Thursday, 30 May 2013

Snickers wasn't the answer

Sydney had a few hits of fog these past few days.

Fog is much darker, and much less glamorous, when you're waiting for a delayed train on your way to work in the morning rush...

The fog work made me sad and tired so I ate a Snickers bar (totally breaking this no-sugar thing).

It made me feel bloated and overly excited during my yoga class that evening. I won't be seeing you again, Mr. Snickers. No, I won't.... (no promises).

Luckily, today dawned clear, blue, and beautiful. So I didn't have to shove my face in candy bars to make myself feel alive.

I went for a run! A glorious, sun-filled run!

I'm still recovering from whatever little bug I caught on Tuesday, so I stopped plenty along the way for pictures, and to gasp for air.

I ran/strolled down to Berry's Reserve, just about a 10/15 mins from our house.

My stats:
2.76 miles
35 minutes
average pace 12.46 min/mile

I came home and duckered around (oh, Internet, how do you make Time disappear?). Suddenly, I felt the great urge for a nap. This has never happened to me before! After a run, I'm usually pumped like a 9-year-old overdosing on Halloween candy. How did this happen?

I woke up to Steven calling me on his lunch break. He basically told me to get my shit together and do some yoga because it makes me a more tolerable person (not true, both that I'm incurably intolerable and he didn't say that. He said something like, "Hi, oh were you asleep?!" but that's no fun.)

So I did my practice like a grown up.

I ate this afterwards:

I call it the Irish diet--leftover potatoes with any random stuff you can find.

Annnd... I'm still hungry.

Off to make some real food!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013


This year has been one heck of a year for bugs invading my body. It's only May and I swear I have been sick nearly once a month.

That being said, this sickness isn't nearly as bad as the week before New Zealand. I still sneeze up some disgusting boogers in the morning, my throat feels raw, and my nose drips whenever I hold my head down at a forty-five degree angle... like I am typing this...

Because my head didn't feel woolly or sledgehammer-y this morning, I decided to give "Ashtanga while sick" another try.

Remember this? And my subsequent regret in trying it?

Surprisingly, I was strong through the warm up. It felt like I could breathe deeper and fuller as I hung upside-down in Downward Facing Dog. In the standing postures, my legs felt steady and grounded. Jumping back and forward, my arms felt strong and powerful.

I even did 3 drop backs, lift-ups, and headstand (not in that order).

Compared to the last time I attempted to practice while (severely) sick, this felt like a breeze! I am glad I did it.

Tonight, Steven and I had originally planned to sign up for a gym membership at Crunch fitness near our house. They have this awesome deal where if one person signs up, the other person can get in free each time.

We went for our free trial over the weekend, and both of us love the size of the place (huge!), the facilities (weights in pounds!), and the friendly staff (he seriously did look like a Ken doll). I did a challenging treadmill hill run, and gloried in the fact that I didn't have to inflict sharp downhills on my 90-year-old knees.

Anyway, we'll probably hold off on going to the gym until I feel 100% again.

Plus, my arms are sore.

BACK TO BED (as if I ever left)!

By the way, these are the best tissues ever invented. It feels like I'm disinfecting my nose each time I shove one of these up in my nostrils to stop the drip.

Sexy mental image, eh?

You're welcome.

A Snapshot of my Vegetarian Diet...

It's not exactly healthy, but here's what I eat on a daily/weekly basis. 

Raisin toast, cheese and kiwi fruit...

Baked potato, sour cream, cheese, and tomato (yes, in front of the TV)...

Probably my healthiest mid-work-day lunch:

Followed by banana bread and a huge coffee.

Then, once a week, Steven and I will indulge in my favourite place in Sydney: Kurtosh.

Huh... I should probably do better than this, shouldn't I...

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Tourists for the day

Steven took Tuesday off work, so we decided to spend the day in Sydney like proper tourists.

I started my day with a run.

I tried to start conservatively, but from the looks of my splits, I failed pretty miserably.

I was running a new route over to Sawmiller's Reserve, which I visited on one of my walks previously. It's a beautiful park, but the hills, especially the downhills, were tough on my knees. Next week, I will definitely have to pick a flatter course.

I came home and did a bit of yoga and stretching, and then Steven and I got ready for our big touristy day in Sydney.

On today's agenda was the National Maritime Museum, which definitely ranks as one of the coolest museums I've ever visited.

The museum owns several ships, ranging from historic war cruisers to dinky little sailboats.

We first went aboard the HMAS Vampire. Yep. They named this war cruiser 'VAMPIRE'.

The cruiser was fitted as if for war, complete with shots and turrets, a bunch of really small bunks, and the wonderful galley (i.e. Bat Cave). Our guide told us about how the turrets were not bolted into the ship, so if it capsized, it would sacrifice a turret and right itself back up.

Next, we visited the coolest thing ever: A SUBMARINE.

I'm on a boat, so I'm doing a (standing) boat pose..... GET IT?!?! Yah, I'm witty.

It was sooo tiny in the submarine. We had to literally duck and squeeze through doorways and portal things. Lots of fun!

Last of all, we visited a replica of James Cook's Endeavour.

Unfortunately, we don't have any pictures of the inside of the ship, which was very detailed and cool. It felt like we were on a Pirates of the Caribbean ship. There was history everywhere!

The coolest thing is, the Maritime Museum puts all their ships out to sea once in a while so that the ships don't just sit in the harbour and get rusty. The Endeavour took several journeys around Australia with a crew who paid to live on the ship, sleep in hammocks, eat potatoes, and basically re-live the good ol' days (minus scurvy). Wouldn't that be a cool adventure?

After the museum, I was starving so we went to the Harbourside shopping centre next door for some lunch.

I tried Grill'd's veggie and dukkah salad, which was decent, but nothing to get excited over, really.

By the time we got home, I was pretty tired from my run and all the wandering around learning.

What are some of the coolest museums you've been to?

Adventures in Acro Yoga

For the past 2 weekends, Steven and I attended an Acro Yoga workshop that taught us to become legit Yoga Ninjas.


I am Batninjawoman. You all shall marvel at my hanging capabilities (har-har).

It was an incredible experience! The people were so kind and helpful, and it makes you want to be kind and helpful back. It's like a positive feedback kindness loop that spins you 'round until you don't have any doubts left. I hope one day I get to do something like this again.

Steven and I will be practicing on our living room floor as much as we can (and hopefully not breaking any furniture or bones). Even ninjas can lose their ninja skills over time. Gotta stay sharp!

In other news, I woke up to this beauty on Monday morning:

Because of the darkness of my skin and my super-human abilities to heal, I don't often get visible bruises, so this really delights me. It must have been in 'Star', the pose where I'm balancing on my shoulders on Steven's feet.

I consider this PROOF that I really am a ninja!

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Oh JEEZ what HAPPENED last night?!

No. No, I didn't get trashed and have to be rescued from the bathroom (where I passed out), carried out of the club, eventually collapsed on the dirty sidewalk in a pile of disgust and humiliation while my friends called a cab.

That never happened to me.

ANYWAY, those days are OVER and I'm trying to figure out this healthy living stuff, right? Because it makes me feel better, more capable, stronger, and generally like a ninja kicking ass at life. So this week I cut sugary treats and desserts out of my diet. 

The results had been GREAT (especially since I have had NO knee pain, not even a bit)!

Then, last night happened....

Steven and I had tickets to see the Australian Ballet perform Vanguard. After work, we got takeaway Thai food from a restaurant down the road. We had to chow down pretty quickly before we rushed to the Sydney Opera House for the ballet.

It was a stunning performance and I loved every minute of it!

It made me want to do this:

But when I woke up this morning, I felt more or less like a truck hit me.

During my morning Ashtanga practice, my concentration was off, my hamstrings were stiff as ice, and my arms felt wobbly nearly throughout. By the time I got to Marichiyasana C, I was FINALLY feeling more like my regular self, but not as flexible or strong. (Drop backs were hellish)

It's hard to pick out what made such a big difference in my practice this morning, as a whole lot of factors were at play last night.

1) I ate take-out Thai, which probably had lots of added sugar, salt, and oil.
2) I spent much of my Friday work day sitting at my desk.
3) I wore a dress to the ballet, so I had to sit like a lady for the 3 hours of the show.
4) I had a glass of wine during intermission.

I know I've said it before, but it really does bear repeating: food is the single largest effector of change in your body. I'm surrounded by people preaching on about how you must fuel your body for your activities, and you can't expect to build muscle and strength without proper food. This week, I guess the message is FINALLY hitting home.

I'm no longer a young, limber 22 year old who can eat whatever she wants with no consequences, especially if I want to enjoy my yoga practice and run injury-free for the rest of my life.

I'm not too sure where I'm going with all of this--after all, I've already cut out meat and sugary treats. When I figure it out, I'll be sure to let you know.

Sorry for being such a downer on your Saturday morning!

Here is a picture of my dog to cheer you up:

Works every time!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Cutting out Sugar

I might have a bit of a problem with sugar.

I used to take down a donut a day in Toronto....

Cupcakes couldn't cross my path without being destroyed...

And oh no, I didn't forget you juicy delicious fresh mango pastry....

Ohh baby, Tim Tams...

Where am I going with this again?


I decided to cut myself off.

Almost every night after dinner, I'd find myself rummaging through the pantry for a sweet something, or walking over to our local Kurtosh (BEST PLACE IN THE WORLD!) for dessert.

It got to the point where I couldn't just stop at one cookie or a piece of chocolate. I had an entire bar, a package, a slab (of cake.. mmmm). I just didn't have the heart to stop myself. I thought, "I'm active and healthy generally, this can't hurt me, nothing can hurt me, CUPCAKES AND I ARE GOING TO BE TOGETHER FOREVER AND EVER WAHHHARHARHARHARHAR!"

Totally not an exaggeration of my feelings for cupcakes.

In the end, I just don't want to be controlled by my food. I want to be able to enjoy some sugar sometimes, not a shipping-container-load of sugar after every meal. Plus, those pesky little things like diabetes and obesity.

So I started on Monday, and so far the results have been great.

Because I'm not shoveling cookies in my face after dinner, I finish eating a lot earlier than before. As a result, I wake up feeling less sluggish and cookie-hungover. My morning Ashtanga practices are much stronger, and my flexibility is better.

However, I'm not cutting sugar completely out of my life (even though it's probably a good idea.).

Sugar is one of the best ways to replenish stores of glycogen in your body, especially after an activity like running (or doing Ashtanga for an hour and a half), so I'm still having fruit juice, fruit, smoothies, and the occasional Starbucks latte.

I don't think I'll be able to cut out sugar completely. After all, the forces of travel and limited kitchen appliances are at play here in Sydney. But I'm very happy with the start I've made, and I think it will be easy to maintain until I decide to take it further (or re-unite with the love of my life).

Have a great Thursday everyone!

Saturday, 11 May 2013

How I'm managing to (sort of) not run

Autumn in Sydney packs some serious beauty. The eucalyptus is starting to turn reddish, and the morning and nights are chilly, but midday is still sunny and gorgeous.

I successfully took a week off running to help my knee heal, and it seemed to help a lot. Combined with a lot of yoga, I felt pretty good by Tuesday, so I went for a short run.

I took it really, REALLY slow...

It felt so good to romp among the trees, along the water, and under the sun.

I was meaning to go for another (longer) run today, but my knee has been acting up again, so it will have to be postponed. Worse of all, it's GORGEOUS outside, and I have tons of energy. Maybe I'll do pushups until my arms fall off instead.

In other news, Steven's co-workers gave him some books for me to look at.

I haven't really studied the walks yet, but there are lots of popular ones that are in my "Sydney Harbour Walks" book, too.

I really want to do a long, 4-hour-ish walk, but it may have to wait until late May or June as I'll probably be busy with work.

Until then, I'll be closely monitoring my knee before I hit the pavement again.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

How did this turn into a travel blog? Canberra and Au Lac Vegetarian Restaurant

Last weekend, Steven and I planned a getaway to the capital city of Australia, Canberra. It is a planned city, complete with man-made lake, parliamentary houses, and a ton of national museums and monuments.

There was a lot of map-turning, shoulder-shrugging, and, "Which way do we go?!"

Luckily, if you skip anything, you really aren't missing much. Canberra is, hands-down, the most boring Australian city I have been to yet! On Sunday afternoon, the Parliamentary Triangle was nearly void of people.

So we put on our game faces and brought the ruckus.

The National Gallery:

The National Portrait Museum:

The National Museum of Australia:

And our everybody's favourite, the science museum Questacon.

Here, Giant Squid call the shots.

The first few levels of Questacon are quite tame, because the bottom floor is where all the action is at!

We got to play with puzzles...

No, I wasn't smart enough to solve this puzzle on my own, but neither were the people behind us! YAY for average intelligence!!

Steven rode on the 360 swing and made it all the way around a few times.

We also tested our reflexes against an air hockey robot!

It's hard to make out with all the glare, but the yellow robot to the right is playing the guy in the black t-shirt on the left. The creepy floating figure in red is a Glare Ghost.

I also really liked the National War Memorial. We got there around sunset, about 4:45 PM.

They put on a closing ceremony every day to tell the story of one brave Australian soldier. It was a very unique experience, and we got to hear the Australian national anthem!

Steven and I went for dinner at a popular Vietnamese vegetarian restaurant that got a lot of good online reviews: Au Lac in Dickson (a suburb of Canberra).

In no particular order, we had...

Soy duck wraps - not enough soy, too much wrap.

Eggplant in a clay pot - too simply flavoured for me. I like my eggplant saucy and tasty!

Soy chicken in peanut satay sauce - nothing special about this sauce, really, I think I've had better out of a can.

Fried soy Shanton chicken - average. Not a big fan of mouthfuls of soy meat that aren't especially delicious.

And rice noodles with spring rolls and veggies - my favourite dish of all we ordered. They had some really nice dried radish throughout it, and the vinegary sauce was delicious.

The verdict:

Canberra scores a 8/10 on the "Creepy Big City Where No One Lives Nor Wants to Live" scale.

Au Lac scores a 8/10 on the "Overpriced and Only Slightly Fancier Than At Home Vegetarian Food" scale.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Day 5 in New Zealand: Our last day!

This is the fifth and last installment of Steven and my adventures in New Zealand in April 2013. You can find the first, second, third and fourth posts at the links provided! Cheers!

Our last day in New Zealand started with lots of phone calls to the NZone Skydive company, trying to work out whether or not Steven could skydive that day.

It was rainy and wet in the beginning of the day, so we didn't hold out much hope for the early morning jump.

There were clear skies in the distance, so we agreed to push back the skydive from 7 AM to 10, then to 12, and finally at 1 PM they decided they were not jumping for the day because of wind.

Steven threw the biggest man-tantrum in the world (not true, he just sort of went, "Ah well."), so I took him for the next best thing in the world, a hike!

The hike up to the top of the Queenstown Gondola is actually quite difficult. It's an hour-long hike that is slippery when the ground is wet, and ALL UPHILL.

I know, I know, complaining about a hike going UPHILL is like complaining the sky is blue. But some hikes will flatten out in some areas, maybe even dip in some others, and generally go uphill, giving you the impression that you are far stronger than you actually are.

Not this one. It hits you over the head with uphill-ness and then knocks you down flat cuz you suck at climbing uphill for an hour.

Luckily, the views at the top were as amazing as ever, so Steven and I had something to gaze at as we sucked wind and congratulated each other on beating the two old people up the mountain (they came trotting up minutes later, in considerably less visible pain, BUT WE STILL WON).

Going down was easier and quicker (I heart Gravity). By the time we were at the bottom, both of us needed a bite to eat.

I had THE BEST boston cream donut ever from the Freg Bakery which is next door to the very popular Ferg Burger (Our opinion? Good, but nothing very original or mind-blowingly delicious for vegetarians.)

The pies and savoury items looked great, but I went with the honkin' huge Boston Cream donut, which was filled with the best vanilla cream I've ever tasted. Towards the end, though, I was starting to feel a little sick from the sugar overload. This is definitely a donut to split between two people!

The rest of the night was lovely. Steven and I had a beautiful dinner and turned in early.

The next morning, we said our goodbyes to the wildlife here on this New Zealand adventure:

Random emu-like dinosaur statue in the park....

And kiwi bird park that we never went into....

Goodbye New Zealand, and we hope dearly to see you again in the future!