Monday, February 27, 2012

Wake Up and Listen

So there's this great up-and-coming rock/alternative band called Wake Up Earthquake. These are local guys who are trying to get their name out in the music scene and I've seen them play on several occasions at lots of local venues and I will admit that I am a fan. Sure I'm a bit biased considering I've been dating the lead singer/guitarist Chris Rayner for a couple years now, but honestly, these guys have the talent to do really well. One of the things that I enjoy about living with the head member of a band is that I get to hear the songs be created and practiced (over and over and over again) and I get to learn the songs and words before everyone else. There's nothing that screams "Groupie!" more than singing along to original songs at a live show and no one else in the room has ever heard the song before.

Once a three-piece band, now a dynamic duo, the guys are taking time to work the online scene and get their name, music and info ready for when they hit the stage for some upcoming gigs. WUE plays a good selection of original songs mixed with some rockin' covers from bands such as Kings of Leon, Red Hot Chili Peppers Presidents of the United States of America and Our Lady Peace (and soon to be many others).

If you head to websites such as bandcamp you can hear the songs for free or buy the band's album for a mere $1.50 a piece. But as Chris says, "It's not about the money - It's about how many people hear us." So hear them people! Head to these websites and check out the music (plus the pictures for some eye candy). "Like" them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter to keep updated on upcoming shows or new music being released. Support your local musicians!

Warning though - there is a rumour spreading that the name of the band will be changing in the next couple of months. I can confirm that yes, this might happen. Am I 100% sure? Not so much. I will keep you updated though.

Friday, February 24, 2012

You Can't Say I Didn't Try

I've been a bit MIA the past few days. I got an email early in the week from the Moncton Hospital saying that they wanted to set up an interview with me for their internship program. By the time I got the email and called, there was only one spot left which was at 2pm on Friday (today) and I have been basically obsessing about the interview since the moment I ended the phone call and realized that I only had a few days to prepare. And prepare I did! I work every day through the week so as soon as I would get home from work, I would lock myself into my study dungeon, aka the living-room and being preparing questions and answer for any kind of scenario they may have asked.

That was when I fell upon this puppy, the Interviewing Handbook: Dietetic Internships which is 55 page document of the do's and dont's for a dietetic internship interview and includes lots of possible questions and scenarios that may come up. Now 55 pages is a lot of information to take in so I sifted through what I felt was the best stuff, copy and pasted it into Word and began creating my answers to the best of my capability. It was a lot of work to get it all done in time and still have time to read it all over and store in my memory what I came up with for responses to my pages and pages of notes. However, it felt really good to bust out my textbooks and re-learn all of the wonderful knowledge that has been leaking out of my brain the past many months. The stuff is a lot easier the learn the second time around ;)

So the trip to Moncton began early in the morning since I am a bit of a neurotic spazz when it comes to getting to places on time. My co-pilots Jess and Sam came along for the ride and we played games the way there to help me take my mind off of the impending life-changing interview lurking closer and closer as the day progressed. After taking only a few wrong exits (Sam tends to panic at the idea of missing exits so randomly picks them to make sure we didn't go too far), they dropped me off at the hospital and went on their merry way while I sat in the cafeteria and re-read my notes and stared off into nothingness. By 2 o'clock I was shaking the hands of 4 pleasant women who now have my future in their hands. The women who interviewed me were all truly very friendly and encouraging and made me feel at ease throughout the 40 minutes I shared the room with them. I will admit though, except for one question that I got completely hung up on because I did not understand exactly what they were asking, I think the interview went really well. I remained calm and some of the questions they asked came word for word out of that handbook. Word for word! It was pretty awesome when one would begin to speak and she wouldn't even have to finish the sentence before I knew how it would end and I would have my pre-planned answer just waiting to burst from my lips. Of course I would sit there for an extra couple of seconds and act as though I was thinking of a thoughtful answer to what she asked, but really, I was stoked that I was ready and excited to say what I needed to say. Obviously there were some questions that weren't what I was expecting but I think I did alright with those. Overall, I feel good about what I accomplished today. I tried my darndest and even if I do not get offered an internship with Moncton Hospital, no one can say that I didn't try.

One thing we did not try today though is finding proper directions to Costco. Damn roundabouts.

Monday, February 20, 2012

DB Restaurant Review

I work in a bar. I see a lot of people drink. I see a lot of the same people drink A LOT. I see a lot of the same people drink A LOT on a very regular basis. My thought is how do people afford to drink like this all of the time and where is the rationale for spending that much money on booze on a day-to-day basis? Or even a week-to-week basis? I guess I am a bit biased being the kind of person who never drinks "too much" or really ever having more than 2 drinks in a night. I'm boring that way. But my good friend Cherie and I started talking about this a few days ago and we agreed that yeah, it's nice to be able to cut loose every once in a while, but we have a common desire to save the money and buy something else that's indulgent and intoxicating, but won't leave you with a killer hangover.

Our indulgence? Food of course!!! Cherie and I have a common love for food. The funny thing about food though is that unless you are incredibly successful and have a popular show on the Food Network, working in the food industry isn't the most profitable. So we made plans to save all of our pennies and have dinner out on the town without worrying about cost or calories. I have a really hard time going to a restaurant and ordering what I really want because most of the time I can't rationalize spending $30 on an entree that I can make at home for about 6 bucks. But not this night. Nope.

We decided on Daniel Brenan Brickhouse which is a fairly new spot here in Charlottetown. The entire building was renovated last year and re-opened with a new name and new menu. I was invited out to dinner there in November as a gift from Rachelle Wood (the lovely lady I volunteer with) and the three of us ordered and shared a whole bunch of appys such as Sprouted Quinoa Vegetable Rolls, Chicken Spring Rolls, Hand Rolled Flatbread and Gathered Greens with Beets. It was delicious. Oh, and how could I forget the Flourless Chocolate Torte w/Sour Cream? That was to die for! Cherie had never been yet and our other friend Tina had only ever been there for drinks, so when I threw out the suggestion they jumped at the chance to try the restaurant out.

Lucky us! The night we decided to try the place out was the night they were using the brand new menu! I was very impressed with the new menu (apart from losing the quinoa rolls which were yummy) because they make it a bit smaller, much more simplistic for those who may not know what some of the most unfamiliar foods on the menu were and much more affordable for those who don't want to spend a huge amount on a meal. Now I wish that I could explain what we all ordered but the new menu isn't on their website yet so I don't know the names of what we ordered. Bummer! For appetizers, myself and Tina both got the Gathered Greens salad (I love the pumpkin brittle that is sprinkled on top) while Cherie went for a cup of the soup of the day which was a "vegan" french onion. I put vegan in quotations because there was cheese sprinkled on the soup and both cheese and butter were on the accompanied garlic bread. Maybe someone should explain what a vegan diet consists of.

Visually stunning food! 
For entrees, Tina got the DB Burger which was an elaborate beef burger and Cherie went for a pork burger. I jumped at the chance to get their homemade veggie burger on foccacia  and I loved it. It was simply dressed with just sweet onion relish, burger, bibb lettuce and a garlicky creamy spread. Amazing. The relish was sooo sweet and the garlic spread was soooo garlicky so in my mouth it was this fight between sweet and garlic and I loved every bite. The steamed veggies that I had as a side were way over-salted but they were perfectly cooked so I ate them all anyway. Pair the meal with a large glass of Sir John A's Honey Wheat Ale and we were all too stuffed to think about dessert.  Unfortunate yes, but we agreed to go back again to have just drinks and desserts to make up for the dessert deprivation.

I fully recommend Daniel Brenan Brickhouse to anyone looking for a great meal and beautiful atmosphere to have a relaxing social experience. The restaurant uses a lot of local suppliers which is an added bonus since it supports both local people and their food. Plus they give you the option of spending a lot on a meal vs. spending just slightly more than you would at any other restaurant. But the quality of the meal spoke for itself and I would gladly go again to try out more of their menu.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Coyote or Fox?

So I was talking on my cell phone while walking along the Confederation Trail about 2 weeks ago. As I was walking and talking, I heard this strange sound which sounded like a high pitched bark or yelp. The first few times I heard it I didn't fully hear it since I was in full conversation and just thought it was a bird in the trees or something like that and paid no interest. The sound became a bit louder and more frequent and I started to zone in on it a bit more. I stopped walking and turned to my left to see where this yelp was coming from. There in the woods, about 30 feet away, looking straight at me was a small/medium sized animal that I immediately assumed to be a dark coloured fox.

I said to Chris who was on the line with me, "There's a fox looking at me!" I kept walking along and as I walked, the "fox" walked beside me, continuing to yelp as it followed along. It didn't get any closer to me but definitely was stalking alongside me as I quickly walked to catch the bus. I stopped again and took a better look at the animal and said, "No wait. It's way too dark to be a fox. Is it possible for a raccoon to be that big and follow me in broad daylight? Do they yelp like that? No, it's gotta be a fox."  The animal shadowed me for about 5-7 minutes until I reached the mall and hopped off the trail to the mall to catch the bus.

After that day I didn't think of my strange fox occurrence again until a couple days ago when I was driving home from work and heard on the local news that there were concerns from Charlottetown residences about coyote sightings within the city. This got me thinking. Could that have been a coyote following me that day? So today I did some research on the possibility of this, found this article about coyotes in Charlottetown which makes me think that if this was a coyote trailing me that day, then people need to stop worrying about their pets and start thinking about their kids, especially if this animal was ballsy enough to follow a full-grown person for such a considerable distance and time. But, the article says that no "official sightings" have been declared so I tapped into my mad research skills and found this website called (which is amazing if you have time to check it out and play for hours) and found examples of sounds of both the fox and  the coyote.

After listening to many examples of both animals, I officially declare (with 96.2% certainty) that the animal that day was a fox and not a coyote. The #8 call on the fox sounds was definitely what I was hearing that day. I have just never heard of a coyote stalking a person like that just seemed to strange. Coyotes definitely are known to stalk their prey and be very persistent and patient to get their meal. Just ask my dad! Long story. Foxes are generally more docile creatures and it is not as though they hibernate so seeing one in the winter is not an usual happening.

I guess my point for writing this post is to tell you that, #1) is awesome, and #2) if you live in Charlottetown, take note that I am still 4.8% unsure that the animal was indeed a fox and not a coyote so please be careful and lock up your pets and children for their own safety. It's cold and winter and these animals may be a bit hungry. Better safe than sorry.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Queen of the Night

I was shocked and saddened hearing about the death of Whitney Houston. My first memory of listening to her was when I was very young. I remember hearing her very first album Whitney Houston at my friend Lisa's house and just thinking what an incredible voice this woman had. It's funny how a song can take you back to a specific time and place. I remember standing in her dining room and hearing that song so clearly. I can remember the sun coming in through the windows and standing there next to the patio doors listening to her voice. I have no idea how old I was, couldn't have been older than 6 or 7, but that is my first memory of listening to her rich and beautiful voice.

I mean, the woman won 2 Emmys, 6 Grammys, 30 Billboard Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards and an additional astonishing 355 other awards as well. She was amazing and she accomplished amazing feats. I find it very sad that the past 10 years were such a personal struggle for her and even though she ended a divorce with who seems to be a rather horrible man and openly discussed her battle with drug use, her life just never seemed to get back on track and she never was able to fully return to the spotlight.

But when it comes to Whitney Houston, nothing will ever touch my heart as much as the soundtrack to The Bodyguard. Myself and my sisters listened to that cassette endlessly, mostly singing at the top of our lungs driving along in the backseat of the car and to this day can still sing along to every track wholeheartedly. "I Have Nothing"and "Queen of the Night" are two of my favourites and get me grooving every time.

I don't really know to say about this. I just wanted to make this post be a tribute to Ms. Houston and say thanks for giving me so much fun and joy with your music. Plus you rocked the shit out of this metallic outfit.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

So Easily Distracted

It's been a semi-busy week and I've been enjoying myself the past few days. I made a short-term decision with the whole gym membership problem I was having and I am at peace with it. I went down to Atlantic Fitness Centre on Kent Street, which is conveniently only a couple blocks from my apartment, and told them that I was interested in a membership. The lady gave me a day-pass to try out the space and see if it was a good fit for my exercising needs. Even though the space is small, I'll admit that I loved that first day and since the price was way cheaper than what I was paying at Delta, I ended up buying a 2 month membership to try it out a bit longer. They have a huge pilates/fitness class studio that only gets used a couple hours a day for classes and it's available for everyone when it's empty so I just use that space whenever I can to avoid all the busy cardio machines and muscly gym dudes. Super convenient. Members also get to attend any classes at no extra cost at the Kent Street and Garfield Street location, as well as have full access to the huge gym on Garfield.

As for my lingering hot yoga obsession, I decided to buy a 30-day trial membership at Moksha Yoga Charlottetown. For all first time users to the studio (which is me), it's only $40 to get unlimited access to all of their yoga classes for 30 days. I walked down there this morning to buy the pass and try out my first hot yoga class at their studio. It was a 90 minute class, which I have actually never attempted before, and it was a totally different experience from my usual Dynamic Fitness hot yoga. The studio is quite large and there are lots of windows which makes the space very bright. The studio at Dynamic is somewhat small, is down in the basement of the building and is kept quite dark - which I definitely prefer. I think I like the darker room because it keeps my eyes from wandering around the room at other people and allows me to listen to the instructors better and concentrate more on what I am doing. Plus I accidentally put my mat at the front of the studio (thought it was the back!) which is something I hate when I do yoga in a studio with mirrors. I find it incredibly distracting to be that close to my reflection during yoga and I end up having a harder time maintaining my balance sometimes. Plus, some people look for guidance from their yoga peers to see if they're doing it right and I hated knowing that a lot of people behind me would be looking at me during pose changes which would do them no good since I did not know the instructor's method yet. When you go to the same instructors repeatedly, you get to know them and know their routines and how they like to do things. I was the most lost out of everyone there and was a bad model to be at the front of the class. PLUS! The front of the studio had a lowered ceiling so my hands couldn't extend all the way up when we had to reach overhead! That was the most distracting thing of all! But, it was a learning experience and I plan to use my 30-day trial as much as possible.

After yoga and breakfast, I met up with my friend Sarah and we went and had some coffee at Beanz which has quickly become my new favourite coffee bar. After my first detox back in December, I officially decided to stop drinking soy milk and now use almond milk. To all you people who don't drink milk and don't like soy milk, I highly recommend almond milk. It's much easier on the digestive system and even though I only drink the unsweetened version, it has a naturally sweet flavour and is honestly really yummy. Beanz recently started offering almond milk as an option to their customers and I was pumped when I found out! Plus they are trying really hard to accommodate a lot of people's needs by offering gluten free pasta salads, sandwiches and sweets, plus lots of vegetarian options and specialty items that look delicious. Way to step it up Beanz!

After coffee, we wandered around town looking at all of the amazing shoe sales happening at several shoe stores around town. I ended up buying myself a pair of incredibly hot ankle boots which I am stoked to wear in the near future. Purrrrrr. Plus they were 50% off to boot!  

See what I did there...... that's a pun.

I got completely carried away with this blog post since my whole reason of writing today was to tell a quick story relating to my previous post about cell phone etiquette. My friend sent me an email telling me a story about a group of people who work with her husband. These people all go out for business lunches several times a week and they have this rule which I love love love! There is a strict no cell phone policy at these lunches so everyone has to put their phones on silent and stack the phones in the center of the table. The first person to touch his/her phone during the meal has to pay for everyone's lunch. Isn't that great? I thought it was too wonderful to not share. Horray to you business lunch people whom I have never met but have great cell phone etiquette while out at lunch. Way to go!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

It's The Norm

It's strange when something suddenly becomes "the norm" and things that may have seemed strange 10 years ago are now...well... the way society works. My example today involves the topic of cell phones and just how obsessively attached we are to them and the people they connect us to. For instance, while I am at work I get a first look of people's cell habits during the dining process.

Habit #1 - Two people sitting at a table together, not talking to one another, but each texting other people and completely ignoring the present company. And I'm not talking a quick and simple message like, "Hey I'm out to lunch with Johnny here, so I'll talk to you later." I'm talking about sitting there in silence until the food comes, taking mouthfuls, putting down the fork and continuing the texting. If you want to talk to those other people so badly, I think you should have lunch with them. Just a thought.

Habit #2 - Answering the phone while dining. Unless you're waiting for a super important call that absolutely cannot wait, I think it's completely wrong to answer your phone while eating. Maybe it's just the way I was brought up, but we never answered the phone during meal-time, or we did answer and told the person that it was dinnertime and they'd hear back from the wanted person when the meal was over. If my cell goes off while out to dinner, I'll look at the number on the display, press "ignore" and make a mental note to call back later. I'm sure that person will completely understand why I did not answer the phone. Or are we so preoccupied with constantly being connected to everyone that the concept of not immediately answering leave us in anguish?

Habit #3 - Giving your server the "just a minute" finger when he/she approaches the table when you're texting. Really? Is me doing my job interrupting your social life? All I wanted to know is if you wanted more coffee...but if you can't stop your fingers and wait 10 seconds to hear me out then I guess the Prime Minister or whatever equally important person can't wait for you to hit that "send" button.

Habit #4 -  Not turning down your ringer in public. I REALLY don't care that you have the latest LMFAO or  Flo Rida song on your phone (I actually had to Google the top singers/songs in the country right now because I am so out of the loop). Turn down your phone so that everyone in the room isn't interrupted by you. Please?

Habit #5 - Placing your cell phone on the restaurant table in front of you during the entire meal and checking it every 5 minutes to see if you got a new message. I will walk up to table with 6 people and there will be 6 shiny phones on the table, just waiting to prove who is the most popular person there tonight. Who will get the most messages? I'm waiting on pins and needles to find out! Put the phone away. Talk to the people who you are meant to enjoying your time with and have some good ol fashioned face to face conversations about meaningful topics. I dare you!

Habit #6 - Standing at the front of the line to pay for your meal, then you whip out the phone to send a text. Three other couples are waiting to pay behind you but you decided in that second to fire off a message and make me stand there holding the debit machine that has your card inserted in it and waiting for your info to complete the transaction/payment. If you can't answer my coffee question and text at the same time, I highly doubt that you can use a debit machine simultaneously as well.

My one big issue with all of this is that millions and millions of people do these things every day and don't even bat an eyelash because it has become their norm. If you are reading this blog post and see nothing wrong with any of my listed habits, that means that you need to first read this or this article about cell phone etiquette and second, you need to disconnect. Turn off the phone and take a moment to enjoy the world in a way that you have forgotten even existed. Go for a walk; leave the phone at home. Take a yoga class, go window shopping  or go have a coffee with a friend (ask him/her to turn their phone off too). I understand that technology is changing every second of every day and that a lot of people salivate at the thought of getting the newest and hottest gadget on the market, but remember there is a world out there and people all around you that deserve courtesy and respect. Every once in a while, especially when out dining in your local food serving establishment, separate yourself from your phone and just enjoy the view.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Hot Athletica

I have been on the fence for the past couple of weeks of whether or not I want to buy a membership for Dynamic Fitness. Every day my interests and longing to practice yoga, whether it be hot yoga or just yoga in my living room, is growing stronger and stronger and I know that if I had a membership that I would be hauling my butt to every yoga class that I could. There are also other classes available at the gym such as cardio spin, Zumba fitness, pilates and reformer. My big dilemma with the whole thing is that I seem to have gotten stuck with all of the lunch shifts during the weekdays at work, which interferes a lot with the classes I want to attend (mostly the hot yoga). So I decided that I would drop into a few of the other classes that they offer and see if I enjoy them enough to use as back-up in case on some days I was to be unable to get to other classes that I really want.

There is a new class that they created called Hot Athletica which is a 45 minute mix of high-intensity cardio intervals, strength training, core work and power yoga in the hot yoga studio (which is 95-100 degrees). Just imagine doing fast-paced yoga, push-ups, burpees, running in place, lunges, squats, jumping, planks...etc in a hot hot room. A lot of members that I have spoken to haven't even tried it yet because they are scared of how hard it is. I thought I would give it a shot today. I'm not gonna lie - I was nervous. The room was a lot warmer than I would have expected it to be and there were only 6 of us brave enough to show up. Within 10 minutes I was dripping with sweat and breathing a lot harder than I would have liked or even like to admit to. I'm in decent shape but I suck when it comes to things like burpees (with push-ups in between to make it that much more fun). I start off strong but lose steam quickly because I lack the upper body strength to do proper push-ups, then I fall behind in the reps and feel guilty and weak. However, on the flip side of that, there were times when I was rocking the moves he was telling us to do which boosted my confidence when I saw others struggling as I did with other moves.

So my personal review of the Hot Athletica class is as follows. Am I glad I attended? Most definitely. Sweating my arse off and surviving the 45 minutes felt good. I am also glad that I tried something new rather than attending a yoga class that I know I would get through no problem. It was also a really nice change from my regular work-outs. One of my greatest fitness faults is that I tend to not push myself hard enough sometimes and get caught in a cycle of doing the same exercises and same routines all of the time, which is not ideal.

A peacock on a fence? How could I
not add this in my indecisive post?
Now the question is, did this class help tip me over the fence towards buying a membership to Dynamic? Maybe. I am still torn because I feel that this was a class that I could do at home in my living-room, apart from the heated room of course. It didn't teach me anything new or make me understand anything differently. What I love about taking yoga classes is that even though I may do the same sequence or pose the following day or day after that, I am constantly learning how to improve the pose to make it work and achieve what it is supposed to do. But then again, apart from doing a P90X video every now and then, I generally do not do work-outs like the Athletica at home so it did inspire me to exercise in a way that I haven't been doing regularly. The main reason I would ever want a Dynamic membership is to frequent as many yoga classes as I could, but I think that if I had a membership and couldn't attend a yoga class then this is a class that I would show up for to mix it up a bit and challenge myself in different ways.

My next class I plan to attend a spin class which is another class I have never done. I don't know why they intimidate me so much, but if I want to be serious about this membership then I have to approach this expensive decision at every angle. My one worry is being hunched over the bike for so long considering I have a less than stellar healthy back/neck record. But I survived the class today so hopefully a spin class would have the same outcome.

Although I did stumble across a couple stories of people dying during a spin class. Like this guy in New Zealand and also this guy in Ottawa.

Wish me luck!