WHOA lansi

francophile, oenophile, logophile, turophile

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April in Instagram

It’s been a bit of a crazy week around here. I started it off with some really sore muscles from a weekend of painting our master bedroom & bathroom. I ran into some hiccups on Saturday & then powered through with painting all Sunday. I was at it for about twelve hours straight, not the smartest decision in hindsight.

Tuesday, things got pretty scary as the wildfire burning in Northern Alberta intensified & the entire town of Fort McMurray was forced to evacuate. It’s hard to imagine going through that type of situation. My heart goes out to those families who’ve lost so much. N works in a camp a couple hours north of Fort Mac & was evacuated on Wednesday morning to make room for some of the 88,000 fire evacuees. I’m glad to have him back in Calgary & even further from the blaze. He was scheduled to fly home tonight, but I’m glad he could give his room up to someone else in need. I hope they can get control of the fire soon!

On that note, let’s talk about what we got up to in April, according to Instagram.

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  1. Visiting with my godpuppy, Willow. She’s a rescue & I just love her!
  2. We had to say goodbye to an old pal. N’s family ¬†made the extremely tough decision to put their 17-year-old bichon, Lucky, down this month. He lived a good long life. I love this photo of N with him from Christmas.
  3. I attended the Bite Me More book launch party for their new book: Lick Your Plate with H. They had some delicious treats & drinks for us to try, & we ran into some friends too!
  4. My first recipe attempt for our new Bon Appetit subscription was Tuna Poke. A little bit daring with raw ahi tuna, but definitely worth going out of my comfort zone.
  5. Trying to keep up with my running goals & go three times a week. Sometimes I’m all over it & other weeks, I have to count my bike rides as a work out. I should take more running selfies though; they’re kind of hilarious to me.
  6. I joined the Beakerhead photocrew & the rest of the social media crew for a sneak peak into what’s coming this year. Whitehall unveiled this year’s Engineered Eats theme, MILK, with the coolest rice pudding I’ve ever seen!
  7. I scored an invite to the awesome Poutine Week event, the Gravy Bowl, at Anju & had the opportunity to meet my favourite Chef, Roy Oh. This is totally my idea of celebrity!
  8. One of my favourite simple meals is mussels. Satisfying, quick, & so easy – I’m always blown away when we remember to make ourselves some of the beauties for dinner.
  9. I couldn’t recap April 2016 without mentioned the weather, no matter how cliche it is. In the 20 years since we moved to Calgary, I’ve never seen a spring like this. Trees are blooming, I’ve got a bit of a tan, & I’m addicted to biking to work already! Perfection!

That’s it for this month. How was your April? Any exciting plans coming in May? We’ve got some big ones, but I’m keeping them a secret for now. ūüėČ

 

That lake life

Lake 3

I’ve been in and around water my whole life. Growing up, my parents had a 26-foot cabin cruiser that we spent most vacations on, cruising from island to island. My love &¬†respect for the water began there. Competitive swimming naturally followed. I spent years swimming back and forth, back and forth, &¬†I don‚Äôt regret a single lap. I went on to swim varsity in university, which lead to coaching &¬†teaching swimming lessons when I retired. I just couldn’t stay away from the water!

& I’m the first to¬†admit that most water-related activities come much easier to me than those on land – I aced my scuba diving tests, for example, even though everyone made fun of me for falling asleep in the classroom portion. Stick me on a wakeboard &¬†I’ll impress you far more than I ever could with its snowier counterpart. Frankly, I’m awkward on land, &¬†anyone who knows me well will undoubtedly agree.¬†At any given moment, I can point out at least one bruise from this¬†awkwardness. (Maybe this comes as a surprise after all those super graceful gymnastics photos of me. The real gymnasts are very entertained by my attempts.)

Dock with N

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As I’ve gotten older, I’ve spent less & less time in the water. I’m certainly not as excited at the prospect of spending multiple hours working out in a pool anymore. & while I do love a good swim workout from time to time, I prefer to get my water fix at the lake or in the ocean.

My parents spent a few years¬†looking for property on a lake before they settled on Columbia Lake, in the East Kootenay. They built a beautiful house &, almost a decade later, it has become one of my favourite places to get away¬†to. Its proximity to Calgary is a huge draw. A three hour drive away, it’s an easy weekend trip. It’s quiet, relaxing, & absolutely gorgeous. There are restrictions on mooring, so it’s a lot quieter than its very popular sister, Lake Windermere (Something I’m always grateful for as a wakeboarder. Give me calm water & space!).

I usually only pop out for a long weekend, here & there, but last summer we stopped out there for a few extra days, hoping to log some hours on the boat as the season drew to a close.

Dock Alanna-2

Unfortunately, the fires put a bit of a damper on those plans. Visibility was fine by the time we got out there, but the smoke kept the temperatures low. It seemed the sun just couldn’t break through. Nonetheless, I thought these photos were beautiful in their own way. You can’t see either of the mountain ranges very clearly, & it’s not the crystal clear water & blue skies that come to mind when I think of summertime out there, but it’s still beautiful.

Lake 1

Lake 2

Lake

The always gorgeous view of Columbia Lake

I wound up sick while we were on this trip, so I didn’t take a lot of photos. As I was sorting through the ones for my anniversary post, I came across these & thought they were pretty in a different kind of way & figured I might as well share. I’m getting excited for summer & more time out at the lake. One of favourite things to do is grab coffee out on the lakehouse’s front deck. Sometimes those simple little things become my favourites.

Spent the weekend taking lots of patio naps.

Spent the weekend taking lots of patio naps.

Do you have a special place like this? What’s your favourite thing to do in the warmer months?

January in Instagram

February is finally here! I know that’s a bit of an odd thing to be excited for, but we booked a trip to Mexico for this month & have been waiting almost a year for it to arrive. So yeah, I’m pretty excited that it’s finally February.

January was an odd mix of stuff. With N working up north, I tend to spend the weeks he’s away working out & chilling at home (aka watching a lot of netflix). Then we cram a million things into the week he’s home. It definitely makes the time pass a lot slower while he’s gone & fly by while he’s here, but I think that’s inevitable. Anyway, here’s what we go up to in January according to Instagram:

Recently Updated

  1. Happy New Year! We rang in the New Year at H&Z’s house. It was a late night, followed by a very lazy to start to 2016.
  2. Have you heard of the Music Mile? 9th ave SE is home to some incredible music venues, & has even more in the works. Check out the website for events & venue information. Our friend, Brent Tyler put on a great show at the Nash Offcut Bar. Great venue, great music, & great company. I highly recommend checking it out!
  3. I’ve been getting in a weekly workout at YYC Cycle (sometimes two) & I can feel myself improving every time I get on the bike. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it. I have so many favourite instructors (Andrew, Alex, Neil, Mark…) at the studio, but if you’re a first timer – check out one of Mark’s. You’ll have a blast!
  4. Selfies at Crossroads. By far my favourite market in Calgary, I’m never disappointed with the selection (or the snacks I always find myself picking up from Eats of Asia.)
  5. I hosted my sister in law’s birthday at our house. We made a day of it & it was so much fun: morning spin, OEB brunch, drinks in the hot tub, pre-party at our house, & then Wurst to end the night. (We may have made a stop at Clive on the way home too.) Happy Birthday, little sis!
  6. I’m so happy with how well my handstands are progressing. Now I’m working on landing a front handspring on flat ground. My goal is to be able to do it before our trip, but we’ll see whether that pans out. I’m SO close!! KSG runs an adult drop-in every Wednesday from 8-9:30 pm. It’s the most fun workout I’ve ever done & I definitely think you should all come down sometime!
  7. We’ve been having the most gorgeous winter. I’m sure it has something to do with global warming, but it makes my commute really lovely, so I’m not really going to complain.
  8. Our really good friend joined the military this month. I was lucky to be able to attend his swearing in ceremony. I’m so proud of him for going after his dream.
  9. It was this same friends 29th birthday this month as well. N & I hosted his Goodbye Birthday Party at our house. It was a potluck & everyone really stepped up their game. His pork belly contribution was the highlight for me, but there was so much incredible food! Well done, everyone! (& I miss you already, Alty!)

I love sharing snippets of my life on Instagram. If this is your jam, follow along @whoalansi for even more updates (& selfies…probably too many¬†selfies).

December in Instagram

Ok, this has to be the latest I’ve ever posted an Instagram recap. I think I’m still playing catchup from the holidays. We’re back to reality now & N is back at work up North. I’m getting back into the swing of the whole part-time long distance thing. We’re in for a longer stint this time, I think. But enough of that, here’s how we rounded out 2016, according to Instagram.

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1. I loved our real Christmas tree. We named him Carlos for no reason whatsoever. I turned the lights on at every opportunity & loved sitting in that front room, enjoying the glow from his lights.

2. My company Christmas party is always a good time & this year was no  exception. We ended the night in our typical fashion, on the dancefloor.

3. Had a girls afternoon at Market Collective. Festive Christmas drinks, a little shopping, & some girl time. I really need to make a point of getting to MC more often.

4. Sarah & I kicking off the family traditions with my parent’s annual cocktail party.

5. Annual Ski Trip group photo. N’s friends have been doing this trip since University days & it’s always full of shenanigans & fun. This year we did a Yankee Gift Exchange, which was a fun addition I’d like carry forward.

6. We did another Locked Room with our gymnastics coach & a few of her friends. We made it out of the video game themed room, but it’s such a blast whether you escape or not!

7. Enjoying a Christmas morning coffee in our onesies! This year, we spent Christmas Eve & Day with N’s family in Calgary.

8. On Boxing Day, we headed out to the lake for the weekend with my family. My parents got me a selfie stick, so I put it to use right away, of course!

9. One of the best parts of Christmas is catching up with Gaux. We had a little get together at our house the Monday after Christmas – a few drinks & catching up with everyone for the last time in 2015!

Hope your December was fantastic. I’ll be over here writing 2015 on everything for the next two months! Follow me on instagram for even more updates!

 

’tis the season!

Christmas Tree

Our Christmas festivities started pretty early this year with the market & really haven’t let up all month. We’ve kept ourselves busy this December – so much so that I can hardly believe Christmas¬†is pretty much¬†already here. N is off until early January & my office is pretty quiet. I’m certain these last couple days will fly by.

In early December we picked up a tree from Scouts Canada. I insisted on a real one. I think they’re so special! &, of course, I¬†wanted the¬†first Christmas in our new house to be memorable. My parents have had several different colour schemes over the years so we inherited quite a few decorations. We really only had to pick up lights & some plain felt stockings to personalize (I love personalized stockings!). With the¬†few extras we’ve received as gifts, we’re¬†set up with¬†a pretty good Christmas ¬†collection.

We got him from¬†a Scouts Canada lot, which was a great experience all around. He’s a beautiful tree, & almost a month after purchase, he still looks great! I’d highly recommend them if you’re looking next year.¬†We named him Carlos (#CarlosChristmasTree).

Carlos Christmas Tree

Carlos looking just lovely!

The eggnog¬†was¬†flowing all month as we decorated, made Christmas crafts, watched our favourite movies, & celebrated with friends & family. Is there ever a bad reason to drink eggnog? (or your favourite holiday beverage – I’m also partial to mulled wine!)¬†I’m hoping all the running I’ve been doing balances it¬†out!

Eggnog

Eggnog + the Tree

Christmas Crafts

Ready to Craft!

Love Actually and Crafts

Love Actually + Crafts

I think it all turned out pretty great. I love our tree the best (we’ve added a few more decorations that my mom found since these photos were taken), but overall I’m quite¬†happy with how everything¬†turned out. Of course, I’m already thinking about fixing¬†up the white letters on our stockings so they’re easier to read.¬†Aside from¬†that little detail, it looks pretty sweet. As I’m coming up the street, I can catch a glimpse of Carlos all lit up in our front window. It’s one of my favourite parts of the day!

Fireplace

Christmas Stockings

Poor planning with those glittery white letters…

Christmas Tree

I can’t wait to finish up work this week & spend a few days with N’s family & then mine. I’ve got a couple more gifts to organize & pick up, but I’m mostly ready to go!

Hope you’ve had a fantastic December. Are you ready for the holidays? What’s your favourite way to prepare?

November in Instagram

Move over, November, it’s time for Christmas! I always feel that Christmas comes out a bit too early, at least commercially, but often feel¬†alone in that sentiment. Can we get past Remembrance Day before breaking out the music & decorations? I was happy to see some comments on that subject this year, honestly. I mentioned in another post that I’m much more excited for the holidays¬†this year than last & I attribute that¬†to not being alone in enjoying November for what it is: the end of a wonderful season.

Here’s what we got up to this month:

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  1. Me & the beer table at Winterstart! We ran (well, I ran, N is injured) again this year with two friends. They were a little stricter with the beer this year, but it was still a great time!
  2. Our first Flames game of the year! We saw the Devils play the Flames in what turned out to be a really exciting game.
  3. I’ve been stalled on handstand progress for a while so when my press handstand finally started to come together this month, I was quite excited.
  4. Cuddling a friend’s new little lady. We have a few friends with new babies & I love getting to spend some time with them at this age.
  5. Mid afternoon hot tubs are my favourite. We’ve had quite a few chinook days & they’re so perfect for a dip!
  6. I wrote about the Christmas Market already, but I couldn’t resist including this photo again here. I highly recommend checking it out next year!
  7. Instagram is such a funny place sometimes. This festive photo got a lot of love on there this month. I walk this bridge every day, & I love how it frames the city. It’s even better all decked out for Christmas!
  8. We attended the second Meet, Eat, Compete & it was so much fun! H posted about it here. As much as I want to make sure I always have a spot for myself, I also think you should check it out. We played two new games this time & had a fantastic time!
  9. It’s the most wonderful time of the year: Beef delivery! Haha. This is the third year ordering from Grazed Right. Ben is awesome & his beef is delicious. We’ve got a couple new cuts to play around with & I’m hoping to order some extra roast (the steak is all sold out – he’s that popular this year!). We also bought a deep freeze so we have room for it all in our own house.

Follow along with me on Instagram @whoalansi.

& now on to December – I’m ready for ya!

 

September in Instagram

IG recently started allowing portrait, landscape, & square photos. Judging from this month’s recap, I have clearly been all over that. It certainly doesn’t make for the nicest looking collage, but I’m pretty excited to have options other than just square. I swear I still posted a few square ones – they just didn’t make the post!

Anywho, here’s what we got up to this month according to Instagram.¬†instagram_2015-10-07

  1. Walking in the Pride Parade with some really awesome people. It was a chilly morning, but we had a pretty great turnout, nonetheless.
  2. The gold medal member shirts this session are wicked. I finally got into the Adult Gymnastics class at KSG, which means every Wednesday I spent 3 hours playing around, which means my handstands are getting a lot better.
  3. We took advantage of a beautiful weekend & explored the redeveloped St Patrick’s Island. The redesign revitalized¬†this inner city space¬†& made it somewhere I actually want to spend time!
  4. We bought a house! We like her. I made N take a photo with the sold sign one day before we moved in. It looks a bit like an ad for Camp Brand Goods.
  5. I volunteered on the Social Media Crew for Beakerhead, which was a pretty fun experience. If you missed out, fiery skee ball was one of the coolest installations this year. I highly recommend you check it out next year!
  6. In an effort to cut back our spending, we’ve been making an effort to stay in more. We love a good game night! We kicked this off with poker right before our move.
  7. Moving day! Thanks to our friends & family, moving went pretty smoothly. My parents got us this awesome sign as a housewarming. We think it’s pretty spot on.
  8. Monday morning takeout from OEB after a rough weekend. I wish we’d taken even more time off after moving, but at least we did breakfast right.
  9. My new commute has a slightly different view of the city & I am obsessed with it! I’ve already posted so many photos of it & I don’t see that changing. I’ve opted not to look up bus information & continue walking to & from work. It takes about 40 minutes, but I like the extra $100 in my pocket.

October is already looking like a pretty good month – we’ve got lots of game nights planned, a big Thanksgiving dinner at our house, & some fun parties. Mostly we’re really taking advantage of owning a house. It’s pretty exciting!

You can follow along with all my instagram posts @whoalansi.

Photography

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New Camera & Loaner Lenses

I’ve always loved taking photos. I’ve used almost every popular photo sharing website at some point – Photobucket,¬†Facebook,¬†Flickr, tumblr, Instagram…I love sharing memories with family & friends, creating scrapbooks & photo albums, & remembering special moments.

Six years ago, I got my first DSLR camera: a Nikon D60. My parents treated me to a photography course for my birthday that year, where I learned the (very) basics. It was great!

That¬†little Nikon has served me well. It’s been with me on most road trips as well as down to Mexico & on our European Honeymoon. & I’ve taken some great photos with it. It also taught me about the kind of lenses & photography that I truly enjoy. The only lens I’ve ever bought is a NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Lens. I love this lens. It’s great in low light & provides an undistorted angle of view, similar to what your eye sees. My D60 has a cropped sensor so it translates to about a normal 50 mm¬†focal length. 50 mm¬†is a fantastic everyday focal length, if you ask me. (I highly recommend this lens if you have a Nikon that uses DX lenses¬†– good quality for a reasonable price). I used this camera & lens combination pretty happily for 4 years before I started to notice some things.

First of all, I found myself switching back to my kit lens (an underwhelming 18-55 mm f3.5-5.6G lens) when we travelled or if I was trying to get a photo of N & I together. & I really didn’t like having to switch back. I’m a huge advocate of prime lenses because the quality is so much better (especially if your budget is smaller). The style of photography I most enjoy doesn’t require a huge zoom lens anyway. Personal preference.

The second issue I started running into with my D60 was the in-camera focusing. If I was ever using autofocus, it had a really hard time, & switching to manual wasn’t giving me the best results either.

So I was feeling like it was time for a new camera. I started researching & was finding that a lot of the lenses I would be interested in were only available for a full frame camera. Full frame cameras are still, sadly, out of my price range (& beyond my skill level). I wanted something a little more compact, but with more lens options than my current set up. That’s when mirrorless cameras¬†caught my attention.¬†I¬†contacted my uncle to ask for some advice (who is extremely knowledgeable about cameras & lenses). He responded quickly & was a wealth of information so I felt confident in my decision. He even offered to send me a few lenses to play with once I got my camera.

The following¬†week, I headed down to The Camera Store & purchased a Sony a6000. Two lenses were already on their way, care of my Uncle. I’ve been playing around with this¬†new camera for about a month now & couldn’t be happier with my purchase. I’ve mostly been using the two lenses he sent me, both of which are fully manual, so it’s been a pretty big learning curve. Having¬†to slow down my picture-taking & think more is a bit of a blessing though.

I’m especially loving the 28mm f2.8 lens he sent. He included a Speedbooster adapter (both lenses are Canon fd mounts) so it converts to a 30 mm f2.0. I absolutely love it! I think 35 mm is my favourite focal length, so it’s getting quite close to that.

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Canon 50 mm fd 1.4 with regular adapter

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Canon 28 mm fd 2.8 with Metabones Speedbooster Adapter

Two¬†of the coolest features on the A6000¬†are¬†the magnifier &¬†focus assist colours. While I used to struggle to get a sharp image with my D60 when focusing manually, I’m finding these two features alleviate this issue.

I’m really looking forward to playing around more. I’ll definitely be sad to send these lenses back to Toronto, but I’ve got my eye on a Sigma 19mm f.28 (which would convert to about a 29 mm focal length).

Enough nerding out about my new toy though. Here are a few actual photos that I’ve taken since my purchase. (I’m still very much in learning mode here!)

Staub Asparagus

I have a strange love for photos of asparagus

DSC00103

Dad’s ravioli

marantz

our marantz receiver

campfire

campfire

campfire

pt 2

YYC

YYC

YYCFT

Food Truck Frenzy

brisket

Brisket

Proof

PR%F

Parc

Parc Brasserie Appies

lover

<3

Lukes

Lukes & the Langevin

simmons

Simmons Building

simmons

take 2

Village Ice Cream

Village Salted Caramel

tomato sauce

San Marzano

assembly

Assembly Required

pizza

‘za

L

L

Sled Island

Sled Island Block Party

Owen Pallett

Owen Pallett

Cannibale

Cannibale

March in Instagram

We were up at the lake for Easter Weekend so I took some time to catch up on blogging & photo editing. The photo editing went well, but the combination of a slow computer, large photo files, & slower than usual internet made putting a post together a pretty slow process. Blogger has been frustrating in other ways lately too. As much as writing your own blog code can be great, I’m looking to spend the bulk of my time writing. I’d also like an easier interface for working with photos.¬†
Keep an eye out for what I think will be some positive blog changes. In the meantime, here’s what we got up to last month according to Instagram!

1. We took advantage of the mild weather & borrowed N’s brother dog, Korra, for a hike up Sulphur Mountain. It’s a quick little hike up & in the winter you can ride the Gondola back down for free!
2. We celebrated our friend’s birthday with a centurion & an epic dance party.
3. I chopped a big chunk of hair off & for the first time ever, it’s shorter than D’s.
4. N & I had a beautiful lamb dish at Wine-Ohs for Big Taste this year.
5. Long runs are back! I also scored these wicked lululemon leggings & a cute top when my number was drawn during an evening of spin! The awesome pattern is a new favourite!
6. We joined a bunch of friends at Grape Escape again this year. We tried a lot of beer & wine, while checking out a bunch of food trucks!
7. Enjoying a Flames game thanks to my parents. Even though we lost to Dallas in overtime, I have no complaints about watching live hockey.
8. We took advantage of a very warm early spring day to sit outside at Container Bar. We’re pretty sure they ran out of beer, thanks mostly to our large table of friends.
9. Celebrating a friend’s 30th Birthday with a hike up Mount Lady MacDonald. She’s merciless, but the views are incredible. I’m excited to have checked another summit off our list so early in the year even if my legs have only just forgiven me.

Hope you got to spend some time with family & friends for the long weekend. Happy Easter!

February In Instagram

No matter what, this recap seems to sneak up on me. Granted, February is the shortest month,but it still amazes me how quickly time can fly by. We got up to a lot judging from my Instagram feed. The unseasonably warm temperatures have resulted in much less hibernation than usual. We got outside more than you’d normally expect. It’s a nice change, but I’m a little bit wary about what this means for our Spring & Summer.¬†

We also booked some exciting things. We’ve decided to go to Big Valley Jamboree this summer & we’re officially going to Mexico again next February. As we continue our house hunt & hold off on big trips, it helps to have a couple vacation plans to look forward to.¬†
Here’s what we got up to this month according to Instagram:¬†
1. Once again, we headed out to Panorama for a ski trip with some friends. Despite a rocky start, it was a great weekend. We even ventured into Taynton Bowl – a backcountry-style part of the resort I’d previously found intimidating. Overcoming that fear meant skiing some of the best powder & terrain I’ve ever encountered.¬†
2. Now that they’ve settled back into daily life after 3 months of travel, we presented our friends with a homemade (slightly risqu√©) calendar we made while we had access to their house.
3. H, Z, N, & I attended a wine tasting at Metrovino. We learned quite a bit & picked up a couple beautiful bottles of wine. This wine shop continues to impress me with every visit. 
4. N & I had a lovely Valentines Day. We started with oysters & cava at the recently opened Rodney’s Oyster House followed by an incredible dinner at Cucina. Their Chicken Liver Parfait is one of my favourite appetizers.¬†
5. I took in a Flames game with my dad. Always a fun way to spend an evening. 
6. N & I decided to take advantage of our proximity to the mountains & put our Banff Park Pass to use. Our first adventure was a leisurely hike at Johnston Canyon. It’s a bit icy due to our warmer winter, but still an easy hike with some unique sights.¬†
7. Another welcome addition to the food scene is The Nash, Michael Noble’s latest restaurant venture. N’s brother got us a gift card for Christmas so we decided to check it out with some friends. A week later, I’m already looking for an excuse to go back (despite it being a definite splurge). ¬†
8. H & I got a sneak peek at some of the eggcellence going down for Beakerhead this year. We were visibly eggcited to learn downtownfood is involved. (Confused? Keep an eye on Twitter for more info!) 
9. Night riding with some friends at YYC Cycle to cap off the month. Glow in the dark paint, lululemon giveaways, Juice Because samples, & an amazing workout with two incredible motivators = a fantastic Friday night! 

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