31 Jan

Niagara Icewine Festival Part 2

Read part one here where we headed to Niagara College, Chateau des Charmes, Southbrook, and Cattail Creek.

Hillebrand

Next stop on our little winery tour was Hillebrand. We’ve bought some of their wines from the LCBO (ie. the only place you can buy booze in Ontario. Literally.) and enjoyed them, so in addition to the icewine Matt wanted to do a tasting of their Reds. None of them really jumped out at me.

Hillebrand

HillebrandHillebrand

Hillebrand

We grabbed a sample of their Vidal Icewine paired with warm chili topped with cocoa nibs. I remember liking the icewine, but loving the chili. Matt claimed it wasn’t as good as my mom’s chili recipe, but I thought it was some stiff competition.

I really liked the quaint atmosphere of this winery. We sat by the fire pit as the sun was starting to poke out for the 3 minutes of sunlight that we got the entire day.

Pillitteri

PillitteriPillitteri

Pillitteri Estates looks pretty unassuming when you approach it, but it’s definitely a winery you shouldn’t miss. It has, by far, the best selection of icewines, not surprisingly since they are the world’s largest icewine producers. We got a pairing of a shiraz icewine with a cheese tart as well as a tasting of 4 of their higher-end icewines. My favourite, and the best one of the day in my opinion, was the 2007 Chardonnay Icewine. It was really flavourful and sweeter than juice. Matt liked the Vidal Sparkling Icewine, which was my second favourite.

Konzelmann

KonzelmannKonzelmann

Last stop was Konzelmann Estate Winery which is located in a fancy stone castle in a beautiful property right on Lake Ontario. Matt wanted to do a tasting here, but we got there just as they were closing up shop. I was a bit disappointed that their icewine sample didn’t actually include icewine. Instead they gave us their Canada Red wine paired with “Trainwrecker Beans” which were a version of baked beans that included bacon, beef, icewine, and red wine. Oh and beans. The trainwrecker beans were to die for and luckily I got the recipe. I hope to make it soon and share the recipe with you guys!

Angel Inn

Angel Inn

5 o’clock rolled around and all the wineries were closing up shop so we headed to our hotel to check in. We stayed at the Angel Inn which I picked for 2 reasons: 1) the room was cheap, and 2) the first floor is a bar which I thought would be both fun and convenient.

Angel InnAngel Inn

Angel Inn

The hotel room was a bit of a dump. It was clean but run down and not well maintained. It felt like crashing at a friend’s house after a long night of drinking. Luckily Matt and I have low standards.

The bar has live music until 12:30 in the morning, which didn’t matter much to us since we were at the pub downstairs drinking anyway. It would have otherwise been impossible to sleep until after the band stopped.

After walking around the deserted streets (the town basically closed down at 5 and there was nothing to do until dinner) we headed back to the inn for dinner.

The pub itself was really good. There aren’t many places to eat and drink in Niagara-on-the-Lake that are casual, fun, and laid back but the Angel Inn is a classic English pub that fits the criteria. They had a good domestic and imported beer selection on tap and even had their own brews (I liked the Angel Wheat beer).

Angel Inn

Also the food was delicious. I’ve been on a pie kick lately (what’s better than a warm pie on a cold winter day?) so I was happy to see a variety of English pies on the menu. I went with the shepherd’s pie which trumped Matt’s steak and guinness pie, but not by much. We followed up dinner with a sticky toffee pudding cake and a too many more beers : P

Angel Inn - Shepherd's Pie
Shepherd’s Pie

Angel Inn - Guinness Pie
Steak and Guinness Pie

Angel Inn - Toffee Cake
Sticky Toffee Cake

Our friend Nathan who moved to Niagara Falls just last week met up with us for drinks later on which was awesome because I was in Florida when he moved away and didn’t get to see him before. Plus Nathan might be the most knowledgeable person I know which makes any conversation with him very interesting.

Since the Inn didn’t have breakfast we headed up the street for breakfast at Escabeche at the oh-so-swanky Prince of Wales Hotel. I just had some overpriced yoghurt and granola (which was, ya know, just yoghurt and granola) and Matt had eggs benedict with the most delicious Hollandaise sauce I’ve ever had.

Prince of WalesEscabeche

EscabecheEscabeche

We headed back home right after breakfast. I asked Matt if he wanted to hit up any of the Twenty Valley wineries on the way home.
“No”, he said, “we need an excuse to come back.”

As if I need an excuse to drink wine?

30 Jan

Niagara Icewine Festival

My present to Matt for his birthday was to take him to visit some wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Matt loves wine and going to wineries so I thought it would be something that he’d really love. We often visit the Lake Erie North Shore wineries here in Essex County, but we’ve never tried any in Niagara so we were pretty excited.

We hit the road on Saturday morning for the 3 hour drive through snow and sleet. We hit up 7 different wineries. Seven. I know that sounds like a lot, and with normal tastings we would have both been completely shitfaced after visiting seven wineries.

But this wasn’t a normal wine tasting. We got tickets for the icewine festival so at each winery we went to we tasted an icewine that was paired with a dish.

Icewine, if you’re not familiar, is a very sweet dessert wine made from grapes that were picked after they had frozen on the vine. When the grapes freeze the sugars concentrate so the icewine has the most delicious sweetness. It is phenomenal.

(click on any of the pictures to make them bigger)


Niagara College

DSCF8605Niagara College

The first winery we hit up was the Teaching Winery at Niagara College. I really liked their tasting area and felt slightly jealous of the students who got to go to school there and learn all about growing grapes and producing wines. Sounds way more fun than my math degree.

We didn’t actually have any icewine here but we tasted the 2007 Dean’s List Meritage which was a really good full bodied red. I might have bought a bottle if it weren’t $50(!)

Chateau des Charmes

Chateau des CharmesChateau des CharmesChateau des Charmes

Next stop was Chateau des Charmes, a huge, classy joint which was definitely the fanciest winery we’ve been to. Here we had an icewine cocktail paired with a New York Cheesecake and a Salted Chocolate Cheesecake. The latter of the two was probably the most delicious cheesecake I’ve ever eaten. I wish they would have served us the icewine straight up so I could have tasted what it was like, but the cocktail was delicious.

Southbrook

SouthbrookSouthbrookSouthbrook

Southbrook was a really impressive winery. It was the number one winery that I wanted to visited because it is a biodynamic and organic winery. They don’t use synthetic fertilizers or pesticides in order to maintain the integrity of the soil. They even have chickens and sheep (my favourite animal!) that graze between the vines and naturally fertilize the vineyard. So cool.

We sampled their cab franc icewine paired with an icewine cannoli. I can’t quite remember the flavours of the icewine, but I remember thinking the cannoli shells were really tasty.

Cattail Creek

Cattail CreekCattail CreekCattail Creek

Next we went to Cattail Creek which is a much smaller winery that reminded me of the smaller scale wineries here in Essex County. They paired their vidal icewine with butter chicken and mango chutney which was cool since I’m used to icewine served with dessert. I found that their vidal icewine wasn’t as sweet as I like my icewine to be, but it was still pretty good.


Read part 2 of our Niagara-on-the-Lake adventures here.

26 Jan

2012 Weight Goals

I haven’t been weighing myself much lately. I checked my weight and measurements (waist and hip) before I started marathon training in September and sporadically throughout my training to make sure that I wasn’t over or under eating for the amount of exercise I was getting. I wanted my weight to stay consistent and it did. I hovered around 165lbs, give or take 2 pounds, for the entire 4 months (yes, I do know how much more 165lb is than 147lb)

I have been paying close attention to how my pants fit and while marathon training I found that they were feeling pretty damn tight around the waist (the first place on my body where weight starts to creep on). Since my weight was consistent I wasn’t too concerned though I was, quite frankly, uncomfortable. And I felt a bit schlumpy (<– not a real word, but you catch my drift).

I went straight back to weightlifting after the marathon with this workout and have been at it for almost 3 weeks now. Nothing makes me feel better than pushing some weight around (except maybe kicking teenage boys in the balls, but that’s another story) so I was happy to turn my focus to that instead of running.

It didn’t take long for me to start feeling awesome again. Last week I noticed that felt lighter and tighter and generally mahvelous.

My tight pants were fitting better which made my 8-hours-sitting-on-your-ass job more comfy. I checked my measurements right away because I like the validation:

Waist size – down a 2 centimeters (I knew it!)
Hip size – stayed the same (perfect! I like big butts and I cannot lie)
Weight – up 3 pounds (yes! . . .wait, I mean no! what? up 3lbs?!?
say wha??)

I freaked out for about a second and a half, asking the scale if he was fucking kidding me. Didn’t he see my measurements!? Didn’t he know that I wasn’t stuffed like a sausage in my pants today?!

Then I told him to go to hell once again, because he lies and can’t be trusted.

I felt good and I looked good and that was good enough for me.

I’m really coming around and starting to realize that my weight has little to do with how I feel about myself and my body confidence.

So I’m going to focus on more important weight goals this year ie. how much weight I can push around.


2012 Beast Mode Goals

To be completed at some point by the end of the year

Back Squats: 225lb (as deep as I can go with my tight shins)

Bench Press: my body weight

Pull Ups: 5 unassisted

Push-Ups: 100 consecutive

Right now I’m adding a lot more push-ups into my training plan to complete the push-up goal, and generally trying to build back any of the strength I lost during marathon training.

24 Jan

Guinness Chocolate Cake with Bailey’s Buttercream

Happy Birthday to my awesome husband. To my best friend. To the person who makes me happy every day.

I asked Matt what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday and he replied with chocolate as if it were the most obvious answer in the world. I was kinda hoping to make a white cake, but I obliged.

I’ve had the recipe for Dark Chocolate Guinness Cake with Bailey’s Buttercream bookmarked ever since it was posted on Global Table Adventure and have been waiting for an occasion to make it. I figured since I would be serving cake to Matt and his brother (who’s birthday is tomorrow) on Sunday night during the football game, a cake with beer in it would be an appropriate choice.

I really liked this cake recipe and will keep it on hand to make it again. The cake comes out rich and dense (which I much prefer to a light and fluffy cake). The Guinness enhances the chocolate flavour (the same way that adding espresso to chocolate cake does) but doesn’t make the cake taste like beer at all.

I’ve never made buttercream before and this one turned out really well. Sometimes buttercream can be gritty but this one wasn’t. It was smooth and sweet and had a great Bailey’s flavour. I wish I would have left the cake out at room temperature before serving though because the buttercream really firmed up and I prefer it to be a little creamier.

Instead of baking two 8″ layers, I made one 9″ round cake and used a sharp bread knife to cut the cake in half so I could fill it with buttercream. As a result, and because I ate a bunch of buttercream while the cake was in the oven, I had to double frosting recipe.

This is a perfect celebration cake.

Dark Chocolate Guinness Cake with Bailey’s Buttercream

Makes one 8″ layered cake, or one thinner 9″ layered cake

Ingredients:

3/4 cup butter

3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa

1 cup Guinness Extra Stout

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/4 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 eggs

For the buttercream (double recipe if making a 9″ cake):

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened

3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

4 Tbsp Bailey’s, as needed

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Melt the butter in the microwave then whisk in the Guinness, vanilla, and cocoa. Allow to cool.

Grease and line the bottom of one 9″ cake pan (for a 9″ cake) or two 8″ cake pans with parchment paper.

Stir together the dry cake ingredients. When combined, pour the Guinness mixture onto the dry ingredients, then whisk in the 2 eggs.

When the batter is shiny and smooth, pour evenly into two prepared cake pan(s).

Bake for 30-35 minutes for 8″ cakes or 45-50 minutes for 9″ cake, or until a skewer comes out clean.

While the cake bakes, prepare the buttercream. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the softened butter and sugar and add in just enough Bailey’s to get it loose and fluffy. Allow to whip for 5-10 minutes until light and fluffy.

Once the cake is done baking, cool completely.

For a 9″ cake, cut the cake in half lenghtwise with a sharp serrated knife. Top the bottom layer with frosting (~1/3 of the buttercream).

Top the frosted bottom with the second layer.

Line them up and then spread a crumb coat of frosting on the entire cake. This is optional but highly recommended, so you don’t get brown crumbs in your white frosting. Coat top and sides with another 1/3 of the frosting mixture. Spread it all over, nice and thin. Refrigerate to set it. At this point, you can refrigerate the cake overnight. Easy, peasy.

Once the crumb coat is firm to the touch, add the final 1/3 of the frosting to the cake — top first, then sides. Spread it around evenly.

Celebrate!

23 Jan

Dumpling Feast

Happy Chinese New Year to those who celebrate it.

I’m the kind of person who is willing to celebrate any culture’s holiday if it involves eating delicious foods like dumplings and red bean cakes.


(Source) It’s the year of the dragon!

My friend Tina and I went to a Chinese New Year Dumpling Feast on Saturday night at Oakwood Community Centre. It felt a bit like walking in on someone else’s family reunion: tables scattered everywhere, kids playing games with balloons, and everyone seemed to know each other. We bought our tickets and waited around awkwardly while one of the organizers found some extra chairs for the two of us to pull up to a table that had some room for us to sit down. She asked us how we heard about the event, not unkindly, but she definitely sounded confused as to what the hell we were doing there.

We sat down at our table and were offered some appetizers—communal bags of delicious spicy peanuts and sunflower seeds. I had to laugh at the informality of the whole set-up.

The Dumpling Feast itself meant making our own dinner. Fun and efficient! In the centre of the table were dumpling wrappers, pork filling, and a bowl of water. We all sat hunched over our table filling and folding dumplings. There was a man seated with us who was a veritable dumpling-making expert who showed us how to assemble dumplings so they stand up, don’t explode, and look pretty. The first few I made were pretty hideous, but I started to (sort of) get the hang of it after a while.

I made one single dumpling that I thought look pretty impressive. The rest were good enough to contain the filling, which was good enough for me.

Eventually the cooks started collecting our trays of dumplings, bringing them to the kitchen to be boiled, and then bringing the steming hot dumplings to our table by the bowl full. Tina and I went up to the buffet table to get our side dishes there was fried rice and hot pepper and some lettuce which actually ended up being a salad with a very light dressing (but, thinking it was plain lettuce to be eaten with the dumplings in a way I was unaware of, I left it alone so I wouldn’t look like I was eating it wrong). We learned later, after our 10th or so dumpling, that you’re supposed to eat them with vinegar on top. This cut the saltiness of the dumplings immensely and I wish I would have known about it at the start. (So I did end up looking like I was eating something wrong. Go figure.)

In spite of the awkwardness of it all, I liked assembling (and eating!) the dumplings. Now that I sort of know how to make them I do want to try making some at home, but next time potstickers.

20 Jan

Books I Read in 2011

I’ve decided one of my goals of 2012 is to join a book club. I have several goals for the year which are vaguely floating around in my head and I do intend to write down at some point. Possibly February.

Goal #1: Write down goal #1. Proceed with goal #2, #3, etc.

Anyway, I’m going to my first book club meeting with the Windsor Book Club tonight at The Green Bean to see what this book club business is all about. The book of discussion for the month is Night by Elie Wiesel.

It’s a horrifying account of the author’s experience travelling to and living in Birkenau concentration camp. Reading about the things that he saw, the atrocities that he experienced, and his struggles to survive even as he lost his faith in God and his will to live was so moving. I almost cried more than once (and I’ve never cried at a book or movie before, so that’s saying something about how powerful this book is).

If you haven’t read it before, you should. I think it should be required reading.


I started thinking about all the books that I read in 2011. All 16 of them. Some were great and some were okay. Here’s my recaps of them in 140 characters or less:

Samantha’s 2011 Reads

(In order of favourite to least favourite)

Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
Find someone who’s read this book and didn’t like it, then we’ll talk. It’s riveting.

My Horizontal Life – Chelsea Handler
It’s the most hilarious thing I’ve ever read. It made me laugh to tears.

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
2 magicians and lovers must fight in a game of anchantment to the death in a circus venue that only magic can build. Fascinating Premise.

Room – Emma Donoghue
I might have put this book at the top if more of the story were about escaping than about life after the escape.

The Game of Thrones – George R R Martin
It’s almost unbearably long, practically everyone dies, and it leaves you needing to read the next book. But it was so goddamn captivating!

Freedom – Jonathon Franzen
Intense family drama full of emotion. Not much of a page turner but the characters are very believable.

Superfreakonomics – Steven Levitt
Lots more fun and random connections between things you never thought could be associated.

Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins
Part 2 of the Hunger Games Series almost feels like a repeat of part 1. It’s not as creative but it’s still quite exciting.

Sleepwalking in Daylight – Elizabeth Flock
Another family drama exploring the relationship between a distant mother and rebellious daughter. Powerful and emotional.

How to Be and American Housewife – Margaret Dilloway
The story spans the entire lifetime of a Japanese woman who married a US Soldier after WWII. Well developed characters make this a good read.

Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins
Part 3 of the Hunger Games Series is worth the read if you’ve read 1 and 2 but it’s my least favourite of the bunch.

Are you there vodka? It’s me Chelsea – Chelsea Handler
Chelsea is still funny, but her random anecdotes aren’t the comedic gold that her one night stands are.

Bossy Pants – Tina Fey
Maybe I need to hear Tina Fey to find her funny. I chuckled a few times, but I wasn’t wetting myself with laughter.

Industrial Magic – Kelley Armstrong
Witchcraft meets mafia in this book that had a few great high points but mostly lows.

Deception Point – Dan Brown
You can write a mathematical formula for all of Dan Brown’s book. This was just another typical Dan Brown fiction.

Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang – Chelsea Handler
Chelsea, you are getting progressively less funny as you write more books. You can stop now.

Lies that Chelsea Handler Told Me – Chelsea Handler
Wait Chels, did you just get your friends to write a book for you? Good attempt to get fresh material but Bad idea. Very bad.

17 Jan

New 4 Day Workout Split

It’s been a little over a week since my marathon and my ass is killing me. Not from the run though, that pain subsided a couple days after, but from weightlifting.

I had been doing a couple of full body weightlifting sessions while I was training, but now I’m trying to get back into it more seriously now that I don’t have to spend 6 hours a week running.

I’m doing a 4 day upper/lower body split workout (my favourite kind) with lots of really good compound exercises like Turkish get-ups and dumbbell snatches. I also included tibia raises in there which I don’t normally do, to try to improve my range of motion for my squats.

Click the image below for a pdf version of the workout.

image

So I’ll be working on this new training plan for the next 4 weeks or so.

I wore my new lululemon pants that I bought from an outlet store in Orlando when I finished the marathon.

lululemon pantslululemon pants<- saggy crotch

The closest I have ever come to anything lulu is making fun of the pretentious yogis that wear it, but I caved this time because the pants were super cheap, a good material, and looked pretty decent. I realized today that the crotch is a bit saggy in a way that could only be rectified by having a set of testicles.

Betty White

Luckily I have a vagina, but that just means I’ll have to live with my saggy-crotched pretentious yoga pants.

Tonight for dinner I made some delicious cilantro lime fish tacos from this recipe on Closet Cooking that I pinned on Monday.

Cilantro and Lime Fish Tacos

I’ve never had fish tacos before and I thought they tasted really good (I especially liked the cilantro lime sour cream it’s topped with) but to be honest I prefer beef tacos.

I would definitely make them again though and would recommend this recipe. Instead of grilling I pan fried the fish, but I would love to try it with the fish on the barbecue.

DSCF8555DSCF8556

16 Jan

Ditching Dieting

“The diet industry is the most successful failed business in the world”

According to The Guardian the British parliament hosted a discussion centred around the causes of body image anxiety that pervades the UK right now.

A group that campaigns against body anxiety known as Endangered Bodies took to parliament to demonstrate the negative impact that dieting and the dieting industry has on the mental health and physical health of Britons, particularly women.

And it’s true. Living a healthy lifestyle is important, but it has to be through achievable means and established within realistic limitations. The diet industry goes beyond that however and has us restricting ourselves with unsustainable diets to meet body image ideals that are entirely unrealistic. It’s damaging to our mental health and can even be traumatic.

Think about it.

You see the promotions for this new diet that promises to make you lose that unwanted belly fat in just a few weeks.
And suddenly you realize that compared to that perfectly toned woman in the ad you have the stomach of Santa Claus.
You probably need to lose belly fat too. No, no, you definitely need to lose it.
Before you know it you’ve swapped your your husband’s famous buttermilk pancakes for egg white and steamed broccoli
and you’re cancelling dinners with friends because there’s nothing at the restaurant for you to eat.
And you still don’t look like the woman in the ad.
Now you feel like a complete failure. Why can’t you do it? Why can’t you just be strong and follow a diet and have a model’s body? What’s wrong with you?
Now you’re upset with yourself and you give up and start eating even more unhealthy than you did before you started this stupid diet. Why not? You’re doomed to be fat and ugly anyway, right?
. . . then you see promotions for a new fangled diet . . .

and so it goes.

Diets screw with our brains and our bodies. Whereas once we used to be able to eat intuitively when we were hungry or craving something, now we have to refrain from giving into these cues otherwise we become failures. It stresses us out and makes us lose confidence in ourselves when none of it, none of it, is our fault. In the end it leads to a cycle of dieting and gaining weight that is unhealthy to our bodies, causes traumatic body image anxiety, and makes us miserable.

Even though I can run a marathon and a 24 minute 5K and I can squat more than a lot of guys at the gym and I can climb mountains, I still feel like the unhealthiest of sloths if I give into my food cravings. I still struggle with my body confidence almost daily. My body image is much better than it used to be, but I’m still working on it.

Awareness is the first and most important step in generating momentum for a movement to alter ideals ingrained in society like body image anxiety. I applaud the British parliament to opening the doors for discussion on this important topic and Endangered Bodies for building awareness of the harms of the diet industry.

It’s time to stop the dieting.

15 Jan

Date of the Month Club: January

I bought Matt Star Wars Episodes IV – VI on Blu-Ray for Christmas and, even though I knew he would love it, I didn’t think that it was a particularly remarkable or romantic gift.

Matt bought me a knife for Christmas so the prosaicness goes both ways, I suppose. Granted it was a really really good knife that cuts through bread like butter (which is really saying something because most of my knives don’t even cut through butter like butter) and I love it.

Anyway, for Christmas this year I decided to give Matt an extra gift and lay the cheesiness on really thick too:

1 Date per Month for the next 12 Months. Like a “Date of the Month” club, although I didn’t call it that when I gave it to him. I came up with that embarrassing moniker about 3 seconds ago.

I had seen posts on the Internet of people doing the “12 Dates of Christmas” where they would go on 12 dates with their bf/husband before Christmas but I wondered who the hell has time to go on that many dates in a month, especially December! (though I’m pretty sure that was the point of the whole 12-dates-of-xmas-thing, but whatever) I just played on that idea and switched it up to one date a month for all of 2012, which is much more doable.

I came up with 12 date ideas ranging from moderately amusing to super-duper fun(!), I bought a bunch of blank cards and envelopes from Michaels, and I wrote down each date on a different card and put it in a different envelope for every month of the year.

Comme ça:

Date of the Month

Now I can’t for the life of me remember what dates I put in what envelopes so it will be a fun surprise for both of us every month.

January Date Night – Bookstore Scavenger Hunt

We decided to do our first date night on Friday: A Bookstore Scavenger Hunt

I found the idea for this date somewhere in the far reaches of the Internet and if you’re thinking that it sounds like a boring and pathetic excuse for a date, that’s true. It does sound that way. But it’s surprisingly a lot of fun.

Basically there is a list of things to find in books and then you go out searching for them. You know, a scavenger hunt.

We did it in two sets, bringing our books back to share with each other after each set (I had planned 3 but apparently Chapters is lame now and closes at 9pm so we ran out of time)

Set 1:

DSCF8533

A recipe you want to try
– Matt picked Sweet and Salty Crunchy Nut Bars and I went with a Colcannon

An idea for a future date
– we both picked games: my pick was “would you rather?” while Matt managed to find some vonderful goot Dutch card game

A Joke
My joke was: “What did King Arthur dub the circle? Sir Cumference!!” from 101 Math Jokes. Quite comical. But Matt brought me the novel Twilight as a joke because he knows I hate it. Hilarious.

Picture or a Map of a Place you’d Like to Visit
– I went with Moscow after reading this sweet Russian Travel itinerary and Matt’s pick was Hawaii.

Set 2:

DSCF8534

A Book You Loved as a Child/Teen
– Matt picked Love You Forever and I found The Wonderful Pigs of Jillian Jiggs which I almost forgot about.

A Book you think the other person would like
– Matt picked The Night Circus for me (which I actually read last month and really liked) and I picked The Hunger Games for Matt because who doesn’t love the Hunger Games?

A Book You Read in School
– Also a book that I loved as a child: The Giver. Matt went with Brave New World. Funny how we both picked dystopian novels.

A Book Containing Happily Ever After
– Neither of us could find a story that actually said “happily ever after” but we did end up finding Happily Ever After Mad Libs which we bought and played over drinks at Starbucks once Chapters closed up shop.

DSCF8513

Somehow the barista got my order completely wrong, but I did enjoy the Cinnamon Dolce Latte that I got by mistake. Luckily I love cinnamon.

Matt’s never played Mad Libs (say whaaa??) and quickly learned that the more inappropriate the words you choose, the funnier the Mad Libs are.

It ended up being a pretty fun date night!

Stay tuned for February’s Date of the Month Club.


Date of the Month Club

Check out other posts in the Date of the Month club, where Matt and I go on one special date every month of 2012:

January – Bookstore Scavanger Hunt
February – Board Game Night
March – Bowling
April – Detroit Walking Tour
May – Colasanti’s
June – Picnic
July – Next Restaurant
August – Detroit Tigers Baseball Game
September – Detroit Institute of Arts
October – Wine Tasting

13 Jan

Packing List for a Destination Race

When I was getting ready to leave for Florida, I found that it was really helpful to make a packing list of everything that I was going to need for my big marathon race to make sure that I didn’t forget anything.

I put all of my “race day” stuff in a separate bag within my luggage so I wouldn’t have to do much to get ready the night before the race. All I needed was to pick up my bib and put out my race day bag on Saturday night so I was ready for the brutally early 3:20AM wake-up call on Sunday morning.

Word to the wise: Put all your running gear in a Carry-On, because if it gets lost, you’re fucked. Just imagine getting to your destination and not having your running shoes with you. Not good.

The night before the race I laid out my stuffed fanny pack, bib, race clothes, and running shoes

Race Day Packing List

Clothes:

-Running Shoes
-Socks – 2 pairs, in case it’s too cold to wear just one
-Underwear – especially if you have a certain pair you prefer to run in
-Shirts -bring an extra long sleeve shirt in case of cold weather
-Running Shorts or Tights or both
-Sports Bra
-Headgear – headband, hat, hair ties, hairpins
-Compression Gear – shirts/pants/shorts/sleeves if you wear them
-Warm clothes for the start – sweatshirts, sweatpants, gloves, hat, earmuffs (You can toss these on the side of the course mid-race. Most races will collect them to donate)
-Extra safety pins for your bib

Gear:

-Sunglasses
-Camera & Battery Charger
-MP3 player, Earbuds, & Charger
-Vaseline/BodyGlide/athletic tape for chaffing
-Bandages – in a ziploc bag to carry with you
-Food and Fuel – dates/gu/shot blocks/powerade/etc.; whatever you’re used to eating and drinking on course
-Knee Braces
-Fuel Belt with bottles or Camelback
-Extra Toilet Paper – in a ziploc bag to carry with you
-Fanny Pack – to carry fuel, bandages, toilet paper, and camera
-Watch
-Tylenol
-Sunscreen

Paperwork:

-Race Forms/Waivers, Bib, and Chip – if you get them in advance
-Proof of time – if you want to try to move up in corrals
-Pace charts
-Travel Itinerary
-Passport -if necessary