Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Toronto Graffiti Art

I have been slow to put new art up above my couch as it is the only real "wall" in the main living area and I really wanted to make sure I found the right piece or pieces for there- something that reflects me (and I guess Cam too)! So this whole time I have had just my favourite Toronto neighbourhood map up there while I ruminated.

For Christmas my friend got me a lovely wooden postcard with a picture of the Front St. street sign on it that was made by a local artist (I lost their name). And I also have my awesome graffiti style pillow on the couch, designed by another local artist- Nadia Lloyd. I felt like my decision was made for me- I needed a Toronto themed gallery wall, which would be a nice accompaniment to my travel themed gallery wall in the front hall. It all sort of works- an ode to my travels by the front door, but an ode to my beloved city in my living room.

However the wooden postcard and the giant neighbourhoods poster are way too different in size to work together so I began to keep an eye out for other pieces to add to my collection. I was on Reddit some months back perusing the local subreddit /r/toronto for local news when I found a really cool collection of prints of the city skyline made with shots of local graffiti. The person had just made them for fun, but I messaged him/her and asked if I could buy some prints of them and the rest is history!

Here is the person's website to see some of their other items. I don't think these prints were ever publicly sold.





I love that they add some colour to wall, but are modern looking too. The seller and I discussed various ways to print them, but I liked the portrait style with tons of white space so that is what I chose! I also tried to pick 3 colours that would work together and go with my style.




PS- do you know how hard it is to find a frame with 3 vertical photo slots? It's impossible!! I gave up after a month of searching and ended up just making this out of an Ikea Ribba frame and just threw out the matting, painted the plywood backing, and taped the photos on. And then of course 2 weeks later someone in my neighbourhood buy/sell groups puts up a 3 photo vertical frame for sale. Of course.

Oh well my method works well and looks good!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Monday in Motion

Hello!! It is a long weekend in Canada this weekend (Victoria Day, also known as May 24 weekend where everybody in Canada opens their cottages with a 24 of beer on hand. Except I have no cottage so I am here in the city). It also happens to be a GORGEOUS weekend here in Toronto. Sunny and Hot!!

I am trying to make an effort this summer to move every day. I still run 4 days a week (I signed up for another half marathon for late July to keep me motivated), but I am trying to fill the other 3 days with fresh air and exercise as well! Last week I dusted off my bike and rode to and from work on Thursday, which is a total of almost 28km! I am such a slow bike rider (though, I blame my bike), but it was a great ride and a couple of summers ago I could NEVER ride to work and ride home the same day, so clearly all this running has massively improved my cardio! I am hoping to get up to riding 3 days a week.

Sweating it out!
I gained about 5-7 pounds with my half marathon training last fall and then full marathon training over the winter. You would think I was burning a million calories with all that running, but the body adapts to running and becomes pretty efficient. Plus it makes you so hungry you eat like a horse, even on non-running days. Plus it gives you an excuse to say yes to everything ("Oh, a box of donuts? Well I did run 30K today"). So I gained some weight that needs to go because my white jeans no longer fit. Or I may buy new pants. We will see how the summer goes ;)

I also got a pair of Jaybird X2 wireless headphones for my birthday! Nothing makes me wanna run more than fancy new gear!! So far I really like them and I do not miss dealing with a headphone cord! I am wearing them in the above pic.

So what have I been up to this past week?

Tues: 5.7km run
Thursday: 14 km bike ride to and from work (total 28km)
Friday: 8km run
Saturday- lots of walking! 16,000 steps!
Sunday- 10km run

This week I intend to be moving every day!


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

My Day with Matt Damon

On my 30th Birthday Bucket List last week I mentioned starring (ahem...being an extra) in a movie with Matt Damon and I figured I should elaborate on that since it was a really cool experience! The only issue is I signed a non-disclosure agreement so I can't tell you what scene I was in, my costume, my role, or even show you the picture I took of me on set that I was totally not allowed to take. But I shall tell what I can!

So basically a couple months ago I got word that there was a big Hollywood movie filming in Toronto and they were looking for extras. I thought it was a really cool opportunity to do something different and exciting so I applied and got in! Filming for my scene was just one day at the end of April and it was supposed to take all day so I got there at 6:45am. I had previously had my costume fitting so I was immediately whisked off to makeup with a few other extras. Makeup was really fun and interesting (they covered my tattoos 100%!) AND the makeup artists told us we were going to be shooting a scene with Matt Damon that day!!



We got back to the set after makeup and changed into our costumes and sat around for awhile. Then we did one scene over and over for awhile, but by the end I was actually cut from the scene (there were a lot of extras and sometimes they pull you out or move you until the director likes the shot). However, in the next scene we were shooting I got a PRIME spot and I ended up walking directly behind Matt Damon and in front of the camera over and over! And they never did that shot without me there so if it makes it into the movie I will 100% be visible in it!!!

I wasn't really in the scene after that since I was so prominently in the scene before, I guess (not that I minded!), so basically after that I just sat around until lunch and after lunch we wrapped and got sent on home. I had been expecting a longer day so that was nice.

All in all, it was a really cool experience. A lot of standing around while they reset scenes and a LOT of repetitive motion. But I got to meet the director (who is an Oscar winner!) and all of the various staff and other extras were so nice! A lot of the extras had no experience like me, but it never really felt awkward or anything.

I also never actually "met" Matt as I didn't want to bother him and my spot behind him (which I would stand in, waiting, for 5-10 minutes between every 20 second take) was about 10 feet back from him so it would be a little awkward to start asking him questions or bother him when he was trying to work. But we did smile at each other as I passed him on my way to my spot once. :)

Anyway- that is the story of my day with Matt Damon! Once I get the all-clear on the NDA being up I will post more details! The movie doesn't come out until Dec 2017 so it could be a LONG wait.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Totally Rad 80s Prom Gone Bad!!

It was my 30th Birthday last week and I decided that that milestone warranted an extra special birthday party! Last year I held a Silly Hats Only Party, which was a complete blast, so I knew I had to up the ante this year. I have always wanted to do a Murder Mystery, and I found a company that sells different mystery games online so I decided to throw the Totally Rad 80s Prom Gone Bad party! The company is call Night of Mystery and they have a TONS of murder mysteries for all different types of parties.

The game works pretty easily- you download a huge PDF and a set of character invites from the website. The PDF includes all instructions and materials needed for the game, and you just assemble it yourself! My friend Jeni did most of the planning and hosting, and together we assigned all the characters, Jeni emailed all the guests their character profiles, and I assembled the actual game for when people arrived. It was really hard to put all the packages together without spoiling who the murderer and victim were! You had to put everything together without reading! But we didn't want to find out so we could play along.

Everyone's instructions and flowers

Jeni and I also prepared for our totally rad party by making up corsages and boutonnieres for all the guests! And everyone got an awesome pair of neon sunglasses and rings pops/candy necklaces. It was so much fun! We also prepped my now-tradition of turning the den into a giant photobooth which turned out amazing. And we had an actual record player courtesy of Cam! This 80s party was ready to rock.

Photobooth Backdrop

Prizes- 80s cartoon pint glasses (and my awesome singing Cat Balloon)


Candy and popcorn station

The record player playing Thriller and The Best of Kool and the Gang all night
Also, my friend Steph totally surprised me by showing up with this AMAZING cake covered in edible pictures of me with my friends and family. It was such a shame to cut into it, but it was as delicious as it looked.




So the game is pretty straightforward. Everyone got a detailed character description with their background story leading up to the prom. When they arrived at the prom (AKA my place), the hostess Sarah Social (AKA Jeni) explained how it worked. Everyone got 2 envelopes- A & B. The A envelope gave instructions for the beginning of the party- what questions to ask certain people and how to answer questions asked of you. One person's A instructions would also tell them they are the victim and to fall down when the lights go out. You also got to vote for prom king and queen! B envelopes were to remain sealed until after the murder.



After awhile, Sarah Social announced the Prom King and Queen! I won't go into details, but it there was quite a shocking reaction that resulted in broken candy necklace all over the floor!


After we had crowned the King and Queen we continued socializing and getting to know all the scandals that seemed to be going on at our high school. The least of which is that our Dolly Dancer apparently got knocked up by Bobby Backer. Ha!

Dolly Dancer and Coach Walters

But the suddenly the lights went out and someone was dead!! We expertly outlined the body with tape and the Principal took hold of the situation and gave us our next instructions- which was to open envelope B and start our investigations. There were some comments about we probably should have called the police. But no! The fellow prom students and staff could totally solve this! :P. The B envelopes gave further questions to ask, rumors to start, and evidence. Plus everyone had much more juicy information that could be bribed out of them.



We continued our sleuthing and trying to figure out what was going on. Some people had evidence and everyone had $500 to bribe with (giving at the start), so money and rumors were flying! Even the victim came back as a zombie and tried to solve it. Who had done it?!

I turned the lights red after the murder


Finally Principal Simpson had gathered all the evidence and presented it to everyone to try and use to help with their investigations. At this point some of the characters had taken on a life of their own/ had too much to drink (someone had spiked the punch!) and it was getting pretty funny and entertaining.

Peter Prez, Kevin Catcher, Gabby Backer, Cindy Sensational, Clerical Katie, JJ Smart, and Alan Alegebra

Photobomb in the front by Teach Tanner

After little more detective work it was time to fill out a ballot of who we thought had done it, and also vote for best dressed, best performance, and most money (from accepting bribes). After handing that in to Sarah Social to tally up, Principal Simpson came out with the results of his investigation and who the murderer was! It was quite a shock and also we all completely sucked at figuring it out- only one person managed to guess the right person! Here is a hint- pay close attention to the evidence!! However, the game was so much fun to play even without solving the murder! The character acting and rumors were hilarious.

I am not telling who the victim and murderer were by the way- you will have to message me privately if you want to know the whole story! But lemme tell you- everyone had a motive. That is one drama-filled school.

After all the murderer was solved (and the murderer basically got a slap on the wrist), we continued with the prom and had a great night!!

Sarah Social (Voted Best Dressed), and Larry Lefty

Peter Prez (Voted Best Performance) and Gabby Backer

Cindy Sensational and Sally Spirit

Bobby Backer and Clerical Katie

Sarah Social and Cindy Sensational

Kevin Catcher and Cindy Sensational

My High School Friends (IRL)

Dolly Dancer and "Dave"





All in all- it was such a fun night!! Even if we sucked at solving the murder, the characters and plots were hilarious and I had such a fun time! I'm not sure how I am going to beat this one next year. Here is to turning 30!

FYI- My dress was actually my Mom's in the 80s!


Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Big 3-0!

Today is my 30th birthday!!!!

*cue fireworks*

I know a lot of people get hung up on moving onto a new decade, but I am actually pretty jazzed about my birthday because my twenties were so awesome and I am sure my thirties will be so exciting in so many new ways!

I thought about writing a 30 before 30 list, but then I realized that my life has basically been some people's completed Bucket List? For instance...I can cross all these off

1. Buy a home (I have bought two now!)
2. Go skydiving (did that back when I was 22!)
3. Run a marathon (did that one just in a nick of time!)
4. Star in a movie with Matt Damon (Being an extra counts, yes? I should blog about that...)
5. Travel (I have been lucky to go on so many amazing trips!)

Ok I don't really know what other kind of nonsense people put on those lists, but I do think my 20s were by any definition a huge success! SO BRING ON THE 30s!

video

My Balloons <3

Monday, May 9, 2016

Sporting Life 10K 2016 Race Recap!

Another race in the bag and a new PR to boot! I ran my 4th edition of the Sporting Life 10K in 52:42, obliterating my previous times of 1:00:14, 55:14, and 55:15! Woo hoooo!! AND I also PR'd the 5K distance, running the first half of the race in 26:13 (unofficially it was actually somewhere in the 25:XX range since with weaving I actually ran farther than 10K by the end). Go me!

I run this race every year with my Mom and Stepdad and I didn't want to miss out this year just because I had a silly little marathon to run the weekend before. So I signed up, but had no intention of pushing the pace or anything. After the marathon I took Monday-Friday completely off from running and I had a massage and saw my physiotherapist for my very last appointment (I will miss her! If you need a physio for running in Toronto, just message me because she was amazing!). I also stretched and foam rolled and stretched some more! By Saturday my legs felt completely normal and I went out for a 5K that was actually pretty tiring.

So Sunday rolled around and I got up at the ungodly hour of 5:00am, but I probably got 4 hours sleep, which is a solid sleep for me before a race. My parents stayed in my building's guest suite downstairs and Cam and I met them at 6:00am downstairs! Cam didn't run, but he was kind enough to drive us to the shuttle bus and save us a 20 minute walk in the cold morning.



We got there and it was freezing!!!! There was a lot of hugging and trying to stand in the sun while we waited almost an hour for our start time. Finally at 7:50 we were off!

I was feeling good so I decided to speed up and see how I felt as I went. I had no shame in walking if I needed to!! The first kilometer was really slow as there are soooo many people in this race. But around km 2 or 3 it opened up a bit and I was able to get a steady pace. I was shocked when my watch was telling me I was running roughly 5:10 minutes per kilometer! I have never ever run that fast in my life and that is a whole MINUTE faster per kilometer than I ran in my marathon! That's huge.

(Mom's Picture)

But it was only 10K so I wasn't worried! I did finally warm up around Km 3 and I removed my arm warmers (made of a pair of Cam's old socks). It was actually a perfect day for running this race- around 10 degrees, sunny, and no wind! I felt great and I was able to hold onto my fast pace the whole way. I was definitely pooped at the end though. No way could I have run the marathon with such speedy legs!

I met Mom and Lee at the finish (they both did amazing too- Mom PR'd and Lee came near his best time from a few years ago!).


After the race we walked on home, showered, and rested for a bit before heading out to brunch/lunch! I had booked a restaurant near me a few weeks ago because brunch is impossible to get a reservation for in Toronto (most don't take reservations for brunch), and it was Mother's Day to boot! Lo and behold, when I looked up the restaurant's address before we left I realized it was IN the Skydome, and we were seated next to the window and got to watch the Blue Jay's warm up while we ate! How neat is that?? We opened the small gifts I got Lee for his birthday (which was on Saturday) and Mom's for Mother's Day and then we toasted to a race well run and happily ate back all the calories we burned!


All in all it was a great day! Now I can actually rest too, because my next race isn't until the end of June! Crazy to think how it was just 3 years ago I decided to run my first 10K for my 27th birthday and now here I am! I can't get enough!
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