WHOA lansi

francophile, oenophile, logophile, turophile

Category: Social (Page 1 of 4)

October in Instagram

It’s winter. A week into November & winter has hit us full force. Last week, it snowed for a few days & with temperatures sticking in the -15C range, it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. It almost seems like I was playing fetch on the beach with Odin & N in a different life. Was I really living in California a month ago? Anyway, here’s what we got up to in October according to Instagram.

Oct 2017 IG

  1. I still can’t get over this perfect little town. Carmel, & the Happy Landing Inn, might have been a dream. The view out the front door of our suite made me so happy.
  2. A final visit to my favourite Bay Area brewery: Fieldwork. Odin, N, & I spent many happy afternoons on their patio. Their beers are fantastic & it’s the most dog friendly spot in the Bay. I can’t recommend it enough (& their shirts & hoodies are SO soft. I may have a little collection…).
  3. A lot of my time in the Bay Area was spent seeking out a view. There are no shortage of amazing ones in the area. This one, from Ina Coolbrith Park, on Russian Hill is definitely worth the steep trek up Vallejo Street.
  4. Back in Canada! My mom & I drove from California to BC in two days so we could spent the weekend at the lake. Fall walks with this view are good for my soul, I think (& Odin loves running free up here too).
  5. The boys playing on Stinson Beach. Odin loved running free at the beaches in California. This was the most time Nathan’s ever spent with our pup, uninterrupted. I love watching them together & am so grateful we got the chance to spend a couple months together in Richmond.
  6. Castle Mountain guiding me home. I always know we’re almost there when I see this view.
  7. My Finnish wool socks are already coming in handy, & I can never get enough puppy cuddles.
  8. Our friends decided to do a house crawl this year for Halloween, which was a really fun idea. There were three stops, each with a signature cocktail & some snacks. We got hit with some nasty weather on our way to the final house, but it was still such a fun evening.
  9. Odin’s day care, Pawsitively Pooched, had an open house to show off the renovations to the facility & he got the chance to go for a little swim. He was a little skittish getting in, but once he was wet he had a blast. I think he’d fetch all day if he could!

Follow along with more of our adventures on instagram @whoalansi.

#metoo

Prison

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein allegations & this #metoo movement flooding my social media feeds, I’ve done a lot of thinking. None of it is overly original or groundbreaking, but I wanted to share a little nonetheless.

Like so many, I posted a #metoo status a couple weeks ago without elaborating on the who or the why or the what. I posted only these two simple words to my social media. I had a few reasons for this, & I wanted to talk a little bit about them.

Let me start my saying, I don’t think I or anyone else needs to shed light on any of the reasons for posting this status. In some ways, there are too many uncomfortable examples of misogyny, harassment, & worse, abuse, in every woman I know’s life. We’ve all felt threatened at some point. We’ve all had to think of a possible terrible outcome that many men are lucky to have never considered. That’s the everyday reality for women. I don’t feel that I need to highlight examples of this in my own life, & I don’t want to validate them by doing so. So I didn’t.

The bigger reason I hesitated to post anything though is that it didn’t feel bad enough. I lead a fantastic life. I’m extremely lucky & immeasurably privileged. I know many women who have suffered so much, & I don’t feel that I have. So at first, I felt silly posting anything at all. How many times have we heard that in the last few weeks? How many times have we to listened to someone downplaying the harassment they’ve faced, because “it really could be a whole lot worse”? But that’s what we do. That’s what society has honestly taught so many of us. It’s not that bad. Others have it worse. Maybe it’s even partially a coping mechanism. I don’t know.

Talking about these things and shedding light on the problem doesn’t take away from anything that’s happened to someone else. It doesn’t make it less. Truthfully, I think it raises more awareness about what is ok & what isn’t.

We’re all stronger together. & I hope someday I’m not still having this conversation with my children. I’m leaving this post with more questions than answers, but also with the hope that by starting a conversation, we’re heading in the right direction.

the final week

Here I am again, feeling the familiar mix of emotions I experience every time I’m about to head home. On the one hand, I love my home. Alberta is an amazing province, full of my favourite people. On the other hand, I’m sad to say goodbye to this place I’ve come to know over the last couple months. It’s a little bittersweet.

I’ve lived in several different cities in my 32 years, & I’ve loved them all in different ways. The funny thing about California is I didn’t expect to feel at home here. I really didn’t. Maybe that’s strange to some people, but I never once considered the US as somewhere I’d live. Nothing against American or the US in general – I have plenty of perfectly lovely American friends & I’ve spent time in many great cities in this country. I just never expected to feel this way about the US, especially in light of recent politics.

But here I am, absolutely loving California, & feeling a bit silly. I mean, what’s not to love? Beautiful weather, decadent dining options, & an impressive array of sights. Add a healthy dose of the loveliest people, & you’ve got the recipe that makes this place so enchanting. Honestly, Californians are wonderful.

I thought two months would feel like a long time, but it truly flew by. & with good reason – we did A LOT. We tried to cram as much into my stay as time would allow. I think we did a pretty good job, & if you look at my Instagram from the last couple months, I think it will tell that same story. Here are a few of my favourite moments from this September, according to my IG feed.

Sept 2017 IG

  1. N’s sister came down to visit with her boyfriend & we had the best week showing them around SF & the area. We saw the Giants win a baseball game, rode cable cars, wine tasted our way through Sonoma, biked the Golden Gate bridge, saw SF from the ferry, & toured the East Bay.
  2. Bagel stop at Beauty’s with N on a lazy Saturday in Oakland. I’ve barely put a dent in my restaurant list for the East Bay, never mind SF. There are some seriously incredible places to eat here!
  3. We witnessed another win for the home team at the Cal State vs Ole Miss game. They weren’t expected to bring home a win, so it was especially exciting.
  4. Exploring pockets of Berkeley with the Path Wanderers Association one evening. Such a cool way to see the city.
  5. The boys enjoying an afternoon at Muir Beach. Odin loves going to the beach & chasing his dad around, & we love watching how happy it makes him.
  6. I’ve been going to November Project SF for the last month & it’s been so fun getting to know this tribe, especially my friends in the East Bay.
  7. The view from Alcatraz is so cool. We had a great time exploring the island & touring the prison.
  8. N’s coworker sent us home with an amazing bounty of fresh produce from his garden. This is just one small example of the generosity we’ve experienced down here.
  9. We spent part of our last weekend in Carmel, touring around Big Sur. It’s an incredible place. We loved it so much, we stayed an extra night. We just weren’t ready to leave.

SeaWheeze 2017

SeaWheeze 2017

As you well know at this point, I was one of the lucky 10,000 people to score tickets to this year’s SeaWheeze Half Marathon. This race is by far the fastest selling I’ve ever run. The morning tickets go on sale is always a bit stressful, & there’s always a little drama afterwards. This year was no exception.

Fortunately, I actually had a lot of friends score tickets this year, which made it really fun to share in the excitement surrounding the whole weekend. Half the race is about Lululemon (the swag, the gear, the festival that follows the race…) & the other half is about the actual run. I understand that gear is more of a factor for many people who sign up, but even as a huge lulu fan myself, it’s a little much for me.

Last year, I opted to wait in the crazy line for exclusive SeaWheeze gear, available only to registered runners. This year, I was still in Vernon, BC when the store opened & missed a lot of the pre-Wheeze stuff. I just wasn’t willing to spend the extra time & money to be in Vancouver for an extra day. Instead, I met up with my friend Zoe at the expo, did a quick lap, grabbed my race package, & headed to our hostel to drop my bags.

SeaWheeze Expo

The only photo I took at the expo

We then decided food was more important than anything else & headed to my favourite sushi spot in Van, Kadoya, where we fueled up for the run with an obscene amount of sushi & a pitcher of beer. Not exactly your optimal pre-race meal.  I was going into this race injured though so I figured I couldn’t really do much more harm. Expectations were low.

Kadoya Sushi

We really did order a pitcher

Kadoya Sushi

My sushi rolls (just mine). Salmon Sashimi not pictured.

Zo & I are both members of November Project in our respective cities so when NP Van announced they were doing a pre-race Crate Escape, we knew we had to go. I’m so glad we did. It’s such a cool event! We both figured we might not have the opportunity to attend another one (although, I did manage to make it to SF’s last week!).

Crate Escape is a travelling storytelling series,  hosted in different NP cities all over the world. They’re usually in the evening so it’s a great intro to NP if you’re not sure you’re ready to take that early morning plunge.

NP Van Crate Escape

Richard starting off Crate Escape!

The next morning came pretty early. We’d laid out all our stuff for the race so we wouldn’t wake our dorm mates, but I still felt pretty guilty. They’d both had late nights. Last year, there were four of us so we could turn on the lights without fear of being terrible roommates, but this year it was just the two of us. Everyone else stayed in more adult accommodations. We’re cheap. It works. (Although we discussed that we may need to spring for a hotel room next year.) The kitchen only opened at 6 am, which was just early enough for us to quickly devour the food we’d picked up the night before & walk to the race.

Walking to the start line is always such a fun experience, as you run into different people running it as well. Generally, no one else is out wandering the streets that early except the participants & their cheering section. We got there early enough to check our gear & got in line for the port-o-potties. That lasted all of 10 seconds before we decided to try the Fairmont Pacific Rim. Best. Decision. Ever. There was a line at the main floor washrooms, but a helpful concierge told us to head upstairs & use the conference washrooms. Swankiest pre-race pee of my life. We obviously took a lot of selfies.

Pac Rim Bathroom Selfies

Swanky Pre-Race Pee at the Pac Rim

Happy dance!

Happy Dance! Zo just straight laughing at me, but she actually felt so happy too.

We decided to pass this tip on to a few of the ladies in the port-o-potty line before heading to the corrals, where we easily found a few of our November Project friends. I can only assume it was the good karma from our washroom tip off & not the fact that Brogan is easily the tallest & loudest person I’ve ever met. 😉 (I mean that in the best way possible. It was super cool to meet one of the founders of November Project!)

Pre-race selfie

Pre-race selfie

SeaWheeze Startline

SeaWheeze Startline

Bright Brogan

As you can see, it would be really hard to spot Brogan in a crowd…

NP Crew

NP YYC Co-leader Kyle is ready to race!

SeaWheeze Start

Our corral heading out from the start

We seeded ourselves in the second corral with our friends & the 2 hour pace beavers. I was thinking this might be a bit fast for me considering my lack of training, but I went for it anyway. Zoe wanted to break 2 hours for the first time. Meanwhile, I was telling myself I needed to be happy just to finish. (Fat chance! I’m far too competitive to be happy with that!)

The start itself is always such a rush- you’re running with so many other people, everyone still feels great, there’s a crazy energy! Looking back, we took it out pretty fast. The weather was perfect for running & we were clearly feeling good. I swear sea level does wonders when you’re used to training at altitude. Thanks, Calgary. (Or maybe sushi &  beer is just the perfect pre-race meal?)

Go!

Off we go!

First Cheer Station

First Cheer Station

Zoe & I were chatting on & off, enjoying the run, when we hit the Burrard Street Bridge. Zo wanted to stick to the inside, which was separated from runners making their way back across the bridge (already?! SO FAST!) by a line of traffic cones. As I was enjoying the view from the bridge, my foot caught on a piece of unmarked cone & I went down pretty hard. Luckily, I bounced back up pretty quick, but I’d scratched my dad’s Go Pro (that I was holding), ripped a hole in my new lulus, & scraped my hand pretty badly. The GU Gel in my pocked had also exploded down the side of my pants, so my other hand was a sticky mess from this discovery. Zo asked me if I wanted to stop at a first aid tent, but that was the last thing I wanted. This sounds pretty stupid in hindsight, but I was more concerned with how much time it would add to my race. There was a water station as soon as we got off the bridge where I managed to clean off my hands a bit & keep going.

I somehow managed to keep up with Zoe’s awesome pace until halfway up the bridge on the way back. I was still trying to decide how much damage running would do to my already injured knee so I opted not to push to catch up & ran my own race.

Go Zo

Sorry my SeaWheeze posts are always of your butt.

Go Zo

Go Zo Go! This is about where I lost her.

My fall ended up being a bit of a blessing though as it distracted me from the pain of the actual run. At one point, I was toying with the idea of stopping, thinking I was at 10 km & couldn’t run another 10+. I checked my phone for the first time in the race & was actually at almost 15 km! I’d zoned out for a solid 5 km. It was just the push I needed to keep going.

Fire Cheer

Fire Fighters are a pretty good distraction too

Sea Wall

The whole course is gorgeous, but I especially love the sea wall

YVR Sea Wall

This race was full of firsts for me, actually. First time not checking my phone or watch for my pace, first time not walking except at water stations, first time not doing an insane sprint to the finish, first time not checking the clock at the finish.

So many great cheer stations!

These Go Pro captures honestly don’t do it justice

Amazing!

Let’s talk about that last point. I always know my finishing time. Always. This year, I crossed that finish line in a half sprint, assumed I’d run around a 2:15 or a 2:20 & went to find Zoe. When I found her, I immediately asked if she broke 2 hours & she said she did. I couldn’t have been happier for her! I gave her the biggest sweatiest hug I could muster.

At this point, I still hadn’t thought of looking at my time. As we walked up the ramp collecting your various swag, I texted friends & family to tell them about the fall (& the race, I guess). We ate breakfast, I got first aid, & I still hadn’t checked. It wasn’t until Zoe looked up her official time that I thought to check mine. I couldn’t even get it to work so it was her who told me I’d officially ran a 2:02. A 2:02?! What?! I guess there’s something to be said for experience.

Race Finish Line

Race Finish Line

DONE

DONE!

SeaWheeze Injury

Burrard Street Bridge Injury

Amazing Lululemon

Lululemon seriously made my day by replacing the pants that I ripped with some limited edition SeaWheeze ones. THANK YOU!

I couldn’t be happier with my run this year. It was definitely an unforgettable experience, & that’s saying a lot coming from someone who got engaged at the end of a race once. Mostly, I’m in awe of what our bodies are capable of. I’m so proud of my body for accomplishing what it did. I truly didn’t do anything to help it out, besides having run several half marathons in my life. So way to go, body! You’re pretty incredible.

That’s it for my 2017 SeaWheeze Race Recap. Writing this post has me excited for SeaWheeze 2018 again – I know I’ll try to register again. Sorry, Future Alanna.

I also ran with my dad’s Go Pro. Unfortunately, I just carried it so all of my footage is terribly shaky. Until I edit it better, I created a quick video using Go Pro’s new Quik App. It’s not great, but it gives you a glimpse into my race!

 

 

August in Instagram

It’s been a busy weekend, & possibly an even busier month! N’s sister & her boyfriend spent the last 6 days with us in the Bay Area, & we did not hold back. We did good, seriously good. They checked everything they wanted to do off their list & are headed down the coast for more, while we recover. It honestly feels good to sit still today. I’m looking forward to a relaxing weekend with N & O in the Bay. I honestly thought that two months would feel like a long time, but I’m almost halfway through my leave & it’s flying by. Time is constantly throwing me for a loop. Anyways, here’s what we got up to this month according to Instagram.

Aug 2017 IG

1. We headed out to Water Valley for a Family Reunion over August Long Weekend. We hadn’t seen a lot of people since our wedding so it was fun to reconnect with people as well as meet some new faces.

2. Zo & I ran the SeaWheeze Half Marathon again. I have some crazy stories & a Go Pro video coming your way, but the most important point is that Zoe broke 2 hours for the first time & I am so proud of her.

3.  Odin swam in the ocean for the first time on our trip down the coast. He’s now played on more sandy beaches than I can count. My car has sand in every crevice, but he’s one happy boy.

4. The Pacific Coast is a dream: the beaches, the twisty highway roads, & the changing landscape were better than my wildest dreams.

5. You can absolutely never go wrong with dinner at Pok Pok, even if you have to get takeaway & eat in a random park in NW Portland because you’re with your dog. Trust me.

6. N lives less than an hour from Napa, so we spent our first weekend doing a little wine touring.

7. We brought Odin along on our little wine tour & were so happy with how easy it is to find places that are totally cool with letting your dog hang out while you try some wines. California is totally winning when it comes to the dog friendly game, & we love it!

8. A little Sunday lunch stop at Vik’s chaat on our Berkeley bike tour. Tucked in beside the Aquatic park & the train tracks, it’s been a local fav for 25 years for good reason!

9. We are huge fans of Fieldwork Brewing in Berkeley. In the few weeks that I’ve been down here, it’s become our go to for beers. With a great patio, friendly servers, & a completely dog friendly atmosphere, you can’t go wrong!

On going for it, & other honest ramblings

Poolside Hangs

As I type this, I’m poolside at N’s resort-like community pool, soaking up the vitamin D & thinking about how fortunate I am to have so much of this summer off. Odin & I officially arrived in the Bay Area on Thursday, but today is our first full day on our own. We’ve opted to take it easy & enjoy this rare sunny August morning outside.

I drove Mom to the airport yesterday after spending most of the last 10 days together. We took a long, slow route to get here, stopping for a weekend in Vancouver so I could run Lululemon’s SeaWheeze Half Marathon & then proceeding down the coast for California. We took highway 101 south most of the way & spent an extra day in Portland exploring the city with the pup. We spent a night in Fortuna, California before taking the most epic scenic highway of my life, through the Redwoods State Park & then down the incredible, winding highway 1 to the coast. I will definitely share more our incredible trip in the coming weeks – if you love to drive, you’ll surely be adding this one to your bucket list.

Now that it’s just our little family down here in California, I feel like I have some time to relax a little & breath. It’s honestly been such a hectic summer. I feel like I haven’t stood still for more than a few minutes since before we left for Europe in June. I don’t even really feel like I got to experience summer in Calgary! I don’t mean to sound like I’m complaining, I’m truly just in awe of how fast time seems to pass as I get older, especially given my propensity for overscheduling myself. I’m really looking forward to taking advantage of this time off work to relax, explore, & do a lot more writing & blogging than I have been of late.

I’m honestly pinching myself a bit that this is my reality until October. How did I get so lucky as to get two full months off work to come down here & spend time with my husband & our pup? Most of this is thanks to N & his ability to manage budget. We still could have easily decided we couldn’t afford to cut my salary out of the equation for a couple months, & maybe that would be the smarter decision for our financial situation, but sometimes you have to go for it. & Sometimes you have to say fuck it, & put your relationship before anything else.

You see, N & I are no strangers to long distance. I spent most of our first two years together living on the other side of our massive country. I was studying in Montreal, while N was working in Calgary. We caught a few lucky breaks over the course of those two years though, & he got to spend some longer stretches of time with me out East. When I graduated from McGill, I moved back to Calgary, thinking that was it for us when it came to long distance.

I was, unfortunately, so very wrong. At first his job took him out of town intermittently, usually 2-3 weeks at a time. It was a refreshing change from being apart more often than together. Over the last few years, however, this has changed to a schedule where he lives mostly away from home. He saw our house for the first time over Snapchat. He missed my birthday 3 years in a row & was away for his own. He misses out on a lot of stuff at home, which is hard for both of us, but especially for him.

Why am I writing about all this? Well, mostly, I think it’ll be easy to look at my social media over the next month & a half & think everything is amazing, that I’m so lucky, that life is easy. & You’d be mostly right. I am lucky. My life is relatively easy. I’m definitely incredibly privileged. But still, the reality is that, for much of the year, I lead a very separate life from my husband. We see each other once every three weeks for a weekend. Our lives will likely be this way until at least March 2018. Right now, I may be down in California with him for almost two full months, but this is the first summer we’ll have spent more time together than apart in years. This is our reality, & a good friend reminded me that it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that someone else’s life is perfect because they tend to share the positives on social media. No one’s life is perfect. & I’ll continue to share the positives from my life on social media, but I’ll try to be honest as well.

So with that, here’s to honest posts, to rambling about a lot of different topics, & to going for it. I think it’s about time for a dip in that pool now.

July in Instagram

It was hard to narrow this month’s IG posts to just nine. We had a great time in Europe & I took so many photos. I’m trying not to post allllll of them, since I’m sure that gets annoying for people. I’ll definitely be putting some blog posts together about our trip though, so keep an eye out for that.

My goal for August was to blog more. I’m already a little bit behind on this goal of posting three times a week this month, but I think it’ll pick up more easily once I get to California in a couple weeks. I’ve got lots of things I want to share & will definitely have more time to do so.

Anyway, here’s what we got up to in July according to my instagram.

July 2017 IG

1. Celebrating Canada Day with some delicious beers in a beautiful garden with my fav. We couldn’t be in Canada for #Canada150, but this was a pretty great substitution.

2. Bikes in Copenhagen. I honestly can’t say enough good about Denmark. I loved the Danes positive dispositions & their bike culture. I’m still entranced by this wonderful city.

3. I never miss a sailway. Grab a drink, put on your suit, & find a spot on deck – it’s one of my favourite things about cruising.

4. Nyhavn: am I overdoing it by doubling up on my Copenhagen posts? We spent a lot of time in Nyhavn, from having drinks by the water’s edge to biking along the canals to Christianshavn. I love the colourful buildings.

5. Oslo Sailaway with my fav guy. This was taken at 11 pm. It could have easily passed for late afternoon. The extra long daylight hours in the Baltic are so cool.

6. Back in Calgary, celebrating the twin’s 30th birthday (Twin #1 featured here) with a biking brewery tour. We hit Annex Ale Project, Banded Peak Brewing, High Line Brewing, & Cold Garden, before heading over to Mill Street for dinner.

7. Our amazing November Project Co-leader, Kyle, just finished biking across Canada to raise awareness & funds for addiction counseling. We were lucky enough to catch up with him for breakfast as he passed through Calgary. We missed you man! So proud of everything you’ve accomplished this summer!

8. Me & my bud running stairs with November Project Calgary & taking selfies with the knit bomb. I’m gonna miss these amazing people while I’m away. If you’ve ever thought about joining – DO IT! It’s the most positive & supportive group of people. So much love.

9. Folk Festing with the bestie! Thanks to D & Heather for a lovely day at Folk Fest. Sunshine, beers, & lots of dancing barefoot in the grass is a great way to spend a Saturday in the summer.

Currently

YYC

It’s been a while! Over the last couple months, I’ve spent a lot of time out of the country, so I fell off the blogging train. I’m excited to share all the amazing places we’ve been exploring once I sort through all my thoughts (& the millions of photos I took). Until then, here’s an update on what’s going on in my life right now.

Reading: A lot of Bon Appétit. The last couple of years, my parents have gotten us a subscription for Christmas & I really love it. The stories are great, & I find myself going back to many of the recipes too. I finished the books I’d bought for our trip, so this is a good in between, while I figure out what I want to read next. I’m thinking of re-reading The Diary of a Young Girl. We visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam last month & it’s such a moving museum that now I want to re-read her diary. It’s been years since I last picked it up. I’d love any book suggestions you may have though – I’m always looking for my next good read!

Watching: Game of Thrones. Duh. My friend groups are split between people who watch every episode as they come out & those who wait until they can binge the whole season. Usually, I wait to watch, but this year I’m going with the weekly viewing. I’ll probably also re-watch the whole thing at the end of the season though.

Planning: TWO weeks until I leave for two whole months! In case you missed this, N has been living in the Bay Area since February. He flies home for the weekend every 3 weeks, so Odin & I have been on our own most of the time for a while now. I’ve decided to take a leave from work & drive down to California with the pup. We’re going to head out to Vancouver for SeaWheeze & then take the PCH down through Washington & Oregon to California. I’ll spend a couple months with the hubs, living that California life, before returning to Canada (& reality). I’m pretty excited, but there’s so much to get ready before I go. We just got back from 3+ weeks in Europe so things are disorganized, to say the least. It didn’t make sense to head out to Vancouver, come back here, & then drive down, so I’m just rolling with it. It’ll all come together, I’m sure.

Thinking about: Helmets while biking. I posted an Instagram story about my thoughts on biking with or without a helmet & it got a lot of responses. This article (this one too!) & our recent helmetless bike adventures in Europe got me thinking about why I wear a helmet in Calgary. It’s largely because it’s so taboo not to. The perception that cycling is unsafe is so ingrained in our minds in North America.  I don’t personally believe that it is an unsafe activity, or a difficult one, & I love seeing how many more people are getting on their bikes in this city. I believe this is largely due to the city’s actions in making biking more safe & more accessible, but we still have a long way to go. There is still a lot of anger towards bikers, & that scares & discourages people, including myself sometimes.

I’m not saying I’m going to stop wearing a helmet, but I agree with a lot of points in both of those articles & frankly, the anger directed at bikers who choose to go without a helmet (or heaven forbid, bike on the road) needs to stop. It’s not helping anyone.

Eating: We ate so much on our trip that I’ve been trying to eat a lot of vegetables, at least during the week. Part of the reason I wanted to go back to Germany & Czechia is because I really do love the food in those countries. I sampled all the beer, ate my weight in fried cheese (obsessed!), & indulged in more pork knuckles over the course of a month than anyone probably should. It was definitely worth it, but there was a serious lack of greens, so now I’m trying to get them all in.

xo

May in Instagram

I took an unintentional break from blogging there, it seems. May turned out to be a pretty busy month for me. N’s & my time apart became longer (a shift from two weeks to three weeks). This resulted in a slight adjustment period for me, something I wasn’t really expecting. For the most part, I don’t miss him working in Fort Mac – his quality of life is far superior in the Bay Area. One thing I do miss is having him home for a full week instead of a measly weekend. It gave us time to divide & conquer some of the everyday tasks. Most of those things fall on me now, which isn’t really a big deal, but I do sometimes wish I had a little help with them.

In addition to all the boring stuff, travel planning has taken up a lot of my time (& it’s much more exciting!). I just got back from the most incredible extended weekend in the Bay Area with N & we’re heading to Europe in a few short weeks. I can’t wait to share more about both of these trips, as well as some of my tips for planning a big trip.

Until then, here’s what we got up to in May according to Instagram (it took all my willpower not to just post San Francisco photos…).

May 2017 IG

  1. Odin taking a swim with the lovely instructors at Pawsitively Pooched. He’s come so far since last summer & now loves swimming!
  2. Tailgating after working Beer Fest for Whistler Brewing & Hey Y’all. Everyone at our booth was so awesome – I had a great weekend on the other side of things this year.
  3. Second hike of the year under our belts! We did a quick one to White Buddha in Bragg Creek. Easy little 4 km loop with a view!
  4. Celebrating N’s 30th year with lobster, of course. Happy Birthday, babe!
  5. Went a little blonder for summer thanks to Ashley at Hedkandi Salon. She’s a gem, & I’m loving this summer colour.
  6. Pizza night at the lake on one of the most gorgeous May long weekends I can remember. Family, friends, delicious food, & sunny skies made for the perfect evening (the wine helped a little too!).
  7. Odin loved every minute of being at the lake. We went swimming every day, took long walks, & relaxed in the sun. It was a real treat!
  8. Biking across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito is something I won’t soon forget. I highly recommend checking it out if you’re in San Francisco.
  9. Drinks on the beach with my favourite guy, in California. We crammed a lot into the weekend, but I wouldn’t have it any other way, or with any other person. Thanks for spoiling me rotten, babe.

I love looking back on the photos from this past month. I know I way over shared my San Francisco trip (& Europe will be worse), but I love it so much. From Berkeley to San Francisco to Sausalito, there wasn’t a bad moment of the trip (except maybe that Sunday morning hangover!). Can’t wait to share more – it was a whirlwind! & June, I know you’re gonna be a real beaut!

Poutine Week 2017: Poutine Pusher

Poutine Week YYCAs official #PoutinePusher for Poutine Week YYC this year, I had the opportunity to sample several poutines around the city & today, I’m going to share what how they each were. This year there are over 70 restaurants participating, so there’s a little something for everyone!

You have until Saturday to get some poutine in you for a good cause. I honestly don’t think you can go wrong with any pick, & for every poutine you buy, a free meal will go to someone in need (thanks to Mealshare). It’s a true win-win. If you need some help narrowing down the list, here are my thoughts on the six poutines I tried.

Mill Street Brewpub

If I’m being honest, I picked Mill Street for what I knew of their beers. N was going to be home for the weekend & we I figured convince a few friends to join us for drinks at some point in the evening. It wasn’t until closer to the date that I really took a serious look at their entry: the Donair Poutine.

Mill Street Donair Poutine

Donair Poutine

If you’ve ever spent any time in the maritimes, namely Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, then you know all about Donair sauce. This sweet & savoury sauce is most often talked about as a late-night pizza topping. My experience is mostly limited to a few stumbly nights at the Wheel in Antigonish, NS. Since then, I’ve had it a few times at different spots around Calgary, but I mostly think of it as drunk eats.

Enter Mill Street’s Donair Poutine with house-made donair meat, crispy russet french fries with hop salt, cheese curds, house made gravy with 100th meridian beer, sweet donair sauce, topped with diced tomatoes and red onion. N & I each ordered our own. When they arrived at our table, we realized our mistake: this poutine is huge! We could have easily shared.

Mill Street Donair Poutine Mill Street Donair Poutine

A few bites in, we both agreed this poutine was a winner. The donair meat was tender & flavourful, the curds were squeaky (a huge win in my book), the donair sauce complimented the gravy, & somehow the fries held their own underneath all of that. It was a great start to a huge week.

We stuck around for a few more beers that evening, friends joined us, & we had a great time. Our server was attentive & friendly & our overall experience at Mill Street was wonderful.

Kensington Pub

The next morning we’d made plans to join Kevin from Different Alphabet Productions to shoot some video for poutine week. We headed that way for noon & grabbed a table with Danny from Whistler Brewing to wait for the rest of the crew.

The KP Yolo fries use Whistler’s Black Tusk Ale in their gravy, so of course, we had to grab one of those. Normally I wouldn’t go for a dark ale so early in the day, but the Black Tusk is smooth & easy to drink.

Kensington Pub Yolo Fries

YOLO!

Since we were hitting a couple stops that day, we ordered two Yolo fries for the table. It was the smartest decision – this one is not for the faint of heart. KP mixes double smoked cheddar with that Black Tusk ale to make a smoky, rich cheese gravy that tops slow cooked ham hock and crispy fries. We all agreed the side of housemade horseradish aioli was the perfect sidekick. With all that decadence, I was impressed by how well the fries held up – a testament to truly great potatoes.

Kensington Pub Yolo Fries

As always, Kensington Pub was a real treat: the staff & owners are always welcoming, they have great beers on tap, & the poutine was fantastic.

Ship & Anchor

Our next stop before we hit the Gravy Bowl was the Ship & Anchor Pub. The ship is a staple for many Calgarians, & for good reason. It’s an institution here. That patio is packed the minute the temperatures rise above zero (ok, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. Slight.). The chances of running into someone you know at the Ship is always high. & they could totally half ass their food & still probably be packed, but that’s the best thing about it – they don’t. (Their servers are also some of my favourites in the city.)

Ship & Anchor Poutine

Patio beers at the Ship

Last year, they sold 277 poutines to win the 2016 Poutine Week title. I didn’t get a chance to try it so I knew I had to check out their Le Meaty Mediterranean Poutine this year. We lucked out with some gorgeous afternoon sun & snagged a spot on the patio. That’s how I suggest enjoying this poutine if you can swing it (come on weather!).

This was another huge poutine that I was happy to be sharing with a bigger group. I think they might have been going for go big or go home cuz it had a crazy number of components to it. We decided to get it with grilled sirloin (which they cooked to medium rare for us), but they’re happy to take that off if you’re vegetarian. I heard they can also make it vegan if that’s your jam. It’s nice to see more options like this during these food weeks. It’s so much more inclusive.

Ship & Anchor Poutine

Le Meaty Mediterranean Poutine with a beer

Ship & Anchor Poutine

So much going on!

In addition to the sirloin, saffron fries were topped with crumbled falafel, grilled pineapple, fresh mint, baba ganoush, sweet garlic sauce, feta, cheese curds, and gravy. The pineapple was cut deceptively similar to french fries, which threw me off on my first bite. I honestly wasn’t sure that the pineapple was even going to work here, but it ended up being one of my favourite parts of this poutine. My favourite bite included pineapple, fries, both cheeses a bit of falafel, gravy, & some mint.

Ship & Anchor Poutine

I’m not sure if this one will win everyone over, but it certainly wins points for originality. & as with most things I’ve eaten at the Ship, it was well executed. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, I say go for it!

Roosevelt

On Sunday, we headed over to Roosevelt for lunch. If you’ve never been for Sunday brunch, I’d suggest checking it out, mostly for the complimentary milkshakes. How can you go wrong if you start your brunch with a milkshake?

I’ve only been to this 17th ave spot a couple times. As more & more great spots open up in the area, it’s harder to get back to the ones you’ve already been to. When I saw that their poutine included gochujang gravy, I was sold though. Gochujang is a spicy & sweet fermented Korean red chili paste.It’s one of my favourite condiments!

Roosevelt Poutine

Roosevelt Korean Poutine

This poutine came out with crispy fries, cheese curds, Korean beef, & a fried egg. N & I are both suckers for fried eggs on pretty much anything. There’s something so satisfying about that runny egg yolk. That spicy gravy stole the show with this one. As spice lovers, neither of us could get over just how good it was. The cheese curds were squeaky like I prefer them, the fries held up to the gravy, & the beef has lots of great flavour, but the gravy is what would bring me back in.

Roosevelt Poutine

Roosevelt Poutine

Possibly my favourite gravy

Brewsters

We went to bed Sunday night thinking there was no way we could eat any more poutine this week. I was almost read to tap out until I remembered I’d scheduled Brewsters’ Tater Tot poutine for Monday’s lunch. Anyone who knows me knows my love for tater tots runs deep. I’m not ashamed to admit they’re my favourite anytime snack. I’ve been known to order them even if we’ve already eaten that day.

N & I used to hang out a Brewsters in Crowfoot pretty regularly back when we first started dating, but it had been years since I’d stepped inside their downtown location. We got its sister restaurant, Beer Revolution, fairly often, but hadn’t been to Brewsters for some reason. I was pleasantly surprised by how bright & open the restaurant was. They also have a decent sized patio out the side & parking, a rarity in the beltline.

Brewsters Cheesy Tater Tot Poutine

I was relieved to see that it was a manageable portion when our order arrived at the table. I love poutine & tater tots, but we’d seen some pretty daunting portions. Our cheesy tater tots were perfectly crispy & topped with a bacon cheese sauce, smoked gouda, bacon marmalade & Oilberta stout bbq sauce. It was rich & flavourful, & I enjoyed every bite. I honestly don’t think it’s possible to go wrong with bacon & cheese. The bbq sauce cut through some of the richness of the cheese sauce.

Brewsters Cheesy Tater Tot P

I love tater tots, cheese, & bacon

Brewsters Cheesy Tater Tot P

If the food & atmosphere weren’t enough to convince me I need to be stopping by more often, their staff really did. Thanks to both our server & Trevor for being so welcoming.

Pig & Duke

I took a little break from sampling until today, when it was time to check out my last stop. A coworker & I headed over to the Pig & Duke for lunch. It was hopping! Despite it being a quick walk from my office, I’d never actually been inside. It’s much larger than you’d expect from the outside.

Pig & Duke Poutine

The swinetine featured Chipotle BBQ pulled pork, bacon, green peppercorns, curds, Pig Sauce, & a fried egg on steak cut fries with green onions. As soon as our orders arrived our conversation was basically put on hold as the only thing we could say was, this is so good. I love pulled pork, & this one was especially tender & delicious. The chipotle bbq sauce had so much flavour & every once in a while you’d get a green peppercorn surprise, which we both enjoyed. The fries were thick & crispy so they held up well to all that sauce, & there was a good mix of melty & squeaky curds to keep me satisfied.

Pig & Duke Poutine

Swinetine!

Pig & Duke Poutine

This was one of the more traditional poutines I tried this week. The pulled pork was so tender & delicious that I found myself wishing for more. The restaurant was full, but our service was still efficient & our server spent time chatting with us, while still turning over her tables quickly.

Now that I’ve waxed poetic about all of the fine poutine creations, I will say that I do not recommend consuming this much poutine in one week. It’s intense. That’s not to say I wouldn’t do it again, however. I will gladly sacrifice myself in the name of poutine anytime (wink wink, Karen). I’m so impressed by how different each one was, & how much I enjoyed each for what they were. The one thing I think most restaurants could have done better was to advertise their specific poutine a little more. I think only 2 of the 6 I went to were doing it, & I’m curious to see how this reflects in the final competition.

After a week of eating poutine, my pants are definitely fitting a little snugger, my cheese cravings are gone (I mean, until like Sunday probably), & I think I’ve already carb-loaded for my half marathon in August. It’s salad week next week, right?

All kidding aside, it’s been a great week! Thank you to all the restaurants I’ve linked for hosting me, to Karen for thinking of me for poutine ambassador, & to Mealshare for providing so many meals to those in need. I can’t wait to find out who our poutine week winner is!

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