Tuesday, July 27, 2010

High Heel Foot Envy

I really really am jealous of those people who can walk on pavement all day long in downtown Van wearing stiletto heels. Don't the balls of their feet hurt? How do they not fall over? How do they walk like a normal person?!? Me, I teeter and look as uncomfortable as possible when the heel of my shoe exceeds 1.5". It's like I've forgotten how to walk or something; I begin tiptoeing around rather than relying on that poor skinny heel to support the bulk of my weight as I transition from step to step. The result? The balls of my feet ache and blister in a matter of minutes (sometimes less).

This is why I need comfortable heels (and shoes in general). To navigate the cement pavement all around the downtown core, my feet need tons of TLC. I need arch support, padding for the balls of my feet, and straps and heels that don't scrape against my skin. I need wide width to accommodate my non-narrow feet, and grippy soles that can support my heft. This is why I usually stick with flats and brand-name sandals (e.g. Merrell, Rockport).

Which is why it is a curious thing that I have held on to my wedding reception shoes; these are monstrously high, gold and rhinestone stilettos that I've only worn once, but that killed my feet thoroughly in the hour and a half that I had them on. Nobody has a picture of my shoes anymore, but they sort of look like a more sparkly and gold version of these shoes:

Maybe it's because they are Nine West, and I can't give away Nine West shoes after having only worn them once (though sentimentality be d*mned, I did give away my filthy white sandals that I also only wore once on the day of the wedding. Those, however, were not brand name).

And in another twist of curious masochism, I invested $40 of Hubbs' hard-earned money on this torture device:
They are Dollhouse shoes (apparently a brand name in NY but I've never heard of them), and they look crazy sexy when worn because they elongate the leg and force your calves to go muscly. However, they are not comfortable after an hour. The first hour is definitely bearable (and I did wear them around the store for a good 10 minutes before purchasing), but after that, the pain begins.

So why do I keep dropping dollars on these crazy shoes when I am obviously not able to wear them? I think it must be the eternal optimist in me that thinks, "This time, it will be different." Or maybe my vanity always wins over my better judgment.

Regardless, I'm glad for my new Rockport/Adidas heels, and I won't be getting rid of either pair of these things either, though I may not wear them again unless I have someone who will carry me from place to place while I have them on (hint hint, Hubbs!).

PS - If you have any tips to offer on how to wear painful 3" shoes without dying of blister pain or falling, I'm game for some advice. ;)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sponsored by Adidas (I Wish)

Recently I found (and purchased) the most comfortable platform slingback heels (or any heels, for that matter) that have ever graced my feet. They are Rockports, but not *just* Rockports - they are AdiPRENE by Adidas Rockports. What this means is that the comfy padding found in Adidas sneakers has somehow found its way onto a 3" shoe that has found its way onto my foot!

I *love* these shoes, and I am hoping to score some teaching shoes (read: flats) that have an AdiPRENE lining in them as well.

Comfy shoes give me such joy. *sigh*

Friday, July 23, 2010

Baby 101


Not mine, of course!! Don't get the wrong idea here.

But my sister, Vanilla Con, and her Big Ben hubby are going to get a new little baby friend in a few months. They have been visiting for the past week, along with some other dear friends of ours, and a big chunk of my sisterly-bonding time has been spent looking for things for sis's ever-growing belly and for the still-yet-gender-unknown babe in her womb.

It has definitely been an education. Who knew the number of brands and features out there for everything from strollers and car seats to breast pumps and baby monitors?! I sure didn't. I had no idea what constituted a "good" brand and what features would be handy to have. It makes me think that one day, should we be blessed with progeny, that I will have a *ton* of research to do!!

I also learned that having a kid is an expensive venture, much more so than I had previously imagined. Sure, you've got to start RESP's for college funds and awkward teenage brand-buying, but even *newborns* need a billion things that aren't cheap to purchase, like Bumbo's and play pens and rocking chairs (okay, that's for Mom, but still) and Baby Bjorns and car seats and bathing apparatus. I'm wondering if it's even possible to raise a healthy, well-adjusted kid on the cheap anymore?!

I very much enjoyed browsing the baby aisles and Babies R Us for goodies for my future niece/nephew. Vanilla Con has already promised to loan me half of her stuff one day when it's my turn. We'll see ;)

But until then, I look forward to ever more baby-buying adventures with Vanilla Con, and am enjoying the fact that with each trip, I learn more about my own ignorance towards the baby product industries and the needs/luxuries of baby-raising. It truly is an education indeed.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Summer Memes


I had forgotten how much fun these are. Here are a few that I've jumbled together into one giant meme:

1.) What first tells you that summer is here?
Waking up to sunshine beaming into our room through our giant windows.

2.) Name five of your favorite distinctively summer habits or customs.
Going for gelato and drinks on patios.

Wearing flip flips and open-toed sandals.

Going for walks in the flower gardens with Hubbs.

Turning on my fans and A/C.

Weekend road trips and adventures (again, with Hubbs)

3.) What is your favorite smell of summer?
The smell of evening/night time on a warm summer day, especially just as the air is cooling off and lights are turning on.

4.) What is your favorite taste of summer?

Gelato on a hot summer day.


5.) Favorite summer memory?
Getting married. Going on honeymoon in Hawaii.

6.) Extreme heat or extreme cold? Which would you choose and why?
Neither, though extreme heat is slightly better if there was A/C somewhere so I could get some relief. Extreme cold is what we moved away from, and extreme heat is atypical for where we are, so in theory we have avoided both.

7.) What books do you plan to read for the season?
There are a few theology-themed books I’m hoping to tackle, as well as Money Road (by Garth Turner) and Water for Elephants (the book-to-movie that Robert Pattinson is filming at the moment).

Favorite summer flower: Lilies are my favourite at any time of year.
Flavor of ice cream or tofutti: Praline or else marzipan (almond)
Mode of transportation: Foot, train, or car
Music: Something upbeat; I’m not picky
Food: BBQ steak and wings and burgers, corn on the cob, gelato, frosty drinks
Favorite game to play: Bocce ball
Earliest childhood summer memory: Going for soft serve and drives with the family
Favorite Drink: Water
Favorite Snack: In case I haven’t made this obvious enough: gelato
Place to read: In bed, on the couch, in the shade outside
Most annoying: When the temperatures turn my lovely apt. into a scorching greenhouse and the heat is slow-cooking me
How I handle the heat: Currently we have 3 fans and a portable A/C unit. I also take a lot of cool showers. We also go outside where it is sometimes cooler than it is inside, or sometimes I will go shopping or for a drive in our air-conditioned car.
Pet Peeve: Bugs, insects, and arachnids – ew.
All-time favorite bathing suit: I am not a fan, though I was pretty happy with the bikini I bought on a cruise last year.
Best Time of Day: Evenings after the day has cooled off.
Most romantic: Maxi dresses, sunsets, and Hubbs.
Summer movie: Eclipse!
J Anything good is worth watching at any time of year, actually.


1. Where is your cell phone? Bedroom
2. Your significant other? Meetings
3. Your hair? Messy
4. Your mother? Working
5. Your father? Coffee
6. Your favorite thing? Hubbs!
7. Your dream last night? Forgotten
8. Your favorite drink? Water
9. Your dream/goal? Holiness
10. The room are you in? Cool!
11. Your hobby? Reading
12. Your fear? Critters
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Vancouver
14. Where were you last night? Yakitori
16. Muffins? Calories
17. Wish list item? Sectional
18. Where you grew up? Prairies
19. Last thing you did? Laundry
20. What are you wearing? Clothes
21. Your TV? Off
22. Your pets? Allergies
23. Friends? Busy
24. Your life? Awesome
25. Your mood? Relaxed
26. Missing someone? No
27. Car? Fixed
28. Something you’re not wearing? Coat
29. Your favorite store? Dollarama
30. Your summer? Busy
31. Like someone? Friends
32. Your favorite color? Blue
33. When is the last time you laughed? Hubbs
34. Last time you cried? TV
35. Place you go to over and over? Bathroom
36. Person who emails you regularly? Spam
37. Favorite place to eat? Varied
38. Why did you participate in this survey? Entertainment
39. What are you doing tonight? Haircut

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Don't be a Greater Fool


Some of you know that Hubbs & I have some very strong opinions about real estate, and why we've abstained thus far from investing our dollars into a home purchase. We are, by and large, super happy renters. Here are some of the reasons why:
  • Our rent just dropped by $200.
  • We are debt free. Imagine owing $300K or more to the bank, with interest! That's not fun.
  • We don't worry about property taxes.
  • If so inclined (or called by God to even greener pastures), we can move out on a month's notice (though we probably won't be).
  • We're not paying rapt attention to hiking rates and sweating over mortgage payment increases and renewals.
  • We don't have to shovel or mow or worry that our car might get broken into (concierge/security services).
  • We don't worry about our neighbour's house and their property values affecting our own.
  • If something malfunctions, our landlord fixes it on his dime. No continuous repairs or upgrades necessary.
  • Re-assessments? Condo fees? Nope and nope.
  • We never had to compromise our location based on our price points; we are exactly where we want to be, without the pain of commuting.
  • If we ever need to downgrade our home because of finances, we don't risk losing our life savings *and* being on the hook for the "remainder" of our mortgage. Canada doesn't really allow people to walk away from a property even if they declare bankruptcy.
  • We are not alone! Many of my smartest friends in NYC, HK, and Van are also renters. So are millions of people in other parts of the world.
Now, this isn't to say that we will never purchase a property. One day we might, if the conditions are right and we can afford to pay for it outright or else by-pass CMHC altogether by putting 35% down (all the while maintaining our other investments such that our real estate assets amount to no more than 40% of our net worth). But we're not quite there yet, and we aren't in any hurry. Frankly, neither Hubbs nor I enjoy lawn care and we don't like being locked down by debt.

We also recognize that our generation has a propensity to buy only the shiniest and newest stuff, making purchases on (or building) first homes that put their parents' last homes to shame. There seems to be a lack of humility or restraint in real estate these days; so many are buying first homes that are >2,000 sq. ft., and laden with hardwood, stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops. I'd like to think that these are luxuries that one must save up for, and not something that every young couple is entitled to have from the get-go (and frankly, I wouldn't want a 30-40 year amortization, thankyouverymuch). I certainly do not want to chase after such earthly things; I would rather focus my effort and attention on laying up treasures elsewhere by the grace of God.

Such is our position, controversial might it be. We get a lot of wisdom from a blog that I highly respect, called The Greater Fool (http://www.greaterfool.ca/). It's not a site for everyone, and most people aren't open to hearing what the author (Garth Turner) has to say. Then again, few also listened to the prophets of old either. ;)

My wish is that you will not be a greater fool, and that your eyes and your heart will long more for Him than for anything that this impermanent, perishable world might have to offer.



I have discovered the joy of downloading new apps and games for my iPhone, so much so that I am using up the phone's battery life on a *daily* basis. The first step is admitting you have a problem, so here I am. Guilty as charged.

The games I have been particularly drawn to are Pop Stars, Bejeweled, Tiki Towers, Words with Friends (which I play with Hubbs), and Angry Birds.

However, I've self-imposed some rules that keep some of my addiction under control. First of all, I have an app for the Bible on the phone, and I must do my daily Scripture reading (on the phone) before I can begin playing. Secondly, I must also use my *other* apps (e.g. food diary, weather check) so that I can maximize my phone's functionality rather than use it exclusively as a call-capable game system.

Hubbs tried to impose a third rule - no iPhone playing in bed - but so far, I have not complied.

Hubbs has his PS3 as a weakness, and I fear now that I have mine as well. I keep telling myself that I can quit whenever I want, and that I *will* quit once the summer is over and I'm back in the classroom, but who am I kidding? Once hooked, always hooked.

Long live my iPhone battery! :D

PS - The above cover is almost identical to the soft plastic cover I bought for my iPhone. Mine is only a smidge more purple than this one, but the design is identical. When I hit up the Night Market again on the weekend, I might also pick up a second case. Just because. ;)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Twilight : Eclipse - A Fan Girl Review


I went to see it with Hubbs today. It was part of our anniversary celebration (well, for *me* anyway - for Hubbs it was comedic relief). Vanilla Con - if you still want to see it I'm still game ;)

Verdict? I liked the book better, but isn't that always the case with books that turn into movies? You always like the one you were exposed to first, better. And of course, when you read the books the scenes seem far less....cheesy.

Don't get me wrong; I am satisfied with David Slade's direction, though I hear he butted heads artistically with some of the actors (namely my favourite, Rob Pattinson). The movie has a slightly darker, more violent edge to it, which makes the viewing experience a bit more appealing to guys like Hubbs. The fighting scenes were definitely more exciting than in New Moon, and the "sleepover" scene sizzled (though I wish they would have stayed more true to the book and made it a bit longer). I thought that the CGI wolves were more convincingly menacing in this film, and some of the cinematography was really artsy even without the blue filter a la Hardwicke. I also appreciated the attempt to bring some humour and levity into the film. Everyone knows that these are not Oscar-worthy flicks, and don't warrant the intensity of a Schindler's List movie; the funny bits help remind the audience not to take it too seriously. Given that David Slade was limited in part by the story itself, and by the screen play, I think that he did a pretty decent job with the weak source material he had to work with.

Hubbs also commented that he thought the actors should be commended for trying their best to stay true to the characters and not overact or make them campy, a temptation I'm sure most actors face when they realize that their characters are somewhat farcical and prone to being the butt of jokes.

But the film had its flaws, too; for one, the "tent" scene was cheesy, way more so than I remember it from the book. It's one thing to read those sappy lines on paper, and another thing entirely to hear them uttered out loud. That was one of my favourite scenes to read, but the tension that was palpable in the novel didn't evidence itself on screen. At all. Though I liked him in the first movie, I also did not find Taylor Lautner convincing as Jacob-the-man-who-changes-into-a-werewolf, and a challenger for Bella's affections. Lautner plays boy-next-door really well, but as a love interest, he falls short (perhaps that is the intention)? I wonder if his role had been re-cast in New Moon, would that have made for a hotter love triangle? Somehow, I could believe Bella's affections being torn if it was between pretty boy RPattz and that 6-pack hottie Michael Copon. Just sayin'....

I also really really missed Rachelle Lefevre as Victoria. She was deliciously evil in the first two flicks, and Bryce Dallas Howard really didn't have the edginess or cajones to fill her shoes. Bad decision, Summit. You shouldn't have dropped Lefevre over a silly scheduling issue that could have been resolved.

The story was also pretty choppy, though I'm not sure if this was because of Rosenberg's screenplay or Slade's direction; regardless, I felt like the plot transitions could have been smoother. There were also parts of the book that didn't show up in the movie. For die-hard fans like me, that was unforgivable (e.g. where was Seth's big shining moment!?? The bonding with Edward part that was key to bridging the wolf-vamp relationship was never even mentioned).

I also found Bella's hair (Kristen Stewart's wig) to be a major distraction; her hairline kept moving forward and backward and sometimes her hair was curly, and other times it was straight. I highly doubt that, when her life was being threatened, that the Bella of the novel would have had time to curl her naturally straight hair. A minor detail, but one that really distracted me. Oh - and Bella uses the word EPIC in this movie, which is beyond wrong in my books. Nobody should ever use that word unless they're describing literature.

The highlights of the movie?
  • Sarah Clarke as Renee - convincing portrayal of Bella's flighty mom
  • Billy Burke as Charlie - the sex talk scene was awesome
  • The other wolves - they didn't have a lot of screen time but I thought their acting was spot on and believable; I could totally buy that they belonged to the tribe
  • Riley (Xavier Samuel) - very handsome and sympathetic villain; I see a bright future for this young actor
  • Rob Pattinson - he still looks stiff as a constipated corpse sometimes (sorry honey!), but in a few scenes you see him really get comfortable as Edward, and those are the moments that I love the most. Plus, he's very very handsome in his chalky white make-up; the man *is* beautiful to look at.
  • The meadow - is that in BC? It's beautiful, so much so that I want to find that place and roll around in it with Hubbs. I wouldn't make him re-enact the scenes though; that would be cruel.
Overall, the movie isn't horrible, and I would see it again (mostly because I'm a fan girl). I used a gift cert from my students to watch it today, so it's not like I had to pay to see it. I would though - but only once, not multiple times like those crazed teenage "Twi-hards" out there. It might be worth $12.50 but it's definitely not worth $25.00.

And out of sheer morbid curiosity, I'll even go to see Breaking Dawn when it eventually comes out in theatres, though I won't be expecting much (unless they complete ditch the novel and come up with an alternate plot line that doesn't involve C-sections or "imprinting" or "cue-to-black" scenes). Mostly, I want to see Edward-Bella "business time" and if the next movie can give me that and make it hot, I might even forgive the whole deal with the name Renesme. Wait, scratch that. Nothing can make me forgive that.

Friday, July 09, 2010

5 Years...


Hubbs & I, we're a team. And we've been a team long before we exchanged "I do's." However, today marks 5 years since the moment when we officially became "one flesh" in covenant to one another, before God.

And what a great 5 years it has been! Hubbs & I sometimes sit and marvel at how quickly time has passed, while at the same time searching our memories for any recollection of life before each other. Neither of us really can anymore; it's like our existence pre-marriage was like a big dream. What was life like before we had each other? We can barely remember.

Today (and this weekend) we will be off celebrating our 5th honeymoon year. Laugh if you will, but it still feels like a honeymoon to us. We still want to hold hands and sit next to each other. We still giggle together and enjoy stealing kisses when nobody's looking. May that feeling never end!

So how does one celebrate 5 years? According to traditional gift-giving, the fifth anniversary is the year of "wood." I won't even go there; this is a family-friendly site. The modern gift would be silverware, but we have plenty of that already. So maybe we won't do gifts this year, but we will go out for dinner. I'm so excited about heading to Le Crocodile (finally, after 2 long years of waiting) tonight for foie gras and duck breast and French pastries and delicacies. Then, on the weekend, we have plans to spend the day together, and maybe watch Eclipse in the theatre (that's his gift to me!). In return, I might watch him play Street Fighter online with my brother. ;)

The truth is, we celebrate our love all year long, so our anniversary is really no different than any other day of the year. As a result, even our "celebrations" sound suspiciously similar to something we would do on any other weekend.

But 5 years is an accomplishment. Many do not even make it to this point in their marriages. I am blessed. We are blessed. And we have our very gracious and loving Father to thank for that.

~ May your joys be as bright as the morning, your years of happiness as numerous as the stars in the heavens, and your troubles but shadows that fade in the sunlight of love. ~
An old English blessing

Thursday, July 08, 2010

In Heat


When it's stinkin' hot outside, it is hard to think. It is hard to exercise. It is even hard to eat (unless we're talking ice cream). And today, it is *HOT* outside. When I woke up, I was already sweating; that's not a good sign. I'm pretty certain that the temperatures have been steadily rising since that 7:00 a.m. wake-up time.

In blind optimism, I had secretly hoped that this glorious city would have its coolest summer on record this year. I don't mind overcast skies and rain; umbrellas and jackets do the trick just fine, and I find that loomy gloomy gray weather somewhat romantic. However, when it gets brutally hot and our home transforms into a human greenhouse, there is no way to cool down save for standing in a cold shower the entire day. I can remove clothes, blast fans and A/C units, and pull down the blinds, but when that's not even enough, I have no other means of relief from the searing heat.

The forecast is calling for more days like this one, at least for the next week. I hope the forecast is wrong, or else the world will have one seriously grumpy Mrs Loquacious on their hands for the summer.