A Deeper Understanding: Thanksgiving!

I feel like a broken record when I say this, but wow my weekends are busy! Riding lesson on Friday night (and after feeling like total crap last week, I had to shoe-horn myself into my breeches and go anyways. Thank you buttons for your structural integrity!). I still felt pretty miserable…

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But the lesson went well! We worked on introducing Oats to counter-canter signals, which was difficult but he was really trying, like a good boy. 🙂 Saturday more riding (we were in the field goofing off, it was soooo nice out) and then off to Victoria Beer Week’s Fresh to Death beer fest for the afternoon. It was great, and the weather was fantastic.

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Fresh to Death- see our friend the Skeleton! 

After the beer, we zipped off to The Flying Pig for some happy hour food (and I dropped my wallet on the floor and lost it there…) before heading home for quick R&R before going out to my friend’s birthday party. We were downtown at her party and didn’t get home until 1am! I was wiped! But it was an awesome day/night.

Sunday we got up and I tore the house apart trying to find my freaking wallet…Luckily the fine folks at The Flying Pig had found it, and messaged me on Facebook to tell me they had it! YESS!! We picked it up, went to the stables where I rode Oaty, and then we were off to the farm for Thanksgiving #1. Though it was pretty miserable weather, we had a super nice time with great food!

Home in the late evening, and I was up early-ish for an equine counselling session on Oats at the barn. It went well too, and then home again for lunch and preparing for Thanksgiving #2, at my parents. That went fine too, though felt quite long. The food was excellent!

And now, I am back at work. Can I get a weekend from my weekends?!!

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Snack review: Kit Kat Chunky New York Cheesecake!

Feast your eyes…. The newest taste experience the Kit Kat Chunky New York Cheesecake flavour!

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This was kindly procured for me by gym-friend and practically sister Jessica who tells me she found it at London Drugs.

And how was it though? GOOD! With a caveat- if your favourite part of eating a Kit Kat is the wafer, (but I don’t know who prefers wafers, if you do just eat those kind of lame Voortman ones) then this isn’t the Kit Kat for you. It has a quite rich filling of ‘cheesecake-style’ crème on top of the wafer, enough to actually really notice and enjoy it. This tones down the wafer ‘snap’ of the bar.

My one quibble is the quality of the chocolate- it seems significantly lighter and waxier than normal? Like it’s not even milk chocolate anymore, they’re just going with watered down chocolate but mostly fillers? But that’s beside the point- for a novelty flavour this bar is really fun and I thought I would eat a bit and maybe wait to eat the rest but I wolfed it down – who am I kidding- and actually kind of want to pick up another one!

So try it and you won’t regret it. An enjoyable summer treat!

You deserve this: Weekend update

Ah the weekend- I was on pins and needles at first, anxious to see if I was going to be deployed for flooding assistance- something I am fine with doing, but man, I did not want to go right now. So my weekend was me checking my phone constantly to see if I was going to be deployed. Spoiler: I wasn’t! YAY!

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The facility is incredible.

Saturday Ian and I visited the Fairfield Community Garage Sale and I scored a really sweet Bench jacket for $20 and a puffy polka-dot vest for $5- niiice! There were some other sales that looked pretty good but I wasn’t in need for much, so I left it at that.

Went riding and Oats was really good! I even rode without stirrups, which reminded me how much I dislike riding w/o stirrups…Ouch. I get this big knot under my thighs. Later I went for a run, and then just enjoyed the evening. It was crazy windy and cold, so we weren’t out on the patio at all. Crummy weather on Saturday!

Sunday I had arranged a lesson with another trainer, as my current dressage coach Karen Brain is on a much-needed vacation and travelling around! It didn’t start off well at all. Blah. Oats was a total loon about the end of the outdoor arena and driving me NUTS! Why was this surfacing after having such great, zen rides? ARGHHHHHH. I was so mad. He was literally jumping out of his skin every step. Wha?

Anyways, it kind of looked like we didn’t know what we were doing…Not a great first impression. BUT the lesson went well, and Oats was tired. When we went back to the exercise (raised poles on a circle, trot and then canter) he was like WHA? I have to do this again? Ha. yes. The name of the game was to improve Oats’ fitness, so when I am asking for more collected canter work he can actually do it, instead of you know…not.

Then I got changed and my friend and I drove out to the gorgeous Fairlawn Equestrian Centre for the season-end wrap up party potluck. It is amazing out there! Just stunning. I got totally sunburned, ha. We enjoyed a ton of great food (I ate way too much yesterday, ugh felt sick after) and tasty desserts too. Yum yum! And there were door prizes as well- I won a bottle of Cowboy Magic and my friend won a really cute face brush.

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Sweet prize!!

A surprise to me, I won the Adult Amateur High Point award- a really sweet Tempo Jacket from Greenhawk, and they are going to embroider it too. WOWWW! Made my day! Lucky me.

Peru final stage: Cusco

By the time we left Ollantaytambo, I was ready to feel better! I wanted to eat and drink well again. I liked Ollantaytambo, but I didn’t like how cars/buses went ripping around the very narrow cobbled streets- it felt too narrow and busy.

Off to Cusco we went, for the final 3 days of our trip. The ride back to Cusco was ok except I felt horribly carsick heading into Cusco- so twisty, winding, slamming on the brakes and oh, the car we hired didn’t have any seatbelts? Joy!

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We made it and wow, I felt like shit.

Cusco was very cool- lots of big older buildings, museums, hotels and tons and tons of pretty good restaurants and bars. Our hotel was super neat, an old monastery that was attached to a church! The church still held services, and the hotel itself functioned as a non-profit to support orphaned girls.

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I loved the hotel, and the town was very neat. The unfortunate thing about Cusco is that it is SWARMING with hawkers of nearly every description. It does get tiring to swat away vendors and tour guides and you name it. Every.single.time. you leave the hotel, without fail. Kind of exhausting.

We walked around exploring Cusco, and did a chocolate-making workshop that was SUPER fun. Highly recommend! It is pricey but worth it. So fun.

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We enjoyed a beer from the best viewpoint in town, for a very reasonable price.

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We also went to one of the best restaurants in Cusco (according to a friend of mine) called Pachapapas – I had the whole roasted trout, and Ian had Alpaca skewers.  They were amazing!! The only thing that sucked was that we were both starting to feel the effects of altitude, and our metabolisms started slowing down. That meant that after 1 meal, we no longer wanted to eat or drink anything…And felt vaguely nauseous for the whole day/night. That meant I wasn’t even hungry for our amazing dinner-bummer! And the thought of alcohol made me feel sick. Man!

We also went to the shabby-chic Coca Museum (it was more shabby than chic hahaha) but a fun little foray.

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In the end, I was glad to wrap up our trip. It was chilly in Cusco at night, but fairly nice during the day. I was wishing I could eat/drink normally again, and quite glad to be back on the road home by the end of our three days.

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Visit Peru- it’s a crazy place and you’ll have a grand adventure!

My review: Speculoos Cookie & Cocoa Swirl and bonus an opinion!

Thank you to my colleague for the tasty treat. I very carefully practiced willpower when you gave it to me last week, and that lasted until I got home with it unopened, and then I immediately dove into it and ate a few spoonfuls while proclaiming that it ‘needed something’ like pretzels or whatever to add to the flavour.

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And just like that, the top half of the jar was gone. Ian said it was surprising I was saying it needed something while also shoveling it into my mouth via large spoon. At the time the only option I had cracker-wise was Ryvita and just…no.

Anyways, I did end up spreading it on a toaster waffle and while it is pretty good solo, it was GREAT with the waffle. The stripes of cookie butter blend well with cocoa, adding a bit of textural interest and granularity. I am someone who likes crunchy peanut butter so your mileage may vary on that account. One quibble-the cocoa stripes tend to dominate and take over the spread. It becomes more of a ‘cocoa with cookie butter’ spread rather than the other way around. So die-hard cookie butter lovers (there could be some, I don’t judge as a peanut butter fiend personally) may not love this as much as I do.

So yeah a week in there is like half a jar left, yikes. I have added it to homemade waffles as well (and marshmallows, crackers, etc) and it is a true delight! At the risk of sounding like a monster, I have also *gasp* added peanut butter to the cookie butter for waffles. I know eh, where does it end???

Also here is my opinion: The Reese’s Eggs are not as good as the flat Reese’s Eggs. Do they find this as confusing as I do?

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The best! 

 

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Merely ‘good’

My review: Reese’s chocolate rabbit! Just in time for Easter

So the picture below may not actually be the one I ate. I devoured it so fast I didn’t take a picture, and also now I can’t quite remember but I don’t think there was foil covering it…Anyways, without further ado- the BEST Easter candy of the season!

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Reese’s Chocolate Rabbit! Maybe even the best candy I have had all year??? Tough call. But a fair one.

It is a fairly hefty sized rabbit, not quite the 1lb pound gargantua that I saw when I googled ‘Reese’s Chocolate Rabbit’ but given the fact that I wolfed this down in one sitting (for lunch, I’m not some sort of monster), I’m glad it wasn’t a full 1lb! I did kind of feel sick after and wanted vegetables so I can even recommend eating this whole in one sitting to encourage you to eat healthier after. Kind of like aversion therapy maybe.

It’s DELICIOUS!!!

Imagine the biggest, best Reese’s cup (like maybe the one with Reese’s pieces shards in it) and times it by three. Bigger, better, more peanut-buttery goodness inside. It is filled all the way to the ears, no cheaping out on the peanut butter. The texture of the peanut butter filling is slightly grainy in the best way possible. Mouthfeel is excellent, the chocolate covering is smooth and slightly greasy but pretty good too. It’s addictive and incredible. Man, I wish I hadn’t eaten the entire rabbit but also can enjoy that memory for all of Easter haha. I think it is even better than the half-pound Reese’s cup they have at Christmas…Which I may have also eaten in one sitting. But that was years ago.

This was purchased for me by the lovely colleague so I can’t comment on cost but I believe it is available at all the regular stores (might look slightly different, I can’t quite remember). Get this one- it is better than all the Mr. Solid/Mr. Crunchy and Mr. Munchy chocolate rabbits combined, maybe even better than all of those combined with Peeps! Also there should be a Peeps/Reese’s mashup. I would buy allllll of it. Get on this, people!

VIRA Prairie Inn Harriers 8k Race Recap feat. NEW COURSE!

For the first time in oh, 38 years the 8k was at a new venue.

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Photo courtesy of Joseph Camilleri. Also why do I look like I am going in slow motion? Jeesh.

I was kind of grouchy about this…I really liked the Saanich Fairgrounds venue, it had lots of parking, wasn’t too far to get to, and the start/finish line was – right- there. The new venue had some logistical nightmares as per me. It was just like…arghhhh.

First off, the weather was HORRENDOUS. Pounding rain, blasting wind. Like, the entire time.

Parking was also kind of a nightmare…Busy race with 500 registrants and not a lot of parking available.

The bathroom situation looked crazy but turned out fine.

The jog to the start line was far. Very far. You had to go up over an overpass, and go close to 1km from the clothing dropoff at the school to the start, in absolutely nightmarish weather. Lovely. This also meant that you had to jog 1km back from the finish, which was ok but mannn I was soaked.

I know a few people that showed up late to the race because they came to the school, only to realize that it was quite a hike to the start! Whoops! Luckily we clued in that there would be some hoofing it, so we were fine, albeit very cold and wet.

The start was kind of tough, very narrow road and we were all crammed in. I didn’t seed well (I am not fast enough to start too close to the start, but I am faster than where I ended up) and we were all sardine-like at the start…Very slow. I wasted some time/energy and my gun/chip time took a big hit due to it.

My loose goal was to try for my reg. 10k pace and see how it felt. I wasn’t feeling spectacular so I was kind of like ehhhh…I’m freezing, soaked and just want this to be done with! My goal was then 4:30 or what I could cling to.

My first KM was quite fast- like 4:12. I was like, oh ok..well, let’s see. I immediately plummeted to 4:26 and was like, hmm…Hope I can cling to this.

My next few KM’s bounced a bit between 4:30 on the money, and then slowed to 4:33, making me feel a tad concerned. The scenery on-route would be beautiful (all farms! Horse farms! One I even recognized!) if it weren’t so god-awful. The left turn to the airport and eventually the turnaround was just soul-destroying…Blasting wind, rain scouring your face/ears…Wow.

But there was a sliver lining. That miserable rain/wind combo was at our backs, with a gentle assist on the way home. I picked up, splashing my way through the puddles with wet soaked feet and shoes, and I felt GOOD. My times improved, with mid-KM’s at 4:10 and 4:17. Who is this girl?

I wasn’t dying (though the last KM was hard) I was doing it!! 

My thanks to the volunteers who must have been totally miserable. You guys are the real troopers! The food was great after too- chocolate milk,  pizza! Brownies with salt on them, bananas and yogurt. Yum yum!

I finished my 8k with a time of 34:41 (chip) and 34:53 (gun) for a respectable 8th place in my age category. 🙂