My most favourite season has arrived and the first week of autumn has been a doozy for me. It’s one of those weeks where I have been so busy at work that I haven’t had any time for myself, time to practice yoga or, most importantly, quality time with my family. In fact, once my days are over, I opt for a bowl of popcorn and Family Guy re-runs instead of anything else. It’s no wonder I haven’t had time to partake in my writing hobby and get a single blog post out.
Photo: John on Flickr
I certainly hope that your first week of fall has been nothing short of lovely. I promise to be back next week with more posts, pumpkins and pretty pictures. Have a great weekend everyone!
While I won’t take credit for the “Friday Photo Dump” (see this gal here), I will admit to enjoying the concept. It’s been a long while since my last one, so in case you don’t follow me on Instagram, here’s a snapshot of what I’ve been up to lately…
It’s hard to believe how quickly this week has gone by and that Friday is already upon us. If you’re in BC, you’re probably blessed with a whole lot of sunshine today, so enjoy the weekend!
I had the best of intentions – I promise! I envisioned myself at the computer yesterday evening, hammering out three or maybe four blog posts to publish over the next week. To make a long story short, that never happened.
After the fourth butt-kicking day in a row at my office and 75 minutes of cat stretches and downward-facing dog, I was wiped. Instead of blogging, I made cookies, laid in a hot bath tub for over an hour while finishing my book and finished the night in a ’90s throwback with a Leonardo DiCaprio classic.
Though I wanted to send you off with wise words or fun ideas for Spring Break, I’ll instead take a cue from Kelle Hampton’s blog and leave you with a Friday Photo Dump from my Instagram.
Early Tuesday I’m heading out of town with J for a much-needed escape for most of Spring Break. Here’s hoping you all have a wonderful week and weekend, whether you’re hanging around or taking advantage of the holiday. See you back here on the 19th, but check my Twitter on Monday the 12th to see if you won my Shop Uptown contest (details on how to enter below).
It seems that the moment you label something as a “resolution”, you’re setting yourself up for instantaneous failure. It’s no secret that the vast majority of those of us that make up our minds to create changes in our lives often give up on our resolutions within a week or two of January 1st. Sometimes it seems easier to resolve not to make any resolutions, because at least that way we can’t fail.
That being said, I don’t make resolutions and I haven’t done so in years. However, a new calender always seems like a refreshed opportunity for change. Instead, I would like to present my list of try-hards – endeavours I hope to accomplish in 2011 though I won’t be hard on myself if I don’t hit those targets.
1. Less Carbs, More Cardio
Our bodies need carbohydrates to function properly and healthily, but you can have too much of a good thing (especially if you’re me). I’ve given up refined sugars in the past and this time I’m including excessive carbs. The general rule of thumb is that when you eat well, you feel well. Eating well leads to more energy which hopefully leads to a greater desire for exercise.
2. Au Revoir, Skyscrapers
I’ve lived among the towers of downtown Vancouver since the summer of 2004 and, in that time, have grown to loathe downtown life. It was a dream as a child, exciting when I first moved there and now is nothing more than a constant annoyance. When the weather gets better, it’s time to pack up and move to somewhere on the other side of the bridge where the brunch is better, the rent is cheaper and the streets are quieter.
3. Stretch Time
Having practiced yoga on and off for many years, I tend to get into it head-first and then drop it a few months later for one reason or another. At times it’s difficult to push myself to get to class but once I’m there I always feel both phenomenal and peaceful. Committing myself to one class per week sounds like a reasonable compromise.
4. Pack My Bags
Last year marked the first time I’d ever taken any kind of epic holiday and 2011 will be no exception. In the spring, the plan is to escape April showers in exchange for 32 degrees in sunny Mexico. This fall I’m hopping a plane to JFK airport once again to watch the leaves change colour in Central Park, feel the rumble of the subway and sip lattes on chilly Autumn sidewalks in New York City.
5. Blogging On My Terms
More often than not, maintaining a blog can easily slip into the category of “chore” rather than “hobby”. Writing creatively about things that interest me or invoke some passion is something I will never tire of, so I’ve decided that this year I will blog only on my own terms. Rather than pursuing stories, leads or ideas, I’m going to let the content come to me.
6. Mo’ Money, Mo’ Savings
Over the past handful of years, I’ve been so focused on getting rid of student loan debt that I’ve neglected equally important financial decisions like RRSPs and a tax-free savings account. Being financially independent is being financially responsible and relying on “someday” and “what if” does no one any good.
7. Stand Tall
At nearly 5’9″, I tend to slouch a lot. My back has never been the strongest part of my body, and probably more than any other endeavour on this list, I
want need to stay focused on proper posture. This includes keeping my shoulders back, sitting up straight, not crossing my legs and making sure my feet are squared off when walking.
Ever notice how, in yoga, you’re expected to keep your feet squared when in poses? It’s what’s best for the connection between your back, hips, legs and feet alignment. I dare you to try it.
8. Flip The Page
If you’re like me, you read in spurts. Two or three books in a short period of time and then nothing at all for months. I enjoy reading, love the way book collections look on shelves and constantly wish I made time to read more often than I do. If I could average getting through a new book every other month, I’d feel like much less of a slacker in this realm.
Photo: Tempest Kat on Flickr
It’s said that making your so-called resolutions known will help you stick to them. Since it seems that that’s likely true, you tell me: what are some of your try-hards for 2011?
After countless years of coveting everyone and anyone that has one, I finally bit the bullet and bought myself a KitchenAid stand mixer as an early birthday present to myself. For a piece of essential kitchen equipment that normally prices between $400-500, I couldn’t pass up the $299 sale tag.
I debated between a few different colours and happily settled on Green Apple. My dream kitchen consists of white glossy cabinets and chocolate brown wood flooring, so selecting the Green Apple mixer was based on sort of an “if you build it, they will come” theory. Buy the mixer and the coordinating dream kitchen will eventually follow.
Now all I need is a perfectly adorable and ruffled apron.
The fact that I’ve been missing-in-action on my blog since Monday hasn’t escaped me. I’ve come home from work each day this week and felt a pang of guilt when I saw the “Blog Dashboard” bookmark in Safari, knowing that the neglect was growing each day. So I shut off my computer and flipped the TV on instead.
In reality, it couldn’t be helped. Life at the office has been insanely busy for me this week, compounded with the loss of sleep I experienced on Sunday night. The fire alarms in my building went off not one time but three times between 2:30 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. that night. Calling me grumpy would be understating the truth and, appropriately enough, I’ve been “Zombie Keira-Anne” since then.
Photo: Duane Storey on Flickr
Needless to say, I am most definitely looking forward to re-grouping myself on the weekend. Tracy-Lee and I are taking our fur babies to the Howl-O-Ween Pawty doggy meet-up at Bow Wow Haus this evening before I cop a squat with buttered popcorn and some CSI:NY. I plan on spending Saturday afternoon commencing my search for the perfect birthday party dress, starting the hunt at Plum on South Granville. Saturday night is date night and Sunday will be spent in my pajamas in front of my laptop as I write and write and write for my faithful readers.
That said, I pledge to be back on my game and in fine form next week with fresh content. If you have any ideas for a post topic or Island Profile feature, please feel free to let me know. I’m always interested in readers’ ideas!
Last week I took some time off work and escaped to Vancouver Island for nine days. Much of that time was spent wearing stretchy pants, watching HGTV, sleeping in late, stuffing my face with all kinds of food that’s bad for me (my skin was hating me for doing so), drinking beer, BBQing, baking and catching up with friends. I managed to squeeze in a day of going through old boxes with my mom and aunt, hoping to find a lot that could be given away or recycled.
I discovered far more spiders and mice than this city girl is kosher with, but also learned that apparently I used to be a major pack rat. I saved everything from tees to receipts and even hotel shower caps. However, among the overstuffed boxes laid a few gems and memories that I thought I’d take the time to gratuitously share with you all.
My summer of 15. Taking trips to Vancouver, sans parents, was always a thrill. We never had shops like Underground in Courtenay. Plus, I knew I’d never get to see Trainspotting if my parents had anything to say about it.
When I did find myself in the city with one or both parents, a Vancouver Canucks’ hockey game was almost always on the agenda. Anyone raised in BC will certainly remember the 1994 playoffs and the legendary roster.
Apparently there was also a NBA team that called Vancouver home at one time…
I also found my old diary…
… and somewhere in the boxes was my baby book.
I’ll never forget my first concert. My dad took me to see U2’s Zoo TV World Tour at BC Place when I was 11, and I still remember the butterflies I felt while stepping off the Skytrain. I was crushing on Bono – hard.
There’s no better way to hear Achtung Baby than live and loud.
These belonged to my mom and aunt when they were little girls and got passed along. Somewhere there’s a hipster dying to own them.
Remember a long, long time ago… about 24 years ago? There was a little exhibition along the waterfront at False Creek in Vancouver and people came from far and wide to share in the cultural experience. Expo ’86 brought the world to our slice of the planet for five months in 1986, bringing with it iconic legacies that are still part of Vancouver in 2010.
I went through a phase in junior high where I collected everything and anything I could get my hands on from the world fair. At one point I even found a stuffed, life-size Expo Ernie (the official mascot), but he sadly succumbed to dirt, dust, mice and water damage. A few items remained in near-mint condition.
“Something’s Happening Here” played during the evening fireworks display. What I wouldn’t give to be able to digitalize the tape and play it here for you all. It’s the epitome of “epic”.
Though I was incredibly young at the time, I still have a few fond memories of the trip I took with my family across the water and into the colourful, musical, creative gates of Expo ’86.
Somewhere in the memorabilia boxes from Expo ’86, I also found a ton of buttons. I suspect the aquarium buttons were from way back when it was still okay to keep whales and dolphins in captivity. Oh wait…
Last, though certainly not the least, comes one of my most treasured pictures. For reasons unbeknownst to me, at one time there were lions and tigers (yet not bears) on display at the Driftwood Mall in Courtenay. My dad paid to have a Polaroid snapped of me holding a tiger cub. I’m guessing that he’s not so cuddly and cute anymore (and hopefully not still in captivity either).
While more than half a dozen bags and three or four boxes were bound up for the thrift store and recycling bins, I’m not cutthroat enough to get rid of any of these items. Who knows when my eighth grade medal for basketball sportsmanship will come in handy?
While I’d like to call it an act of spontaneity, I’ve been mulling over the idea of buying a bicycle for quite some time. In truth I haven’t owned one since I was in my early teens, ripping up and down the dirt roads of Hornby Island on our family camping trips (yikes, right?). And even then, it was only a mountain bike.
The thing about Craigslist is that the margin of decision time is narrow. If you find something you want, buy it or it’ll be gone before you know it. This afternoon I found a vintage road bike for $100 that I fell in love with, but by the time I got on the phone with the owner, it was gone. He said that the good news was that he had a second bike that he was selling, this one for only $90. He swung by within the hour, let me try it on for size and it was a done deal.
It’s a bit beaten-looking, rusted and in desperate need of a paint job. However, with a bit of fresh handlebar tape, a shiny, new saddle and some TLC, the bike will look as good as (almost) new. It’ll be great to have something to bomb around downtown with during the sunny months, but at that price, it almost doesn’t matter if it doesn’t last me too long. I still need to grab myself a lock and helmet, but I can’t wait to take this for a spin in the open bike lanes.
2. I’m once again fundraising for the BC-SPCA’s Paws For A Cause, aiming to raise $2,000 by September. Please consider donating to my effort and support this worthwhile cause.
Someone once told me that there’s no experience like riding the New York City Subway. Over 650 miles of tracks snake and slide their way deep under Manhattan, reaching out to four of the five boroughs. It’s impossible to descend the steps into any station and not be instantly overcome by the sensory experience that awaits.
The stations are hot and stuffy. The still air is a fragrant tonic of charred street meat, diesel and urine. The noise is deafening as trains rocket in and out of stations, sparking over the rails with an unmistakable squeal. The paint is peeling off steel beams, the overhead lights flicker and buzz and passengers wait like flocks of vultures to squeeze between the doors.
Photo: cafemama on Flickr
On the very last day that Rebecca and I spent in New York City, we traveled across the Brooklyn Bridge one step at a time. While Manhattan is most certainly its own world, crossing the iconic span over the East River felt much like stepping through a portal.
As my feet found solid ground in Brooklyn, every little thing I’d long associated with the city’s biggest borough suddenly came to life. It’s the home of the Beastie Boys, of sizzling Italian-American pizzerias, of Coney Island, of century-old brownstones and even the original Dodgers baseball team. When I was younger, my family lived on a cul-de-sac called Brooklyn Place and my school was called Brooklyn Elementary. Naturally, I secretly pretended we lived in Brooklyn.
After a couple hours of exploring, the time came to return to Manhattan and we decided to do so by way of the subway. High Street Station was bustling with people on that muggy Friday afternoon. Finding a seat was easier than expected and within minutes our train jolted to life and rattled toward downtown. A group of b-boys kicked their ghetto blaster into high gear and began to break-dance in the middle of the train. Our fellow passengers gave wide berth and kept the dancers moving with cheers and clapping as beat-heavy hip hop sputtered from the well-played speakers.
What should have been an uneventful journey from Brooklyn back to midtown turned into a Friday afternoon impromptu train party. Nothing short of something quintessentially Brooklyn, I can’t imagine a more fitting way for New York City to bid us farewell than with the smiles and laughter of 50 of our newest friends… at least for one afternoon.
One of my daily must-visit sites around the Web is Flickr. I’m always curious to see the photos that my friends and contacts are coming up with and how they document their experiences.
Some photos, however, are extraordinarily interesting and certainly warrant a “favourite” status. To beat the overcast blues on this gray Monday I thought I’d share with you a handful of my most-loved snapshots from other Flickr members.
Photo: brock_saucy on Flickr (used with permission)
Photo: John Bollwitt on Flickr (used with permission)
Photo: justthisguyyouknow on Flickr
Photo: miss604 on Flickr
Photo: tempest_kat on Flickr (used with permission)
Photo:Liam Higgins on Flickr
Photo: Dennis Leidelmeijer on Flickr
Photo: tempest_kat on Flickr (used with permission)
Photo: Alex Dram on Flickr
Photo: kk+ on Flickr
Photo: /3 on Flickr
Many of the photos within my favourites collection are marked All Rights Reserved and therefore cannot be shared on my blog. The rest of the photos in my favourites collection can be viewed here.