Monday, April 29, 2013

Scoop! Frozen Yogurt in Vancouver

Our Kitsilano neighborhood in Vancouver has an incredible assortment of food and cuisines. Whether you're looking for sushi, Thai, coffee, Greek, burgers, breakfast, or Middle-Eastern, Kitsilano has you covered. Sometimes what you (read: I) really need is some dessssssert up in this bitch stomach, and it was that exact yearning that brought me to Scoop! recently. Twice. Well, that plus I found myself unable to eat solids for a few days, thanks to a certain wisdom tooth removal.

Here's the scoop with Scoop!

scoop frozen yogurt in vancouver
scoop frozen yogurt in kitsilano

It's a frozen yogurt shop on 4th Ave (between Maple and Arbutus) and it operates as sort of the "salad bar" of frozen yogurt shops. You choose your size and your yogurt flavor, and they'll use that important information to create your cup of frozen yogurt and then weigh your cup. From there, you're given free reign of their toppings bar. This is where shit gets especially awesome, because you get to add your own toppings.

And, oh my god, the toppings. 

scoop frozen yogurt toppings

To start, the beginning of the toppings bar at Scoop! is covered in tall jars of chocolate chips, yogurt chips, crushed Oreos, and M&Ms. Moving on to the smaller dishes of scoopable toppings, there were things like mini chocolate orange rolls, crushed almonds, mini chocolate chips...

mini chocolate orange rolls
... crushed graham crackers, Reeses Pieces, Whoppers... 

crushed graham crackers

... shredded coconut, crushed chocolate chip cookies, almond granola...

shredded coconut

... lychee jelly (I don't even know what that is!), Lucky Charms, gummy bears...

lychee jelly
They even had an assortment of fruity toppings: 
kiwi, mango, strawberries, blackberries, pineapple, and mango boba balls...

fruit toppings for frozen yogurt
At the end of the bar, there was an array of sauces in squeeze bottles (butterscotch, caramel, chocolate sauce, marshmallow, and probably four others as well), plus hot fudge and rainbow sprinkles.

After you pile on all of your delicious toppings, they weigh your final cup and charge you accordingly. Not a bad system!

I ordered salty caramel flavored frozen yogurt and added mini chocolate chips, graham cracker crumbs, Reeses Pieces, coconut, strawberries, chocolate sauce and rainbow sprinkles. Nom. Here's my final dish:
scoop frozen yogurt dish with toppings

As a lifelong, hardcore ice cream fanatic, I practically never eat frozen yogurt. I legitimately can't remember ever going out and ordering frozen yogurt anywhere before. Having had frozen yogurt twice in the last week from Scoop!, I can now say this awesome thing with certainty:  The taste of frozen yogurt reminds me of my Gram (my mom's mom)!  It's a memory that may have been lost otherwise, but tasting the light, refreshing, slightly sour flavor of frozen yogurt brought me back to my Gram's kitchen, eating vanilla frozen yogurt out of a plastic white bowl with red drawings on the sides - a typical dessert for us kids after finishing one of her delicious roast dinners. #Nostalgia #LoveMyGram :)

With the nostalgia factor AND the "I can put as many toppings on this dessert as I want to" factor, it is guaranteed that I'm going to be hitting up Scoop! pretty often this spring and summer!

Are you an ice cream person or a frozen yogurt person?

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Mint & Neon Nails

I follow a lot of fashion blogs - not exactly because I'm a fashionista (I'm not) but because it stimulates my creativity to see people (specifically people who know what they're doing) put together awesome outfits. Colors, patterns, textures - they can be a bit of a puzzle. So when a fashion-savvy blogger manages to fit the pieces together perfectly, in a way that I definitely wouldn't have thought of, I often start thinking about how those same ideas could be translated into a paper collage or a nail polish look or (if the correct pieces happen to be in my closet) even an outfit for myself!

There is a new blogger who has recently been added to my list of to-reads and she is a tiny little 13-year-old fashion blogger named Sloane. She is way cooler than I am, for sure. And DEFINITELY cooler than I was at 13. She's like a pint-size, pre-pubescent, female Hugh Hefner. Minus the whores. Seriously she looks like she's living the high life. Her blog is called Sailing the Sea of Style if you fancy a gander at it.

A few weeks back, Sloane posted a picture of an outfit that used mint and neon greenish-yellow together, and I loved the way it looked. More so the color combo than the outfit itself but that's ok since, as I mentioned, there are all sorts of good reasons to enjoy a fashion blog, beyond just getting outfit ideas.

Here's Sloane's outfit:
sailing the sea of style mint and neon outfit
.  pic from sailingtheseaofstyle  .
.  i want to totally mug her for that clutch, btw  .
Here's how I used the outfit as inspiration for a mint and neon mani:

mint and neon nails

I really like the way the neon pops against the mint. It's a color combination that probably never would have occurred to me, and it will almost certainly turn up again on my nails in the future!

mint and neon nail polish

The colors I used were Sunshine from Claire's (don't judge) and Mint from Forever21's Love & Beauty line. The mint was almost opaque after just one coat, but I added another coat for good measure. AND would you like to know a secret? There is one coat of white polish beneath those 2 coats of neon on my ring finger. That's why the color payoff is so vibrant! #Tricks. #TellYaMothah.

What do you think of this color combination? If you try it out yourself, tweet me a pic at @akaBailey!

Here are a few other ways that I've gotten unusual inspiration for manis in the past:
By the way, my "Sweet and Salty Banana Chips MEGA FAILblog is one of five blogs spotlighted today over on FACE It Catalog and Coffee Beans and Bobby Pins.  Head over to either of the girls' websites to check it out and see who else is featured!

{Linking to What She Wears Linkup}

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Peace Out, Wisdom Tooth #1!

For the last......... oooh 7-ish years I'd say, I've had one single wisdom tooth erupting from my gums on the lower left side of my mouth.

When I was younger, my 12-year molars were removed because my teeth were very crowded and they all (read: the adults) thought this would be a great way to prevent my eventual wisdom teeth from effing up my mouth. Boy were they wrong.

Well, they were right for awhile actually. It wasn't until around 2005 or 2006 (when I was 21 or 22-ish) that any of my wisdom teeth began actually erupting through my gums. But instead of growing in like a normal tooth, sliding seamlessly into the space that my 12-year molar had so generously left for it, this one decided to grow in ON CRACK. Here's a brief diagram of what I mean:

wisdom tooth grew in sideways

You can imagine that having a tooth grow in at such an unfortunate angle posed some problems. Those problems are as follows:

1. Food constantly got wedged in that awkward area between my wisdom tooth and the molar beside it:
chicken stuck in teeth

bread stuck in teeth

2. It was impossible to keep its surface clean because a tooth brush couldn't adequately maneuver its way into that peculiar wedge:

can't brush tooth

toothbrush can't reach tooth

toothbrush can't reach tooth surface
.  mreh  .
3. It was eventually going to damage the perfectly reasonable and well-behaved molar beside it, if left unchecked:

wisdom tooth damage other teeth

When we moved to Vancouver we acquired dental insurance - the first time I'd had it since 2006.  In January, when our insurance plans finally kicked in, I took my fine ass to the dentist. She was... unimpressed with the fact that I hadn't gotten the blatantly troublesome wisdom tooth removed yet. She even went so far as to remind me that I wasn't getting any younger and that the healing process for getting a tooth removed would only become more difficult as I aged. With that information, a date was finally set for me to get the G.D. thing taken out.

This past Friday WAS that date.

For those of you who have been 'neath a rock for the last week and a half or so, last week was an insane week for anyone who either lived in or gave a crap about someone who lived in Boston. Or if you are an American in general, last week was a fucking crazy week. The bombings in Boston, the subsequent uncertainty and chaos, the shooting at MIT, the shootouts and car chases, the lockdown of an entire city and its suburbs... throw in the fertilizer plant explosion in Texas and a few other miscellaneous pieces of bad news... and last week can seriously go screw itself.

With ALL of that going on ALL week long - one thing after another - I was glued to the news stations and websites and live news feeds for entire days at a time. However, feeling so incredibly anxious and displaced and worried about the bad things that were happening everywhere in the U.S. had the unintended side effect of making me forget to be anxious about my impending tooth removal! I didn't have room in my brain to be nervous about it at all.

If you know me well, you might know that I get anxious going to the dentist because my teeth are very sensitive so it's very painful for them to be touched by someone. It's even more painful for them to be scraped and poked by metal instruments or blasted with cold air and water. The fact that there was no unease or tension going into my oral surgery is, for me, beyond unheard of.

Even as I sat in the chair in the surgery room, waiting for the doctor to come and maul my poor gums, I wasn't nervous. Something about the chaos in Boston had numbed me into thinking that something as simple and small and undramatic as a tooth removal had no business being made into a big deal. Make a fuss about getting a tooth pulled out? How could I possibly, after the week that other people had just been through?

I didn't mean for this blog to take a debbie turn, but that was something that stood out to me while I was getting an inch-long Novocaine needle rammed into my gums repeatedly:  This isn't pain or discomfort. Pain is what the people who were just maimed by bomb shrapnel are feeling right now.

Dramatic? Maybe. But it worked to keep me calm at the time.

Alright, now back to the fun stuff. Novocaine! That stuff is supposed to be awesome, right?? Supposed to make your shit feel like... nothing at all! Well #oops, someone forgot to tell MY body that 28 years ago because no matter what the occasion I will consistently - like, crazy consistently - require 4-to-5 times the amount of Novocaine that anyone else seems to need. Know what that means? That means that the doctor will always always always begin working on me and I can still feel it. #Ouch.

This time was no exception - they needed to stop about 5 times throughout the procedure to re-shoot me with more Novocaine.

Another reason I don't like the dentist:  I have a pretty small mouth, as it turns out (hence the crowded teeth situation). The normal tools that a dentist will use to prop a patient's mouth open are too big for me, resulting in a "holy crap I swear to God my jaw is about to break" sensation. I made them take that prop out within about 3 minutes because I truly was worried that they might accidentally break my jaw. I'm not kidding. At one point during the surgery, the surgeon told me five times in a row to open my mouth - it was already open as far as it would go - and then asked me if I could HEAR her. I literally pointed to my mouth and shrugged. That was my nonverbal way of communicating to her, "Bitch, I can't unhinge my jaw for you. This is as wide as it goes. #WorkWithIt."

Remember that problem that I described earlier, about how the odd angle of the wisdom tooth made it hard for a toothbrush to finagle its way into that crevice? Turns out that that same odd angle made it equally as trying to get a "tooth-yanker-outer" in there to remove the tooth easily. The result? The surgeon needed to crack my poor tooth into several pieces and then dig each piece out one by one. I'm just glad I didn't have to watch this part, though I did get to hear it... plus feel the pressure of the doctor using all of the muscles in her entire tiny body to rip the pieces of my tooth out of my jaw. I hope she took herself outside for a cigarette afterwards.

At the end of the bloody battle - you know the point at which the dentist usually says something awesome to you like, "You've been such a good girl. Here is a lollypop, a coupon for unlimited ice cream, and a bunch of pain killers" - my oral surgeon looked at me and said... "So you have Motrin at home, right?"

FML. You mean the same medicine that handles my menstrual cramps? You want that to suffice here, now that you've literally dug a hole into my gums and sewn it back up with what can only be described as dental floss and a fish hook? Swell.

No, literally... my face is swelling up.

Before leaving the office I requested that they let me keep my tooth, now in four distinct pieces. I didn't think it was a strange request, but they were very clearly taken aback for an instant before the dental assistant slid the bloody bits into a tiny ziplock bag for me. I tried to explain my logic, which went as follows: "That stupid tooth has been causing me so much grief for so long [please see points 1-3 from earlier in this blog] that I deserve to look it in its face." But the entire left side of my face was completely numb from being shot up with about a gallon of Novocaine, so it probably came out more like, "Blehhhhh. Drool."

Anyway, here's the little SOB now - what, you thought I wasn't going to include a pic of my tooth here in this blog? Come on.

picture of extracted wisdom tooth
.  and yes, of course i've tried to put it back together  .
.  like all great puzzles, it's missing some pieces  .

What an adventure, huh!? Well it's not over yet; I am definitely still recovering. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday my diet was strictly beverages, ice cream, luke-warm soup, and a steady flow of Tylenol/Motrin/amoxicillin. I started chewing things on Monday and have been struggling to chew things ONLY on the right side of my mouth ever since. It's a real - how you say? - bitch. It makes eating slower and actually tasting my food a lot trickier. I've also been swishing pretty often with salty water and icing my face with an ice pack. The ice isn't doing anything for the swelling at this point (I still look like I have a serious jowl situation going on, on the left side of my mouth), but it helps to ease the soreness each time my medicine wears off.

And the medicine seems to wear off constantlyyyyyy. In the interim between the time that the meds wear off and the next dose kicks in, I turn into a whiny little bitch. Like.... actually whimpering out loud. It sucks, but statistics imply that I'll probably make it through this alive. Especially since I'm taking my antibiotics every 8 hours like a good girl.

So in conclusion.... one wisdom tooth down, three to go!


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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Not A Bad Day for the Vancouver Sun Run

On Sunday Vancouver hosted its annual Sun Run, a 10k race that I'm told is the largest 10k race in Canada. It sure freaking was large - there were way more people running than I would have expected. The weather that day couldn't decide if it wanted to be rainy or sunny, but I managed to head outside during one of the sunny periods to grab some on-the-go breakfast and snap some pictures.

This is the kind of day it was, while the sun was shining:

As I headed east on Cornwall Ave, approaching Burrard St., I could see hoards and hoards of people running over the Burrard Bridge and heading south on Burrard.

Traffic was blocked off on the entire bridge, so the whole width of the bridge was filled with people running and walking. I really had NO idea that so many people would be participating in the Sun Run!! There were runners/walkers as far as the eye could see in each direction.

.  view of the mountains (back) and city (middle)  .
.  tiny view of Sun Run runners on pacific ave (bottom)  .

.  view heading south on burrard bridge  .
.  molson factory in upper left  .
This guy was awesome. He was hanging out on the east sidewalk of the Burrard Bridge, cheering on runners and holding a poster that reads HIGH FIVE STATION. I knew it was written in letters that were too thin to show up in a picture from across the street, but I needed to capture it anyway!

While I was hanging out on the bridge I glanced over towards the English Bay and noticed two bald eagles chilling in the branches of my favorite tree:

Heading back towards home, I couldn't resist stopping to admire a particular stretch of cherry blossom trees at the corners of Cornwall and Burrard:

Then I stood under it and shit got weird for a little while: 

Here are some other pretty things I saw while walking home:

This is the entire Sun Run 10K race course - it goes all around the city, through a little bit of Stanley Park, across the Burrard Bridge, around a stretch of the southern portion of False Creek, north over the Cambie Bridge, concluding at BC Place Stadium:

Not too long after I took these pictures, it began to rain - as it does around here. But I bet no one running the race minded ;)

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

New Header for My Blog!


OH no biggie, I just had a brand new header designed for my blog. THAT'S ALL.

It's so exciting to have this new touch on top of my blog - the first thing that people see when they arrive at About a month ago I started playing around in my paint programs, trying to create a header myself with my limited, juvenile graphic skills. What resulted was a word cloud banner - which is what was on top of my blog for the last few weeks.

But honestly... I hated it. The colors weren't right, the font was cheap looking, and I hated the fact that it looked like it was made by someone who had no graphic design skills. Which was accurate, because the most graphics experience I really have is putting my friend Nigel's face onto the bodies of the Jonas Brothers, like so:
jonas brothers
.  not bad though, right?  .
With my disdain for the stupid word cloud header growing by the day, I decided to do something very mature and grown-up:  I hired someone to make a header for me. Hoozah!

I turned to Crystal, who keeps the blog SweatShirtDressShirt. One of my favorite things about Crystal's blog is her graphics style - she puts such creative touches on her images! I knew she had a flare for putting an interesting spin on things, so she was the first and only person I reached out to, when it came to finding someone to design my blog's header for me. Actually I had no idea if she was even available to hire for freelancing, but thought there was no harm in asking. Lucky for me, she was interested!

After a few emails back and forth to answer questions about my personal style and images/colors I fancy, Crystal got to work putting together some ideas for me. She'd send me a couple of versions and I'd write her back with a few tweaks and she'd send me another couple versions. In nearly no time at all - it seems - she sent me a version that really pleased me. That is the version you see above!

It was a pleasure to work with Crystal and there's a good chance I'll reach out to her again in the future as I spruce up other parts of my blog space. Her SweatShirtDressShirt button is now firmly lodged in the right margin of my blog, if you want to click over to her and check her out. You can browse through her blogs and get inspired by her graphics too!

My blog space is still a work in progress, but it is slowly becoming something I'm more proud to call my own :)

What do you think of zee new lewk?

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Homemade Turkey Burgers That Don't Suck

It's no secret that preparing food is nearly as bothersome for me as getting a tooth pulled (more on the tooth thing in a future post), but UGH our existence depends upon sustenance so I suppppoooooose I'll make some food every once in awhile. And I suppppppooooooose for David's sake, that food shouldn't always just be pasta and sauce. 

Typically I hate cooking meat or poultry. The idea of getting my fingers all up in some raw chicken or beef with all those nasty stringy ligament-looking things popping out to frighten me... well I just am not into it. Sometimes I'm able to put the gross thoughts on the proverbial backburner long enough to make a meat-based dinner. Here's how I make turkey burgers that don't suck at all.

homemade turkey burger recipe
Mince up some garlic - 2-3 cloves per pound of meat - and chop up as much onion as you like. In a bowl, hand mix these ingredients with a pound of lean ground turkey. Add salt 'n pepa and mix it up again. You can even add some chili powder if you want to. Next, form as many patties as you can with your mixture. The number will obviously depend upon how large you're making them. I made all sorts of sizes - look at me go:
turkey burgers at home
.  oh that little guy? >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> ^^ .
.  i wouldn't worry about that little guy  .
Make yourself some bacon as an additional burger topping, if that tickles your fancy. It tickled mine. Look at all the condiments I've prepped for the occasion:

condiments for turkey burger
.  and no, i don't mean the bourbon in the back  .
Heat up some olive oil in a pan on medium high. When the oil is hot enough, throw ya patties on! JK, place them gently.

Look at all the other delicious things I've got as toppings for my turkey burger:

avocado, tomatoes and romaine lettuce on a cutting board
.  avocado, tomatoes, romaine  .

turkey burger with lettuce and cheese

Things were relatively healthy till now, but then I added a little bit of cheddar cheese to the situation.

Cue the bacon.

And sour cream.

And French fries.

turkey burger with bacon, lettuce, tomato, cheese, avocado, french fries, sour cream, jalapenos

And look at my tiny side burger:

turkey burger slider
.  mini side burger  .

turkey burger slider with sour cream, jalapeno and avocado
.  cheddar, avocado, jalapeno, sour cream, chili powder  .

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