Finally, I did it.
I went to a kettle bell class!!
Few gyms in my old neck of the woods offer kettlebell classes, so when Darryn suggested we try one out here in Ottawa I was all over it!
Now, I may be a personal trainer and fitness enthusiast, but I was still a little scared. I’ve heard this shit (sorry) is tough. Which in some twisted way is also why I was so attracted to it.
We went to an “Intro to Kettlebells” class. Thankfully, it was just me, Darryn and the instructor, which made it feel like our own private session!
Essentially, kettlebell training is a lot like plyo, but with the addition of swinging around one or two of these weights. It requires a lot more balance and fluidity than I was expecting, and perhaps also why they recommend you go barefoot.
We did a lot of squats and lunges, some with jumping, a few with presses. I think the sit-ups with the shoulder press killed me the most. Apparently the intro class is mostly easier moves with fewer reps. My heart rate definitely got high towards the end of each circuit and I could really feel my muscles working – the best of both worlds!
With all that said, it is pretty torturous. But some people dig torturous (maybe even this girl?). I’d love to find a beginner class in Toronto where I can learn more moves, and maybe even incorporate into some training plans for advanced clients!
And in case you’re wondering, I am hella sore. Inner thighs mostly, thanks to all those squats. No “delayed” onset muscle soreness here. It’s all immediate ;)
After, Darryn and I found our way to the Byward Cafe. She had her heart set on a salad, I on a coffee and sandwich. They had all three!
For the sandwich, I went for chicken and marinated vegetable. Very good actually, for something that sounds so simple.
For the salad, I got the greek + mixed greens.
For my coffee, I went for an Americano. Yummmm.
Darryn and I chattered away and had a lovely lunch together!
Have I said that I love blog friends? I love blog friends. Everyone is so wonderful, one of the main reasons why all the work I put into blogging is worth it!! Not to mention, more people in the world who love to ramble about food and exercise with me ;)
After we said our goodbyes, I continued on my journey to the National Art Gallery. This is the place I was trying to get to when I got lost in Hull.
The gallery had a Pop art exhibit on! Including this one:
Lots of Warhols which were pretty neat to see. Some other things from the 80s and early 90s that I actually recognized from my childhood. The most “interesting” thing in the exhibit was a video of Kirsten Dunst singing the song “Turning Japanese.” No joke. I had to do a double take. Watch it here.
My faaaavourite thing from the gallery though were the Canadian works of art!!
The National Gallery has a lot of Group of Seven paintings which I lovelovelove. This one by Tom Thomson is one of my all-time favourites.
This one caught my eye immediately, and I smiled when I read the info card next to it.
“Red Currant Jelly” by Mary Pratt – an artist from Fredericton!! She’s one of the most famous painters to come from New Brunswick :)
Of course, this one also caught my eye…
“A Meeting of the School Trustees” by Robert Harris. Aka the source of the “Both of you know I cannot read a word” Heritage Minute!! It is slightly sad that my knowledge of Canadian history comes mostly from those Heritage Minutes…
I tried to power through the gallery as I still had a 40 minute walk back to my sister’s place and my body was starting to feel worn out. Made up a giant veggie plate the second I burst through the door.
Tofu spread completes me.
Dinner featured a new-to me veggie.
Artichokes! Okay, I’ve had the bottled artichoke hearts before, but I’ve never dealt with the whole thing before.
I didn’t really look up a recipe before I spontaneously decided to cook them tonight. I took the hard leaves off, sliced them lengthwise, and let soak in red wine vinegar with shallots before sautéing.
Eaten on half a pita with a cut up bison burger, mayo, mustard, spinach and tomatoes.
Honestly, I think I prefer the jarred variety, but it was still a fun food experiment!
Roasted broccoli and sweet potato on the side. Burnt it a little, which actually made it better! Crispier! Yumyum :)
Sara and I had planned on an Ashtanga class tonight, but she can’t make it. I’m secretly glad because I’m pretty sore from kettlebells ;)
Question of the Day: What is your favourite fitness class? One you’re dying to try? My favourite is either spin or step but tomorrow I’m making it to that Gliding class – mark my words! ;)
**Angela from Oh She Glows and I are organizing a big Toronto blogger meet-up at Calico Cafe for July 11th to celebrate my moving there! E-mail me at the firstname.lastname@example.org asap if you think you can make it – space in the restaurant is limited!
Howdy!! Wait, I am no longer in Alberta, I can’t say that anymore. I am currently sitting in my sister’s apartment in Ottawa having a lover’s reunion with my laptop. As much as I would like to sit here all day and reunite with it, I have a new city to explore – Ottawa!
But first, I must recap my last two days in Alberta. For those of you catching up, I spent a week in the wild rose province with my blogging soul-mate Holly, traveling through Calgary, Banff and the Rockies. Other recaps can be found here, here, here and here. I don’t even care if you read them all – but the pictures are definitely worth looking at! Canada is incredibly beautiful, I think something a lot of us may take for granted!
Also, for those of you who may not know the area – here’s a handy dandy map of where we were:
Circled are Calgary, Banff and Lake Louise. All within a couple hours drive. That green area are the Rocky Mountains which border Alberta and British Columbia and stretch far down into the US. It’s seriously one of the most beautiful places on this side of the earth!
Unfortunately, the skies clouded over again by the time we returned to Banff from camping on Monday. But it did make for some spooky mountain views ;)
I’d gotten a recommendation for The Bison. We had no idea what to expect walking in, but who are we to turn down a stunning recommendation?
It was a nifty little lunch-type place with a long list of sandwiches, wines and interesting cocktails.
Yumyumyum. The seedy baguette enclosing the inside goodness was definitely the highlight of this sandwich.
Highlight of the meal though, surprisingly, was the side salad!
This is where Holly and I spent the afternoon in an internet cafe… LOVE traveling with bloggers! ;)
Seeing as our trip was starting to wind down, our bank accounts were looking a little smaller. We opted for a cheap-o dinner in on Monday night. Thankfully, that also included well over a serving of vegetables. Perhaps my first the whole trip (well, that wasn’t bacon-wrapped).
An egg scramble of sorts with broccoli slaw we found on sale. However, it was missing a little sumthin’ and at the last minute, we threw in smokehouse almonds. YUM. The almonds totally made this dish.
Rounded out with a piece of buttered Silver Hills bread and dried apricots.
Our oatmeal stores had run out come Tuesday morning, but we still managed to come up with a lovely breakfast.
We made our last Evelyn’s stop…
There was also this guy…
I’d like to blame Holly for finally getting me in here… but let’s face it, I’m an easy sell.
I may have eaten this for lunch while waiting for the Greyhound bus. Just sayin’.
Tuesday afternoon we went back to Calgary for our final night. I tried one more Banff goody once we got to the hostel (macaroons don’t make for filling lunches)
Holly and I needed to bring a little class back to the trip, so we visited the Glenbow Museum in Calgary for an Impressionist Print exhibit.
I lovelovelove Impressionist art. Van Gogh (seen above) is probably my favourite. I blame my parents for taking me to the Van Gogh Gallery in Amsterdam when I was young and impressionable (no pun intended).
Unfortunately, Holly and I aren’t very good at this “class” thing. We soon found ourselves getting rosy-cheeked at a bar.
A Big Rock Grasshopper at Lounge Burger to be exact. We were waiting for Allison of Eat Clean Live Green fame!! You would think we’d be sick of burgers after a week of non-stop red meat. But a classic Alberta beef burger was the perfect way to leave with a bang.
Alberta’s Own: From Alberta’s own butter beef ranch, hormone free, ranch raised beef, served with blue cheese and caramelized pears on a kaiser bun.
The three of us ended up chatting for hours (as these bloggie meet-ups usually tend to go) and we were so distracted we forgot to snap a photo!! Boo! I guess that just means Allison and Holly will have to come visit me in Toronto ;)
Well my friends, that wraps up my week-long adventure in the Rockies. I can’t remember how Holly and I cooked up the idea to gallivant through the mountains, but it was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve made in a while. In the past, fear probably would have held me back from doing something like this. But really, the only thing I need to fear is perhaps a little indigestion from too much red meat ;) And to think – the adventure is really only just beginning!
See ya tomorrow for a Banff trip exit interview with Holly, and a sneak peek at what I’ve been doing in Ottawa since arriving on Wednesday!!
Ohyes – and have a great start to your weekend!! xoxo
Well, Holly and I are back after a weekend of camping in the Canadian Rockies. We haven’t showered in a while and reek of campfire. But we both agreed that blogging would come first ;) LOVE travelling with fellow bloggers!
Saturday started off with another one of our now famous maple-y oatmeal concoctions.
I believe this was Nature’s Path cinnamon raisin oatmeal cooked with soy protein powder and a banana. Topped with maple fudge, cinnamon peanut butter and maple jelly. Every bowl of oatmeal now must be topped with fudge. I’m ruined.
Saturday was our first legitimately beautiful day weather-wise. Around 23 C and not a cloud in the sky.
We couldn’t see the mountains very well when we first arrived, but they popped in the sunshine. Here’s another shot of the main strip in Banff with Cascade Mountain in the back. Never gets old!!
We hit up Evelyn’s Coffee Bar for our morning coffee. Holly and I are a little useless without that one (big) cuppa joe in the a.m.
The heat called for an iced latte with skim milk, an extra shot of espresso and sugar-free vanilla syrup. Hit the spot, fine work Evelyn ;)
Somehow, after coffee, we ended up wandering into this tea shop called the Banff Tea Co.
There were probably a hundred different kinds of loose teas lining the walls. Every sort of flavour you can imagine. The little canisters in the front were for smelling – I whiffed on a lot!
I’m not a big-time tea person, but I definitely appreciate a spot like this. It was so cute!!
Karen is a huge soccer fan and was excited about Saturday’s US-England World Cup match. So we all agreed to watch some of the game at a local pub/restaurant.
Navigating menus on this trip has been so hard. Everything looks absolutely delicious. We haven’t been doing much snacking – mostly just three big meals a day to keep us fuelled for long spurts of activity. Saturday’s lunch was chosen with just that in mind ;)
Manitoba Bison Bruger? Yesplease!
I haven’t been overly concerned with choosing low-cal or super healthy foods on this trip – but doing things like asking for the mayo on the side, or getting the bun un-buttered at least helps the cause a little.
Omg. This burger was spectacular. Second favourite meal of the trip thus far (elk stew still sitting at number one) Bison is a really lean meat, so it can sometimes end up on the dry side. But this burger was thick, juicy, and perfectly seasoned with spices reminiscent of a sausage. YUM.
And let’s not forget our vegetables ;)
Sweet potato fries count… right??
Dessert were goodies we spied with our little eyes at the Wild Flour Bakery.
Raw desserts have always intrigued me, and cinnamon rolls are one of my fave treats!
It came with a soy frosting. Unfortunately, this was not great. A little bland from being made with ground flax, and waaaay lacking on the cinnamon.
Karen got an almond square that was a little better.
I think the chocolate coating was made partially with dates? And the base was coconut based. Oddly enough, after all the meat I’ve been eating, the raw desserts have so far been the most disappointing!
A guy working at the hostel recommended we go up and check out Lake Minnewanka just a short drive up the road from the town Banff. Karen had her car with her… so why not?
Moi et Karen:
Minnewanka Lake is a glacial lake fed by the Cascade River.The water here is the most gorgeous shade of turquoise. I’ve been trying desperately to capture it properly on film, but it just won’t work.
Even the gorgeous shimmers in the water are dulled on film.
We also checked out Two Jack Lake just a hop skip and a jump away. Everywhere you turn here, there is something more beautiful from the last!
There were also an unusual amount of goats in the area.
I think we saw around 30 altogether? Don’t be fooled by these creatures. They may look cute from afar, but their eyes are bright orange. Creepy.
After much wandering, we eventually hit the road for Tunnel Mountain.
The Tunnel Mountain Campground is also very close to the town of Banff. Many of the trails in the area lead straight through the town.
However, we were more concerned about setting up camp.
But we’re pros and got the tent up in no time!
This is where I conveniently leave out the part that the folks at the mountain equipment store gave us a tutorial on how to set it up ;)
We also learned that coolers are not bear proof.
No worries here though, for coolers are much too classy for gals like us ;)
Holly claims she’s a dolt when it comes to campfires, but the old camp counsellor had one flaring immediately.
My only experience in lighting fires is doing it in my kitchen :P
Between the three of us, we pretty much had enough snacks to forage together a meal.
I opted for a sandwich – campfire style.
One half consisted of gouda cheese and sundried tomato tuna.
The other half was almond butter + gouda.
Amazing combo you guys!!!! The unsweetened almond butter paired perfectly with the melty cheese. Don’t just take my word for it – try it!!
Karen also had the brilliant idea of pairing smoked salmon pate with Mary’s Herb Crackers.
And of course – what’s camping without a brew??
We opted for the Big Rock Pale Ale as a pale seemed perfect for some fireside drinking. Big Rock is an Alberta beer too – thumbs up!
Honourable mention goes to the seedy bread we enjoyed with dinner.
Silver Hills Bakery sent me some coupons to try their bread a while back, but I couldn’t find any in New Brunswick. We found a wide array of their breads at Nester’s Food Market here in Banff. I immediately remembered those coupons and Silver Hills came to the rescue!!
All of their breads are sprouted grain, but not frozen like your more popular ezekiel brand. The Hardy Hearty Harvest seemed like the perfect choice for hiking and camping, you can check out the stats and ingredients here. The bread is Susan, Holly and Karen approved! Can’t wait to try out some of the other varieties!
A tired Susan, but a happy Susan :)
This is where this post ends… but I’ll be back with Part 2 of our Camping Adventure – Lake Louise!
See you soon!!
Question of the Day: What’s your favourite camping food? Mine is beer by the fire. Beer totally counts as food.