Wisconsin/Chicago

Clearly I’m horrible at posting things on time! I’ll be adding photos to this post later!

On Monday, August the 25th 2014, my boyfriend and I left Winnipeg with my aunt, uncle, cousin and his girlfriend for Wisconsin. My cousin had a basketball tournament in Chicago, and Wisconsin Dells was one of our many stops on his basketball tournament, road trip. My aunt rented a van, which my uncle drove the entire time (such a trooper!). The drive time from Winnipeg to Wisconsin is approximately eleven hours. After leaving Winnipeg on the evening of the 25th, we stopped at almost every rest area to use restrooms and take power naps. We Finally made it to Wisconsin the next day, on the 26th. We checked into our hotel later than anticipated because of our excessive stopping on the drive there. we stayed at the Mount Olympus Village in the water park, so we had a cool themed room.  My cousin, his girlfriend, Johnny and I only had a couple of hours to explore the water park so we swam and went on as many slides as we could, and we rode a roller coaster. I had a lot of “firsts” on this road trip, and one of the more exciting ones, was eating at Culver’s for the first time! They’re this fast food chain that sells burgers, fries, other standard fast food type items. Apparently, Wisconsin is pretty famous for their dairy production, so Culver’s had Wisconson Cheese Curds!!! I had cheese curds for supper that night. Mcdonald’s has nothing on Culver’s. The restaurant (can I even call it that?) itself is well known for their frozen custard and their insane flavour variety, and being an avid pumpkin lover (I don’t only “love” pumpkin in the fall) I had a pumpkin custard shake. We only stayed in Wisconsin for one night, so we were up really early the next morning, to make the three hour drive towards Chicago. Our first stop in Chicago was obviously the United Center to see the home of the Chicago Bulls, and to take a thousand photos of the Jordan Statue outside of the stadium. After seeing the statue, my cousins basketball team and everyone else on the road trip had planned to see a couple of other specific touristy spots and stop for lunch/dinner at a deep dish pizza joint, but driving around Chicago in a big group ended with us being separated from the group. Based on sheer luck, the six of us found the Navy Pier, and walked along the boardwalk and had lunch there instead. The boardwalk somewhat reminded me of the boardwalk from the Jersey Shore, which I’ve only ever seen on TV. The Navy Pier was very scenic and beautiful, had a ton of little shops and restaurants and even had a small amusement park. We mostly just had lunch here and took a lot of pictures. After having been up super early and walking around all day, we finally checked into the Comfort Inn & Suites at 530 West North Avenue in the evening and then my uncle drove up and down the main street near our hotel, until we decided to eat at a Chinese buffet a couple minutes away. Because it was 10:00PM, and because we were starving and tired, we ate as much as we could and acted as if this was the best Chinese buffet in the world. The next night, we ordered in from Giordano’s which is Chicago’s famous deep dish pizza place. The pizza was like heaven, and was so deep dish, that it had to be eaten with a fork. The bread that they send with their food, is also amazing. They’re just standard dinner rolls but they tasted like they were baked fresh! The next night I had White Castle for the first time, which I had extremely high expectations for. Everyone on the road trip was surprised that I’d never eaten at White Castle despite the fact that I’ve been to the States so many times. Let me just say that I was soooo disappointed after having White Castle. It wasn’t anything special. The food was sub par and super salty. Thumbs down.

Saturday, August 30th, was the first day of my cousins actual basketball tournament. His team won their first game. Later that night we ate at an authentic Mexican restaurant called Las Islas Marias which was a couple blocks from our hotel. This was place was the best Mexican restaurant I’ve ever eaten at. The restaurant had a very family oriented vibe in terms of the staff and the relationship that the staff had with the large families eating at the restaurant. Their menu had so many things to choose from, as well as an extensive drink menu. Our waitress was the sweetest girl ever. We ended up liking the restaurant so much, that we ate there the next night as well. The food is priced extremely well, the wait staff is amazing and quick and the food was to die for.

Sunday, my cousin played his second game, and lost, which meant they were out of the tournament, so we spent the day at the Brookfield Zoo! The weather was gorgeous so all the animals were out. I made the mistake of not dressing comfortably, so a couple hours in, my feet were hurting and my dress was irritating me. The Brookfield Zoo was so much cooler than the zoo in Winnipeg, but I guess it’s typical to think your hometown zoo is never as neat as others. The general entrance fee for adults at the zoo was roughly $17.00, which was good considering we were in the zoo looking around for more than five hours. That night, we relaxed at the hotel and did facials, which we bought, prepackaged from Walmart.

At some point on this trip, we did visit the Millennium Park, where we took super touristy photos with the giant, silver jelly bean.

The next morning, we got up early, packed, and left Chicago. We stopped in Wisconsin to get gas and have Culver’s AGAIN! YAY! So good. We drove through Minneapolis, stopped at the Eagan Outlets for six hours, spent the last of our money, then drove to Fargo. We spent the night at some chain hotel I can’t remember the name of, where nothing was working. The pool was out of order, none of the vending machines worked, and their ice dispensers were broken, but their continental breakfast had a lot of variety! On the morning of September 2nd, we checked out of the hotel, got McDonalds and Starbucks, stopped at Sam’s Club, where I impulsively purchased a Swarovski bracelet that was over $100.00, then we drove home.

My first time in Chicago was so much fun. It is definitely a neat and lively place to visit! I’m glad Johnny and I got to cross this beautiful city off of our travel list.

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Tiny Tea Review: Halfway point

Yesterday was day 7 out of 14 on the Tiny Tea Teatox, and honestly I haven’t noticed anything life changing/worth blogging for paragraphs about. I will say that I have had a little bit more energy, I just feel fresh in the mornings when I wake up, but this could be for a number of different reasons. I recently got a new gel pillow that lets me sleep at night like no other, and as of late, I’ve also been taking a women’s multivitamin, and other vitamins to aid in cleaning my body from the inside out. I will do a full review on day 14. See you all then!

Your Tea, Tiny Tea Review

Hey guys!

I’ve been wanting to do a review of the Tiny Tea, by Your Tea Teatox for a while now, but I just haven’t gotten around to it. This isn’t the first time I’ve ordered Tiny Tea, but the last time that I did, I ordered the 28 day supply, and to be honest, I didn’t really take it seriously, and didn’t follow the rules to drinking the tea. I also ordered it almost a year ago, so I don’t remember what my eating or work out habits were like during the teatox.

So, to start, I placed my order for the 14 Day Tiny Tea supply on Wednesday, September 24th, 2014. On this day, they were having a 20% off sale, which was the ultimate factor in me buying the tea again. I received my tea on Tuesday, September 30th 2014… Less than a week later! Let me just say, I remember being impressed with the shipping speed the first time around, and was even more impressed this time. It just seems so quick, and to ship something in under five business days is amazing to me. Five stars for Your Tea’s shipping time!

Rules for drinking Tiny Tea:

The instructions say to boil water (I use the microwave), pour boiled water in an average sized mug and steep the tea for 5-7 minutes. You’re supposed to drink this tea twice a day, either 30 minutes before OR after a meal. The first time I did the teatox, the instructions said to drink it three times a day. I also drank the tea whenever it was convenient and I would skip a lot of days… Clearly I can’t follow simple instructions. The Your Tea website suggests that you clean up your eating during the teatox, and do some form or exercise. They even have an eating plan along with recipes on their website, which you can reference during the teatox.

For those of you who follow me, I plan on following the 17 Day Diet, Cycle 1, eating plan during my teatox, just because I’ve had success with it in the past. You can read my review on the 17 Day Diet here. Just as a heads up, I already started the teatox on Wednesday, October 1st, 2014, so I’m already 5 teabags in, including the one I’m drinking right now.

I don’t plan on blogging every day about drinking the tea, my eating and how much I workout, but I will blog after my first week in, and then obviously at the end of the teatox. Wish me luck!

Minnesota & North Dakota

It’s been a long time since I last blogged, and a long time since I was actually on this road trip, so I’m writing this entry purely from memory, ticket stubs and poorly taken photos from my iPhone! I went on this road trip with my mom, boyfriend, mom’s best friend, and mom’s best friends 9 year old son.

Johnny did all the driving… What a trooper. We were initially supposed to rent a van, but it was going to cost us almost $1000.00 so we took my brothers pickup truck instead. We left on the morning of July 26th, 2014 and started our four hour drive towards Fargo, North Dakota. There, we stopped at West Acres Mall, and had lunch. I had Taco John’s for the first time which was like any other Mexican, fast food place. Surprise, surprise. After lunch we drove another three-ish hours to Albertville, Minnesota to shop at the Albertville Premium Outlets. I’m almost positive that I only bought a black tulip skirt, and a white cotton and lace cardigan from a store called Pebble Boutique. We shopped until the outlet was closed and then drove just under an hour to our hotel, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, The Northwood Inn & Suites. This hotel was cheap to stay in, but everything about the hotel was less than great. We would ask for clean towels or extra toilet paper and a lot of the time, the hotel staff would say that they didn’t have any or that they were “running low” so it always seemed like a huge issue asking for things. Also, the hotel says they provide “complimentary breakfast” but it’s really only pre-packaged, over sugared, danishes, coffee, tea, and juice. Our sheets were only changed once, during our five night stay with them, and they never vacuumed the carpet. One of the only plus sides of staying at this hotel, was that we were less than five minutes from the Mall Of America.

On our first full day in Minneapolis, Johnny and I went to watch our first MLB game! We watched the Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox! We got two amazing seats for just over $120.00. Johnny and I wanted the full American, baseball experience so we bought beer, other drinks, and all the kiosk food that we could eat. I also got a “meal in a cup” which is a caesar, plus your choice of either a mini burger or bratwurst! Also, any time I’ve ordered a caesar while in the United States, they always give me a beer! Which I guess is supposed to complement the caesar somehow, which is amazing, because it’s like getting a free drink. In Winnipeg, if you order a caesar, you only get a caesar, and you might get a good stick of celery, if you’re lucky.

The next day, we went to the Minnesota Zoo, which took us a total of five hours to get through. Lots of walking, bathroom breaks, and stops for ice cream and snacks. I also RODE A CAMEL! It was $6.00 for a ride that lasted two minutes tops, but it was so fun! The zoo in general was beautiful and had so many different things to see and do. One of my favourite parts was the butterfly garden. After walking all day at the zoo, we went to the mall and had dinner at the Cadillac Ranch. I ordered a steak, and these fries called “loaded fries” that I can’t stop thinking about. They were perfectly cooked, and had bacon, cheese and green onions on them.

On the day of July 29th, Johnny took me to see the “Barbie –  The Dreamhouse Experience” exhibit that was happening at the mall. It was extremely exciting, and extremely pink. I was the only girl in the exhibit that was over the age twelve, that was not accompanying someone under the age of twelve. And Johnny, being the best boyfriend ever, was the only boy in the exhibit who wasn’t there with his younger sister or daughter. Barbie’s house was everything I expected and more. That girl has it made. We shopped after seeing Barbie’s house and then went to the “Beatles Exhibit“. Unlike the Barbie exhibit, we weren’t allowed to take very many pictures, because of all the rare photos and items that were featured in the exhibit. One of the coolest things they had was the actual jacket worn by Ringo Starr, in the Abbey Road photo. Not like a replica, or the same jacket, it was the one that Ringo Starr wore… it touched his flesh, and they had it in a glass case at this exhibit. There were a lot of authentic audio clips that were of news reporters on scene of The Beatles arriving in a city to do a concert, or of The Beatles doing interviews. The exhibit also had a lot of rare, up close photos of the band, taken by their manager, who was also a professional photographer. After the exhibit, we ate at a restaurant called Crave. Their menu was huge and featured everything from burgers to sushi. It’s a bit pricier, but beyond worth it. The restaurant is dimly lit, and has a really intimate vibe. The food is presented so beautifully, and you can actually taste the quality and time put into their meals.

Our last night in Minneapolis, Johnny and I ate at Bubba Gump Shrimp for the first time. The food and service were amazing. We got a free Bubba Gump Shrimp cocktail mixer because we spent a certain amount, or because we got two alcoholic beverages, I can’t remember. The mixer was a cute touch, and a nice souvenir.

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– E

Essentials (wardrobe & extras)

So recently I was going through my closet and looking at all of things I own. I realized that I have a shit ton of things with tags still on them, and some things that don’t have tags, but have been worn a maximum of once. It dawned on me that the items in my closet with tags still on them are things that I bought impulsively, or didn’t bother to try on, but bought anyways. I started to realized what a waste of money it is to just be buying something because it looks cute on the hanger. I’ve religiously started only buying clothing if I’ve a) tried it on, b) it looks amazing and c) it makes me feel fabulous. I’ve also realized as of late, that coming into my mid-ish twenties, I’m so over only owning cheap stuff from Forever21 and stores alike. Not to say that I still don’t love places like Forever21, and H&M, but we all know that the clothes they make, quality wise, aren’t enough to last an entire season. I think when you’re on such a budget, it can be so easy to get lost in the world of quantity over quality. I’ve been perusing the internet and doing research on what it is that every woman should have in her closet, and although there were a lot of variations from list to list, I compiled my own list, and made one that is the most appropriate for my age and taste.

  • Black blazer
  • Black leather jacket (PU/Genuine leather)
  • Denim jacket
  • Classic trench coat
  • Wool coat
  • White button down blouse
  • Striped shirt
  • Basic tees in black, white & grey
  • Leopard print scarf
  • Little black dress
  • Black opaque tights
  • Oversized watch
  • Statement necklace
  • A good pair of sunglasses
  • Perfect dark wash jeans (any fit, according to what makes you feel your best)
  • Red flats
  • Nude pumps
  • Black pumps
  • Black trousers
  • Black skirt
  • A nice bra
  • Pretty PJ’s
  • A tote
  • A great neutral coloured handbag
  •  A good planner/agenda

Because my birthday is around the corner, you can bet I’ve asked for a bunch of stuff from this list, with specifics as to which stores to shop at. The fact that these items are supposed to last a long time, I’ve been really looking at quality, name brand, and whether or not I absolutely love the piece when I try it on. I just really want to create a wardrobe that has a lot of quality, with items that I can wear for years to come!

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Gone Girl

“…I was playing the girl who was in style, the girl a man like Nick wants: the Cool Girl. Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.

Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl…”

 

Right now, I’m reading Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn. The passage above is one of my favourites in all of what I’ve read so far. Such an amazing book. The writing, and the characters are brilliant. I definitely wanted to get a jump on finishing the book before the movie comes out!

 

More lifestyle change/eating plan stuff

I feel like I haven’t blogged in a really long time, but it’s only been 6 days.

So after I finished the first cycle of the 17 Day Diet, I decided that I would go on and blog about the second cycle immediately after. That didn’t happen. From the moment I finished cycle 1, up until about this past Saturday, I’ve been indulging like it’s going out of style. Granted, I did try to eat as healthy as possible the past week, every single time someone has presented me with some sort of dessert, or something deep fried, I gladly accepted. Yesterday I had a breakthrough and realized that I didn’t want to undo all my hard work during cycle 1 of the 17 Day Diet, so I should probably stop stuffing my face with crap, and just eat healthy and workout. So yesterday, that is what I did. I started with day 1 of the second cycle, and I just thought I would let everyone know that I’m only going to blog about my journey through the second cycle every couple of days. And again, to keep peoples interest I will be posting ‘after’ pictures at the end of cycle 2! Yayyy!

Anyways, blogging every couple of days will leave me more time to blog about more interesting things… Like clothes, and makeup, and nails!

– E

The 17 Day Diet Review – Day 17

DAY 17 DONE!

So, as promised, I’m posting my ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots today! But first, here’s my review for yesterday, which was day 17/the last day of the first cycle.

I’m going to go into too much detail right now about my body… So every month when my period comes, I get INSANE cramps. They’re so bad that I break out into cold sweats, I feel like I’m going to throw up, and sometimes the pain is so bad that I feel like I’m going to pass out. It only started getting this bad when I was 17… I’m currently 22 years old. I just suffered for years thinking that I could tough it out, or pray that the next month would be better. I finally went to the doctor two months ago and was prescribed Tylenol 3’s, Buscopan, and Naproxen. The Tylenol 3’s help with the nausea and headaches and just general pain. The Buscopan is to slow the rhythmic contractions in the stomach area, and it reduces muscle spasms. The Naproxen is an anti-inflammatory drug that is helping to reduce the inflammation in my uterus… obviously. These three in conjunction have worked wonderfully. I got my period yesterday and only took one of each of the pills and they lasted all day. Today I took one of each again and I’m feeling good. The relevance of all this TMI is that I’m not supposed to take these pills on an empty stomach, and when I’m on my period, certain foods just turn me off completely, even foods that I normally love. So I just wanted to explain why my eating pattern, and food choices for yesterday were so weird. So onto less gross things…

Yesterday I woke up, had green tea, ate carrots and tzatziki sauce, and microwave popcorn. I thought about eating poached eggs, but the thought of eating eggs made my stomach churn. I took my pills for the first time yesterday and was in a panic about whether or not they would work. Within an hour, I felt like I was having a normal period for the first time in 6 years. So far, so good (:

I didn’t feel like I could eat lunch, so I didn’t.

I didn’t workout because the pills just made me feel tired. My body was relaxed and I just wanted to be cozy in bed. So, that’s what I did. I stayed in bed and started watching Bates Motel (which I’m now OBSESSED with) until I had to get ready for work. I eventually got up and showered and went to work. For dinner at work I had a small, completely plain, piece of baked fish. I also ate frozen mangoes, strawberries, and peach yogurt. That seemed to be enough to satisfy me. At 9:30PM, I finished work and was starving, so my boyfriend took me to Subway to get a chicken breast salad. It was a variety of vegetables, chicken breast, pepper, and oregano. I never get cheese or sauce/dressing on my Subway salads. So I ate my salad, had a tiny bite of a cookie and had a couple of sips of my boyfriends iced tea. When I got home I had a bite of a pork chop filet. So that concluded my eating for the final day of the first cycle. Not horrible, but not exactly perfect.

I’ve decided to continue on with the second cycle of the 17 Day Diet! Yay! You all get to read more posts about my lack of will power when it comes to Chinese food and cookies! Thanks for following me on the first 17 days of this eating plan, and thanks for not being JUDGEY!

Finally, as promised… here are my ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures. Don’t be too hard on me!

BEFORE - The morning of my first day on The 17 Day Diet, cycle 1.

BEFORE – The morning of my first day on The 17 Day Diet, cycle 1.

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AFTER – The morning after the final day of The 17 Day Diet, Cycle 1.