Pink Lake

I had the most amazing day today. I went hiking with my friend Suzanne around Pink Lake. Can you believe there’s actually a lake called Pink? Sadly, it is not really pink. It’s this pretty, green-blue colour. Apparently, it has an unusual colour because of a lack of oxygen in the water. And something about the different layers of water not mixing. Also some kind of super-algea or plancton, or something, that eats everything else. Whatever. It’s really pretty!

This lake is only 10 minutes away from my house and I had never been there. It looked pretty big, but it only took about 45 minutes to go around. And that’s with stopping to take plenty of pictures.

This is us just before we started our hike.

Apparently, it was very important that we stay on the path so we wouldn’t mess up the ecosystem even more and turn the lake purple or something. We did our best, but when we saw this platform, we just had to stop and do some yoga. That meant that the person taking the picture was off the path. Since it was in towards the trees and not the water, I’m thinking we’re ok. If not, it wasn’t us.

Most of the path was kind of like a boardwalk, with railings, to keep you from going too close to the glow in the dark fish, or the magic seaweed or whatever it is that makes the lake shimmer. We took advantage of these railings to pose for more pictures.

After we made our way around the lake, we found another trail that had really cool trees. Well, all regular trees and one awesome tree. It looked like it had a little fairy house inside. At first, I thought I could fit in the hole, but I think I would have gotten stuck and had what Suzanne called a “Pooh Bear moment”.

We also did some yoga on a log. I think it could really catch on as a new kind of yoga. It makes postures more challenging, what with the balancing and the swatting the bugs away, all while not falling off the logs and into the leaves.

Tree pose on a log.

Warrior one on a log.

Eagle on a log.

After all the yoga and the hiking and the posing for the pictures, we had a snack and a wardrobe change at home, then went to see an Imax movie about polar bears. The movie was great, if a little sad, what with us humans pretty much wrecking everything for the polar bears. There was a scary part too, when a really hungry male polar bear goes after two little cubs. I actually put my hands over my 3D glasses so I wouldn’t see, but the momma polar bear growled really loudly and that was that.

We then went out to dinner and had drinks on the patio. Nothing tastes more like summer than a beer outside.

After all that, we decided to go to Chapters because I wanted a particular book. I am doing a no-spending challenge, but I had decided to allow myself this book. However, they didn’t have it. I was tempted by a copy of the Bhagavad gita, but since that wasn’t the book I was looking for, I didn’t buy it. I have an Imax teacher pass and I had a gift certificate for the restaurant, so this whole wonderful day was free!

Today was such a perfect summer day, I think it means summer has officially started. Even if it really hasn’t, not officially. Happy summer!

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Long weekend bliss

In Canada, it’s a long weekend. My friend Julie is getting married in the summer and she asked me to go with her and her bridesmaids to Montreal to look for dresses. Montreal is only two hours away, and it’s a great city, so I said yes! The only thing is that I’m still doing a no-spending challenge, so shopping was out for me. I decided to go easy on myself and spend on restaurants and stuff, otherwise I might as well have stayed home!

The drive there was great. It was nice and sunny, we had lots to talk about and it went by really fast. The first place we went to was a dress warehouse kind of place. I thought this might be my first challenge, but nothing really caught my eye, so it was all good.

Then we went to a grocery store called Adonis to get some food for lunch. That place was crazy! There were so many people and everyone was just pushing around. I felt like I was in another country all together. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough, but we did get some great food. We went to one of Julie’s friend’s place in the city, where we would be staying, to have lunch.

After that, we took the subway downtown for more shopping. Again, not as difficult as I had imagined to control myself. We also took the opportunity to take yoga poses in random places.

Subway warrior.

Funky lamp-shop yoga pose. Be careful where you put those feet. You break it, you buy it.

Not a yoga pose, but a really great picture, also in the funky shop.

We walked around, drank iced drinks, people watched in cafés and enjoyed being away from home. There are no thoughts of all the things you have to do when you get home when you’re not actually going home. We went back to our home base and ate a wonderful meal. Thankfully, we got enough food at the crazy grocery store earlier, so we didn’t have to go back.

After dinner, we felt really stuffed, so we went for a walk and saw the sunset on Laval, the city across the river. We also had chocolate cookies.

Some of the girls hung out by the water a little longer, but Steph and I had discovered a tree that really needed climbing. Did you know it’s quite possible to climb a tree even while wearing white pants? So much fun too.

Tree pose in a tree.

Sloth pose. I highly recommend it.

The other girls joined us and we had a little tree party.

The next day, we went shopping some more. We found the bridesmaids dresses easily enough. In the same boutique, however, I saw it. The perfect dress. The one that had my name written on it. Up until that point, it hadn’t been too difficult not to shop, but this took all the willpower I had. I didn’t buy the dress, which I am very proud of, but after that, I’d had enough shopping.

Three of the girls wanted to keep shopping, but in different parts of the city. One girl wanted to visit a museum and I wanted to do anything that was free. We decided to split up for the afternoon and meet up later. I had a wonderful time walking along the old port and having a beer while listening to street performers.

By the time we all met up, we were tired, sweaty and happy. We were all ready to be heading home. We stopped along the way for some ice cream, but they were out, so that was disappointing, but we did have time for some truck stop yoga.

The trip ended with a Mamma Mia sing along in the car. Good food, good friends, good times and a surprising burst of willpower. Bliss.

Happy, happy me!

I am happy today! Why, you ask? Lots of little things.

I just got back from an amazing, hot, kick your butt, crazy, Amber takes a minute to count to 10, core flow class. I was not sure I wanted to go, because I stayed late at work, I was tired, blah, blah, blah. But I got my butt there and rocked it! Well, ok, maybe I sat out airplane. I was dizzy. It’s kind of funny how I’ll get dizzy or thirsty or really need a break when it’s time to do airplane or standing splits. I’m always saying “I love balancing postures!” when what I really love is tree. Can’t we do more tree pose, people? Come on, it makes me happy!

This photo was not taken today, but it represents how I feel pretty accurately!

This is good, considering I this is how I felt last week.

Another thing that made me happy today was doing an art project with my students. Guess who the only one to spill paint was? Yes, that’s right. Me! It was ok, because the paint was red and so was my dress, but some of it went down my leg and the kids got all excited saying “It looks like blood!” I wonder if I should be worried about this.

This is one student’s “practice” painting. She’s six.

I’m also pretty pleased with myself, because today is the start of the second week of my no-spending challenge. So far, I haven’t bought anything that’s not on my list of essentials (food, rent, car, yoga) except sunblock. But really, who’s going to fault me for that? It’s not as hard as I thought it would be. I guess I usually buy a lot of crap I don’t need.

So there you have it. Proof that Mondays can be good!

Shake it on the beach

I’ve been looking for free activities to do this month, and today, lululemon was having a “fitness Friday” event. It was at Westboro beach, so not too far from work, and it was from 5 to 6. It was also a hip hop dance class!

This winter, I was told by my dance teacher that I am “too cute” for hip hop dancing. I took it as a compliment.

Julie and I decided to check it out. I actually wasn’t sure where the beach was, but Julie thought she knew. Turns out she did, but only after we drove past it. One illegal u-turn later, we were at the beach! At first, it felt a little weird, because it seemed like they all knew each other and we were the new kids. They actually all work at lululemon, so that’s why they looked like cheerleaders. I mean that in a good way. They were very peppy.

Mr. Bill was the instructor and he wasted no time teaching us a routine. You could tell he works with kids a lot because he would place his hand on his head to tell us to “take it from the top”. I wonder if I do stuff like that. Maybe I shush people by placing my finger on my lips or turn off the lights to get people to listen to me… I hope not, that would be awkward.

Julie said she learned more from Mr. Bill in an hour than she did in the 10 week session we did this winter. The teacher we had then was very stressed out and she liked to tell us all about it. It didn’t leave much time to actually dance. She was always telling us to be more aggressive.

Don’t we look like aggressive people? Yeah, didn’t think so.

It was cloudy all day, but the sun came out while we were dancing. It was great to actually work out outside.

We took a group shot at the end. Someone had to take the picture, so Mr. Bill’s not in it. One girl said to look gangster, or something about westside, or peace or whatever. Obviously, we did not all hear the same thing.

Next week’s fitness Friday has something to do with kettlebells and the instructor is apparently a kettlebell champion. I didn’t know you could be a kettlebell champion, but I’m impressed. Kettlebells scare me, but it’s free, so I’ll probably try it out!

Sunshine

When I started writing this blog, I decided it would be my happy place. This is where I write about the things that make me smile and laugh, it’s not a place to vent about the things that drive me crazy. That being said, I’m not having a great week. It’s not bad, but it’s not especially good, either. I decided what I needed was some sunshine.

Since the sun was not about to humour me, I decided to create my own.

I started by wearing one of my spring dresses. I don’t mind the rain, but I wasn’t going to let it keep me from dressing like it was nice and sunny. Made me feel pretty all day!

This is actually today’s picture for the May photo a day challenge. If you want to see the pictures every day, check out my facebook page.

Wearing a pretty dress will only get you so far. Today was my grandmother’s birthday, so I drove up to see my family. They live a little over an hour away, so it’s a long drive there and back on a weeknight, but it’s all about the sunshine.

Then I helped my little cousin with her homework.

My mom even had treats for me, since I’m on day 3 of my no spending challenge.

If you’re wondering where I’m going with this, here it is : If you’re having a bad day, or a bad week, find something to make it better. Some days, you need to make your own sunshine.

Free your soul

This is not really a post about my soul, but it is about being free. Being free from what, you ask? From buying stuff I don’t need. Do I really need another dress? Or a latte every day? I have to pay taxes this year, and I really want to take a trip this summer. I don’t want my travel money to become my tax money.

I decided the only way to keep that from happening was to do another 30-day challenge. This one is for the month of May, so 31 days, really. It is an I-will-not-spend-any-money challenge.

These are the essentials:

– Food

– Rent

– Car

– Yoga

Anything that is not on that list, I will not buy. It’s not going to be easy. A friend told me I should let myself have one treat, like a latte, every week. I think this is a good idea. I’d rather cheat a little than give up on the whole thing. I will try at least one week without buying anything though.

I tried to think of free things I can do. I don’t want to stay home all the time just because I don’t want to spend any money. Here’s what I can do fo free:

–  Go running.

– Yoga (I already paid for a bunch of classes).

– Ride my bike.

– Visit museums (some are free for teachers).

– See as many Imax movies as I want (I already have a teacher pass).

– Picnics! I love picnics.

– Go to the gym (I have a membership, so I have to pay for it anyways).

– Lululemon events like Sunday morning yoga, run club and fitness Friday. But, sadly, no lululemon clothes!

– Read the books I already have. There are so many I haven’t read yet.

– The May photo a day challenge.

– Blogging.

– Barre workout at a new studio. First class is free!

– Have dinner with friends.

– Go walking in Gatineau Park.

I’m pretty excited about this challenge, even though it scares me a little. I like to shop and the school where I work is between two coffee shops. I think I’ll probably end up doing so many free things that I won’t miss spending money. Well, I hope so anyways!

On a side note, I did wheel again in yoga today. Pure bliss! And, feeling pleased with myself was free!

If you have any ideas of free things for me to do, please let me know!