Friday, October 29, 2010

My Dad's a Machine

My dad is one of those really talented dudes who can fix or build everything and anything (although he lacks skills in the "completion" phase of things - sorry, it's true!). A jack of all trades, one may say. When M and I found out we were moving only a half a block down the street, he came up with the idea to build a wagon. So he did.
My mom, a proud onlooker.

I kept wondering why he wanted me to measure the width of the sidewalk. Now I know. This thing was a beast!
I must admit, without this wagon, moving would have been very difficult! Thanks Dad!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Philly in Photos

Here's one last recap of our visit to Philly, in photos.

The Liberty Bell

Naked bike riders

Us, up on the Rocky steps

Half of the LOVE sign (this is what happens when you hand your camera over)

Wine, beer, and cheese at Tria. Quite possibly one of my favourite restaurants.

Rocky, Rocky!

Again. Rocky, Rocky!

The Franklin Institute. A nice way to spend the morning, but way too many things in disrepair.

Gardens and a fountain!

Overall, I liked Philadelphia and thought it was a nice city! Other than the tons of homeless people surrounding city hall after dark, I felt it was safe, easily walkable, and clean. Getting to and from the airport using public transportation was easy peasy. A fun place to spend a long weekend, for sure!

Next up: Nashville in December!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Happy Birthday, Bro

Here's a shout out to one of my favourite brothers!

A talented dancer (even better when under the influence),
a passionate animal activist,
and all around good guy!

Eastern State Penitentiary Tour

One of my favourite tourist attractions in Philly was the Eastern State Penitentiary tour. M and I spent a good chunk of time walking around, listening to the audio guide, and taking two of the free tours provided. It was a bit spooky seeing the cells that convicts stayed in, learning about their escape routes, and climbing down into "The Hole" where the real troublemakers were sent. Very interesting stuff!

The penitentiary was in use from 1823-1971, then reopened in 1994 for historic tours. Here's what the inside looks like now. Old and decayed, but that's what gives it its charm.
This is what a cell looks like present day,
and what it would have looked like, way back when.
And here's Al Capone's cell. Very luxurious!
I'd definitely recommend a visit to the Eastern State Penitentiary if you ever visit Philly!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The City of Brotherly Love

Back in September (wow, was it really that long ago?) M and I traveled to Philadelphia for one last summer hoorah. We had airline vouchers that had to be used up by December due to this crazy incident and I like cheese, I like steak, and I like Rocky, so Philly was a quick decision!

The weather was absolutely beautiful and we did a tonne of walking around, which cancelled out the tonne of eating we did, or so I like to pretend. Of course when you visit Philly you've gotta try a cheesesteak. We headed out to the most famous cheesesteak places, Geno's and Pat's, which are right across the street from each other. Talk about competition!
The yelp reviews were a bit better for Geno's so we waited in line for maybe half an hour and ordered a "wit whiz" - cheesesteak with onions and cheese whiz. Never in real life would I eat cheese whiz, but I gotta say, it was super delicious and easily the best part of the sandwich!
After eating the cheesesteak, I felt like.. that's all? that's what all the hype is about? a sopping greasy meat sandwich? Over the remainder of our time in Philly we had waaaay better cheesesteaks at less popular places and I'd be tempted to tell any visitor not to waste their time with those two tourist traps.
And I would tell every tourist to go to Square Burger in Franklin Square and order a tastykake cake shake because it was SINFUL I tell you, SINFUL. Best milkshake ever. I don't even know what a tastykake is, except that it's incredible.
After filling our bellies we played a round of mini golf where all of the holes were Philadelphia themed. There I am in Chinatown!
And... I will continue recapping our trip in another post, once I can stop thinking about those tastykakes...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Dream Sammich

This is the sammich of my dreams.
Here's what it looked like before I asked for an extra drunk in au jus :)

Italian roast pork sandwich with sharp provolone and broccoli rabe from DiNic's in Philly. Om nom nom times a million.

I know it doesn't look like much but after seeing this sandwich featured on an episode of Man Vs. Food, I knew I had to try it. The contrast of the sharp cheese and the bitter greens, the bun sopping with au jus, the melt in your mouth meat... ohhhh yessss. A total taste sensation.

Forget cheesesteaks, this is where it's at.
DiNic's is located inside the Reading Terminal, which is comparable to the St. Lawrence Market of Toronto. A whole bunch of places to eat and buy food, in a nutshell.
If you ever visit Philadelphia, this is a must-try! I think about it... often...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Movies Under The Stars

This weekend I had my first movie watching experience at a drive-in! Movies under the stars on a beautiful fall evening with my two favourite boys (the husband and the dog)! Excellent.
It took us about an hour to get to the theatre and since we had some extra time beforehand, we stopped at Scooby's for some Chicago style hot dogs. A nice treat before the show.
The movie line up included two horror flicks, My Soul To Take and Let Me In. The first was terrifically cheesy and the second was a lot of blood and vampires, but both were perfectly suited to watch on a dark night, out in the middle of nowhere!

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the old school ads and previews but unfortunately took only one blurry picture of who knows what, on the screen. Such a fun experience. I love the drive-in!
Even Bama was well behaved and beached himself on the backseat and slept the whole night.
I can't wait to go back! And with that, I have completed another one of my 36 in 365 goals!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Corepower Yoga Studio

I've always liked the idea of yoga. I took it for a short stint back when I was in Grade 12 and loved it, but then took a few classes last year that scared the crap out of me due to the numerous headstands and inversions. Clearly not good for a beginner, like myself.

There are so many yoga studios in Chicago, it's nuts. I chose Corepower because they offer a free week and I definitely wanted to try it out before paying the big bucks for something I wasn't going to enjoy.

I've gone to 4 classes over the last 4 days and I'm in love. On Monday I went to a beginner level which helped refresh my memory of all the poses. Tuesday I tried a core restore class where we held 10 poses for 3-5 minutes each. Ow. Wednesday was hot yoga in a room heated to 98-100 degrees and last night I went to a sculpting class which was yoga+weights and such a good workout. What's on for tonight?

I love the feeling afterwards that I've worked hard, sweat everything out, and can leave clear minded. I don't get that from being on the elliptical.
Not quite to that point :) *yet*

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Thanksgiving Recap

I'm so mad that I didn't take any pictures of the delicious Thanksgiving meal that I made this year! It was so lovely looking and tasting!
On Sunday, M and I invited a bunch of people over to help us celebrate "Canadian" Thanksgiving, which is ya know, the same as "American" Thanksgiving, sans football. I logged about 10+ hours of cooking which is kinda crazy to think about. Anyway, I find it really handy to look back at my blog to find recipes I've previously made, so here's the lineup with the recipes linked where possible...

1. Turkey
2. Ham (with mustardy glaze)
3. Stuffing (stovetop, from a box)
4. Gravy (package from the turkey)
5. Cranberries (recipe on back of package)
9. Sweet Potatoes (lots of compliments on this dish)
12. Apple Pie (with vanilla ice cream)
13. Pumpkin Pie (frozen, with whipped cream)
14. Tutti Fruity (recipe to come.. one day soon)

Actually, I did take two photos with my phone. These make me weep with joy.
Till next year!

Monday, October 4, 2010

I'm on a Segway!

We jumped on the chance to go on a segway tour after seeing a groupon advertising one for half price. I love groupon so much. If you live in a major city and don't use groupon, get on that!

There's been a lot of talk about segways lately since this incident occurred, but luckily we had no problems! And it was fun, really fun! And my mom didn't fall in the lake!
After practicing for 10 minutes and learning how to control the segway, we were off! We sped down around Foster Avenue Beach, Lincoln Park, Montrose Harbour, the lakefront, and the butterfly conservatory. The tour lasted a little more than an hour and there are different routes you can take, including one around Millenium Park. The route we took was nice because there wasn't a lot of foot traffic, meaning less obstacles to dodge.
Segways can go super fast and M was having a hayday, making me nervous! They are really quite easy to control after you get the hang of finding your balance and tipping either forward or backward to go in the direction you want.
It was a beautiful day and a great way to see a bit of Chicago!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Meserani Snake Park

On our last day in Arusha, Tanzania we visited the Meserani Snake Park. We hired a driver and set off for the park, which was 25 km from our hotel.

When we got there a guide met us and took us on a tour of the Maasai Cultural Museum. Eeek, there was a lot of talk about their customs and culture and I was cringing the whole time the guide talked about their circumcision parties that happen at age 18. Oy.

Next, they asked us if we wanted to go for a camel ride! A camel ride? Why not? How often to you get offered a camel ride in life?
We paid 1000 shillings which works out to about 70 cents Canadian. It was a very bumpy ride and I held on tight, especially when the camel was leaning way down to sit!
After riding the camels we entered the snake park where we met another guide who told us about each snake, what they like to eat, and how quickly they can kill you! There were tons of snakes including black mambas, spitting cobras, and African pythons.
Our guide climbed into one of the fenced in areas and pulled out a little snake for us to hold. He kept assuring us that it wouldn't bite, but his little tongue darting out was making me nervous!
They also had a bunch of baby crocs, big crocs, tortoises, lizards, and birds that had been previously injured and wouldn't be able to survive in the wild.
Fun and worth the visit! After all that we drove back to the hotel and drank Kilimanjaro beer while wearing Kilimanjaro shirts.