Monday, June 29, 2015

I'm an INFP: What Are You?

There is nothing I like more than introspection and taking personality tests that confirm my unique snowflake status. My work is actually really into them too and I have done a few tests in my years there and then we discuss the qualities that we bring to the team and and why it works so well to have different types of people working together.

I was talking with my dad last week about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality test and I had to take it right away! It was very interesting! The basis of their theory, which dates back to 1942, is that there are four facets to a person's personality and the various combinations of these creates a distinct type of personality. The four types are:

Attitude: Introverted or Extroverted
Information: Intuitive or Sensing
Decision Making: Thinking or Feeling
Structure: Judging or Perceiving

The results of my test (taken for free on is that I am Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Perceiving. There were quite a few points in the description of me that were bang on, and some that I didn't feel described me at all. These tests should always be taken with a grain of salt! My friend Lisa did the test to and really connected with her results too and we had a great, surprising conversion over it- and this was someone I had known for 20 years.

So do I agree I am an INFP, after reading my results? Let's see my "strengths and weaknesses":

- Idealistic: I am very optimistic (true)
- Seek Value and Harmony: I don't care about power over others, but I take a democratic approach and make sure every voice is heard and I just want everyone to get along (true)
- Open Minded and Flexible: I don't like rules and I support others, as long as their goals don't conflict with my principles and ideas (I guess true?)
- Very Creative: INFPs can see things from unconventional perspectives and can connect abstract ideas (I was very creative as a kid...I am not so sure now?)
- Passionate and Energetic: When something captures my imagination, I go all in. I am a little shy to often take the podium, however (I think this is true)
- Dedicated and Hard Working: If I am doing something I think is meaningful, I don't give up when the going gets tough (I am not sure this is true. I can be quite lazy?)
- Too Idealistic: I can be naive about the world and idolize those that I love (true)
- Too Altruistic: I see myself as selfish and push too hard to overcome that (I don't think this is true)
- Impractical: When something captures my imagination I get swept up and forget everything things like paying bills and eating (hahahaha like I could ever forget to eat??)
- Dislike Dealing With Data: INFPs focus too much on the macro and dislike the micro. They don't like data that contradicts their beliefs (Untrue. I actually really like data)
- Take Things Personally: I don't take criticism well and I work to avoid conflict (true, but this is true of everyone, isn't it?)
- Difficult to Get to Know: I am private, reserved, and self-conscious. (This one is partially true, I am shy at first, but very open).

Some other points it gave me:
- I should work in a very creative field or be an author or poet (I agree, but the stress and unpredictability of those fields wasn't for me, so I blog on the side for my creative outlet)
- I am good at learning languages (100% not true)
- I have few friends, but the ones I have are friends for life (10000% true)
- I have an idealistic view on relationships, which makes it hard for a guy to "make the cut" (very true)
- I am not in a rush to commit with relationships (true)
- I like the IDEA of social contact, but not the REALITY (very true- I get very excited about social events and then super stressed as the date draws closer)
- I withdraw sometimes and then come out with a momentous decision without weighing the idea with friends and family first (kind of true)
- I don't like school (untrue, I liked school!)
- I don't do well in technical applications, but in jobs with human contact (untrue, that is actually what I do!)

Anyway, it can go on and on, but I found it really interesting! Some points were bang on and confirmed some theories I had about myself and why I was different than some of my friends. Even though these types of tests should be taken with a grain of salt, I found some of the theories on friendships, relationships, and careers with an INFP personality type to be very eye-opening and presented some of my traits in a way I hadn't thought of and helped me understand how to better express the way I tick to others in my life.

Please go ahead and try the test and then tell me what you got and if you agree!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Workout Wednesdays- Upper Body Workout Plan

I did not do very well with exercising around Vegas. I worked out a couple of mornings the week before and then basically took over a week off afterwards. I am very worried that I may have lost my exercise mojo.

PS- I learned I much prefer running in the mornings to lifting weights. The view is very much improved.

View in gym: Sad Casey

View on Run: Beautiful Sunrise

Anyway, I am going to need to keep running the mornings because half marathon training starts next week! OMG. I am following RunKeeper's sub 2:30 half marathon training plan, which is a 16 week program and it tells me how far and fast to run and on what days. I will be keeping you guys updated!

Due to my increased need for speed, I need to drop down my weightlifting routine to one day a week so I can fit more runs into my week. I decided to only focus on arms, chest, back, and core and let my legs and butt deal with just running. I already tested this new routine out once and even though I've been doing so many of these exercises for months now it was so hard and I was so sore the next day! Just goes to show it is good to switch it up now and again!

Here's to tank-top ready arms!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

New Balcony Chairs

Just in time for summer I finally have some chairs out on the patio!

I know what you are thinking
a) those are some very nice chairs

I am aware- but let me explain! A couple weeks ago Cam and I were discussing what chairs to get on the balcony and I decided to get the Applaro reclining chair and the Applaro "normal" chair from Ikea so that there would be one good relaxing chair out there, but a small secondary chair should we decided to eat dinner on the balcony.

The next day I was trolling around my neighbourhood's Craiglist and someone down the street was selling two Applaro reclining chairs in perfect condition for $75, which is only a few dollars more than the cost of one new one with taxes, plus we wouldn't have to drive out to Ikea, AND buying used furniture is good for the environment! So I walked my dolly over and picked them up.

I might end up reselling one of the chairs (I think I could get $40-$50 for it), and just buy the smaller chair from Ikea, but for now this totally works if we want to squeeze out on the balcony for dinner. 99% of the time the balcony will look like this:

And yes, now the door can open and close without issue! Plus there is plenty of room for the one chair to recline should Cam want a afternoon nap out there (he is off soon for the whole summer and I am majorly jelly). The balcony doesn't get much sun so it is very comfortable out there.

Now all I have left to do is source a small table, figure out how to make that plant stand straight again, and maybe add some decoration to the wall. Oh and maybe some pillows! I love me some outdoor fabric :)

Friday, June 19, 2015

Hoover Dam, Route 66 and the Grand Canyon!

On the Saturday of our trip we planned a day-long excursion to see the Grand Canyon, as none of us had been before. We did a lot of research into helicopter rides vs bus and determined that a bus tour was more in line with our budgets and my air sickness limits. Then we did some research on what part of the Grand Canyon to see and decided on the south rim, since it seemed to offer more scenic views (west rim has that glass skywalk, but you can't take your own photos and have to pay for theirs so psht on that!). We compared the various bus companies and decided to splurge a bit and go for Grand Adventures' Sunset Tour. Generally a trip by bus to the South Rim would cost $80-100 USD and this tour was $170 USD, but we chose it for the following reasons:

  • It left at 9am vs 6am for the other tours
  • It stopped at the Hoover Dam and a town on Route 66 for photos (it is a 4+ hour drive so stops are nice!)
  • The "bus" was a large van and our tour only had 9 people on it (very roomy in the van, too)
  • Private guide who takes you along the canyon rim to all the best photo spots and teaches you all sorts of facts along the way
  • Included breakfast and lunch
  • Was rated 5 stars on Trip Advisor after over 2,500 reviews. It is the #1 tour company!
And let me tell you, it was totally worth it!

Our tour guide Louis picked us up a little after 9am and then we drove to two more hotels and got a couple from England and a family of 3 from Australia and were off! At 10am we stopped in at Burger King for our included breakfast, where you could order anything you wanted, and Louis made sure we all had enough and even bought extra drinks and sides for us. 

After that we drove to the Hoover Dam and stopped for 30 minutes to take some photos (we didn't have time for an actual tour). 

After the Dam, we drove about another hour and a half to get gas (and snacks, very important). After our gas stop we drove on again to Seligman, AZ, which is on Route 66 AND was the inspiration for Radiator Springs in the Disney Cars movie! It was definitely a 1 horse town, but it was really fun to walk around and take photos and buy some souvenirs. We even signed the turquoise VW bus :)

After Seligman we jumped back into our van and drove on out to the Grand Canyon. We ran into a wicked thunderstorm on the way and I was super worried about getting rained out for our sunset tour, but thankfully by the time we reached the Canyon the rain had all gone! Louis had packed rain coats for everyone just in case, though. We first stopped off at the visitor's centre and wandered around there for about 40 minutes to get our first look at the canyon and buy souvenirs. 

The Canyon was so awe-inspiring! I had no idea it was so HUGE- you could barely see to the other side! We snapped some pictures before heading back in the van to travel further up the canyon to where there were less people.

Once we arrived at our next destination we stopped to eat some sandwiches, crackers & cheese, and grapes for our lunch/dinner (it was about 4:30pm). Louis even prepared a wheat-free meal for Veronica because I mentioned on our booking she was gluten-free. I should also mention that Louis seemed to have an unlimited supply of cold water bottles for everyone, though the canyon was much cooler than Vegas and I didn't feel I needed as much as I did on the strip!

And yes, a lot of the visitors parts of the Canyon has no guard rails and is a steep drop! However, they only have a couple of people die each year, which is sad, but surprising considering there are about 4-5 million visitors annually. Thankfully none of us fell in, though a few members of the group were not so keen on going near the edge to begin with. 

Louis the Tour Guide
Louis was also really into photography and took lots of photos for us on our camera, and his own. He said he had a few guests drop their cameras into the canyon, so he began taking his own shots to share on his facebook page. He gave me a lot of pointers on my camera and even lent me his tripod for the sunset shots!

We went to a few great look out spots, and had a fun time taking nice photos on the edge, and silly photos too, naturally. 

Once the sun began to set he took us to his favourite spot to watch it go down. There was a nearby "famous" sunset spot that was full of people, but Louis knew a lesser-used spot with just as good of a view that we set up on. 

If you are going to go to the Grand Canyon, I really recommend going at sunset. There were not a lot of people (and it was a Saturday), and it was simply gorgeous to take in, even if it did get a little cloudy :)

After the sun went down we climbed back into the van and ate some cookies (yum). We basically drove straight back to Las Vegas with only a short gas station break on the way, but we all passed out in the van. We got home around 12:30am and climbed into bed! I think each of us would agree that the tour was very fun and totally worthwhile. I definitely will go back some day. 

If you are planning a trip from Las Vegas to the the Grand Canyon, I totally recommend Grand-Adventures and Louis (you can request him when you book). Though I have read great reviews about all the guides so I don't think you can go wrong! Also, be sure to book in advance as they told me they nearly always sell out (we booked 2 weeks in advance).

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Viva Las Vegas!

Hello my friends! I just got back on Tuesday from an extended weekend in Las Vegas and it was amazing! I know a lot of people have been to Vegas, but I had never had a chance to go and somehow a plan developed to go this year and I jumped on it! I went with my friend Veronica, her friend Kate, and Kate's friend Andrea. Except now they are all my friends, so that makes explaining it so much easier.

Veronica, Kate, and I flew out Friday morning and it was a little turbulent, but mostly an uneventful flight. It is about 4- 4.5 hours from Toronto to Vegas and our plane was el cheapo airline so I was sad by there being no mini-TVs and no food. However, they did have an app you could download and stream movies and TV shows in-flight from your own device! Hurrah for packing my ipad!

Muppet's Treasure Island, Baby!
We landed around 10:30am and took a cab to our hotel, the Tropicana (PS- our cabbie totally ripped us off and took the tunnel which is a longer route. They are trying to crack down on this, but tell your cabbie to NOT take the tunnel. GRR. Also, our cabbie recommended Hooters for dinner. I kid you not).

The Tropicana gets kind of a bad rap for being an older hotel, but I really liked it for the following reasons:
1. The rooms were clean and didn't smell
2. You could always get a chair by the pool, even the day we went at noon
3. The pool itself was really nice, which was a bonus since it was 40 billion degrees out
4. It was at a pretty happening end of the strip
5. They gave you free cookies coupons when you checked in, and bonus cookies when you room isn't ready. And sometimes the cookie lady gave you two for one cookies.

Let's be honest, reason 5 is the best reason to stay here!

View from our room!
Since we had most of Friday still ahead of us we quickly changed and went exploring. We got lunch at a restaurant in the MGM and I got a peanut butter potato chip burger. I don't usually eat burgers, but it intrigued me. It was actually pretty good but WAY too big. I think I ate half?

After than we walked all over the strip. At one point we popped into the Coca Cola store and bought a "flight" of Coca Cola products from around the world! It was pretty fun trying them all and some were good (others were NASTY....then you had to remember what the good ones were so you could wash the taste away with those). They give you a sheet with the names of the products and where they are sold. I totally recommend trying this out!

After a LOT of walking and sun and digesting of a peanut butter potato chip burger, I was not feeling so good so we headed back to the hotel for a rest before dinner. Andrea showed up around dinner time and the girls headed out for dinner and dancing. I unfortunately did not join them because I was soooo sick. I always get sick to my stomach right at the beginning of a trip (I think I all that heat I was probably dehydrated). They got tapas somewhere and then went to Hakkasan at the MGM casino next door. They said it was crazy busy and had a lot of stairs, but was fun!

Saturday we went to the Grand Canyon, but that deserves a post in and of itself so I will do it later!

Sunday we woke up early (darn jet lag), and got breakfast at the "beach cafe" downstairs. They had misters and umbrellas on the patio so it was quite comfortable outside. I also accidentally ordered the world's largest cinnamon bun. This was listed under the same section as a muffin or a danish...the waitress did not warn me! I barely made a dent in it.

Then we lounged about the pool all day. I even went swimming with my new wig on, which was super exciting!! I've never been able to wear my hair to the pool or beach before.

That afternoon Andrea left us to fly back home and we wandered back down the strip to Cabo Wabo to buy dinner. It was delicious but waaaay to much food. American portions are crazy. Or maybe my stomach is small? I don't know, but it was all delicious regardless. And they had a gluten free menu and brought out special GF chips for Veronica. Again, we sat on the patio! Oh, and our waitress' name was Casey and said her boyfriend's name is apparently also Casey and it was just a Casey party in Las Vegas.

After stuffing ourselves silly, we wandered back down the strip and caught a comedy show at the Laugh Factory at our hotel. It wasn't 100% my type of humour, but it was a pretty inexpensive show and we got upgraded to the VIP section, which was nice! We got our tickets on sale at one of those ticket booths on the strip, which had lots of good deals. We also paid $2 each to get 20% off our bill at Cabo Wabo!

Sunday night we planned to go dancing since I still hadn't been, but we were too tired after being in the sun all day so we went to bed early.

Monday was our last full day in Vegas (sadface). We got up and went back to the Beach Cafe, where I was careful to avoid any gigantic cinnamon rolls. Then we went to the pool to soak up some rays and drink some pitchers of booze.

Mid-afternoon some rain hit so we packed up and went in search of milkshakes and wandered the strip some more. We had planned to do old Vegas that evening, but my boss emailed that morning and offered to pay for us to have a nice dinner so we booked a reservation at Todd English's Olives in the Bellagio! We went back to our hotel and got all gussied up for dinner and dancing. We got an amazing table at the restaurant, next to a big window overlooking their famous fountains.

Dinner was super yummy as it was "Restaurant Week" in Vegas so we were able to do a fixed price menu, offering an appetizer, main, and dessert. It was all so good! I had an apple salad, trout on crab risotto, and sorbet.

After dinner we headed to XS at the Wynn hotel for dancing. We had given our number to a couple of club promoters on the strip so we were able to get on a bunch of guestlists and pick where we wanted to go. XS was offering free drink tickets so it won that evening! It was really fun, though the music was a little extreme techno for me...I didn't know any of it.

Late that night we rolled back into bed and Kate and I got up early and headed on a plane back to Toronto (Veronica was staying in Vegas longer). Unfortunately with the time change, Tuesday ended up being 100% travel and then I was back at work on Wednesday!

I had such a great time in Las Vegas, but I felt like I barely scratched the surface of things to do and see (I had no idea the strip was SO HUGE). I definitely will be back again one day!
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