobblestoned streets of Gastown.

We located The Greedy Pig by the large hog sign out front, and Chris came out from the kitchen to exchange a few hugs and hellos and duuuuude it's been way too longs.

Once he shuffled back into the kitchen Dave and I posted up at a corner high-top table by the front window, ordered some food, and people-watched - Dave kindly tolerating my musings about how truly astonishing it is to see Canadian dollar bills come out of an ATM.

For dinner we each had a small side salad of mixed greens, topped with gorgeous bright red tomatoes and dressed in homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette. You could taste the local freshness of it all - I actually raved to the waitress about how delicious my salad was. She probably doesn't often hear rave reviews about their little side salads... but then again maybe she does, because it really was damn good.

Next we split a grilled cheese on sourdough that contained four different types of cheese: brie, Swiss, mozzarella, and double smoked cheddar. Nom. Nom.

It was around this time that my eyes ventured upward to the top of the liquor shelves that flanked the bar. To my delight I discovered that atop each shelf was perched a green Hulk fist:

.   you wouldn't like me when i'm... eating grilled cheese at the greedy pig  . 
Juxtaposed against the historic room and the top shelf liquor - the fists were an interesting touch and they definitely made me laugh.

Also, this happened once in 2007:

.  bump it  .
... So that's funny, too. And yes, that's a lei.

We got to spend a few more minutes chatting with Chris before we left to head back home, so I was able to tell him to his face that his grilled cheese was incredibly edible. I'm sure we'll be back to The Greedy Pig sooner or later!

I'm going to try to bring my camera with me more often when we're heading out to restaurants, so I can take pics of the food/menus/atmosphere, etc. I also hope to spend much more time in Gastown, because it's got quite a lot of character and reminds me a bit of Boston.

.   walk to the greedy pig in downtown vancouver   .
Our walk to and from The Greedy Pig ended up being about 5 miles round trip, which defaults to telling me is just over 8 km. In other news, "" can take their km and shove it.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cafe Zen vs Home + My Workout

It's been raining here almost all weekend - the kind of weather that kind of makes you want to stay inside and wear pajamas all day. Despite that, we have managed to get out a bit for walks and errands and food!

I absolutely love going out to eat breakfast on the weekends, so each Saturday it's inevitable that I will drag Dave out to a diner somewhere for something eggs-and-bacon-ish.

Yesterday we went just up the street to Cafe Zen to sample their breakfast fare. We didn't have to wait at all, which sucked. (Not.)

Normally my order of choice is just two eggs over medium, bacon, wheat toast and homefries. This time I ordered Huevos Tapatios: two eggs, avocado, salsa, chorizo, cilantro, green onions, feta cheese and tomatoes, all served on top of a hot tortilla. I didn't take a picture of it, but this person did, if you're interested. It tasted just as good as it looks. It was also served with a little side dish of fruit.

We were however ignored by our waitress and didn't even get re-fills of our water or coffee. If we hadn't each had 2+ cups of coffee at home before we went out to breakfast, we probably would have been pretty peeved about that. Later we learned that our waitress had actually left the building altogether during our meal, and we were eventually (stress on the eventually, if the italics font didn't tip you off) given our check (or cheque if you're in Canada) by a different girl entirely and on our walk home even passed our first waitress as she waited for the bus on the sidewalk. Breakfast for the two of us here was about 30 Jo Bro$.

This morning I "made" a simpler breakfast at home, which I'm enjoying right now while we watch the Patriots game:  coffee, wheat toast w/ natural peanut butter, and a big 4-fruit salad.

.   apples, strawberries, grapes, banana   .
Perhaps not as fancy as the breakfast at Cafe Zen, but 100% easier on both my wallet and my health.

Speaking of health, I signed up for a new gym membership here in Vancouver the other day, at Steve Nash Fitness World (LOLOLOL Canadians love Steve Nash). It's pretty big and MUCH more crowded than any gym I've been at before. Also, it stinks. Like a hockey team's locker room. It does however have a Ladies Only room for strength-training, which so far I appreciate much more than I expected to. The entire gym is generally pretty disorganized - with weights/equipment lying around everywhere and a "grab a weight from someone else the second they set it down" type of "every man for himself" atmosphere.  There are "Please put your weights back on the racks" signs all over, but perhaps Dave and I are the only ones at the gym who know how to read? Not sure if this particular gym relationship is going to be a lasting one, but I'm willing to give it a chance for a little while.

We had to talk ourselves into going to the gym at all last night, and we finally did around 6pm, knowing that the gym closes at 7pm on Saturdays (wack). For that reason, this workout was shorter than usual, but I'm very glad I did it anyway. 

I thought I'd also blog about my workouts here, which you're welcome to read, skim, or skip. I'll also include links to videos or resources where you can see what each exercise is and how it's performed. (I do this for my blog at work sometimes, too!) Working out is definitely one of my interests, as anyone who has ever gotten into a conversation with me about fitness knows. I have my job to thank for this and consider it to be one of the most important things that I've gotten out of my nearly 5 years with the company. Being exposed to so many different workout ideas on a weekly basis has made me feel like I never have the excuse of being bored with my workout routine. Plus, each workout is usually demonstrated and thoroughly described by a certified fitness professional, so it's not just "ideas" I'm getting - it's actual fitness knowledge. 

10/13 workout;
10 mins elliptical
12 overhead press, 12 lbs each hand
on exercise ball, 10 lbs each hand:
   - 12 chest press
30 crunches on exercise ball, holding 12 lbs
12 deltoid flys, 8 lbs each hand
40 leg lifts + 6 lb medicine ball pullover (I usually do these with 8-10 lbs, but I can't find anything in this gym! 6 lbs was all I could locate)
24 plank row, 8 lbs each hand
40 weighted side bends, 12 lbs each hand
12 deltoid raises, 8 lbs each hand
- :30 plank
- 60 "swimmers"

Do you have a gym membership? If so, do you use it as much as you want to? 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

An Indian Dinner at Home

Last night David made us an Indian feast for dinner. I wasn't angry about it. We always enjoy going out to Indian restaurants, but this time Dave brought the Indian restaurant into our kitchen. He is a fabulous cook - I am one lucky girl!

Some noms to nom:

Chicken, cauliflower, green peppers, onions, tomatoes, and tikka masala cooking sauce, served with white rice, mango chutney and naan bread. It was delicious, made our apartment smell awesome, and he made enough that we have plenty for leftovers. Whoop!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Urban Outfitters Dust Nail Polish

I made my first-ever purchase from an Urban Outfitters the other day, picking up two new nail polishes.  I don't normally shop at Urban Outfitters, but there is a store just up the street from me now and they lured me inside with the "50% off sale" signs that were plastered all over their front door. I almost bought a really pretty green dress as well but decided there wasn't a great need for me to buy a tank top dress in Canada in mid-October.

My two new nail polishes are called Dust and Lollipop and I don't own anything like either of them - and I own a lot of nail polishes which may end up being blogged about pretty often.

I haven't tried Lollipop yet, but have been wearing Dust for a few days now. (Not because it's lasted that long; I just keep reapplying it because it's so cool to look at on my fingertips.) It's a mostly-clear, slightly blue-tinted base with a fine navy blue sparkle in it, infused with two other glitters - one fine (but not as fine as the blue sparkle) silver and one chunky silver.

The below picture shows what it looks like with 3 coats plus a top coat, but you can keep layering it for even more opacity:

.   in natural light  .
.   inside  .
.  Urban Outfitters' Dust  . 
I'm pleased with this polish and am excited to try Lollipop as well, which is even more interesting than Dust! These polishes were being sold at 2 for $8, so not bad for a cool polish. They're $6/each otherwise.

Do you wear nail polish? Do you not give a crap about it? What's your favorite brand/polish?