Friday, January 24, 2014

a little mexicasa adventure

This is long over due. I went to Mexico back before christmas for my cousin's wedding, but with this "polar vortex" going strong I thought this was the perfect time to warm up my memories of Mexican nights.

I wasn't sure how much I would like Mexico, I'm not the sit down and do nothing type, especially in a country I've never been before. The idea of travelling around to small towns and seeing how people live was a much more attractive idea to me than sitting poolside with a pina colada. To be fair, I did my fair share of lounging, but I also got a glimpse of one of the friendliest countries I have ever been to. Mexico has its bad wrap; its touristy, the drug cartel, hepatitis, frat boys on vacation. However, I never felt like any of these things were even an issue (aside from the frat boys). The people working there are honestly the hardest working people I have ever met while being so proud of what they do, which absolutely made my trip. I have provided a couple of tips of my trip, let me know if you have any other questions. Have any of you been to Mexico, and was it totally different than you expected?

SEE I whole heartedly recommend getting out of your resort for a little more of a realistic impression of Mexico! There are so many beaches like Tulum and beautiful sink holes like the one we went to. We stayed in Rivera Maya about a half hour south of Cancun, so there were tons of attractions a bus ride away. Regretabley I never got to Xel'ha where you spend the day floating around crystal clear waters with fish, with all your drinks included. Its worth the trip to go to Chitzen Itza, about two hours away, is the Mayan pyramids. It's so filled with symbolism that reflects the movement of the sun, its not hard to understand why people thought it was built by aliens.

EAT Ask the locals, they always know! Other than that, all the fresh fish was amazing. We even got to eat the fish we caught on our fishing trip and to share with with our family and friends in a huge outside fish feast. One of the best foods we had was a small snack of soft tortillas with beans after we went zip-lining in the forest, it was made by the owners wife and you can tell it was a recipe she had made a million times before, so simple and so fresh. As a side note, the bread at our resort was amazing.

SHOP Puerto Vallarta has an pretty good market with your typical Mexican momentos, this is the best place to get the perfect sarape or amazing handmade leather goods. Although it has much better prices than your hotel gift shop, the goods are maybe not as "cheap" as you might have been led to believe. I am a terrible barterer because these people live off this income, and really whats the difference of a couple of dollars to me in the long run? You're free to barter though, if thats your thing. Either way, bring lots of cash, American or pesos. Although American may seem more convenient, pesos are much prettier to look at.

BUY There are a couple of things you can't really leave Mexico with out, and one of those things is hot sauce! Another one is vanilla, I had no idea, but apparently its an indigenous plant to Mexico and you can get the good stuff for cheap. I also tried to find a few small souvenirs that I would want to keep and wouldn't become clutter, so I found a christmas ornament to add to my collection and a few margarita stir sticks with Day of the Dead skulls so when I wanted to whip up a drink I could remember my trip.

Bon Voyage my friends!

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Sunday, January 5, 2014

icy icy falls

After spending a whirlwind holiday with the family back in Winnipeg, Rob and I got to spend some quality time together in Niagara Falls, just for funsies. It's one of those places that you can go back to over and over and it never looses its charm. Plus, it has infinite amounts of cheesy tourist attractions to go to, more than you could ever fit into one trip. This was our first trip in the winter, and I would whole heartedly recommend it. Obviously the falls are beautiful in the summer, and nothing beats a ride on the Maid on the Mist, but there is something magical about all this falling water in the dead of winter. There are also significantly less tourists, which means more opportunities to peek down at the falls without millions cameras surrounding you at all times.

We spent an afternoon ice skating near the edge of the falls, which is definitely not something you can do in the summer. It was the first skate of the winter and for 2014! I never thought that buying a pair of inexpensive skates would be so worth it. If you live somewhere icy in the winter, I totally recommend having a pair of skates, even if they seem to spend most of the year in the closet.

The day before we left I came down with a terrible cold. I pretty much just wanted to burry my head under the covers and hibernate until my entire brain declogged. However, thats not what happens when you go on vacation, you've got to make the most of it... and we did!


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Sunday, December 1, 2013

the liebster award

The last month has been a little crazy. I went from being funemployed to the point where the fun was running out, to getting a full time job and getting to go on vacation to Mexico. Well working takes up a lot more time than I remember, and haven't worked blogging into my new life schedule yet. Basically what I am saying is I have been busy. Deal with it.

After coming back from Mexico I received an email from Georgie at Away With The Fairies nominating me for The Liebster Award. It's an award for bloggers to nominate other new bloggers to help expose all of the emerging bloggers who are putting so much effort into their little blog babies. Thank-you Georgie for nominating me along with some top-notch blogs.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

the pumpkin patch

When I was younger my family used to drive down a particular highway north of Winnipeg where farmers would line up pumpkins on the front of their property in october to find the perfect pumpkin. It seemed like unlimited choices in the fields of orange. Since I moved to Toronto there really seemed to be no reason to get a pumpkin for the apartment. No one was going to see it! It seemed depressing. Well my roommate Kaari and I decided that we needed pumpkins this year. So, along with Rob, we made a quick trip up to Whittamore Farms, a farm so close to Toronto its kind of amazing. Rob and I had been there in the summer to pick raspberries, so we were really excited to go back.

Well it wasn't all we were hoping for, because it was beyond busy. Like a million children everywhere busy. I guess I should have known, but anytime I am able to escape the city I just want it to have a little break from noise and people.

There were however lots of lovely pumpkins to choose from. Rob is a pumpkin perfectionist, so it we went through a lot of before the perfect one was found. I like weird shaped ones with long stems, I feel like it gives them character. And Kaari got a plump little one, so we left happy. That was until some Type-A mom in gortex and reflective leggings stole our wheel barrow to transport them. It's okay, I gave her a little passive aggressive guilt trip to make up for having to carry them all to the car.

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Monday, October 7, 2013

good ol' montreal

Montreal is one of those places you can visit a million times and always discover something new. When my Dad told me he was going there for a conference I jumped on the chance to take the train up to visit with him and my Mother who also decided to tag along. I never seem to get there when the weather is warm though, twice I have been through a snow storm and last time I was there in the fall I saw someone get hit by a car. It was really terrible. But this time I was keen to get the best experience possible, and even though the sun only peeked out for a short time it was still such a great trip.

The architecture in Montreal is so varied and textured. Its such an old city, and although it doesn't have half the amount of construction sites going on as Toronto, there are new beautiful buildings that aren't just condos. We toured around the island where Expo 67 was held and included Buckminster Fuller's geodesic dome. The dome caught fire in the 1970s and melted all of the plastic between the trusses, which left it as a beautiful open skeleton sphere. Inside they house a biosphere and had an amazing exhibit of garments created of waste material. Although this may be kind of an overdone concept, one dress instantly captured my attention, it was made of salmon skin and sewn together with fishing line. It was so amazingly detailed and beautifully cut, if it didn't have to have refrigerated I would have been so temped to touch it. Both my parents had visited when the expo was on originally which made for an interesting contrast to the relatively calm surroundings of the park now.

We also wondered around Old Montreal and saw an exhibition dedicated to The Beatles which was a bit of an overload, and Griffintown where we ate at Le Beaureu and had cheese fried in scotch! If you're into French food you have lots of options, but we ate at L'Express and I died a little. I don't think I have ever eaten so much pate in my life, and I even ate two little pickles, because they brought us a whole jar with little tongs and mustard. Its a big deal because I'm not a pickle person.

Here is a taste of Montreal, more to come when I finish my roll of film!

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

black cat, watch your back

There is nothing like October to bring out the superstitions in all of us. In the summer a black cat is cute, but come October is more like "You cross me, and I'mma get you!" Fall may seem romantic with all the falling leaves and changing colours, but we all know it ends. Hallowe'en is right around the corner, and you better be ready with whatever ridiculous scantily clad costume you can find. And until then, why not take fashion some inspiration from that ever sleek black cat?

One October I got my wisdom teeth out a week before Hallowe'en, thinking that everything will be fine and dandy by the end of the week. Well I was wrong. I swelled up like a chipmunk, so much so that I could barely fit a toothbrush in my mouth (it made for really good hygienic practices). I ran out of the good meds so I was grumpy coming off my T3 high, but still on enough pills to stop me from drinking. Nevertheless I was determined to go out, so I ditched my sexy secretary costume to go as a cowgirl, complete with bandana covering the lower half of my face in an attempt to minimize my puff ball of a face. It was all in vain because a grumpy fat faced girl can't seem to find it in her heart to tolerate drunken sub-par costumed folk. Needless to say I called it an early night.

I digress! I don't let one terrible Hallowe'en ruin the fun. Everyday is a day for dress up after all.

1. Leather pants, Yigal Azrouel. For stealth and areodynamic jumping.
2. Eyeliner pen, Nars. For the perfect dramatic cat eye.
3. Ring, Asos. For a little kistch kitten.
4. Cat eye sunglasses, Cheap Monday. For those of you who still haven't mastered cat eye mascara yet.

Background image from here.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

the island of luella

Living in Toronto for the summer and not at home means that I had to sacrifice a major part of my summer life: the lake. I would not sacrifice however, tradition. Every year at the end of the summer I take my favourite people down to my cabin in Northern Ontario for a mid-week weekend. Usually there are six of us, but with all our friends scattered across the country now it was just four. And maybe it was the calm sticky weather or the fact it was just the few of us, but it was infinitely relaxing. We stuffed ourselves silly and floated around on the lake coolers in hand. I even bought an inflatable pretzel for the occasion.

While at home I decided to experiment with a camera that my uncle gave to me a few years ago. To be honest I have no idea what I am doing with it, its an old Nikon SLR and it probably took me 15 minutes just to figure out how to change the film. This whole thing was a bit of a shot in the dark, and I didn't really know what I would end up with. Unbeknownst to me, apparently these cameras need batteries, so this roll was shot without them, which means that there was no automatic exposure. Due to this only the outside shots worked out, but I am pretty happy with the few that did. Obviously I need to work on my skillz, but for now I am okay with the unintentional blurriness. Its like so totally artistic. Either way, I think it really captures the calm mood of the time we spent down at the lake.

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