Tag Archives: Thrive

Roasted Garlic Quinoa & Chia Bean Patties

I had originally planned on making a raw Pad Thai dish for Week 2, but after looking at the recipe in detail, it had upwards of 35 ingredients. That did not sound appealing!

Now, today is still technically in Week 1, but I am going to be out of the house for the majority of the day tomorrow, so I took the day today to make my Week 2 recipe.

I had a quick look through the Whole Foods to Thrive book and came upon 2 recipes that I thought might compliment each other. I made a list of the ingredients I didn’t already have and headed out to pick them up. I am happy to say that with just the few ingredients shown below, I am able to make both recipes!


Now, I’m sure you can imagine that I won’t need ALL the contents of some items (i.e. massive tub of coconut oil!) but how exciting that I can make 2 recipes with such few ingredients!

I made a couple of small changes to the recipes … such as using a sprouted rice & quinoa blend instead of just quinoa. I also substituted the brown rice in the patties for this blend.

So I roasted the head of garlic, which made my apartment smell SO GOOD!!! I wonder if there is a roasted garlic or fried onion candle … LOL

I also made the rice/quinoa in my rice maker. I needed 5 1/2 cups cooked, in total, so I needed to make 2 batches as my rice maker is a nice small appliance.

When I usually make the rice/quinoa, I melt in some butter/margarine after it’s cooked, and then toss in salt, pepper and garlic powder. It’s my absolute favorite flavor for this blend.

The Roasted Garlic Quinoa recipe has such great flavor because of the roasted garlic and holy smokes – this may just be my new favorite flavor for this blend! Something so satisfying about the taste of roasted garlic *nom nom nom!

For the patties, as noted above, I subbed in rice/quinoa instead of brown rice. I also didn’t have quinoa flakes, so I used quick oats. And I omitted the miso as I didn’t have any. The recipe calls for “minced” celery, carrot, and onion … but I was too impatient, so I threw them in my Vitamix and blended them up! I think this actually turned out better because it created much smaller pieces that I could have chopped by using a knife. It also allowed much of the moisture/water come out of the vegetables, which was perfect given the omission of miso.

While these patties are good, they could use something more. Perhaps some more potent herbs and spices. They have sufficient salt, so I know that’s not missing. I will likely HAVE to make them again so that I can experiment with seasonings.


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Royally Perfect

This week was a good week. Nothing of great importance occurred during the week.

Friday after work, a few co-workers from my group and I went to Cinema Public House in Vancouver. Our firm was holding the annual Post-CFE Party and all staff are invited to attend. I didn’t attend last year because I had only been working at the firm for about 6 weeks and didn’t really know anyone.

This year was nice – we had some drinks and a bit of food. Then headed to Republic Nite Club for a couple more drinks. It was actually the first time I’ve been to a night club in Vancouver! And holy hell did it ever make me feel old!

I totally remember being in my early to mid 20’s and going out almost every weekend. We’d hit up the night clubs in Kelowna and stay out all hours of the night. We’d drink and dance and get smokies from the vendor outside the night club when the club shut down.

This Friday was different. I was old. The music was loud and I didn’t know 99% of it. And it was crowded. I am just old. LOL

Saturday was a mellow day as I was slightly hungover. Nothing like I used to live through in my early to mid 20’s, but definitely enough to need bacon & eggs, and an afternoon nap!

Sunday (today) was different. I let myself sleep until I’m ready to wake … something I do as often as possible on weekends … and today is was about 6:15 am. I had hoped to be up by 7:00 am so that I could shower and dress for the big morning. I wanted to be down at Jack Poole Plaza by 8:00 am. We were having big guests in town …


Yes … the spot I secured was PERFECT! I was about 4 feet away … this picture is not zoomed or anything! I was THIS CLOSE to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge!!! OMG such an amazing experience!

Granted … I (and others around us) did let a young girl with flowers stand in front in order to coax the Duchess towards our area! And at first, it was the Duke on my side of the walking path … the Duchess was on the other side. But the location where I was standing was right near where the motorcade was parked … and the Duchess came over to my side just in time to greet the young girl, receive her flowers and pose for a split second for me to get this shot!!!

This afternoon was mellow. I am sort of binge watching Grey’s Anatomy … again. So I have had it on while I puttered and lounged around. I’m planning my October … the health and fitness aspect of my October.

And then the day got bright and I got out for a nice walk. I walked around Lost Lagoon … 4.55 km round trip (00:52:31 total time) … and was able to capture this lovely shot:


So it’s been a great weekend … and the next week will be great … it’s the last week of September and I’m getting excited and geared up for a very successful October!

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Forgot … Completely Forgot

My two lovely fur babies let me sleep in today until after 7:30 am! I was up just before 6:00 am for a quick bathroom visit, but was luckily able to get back to sleep.

I have to get up early (5:30 am) tomorrow so that I can be at work for between 7:00 am and 7:30 am. Our group is doing a 1-day “Boot Camp” event, updating everyone on the happenings of the past year and the future year. We’re also doing 4 breakout sessions to provide insight to some new standards we’re rolling out.

Anyways back to the past week …

Sunday. What happened on Sunday? I’m going to go with “nothing”. Nothing happened on Sunday. It was a very relaxing day.

Monday. Yes Monday. I got up with my alarm. Went through the basics of getting ready for work, all the while still battling the headache/migraine I had Saturday. Around the time I was supposed to leave to walk to work, I decided to take a personal/sick day. I binge watched Grey’s Anatomy … right back to the beginning. I was also able to get crush some of the bookkeeping I had been procrastinating on. Yes, I wasn’t well enough to go to work, but I worked at my own business. In very sporadic periods. No specific hours.

Tuesday. Wednesday. Nothing much … back at the office. Back to routine. The migraine nicely subsided so that I was able to get back to life.

Thursday. I opted for a really not healthy lunch and got Chinese Food from the food court next to our office. This day is also one of my best friend’s birthday. I sent her a beautiful card, a $50 Lululemon gift card, and one of each of the 3 new types of tea I recently bought. She has 3 kids (aged 6 1/2, 2 1/4, and 9 months) and we’re planning on an adult-only vacation next year to Vegas. I got her the Lulu gift card so she can get herself something workout-y, something that makes her feel good, and gives her the want to get healthy and fit again.

Friday. I made 2 smoothies … one for breakfast and one for lunch. But my lunch smoothie stayed in the fridge. I decided to get a Sweet Potato Wrap from Creme de la Crumb.

Saturday. My plan for this day is shopping. Clothing shopping. At work, we’re allowed to wear jeans/be a bit more casual all day every day. So I wanted to find some more versatile items that could be worn to work, and during my weekends. I headed out to Metropolis at Metrotown in Burnaby. It’s a great big mall! I think I was there for about 3 hours … spent a shit-tonne of money … but got some awesome items! I have a few favorites:

I’m so excited to make all these new outfits! Especially since the weather is TOTALLY changing and Fall is definitely upon us here!

I also stopped by the Superstore at Metropolis to pick up some Larabars because they are on sale for $16 per box (works out to $1 per bar!) but they didn’t order the full boxes!!! I used to work for the company and was the person who did this part of the ordering … you look at the flyer for next week to know what you need to order!!!! C’mon people!!! *Fail

Last night I did one last trip out and picked up some new gel pens from Michael’s … they had a 50% off one item that was ending yesterday. After grabbing the pens, I headed to Joey Burrard for dinner. I ordered a Budweiser and the Spicy BBQ Chicken Sandwich. Please do check out this post … it was one of the better experiences I’ve had.

Sunday. Today. I went out for breakfast to Red Umbrella. Afterwards, I decided to look up the next closest Superstore for Larabars. It was going to take me 45 minutes each way on the bus so I decided to grab an Evo car share instead. I also decided to call the store first, to make sure they had stock! Since there was a limit of 4 boxes, that is what I limited myself to. This afternoon, I’ve been binge watching Season 2 of Grey’s Anatomy, and also made a big batch of some fantastic chili!!! Can’t wait to have lunches and dinners this week!!!

Oh and the title … I totally forgot to weigh myself this morning!

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Social Media

I should start using my day planner as a bit of a diary or “what I do each day” journal. Right now, I look back through my Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat to remember what I did all week!

Monday was a holiday and I did NOTHING! It was absolutely splendid!

The week consisted of work. Not “hard” but work. I (still) have a ton of bookkeeping to do and should really get on it … I’ve been procrastinating for upwards of 6 weeks now!

Friday after work I headed to BC Place to take in the BC Lions vs. Montreal Alouettes CFL football game. It was a nice evening.

Near the end of the game, the announcer comes on to indicate which player would be going to a local taphouse … and Friday was Jonathan Jennings (BC Lions QB).

I decided to head to the taphouse and just have a drink … not ready to head home.

I was sitting at a table and this decent-looking guy came and asked if he could sit with me … sure, why not!

We ended up having a great time! Seemed to have a lot in common. The bill came and he pulled out his card and said he’d pay the bill (how nice, right!?) I headed to the bathroom before heading out, and when I came back to the table, the guy was gone … to the bathroom? Gone home?

I waited a few minutes, guessing he was in the loo … but nothing. So I took the bill (that was on the table) to the waitress and asked if it was still outstanding.

Yup. Unpaid.

What. The. Fuck.

So I paid the bill cause I couldn’t just walk out … and headed home. What an asshole!

Saturday was a mellow day. I didn’t do a ton … had to go to Adrenaline Tattoo on Granville as I have an appointment near the end of the month, but I’m having second thoughts on the artist, etc. … so I wanted to cancel the appointment and have my deposit refunded. The receipt clearly indicates that deposits for custom tattoos are non-refundable. So I was already prepared to fight LOL (I have only made the appointment 2 days prior).

Thankfully, there was no problem. Appointment cancelled. Refund issued.

I had a ticket to the Keith Urban concert Saturday night, with Maren Morris and Dallas Smith as openers. I had been battling a bad headache most of the afternoon, and thinking it was because of the beers the night before … had a drink to combat the headache – you know, “Hair of the Dog”!

I had a couple of beers at the concert and enjoyed Maren Morris. Then bathroom break … bit of a line up … probably 5 minutes in and out.

Up next was Dallas Smith. He’s awesome – just love him! Then bathroom break … and the line was HUGE! I waited in line for a stall for almost 20 minutes! Not to mention I had to go for about 15 minutes before!

So now I’m all annoyed and still have a headache that keeps getting worse. So I actually opted OUT of staying for the headliner, Keith Urban. I have seen him before and he’s good … but I was NOT feeling well.

Home I went. And to bed I went.

This morning I feel better … but still feel a tightness in my neck.

I did some books this morning, but should really do more.

I’ve returned from getting groceries … going to make some salads this week:

  • romaine lettuce
  • black beans
  • peaches & cream corn
  • avocado
  • homemade tomato salsa
  • sour cream
  • cajun chicken

I decided to create an Instagram account for my health journey. You can find and follow me @gonagethealthy

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Busy Weekend

Today is Monday September 5, 2016.

It’s Labour Day (in Canada) meaning it’s a bank/government holiday and a stat holiday at work! It’s the last long weekend of the summer and school starts tomorrow for students in BC.

The last week was good. Work was work. Felt like it went rather quickly.

I went for lunch with some co-workers on Thursday … they picked a Japanese restaurant (specializing in sushi) … and I’m not a sushi fan. But I figured I’d find SOMETHING to eat there!

I ended up ordering the Avocado Mango sushi roll, a veggie cone, and veggie tempura. The tempura was delicious, but I ended up giving away 3 of the maybe 10 pieces of veggies because they were “gross” veggies (mushrooms and peppers) LOL

Here is the roll and cone … both really tasty!

090116 Veggie Cone

Then that night I had plans to meet my nephew for dinner, along with his grandma, aunt & uncle and their 2 kids, at Famoso (delicious pizza!) The grandma and aunt are on his dad’s side and they reached out to me while Lukus was in town, as his mom (my sister) keeps him from seeing/contacting me (and other family members). It was so nice to see him, but he’s 15 (will be 16 in late October) and a boy … so he likely could care less to spend time together LOL dinner was awesome and it was so great to see him and his grandma, aunt, uncle and cousins! I have always really gotten along well with Lukus’ dad’s family.

I even tried a new pizza at Famoso … this is the Spicy Thai pizza – delicious! Meatballs were on special, so I have a few of them along with a few mozza balls for an appy. Then was really already full … so just had a couple pieces of pizza. I took the rest home, along with another full Cavoletti pizza, for future meals!

Then on Saturday I headed off for a day trip tour! We spent 4 hours “speeding” atop the water to go whale watching and were fortunate enough to see about 10 different Orcas! We even saw a large male Orca hunting (salmon, likely) … he was coming up often, quick, and very flip-floppy … that’s a sign they’re hunting. When they are simply coming up “for air”, it’s more in a straight, controlled line.

090316 Orcas

Then we were dropped off at the Inner Harbour of Victoria … and this is a big deal for me because at 34 1/2 years of age, and having spent about 33 1/2 of those years in BC, I’ve never been to Vancouver Island! So I was able to spend a couple of hours walking around and exploring Victoria, then took a shuttle bus to Butchart Gardens.

090316 BC Parliament090316 Victoria Harbour

Unfortunately, I took the last shuttle, so I only had about 30 minutes at the Gardens and it would have been nice to have more time … just means I’ll have to take a weekend and go back to see/do more!

090316 Butchart Gardens

Then we took about 2 hours to boat back to Vancouver!

Yesterday I made my way out to Bowen Island to visit my besties and check out their new house. They started building it last September (maybe August!) and it was supposed to be done in March/April, but it just passed permits for them to move into about 3 weeks ago!

We spend time just hanging out, and had a BBQ dinner. Then I came home and now it’s today!

090416 Stevie

I have a ton of bookkeeping to do today, and I also need to do laundry, clean the apartment, meal prep, etc. today!

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Up 3.6 pounds in 29 days. Wrong direction. Holidays are OVER! And to be perfectly honest, I stayed on “holiday mode” for about 2 1/2 weeks in August when I wasn’t on holidays!

Today (Sunday August 28, 2016) things change and get back on track! Calories officially count again!

I had an amazing smoothie this morning … made in my new (to me; refurbished) Vitamix!!! (Did I tell you I got a Vitamix at the PNE Marketplace on Wednesday!?)

Today’s smoothie was made of:

  • Chocolate Thrive Lifestyle Mix
  • PB2
  • Banana
  • Carob Chips
  • Nescafe Instant Coffee
  • Water
  • Ice

082816 Smoothie

I’ve done my meal prep for the next few days …

  • chicken salad made
  • grains cooked
  • chicken diced

Veggies are already pretty well prepped as I buy mini carrots, snap peas, french green beans … celery has to be cut in half, and cucumbers have to be chopped in long pieces, too.

I don’t like to prep my veggies earlier than the night before as I feel they lose a TON of their (already lacking) flavour.

I buy 2 rotisserie chickens from Costco and break them down … removing skin and fat (and bones, duh!) then I break out 4 large portions of about 2 cups each. I will make 2 batches of chicken salad (one batch already made) and also have 2 portions of just chicken to mix with grains, etc. for dinners.

I also bought a box of 18 Lara bars from Costco. They worked out to $0.77 each which is a killer steal! I haven’t figured when I’ll have a bar … likely before I do my lunch walk/barre class for a little substance, then have my chicken salad and veggies when I get back to work. The Lara bar adds 230 calories to my day and as of current, that is unscheduled calories, but really doesn’t put me way out of range, especially if I do all the cardio & classes I have planned.

I’m scheduled in for 2 barre classes this week … Wednesday and Friday at lunch. And I’m planning to utilize the gym at work for some cardio on the forecast rainy non-barre days. On Thursday, it’s not forecast to rain … so I’m planning on a seawall walk at lunch.

This is all in addition to my 30 minute walk to and from work. And if weather permits, I’d like to get in a few more walks in the evenings. I really like the walk to Siwash Rock and back … it’s about 7 1/5 km round trip … takes about 90 minutes.

But if weather does NOT permit, I really shouldn’t let that be an excuse as my apartment building has a (free) gym with lots of equipment!

There are 25 weeks until my 35th birthday … so I’ll keep with my 5 Week Weigh In & Measure as I was doing before holidays.

And I think my blogging goal will be Sunday evenings …


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Over a month …

This summer is turning out to be one of the top summers for me!

I started out the summer by taking my first solo outside-of-Canada vacation to Las Vegas. That was a great vacation! You can read the blog post here.

Then I was back to work for a few weeks before a sort of “staycation”! This staycation included the Honda Celebration of Light, with amazing fireworks shows put on by The Netherlands (white fireworks below), Australia (red fireworks below), and USA (4 picture collage below) over 3 separate nights.

Then I moved on and attended The Tragically Hip concert on July 24. So amazing … such an emotional concert (but no where NEAR as emotional as the CBC live-aired show on August 20!)

072416 The Tragically Hip

On July 30, I headed to Bowen Island to celebrate one of my bestie’s birthday’s and to meet her brand-new 10 day old baby girl, Stevie Jean!

073016 Bowen

Moving on, I attended my first Pride Parade! It was really amazing to see the love that people have for other people … no matter what their lifestyle choices! And yes … even the Prime Minister of Canada marched in our Vancouver Parade! Aren’t Justin Trudeau and his family absolutely beautiful!?

Finally I’m on my way to the Okanagan for a jam-packed 5 days! First on the schedule (er, menu!) is my favorite Indian restaurant, Lachi. I ALWAYS get:

  • Veggie Samosas
  • Yellow Dal (3 out of 5 on a spice scale)
  • Saffron Rice
  • Regular Naan Bread

080116 Lachi

My first full day included many visits … I saw my Grandma, a former client, picked up my little sister and headed to Salmon Arm to visit my dad (her stepdad) and my grandpa & his wife, then back to Kelowna to drop off little sister and go visit a friend … all before driving the hour back to Penticton.

Day 2 included driving back to Kelowna and spending a great amount of hours with my other bestie and her family! Her “hubby” was off work, so she and I even got to ditch the kids and have some good adult alone time!

Then I went for appies & a drink with a friend from high school, then dinner and a drink with my Uncle … then the drive back to Penticton.

Day 3 was in Penticton … stopped by the old office, then lunch with a friend, and appies & drinks with my old condo crew.

Day 4 was also in Penticton and I met a friend for coffee. I had all day to lounge and take in the 33 degree weather in my parents’ back yard. I headed out to another friend’s place for dinner and a dip in his pool.

I tried to get in some sort of exercise/walk each day … even if just 30 minutes.

Finally on the Saturday, I headed to the Greyhound to catch the bus home. But it was delayed. So I was able to grab a serving of poutine from Jeffer’s Fryzz (food truck) – the BEST I have had!

080616 Jeffers

So before holidays, I had my Week 15 Weigh In & Measure. I started this “journey” on April 16, 2016 and week 15 was July 30, 2016.

I lost a total of 11.6 pounds and 11.25 inches! Then vacation happened … and August …

My folks left yesterday after being down for a visit for 3 days … and since my kitchen is small and uninspirational, we ate out … lots.

So today I went to Costco … loaded up on rotisserie chicken and fresh veggies. Tomorrow I wlll meal prep and start back on track!

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This is a Diet … not a Lifestyle!

I’ve been a little MIA with posting to my blog. But I’m very much here!

I’ve been reading, from the beginning, the blog Reclaiming LIFE. It chronicles the journey that Christine endured to lose 100 pounds and maintain it for a decade. Her story was featured on our national news channel Global TV.

I started with her very first post. Her posts and stories are so real. So much speaks to me and I often find myself nodding along to the words that she has written. It helps seeing/reading about someone who has lost the amount of weight that I need to lose (almost). It’s inspirational.

I also sent a couple of FB messages to a childhood friend, with whom I’m still in touch, but not so much that we’ve hung out as adults, about how she’s reaching her goals.

She didn’t have nearly the amount of weight to lose as I, but those last 10 – 20 pounds are the hardest, and that is where she’s at.

She is achieving her goals by way of Isagenix. And she’s not the only person I know who has success with this product. I tried it way back in … maybe 2011 … and my body didn’t respond well to it. Not sure what exactly, but just not a good response.

I asked her what a “typical” day of food/exercise was and here is what she wrote:

“I’m doing Isagenix. So I wake up , have a shake , 100 cal snack, hike for 30 mins, shake, 100 cal snack.. 400-600 cal dinner”

She’s lost 30 pounds since November and I believe she’s on her last 16 … awesome!

I did a little research into the caloric content of the Isagenix shakes, and they appear to average about 240 calories.

Then I put together what I thought was manageable for me using Le-Vel Thrive capsules & shakes (I’ve stopped using the DFT because I didn’t notice they providing extra energy or mood boosters … I’m happy & awesome already!)

A typical day for me, for the past 2 weeks, has been:

  • Upon waking: 1 Thrive capsule
  • Breakfast: 1/2 Thrive shake with 8 oz water
  • Snack: 1 bag (snack size Ziploc) celery, 1 bag carrots, 1 babybel cheese
  • Lunch: 1 bag cucumber, 1 bag snap peas, 1 bag green beans, 3/4 cup (homemade) chicken salad
  • Snack: 1/2 Thrive shake with 8 oz water
  • Dinner: 1/4 cup grains (Tru Roots Sprouted Quinoa & Rice), 3/4 cup chicken, 1 tsp tamari OR 1/4 cup grains, 1/2 cup chicken, 2 tbsp black beans, 2 tbsp corn, 4 tsp homemade ranch dressing, 1 tsp sriracha
  • Snack as wanted: 2 cups Kernels popcorn OR pretzel crisps & hummus OR nice cream (simply frozen fruit pureed in the food processor with a bit of water – DELICIOUS!)
  • Water throughout the day: 10 – 12 cups on average
  • Exercise: 30 minute walk to work, 30 minute walk home … maybe 45 – 60 minute evening walk if so inclined!

Now … an average day is closer to 1,000 calories than 1,200 calories … but I’m not hungry for more. This has been really filling and manageable!

Not to mention the results!! Day 1 of trying this (July 10), I was 238.6 and as of this morning (after some over-indulgence of cider, mini donuts, and a smokie!) I was 230.6.

I’m down 8 pounds in 2 weeks! That’s great! But this is absolutely A DIET! This is NOT a lifestyle LOL

I go “home” a week tomorrow, so I plan on keeping this diet going for the next 8 days. Then I’ll ease up and enjoy my visits. Then I’m going back at it when I return.

After coming back, I have 2 1/2 weeks until my parents come to visit. I haven’t seen them since the end of March. So for those 2 1/2 weeks, I’ll diet again.

Everything in moderation, right? Just like yesterday … ciders, mini donuts, smokie WITH bun! LOL

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What Happens In Vegas …

Ends up on social media! LOL

My first Vegas trip has come and gone. This was also my first solo vacation. No friends. No family. Just me. And a king-sized bed!

I was packed Thursday night, and heading to the airport around 8:15 am Friday morning. My flight was at 11:10 am and it was relatively on-time.

I arrived to Las Vegas, found my transfer bus and was on my way to the MGM Grand! I walk into the lobby and the first impression of Vegas was just as expected … busy busy busy! There was a HUGE line to check in … it took almost an hour to get through the line! The fellow who checked me in was also Canadian and was super helpful. He gave me some pointers and “you gotta see this” ideas – but I had done so much research before hand that I had heard of and planned to see all that he suggested.

There was no Bell Boy, so I had to take my own luggage up to the room … saved me having to tip them! The room was in the Grand Tower and on the 20th floor. I had a view of the Excalibur and Tropicana. It was nice because it would be quiet … no loud pool noise!

After unpacking, I put on my sneakers and headed out on the strip … it was close to 4:30 pm or so by this time. I walked the strip and came across the restaurant Cabo Wabo which was suggested indirectly from a vlogger I follow on YouTube (Redhead Mare) and her former radio co-host. I ordered a Mai Tai and the Guacamole appetizer. They were both fantastic! I sat strip-side, in the blazing summer sun and just sizzled and people-watched!

From there, I walked more and checked out more sights … I really can’t remember specifics. Not because I was drunk, but because I saw SO much stuff! I was getting back to the resort around 7:30 pm and decided to stop by the Box Office desk to see if there were any shows that night. I hadn’t previously booked anything because I wasn’t sure on timing.

I was able to snag a ticket to Jabbawokeez which was right at the MGM Grand. It was a good show. Great dance skills. A little too much story-telling, in my opinion … could have been more dance numbers.

By the time the show was finished and I was relaxed in my room, it was closing in on 12:00 am … much past my normal 10:00 pm bedtime!

Saturday started early … I think I was up around 7:00 am or so. I had a LOT to see and do on Saturday. No time to waste! First things first … I needed to see the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign! Quintessential tourist activity. After that, I stopped by the Harley Davidson store to see if I could find something for my stepdad. But the shirts were about $35 USD … and when you factor in exchange to CAD, they worked out to being about $44 … too much for a flipping t-shirt!

Now … in no particular order … I went to see the animals at Sigfried & Roy’s Secret Garden at the Mirage … Appollo the white lion and K2 the dolphin. I also went to the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay … starfish and sharks and fish. (Side note: I do not agree with wild animals being held captive … the ticket at the Mirage was free … I try to avoid paying to see beings in jail).

I went for lunch at Gordon Ramsay’s Pub & Grill at Caesar’s Palace. Truth be told – the food (sliders) were only ok. I’ve had MUCH better and memorable burgers elsewhere.

Of course I took a pic of the golden lion at the MGM Grand! And I snapped a picture of the M&M Nascar for my dad … although he’s not a Kyle Busch fan.

After lunch, I stopped at the Bellagio Conservatory and got some awesome pictures of the shrubbery!

Saturday night was the Lipshtick comedy show with Whitney Cummings – I was so excited because I LOVE her! I had a 6th row seat and got a little dolled up, just for her! I was able to grab a few really great sunset shots of the (fake) Eiffel Tower, the Paris balloon and one tower at the Venetian. Inside the Venetian was AMAZING! The ceilings are so stunning!

Sunday I spent a couple of hours at the pool. When I left to get ready for the day, it was about 11:30 am and it was already 35 degrees! I then made my way up to Fremont Street (via the Deuce, not foot!) and was a little let down when I pretty much saw the whole thing in a matter of 60 minutes. Yet I had another 4+ hours to kill (I had no idea how much time I needed on Fremont Street!)

I went to the Mob Museum and it was quite busy. I could have taken a TON of time to read every plaque and check out the detail on every display, but the crowd was annoying. I did grab a couple of cool shots … like the 1924 detail on the O’Banion funeral costs of almost $10,000! Also the (supposedly real) brick wall of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

I saw a few of the old neon signs that were displayed along East Fremont Street, but I was more excited for my Neon Museum/Boneyard tour later that evening.

But since I had so much time to kill, I took the bus to the Las Vegas Premium North Outlet Mall. I really only went to check out the Gap Factory store. I love their workout clothes and wanted to see if the prices were worth it (given the exchange factor!)

Turns out, they kind of were! I ended spending about $180 USD, but saved $155 USD! I ended up with so many new tanks and some new yoga pants. Makes me SO EXCITED to get back into routine!!!

Last on Sunday night was the Neon Museum tour. It was only an hour long, and was very informative. But honestly – it was too much history and not enough “get good pictures” time. I was able to hang to the back of the 20-person tour and grab some pretty decent angles.

Monday was really chill. I didn’t do much. I already had a ticket to the Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood concert at 5:00 pm, so I popped down to the South Outlet to check out THEIR Gap Factory store LOL nothing different … saved spending money! I made a last-minute decision to grab a ticket to The Thunder from Down Under show at 9:00 pm. I figure the concert would be about 3 hours (letting out near 8:00 pm) giving me plenty enough time to walk to the show at 9:00 pm.

Before the concert, I grabbed some pizza from the Wolfgang Puck Restaurant at MGM. It was delicious! I saved a couple of slices for after my night outings. I also got a cool shot of the KA (Cirque) dragon at the MGM.

The opening act came on at 5:30 pm, the next around 6:00 pm, and Garth didn’t come on until 6:30 pm. That concerned me because I have been DYING to see him … but I had another show (of half-naked men) to get to!!!

Garth did a great set, Trisha did 4 songs, then Garth came back on. He’s such an awesome and amazing entertainer! Trisha looked absolutely fantastic! I decided to leave the concert early … around 8:15 pm, luckily it was right after he sang Friends In Low Places. I heard all the good song and was ok with leaving early. (Side note: ran into some concert goes at the airport and he finish the concert around 8:45 pm, so I only missed about 30 minutes!)

The Thunder was the perfect way to end my last night in Vegas! Yuuummmmmmyyyyy!!

Tuesday was time to go home. The flight was scheduled to leave at 12:40 pm, but was delayed until (estimated) 4:00 pm due to maintenance issues – they had to bring in a new/different plane. Luckily, McCarren Airport has free wifi, so I watched some Netflix and chilled. The plane finally got in the air around 4:45 pm and I was walking in my apartment door around 8:30 pm … love vacations, but love coming home!

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Macro Lens

The Macro Lens is one that I was absolutely excited for … because, you know, we all wonder exactly what the inside of a flower looks like!

I am happy to report that my excitement continues for this lens!

Inset picture is the original flower. Background is the inside, as taken with the iPhone SE and the Macro Lens.


Heading to the BC Lions (CFL) football game shortly … will have my new lenses with me and may try out a few!

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