Friday, August 30, 2013

Update on the Condo and the Casey

1. The bathroom is still not painted. I think I have about 10% convinced my friend Veronica to paint it for me as a surprise while I'm in Jamaica. Vee- I totes promise to act surprised. No, I have not even bought paint yet. But I did go to the storage locker to see if I needed to buy rollers and brushes (spoiler: I do!).

2. My motion-activated light broke about 2 weeks ago. It always had this weird problem of only detecting motion while I was leaning over my bed vs directly under it. I am sure rotating the shade would have fixed this, but I am lazy so I just spent 8 months hitting the sweet spot on the bed to turn it on. But then a couple of weeks ago it just randomly would not turn off at all! So I took it down because Casey needs sleep, yo. And to date I have done nothing to fix it. Go me.

3. I have not packed for my trip yet. I leave in 2 days. Is this normal? I did make a list, and I know everything I need is in the condo somewhere, so I mostly just have to assemble things into the suitcase. I also brought my suitcase up from the locker already. Baby steps, people. Did I mention my suitcase wheels are a bit broken? Why on Earth did I not buy a new suitcase before this trip? Haha, oh well!

4. DCP treatments are going terribly. In good news- I haven't had much blistering lately! But the bad news is that pretty much all my new growth has fallen out again. Yay Alopecia! The only thing it is predictable for is being unpredictable. I only have a couple months left until my next appointment and I will discuss it with the doctor, but I am pretty sure I have reached the end of the treatment line.


I will be MIA next week. I do not understand people that tweet and facebook while on vacation. I mean for one, you are on vacation! Disconnect and relax! And two, have you SEEN the roaming charges and the cost of a data package for the Caribbean? No thank you!

I just want to look at this, not a screen :)

Have a great week everyone!!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

My New Camera! (and a frustrating customer service experience)

So about a year and a half ago we were having a family dinner and taking pictures of my adorable niece when my camera suffered an unfortunate gravitational accident (it got dropped on a plate). The camera still worked, but there was a thin line across the screen. No biggie, I kept on using it.

Well apparently my camera got a little tired of all the use this weekend. At my friend's wedding this month the bottom half of the screen started turning black. Then, after a couple trips in the beach bag last weekend, it looked like this:

I mean, technically the camera still works. But when I am in Jamaica I kind of want to double check that I look super hot in my bikini in every photo (that's normal, right?), so I would like to be able to review my photos! I debated getting it repaired, but there is no way I can get that done in time for my trip and point-and-shoots have come down a lot in price so it is probably a better move to invest my moola in a newer camera.

Therefore, in addition to the many small errands I needed to run this week, I added in "buy a new camera ASAP"! I did a bunch of research online, but I ended up not going with any of the cameras I looked at. Originally I wanted an ultracompact camera, like my last (FYI it was a Canon Powershot SD1400 IS and I had been super happy with it), and I even wanted to get a Canon again since I liked my old one. But alas, the price gods did not align with that plan :)

I ended up getting a Sony Cybershot DSC W730! It is a sexy indigo-blue colour

It is actually only a tiny bit bigger than my old camera, which is why I threw out my "ultra compact" criterion. The only other thing I really focused on was upping my specs from the last one- this camera has more megapixels and a better zoom!

FYI- if you are camera shopping, I found to be an amazing resource. You can compare cameras' specs side by side! See link here for my old camera vs my new one.

Now, for my customer service story. Ugh

I did a bit of research online as to where to shop for my camera and Best Buy seemed to be my best option for having a lot of selection to look at in person. Yesterday I had a lot of errands to run so I tacked on a visit to their Yonge and Dundas location. I arrived around 7pm and I was hungry and tired, but determined to get this darn camera purchase over and done with! I go to the camera section and look around at all the options and after about 10 minutes I am stuck between the Sony Cybershot 710 and 730. There only seems to be one sales associate in the area and he is helping another family (the section was NOT busy), so I decide to wait and I stand around the camera section

20 minutes later he is STILL helping them and I am getting impatient. I see him and what appears to be his manager getting a camera out of a case for the customer so I go over and ask if someone can come help me. The maybe-manager says the guy will help me when he is done with his current customer. No problem- they are probably almost done and now he knows I am waiting.

So I am waiting, and waiting, and then I see him come back from finishing with that customer and HE HAS A NEW CUSTOMER! He has started helping this guy who came AFTER me! I am fuming at this point because I am tired and hungry and, frankly, PMSing. Note to customer service people: If you are engaged to help a customer, tell someone who asks for help to please wait or find someone else to help them. I was seriously a sold deal at this point. I knew what camera I wanted after googling on my phone (the 730) and all I needed was someone to get me one out of the case.

I started texting my friend to keep from bursting into tears (frustration + PMS = tears for Casey). She asks me why I don't just go to Future Shop! Oh my goodness- I had completely forgotten that there was a Future Shop nearby! The FS is on the second story of a building so it just isn't prominent in my mind. I asked her if they had my camera in stock for the same price (however, Future Shop does price match with 10% off). She confirmed online that they did so I headed out of Best Buy. I was seriously there for about 30+ minutes! Waiting for someone to help me!

I arrive at Future Shop and someone helps me within 5 minutes (in fact, he was already helping someone and politely asked me to wait a few minutes, which I did). He quickly gets me my camera, answers all questions, and checks me out right there on his neato handheld checker-outer-thingy (technical term). Shazzam- in and out with a new camera in 10 minutes flat!

I have actually run into that issue with customer service at Best Buy before when I got my laptop. My friend who directed me to Future Shop also has had this issue at Best Buy. They seriously need to improve in that area and find a better way to help customers. I find no one there asks you if you need help; you basically have to pounce on any blue shirt you can find! I can't imagine shy people can shop there! From now on, I am going to remember that Future Shop and make a point to do all my business there.

I was happy to get my camera and I can't wait to test it out! I want to take shots with both my old one and new one and compare.

Have you ever experienced that at your Best Buy? I usually only shop at this location so I can't speak for others!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

House Sitting 101

I don't know how most people do this vacation thing, but I love to have a house sitter. It gives me comfort to know that someone will be watching over my stuff. I know my building has 24 hour security, but it never hurts to be careful! Plus, I have a cute condo right downtown, and I have a friend who lives in the suburbs, but works downtown. Therefore I get someone to watch my place, and she gets a shorter commute, her own place, and free range of my closet! Win-win!

I thought today I would share some rules for the homeowner and the home-sitter, to make everything go smoother!

Home Owner:
1. Leave your house in a clean condition. Not only does this make it more welcoming for your guest, but you yourself will appreciate not having to clean when you get home from vacation and are depressed about your return to work ;)

2. Leave a note explaining how things work. My building has kind of a weird garbage shoot. And my plants are a bit finicky. And I have a confusing TV remote. A nice welcome note with salient points about living at your house is a way to help them feel at home. This can include:
- wifi passwords
- passwords for the computer
- garbage schedule (for a house with garbage pickup)
- pet feeding/walking regimes
- any expected deliveries

3. Lay out ground rules- don't want them drinking your beer, using your computer or canoodling on your bed? Make it clear up front so there are no confrontations when you get home (my guest is gluten-free so I know my beer is safe!)

4. Leave a small gift. I like to leave some special food or drinks for my friend so they don't have to pick up groceries on the first night.

5. Wash your sheets and towels! Treat a house sitter like you would a guest and clean the sheets and towels they will be using. Of course, this isn't necessary if your house sitter won't actually be staying at the house.

House Sitter:
1. Keep the house clean. That means no wild parties! Or, at least, clean up after said wild parties

2. Sort the mail. No one likes to come home to 10lbs of junk mail. Just sorting out what looks relevant to what is clearly trash is helpful.

3. A nice note for the homeowner when they return! You can include any issues that arose while they were gone- like if the condo building's trash chute breaks and you want to apologize for not taking out the garbage ;)

I really don't think the house sitter has too many responsibilities beyond not burning down your house and/or killing your plants (and frankly, mine are already dead). They are doing you a favour, so go easy on them!

I have heard there are housesitting services out there, which just seems weird to me. Has anyone ever used one?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Highs and Lows of Camping

The past four days I have been MIA because I was camping in Awenda with my best girls! Maybe I shouldn't write all about it today because I am still exhausted from getting home (I will explain that one later), but I DO want to remember how much fun we had before everything went wrong. Actually, we had fun after that too. Camping disasters are always better with good friends!!

We took off on Friday and got to the park (after the obligatory stops at Giant Tiger, the LCBO, and the Beer Store!). The weather was great so we quickly set up camp and headed to the beach in time for the late afternoon. I should mention we have the world's most giant tent so setting it up does take a little more time than a little pop-up tent. But hey- it fits 3-4 double air mattresses, and has a foyer. A foyer!

Awenda has four beaches, with only two being near parking. The other two are about a 20+ minute walk. As it was already late in the day, we went to beach one- it was rocky in the water, but the sand was beautiful. I would recommend water shoes if you want to go swimming at this beach.

Friday night we made sandwiches in our cast iron pizza pocket makers (yes, we are the most awesome campers ever) and went to bed early. We always think we are going to stay up late drinking beers, but I swear we never make it to 10pm!

Saturday morning we were up early and made some bacon!! We don't use a camp stove because it broke one year and we had too much fun cooking on the fire- so we just never replaced the stove! That means bacon takes about 2 hrs, but it is sooooo good when done. Lisa tried to cook one on a skewer- it actually worked and was delish and crispy!

After filling our bellies with bacon and eggs, we went to explore the beaches! We ended up a small beach just before beach 3 (we called it beach 2.5). It was rocky in the water, but there was a perfect sand path in the water that led out to sandy waters. We couldn't get over how clear and clean the water was! We had an air mattress with a hole so we turned it into a raft :) The weather on Saturday was beyond perfect- warm and sunny!

Saturday night we meant to go into town for ice cream, but we were just so tired and relaxed from the beach that we hung around and made a good dinner (butter chicken and baked potatoes with banana boats and smores for dessert).

I got stuck in the truck whilst trying to find beer

Sunday we woke up to a more overcast, but still very nice, day. It was a free-for-all for brekkie so I made french toast on the fire. Super yummy!! Then we headed to beach 1, since we just couldn't take the long walk to beach 3&4 with our cooler and beach stuff. We ended up having so much fun at beach one! We wore our water shoes, which helped. Beach one is fairly shallow, so it is warmer, and it is ALL rocks, except they turn into HUGE rocks the farther out you get, and sometimes the water would be 7 feet deep but you are sitting completely out of the water on a rock. We must have been swimming for over an hour, going from rock to rock.

Soon after we came in from swimming it started to spit a bit so we packed up and went back to the site. Oh, and there were wasps. What is it with camping in August and having wasps attack you day and night? Every time we went to pick up our pop we were like:

(after this I am out of photos so I am just gonna GIF it up)

After securing everything and moving the chairs and wood into the tent foyer to stay dry, we went into town. We walked around in the rain and found a really awesome book store run by the most hilarious lady. Then we went to lunch at an irish pub (not very good...) and got some custome milkshakes (very good, but overpriced). We got back to camp and the rain had stopped so we made a fire and relaxed a bit. However, the relaxation was short lived because a thunderstorm rolled in, causing us to spend the rest of the night in the tent! Thunderstorms are much less scary with a beer and a sandwich in a tent ;)

Unfortunately, the thunderstorm lasted ALL night. I swear I fell asleep for only an hour or so because it was SO loud. At some point in the morning it stopped for an hour and almost seemed sunny, but I foolishly used that time to finally sleep instead of insisting we pack up and go home. Of course, when we woke up later it was thunderstorming again. We decided to call it a day and pretty much just threw everything into the back of the truck- even the muddy, unfolded tent (you need to set it up and air it out at home anyway, if it gets wet). We rolled out around 11am- completely muddy and wet, but we changed into dry clothes for the ride home at least.

We only made it about 30-45 minutes before we ran into problems. I started to smell syrup and not 30 seconds after mentioning it, there was a noise from the engine. Ginny pulled over and right then steam started POURING from the engine! Of course, it is still raining. And of course the car charger stopped working the day before so we had NO working cell phones.

We ended up flagging down a car so we could borrow their phone to call for help- but the car we pulled over was the nicest couple and the guy spent at least an hour in the rain trying to fix our engine. He finally gave up and promised to drive into town and get a mechanic for us. I seriously wish I had their name so I could thank them all over again!

30 minutes later the mechanic shows up and tells us that the car cannot be fixed (we thought the belt had just fallen off, but the problem ran deeper than that!). So Ginny drove off with the mechanics to get help from the service station. Her and a tow truck showed up about 30-60 minutes later. I think we sat by the side of that country road for 3 hours!! He towed us the short 5km to the service station (why couldn't the engine have held off longer?). The owner of the truck (we had borrowed it) wanted to come up and try and repair it himself so we waited over an hour for Ginny's girlfriend to come get us with her minivan! Luckily, with these girls, we always find ways to stay entertained.

Of course not everything from the truck could fit in the van, so we packed up the coolers and all critical items (like luggage) and left the poor truck full of muddy tent at the station. Yes, I have some photos from this time, but no, you will not see them because we look exhausted. After 7 hours I made it home to a hot shower!

So yes, the end of trip was an absolute disaster. However, Ginny and Lisa and myself have been friends for about 15 years and it takes a lot more than a night and morning of thunderstorms, or packing in the rain, or being stranded for 5 hours, to discourage us! We actually had a lot of fun and were laughing and smiling for about 90% of the time. It will definitely be a story for years to come!!

And Gin and Lis...this one is for you:

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Well my peeps, I am off for four days of "roughing it" in the woods with my girls. And I say roughing it sarcastically, because even though we will be sleeping in a tent and cooking over a fire...we pretty much just lie on the beach all day and make pizza pockets all night! Drinking beer consistently through the day, of course.

See last year's adventures here

I always go with the same two girls- Lisa and Ginny (I think this is our 5th or 6th year?) but we usually have some other people join us on and off. However this year it just ended up being us three which is tres fun too!!

Here are some shots from the past 5 years! Have a great weekend everyone! I will be back some time next week....

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Lazy Is as Lazy Does

The bathroom is still not painted. Because I still have not bought paint. Because paint is located at the store and I don't feel like going to the store. Because that would involve effort.

I love this comic because my name is KC, and I like cats, and being lazy.

Actually, in truth, I haven't been completely lazy. I did wash some towels yesterday, so that's something. I have just have a lot of plans! I had dinner plans on Monday, Tuesday, and today! And then tomorrow I am off to go camping!!! So a lot of this week has been social commitments/camping planning. And then Monday night I decided to just relax after dinner (I haven't been feeling very well this week) and I played The Sims and ended up with an alien/fairy baby. So then Tuesday night I totally had to play again to see if my alien/fairy baby grew up to be cute, right? right.

But then after an hour of playing on Tuesday night my game crashed and I lost all that evening's work on my sims. Stupid karma for being lazy two days in a row.

I seriously thought I would be so much more productive on blog content in the summer. I spent all winter dreaming all days where there would be natural light after 4:30pm! Of course, I forgot that summer also comes with patios, roadtrips, and a general desire to NOT be in my condo. And honestly, when I look back on these summers of my twenties, I don't want to remember staying in to hot glue some do-dads or paint a bathroom (though I promise I will paint it soon!).

Everyone looks forward to fall for some reason, but I am not! I have thoroughly enjoyed my summer and I have no desire to wear sweaters or drink hot chocolate. Plus, it rains a lot in the fall and it's cold and windy and generally never the proper weather to frolic through the leaves anyway. The only good thing about fall is that hopefully I will actually have the TIME to start running again. All those beers on the patio have added up ;).

I still can't believe summer is coming to and end!! It is kind of appropriate that my annual camping trip with the girls is right at the end because it sure makes the end of summer a little more bearable! Not to mention JAMAICA right after!

After all that I promise to be a better blogger...maybe


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Bikini So Teeny

I don't know if I have ever actually spoken about my upcoming trip on the blog. Probably because it sounds like bragging...but I WON a trip! Last winter I was at a bridal show and the bride and I entered our names in a bunch of draws for free things. I didn't think much about it (I always assume those things are to get your information), but about a month later my phone rings and it is this person from Flight Centre, a major travel agent, saying I WON a trip for two to an all inclusive resort.

I seriously thought it was fake- I get a lot of calls about "winning" cruises and such. But she soon convinced me she was for real by being able to place me at the bridal show and she had all my information! I was simply flabbergasted.

I, of course, asked the bride to come on the trip with me (I wouldn't have won it without her!), but the trip had to be taken by the end of October and she just couldn't get the time off with her honeymoon around the same time. So I asked my sister in law and she said yes!!! I am so excited for us to have a whole week to bond over pina coladas and sunshine. She never really got a bachelorette party before their wedding, so we are calling this her belated party.

This will be my third trip to an all-inclusive. My first was in high school to the Dominican, and I went to Cuba with a friend in early 2011. I loooove lying on the beach all day and I would go to an all-inclusive every year if I could!

Me in Cuba
I was given a choice between a bunch of resorts in a few different countries, but we went with JAMAICA!! I have never been to Jamaica before and we are super pumped because we keep hearing nice things about our resort and the excursions we are planning (we are in Runaway Bay, so Dunns River Falls is on the list!).

Anyway, as exciting as this all is, there were of course practical things to take care of- I needed a new strapless bikini for working on my tannage (I always wear sunscreen, but I burn a bit no matter what). I have a permanent X on my back from Alapulco last fall, and I don't want a repeat!

In Acapulco, before that bikini burned into my back
 I headed to Walmart to pick up a nice cheap one, since I own a lot of bathing suits and couldn't justify spending a lot on a new one. I found a great black one for $18 (oh how I love thee, Walmart), but the top was a little loose around the ribs. And that is just not a good thing if you don't have straps.

I was determined to make it work!

I took a look at the clasp and decided it would be easier to take in the side with the gold clasp, rather than the loop side, because the fabric tapers to the end and if I just folded and sewed a new loop it would be too wide for the clasp. Ideally, you would want to take in both sides so that the clap remained at the centre of your back- but I am a rebel without a cause.

First thing I did was remove the clasp by taking my stitch ripper to the seam. It put up quite a battle! Seriously, that clasp was going no where fast.

Then I sewed it back on, but pulled the end of the fabric in about an inch so that it was shorter.

Then ta-da! I was done! The clasp is only about an inch off so it is not very noticeable that it slightly off (right? right.).

I am ready for Jamaica now!!! I can't wait to go!! And I am sure you all can't wait to see my 1000 photos when I return :)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Jeni and Brandon's Big Day!

As you know from my post earlier this weekend about Bridal Emergency Kits, I was the Maid of Honour in my best friend's wedding this weekend! It has been a busy 10 months for us (well, mostly the bride and groom) getting to this moment so I was so excited to see all the hard work come together- hopefully seamlessly!

The wedding was in Kingston, Ontario and I had only ever been to Kingston a couple of times. Holy Moly what a quaint city it is! I wish I could have taken more time off work just to walk around and explore in the beautiful weather we had this weekend (versus the cold winter days on which I had visited previously). As it was, I took Friday off work and took the Via Train, arriving in the city just before noon. When I got there the bride and groom were off getting some last minute details taken care of, so her parents took me out for lunch (so nice of them!). After that we met up with the couple and had a few last minute details to take of before heading off to the rehearsal.

It was my first time seeing the hall and it was beautiful! It was in an old church that has been converted to an event venue and everything was just classic and ornate and perfect. After the rehearsal was done, we all headed back to the hotel for a nice dinner to celebrate.

I spent the night with the bride in her hotel room and exchanged gifts before retiring early and then next thing I knew I was rudely awaken at 7:00am by her jumping on me. Of course I'm kidding- I was already awake too! We went down to her mom's room in our pajamas to eat some muffins and then got ready to go out as our hair and make up appointments were at 9:00am in town!

The salon we went to was really nice and they provided tons of muffins and scones for us, along with orange juice to go with the champagne we brought! Mimosas are the best way to start the day! I even opened up the champagne bottle myself for the first time. I had never gotten my hair done before and I had no idea what was going to be possible. The owner of the salon did mine, since working with a wig can be quite different. I was fulling expecting to just get some pretty pinned back curls- but my hair turned out amazing!! I hope it survived to the professional photos.

With our hair and makeup completed, we headed back to the hotel for a room service lunch and to start getting ready. It is surprisingly fast to get ready when your hair and make up is taken care of- we finished well ahead of the photographer even arriving.

At 2:30 on the dot, we drove off to the venue! Once there we had a few minutes to collect ourselves downstairs and touch up some makeup and then it was go time!

Of course, I have no photos of the ceremony, but it was beautiful and sentimental and I was quite proud that I didn't cry and ruin all of my make up.

After the ceremony we drove around town to various scenic locations for photos (there are so many options in Kingston!). Snacks were provided, which was much appreciated as it had been quite a few hours since lunch, and nerves prevented us from eating too much before the ceremony. I can't wait to see the professional photos- I think that they will be amazing!

We ended up back at cocktail hour in time for a martini and a couple hors d'oeuvres before the guests went up to dinner and we made our grand entrance. The bride and groom surprised us by having the DJ announce some funny facts about ourselves before we entered instead of just announcing our names. Mine was "she enjoys jumping out a planes and conducting German polka bands". An apt description of me, I think. I wonder if people knew they were all true? haha

Our Bridesmaids' gifts- they came filled ;)
Dinner was delicious and I even managed to get through my speech without making too many mistakes- the speech is the hardest part of the MOH duty, in my opinion! After it was done I could really let my hair down (so to speak, there was like a can of hairspray in it). The bride and groom shared their first dance, and I have no photos because they invited the wedding party to dance with them.

I teared up at the father/daughter dance, as per usual. The mother/groom dance was touching as well!

Soon after the music started going for everyone else to get their dance on and I don't think I left the dance floor for the rest of the night! I am thankful I brought some flats to the reception so my feet were in good shape. The midnight buffet was amazing, in that they offered pizza AND poutine! The poutine came out in small takeout containers so I didn't even need to stop dancing to eat it- that is a win in my books.

Anyways, my camera has this annoying habit of shooting fuzzy shots in low light (grrr), so I thought I would just share a few fun shots of the night! Why is it I never remember to get a shot of the whole wedding party? I will have to wait for the professional photos for that I guess! I at least remembered to get a shot of the bride and myself.

Then, in the wee hours of the morning, we packed up everything into the rental car, grabbed our custom beer bottle favours (too cool) and took a bunch of taxis back to our hotel, very tired and very happy! I found myself wide awake the next morning, so I met up with the bride's family and eventually we all went down for a bit of brunch before I had to head back to the train station. The weekend was over so fast!!

Jeni and Brandon, thank you so much for inviting me to be a part of your special day! I love you guys so much and I wish all the happiness imaginable on your marriage!
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