Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Reality Check

Well it has been just over two weeks since my last post and I need a reality check.

I am now down to 226 lbs and I am hating the 220's! After the Black Friday weekend I got down to 227 (mostly because of sickness induced lack of eating) and then quickly went back up. My body has a hard time with lack of food and then eating again.

Well I've been blah about my weight loss because I have just a short 3 weeks or 21 days until the trip to Cuba. The entire time I have had a goal of 210 before getting to Cuba and now it really seems like I will not make it to that weight and I am frustrated.

The worst part is I often feel like I have made no progress at all - which is an utterly STUPID thought considering that I have lost 32.8 lbs since September (so 16 weeks...) how on earth can ANYONE think that loosing on average 2 lbs a week is bad?!?! seriously.

Well in part the frustration comes in because I have hovered around the same weight for the last two weeks (or so it has felt) and it doesn't seem like my clothes are fitting any different.

Silly silly thoughts I know and they were made worse this weekend with a trip to the swim suit store to pick up something for Cadence. I looked at the suites and thought there is no way I can fit anything other than the ugly "fat" ones and here I have done all of this work to get no where.

Then there was the thoughts of still not being able to shop in any regular stores and having to visit plus size stores. I sat and thought about just saying screw it all and then going to get some Popcorn and pretzel. Then something stopped me and I thought about all of the hard work, the 1.5-2 hours a day I spend at the gym away from my home, my daughter trying to get the weight off and I do NOT want to go back I do NOT want to have to go through this again. The momentary up or fuzzy feeling I would get from the food would be far far out weighed by the guilt of eating the food, by the icky way it would make me feel and most importantly by the time I would have to spend at the gym making up for giving into the temptation.

I sat and contemplated this for a few minutes. My real fear was walking into a store that carries clothes from 0-18 and then looking at me and saying "your too fat to be here loser". I then made the decision that I have let fear rule enough of my life and my decisions and that I will never be able to do the thing that I think I can't do otherwise ANYTHING is possible.

So I went into the store, grabbed two pair of pants and a shirt and headed to the change room as quick as possible and tried not to be noticed.

I went into the room and start thinking of all of the excuses about not wanting to try anything else on as I got undressed and started to put the clothes on.... and guess what?!? The size 18 was LOOSE not falling off but loose. I could have cried. I came out and talked with the associate and finally had the courage to just say what was happening. I explained that I have lost 30+ lbs and I didn't know what size I was and I need help finding clothes.

So they brought me a size 16 skirt suite and I tried it on and it fit wonderfully - ever so tight around my tummy but it FIT.

It was one of the best moments I've had so far.

I know that I will not likely hit my goal of 210lbs for Cuba but I am ok with that - it was a lofty goal to start with and I am proud of my success and I am not going to let the fact that I will fall slightly short deter me from continuing.

I have a new goal - my 30th Birthday is coming up at the end of June - I have 27 weeks and my goal is to be at 170 lbs by then.

In order to achieve the goal I would need to loose 56 lbs from today or just over 2 lbs a week consistently until then.

I don't honestly know when I was last 170 lbs. Unfortunately, I ignored my weight once I started to gain. When I graduated from high school I was 155 lbs and the next weight I knew was 235lbs I don't remember any other point along the way.

So right now I am looking forward to one number 200 LBS and no longer being above that number.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Progress Report

Well it certainly has been a while since I posted and here is where things are at....

In September when I started my journey I weighed 258.8 lbs wow that's a really really hard number to write down - so very very embarrassing especially considering that almost 5 years ago I lost 30 lbs (granted I've since had a baby and everything else...)

This is a picture that was taken in June of this year. I absolutely HATE this picture and my mom even had it published in the local news paper (thanks mom)

Well here is a recent picture (e.g., just taken - long day in the office...) can you see the difference? :) As I've posted before I have started hitting the gym on a regular basis (basically 6 days a week). However, November has been a crazy month - between my annual girl's fondue weekend, black friday shopping weekend (with all of the food that goes along with a long-weekend trip)

I was very concerned for many reasons. First, the annual girls fondue party involves wine and lots of it accompanied by a massive spread - cheese fondue with bread and veggies, followed by hot rocks and oil fondue for cooking meat and veggies (and on the hot rocks you basically are cooking the meat in butter... oh soooo tasty) and then finally chocolate fondue with fruit for dipping (or in some cases dipping Lindt chocolate I did not partake in that one this year I was already too full) well can you imagine that this does not fit well in my meal plans and on top of that I had planned to spend an extra four hours in the gym to make up for the sheer volume of food... key word "planned" I ended up being too busy with house cleaning and preparations to get there.

I want to take a brief second to give a shout out to my WONDERFUL mom who came over to help me clean the house and then took ALL and I mean 14 loads ALL of my laundry home with her to wash, dry, iron, fold/hang up and delivered it back the next day. Now who seriously has the BEST MOM in the world :D thanks mom and the best part is she loves it and has come to understand my world is crazy and house cleaning is not near the top of my list these days.

Anyways - the weekend after the fondue weekend was Black Friday weekend - which usually involves all you can eat buffets, lots of bad food at all times of the day. Well this year on the advice of a friend I found out that my YMCA membership is also good in the US and my hotel was 5 seconds from one of the local Y's.

I had planned on working out on my regular routine. However, after the first night our weekend went into chaos - little C got sick and then I got the stomach flu (not pretty or fun). When we finally made it home I was still not feeling well - and did not eat for two full days and then barely ate for the rest of the week. I made the decision that while going to the gym was not in my best interests (I was afraid that working out and stressing the body while having little if any food could trigger "starvation mode" and create set backs). So I waited until I could eat on a normal basis again and then on Saturday and Sunday I hit the gym again.

I would also note at this time that after the fondue weekend I basically stopped using LoseIt to track my food and the last time this happened I had a major slip and started gained back more weight than I had lost using the program. I was very very concerned about this and the not going to the gym but I was determined not to let this set me back.

Regardless of how much weight I've lost so far (which by the way is about 30 lbs :) ) I think I have reached a very important point in my journey. I didn't let the fact that life got a bit out of the ordinary mess me up. I was cautious about my activities and eating habits while not using my tracking system and not going to the gym. More importantly I think - I started right back on track as soon as possible.

I also shared with my close friends about my journey where I had been and where I wanted to go and I've asked for their help. Honestly, when I started gaining weight out of high school I didn't really realize it and I have no idea how I got to where I am today (well I know but I didn't see it as I went) and I asked each of them to promise me to speak up and say something anything to keep me from going back.

Those old habits are dead and gone and can honestly say after overcoming these last two weeks that I have a new lifestyle and that I am confident that I can keep these changes around.

Next goal - 20 lbs in the next 6 weeks - I know it will be really really hard and I am not sure I can accomplish it. But I am ok if I don't :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Boo at the Zoo

iPhone4 picture

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A mini me

Well this is just a recent picture of little C from the other morning.

Children are such a reflection of what you do and who you are. Here she is on the phone in the morning on our way to work.

This has had me thinking more and more about my weight loss journey. She is going to look to me for my habits and behaviors. This had made the whole process even more important she needs to learns about the need to eat health and the importance of exercise. However she cant just be taught she needs to be shown the what a healthy life is.

Friday, October 8, 2010

21 Times...

I was watching some show over the summer and they said that if you do something 21 times it becomes a habit.

Well I can tell you from experience I had 4 years ago that when I truly set my mind to something I know I can accomplish it. (Ok I know look at my career and educational accomplishments and I am still never 100% sure I can accomplish what I want to in life).

Well in the start of September something changed and I made the decision that things have gone too far and I need to get back to the gym and get back on track to loose the weight I so desperately need to loose.

Earlier this year in February I did really well going to the gym because I had motivation of a trip and I wanted to wear certain clothes. It worked I dropped about 10 lbs before the trip but have since gained that back (plus some).

I have booked a trip in January for somewhere warm knowing that I would be good motivation to get me started. I also know that I have a real bathing suit problem (e.g., my current swim suit that I typically wear for snorkelling has finally gone to swim suit haven and I can't find any more suits around at this time of the year and I have two new suits that I could fit given some lost pounds).

So I made the decision I am going to try for a total weight loss goal of 40-50 lbs by time I leave for the trip. I had my original goal in LoseIt set at my ideal weight (155 lbs - I am 5'8" and that is what I weighed when I graduated high school) but it seem too far off.

So I have readjusted and I am determined to meet or exceed my goal of 210 by time the trip in mid-January comes along.

However, I decided that I wasn't going to make consistent or big posts about it because I seem to wain. I wanted to see how long I can make this stick and most importantly stick to it with my ever changing life.

But yesterday was #22 and this morning I am down 10.4 lbs in the last month (I still have 37 lbs to go) but I am 21% of the way there.

SO here is the news:

Since September 7th, I have made a consistent trips to the gym every night :) I go almost 7 days a week with a few exceptions and on those nights where there are exceptions I have been doing other physical activity (e.g., removing slat and plaster from house...yes I would count it as a work out!)

Since September 7th, I have continuously logged my food intake using LoseIt. This has also been a big task because we have been eating out a fair amount in the last while (visits with friends and family) but I have done the research or have simply asked for the nutritional information and make informed choices. (I know I blogged about LoseIt before but after a couple of weeks I gave up after 2 1/2 weeks)

I can tell you it feels great and I am very excited about it.

There have been other major changes to the routine around the house that are combining with my weight loss goals that are making things go really well.

I face a major challenge this weekend with Thanksgiving but I am determined to take it one step at a time and not give up or give in. Temptation happens (e.g., fries on Wednesday night) but I know that fries are not going to go away and I have to adjust and plan accordingly and I don't feel restricted so life is good.

So 21 times and I would say that my food logging and gym have officially become a habit.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cream Cheese Pumpkin Muffins

1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup oat bran
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup ground flax meal
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 pinch cardamom (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs (for slimmer version use only egg whites)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (for slimmer version I use Splenda Brown Sugar)
1 1/2 cups pumpkin
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 c vanilla yogurt
4 oz low-fat cream cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350.

  2. Put the entire brick of cream cheese on a piece of wax paper or parchment paper and shape it into a long log.

  3. Put it in the freezer while you mix and fill the pans, up to an hour.

  4. Unwrap and cut with a sharp knife so each cream cheese disk equals 1-2 teaspoons. If the cream cheese disks are too big around, cut thick slices and then cut them in half. This lets you push it down into the batter easier.

  5. Mix all ingredients together (except cream cheese).

  6. Fill muffin tins (greased or paper cups) half full.

  7. Put cream cheese disc in the middle, pressing down.

  8. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean from the muffin part (do not touch the cream cheese!).

  9. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes, then remove to racks to cool completely. Do not touch the cream cheese until it cools.

**This recipe makes 12.


  • you could add nuts or sunflower seeds to this for extra goodness.

  • Make sure you buy plain pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling (did that once with another recipe and it was not such a hot idea)

  • I also use a low-fat No Sugar Added vanilla yogurt

Based on the information I have about the recipe each muffin has:
175 calories
6 g fat
1 g sat fat
28 g carbs
3 g fiber
1 g sugar
5 g protein

NOTE: I have NO idea where this recipe came from as it was shared by a friend but it is too tasty not to share!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Some more thoughts on the iPhone 4


so I don't know what to honestly think of the iPhone4. I have been a blackberry user for two years prior to going to the iPhone4 this summer. I was promised that I would marvel at the wonder of the phone and never want to look back.

Well on one side of the world yes I LOVE the phone for many reasons:
(1) I can use it for movies and music
(2) The ability to have like a bazillion different apps for almost anything that I need or want and a lot of the apps really simplify my life (e.g., LoseIt, MealBoard, and Couch to 5K are my most frequently used apps) they keep track of my food, meal plans, grocery shopping and running program. Fabulous!

HOWEVER I have found some extreme limitations that frustrate the crap out of me and no one seems to mention them:

1. Multiple mailboxes but only one signature
As I said before the primary purpose of my phone is for work but I also have my mobile me and personal emails coming to my phone.

However, I have an extremely long signature for work (my name, business and other important details but then also a confidentiality statement) and I have this as my default signature. However, I do not want this appearing on my personal emails. Thus, my only option is to delete this every single time I send a personal email from my personal email account (can we say pain in the rear!?)

I have been told that if I use MobileMe or GoogleMail that I can probably fix this. well I don't think I should have to use a third party to preform this task that the BlackBerry readily did.

2. App Store Management

The way in which the app store is managed and organized is driving me nuts. I would love to be able to look and review the different apps using iTunes on my computer but alas the way that it is laid out in iTunes is extremely limiting and counter intuitive (surprising since everything apple is normal very intuitive)

I would also like to be able to cue downloads of apps. I am currently searching and downloading many apps. I do not like the fact that I have to press install and then wait for the app to install before continuing.

Last and not least you can NOT use iTunes gift cards on the Apple Canada app store - boo urns!!

3. Contact Management

I frequently send emails to the same group of people (on a more than daily basis) and it is annoying to have to retype their emails every single time that I have to send an email. On BlackBerry you could create a group in the contacts and then send and email to the group and it would automatically deliver to all the parties listed in the group. I have not been able to find such a feature on the iPhone.

4. Calendar Invites

UGH the vain of my existence - I have a beautiful MacBook Pro that runs boot camp and whenever I have an appointment that I want to put in my calendar and invite another person to I literally would rather boot up BootCamp and then open Outlook and send a calendar invite than use Calendar on the iPhone. There is NO option to send calendar invites.

Again, I have been told "there's an app for that" however as a smart phone I consider this to be a BASIC thing that a phone should do. I stand in court frequently with my phone trying to schedule something and the ability to send that invite or even ACCEPT an invite from someone else is a necessity. Frustrating beyond belief that I have lost that function of the iPhone4.

5. Calendar Views

AH can you tell that I have issues with the calendar?? (By the way all of the issues I am listing here - you guessed it blackberry has the options....)

There are only three view options in the calendar - "List" "Day" and "Month"

(a) I miss a weekly view. I do not like having to use month view and then click on the different days to see what I have going on - especially when at MAXIMUM only two appointments show at the bottom and then I have to scroll through to see what is going on and even then there is not obvious indication that there are other appointments past the two that are visible - so there has been occasion where I did not see them listed and when switching to day view...well see (b) below.... (I am not a fan of list view - I am very much a fan of lines and seeing the days beside the other so I can have a whole view of my week at once)

(b) I miss being able to see the entire day. Even when using Day view I can see only 8 hours of the day and no way to expand or minimize to see the evening at the same time.

6. Task Management

There is no way to sync tasks between iCal/Outlook/Entourage and the Phone.

Again "there's an app for that" well - this is a basic thing the phone should do (I mean the BlackBerry does it why doesn't the iPhone?)


if you are looking for a basic phone not for work purposes that does everything else under the sun as well then I would definitely recommend the iPhone4.

If you are a professional looking for a phone that will act as your life saver (manage contacts, email, calendars) and the apps are a cool secondary feature then I would consider buying something else and getting an iPod touch to get the benefits of the app. Especially when you consider that the phone is between ~$200 and ~$300 on a three year contract or about $900 (with MobileMe which is necessary to get calendar synching) unlocked or off contract.

At the end of the day I still love my iPhone4 (yes enough that I would be crazy enough to line up at 9 p.m. the night before it went on sale again...) but I am sadly disappointed that many *key* features have been missed


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

iPhone4 photography

Here is a picture that was taken downtown today.

I am truly loving having the phone more and more. However, I am still not entirely in love. My newest pet peeve is that you cannot send invites to calendar events right from the iPhone. I have been told that you that you can get an app for that or use mobile me or what ever but honestly this is a BASIC feature of any smart phones.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

the best iPhone App ever!!

Ok well maybe not the best every made but this is definitely one of the BEST apps that I have on my phone (aside from games).

I have been in a habit for a long time of keeping my recipes on my computer in a word document. If I need a new recipe I will have a friend or family member email it to me and then paste it into the every growing word document. (For those who want to know yes the document is impressively organized into different categories and subcategories that includes a table of contents). The pages eventually get printed off and added to my binder (along with any other recipes I collect).

However, I have a recurring problem of not having toner or paper in my printer (or a general desire not to walk downstairs to print the same recipe for the umpteen time).

As such my solution has been to email myself the recipe which has worked well but I figured because of the saying "well there's an app for that" there MUST be an app to keep my recipes on my iPhone. Well guess what - there is LOTS of them.

I have an entire folder devoted to cooking with the following free apps:
Food Network
CampRecipes by Coleman
RecipeFinder by McCromick

they are all really good for looking for other peoples recipes. I also purchased:

How to Cook Everything - which is amazing.

However, I still wanted something to use my own recipes so I downloaded


which is ok - it comes with a free preloaded recipes and then the ability to add your own and have your own pictures. I am not a huge fan of this app - it is good but I do not like how the instructions are on a completely different screen than the ingredients. I have also had problems add in instructions that seem to be too long for the field.

I then purchased


and I have to say that I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS APP!!

I was hesitant to purchase it for $2.99 at first (ok compared to the $0.99 that most of my apps are this is expensive)

But I love it for many many reasons:

1. I can enter my recipes in online and then upload/download to my iPhone (which means that mass editing is easy!!)
2. I can use it as a meal planner and to keep my recipes which is AMAZING
3. You can create your meal plan and then have it automatically create your shopping list and then you can ADD to your shopping list the non-grocery items (e.g., toilet paper) to the list

THEN you can email the shopping list and meal plan and it is SORTED by areas in the store.

OK and you can even email recipes to friends at the click of a button.

1. you can't add pictures (ok not huge but it would be a nice touch)
2. It doesn't cook the food for you... seriously those are the only things I do not like about the app.

I also have created a "left over" food item for nights when I plan on just having left overs and it comes preloaded with an "eating out" item so that you can load those into the meal planner. It is also very very easy to move meals from one day to the next if you need to rearrange your plans mid week..You can also plan for more than a week at a time (nice nice nice)

Truly I am in LOVE!

(i would also add that you can use this on the iPod touch and I am guessing on the iPad as well but I am not sure).

Friday, August 6, 2010


Well I finally have my iPhone and I have spent the last week getting all setup, down loading apps and generally playing with the phone.

I love the phone - it does everything for me except for washing the dishes. However, that being said o do have a few things that I am not a fan of on the phone.

First you should know that I primarily use my phone for work purposes but I like being able to have my personal life integrated with the phone, which brings me to the first downside.... I love that I can have multiple mail boxes on the phone and being able to send from the different email addresses. However, I hate that I can only have one email signature that is used for all of my emails. I have a work one that I MUST use so I have set that up and them just delete it on personal emails but it is still a pain.

Also the way in which the app store is managed is driving me nuts. I would love to be able to look and review the different apps using iTunes on my computer but alas it is very limiting and not intuitive like all other things apple.

I would also like to be able to cue downloads of apps. I am currently searching and downloading many apps. I do not like the fact that I have to press install and then wait for the app to install before continuing.

Last and not least you can NOT use iTunes gift cards on the Apple Canada app store - boo urns!!

Well we shall see how things go. I am contract free and I am loving that!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Have you ever set out to achieve something in your life? Did you accomplish that goal? How did you feel when you reached that goal?

Well 11 years ago I set out to accomplish something. Over the course of 11 years that goal and the path has changed several times. I finally accomplished my goal last Thursday on June 17, 2010.

I am so excited and thrilled to have reach this point in my life but it has me wondering what now? I mean at my age I am fairly lucky, I have a wonderful daughter, a supportive husband, a home, a car and now an official professional career.

I know it sounds silly but in high school I kept a mental "check list" of things I needed have/do in order to consider myself a "success" and I bet you can guess from the previous paragraph what was on that list. As I grew older the only thing I added to the list was the opportunity to travel, as you can probably tell by my posts I also can add that to my "done" list.

But what now? I never would have thought that I would be sitting here days away from my 29th Birthday having achieved all the goals I had set out for myself.

anyways that is my thoughts for today.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


IMG_5591, originally uploaded by cs.traveler.

at the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden

little C

C - with Sky, originally uploaded by cs.traveler.

This is a picture of little C at the park today. I was talking with one of the guys around the office on friday about having a kid and how they keep reminding what really is important in life.

Today as a part of our long weekend we took c to the park for a picnic. It was tons of fun and I made sure to take LOTS of pictures.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lose it! - my new favorite App!!

SO we have an iPod touch and I have been playing with it more lately in contemplating the move from a Blackberry to and iPhone and in the course of doing it I have been looking at apps and have found a few new ones that I really like.

I will start that I use my blackberry for many things aside from Phone calls and email. I email myself recipes, use it as my grocery list, my to-do list - you get the idea. The reason why I think I am going to love the iPhone so much is that I can do all of my usual things AND have games. Additionally - when ever I say "gee I wish there was something that did X, Y or Z" I consistently get told "there is an app for that" and well there is.

SO the long story short - I was looking for something to track my food intake, weight, and exercises and I came up with the app "Lose it" (here are some screen shots from the website)

I just love all of it - I love that you can add breakfast, lunch, supper or snacks and then go back to previous days and then just copy something

I love that you can create your own food (such as my morning smoothie) and then having there instead of having to reenter the food each time.

I LOVE that it is on my iPod and that I can literally take it anywhere with me and add what I am eating to it.

While there are some usual downsides (e.g., that it doesn't have every food in it) it is something that was very easily over come.

I can see this being a WONDERFUL tool. I know from my experience a couple of years ago the best tool that assisted in my weight loss was journaling. However, it was not something that I could realistically keep up with the method I was using (pen and note book) for long term.

This is the perfect replacement!!

The app was very simple to use - I put it my current weight, my goal weight and how much I wanted to loose each week. It then suggested a daily calorie limit. As I entered my daily food intake it would show me how many calories I had left and them take into account how calories I burnt through exercise.

I will continue to update as I use it for a longer period. For now, I only put it some test data and then todays information but I must say I love it and highly recommend it!

Saturday, April 24, 2010


IMG_6487, originally uploaded by cs.traveler.

This picture was taken in April of 2008 in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. By far this picture is one of my most favorite pictures.


One of the questions that I frequently get asked is what kind of camera I use.

All of my pictures posted here thus far (and unfortunately for the foreseeable future) have been taken with one of three cameras: the Canon Powershot A610, Canon Powershot SD900, or the Canon G10.

First about camera type - I think I am a die hard Cannon fan I think that they are the best cameras in the non-DSLR camera group. I specify that only because I have not had the opportunity to use the Digital SLR cameras. I would also add that the three cameras that we own have enough functionality in them to be able to use them just like SLR cameras without having to go to that price point and almost retaining the practicality of having a point and shot camera.

I also love the extras and features that the Canon lines offers, including: underwater housing (a major requirement for us), the availability of presets on the camera for different situations (such as underwater, fireworks and snow) which works well for using it in quick situations when I just want to snap quick pictures.

I also love the durability and ease of use. My daughter, C, manage to use our A610 and our SD900 all the time - she is only 3 years old - and she has taken some good pictures.

The PowerShort A610 (yes I know the picture is of the A620 - close enough)

Canon PowersShot SD900

Canon G10

My largest comment with respect to the cameras is that they are great for every day use but they offer so much more for the money that you spend on them.

For example we have underwater housing for the SD900 and the G10 (I believe that they were around $200 for each case) and they are well worth the money. While I believe that they are designed primarily for use in the water - we also use the housing when we are at the beach and when we are playing in the snow. I can say that some of the best pictures we have from the winter months are us making snow angels or throwing snow balls and having pictures of it all without concern for damage to the camera. This also extends to the use on the beach - I never worry about the sand getting into the camera or damaging parts of the camera. Add to that the fact that we can take our camera in the pool to take pictures, or into the ocean when we are snorkeling we are sure never to loose a moment.

The availability of this option is even more attract for two reasons:
(1) The camera is fully functional in the housing - meaning that you can easily use all of the buttons to adjust the camera. (I would note my only critique on the G10 housing they did not include a way to use the scroll dial on the back which is a slight downside).
(2) Unlike the "waterproof" cameras that are sold out there there is little chance of something going wrong. I say this because I have heard countless stories from people with waterproof cameras having problems with the seals on the cameras, not closing a compartment properly and then using the camera entirely or using the ability to use the camera for an extended period of time.

Sounds really good right - because I would think that most families are looking to get the most of what they can out of a camera. We only own cameras and use them for both pictures and video. My only concern was the ability to manipulate the camera in taking pictures and adjusting the settings. All three cameras have the ability to change the settings. The G10 is really a the single step below the DSLR's and it won out over the DSLR because of the cost of the underwater housing.

Now I know that Canon has already come out with the G11 - I don't believe that they would have moved backwards at all in the things that make their cameras among our top choices.

I would also note that before buying any of our cameras we played with a large variety of cameras at the store and considered the features that we knew that the Canon offers. We looked at how long it takes for the camera to turn on and be picture ready, how quickly you can take pictures and how fast you can switch between preview and picture taking. The canon was by far the best in all three categories.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Blackberry vs iPhone debate

So my cell phone contract is up in the next month or so and I am debating what my next phone should be.

I have had a blackberry pearl for the last two years and I have also had a second bberry (world edition) for the last year. I have to say that I am generally not pressed with the pearl. I frequently have to remove the battery to clear the cache completely and when I don't (like yesterday) I loose all of my emails and call history. The world edition didn't seem to have the same problem but that could also have to do with the fact that it was hooked to an enterprise server.

Now mainly will use the device for talking and emails. However, I have been known to send myself recipes and use it in the kitchen. I also highly addicted to blackberry messanger to communicate with my friends.

I am using our iPod touch right now to type this post. I like it although I am no sure if I really like they key board that you can't feel (old school I guess).

If you have any insight you'd like to share I would be willing to accept it. Right now I can say that the touch has been a great value to our life and adding a phone feature would be amazing. My only other issue is I would have to switch service providers.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Catalina Island

IMG_4774, originally uploaded by cs.traveler.

This is a picture from the beach on Catalina Island. We took the trip there from our resort in Punta Cana. It was an amazing island and great place to visit. Although, we weren't a fan of the overall excursion because of the drunk individuals spilling drinks and bad music the island itself was amazing. The snorkeling was so-so compared to Puerto Plata but some of the best in the area.


IMG_4860, originally uploaded by cs.traveler.


IMG_4872, originally uploaded by cs.traveler.

Punta Cana

IMG_4890, originally uploaded by cs.traveler.

This picture is from a small Italian village that was recreated in Punta Cana. I loved the stone work and felt really inspired by the area.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bavaro Princess, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic - 2010

We had our first trip to Punta Cana, DR this spring and this is a review of our trip.

See pictures here: Flickr Pictures of Trip

Service Provider: Sunwing Canada
Overall rating: 2 1/2 stars out of 5 stars

Hotel: Bavaro Princess Punta Cana
Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars

Catalina Island Excursion - 2 stars out of 5 stars
Reef Explorer Excursion - 4 1/2 stars out of 5 stars

Detailed Review:

We flew Sunwing from home to Puerto Plata and then to Punta Cana. I have to saw that I was truly disappointed with the overall experience.

We were told that we had to be at the airport no later than 3 hours before our flight to check in (note: yes that is correct no later than). The rational was the amount of time to check us in and the time to go through security. This meant we had to be at the airport for 3:00 a.m.

Well we were there at 3:00 a.m. standing in line with basically our entire flight and their staff did not even arrive at the desks until after 3:05 a.m. We were processed quickly because we had upgraded to the "elite plus." We then headed upstairs to head through security only to find out that they did not begin screening people until 4:00 a.m. So we (along with the entire flight) sat on the floor in line for security to open. It felt like a real waste of time for no real reason.

Once we got onto the flight things seemed to be better....until we landed in Puerto Plata. Once we arrived there they unloaded everyone that was staying there and then they told the rest of us to get off the plane because they had to clean the plane. (Now we have been to Puerto Plata before and never heard of this happening - normally they deplane everyone in Punta Cana and clean the plane there). At this point we didn't care except for the hassle of grabbing all of our carryon and getting off the plane. We were then given little "in transit passes" and lead downstairs and left there with no instructions. Eventually, a security guard pointed at us and had us go through security but no further instructions. As we had been in the airport before we knew generally where we had to go and started guiding people on the plane upstairs but from there we had no idea. Thank goodness we come from a very friendly place because there was a lot of team work between the travelers on the plane to get everyone together and to the right gate because we were given NO information and there was nothing on the boards for our "in-transit" flight. Once we were on the flight we found out that there had been a mix-up. Our plane was suppose to pick up people headed home to Montreal and more people headed to Montreal in Punta Cana. As a result of the mix-up the Montreal people were headed to our home town and then would have be transfered to another plane to Montreal and our plane would dead-head from Punta Cana to Montreal (just me does that seem like a big mix-up?!)

Our Sunwing rep at the hotel was utterly useless and very unhelpful! We asked very specifically asked for a trip that had snorkeling only and asked about a specific trip and was told that the trip offers no snorkeling AT ALL. We booked two other trips one of which was cancelled. When we tried to call the rep to rearrange the excursion the number we were provided was out-of-service, and all other numbers had no answer (including the 24-hour emergency line). It was not until another rep from HOTEL BEDS offered to help did we get anywhere (FYI - props to the company Hotel Beds their rep was AMAZING)

As for the flight home - all of our documents said our flight left at 2:35 p.m. and boarding was at 2:05 p.m. We were picked up and dropped off at the airport around 10:00 a.m. (normal) and we did our shopping and decided to get lunch. Just after noon I went to get food with S (meet on the trip). As we were walking back to the table we were approached by our hubbies saying "our flight is leaving NOW" (yes two hours BEFORE we were scheduled) it was crazy. Again we were looking for people that we knew were suppose to be on our flight, trying to figure out how to bring our lunch to the plane. Once we were on the plane they started to do head counts as they were looking for people. Apparently there was a mix-up (are we surprised yet?) and the same scenario took place in Puerto Plata - frantic airport workers literally running around the airport yelling "sunwing flight xxx - leaving now!!"

Then the landing computer broke on our plane and we had to be diverted to another airport and spent about 90 minutes on the tarmac - the only thing we got was the a new movie for the flight home. No extra food or drink loaded on to the plane.

Hotel: Bavaro Princess Punta Cana
The hotel itself is HUGE but honestly you cannot tell just how large it is because it feels cozy and comfortable. There is a set of golf carts that moves you comfortably from the lobby to the rooms, to the beach at all times of the day if you don't want to walk.

The buffet was truly excellent with a large variety of food and several cook-to-order stations (e.g., two omelet stations, two pasta stations at night). Also, they had amazing theme nights and had fresh seafood on a regular basis.

We had a great room near the beach and pool - it had a king size bed in the elevated part of the room and had a Jacuzzi beside the bed area and at the entrance to the bathroom. The buildings have two floors and 4 rooms per floor so they are very large. The only downside to the room is that when you walk up the stairs to the room and walk to the door it is all glass. The door is basically the only window/light into the room and there is no privacy unless you close the blackout blinds.

We had a couple of issues with the room and I have to say that the staff was amazing at coming quickly and resolving any concern or questions we had.

My two negative thoughts: with the tub in the room it took nearly 45 minutes to fill it anywhere near a level that was practically and the water wasn't overally warm by this point. Also one of their a-la-carte's is really just a smaller buffet.

Catalina Island Excursion - 2 stars out of 5 stars
I rated the excursion fairly low because honestly it is one of the worst we have ever been on. It started with taking tours of "celebrity houses" we no one on the ship wanted to see, and it took us about an hour extra rather than heading directly to the island. Next, on the boat on the way from the dock to the island they forced people to get up and dance. Now I understand that there is usually a gentle encouragement, but this was the staff literally not leaving us alone until we stood up. Plus the *bad* music was being played so loud that the speakers were distorted and sounded much worse. This continued over the entire afternoon with terrible music being played FAR too loud to the point that no of us could even talk over lunch.
The day got much worse when we had to get back on the boat and there were some tourists who were so drunk that they were literally falling over on other guests and dumping drinks on them. The staff just brought these people more rum (remember that this is a family trip...)

Reef Explorer Excursion - 4 1/2 stars out of 5 stars
This excursion was great - you are literally taken to a floating dock in the middle of a reef with a pen of nurse sharks and sting rays. There was no drinking on this excursion but it was definitely enjoyable. We got a massage, swam with the sharks and rays and had as much time to snorkel as we wanted. I highly recommend for a nice relaxing afternoon. The only thing that could have made the trip better was the option for a full day trip.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Trust, Faith and Belief

isn't it a wonder when watching TV shows or movies that you can let yourslef escape away into a world in which anything really is possible. THe person that is dying on a table can be saved in an instant , there can be love at first sight, there can be true forgivenees and love that happens over the course of seconds, minutes or days.

We sit and watch and I think the alluring thing about Television or movies for that fact is it plays into the part of our mind that is still the little child that believes that maybe just maybe there is such thing as Santa or the Easter Bunny.

I watched Grey's and House last night and was motivated by both shows for two very different reasons. I was mostly moved by House and I just love the episode where nothing much actually happened compared to the normal activities but it was right what I needed.

For those of you who didn't see the episode Cuddy wakes up in the morning to a screaming child that has a fever and she is trying to get ready for work. She has to take her daughter into the shower with her, in the bedroom with her as she gets dressed all the time looking at the clock and seeing how time is passing you by and you just wish you could do the things that you needed to do but then at the same time there is the guilty of not being able to just be with her daughter. This continues through the rest of the day. It also goes on to show the struggles that Cuddy faced in a day trying to be a mom, professional doctor, and manager with everything else she does. The moments she was on the verge of breaking down escaping to the stairwell just to try and catch a moment in the whirlwind.

It reminded me so much of my life. It was my daughter's birthday party this weekend. She spent Thursday and Friday at my parents house (at their request) and I spent all of Saturday getting ready for her party at my parents house. Once that was done it was time to come home and go to bed for her. For me it was time to work and get other things done. Sunday it was time to go to work. Thankfully C really enjoys coming to my work where she can set up a fort, play and watch movies. Although, given that we were here for 10 hours it did become difficult because at some points she was saying "mom I just want to play" which is okay but you know that she really means that "mom I want to play with you"

The moments where you don't know what you are doing, where your not sure if you are doing the right thing, the points at which you just want to quit go home and give up - those moments of life are becoming much more prelevant and confusing moving through the year it is difficult to question yourself are you doing the right thing? did you make the right decision? there is no way of knowing but thankfully along the way there are great and fabulous people that show you that they have faith in you and believe that you can accomplish what you have set out to do. You wait for those moments inbetween the branches, leaves and trees to see the light only to get too destracted by the light at some points to get tied up in the dead and dying parts of the forest. The strenght, and courage to keep moving forward is hard to find at times.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

and we keep marching

Well yesterday was not a complete success but given the situation I think that it was relatively positive.

I had breakfast! Fruit smoothie and cereal. Yes, that is correct world I am now eating cereal and for those who don't know I do NOT eat cereal. I have never been a big fan but I have found one that I acutally like.

Fruit smoothie - 140 g frozen blueberries, 140 g peach/mango frozen, 120 g strawberries, 1 banana and water.

I buy the large bags of frozen fruit and then on the weekend I combined them into "breakfast packs" that contained my mix. I did this with all the berries and then put back in the freezer so that I don't have to measure in the morning. The day before I pull a bag out and put it in the fridge. In the morning I then just put the defrosted fruit in to my magic bullet, add a banana and water half way up and blend. Voila - my breakfast smoothie

Blueberries - 71 cal, 17.1 g carbs, 3.8 g of fiber
Strawberries - 49 cal, 12.7 g carbs, 2.9 g of fiber
Mangos/Peach - 70 cal -(not sure of the rest)
Banana - 105 cal, 26.9g carbs, 3.1 g fiber

approx 220 cal for the smoothie and then 180 Calories for the cereal.

I had lunch too all packed at home!

Then we had stew for supper with biscuits - made by myself and T :) (ok the biscuits can in a mix but I still baked them)

we have left overs for tonight. The only unfortunate thing is that I can barely feel anything from the waist down - I am just numb in my legs and my back, neck and whole body just hurts. SO instead of running I went to sleep. Which worked well until I got up to harvest my raspberries at 12:00 a.m. and stayed up for two hours. Yes, I think we have a new addiction - Farmville.

But I am positive we are moving forward and having success - just one step at a time!

Monday, January 4, 2010

To new beginnings

Well from looking at the success over the last year it is clear that there are only two ways to approach my current situation (1) be disappointed in my complete and utter failure or (2) it is a new year and a time for new beginnings.

Well let's start by facings the fact that the last year was a complete and utter failure in my goals. I set the goals specifically because they were obtainable and because I didn't want to have "resolutions" to be let down. However, I did exactly what I didn't want to do <- bad english :)

But I am choosing to take this as a new year and a new opportunity to start again. I can achieve what I want to accomplish and there is nothing to stop me except me. Take it from me if you don't already know that the hardest thing to know, acknowledge, accept and remember is that your biggest emeny in life and the one that is going to stop you from achieving your dreams is you.

I can remember as a child being told by my grade 3 elementary teacher that I was a horrible failure and would never achieve anything. I do not remember the teachers name, but I remember his face, I remember the class room and I remember his exact words to me. I can tell you that since then one of the most important things is saying "fuck you" and showing him that I can do it!

I went to a private high school and managed to get on the honor roll for at least one of the years (and that was while taking an extra class by correspondence - physics - because I couldn't fit it into my schdeule) I was told that I would not be able to accomplish it but I did. I also graduate from high school and went on to univesity and acheived an Honours Degree in Psychology with a GPA of 4.25 (so take that!) I also wrote the LSAT without studying on a whim (whole other story) and successfully made it through law school. Also, despite being told in first year that I would probably not do well in my dream job I am now working in my dream job (and hoping to be kept on). I also had a child during my law school and people said it shouldn't be done. I can go on and on about those things that I accomplished. Yet it seems that these fade away and my failures come to the foreground when I am the most in need of the support that I can achieve anything.

You see and hear so many people say that you can achieve anything that you put your mind to and when you hear that you believe it and know it is true - but then when you are tested it seems like it was all a big lie.

I need to look at this as a new beginning to my journey - but more important I cannot ignore my ultimately and horrible failure. There are reasons why I failed and did not accomplish what I had set out to achieve. Those reasons include - focusing on everything else except for my family or myself first; becoming lazy; sacrificing a lot for my dream job - and so many more reasons that I know and accept.

For so long it has felt like my life is a big box moving along on a converor belt - all I want to do is slow the belt down and throw as much I can in. I have to realize that the more I try to slow it down the faster it will move. Seems contradictory right? Especially when I am trying to live my life by the phrase "live everyday to its fullest"

How do I grab onto everything that passes by when I feel like I need to slow down to do it and then I just end up speeding up the ride?

Le Sigh> my point - I need to look forward, knowing that I am backed by failures from which I must learn lessons to not repeat those mistakes and I am back by wonderful accomplishments. I guess what I need to know and remember is that it is not about the pluses and minuses and my ultimate score - rather it is about the experiences -> good or bad it doesn't matter if I don't learn anything from them.

With that said I am planning on moving forward and learning from my mistakes and successes.

- I will be meal planning again

- Going grocery shopping regularly and a fixed number of times

- Eating breakfast, lunch and supper every day

** This means being organzied

- I must organzie my home - and this does not mean "clean" as my house is really not dirty - I must put my home together - get ride of the past that I don't need to hang onto anymore and find what is really important.

- I must find more time for exercise (swimming and running - perhaps aquasize again) and not only because I want to loose weight but because I actually like it and because my daughter needs to learn that this is a part of life.

- I must find more time for my familly and for my daughter that is time for her doing the things that she truly enjoys

- I must do the things I love: reading and cooking.

Friday, January 1, 2010

It's been a year

Well it is has been a year since the blog started and it's been 9 months since I last posted. Just terrible. Worse yet is how I feel about my goals.

So the Health related goals:
1. Run at minimum every other day for a total of 30 minutes (increasing speed, intensity, and duration over the year to hopefully be able to run a half marathon by June, and the distance equivalent of a full marathon by next New Years);
Well the running was not going well when I last posted and not much improved in my significant absence - I still want to keep this resolution so it will not be going anywhere!

2. Cut the junk food out of my diet and life (this means purging the house of all bad foods after today);
Well - junk food - if you have been in my office you'll know what this has meant. I will not be keeping this resolution I will be modifying my health resolutions.

3. No more trips to fast food restaurants for anyone in the family;
Yeah well I can dream!

4. A maximum of eating out once every six weeks with health choices;
This has definitely not happened - but this in part to bad planning and lack of organization at home even just in terms of a general schedule.

Home Related Resolutions:
1. Get the house organized and keep it that way. This means keeping the bills and mail organized, keeping the information that comes in recorded;
So keeping the house organized has been a chore and not happened so well (ask anyone who has been over to the house - no comments Nikki ;) ). I have been keeping on track of the mail and everything else.

I think the bigger problem is getting the house organized in the first place. This is what needs to happen first not just clean the house because our house is clean it is just cluttered.

2. Get up and go to sleep at regular and consistent times
This has been a big challenge and it is going to be very important for the year to reach the rest of the goals so this will also not be going away

3. Participate in the 50 book challenge (although I may modify that because some of my books are extremely long e.g., Roots) so I am aiming at reading 15,000 pages based on 50 books with an average length of 300 pages);
I did really well for the first while! I actually think I finished about 30 books within the year (not all of them were posted). Seeing how busy I am with work so far I think a more realistic challenge is one book a month for the next year!

4. Finish my assignments before Friday of each week so that the weekend can be family time;
This became a moot point in June :)

5. Set up a meal plan for the week and follow it;
This also went all to heck one I stopped posting but this will be coming back.

6. Cook one new meal each week;
I don't think that this was a good goal to start - too much required. I will be changing to two new meals or recipes a month. That way I can be flexible on how often and what weeks this has to be done.

7. Track and organize all the food in the house (deep freeze, cupboards, etc.) so that we can help with the meal planning;
Yeah - bad goal it's GONE!

8. Take and post a picture a day!
I think a picture a day is a LOT - which if you know me sounds very strange considering I took well in excess of 10,000 pictures this year!
- I want a new picture a week and I want to start taking some dedicated pictures which I will elaborate more on later.

9. Keep track of all money spent (including cash);
yeah long story

10. Finally, the most important, post to the blog in a regular fashion to keep myself accountable for my goals!
Do I really have to update on this one?

50 book report

#01 Confessions of a Shopaholic (Kinsella, Sophie)11 Can you Keep a Secret? (2004) (Kinsella, Sophie)

#02 - The Darwin Awards: Detailing the Idiotic Lengths to Which Men will go for Sex (Northcutt, Wendy) (Northcutt, Wendy)

#03 -The Darwin Awards III (Northcutt, Wendy)

#04 Shopaholic takes Manhattan (2002) (Kinsella, Sophie)

#05 Shopaholic ties the Knot (2003) (Kinsella, Sophie)

#06 Shopaholic & Sister (2004) (Kinsella, Sophie)

#07 Shopaholic & Baby (2007) (Kinsella, Sophie)

#08 Darwin Awards: Evolution in Action (Northcutt, Wendy) (in progress)

#09 Organize your life - free yourself from clutter & find more personal time (2007) (Eisenberg & Kelly) (in progress)

#10 Roots (Alex Hailey) (in progress)

#12 Remember Me? (2008) (Kinsella, Sophie)

#13 The Undomestic Goddess (2005) (Kinsella, Sophie)


Darwin Awards II: Unnatural Selection (Northcutt, Wendy)

Darwin Awards 4: Intelligent Design (Northcutt, Wendy)

The Darwin Awards the Next Evolution (Northcutt, Wendy)

A Child Called It: One Childs Courage to Survive

Bitter Fruit (Dangor, Achmat)

By The Time You Read This (Blunt, Glies)

Conflict Across Cultures (Lebaron * Pillay)

Fall on your Knees (MacDonald, Ann-Marie)

Getting to Yes (Fisher & Ury)

Long Walk to Freedom (Mandela, Nelson)

Narrative Mediation (Winslade & Monk)

No Time for Goodbye (Barclay, Linwood)

The Dwelling (Moloney, Susie)

The Measure of a Man a Spiritual Autobiography (Poitier, Syndney)

The Moral Imagination (Lederach, John)

The Pact: A Love Story (Picoult, Jodi)

The Stone Angel (Laurence, Margaret)

The Tales of Beedle the Bard

Yes Man!