Outside and Active

Today was my favourite type of day- good friends, activity, good food and a little step outside my comfort zone. It reminds me how my students feel when I ask them to do something new:)

I met up with three of my work friends and we bikes between Derby Reach and Fort Langley. It said twenty minutes on the internet site, but we weren’t racing so it took forty five for us.

I was nervous about going as I have never done this type of biking- usually stick to trails or the dykes, but I figured if I was ever going to try more, this was the group to do it with:)

It turned out great as even when we were “on the road” we were actually on a nice little path beside the road that was separated by a wood fence.

Once we made the journey out there, we stopped at the Trading Post Brewing Company for lunch. Contrary to the name, they do have food and not just beer. I split the Farmers Falafel Bowl and the Prawn Tacos with my friend Sue and they were both amazing! I also had a glass of sangria, but I had to ask for more simple syrup as it wasn’t very sweet.

I have to say that none of us were very impressed with our waitress- she was snarky:(

We then made our way back to Derby Reach Park where we had parked. I did better on this ride than I expected and actually successfully used my gears to get up most of the hills. I had one hill each way that I ended up walking, usually because they were very short and steep and came as a surprise. By the end of the trip, I already felt a little more confident on my bike:)

Though note to self- get on finding those padded bike shorts!

When I got home, I had a little nap and then decided that I had to do my run for the day. My run went amazing! Maybe I should bike beforehand more often! I had an average of 6:28/km which I am happy with:)

Knitting:

I finished up the body of my current sweater and now just have to do the sleeves. I’m thinking I might just split the 70 grams I have left in half and knit until each sleeve has used 35 grams. I’m really not sure about this sweater though- it looks really small:(. I wanted to knit two sweaters this summer and if I have to rip this one out, I’ll never make it:(

Cooking:

I knew I had to get going on using the blackberries I had picked as they won’t last until I get back home, so this evening I made two batches of blackberry jam. The first was low sugar and included cinnamon and allspice. I like that it was different and hopefully it tastes good! The second batch was a much more normal berry/sugar blend. I still need to make about another two batches to use up all the berries.

Eating:

Today was better for eating, though I am feeling kind of pudgy tonight:(

Breakfast- crackers and cheese so that the crackers are gone from the house!

Lunch- 2 mini prawn tacos, 1/2 Falafel bowl

Dinner- seafood manicotti and some berries as I was making the jam

Well I just realized I could make some blackberry muffins with some of the berries so I may go do that:)

Have fun!

AJ

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It was a nice day:)

Exercise:

Once again I got out for a run. I really do prefer it when I wake up early enough for a snack before I run. I also found out the 8-9 hour is way too busy on the trail. Once again I didn’t feel like I was having a great run, but my pace was decent.

I really wanted to get more exercise in, but then I realized I needed to get going on some things if I’m leaving Saturday! I washed my kitchen floor, swept, vacuumed, did laundry and dishes instead of working out.

Socializing:

I met up with Anna and Emily and Anna’s boys at a local park today. It was great to spend a couple of hours with old, good friends. We ran around the playground and the water park and then went to a cafe for lunch. The boys were awesome and were asleep before they got out of the parking lot!

This afternoon I had a peaceful hour picking blackberries. I got a ton and didn’t even make it all the way around the area. I decided to just pick one big bowl full and deal with those before I go back to pick any more.

Reading:

I finished Hold On To Me by Jules Bennett today. I was so excited to be approved for this book as I have loved her others in the series.

The third installment in the Haven airport series.

Jade and Cash knew each other in school and became better acquainted when their friends paired off, however, they’ve never gotten along as they are opposites. One weekend in Nashville changes all of that!

I loved this third book in the series! The characters are complex and interesting and so well described. I definitely had a picture of them in my mind! The surrounding friend group is just as present and wonderful as it has been in the previous books. They really do round out the book beautifully.

The pace of this book is great! It’s definitely not insta love, in fact I wouldn’t say this perfectly follows any popular trope, but that just makes it better! There are no lulls you have to wade through, not any unrealistic moments.

I would highly recommend this book, though I would read the first two books in the series before this one.

Thanks to Jules Bennett, Kensington Books and NetGalley for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Eating:

I’ve had a weird eating day.

Breakfast- cheese and tomato omelette

Snack- vegan orchard cookie- the only thing the cafe had that I could eat

Lunch- shrimp plate from Costco

Dinner- cheese and crackers- I just couldn’t stop eating the crackers. I’m going to be mad at myself tomorrow for this!

Well I’m going to go find another book to read:)

Have fun!

AJ

Trivia Tuesday #17

It was a quiet morning, but that was quite lovely.

Exercise:

I didn’t really want to go running and didn’t feel like it was going great when I was out there, but I did get 3.5km in at a decent speed, so we’ll call that a success.

I also did a quick workout I found on Instagram in the late morning. 30 sumo squats, 30 walking lunges, 80 high knees, 30 bridges, 40 curtsy lunges and 40 jumping jacks. I probably should have done it at least 1-2 more times, but I didn’t.

Knitting:

I spent some time knitting in circles and am in the hip area of my sweater so will hopefully be done soon!

Podcast:

As I was knitting I listened to a couple of episodes of Marathon Training Academy and once again quite enjoyed it. Does anyone know of a good knitting podcast?

Car:

I had car trouble on my way home from my trip so went by the mechanic today to find out what was wrong. It’s unfortunately the knock sensor which means the car won’t quit on me but will drive horribly and cost a lot to fix because the engine has to be pulled to get at it:(😖😖😖

Trivia:

After a lovely massage I took myself off to trivia. It was a fun group of five tonight. What I knew:

Who sang I Don’t Dance?

Lee Brice

What is the first name of Nobel?

Alfred

Who is the richest man in the world?

Mark Bezoz

What number did Pavel Bute wear other than 10?

96

Who played Princess Laia in Star Wars?

Carrie Fisher

Which European country, other than Russia, has the greatest population?

Germany

Which colour is missing from the rainbow in this list: yellow, green, red, violet, blue, orange

Indigo

Who plays guitar for The Rolling Stones?

Keith Richards

Put these people in order oldest to youngest. Hirohito, Ivan the Terrible, Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan, Ivan the Terrible, Hirohito

What money is used in Mexico?

Pesos

Which country foes Sergio Garcia come from?

Spain

Well I’m going to go read my new book!

Walking, Walking, Walking

Sorry about no post yesterday. I actually fell asleep sideways across my bed and didn’t wake up until this morning!

Reading:

I finished Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish by Grace Burrowes yesterday morning.

What a great read! Lady Sophia Wyndham has schemed to have some time alone before joining all of her family for Christmas. Of course this alone time flies out the window when she finds herself with a baby and a man as houseguests.

I love how Lady Sophia is a strong, capable and sensible character who also has honest emotions. She’s a complicated character who is realistic. Com Charpentier, our hero, is also multifaceted and who can resist a man who is capable with a baby?!?!

The background characters are also wonderful! I’ve always loved the Wyndham family with their scheming. They seem so high and mighty until one of their own needs a nudge to have a happy ending:)

Vim’s family is just as sweet in this book though. His aunt and uncle have schemed to get him back to the family seat and they are determined to help him have a happy ending.

The characters take centre stage in this book and make it a wonderful adventure to read.

Thank you to Grace Burrowes, the publisher and NetGalley for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I met up with two friends and we walked the seawall from downtown to Granville Island. This is just over 5km. We had lunch at a new spot on Granville Island called Poppino. It was good, but the only thing I was allowed was a cheeseburger without the cheese. Oh well, it was yummy and I was in a beautiful spot with great friends.

We looked around the market and the netloft but none of us bought anything.

As we were starting our walk home, we went by the water park and one of the ice cream places I follow on Instagram was there! I finally got to try Hello Sweets! I had really wanted to try their ice cream sandwich, but they were sold out so I had their most popular flavour of ice cream which is marshmallow. T was super yummy, but also super rich!!!! It’s definitely worth a tasting if you come across them.

After walking back, enjoying the sunshine I came home and fell asleep. Lol a nice day, but obviously not exciting enough to keep me awake!

Have fun!

AJ

Returning Home and Reading Galore

A holiday coming to an end is always tough!

Exercise:

Lyndsay and I got out this morning for a run. Seattle has a beautiful path along the water. Just head down to the water and it seems to run the whole way. I did about 7.2km while Lyndsay did almost the whole 10.8. It was gorgeous, cool, busy and it felt great!

This evening I went for my usual walk around the inlet:) It was truly a spectacular evening.

Eating:

After our run we got cleaned up and went in search of breakfast. We finally ended up at the Heart and Hunter in the Palihotel. I have to say that we’ve been super unimpressed with the service in Seattle and this place was no different. I ended up with fruit salad as that’s all they had that was gluten free and dairy free and it turned out to be just apple, banana and grapes. I have never seen such a monochromatic fruit salad before! This and tea cost me $13 and took over an hour to get and consume! I wasn’t impressed! Then the waiter took my Visa card and then proceeded to wander around doing every other job before coming back with my credit card:( Ugh I’m looking forward to having my own kitchen back!

Traveling:

We got checked out and headed home. It was a quiet trip as both my passengers napped. It was lovely until just north of Seattle my check engine light and VSC lights came on. All of my gauges stayed normal so I continued, but worried the whole way home:(

After a stop at Trader Joe’s we got home without incident:)

Reading:

I finished The Marquis she’s been Waiting For by Ella Quinn today.

What an excellent book! Lady Dorie is a strong woman with a lot of knowledge of how t run a household and an estate. Alex, Lord Exeter, has absolutely no knowledge, but just wants Dorie as a wife. Dorie is holding out for a love match, but perhaps during her lessons to him, they can both get what they want.

I loved the characters in this story. Dorie is a strong, capable woman who is not afraid to wait for what she wants. I also liked how Alex recognized her strengths and valued them.

The family was lovely as well!

This is definitely a sweet, rather than steamy read, but well worth reading if you enjoy historical romances. I am curious about the other books in the series, but this can definitely be read as a stand-alone.

Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the free ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

It must have been a reading day because I finished a second ARC called One Summer Weekend by Shannon Stacey.

The story of Carly and Noah. They have been friends forever, but while Carly is protecting Noah’s back- they may become more.

This story was super quick and cute! The perfect read for a day at the beach!

The friends to lovers plot line was well done and completely convincing! It also had a super cute HEA scene. I loved how it had an epilogue to let the reader know what happened later too.

Thanks to Shannon Stacey, Carina Press and NetGalley for the free ARC in e change for an honest review.

I am so exhausted that I’m off to bed! I will tackle pictures tomorrow as I missed be able to share what I was seeing with you all.

Have fun!

AJ

Start of an Adventure

Well yesterday I set off on a girl’s weekend with two friends from work.

I ran around like a headless chicken before we left as there always seems to be too much to do!

I was driving and we made the decision to go to a further border crossing instead of waiting in line at the near one. It turned out to be a great idea as there were only two cars ahead of us and I got to see scenery I hadn’t before.

We drove with only one stop to the Tulalip outlets. We spent a couple of hours shopping. I bought a pair of shorts and a skirt from J Crew that have the cutest scalloped edge. Lyndsay won for buying the most though.

Before leaving the outlets we had happy hour at RAM. Wow they give a lot of food here. I was under the impression that I would choose either veggies, naan or tortilla chips with my hummus but it came with all three!! It was fine, but just Costco hummus.

We carried on and found our hotel, the Crowne Plaza, right downtown without too many problems. We changed and then headed out to have a look around. Lyndsay and Corianne really wanted to dance, but we never did find anywhere. We went to Purple which was quite the wine bar. The menu is actually a binder full of information about wines. I had a glass of very sweet wine there. It was okay, but nothing to write home about.

We then moved onto the Triple Doors which we were told had live music. It did but not really dance music. It was still nice and their curry fries were amazing!

We then wandered around, but didn’t find anything else to check out. By the time we finally got back to the hotel, my feet were cut up by my shoes:(

I went straight to bed as I was beyond tired!

Well, I’m going to read my book until everyone else wakes up and we start another day:)

Have fun!

AJ

Get Up and Get Moving

There was just no time for laying around this morning. I had to hit the ground running.

Exercise:

I got out for a 5km run this morning and it felt really good! There were a couple of times in the middle where I had to repeat, “I feel good” to keep going, but I did and hit some nice times too:)

After a quick stretch I had to do my weights routine right away as I probably won’t have time later.

I did three sets of 12 with no rest between of the following:

Calf raises-10,8,7

Hamstring curls-10,8,7

Reverse lunges- 10,8,7

Squats- 10,8,7

Deadlift- 10,8,10

Bridge- 10s

Full sit up- 10s

Dead bugs-4s

Chest press- 10,8,7

Flies- 7,5,4

Bent over row- 10,8,7

Bicep curls-7,5,4

Overhead tricep extension-10,8,7

Front raise-7,5,4

Shoulder press-10,8,7

At least I got rid of all the two pounds out of this routine. Now I just need to track down my 12 pound weights before next week.

Socializing:

I had arranged to spend the day with a bunch of friends at a friend’s lake house. It was an awesome afternoon with friends. We walked around the area looking at all the houses, had an awesome barbecue, spent some time in the water and on the dock, and did lots of talking.

Well I need sleep as I’ve gotten none of the things done that I was supposed to so tomorrow morning is going to be busy!

Have fun!

AJ

The To Do List

The to-do list ruled my day and even for me, it was a long one!

House:

I had people coming over this afternoon so got busy this morning getting my house cleaned and tidied. I should have people over more often- it would probably stay cleaner!

Exercise:

I got out for a 3km run this morning and it felt really good. I wasn’t pushing myself or worried about pace- just plodding along, which of course, meant I did better than normal. I did a total of 124.1km this month and have caught up on my monthly goal. I’ve actually gotten an extra 6km done and am hoping to do a little extra in August too to ease my September which is usually crazy busy!

I got a walk in this evening just because it was beautiful!

Baking:

I’m out with friends tomorrow and needed to do some baking, especially for Sally’s Monthly Baking Challenge which for July was no-Bake cheesecake. I really wasn’t sure how the cheesecake was going to turn out since I had to make it vegan, so I made some mini blueberry tarts first.

The cheesecake did turn out well and was super easy. I took one block of vegan cream cheese and mixed it with a tablespoon of lemon, the zest of a lemon, a teaspoon of vanilla, two tablespoons of sour cream and mixed it until it was smooth. I then mixed in a container of coco whip and poured it over a base of one cup of gluten free graham cracker crumbs mixed with two tablespoons vegan butter spread. On top of the cheesecake layer I made a blueberry sauce and did a layer of that. Blueberry sauce is so easy to make and only takes nine minutes! Put two cups of blueberries in a saucepan along with 1/3 cup sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla. In a small dish combine one tablespoon corn starch with two teaspoons water. Heat the blueberry mix over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves- about five minutes. Then mix in the cornstarch and stir until thickened- about three minutes. I threw a piece of mint on top of the cheesecake just so I could use more herbs from my garden:). I tested their recipe out on my friends this afternoon and they both said it was super yummy!

I’ll let you know what my friends tomorrow say.

Knitting:

I had to get all my yarn off my floor and put away today. I did end up being able to separate each weight into a separate box, though the worsted is actually in a garbage bag for now.

I had offered to teach my friend’s daughter to knit. I used to have a knitting club at school and have missed this element of my life this year.

I can’t believe how quickly Tavia caught on. She already had seven rows done in less than an hour! It would seem that she is a natural.

I also got some more of my summer tee done. I’m onto the endless stockinette in the round, so am watching movies as I knit forever!

Eating:

Today was supposed to be a super careful eating day, but trying the treats threw that out:(

I had a cheese omelette for breakfast, a poke bowl for lunch and mini tarts and cheesecake for dinner. I had to make sure I wasn’t going to poison anyone!

I was so happy to see that the poke bowl I’ve been eyeing was on sale, that I bought it without checking it out. Turned out it just had two packages of tuna and two packages of poke sauce in it and the poke sauce had gluten in it. Thankfully I discovered that before I ate it! I made a poke sauce and had one of the packages of tuna along with half an avocado. Yum!

Back to knitting!

Have fun!

AJ

Trivia Tuesday #16

Well my day had a few changes and was a lot cooler, but overall, quite a nice vacation day:)

Exercise:

I got out this morning for a 3km easy run. This is all bonus mileage for the month so didn’t want to go crazy, but wanted to stay in the routine. It’s a good thing I wasn’t going for time or anything as I got stopped by an old neighbor and talked with him for a while.

This evening I went out for a walk. I looked at doing a workout but didn’t want to get hot and sweaty before trivia so decided on a 6km walk instead. It was great to see one of my old students out running with her dad!

Socializing:

I met up with Corianne and Lyndsay to plan out our road trip to Seattle this weekend. I wasn’t much help until I had processed it all and responded this evening at 5pm. Boy am I a slow processor! I think we’re going to have a lot of fun!

Eating:

I had blueberries for breakfast and when I met up with Lyndsay and Corianne I gave into temptation and had the waffles at Green Mustache again. Cori and I really should have shared it as it was entirely too much food for me! I hope she’s willing to share food this weekend!

For dinner I am super proud of myself for making the decision to eat a salmon patty at home and just have a sangria at the pub.

I worked out that 20% of my meals for the week is four meals and that’s been really helping me lately to stay on track. I know my weekend will all be out so I have to keep this in mind!

Knitting:

I have spent some more time sorting my yarn by weight and it seems to be going okay. I just have to decide now if I’m going to group lace, light fingering and fingering in one box, sport and DK in another and worsted and bulky in a third or try to have each on a separate box. Thoughts and opinions are appreciated:)

I’ve also been knitting on my crewneck, raglan sweater and am quite happy with it, though as usual I am worried it’s going to be too big:(

I had to pass two tops onto Lyndsay and Cori today as they are just too big for me.

Trivia:

It was just the three of us and you could definitely tell!

What I knew:

A popular song by Chumbawumba?

Tubthumping

The next five words in the song American Pie?

How to dance real slow

How is insulation rated?

R Value

What is the number one tho g men ask their wives for permission?

Going out with the guys

Put these fractions in order smallest to greatest.

7/12, 5/8, 2/3

What is an Elvis Presley song with Blue in the title?

Blue Suede Shoes

A song by Faith Hill…

Breathe

The number one hit song from 2018? (Shown a picture of the singers)

Shallow by Lady Gaga

What was the job of the seven dwarves?

Miners

What is the most important book to Muslims?

Quran

Who was James Bond’s secretary?

Miss Moneypenny

Who produced and co-wrote Uptown Funk?

Mark Ronson

Well that’s it for me as I have a new book to read:)

Have fun!

AJ

Out, In, Out, In,…my life has a pattern lately

After being out all day yesterday, I had a much quieter day today.

Exercise:

I set the alarm so I would get up early enough to head out along a main road. It has little shade so I knew I had to get the run done early. I had forgotten how nice it can be to run the main road and get a lovely few seconds of break each block or so, as long as I have my auto pause on so it doesn’t affect my pace too much. I also discovered that it is 156 squares from the bottom of the hill to the top. For some reason counting squares really helps me get up the hill. The furthest I had to run was five blocks straight and I got 6.7km in which gets me completely caught up on my yearly mileage🎊🎉. Now I have two days to get a little ahead in mileage in case something happens in the future.

I also got a workout in this afternoon. I love my usual workouts, but have been feeling like I really need to do some concentrated weights, so today I went bottom to top, trying to hit all my muscle groups. I did 3 sets of 12 of each exercise with no rest between sets, but decreasing the weight each time. The amount of weight (in pounds) is what changed depending on the exercise. I did:

Calf raises- 10, 7, 4

Hamstring curls- 7s for all 3 rounds

Reverse lunges- 10,7,4

Squats- 10,7,4

Deadlift- 10,7,4

Bridge- 10s for all 3 rounds

Full sit up- 10s for all 3 rounds

Dead bugs- 2s for all 3 rounds

Stopped and stretched all my lower body muscles

Chest press- 10,7,4

Flies- 7,4,2

Bent over rows- 10,7,4

Bicep curls- 7,4,2

Overhead tricep extension- 10,7,4

Front raise- 7,4,2

Shoulder press- 10,7,4

Stretched all upper body muscles

I would like to find my 5lb weights and get rid of the 2s. I think I’ll try to get to this workout once a week at least as I really liked it, though I don’t like how difficult it is to get to my workout gear right now!

I finally also went for a walk this evening, just because it was so beautiful!

Knitting:

I was so happy to be able to start my sweater today. I had already decided I wanted to use the Cascade Heritage Prints yarn I had bought for the April Tank for a tee for myself. I quickly realized I didn’t want a v-neck though because the stripes didn’t line up properly. I ripped it all out and have started again with a crew neck raglan sweater, though I’m having to make up the pattern myself as there didn’t seem to be one for fingering weight yarn on Ravelry:(. Oh well, so far I’m happy with it.

I also spent some time starting to sort my yarn by weight. I thought this might be a better way now that I have multiple colours of one yarn. It would also allow me to see which yarns I could combine to make multi-colour projects. During this process, I also got some more of my yarn entered into my Ravelry stash. My goal is to have it all there so this also made me happy!

Reading:

I finally finished my latest NetGalley book, The One Who Stays by Toni Blake.

This is the story of Meg, an innkeeper on Summer Island who has a lot of soul searching to do when two men are in her life. She has had an open relationship with Zach for five years as he leaves for long periods as a commercial fisherman. However, Zach then enters the picture as a handyman around the inn.

I would definitely call this novel women’s fiction rather than a romance novel. Yes there were elements of romance, but there was a lot more introspection and angst than action. At one point I really wanted to tell Meg to shut up and have a glass of wine.

There were elements that I really enjoyed too though which saved the book. I recently heard Sarah Morgan say that a well written setting becomes another character in the book and this is definitely true in this book. Blake paints a beautiful picture of Summer Island as a peaceful, friendly, safe island where one can go to heal. I could see it in my head and wanted to go there. It also played a large part in the story.

The characters were interesting and well written. I felt like I could also picture them, however I really had a difficult time liking Meg!

Finally, the diary element of the story was very cool and the ending was super unexpected! It was sweet and surprising which made me happy I had finished the book.

Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and author for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Well, I’m going back to my sweater!

Have fun!

AJ