Dining in Bar Harbor, Maine

To finish out my recap of my adventures in Maine last month, here is a look at what we ate on our trip!

If you missed my other posts on Maine, check them out first:

Breakfast

Our first breakfast in Bar Harbor was at 2 Cats. In addition to being a cafe, 2 Cats is an inn and seemed to be very popular. I found their decor to be super cute, and I don’t tend to like cats. Oh yeah, and there was a kitty scampering about during our meal so I think there is something to their name!

I ordered the breakfast burrito, which came with home fries and black beans. I was in the mood for something salty, but I must admit this wasn’t the best breakfast burrito I’ve had in my life. Raisin Bread had pancakes and they looked delish!

2 Cats Bar Harbor

For breakfast on our final morning in Maine, we went to Cafe This Way, which we had just been to the previous night for dessert (see below). I wanted to keep up my lobster-eating streak and decided on the lobster benedict. I have been trying to convince myself to try a benny again because they have two things I enjoy: poached eggs and an English muffin. Plus, this one, in particular, has lobster. How can I not like something with lobster? But alas, I think this will be my last attempt to like benedicts because they just don’t do it for me. Maybe it’s the Hollandaise sauce. I also ordered a cup of strawberries and cream and would have liked it much more if that had been my entire meal, although I would have needed another cup or two to be full. So yummy!

Raisin Bread had the granola and, fitting to his name, the cinnamon-raisin French toast. 

Lunch

As I mentioned in this post, we had a picnic lunch from Adelmann’s Deli on our first day.

My favorite meal of the trip had to be from Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound. Super simple but so delicious! We originally tried to go to a roadside shack called The Travelin’ Lobster but it was closed every time we drove past. There are lobster pounds all up and down the main road. We picked this one from Yelp.

The lobsters are all live here, so when we ordered, the cashier opened a big cooler with all the lobsters napping inside for us to pick which ones we wanted. They were then placed into a rope net/basket and brought outside to this steamers.

When our number was called, we got these beauties. They were so tasty. The only annoying thing about this place was that you have to pay extra for lemons and butter. What’s up with that? 
We also each ordered a corn on the cob. Also delish!

Dinner

My second favorite meal of the trip was dinner at Side Street Cafe. The restaurant was packed when we got there so we had to wait a few minutes for a table. I ordered the Curious Traveler Shandy while we waited.

For dinner, I ordered a side salad and a half order of the lobster mac and cheese and added in bacon and mushroom. Oh my! It was ridiculously decadent but I don’t regret it one bit.

Raisin Bread had a burger and blueberry pie for dessert. There were blueberries everywhere, but I had no idea Maine was famous for them until we got there.

Our anniversary dinner was at Mache Bistro. It is a tiny place with a rotating menu that changes daily. Because of this, I can’t remember what exactly we ate since I couldn’t refer to their website for help. 

We ordered the three goat cheese plate to start. Raisin Bread had fish and I had steak. Sorry, no other details available!

Snacks

Snacks were available high and low through all of Mount Desert Island. As I mentioned before, we visited Jordan Pond House for popovers and tea one afternoon.

After dinner at Mache Bistro, we went for a short walk around town for some shopping and in search of dessert. We settled on Cafe This Way for homemade strawberry rhubarb pie and cheesecake.

Ice cream is another popular treat around town. I had a scoop of chocolate chili ice cream from Mount Desert Island Ice Cream. That hit the spot. 

Another ice cream shop sells a vile sounding creation called lobster ice cream. I didn’t try it. Ick. 
We visited the Morning Glory Bakery on two occasions because Raisin Bread loved it so much. They have lots of reasonably priced pastries and desserts. We enjoyed blueberry bread and cookies. 
That’s all. I had a wonderful time in Maine. It is a beautiful place and reminds me how much there is to see and experience in our great country. 
130 Cottage Street
Bar Harbor, ME 04609

Cafe This Way
14 Mount Desert Street
Bar Harbor, ME 04609

Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound
1237 Bar Harbor Road
Trenton, ME 04605

Side Street Cafe
49 Rodick Street
Bar Harbor, ME 04609

Mache Bistro
135 Cottage Street
Bar Harbor, ME 04609

Mount Desert Island Ice Cream
7 Firefly Lane
Bar Harbor, ME 04609

Morning Glory Bakery
39 Rodick Street
Bar Harbor, ME 04609

Week in Review (July 22 to 28, 2013) + Color Me Rad 5K Discount

We finally had a week of nice weather here in DC, with only one day hitting the 90 degree mark. Hey, I’ll take what I can get. This gave me a chance to run outdoors three times this week. While it was still hot, it wasn’t unbearable. Still not getting the numbers I need. Hopefully, this week will bring some better mileage!

Monday: Ran 2.43 miles
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: Ran 2.02 miles
Friday: Mostly walked/ran 5.62 miles
Saturday: Pilates Reformer class (50 minutes)
Sunday: Pilates Reformer class (50 minutes)

Total yoga this week: 0 times
Total mileage this week: 10.07 miles
Total mileage this year: 212.21 miles

Finally, I wanted to tell you about a fun event I will be participating in. Themed runs seem to be all the rage recently, but I’ve never done one before! All of my runs have been simply running, no zombies, color or glow-in-dark. The Color Me Rad 5K will be my first themed run, and I can’t wait to be bombarded by a rainbow of non-toxic colored corn-starch.

If you’re like me and have yet to do a color run, here’s what to expect. As you run your 5K, you will approach different color stations where volunteers will throw colored powder at you. With each new color station, a new color is added to your clean, white clothing, face and body so that by the end of the 5K, you look like a tie-dyed extravaganza! Sounds fun, right?

Well, the fine folks at Color Me Rad are offering a discount for a limited time only. From today, July 29th until Wednesday, July 31st, you can get 20% off your race registration by using the discount code: radfun. The code is applicable to any price and any race location. There are races all across the US and Canada, and their race calendar currently extends out to June 2014. So there is likely to be a race near you!

To find the race nearest you, visit ColorMeRad.com

Question: Have you ever done a themed-run?

Disclosure: I received complimentary race registration for Color Me Rad through Blogportunity and Fit Approach. All opinions are my own. Read my full disclosure here

Short Hikes in Bass Harbor and Bar Harbor

We took it easy on our last full day of exploring Acadia National Park. 
If you missed my other two Acadia recaps, check them out: 
The previous night brought quite a bit of rain and it drizzled on and off for the remainder of the day. The extra moisture created little waterfalls along the rocky cliffs of the park. 
After breakfast, we headed back to Thunder Hole to see if we could get a better glimpse of its power, but it wasn’t high tide yet. The water was a bit rougher and the waves were bigger, but we didn’t see it in all of its glory this trip. 

For the remainder of the morning, we ventured off Park Loop Road and headed to Bass Harbor. From the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse parking lot, we headed to the trail that took us down a long wooden staircase. It was a little scary at first since the stairs were still slick from the rains, but there was nothing to worry about.

At the bottom of the staircase, the Lighthouse was visible on the boulder-strewn shoreline.

On the other side of the parking lot was a paved path that led up a driveway to the lighthouse and the keeper’s house. The house is occupied by a member of the Coast Guard and their family so one is not able to visit either structures.

We drove a short way down the road to the Wonder Land trailhead. Along the way, we encountered a fawn. It was so tiny and still very precarious on its feet. Must have been a wee baby!

Wonder Land definitely lived up to its name this day. We saw so many beautiful things. Tree roots along the wet ground, oddly shaped tree tops and rain-covered flowers. 
When we reached the beach, we saw the mist rising above the ocean as well as pastel-colored seaweed along the rocky sand. 
We had to turn back at this point because the rest of the trail was flooded and we were only wearing sneakers. 
Following lunch, we headed back to Bar Harbor for some strolls around town. First up was the Shore Path

We passed by the hotels situated along the shore as well as the boats and outlying Porcupine Islands.

It was a leisurely, peaceful walk with lots of ocean air in a serene setting.

For our last stroll of the day, we back tracked to the Bar Island Trail. Along the way, we passed by this cool looking seaside restaurant and bar. 
Bar Island is directly north of Mount Desert Island and connected via a sand bar. What makes it so special is that the sand bar is only accessible for a few hours near low tide. During these times, you can walk across the sand bar to reach the other island. 
Walking to Bar Island
It was hard for me to imagine what it would look like outside of low tide. Can’t believe that this whole strip of land is completely submerged most of the time!
Sand Bar at low tide

Bar Island is a mostly wooded forest. We followed the paths to a beautiful view point of the ocean and the town of Bass Harbor. Not wanting to get stuck on the island, we quickly made our way back across the land bridge.

I’ll have one more post about my trip to Maine: all about the food! Stay tuned! 

Weeks in Review (July 8 to 21, 2013) + Birthday Recap

It’s been another two weeks of busy-ness! I celebrated my 33rd birthday and my little brother and his fiancee came to visit for the weekend. Lots of distraction from half marathon training so AGAIN, I didn’t put in the miles that I needed to over the last two weeks.

My birthday brought lots of fun times courtesy of my lovely husband. We saw Camera Obscura and She & Him at Wolf Trap on the Thursday before my birthday. It was my first time seeing a show at this venue and it is amazing! Such a great setting, and both bands played great sets.

Camera Obscura at Wolf Trap
She & Him at Wolf Trap

On Friday, Raisin Bread planned a surprise evening for us. After work, we went to Urbana for happy hour oysters and dinner. I ordered the roasted brussels sprouts and the tagliatelle with sea urchin butter, mussels and leeks.

Oysters and dinner at Urbana
Then it was off to the big surprise! The Book of Mormon at the Kennedy Center. I have been dying to see this musical and it was impossible to get tickets on the day they went on sale. It was a fun, ridiculous and hilarious show and a wonderful night! 

On my birthday, Raisin Bread had another surprise in store. One of my favorite dinners ever: King crab legs and corn on the cob. Followed by a fruit tart. So yummy!

I had a fantastic birthday! Earlier this week, I visited Gettysburg and hung out with my brother and future sister-in-law this weekend, as I mentioned. More on both of those later.

My workouts these past weeks:

July 8 to 14, 2013
Monday – Ran 1.98 miles
Tuesday – Pilates Chair – 45 minutes
Wednesday – Rest
Thursday – Rest
Friday – Rest
Saturday – Rest
Sunday – The Biggest Loser 10K – 5.6 miles (recap here)

Total yoga this week: 0 times
Total mileage this week: 7.58 miles

July 15 to 21, 2013
Monday – Daily Burn – Yoga Hip Flow (1 hour)
Tuesday – Daily Burn – Cardio Sculpt (30 minutes) + ran 2.9 miles
Wednesday – Pilates Reformer/Jumpboard – 50 minutes
Thursday – Rest
Friday – Ran 2.6 miles
Saturday – lots of walking around DC
Sunday – lots of walking around DC

Total yoga this week: 1 times
Total mileage this week: 5.5 miles
Total mileage this year: 202.14 miles

Happy Monday!

Urbana
2121 P Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037

The Biggest Loser RunWalk 10K Washington, DC – Race Recap

So I am just going to come out and say it. The Biggest Loser RunWalk 10K is the only bad race experience I have had so far in my racing life. I ran the 10K last Sunday, the day before my 33rd birthday. I thought it would be a fitting way to end my 32nd year, but it was a miserable race and I was very unhappy afterwards. 
If you read my previous post, you know that I was SUPER excited for this race. I love The Biggest Loser! But there were many problems with this race, and it left me so disappointed. Saturday was the only day for packet pick-up, so I had to schlep into the city to take care of that. The Expo was held in the downstairs area of a bar called Penn Social. From there, I began to see a pattern that repeated itself over and over again throughout the weekend. There were not enough volunteers! 
There were three people distributing packets for the 5K, two people distributing for the 10K and one person for the Kids Race. I overheard someone ask how many people were in the Kids Race, and the volunteer said 50. Hello! You have one person distributing packets for 50 people? The event managers were clearly unprepared for this race, but I am grateful for the volunteers who did put in their time and energy into helping out. 
That being said, the Expo was a disaster. There was definitely not enough space to move around and not enough volunteers. For my line, the poor volunteer was in charge of all of the last names from L to Z in the 10K. When I got to the front of the line, she was digging through a box with all of the bibs from that part of the alphabet to find mine. 
After I got my bib, I had to go to the other side of the bar to get my T-shirt, which was fine because the line was relatively short and in a rather uncrowded area. It was just getting across the room that was the problem.
There were a number of booths around that added to the crowdedness plus there was a stage and an area where they were trying to lead some stretching when there was pretty much no room to do such a thing. 
I really just wanted to leave at that point, but I did get to catch a glimpse of Michael Dorsey from Season 14. 
I also did get to pick up some goodies, like this nice tech tee in my size!
The Biggest Loser RunWalk Swag
I laid out my gear for the race on Saturday night to make sure I didn’t need to do gear check. I try to never do gear check because I don’t really need to. Everything fits into my Nathan belt! 
 

On race day, I woke up at 6:45 to get dressed and eat a peanut butter and banana sandwich. I took the Metro to RFK Stadium and had to make a bit of a walk to Parking Lot 8, which was where the start would be. I arrived at around 8:40 am, so that gave me enough time to go to the bathroom and walk over to the starting line.

Dan and Jackie Evans from Season 5 were the MCs, and they said there would be a wave start. Runners were told to stand in the front, run/walkers in the middle and walkers in the back. But that was the extent to the direction we received. Lining up by pace would have been better, but this was a minor issue compared to everything else that would happen.

Here I am at the starting line with a smile on my face. Little did I know what was about to transpire.

 Geared up and ready to go!

The race started at 9 am. As races go, this is a really late start time, especially for the middle of July. Add to that the heat and humidity and it was a hot day!

Not only that, but it turned out that we were running through the parking lot of RFK Stadium on hot asphalt and with no shade whatsoever. Oh except for that overpass you see below.

Look at this beautiful route! I will never again complain that running Hains Point is boring. This was awful!

So once I accepted that this would be my running route for the next 6 miles, I realized that I was running past mile marker 2 when it had only been a little over 9 minutes. That can’t be right. Then I passed mile marker 1 at around the 20 minute mark. What? The mile markers were either in the wrong place or we were misdirected in the beginning.

Mile marker 1 – 20 minutes in

At this point, I was pissed and my mental state was all out of whack. What is going on here? I gave up on trying to PR. I was hot and miserable. I made it to the end of 5K, and since both the 5K and 10K runners had been running the same route this whole time, they got to cross the finish line while we were directed around the finish line to run the whole route a second time! Yes, that’s right. We had to run through the parking lot AGAIN! Too cruel!

I made it past mile marker 5 around the hour mark so I knew I for sure wasn’t going to PR. But then, the lady on the mic said that we only had another half a mile to go. What? That can’t be right. Oh but it was. I crossed the finish line and my GPS said I had run 5.6 miles!

If I was pissed before, I was super pissed now! I just wanted to get out of there, but I couldn’t because the finish line was crammed and we couldn’t move. I just wanted a bottle of water.

After all that, I got this medal, but I wasn’t sure I earned it since I didn’t run a 10K.

I was sad, upset and angry! Oh yeah and sweaty!

I went home trying to figure out what happened. Then I went on Twitter and saw that other people also ran less than a 10K and realized that I wasn’t crazy. I also looked at the race map on the website and yup, we were definitely misdirected somehow in the beginning, which is weird because my 5K distance was spot on. It was the second 5K that was short. 
From the race’s chip timing: 
5K Split: 34:16
Finish time: 1:07:26
And splits from my Nike running app:
Mile 1: 9:48 *fastest mile*
Mile 2: 11:26
Mile 3: 12:51 
Mile 4: 13:15
Mile 5: 12:33
Mile 6: What mile 6?
Average pace: 11:59
I still don’t know what happened but now, I feel better about the medal. I think I definitely earned it. 

Disclosure: I received a complimentary race entry from The Biggest Loser RunWalk. As you can probably tell, all opinions are my own. Read my full disclosure here

Easy to Moderate Hiking in Acadia National Park: Gorham Mountain Trail, Jordan Pond and Cadillac Mountain

If you missed my first post on Acadia, check it out here: 
We finished hiking Great Head Trail and connected to the Ocean Path. As its name suggests, this Path takes you along the shoreline for views of the sea, the park’s green peninsulas and the rocky shorescape. 

Along the walk, we came upon Thunder Hole. It wasn’t high tide at this time so we didn’t get to see any big waves or hear the roar. 
Thunder Hole

Continuing on we saw more of the rocky shore and the trees that line the island.

We made our way to the Gorham Mountain Trailhead, but before that we saw plenty more interesting plant life.

Gorham Mountain Trail is rated moderate due to the elevation gain of 500 feet. We went off the main trail for 0.3 miles and took the slightly more difficult Cadillac Cliffs Trail. This trail meets up with the main trail but requires a climb up steep rocks and across iron rungs before you get there. It was fun to take this detour and do something a little more strenuous. 
Hiking Cadillac Cliffs Trail

From the top of Gorham Mountain, we had some rather gloomy views of the park on this cloudy day.

Gorham Mountain is actually one of the shortest mountains in Acadia, and since we were sticking to the non-difficult hikes, it was a fun climb.

We made our way back down from the mountain and to our car, which was still in the Sand Beach parking lot. From there, we drove south along the Ocean Path to Otter Cliff
Looking back from the Ocean Path
It was getting to be around mid-afternoon at this point, so we needed a snack! Good thing there is a little place called Jordan Pond House that serves up all the snacks you can want. We drove to Jordan Pond House and passed some Carriage Roads, which we did not have time to enjoy on this trip. They are used for carriage rides as well as biking. 
For my snack, I ordered some hot tea and one of their famous popovers with butter and jelly. It was so good. I was tempted to get a second one! 
When snack time was over, we took a stroll around Jordan Pond on the Jordan Pond Nature Trail. It was starting to get a little drizzly. There were very few people in the park this weekend, so that plus the weather gave us lots of opportunities to enjoy the natural beauty of the park on our own. 
Two mountains called The Bubbles are near Jordan Pond, and we got great views of them on this trail. 
The Bubbles
This bridge was also along our stroll. It felt like we were in our own private enchanted forest. 
Our last stop for the day, as the weather was getting really ugly at this point, was Cadillac Mountain. This is the only mountain that you can drive to the peak of. It is also the tallest mountain in the park. From this vantage point, we could see the many outlying islands surrounding Mount Desert Island despite the grey skies! 

That concluded our first day of hiking Acadia National Park. Stay tuned for the adventures from our second day!

Jordan Pond House
Park Loop Road
Bar Harbor, ME

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my ninth 25th birthday!! Happy birthday to me! If you’re bad at math, that means I’m turning 33 years old today. Scary, huh? 
To mark this special occasion, I spent some time looking for photos from birthdays past to bring you a round up of my most memorable birthdays, so here they are in order of occurrence.
1981 – My first birthday

I was too young to remember it, of course, but look at that cake. My mommy made it for me. Isn’t it awesome?

1982 – My first birthday as a jetsetter

I’ve celebrated quite a few birthdays overseas, and this one was my first. We traveled to Hong Kong this summer, and the trip coincided with my birthday. My parents started me off as a world traveler from a young age.

Mom, cousins, sister and me in Hong Kong
1986 or 1987 – Birthday Party at McDonald’s
I’m not sure what year this was, but my brother was in some of the pictures as a baby so I’m taking a guess that I was turning six or seven. I remember begging my parents to let me have my birthday party at McDonald’s and they let me! Oh, what fine taste children have!
I have to jump 15 years ahead now because I couldn’t find any photos from junior high or high school where I’m sitting in front of a birthday cake. Unfortunately, I grew up in the age before digital so if the photo didn’t have a date stamp or a birthday cake in it, I couldn’t tell for sure if it was a birthday photo.

2001 – 21st birthday at Knott’s Berry Farm

I was a good kid in college, so no binge drinking for me on my 21st birthday. Let’s hang out with Snoopy instead!
2005: My (actual) 25th birthday at San Diego Comic Con and then off to New Zealand

When I lived in LA, I attended San Diego Comic Con on three occasions. I planned on attending the one in 2005 months in advance. Then, suddenly, a week or two before, I learned that I would be leaving for New Zealand that same weekend! What’s a girl to do? Drive down to San Diego on Friday night and celebrate with my sister, attend one day of the con and drive back to LA on Saturday, and catch a plane to NZ on Sunday to go Canyon Swinging and glacier hiking! 


2006: Family and a Friend’s Wedding

This one gets to be in the round up mostly because I miss that cake! It’s the famous Paradise Cake from King’s Hawaiian Bakery. *drool* We used to get it all the time for family celebrations. Also, my friend’s wedding was the same day as my birthday, so I will always remember her anniversary!

2008: All the single ladies!
There was a time in my mid- to late-twenties when I went out A LOT! This was during that time. I am glad I have grown out of that racket! 
Birthday at Bar 107 in Downtown LA

2009: Hiking the Narrows

Raisin Bread and I started dating in January of 2009. For my birthday, he surprised me with an early birthday gift: a road trip to Zion National Park. We went hiking on one of the coolest trails of my life. For more on it, read my recaps here and here
2011: Painting and Bermuda
For my first birthday in DC, Raisin Bread surprised me (he loves surprises, in case you didn’t notice) with a painting class and then a quick trip to Bermuda! For more on that, read my recap here
So many great memories! Here’s to many many more amazing birthdays! 
Question: What are some of your most memorable birthdays?

{Product Review} Le Tote: Clothing Rental Service

Now, I know that I don’t typically blog about fashion on here, but I recently stumbled upon a service that I am totally in love with.   
What is Le Tote? Lots of people have described it as the “Netflix for fashion,” which I find to be a semi-fair comparison. Instead of DVDs, you are renting fashion. Subscribers pay $49 per month and receive unlimited “totes” of three garments and two accessories that you can keep as long as you want. Once you are finished with all five pieces, you send them back in a prepaid envelope (no washing required!) and wait for your next tote. The big differences between Le Tote and other fashion subscription services is that you are borrowing the items, and the subscription fee is per month, not per box so it is possible to get two or three boxes per month. If there is an item that you must keep, you can purchase that piece and send the rest back. 
To get started, I filled out a questionnaire on my style, which Le Tote’s stylists to pick out your pieces for each tote. 
Why Do I Le Tote? 
1. I don’t have an infatuation with owning things. I borrow books and DVDs from the public library. I purchased very few textbooks in business school and, instead, rented them for the semester. Along the same lines, I don’t feel the need to own the clothes I wear, especially if I will only wear them a few times. 
2. Small closets. I live in an urban area, which means high rent for very little space. This is the size of my closet. As you can see, it is teeny tiny and I can’t really fit much more in it. 

3. No time for shopping.
4. Fashion changes. I find that when I do have time to shop, I buy the practical items and not the fun items even though I would be open to trying out the trends from time to time.

Le Tote has been great so far. I don’t have to commit to the clothing I receive and I don’t have to make room for them in my closet permanently.

Le Tote #1

About four days after I subscribed, this box appeared on my doorstep. 

Le Tote
Inside was a Le Tote tote that was mine to keep plus a note from my stylist. 
I received 1) a white and gold bracelet and 2) gold earrings. 
3) A beige and white top
4) A zebra dress with red sash

I also received 5) a navy skirt with heart print that I forgot to take a separate photo of but it is below. None of the items were appropriate for work, so I saved them all for our weekend in Maine.

I paired the top, skirt and bracelet for one look.

The next night, I wore the zebra dress with the earrings. It was a bit chilly so I had to wear a sweater with the outfit.

Besides the bracelet, if I saw any of these items in a store, I would not purchase them because I don’t think they would get worn enough. That has been my favorite thing so far, wearing things once that I wouldn’t want to own. It allows me to change my wardrobe up.  

Le Tote #2
I sent Le Tote #1 back on a Monday and received Le Tote #2 that Friday. This was a much more colorful selection.

1) Corral pleated top with buttons up the back

2) Teal pleated flowy top

3a) Yellow and blue printed dress

3b) Blue belt for the dress

4) Beaded necklace and 5) blue and gold bracelet.

How’d we do this time? The flowy top looked really unflattering but I wore it anyway. I kind of felt like a lampshade. The other top was more my speed and my husband took this silly photo of me in it.

Finally, I wore the yellow and blue dress paired with the bracelet to Raisin Bread’s birthday dinner. Also wasn’t in love with the shape of the dress. Not super flattering!

I didn’t wear the necklace because as you can see from the photo, it is broken! I emailed my stylist and she said she would send me an additional piece in my next box. Sounds like a good solution to me!

What’s my take? Le Tote has been a great way to mix things up with my wardrobe. There have been some hits and some misses, but I love receiving my Totes. It’s so exciting to get mail and not have any idea what might be inside. Le Tote is tots fun!

#TBEX 2013 Highlights and Lowlights + The Rest of Toronto

If you didn’t notice I have been putting off writing about the TBEX Conference itself. It is so much easier to write about the things I did rather than try to distill what I learned into a blog post.

Check out my other TBEX and Toronto posts first if you missed them:
Pre-TBEX: Toronto Photo Walk
– Toronto: The Food and The Parties
– Learning How to Use a Knife in Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market
Seeing Niagara Falls from Toronto by Bus

Highlights

The Venue: TBEX was held at the Metro Toronto Convention Center South Building. I noticed that if you needed some time for a breather, it was very easy to find a spot to get away from everything. And there were tons of places to sit!

Metro Toronto Convention Center

The Keynotes: I attended two keynotes. The first was given by Trey Ratcliff from Stuck in Customs. He shared stories and his beautiful photographs. The second was from Dave and Deb from The Planet D, where they spoke about the current state of travel blogging. While some complain that you don’t really learn much from keynotes, which I think is true, it is my belief that keynotes serve more of an inspirational (aspirational) purpose. As in, one day I aspire to get paid for what I do. 
Keynote from Trey Ratcliff, Stuck in Customs

Speed Dating and Access to Brands, DMOs and Destinations: I’m a small fry but I had a chance to network with and pitch to DMOs, destinations and brands in both informal and formal settings. While I only had one speed dating appointment, I really learned a lot from preparing for it and going through the experience. 
TBEX Speed Dating
TBEX Speed Dating

The Swag: Who doesn’t love getting free stuff? The best things I received were a solar charger from American Express SPG and Gogo Inflight sessions. Also, my current favorite pen was from Google.   

TBEX Swag

Lowlights
Overcrowded Sessions: I picked out a number of sessions to attend before the conference started but was unable to attend any of them. The breakout rooms were way too small. I even tried to attend second and third choice sessions to no avail. Good thing lots of the sessions slides are available online for me to review. 
Snobbery: I am not a professional blogger although I wish I could be. I just don’t make enough/anything from writing my blog. I realize that there are some people who are able to do it, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room in the travel blogging sphere for both professionals and non-professionals. That is why it really irks me to hear and see the snobbery put out there by some professional travel bloggers. 
—————————————————————————-
After TBEX was over, I had almost all of Monday to further explore Toronto. The weather was amazing! 
Since CN Tower was so close to us, we decided to go to the top and enjoy the view. Unfortunately, it seemed that every school kid in Toronto was having a field trip that day. It was loud and they were running amuck, so we went it and out pretty quickly. 
CN Tower

The views were gorgeous though!

View from CN Tower

CN Tower has a section with a glass floor. Scary, huh? All of the school kids were jumping and sitting on it so I could barely get a photo.

CN Tower Glass Floor

After we elbowed our way out of CN Tower, we passed by Rogers Centre and visited the Blue Jays Shop.

Rogers Centre

It soon turned into lunch time, so we met up with a friend for lunch in Kensington Market, which I wrote about in my food post. We had some time left before Rebecca had to head to the airport, so we walked around Kensington Market. There are so many interesting boutiques and restaurants, plus a bunch of cool street art.  
Kensington Market

 Kensington Market

I said good-bye to my sister, and then headed to the Art Gallery of Ontario, where I planned to spend my afternoon. Only thing was that it is closed on Mondays! Fail! 
Art Gallery of Ontario

Instead, I walked around Chinatown and took a long leisurely stroll back to the Downtown Core.

Chinatown

  
I decided to spend the rest of my day at a coffeeshop to catch up on email and blogging before it was time to bid Toronto adieu! 

Disclosure: I received complimentary entry to CN Tower from Tourism Toronto and swag from assorted TBEX sponsors. All opinions are my own. Read my full disclosure here

Weeks in Review (June 24 to July 7, 2013) + Goals Progress

{REMINDER} If you haven’t already done so, be sure to check out my GIVEAWAY before it ends on Thursday night!

Now, where was I? I missed last week’s Week in Review, so I’m playing catch up this Monday morning. These past weeks have been quite eventful, and I have been trying to enjoy the summer despite the DC weather of rain, rain and humidity!

Two Mondays ago I met up with my friend, who I knew back from my Los Angeles days, for happy hour at CoCo Sala. This place is dangerous because everything has chocolate in it!

I ordered the Allure to drink, which has lychee, sparkling wine, rose water and fresh lime juice, and Robyn got the Co Cojito (their play on the mojito). I also got an order of bacon mac and cheese, which came with a piece of chocolate covered bacon. So decadent!

That Saturday, Raisin Bread and I went on a segway tour of DC (recap here) and met up with some of my MBA friends for a cruise of the Potomac and then dinner in Georgetown. Look at this sky!

For the 4th of July, Raisin Bread and I headed to the Mall for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and then avoided the fireworks crowd this year.

Puli Dog Sculpture

I spent this weekend visiting my brother in Philly for less than 48 hours, but we made the most of it! More on that later. For now, here is what my two weeks of workouts looked like. They looked not so great.

June 24 to 30, 2013
Monday: rest
Tuesday: Daily Burn: Yoga 1 + Ran 2.7 miles
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: rest
Friday: Ran 2.8 miles
Saturday: lots of walking around DC
Sunday: rest

Total yoga this week: 1 time
Total mileage this week: 5.5 miles


July 1 to 7, 2013
Monday: Ran 2.6 miles
Tuesday: Pilates Chair 45 mins
Wednesday: Pilates Chair 30 mins
Thursday: Pilates Chair 45 minutes
Friday: travel day
Saturday:  lots of walking around Philly
Sunday: rest

Total yoga this week: 2 times
Total mileage this week: 2.6 miles
Total mileage this week: 189.06

I will be running the Biggest Loser 10K this Sunday, so hopefully, that will kick my butt into high gear! I sure hope so!
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Here is also an update on my Goals. If you recall, these goals (except for #7) were supposed to be completed by the end of June, and I have to say I did pretty well. From here, I will try to complete goal #7 as well as continue to cross out goals from my 60 Goals in 3 Years.  

Goals Progress

1. Finish my MBA – Yes! (recap here)
2. Finish my first 10 miler – Yes! (recap here)

3. Finish my first half marathon – Yes! (recap here)
4. Exercise three times a week – I worked out less than three times during 6 of the weeks. 
5. Participate in Meatless Mondays regularly – I didn’t do so well on this one. 
6. Eat out less = save money – Definitely did great! 
7. Run 700 miles this year – Total Mileage To Date (TMTD): 189.06 miles (511 miles to go).
8. Try out two new workout classes – Yes, tried BodySculpt and BodyStep.
9. Post once a week – Yes!