Thursday, April 30, 2015

WEM Purchases!

Mark and I were recently visiting friends in Leduc, Alberta and of course, while we were there, we had to hit up West Edmonton Mall. The last time I had been there was about 20 years ago so obviously the experience was going to be quite different. 

We were definitely tight for timing, so we didn't get to do all the adventurous things you can do there, but either way it was nice to at least glance in and check them out. We saw the ice rink, the water park, and had dinner at one of the restaurants. Unfortunately we didn't get to see the theme park, or the shooting range, but oh well, just gives us an excuse to go back again. 

While we were at WEM, we shopped for several hours which is always more challenging and time consuming with a group. Nevertheless, we browsed the stores and took special note of admiring the ones we don't have locally in Surrey, B.C.

My favorite stores of the day would probably have to be Anthropologie or Simons! I highly recommend you check them out online. Anthropologie is pretty pricey, but the stuff is so unique and timeless it was hard to resist. Simons reminded me a lot of a typical department store like Macys, but it felt a little more "special" than one of those. I don't know what it was about it but it just had this edge that made the items pop. 

During our day at WEM I didn't make nearly as many purchases as I expected, and most of the purchases I did make were of things that I easily could have gotten at the stores at home. I did however, manage to snag a few deals on the items I did buy, plus I got the added bonus of less tax in Alberta, so really I saved a ton!  

Here are my purchases:
(Nike Pro Shorts: I finally found a store that had my size and the color I wanted!)

(Pave Agate Pendant from Anthropologie)

(Navy Blue Anchor Flats from Spring)
(Turquoise Zipper Flats from Spring)
 All in all I definitely enjoyed the shopping that West Edmonton Mall had to offer, and honestly, I wish I could have spent more time there, but like I said before, this will just give me an excuse to go back and explore some more!

What are your favorite stores?

Friday, April 24, 2015

2600kms to Alberta and Back

The most eventful part of my 2 week vacation was the road trip to Leduc, Alberta with the hubby and the pup. We piled up in the car early Thursday morning and hit the highway heading north east by 7:15am. 

We had the most perfect driving weather. We had mostly overcast skies, with bits of sunshine here and there. It wasn't too sunny making us squint the whole time and it wasn't wet and rainy making it slippery. The worst weather we had while driving was just some big gusts of wind. 

We got to see a lit bit of wildlife along the roads, some mountain goats and a baby dear, but other than that we mostly just enjoyed the beautiful BC mountains. 

If I remember correctly we hit the Alberta border by about 2pm.

And then we finally made it to Leduc, Alberta by about 730pm. It was a long 12 hours of travelling, but we all survived it just fine. Honestly, I was most impressed with how well Captain did. He did not whine or cry one single time, and never hesitated to jump back in the car after pee and snack breaks. He was however, looking a little restless by the end of the drive.

Once we arrived in Leduc we found the closest dog park and let Captain and ourselves run our legs out. As chilly as it was, it felt good to have the fresh air on our faces and wind in our hair. We made it to our friends' house by about 8 where we introduced the dogs to each other. Captain and Izzy got along so well, it was quite fun for us puppy parents to watch!

(Izzy and Captain hanging out in the car after the dog park)
To be honest, overall we didn't do to many "exciting" things while we were visiting our newly engaged friends in Alberta. We went to the dog park everyday, enjoyed toasty cups of coffee at the kitchen table, visited a couple wedding venues, played some Personally Incorrect, shopped at West Edmonton Mall (pictures of purchases to come), had a couple dinners out, had a couple dinners in, and of course watched some play-off hockey! All in all it was just really nice to sit down and catch up with our friends. 

We then ventured back home Monday morning. We left Edmonton around 1015am, and made it back home by about 930pm. Thank goodness the drive home was almost a full hour shorter because we were all getting pretty anxious to get back. I meant to snap a photo of our "trip" kms in the car once we arrived home but I was just way to eager to get unpacked. We did approximately 2600kms of travel though in just a few days.

As much as I enjoyed the road trip aspect of the trip, I think it'll be a while before we do that many kms in just two days of travel. I'm pretty sure we are going to be flying when we head back there next year for their wedding, hehe, but who knows, I might change my mind when the time comes!


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Can't get enough lounging

Let me start off by saying sorry for not being around for the last few days. I promise I will get back to my usual late night scowering of every one else's blogs shortly. 

The reason I haven't been posting much these last two weeks is because I've been on vacation! The hubby and I have been off since April 10 and we don't go back to work until April 24 (only a couple days left :( ). Honestly, I thought I was going to be all over my little blogging world, publishing posts every day with updates on the little adventures we were having, but it just didn't seem to happen. I wish I could say it was because we were off out and about running the city like crazy but to tell you the truth, it wasn't that at all. We haven't really done a whole lot of anything, other than lounging around, enjoying the fine taste of alcohol and relaxation. 

We started our vacay off with some gloomy weather, but it didn't get us down at all. We spent an entire day indoors, watching old episode after old episode of Entourage, and playing board/card games. Our game of choice: Munchkin. We have the original game, plus eight expansions to go along with it. I know, I know, we're kind of obsessive!

(It's hard to tell but at this point we were at a tie game)
Day after day the weather totally started clearing up and we ended up doing a lot of little walks around the neighbourhood with the pup, but again, there was nothing to eventful and just an excessive amount of lounging going on. We slept in until almost 10am or even later pretty much every single day as well. When you work opposite shifts as your significant other, it's a really good feeling to finally get to snuggle in bed late into the mornings so we had to take full advantage.

On April 16th we finally had a little adventure and headed to Leduc, Alberta to visit a couple long time friends who just recently got engaged. I will be doing a separate post for that probably in a few days once I upload some of the pics (although I didn't take nearly as many as I had anticipated). 

Even though we only have two days left of vacation, and considering we hardly did anything too eventful in the amount of time off we had, I am still feeling pretty satisfied. We played some volleyball, I did an MEC run, we watched some hockey and played some Mortal Combat (I beat Mark every round, hah) with friends, we did a couple dinners out, a couple breakfasts out, and just a whole lot of lounging. I really couldn't have asked for more. 

How do you like to enjoy your vacations?

Monday, April 13, 2015

MEC 5km Run April 12, 2015

(Sarah & I waiting to start our 2nd 5km MEC run)
This weekend my girlfriend, Sarah, and I did another 5km MEC run. Thankfully this one was not nearly as torturous as the first 5km MEC trail run in Squamish that we did last week. 

This run was near Stanley Park, along the Seawall, and past the Aquarium in Vancouver. The entire run had absolutely gorgeous scenery and the terrain was much easier for me to handle this time around. Instead of the entire first 2.5km being uphill (like the Squamish run), this one was filled with much more gradual inclines and declines and an overall more level/smooth terrain. (Check out the link for this runs map/elevation description)
We were lucky that the rain held off for the morning while we were running, but it was definitely still very cold and windy. MEC generously hosted a mini warm-up before the actual run took place, so we were able to get our blood pumping instead of hitting the pavement on cold legs. 

I thoroughly improved my pace this run, and I definitely think the terrain had something to do with it. My official time was: 28min25sec, with an average pace of 5min41sec per km. I came in 31 out of 106 5km female runners or 55 out of 151 total 5km runners.

Now, I've only done two of the MEC 5km runs, and they were incredibly different from each other, but I think it was good for me to experience the two extremes: steep uphill/downhill, trail terrain vs. gradual uphill/downhill, paved scenic terrain. I have to admit, I loved them both. I liked the challenge of the steep trail terrain, but I liked that on the paved terrain I felt much more in control of my pace. Obviously both types of terrain have their advantages and disadvantages so I plan on checking out more running events in both categories.

(Sarah and I both after finishing in under 30mins)
What type of terrain do you prefer to run?


Friday, April 10, 2015

My follower (2005)

I am the darkness bestowed upon you
I am the guilt that follows your mind
I am the hurt that stays so true
I am the emptiness that makes you cry

I'll never let you shine again,
You'll never be an innocent trend
A healed heart will never last
I am your follower, this is my task

You'll never be free if you can't confess
This life you lead, it is a mess
But even still, I will follow
To remind you of a past so hollow

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

MEC 5km Squamish Run: Smoke Bluffs

In the spirit of spontaneity and fitness, my best girlfriend and I decided to (last minute) join a 5km trail run up in Squamish this past Saturday, April 4, 2015. 

I've been running quite a bit over the last two months and lately I'm averaging my pace anywhere from about 6min10sec per km to about 7min50sec per km. Obviously some days are worse than others, especially if the dog is having an off day and needs to stop like 6 times for random pees and sniffs, but overall I feel I am building strength, endurance, and mostly confidence in my running capacity. 

So I eagerly signed up for this 5km run (which was open to beginners, intermediate and advanced runners) and didn't look back. Little did I know though, that I was in for a big surprise!

Here's what happened:

I was up at about 5:30am and hit the road with the hubby and the pup by about 6:15. I needed to stop for coffee on the way, and I wanted to be at the run site in Squamish by about 8:30am so that I had time to pick up my race bib etc. without worrying about traffic or line up delays. 
(Here I am ready to leave the house by 6:15am)

The drive up the sea-to-sky highway was gorgeous, as per usual, and we arrived to the run site (Squamish Adventure Centre) with plenty of time to spare. My friend Sarah and I pinned our chip filled race bibs to our shirts, jogged in place for a brief few minutes to get warm, I gave the hubby and Capt'n some hugs n kisses and before we knew it, Sarah and I were lining up at the start line. 

By 9:15am we were off the start line and heading up the trail which apparently they call the "Smoke Bluffs."

Now this is where I tell you I was in for a biiiiiiiig surprise. Here is a map, including elevation of the run:

That's right, in the first 2.5km, we went over 200metres up. This run, or better described as hike, was sooooo friggin steep! Obviously I was not mentally or physically prepared for this, so it really slowed my pace down significantly. Sarah handled it much better than I did, she was such a good motivator!

Thankfully eventually we got to start heading downhill, but to be honest, it was almost just as difficult because it was so steep that I had to grab a hold of trees and branches, etc. to brace myself from slipping and falling down. 

All in all though the scenery was beautiful, the weather turned out perfect, and really the run was a total blast. My final time was 46min36sec, with an average pace of 9min19sec per km. Click here for the official results. I came in 19th place out of the women in the 5km group. Not to shabby for my first 5km event!

Here are some more photos from the day:

(Start line)

(Me coming up to the finish line)



Here are some pics that Mark managed to get while him and Capt'n were waiting for us ladies to finish our run:

Even if you are not a runner, I definitely recommend this area for a nice walk/hike. It was absolutely beautiful!


Headstand challenge success!

Let me just start this off by saying a big fat "WOOOOOOOO HOOOOOO!" 

This video is actually from I think a little over a week ago, but I had a busy/rough few day stretch so I am I am only now finding the time to actually upload and post it. I apologize for the delay.

Anyway folks, guess what! I did a complete headstand, unassisted, controlled on the way up, and down! 

Here is it:

Now, I think I can officially check this off my 30 before 30 list: Do a controlled headstand, however, I am not stopping here. I do want to get much more controlled and confident at it. 

This week I started working on doing the headstand without the security blanket of having the wall behind me just in case I lose my balance. Now that I know I have the strength and physical ability to complete this task, I'm really trying hard to overcome the mental focus for it. Mariah made a comment last week on one of my posts and it really resonated with me: "One yoga instructor said that the balance poses are very telling because you can't hide in them, if you are off balanced mentally (not in the now/focused on just the mat) then it will show." This was so true for me over these past couple days, because I was really in a negative slump and I was really struggling with the coordination on the headstand. 

So I'm furthering this challenge for myself and really focusing hard to make some progress on the mental aspect! Wish me luck!

What challenges have you overcome recently?


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Urban Rec Volleyball Tournament

I played in a co-ed 6s Urban Rec volleyball tournament on March 21, 2015. Mark's dad was nice enough to come out and support us, and he also managed to snap a few photos of the group. 

Even if you don't want to see us playing, check out the photos for a brief look at the Richmond Oval, it's a pretty cool facility!

(From left to right: Lucas, Me, Tony, Jess, Steve, Mark)
(Waiting for a team to arrive on the court -
From left to right: Me, Tony, Jess, Steve, Mark, Lucas)
(Me = setter)

(Mark = power)

(Jess = offside)

(Tony = middle)

(Steve = middle)
(Lucas = power)

 Hope you enjoyed the photos!