The moment it all changed!

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The whole process of moving to Toronto was long and drawn out which I now deeply regret. We moved our stuff out of the house in segments which was always a great excuse to go back to Winnipeg and we delayed the sale because we thought we would get more money for the house if we waited til springtime. This meant we would carry the mortgage for 7 months, this was financially exhausting and a massive source of stress.

I also constantly flip-flopped with the idea of keeping the house as a rental, Derek was firmly against the idea and I thought it would be a great investment plus a solid safety net. My mind was quickly changed when we went back in June and the basement flooded because of tree roots in the sewer line (welcome to River Heights), I thought if that had happened with renters I would have felt terrible – the idea of renting was 100% over!

The house went up for sale and we didn’t get the money we thought we would, in fact a lot less. I knew we were sitting ducks because the house was empty and the kitchen and basement weren’t great but our realtor did a good job and got us fair market value for a house like ours.

It was OVER!!! We were financially FREE!! We were no longer tied to ANYTHING!!! This was the most liberating feeling EVER!! Then it hit me, the concept of buying a house, living in one neighbourhood for your ENTIRE life is so completely over-rated! I did it, I believed in it for decades, it was part of my DNA and all of a sudden I was no longer defined by having a nice house, dreaming of a cabin at Victoria Beach and bitching to my City Councillor that my neighbours play structure was breaking a city bi-law! Being a renter is also pretty great, when something breaks in the house, it’s not your problem!! Yes, I acknowledge this may sound like a mid-life crisis and maybe it is but I truly feel FREE!!!

img_5289Then the job offer came exactly one week after we closed on our Winnipeg house! If it had been one month earlier I would have flat out said “no” because we couldn’t afford it (mortgage in Winnipeg, rent in Toronto and rent in Saskatoon – not a chance!). So, I said “yes” and the adventure began…3 provinces in 10 months and zero regrets!

It’s funny, when I started telling people “Ya, I am moving to Saskatoon” every single person said “I have heard it’s nice there”and you know what, you were right! Saskatoon is young, vibrant, a foodies paradise, welcoming and a true hidden gem!

A big part of me never wants to own another home or at least not right now and hear me when I say, my days of calling City Councillors is not over…do you hear me, NOT OVER!

Fun:

Ok, I am going to tell you what wasn’t fun…Bridget has a baby! Oh snap, I went to see this flick with a very pregnant friend and felt she wanted to see it for research purposes, even though she knows who the father is…anyway, the movie sucks and only if you are sick in bed fighting the flu should you watch it! 1 out of 5 stars.

Fitness:

I need a running partner and STAT! In Winnipeg I had friends galore who loved running with me and in Toronto my 2 fur-pals were my running buddies…now I am without both. I am going to try out the running room free night and hope I meet some cool folks….any runners out there looking for a buddy? I comfortably run a 10 minute mile for about 10-15km, 9 mins for 5km.

I have joined 2 gyms here in YXE and I love them both. Super inspiring people, motivated adventure racers and I get really sweaty – I feel like my goal of becoming “Country Strong” will become a reality here! There are some seriously fit people in this town, I need to up my game big time!

Food:

One of the biggest food/alcohol trends in the past 2 years has been these over the topdill-pickle-vodka-bottle-4 Caesars (I say food and alcohol because Caesars these days basically come with an entire meal as a garnish) and in Saskatoon (or YXE to the locals) they have taken it to another level. Last Mountain Distillery in Saskatoon makes a dill pickle vodka which is a must have. If you like your Caesar spicy they also have a chili pepper vodka that will blow your socks off!

I made these super buttery, sweat and appley treat the other day for my co-workers and they said they were super awesome

(I didn’t eat any as I have been eating way too much apple-crisp-shortbread-bars-soberjuliegluten and sick in the guts). They were super easy to make and a great alternative to just shortbread or just apple crisp – it was a dessert marriage waiting to happen!

Thanks Sober Julie for creating this delish treat!

The BEST Apple Crisp Shortbread Bars Recipe

Fashion:

If you wanna be a “basic” in Saskatoon then you need these earrings from Hillberg and Berk. They are Sparkle Ball sparkleStud Earrings and yes, I bought a pair and I love them! I’m a total “Basic”!

Folks in Saskatoon dress super well, like I went to the Farmers Market looking like a straight up hobo and quickly went home to change because the market is the place to be seen…and not in your nasty yoga pants and 15 year old fleece jacket! LOL!

Be Great!

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Not what Orange Theory expected!

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The other day the good folks at Orange Theory fitness asked us all to write a “bucket list” item on a sticky note and place it on the board for all to see. I am almost certain they wanted us to write stuff like “fit in my wedding dress again” or “wear my old college jeans” but those are not anywhere on my bucket list.

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I made this bad boy! Thanks Orange Theory!

Once they handed me my square of paper what I wrote next was a no-brainer! I have always wanted to make a vinatarta cake! This is a very special cake to me. As a kid it was the very first cake I ever ate a wedding, Lynn and Larry Henry’s wedding to be exact. I remember it so clearly and how we got a little piece to take home to slip under our pillows (it was wrapped in cling film) with the promise  you would dream of your future husband/wife. I am not sure if mine ever made under the pillow because it tasted so damn good. I always thought I would have vinatarta at our wedding but didn’t, perhaps for our 25th anniversary.

For years I have built up in my head that making this cake would be impossible and that you needed special tools imported from Iceland to make it properly. Today I said “To hell with it Odlum, today you make this cake!” After a little Pinterest search I discovered no special tools are required, just a lot of patience! Here is the recipe I used – Vinatarta Cake!

Long story short, tackling the “unbakeable cake” or breaking an 8 minute mile or all that other stuff you think you can’t do…it’s all a joke because you can! Plus, your house will smell amazing afterwards #Almond Extract!

Fun:

If you have 1 hr and 5 minutes then check out Patton Oswalt’s new comedy special “Talking for Clapping” on Netflix! It’s funny, timely and his bit about “My Pretty Pony” is hilarious!

Fitness:

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from: redefiningstrength.com

Jumping Jack Push Ups are BAD ASS! I know they sound terrible but hot damn they are effective for an end of work out burn out exercise! Start with 6 and add 2 every time. We did these at the gym today and I can already feel them in my shoulders.

I tried out a power lifting gym this week and it was cool but I wasn’t sore at all afterwards. I will give 2 more tries before I make a decision.

Food:

I think I covered off food above 🙂

But taking suggestions on what should be my next baking challenge…macaroons? Floating island? Baked Alaska?

Fashion:

jacketI am so happy that for fall jean jackets are still in and so are these green safari-style jackets! They literally go with everything and yes, I am dreaming of fall. The weather here has been unbearably hot for the past 2 weeks and I miss cozy sweaters and my sweet, sweet sweatpants.

On my shopping wish list: black ripped jeans and the perfect loose fitting camel coloured t-shirt.

 

 

 

Be Great!

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Officially afraid of the dark!

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When you own 2 black dogs the night time is your best friend in the summer. After being cooped up inside on a blazing hot day, the night brings sweet relief and time for a long walk but not for me anymore, I have literally become paralyzed with fear of the night.

Dusk is when the raccoons come out and Miss Lewi (one of my dogs) thinks it’s hilarious to chase them, they don’t think it’s so funny and they attack her. I am also concerned they will bite me as I’ve heard that’s a “thing” around these parts! Then add in the “random” violence and the fact that I know no one makes me incredibly nervous to go out alone at night. All things combined this has eliminated my beloved summer night runs and cool breezy walks with the dogs.

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Yo! What are you looking at?

It’s gotten so bad I barely sleep anymore  because I worry the raccoons are eating through the screened in windows and trying to eat my hair (why my hair, I don’t know. I know how irrational I sound). Derek jokes that when we leave here I will have PTSD. He also didn’t help the situation by sending me a pic of a raccoon out on the golf course munching on a sandwich this week! A SANDWICH!

I am not entirely sure how to overcome this but for now I keep escorting the dogs out for their pre-bed pee with a flashlight and loud music playing and I will sadly say adieu to running outside. Winter was a much better time, until then night runs/dog walks.

Fun:

No surprise here ‘Finding Dory‘ was a fun night out!

However, if you are childlessFinding-nemo-dory-marlin then do not make the rookie mistake I made, you MUST go to the late show! It is kid free and you don’t look like such a creeper!

PS. Apparently if you are bringing your kids to a movie in my area you can also smuggle in entire Jerk Chicken dinner for 6 and child minding is “optional”! You don’t want that chicken getting cold!

Fitness:

I LOVE POP JACKS!!!

Step 1: Plank

Step 2: Jump your feet to the outside of your hands

Step 3: Pop up into a squat position (don’t stand up, it’s like a crouch and you put your arms to your sides/hands in front of you like you are blocking a soccer shot on goal)

Step 4: Hands back down – outside of your feet

Step 5: Pop back to plank

Step 6: Repeat til you puke (that’s usually around 32! #barf)

Food:

The other day we took a walk through “Greek town” aka “The Danforth” with some saucefriends from home (Janette and Jason) and we found a fruit and veggie stand selling amazing berries – I absolutely went overboard and was left with many baskets of blackberries. My friend Sandi use to make me blackberry meatballs so, in her honour I made blackberry BBQ sauce! Click here for the recipe, I made it sans ginger as I am allergic. So Delish!!!

 

Fashion:

I am obsessed with 2 things right now – watching the Euro Cup and Ear Crawlers! No they

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Add some summer sparkle!

aren’t some sort of worm, they are what I call “sideways earrings”. I had been looking for them locally but with no luck and then Etsy came to the rescue! Click here for the link! With taxes, currency exchange and shipping they were only $20!

Of course, as soon as they arrived I found a local store carrying them so if I need more (because why not) I know exactly where to go!

Be Great!

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Channeling my inner Adell!

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This week has been all sorts of fun – it started with the Country Music Awards of Ontario at the Flato theatre in Markham. It was a super cool night, good music and interesting people. what I wasn’t expecting was a lack of cowboy hats and people complaining they had run out of wine glasses and had to drink beer…YOU ARE COWBOYS!

graffitiThen on Wednesday we had friends in from Canmore – Cam and Karina (also important to remember for later)! We went to Gusto 101 for supper and Sweet Jesus for dessert. I got to dinner a little early and was able to wander around “graffiti alley” which is essentially an instagramer’s wet dream!

Then we on Thursday we went to the Balmy Beach Canoe club and had a lesson in kayaking – we were certain we were going to be pros but didn’t realize it was “competition style” kayaks and not Canadian Tire specials. We both capsized into pretty gross, goose poop filled water but n the flip-side met some truly awesome people.

Then on Friday…stay with me..I am getting to Adell…we met up with friends from Winnipeg for supper at Pizzeria Libertto and then went to Roselle‘s for dessert! It was so great seeing our friends even if it was only for a couple hours, it’s nice being around people who just get you.

So, Adell…this week I had some personal high’s and low’s and we all have that friend who is always ready to get into trouble with you, fires you up, who agrees with you  whenDelly you say “that bitch was crazy right” and makes the most mundane things so much better like the 45 minute car ride home every day! Well that is my Adell – and what she doesn’t know is this week when I wasn’t really channeling my warrior spirit, I would say under my breath “Get your shit together and channel your inner Adell” and just like that I jumped into a limo instead of taking my car to the CMAO’s, laughed off falling in the water and most of all didn’t cry when I saw my friends. Thank you my sweet Adell –my much braver,  funnier, kinder person than I will ever  be and on top of it all, with the superior rack, I couldn’t ask for a better friend/doppelganger/secret motivator!

Fun:

My friend Susan (pictured above also cradling Adell’s bosom) told me recently that I had slipped into isolation madness for what I am about to say but I stand by it…Call me Fitz is a funny Canadian show that didn’t get it’s day! It’s true, I am biased because I worked with one of the cast members (Huse Madhavji back in the A-Channel days) but Jason Priestly is very funny in the series and it’s quirky — the complete series can be found on CraveTV

Fitness:

My fitness has hit a bit of road block these days – so I am struggling to find something to write here — I have been plagued with aches and pains and a fickle lower back. I have been trying to foam roll every night (ok, every other night) but it’s not working. I am finally going to go to the doctor tomorrow where I fully expect them to say I have gout — well, that is what Derek and Dr. Wikipedia say is wrong with me. TBDmilk

 

Food:

When waiting in the epic line at Sweet Jesus with Cam and Karina, Karina told me that she makes her own almond milk – at first I thought “who has time for that?” and “that is some next level hipster nonsense” ….so ya, I did it and it is AMAZING!!! It is a little bit of work but the end product is better than store bought and it tastes like melted vanilla ice cream! Do it, do it now and tell your friends!

Fashion:

Summer has officially hit the T-dot and my little production booth at work is essentially a hot-box and I sweat constantly. It is super unattractive and I am severely stressing about August and under-boob sweat –besides back pain, under-boob sweat is the leading reason why I would get a boob job. So, I am in search of the perfect professional tank/sleeveless top. Any suggestions?

In the meantime, I am opting for skirts to try and minimize butt sweat — I am not joking when I say it is hot in that unventilated room with direct sun!

I bought this skirt from Joe Fresh at $24 it’s a steal, and this skirt from Mountain Equipment Co-op (yup MEC), it was pricey at $59 but it is so crazy soft and made of organic cotton. Plus, I plan on buying some Birkenstock sandals this summer to fully revert back to my 90’s ways.

 

Be Great!

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A very unexpected Toronto problem!

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People usually describe Toronto in the following ways: crazy amounts of traffic, Drake, the Raptors and a concrete jungle.Well, 3 out 4 of those things are absolutely correct! I never in my wildest dreams ever thought my biggest problem this weekend would have been getting all of the sand out of my house and deciding which nature hike would best suit my mood!

Lake Ontario is literally seconds from our house and my entire commute to work parallelsIMG_3658 the water making for mindless moments sitting at red lights. Then there is the intense hiking trails I seem to be finding everywhere which is both killing my quads (these prairie legs are not made for all of these hills) and they are turning our more than happy hiking pups into catatonic, snoring piles of mush every night, it is glorious!

This week we are going to be taking our Toronto outdoorsy adventures to the next level and have signed up for (free) kayaking lessons and I have have even enrolled in stand up paddle board lessons for the month of July -and it’s all right in the city! BANANAS!!

Trust me, the concrete jungle is still very much a Toronto thing if you want it to be but finding all of these super great spaces as been a massive/awesome surprise.

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Fun:

A good use of your movie watching dollars this week is the “The Nice Guys” with Ryan Gosling and Russel Crowe. It’s predictable, at times campy but over all, a good night out.

If you hit a rough patch this week and the person in the cube next to you is being a real work-whale then I recommend watching this video on repeat, it makes me stupid happy.

Fitness:

Ok,let’s talk about boobs! Derek found this the other day and it has got us wondering – would it work? Breast Compression? The Booband…would you or wouldn’t you? Please message me!

https://thebooband.com/pages/about-the-booband

Either way, right now my fave at home exercise is what I call a 4-point plank…get in plank position then your right hand touches your left shoulder and then down, your left hand touches your right shoulder then down, then your right hand reaches back and touches your left foot…etc…etc…you get it! You do that for a minute and KA-BOOM!

Food:

This is my easiest/yummiest quick snack which I love, I call it “Banana Bliss”!IMG_3866

1 banana chopped up

2 tablespoon coconut milk

1/8 cup pecans and 1/8 shredded coconut toasted in a pan on the stove (takes only moments and totally worth it but you could also opt out of this step and throw them on cold)

a sprinkle of cinnamon

Fashion:

When I worked at CTV Winnipeg I worked with a gal named Michelle Gerwing. You know bootiethat moment when you meet someone and you are like “Oh hell ya, we are going to be friends”, that is Michelle and me. It got really weird there for while too because we would often come to work wearing the exact same outfit, and we would laugh and throw our Daisy Fuentes hair weaves back and laugh and laugh some more.

But the entire time we worked together Michelle wore a pair of shoes I so desperately wanted…I finally bought them this week and Michelle you were right, they are fantastic. I present to you the Steve Madden open-toe bootie!

 

Be Great!

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The light, is that you?

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It has been a longtime coming but I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We have finally put our house up for sale and I am starting to feel settled in our new digs – I knew I was starting to get a handle on things when the other day when I was stuck in traffic and I actually ventured off the very safe main road routes and successfully found a side road! Ya that happened!! I know, it’s not really a big deal but it kind of is.

We went home to Winnipeg last week and it was so great seeing all my friends, feeling completely loved and the sound of silence was like tiny little unicorn kisses all over my ears!

Big Red (my car) still isn’t great but she will go into the shop next week and perhaps we can fix her up so she will last just a couple months longer!

Let me give you a tiny recap of our incredible trip to Grand Cayman – it was FANTASTIC! IMG_3361The water, the island and the people, the food were all really great! We stayed with our cousins and had just the best time.

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Farewell Cayman, see you soon!

One thing I still cannot process is how the island doesn’t have a recycling program and how the residential areas were littered with garbage – it’s beautiful island which needs to protected! Overall, we would 1,000,000% go back in a heartbeat!

 

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Kim and Brad best hosts ever!

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We love Super Jon!

 

Fun:

This is my favourite time of year when it comes to music because everyone is releasing what they hope will be the hit song of summer 2016. If I had to guess this song has a shot, it makes me dance, happy and well…it made my hands clap! You will remember Fitz and The Tantrums from their song “The Walker”. Take a listen to “HandClap”

Fitness:

Well it’s official, I have spring fever so that means I want to work out 24/7 – so this week I tried Orange Theory and let me tell ya, it was HARD!! Like heart racing, puke bubbling, sweating through your underwear hard! Do it, try it, love it! I am not going to bore you with all the details of the one hour class, just know, wear light weight clothing and get ready to walk/run/row/lift your way to a sweaty finish!

Food:

A couple weeks ago I stumbled upon a super hipster butcher who specializes in artisan sausages …I warned you, it’s mega hipster so of course I LOVE IT! He makes sausages infused with fennel and champagne and other exotic mixtures, but the one that blew me away was a grass-fed pork sausage with piri-piri…MAMA-MIA where have you been my whole life. I will be putting piri-piri on everything!

Fashion:

shoeI am obsessed with Oxfords and Loafers right now – like, OBSESSED!! Super comfy, practical and stylish! I spent all my “extra” cash last month on these bad boys from Aldo and have not regretted it for one second! I wear them with ankle length capri pants and jeans!

On a side note: it would appear every store this spring season is carrying something in a beautiful crisp white – I so desperately want to partake but 2 naughty border collies with muddy paws have other fashion plans for me this spring!

Be Great!

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I have gained the “Freshmen 15”

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Getting to know a new city means a lot of things: learning the street names, meeting new people,  trying to find a new hairdresser (the hunt continues –  I went to Fiorio’s and for what I got it was way too expensive) and it also means trying all the different food…the glorious non-paleo, stomach churning, pant tightening FOOD!

In a city like Toronto which is so ethnically diverse it is literally a foodie’s paradise and my waist line is paying for it! I have been making “Adventure Lists” every week and it always includes at least one visit to a new-to-me restaurant/bakery that I usually find on Instagram. This week I tried a smorgasbord of  ciders made in Toronto, of which there are plenty and I stuffed my face until I got sick at the “Rolling Pin” with their over-the-top donuts. I regretted it almost immediately as I suffered body aches and a pounding headache within minutes of eating them – oh gluten, why do you hate me so?! But they were so beautiful and smelled like heaven so, it was almost worth it!

But hear my now – my “Adventure Lists” are getting revamped to healthier options but only after I get one of these totally amazing looking cheesecakes from Uncle Tetsu – I think they would be ‘Golden Girls’ approved!golden-girls-kitchen

Fun:

pee weeMy girlfriend Candida is always recommending movies I need to see and this weekend she threw me a curve ball with “Pee Wee’s Big Holiday”! Candida nor Pee Wee disappointed me!

It was fun, campy, sexy (thanks Joe Maganiello) and authentic to classic Pee Wee Herman movies! It’s not going to win any awards but with a 79% juicy tomato on Rotten Tomatoes, I would say it was definitely an hour and 29 minutes well spent!

We also watched “Sisters” this weekend which I was certain was going to be a total pile of hot garbage but Mama Mia, I was wrong. It is stupid, predictable and totally hilarious! Many usable one-liners and it’s a good movie for the over 40 crowd, completely relatable(ish)!

Fitness:

The more things change the more things stay exactly the same  – In Winnipeg I lived within running distance of Assiniboine Park/Zoo and now in Toronto I live withing running distance of the Toronto Zoo. Winnipeg was further but TO has something called HILLS?? It sounds and feels like hell but they keep saying it is pronounced “hills”. Because running is cheap and in my case solitary (no running partner yet but I am working on it) I have been doing it a lot more and my legs hate me…I would be lost with out my foam roller, they are cheap and a lifesaver! To quote ‘The Weeknd’ “The hills have eyes” to which I say good because I am giving you the finger mo-fo’s!

Food:

One thing I have absolutely fallen in love with since moving is Biosteel protein powder. I have tried so many kinds of whey (never soy) protein powders and wasted so much money. Either they taste synthetic, artificial or chalky. I have been adding it in almost every day and I really feel as if my insulin levels have balanced out and I feel full longer. I mix one scoop of vanilla with a handful of frozen pineapple, strawberries and almond milk and it tastes like a banana split!

Fashion:

I am obsessed with these high-neck trapeze tops from Old Navy (and pretty much every store these days). I wear them with tapered cropped pants, flats and a jean jacket! BOOM business casual!  Question: I see in the stores that culottes are making a comeback – what say you? Yay or Nay?

Be great!

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