Wedding weekend

August 31, 2009

I went to a wedding this weekend for my friends that were getting married. It was a great day. The ceremony was outside and it was raining ALL day, but before the ceremony, it cleared up and the sun came out! How perfect is that? It was so nice – my friend’s dad is a minister so he married the two of them. Half of her bridesmaids were in tears through the ceremony and one of my friends who was a groomsmen is still denying that he cried even though we all saw!

The reception was great too. I got to catch up with a bunch of friends that I haven’t seen since high school. It’s so crazy to think people my age are getting married and finishing school and starting their own lives.

I took a ton of pictures (104 according to the Facebook album I made). Here’s a sampler:

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Pre-wedding, posing in my dress!

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Josh & I at the reception.

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Josh, me and my best friend Jason. I’m not sure how we all managed to end up with the same facial expression but it was NOT planned! lol!

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So excited to be singing “I’m on a Boat”!!

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Group hug at the end of the night!

It was an epic night. I actually danced. And I never dance. But it all started with ‘Jump Around’ by House of Pain. Seriously, how could I not head out on the dance floor? Josh isn’t much of a dancer, but we did dance to a couple slow songs and I’m pretty sure he along with nearly all the other under 25-ers came out when ‘Yeah’ started playing. The rest of the time I danced with the bridesmaids (who were dancing ALL NIGHT) or Jason – we even danced to ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight’ from the Lion King because we’re both mad obsessed with that (and all other Disney movies). I think we were both hoping the DJ would bust out ‘I Just Can’t Wait To Be King’ or ‘Circle of Life’!

I think I burned off all the birthday treats I indulged in on Thursday & Friday (I had a free dessert when I went out on my actual birthday and then my mom was super cute and made cupcakes which I’ve never had on my birthday before!!),  as well as the piece and a half of cake, 3 beers and glass of wine I had in addition to the dinner at the wedding. But, despite being lucky with no gain to speak of, I’m right back into healthy foods!

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Note to self

August 24, 2009

Note to self: Even though you can eat a daily serving of cheese and eat yogurt a couple times a week despite being lactose intolerant to a certain degree AND having a milk allergy, doesn’t mean you should push your luck and eat a couple servings of frozen yogurt several days in a row in addition to the usual dairy consumption.No matter how tasty it is. It does NOT end well.

Sometimes I hate having to learn things to hard way!

Now I’m stuck at home feeling gross today even though I have a million errands to do: picking up a few groceries, returning my spring term distance ed movie (which sucked, btw, I should have not even bothered with it), picking up new distance ed materials (meaning more movies that will probably suck.. lol), paying my tuition, picking up my new Visa card AND getting a criminal record check for the lab/whatever placement I get this fall if it requires one. Ugh, I just realized how much school is already ruling my life and it hasn’t even started yet! Funny how it managed to do that!

Speaking of school, I logged on to the online registration system and noticed a heading for parking permit application status. I was very intrigued and looked at it. Turns out my application was not successful, but that’s okay because I didn’t submit an application (MLIA? haha). I live half a block too close to the school allegedly (I learned this in second year). But since I can’t park on campus, it gives me a good excuse to get some extra walking in. It’s about 25 minutes to the side of campus where all my classes are (thankfully). So I can either walk to or from, or walk both ways if I’m feeling really ambitious. I’ve done it before and in previous years, I typically walked home each day (because walking TO school requires getting up about 15 minutes earlier than if I’m taking the bus). So maybe it works out for the best!

Well, I’m off to relax today and hopefully get feeling better. I have a busy week coming up: errands tomorrow, job fair on Wednesday, my birthday on Thursday, my friend’s wedding rehearsal on Friday, the wedding on Saturday and then our new roommate is coming on Sunday (from Russia… cool eh?). I’m super excited for everything even though I know I’ll just want to sleep come Monday!


PETA is at it again

August 22, 2009

I came across this article today about PETA’s new billboard. I know that PETA is known for being controversial but before I even listened to the audio interview, I was appalled by the billboard (which is pictured in the article).

It’s essentially saying that being a vegetarian means you’re going to “lose the blubber”, a.k.a. lose weight.

I listened the the audio interview and actually felt angry at this PETA spokesperson. She’s claiming that eating meat (her words: “their addiction to eating meat”) is responsible for the high levels of obesity in America. Because, you know, eating tons of sugar and products loaded with high fructose corn syrup obviously has nothing to do with it. Or the lack of education about proper portion sizes and nutrition in general.

While I think being vegetarian is a good thing, you still have to make proper choices. I’ve seen vegetarians simply cut meat out of their diet without replacing the protein they’re no longer getting. They don’t add in beans or tofu. They simply just don’t eat an adequate amount of protein. Maybe that will make you lose weight, but is that healthy? Not really. Or they’re losing weight because they’re simply not eating enough calorie-dense foods without having those protein sources. They’re living off vegetables and fruits.

While going vegetarian has been linked to losing weight and having a lower body weight, you could say the same for clean eating. This still involves eating meat, but choosing leaner cuts, and choosing whole, rather than processed foods. How can PETA claim that it’s unhealthy?

I also know several vegetarians that lost absolutely no weight when taking meat out of their diet. I know one that gained a lot of weight, despite eating a good amount of protein from non-animal products.

The ads just seem unnecessarily harsh and I felt offended as I’m not a vegetarian. I lost weight while still eating meat. 42.5 pounds to be exact AND I’m at a perfectly healthy BMI. While I do eat some vegetarian meals, or occasionally have vegetarian days, I’m not fully vegetarian and eat one to two servings of meat products each day. According to PETA I should be obese and/or unhealthy but I feel healthy as I eat a clean diet and pay attention to nutrition.

I think the mistake people make which can lead to obesity is not paying attention to nutrition and portions sizes. I don’t believe it has much to do with eating meat, unless you apply the incorrect portion sizes argument to it, but then, really, almost any food could be labeled as “soley responsible”. People who are vegetarians CAN be just as uninformed about proper nutrition as those who eat meat. Like I said before, I know some that simply cut out protein and others who gained weight because they still ate too large of portion sizes.

Overall, I doubt being offensive is going to bring loads of people over to PETA’s side. I doubt a billboard calling non-vegetarians fat is going to make them skip the meat. It certainly doesn’t bring me any desire to become a vegetarian. Perhaps if they really were trying to care and bring awareness to people eating too much meat they should have gone about it in a better way. Such as, you know, presenting actual facts instead of having a spokesperson skew them on Montel’s show (which he obviously didn’t fall for and then called her out on it). If anything, I could see this campaign resulting in people just skipping out on meat because of the “I might get fat” fear, and then their nutrition will not be any better than it was before.

I think the bottom line is proper nutrition rather than abandoning a particular food group. If you want to be a vegetarian, that’s fine, but be properly nourished, etc. The same goes for eating meat. It’s about moderation and choosing the proper portion size. In the end, I think that makes a healthier diet and would fight obesity much more than an anti-meat campaign.

Alright, so soapbox away! I’m off to help my dad drywall our downstairs bathroom, which should be interesting considering the fact that I can barely use a hammer, let alone put up drywall!


Organizing makes me happy

August 18, 2009

I’m not a naturally neat person, or a clean freak in any way. But I do love to be organized. It’s a weird combination. I’m obsessed with making to do lists and putting every little appointment or deadline on my calendar, and my school binders are always neatly labeled and organized but for some reason, I have a difficult time keeping my room clean! And my closet? I think my dad (who is a major cleaning nut) would have a fit if he saw it.

Over time, a mountain of clothes slowly grows in whatever empty floor spaces I  have. My dresser gets taken over by empty or almost empty bottles of different products (I have THE worst habit of starting to use a new bottle of product before the old one is entirely gone and I don’t want to throw it out because it still has some left). My bed is made… 10% of the time if I’m lucky and my nightstand has a million different things on it. My desk ends up swamped in papers, usually thanks to school. It’s awful.

Even though my room gets messy, I have a hard time motivating myself to clean it. So, it ends up getting pretty messy. I’ve decided to put my foot down though and keep my room tidy. I just feel so disorganized when it’s really messy and since I LIKE being organized, it really bothers me, even though I dislike cleaning my room.

So I cleaned it. Thoroughly. I vacuumed everywhere, even along the baseboards and window sill. It was a wonder my allergies haven’t been going nuts this year with all the dust I got rid of (I’m severely allergic… which also meant drugging myself up on Aerius partway through the clean). As I was cleaning, I started to think that since I was dragging everything out from the walls to vacuum behind, I might as well rearrange my room the way I’ve wanted to for months now (the mess always stopped me before since rearranging would mean serious cleaning). So, I dragged everything around in my room. Maybe not the best idea considering it was 31C outside before factoring in the humidity (I think the humidex was a disgusting 39C… yuck!) but I was on a roll and didn’t want to stop or my room would be stuck in a half-clean, half-rearranged state of transition for months.

It’s rearranged now and it seems bigger, which is nice! And it’s CLEAN! Seeing how nice it can look when it’s clean makes me really want to try to keep it tidy. I’m going to clean it weekly. For real. Because I love how it looks and I feel so organized, which makes me feel happy and far less conflicted! Yay!

I’ve also been organizing in other areas of my life – drawing up a budget for when I’ll (hopefully) be working full time starting in January to see if a car will be in the future (I have one, but it’s 9 years old and has been in the shop way too many times since it’s 7th birthday), looking into prices for a short trip to England or Scotland with the boyfriend next year and figuring out what the heck I want to take in grad school. I always get so excited doing this! It’s overwhelming yes, and sometimes I think about what if it doesn’t work out, but it really makes me look forward to the coming year! Car + trip + figuring out grad school would be sweet!

I’m off for some tea – I’ve been up since 7:15 and after getting 6.5 hours of sleep I’m fading fast now that it’s 12:30pm! I may post later this week on my maintenance progress and how I handled a small weight gain from my weekend home last week!


Facing my fears

August 12, 2009

For a long time, I’ve been afraid of heights. I wasn’t as a kid but somewhere during my early teens, I realized that even being up on a ladder made me extremely uncomfortable. When I did rock climbing at camp in grade 8, I only made it part way up the wall before I looked down and freaked out. I couldn’t climb up any further because I was afraid of the height. Even being on some balconies makes me nervous if they’re really high up and the railing isn’t overly sturdy looking. I think it’s partially a fear of falling too.

After this weekend, I don’t really think I’m afraid of heights anymore. I went to Treetop Trekking at Horseshoe on Saturday with my family and Josh. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s basically a bunch of ropes courses, swing bridges, other suspended obstacle type courses and zip lines. Most are at least several stories off the ground (the beginner course is not but the advanced courses sure are). Here are some pictures from the website. I sadly don’t have any pictures yet – my uncle is working on it as he was the photographer (we couldn’t exactly bring cameras up in the trees with us).

I did four courses – a beginner, two intermediates and one advanced. I was hooked from the very beginning and I wasn’t scared a single time. Obviously you’re wearing a harness (which is super awkward to walk in until you get used to it.. I was definitely waddling lol) and you’re clipped in by two carabiners (and a pulley as well on the zip lines) so you know you’re not going to fall, but I felt fearless the whole time. I’d be standing up on the platforms, waiting in between the obstacles, clipped in but not hanging onto anything like other people were. I actually sat down on one of the platforms with my legs over the edge while waiting for my turn at a busy section and just felt so at peace. I could have stayed up there all day.

And the zip lines are such a rush. It was amazing. It took me a minute to make myself let go on the first zip after orientation (you’re like 5 feet off the ground on that one… so no big deal) but once I did, I was in love 🙂 The advanced course had four zip lines in a row and then a long one at the end. I didn’t get a chance to do the Big Zip sadly – it’s a 900 foot line, the longest in Ontario – but I have every intention of doing it when I go back. And I definitely will go back!

I’m proud of myself for facing that fear, as it’s been a major one for a while. And I got to face it in such an unbelievably fun way. Treetop trekking is an awesome experience  and something I would recommend if it’s offered near you. Even if you think you’re afraid of heights, try it – you may surprise yourself 🙂


Stress

August 5, 2009

I am stressed.

There, I admitted it. I think I’ve been denying that for a couple of weeks now. And since I’ve admitted it, I’m going to blog about it just to throw everything out there and maybe even feel better about things in the process. So, apologies in advance if this post is rant-y, but I need to deal with it before I turn into that whole bitchy, stressed out, no fun at all self that I become when I decide not to handle my stress.

Let’s make a neat little list: What am I stressed about? And how can I deal with each stressor?

Stressor number 1: Paying my fall term tuition.

What’s going on? Fall term tuition is due on my birthday near the end of the month. Joy. Happy birthday to me? Anyway, for the past 4 years I’ve been lucky enough to have my tuition covered by my amazing grandparents who set up an RESP to fund all the grandkids through school to make sure we didn’t end up in their position, unable to afford schooling. I’m so so grateful that they did this, but now I’m not sure I can claim anything from the RESP as I’ve accessed it for 4 years now. So I need to find a solution ASAP.

How do I fix this? 1) Talk to my grandparents and find out if I can still access any money (I’m just so nervous about this because they’ve already done so much and I worry they’ll think I’m asking for more handouts), 2) look into bank loans (eww) or 3) pay as much as I can afford to and beg my parents to help out. Hmm. I do have some choices and it’s something I do need to just DO as soon as I can rather than ruminating on it. The sooner I do, the sooner the stress is gone.

Moving on:

Stressor number 2: The job.

What’s going on? The thing stressing me about my job is the current lack of hours. Right now the lab is transitioning between research projects. Two have just ended (or are almost done) and another two are starting but not for a couple more weeks. Which means, aside from organizational stuff or random other tasks that don’t take up much time, there is little to do. Which meas the hours I claimed for the past two weeks are about equal to what I usual claim in one week. Yikes.

How do I fix this? Okay, deep breath here. I think I’m panicking mostly because I’m used to working 30-40 hours per week in the summer and now that I’m working less, it feels wrong. In reality though, I can sustain myself even on my current hours. I have enough in the bank for my next rent payment (almost two, really), so even if I don’t work for the rest of August, I will still have enough for September rent and several months of groceries. And that’s assuming the worst case scenario. Once the transition time is over, I’ll probably have plenty of hours if the last project was any indication. I’ll probably be in and out of schools/daycares and running gazillions of participants. I’ll probably end up complaining of too many hours at that point. So, all in all, I think I’m fine for hours and earnings. I just need to remember that I’m working part-time this year (about 15-20 hours per week) compared to not at all or piddly amounts (5 hours per week or casual work). I will be fine!

Stressor number 3: I’ve been feeling a little… out of control I guess… with regards to eating and exercise.

What’s going on? It’s not as though I’m eating everything in sight or not exercising. In fact, I am exercising but I’m having these ridiculous thoughts that I NEED to exercise every day or I will suddenly be fat again overnight. I’m shifting back into my old ways of feeling like I need to eat less on the days I work out. Ugh. And with eating… I am in a serious dinner rut. SERIOUS. I’m lacking kitchen inspiration like you wouldn’t believe. I need major recipes and I need to do some make ahead and freeze meals for those lazy nights so I don’t revert to simple but less healthy meals as I have been lately.

How do I fix this? I need to remember that I AM in control of my eating. I have the ability to make good choices and despite slipping up and being lazy a few times, I’m still doing fine. It’s all a matter of perception. Most people probably wouldn’t look at my food choices and think “Ew what disgusting eating habits, so unhealthy, blah, blah, blah”. I think that because of the stress in other areas of my life I’m maybe automatically assuming that my eating sucks too. And it doesn’t. Besides, one or two “bad” (but not even that bad, really) meals per week is not going to bring the weight back. I know this deep down. In terms of exercise, I think I need to tell myself the following: ‘umm, hello Val? You ran 4 freaking miles the other day. How do you seem to think you’re not working out enough? And exercising each day? Not a necessity. You didn’t even do that when you were losing weight! You worked out 4-5 times per week so what the heck is with this compulsion to work out 6-7? Chill! You are active and in shape. You do active things each day and even if you didn’t a day or two every now and then of sitting on your butt doing nothing all day is not going to bring the weight back either’.

Whew. I feel SO SO SO much better after getting that all out. I am doing fine. I need to remember that. I will figure out tuition and I have several options to consider so I’m sure something will work out. I have enough money even if I’m lacking hours at work. And I’m still making healthy choices 80% of the time and being active most of the week. I am in control of my eating and exercise and it shows on the scale. Have I gained in the past couple weeks? Nope, I’ve actually lost a little which is evidence that I’m just being too paranoid about my weight. I will get this under control and there is no way I’m going back to that restrictive past!

So, rant over, I do believe. If you read this whole thing, kudos. If not, that’s cool too. All in all, I generally feel better after blogging it out and that’s what this handy blog is here for right?


Sweet freedom!

August 3, 2009

On Saturday I wrote my exam for my summer course and an hour after I started, I was finished and free for the next month and a half (school has a late start this year, September 14th I think because of Labour Day being late and the first week of the school year being O-Week). Anyway, no more school until September for me!!

It’s already a weird feeling not having school stuff do to though. I always have a few days to a week of adjustment when I finish a school term. I think it’s because the end of the term is usually so crazy – final assignments and then the final exam – that it feels weird to go from being wrapped up in the course to not even looking at the course material for a second. I’m still getting used to the fact that I can waste a little time!

In other good news… I ran 4 miles yesterday! I set a goal back in June to run 4 miles by August 1st, so although I’m a day late, I’m still so pumped about being able to do it, especially considering the longest distance I’d run just a few days ago was 3.25 miles, so not even that close.

I actually feel like a runner now. I don’t know why I didn’t before, since I think as long as you do run, no matter how far or fast, you can call yourself a runner. But hitting that 4 mile mark kind of solidified that feeling of being a runner that I’d had for the past couple weeks. I don’t know if anyone else has had that experience of not feeling like a runner until hitting a certain milestone, but it’s weird how we just don’t give ourselves enough credit sometimes!

So I’m off to enjoy the last day of this gorgeous long weekend! Thankfully the weather finally turned around and it’s been all sun so far! And, from peeking out the window, I can see nothing but blue sky right now so hopefully that will hold up and I can enjoy some reading out on the deck now that I have time to do it.