Monday, 26 March 2012

May the Odds Ever be in your Favour

I'll admit it, I was among the many that made The Hunger Games opening weekend a $214 million global success. Even better, I can't say that I was disappointed either.

My sister and I decided to go see The Hunger Games on Friday night in London. Since it is tax season, my sister didn't have time to wait in line for tickets or seats for that matter. So, she ordered tickets at the VIP theatre which allows you to specify your seat. Bonus is that they serve alcohol and don't allow teenagers in their theatre. Seriously, this was a revelation in movie going experiences! I definitely recommend this option for movies where you don't want to be around teens. Sure the $5 per person extra fee is a bit steep, but the food had regular pricing.

On to the movie:

I read The Hunger Games Trilogy about two years ago, so I'm not positive about whether or not all the details from the book were in the movie. However, I have to admit that the movie was more true to the book than what I was expecting. Plus they did an amazing job of depicting the control of the capital. Whether it be through the control of the game or the politics surrounding everything.

After the Twilight experience, I also wasn't expecting very much from the actors themselves. However, I was really impressed by the actors they selected as well. I didn't find Katniss nearly as annoying since I didn't have to deal with her inner dialogue. I thought the actors that played Peeta and Gale depicted them exactly how I thought they were in the book. I was completely impressed by how Woody Harrelson portrayed Haymitch in the movie and I ended up liking that character a lot more.

Did you see Hunger Games this weekend? What did you think?

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Juggling Life

Would you believe that I actually do have things to post about? Particularly involving the bathroom renovation and the master bedroom decor. I just need to get the batteries in my camera charged and then I can do some great update posts. I'm really happy with how both rooms have turned out, so I'm excited to get to those posts. I tell you though, work and the wedding are really cramping my style when it comes to home renovations and blogging.

On the work front, I'm finally out of hearing but in that twiddling of thumbs phase where I await instructions.

On the wedding front, I'm heading to Southwestern Ontario this weekend for Round 2 of bridesmaid dress shopping. Hopefully things will go well and dresses will be ordered shortly. I'm most excited about seeing everyone though. I'm not excited about the drive down though. After work I have a 7 hour drive ahead of me once I load the car. I'm just hoping traffic will be good and I won't run into any snags (better known as Toronto).  I hope to get serious about wedding planning this weekend and get a plan in order, I feel like I've been neglecting the wedding for so long.

Aside from wedding activities, it is looking like I'll be getting to hang out with my sister this weekend. We are signed up to go to a beer and cheese tasting which I'm really excited for. It sounds so delicious! Also, we are tossing around the idea of going to see The Hunger Games at some point. I think it'll be great since we read The Hunger Games together two years ago while travelling around Spain. It only seems fitting that we see the movie together.

I'm trying not to have expectations going into this movie. Here is hoping that I am pleasantly surprise. Do you blame me for being skeptical? How can they properly film a book that is based on kids killing other kids?

All in all, I'm hoping for a great weekend!

What are your weekend plans?

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Keeping the Momentum going!

It continues to be unseasonally warm here. So, I couldn't resist going for a jog once I got home from work yesterday. I was a little hesitant to take Molson with me since I knew there'd be a lot of dogs being walked by their owners and Molson's attention is a little unpredictable.

A encouraged us to go, I think he didn't want a dog pestering him for attention. Off we went and it turned out to be a great training session yet again. Our timing fell in between 35 and 40 minutes, complete with stops for Molson to sniff and pee. I have to admit, trying out jogging hasn't been too bad so far. I hope that I end up liking it.

Tonight is my curling night. My mind is so not on curling anymore, due to the weather. I think I'm ready for the season to be over. Oh well, two more curling nights and then the final banquet.

How's the weather where you are? Are you in Arizona and getting snowed on?

Monday, 19 March 2012

One Step at a Time - Running my First 5K

This weekend Molson and I decided to do our first 5K triaining run. First, the weather here is absolutely beautiful, atleast 10 degrees warmer than normal. So, getting outside wasn't a challenge whatsoever.

When I signed up for the 5K it asked the time that I expected to finish the race in. Since I've never run a 5K before I guessed and put myself in the 45 minute plus category. It was my best guess seeing as I'm not a runner and don't pretend to be. Essentially my goal is to finish the 5K and not embarrass myself, sounds doable right?

Sunday morning, Molson and I headed off on our first training outting. It went really well, my biggest issue is Molson. I never know how he'll react to other dogs while we are out. He was all focused  when two dobermans started barking at us, but wants to go check out a little terrier that is cowering on the sidewalk. What can I say, it's an adventure with him. Fortunately we haven't run into any cats or squirrels, so haven't had to experience his prey drive kicking in as we are running. That'll be dramatic whenever that happens.

I attempted to time our session and it looks like we came in between 35 and 40 minutes, complete with Molson breaks to pee and sniff things. Considering that was our first time out, I'm pretty impressed.  I'll have to see how things go and maybe set some new goals to challenge myself more. I think I'll wait until the begining of May to do that though.

I'd like to try and head out again tonight, but my thighs are aching a bit. I guess I didn't stretch enough.

How's your training going?

Happy Belated St. Patrick's Day!

Did you have a good St. Patrick's Day?

Mine was busy, so I didn't have a chance to post. You see, St. Patrick's Day is a pretty big holiday in our house. A is predominantly Irish and his family always acknowledges the holiday. So, it has become a tradition in our home as well. Unfortunately, I need to learn how to break out the camera and capture some of the things that we do.

Basically, we invite friends and family over for an Irish themed meal and enjoy the company. Of course, there is Irish beer such as: Guinness, Harp's, Kilkenny, etc. but we don't make the day about drinking.  This year the menu entailed:

  • An Irish flag veggie tray - only green, while and orange vegetables of course
  • An Irish Cheese tray - Irish cheddar with red wine, Irish Cheddar with Guiness and Dubliner
  • Chocolate pretzels with green M&Ms
Main Course:
  • Irish Soda Bread
  • Corned Beef
  • Cabbage
  • Scalloped Potatoes
  • Guiness Chocolate Cupcakes
  • Vanilla Cupcakes
  • Both with Baileys Buttercram Icing
We didn't have as large a group of people this year as he have in previous years. It was still really nice though, if anything I liked it better because I had more of a chance to visit with people. Normally I'm running around trying to get food ready!

What do you do for St. Patrick's Day?

Friday, 16 March 2012

Challenge Accepted - Running My First 5K

Yesterday, Molson and I had a little chat. He agreed to be my training partner for the 5K I just signed up for.

I guess that I should make it clear that Molson is our dog.  This is him, isn't he handsome?

Clearly he doesn't know what he is in for, but considering I get barked at when I'm late for our walk I don't thing I'll get too many complaints from him.

I had thought signing up for a 5K would be a great tool to get me in shape for the wedding. We will have to see how this goes because I'm definitely not much of a runner. Either way, I'm hoping that I'm going to find this inspiring and motivational, but more importantly keeping me accountable.

It definitely helps that A is willing to do this with me and my friend Liz who is going to run a marathon (or half, I can't remember) in Alaska in June has also signed up. Either way with the two of them and this public declaration, I now need to be accountable to someone beyond myself.

I should add, Molson is probably the best to be accoutable to. He insists that I be accoutable on a daily basis, hence the being barked at when I'm late for our walks. Easier said then done when our walk time is at 6:30am. However, he is also subtle about things too. We have our weekday walk route and our weekend walk route. The weekend route is probably 5 times longer then the weekday walk route. When we approach the point on the street where we branch off for our weekend route he always tries to start walking in the street hoping that I'll give in and take the longer route.

Anyway, on May 26th I'll be participating in Ottawa's Race Weekend.

Training starts this weekend!

What are you training for?

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Preparations are Underway...

For St. Patrick's Day!

It has been a pretty busy for me recently. A has been sick for getting close to a week, which means he's out of commission and more falls on me. I've been in hearing at work which means that I no longer have a regular workday. With St. Patrick's Day on Saturday, I need to start prepping things earlier in the week if I'm going to be ready for Saturday.

There aren't too many things that you can prepare early that will last. The only way that'll be an issue with these is if we can't resist eatting them. Last night and Monday evening I made about a 100 or so of these Holiday Pretzel treats (recipe).

Mine look a wee bit different since I used regular pretzels instead of pretzel waffles and mine don't look nearly as perfect as the ones above. However, I can claim that they are still delicious. I used just plain hershey kisses and the St. Patrick's inspired M&M colours of green, yellow and orange.

I think they'll be a great sweet treat! How can you possibly go wrong with pretzels and chocolate? Sweet with that slight twist of saltiness. Yumm!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

From the Hogline

My second season of curling is wrapping up soon.

Winter was kind of non-existant this year, and my curling league didn't have any snow days. Since we aren't trying to make-up any games, we can fit another round of curling in before our end of year banquet at the begining of April.

I went into curling to get to know people in my new town and to get me out of the house during the winter. Having watched a little curling on television, I thought it'd be a pretty straightforward sport to try out. Boy, did I get a surprise.

I think curling is a lot like golf. They have pretty basic concepts, but the devil is in the details. In golf, the goal is to knock your little white ball in the hole hitting it as few times as possible. In curling, the goal is to make sure your coloured rock is closest to the button. Simple, right? I thought so, until I tried to do it.

You'd think that with growing up in Canadian winters I'd be a pro at being at home on ice. I have to admit, I'm not too bad since I don't fall too often. However, equipment has a lot to do with it. I intentionally don't buy winter boots that don't grip and avoid wearing regular shoes outdoors during the winter. Then comes curling where you wear a pair of shoes - one shoe has a gripper on the bottom and one shoe has a slider on the bottom. The slider is generally made of teflon, you know that stuff that makes frying pans non-stick? Did you know the thicker the teflon on your shoe, the more slippery the shoe and the faster you can go?

Can't say that I look as sophisticated as the picture of Jennifer Jones, but I don't feel that I'm the disaster on ice that I use to be.
Manitoba's Jennifer Jones at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts tournament in Red Deer, Alberta
I have to admit, for a long time I felt like this.

I feel much more comfortable on the ice this year, but still have so much trouble with the details of the game. You'd think that it'd be pretty simple to be on the broom and get the weight right consistently, but no such luck. I definitely have my good nights and my bad nights. I'm getting better and people comment about how much I've improved, so atleast I have that going for me.

The one thing I've loved about the game is changing positions. There are only four on a team: skip, vice, second and lead. When I started last year I always played lead, but this year I signed up to play second and occassionally play vice when someone is away. I cannot believe how much the game changes when you move from one position to another. The strategy changes immensely and the types of shots you need to make regularly are drastically different.

I love how each position gives me an entirely new perspective, now if only my curling would improve.

What sport have you tried out that you ended up liking?

Friday, 9 March 2012

When the Cat is Away the Mice Will Play

On Wednesday the LA Galaxy played the Toronto FC. A is a big Galaxy fan and doesn't get to see them play too often anymore whether in person or on television. It is pretty unpredictable if a West coast sports game will be aired on the East coast, atleast that is the way it has been for the LA Kings and could be likely for the Galaxy as well. Anyway, A decided to fly to Toronto and meet up with a California friend, who had recently moved to Rochester, New York, to see their beloved Galaxy.

What does this mean for me? It means that I'm on my own and making my own plans.

Last night I met up with L who I haven't seen in ages since she is  so busy. She is a full-time student working towards her Masters in Nursing with both classes and clinical on her plate AND a full-time nurse in the Intensive Care Unit. I'm amazed by her, and I don't know how I'd be functioning with so much on my plate.  She had a little bit more time on Thursday since she was just finishing up her clinical, so off we went to the movies. Going with L means that chick flicks are options again, so we opted for The Vow starring Canada's own Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum.

The movie is about a young married couple Paige and Leo. Paige loses her memory as a result of a car accident and cannot remember the past 4 years. Consequently, she doesn't remember why she no longer talks to her family, why she ended it with her ex-fiance Jeremy (Scott Speedman), why she dropped out of lawschool and decided to go to art school, why she left the suburbs and moved to the city, or meeting, falling in love with and marrying Leo.

I never go into chick flicks with high expecations, but this one gives you a lot to think about in addition to the basic chick flick stuff. What would you do if your spouse woke up after an accident and didn't remember you? What if you were the spouse that couldn't remember? What if you couldn't remember how you made a major path change in life? It's a lot to think about as an individual, but as a couple it seems almost insurmountable.

What movie have you seen lately? What's next on your list?

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Luck of the Irish

It feels like it was just Valentine's Day. How did March get here so quickly? Let alone St. Patrick's Day being just around the corner.

Ever since A and I got together we've been doing a St. Patrick's day gathering. This was inspired by that fact that St. Patrick's day has always been an important holiday in A's family. We've been slow to get organized this year, but we are planning on hosting a St. Patrick's Day open house next weekend. Since we've moved outside of the city and accessibility is a bit of an issue now we are trying to focus more on food and getting together rather than drinking and partying.

I've been working on a Irish themed menu which should be pretty exciting. So, I'll be busy next week making Irish soda bread, Irish car bomb cupcakes and of course Irish stew and Corned beef and cabbage! Each year I get a bit better with all of this.

I hope A will have a chance to look at the menu, guestlist and invitation tonight so we can get things moving.

Do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day?

Wedding Wednesday: A Whirlwind Until Spring

Fortunately, I've gotten back to posting before an entire week elapsed. It's been pretty busy for me since I last posted.

This past weekend was Round 1 of Bridesmaid dress shopping. I headed to Toronto to spend the weekend with Bridesmaid L and Bridesmaid T to look for dresses. I loved spending time with them, but 10+ hours in my car by myself can be a little rough. Let's just say I listed to my new Adele cd a couple of times.

Heading into bridesmaid dress shopping, I though the Alfred Sung line and the colour Quarry were pretty much decided on. You know how it goes, life never quite turns out the way you plan. First, L & T seemed to like the Alfred Sung line. Second, the colour and fabric were not what I expected. Online when you search for grey dresses, the colours Dove and Quarry pop up. Online Dove looks like a silver and Quarry like a pewter. In person, Dove looks like a while silver and Quarry looks like regular silver. On top of the colour surprise, I learned that there are two fabrics that we can work with: Dupioni and Peau de Soie (amazing how it sounds so fancy, but translated it is Skin of Silk).  Dupioni comes in Quarry and Peau de Soie does not. The Dupioni fabric has a heavy appearance similar to drapery fabric, which just looks very wintery to me and likely will be uncomfortably hot for the girls as well. On the other hand, the Peau de Soie has a very summery and airy feel and look to it. So, what do we do since Peau de Soie doesn't come in Quarry?

As we were looking around we came across another grey colour that does come in peau de soie. Ebony, which I would have found had I searched for black dresses. Now, I thought Ebony meant black, but I guess it doesn't because this Ebony looks like pewter in person.

So, this is going to be the fabric and colour the girls will be in:

The styles of dresses are still yet to be decided although I think I know what L & T are leaning towards. Now it is just seeing what S & J are thinking 3 weeks from now.

Also on the wedding front, since my mom had been asking about registries I tried to get started. Thus far I've registered at Sears and Home Outfitters. The whole process is so much harder then I ever thought pretend shopping would be. However, I always operate with a healthy dose of reality and I just couldn't register for a $80 ironing board in good conscience. I've still got some work to do and want to talk with A about things before they really get underway and people start buying things.

I think another trip to Sears and Home Outfitters will definitely be in order. However, since they will be closing my 'home' Sears it makes registering more challenging because I can already see the stock within that store diminishing.

One day at a time and one task at a time. ...

Friday, 2 March 2012

Spring Has Sprung, Atleast that is What I'm Wishing For

This morning I came across a post about an amazing wreath over at Life Behind the Ivy. Seeing her new spring wreath:

Got me so excited about the fact that spring is not too far away. Although I'm wondering if the fact that I've shovelled my driveway three times in the past 24 hours has alot to do with it. Anyway, Susannah at Live Behind the Ivy purchased her wreath from Elegant Holidays on Etsy and after venturing over there I think that I now may have a slight wreath addition. Is that even possible?

Year Round - Artificial Boxwood Wreath
Spring / Easter - Pink and Purple Tulip Wreath
Spring / Easter - Orange and Yellow Tulip Wreath
Spring/Easter - Light Pink Tulip Wreath
Don't these wreaths look absolutely amazing! I don't think that I can justify buying on right now because they range from $50 to $75 American. Maybe when we have a brand new front door I'll want to draw more attention to it. Right now, I'm waiting until spring to do another coat of black paint on the front door.

Do you like wreaths? What do you think of homes that have a wreath on their front door?

Thursday, 1 March 2012

March is Coming in like a Lion

So, hopefully this will mean an early spring?

Last night as the wind and snow wreaked havoc outside, I settled in to getting a few things accomplished last night. It is amazing how fast an evening can go when you are working away at things. While doing laundry and catching up on The Biggest Loser (PVRs are amazing), I worked away on props for the photobooth at the wedding. Using pictures like the one below for inspiration, I attempted to make my own props. However, you'll have to wait until Wedding Wednesday for more detail.

To relax later in the evening we watched Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt.

It's based on the story of Billy Beane who was the General Manager for the Oakland A's in the early 2000s. They've just lost  the season to the New York Yankees who have a salary budget of over $100 million while Oakland was working with less than $40 million. After being denied access to more money, Beane (Pitt's character) goes against anything everyone has ever done in planning a baseball team. He hires a man with an economics degree from Yale and plans a team based on statistics.

This movie far exceeded my expectations, but I don't know if a lot of this has to do with the fact that the movie had an economics twist to it. I highly recommend this movie. A and I discussed how little we know about baseball during the 2000s, believing that we generally lost interest after the strikes in the 1990s. I used to be a huge Toronto Blue Jays fan growing up and remember venturing into Toronto as a kid with my parents to go watch a game. Maybe I should give the game a second chance?

What movie have you watched recently?