Weekend Easter Edition

This past weekend  we had some extra time so my husband and I decided it would be a great opportunity to head to Toronto to see some friends. Leaving right after work Thursday we arrived early and were still able to hang out with our hosts and give them their Easter baskets.

Easter Drive

I figured I should take advantage of Toronto being a much warmer city than Ottawa I decided to tackle my long slow run Friday morning. Rarely having the opportunity to run in a new city it is always so much fun to lace up and hit the pavement to see what is around.  It somehow always makes the run go bye so incredibly fast because everything is something new to see. The only downfall of the bigger was there way more interference with my Nike+ sports watch and it took about 2 km for it to finally pick up a signal. So besides that minor blip on my run everything went well and I was able to get in a nice 8 km loop before we started the day. 

After my run Friday we had a quick bite to eat to tide us over for our 7 km walk to meet some friends for lunch at C’est What.  The service maybe wasn’t the most awesome out there, but the food was amazing and our waitress was sweet so it made up for anything that was lacking.  After lunch we had all decided that it was so beautiful outside that we should attempt to find a patio somewhere to keep the hang out going.  After chasing the sun for a couple of hours we all decided it was time to go home to begin preparing for the evening. FriendsCollage

That evening, our wonderful hosts taking into consideration my eating habits and all of my dietary restrictions made us an amazing meal of avocado chicken, quinoa and steamed broccoli.  The meal literally couldn’t have been better suited for me and it was delicious, definitely a recipe I am going to steal.

Saturday was filled with Dim Sum and shopping, and ended with some more relaxed hang outs and watching hockey night in Canada.  To all my Edmonton friends out there…did you see the Oilers game?!?

After a wonderful weekend with friends it was time to get back on the road and head home to Ottawa, the trek back is never a fun one but it is always so worth it.  Thank you to all of our friends that made our weekend so great and we hope to see you all again really soon.

Happy Monday everyone! 

How did you spend your Easter long weekend?

Just a little side note to everyone in the Gingersneezes Run Club, today is our first run!  Hope to see you all there! 

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Let’s get Moving Monday

After a glorious holiday, a lazy week of getting back into our timezone and an added 7 pounds it is time to get back on track. All the beer, delicious oil and butter filled food, and the other deep fried wonders, I have definitely been stoked to get back to eating a diet dominant in veggies and lean meats, and the farmers market always makes that so easy.
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Farmer’s market haul from this weekend.

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Delicious scallop and red kale salad created courtesy of the farmers market.

Having made the step to start eating more delicious and healthy foods, the next step really is to make sure to get moving more regularly, again. Yes, going on a run was one of the first things I did when I returned from the UK, and yes I have been hitting up my PHY as well as dabbling in some videos a friend shared with me, but it is time to get serious.

Generally I dread this part. I normally find it more difficult to get back on track than it is to start everything in the first place. I think it has something to do with feeling like you are starting from ground zero even though it really has only been a couple of weeks. But those couple of weeks make a difference, I know the first kick butt workout I do is going to do just that…kick my butt, in the best way possible. The other reason I think it is more difficult to start up again is the internal struggle against convincing yourself you failed the first round.

To fight the urge to put myself down and convince myself that I have failed I generally slowly gear back up to my routine. So in the past week I made sure to bring my running gear with me to work, so I could sneak in two lunch time runs, and then on PHY day I made sure to bring my yoga mat so I could get a little yoga class in. Little triumphs make me feel like I haven’t failed, but rather that I am succeeding. So instead of feeling the daunting weight of getting back into the grove, I have the opportunity to feel pride and success for the small accomplishments I have made while getting back into my routine.

Approaching such a daunting task in this manner makes me feel motivated and more amped then ever to get back on track and start working out as hard as I ever had. It also gives me the opportunity to start cutting out caffeine without having to go through mad withdrawals. When I stop working out my coffee intake goes from a cup a week to at least one a day, and I am really not a coffee drinker.

So today marks day 1 of starting up again. This round I will be attempting to complete the 60day Insanity plan. I probably won’t 100% be following the food recommendations but I will do my best, and will definitely be following the workout plan. Also during this time I will be exploring the glory of a juicer, I will let you know what works for me and what doesn’t (celery I am looking at you!) in some upcoming posts so stay tuned.

Have a great Monday!

*Disclaimer: I have yet to actually try the insanity plan, and obviously don’t advocate anyone getting into an intense workout without checking with their doctor first. I will share my opinion of this plan as I work my way through it.

Cloudy Weather Adventures – Edinburgh

And we did it, we made it to our last visiting destination for our last 6 days of vacation.  Edinburgh started off a little rocky with a rain storm that seemed like it would never end and flooded surrounding businesses, but the main thing that slowed us down for a couple of days consisted of food poisoning and digestion revolts.

Our first two days in Edinburgh were a bit more laid back than we had planned but at the same time it was nice to get a little lazy in there, and we did manage to get out for a couple hours on the second day once my husband’s food illness had subsided (poor guy).   I mean heck we got to watch some TV and that is always a treat for those of us who don’t have cable.

So here are some photos of our adventures.  Please note that as the vacation went on our diligence with photo taking got worse and worse, but I think we will be able to sum it up nicely with the photos we have.

So here we are in the Grass Market, it is right below the giant hill at the top of which is the castle so naturally we asked some other tourists if they would help us out with a photo in exchange for us taking their photo. That is the hardest part of traveling as a couple, all the photos end up being only one of you or those glorious head shots. But here it is proof that we were both there.

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As mentioned on day two we headed over to the Royal Botanical Gardens. I am not sure what I was expecting, but I was a little let down, although it would have been a beautiful place for a run. The paths were gravel and most were shaded, not that sun was a problem while we were there, I just thought it would be a nice place for a run. Here is a giant hedge/tree thing, it was interesting.

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In the gardens I did make a little friend. He was friendly considering how rough he actually looked up close, I guess even feral cats need love.

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We did some shopping – This I have no photos of but it was alright, we mainly went shopping because I was convinced I would be going to the yoga studio down the street so I needed some clothing to do that in.  The studio was cute looking, and provided you with day passes instead of a class pass, slightly more expensive but fun to know you could go all day long if you wanted. But enter digestion issues and although I knew that yoga would probably help work things out, moving that much turned my stomach so I opted for the light activity of walking around and shopping in the rain.

We also checked out the National Gallery which was lovely, and then something a little more modern, Camera Obscura. Camera Obscura although definitely geared towards families and children was a lot of fun. Towards the end there was a mirror maze and probably a giant “vortex” tunnel, which was hilarious. The tunnel totally throws your balance off so walking through it gets a little challenging. Here are some photos we took of the crazy mirrors, and what I will call the space room.
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One of the fun things about Edinburgh was that my sister has a friend going to school out there and lucky for us she was incredible. She provided us with a list of places to check out that weren’t in guide books, and she took the time out of her crazy schedule to grab a drink with us at a hidden little bar. Now the bar definitely wasn’t a huge secret because it was completely packed, but you sure did need to know where you were going.

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Can you spot the bar? Although slightly easier when there was a door person standing out front, if it hadn’t been for directions from Carmen as well as a waitress at another pub we would have never found it. (oh, it is under the dry cleaners, there are stairs going down, they are going to the bar). Anyways, this place served up some of the most delicious cocktails ever! Here is just one example.

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While enjoying these drinks it was stressed to us how much we needed to go and check out this place called Demijohn, and boy are we glad we did. The next morning it was our mission to find this place and taste test some of their homemade alcohols and vinegars. Once we arrived it was so overwhelming and exciting we totally forgot about the oils and vinegars and were captivated by the creativity of flavours, and packaging of the vodka, gin, brandy and scotch. With options like cucumber vodka, rhubarb vodka, cherry, orange gin, and the list just keeps going it was hard to keep your head from spinning off. All of their products were made with the best of the best, sourced and distilled in the regions known for the best of each product, and then brought over to their stores when things were ready for selling. The staff was incredible, and just everything about this place was great, if you are ever in the area definitely stop in.

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Now what else? We of course did go and see the Edinburgh castle, but I definitely wouldn’t say it was a highlight, at 16pounds for entry and not being allowed into half of the buildings I would recommend that if you are interested in seeing a castle to go on a tour to the Sterling Castle, which is what we did from Glasgow, but the same tour operates out of Edinburgh if you are interested.

For our last meal before heading home we decided it should be on the nicer side of things and decided to stop off at a seafood restaurant. It looked huge from the outside but only sat probably 50 people. The menu looked great and our server was sweet. Seeing this was our honeymoon we both opted for the lobster, with my husband deciding on the special seafood platter which was WAY bigger than we had imagined.

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So that pretty much sums up our adventures.  Now it is back to regular life and work and working out, and healthy eating.  Which to be honest I am stoked on (minus the work part that is).  I am excited to get back to running and yoga, and I am excited to be going to the farmers market and making up delicious and healthy meals for myself and my husband – although I doubt he is as excited as I am about all the vegetables.

Well happy Monday everyone! Have a great week.

Lets Get into the Plaid – Glasgow

Part two of the honeymoon begins in Glasgow.  First impressions, pretty neat city, so easy to get around and figure out where you are even if you forget a map, good shopping, and some great pubs.

We arrived in Glasgow the day before Canada day and figured it would be a good idea to check out if there were any fellow Canadian’s looking to celebrate. As it turns out there was one individual and they were throwing a party the day before Canada day seeing there was a big soccer (football) game (Spain vs. Italy – Italy was slaughtered) the following day. So like good Canadian’s we made sure to hop on over to the local pub and participate in some Canada celebrations.

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The poutine smelt revolting but it is the effort that counts, and hey maybe it tasted better than it looked.

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Out of Glasgow we booked a Scotch tour with Rabbie Tours, it was sweet. Our tour guide George was incredible and told us stories the whole day long. We went to Stirling Castle;

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Here is some of the awesome paintings in the Kings Dinning Hall:
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Check out the nearby cemetery, it was all old and awesome.
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And then we stopped by the Doune Castle for a photo op. If any of you out there are fans of Monty Python this is the castle in which there were catapulted cows.

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And here is a hairy cow…apparently a very popular tourist attraction.
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We then ventured over to the distillery, unfortunately no photography was allowed so I am unable to bring you photos of this. It was pretty neat, although when we went they weren’t making anything, it was their “quiet season” or something of the sort. It was still pretty interesting to see how everything is made and to get a bit of a background on booze making. I am not a fan of scotch so my husband reaped the benefits of that.
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One evening we decided to go out for a nicer dinner (instead of a pub) and discovered that Scottish oysters are pretty much the size of your face!!! Delicious and gigantic.
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After some more exploring and checking out the internet we came across this dirty little gem.  Staying true to their name, this bar/pub was nothing fancy, we just went for some drinks and were pleasantly surprised. The walls were decorated with drawings, words and other vulgar items, the bar just felt like home, a dirty home but a home none the less.
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The next day we left for Edinburgh, the stay in Glasgow was amazing but we had more fun ahead of us.

Happy Thursday, more updates to come.

Update Time – Ireland

Here is a little update via photos of the past two and a half weeks.  It has been nuts, it has wonderful, it has been super fun and here are some photos to recap. I hope you all enjoy.

It all started with some wedding rings and my protective charm necklace…superstitious maybe but my sister gave it to me and said it would protect me, now it comes along everywhere I travel.
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Now enter the amazing plane food. First class is definitely the way to fly…too bad I will never be able to afford it any time soon. Champagne before take off!!
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I mean look at that salad people!

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Soon we made it to Ireland, it was wonderful. Full of sweet people, fun things to check out, and great music, and so many pubs it was hard choosing which one to go, so seeing we were lucky enough to have a sunny day we went on a walk to the local park.
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Before another full day of exploring we started our day off healthy with some granola, greek yogurt and some banana.
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And this glorious candy shop!! It was like I had fallen into Willy Wonk and the Chocolate Factory. There was so much to choose from my head spun.
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And the stocks outside of a wax museum. Wax museum by the way is the creepiest thin in life.
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It was pretty hard to pick which pictures to put up but this gives a pretty good idea of what our time in Ireland resembled. I will follow up with Scotland in the next couple of days.

Surprise!!!

Several months in the making this weekend couldn’t have turned out better!

The weather cooperated, the faces they were surprised, and the company was incredible!  This past Thursday on the 19th of April my sister turned 30, which in my books is a pretty big deal.
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Friday after work I made my way to the airport and then onto Edmonton to surprise my sister. I hadn’t been back to Edmonton since my other sister got married a few years back so it was pretty fun to see Edmonton and St. Albert again,and see how the city has transformed, but anyways.

So my brother and his girlfriend picked me up from the airport and the plotting of ideas began. There were so many ways of surprising her so we narrowed down which one would be the best. It was decided that my dad would pick me up the following morning and bring me over to her house, under the guise of needing some computer help. Then BLAMO surprise! The surprise was great, the look of shock and confusion on her face was just priceless, and I can’t believe I didn’t have my camera out to take a picture.

The rest of the weekend was action packed family fun and we started off with some girl shopping. Although the West Edmonton Mall is overwhelming to say the least it was great getting those extra hours with sisters, my brother’s girlfriend and my mom were all worth it. And heck I got to see the big ship in the middle of the mall again!
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In my opinion the weekend ended too quickly and my visit was too short, but my last day was packed with fun and memories. My morning started off with a run with my dad, this was probably one of the biggest highlights. As a kid I used to run with my dad all the time, so getting to go on a 5k with him around the city I grew up in was one of the most fun things I have done in a while.
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All in all it was great weekend!  One that I can’t wait to repeat in two months when I get married and have my family with me again!