For the love of goggles

20140616-213720-77840164.jpgOk… I knew getting in the pool  and learning to swim was going to be challenging, but what I wasn’t expecting was how darn difficult it would be to decide which pair of goggles to buy. Have you ever checked your local sport store for swim goggles? Three stands of goggles at various price points that all look identical – how the heck do you choose? Needless to say I was overwhelmed.
Go with the cheapest and hope for the best? Go for the most expensive and  hope price point is a reflection of quality? Apparently there are a couple tricks to finding goggles, or at least that’s what some random lady told me while I stood perplexed staring at the racks. Her advice to me was to look for two things when buying swim goggles:
1)      Ensure ample suction when you remove the goggles from your face
2)      Buy antifog
I am not sure if she was just being nice or hoping I’d  a choice and get out of the way; regardless I took her word as law, bought my goggles and trotted back to work. I hit the pool again tomorrow so be prepared for an update or rant depending how they fair out. Although let’s face it, I am only still learning how to breath properly while pushing a flutter board… gotta start somewhere folks.

What are your tips and tricks for finding the perfect pair of goggles?

From your resident wanna be swimmer/triathlete

Amy

 

The Public Washroom Fear

Having to go to the bathroom is generally annoying, time consuming and not easily ignored. This is especially the worst when your body decides it’s go-time and you find yourself outside of your home, office or ‘safe space’ and searching for a bathroom.  For me, I’m used to it.  Weird? Sure, but when your job requires you to make your car an office, you have little option but to search for an acceptable solution.

Now, I’m sure you are asking yourself why am I writing about this topic…Well, recently I’ve been blown away by how many of my friends find it socially unacceptable to use a bathroom where they did not: pay, purchase a beverage or bag of chips, stay in a hotel room, apologize prefusley, or promise their first born. Is this a Canadian ‘we are too polite’ thing? Or is it a case of me not understanding that I’m consistently comittiing faux pas?

 

When I find myself in this situation with my friends, it typically gets decided, “Let’s just stop at a gas station.” Really, people? We all know that is something NONE of us want to do, yet we feel in desperate times it’s the best step up before peeing behind a bush with our other friends sheilding us from a free public show.

I suggest going to other places and my friends look at me like I’ve suggested they go to a random person’s house and ask if they can use their kitchen to make a snack to satisfy their hunger. So, being the crazy girl I am, I march into a a non-gas station and they carefully watch me until I give the signal that the barista didn’t shame me into buying a frappe and we got the clear.

Here is my list of PUBLIC BATHROOM TIPS for people who are trying to build up courage and simply ask the question; “Can I use your washroom?” and not die of shame.

1) Never use gas station bathrooms. It’s seriously not worth it. Unless you enjoy horror movies and want to experience a scene from one.

2) Walmart vs. Superstore.  If you are near a shopping district, always choose Walmart washrooms. If it is tough for you knowing you are committing a scandal of ‘peeing without paying’, please remember it’s too much of a zoo in there for anyone to notice that’s your sole mission. 

*Special tip* Every Walmart has washrooms in the front and back. NEVER go in the front, that’s where everyone parties! Go to the one in the back. I promise it’s worth the trek.

3) Hotel lobbies. This is the best for roadtrips! Clean and always available. My girlfriends don’t believe this is an acceptable option since we didn’t pay $100 to stay at the Super 8.  But, I break them down and make them let me ask because I’m embarressing awesome.

4) Starbucks. Anywhere in the world! Let’s be serious. I have spent enough money in Canada to earn a right to use their washrooms at any location in the world. EVEN IF THEY HAVE A CODE ON THE DOOR. This does not deter me, rather I see it as an exciting challenge *note, I’m usually alone in thinking this*

In summary, to date, NO ONE has ever said to me: “Excuse me miss, did you not read the sign? You must buy a $5 fancy coffee to go to the bathroom only to have to go again shortly after you left because you bought a fancy coffee and it’s a diaretic.”

Let me know if you have any tips!

Happy Travels xox Amanda

 

Patio Lovin’

It’s summer time and the living is easy! There are a lot of things I love about spring and summer, but entertaining outdoors is definitely a highlight. My fiancé and I love to BBQ and enjoy long, sangria filled days. If you are like most twenty-somethings, entertaining outdoors can sometimes be a challenge on small apartment balconies. Here are some easy ideas to make the most of your summer entertainment space:

Perennials
I love the idea of having a lush, beautiful garden. The only problem is I don’t have a green thumb WHATSOEVER. That’s why we opt for perennials – bright, fun flowers that last ALL SUMMER LONG. No fuss, no muss and easy to maintain.

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Make it Cozy!
The more comfortable your guests feel, the longer the party will go on! Depending on your budget, decide what’s important to you. Do you love the look of tea lights all around? Do you want to invest in a heater? Or is high end furniture the way to go? There are so many different ways to personalize your space!

 Define your Style
Your outdoor space should also be a reflection of you! Spice it up with fun accessories like outdoor rugs or cute trinkets. Homesense has tons of affordable options that fit all kinds of spaces!

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Happy patio-ing!
Erin

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites

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I love Peanut Butter, like spoon into the jar kind of love. I also love treats. You can see how this may be troublesome as my triathlon nears. I have been trying to learn about proper nutrition for multi sport athletes, and figuring out what works best for me and my body can often be a challenge. I however, feel no guilt whatsoever when I chow down on these little wonders.

You’ll need:

  • Bananas
  • Chocolate chips
  • Peanut Butter
  • Two pots

Step One

Cut ripe bananas (maybe 3/8″ thick then spread peanut butter between slices and sandwich together.

Freeze slices until firm

Step Two

Start a double boil on the stove (one pot on top of the other) in the bottom pot put water, the top pot put your chocolate chips and melt.

Step Three:

Take frozen slices from the freezer and dip the slices into the melted chocolate.  Remove the excess chocolate and allow to cool on  waxed paper.

Put back in the freezer until you get your PB craving and enjoy!

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Happy snacking,

AmysSignature

Playa Del Carmen – Eats

This past week I had an opportunity to head to the beautiful Fairmont Mayakoba in Playa del Carmen for a quick getaway. What better way to see your friends from Vancouver than meeting in Cancun??
What made it extra special was celebrating my friend Stephanie’s 27th bday. I knew we had to do something a little different, so we found this VERY cool restaurant right in the city.
What did we do before google, trip advisor and yelp? Please tell me.

Alux Restaurant, Playa del Carmen

If you want an experience outside of your resort one night for dinner, I’d highly recommend taking a cab to this place. It had high ratings on every site I checked and it did not disappoint!

Essentially, it is fine dining in a natural cavern. At first we assumed we were just paying for the atmosphere, but then we had food served to us. It was extremely delicious and we all enjoyed our meals!

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Alux1

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Check out this photo! Order a Spanish coffee “on fire”.  So cool.

Tough posting on my almost dead iPad, but hope you enjoyed a taste of Mexico with me!

xo

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Carrot & Zucchini Muffins

I feel like my entire theme for cooking is solely based around using up food that is getting close to its expiration date in my fridge….

I find that living on my own and cooking for just one person most of the time can be a tough task. I’m always finding that my fresh items are spoiling before I can eat them up! This is extremely depressing from the simple fact of wasting food – but it’s also a big waste of money as well.

Muffins are a great way to use up some extra ingredients and they can easily be frozen for consumption at a later date. I also just really love muffins…. 🙂

So after looking in my fridge recently I noticed that I really needed to use up some zucchini and carrots, so the search for a quick and easy muffin recipe began!

This recipe is extremely simple and they honestly taste fantastic! They have a carrot cake taste and texture and make for the perfect start to your morning (or just a random snack – lets be honest).

The recipe only makes six muffins – which is perfect for me but can also easily be doubled.

There are only five in this picture because I ate one as soon as they came out of the oven….just couldn’t resist.

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Yum Yum Yum

Xox Brenna
The recipe: Carrot & Zucchini Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose gluten-free blend)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Method

Preheat oven to 375. Prepare a pan with 6 standard muffin cups (or 20 mini-muffin cups) with paper liners or cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, salt, and egg. Add zucchini, carrots, cinnamon chips (if using) and pecans.

Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl, then add to the batter. Stir until just combined. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Let the muffins rest for 10 minutes before placing them into the oven.

Bake the muffins until the edges are lightly browned and they feel firm if gently pressed, about 18 to 25 minutes. A cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin should come out clean. Cool muffins in the pan for 10 minutes; transfer to a rack, and cool completely.

Makes 6 standard muffins, or 20 mini muffins.

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Initially found on Gimmesomeoven.

 

Summer Lovin’

Being new-ish to Calgary from Vancouver, I knew I was walking into a colder climate and a much longer winter. I try my best to embrace it, but I blame my mild weather upbringing on not being able to adjust that smoothly. Not that it was all horrible, because it was pretty easy to pick an outfit all winter: black boots, leggings and a large jacket.

To get in the summer mood, I wanted to talk about some things I’m most excited for! I also think I really love lists…so just amuse me and let me know what you are most pumped for!!

1)      Tanned skin. Not just for me because, let’s be real, we don’t swoon over tall, “dark” and handsome for no reason.

2)      Sangria on the Patio. I adore the question us girls ask each other every time, “should we just get a pitcher?”

3)      Stampede. This is my second year. Last year we contemplated wearing go-pro cameras on our hats…glad that didn’t pan out.

4)      Hiking and exploring. Lake Louise, Waterton, drives to Vancouver and many other places I want to go. Open to suggestions!!

5)      Long weekends at the cabin. Lakes, boats, summer games, and meeting new friends. WHAT MORE COULD YOU WANT?!

Love xox

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Fall in Love with Hoi An

Happy Wednesday my travel loves! The sun is shining and it is a beautiful spring day. I feel inspired by this gorgeous weather, which takes me back to one of the places I fell in love with on my recent travels to Vietnam. Hoi An is an amazing destination and a MUST SEE if you are headed to ‘Nam. Not only are there tons of activities (biking, beaching, tailor shops and site seeing anyone?), the quaint, lovely vibe of the small city will instantly relax you.

Here is a list of my top things to eat, see and do in Hoi An:

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WHERE TO STAY

Two words for you: Sun River. This magical place just opened when we visited Hoi An and I have no doubt it will get popular really quickly. It is an unbeatable price point (about $35 dollars a night for a water view), fantastic service and beautiful clean rooms. The location is about a 5-10 minute bike to old town and it is right on the river. Very peaceful but close to the action! Did I mention it has a pool and the bikes are free!? Need I say more…

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WHERE TO EAT

In Hoi An there are so many restaurant options, it can be overwhelming! If you are looking for yummy Vietnamese food in a laidback atmosphere, Coco’s in the place for you. Situated on the river on the way to the beach, you will enjoy a wide variety of local food! Try the seafood noodles….mmmm….

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WHAT TO DO

When in Hoi An, one MUST get clothes made. Famous for tailor shops lining the streets, you can get some amazing items made for a great price! I got an amazing J Crew inspired jacket, a fur vest and a leather skirt made, just to name a few (I may have gone a bit overboard). We used Quoc Huy Tailor in old town – they were great. Very helpful and decent prices. One recommendation: look around quite a bit before settling on a tailor. Lots of hotels get paid a commission for recommending tailors so don’t go to the first one! Take your time…

I hope you are feeling inspired after this post! Happy Travelling, my loves.

Erin

Moti-whaaaa

Motivation ConceptOk I have a confession… I’ve been straight up slacking in the training department this spring. Normally by now, I’d have quite a few kilometers under my belt and would be feeling ok going into race season. That is not the case this year. Don’t worry… I got a tone of excuses; “it’s been a long winter”, “too cold”, “I was on holidays”, yadda yadda the list goes on but at the end of the day I think it all comes down to me being straight up lazy with a little fear mixed in to boot. Fear of not being able to complete a strong swim in my first Tri or worse having a panic attack mid swim, but that’s for another post.

The reality of this laziness just hit me over the long weekend, when I skipped swimming in favor of a local pubs 1st birthday bash (whoops) or when I cut my run short not because of the rain or because I was tired but because I didn’t feel like going any further and turned around to head home. Just rereading that makes me feel so guilty.

I don’t think I would be freaking out as much at this revelation if I didn’t have my kickoff race coming up in 2 weeks! This is the race I usually attempt a new PB, this year’s goal however is merely to finish ‘strong’, I’ll defer the PB goal to my next half in August (gulp).

I don’t know about the rest of you, but there are times that I get addicted to whatever sport I seem to be crushing on. It’s almost to the point of that’s all I want to do only to burn myself and zap the fun right out of the activity I once loved; or I start realizing my goals and start to put so much pressure on myself that I zap the fun right out of it. Where’s the balance? Well hopefully this year I can find that allusive balance that so many others seem to have. I plan on training or working out with friends of varying fitness levels to keep some of the fun in these activities and have delegated an accountability buddy to kick my butt into gear when I start making lame excuses.

Anyone else have trouble maintaining motivation from time to time? How do you get back on track?run

Happy training!
AmysSignature

 

For the love of: Mascara

As I was putting this post together I constantly kept thinking how weird it is that we paint eyelashes in black most days of the week?
With makeup being a new hobby, I’m always curious how high end compares to makeup from the drug store. I love browsing Sephora and talking to the girls there…mainly so I can geek out about products. I wanted to see if any high end mascara could top my favorite $12 L’Oreal Telescopic.
So I conducted the ultimate experiment and used my face to demonstrate.

First up: Lancome Hypnose Drama mascara $32
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In doing my extensive research (I asked 3 Sephora employees?) I discovered this mascara has been Lancome’s best seller for many years. This is specific for creating and building volume in the lashes. Lemme say, it can definitely build volume…but it is not user friendly: Exhibit A:

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Maybe I just suck at putting on mascara (c’est possible)? It was tough to use I got a nice little clump I had to brush through with another wand and it got all over my eyelid.
Verdict? I returned it. I don’t need stumpy, clumpy lashes.

Next contender: Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara $31
This was the other suggestion that I not only heard from the Sephora crew, but have been seeing it in YouTube tutorials lately. And who doesn’t like a racy name? I was intrigued.
Exhibit B:
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THE CLAIM IS TRUE! Man, I love this mascara!! User-friendly and it makes my lashes truly feathery, full and gives them length. The first photo is when I applied just ONE application and the last photo is putting on the absurd amount I prefer.

I hope you found this somewhat informative and if you have a favourite mascara you can’t live without…let me know!
LOVE xo
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