Wednesday, March 31, 2010

RauDZ: A Vacation in Under Three Hours

Hola amigos!!!

Thanks for all your well wishes on my last post and on twitter; they really warmed this bloggies heart! Thankfully I’m feeling heaps better and ready to get back to my regular schedule – both blogging wise and with P90X. But first I owe you another recap . . .


“Operation Bring it!” – Day 6 – March 26th, 2010

Today’s workout was devoted to KempoX or what Tony Horton seems to think is by far the most fun of the workouts. At first I was a little hesitant because I didn’t know what to expect.

What greeted me was a one hour workout full of punching and, in the latter parts, kicks. The punching part honestly felt a bit like I was training to be a boxer. Initially I was a bit uncoordinated but as the hour wore on I found myself getting into the sequences (jab, elbow, upper cut, hook . . . repeat!) and really enjoying the workout. I even yelled when Tony told me to yell. BTW, the first time I yelled Daisy came running down the stairs to see what was wrong. lol Funny puppy!

The kicks were a big part of the second part of the workout and although I think they’re effective you have to be really careful not to hyperextend your legs. It would be really easy to end up seriously hurt (I have a cousin that totally blew her knee doing Tae-Bo back in the day).

This workout is marketed as cardio and although it does get you sweating I found it significantly less strenuous than the PlyoX DVD. Overall I think it’s a great way to wind down the week but I wouldn’t recommend it as a replacement to a run.

And that was the end of week one of “Operation Bring it!” How do I feel?

Well I definitely noticed I was sleeping really soundly. I hit my bed like a ton of bricks and woke up feeling really well rested every morning. Major bonus!

On the eating front, I’m hungry. All. The. Time. Although I’ve been trying to up my protein intake (protein shakes are your friend and mine!) I don’t think it’s been enough. The key will probably be eating a lot of small meals throughout the day. That will be a big departure from my three meals a day style but I rather not feel ravenous all the time.

Body wise I can totally feel the difference. I know it’s only been a week but I can feel myself getting stronger and I love it!!! Truth is, my muscle strength never really went away but I definitely lost definition. And I can’t wait to have it back!!! I’ve also lost weight which makes my “I have to look awesome in a wedding dress” self really psyched!!!

I’m excited for week two!!!!


A Vacation in Under Three Hours

Right after the Olympics I was fortunate enough to visit Okanagan Wine Country. Although I was technically there for work purposes I did some serious exploring with the Fiancé after hours!

One of the things I was most looking forward to was enjoying Kelowna’s culinary delights! While I was working the Fiancé (who had some time off) was busy enjoying the city and heard of a restaurant that he thought I would love! And so we made a bee-line there for dinner. Enter RauDZ.

Isn't life delicious!!!

So very close to the Chef - great table

Our view

Sometimes you're the windshield . . .

One look at the place and I knew it had basically been made with me in mind!!! The atmosphere was funky – modern and elegant yet unpretentious (funky quotes anyone?). And the kitchen was OPEN!!! Cooking as theatre!!! I LOVED it!!!! We were fortunate enough to be seated in a table for two right beside the kitchen. It was as close to a Chef’s Table as I’ve ever gotten. I hadn’t even cracked the menu and I was in heaven.

The Fiancé did a great job of choosing the restaurant!! It was when he heard the Chef’s philosophy he knew it would be my kind of restaurant: “Support local, buy local, eat and drink local.” It makes sense given that RauDZ is blessed to be located in the heart of the Okanagan Valley – home to wineries, orchards, farms, and ranchland. A veritable smorgasbord of foodie delights!

Cappuccino made of crab!!!

It makes me squeal with delight

For appetizer the Fiancé and I decided to share one of the Chef’s signature dishes, Crab Cappuccino. Let’s take a minute to think about it . . . cappuccino! With Crab!!!!! lol The dish came in an oversized cup full of the creamiest and smoothest Dungeness crab bisque known to man. That was all topped off with a milk foam and caviar. In the spoons was an oil that tasted perfectly delightful. I don’t know what it was exactly but it was amazing.

The very reasonably priced menu

Yum indeed!

The inside of my sandwhich

Steak perfection

For the main course I had RauDZ version of a Salmon BLT – which had a lovely pancetta piece, a perfectly cooked piece of salmon, a lovely light sauce, all on a black fig and anise toast. Beside the BLT was a pickled cucumber salad (very similar to one I had and loved in Stockholm) and the yummiest french fries ever. Not a hint of grease. Just perfection!!! Overall I really enjoyed my dish although I would have liked a little less bread as I felt it took away from the delicate taste of the salmon. Having said that, the bread was really wonderful.

And then I had some of the Fiancé's dish (!!!). There are no words. It was amazing. The Chef somehow managed to take a staple steak house meal (steak with gravy, roasted veggies and potatoes in a cheesy sauce) and make it marvelous. I kept on dipping my french fries in the Fiancé's sauce whilst wishing I had order the steak instead. I know it wasn’t a particularly light meal choice but it was worth every calorie.

Next came dessert – as I’ve mentioned before I am terribly allergic to real vanilla. This can make ordering dessert in a fine restaurant quite trying. Most Chefs seem to be drawn to real vanilla – even when the dessert itself is chocolate or fruit-based the sauces are all about the vanilla. Knowing the dilemma I was in our waitress (who was incredibly helpful and friendly) volunteered to ask the Chef what I could eat. Since we were seated so close to the kitchen we saw when she asked. And also saw when his eyes bulged out and he shook his head in a half-stumped half-stressed expression!!! lol It caught us so off guard that we (Fiancé et moi) burst out laughing. But boy did the Chef come through!

A little Chocolate now and then doesn't hurt

The most delightful sorbet I ever did taste!

The dessert selections at this restaurant were priced at $4 each and billed as very small tastes. This was specifically designed so that diners could choose various small deserts to try. I ordered the sorbet and the Fiancé decided to skip the dessert. But the Chef (seeing that we were a table of two) sent out a huge helping so the Fiancé could have some too! The attention to customer service at RauDZ was beyond anything I had ever experienced!

And the taste? Oh wow. The sorbet tasted like the freshest of fruits, the sauce accented the wonderful flavours, the wafer was perfectly thin, and the deep fried (yet still fresh) mint leaf was inventive. I adored the appetizer, I loved my main dish, I coveted the Fiancé's meal, but the dessert was the cherry on top of my perfect meal sundae. I never imagined that a humble sorbet could make me so happy. It was while I was eating this dessert that I realized I had completely forgotten about the outside world. I completely forgot I was in the city for work. It was just the two of us, a kitchen crew that had mastered the Art of fine dining, and the flavours in my mouth. It was honestly like being on vacation. In less than three hours no less.


The glorious view!

RauDZ - where to find them

It's a Small World Afterall

As if the evening couldn’t be more perfect, our (very reasonable) bill was accompanied by a choice of lollipops made in the kitchen of the restaurant. I chose the peach and it tasted like summer. Honest to goodness – pure summer. It was the most incredible thing I’ve ever had. In fact I gushed about it to anyone that would listen.

In my life there have been memorable meals. My first Michelin starred restaurant experience in Paris (Le Violon D’Ingres), breakfast in a packed diner in Sausalito, the time I tasted oysters in Saint Malo, the fresh rolls at my first East Coast Lobster Supper . . . and now there will be my meal at RauDZ. The one that made me forget about everything else. The one that realized my good food ideals. The one that elevated cooking as theatre to it’s rightful place. The one that turned the humble lollipop into a gourmet treat.

The one that still makes me smile.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Under the Weather

Hola Bloggies:

I'm feeling kind of under the weather (there's a bug going around) so I'm going to call it an early night.

Back to P90X and blogging in the morn' but for now enjoy this super cute picture of Daisy.

All together now - awwww......

Buenas Noches!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Of Awkwardness and Speed Skaters

Hello lovelies:

lol I’m back with another random blog title! It will all make sense in due time I swear!

I do hope all of you peeps have had a wonderful week thus far. Mine has actually been pretty nice. I haven’t been massively overworked which has given me plenty of time to be able to enjoy some quality puppy and Fiancé time – not to mention get my P90X workouts in!!!


“Operation Bring it!” – Day 4 – March 23rd, 2010

Now if you’re quick on the draw you noticed that I skipped a day. That’s because I was horribly exhausted on the 22nd (long court day) and couldn’t bring myself to do YogaX. I just wasn’t feeling it! So I made an executive decision and moved my rest day from the end of the week to the middle instead. My body was begging for a break and truth be told I think it allowed me to face the rest of the workouts that were to come.

Come the 23rd I was ready for my P90X so I popped my YogaX DVD into my player and got ready to ruuuuumble! Yogi style! Winking

I had previously done this DVD in my hotel during my most recent travels, which meant I knew what to expect. And that was some serious awkwardness and borderline boredom. I really hate to say it but this is the only P90X DVD thus far that I really haven’t liked.

This workout is an hour and a half; which is a particularly excruciating length of time when you’re not down with what you’re doing. For about an hour you do the usual sun salutation type movements. Funny thing is I feel like there’s a ton of repetitive flow patterns and not enough power. I do Power Yoga (using Rodney Yee’s brilliant DVD) on a fairly regular basis and YogaX my friends isn’t power yoga. Yes I managed to feel uncomfortable but I don’t think that was due to some power style moves in there. Rather, I think the flows just don’t work sometimes. And then there are the times when you want to tell Tony Horton to move on already! But nope. He repeats things over. And over. And over. Again.

After an hour of flow type movements he tells you the worst is over. Then you move into half an hour of poses that you hold for long periods of time. I’m not used to that type of yoga so it’s an adjustment and it will take me a bit of time to get things working like clockwork. In the meantime my dancer will look none too graceful. Most of the movements are pretty Kosher and I managed to play along. That was until we hit about the last 10 minutes. That’s the time period where all the lovely DVD people get on the floor and proceed to contort into something I’d previously only seen done by Cirque de Soleil gymnasts. I tried to find a picture to show you what I meant but couldn’t – despite my creative Googling terms! lol Point is it feels uncomfortable on my neck and I don’t want to push it without supervision.

Overall I didn’t love this workout and I’m tempted to just do Power Yoga with Rodney Yee, on YogaX days!

“Operation Bring it!” – Day 4 – March 24th, 2010

This day was devoted to Back and Legs plus the now very familiar AbRipperX. Thankfully we were back to hour long workouts – and this one seemed to practically fly by!

I really enjoyed this DVD! It included a ton of variations on squats as well as lunges. I’d like to think they’re going to make me super bootylicious! lol It just so happens that my Hispanic genes managed to miss my butt region all together! lol

Seriously though this workout pushed me to keep on going and in the case of the evil wall squats to hold them as long as the peeps on the DVD. And by the end of it I felt really proud of myself! Happy

One of the fantastic moves on this workout was called Super Skater. In it you attempt to mimic a speed skater by maintaining a quasi lunge in one leg and simultaneously moving your other leg back while moving your arms. This guy on YouTube does a pretty good of demonstrating the move. Although, really you should be aiming to have no toe tap in the back:

Before doing this move I had no idea that the speed skating motion could be so painful when repeated over and over again! Don’t believe me? Try it out for yourself! It hurts!!! And you can feel it working!!! One of my new favourites, pain notwithstanding. Bottom line on this move? Apolo Anton Ohno, I salute you! lol

Now before you say “But I have a bad knee! I can’t do this DVD!” let me tell you my background. Sure I’ve suffered many injuries in my day but amongst the worst are my knee and ankle injuries. I’ll probably share more on those injuries with you in the future but let’s just say my past fractured kneecap and my 2nd degree ankle ligament tear haven’t stopped me from doing this workout. Which is my way of saying “If I can do it, so can you!” Just make sure to rehab ahead of time.

Up for Today? KempoX – woohoo!!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

A High-tech Running Toy for my Wrist – like the cool kids have (plus a P90X weekend wrap-up)

Hello Friends:

So I thought I better get to writing my weekend wrap-up of P90X before Coco (Sleepless Again & blog “taste” talk) started bugging me about slacking! lol She promised she would if I didn’t update. No worries – though I have remained faithful to my P90X workouts!

But before I tell you all about “Operation Bring it!” I should thank you for all your help and advice in my whole Polar HRM vs.. Garmin dilemma! I got all sorts of advice from my readers. Although, I think the funniest comment award has to go to Marathon Maritza for major LOLs:

“Garmin. Hands down.
I have the 305 and it's practically my BFF, but if you can splurge, I would DEFINITELY go for the 405. It's much less bulky. I have impure thoughts about running my beloved 305 with my car just to get the 405. Shhhhh don't tell”

From the comments it was obvious that Garmin was the clear winner amongst bloggies. Still I decided to talk it over with the Fiancé. That night I was trying to outline the different features of each brand for him when it dawned on me . . .  with a Polar I would have to purchase separate GPS units (that you wear on your arm!) to get the same thing that’s already built into a Garmin. So even if I don’t really need the GPS right now I may down the line and I quite like having it integrated into one little unit.

In the end I chose this baby (picture borrowed from GPS Lodge):

While I was tempted by Maritza’s obvious love for the 405, the negatives sealed the deal for me. In the end the price difference (this one cost me about $175+taxes whereas the 405 was in the $300s) plus the negative Amazon reviews were enough to make-up my mind.

I’m very happy with my choice and super excited to be one of the cool kids with special wrist running toys!!! lol I can’t wait until it gets here and I can take it for a test-run. Hopefully the weather will be spectacularly beautiful by then too!



“Operation Bring it!” – Day 2 – March 20th, 2010

Okay, so I’ll confess . . . when I first got up on Saturday I thought to myself “Oh! I don’t hurt that much!” lol And as the day wore on I realized I hurt a LOT more than I wanted to admit. My abs had taken an AbRipper X style beating! And I couldn’t be happier about it! Masochist I know! lol

On the schedule for today was Plyometrics X, or as that evil man on my television Tony Horton calls it, “the mother of all P90X workouts!” This is another one of those videos I had done ahead of time so I knew what to expect. It’s seriously intense full out cardio non-stop for one whole hour!

What are plyometrics you ask? Well essentially it’s jump training. Think of doing a lunge or a squat. Now imagine going deep into a lunge only to jump into another one right away. Or doing jumping jacks except that the whole time you’re in a squat position and the only thing you do is move your legs in and out – but still maintaining a squat. Even if you’re not doing P90X, plyometrics are great to incorporate into your workout routines. Let’s check out what a plyo lunge looks like:

The P90X Plyometrics workout is essentially an hour of workout moves like the one above. This DVD pushed me to the limit and I had to hit pause a couple of times and extend the 30 second water breaks built into the program. By the end my lungs were burning – kind of like when I hiked a mountain in the Swiss Alps or like the first time I worked out with my trainer (I thought I was going to die!!!).

I’m looking forward to the day when I can do all these moves with the same explosive energy I seem to muster in the first twenty minutes of the DVD! Needless, to say I think this is a workout that will provide huge benefits and will likely even increase my running pace! Awesome!!


“Operation Bring it!” – Day 3 – Shoulders and Arms

This DVD is meant to target what my trainer always referred to as the “vanity muscles!” Those being the ones that you see in a tank top or wedding dress for that matter! Like most girls, I covet awesome triceps and lovely looking shoulders so I was all about this workout.

Like most of the P90X DVDs this one is an hour. But unlike the Chest and Back DVD this one had a super long warm-up; I think that’s because those arm muscles are fairly hard to warm-up and it would be super easy to get an injury!

I don’t know if I should be happy or not but I kind of liked how this DVD didn’t leave me feeling like I wanted to curl up in a fetal position! lol It was a manageable workout that left me appropriately sore without feeling like I was going to keel over. I did notice that it was a bit hard to figure out exactly what weight I should be using. For most exercises I did 12.5lbs in each arm but there was an odd one where that was too heavy. It will take a little bit of tweaking but I’ll get there!


On the schedule for tonight? YogaX and the AbRipper X I should have done yesterday but ran out of time!

Have you ever tried plyo? If no – will you try it now? If you have in the past - did you like it? I admit at one point I used to be afraid of it due to my knee and ankle rolling issues. But I’ve now rehabbed everything enough that I can do the moves!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Will you be watching?

Tonight Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution premiers on ABC (10pm EST). I watched the original version of this program filmed in Britain. It changed people. It changed the way they thought about their food. It changed their shopping habits. It made a fundamental difference! Here's hoping Jamie does the same thing for North America!

Will you be watching? Did you watch the original version of the program? I personally love Jamie Oliver (and have for a long time) - what about you?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

loaf – the story of a perfect bread

Hola Bloggies:

Now we all know that I believe in leading a healthy lifestyle that includes plenty of exercise and good eats. But I also believe in moderation and balance. Which means that most of the time I’ll eat like a saint – but once in a while I’ll indulge.

Bread is one of the things I love most in life! When I lived in Paris I would buy an oven fresh baguette on the walk home from classes. More often than not it would be gone by the time I got back to my room. Ahhhh . . . bread how I love thee! Especially when you are made from whole grains and locally sourced ingredients.

loaf - bread perfection in the Rockies!

This past winter I found myself in the small Rocky Mountain town of Fernie, British Columbia. Fernie is a gorgeous place well known for it’s spectacular scenery, fantastic skiing, and white water rafting in the summer. It’s also a town with a tremendous amount of character (their courthouse is the most beautiful one I’ve ever seen) and wonderful places to eat. Frankly, despite it’s very small size I could totally picture myself living in Fernie.

On this particular occasion a friend took me out to lunch at a bakery that had just opened up – that place was loaf. And boy was I ever glad to have discovered this place! As soon as you walked in you could tell it was one of those places that are run with love. Phil and Claire Gadd, the proprietors of this jewel, have done an outstanding job.

loaf - seen from the outside

loaf - rustic and lovely

loaf - rustic homemade pottery

loaf - the view from inside

During lunchtime the place was absolutely packed to the gills – this despite the fact that they had yet to have their official grand opening! Since I was with someone I knew through work I didn’t take pictures of my lunch – but I can tell you that we were served these wonderful thin crust pizzas (freshly made!), I had tea, and my friend had a fantastic looking soup.

I was impressed with the fantastic quality of the food and the entire cafe in general. It’s rustic air was perfect for it’s location high in the Rocky Mountains. I’ll confess I just about swooned when I noticed small details like the hand made pottery accents throughout! I was in some kind of foodie heaven! And so after I finished my work day I returned shortly before closing and took these pictures.

loaf - their philosophy

loaf - the drink menu

loaf - sunflower rolls

loaf - apricot fruit and nut

loaf - a beauty!


loaf - raisin bread

I love what loaf stands for – back to basics bread making. Pure ingredients. Hand made. Locally sourced. Real Food.

Here is how loaf describes their bread philosophy on their website:

everything starts with flour and water

What is real, honest bread? Well, we start with flour and we add water, a touch of sea salt, a little yeast and olive oil. That’s it. Our all-natural bread is hand crafted using traditional methods – its not hurried along and it doesn’t have “improvers”, “enhancers” or any other additives. Except when we fancy throwing in some herbs, nuts, seeds or other tasty stuff. We know this back-to-basics baking makes our bread, cakes and pastries better for you, and more delicious too.


I love it! Needless, to say it was all I could do to stop myself from buying one of everything in the store. I did however buy a couple of things in the name of taste tasting for the blog (ha!).

loaf - scone

loaf - fruit and nut at home

a slice from loaf

The Fiancé and I split the scone. Paired with coffee it made a wonderful afternoon snack! It was moist, very large, and topped with a good amount of sliced almonds. The quality of the bread was absolutely noticeable! Your average supermarket or coffee place scone couldn’t come close to matching this one in texture, taste, or quality.

And then there was the apricot fruit and nut loaf. WOW! I expected it to have a little fruit and nuts at most but once I cut it open I was delighted to discover that it was chock full of them! I loved every single bite of this loaf. It was dense, slightly sweet, and quite filling. It made for some wonderful breakfasts!

To say that loaf impressed me would be a massive understatement. I absolutely loved it!!!

I’ve lived in Europe. I know what a good bakery looks like. And this place can rival the best that Europe has to offer. If you’re ever in the Fernie area (right near the British Columbia – Alberta border in the Rockies) do stop by loaf. And even if you happen to be just passing by, it’s more than worth a detour!

But until then, you can find loaf on facebook, twitter, their wonderful blog, or on their website!



Do you have a favourite bakery? What makes you love it so? Have you ever been to the Canadian Rockies? Ever been to Fernie?

“Operation Bring it!” – Day 1

One of my proudest moments - ever

Yesterday marked the first day of what I’d like to think of as my journey back to optimum wellness or as it shall henceforth be known, “Operation Bring it!” I intend to chronicle my workouts and bring you along on the ride! (Thank-you for the support you have shown thus far! It really means the world to me friends!)

A core part of my journey back to wellness will be a full 90 day cycle of P90X! But before I tell you about Day 1, I thought I would give you a bit of background on the program.

If you’ve ever been awake way too late at night, walked through a Costco around New Year’s, or watched early morning television – chances are you’ve come across P90X. Their infomercials feature people that have undergone remarkable transformations. I suppose the same is true of pretty well of all infomercials. But with P90X there seems to be something different – the people they show seem to be genuinely hardcore. And the snippets of the workout look challenging to no end. Not to mention YouTube is full of people documenting their transformations using the program.

Colour me intrigued. Needless to say I bought the tapes. If I were to explain P90X to someone who is not familiar with the program I’d say it’s like a 90 day boot camp. There are a variety of workout DVDs incorporating everything from weight lifting, to plyometrics, kempo, and even yoga. You are supposed to follow an exact order with the goal of achieving what P90X calls “Muscle Confusion.” Which I think is just code for make it hurt as much as possible so you’ll see as big results as possible.

I think I have to insert a caveat in here – this program isn’t for everyone. In fact before you begin you do a fitness test which is a grueling workout in itself (it hurt to walk the next day!). To do this program you have to have a certain fitness level and some experience with weight lifting. In fact, I would argue that to do this program without some training background could lead to disastrous results. Sure the fitness guide tells you how to do the different weight lifting exercises but I think that’s not enough. I’d suggest that a few sessions with a trainer would be appropriate before doing this workout. You could seriously injure yourself if you tried to push yourself to lift heavy but had terrible form.

Having successfully completed the fitness test and acquired all the necessary equipment (post on this to come soon!) I was ready to bring it!


“Operation Bring it!” - Day 1 – March 19th, 2010

The first day of the Classic P90X cycle calls for two workouts – Chest and Back, and AbRipperX. I have had the DVDs for a while and done most of the workouts but never on a 90 day cycle. Chest & Back is one of the DVDs I’m most familiar with which means that I wasn’t as brutalized by it as I was the first time around! I’ve no shame in telling you that after the first time I did this DVD I was in serious pain! In fact my arms were trembling and it hurt to lift things the day after!!

The Chest and Back routine uses 12 different exercises (repeated twice) to make it burn. Half of those exercises are push ups – I don’t know about you but I had on idea there were so many varieties! I’ve even discovered a personal favourite (dive bomber push ups) amongst the bunch. In total, yours truly did a grand total of 162 push ups (all but 14 of them done on my toes)!!!! GO ME!!! smile_teeth

In addition to push ups this workout utilizes some weight lifting and a lot of pull ups. The average person can’t do a pull up. And if you’re a renter like me, you can’t install a pull up bar either. No worries – the exercises can be modified using specially designed bands that replicate the motion and will one day get you to a real pull up.

The whole Chest & Back DVD lasts an hour. And just when you feel like you can’t go on you have to complete the 15 minute AbRipperX DVD. No word of a lie bloggies – this workout is brutal! In fact, I’m pretty convinced you have to be hard core to be able to do it all without stopping!! There are no rests in this DVD, no warm up, no cool down. Just insanity! Now the first time I did this DVD I dissolved into a fit of giggles on the floor. I desperately wanted to move the way Tony Horton was asking me to but my body was so beat it couldn’t do it at all! I just lay there cracking up. Thankfully I’ve now figured out how to do that one particular exercise (all the exercises in this DVD are repeated 25 times) but I still can’t do this workout non-stop. I’m looking forward to being hardcore by the end of the 90 days!

So how do I feel at the end of Day 1? Awesome! I’m proud of myself for taking this step in the right direction. The picture at the top of this post is from the end of the 10K I told you about yesterday. It’s one of my favourites because of the way I felt in that moment. And so it’s my inspiration picture! smile_regular

What’s up today? A short run with Daisy (this time I’ll bring water so she won’t go and lay down on me again) followed by Plyometrics X!

Catch you later bloggies!!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Of Bridesmaids, Fitness, and $220

Hola Bloggies:

Random title I know! :o) But I wanted to write a blog entry that doesn't include some sort of travel or restaurant recap. Even my own sister has been known to call our mom (after reading this blog) and say something along the lines of "Does Karen ever work? It seems like all she does is travel!" And while it's true that I love to go wandering around places near and far there's more to life than that.

So here goes a rare picture-less post. . .

Of Bridesmaids

All of you readers know I'm getting married on November 10, 2010 (!!!). This means that inevitably my life is going to get slightly more engrossed by wedding planning. Thankfully I have a wedding planner at the resort to take care of most things but there are still some decisions we have to make on our own. Currently, we're working with our fabulous Invitation Designer to get out the Save the Dates (STDs - unfortunate acronym, I know) as soon as possible. On the wedding party front I've also given A LOT of thought to my bridesmaids as of late. We've been engaged nearly a year and I've yet to ask anyone!!! After much thought I think I have finally made my choices - now to ask them. Initially I thought of giving them a present to ask or write them a letter. To be honest I think I may end up with a combination of the two!  Think something along the lines of bridal t-shirts from Inkbox Designs.

Of Fitness

Here in the Rockies the weather has turned decidedly spring-like. Of course this time of year always turns my mind to thoughts of warm summer days, skimpy clothing, and outdoor sporting events. Certainly I want to look great come the summer (and especially come November 10th). Question is what is my plan?

Recently, I was reading a Runners World cover story featuring Kara Goucher. In the article she talks a lot about the mental game needed to be a runner. It appears that has always been something with which she has struggled. Nonetheless, anyone who looks at her amazing level of success can see that she's conquered the mental game. Often, I think I'm plagued by the whole psyching myself out thing. To be honest I told my trainer I would run a 10K (my only race thus far) almost two years prior to actual running one. Every time one came up I'd always find a way to chicken out. My knee hurt. I had ankle issues. I wasn't ready. You name it - I thought of it as an avoidance technique. Once I actually got around to running the race I realized how absolutely awesome I felt. In one word: accomplished. And yet I haven't run one since.

Last year I announced to the blog that I would be training for a half marathon. I had lots of supporters and I was rearing to go. Training got off to a fantastic start - I was even getting up at 5am to go for morning runs. And I liked it!!! Then I started having knee issues. Bad issues. It got to the point where I couldn't take a single stride without being in imense amounts of pain. It (being my right knee) even hurt when I wasn't running. So I got frustrated and stopped training. This coincided with ridiculously (!) time consuming preparations for a big jury trial and I never did run that half. I felt like I let down my blog readers and I'm saddened by that thought to this day.

Then there is my weight training. I used to work out like a fiend before I moved to the Rockies. I still weight train here but not like I used to on the Coast. Fact is I love weight training. I may not look it but I'm actually really strong. I love that I can lift heavy. And I have great form (lol - did I mention I'm humble too? :oP). I want to get back into doing it hard core.

The sum of all these contemplations is a new approach to fitness. I've done the P90X DVDs but not in a row. Tomorrow I will attempt to start a 90 day cycle. I'm going to be blogging about my experiences every day. On the days where the P90X workouts are shorter (some days can be super long) I will also run. Because it makes me feel awesome.

I'm going to need your support bloggies!!!! Please promise me you'll get on my back if you don't see an update of my daily workouts on this little bloggy of mine!

Of $220

I have a dilemma bloggies. A $220 dilemma. One of my benefits as work is a Professional Development Allowance. We are allocated quite a hefty amount of money every year to make us better professionals. I have spent a large amount of this years money on my gym membership, some legal textbooks, P90X, some workout equipment, and a couple of other goodies. Somehow I thought I had spent all the money - turns out I have $220 left to go!!! Here's the catch - I have to spend that money by the end of this month or else I lose it!!!!

For a long time I have thought of getting a heart rate monitor or something akin to one. I have debated the benefits of  Garmin vs. Polar and I've yet to make a decision. What do you recommend amigos? Here is what I'm looking for:

1) A heart rate monitor function with a comfortable strap
2) The ability to monitor heart rate even when working out indoors
3) Perhaps the ability to tell you when you are in your target heart zone
4) Something that will indicate my pace when running
5) GPS function is optional as I have my Nike+ to tell me how far I've gone
6) Preferably $300 or under

Currently I'm torn between a Garmin 405, Garmin 305, Polar FT60, or Polar RS300X. Thoughts?

Looking forward to this next step in my attempt to be "The Whole Package!" And as always bloggies, I am ever grateful that you are coming along for the ride! :o)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Party Unlike Any Other


Hola Bloggies:

Sorry for my unexpected absence from the blog! Last week was kind of crazy with overnight guests to the casa. First the Fiancé's family came to visit. And then a friend of mine drove down and chilled during the weekend. It was super fun but it left no time for my neglectorino of a blog! No worries though – I’m back to finish my epic Vancouver 2010 recap!!


When last we left off the Canadian Men’s Hockey Team had just won the gold medal . . .

The atmosphere in the room was awesome! No sooner had the game ended when random people started heading out on the streets. The once deserted roads were full of cars honking their horns with complete abandon.

Truth be told I don’t even remember when the Fiancé and I decided to head downtown. All we knew was that there was going to be a crazy celebration and we had to be there! So we got in our car and headed to downtown!!! WOOHOO!!!

One of the most vivid images of our drive will forever be the kids on the overpasses. You see to get to downtown Van from where we were (Coquitlam) we had to take a highway with a series of overpasses. It seemed that practically every overpass had a kid holding a flag, waving it like there was no tomorrow! And so we honked!!! We honked because we could. Because it would make them happy. And because we too wanted to share in the joy.


Instead of trying to drive straight into downtown (they were starting to shut down the roads to prevent over-crowding) we decided to drive to North Vancouver and take the Seabus to Vancouver. Once we arrived downtown I looked up and realized that the grey clouds that had prevailed during our visit were gone. In their place was the most gorgeous blue sky! I couldn’t imagine a more fittingly beautiful Vancouver afternoon!!


And the crowds? They were CRAZY!!!!!!!! But in a really good way!!!!!!!!!! Everyone was decked out in their red and white (we even saw one older lady wearing tight red pants, a red sweater, red socks, and white shoes – it killed us!! lol), waving their Canadian flags (attached to their hockey sticks no less), and loving every minute of the experience!!


I mean seriously!?!? Look at that picture!! That couple is embracing in the middle of what is normally Vancouver’s busiest intersection. That girl I’m sure is on the phone with someone saying something along the lines of “You HAVE to get down here!" lol


It’s hard to describe the feeling from pictures alone. And so I bring you some video – the scene a couple of blocks away from Robson and Burrard (more or less the intersection pictured above) looked a little like this:

And yes that would be a random guy high fiving yours truly!! Ahahah! It was that kind of a day!! smile_wink

It was also a random sign kind of day! Downtown Vancouver was full of people carrying signs saying all kinds of things. My favourite were held by a group of guys standing right near the CTV Network Outdoor Studio. So many people were coming up to them and posing for pictures that they eventually started chanting “Non-stop Photo Op! Non-stop Photo Op! Non-stop Photo Op!” LOL They were hilarious! I may have even gotten a little excited and jumped into the fray!!!


HA!!! I wasn’t faking the amount of excitement you see on my face either! It was totally genuine! I really was that excited!! And I really was having that much fun!!! Time of my life really!!!

What!?!? You think I was the only one!?!?! lol Not so amigos. You’d like to see an example?!??! Okay!

“Hey Fiancé! How do you feel about the Canadian Men’s Hockey Gold Medal?”


Bwaahahhahaha! I’d say that’s pretty unequivocal! Wouldn’t you!?!?

Remember how I said that there is no activity more Canadian than kinds playing a good old hockey game!??! Well it turns out that the same is still true on Gold medal Sunday. Imagine my delight when in the midst of the downtown mayhem we discovered an impromptu street hockey game. Classic.



Those kids will always remember that on the day the whole country celebrated, they played hockey. On the streets. Of Vancouver no less. And I think that’s all kinds of amazing!


Eventually we decided to leave the mayhem of the crowds in favour of taking a walk on the Sea Wall. It was a spectacular night in Vancouver and we wanted to drink in the beauty of the place before heading away from the Coast the next morning!


Le sigh. Have I mentioned how much I love the views in Van-city?


During the Olympics whenever Canada won Gold the Olympic rings floating in the harbour would change colours to a yellow hue. On that night – the colour of the rings was particularly lovely! smile_regular


After a quick visit to say goodbye to the Olympic Flame we found a cafe to watch the Closing Ceremonies. It was with a decidedly heavy heart that we watched as the Vancouver 2010 games were officially closed. But instead of dwelling on that feeling we decided to go back out and continue enjoying the party!






I wish I could bottle the feeling of being in Vancouver that day. In fact I wish I could come close to describing how it felt to be there. I don’t think I can! You just had to be there!!!! And I was!!! It was one for the books boys and girls!!!

We stayed downtown as long as we could but soon enough we had to call it a night. And so we headed to the Seabus while enjoying the very last of the Olympic celebrations.


I won’t lie. It was hard to leave Vancouver that night. It was hard to say goodbye to that feeling of complete elation. Of overwhelming joy on the streets. Truth is, as Canadians we don’t often toot our own horn but for two weeks we tooted to our hearts content! And on that last day we waved our flags, grinned like silly people, and loved the feeling of being proud to be Canadian! Unlike our friends to the South we don’t engage in such blatant acts of patriotism. But maybe we should.



At the end of the night I was decidedly melancholic and said to the Fiancé, “The World came to visit! And now they’re all leaving . . . When will they come back again?” His reply, “They’re always here Karen.” I hope that’s true. I hope we Canadians are fortunate enough to experience an event like this again. I hope the feeling of patriotism lives on beyond Vancouver2010. And I hope all of you enjoyed coming to our corner of the World – because we sure loved having you here!


Signing off from the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games,


A Toronto Girl out West