Friday, 31 August 2012

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Longchamp

So glad that the Le Pliage purse's fold up so perfectly! I was originally using it as my travel bag but now that I got a new purse, I'm packing it away (: one of it's great features.
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California! Day 9 + 10!

I don't know if I should have started doing these daily entries in pairs! Already I start to forget what I did the day before, which really isn't a good sign.

First of all, my aunt is super nice and feeding up - like too good. Between these two days for breakfast I've had danish pastries and apple pie, and for dessert: cheesecake, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, snickerdoodles and icecream! It was impossible for me to say no, and as a result impossible for me to stay fit or to lose any weight before going off to university - sigh.

So the first day we went to a mall owned by Simon (which owns the premium outlets) and although it wasnt a P.O, it actually turned out to be an outlet mall as well! It wasn't the typical P.O. and seemed to actually have better stores.

There was Victoria Secret, Last Call Neiman Marcus, A Store selling MBMJ watches for 25% Off, and a Hollister Outlet! The V.S. honestly didn't seem to be an outlet, but seeing as the stores throughout the mall were all outlets I guess it was, since everything seemed to be just as expensive! I actually had to go to Last Call because of a stupid mistake I made, even though I went to a hell of a lot of trouble ( I might have even written about this earlier) to get the watch for only $60, when I picked it up and my relatives' house I found out it wasn't the way I had imagined. After reading the description I realize it was my fault, it had actually specified that the strap was silicon but I had assumed that it was ceramic based off of the picture. Lesson: make sure to actually read the description before you order something! After having lunch at Mayflower Dim Sum which had pretty good authentic Dim Sum food, with a lot of waiters all hovering over us, I ran out to Hollister to check it out briefly before my family wanted to leave. What happened is that for the past few years it that I really liked Hollister but every year it's a bit less. Originally I was somewhat of a Brandwhore who bought everything just because I liked the fact that it was Hollister! Only recently I've realized that it's really not that great, but I think it's a phase that most people realize as they grow older throughout highschool and graduate. Two years ago I actually stumbled into a few outlets, and tried to pick cuter things without the logo and branding everywhere, but I think I really bought everything just because it was so cheap! This time I wanted to make sure that I would avoid that, and came out with just two items:

  • Hollister Jeans Super Skinny $15 - Originally $60 US!
  • Lace Blue Shorts Navy $15 - Lace shorts have definitely been popular and I wanted to get my hands on a pair!
So I came out with two items, but really I think the Hollister Jeans were the really great find.

After that we drove to Stanford to look at it's campus, its was soo hot and sunny - I don't know how students do it! I guess they rely on the fact that most of the year is in the fall or winter? We actually were in a bit of a rush so we only walked around a little, and got to see the inside of the church which is supposedly for Alumni only - pretty cool and exclusive I guess. I kind of regret not studying for the SATs properly since I didn't really get the opportunity to apply to other schools - but at the same time it is a lot more work, and although it's not Ivy League and most Americans haven't heard of it I think the top Canadian universities are still pretty good.

Through the rush hour and 50 minutes of driving, we arrived at this really nice Singaporean restaurant where I got to see some more family. It's my cousin, her husband, and her two children - one who I've never seen before! It's pretty interesting cause in my family, me and my sister are the youngest ones so most of our cousins are nearly 20 years older than us. Last time I came to california the first girl was only 3, and my cousin was still pregnant with the other! I was actually so happy to see my cousins (second cousin in technical terms), they are the cutest happiest most precious girls ever! They also have a heck of a lot of energy, all they would do were run around non stop - dancing and picking each other up. There was a lot of singing and moving under and around the table, but I'm really glad that I also got a chance to take pictures of them - hopefully they'll remember us this time. I really love these girls even though I've really only met them once, and think that it would be awesome to send them christmas presents - wouldn't I be an awesome older cousin? 

The next morning I woke up to an awesome itinerary, my dad came in telling us that we would be going horseback riding! I've always wanted to go horseback riding! When we were younger some places told us that we had to be a certain age, after that we tried riding ponies, donkeys and even mules but they were never horses - finally, we would get to ride real live full horses. When we got there, I was pretty excited and after getting on top of my horse (Rambo) I realized how tall they were! There really isn't that much to hold onto on the saddle except for this little stub, and I started thinking about how dangerous it would be if I fell. Fortunately I didn't and I realized it took relatively little balance to stay onto, we paid $65/person and got to go on a nice trail that eventually lead to walking on the beach. It was really nice, and we had a small group (me, sister, dad and tour guide) and the tour guide did a great job of taking a lot of pictures of us as we rode the horses. I was sort of sad after finding out that walking would be the fastest that they would allow us to go, although I was scared at first I was excited to go faster, but every once in awhile they would trot for a few seconds/walk pretty quickly and it was definitely bumpy as I went up and down!

That wasn't the end of the exciting day though, we actually got to go paddle boarding. Pretty awesome. For only $20/hour we got wetsuits and a paddle board, and got to mess around in the harbour. We even got to see some sea otters, but only for a few seconds. It's not as hard as I thought, they give you paddle boards which are pretty wide and stabilizing so balancing really isn't too much of an issue. They tell people that falling in is pretty unlikely; however, my sister actually did haha. Good thing she was able to grab onto her board so she didn't actually fall in completely! 

After that was the final destination of our trip - Macy's. Honestly, I love this department store, it has so many high end designer names (okay well the ones I shop at like MBMJ and Michael Kors) and it still has really good deals and sales throughout the year. Okay well, to be honest, it really only has one thing over Nordstrom, it's visitor discount. Yeah, Macy's is so nice that they offer all Canadian residents or basically anyone visiting outside from the United States a 10% discount. And although it doesn't actually seem that small it still makes a pretty big difference. So basically, most of my friends got nice laptops and macbooks from their parents as a graduation gift. Problem is that I already had one since I actually went and bought one for myself using money I had earned throughout the years, and so instead I figured I would ask my parents for a purse instead. In my defense, I think that I'm still saving them a couple hundred of dollars since that's how much a laptop would cost or up to $1000 (macbook).

 I guess I'm slightly spoiled (but really not too much since I pay for most things, evidence above) and pretty lucky since I've been getting a new purse every year. Ever since I was a preteen, our family would always go outlet shopping and so I liked having bags from Coach. It's only these last few years I realized how common and simply 'blah' a lot of their bags are, and felt that I sort of grew out of it. Out goes Coach, in comes the MBMJ obsession. One year I split the cost ($200) of a MBMJ Bright Pink Purse (which always takes me forever to find the name of on google - MBMJ Deep Fuschia Softy Tobo) with my mom after finding it at a Saks Off 5th at Woodbury, and the next year a MBMJ Black Classic Q Percy from Holt Renfrew ($200 on Sale). Edit: I've actualy also received two Longchamp purses as gifts since family have gone to Europe and it's much cheaper there, nearly 40-50%, but don't really consider those ones as big as the MBMJ/MK.

Finally as a grad gift, I decided to get the bag that I have been eyeing for a while Michael Kors - Grayson Vanilla Sachel. 
I guess awhile ago I was eyeing the LV bag that looked really similar, but I guess it really is expensive and my parents really weren't that happy saying that it was still a pretty age to get one. It's alright, I think I might be able to swing it as a University Grad Gift ;)! Any how this one is still, really cute and I really don't like making them spend more than I have to. So I made sure to use the Visitors discount of 10%, and told my dad that if he signed up as a Macy's member during their promotion that he would save another extra 20% - in addition I also gave him a Macy's gift card that I got returning my boots which might have had more than I paid for. All in all, the original price was around $350 before tax but I think that he paid aproximately $250 for it which really isn't all too bad. Anyways, so this Michael Kors purse is the newest in my collection - I really have an addition but since it's on an annual basis I really don't think that it's that bad!

Also this might be like the longest post I've written yet, I feel like I've written for like two hours. Me and my personal thoughts! Plus I don't actually think anyone will ever really read through my blogs or posts since it's actually a bit too detailed. Anyways tomorrow is the last day, we get to visit Tinkering Monkey (my cousin's startup) and off we go back to Toronto!


Wednesday, 29 August 2012

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California - Day 7 + 8!

We had a really early morning flight, well actually it wasn't that early but because of the precautionary "be there 2 hours early" rule we were out of the hotel by 8am! I was super tired since I slept at like 4am the night before, and slept the entire flight from Seattle to San Francisco. When we arrived, like the previous few days, the weather was gorgeous! It was warm and sunny and everything I like about California.

At SFO we actually had to take a shuttle which has a pretty long path in order to rent a car. What's really interesting is that we booked a rental with National Car, but after filling in the paperwork they let us choose whichever car we wanted from their selection! Pretty neat, so we ended up getting a White Dodge minivan.

Next, we drove to Sausalito and it was pretty much the same as I remembered. We actually went three years ago, and so I recognized the really nice streets and it's coast line. We want to Scoma's which is a nice little restaurant right on the water, and it's actually pretty cool because thats where my parents went 25 years ago during their Honeymoon. We had a cold dungeness crab which costed us $35 (!), clam chowder, raw oysters, vongole pasta, and a lobster avocado salad. Overall the meal was really delicious (and expensive) - I especially liked the crab and salad! Next just to top it off we also grabbed a scoop of icecream, I really have to stop doing this since it's totally contributing to me gaining some serious lbs!

Right after walking around the streets it was time for us to start driving to Burlingame where we were going to meet up for dinner (already) with my godmother and her husband. We ate at Il Fornaio which is a really nice little Italian chain, as soon as I saw a pasta with angel hair as the noodle I chose it immediately! Angel hair is my favorite haha. The food was really good, and fairly priced. Then for dessert they did something really cool, instead of giving out menus they rolled out a cart and our server gave us descriptions and named each plate. Then it was simply a point and choose! I ended up getting this little bowl, I have no idea what it was called or even how to pronounce it unfortunately, that was really light with some icecream and some liquor I think. That too was really good. Actually, I just googled it and it's called "Zabaione alla Gritti and it's an italian custard!

Later we arrived at our hotel/inn, and were welcomed with a gift basket - talk about good service. What's really interesting is the cheaper hotels seem to offer free wifi, pool, complimentary breakfast, and free parking while the expensive 4 star hotels all had big fees!

The next day we spent most of our time shopping at Gilroy Premium Outlets. We had actually been here a few years back, and that time I remember purchasing a Coach backpack for just about $50. It's a decent outlet; however it's kind of separated into 4 areas that is divided by streets. Theres a section A, B, C, and D. The only stores I really had interest in were: Forever 21, Michael Kors, Vince Camuto, American Apparal, and Saks Fifth Avenue. F21 and MK both had some nice items at fair prices. However, I was upset when I was in V. Camuto since there were so many nice boots for ~$150, but they were so tight around the calf! Like a few would actually zip-up but I doubt that would be possible if I threw on a pair of leggings or jeans. Sucks, its either cause I have fat or muscular calves! What I got:

  1. F 21 Paris Tshirt $13
  2. F 21 Brown Belt $6
  3. F 21 Blue Geometric Skirt $8
  4. F 21 Grey Cami/Tank $3
  5. F 21 Red Formfitting Dress $8 
  6. AA Sweetheart Dress $45 -Seniors Day Discount!
  7. UnderArmour Tshirt $15
  8. Ralph Lauren Pinstriped Shirt $40 -Thanks Mom
I was pretty disappointed with the Saks, it's pretty dead looking inside and they have a pretty small selection of everything in my opinion. After having seen and bought everything, we had only been shopping for maybe 2 hours. Funny thing was that my parents were the ones who needed more time! So me and my sister ended walking around into and out of stores as we tried to kill about 2 hours left of time.

We arrived around 8 at my Aunt and Uncle's house, it's great because it's almost a tradition that happens every 2-3 years! We had some great home cooked meals, along with some cookies and store cheesecake. Slideshows of pictures were shown by their family, and ours and it was a really night. I love their cat. They have one of the nicest cats I have ever met, she lets you pick her up and pet her and play too! So far she hasn't hissed, scratched or given me any dangerous vibes which is what the majority of cats do. Peely is awesome - she also kind of looks like a tiger since she's orange and black!

Oh I also got my delivery - it's so annoying that shipping is either not available to Canada or ridiculously expensive, and so sometimes I ship stuff to their house instead. Unfortunately I opened the MBMJ watch to a disappointment as I noticed that the wristband was rubber and not ceramic as I had previously thought - what a big difference. I'm so glad that I found a watch the other day at Nordstrom Rack and that I ended up getting it!

Anyways that wraps up two days, I can't believe vacation is nearly over!




Monday, 27 August 2012

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Seattle - Day 5 + 6!


Getting a bit tired here with the daily entries haha so here is a two in one! 

Well the first thing we did before checking out was go for a morning run by the coast. Although it was my idea (to be all active and healthy), I really wasn't that excited to wakeup and go in the morning - I'm really not a morning person. With that being said I felt like I was half asleep as I ran the first portion of the run, it was really nice since we got to see a lot of dogs since it was an off leash park and so we got to meet and pet a lot who passed by. Once I had waken up I really got to see how nice the view and coast was, and loved taking it all in as we jogged (I went with my dad and sister).

After that we drove onto a ferry which transported us from Victoria to Seattle! Personally I found this ferry a lot more comfortable than the one from Vancouver to Victoria. Instead of having rows of chairs, it felt more like a restaurant since there were individual booths with benches facing eachother with tables in between.

Right after we arrived we hit the Shoppes of Burlington Outlet Mall. In my opinion, this mall kind of sucked since there were really few interesting stores, for any teenager they’d probably share the same opinion as me. Honestly, the only few stores that seemed slightly interesting was Nine West, Coach, and Lululemon. 

Seattle Lululemon Outlet

Seattle Lululemon Outlet
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Lululemon is really what made the trip to the store worthwhile for me! A few days ago I had visited Vancouver’s main outlet (afterall they’re based in Vancouver) however it was really small, with few sizes and selection. This one here was huge. There were racks and racks of sizes for everyone (including the 2s and 4s)! Of course some of the selection is questionable, which is probably why they are being sold at the outlet, but they are marked down for a lot that there are still some great deals. I got a:

-Lululemon Yoga Mat Tote $12 (Originally ~30)
- City Pants for $69 (they’re stretchy like the groovy Luon pairs and are very flattering!)

Next we went to the Seattle Premium Outlet which was obviously a lot better since it is a well known chain. At a glance there didn’t seem like there were that many great stores but I actually was able to find a few items. There was a Michael Kors, Lesportsac, Fossil and Pacsun. Fossil actually had a pretty good promotion that was going on, “Buy one get one half off” ! It applies to Marc by Marc Jacob watches and Michael Kors watches which is why I was so surprised; but if you think about it if you get the second watch at equal value it works out to be a “25 % off” promotion. Unfortunately I didn’t get one which actually worked out for me later on. What I bought:

- Michael Kors Cardigan Tan $40
-LeSportsac Pencil Case $15
-LeSportsac Makeup/Toiletries Box/Zipup $25

Later we arrived in downtown Seattle later at night. It’s actually ridiculous that some Hotels charge for parking and that it isn’t included! Fortunately throughout the weekend parking is free on the streets. When we finished parking it was late and everything was closed and so we ended up eating at Hard Rock Café. It actually had such great food, except for the menus which listed the nutrition info for everything! It was actually super depressing as nearly every single item was listed at 1000 calories or more! I had this great Chicken Avocado sandwich, and for dessert I split an Apple Crumble with the family. It was delicious. It was like a nice contrast between piping hot (steaming) apple crumble and ice cold ice cream. Between the four of us it hit the spot perfectly!

The next day we went to Pike Market which was such a great street to check out (recommended for all tourists)! It’s like a fisher’s market, lots of fresh food, but there are also tons of Bakeries, Cheese stores, Chocolate Stores, Icecream Stores and the Original Starbucks! On Post Alley there was a restaurant called Pike Market Chowder which had numerous “Seattle’s Best Chowder” awards ranging from the late 90s to 2012, along with the long line of customers that went out the door we had to see what the fuss was about. The chowder was actually, very good. It was totally worth it, and a fairly affordable lunch. There are also a lot of art booths with Wire Art, Glass Art, Tshirts and more. I came upon Wonderbun, which is this cheap piece of wire+fabric that helps you create perfect hair buns! At $10 it's pretty expensive; but nevertheless it's cool and I'm excited to use it in university.

The rest of the day was actually spent shopping at pretty much three stores. We went to Macy’s, Nordstrom Rack and Nordstrom. I love shopping at Macy’s since they have such a welcoming visitor policy! To all Canadians and anyone staying at a hotel they offer a 10% off discount, this is actually extremely helpful and can save quite a bit since they have some really nice items that can cost quite a bit. I was actually returning a pair of boots I bought at Pennsylvania’s Macys. I had been deciding between a 6.5 and a 7, I finally decided on a 7 but when I got back to Toronto I realized I had actually brought home the wrong one! So I brought them all the way back to exchange for a larger size. After that I went to Nordstrom Rack and Nordstrom, but eventually I realized there were much nicer boots and went back again to Macy’s. So this means I’ve made numerous trips, and a store associate actually noticed that I had just made the exchange about an hour ago. Since I hadn’t brought the original receipt I could only get a Store Credit, fortunately I am planning to get something later so it will still be useful.

Nordstrom Rack is amazing. We don’t have Nordstrom in Canada but there is one across the border, Nordstrom Rack on the other hard is no where near Toronto so it was my first time going ever! Here I found a lot of great finds:

-       2 pairs of PJ pants for $8 each
-       Stila Smudgestick Waterproof Stick Stingray + Eyeshadow Palette $9 (I was originally willing to pay $20 for just the Eyeliner itself!)
-       Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Pencils (5 Travel Sizeed) $10 – One is usually atleast $18
-       Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Eyeshadow Sticks $10
-       Urban Decay Skull Palette $12 (Originally 36)
-       Urban Decay Primer Potion Eden $8 (Originally $18)
-       Too Faced Cream Bronzer $10 (Originally $30)
-       Marc By Marc Jacobs Watch $90

They were even selling a MBMJ leather wallet for $100, a great deal – except I had just bought a wallet last month so I really couldn’t buy another. L I really found a great stash of makeup, unfortunately I really shouldn’t buy anymore for the next year!

Finally at Nordstrom, my sister and me bought a pair of Steve Madden boots! They’re called Troopa, and are black leather boots that lace up – sort of like military boots. It was actually a lot of hassle cause it was after seeing these that we walked back to Macy’s (which was only one block down) to return my previous pair and to see if they carried the same boots –which they didn’t. Me and I both ended up getting the same pair of boots half a size apart. It’s real leather unlike the pleather (plastic leather or fake leather) that I originally bought. When wearing both, the Madden boots were the clear winner!

So that’s pretty much everything I bought, it was a super successful day. After we went to Pioneer Square where we went and had dinner at Café Bengodi. The meals were very reasonably priced, and delicious! Meals recommended:

-Vongole Pasta
-Polla Pizza
-Chicken Parmasian
-Tiramisu




Saturday, 25 August 2012

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Vancouver + Victoria - Day 3

Today we visited Granville Island, which is actually a tiny island underneath a bridge. It's very interesting and artsy, and is where Emily Carr University is located. What we spent the most time doing was wandering around what I believe was the Farmer's Market - it's actually extremely similar to Toronto's version of Kensington Market but for some reason I seemed to like it even more! There was a plethora of cultural food which is perfect to fit the needs of Vancouver. What really made my mouth water was a Bakery which featured Nanaimo bars, Red Velvet Cupcakes and pastries. There was also a  gelato store, and a store selling Fudge - lots of it. I have such a soft spot for fudge, and even though it is fairly expensive I always like to indulge in it every once in a while - in fact it's probably a good thing that it's so expensive or I would probably always be eating it! There was also this cute little Indian store (these are more like the stores that you would see in a food court) that was selling food in these little container's, a tingkat, that looked really interesting.

Thanks to Urbanspoon we actually found a small Japanese restaurant called 'Sushi Bar' where we had lunch. I thought the food was pretty good and ordered a bento box that was very economical (about $8) as it offered a lot of food including beef teriyaki, salad, rice, 6 pcs of sushi, tempura shrimp and vegetables.

Overall I thought Granville Island was a great visit, and totally agree with some friends who told me that it was a must-see for any visitor to Vancouver!

Afterwards we headed to the ferry so that we could go and see Victoria, BC's capital, on Vancouver Island. For me it was actually a very cool experience as I had never driven onto a ferry before! Everyone just drives there car in forward and parks after the car infront of them has stopped moving. It was very pleasant on the ferry, it was only approximately 1.5 hours, the weather was great outside and it actually provided my sister and I a great opportunity to take some photos. They have an arrangement of seats on one of the floor like that of a waiting area at the airport, but they also have various lounges and cafeteria's for everyone's comfort. Outlet plugs and wifi is available too so overall the trip was great.

Before arriving to Victoria everyone has always told me that it is a very laid back and slow-paced area. For some reason this caused me to assume that I'd be very bored, as there would be very little to do. I also imagined that it would be somewhat 'countryish' and spaced out. Upon arrival and driving into town I finally understood what everyone ment, and was glad I was wrong. Everything here is laid back, but it has a very nice feel to it. For anyone who's been to Markham, Ontario it kind of reminded me of Main Street Unionville. There are lots of stores, boutiques, pubs and of course the parliament buildings but people are just casually around strolling and taking their time as opposed to the busy lifestyle that most people in bigger cities have. It's extremely pretty as well since downtown Victoria centers around a harbour, which we are lucky enough to have a view of from our hotel room (we got a free upgrade)!

Thanks to the Urbanspoon app once again, we used it to find food - we ended up deciding on pho. It was a small little authentic restaurant that was family owned, the food was really great and the waitress gave us some really great service. She actually recommended a great place for waffles which I can't wait to check out tomorrow "WannaWaffles", supposedly they make some excellent authentic belgian waffles. They were also featured in Dragon's Den.

Anyways it was another great day with some really nice sunny weather - hopefully it continues for the next week!
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Victoria ! - Day 4



Victoria, British Columbia Canada
   Today we awoke to a bright and sunny morning, the weather was great and the view of the harbour from our hotel room was beautiful. After getting ready we walked around the edge of the harbour on our way to breakfast. It's really neat, around here (probably because it's a tourist attraction) since there are many booths and displays set up where people are selling art. The art ranges from wood carvings, wire spinning/bending, murano glass beads to painted art.

 Nearby we found a small bistro/deli (Sam’s Deli) that offered a small breakfast menu facing the harbor which was really fantastic since there was such a nice view.

Liege Waffle from WannaWaffles
Liege
Brussel Waffle from WannaWaffles
Brussel
After that we went searching for WannaWaffles, what we had been looking for since yesterday. We had a really great walk there up Government Rd. (which seems like the main street that goes through the town) which has a ton of chocolate stores and performance apparel. Vancouver is home to a lot of athletic/outdoor apparel stores such as MEC, Stormtech, Arc’teryx and more. Eventually we found this waffle place that our server the previous night had raved about, it was actually a very small store inside of the market square. What’s really interesting is that they offer two type of waffles – liege and brussel. The first one is rounder, thick and dense with a nonuniform shape and is made out of dough. It is naturally sweet as well since there is a coating of caramel. The second one is more typical and what people are more used to having, it’s light, fluffy, square and made from a battery. I tried both of them (with different toppings as well such as icing sugar, chocolate, and fruit) and they are both actually completely different waffles. I would definitely recommend that people try both!

Boat tour of Victoria, British Columbia CanadaNext it was still pretty early in the afternoon and so we decided that it would be very exciting to rent a boat and cruise around the harbor. Initially the guy working at the boat-renting company showed some hesitation since my dad didn’t actually have a boating license, fortunately he convinced him that he did have previous experience and we were allowed to take the boat for an hour. It was actually a bit nerve-wracking since we had to make sure to watch out for “blinking lights’! Seaplanes are always landing and taking off so you aren’t allowed to cross certain areas when this is happening. Oh and in addition you have to be travelling at a super slow speed, almost dead slow. We were lucky and didn’t break any water laws, or get any tickets (except maybe a small warning) and all got to take turns driving.

Food from Oak Bay Marina RestaurantFinally, we found a really nice restaurant right off a Marina called Oak Bay Marina Restaurant. It was pretty nice and expensive seeing as most meals were in the ball park of approximately $25 a person! Although it was slightly on the steeper side the service was fantastic and so was the food. The waitress was really helpful with descriptions of the meals (there were so many fish types). I ordered the Grey Cod and it was great along with the vegetables (beans, carrots, beats) and rice!

Later, just because we’ve been kind of in a Waffle craze we decided to check out another store that a friend had recommended me (via twitter) – West Coast Waffles. WannaWaffles is definetly more of an authentic Belgian waffle, whereas this one is more of the typical North American waffle with all the variety of toppings. We ended up choosing one with Nutella and Fresh Strawberries and it was so delicious that I almost wanted to order a second one. They offer some popular combinations with the typical names such as “The Canadian”; however, they also let you personally customize it from the type of batter, to what fruits and syrups they can serve.

Anyways, it has been two days in Vancouver, two days in Victoria and tomorrow we will be in Seattle!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

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Vancouver! - Day 2

A few months back, I was googling around for a good workout and I came across "Grouse Grind". See, I thought it was a workout, but I soon found that it was actually a tourist attraction found here in Vancouver, BC. Grouse Mountain, has a trail which is known as the aforementioned and it's gain recognition as nearly 100,000 hikers go up the mountain. It has an elevation of 2800 ft, and is known as  Mother Nature's Stairmaster and when I arrived today I learned how tiring it actually was!

Grouse Grind in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada

Grouse Grind in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada
These pictures don't even begin to depict how tough some parts of the route were.
The trail gives you quarterly marks which seem to take forever to appear. I went with family and so we decided to take our time with lots of breaks so that everyone would be make it through and took about two hours. The average person takes about 1.5 hours, whereas the elite hikers can do it in in under an hour. Something that was mind-boggling for me to wrap my head around (after walking up this long trail myself), is how fast the world record holder completed the trail! The unofficial record, is 23 minutes which is truly unfathomable. Some google searches seem to show that it is possible to burn approximately 1100 calories - talk about a good workout!

The day before we visited the Lululemon outlet, today we visited the outlet and head office of Arc'teryx! This was more at the request of my father who is a really big fan of this company, they make fantastic jackets that are very well made. These jackets are extremely expensive due to the fact that they are so great for outdoor activities (snowboarding, biking) and keeping people warm. Prices regularly range (from what I saw) at $200-1100; but they are heavily discounted at this outlet. Our family was all able to find something that was useful for us, and actually ended up buying clothing articles for each other as belated presents. 

We also visited Pacific Centre where a google search told me Aritzia's Flagship store was located at. From what I thought, Flagship usually means it is it's biggest location; however, I really felt that it wasn't that big. In all honestly it doesn't seem that much bigger than a few in Toronto! We hung around for less an hour where I only found one basic shirt that was on sale. 

In the afternoon we had called in to make a reservation for a "Harbour Cruise" after seeing it shown in one of our tourist maps. For $80 it takes you around Vancouver ( I'm bad at directions and so I don't actually know which part) in the evening and offers a buffet. The dress code is business casual; however, I definitely saw a few people taking this very laidback dressing in jeans. The boat ride was very nice since the water was calm, and it was definitely a great way to see Vancouver. You could see the sunset, and the night skyline. It's really fantastic, unlike Toronto the landscape isn't flat, and so you can see the lights of houses as they go up the mountain. In addition to that there definitely is a nice skyline of the coast. They also had live music playing throughout the night which definitely adds to the atmosphere. The food was also pretty good with the main course being salmon and beef. For $80, it was definitely a good experience for those who want to see Vancouver from another perspective.

Now approximately 12 hours later my legs are aching and feel extremely tired and sore - I guess I won't be going on a morning run tomorrow. Two days and I feel like we've done so much, I can't wait to continue on this vacation and to see what else we do!


Wednesday, 22 August 2012

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Vancouver! - Day 1

Arrived in Vancouver today! Slept through most of the flight, except the very end when I wokeup with blinding sharp pain in my forehead which slowly moved to the center of my skull. I was feeling a bit stuffy, and so I think it had to do with my sinuses but it felt like there was so much pressure that I would explode!

After we got there, we rented a car so that we could drive around and see Vancouver for ourselves. Richmond is very similar to Toronto's Markham area, it has a really big asian influence and culture. We went to Steveston where we had lunch and had some delicious food: seafood linguine, oysters (not that great - a bit too warm), halibut fish n chips (so good that we had another order), and a breaded bowl of chowder!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

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Shellac - They last too long!

Sometimes going to the nail salon to get a manicure is a nice little treat for yourself, unfortunately they can be somewhat expensive and usually last for a week or even less. Although Shellac has been around for a little, I just tried it last month and was super impressed!

Shellac is 'like a gel' but it is not the same as having gel nails. They use a nail polish that has some gel in it, and it also has to be hardened through UV light so they dry super fast! I don't know the facts that well but I'm under the impression they're better for your nails than actual gel nails. For a 'polish change' (a manicure without the hand massages) and Shellac it cost me about $30.

Originally I wanted them to last longer than one week so I could finally get my money's worth, but what's funny is that they actually ended up lasting loner than I wanted! They stay for so long that your nail outgrows it and it looks really strange if you have a french (the tips move forward).

As of now they actually lasted nearly two months now and have grown half a nail, it was only yesterday that some edges started to look like they had separated. I've actually peeled some of it off, I think it might have caused some physical nail trauma though.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

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Phantom of the Opera - Majestic Theatre Seats

Hi guys!

I just got back from a trip to Philadelphia and New York City that I got to spend with my friends! Two of the biggest highlights of the trip was visiting King of Prussia and watching Phantom of the Opera (I'll give a mini review/pic of the seats).

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Wonky Macbook Charger

Grr! I've already replaced my charger once, but now this is the second time where half the time the charging light doesn't show up! Sometimes I reach 0:01 minutes left before it turns on, it's become super irritating since its not dependable right now and might suddenly crash.

This macbook is such a lemon.