My reviews: Jalapeno M&Ms

Jalapeno M&Ms!!

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I know, weird eh? I found these at this nice candy/ice cream shop in Cowichan Bay last weekend when Ian and I stopped there for a treat after our hike up Mt. Tzhouhalem. We got some ice cream and spotted these. They were WAY overpriced at $3.60, but I couldn’t resist and apparently the bag is bigger than a regular bag of m&ms, called a ‘sharing bag’ and contained three servings (riiiiight). This is a product offering in a line of unique ‘International’ flavours- there is Thai coconut, British toffee flavour and Mexican jalapeno flavour.

Let’s get this one thing out of the way- m&ms are overpriced and overrated. Ok I said it.

But, I also like them and a lot of people do (peanut or peanut-butter only, please. Stay away with your Smarties type ones). So these ones, how did they fare? Pretty darn neat actually! The jalapeno kick is almost impossible to detect at first, and then with a subtle heat, it grows on you. Eat more, and it gets significantly spicier! What a cool concept for a pretty boring brand. I do recommend these, they’re not so hot, but they’re quite fun and a real novelty. Not a bargain buy at all, but unique and fun to eat.

Anyways, the jalapeno m&ms were more fun than the rest of my week, which included having a lawn chair collapse underneath me causing me to fall underneath my freaking horse on Monday, and then breaking a chunk off my back molar on Tuesday that means more fillings for me…yay. 

Stay tuned for my other candy purchase reviews from the same store… Mango-chile Nerds, Guava Nerds!

Summer-born

This weekend (my birthday weekend) was very much a good news/bad news kind of time.

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From our successful Sooke Saddle Club show- things were going so well, until they weren’t! Photos are courtesy of Eila Zylak. 

Good news: Oats can be ridden in the indoor and in the field!

Bad news: Lame in the outdoor. And weirdly a total nut in the indoor, afraid of the person door??

Good news: The weather was so great!

Bad news: Still chilly in James Bay.

Good news: LOTS of fun friend interactions!

Bad news: I had lots of fun friend interactions because I couldn’t take my lame horse in the horse show, so I went to watch instead. I felt a bit jealous!

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Stretchy trot. Good relaxation but could use more stretch?

UGH. Well, oh well. I did a lot of running, some riding, some sweating, some shopping, lots of eating and enjoying time with my friends and family. So that is ok. I miss riding and jumping in the outdoor though, and had some super fun gallops in the field, where Oats seemed completely sound, only to find him head-bobbing lame in the outdoor arena the next day. (Though ok in the indoor?) It really does seem like what the vet said on Wednesday is true- some sort of heel bruise… Ugh. Takes time I guess.

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I was so glad I took an extra day off, to just enjoy myself. That is the biggest and best gift I could give to myself. AND I bought myself a cool Arista Sunstopper long sleeved shirt that I have been wanting for a year! AND my amazing horse friends bought Oats pink brushing boots?! Can you believe it? WOW! How lucky am I?

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🙂

Now he just needs to get better so we can waltz around our jump courses flashing pink!

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Life & Living it

Wow, the long weekend just flew by! It was busy and yet I had plenty of time to sit on my patio and drink rosé, one of my favourite summertime drinks. Thursday/Friday, my friend was staying with me while she attended to some errands in Victoria, and I also had my jump lesson on Thursday, and my dressage lesson on Friday…Which is a long-winded explanation about why I missed YET ANOTHER run club run on Saturday morning. I’m currently pitching 0-2, soon to be 0-3 (I am missing another one this Saturday, argh)… At 8am, I just don’t have it in me.

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Proof that i did indeed makeup my missing runs…

Instead I stayed up to visit with my friend and we drank a bottle of wine and a bunch of Caesars. Worth it. I had a killer headache all day starting from waking me up in the middle of the night though, ouch. Hubris. Oh well, at least my lesson went really well and OATS HAS A COUNTER CANTER you guys! Feeble and tentative, but it’s happening!!!

Oh well! I had an insanely busy day on Saturday anyways, I guess leading in from the theme of last week: Busy every day. Had to run a saddle I was trying back out to the ass-end of Deep Cove, ran to the grocery store on my way back to the barn, rode Oats in the field for a brief 30 minutes, ran the 16km I missed that AM, went to the liquor store, another grocery store, and then gas and then home.

PHEW. This mad scrambling was also going on because my husband’s parents were coming over to our house for dinner, and I had thought we agreed on Sunday, because I knew my Saturday was going to be nuts, but they got confused and came on Saturday instead?! Yikes. So, start scrambling!!

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Love my smoothies of summer! 

We had a really nice visit and shocker, the weather cooperated for once. Then Sunday was dedicated to my leisure: A super fun ride where I practiced a few of the elements we learned on Friday, including trying out our counter-canter a few more times. It was good, not easy and not perfect, but cool to start trying and practicing. Whee! Then I came home and went on a run along the ocean, and also got into a yelling match with some idiot who let his dog off-leash, where it cut me off suddenly and made me trip and almost eat dirt! And it was a big dog too, I could have been hurt badly by this. IDIOT!! It’s always these men that do stupid things, and then act surprised when you get mad at them. Assholes.

Anyways, the run was fun, hot and sweaty, my favourite!

And then Monday (ah, Monday…I love long weekends) was Canada Day! I celebrated by riding my pony in the field again, chilling out and going to a friend’s bbq party, where I also overindulged my inner glutton and was literally sweating all night thanks to my over-eating tendencies. I hate myself sometimes!!! UGH.

Now it’s rainy and Oats has his lesson day today, so no rides for me.

Somewhere Somehow: CDRC Dressage Recap!

To start, this was a long HOT weekend for all of us- ponies, riders, show volunteers, trainers and judges. Hats off to them for putting on a lovely show with grace and good cheer! We came up on Saturday and I was in kind of a frenzy in the morning, as we saw there were reports of traffic accidents, and I had my dog with me for the whole day, it was hot, I was feeling nervous…ARGH.

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Better scores and weather, but hot, long and dehydrated?!

Anyways, I got to the barn WAY too early, and shared an ice cream for breakfast with my friend who was also riding in the show. Gidget was annoying but manageable.

We loaded up (early) and got to the show without incident, thank god. But at the show, my friend was riding early, and I was just…sitting around with Oats in the sun. Not a good combination for us. I mounted up, and then hopped off, mounted up AGAIN only to find that they had slotted in even more riders before me, and then I got back on AGAIN and just…It wasn’t a recipe for success. Oats was hot and angsty and stressed, he had to pee but wasn’t!(??) and wasn’t drinking either. Not a winning combination. I also managed to foist my dog off on another rider, who babysat Gidget for me for the whole long, hot day. PHEW!! Stress city guys?!

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From last time. It was still really windy! 

Our first test felt distracted and I prepared him very poorly for it. OH well…The second test rode much better (it felt like to me?) but Oats had an opinion and tossed in a buck, and for every downward transition within the gait (extended canter to working canter) he tried to trot. = success???

I was a bit concerned about him, with the not-drinking, acting strangely and stressed and just blahhhh ‘aura’ about him. He basically fell into the trailer! I asked my friends to keep an eye on him when he got home, to see how he was acting. He was going fine, had a BIG pee (I knew he had to go!!), drank water and went into his house to sleep. He didn’t even come out to play with his buddies. I learned some important lessons about this day, and I was careful on Sunday to make sure he had access to water at all times, including in the warm-up ring (and he drank successfully on Sunday!). 

Our tests were scored well but strangely- I really felt like he rode the second test much better, but it was scored at 65% (first level 3) and the first one was at 70% (yes!! but also…it didn’t feel as good?). Odd!? 

Anyways, I was just glad he felt SO much better on the second day, recap to come tomorrow…Stay tuned!

MEC Race #2: Royal Roads Half-Marathon Recap! (and this time, I won!)

I was having a difficult time mentally preparing for this race. I had a really shitty day on Saturday and was having trouble getting my head in the game.

It’s a challenging half-marathon course, two loops and the start is uphill for about 3km, and then flat-ish, and then some rolling hills, and then a looooooooong flat section of about 2.5km, and then .75km or so straight uphill. And you get to do it twice! Yeah! Sign me up?!

I am very familiar with the course, but like any race you run once a year, you kind of …forget…exactly how it goes. For example, I forgot about the uphill start and was kind of kicking myself/bummed about how off-pace and hard I had to work pretty much immediately. Oh joy! I also forgot my watch, so was running by feel. Which worked out ok!

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Photo courtesy of MEC Victoria.

It was a warm day, no watch, and my friends were at the race so that was cool to be able to see them, cheer them on and say hi! They were also running the half-marathon. I was very careful to stay hydrated and make sure I was fueled appropriately. I have run into real trouble at this race by getting dehydrated and significantly under-fueled, leading to staggering, and walking/feeling like I was going to die during the race. I had waffles, coffee, yogurt and a banana for breakfast, and brought with me a whole package of Clif Gummies (Salted watermelon) that had electrolytes in it. I even managed to eat most of the package before the race- not something I can normally do.

So the race?

I ran it, it ran me, I had some fun high points (jumping over a log! Getting electrolyte drinks, high-fiving the volunteers and hearing them say I was the first lady!!) 🙂 and some lows (immediately at the start when it felt hard, at the top of the big hill knowing I had to do it exactly over again, struggle-bus time).

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Note no left sock! Photo courtesy of MEC Victoria.

I was sweating like crazy, and I knew I had to be very good about getting electrolyte drinks and water at every stop. Score one for me!

When I started, my damn sock immediately slipped down to my mid-foot. Shit! I stopped (and this was ONE km in…) and pulled it back up. Got back to running and it slipped down again immediately. Ok fine sock, this is how you want to play it? I ran the whole race without a sock on my left foot. Went ok, have a blister now though 😉

When I crossed the finish line, I was really glad to see my time was even better than last year (note- this is NEVER a guarantee. Never.). I raced at a very respectable 1:38:58, for the first woman! My first-ever MEC win! And then I went straight to the medic tent to get a band-aid for my freaking blister.

And something strange, when they announced the 2nd and 3rd place women (who weren’t around), I immediately knew something was up- I never saw them on-course. And I mean, never. It’s a small race. I was talking to the 4th or 5th place woman, who was confused by her placing…I remembered seeing her a bunch of times, about 1:30-2 mins behind me, but NEVER 2nd and 3rd women, who were apparently even closer behind me, according to the race results.

So I did some digging when I got home, and saw that their previous race times at other MEC races were slow- very slow. Like, 1:40+ for 10k slow. There is no way they ran a 1:40 half right behind me- I never once saw them on course.

I suspect they ran 1 loop of the course, and ran through the finish lines. Whether they had signed up for the 10k and accidentally started with the halfs, or had signed up for the half and decided to cut it short, it seems a bit devious to me. I think that they should own up! It sucks for 2nd and 3rd women, who did really well on a very tough course.

So, some intrigue eh??

I’m curious to see the photos come out- photos don’t lie on a race day!

 

 

Hola Mexico!

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We just went on a super awesome Mexico trip, driving down the Yucatan Peninsula to explore the side/route not taken- the Caribbean side! It was great 🙂

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We landed in Playa del Carmen, which I didn’t really like…It felt like Las Vegas to be honest! Big loud bars, party scene, touristas everywhere and just very overwhelming. If we were there for longer, I know we’d see the ‘real’ Playa del Carmen, and not just the touristy veneer, but for first impressions it was nuts~ Plus we went to a restaurant, the food was quite good but they screwed up our order, when we called them on it, they straight up lied…And we could tell. Bad move, people.

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A diff restaurant, much more humble.

But at least the order we did get tasted good? Ha. Regardless, we were eating what they brought, not what we wanted.

Then we rented our car and were off to Mahuahual. I can’t even say the name right to this day….Much less spell it correctly. It’s a wayyyys off, basically 3.5 hours from Playa Del Carmen. It feels eerily like you’re in the middle of nowhere, haha. And then boom! You are at the ocean, and it’s a really cute little town. Very touristy and has a cruise ship port- but it was very quiet when we were there. It can be a bit of a party town too, down at the far end.

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The condo at Mahuahual.

We had a condo rented via air bnb and it was AWESOME! Cool, breezy, large, good internet, clean and had a fantastic blender that I made GREAT use of. Thumbs up! We did a fair amount of snorkeling and walking around in Mahuahual. We saw about 5 rays, I found a very large snail, almost as big as a conch! I also saw a lionfish.

We got pretty sunburned, but that was okay because soon we were on our way to the jungle! We then spent 1 day at a jungle lodge in Calakmul and it was scorching hot. Holy jeezus, it was stifling when we got there and our cabin sure didn’t have A/C….But they did have a pool! We spent a lot of time in it. Dinnertime and we saw some agoutis scampering around the forest!

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We spent a lot of time at the pool…it was scorching hot! 

The next morning there was much confusion as the state we were in was in a different time zone…Ha. We got up (too early as it turned out) to have breakfast and then head to see the Mayan ruins at Calakmul (the reason we went there in the first place). The ruins are located deep in the biosphere, on a 60-km long journey on a seriously pot-holed and pitted road. It was a long and arduous drive. We did see what may have been a tapir?? several toucans, and a wild turkey attacked our car too, which was frightening.

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Toucan friend

We made it to the ruins and I bolted out of the car and ran straight to the washrooms (another story entirely….bees and or flies. YIKES). There are no services there other than washrooms, so you have to be careful with water and food- you must bring everything with you, and there is nowhere to buy those items at the jungle lodge, so you have to come prepared early.

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We then walked what felt like forever to see the ruins, hidden among the jungle. They were VERY impressive…looming out of the trees. Tons of them too! And we were practically the only people there, only a handful of others. It was screamingly hot too.

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We explored/climbed until we ran out of water and had to go back to the car, having exhausted most of the ruins- at least the neat ones. Back on the bumpy pothole road we went, this time straight to Bacalar, home of the second-largest freshwater lake/lagoon of the famed ‘seven colours’ water.

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It was not disappointing. It was gorgeous! Windy as fuck as we soon learned…But gorgeous! We spent some times swimming in the lagoon, renting space at a fancy and well-maintained beachside resort-type setup in town.

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We then went to explore the centoes (big water caves with freshwater) that was famous in the area- Centoes Azul. It was very cool but the idea of basically this giant pit of bottomless water that goes straight down is kind of frightening when you’re used to seeing and walking on the bottom of the ocean/lagoon floor…. Also I got attacked by a fish that was trying to bite my legs. Reminded me of piranhas!! I screamed and shrieked and swam for the ladders to get out.

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Cenote Azul

We wrapped up our time in Bacalar enjoying some truly fantastic food- I had a very reasonably priced whole roasted octopus, we ordered some GREAT ice cream- Ian had queso flavoured! I had ‘mamey’ flavour (kind of like a cakey vanilla?? It’s red?) And our last night we had what can only be described as a cauldron of meat. Hahahah. Yum though!

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Cenote Azul

Our journey home was arduous, stressful and had me going from 0-100 in like ten beats. UGHH. What we learned from that was- the less moving parts, the better. Next time just get a car from the airport and remove the extreme stress of returning the rental, buying bus tickets, getting on a bus, getting stuck in gridlock traffic, getting into a major huge lineup at the airport (ok maybe that part is inevitable…) but yeah. Freaking stressful.

Anyways, I can recommend our journey. It was amazing!!

The Interior for a holiday

Featuring…lots of haze and smoky skies, courtesy of the wildfire situation happening all over B.C. at the moment. In Victoria right now, it’s crazy smoky and the air quality is really poor. I am happy to say it wasn’t that bad in Kelowna- some high haze but still fairly warm and sunny. It got a lot worse when we left actually- they had to shut down the airports! Yikes…

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Dirty Laundry winery.

Anyways we went to the interior for a bit of sun and summer warmth (that was only partially thwarted by the wilfires). We visited wineries, went on a run to the 12 trestles trail at the Kettle Valley Railway,. ate at restaurants, bought wine by the case (me), went to breweries and cideries, did some short hikes with Gidget and swimming! (pool, Similkimeen River and Okanagan Lake).

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Hot dog! At Dirty Laundry winery.

All in all, it felt really good to get away.

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Swimming in the Similkimeen. COLD! 

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Really smoky in Keremeos. View from a winery.

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Finished the run at the Kettle Valley Railway. Hot but good! 

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Vice & Virtue Brewery art- Kelowna.

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Yes we did a lot of this!!