Thursday, March 21, 2013

What to Wear: Floral

Hello ladies, it's that time again, I'm linking up with some fabulous bloggers to show you What to Wear. This week's theme? Floral!

This theme was particularly difficult for me for 2 reasons. 1. I don't wear basically any floral prints in winter. and 2. Despite yesterday being the official first day of spring, it's still very much winter here in Calgary.

 That's right, a quick look at my over stuffed closet reveals mostly solids and no florals at all.

So I was in quick a predicament over what to wear, luckily I'm headed to Cuba in a week, and out of total, can't contain it excitement, I've already packed! So here's a retro-y floral inspired outfit for this week's what to wear!

Oh yeah, that's me trying to 'model' on my kick-ass rattan chair that I snagged for free this summer.


Ok let be honest, everything but the shoes and the bag came from Forever 21. What can I say, if you're willing to dig through the racks, you can always find something great there. The shoes? From call it Spring. The bag? Michael Kors (a Christmas gift from my mom!)

The best thing about this look? The high waisted floor length skirt really makes you look tall and tiny through the waist. Even better, wrapped a different way, it makes a cute dress!

In Italy in 2012.

This week we're all linking up over at Nicole's blog, Gypsy in Jasper, so hop on over there to see who else is participating! Or to join along too!

Do you wear many floral prints? Are you going to hop on the floral printed pants train running thru spring fashion this year?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Yeah yeah yeah, google reader's going bye bye

If you haven't been living under a rock, I'm sure you've heard Google Reader is going out the window in a few months. July 1st to be specific. If you have been under a rock, I feel privileged that you come out just to see my blog! Keep at it all my lovely rock people!

So naturally, everyone and their brother have been running posts urging you to switch your method of following over to Bloglovin' , and I suppose that's a bandwagon I can hop onto.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I can only assume this is happening, not because as google suggests people are using their reader less (although this may be true) but rather because they are making a push towards getting everyone hooked on Google Plus. A few months ago I set myself up there, updated my profile, and have been sharing all most posts via my google+ .

As for me, I have been following blogs pretty much exclusively using blogger/GFC. All the blogs I read show up in the blog's I follow list on my blogger home page, and I click over to each one individually. I have no idea if this function will be disappearing along with google reader proper or not. So in the next few weeks I'll be transferring all you guys on over to bloglovin just in case.

How do you currently follow my blog? What will you be switching to as google reader goes out the window? Or are you not a follower, I recommend that you become one!

Blogging Prompt: Celebrating Me

This week's 20sb Blogging Prompt is to Celebrate Yourself by telling 3 things you absolutely love about yourself. We all spend too much time being overly critical of ourselves. We've been trained our whole lives to focus on the negatives, the things we need improving; rather than celebrate our strengths. Taking a minute our two each day to celebrate something positive and amazing about yourself can create a generally more Pro-You, Self-loving mindset and is certain to make you a happier person.

Three things that make me thrilled to be me lately!

1. The physical condition I am in lately! I have never considered myself to be a physically strong person. Since January however I have been doing an MMA style bootcamp at least once a week, and I've noticed some big changes.... I even think I have some muscle tone in my upper body now!

 Hiking in Hawaii, Maui in the distant valley, 2012.

2. My role as a teacher (well TA really). This past weekend I responded to nearly 100 (ok maybe a bit of an overestimation) emails from students in the 2nd year Molecular and Cell Biology Class I TA, regarding an assignment I designed to write a paper on my area of expertise (smooth muscle). It was a lot of time and work, but I was pleasantly surprized at how rewarding it was. More and more I find myself convinced that I want to have a role as a teacher at this level one day.

 (Me with tiny, half wild, kitten at my great aunt's farm in Italy, 2012)

3. The fact that furry animals love me. Ok this is maybe an over exaggeration, but the wild rabbit that hangs out near my apartment building doesn't scamper away in fear when he sees me, and he ate the pile of spinach I left him in the snow. The stray cat in my boyfriend's neighbourhood spent the whole day of my birthday celebration hanging out (I guess he knows I want a kitten of my own). On the other hand a friend of ours' dog always pees when he sees maybe I'm too lovable?

What are three things you love about yourself?

Monday, March 18, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Road Race 2013

Last Monday as I was sitting at the myograph in the lab, browsing the internet while running experiments, I spontaneously signed myself up (last minute) for the St. Partick's Day 10km Road Race. Although I haven't been doing a tonne of running lately, I thought I'd have no problem with 10km. The weather had been beautiful for the last week, it felt like spring was on the way and I thought, why not.

The second I finished registering, and payed for it, Nature decided to screw me over. The beautiful spring weather began heading out of town, and by Saturday night I was wondering what I had been thinking.

This was the weather I woke up to, at 7am Sunday morning. Feels like -22'C (that's -7.6'F), with gusting winds and tonnes of snow. Needless to say, the race I had happy-go-lucky signed up for, was turning out to be one I'd not forget.

I don't do a lot of winter running outside. Correction I really don't do any. Living here in Calgary, it's possible to run sporadically outside in winter only during chinooks when the sun is out, the paths are clear and it's relatively quite warm. I have never run in actual snow. So I made the choice and decided I'd rather over dress for the race than underdress!

Bundled up in 3 pairs of pants (lulu leggings, a pair of loose pj's, lulu track pants). 3 shirts (underarmour cold gear, and two long sleeve lulu's) 2 pairs of socks (regular and soccer socks) a wind breaker and a poofy vest, plus running gloves, a big pair of mittens and a thin cotton scarf, I was ready to brave the cold. By the end of the race I'd be carrying an extra 9.2lbs of cloths, sweat and snow with me (I know because I weighed myself with and without as soon as I got home)!

Trying to keep warm before the race, runner's were invited to dress up for St. Pats, I opted in favour of dressing only to keep warm. As for the run itself, by the end of the first kilometer I had a real idea of how much more effort running on loose snow is. Despite the beautiful route along the Elbow River reservoir, I spent little of the race enjoying the scenery. You had to constantly watch your footfalls for hidden black ice under the 2 inches of snow. Also my glasses were fogged over from my breath for most of the run.

This was also my first time running with music. Normally I hate being distracted by earbuds popping out and the cords bouncing around, but I figured with the headband to keep em in place, and the cords run down under my vest, maybe it be worth a little musical motivation.

Me after crossing the finish line. Your can see the ice frozen to my face, there's nothing like having to constantly wipe snot-icicles away. This photo, courtesy of Neil Zeller Photography, you can see the rest of his race day photos here.

All in all, Sunday was certainly not a personal best time for me, however it may be one of my proudest runs. Sure I've done some crazy stuff in winter before, jumping through the ice in the annual Bon Soo Polar Bear Swim, is just one of them. But I was truly proud for not quitting, for getting out there and running, by myself and despite the stupid weather. Also, I was only 7 minutes slower than my 10km personal best; pretty good considering I haven't run more than 7km distances in months, and of course the weather. It's a great feeling to know that the level of personal fitness I am at is sufficient to get up and run 10km, with really no preparation, and to feel good afterwards. Of course maybe all that really means is it's time to start getting serious about that looming half marathon goal.

What have you done recently that you are proud of? What goals do you have set for the next couple months?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Daylight Savings Monday

This weekend I actually straight up forgot about daylight savings, luckily my phone and alarm clock update the time themselves. So as a result, Sunday morning I woke up feeling pretty awake.

This morning it caught up to me, at 5:15am when I was getting out of bed to drive 20min across town for the MMA bootcamp I do. Normally I go on Wednesdays, but this morning they had a camera man in to film a promotional commercial, and well I guess I'm just vain enough to hope I might be in it.

If you're in  Calgary and at all interested, here is their old promotional video as well as a link to their website.

As for the rest of my Monday, I'm in the lab chained to the myograph for most  of the day, then Journal club, a meeting and probably home to bed quite early.

How is daylight savings treating you this year? On the bright side we're that much closer to Spring.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

What to Wear: St. Patrick's Day

This week I am participating with a group of some of the loveliest bloggers out there to show you what I'd wear on St. Patrick's Day. Actually, this is exactly what I wore last year, and let me tell you, the fringe on those boots looks awesome when you're doing your best drunker Riverdance.

Dress: H&M
Tights: American Apparel
Boots: Minnetonka
Necklace: A bag on green bead from the dollar store, strung on a length of yarn.
Hair: A dollar store green and white carnation hot glued to a bobby pin
(sometimes it's super easy and inexpensive to make your own seasonal accessories)

I am a big fan of green, but I really like the non-typical choice to go with green leggings rather than a shirt or dress, and finding out I was going out with Kev (who I had only just met) and his friends for St. Pat's at the last minute, well I had to throw something cute together! This year I look particularly Irish, I recently home dyed some red into my hair!

Make sure you hop on over to check out the other ladies showing off what to wear on St. Pat's:

Nicole: Gypsy in Jasper
Marcia: Like a Small Fire
Sondra: Abhaya Yoga
Lisa: notladylike
Lisa: LaLa Faux Bois
Sarah: Exploring Woods
Amanda: Salvaged Strawberry
Shayla: Northern Exposure
Lexi: The Girl Who Says Quack
Stacy: Let it Unravel
Amanda: Little Lady Little City
Katie: Chestnut Mocha
Victoria: Life is Better Blonde

Do you have plans for St. Patty's yet? What do you plan on wearing?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

20SB Blogging Prompt: My Favourite Photograph

This week's blogging prompt via 20 20-something bloggers is to share your favourite photograph. Which is quite a challenge, can I really pick only one?

After spending the weekend on beautiful Lake Louise, I have to go with this photo, taken there in October 2011, by my cousin. It really captures the beauty of the lake, I love the composition and it's a miracle that there is not a single tourist in the photo.

This past weekend however, in between morning snow storms, and afternoon thaws, the lake looked a little different.

We were out there for the Annual Lake Louise Pond Hockey Classic, and although our team (Puck Dynasty) didn't win the tournament, we were certainly best dressed. I had a surprisingly great weekend playing team puck bunny and photographer, staying at the incredible Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and singing and dancing along to the live country music at the Brewster's Barn Cookout thingy!

So now I'll invite you to play along, what is your favourite photo? Did you take it? or merely star in it? Does it capture a great story, a beautiful landscape, or just make you smile?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Dinner at La Viena Calgary

A couple weeks ago the boyfriend took me out for birthday dinner. I wanted Italian, specifically, home style Italian. Usually we go to this little place in the North East called Rea's Italian Cucina. The food is amazing, and you know it's authentic when you can occasionally hear people arguing in Italian in the kitchen. When I got back from Italy last summer, we went to Rea's and the food was just as good as it had been while I was away.

Unfortunately they aren't open on Sunday's. So Kev searched the internet for somewhere just as good, and came across La Viena on Kensington. Let me tell you this, with the one small exception that I couldn't find any prosciutto on the menu, the food was just as good.

Don't let the exterior fool you, I've driven past La Viena more times than I can count, and have either never noticed it, thought it was a restaurant or that it could possibly be worth eating at. It was amazing.

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Deep fried gnochi ap. The poor cell phone photo does it very little justice.

We  started with one of their specials for an appetizer, deep fried gnochi with shrimp and Italian sausage. First of all it was a huge portion (really a meal in of itself) and second, it was heavenly. I would come back just for this plate, if only it were on the regular menu!

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Look at all that cheese glorious cheese on this salad!

Next up was a tomato and fresh mozzarella salad, once again giant, once again delicious! Could have maybe done with a bit less onion (but I'm just not a fan of raw onion really).

And for my main course, well I just couldn't pick on thing, so I went with a combo plate, featuring pesto ravioli, chicken Parmesan and some sort of phenomenal cannelloni. And while I certainly didn't finish it all, it was because I was stuffed full of great food, good red wine, and fresh baked bread!

Just as good as my Nana serves it up at home!

If you're in the mood for authentic home style  Italian eating, then I can't recommend La Viena enough. Maybe a bit on the pricey side, but more than worth every penny.

Where's you favourite place for Italian food? 

La Viena on Urbanspoon