Friday, July 30, 2010

Fitness Friday: Pole Teaching

A new session of classes has begun. I am now assisting in level 1 and level 6. As much as I love seeing all the newbies, assisting higher levels is more my thing. In order to excel as an instructor, I believe you have to learn to teach everything because you don't always get to choose what you do.

Level 1 newbies may have pre-conceived notions of what pole dancing is. After one class, they soon understand that we teach for fitness. They come back the next week saying how sore they were and what a good workout it was with that look of sheer surprise on their faces. They are eager to learn more. This is all great stuff. I have a hard time teaching newbies mostly because I'm not confident yet. Some students just get it. You show them a move, explain what goes where, and voila! They do it after a couple of tries. Others, not so much. This is natural and expected. Even though I am assisting, there is a huge amount of pressure to make sure these newbies get the right instruction and the right base to continue. Without a good base, they will not excel. That's huge.
This makes me extremely nervous.

Higher levels are aware of their body in relation to the pole. They are starting to have an understanding of what works for them as an individual and what doesn't. If something feels awkward, they tell you (most of the time). I enjoy teaching higher levels because I can directly relate to them. I can look at what they are doing and have an easier time seeing what's not quite right. The base is already there, we're just helping build on top of it.

My task in the level 6 class is to run through the routine with them and work on bits and moves throughout it. Teaching a routine is easy. It's there already, you just have to help them learn it, make it flow and then let me have fun with it.
I emailed a student in the class the day after the class because I had no idea how it went. I felt good, and I felt like I did a good job because they understood everything, but I needed that reassurance or the feedback.
Here was the students response:
You did amazing. I wouldn't have known it was your first time if you hadn't mentioned. You're doing a really great job and I admire you a lot so absolutely no criticism.
This totally boosted my confidence and actually made me blush. I would love to get in the habit of giving students a chance to give their feedback halfway through a session so the next half can be improved upon.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

38/50: Sister's Red - Jackson Pearce

Sisters RedSisters Red by Jackson Pearce

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this book because a lot of my Nest Book Club friends read it. I als found a review on YA Book Shelf that made we want to go out and read it right away.

This book was a new take on Little Red Riding Hood. I love all three main characters.

I really identified with Rosie being the youngest sister and being bound to her family. She thought her hopes and dreams would never amount to anything because of this bond and that she owes her life to her sister, Scarlett.

Scarlett has courage but deep down I believed she was scared. She didn't want to lose her sister to anything or anyone. She holds on so tightely to Rosie that it really is holding Rosie back. Scarlett thinks she is unlovable, but she has so muc love in her she doesn't even see it. I enjoyed seeing her develop and learn about herself. Her life becomes her choice instead of her duty. Something she struggles with immensely.

Silas has a good heart. He tries so hard to make both Scarlett and Rosie see there is more to their lives than hunting. His chemistry with each of the girls is dynamic in its own way.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was one of those ones I couldn't put down near the end and had to stay up late to finish.

View all my reviews >>

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wedding Wednesday: Registries and Catering

There is a debate on my wedding forum about doing or not doing a honeymoon registry.
Here are my thoughts before
When we first looked into it, sounds like a fabulous idea. The place we looked, your guests can purchase things for you to do on the honeymoon rather than just giving you money towards it. I would think it would feel more like giving a gift. What a great idea! I could see myself buying a massage for a happy couple or a candle light dinner.  I could see people wanting to purchase something for us that way.

Look a little closer. Most of the places your guests buy you a 'gift' isn't really a gift. The money goes into a pot and the couple is then cut a cheque for all the 'gifts'. There is an illusion of purchasing a gift. You may be required to purchase those 'gifts' on your honeymoon and then you get refunded the money.

Thoughts now
I was invited to a wedding and they had a honeymoon registry. Not the 'gift' kind, but one you call or go in and put money down on. I absolutely hated this and waited until the last minute to do so. Yes, that's coming from someone who wanted so badly at the beginning to do a honeymoon registry. I felt like I was paying for their vacation and was being forced to do so. Rather than give cash or a gift card, I felt I was being told to pay for a part of their honeymoon. I don't like being told what to do, and this just threw me off. Obviously I could have just sent a card with cash. I know that. But that's not what they wanted.
I agree that a honeymoon is a very important part of the wedding process. I can't afford to take my own vacation right now, let alone pay for someone else's. And really, is the monetary amount I gave (which is what I would have paid for a gift) really going to make a difference?

Compare this with another wedding I'm attending that doesn't have a registry at all. I could either buy the couple a random gift, or look for a local store near them to buy a gift card from, or give them cash. Still not a fan of this either, but at least I have the option.

Needless to say, after experiencing the guest side of the honeymoon registry, I am strongly against them.

In other news, we have our caterer appointment booked! Frenchie will be home and able to come with me and discuss the menu.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Therapy Tuesday: Interesting parallels

Yesterday I had a therapy session. (Yes, still going) I'm a very touchy feely person. I like hugs, I like talking, I like talking about feelings and being able to express them. If I can't express my feelings I feel suffocated and like I don't matter. This is something Frenchie learned in a real hurry when we started dating. (Wonderful man!)

I've been having trouble with my job and without going in to details, we found a parallel between my job and a previous relationship. Both are outward focused, ie not on you. There is a strong focus on what you do for the company, what you do for your customers. There is very little focus on you as a person unless it's affecting your work. If you're sick (physically or mentally) it doesn't matter until it affects your work.
Parallel that with my previous long-term relationship. (yes I'm digging up the past. I doesn't hurt anymore and I have a very objective look at things) The focus from his point of view was always on friends. It was outward. Friends above all else. There was very little focus on me. I realize that may sound selfish, but it's not when you really think about it.

As humans, most of us want to feel valued, loved and cared about. We have those feelings inside us and when they are cut off some of us cope, some of us don't. I don't. I have a strong need to be taken care of or at least know I'm cared about. When that trust and value is built, it is returned. It's not a "I'll love you if you love me" sort of thing. It's in my nature to love those that love me and show me how much I mean to them.
When I'm undervalued in anyway, it's hard to care at all. As I learned about myself in my previous relationship, I hold on and hold out thinking things will change and that if I give enough of myself, I will receive what I need. How much of yourself do you have to give before there's nothing left of you?

Now that I've gone way down the rabbit hole, without saying it bluntly, I have a part of my life that I'm highly valued and part of my life where I feel I'm not. Makes it very hard to care back and give back when you aren't receiving anything in return.

I am so thankful for my fiancé in showing me that love exists and can exist in all aspects of our lives. Love may be too strong a word in some cases, but the value is there.

It was an interesting session and although I dislike thinking of my past sometimes, there are lessons to be learned that you can only see later in life.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Fitness Friday: Back to the gym

Brief history of my workout haitus:
In July last year, my fitness level dropped to nothing. I started to get a lot of pain in my right wrist (more than usual) and wasn't able to do much. In my post August 6, 2009 I was completely lost. Not able to pole, lift weights or do anything that involved weight on my wrists. I stopped poling until September 2009 and then started up again. I had to be very careful to take care of wrist. Ice, heat and ice after each class. Other than pole once a week half-assed, I wasn't doing any other type of exercise. Up until April 2010 I was doing one pole class a week.

April I started doing my prolotherapy treatments and since then, I have increased my pole classes. I do my own class once a week, and teach two - three. Every once in a while we'll have a pole session in the park and that will be for myself to work on things. Since doing prolotherapy, I have been cleared to start going back to the gym.

I'm happy and apprehensive about going back to the gym. I do not want to hurt myself again and that has had a huge impact on me not going back sooner. I'm scared. I don't want to jeopardize my wrists and my pole life with an injury. I went to my trainer yesterday and she was so happy to see me. She knows my issues and has developed a program that will work around that and supplement my pole workouts.
I told her my goals:
  1. Work on legs, abs and butt. These are my weak areas since pole is more an upper body workout for me with the moves I'm doing now.
  2. Start slow. With all my anxiety and stress, I need something slow to start off with. I want to do 2 days a week and ease back into fitness. I feel ready to do something about my stress. Exercise is one thing I know I can do to help.
  3. I have a boudoir photo shoot in January and I would like to have very little photoshop done to my pictures.
This brings me to today. Monday I will start my new program. I've added a page on my blog for you to go and see the workout.
I figure doing 2 days at the gym, 2 nights of pole and stretching whenever I can, I should be whipped into shape. My body takes well to exercise as long as I keep doing it. Watching what I eat will come with time. Having Frenchie home will really help with eating healthy lunch and supper. We absolutely love cooking together!

Fitness Friday: Poling in the park - Take 2

Cruella Steele and I met at the park near my house for another Sunday Pole Jam. We had another student show up again this time around. I love seeing new people come and enjoy the sun doing something with love.

Here are a few pictures.


I've been working on getting this one consistently from a gemini hook. It's coming along. I find I think about it so much and have trouble getting past my brain block. 


Flag isn't one I've been working on. You need a lot of upper body strength and I don't quite have that built up enough to hold this move for longer than a picture snap.

Brass Monkey

I learned Brass Monkey in the Jenyne Butterfly workshop I attended last week.
After seeing this picture I know now I need to work on my leg position. This will come with time when I know that my body can hold this move and I'm not focusing solely on the hold portion.


The Tammy is a move that I learned in level 6 (I'm now in level 12). It's one of those moves that looks really cool, is easy once you understand where to pull your legs and what to squeeze.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wedding Wednesday: Out of Towners

Frenchie and I chose to get married in the city we live in. It's easier for us to plan, easier for us to do, and that means it's harder for everyone else. Other than my sister, a few cousins and a couple of friends, all of our guests live out of town.

As the bride and groom, one of the things on our list is to provide the out of towners with hotel information. I can finally check this off my list! I phoned two hotels that Frenchie and I picked. They are halfway between the ceremony and reception venue. Both close to each other with lots of amenities around.

Another check done!

This week I need to call our potential caterer and set up a meeting. Now that Frenchie is back in early August, we'll both get to go and meet with the caterer and make a decision together.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Therapy Tuesday: 4F's and what I learned about myself at puppy class

Last night in my Canine Communication class, I learned about the dog stoplight. I don't think that's the technical term for it but that's what I'm calling it in order to explain it better. The dog spotlight is split into 3 zones that dogs can be in on a daily basis.
Green Zone: Where happy dogs live
  • They are calm, content, happy.
  • If the get a little stressed, they use calming signals to help
Yellow Zone: Where stressed dogs live
  • use of lots of calming signals
  • starting to use stress signs
Red Zone: Point of No Return
  • Dog will use the 4F's: Fight, Flight, Freeze, Frenzy
Beta is typically in the green zone until something scary comes, then she starts to go to the yellow zone and if we don't do anything about it, she remains there. She won't ever reach the red zone unless something terribly traumatic happens. Let's hope this never happens.

I learned that dogs may have 1 of 4 reactions when they get to the point of no return. The point of no return is when they are already living day-to-day life in very high stress (yellow zone) and something sets them off.

I took a step back and looked at the 4F's. I know this is for dogs, but their form of communication is something we humans could learn from. Just from a stress point of view, I would say I live in the yellow zone daily. I make it to the green zone on the weekends, sometimes, but it has to be almost perfect conditions. It obviously takes a lot for a dog to reach the red zone, but I think humans can reach it much faster. For example, I would say that anxiety attacks occur in the red zone. My two reactions vary from Freeze to Frenzy. I can get super upset and mad and want to kick, scream and yell (this usually occurs in private or if I'm in public, occurs in my head). Or, I can freeze up in a ball on the floor of where I am and cry, shake and hyperventilate until I'm all cried out. When I freeze, my stomach cramps up to the point where I feel I've done 100 situps afterwards. My chest gets tight and I have trouble taking deep breaths. I have very little cognitive function, I can't think straight and I can only force myself to sit down because it's safer.

I believe I live in the yellow zone most days. On top of using my own forms of calming signals, I show very physical signs of stress. Here's an example of what I may look like when I feel overwhelmed:
  • hunched shoulders
  • shoulders raised towards ears
  • short breathing
  • short temper
  • avoid eye contact/social contact/talking (basically become a hermit)
  • shaking hands
  • forgetful
  • balled fists with nails digging into palms
  • dizziness
I don't like doing any of these, but they have become the way my mind tries to deal with stress. When it gets to be more than I can handle, I usually have an anxiety attack.
If you are to look at me at any given time of day, you'd see me showing 3 or more signs of the above list.

Monday, July 19, 2010

37/50: Sh*t My Dad Says

Sh*t My Dad SaysSh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'd heard a little about this book and after reading an excerpt, decided it was worth buying. I put it on my phone to read while I was bored and found it very entertaining.

If you dislike the word "f@#%", I highly suggest not reading it. However, if profanity doesn't bother you, give this one a read. The stuff his dad says over the years amazes me. I can't imagine growing up with a father like that. Not that he was abusive or mean in any way. He was blunt... VERY blunt. His dad says what he wants, whenever he wants, how he wants. He says what everyone else is thinking.

I had my coworkers laughing pretty good while I read a few of the quotes outloud to them. Sitting at our lunch table giggling is rude if you don't share the funny.

For some fun entertainment, it's a good book.

View all my reviews >>

Manic Monday: Fun weekend, even better monday morning

Frenchie has a good start to the weekend, while I relaxed. He went to an interview Friday and said it went well. They told him they'd let him know sometime this week one way or the other.

Saturday we went to Inception and we both loved it! Click here for the review of it.

Sh*t My Dad SaysAfter the movie I decided I wanted to buy the book "Sh!t my Dad Says" for Frenchie's oldest brother. He has a son who's 11 months old and I thought this book was hilarious. Not a lot of really useful advice, but very funny. I figure I'll inscribe it with "I hope you can use some of the advice in this book to raise a good son" or something to that effect. He'll get a good chuckle out of it anyways, and that's the point.
As soon as we entered the book store I completely forgot why we went in, even though it was my idea. I started scanning the shelves and receive a text "Behave, I'm watching you" from Frenchie. He could see me from the Starbucks line.
I ended up at a table talking with a new author who was promoting her first published book. I bought a copy and she signed it to me. I randomly went to my first book signing without even knowing! What's even better is that she is a local author, Aviva Bel'Harold. Her book is called "Safe"

Sunday I met two friends in the park for a pole jam. We effectively cleared out the playground when we set it up. I did however manage a couple of new moves I've been working on. Friday's post will have some pictures for you to see. After the pole jam I headed home to prepare for a BBQ with some other friends. They brought their dog over with them and we enjoyed a wonderful Steak and Shrimp dinner. They left overly full and their dog was tired.

Monday morning news
Frenchie got a new job! He'll be no longer doing his 10 days on, 4 days off. He'll be back working in the city and we can get back to our normal life. He leaves to do his last shift today and then he's done. After our August long weekend he starts his new job. I am more excited than words can express.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

36/50: The Bride Collector

The Bride CollectorThe Bride Collector by Ted Dekker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I got this audiobook in hopes that my fiancé would enjoy listening to it while we were on a road trip. Success!
I can't tell you how many times we sat in our vehicle when we reached various destinations just to hear what happens next.

Brad Raines is an FBI agent searching for a serial killer. He find his investigation leading him to a private psychiatric insitution and enlists the help of Paradise.

The story is amazing and slightly complicated. It gives you chills. The killer is certainly out of his mind, but incredibly put together at the same time. You can see things unravel, and you can guess parts of what will happen, but there are also parts you don't see coming.

This was certainly a great thriller and kept us entertained for a long road trip. I would like to read more of Ted Dekker and see what else he's written. I was thoroughly impressed with this book.

View all my reviews >>

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Movie Review (15): Inception

Oh My God. Wow

Frenchie and I just got back from seeing Inception. I am completely flabbergasted and disoriented and amazed at what I just saw. Absolutely incredible!!

The complexity seemed easy to follow at first. You had to be fully aware of what you were watching. If you missed one little comment or detail, you were probably going to miss something big. I followed the show pretty well, with a little thought and attention and review of what level of dream the cast was in. Was it the first dream? A dream within a dream? Further? Then the end hit. WTH? I'm going to be thinking about this movie for a while to come.

Leonardo Dicaprio did an amazing job. I'm becoming a really big fan of his. I do need to see him in some different roles now though. Ellen Page was great. Her role as an architect in the dream world was intriguing.

The depths and complexities of this movie will never make sense after one viewing. I think after seeing this show several times you'd begin to see things you missed. I don't know if seeing it several times would bring any sense of it. I think it is so complex and beyond normal thought, it may be impossible.

I would rate this movie 5 stars. I don't usually give movies that high a rating, but there is no doubt that Inception deserves it. Christopher Nolan used gorgeous special effects, fabulous actors and a storyline to rival others.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Fitness Friday: Jenyne Butterfly

Jenyne Butterfly is amazing!
She flew up to Calgary to give a days worth of workshops. They were held at Polejunkies in the studio. There were private sessions, semi-private sessions, and group workshops based on level.
I had the pleasure of taking a semi-private workshop with her this past Wednesday. For an hour, she put my friend and I through a series of moves and exercises and taught us some awesome pole stuff.

I love the way she has so much grace and strength. For someone who teaches and performs pole dance for a living, she is very humble. She's very petite and such a sweetheart. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to learn from someone so well known in the pole community.

Although I didn't get all the moves she taught us, I do have some new things I'll be working on in my next 6 week class session. I did however manage to get Brass Monkey. I will post some pics next week from class Tuesday.

For more information on Jenyne here are a few links:
Jenyne Butterfly Website

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Movie Review (14): The Secret Life of Bees

I posted my review of the book a couple of weeks ago. Click Here to view it.

After reading the book and loving it, I had to watch the movie. My mom happened to have it with her when we were camping, so I grabbed it and brought it home.

There are a few sutble differences, and a few added scenes, but all in all, it follows the book pretty well.
Most of the really important parts were kept the same. A few detail scenes were cut, but that's usually for obvious reasons. In a book, you need to describe things in detail and sometimes before a scene even happens. The movie just goes right into them.

Just a short review since there's really not much else to say. The book review covered the story and how I felt, the movie just put those thoughts and feelings onto the movie screen.
I think they cast everyone pretty well, so that was nice to see.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wedding Wednesday: Bridesmaid Dresses

My oldest sister and I spent Friday looking at bridesmaid dresses. I wasn't a horrible bride and didn't force her to try on anything hideous. At least not on purpose. There were a few that looked nice on the hanger that were awful on.
It's hard to find a dress when they never have your color. For some reason, blue is the color of bridesmaid dresses most stores carry. I want green. I started out wanting a kelly green color or shamrock. Turns out, that color looks awful on every one of my bridesmaids. Now we're on to a darker shade of green, borderline hunter green I suppose.
Sunday we went again. One beef I have with stores. Just because we're not there to try on wedding dresses, doesn't mean you can treat us like crap. Bridesmaids are important too. I was wandering around one store in the bridal section looking at veils and hair pieces waiting for my sister to arrive.
Saleswoman #1: Do you have an appointment?
Me: No, I'm waiting for my bridesmaid. Thought I'd take a look around at veils and hair pieces.
Saleswoman #1: Bridesmaids are down the hall, you'll have to go there.
Really? I'm looking at bridal accessories and you're basically kicking me out. B!tches!
I wander down to the bridesmaid section and started pulling dresses I like. A different saleswoman comes in.
Saleswoman #2: Can start a room for you? You're a bridesmaid?
Me: I'm waiting for my bridesmaid, my sister actually.
Saleswoman #2: I'm going to start you a room in the other part of the store. It's easier for me.
Me: Oh, ok. I'll just wait for my sister and pull some more dresses and come find you.
----- my sisters comes in at this point ------
Saleswoman #2: Oh we can just do it here I guess.
-----She plops the dresses in a room and proceeds to stand and watch us.-----
Really? What is with this store? It was rude central. My sister said that the store hasn't changed in attitude since she was looking at wedding dresses 10 years ago.

We tried the dresses, took some pics and then left to another store, which by the way was super helpful!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Therapy Tuesday: Anxiety and what Beta is teaching me

My anxiety is almost reaching it's peak. I'm exhausted and tired and almost ready to give up and quit caring altogether. I feel like I can only fight for so long before it doesn't matter anymore.
I know this is probably blind-siding most of you readers. I typically don't like to blog about this stuff.
  1. 1. I find it embarrasing because I know I am a strong person, I'm just being beaten at life
  2. 2. I don't think anyone really wants to hear about it.
So, if you fit into category 2, stop reading now.

I've been taking my B-complex as suggested by the naturopath and it's been helping. I don't get anxiety attacks as often. If you remember back when my fiancé first left for work, they were happening really frequently. I remember thinking they were caused because of his being gone 10 days at a time, dealing with a brand new puppy and learning to cope with living alone most of the month. Now this isn't an expert opinion by any means, but I think that was just the jumping off point.
I've been stressed and on my way to a burn out since last year. (I won't go into details as it's work related, and I do want to protect myself out here in internet-land.) The stress has mounted slowly and when my life changed drastically without warning, it exploded into some sort of monster I was not equipped to handle.
Frenchie has been doing his work rotations coming up to 5 months now. I've gotten used to the way things are, I've learned to deal with raising our puppy on my own when he's away. It's life, and I'm used to it. Yes, I still get sad and think about how nice it will be when he's back home. Yes, I still cry a little when I think of something fun he's missing. That's normal, that's not what it was like in the beginning. I've even gotten used to planning our wedding with only his input by email or phone, or waiting until he's home.
The main anxiety and stress source goes much deeper and it took something drastic to happen and subside for me to see that. I have no way of knowing how to deal with this issue now since it doesn't seem to be in my control.
Am I at the point where I need to move on to something new in my life? Frenchie will be always be there to support me and he's said we'll get through whatever happens together and make it work. I'm at a crossroads and I'm staring at it from a mile down the road. I'm not ready to choose my life's direction just yet. There's a lot of ground for me to cover first, starting with what I really want out of life.

Beta has taught me a few things over the past couple of weeks. I'm taking a Canine Communication class and learning to recognize signs of stress and how to help Beta get through those situations. She's a very timid dog and this is a big problem for taking her to new places and introducing her to new people.
The first class, we talked about "Calming Signals". These are things the dog does in order to calm themselves down when they are feeling stressed.
  • avoid eye contact, turn head away, turn body away, walk away
  • displacement - this is when you think your dog is ignoring you because they go off and do something else when you're upset with them for some reason.
I look at those two things and think they might be useful for humans. Displacement is something we all do anyways, without even realizing it.  We distract ourselves by doing something else, or changing the conversation when we feel we are becoming stressed or see a situation coming that could be stressful.
Interesting how the canine language would be useful for humans to use too.

Therapy Tuesday: Prolotherapy #6 & #7

I just realized I never posted about Treatment #6.
It went like this: I got the injection, then I was incredibly sore for 2 days to the point where I couldn't use my right arm. Why you ask?
The ligaments were pretty inflamed going into the treatments. The point of the serum is to create inflamation to promote healing. Inflamation + inflamation = OUCH!
I ended up taking an advil (bad bad of me) to bring it down a little and then everything was great.

I'm up to 7 treatments now. Since treatment #6, I have had maybe a day or so of pain other than the first two days, which as stated, were due to the injection, not my regular 'use pain'. It's been about 3 weeks total. We're now stretching things out to 4 weeks. Considering I'm having a lot less pain, and getting into feeling only weakness, that indicates that the treatment is working. Woohoo! I asked the doc about why my wrist/forearm gets so weak now after working a 5 day week.
Here's why:
The ligaments connecting my forearm muscle to my elbow were very weak from injury and overuse. Now that the ligaments have been healed and are much stronger, I am experiencing the after affects of atrophy of my forearm muscle. The muscle shortened and tightened to make up for the weak ligaments and now that it's being used properly, it's weak and needs to build up strength.

This makes me very happy. I'll probably only have to do one or two more treatments tops!
I started these treatments April 20th, 2010 and after 5 years of pain and agony and not being able to do certain things in life, I'm finally getting some well needed relief in a total of 4 - 5 months.
Click Here for all the posts of this journey.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Manic Monday - Lazy weekend

Calgary Stampede has officially started. Lucky for me, I get an extra day off work the day the Stampede Parade rolls through downtown. Friday was parade day. Since the main roads through downtown are blocked, my company gives everyone the day off. Yes, you read that write. I get a day off because of a parade.
With that said, Friday being a day off, my sister and I went bridesmaid dress shopping. (See next Wednesday's post.)
I did a bit of shopping after I left the bridal stores and found myself a really nice long flowy skirt. It's incredibly comfortable. I need to go and pick up another one.

Saturday was another lazy day. I got my haircut in the morning, took Beta to the park in the afternoon, and then sat in the house while it poured rain all afternoon and well into the evening. It was nice to have the hot sun but I'm always thankful when it rains overnight to cool things down.

Sunday I drove to the other side of the city to my friends house. Our morning started out with Banana-Walnut waffles. They were delicious! I must remember to get the recipe from her. After breakfast we took her dog, Charlie and my puppy and headed to the dog park near her. It's much more fun to go with another person who has a dog. When the park isn't busy, at least both dogs have someone to chase and play with. they chased each other as we walked to one end of the park, they chased each other back. Then a few more dogs showed up when we were about to leave, so they chased those dogs too.  Charlie was exhausted and ready to go home. Beta wasn't all that tired. I swear puppy energy is infinite around the 7 month mark. Beta is at the point where she doesn't need a lot of naps during the day now.

After the park, I dropped Beta at home to nap (I hope she napped... she looked like she was waking up when I got home). I met my sister at another bridal shop and continued to another one in search of more dresses. (See next Wednesday's post.) We stopped for lunch after, saw the World Cup final, and then both went home.

It was a wonderful weekend. Some parts seemed to drag on, but those are mostly when I'm alone at home and am lost for things I want to do. There's a mile long list of things to always do, but sometimes you just need to sit and be bored.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

35/50: The Tension of Opposites

I had intended to read this book for the June Book club over on Forever Young: A YA Lit Blog. I never got around to it, so when my newest buddy read for July came up and we both had it on our list, I jumped at the chance to read it.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Tension of Opposites goes through the aftermath of Noelle/Elle returning home after being kidnapped for 2 years. Her best friend Tessa is dealing with Elle returning, trying to rekindle their friendship to the way it was, and also live her own life.

Tessa struggles greatly with moving on with her own life after Elle returns home. She feels it's her responsibility to look after Elle and make sure she doesn't get into trouble. Tessa feels she must put her life on hold for Elle in order to protect her. She puts Elle's life before her own in order to try and hold on to Elle and those memories a little while longer, unable to accept the changes she sees in her friend. I was happy that Tessa is able to find happiness and let go of Elle a little in order to live her own life.

Elle is very different after being kidnapped. Certainly aspects of her personality that were present before she was kidnapped are exentuated when she returns. Elle wants to experience a lot of things she missed out on and from Tessa's eyes, goes about it the wrong ways.

I believe Elle was dealing with her problems in her own way. Her innocence was stolen from her and she will never get it back. She had a plan to get her 'normal' teenage experiences back and went through with them. She was able to open up to Tessa after a long while, and came around to being a great friend, just not the same one.

My only wish for this book was to be able to actually see the photographs Tessa and Max took of each other. I can imagine what they look like, but I would love to see them in person.

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Fitness Friday: Marley

The newest move I've been working on is called The Marley.

I am able to do this move from Gemini in order to do a combination move.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

34/50: Second Helpings (Jessica Darling #2)

Second Helpings (Jessica Darling, #2)Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summer and another year of school with Jessica Darling.

I loved that everything continued from the previous book. Jessica goes through a bit of an identity crisis in trying to find out who she really is and what she wants in her life. She spends so much time worrying about what everyone else thinks of her, she forgets about what she wants.
She makes some classic high school mistakes and as one character puts it, she is so focused on seeing people and how they fit into her life, she forgets to see them for who they really are.

I love these books and the parallels that it draws to my own high school days. Jessica dates a guy she kind of likes, but not really. More to get people to stop bugging her and do the normal high school thing. Been there!

Megan McCafferty writes these books so 'matter-of-fact' and bluntly that it's truly believable. The characters are typical to any high school, but shown in their true light. I love that Jessica is a relatable character.  Each book seems to resolve the over-arching plot, leaving little subplots open and a feeder into the next book. It leaves me wanting more!

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sony eReader

I caved, I bought an Sony e-Reader. I have been so back and forth about it, that I just decided to go for it. I love holding a book in my hand. The smell of a new book just opened, the battered spine of a library book borrowed many times... Bliss!
As much as I love those things, Frenchie and I will be taking a long vacation next year and with the amount I'm reading this year, I can't imagine lugging around a ton of books on vacation. I'll take a few, don't get me wrong, but lessening the load would help a lot.

My intention last night was to go to Chapters and buy a Kobo eReader. My coworker had brought his in and I looked at it thoroughly. Using it and seeing that it would take library epub books sold me.

I posted on facebook that I was heading to buy one. A friend's husband told me to wait and ask his wife about her Sony eReader. I called her up and we got to chatting about it. She wanted to sell it because she didn't want hers anymore. Only 6 months old, a bunch of books on it, and she never used it as much as she thought.

I drove over to look at it and bought it! She left all the books she had on it and gave me the case too. I can't wait to get started loading it up and organizing what's on it already. I'm very excited to have another option for books.

A fellow blogger, Julie over on Book Hooked Blog wrote a post
the other day about eReaders. It got me thinking about what eReaders mean to other people. She brings up some great points and it's worth a read whether you are pro-eReader

In response to her post, I do not plan on replacing all my current print books into digital form. I love my library and the books in the stores and on my shelf. My e-reader isn't to replace print whatsoever. I love printed books. The eReader is only to make life a little easier while commuting or travelling. Taking 6 books on a plane for a vacation can get heavy. If I can take 3 less because they are in digital form, all the better.

I hope that one day printed books stick around. They can be heirlooms, antiquities and somewhat of a comfort in years to come. I can't imagine buying my nieces an electronic book for a birthday. What fun is that?

Wedding Wednesday: Bridesmaid Dress Shopping

My sister (also a bridesmaid) and I are going shopping for dresses this Friday. I'm very excited to see if we can find anything we both like.
There are two stores a block from each other that we are going to. Make it simple and quick. The one store actually caters to bridesmaids, so I imagine we'll be able to find something there.

When I went wedding dress shopping, I had all 3 of my bridesmaids there with me. I had them try on a few dresses since we had some time. We determined that the kelly green I originally liked so much wasn't the best color for any of them. I'm hoping for a clover green instead. It seemed to suit them better and still falls in the green category for me. Empire waist was also preferred by all of them. It shouldn't be too hard to find something that matches that general description right?

Monday, July 5, 2010

33/50: The Secret Life of Bees

The Secret Life of Bees made me smile, laugh, gasp and tense up. I listened to this one every day in my car on my way to work and it made the day start out great and end well.  The narrator for Lily was spot on to what I would imagine her to be. The voice was very believable and made me really believe I was right there in the story.

Lily is a great character. She is that naive child that lives in a world that we all wish really existed. In the time of the civil rights movement, Lily doesn't see the difference in skin color as the adults around her do. I found it refreshing that she knew there was a difference, but treated everyone as equal human beings. She described those around her with such detail it was easy to imagine them. Seeing the world through a teenagers eyes for this book was incredible. Lily had a good eye and a good heart for those people she could trust. After growing up with a father that didn't really want her and was left to raise her alone after her mother's death, Lily didn't have much of a life of a happy child.

The Secret Life of BeesRunning away and finding the honey house was thrilling to read about. The life lessons she learned, the skills she gained and the love she felt for the first time in her life warmed me. She found stand-in mothers that showed her more love than her own mother had and that her father couldn't. Learning about bee-keeping was also interesting. It's not something I would normally read about, but the lessons that Lily learned were comparable to her own life in so many ways. I loved the way the bees lives and her life were similar is some aspects.

The ending actually surprised me, and I was glad for that. I was expecting something completely different, but was pleasantly surprised.

I have borrowed the movie, so I plan to watch it in the next couple of weeks to see how it compares.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Vacation Posts - The Wedding

Frenchie and I drove from our home to Kelowna, BC for the wedding of my old college roommate Jess. I was to be a bridesmaid for her. Duties included: keeping her sane and not freaking out, keeping the other bridesmaids on time, and making sure the Groom did not see the Bride. 

The day started with coffee at Good Earth Café. We then went for hair and nails. I now still have beautifully manicured bio-sculpted nails. So fun!

After that we headed for lunch. We headed back to her house to get her dressed and ready to walk down the aisle.  I played photographer and tried to get those really neat detail shots. They didn't turn out great, but what can you expect from a point-and-click camera.

The ceremony and reception was all in one location. A heritage church was fitting for these two. With about 60 people the setting was very intimate.  The reception was an appetizer meal. There was servers wandering around the grass and table areas with platters of food. Jess' husband designed the menu. Very tasty!

Jess' father-in-law had a tradition to share called "Cutting the Champagne". He took a sword and cut the top of the champagne bottle. Very impressive! Something I had never seen before. We saw him come out of the building with a sword and wondered what was going on.

We spent the majority of the evening playing croquette.  Once it got too dark, we sat at a table with some people we had just met and chatted. All in all, it was a very fun wedding.

I am so happy I got to stand up for Jess on her day. It was wonderful to be there for her and her new hubby.

Vacation Post - Wineries

Frenchie and I took an extra day in Kelowna after the wedding to do our own version of a wine tour.  We traveled to 6 different wineries, tasted at all of them and purchased a bottle or two from each. It was great to have a day together to have some fun. We came back with 15 bottles of wine and a bottle of champagne. We plan to keep the bottle of champagne for our wedding night.

We started fairly early in the day after meeting the new married couple for coffee again.  After such a long day of tasting, we ended up going to bed around 7:30pm and sleeping through until morning. Tasting is a lot of work!!

Quails' Gate Winery

St. Hubertus Estate Winery Ltd.
They had this cool old truck outside the cellar. Great photo opportunity!

Mission Hill Winery
This winery exudes wealth. It was absolutely beautiful.

Cedar Creek Estate Winery
They had a beautiful rose garden at the pavilion for this winery. There must have been a wedding earlier in the day because there was still rose petals forming an aisle on the grass.