#discoverON Trip 1 – Muskoka

Brewery Tour, Good Eats and Falls

A little summary of my Muskoka trip

Muskoka in the Spring? I know, definitely not primetime but I had a visitor, Chris, in town from Boston who’s only visited Windsor and I needed to give him a great (second) first impression of this province. I wanted to show him a great spot in the city, stick us together in a car for a few hours so we could listen to an awesome playlist we put together and get to know each other a bit better. I think we accomplished that mission.

What we did:

Since Chris and I spend some time making playlists for each other and our friends, we created one for the trip. Mine was for the ride up (upbeat and fun) and his was for the ride home (mellow and lovely). I picked out a few favourites from both of our lists, I’ve titled it, “I Like You, Let’s Road Trip”.

1. Lost – Scavenger Hunt

2. Allie Jones – Mayer Hawthorne

3. Anna Sun – Walk The Moon

4. Swing The Cellar Door – Hey Rosetta!

5. My Best Friend – Hot Hot Heat

6. Prehistoric – Now, Now

7. In The Airplane Over The Sea – Neutral Milk Hotel

8. Isn’t It Time – The Beach Boys

9. Postcards From Italy – Beirut

10. Heart In A Cage – Chris Thile (awesome cover of The Strokes song)

Up next for #discoverON: The Hammer. Why? Because all of the waterfalls.

I See Me Rollin’

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I’m working with AutoShare over the next few months to help you Discover Ontario. Follow #discoverON on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, The World to see what me and the rest of the #discoverON team is up to (meet them all here).

I’m whittling down my road trip list to the final few but I do have some awesome spots in Ontario to check out and share with you. Especially now that the weather if (finally) becoming tolerable again.

So This is Happening

Holy Heck that was quite an extended break from the site, n’est pas? I’ve been working on a few side projects that have prevented me from updating this blog here. Perhaps I’ve got the itch to get more involved in this or maybe I’ve got Olympics fever but I’ve got some goods to share. I want to be a triathlete.

I purchased my first adult bike in mid-April. See, isn’t it pretty?

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I had 1.5 months to prepare my legs and butt for The Ride to Conquer Cancer – a 220km bike ride from Toronto to Niagara Falls over the course of 2 days. Funds raised from the ride benefitted the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. Suddenly, I became a cyclist and pretended I never uttered the words, “I never want to ride a bicycle again” a few years back.

So, the Ride came and went. It was an amazing experience, my team was so supportive, the event well-organized, I could have done with less rain and that last leg up the mountain to Mohawk College in Hamilton but c’est la vie. Proof I completed it:

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Yes, that is a different bike. Good eye!

After the Ride, I got wind that the first-ever Toronto Triathlon was happening this summer and one of the charitable partners was near and dear to my heart. I rounded up 2 ladies and was created our own Toronto Triathlon Festival relay team. I worked on increasing my riding speed and was really impressed with my time, a personal best. My teammates and I looked super cute in our team gear, too.

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That race is what did me in, I’m hooked and want in on full triathlon action. I’ve committed to completing my first full tri at the Toronto Triathlon Festival in 2013. I’ve got a year of training, which may seem like more than enough time to get my butt into gear, but you haven’t seen me swim. Wait, you haven’t seen me attempt to swim, then ride, then run. This could end terribly.

When Parents Email

I’ve decided to briefly resurrect this blog with something I found somewhat entertaining, my folks bought a new car. My Mom shared the news with myself and my brother over email. I tried to make a joke, which went promptly over her head.

I guess she’s never heard this song.

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A Big, Little Mistake. That was Super Fun.

My friends and I are 100% guilty of geeking out from time to time. This weekend was no exception, while most would initially think our geek-out was spending some time at Fan Expo, we actually made our way up north to Horseshoe Valley (which is, surprisingly, not as north as I thought). Where I made the biggest, little mistake of my life. I had a Gob Bluth weekend.

Horseshoe Valley Resort is great for fun weekend getaways and our off-road Segway experience was a perfect way to pay homage to Arrested Development and have a little fun in the sun.

Prior to this past weekend, I’ve never been on a Segway and have really only seen them from a distance (where I immediately laughed at the people using them for city tours), they’re surprisingly easy to use. These machines are smart. There’s a speed limiter that will control how quickly you can go uphill, downhill and on flat terrain (they max out at about 20 km/h). I was told that going downhill will not feel natural at first and the only thing to remember is to not panic. So, panic? You know I did!

We did some test runs and the tour guides felt we were good to go. Onwards. We got a bit of history about the area and I rode through some fresh horse poop (whoops). I began to grow comfortable with this 100lb piece of machinery and took the lead (behind the guide, of course), we hit the steepest hill on the tour, I felt the bar cutting into my stomach, o.m.g. I think I’m falling off.  I do what any logical person in control of their vehicle would do, I jumped off. Fortunately I was smart enough to hang on to the handle bars but that wasn’t before it turned and rammed a tire into my calf. Le sigh. I failed.

The tour was fun, I wish it was longer, we took silly photos and I made a few videos. I’m ready for some show and tell. Enjoy, gang.

Because I like to look like an ass in most photos

Could totes be an ad for Segway, no? Oh you know, just a casual afternoon, off-roading and on an adventure!

Only Hot People Can Read This

Since moving out on my own, I’ve wanted to see what I can do without. At first it started with no TV, no cable, no internet. After about a month, I welcomed internet into my life again but remain without cable. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made. No more wasted nights in front of that screen watching stupid, vapid, mindless television. I have a few great (and well-written – keyword, written) shows that I download but no more reality TV. This has, by far, been the worst thing to come into our lives… ever. And I was a HUGE reality TV junkie.

A coworker passed along this post from Jezebel. Coles notes version: On last night’s episode of Bachelor Pad, female contestants were stripped down to bikinis and the male contestants were asked a series of questions one of them being Which contestant are you least attracted to? The male contestants then threw an egg at their answer – the poor, unsuspecting female. This is humiliating. No woman wants to hear they’re ugly, no less getting hit with an egg on the back to tell you you’re the ugly one. Bullying like that, even with the most confident of people, can lead to some serious mental trauma.

As this challenge progressed, one contestant in particular, Erica, was pelted with nearly every egg. The girl is not ugly, none of the people on this show are ugly, I couldn’t help but feel for this poor girl. My jaw dropped as each male contestant hit her on the target painted on her back while she was blindfolded.

I have so many things to say about this particular episode (and I only watched the 3:28 clip in the article) that I need to get this out of my system. So, in no particular order, everything wrong with reality television, life as a North American and Bachelor Pad all based on the 3 minute clip I just watched.

1. Bachelor Pad – I had to Google the show, I had no idea what the point of it was, so for those, like me, who are so out of the Bachelor Pad loop, here’s the show in a nutshell courtesy of Wikipedia: The contestants live together in a mansion and take part in challenges to prevent elimination, go on dates with contestants of their choice, and choose other contestants to eliminate and one walks away with a cash prize.

On the surface, I have a hard time feeling bad for any contestant on Bachelor Pad. For starters, you’re put on the original show to win a chance at love, rejection is inevitable. As a viewer, do you cry when people are voted off Survivor? Just because contestants’ emotions are being toyed with on Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor Pad, everyone on that show is still trying to outwit, outlast and outplay the others.

In the case of the video (you must watch it if you haven’t yet, click here), I’ve admitted that at first my heart went out to Erica. It was degrading to watch these stereotypically hunky men throw eggs at her on national television. However, if you made it towards the end of the clip, you’ll see her trying to win back some confidence. Girl puts down other female contestants to rationalize the whole thing. I quote, “When there’s someone like Ella who’s definitely way bigger than I am and I don’t think she’s that pretty. Now all the girls can feel more conceited than me and they can feel more attractive than me. Like, even someone like Ella, like, I feel she can feel, like, better than me now.” For real? This is how you’re making yourself feel better after washing the egg paint/yolk off your body. Someone needs to stop competing on this show, it’s doing nothing for her self-esteem, even if Erica did end up winning the title of most attractive in the house, she’d still be unhappy.

2. Pretty People – Do tall, thin, well chest-dowed women with thick and volumonous, shampoo commercial hair actually feel entitled to more than anyone else? We allow celebrity and entertainment to place far too much focus on appearance when it should be on much more important matters. Don’t get me wrong, I am that girl who wears makeup daily, my wardrobe only consists of dresses, I accessorize and smell pretty. I’m hot and sure I appreciate when I get things for free because I’m a pretty girl but I would never go so far as to expect certain things because of this. And just because I’m pretty, does not give me the right to determine who is not at par with me in the looks department.

3. Mix of celebrity and pretty – The limelight will always seem better than reality, celebrities will always look better than us regular folk, you know why? Because there are teams of people making them look good. Think about it this way, the packaging of a legal blu-ray disc will always look better than that pirated version you bought in Chinatown – it should. There are countless hours of work put in and oodles of cash spent to ensure the appearance of that movie is appealing to the masses and it doesn’t look like something a teenager printed off in his basement. With the advances in technology and social media and the rising popularity in reality shows, the gap between regular people and celebrity has decreased, they’re so much more attainable now and many non-celebrities are trying to make the celebrity lifestyle a reality. You are not getting an invite to the Oscars, please cancel that boob job, George Clooney doesn’t want it.

What this all boils down to is this: North Americans lack confidence. We care too much about body image and getting the latest boobs, the smallest thighs, the cutest nose. And while I’m in no way condoning living an unhealthy lifestyle (do not get that Baconator!), I think we all just need to learn to love ourselves. I know, I will never be a size 2 and to be honest, I don’t want to be, my hip bones are not getting any smaller no matter how much I starve myself.  I used to be that girl who would critique every single female who crossed my path and it was never to say something positive about them. It took loads of work to discover that the reason I did this was because I was so unhappy with myself, not just how I physically looked, but the whole package. I’ve worked hard to love myself as I am, who I am, what I am and since changing my frame of mind, I’ve become a much more positive person, sure I still critique women, but it’s to let them know that they have a great dress on, their shoes are absolutely adorable, the presentation they just gave really got me thinking about how I can apply those ideas into my own life. Sure, there are times when people knock me, but I have to remind myself that the reason this person is hating on me is because they’re not happy with themselves.

Judging from the popularity of reality television and trash television, like Bachelor Pad, I suspect that the majority of North Americans are unhappy with their lives and don’t know it. It’s too easy to get stuck in the routine of wake up, eat, work, eat, work more, come home, eat, watch tv, eat, watch tv, sleep and repeat. While most in this routine are perfectly content with life, I am compelled to ask, have you really sat down to seriously consider the true state of your happiness? I don’t think it’s a coincidence that as I became a happier person, the amount of trash television I watched decreased. I no longer felt the need to zone out in front of that screen, with a bag of chips in hand, watching America’s Next Top Model and then feeling sorry for myself an hour later, once I was back to reality. I think we need to shake up our routines, shock ourselves into enlisting change in our daily lives. I’m actually living my life now, I’m constantly out and about, going to events, grabbing dinner with friends, playing sports, reading under a tree, discovering new neighbourhoods or even spending an entire afternoon cooking the most fancy meal I can from scratch and it’s amazing. I’ve never felt better about myself. What do you think would happen if you cut out one trash show from your television viewing schedule and had a free hour once a week to do something? Not in front of a screen. What would you do? Try it out.

Lastly, I’m going to end this with my favourite hashtag. This whole show and many of the things we complain about on a daily basis are cases of #firstworldproblems. Let’s find something more important to cry over.

Hey Rosetta! Serenaded Me

At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.

Went to check them out at The Edge studios at Sugar Beach last night and was surprised with how intimate the performance was – there were so few of us there. I’m not complaining at all, I loved having a nearly private performance with one of my favourite live acts ever.

I saw Hey Rosetta! live before hearing any of their recorded stuff and was so impressed with the show they put on that I bought the album the moment I got home. Seriously, they’re that good.

They played an additional song for the crowd (bonus points!) and it was nice, towards the end of it, we all had a little sing along. I got the sense that the band was really enjoying it. I’m glad we all let loose a bit, during their soundcheck, I was commenting to a friend how people at a lot of Toronto shows are lame and stand staring up at the band like zombies. I then busted out a (quick) move. After their final song, they chatted with the fans, super cool band. I got to meet Tim, the lead singer and actually asked for a photo. I never ask celebrities/musicians for photos (Why? You think you’re better than me? Why aren’t you asking for MY photo? I’m dumb.)

Check out the videos from the live session below and if you’re digging them, you can click here and download their live session at the XM Studios from November 2010, for free. And if you’re in the giving mood (and you should be, they just gave you an album!), support USC Canada by leaving them a tip.