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.

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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. 🙂

Jusu 1-day easy cleanse. My review!

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Full disclosure– I do not believe in cleanses or detoxes (that’s what your liver is for, and maybe less drinking and/or eat more fruit and vegetables). I also bought this at a charity silent auction for $30, so for that value for money it’s a fun thing to try out. Full price is $60, so your view may vary on whether it is worth it or not!

The easy cleanse is made up of 6 juices:

Must Be Nuts. A really fun one to kickoff the day and also their highest calorie juice. It tastes vaguely chocolately, and slightly gritty but not unpleasant. Quite tasty and a real treat! I had this around 9:30 am. I didn’t feel hungry after this one, even though I went through my usual routine (gym at 11am) and found my mouth watering watching Rachel Ray cook a turkey on TV when I was running on the treadmill. Weird, because I don’t really like turkey and I wasn’t particularly hungry.

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Emerald City. Very low-calorie veggie juice, quite ‘cucumber-forward’ and tasted to me like a very zingy gazpacho. A slow sipper, but nice to drink and quite light. I had this around 12:30 pm as my ersatz lunch drink. It was a bit difficult to smell people’s food in the microwave at this point but not that bad.

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The Classic. This one tasted much more ‘fruity’ and was a very vibrant burgundy courtesy of the beets. Relied heavily on ginger and apple for strong flavours. This was around the time my stomach started feeling very acidic…I had this one around 2:30 pm. Also there was an art show opening on our floor that had two-bite brownies, cookies and banana bread. Sorely tested my willpower, but I managed to move on.

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Green Machine. Very ginger-forward, hints of parsley and a bite of lemon.  At this point I still wasn’t feeling hungry BUT I also didn’t want to drink juice anymore. My stomach felt really ‘sloshy’ and quite acidic with minor heartburn and I was FREEZING. I drank this one around 5:00 pm and finished it driving out to the barn for my jump lesson. I brought my fifth juice with me in the car but…yeah.

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Didn’t drink this one, still in my fridge: Hawkeye. It looks cool, but after riding the idea of drinking any more juice made my stomach recoil and I had pretty bad heartburn after too. GAG.

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Double Jointer. Now this one I drank with pleasure- after skipping Hawkeye I thought this one might help settle my stomach and it did! It’s another fairly high-calorie drink, very smoooooth almond flavour, not quite as gritty as Must be Nuts and a pleasant and mellow way to wrap up the night. This one did not bug my stomach, it was really nice to drink. I drank this one at 8:30pm.

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Pros: I actually woke up with abs this morning. I can say that has happened basically NEVER. So….bonus?

Cons: I spent the entire night running to the bathroom to pee every hour on the hour. Water weight anyone?

Basically, the juice cleanse is a fun idea and an interesting way to test your willpower. If you’re like me and spent the week eating kind of regretfully (dinner at Bao with friends on Monday, dessert at Olo  too, Premier’s Awards Dinner on Tuesday with cheesecake and wine, Wednesday candy buffet/bingefest with the candy curated by yours truly so you know it’s good…) then this is a fun way to ‘test’ yourself and see what you are really capable of. Does food entertain you, keep you from being bored? This might help change your perspective if only for a little bit.

Of course, the only true cleanse is moderation in everything and fruit/veggies. But yeah, you knew that!

 

 

Arcade Fire and a weekend in Vancouver

Spent the weekend (another long one, lucky me!!) in Vancouver going to see the Arcade Fire show at the Pacific Coliseum. It was GREAT! We sadly showed up super late (arghhh) because we wanted to grab a beer at Parallel 49- an East Van brewery first. So we did, and it was crazy packed, and then when we went to catch the bus to the venue, no bus came…

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And we waited…and waited. UGH!

Finally it showed up and we had missed the opening act (Phantogram) and at least two songs by Arcade Fire. Bummer!! But the show itself was really amazing. The light show was super technically well done, and kept the audience riveted. They also played very heavy from Suburbs as well as Funerals so I was very happy with that!

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We stayed at the Sutton Place hotel (love it, don’t love that they charge $14+ for wi-fi!!) and we ate, oh boy did we eat…

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Nuba- La Feast. Highly recommend!! So much food and so great.

Brunch at Chambar– I had the Belgian waffle with milk chocolate lavender sauce, as well as a rosewater-orange-pistachio mocha, and fruit, yogurt and granola. YUM! So filling too.

Snack: Soft Peaks Chocolate Mudslide with Tim Tams.

Drinks: Beer at Parallel 49 and more beer/cocktails at the Alibi Room. Very cool!

We had a great weekend, the weather was cold but nice on Sunday. Everything went very smoothly with my dogsitter thank GOD and the ferries and Oats, and well, all of it! A nice time to get away. 🙂