Tuesday, 30 April 2013

hotel review: comfort inn airport, st. john's

staying at airport hotels is sometimes necessary when you have an early flight. they are usually average, with nothing special about them. same goes for comfort inn airport in st. john's, where we spent a night before a very early flight to toronto. 

price: $140 including tax for the night
bathroom: old. the sink was separate from the tub and toilet, which i sorta like
pool: none
breakfast: there was a continental breakfast that started at 4 am, but i just missed it due to my ridiculously early flight.
tv: lots of good channels
location: right beside the airport. when j drove me in the morning, i think it took us 2 minutes
parking: lots and lots of parking. i think they charge a little to leave a car there when you go on a trip

- the room we stayed in really smelled like smoke. not cool.
- they had a computer and a printer in the lobby. i loved that i could print off my boarding passes and flight itinerary. i am still old school with my boarding passes on actual paper
- there was also a shuttle to the airport that ran all day and night.
- i would probably stay here again, just for the convenience of being beside the airport

Monday, 29 April 2013

my pregnancy necessities (so far)

these are some things that i am really loving during my pregnancy so far (i am 5+ months now):

- j brand mama j skinny jeans. at first i was using an elastic band to wear my normal jeans, but this was really annoying and uncomfortable. my friend katie, who has two sweet kids, told me that maternity jeans were so comfortable and a great investment. these were a huge splurge for me, but so worth it. i have two pairs, and they are all i wear on weekends. i have tried many, many brands and styles of maternity jeans, and these are by far my fav

- long sweaters. i like the look of a fitted top with my belly, but my normal sweaters kept riding up over my belly. then i bought a few long sweaters from american apparel, and they are perfect

- long tank tops and t-shirts. i had the same problem with my normal tank tops. my sister introduced me to the lululemon tanks and tees, and i love them. they are super long. i bought a size up from my normal lulu size.

- belly book. my friends shannon and jenny got me this journal to document my pregnancy. i love filling it out, and j and i both love flipping through it to see my progression. i have looked at a lot of other pregnancy journals, and this one seems to be the simplest to fill out. we also got lots of film for our instax mini to take weekly belly pics. eventually these pics will go in the belly book. i knew i would never print off digital photos, so the instant pics are awesome for this.

- what to expect when you are expecting book. in my first trimester i was very, very sick. i didn't know what was normal, and i ended up calling the doctor because i was so worried that the baby wasn't getting enough nutrients. i also had mild pains in my side sometimes, and was freaking out about that. then we got this book, and it explains everything. now when i have a weird symptom, i look it up in the book, and feel way better. plus, it's fun to read about what the baby is up to each week. way better than googling.

- materna vitamins. i have been taking these since we started trying to get pregnant. i really think they make my nails grow faster!

- tums. i never experienced heartburn before i was pregnant. but now i get that weird burning sensation sometimes after i eat. i take a tums or two, and i think it helps

- acne facial cleanser. my skin used to be so clear! but now, i totally get acne. my book tells me this is normal because of all the crazy hormones. i think the special cleanser helps keep my skin more clear

- ipad. the main thing i use the ipad for is to facetime with my parents, sister, friends. we sometimes facetime just for a few minutes so they can check out my belly. also, i feel the urge to call my mom all the time now. other friends who have had babies say they were the same way with their moms when they were pregnant. so i facetime mom, and i love it.

i'm sure i will have a different list in a few months, but these are the things i am loving thus far.

Friday, 26 April 2013

on finding out i was pregnant

(baby's closet at 4 months pregnant)

it was a saturday, and j and i went to the gym after work as usual. at the gym, i couldn't work out. i suddenly felt so tired that i couldn't even jog on the treadmill. we went into the sauna, and i couldn't handle the heat. i knew. i told j that i felt like i was pregnant. he was doubtful, since we had only been "trying" for a month or two (aka forgoing preventative measures). we stopped and got a pregnancy test on the way home. the instructions tells you that the most accurate time to test is first thing in the morning, so we decided to wait.

the next morning j got up super early to go kayaking. i woke up too and ran into the bathroom. it was a plus sign. it was super faint. i ran down to show j. we were freaking out, super happy, but unsure what a faded plus sign meant. so we went to the drugstore and bought all the pregnancy tests they had. i took one every morning for the next three mornings. all positive. amazing. we decided to wait a the month or two until christmas to tell family. then we changed our minds and called our parents right away. so awesome.

our parents were so excited, which is why the baby had more outfits than j does at 4 months pregnant. you should see that baby closet now at 5+ months. totally packed.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

more vegas pics and where we ate

(in front of the forum shops) 

(the view from our loungers by the pool) 

(elevator shot, of course) 

(keeping it classy) 

(me and my bump sunning by the pool) 

(shopping for bump clothing) 

(sister style)

this trip was so different from past vegas trips, partly because i wasn't drinking! and also because i now require nine or ten hours of sleep every night. we did a lot of walking around, people-watching, shopping. i loved buying bump-wear, because it is not something we have much of here in gander. we also ate lots of food. there is a lot of really fancy food in vegas, and a lot of fast food. sometimes it's hard to find something to eat that is good but not too expensive. some places we ate:

mon ami gabi- we ate lunch on this patio attached to the paris hotel. it was soo good, and reasonably priced. i was wishing i could have the sangria. looked so good
california pizza kitchen- we had a light supper here. i was not a huge fan, but krys loved the pizza
blt burger- good burgers and salads, reasonable prices
pf changs- the lettuce wraps are so good! and the wonton soup. some of the food tastes insanely salty though
cheesecake factory- i love places that give you warm bread and butter. the portions are huge and the prices are low. i had a burger with avocado and salad, and loved it. and they obviously have a huge dessert menu.

i also demanded we eat at mcdonalds at least three times. i am still loving their burgers so much (i think it has to do with the growing baby in my belly), and it is insanely cheap.

hotel review: mirage, las vegas strip, nevada

reviewing a hotel on the strip is completely different from reviewing a hotel here on the rock. obviously, not comparable. i have only stayed in four of the many, many hotels on the strip, but i do have some opinions after staying for 5 nights at the mirage...

price: seriously hard to nail down, because the rooms are sometimes complimentary depending on how much you gamble. though you usually do have to pay a resort fee of $40 or so per night to use the pool, gym, etc.
bathroom: so nice. huge jacuzzi tub that i took long 5 am baths in (jetlag), and lovely stand up shower. and lots of little toiletries including toothbrush, body butter, bath salts, loofahs
pool: really nice. there were lots of comfy loungers, plenty of sun, lots of waitresses walking around so you could order drinks. the water itself was super cold, so we never actually swam.
breakfast: not included, but there is a starbucks in the hotel, and lots of other breakfast options in many price ranges. we usually started our day with starbucks.
tv: yes, we watched so much teen mom. addictive
location: perfect. i think this was the best part of this hotel compared to other ones we have stayed at. all the hotels look really close on the strip, but actually you end up having to walk a lot between each one. mirage was perfectly situated across from a mcdonalds (my new fav), beside caesars' palace, and a short walk to the fashion show mall. it just felt like we were right in the middle of everything, which is where you want to be when you are pregnant on the strip.
parking: i think it would be crazy to bring a car here. taxis all the way

- our room was actually a suite because we were upgraded when we got there. i am not sure about the other rooms, but this one was really nice.
- there is a huge aquarium in the lobby. pretty cool.
- once you have stayed at aria, it is tough not to compare. aria just feels so new and high end. i think the main difference is attention to detail. at aria, when you walk into the pool area, you are handed a few huge fluffy towels. at mirage, you have to walk fifteen feet to the towel counter to pick them up. at aria, someone hands you bottled water as soon as you walk in to the lobby with your luggage. at mirage, you have to request the water at the front desk. but. aria is a five to ten minute walk from anything. it is right beside cosmopolitan, but you have to walk through this huge mall area to get to the main strip. so mirage wins in location, big time. for me and my big belly, i was so glad to be staying somewhere close to everything.
- i would definitely stay at mirage again, no question

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

a few highlights from vegas

(banana soy ice cream with peanut butter. omg) 

(mimosas in bed at 6 am. major jetlag) 

(texting by the pool) 

(shopping times) 

(a splurge) 

(that belly is taking over)

such a good time. i made an effort to have ice cream every single day. sometimes twice. the icepan ice cream was one of my favourites. i also had ben and jerry's phish food (the best), and i had frozen yogurt from our hotel most mornings as my "breakfast dessert". i think baby likes ice cream. 

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

vegas pics and news!

 (my sister krys chilling at the toronto airport after our reunion)

(birthday mimosas. usually there are three, but not this time :) )

(when we first arrived in vegas) 

(a little birthday gift from the hotel)

you can see in the pic above that i am looking quite large in the belly. it's because we are expecting a baby! we are so excited to meet our little bubba in early August. i will definitely write a lot more about this whole experience in the near future. such and exciting time for j and i. 

Monday, 22 April 2013

happy earth day

so it's earth day, and like the entire internet says, every day should be earth day really. if you happen to live in a small town where recycling is not a big thing, being eco-friendly can be difficult. in our town, the only thing that can be recycled is drink bottles. these are the things j and i do to try to create a little less waste:

- use reusable grocery bags (the cashiers sometimes get annoyed about this, but most of them are used to us by now)
- use the library and ipad for magazines, books, newspapers. i love, love magazines, and digital versions somehow are not as good to me, so i try to only treat myself to one magazine a month. the rest i read at the library
- online bills and bill payments (i think everyone does this now?)
- use a glass container for water (again, i think this is a given for most people these days)
- put a sign on your mailbox that says you don't want junk mail. this one is huge. this winter our sign got covered in snow, so we got a ton of junk mail. i read the flyers online.

the pic above is from the elevator lobby of our hotel in vegas. the beautiful greens reminded me of my centrepieces at our wedding. i am getting the pics from our amazing vacation organized, so there will be lots of pics for the next few days on the blog!

Friday, 12 April 2013

a little trip

i am finally leaving tomorrow to meet these ladies in vegas. sometimes the week leading up to a trip seems so long!

thoughts on this trip:
i will seriously miss my man, but there's nothing like coming home to him after a little trip.
i am hoping for awesome weather. the forecast is telling me it will be very hot, which is very good.
we are staying at the mirage this year, which is a new hotel to me. the pool looks amazing.
last year we were on a major mission to find my wedding dress. this year we have no agenda, which will be nice, i think.

Monday, 8 April 2013

on the weekend

(vegas packing) 

(my weekend reading)

my mom reminded me last night that this time last year she and my sister were busy planning my top secret bachelorette in vegas. wow, a year goes by fast! i am so excited for our 5th annual vegas trip (which starts on saturday) that i completely packed yesterday. it helps that it is still snowy and below zero here, so there is no overlap between my normal wardrobe and what i packed. 

j and i had a relaxing weekend, which included playing pool, walking puppies, reading, multiple trips to McDonald's (so bad, but so good), and visiting a newish restaurant in town. and j was so shocked that i had never seen the movie dances with wolves that he insisted we watch it. so good. 

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

one last snowfall

we went snowshoeing on sunday afternoon. i love snowshoeing. but. i am ready for warm weather now. these pictures are so cool to me. it was the kind of snow that is light and fluffy. almost like what you thing fake snow from movies would feel like. but now, let's get ready for spring weather.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

the best chocolate chip peanut butter cookies i've had

i made these on friday, then i made them again on saturday for friends. they were that good. also, i am loving my silpat mat that i got at canadian tire. i don't have to worry about the cookies sticking to the sheet, or wasting parchment paper every time i make cookies. i would love to find something similar for making muffins and cupcakes.

chocolate chip peanut butter cookies (from here)

1 and 1/2 cup peanut butter or almond butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts or sunflower seeds or whatever nut you love
1/2 cup chocolate chips

oven at 350
mix peanut butter, sugar, egg, baking soda, vanilla together really well
add nuts and chocolate chips, mix well
drop on greased cookie sheet, about 1 heaping tbsp per cookie
bake for 8-12 min, rotating the sheet halfway, until the cookies are lovely golden brown

Monday, 1 April 2013

on the weekend

(a bit of snow) 

 (blizzard conditions)

(made a batch of these)

(as a former sticker collector, i love this door at one of the local hotels)

it pretty much snowed all weekend. i secretly loved it because it made staying in and reading magazines feel like the right thing to do. we went for supper, had chinese take out with friends, took a library trip, ate ice cream. well, that was mainly just me eating all the ice cream. 
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