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Winners + Exciting Things in Toronto

How is everyone doing? Surviving snowpocolypse or whatever they’re calling it these days? Snow storms are significantly more bearable when you don’t own a car to shovel out…

So, I know I promised a vlog tonight, but I forgot it takes a gazillion hours to upload a video to YouTube. Soooo…. tomorrow!

I instead present you with a hodgepodge of information. Things I photographed and deemed blog-worthy, but never found a space in a post to talk about them.

But first and foremeost, the winners of The Simply Bar giveaway!

The winner of the box of Simply Bars:


I swapped out diet soda for green tea, and also have tea when I get sweet cravings.

And the Ultimate Healthy Prize Package:

Colleen C

I’ve popped over from the great balancing act, and wanted to let you know that for the new year, I have given myself the gift of “unsubscribe” clip_image001 to help me reduce the clutter in my inbox. So, I have been practicing switching out unreplied and unread emails for ones I want to receive and read.

Thanks for some great inspiration!

Congrats you two!! Please e-mail your address and what Simply Bar flavour you want to thegreatbalancingact @ ASAP!

In other news, I got to see my boyfriend George in person today…

IMG_5467Non-Canadians probably have no idea what I’m talking about. Unless you’re in Michigan, because I think they have the CBC there.


After months of being on my to-do list, I finally went to a taping of George Stroumboloupoulos Tonight. I don’t actually have any pictures of George because I was too nervous to whip out my giant SLR while sitting thisclose to him! I will say that he was superduper high energy and spent A LOT of time interacting with the audience. There were a lot of J-School kids in the audience so we talked about getting into the broadcasting biz. Oh yeah, and Strombo’s got the mouth of a motherf*cker.


I wasn’t there to just see George though! Other Canadian icons Jim Bryson & The Weakerthans were performing. Overall, a pretty awesome and FREE way to spend a weekday afternoon :)

That wasn’t my only run-in with celebrities today. I also saw Justin Bieber driving in a car. That is, after getting run down by a mob of screaming 13-year-old girls. He made an appearance in the CTV building. It was Biebemodium in downtown Toronto.

As I alluded to in my last post, I recently saw one of my favourite bands from high school!

IMG_5417 In case you don’t know yet, I used to be a punk ass back in the day. While I may have normal-coloured hair these days, I still love the punk music I used to listen to. In fact, I would probably still classify it as my favourite genre of music.


The Queers were one of my favourite bands ooohhh, 10 years ago. Getting to see them live at the Horseshoe Tavern pretty much blew the mind of 15-year-old Susan. Amazing that I can still remember all the words to “Teenage Bonehead” but have a hard time remembering my own cell phone number…

Finally, my last musician tale: Jim Cuddy came into my running store! This may confuse non-Canadians as well, as Blue Rodeo is a band mostly popular in the Great White North. Jim Cuddy is the singer/guitarist for the band. He came in the day after The Queers show and I was, ahem, not on my “A” game. Thankfully my boss served him, but I totally freaked out when I realized it was him!!

Alright, enough of my “celebrity” sightings in Toronto. Let’s get on to the FOOD of Toronto!


Anyone ever see that episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay where he takes on the arepa ladies? I’d never heard of arepas until seeing this episode a couple years ago in my apartment in Fredericton. They were nowhere to be found in the area, so when I came to TO and heard there was an Arepa Cafe, I was allll over it.


Arepas are small pockets made of cornmeal and filled with all sorts of goodies. They’re most popular in South and Central America, although vary from area to area.

I met up with roommie Megan at Arepa Cafe on Queen West after an intense yoga class at the Downward Dog studio (which apparently Sting went to??). The instructor had us hover in chaturanga for an ungodly amount of time. It worked up quite the appetite.


A quick look at the menu, and I immediately decided on the heartiest one I could find: Pabellon Arepa. Shredded flank steak, beans, sweet plantain, cheese.


Doused in an array of sauces. The green stuff was the best. The red was deadly.


Thoughts on this long awaited dish? I loved the fluffy corn pocket. The plantain was an incredibly tasty addition. My only complaint is the ingredients weren’t evenly stuffed. The first few bites were all steak, then I got to the beans, and then it was just bread. I know, petty, but these things matter! It was also an expensive meal at $9.50 and I still had to eat an apple after to feel satisfied. Overall, I’m happy I finally got to try it, but I probably wouldn’t regular the place. With that said, I wouldn’t turn down Bobby Flay if he offered me an arepa ;)

And that’s all she wrote! Tomorrow you’ll get to see me ramble in person – promise!

Question of the Day: Have any celebrity sighting stories to tell me? Everyone’s got one! I interviewed Corey Haim when I was working as a reporter (and before he died). My mom and I also stalked the Rolling Stones. I can confirm that Keith Richards is indeed alive.


Weekend Delight

Hellohello!! Hope everyone had wonderful weekends :) I went MIA yesterday, but hopefully my new Fitness Friday series was enough to hold you over! I’m trying not to get all bent out of shape about posting every single day anymore. When it comes to writing, I’m a true believer in quality over quantity. But I’m happy to finally be sitting down to share my weekend with you!

Let’s get to the highlights, in a topical and orderly manner.



I like to think of Friday’s breakfast as the black & white cookie of oatmeal.


Dark chocolate dreams + marshmallow fluff atop protein oats.


Post picture, I swirled together the two melted toppings. My father said marshmallow fluff is not appropriate breakfast fare. I beg to differ.


I can’t get my new protein waffle recipe off my mind. On Saturday, I made another fluffy batch with date pieces cooked in. Dipped in a sauce of syrup and almond butter. It was nothing short of amazing.

This morning, I wanted more waffles, but was missing an ingredient.


Next best thing – coconut walnut french toast. Bread dredged through a mix of two eggs, almond milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, flaked coconut and walnuts. Ohyes.



A dark chocolate vitatop smothered in my Easy Peasy Cream Cheese Icing and flaked coconut.


Just how easy is it? One wedge of laughing cow cheese + one tablespoon marshmallow fluff = instant deliciousness.


New tasty snack thanks to Lynndates stuffed with cream cheese. Sugar and cream cheese were meant to be!



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My friends rocked it out on Friday night. I’m trying to learn how to take decent band pictures. The low light and movement makes it pretty damn hard! The pictures don’t do them justice either, you can listen to The Station Agents here ;)



During my fitness assessment last week, I realized that I’ve been ignoring my core a little too much. Okay, I hate working my abs. But I know having a strong midsection is so important to not just sports and exercise, but everyday mobility. So here’s the ab-focused full-body strength workout I came up with:

Exercise Sets Reps Load Target
Assisted pull-up  3 12 70 lbs Back, biceps
Push-up  3 12 Chest, triceps
Swiss ball crunch with dumbbell pullover  3 12 10 lbs Abs, upper back, chest
Curtsy lunge  3 24 30 lbs Quads, glutes
Swiss ball leg curl 3 12 Hamstrings
Prone jackknife  3 12 Abs
Front raise with lateral open 3 12 5 lbs ea Shoulders
Back extension on roman chair 3 12 10 lbs Lower back, glutes
Captain’s chair  3 12 Abs, hips
Cable pushdown  3 12 40 lbs Triceps
One arm cable bicep curl  3 12 12 lbs Biceps
Cable horizontal woodchop  3 12 25 lbs Obliques

I did these in mini-circuits of three exercises, indicated by the different colours. With a 15 minute cardio warm-up, whole thing took me 65 minutes :)



I did pretty well in terms of beer this weekend. I went out both Friday and Saturday nights, which provided ample opportunity to consume mass quantities of alcohol. I waited till Saturday night to splurge on any, and they were worthy splurges indeed.

Mill St. Lemon Tea Beer: “Sunset-coloured (orangey-amber) slightly sweet, malty palate with dry lemon-tea finish. Beer made with addition of Black tea leaves and lemon in aging tank. Very smooth and quenching; unfiltered.”

Smelled like tea, tasted like beer! A good tasting beer, thumbs up.

On an impulse, I treated myself to my new favourite beer, Fruli.


I know how some people feel about fruity beers, but this strawberry white is downright delightful.


The view at Sin & Redemption pub isn’t too bad either. Nice bike, no? ;)




Because you can’t attend a barbecue without grilling up some of the delicious sausage prepared by your neighbourhood butcher. Featured here is a handmade garlic mushroom sausage. Probably one of the best sausages I’ve ever had. No joke. Not pictured is the sauerkraut that was eaten on top. Not audible are the “MmmMMmMmmms” made while eating this.




Because there’s no better way to wrap up a weekend than with a giant bowl of greens. This one here included some kale, tuna, olives, mozzarella cheese, and a dressing made up of pesto and lemon juice whisked together.


Last but not least, I bought a watermelon for two dollars today. A pretty stellar end to a pretty stellar weekend, I’d say :)


Question of the Day: What are your weekend highlights?


Hiiii! Remember me?? I had a busybusy day yesterday and I’m poking my head in here late to tell you all about it!


Let’s first relish in these photos of healthy food. This was my “balance” for the day ;)


Leftover tofu balls. I really dig these!! Don’t let the term “tofu ball” scare you.


Raw jicama and carrots. Reeeeally loved the jicama cold and in cubes like this. Much better than the cooked version.


All dipped in Averie’s peanut sauce! I added a squirt of soy sauce in there for an extra kick. Dipping lunches are so fun. I munched and crunched till my tummy was ready to burst :)

Shortly after lunch, I set off to work to get in some exercise before my first ever client! The workout wasn’t very noteworthy, I just plugged in the earphones and watched the Food Network for 50 minutes while doing intervals on the elliptical.

As for my first training session – I loved it. I can’t believe how quickly it went by! I lucked out with a great first client, who at one point told me “It’s always the nice ones that get you.” Muhaha. I’ve already got my second client and I can’t wait to get started on a program for him!

I left the gym with a big smile on my face and anticipating the fun evening I had in store. Stopped to fuel up first at Freshii.


This is a chain that I’ve only so far seen in Toronto, but I’m sure is elsewhere.


They do made-to-go wraps, sandwiches and salads. I ordered an albacore tuna wrap with a dill dressing.


Thumbs up on the taste front! Thumbs down on the price – $7 for a small wrap.

Okay, okay. Next I am going to share quite possibly the best and most important recipe ever on this blog…


It was so important, I had to tweet it. 

First, you pour Jagermeister into a shot glass.


Then, you put a dash of Red Bull into a glass.


Line it up and admire your handy work. Take a deep breath and get ready for the hard work that is about to follow.


And take an endearing photo with your significant other ;)


Drop the shot glass in, clink the glasses together and let out a holler along the lines of “heyyoooo!”




It should be mentioned we don’t always drink like this.


Okay, we did in university. It was like old times! Except, instead of sitting around and bitching about classes and professors, we sat around talking about work :P

The part I was really excited for though was our ultimate destination, The Horseshoe Tavern.


The Horseshoe is legendary for all of the amazing and famous shows they’ve housed over the decades. Some of the country’s greatest acts got their starts here.


We were here to see We Are Scientists, an indie pop band from Brooklyn (and yes, that’s the audience dancing on stage). Their first album is my running playlist on my iPod. I danced and bopped along to every song and loved every minute of it.


Scuzzy bathroom photos just aren’t the same without my gal Holly.

We stuck around for a while after the band finished. There may have been another round of Jager Bombs, and I enjoyed a couple of my first Steam Whistle beers.

Not bad! I want to tour the brewery here!

Some of our party stopped for street meat…


Some of us made the mistake of putting street meat in our purse. Those keys are looking pretty tasty covered in bacon bits ;)

I managed to avoid the hot dogs, but I didn’t realize we were coming home to chocolate cookies and chocolate cake.

IMG_9910 IMG_9911


I do not recommend food photography while drinking. And I probably shouldn’t condone eating chocolate cake before bed either ;)

In all, a wonderful day! I feel surprisingly well today so I’m off to get a workout in, eat a spectacular lunch, go to a job interview and get a fitness assessment done at my new gym. Happy Tuesday!! xoxo


Question of the Day: What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to? Mine is probably a Sloan concert I went to with my mom in 2004. They were playing under an alias in a small bar and played all my favourite songs :)