Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Freedom Wig Review- 1(ish) Year Later

As most of you know, I have an autoimmune disorder called Alopecia Universalis, which leaves me unable to grow barely any hair on my body or head. Last year I bought a new custom wig and reviewed it right away.

Someone commented on my original post where I showed off my new Freedom Wig that I should do a review again, now after wearing it for some time. I agree! I got this wig in Sept 2014 so I have been wearing it daily for 17ish months. Considering this wig cost more then all my new appliances combined (ya....not exaggerating there) I should share my thoughts since others may also be looking to buy one and wondering if it is worth the expense.

So...after all this time do I regret this wig? Not. One. Bit.

I love it!

Please ignore the crazy static in my's so dry in my condo!

This is probably the most comfortable wig I have ever known. I never found my old wigs to be particularly itchy or hot, like some people complain about, but they always shifted around slightly or couldn't be styled easily. This wig was designed to fit every inch of my head and so it goes on and stays on! Therefore I can comfortably go about my day regardless of winter touques, the neckline of my coat or scarves (which always shifted my wigs before), and in any sort of wind! Plus, in the summer I can pull it back into a ponytail and keep all the hair off my neck, which is sooo comfortable and something I didn't even realize I missed.

As for the quality of the wig, it is great. I am not even as careful with it as the instructions said I should be (like not touching it too much). I basically live my life and don't even think about it. I wear glasses, I brush it out with my fingers if I come in from the wind, I wear hats, I style it...I just treat it like normal hair and the hair still looks fresh! I definitely have lost a bit of volume as hairs have naturally fallen out when brushing it, but it still looks nice and full to me.

Taking care of it has been a cinch too. Once a week I wash it with high end shampoo and conditioner (I look for organic stuff as much as I can too). I just wash it gently in a bowl in the sink, though technically I could wear it in the shower. Then I wrap it in a towel for about 30 minutes to absorb the water. Once it is merely damp, I stick it on a foam head that clamps onto any table and I very gently brush it out and let it air dry (sometimes I will blow dry on low heat if I need to rewear it that day). When it is dry I give it a quick straightening with my flat iron and then it is generally good for a whole week without styling again! Sometimes the hair will look a little dried out (hello winter), so I just spritz it with a bit of argan oil and it looks good again.

Once in awhile I will curl it too- either with the flat iron or with a curling iron. The curls are fun because they will last a long time and start just looking like nice waves as I brush it throughout the week. I was too lazy to curl it or do anything beyond a ponytail for this mini-photoshoot. but here are some shots of it styled throughout the year from my phone

As for some slight issues- I think the hairs that we cut in around my nape need to be redone...I have noticed it seems like there are less there to cover my neck when my hair is up. The nape gets the most beating (especially in winter with scarves), so this doesn't surprise me! Also, I think the colour has slightly lightened from the summer sun. This too is normal as donated hair comes from all over a person's head and the "underhairs" haven't really gotten sun exposure before and naturally lightened now that they are exposed. I don't mind the hair colour at all- it still looks natural and good on me- but the instructions did mention getting a yearly dye job to keep the hairs looking good and I may consider doing that down the line.

All in all- I love my Freedom Wig and I will definitely buy another one some day. It has given me so much freedom (lol)...I can ride mechanical bulls, go swimming, wear ponytails, etc. It is about as close as I can get to real hair! Plus I only need to wash and style it once and week and never need to shave my chalk up a win for alopecia :)

Monday, January 25, 2016

Marathon Training Week 2

Total kilometers run: 71km
This week: 38.8km

This week's runs:
Tuesday: 7.7km easy with sprints at end (6:23 min/km avg pace)
Friday: 8.4km intervals (6:14 min/km avg pace)
Saturday: 6.5km easy (6:38 min/km avg pace)
Sunday: 16.2km steady (6:37 min/km avg pace)

I think marathon training is easier for me since I have no children or really any responsibilities after I get home at 5pm. However, plans do come up and I need to shift my running accordingly. This week I had dinner with a friend on Wednesday and I went to the Leafs game on Thursday! Hence why I did 3 runs this weekend! My only real hope is to not run at all on Mondays as Sundays are my long run days and these old legs need some rest. 

The week continued to be cold, but no precipitation and not too windy, which was nice. I know the U.S. is being bombarded with a bad snowstorm, but thankfully a cold front up here kept that south of Toronto and meant Saturday was very bright and sunny...and very cold! And on Sunday is was overcast and slightly warmer (if you can call -3C warm). I plan on doing a post on my winter running outfits soon!

I really didn't feel like running on Sunday, but I knew with 100% certainty I would feel even less like running on Monday after work, so I got off my lazy butt and knocked out 16.2km. This is why I need to have a race on the horizon. I am naturally lazy at heart.

PS- I read so many blogs about running and they all take so many pictures on their runs! I spend most of my run running...I'm not going to stop and take a picture because it would be so much harder to start going again. And even if I take a walking break I still keep moving. And now I wear gloves, which are touch screen compatible, but my camera hates them. Sooo...not many photos to share of my adventures. Maybe I will try to take more? Or I'll just start filling my posts with cat gifs. 

PPS- you know when you see those runners happily jogging along, looking at peace with the world and they get their photos taken and they are ridiculously photogenic? That's not me. I look like death and concentration mixed into a giant vat of exhaustion. Perhaps that is why I don't take running selfies. It is also why I save a lot of money not buying race photos

Exhibit A:

I am really interested to see how tired I am going to look in my full marathon photos... should be entertaining :). 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Marathon Training: Week 1!

Total kilometers run: 32.2

This week's runs:
Tuesday: 6.4km easy (6:48 min/km avg pace)
Thursday: 6.4km easy (6:52 min/km avg pace)
Saturday: 6.4km easy (6:09 min/km avg pace)
Sunday: 13km steady (6:25 min/km avg pace)

Day one of marathon training coincided with the first miserable day of winter weather that Toronto has gotten thus far. All through November and December it has been so mild! But on Tuesday is was snowing, -15C and winds of up to 70kph!! Now, I do have access to a treadmill but I REALLY did not want to cop out on my very first day of training. So I bundled on up, and hit the road. It was really tough going by the lake....very windy, blowing snow obliterating the pathway, and just plain cold. But I did it!!

I do have a sport balaclava, but I am kind of saving it for when it gets unbearably cold. I don't want to resort to it just yet! I am kind of hoping I will acclimate to the cold. Thankfully by the weekend the weather rebounded to around the freezing mark, which is not so terrible to run in. You can tell my pace picked up then. I don't think it is the cold that makes me slower (though the wind and blowing snow doesn't really help), but it is the fear of ice. On those days the path looked wet and icy and so I stepped more cautiously! Thankfully the city does perform excellent winter maintenance and the path was well plowed and salted and I never slipped at all!

So recap of week 1? It was cold and I was tired but I plowed on through. I can't believe week 1 is already a long run of 13km! And this is the EASIEST week! EEP!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Charity Miles

Sometimes I come across something I think is neato-bananas and I feel the need to share it here with all you fine people. Today's find is an app called Charity Miles. It's premise is very simple- you turn on the app and then walk, run, or cycle and corporate sponsors donate money to a charity for every mile you go! Bikers earn $0.10 per mile and walkers and runners earn $0.25.

It is super simple to use too. You just open the app, pick the charity you would like to support for your workout and it tells you which company is sponsoring you, and then off you go! Once you complete your run/walk/bike, there is a quick one question survey about the sponsor's products, which seems to be completely optional.

Over the course of my marathon training (which started this week!! Week 1 update will come next week!), I estimate I will run around 450 if I remember to turn on my app I will be able to donate $112 to charity just by completing the runs I would be doing anyway! I used it for my Thursday run and earned $1 for the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Disease research.

And the app also covers walking. So if your New Year's resolution is to walk 10,000 steps a day...maybe turn this app on and turn those fitbit accomplishments into more :)

Monday, January 11, 2016

New Appliances!

As I mentioned previously, I bought myself a new oven and fridge during Boxing Week sales and they came last week! It was quite the ordeal too, but I will get to that in a minute. Here they are in all their glory!

The fridge is a GE fridge that I managed to get for the awesome price of $812 through price matching. It is deeper than my old fridge, which I didn't realize when I bought it, but I don't mind. I also thought the black sides would bother me, but considering how much black is in the oven and microwave, plus the flecks of black in the granite all kind of works. More masculine than I think I would have ended up with if I had designed the kitchen from scratch, but definitely looking good!

The fridge is really deep and Cam and I keep filling it up with groceries, yet it always looks empty. A counterdepth fridge would have been a better option....if I cared to spend $2000 more on a fridge than I did :). Also a pleasant surprise was that this new fridge is magnetic! Everyone one I know with a stainless steel fridge said the fronts aren't magnetic, but mine is! To celebrate I got a custom magnet made of me and Cam (aww).

The oven, however, is my real pride and joy. It is an LG double oven that I got on sale for $1098. I probably could have gotten a normal oven in the $800 range, but both Cam and I liked the idea of the double oven. 90% of the time we will just use the small oven to cook food, which will be faster and more energy efficient, but then if I am baking cookies or something I have 3 racks to bake on now!

Plus, if I ever throw a fancy dinner party I can cook multiple dishes at different temperatures at once, or leave one on to warm while the other cooks. We have lots of storage in this kitchen, so losing the storage drawer under the oven is no loss to us!

As a last point, the inside of the oven is ridiculously pretty. LG chose this amazing indigo colour that makes this very basic double oven look like a really high end one (in my opinion). It also plays a song when it had heated up or when the timer ends, which was a surprise and I will probably grow to hate in time haha.

Getting the oven and fridge into my unit after buying them was a bit of a nightmare. They were set to be delivered on a Sunday between 8 and 12. I got up early and called the concierge to inform him of the delivery and was told deliveries aren't allowed on Sundays. Oh. Did not know that :\. But he said since it was too late to stop it now we would figure it out.

The delivery guys ended up being super late and came around 1:30pm (I do not do well I was stressed at this point. But I would like to shout out to the awesome Norma at Home Depot who was trying to track down the delivery guys for me). The nice concierge of this morning had left for the day and the new concierge and security person were NOT happy about the delivery. I won't go into details, but if looks could kill, that security guy was murdering me the whole time. Anyway, it all got delivered (yay!) and the world didn't end.

And then an hour or so later I tested out the oven and the stovetop didn't work! It is all electronic with buttons instead of dials and it would not turn on! I wanted to cry!! I called LG and they said to try unplugging and plugging it back in, which I did to no effect. LG then told me to call who I bought it from, and the Home Depot appliance department never called me back, and the delivery company was closed on Sundays so I could speak to no one. Anyway to make a long story short, my dad suggested I unplug it, wait a full 30 seconds, and then replug it in and that worked!! YAY!! Fingers crossed but I have had no issues with it since.

As for my old appliances, the fridge I was able to sell on kijii, but I have had ZERO luck trying to offload the oven. So for now, it is sitting in the living room as a glorified plant stand. I found a church that is collecting appliances and smaller household goods for the refugees, but they haven't replied to my email yet so I am not sure if I will just end up driving it to the dump. Seems a shame, considering it is still working. Anyone want an oven??

Overall, I have been pleased as punch with my new appliances. I think they look great in the kitchen and I don't regret any of them. As you may remember, I had written in my old place about how I liked my white appliances, but when it came time to start replacing appliances in this place (the dishwasher and was failing when I moved in), I knew based on pictures of comps in the building that I preferred the look of stainless with the cabinet colour and countertops and I also knew that for resale stainless steel is often preferred by buyers. Plus, with Cam and I fingerprints aren't a huge deal since we only use the handles. I can see how it would be more of an issue with little kids.

PS- here is a shot of the kitchen from when I moved in (but after I painted). It has come a long way!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Oodles of Zoodles!

I am not so big on making and keep New Year's resolutions, but around Christmastime I decided I needed to start eating more vegetables. I don't know why I am so bad at eating them, considering I actually like most veggies. I think it is just a mixture of being lazy and also preferring warm comfort foods (I'm not a huge fan of cooked vegetables).

For Christmas my Dad got me the spiralizer/peeler/corer attachment for my KitchenAid mixer so I decided to try and make zucchini noodles (zoodles) for dinner one night this week! The spiralizer was easy to set up and SO much fun to watch. I think I am going to start sprializing everything I eat.

I used 2 zucchinis for this recipe, which was enough for 2 big servings. Also, I realized after the first one to cut the zucchinis in half before spiralizing or I would have super long noodles to contend with! Once all the noodles were prepared I let them drain for 30 minutes in a strainer in the sink. Zucchini is full of water so drying them out helps with reducing water in your spaghetti. After 30 minutes I fried them for about 5-10 minutes with some salt and olive oil.

In another pan I browned some beef and then added 1/2 jar of spaghetti sauce to the beef. I combined the two with ample amounts of parmesan in my bowl for dinner!

The verdict? I loved it! The noodles tasted pretty good- not to hard and not too soft or mushy- and blended well with the meat sauce. Most of the recipes I saw online were for lighter sauces, so I wasn't sure if meat sauce would taste good. I ate up my whole bowl! And I didn't find myself any hungrier than usual later that evening, even though I had skipped the pasta- the protein in the meat kept me satiated.

All in all, a successful mission to get more veggies in me and a new recipe to add to the menu around here! I know not everyone has a spiralizer at home to try this out, but you can replicate it by julienning the zucchini as well!

Friday, January 1, 2016

5 Things Friday

Happy New Year!! I am super pumped for 2016. Should be a great year- I'm running a marathon AND I'm turning 30! I am also hoping to fit in some trips and hoping for some other good surprises I don't know about yet :)

Let's recap the past couple weeks, shall we?

1. I got Adele tickets!

I know- I am basically the only person I know who actually managed to snag a pair. My friend mentioned she would like to go to the concert so I said I would try to get tickets. I was on the Ticketmaster site exactly when it went live and as quick as possible clicked a show date to find tickets. I sat in a "waiting room" for 20 minutes, then finally made it to the ticket search part. I searched for a pair and waited for around 35 minutes!! Somehow I actually got a pair at the end. I 100% did not think that would happen. But yay!!!

Come to think of it, I am still waiting for my actual tickets in the mail. I wonder when they mail out?

2. I found another Rich in the Six Token!

This actually happened just yesterday. December's clues were really hard, but my friend and I were able to narrow down a possible search area and we scoured it and I found it on a light post under the box (like last time). We won $1000!!!! SOOOOO exciting! Especially since last month we came so close to getting it.

3. I bought New Appliances!!!!!

Unrelated to my new found fortune, I bought a new fridge and oven last weekend during boxing day sales and they come this weekend!! Here is what I got:

GE Fridge

LG Double Oven
I am soooo excited for that double oven. With just Cam and I, the little oven will be perfect for cooking smaller meals, but then BAM- double oven for maximum cookie baking!! I am pretty excited to get both of these in! I mean, look at how pretty they are! The fridge does have black sides, which was hoping to avoid, but the only options in my price range were black or grey, and frankly I am not paying more money for grey sides, when clearly I could just paint the black sides grey (I won't, but I could).

I got a great deal on the fridge too because Best Buy had it on sale for $200 less than Home Depot (but HD was the only carrier of the oven I wanted). Home Depot price matched it plus 10% so I got both appliances for just under $2000, which was my budget! YAY!

4. Christmas
I want to recap Christmas here too, because it was a good time. I had the entire week off so there was a lot of relaxing (and some running! In shorts! Crazy warm here last week).

The week before Christmas kicked off with a ton of eating out! I went to Mengrai Thai and then the Christmas Market with my friend Veronica, I went out to Sotto Sotto for our annual dinner with my work, I went to the new Bar Hop with my friends Jeni and Brandon, and I went out with Michelle, Shanondoah, and Lindsey to Boralia! Lindsey wrote up a big recap about it here (spoiler alert- it was fabulous)

After all that pre-eating, on the 20th we had Christmas dinner with my Mom and Stepdad and the various kids and spouses. I made mini pies! Last time I tried making mini apple pies they got stuck in the pan. But this time I applied so much butter to the pan and put in strips of parchment paper to help lift them out and they turned out great!

Cam I spent Christmas Eve also at my Mom's house (and we went to church and I threw up from unknown causes. Good times- but thankfully I was better on Christmas Day). Christmas morning we had mimosas and breakfast casserole at my Moms and then we were off to my Dad's to open presents! The hit gift seemed to be the drone I got my Dad (this one). My dad and brother had so much fun trying to fly that thing. In fact, they had so much fun my SIL ordered the same one for my brother for his birthday this week! Then we had Christmas dinner at my brother's house. Big ol turkey dinner never disappoints!

Cam and Zack playing Santa
Boxing Day was actually very quiet- my friend Gin came over and we watched movies and raided Cam's collection of chocolates. He is a teacher...the number of boxes of chocolates from his students at our place is insane. Cam had to use a dolly to bring it all up from his car.

On the 27th Cam and I both had separate big family dinners (what are the chances of that?). So we went our separate ways and I bought the appliances with my mom and stepdad and then we had turkey dinner with the family at my aunt's. My cousin and I bonded over the adult colouring books we got the Christmas...I am addicted to that thing! Did anyone else get one?

And THEN on the 28th Cam's mom and her boyfriend came down to visit us and we went shopping in Chinatown (which is just north of me), and they cooked us up a big fancy meal (my kind of guests!).

My dad's family is having their get together this weekend...and then Christmas will finally be over. I love Christmastime so I am sad to see it go!


Wish you guys all the best in 2016!

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