Sunday, October 31, 2010

47/50: Packing for Mars by Mary Roach

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the VoidPacking for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I believe I ruined all other Mary Roach books for myself by reading her book Bonk first. It was over the top funny and witty. Something I feel the rest of her books fail to provide to the same extent. Packing for Mars seemed like it would be incredibly interesting.

Researching space would be fun and interesting. This book didn't get that acrossed to me. I can't say that I laughed at all with this one. Not even a chuckle. However, I did learn some interesting tidbits, and I suppose that's the entire purpose of this book. It started off good but faded quickly. I found myself skimming through the second half of the books just so I could finish it.

Read Roach's other books
Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and SexStiff: The Curious Lives of Human CadaversSpook: Science Tackles the Afterlife

View all my reviews

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fitness Friday: Lady Spartacus

Frenchie and I are both needing to workout. We're not overweight, just not our ideal body proportions. For me personally, I've learned the number doesn't matter. It's the proportions and where things are positioned. Let's just say, over the last few months, my body has redistributed what it's got in places I don't want it to be. (think south of the navel)
Frenchie has been trying to get to his 'number' and was there until we went up north for work. When you live on a camp for 6 months and work 14 - 16 hour days, there's no time to workout, and the food isn't exactly healthy.
Exhibit A
Frenchie did the P90X last year and lost 25 lbs on it. I suggested he do that one again, but it just wasn't speaking to him. Working out is like that. Once you do something once, you need to change it up. Fast forward to this week. I found him the Spartacus Workout from Men's Health magazine. If anyone has watched the TV show "Spartacus: Blood and Sand"  you'll know how buff the men are on it. See Exhibit A... (feel free to zoom in ;) )

I found the same workout, adjusted for women. It's called the Lady Spartacus. It was developed by a kettlebell trainer named Estella Hom. They are the exact same format as each other, so working out together is really easy.

60 seconds per exercise
15 second break
2 min rest after circuit
Repeat two times. (3 times in all)

I don't have kettlebells so I used weights instead. It seems to work just as well. I also have some wrist issues (still scared of hurting it again) and opted for a pole crunch exercise over the side plank. I can't handle the pressure on my forearms.

Frenchie and I only managed to do the circuit twice on the first night (Tuesday). We also rested more than 15 seconds between each exercise. In all fairness, you do as much as you can properly and don't push it. Especially not on the first night.

I'm really excited about this workout for a lot of reasons.
1. We get to do the workouts together. (hooray together time!)
2. We both get exercise which makes us both happy (hooray endorphins!)
3. Frenchie will be super buff for the wedding (hooray sexy, buff hubby on the honeymoon!) He's already sexy, but I do know he feels better about himself and no amount of 'you look hot huney' will make him feel better before he feels it himself.
4. I'll be super buff for the wedding and fit into my dress (there's no danger, but still...)
5. It will improve my cardio and my strength which are all positives in the pole world

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wedding Wednesday: Flowers

I'm not much of a flower person. The best I can do is go to the grocery store and pick out a bouquet already put together for on average $15. I can't even keep flowers alive in my house, or any plant for that matter. I think most brides have one thing they don't really care to do. Flowers is my thing. I was not excited to go and look at florists at all. It's the last vendor we need to book and I wasn't looking forward to going at all. I was pleasantly surprised how well the meetings went and how painless they were.

Given that I have no idea what flowers and colors look good together, and Frenchie isn't much help either (he's a guy, so no surprise lol) We met with one florist Saturday morning. She was really informative and helped us decide on a lot of things. We've narrowed it down to Gerbera daisies. Yellow, pink and white.
What we decided at the first florist, we took with us to the second Saturday afternoon. We should have those two quotes back sometime this week.

We have one more meeting Thursday. I'm hoping by the end of next week we should have a florist booked!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Infamous Religion Quiz

I found this quiz on a fellow bloggers site: Sugar & Spice
It's 32 questions long, Take it and see how you do. Here's the link.

After reading her post, I had to take the quiz and see for myself. In her post, she doesn't seem to think too highly of Catholics, and as a Catholic myself, I wanted to see how I stood up to her thoughts.
I got 26/32. Not too bad and pretty close to her score of 29/32. I'm also Canadian, so the ones I did get wrong were based on the US school system. I wouldn't know those, so I based them on our Canadian school system, which seems to be different from the US. I got a few others wrong, mostly on the Mormon religion. Sadly I can't say that I know any Mormons. There doesn't seem to be a huge community of them where I live. Not an excuse, just a part of my upbringing.

*jumps on soapbox*
People who make a point to learn about other religions aren't always atheists or agnostics. I made a point in university to take religion courses that explored religions from around the world. Canada is a melting pot of people and at any given time, you'll be in a place with a multitude of belief systems. I personally embrace diversity because I feel like we can really learn from each other. There's also a sense of respect. You'll be better able to respect the people you are friends with, work with, commute with if you understand where they are coming from.
*gets off soapbox
I'm not one to usually take a stand, but religion is a such a sore point to people. No matter what yours is, it's your belief system. People might think you're crazy, and some people might agree with you. Whatever it is, it's yours. Believe in what you believe in!
I know first hand how hard it is to get people to understand your beliefs. After a while, you just say it's not worth it, and go on with your life. I converted to be a Catholic and it was difficult. People always asked me why. Is it because you want to get married in the Church? Well no, I wasn't engaged when I was converting. And for the record, you can get married in the Church if one of you in the relationship isn't Catholic. I converted because I wanted to. I did my research, I went to various other religious establishments. the Catholic church felt like home to me.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

We're grown ups now!

Frenchie and I bought our first car together. As I explained in my previous car shopping post, we have been looking for an SUV. We had decided to get a Hyundai Santa Fe. Last week after we made the decision, Frenchie phoned around to find places we could go to test drive ones in our price range.
Last night we went and test drove a few. Or I should say we tried to test drive. The first place we went, we had an appointment at. The salesmans manager ended up taking the one we wanted to drive home for the evening. We made an appointment to go back Thursday and see him again.

We then headed to the dealership right across the road. We had been there before and knew they had the right model and price. The SUV was in the shop for warranty repair. That’s a big red flag so we left.

After leaving that place, we went to the North end of the city where there was two listed on the website. They had sold one already, and the other one the Used Car Manager drove home. See a theme here? The guy at this place was adamant that we test drive the 2008 model. It was in our price range and he flat out told us he doesn’t negotiate on the 2010’s.  We test drove the 2008, and I was definitely looking for the bad in it. We realized it doesn’t have an iPod jack and I wasn’t having any of that. The salesman was adamant that it did have one. I may be blond, and a young woman, but I’m not stupid. I’m also a geek, so trust me, I know what a freaking iPod jack looks like. I told the salesman that I really need to think about it. He told us the 2010 model we wanted to test drive will be back the next day.

During our test drive with the above salesman, I Googled (I was the passenger) for another Hyundai dealership in the south area of the city. Found one not far from our house that had 1 Santa Fe. I called and said we’d be there in 20 minutes to test drive it. We met with Dave and had a good chat. Then we test drove. Then I zoned out for the rest of it since it was negotiation time. Frenchie typically handles all that, so I just sat and look unimpressed knowing the price wasn't within our budget yet. We bargained back and forth and got a pretty good deal. (If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t be writing this post.)

Saturday we go and pick it up. They will be detailing and fixing up any scratches and such that were on the vehicle. The SUV is basically brand new. No more than a year worth of kilometers.

I’m so excited!!! I’ll post pictures of us picking it up and when we get it home.

Monday, October 18, 2010

It's Monday, What are you reading? (Oct 18 - 24, 2010)

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading, is hosted by One Persons Journey Through a World of Books. It's purpose is to share what I have read this past week and what I plan to read this week. I don't participate that often. I don't read fast enough and figure people don't want to see a carbon-copy of the previous week.

What I finished
What I am reading
Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void

Up Next?
I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

46/50: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Hex Hall (Book 1)Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hex Hall follows Sophie, a witch who keeps messing up her spells and constantly having to move around. After a number of mistakes, The Council sends her to Hecate Hall (Hex Hall). It's a school for gifted kids who have become a danger to themselves or the world and don't know how to live in the human world properly.

I really liked this book! Sophie was a great character. She was funny, snarky and I felt bad for her a lot. She was put into a school where she was at a huge disadvantage. Most of the kids were brought up with supernatural parents. Sophie wasn't and doesn't know a lot about her own kind. I liked the dynamics of the book because not only did it have the magical element, but it also had the side of how mean teenage girls and boys can be to each other. Sophie was not only battling to learn about her kind, but also to navigate the world of teenagers and trying to make friends.

I did gasp a little in this book at a few parts that I didn't see coming. I was impressed with the way Rachel Hawkins wrote and how she surprised the audience (or at least I was).  I can't wait to read the next book!!

Find this book on amazon

View all my reviews

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fitness Friday: Bittersweet

I got my new schedule for assisting dance classes. It's bittersweet.

Currently I assist a level 1, Advanced, and level 5 class on Thursday nights. I love the advanced class because it's a learning experience for everyone, including the instructors. I will be very sad (bitter) to leave these students since I know them fairly well and have become friends with several of them.

Next session, I will be instructing two level 1 classes on Wednesday nights. I do like level 1 classes because they students are all new and you get to see them develop and learn every week until they finally reach the end and either continue on with level 2, or move on to something else (this makes me sad) I was informed by the office manager that I will be assisting for the next two session in the classes I will take over and instruct come January.
Although I am sad to be leaving the advanced students, I am excited (sweet) that I am being seen as capable to teach newbies. Over the next two sessions I will learn all the cues to teach the class and get more experience.

The other bittersweet part about this whole thing is that my own pole class was cancelled Tuesdays. I was sad about that since the only other advanced class was on Thursdays and I was assisting in the class. I was unable to take the class as a student, which was leaving me without. With moving to assist on Wednesdays, I will be able to go and take the advanced class on Thursdays!

I won't be signing up for classes this next session though. I need to take a break and figure out if it's worth going back. If I don't take classes I need to get my butt in gear and do things on my own or start a few pole jams with people on the weekends. I find I learn better, now that I've hit a plateau, just getting together with friends and playing around. You challenge each other and it really spurs on some creativity.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Can almost smell that new car smell

Frenchie and I have known we need to buy an SUV sometime in the next 8 months. The lease on my our car is up next June. Since we'll be getting married around that time we need to buy the new vehicle before hand. (Not to mention how handy an SUV will be around the time we're running around for wedding stuff.) We've also noticed that my km are getting pretty close to the point where we will be over if we don't start limiting the amount we drive our car.

We've done two days of test driving after doing a lot of research and narrowing the field down. We're looking for a mid-sized SUV that we can haul (not all at once): luggage, our dog, hockey equipment and maybe someday, some kids. (I want to use the word teacup-humans from True Blood because I miss the show already)

 We narrowed the search down to:
Mitsubishi Outlander
Ford Edge
Hyundai Santa Fe

After test driving all 3 of those vehicles, as well as a Mazda CX-7, we've decided to go with a Hyundai Santa Fe. We can get an awesome deal on a 2010 model with low kilometres well within our price range.
Still unsure when we will be purchasing, but it's nice to know we've made a decision!!
Frenchie is very much a "find the best deal" kind of guy, so we'll be hunting around the city for a month or so to find the best deal.

Hyundai Santa Fe

Photo courtesy of:

Friday, October 8, 2010

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!!!

To all my Canadian readers:

I hope you eat a lot of turkey, fall into a turkey nap and have leftovers for the next week. At least that's what I'm planning this weekend.
We are travelling the 6 hours to my future-in-laws to celebrate Thanksgiving. My future-mother-in-law is an AMAZING cook. I always eat way too much and have way too much wine. It's hard not to!
Enjoy the long weekend!!!

I hope everyone has something to be thankful for this year.
Here is my list:
- new opportunities
- friends and family
- my wonderful fiancé
- the lessons I've learned this year

Thursday, October 7, 2010

September Book Recap

I almost forgot to do this until I saw a few pop up in my google reader.

My reading has really fell by the wayside. I replaced my commute reading time while being off work with sleep. I value my sleep over reading in the mornings. Sad but true.
Now that I'm in my new job, I figured I'd get my commute time back. Sadly this is partly not happening. I am commuting the same time every day, but I'm on the train at a different time. This means the train is packed like sardines. There's very little room to bring out a book (especially if it's hard cover) and not hit someone standing next to you. There's a better chance on the way home, so that's good at least.

Here's what I read in September
The De-Stress Divas Guide to Life: 77 Ways to Recharge, Refocus, and Organize Your Life
Mockingjay (Hunger Games, #3)
2 books of my Fall Challenge List!

Fade (Dream Catcher, #2)
Gone (Dream Catcher, #3)

Here's what's up next
Hex Hall (Hex Hall, #1)
10 Minute Guide to Project Management (10 Minute Guides)
Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1)
(yes I realize that none of these are on my Fall Challenge list. But, they are from the library and when the library says you have a book in, you darn well better go and get it)

October is looking pretty side so far. I've barely started Hex Hall. I'm hoping with the long weeknd coming up I can get a good amount of reading done.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wedding Wednesday: Makeup Trial

Last Friday I had my makeup trial done. I realize it's very early, but the artist wanted to get in and meet with me right aways.
My sister snapped some pictures while I was there. Don't be alarmed that I look a little off. The artist saved some time and effort and did one eye one way, and one eye another way. The profile pictures give you a better idea of how they look.

Makeup Trial
Option 1

Makeup Trial
Option 2
Makeup Trial
Eyes Closed: Option 1 and Option 2 (respectively)
Makeup Trial
Eyes Open: Option 1 and Option 2 (respectively)

My choice would be to have the Option 2. I like the way it accents my eyebrows. It's got some pizazz to it, but compliments my colors nicely.

What do you think readers? Help me choose!

Monday, October 4, 2010

New Beginnings

If you're a new reader, read this post for some background.

After being off work for August and September, I'm happy to say I found a new job. It is going to be all new for me in terms of what I'll be doing. I'm very excited to be doing something new and out of my comfort zone. In terms of my future, this job will most likely give me the experience and growth I need.

Today was my first day and I can tell you it was fabulous. The people I'm working with are great, my manager is awesome and I think this is just the place for me to be. I'm back downtown, so the commute isn't new. (insert happy dance here for my reading time to come back) The office is fairly close to my old job as well, so I don't have to learn where all the good food places are. And I'm closer to a few places that were too far before (happy dance for Thai Express). My official role is a project analyst. I'll be working in the IT department on a project making sure it's running smoothly, doing the communications and things like that. Exactly what I was looking for.

I have a new outlook, and now having lost a job once, I know some things I didn't before about myself and about how life works. The biggest lesson I learned while job searching is keeping a network. Writing down who you talked to about what and when it happened. I realized I had a bigger network than I thought and it paid off.  Self reflection and evaluation aren't things I did before, but you can bet that I'll be doing one every few months now. It was hard to start from scratch and see what skills you have and what you value. You don't tend to think about those things just because you use them every day. You take advantage of these skills and don't really take stock of what you can do.