Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Product Review: Yeti Rambler 20

I was in desperate need to kick my starbucks habit and thought the Yeti Rambler might help me do that. While I was great at drinking tea I made in the morning, I was struggling with getting it after bootcamp running errands or running errands on other days.  I always craved a snack or something and that was always my first choice.  I needed to turn Starbucks into a treat not a daily necessity. 

MEC sold these locally but they were all the way downtown and I was here in the south and they charged for shipping since I wasn't at their minimum for free shipping.  So I went onto my best buddy Amazon Prime and there it was and it was like $2 cheaper then MEC and it would be delivered to my house for free in 2 days!  Gotta love Amazon Prime! Amazon didn't have a pink one so I assumed it didn't come in pink so I ordered it in seafoam which I truly do love but when I was on their website to try to register mine, it showed in pink and it was so pretty.  I don't think I can justify buying another one though haha.

It fits perfectly in my cup holder beside a water bottle and while I was worried it would be too big around for my hands, it seems to be doing the job perfectly.  One of my favorite things is the packaging that came with it.  They said it is good for palomas, coffee (tea), cold beer and arnold palmers.  Aside from using to transport my tea with me, all I could think about was how handy this yeti would be this summer camping and hiking hahaha.  It also says that it is good for on the go activities like deer leases, all of arizona and dry counties hahaha.  

My favorite feature is the lid and how it fits into the rambler but pushing it in and so it never leaks!!!.  There is probably a technical term for it but I have no idea what it is.  I have a Kate Spade one but the lid never goes on right and it leaks everywhere and I hate it.  I also have a gorgeous ceramic one from a starbucks in los angeles that I love but I worry constantly about dropping it and the ceramic gets hot when the tea is hot which I don't really like.  

It keeps my tea super hot for about 2 plus hours.  It might be longer then that but I am usually done by that point.  I took it to tech training on a Sunday morning and I made it around 8:15 and when I finished it just before 1030, it was still hot.  I also make tea before I leave for bootcamp and it is still hot when I finish class and have something to nourish me while I am out running errands.  

Yeti Ramblers are made with durable kitchen grade 18/8 stainless steel and it has a double wall vacuum insulation keeps drinks cold and hot to the last sip and so far, this has proven to be true. I have not tried the cold drinks though because I have more then enough water bottles to fill that need haha. 

I haven't had any starbucks since I purchased this rambler so that alone has more then paid for this purchase.  It also comes with a 5 year warranty which is pretty impressive, or so I thought. Unfortunately, even though I was on the international site, it only let me enter a USA address so I don't get the warranty.  Pretty disappointing.  

 I have wanted a yeti cooler for like forever but they are pretty expensive and Greg is frugal so he hopes that this curbs my want for one of those. It doesn't but I still love my yeti rambler just the same.  Go get yours now!!

Monday, 29 January 2018

Lululemon Seawheeze 2018 Entry

For the 2018 Lululemon Seawheeze, they did 2 new things: first, they moved it from their traditional month of August to September and they introduced a lottery system instead of using their website and eventbrite as they had in previous years.  Using a lottery system prevented problems that have occured on registration day since I started running it in 2014.  The first year I registered, it was still on their website and it crashed badly that morning in January and they closed registration and announced that they would be going to eventbrite to host the registration process in 2 weeks. I got into that race from our condo in Cancun with shady internet.  This was my first half marathon. I registered again for the 2015 and 2016 races without incident but again eventbrite kept crashing for other people and registered some people multiple times. For the 2017 race, registration was on a date that saw us in California but again I was luckily enough to get in.   Eventbrite saw an even bigger demand for registration and crashed big time causing even more people to not get in.   All these events and registration problems are what led to them implementing the lottery - or at least I am assuming that is why.  

When they announced the date of registration, rumours started rumbling that it was going to be a lottery process for entry.  Of course, this caused a huge stir in the lulu community and groups that I belong to with some hating the idea and some loving the idea.  I was on the fence mostly because I had never been involved in a lottery process for a race before.    On January 18th, Lululemon officially announced that they were indeed going to a lottery system and that registration for the non-guaranteed lottery into the race would be begin on January 25th at 10am pst and end on January 26th at 10am pst.  All those who were selected randomly in the first wave of registrants would be notified via email beginning at 4pm pst.   You had until midnight the following day you either accept or decline.  If you declined, the entry would be given to another person in a random draw on Sunday at 4pm pst and then every day until all spots had been filled.

I filled out the registration into the lottery on Thursday about 45 minutes after it opened as I went for lunch with my mom and Greg at The Eden in Inglewood (go check it out, it is divine).  You had to enter your name, email, what my goal was for 2018, how many Seawheezes I had run,  how many marathons I had ran, what running means to me in one word and my social media handles.  It was a pretty painless process and was hitting submit within minutes.  Now to wait and wait and then wait some more.

Going into the lottery drawing, I was fairly confident that while I would be disappointed that I wasn't selected in the lottery, I would be ok because I had a back up race weekend already planned for that same weekend. No matter what, I was running a race that Saturday with great friends, it was just a matter if it was in Canmore or Vancouver.  At least that is what I told myself.  That being said, that Friday was like the longest day ever.   I thought 5pm was never going to come but eventually it did, and at 5:04pm it finally came: 

As soon as I saw the email in my inbox on my iphone, I was so excited.  Greg was in the basement working on the basement and was hollering down at him trying to get his attention.  My mom thought someone died but I was just super excited that I got in.  Then I immediately texted my good friend Heather hoping she had gotten that same email and thank goodness she had.  I am not sure what I would have done had she not gotten in.  I am pretty confident that Greg would have just come down with me for a weekend or something.  At least we don't have to worry about that now.  Our hotel is booked and now all Heather and I have to do is watch for flights to Vancouver for that weekend.  

It has been a bittersweet weekend regarding the seawheeze and the lottery system.  While I am happy that Heather and I got in, I was sad that so many of my YYCWheezers didn't get in and friends that I have made through the race on social media. I know a lot of people are upset that they didn't get in and think they could have on the old system but the truth is, it is all about random luck anyways and who knows what would have happened had they used eventbrite again.  I am happy with the lottery system and I am not just saying that because I was able to get in this time either.  Greg has been suggesting that the race entry should be a lottery system for a year or two now to make it fair and to get rid of the crashing of registration platforms.  My only complaint about the lottery system is that you should have been able to register in groups of 2 - 4 or something since this is a destination race for many involved.  The old Nike runs did a lottery system but allowed group registration because it was a similar race with great demand that people travelled far to come to.  Hopefully Lululemon fixes this for next year, but overall I am happy to have had a (mostly) stress free registration day and that I got in.  

See you soon Vancouver!!!

Friday, 26 January 2018

XC Skiing - Mt. Shark in Kananaskis

Nearly 2 weekends ago on a Sunday after the girls finished their technical training, we headed off to Kananaskis to do some cross country skiing. While it was not the most pleasant day in Calgary, it turned out to be pretty wonderful out there.

Greg picked Mt. Shark which is in Spray Lakes Provincial Park. It has a shooting range there if you want to practice your biathalon.  There were athletes training for what i am assuming was the olympics but no gun shots were heard.

It was really busy with tons of cross country skiers taking advantage of a pretty day in the mountains.  I loved that it had such great tracks to ski on too.  This is the only photo I got of Greg and the girls skiing today because once we got through the trees ahead, all i could see was hills and hills and more hills. I don't do hills and my logic for that was and still is that if I wanted to go downhill skiing, I would go downhill skiing. I can barely control myself on flat terrain and going down hill is a huge disaster.  I lack the control and fearless attitude that Finley + Penelope seem to possess.  I am terrified of falling and hurting myself in a bad manner that will prevent from running.  Running is my thing and I refuse to do anything to compromise that since I am pretty good as it is getting myself injured. I don't know how to slow down and I end up getting faster and faster and the only way I know how to slow down or stop is by falling.  I have literally fallen down every single hill I have attempted to ski down.  It is not fun.  The alternative to not skiing down the hills is taking your skis off and walking down the hill and then because I still can't ski up the hill, I have to keep the skis off and walk up the hill.  Carrying skis and poles that are taller than you up and down the hills is not fun by any stretch.  So I had a hissy fit and Greg and the girls skied on and did the loop while I stayed back.  Definitely not my finest moment by a longshot. 

So basically I skied from the top of the hill where I should have gone and then back to the parking lot.  It wasn't so bad because I had such beautiful trees like this to look at.  We left the city just after 10:30 and got here around 12:30, so it was about a 2 hour drive.  We ate lunch in the car before we got going. We finished up around 330 and managed to beat the ski hill traffic home!

And this!!  Seriously, Mt. Shark is a beautiful place to ski or hike or just hang out.  There is a lodge at the turn off into the area and although I didn't see it, I bet it is pretty awesome.  And I can't even imagine the views that you would get looking out your window.

This was the view I faced when skiing back towards the parking lot.  The tracks aren't the best coming back this direction and kinda disappear because most people go around the trees but I know it ends with a hill so I didn't attempt it hahah.  The tracks you see all in a row is where the really good skiers and those that compete warm up and check the wax on the skis.

And here is me during one of my loops. I was way overdressed when I started and significantly reduced my layers soon after I started. When you just keep going, you can really heat up.  I ended up doing just over 7km of skiing by the time Greg and the girls finished up.  Despite me not finishing the loop with the girls, we all ended up enjoying ourselves and the nice weather.  It definitely was not nice when we got back to Calgary so I am glad we did get out of the city for a few hours.  If you are looking for a place to ski, definitely check this place out!

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Share Your Sparkle

I had wanted a pair of Hillberg + Berk earrings like forever but I never pulled the trigger because it was too much money to spend to not be able to wear them.  I used to be able to wear earrings no problem but one year for our anniversary while we were dating, Greg bought me a pair of earrings from a jeweller in Saskatoon. Unfortunately, they destroyed my ears and I have never been able to wear earrings since.  I did wear a pair of pearls for my wedding but they didn't stay in very long.  When I was home for Christmas, my sister mentioned that she wanted to buy a pair and I said I wish I could wear them. She told me that she hadn't heard of anybody having problems with them so when I got back to Calgary I made the decision to make the plunge. 

The earrings shipped super quick which made me super happy.  I ordered them Wednesday night and I had them Friday morning.  They were coming from Regina so I didn't expect it to take too long.  I was so excited to open up the box and see my earrings.

When I opened the box I was obsessed with the pretty glitter paper that the earrings were wrapped in.  I love when companies make the extra effort to ship the earrings out in such a beautiful way.  Then I noticed on the inside of the box there was a quote from the CEO of Hillberg + Berk and I was surprised that her name was not Hillberg or Berk. I tried to find out how she came up with it but their website didn't provide me with any of that information.  

I think one of my favorite things about this company, aside from the fact that they are based out of Saskatchewan and are full of sparkle, is that purchases help fuel their purpose to inspire sparkle in the world through the empowerment of women.  Each year, Hillberg + Berk develop initiatives and partnerships dedicated to helping women lead amazing lives.  

The ones I chose to purchase were the Pink Hope Sparkle Ball Studs made to help women capture their sparkle while helping a great cause at the same time.  10% of all proceeds from the sale of these earrings go to directly to the Canadian Cancer Society.  They are definitely more pink in real life then they were online but I still love them very much.  I have worn them  3 or 4 times and so far my ears have been responding well.  If I wear them too long they start to itch and I have to take them out.  Thankfully, it has always happened near or at the end of the day so it has worked out well.  If my ears continue to respond positively to the studs then maybe another time I will get a pair of white ones or something haha.  

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

A Blogging Break + Walking To School For The First Time

We tried to fix it via Shaw Help's twitter feed which is usually the best way to talk to someone from Shaw but it didn't work.  Greg and I were both pretty sure that it was our modem that was done and needed to be replaced.  It was the same modem that we had since we got wireless for the first time and I think that was either right after we moved to Calgary or after we got married.  I just can't remember which.  Regardless, it was old. 

Shaw sent out a technician to fix it yesterday and our time was between 8+10.  This meant 2 things: 1) I would have to miss bootcamp and 2) my kids would have to walk to school.  Alone.  I was not ready for this.   We walk to + from school every day together and they bike around the block alone all the time so I knew they would be fine with it. 

But they were ready.  And so excited.  I was worried about Penelope not listening to Finley and taking off.  I told her that if she was bad on the way to school and didn't listen to her sister then she would lose her ipad for a month.  I think she was just so excited to walk to school alone that she was very well behaved.   I took several photos of them  before they left and knew exactly what they were wearing from their head to their toes incase something bad happened.  I knew nothing would but you just don't know. 

I walked outside in the driveway and saw them walk away.  I was worried that they wouldn't make it which is ridiculous.  The school usually has electronic phone calls and emails that go out to missing students around 9:40 and I swear my stomach hurt until then.  Thankfully at that time, Shaw's technician showed up and distracted me from it for the rest of the day.

So it turns out that Greg and I were right and our modem was toast.  The technician was surprised to see how old it actually was haha.  He said he could probably get it working but decided to give us a new one instead.  Yay!!  We also moved it out our basement storage room and into our bonus room.  We were going to ask him to do that because our wifi connection in our bonus room and bedroom is not great.  but he suggested it because he was like your best wifi connection is wasted in the storage room haha.  He did say that because the modem was in the bonus room, there may be some dead spots in our basement.  I went for a bike ride yesterday and I was able to use my ipad but it cut out a few times and if I got any kind of notifications on my iphone then it also caused the ipad to stop streaming.  The technician also said that we could hook up our other router in the basement and it wouldn't interfere with the bonus room set up and would provide us with internet in the basement.  Just another project to do.  Hopefully this solves all the internet problems we have had for the last few years.  

I picked the girls up from school on Monday and they were disappointed I was there.  They were hoping that they were going walk home alone too haha.  At least I know i have options to send them alone should something ever come up.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Friday Favorites: #10

The first edition of Friday Favorites is all over the place hahaha

First off, I left the zipper open on my clutch that I was using and lost my drivers license + library cards but somehow my debit + credit cards stayed in. No idea how that happened!  I was really annoyed when I lost my library card because I have had that same number for 12 years and now I have to get a new one and change my cpl app log in and my desktop saved stuff.  Buttttt then I saw that I could pick whatever colour of card I wanted and that made me happy.  I love mustard yellow so picked this one.  So much nicer than the ugly blue one I used to have!

I love garlic bread so much but unfortunately all the butter on it makes me super sick so I can't ever really eat it so I was happy to have discovered a healthier and tastier than the stuff you can buy premade at your local grocery store and it takes less than 5 minutes from beginning to end. First, you must have a baguette or french bread.  I usually buy the day of or night before otherwise it goes rock hard and not edible.  I cut in like shown above and spread some olive oil over it.  I put it in the oven on broil at whatever the default temperature is and leave it about a minute or until lightly browned. You can flip it and cook another minute or so but I don't do that.  I pull it out of the oven and then i take a garlic clove and rub it all over the hot bread and then serve.  It is delicious and perfect for pasta, salads and soups.  You can thank me later :)

I bought the tea canister from Winners in November or maybe early December and I love it so much.  I had been looking for a matching smaller sized sugar canister to put beside it but then I found the polka dot one at Home Sense and bought that instead that way it wasn't too matchy matchy and besides I can't resist a good polka dot print on anything hahaha.  

I saw a post on someone's instagram account that had a photo of their kids' room and they used these canvas bins from IKEA to store laundry and toys and I loved them.  So on my next visit there, I bought 2 of them since I needed a new one and Greg's was falling apart.  I love the striped pattern and they are the perfect size and for those like me who have to haul their laundry up and down flights of stairs, the handles are fantastic.  I recently just bought a second one for Greg who likes to keep his skiing clothes separate from his regular laundry mostly because I get mad when I come in our room and see all the laundry of his that I just picked up all over the floor because he was looking for stuff.  I suggested owning more clothes but he thought the $12 bin was a better solution haha.  They still have them so go check them out if you are looking for storage that looks cool and not like it belonged to your grandma unless that is your style haha. 

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

XC Skiing in Calgary

We have come to really enjoy cross country skiing but don't really have the time to drive out to Banff and back to get it done with soccer consuming all of our weekends now until mid March so we were excited to see that you can go skiing at local golf courses around the city. 

On New Years Day, we headed to Maple Ridge Golf Course in the southeast part of the city.  The girls had been here 2x already and Greg comes here often in the evening to ski with his buddy so it was only a new experience for me haha. The thing I like most about cross country skiing is that it is flat.  Or at least it is supposed to be.  I mean, if I wanted to ski up and down a hill, wouldn't I do downhill skiing??  This xcs trail had a bunch of hills which is why I had avoided it thus far. 

We did just under 5k of skiing but you can go longer or shorter depending on what you want to do.  When we started we immediately had to go up a hill which annoyed me but I figured it out eventually how to get up it.  It remained flat for awhile but then we encountered a huge hill (imo) where both girls went down it without a second thought.  I on the other hand, panicked about getting hurt or something so I took my skis off and walked down it haha.

This was the girls after they got down the big hill while I debated what to do hahah.  After I walked down to the bottom of the hill, I put my skis back on and skied on.  Eventually I caught up with Greg and the girls as they waited for me on the top of another hill.  This time, there were 2 options: the big (imo) hill that they were going down, or a flat way around.  I chose the flat way around but it wasn't really flat and there was a hill I had to go down which did not make me happy.  I panicked big time but eventually made it down as slow as i could go.  I hate that I gain momentum when going down the hill but can't yet figure out how to go down slowly haha.  This put me in the lead with Finley close behind. We did come to yet another hill and I went down without even thinking about it haha and survived.  Greg and the girls were proud haha.  

After being in a deep freeze for what felt like forever, it finally warmed up enough for us to get outside and not freeze to death. We went just before lunch and although it was still - 15 outside when we started, it felt like summer compared to what we had had previously.  We only encountered 2 other skiers while we were out but when we were getting our skies off it was getting really busy and it had warmed up substantially. I think the entire city of Calgary had cabin fever after the cold spell haha.  Apparently it was the coldest we had been since March 2, 2014 which incidentally was/is Greg's birthday.

Greg + Penelope took a short cut back to the car while Finley and I continued on.  We didn't go the same way that they went last time to avoid even bigger hills apparently which made me happy.  It was cool to be skiing alongside Deerfoot but I didn't like the noise that came from it.  You could hear it before you could see it and it took away from the peacefulness that you had prior.  It was around here that I wiped out hard.  Finley called it a surprise fall because usually you have a feel if you are going to fall but I had nothing.  I fell hard and fast and had no idea how or why it happened.  I hurt and it was a painful ski back to the finish.  Thankfully it wasn't anything serious and didn't last too long.  

It was a fun few hours skiing within the city especially since it was finally nice out.  We were there this past weekend too with some friends and it was really icy out and I didn't really enjoy myself. I fell lots, I lost control so many times and once I crashed into Jack who was pulling Helene!  Thank god Jack knows what he is doing haha

If you are into xc skiing and are looking for a place to ski in the south, definitely check it out.  It is free and open 24 hours a day but there is no lights but if you have a headlight it does the trick.  I have never gone after dark but Greg claims the lights from deerfoot help a lot.  

Monday, 8 January 2018

TBB Asks!

  1.  I don't really do resolutions but I do set goals for myself so depending on one's perspective, they could be one in the same or completely different.  Most of my goals are related to my fitness numbers and being better then I was last year.
  2. I hate snow unless we are in the mountains.  I don't care how pretty it is or if we have a brown christmas, I really hate snow.  I hate shoveling it, I hate running in it, I hate driving in it, I hate how it melts and everything turns to ice. 
  3. I am hoping to get into the SeaWheeze for the fifth straight year so lets say I hope to get to Vancouver this year!!
  4. I wish I was brave enough to go like white blonde or white grey or some funky hair colour but I just cannot pull that off and I never stray too far from blonde highlights when I get my hair done so I will have to say hair cut.  I have been braver and bolder recently and I look forward to what I decide to do this year.
  5. When I think of something special for myself that I would like to do this year, I think it would be like a spa day somewhere or go to one of those flotation places.  I think that would be really fun to do. 
  6. My least favorite thing about January is that it is usually so cold and you are stuck inside but we have had some nice weather this month after a brutal end to December. Plus it tends to snow a lot in January and we all know how much I hate that unless it is in the mountains haha. 
  7. My most favorite think about January is that it is a brand new slate and really a fresh start.  I saw something on Instagram that said 365 new days, 12 new chapters and I really like that.  So much optimism in January!!
  8. I take down my christmas decorations usually on the 27th or whatever day we get back from Saskatchewan.  This year it was the 27th.  Greg hates that I take them down so early but I put them up starting right after remembrance day, so when the 27th rolls around, I was done. 
  9. I never diet but I try to eat better and drink less starbucks but never diet.
  10. My built in desk in my kitchen.  I organize it every Monday and by Tuesday you would think I have never touched the area.  I hate the whole thing altogether but it would be a lot of work to get rid of it and then what do you do with such an awkward space?  I would love for this area to get organized and stay that way forever. 
  11. My favorite winter comfort food.....hmm I think I have a couple haha and they are all made by Greg.  Beef Bourginon, homemade chicken or turkey or duck noodle soup and stew.  I don't really like stew but I like dumplings and Greg only makes dumplings with stew hahaha.
  12. Family Feud is hands down my favorite guilty pleasure.  My pvr records 2 episodes every day at 5pm and I usually watch them before I go to bed.  Sometimes I don't get a chance to watch them and then I have a marathon session when Greg is out or something haha.  It is my favorite tv show and I hope to one day be on it!!!

Friday, 5 January 2018

Google Home Mini

I ordered a google home mini on a black friday sale after seeing a commercial and decided we needed it.  It played music and you could send recipes to it and all kinds of fun stuff.  As it turns out, the commercial made it sound way better then what it was.  The girls love it and use it all the time so in that sense it was definitely worth the $40 I spent on it.  
  • The girls check the weather and time in New York (Penelope) and Paris (Finley) daily as well as here in Calgary.  
  • They love asking it for animal sounds - especially a fox.  
  • They get it to tell them jokes all the time and you can be specific with the type of joke it tells you.  Like if you want a math joke, you can say hey google tell me a math joke and it does.  The reason I used math as an example is because Greg always asks it for a math joke.  I hate math and would never do such a thing. 
  • You can tell it to add to your grocery list but it does it through the google home app which I then have to go through to get it onto my superstore click and collect app.  I wish it would sync to all apps not just the google supported ones. 
  • Apple got the google calendar app and I love it so much.  I use it to keep track of things digitally because I don't carry around my paper planner or calendar which are my favorites to use.  So I can ask google home what my day is like and it will tell me the weather, everything on my schedule and then gives me the latest news at a ear piercing volume.  
  • I can't stream my apple music on the google home mini and I find that to be infuriating. Apparently with the Home Mini, I can only stream from Google Play + Spotify.  Both have free streaming services but google's is awful and Spotify's is only slightly better.  Some research has shown me that the Amazon Echo is the same way in that you can only stream Amazon music but that would have worked better for me considering we have Amazon Prime and free access to their streaming services although I haven't been able to ever find the free music.  I wish this is something that they would change.  I also find it difficult to get her to actually play what I want her to play via spotify too. 
  • If you have a chromecast, this google mini works well for that which is really good for me considering I have no idea how to chrome using my iphone and the chromecast itself haha.  If you are not familiar with a chromecast, it is basically a little device that allows you to view various streaming service apps from your smart phone or tablet onto your tv.  
  • If you have the nest or ecobee for your furnace and lights it will work with that too. I would like to have stuff like that but Greg doesn't see the benefit of things like that. If you know him you will  understand what I mean when I say stuff like that hahaha.
  • Google home doesn't access Google Docs which is infuriating because that is where I store all of my recipes that I have collected over the years.  When you ask it to find a recipe on google docs it will give you some weird explanation on what it does and is.  
  • If you ask google for a recipe it will find you one.  I have noticed that it tends to always find ones from allrecipes.com and it makes me wonder if it is somehow connected to google but have yet to be bothered to do any research about it.  I have also noticed that when I am googling a recipe on my iphone, it will have a `send to google home` option which is kinda nice.  If you ask her to find a specific recipe from a specific website it does not or at least hasn't  yet for us.  It does do a really good job of reading the ingredients and instructions to you though.
  • The google home comes in handy when you are curious about something and can just ask them something and then they find it on the internet for you.  Sometimes it will say that it is doesn't understand and that it is still learning and sometimes it will surprise you and answer your question.  For example, we asked it how the dab came to be and it turns out it was originally started by a rap group out of Atlanta but made famous by Cam Newton, quarterback of the Carolina Panthers.  The more you know right?
There is probably more features that I haven't discovered yet but for now that is what we use it for.  If it could just stream apple music, I would be the happiest human around.  Or if I could make a youtube playlist and then have that streamed by the mini since I believe youtube is owned by google......perhaps some more research is needed haha. 

For $40, it isn't a terrible product but I certainly wouldn't pay a penny more for it then that.  I have friends who have multiple minis and the larger sized one and run their whole house through it but seeing as I how I am primarily apple based and refuse to change, I don't get as much use out of it as I thought I would.  I would love the Apple Home Pod or whatever it is called when it is released this year, but I saw that it was going to be sold for $349 USD which means even more $$$$ in Canada, which I think is just ridiculous.  My hope is that sales are low and prices get cut hahah because I think I am more better suited to that then this one.  

Do you have a google home system?  What do you love or hate about it?  Any special things it can do that I might not know aboutÉ

Thursday, 4 January 2018

2017 Books Read

  1. Forward by Abby Wambach - I loved this book so much. It blew my mind how much she didn't like soccer and how she abused her body throughout her soccer career.  She had a podcast for awhile but it doesn't seem to be around anymore.  This book is really good even if you are not into soccer at all. 
  2. You'll Grow Out Of It - Jessi Klein - Another good and funny read to start the new year off.  Klein is a comedian and comedy writer who has worked with and for Amy Schumer and Dave Chappelle - enough of a reason to read it but really it is really really good.  
  3. Body, Mind, Desire - Alexandra Jamieson - This was one of my favorite books in 2017.  It was part of a book club I was in and I am glad they chose it because I wouldn't have read it on my own and it was such a game changer for me.   It is definitely a book you should buy as I recently just reread portions of it earlier this week. 
  4. Tranny - Laura Jane Grace - this is the autobiography by the lead singer of against me who transitioned from male to female.  I didn't find this book as interesting as I thought it would be but still an ok read.
  5. Love Warrior - Glennon Doyle Melton - I came across Glennon after reading the Abby Wambach book as they were in a relationship and are in fact, now married.  I really liked this book and I am just under half way in her other book.  I kinda forgot about it so I must remember to finish it. Many of my friends are huge fans of hers. 
  6. The Total Package - Stefanie Evanovich - This book is super cheesy and predictable and a super easy read.  I didn't love it and apparently it is a series of books but I have not confirmed this or read any of the other books.  
  7. Settle For More - Megyn Kelly - I had high expectations of this book given all the publicity she seemed (and still seems) to get.  It was boring and I don't really recommend this book to anybody.
  8. No Excuses - Wayne Dyer - This was another book club read and it was a terrible book and I am not even sure I even read the entire book.  I think there was one chapter that was remotely interesting but overall plain terrible.  Don't waste your time or money on this one. 
  9. Unf**k Your Habitat - Rachel Hoffman - this was an ok book.  Another book I had higher expectations for.  It was a little on the boring side. 
  10. Talking As Fast As I Can - Laura Graham - I never liked Lorelai on Gilmore Girls until the final episode of the final season (not including netflix special episodes) and then it all made sense and I finally got it. That being said, I really liked this book.  I knew nothing about her other then her most famous role going into it and learned a lot from it.  It was funny and sincere and a really good read.  Also had no idea she was dating the guy from Dirty Sexy Money for so long.  Although most of you would know him as the guy from parenthood which is where I believe they met.  If you haven't read it, head to amazon prime or your local library to get it. 
  11. Unplug - Suze Yalof Schwarton - This is a book on meditation for people who don't get it in the traditional sense.  I loved this book and it was instrumental to me trying to meditate last year even if it only happened 17 times.  If you are looking into meditating this year and need a modern way of looking into it so to speak, check out this book.  Seriously so good!  I actually recommended this book to someone yesterday at Chapters in Chinook. <
  12. Big Fat Lies Women Tell Themselves - I don't remember who wrote this book or much about it but I think I liked it haha.  
  13. Everything Is Perfect When You Are A Liar - Kelly Oxford - this is a really funny book and the best part is that she is from Edmonton!  Definitely worth reading.
  14. The Secrets Of My Life - Caitlin Jenner - I found this book to be pretty interesting and had no idea that he thought of transitioning so early on in his life, for some reason I had assumed it was a later in life discovery.  It wasn't a great book but it was good enough that I would recommend it.  
  15. Confessions Of A Domestic Failure - Bunmi Laditan - This book was fantastic and so funny. I loved it and if you haven't read it, then you really should get on it.  I hope there is another book that follows it!
  16. Girlboss - Sophia Amoruso - I read the book after I watched the Netflix Series.  I liked the series even if I didn't really like her and I didn't really like the book.  It is an easy read but the real problem I had with it is that I don't think I like her as a person.
  17. Magnolia Story - Chip + Joanna Gaines - loved this book because I love them + Fixer Upper.  It was neat to see how Magnolia came to be and how both are essentially selfmade in their craft. I am envious of that kind of talent. 
  18. One Day We'll All Be Dead + None Of This Will Matter - Scaachi Koul - Scaachi was born and raised in Calgary although she now lives in Toronto.  The most interesting part of the book was how she felt that she never felt like she belonged because she was too indian in calgary and too western in india.  
  19. A Hundred Summers - Beatriz Williams - This was recommended to me by a friend and I surprisingly found myself really liking this book.  It was an easy read and took me awhile to figure it all out and twice found myself gasping because I thought it was going to end a certain way but thankfully it all worked out.   I really must remember to find some of her other books to see if they are as good as this one
  20. My Lovely Wife In The Psych Ward - I don't remember who wrote this book but it was really good and mostly amazing how their marriage survived mental illness.  I think his name was Mark and it was a true story and it really changed them and at times you think they will just give up but they both keep fighting.  I often wonder how they are doing and if they are still together.
  21. TB12 Method - Tom Brady - Of course I read this book - I actually pre-ordered it the first day I could haha.  I didn't learn much from it because it turns out I already subscribe to his method of thinking aside from the diet haha
  22. Stronger - Jeff Bauman - I loved this book and not just because I am obsessed with the Boston Marathon either.  What he experienced and overcame is mindblowing.   And his family??  I can't even imagine.  Finley's preschool teacher was actually running the race that year and I remember being so worried but thankfully she was ok.  

I did start reading another Glennon Doyle Melton,  Amy Schumer + Hillary Clinton's books but never finished them.  I also started reading tons and tons of books that I never bother finished for a variety of reasons.  Maybe in 2018 I will keep track of both the books i read and couldn't finish.

What great books did you read in 2017??  Any great books on your list for 2018?

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

What I Streamed In December

Since I love Christmas movies and the holiday season, I tried to choose christmas movies when I needed something to watch while doing stuff around the house. Yay for ipads and being able to watch stuff anymore. 

I had seen parts of this movie, but never the whole thing.  It took me 3 days to finish it but I really liked it and will probably add this to my Christmas movie playlist each holiday season.  I also liked the celebrity cameos in this movie - Tim McGraw played one of Vince Vaughn's brothers and Dwight Yoakum was too although I can't remember what he was - I think the minister.  It is a funny movie although sometimes predictable and cheesy but still give it a watch.  It is currently streaming on Netflix Canada.  At least it was haha. 

I had never seen this movie before and it took me 4 days to finish watching it.  I liked it, I didn't love it.  It was extremely predictable and not remotely relatable and it didn't make me feel all christmasy inside.  While I definitely appreciate a young Jude Law, I don't think I would watch it again unless desperate to find something.  Currently streaming on Netflix Canada.

This movie was hilarious and will definitely be one that I will watch every year as long as I can find it somewhere to stream.  It is highly inappropriate for kids so make sure they are no where around when you watch it.  I love Joseph Gordon Loveitt but I never seem to watch any of his movies.  I really liked the James Franco cameo and that it had Mindy Kaling in it too.  It is currently streaming on Netflix Canada.  If watching christmas movies in January isn't your jam, make sure you add it to your list for next holiday season. 

I have always loved Love Actually but given that every morning these days you wake up to a new hollywood favorite being accused of sexual assault or harassment or some other equally awful offence to women, it was difficult to watch this year.  All I could think about while watching it is how inappropriate a lot of it was.  Did anybody else watch this and think the same thing?  It is currently streaming on Netflix Canada if you want to see for yourself.  

Part 4 was released in the middle of December and after we had a wicked snow storm and were housebound for a day, I binge watched the whole season that day.  It was really good and I enjoyed it like the previous 3.  Danny Masterson was recently fired due to rape allegations and won't be around for part 5 next year so I do wonder how they will write him out of it because it ended with him very involved in it.  It is currently streaming on Netflix Canada and is worth it alone for the soundtrack.  Also, Thomas Rhett has a role in one of the episodes that is pretty awesome. 

The day before we left for Saskatchewan, I downloaded 2 movies on Amazon Prime Movie or whatever it is called.  This movie was super fantastic and everybody should watch it.  It is written by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon and it is based on their real life relationship and struggles.  If you have an Amazon Prime membership, you can use your same log in to access their streaming app.  

This was also available to stream on Amazon Prime Streaming service too.  I haven't watched this movie in years and I had no idea that Newman from Seinfeld was in it.  I don't think I knew who Newman was the last time I watched this movie.  I love this movie and although you probably have all seem it, you should go watch it again!

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

2018 Goals: Be Better

I have a few goals that I am working on for 2018 and will be using these 2 planners to help me be successful.  

The one on the left is from Chapters and I love it.  I was sold by the cover alone but the inside is perfect too.  I actually loved it so much that I bought it as a gift in our secret santa exchange in my mom's group this year.  I hope she loves it as much as I do.  They are currently on sale at any chapters/indigo location and online if you are still looking for one.  Winners also has some too.  

The one on the right was purchased at Michaels and is a fitness planner.  There is a section for yearly goals and ways to meet them at the front and then each week and month has like mini goals and habits you want to work on.  You can track your meals and water intake.  It is like my fitness pal without the calorie counter and on paper. I am a visual person and do better with seeing things and writing them down rather then just using an app.  I hope this helps me to cut back on the starbucks intake.  

Some goals I have for 2018:

*run at least 900km
*drink less liquid calories
*meditate more
*stretch and strenghten at least 182x
*be consistent
*rest when necessary
*read more
*run at least 30km in one run
*run 3 half marathons
*be better
*find a job that allows me to work on a computer in starbucks haha

I also have imposed monthly challenges for me.  Each month I will have 3 or 4 challenges to do.  I haven't decided how I will blog these but they will be spoken about some how or way haha.  

January's challenges are as follows:

My first challenge is shown above + is a fitness challenge.  I think it should be challenging but not like super hard like a push up or burpee challenge that I have scheduled in the coming months.  I should easily be able to get this done when I wake up in the morning or before bed watching tv after the kids go to bed.   

My second challenge is the minimalist decluttering challenge that I found on pinterest.  I think this is a great challenge to start off the new year and decluttering is one of my favorite things.  I hate clutter!!  This involves getting rid of a lot of stuff we don't need and reorganizing which I also love.  I have been trying to figure out to utilize our linen closet upstairs as I feel we don't use it the way we should or could and it bothers me constantly and has bothered me for years!!  What do you use your linen closet for?

My third challenge for January is the Lululemon Strava 40/80 challenge.  Registration is open now and it runs from January 2 - 15th.  You have to run either 40k or 80k or both during those 13 days but it has to be outside.    When you reach either or both distances you get a badge.  Strava won't work on a treadmill since it doesn't activate the gps.  If you live basically anywhere from Alberta eastward across Canada then you know the weather that we are having (as I type this, it is -26 without the windchill) has been GROSS!!  I hope that as of today it warms up a lot so I can run outside. Although running this week with the kids out of school will be difficult.  Either have to go early in the morning or after Greg gets home from work.  Wish me luck haha.

My last goal for the month and one that I hope will carry out throughout the year.  Last year I only officially meditated 17x so hopefully I can outdo that.  I bought this cute meditation pillow and I can't wait to use it.   Although sadly I won't be using this meditation pillow until we are done sanding, priming and painting our main floor because our house is a dusty disaster!!  I will be meditating in other spaces though until I can use it.  

What are your goals or resolutions for 2018?