Monthly Archives: June 2013

Summer is Here!!!

Wow, what a way to start the summer! My first order of business was to have a pants free week – only skirts and dresses because it’s too hot to have clothing cling to my legs 🙂 Next, a visit to the beach was a must. On Friday night after work, 8-10 of us went and set-up a volleyball net and just played doubles. It was so great to be in the sand again.  Then I went to my first summer birthday party – pre-drink was at a hotel in the heart of the city and then off to a local pub. It was a fantastic Saturday – good company, drinks were flowing and lots of great laughs!

That is until you have to run a race the next morning, then you don’t feel so well.

color me radI had signed up for a 5km race way before I knew this birthday party was happening but it’s was also a really close friend’s birthday, so I knew I had to do both. The good thing was, it was a fun race and I wasn’t being timed. The race is called Color Me Rad. How it works is that, you “Start out as clean as a newborn babe, and throughout the run, you’ll coat your chaffing thighs with Color Bombs of bluegreen,pinkpurple, and yellow until your face, shirt, and body come out silkscreened like a tie-dyed hippy on the other side. Each section of the run adds a new explosion of color to your clean, painter’s palate until you cross the finish line into a final blitzkrieg of color. ”

It was a lot of fun! Many people were dressed in costumes and there were a lot of families that were running with little kids.  I see it as a fun way to promote fitness without the pressures of having to compete with others. It was just a run that you can do at your own speed and you got colour-bombed along the way 🙂  BlogTO.com wrote an article about it and had posted some great pictures. Check it out here.

I will definitely sign up again next year – if they’re running it. However, there were a couple of things that I’d do differently:

  • Sign up with friends (I ran by myself because my friends couldn’t get a spot – both Saturday and Sunday sold out really quickly)
  • Have a costume because it’s way more fun than just wearing a white t-shirt and shorts
  • Don’t bring any bags – they didn’t have bag check so I had to run with my backpack on
  • Wear sunscreen – slightly burnt my face

Overall, it was a great experience and have convinced others to join for next year.

color me rad 2 color me rad 3

My next race is the Bum Run. The run will be helping increase awareness and promote early screening for colorectal cancer. The bf was really keen on it, really just because he liked the name of the run. We registered yesterday and came up with the team name: Burrito Jetpack Initiative. Our team is now up to 5 members and we’d love for more people to join. It’s a great cause and only a 5km run, so super achievable! We have to have a team meeting soon to figure out a fundraising goal and start promoting. Our team page is really generic right now but hoping to get it more personalized within the week.

I can’t wait for more festivities next weekend – plus it’s a long weekend so time for extra fun!!

Tagged , , , , , ,

Burlington’s Sound of Music Festival

I woke up early and took the Go Train to Burlington on Saturday morning. Why you ask – so I could attend the Sound of Music Festival (not one devoted to the movie), just a festival with lots of music. It was my first time and I learned from Wikipedia that it’s “Canada’s largest FREE music festival that spreads along the city’s waterfront Spencer Smith Park and into the downtown core.”

We started the day with a trip to Easterbrook’s Too at New St. and Guelph Line, and had my first footlong hotdog (Wonderdog style) – with bacon, cheese, tomato and onion. It was delicious along with the handcut fries!! It was an old style diner with all the menu items hand written and all the different kinds of hotdogs that were available were written on black plates and posted on the wall. It was a quaint place that I would definitely visit again. They also had ice cream available made with REAL cream but we were too full to have it – next time 🙂

Easterbrooks

We walked down New St. to the waterfront after gorging on hotdogs, fries and pop, where we caught up with the parade! I love parades and this one was great – a good variety of musical interludes: bagpipers, drummers, dancers and mascots of floats. We settled on someone’s lawn and just sat for a bit to enjoy the parade.  It was nice seeing families with their kids just sitting on the curb and enjoying the paraders. It was nothing like going to the Toronto Santa Claus Parade where you have to fight for a spot to catch a glimpse of the floats – this was just nice.

Parade-1    Parade-4  Parade-2

It took us a while until the end of the parade, but we weren’t in a rush so it was nice to enjoy it to the very last group. Once we got the waterfront, it was so nice to see water. Along with that, the waterfront is complete with a pier, boardwalk and a really big park. However, our adventure started with getting free cupcakes!! They were really cute and was a great way to start our walk down the pier. Back story about the pier – it took 10 years to build and was millions over budget and the “lighthouse” -AKA spiral looking thing in the background- looks way better at night time (I haven’t witnessed, only have been told this). What do you think? The view of the boardwalk was nice (lighthouse and cupcake pictures are courtesy of the bf – slightly fuzzy and not sized properly due to them being taken on a camera phone…).

Burlington cupcake  pier lighthouse  Boardwalk

We wandered all the way down to the very west side and ended up at the OLG stage and beer garden. I didn’t realize that there were so many stages and on the Saturday, that particular stage was featuring country artists. The first one was Whitney Rose. She was really awesome – I liked her voice and she wrote a song called “Chivalry is Dead”. Something that I can relate to as my bf claims he was being a gentleman by opening up a folding chair for me, so I could sit down *_*

We met up with one of the bf’s friends and they started to talk and catch-up. Eventually, the beer and sun caught up with me and I fell asleep. The bf didn’t notice for a bit but then I started to bob my head and he asked if I was ok, which to him, I said no. So we finished our beers and decided to go get food and some shade. We ended up at the Queen’s Head on Brant Street, which was closed off for the festival. Food was good, I had the fish and chips and a pint of Boddington’s Pub Ale, which was very refreshing. However, food was not enough to keep me awake and I felt bad because bf and friend hadn’t seen each other in years and were still catching up.  The early waking up to get to Burlington had already caught up to me and we needed to get home so I could take a nap, which we did.

I had another first on that Saturday, taking the Burlington bus. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be but it was more expensive than the TTC at $3.25/trip. We got in around 5:30-6pm and I passed out cold and managed to sleep until the 8am the next morning! Much needed sleep to make up for the last three weeks or so. Even though we didn’t get to see fireworks, it was a great experience overall and I would definitely go back to the festival, but maybe come in on the Friday night and not get up so early on Saturday, so I could fully enjoy the entire day’s festivities – I also missed going on the ferris wheel. There will always be next year!

Sound of Music

Tagged , , , , ,

Picnic Season

It’s that time of the year again. The weather is getting warmer and the days are getting a little longer , what better thing to do than have a picnic? I went to one in the park this past weekend. The sun was shining and the temperature was perfect – what else do you need? First off – a great group of friends really do make the picnic experience well worth all the effort and time put into setting one up. The company you keep is what will help enhance a picnic – people who want to be there and contribute (whether it’s bringing some food, helping organize activities or helping to cook the food).

The location of the picnic is very important depending on what you want to do and how many people will be attending. We had about 20-30 people this past weekend and the park my friends chose was perfect, G Ross Lord Park. Large open field for group activities like volleyball, soccer, three-legged races, water balloon tossing and human wheelbarrow races! Picnic tables have always been a hot commodity so it’s always good to arrive early to claim your territory.

The idea of picnic foods has evolved to include more variety – my friends decided to do a BBQ as well instead of just sandwiches, fruit and drinks. There was grilled burgers and spiducci as well as porchetta (a savoury, fatty, and moist boneless pork roast of Italian culinary tradition.) – it was delicious! Also, I haven’t been on a picnic that uses a picnic basket yet – note to the bf, we need to have a romantic picnic sometime this summer 😉

Aside from having lots of fun, one thing that I realized throughout the day was the amount of waste in plates/cutlery/napkins/cups that were created from using disposable ones.  I understand that with a large group of people, it’s way more convenient than using real plates, cutlery and cups. A more eco-friendly option would be to use compostable ware (such as these sets from Bambuhome). Sometimes it might be a little more expensive but if everyone chips in a couple of dollars, it becomes quite reasonable and every little bit helps to keep this world a cleaner place.

Some tips to make the best of your picnicking experience:

  • Sun protection: it is always great to soak in some extra Vitamin D but don’t forget the sunscreen, sunglasses and hats – you don’t want to burn
  • Staying hydrated: being in the sun for too long and having loads of fun often lead to forgetting about keeping hydrated. Bring a cooler and fill it with water, Gatorade or other beverages and remember to drink often!
  • Seating: if you can’t claim a picnic table, bring your own foldable chairs (inexpensive, such as this Canadian Flag chair from Canadian Tire) or just bring some blankets
  • Music: bring a small portable stereo and plug in your music player – it’s great to be able to chill out to some great music

What are some of your favourite picnic experiences or locations? I plan on going on more picnics this summer!

Image source

Tagged , ,

Weekend Getaway: Niagara on the Lake

It’s been a while since I’ve posted but I’m trying to get back into the habit of it. Good for the soul.

This past weekend, I was very fortunate to take a break from hectic city life and just get away from everything for some much needed R & R. A weekend filled with exercise, wine tasting and meeting wonderful people!

I would highly recommend staying at the Hilton Garden Inn (Niagara on the Lake). It’s a very central location: close to the highway and equal distance to the Falls and Niagara on the Lake town. Also, someone was very sneaky and upgraded the room without telling me – we got a room with a jacuzzi!!! It was great to just sit and soak and have a glass of wine :)On Friday night, we drove to Niagara Falls and had dinner at the Fallsview Casino – a place I’ve never been to before and was quite surprised by how large and beautifully decorated it was! Dinner was delicious at the Ponte Vecchio – a meal of lobster ravioli topped paired with a glass of Cabernet Blend Conspiracy from The Foreign Affair and ended with an amazing limoncello crème brûlée (dessert was my absolute favourite part of the meal!).

Niagara-Falls-at-night

The Falls were awesome at night 🙂

On the Saturday, we decided to rent bicycles from Zoom Leisure and visit wineries at our own pace. Starting at 11:30am, 22kms and visits to four wineries, a market and a brewery later, we finally returned the bikes at 5:30pm. A day well spent! We found out that some places will let you buy the wine and then put it on hold for you to come back and pick it up, so on Sunday before we left, we also went to a couple more wineries to pick up wine.

I have to say, Reif Estate Winery was my favourite because the wine was fantastic (we bought 2 bottles of the Magician Pinot Noir Shiraz, 2 of the Chardonnay Pinot Grigio – a great summer white! and a bottle of the Meritage Red). The person giving the tasting, Randy was very knowledgeable and was a great conversationalist. He only works at the winery in the summer time and has a place in South Carolina for the winter. He recommended a cooking school in Italy that I’d love to try out – merging my love of food, travel and wine, what could be better?!? We ended up sitting in their garden with a cheese platter and two glasses of the chardonnay pinot grigio.

Reif-Winery

Reif Winery – It was a perfect lunch, wouldn’t you agree?

It was a great weekend and I can’t wait for more summer adventures!

Below is a list of places we visited over the weekend and a map of our biking adventures:

Tagged , , , ,