Tag Archives: Best Husband Ever™

TripAdvisor: Clean Sheets & Good Eats!

I’m a planner. I like to Google, cross-reference and double check all my details, no matter how minor they might be (aren’t you happy you didn’t live in my house the 10 months prior to my wedding? LX really is the calm, serene yin to my stressbunny yang.)

When it comes to travelling, I’m no different. And one of the best resources I’ve come across for checking things out before making any plans and/or reservations is TripAdvisor.com.

Not only does TripAdvisor have reviews of, essentially, everything – they’re written by people who’ve been there. Any place on earth you can think of that you might fancy checking out, you can look up and see what other folks think. Sure there are search/booking engines that will give you the advertising spiel written by the hotel/airline/cruise ship/restaurant/tourist attraction… but the candid reviews by users are what really count. You get honest opinions by anyone with an internet connection and a desire to share their opinions. That’s far more valuable than whatever the marketing departments of each respective property will tell you.

Of course, that said, it’s important to read these candid reviews with a grain of salt. There are alot of bitter, angry (illiterate) people out there who own computers. And if there’s one thing angry folks like to do… it’s complain. Loudly. But if you’re willing to take a few minutes to scroll past the nutters to read the valid posts, you’re bound to find enough of an even keel to help you make a decision on your next trip.

Since so many countless strangers have helped me plan weekend getaways & future vacation fun, I figured it was only fair for me to return the favour by contributing my own voice to this ever-growing hub (since offering up an opinion is something I’m really oh-so reticent to do. Heh.) of reviews, photos, videos, praise & complaints.

WeezieLTD is my profile name (just in case you feel like looking me up!)

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Kudos, Toronto: $27,819.41 and counting!

Each and every person involved in this past weekend’s Toronto Bakes for Japan charity event should be well pleased with their efforts: to date, the tally of monies earned sits at  $27,819.41. And the counting hasn’t quite finished.

My contribution included some prettily packaged Chocolate Chip Banana Mini Muffins & Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies for the Liberty Noodle location. I enticed LX into helping me cart everything over with the promise of tasty confections that I’d buy, in return, for us to take home and enjoy. My not-so-clever ruse – while entirely transparent – worked like a charm and I attained some hired help for free.

After treating ourselves to a coffee at Balzac’s, across the street, we wandered back to check out the sale once things got underway at 11am. Not surprisingly, LX instantly zeroed in on some Bacon Buttermilk Tea Biscuits.  I lost my heart to a Green Tea Cupcake and a single-serve Not Your Momma’s PB & J Pie. I know. I made the Cupcake my brunch. The PB & J Pie? I needed alone time for that: I did an extra workout and set aside a substantial chunk of my daily calories for that bad boy. And, no – I didn’t share.

Day One (Saturday) saw glorious weather and over $5 grand raised at just the Brickworks location, alone.

And while the weather was less than agreeable for Day Two on Sunday (seriously, Mother Nature – you couldn’t give us this one?) it didn’t seem to stop hordes of folks from coming out in droves to satisfy their sweet tooth. In fact, Liberty Noodle & the Rivoli had such a turnout that they decided to extend both end times until everyone and everything was gone.

That’s dedication. The weather, as it turned out, agreed and the thundershowers cleared up and gave way to a bright, sunny afternoon.

Kudos to Heena & Niya and everyone else who gave up free time & mad skills to make this event such a resounding success!

Missing PhotoSmash gallery: 4

 

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Banana Bread & Guinea Pigs

In this case, I’m speaking of the human variety of guinea pig.  It’s good to have a guinea pig. Or, as it happens, today – two.

You see, today my husband & his BFF are having a Boys’ Night – which, in this household, roughly translates as the two of them eating crap food, playing video games, drinking beer & acting, essentially, like pre-pubescent boys.  Mercifully, I have a laptop & there’s a Blu-ray player in our master bedroom upstairs, so it’s incredibly easy for me to make myself scarce. Because, much as I love them both… they’re pretty much idiots during  Boys’ Night.

The upside to Boys’ Night being held at my house is that I get to try out a new recipe that I’d just found & altered (Well, that and they bring me wine) and sate my craving for chocolate with no fear that any leftovers will remain by the end of the evening.

So without any further ado:

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread à la Weez.

Ingredients
4 small bananas
1.5 C whole wheat flour
0.75 C Splenda
0.25 C Egg Beaters – Plain
1.25 tsp Baking Powder
0.5 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Pumpkin Pie spice
0.25 C Applesauce, unsweetened
3 tbsp Nestle Toll House Mini Chocolate Chips (Semi-Sweet)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°C
  • Spray an 8 x 4″ loaf pan with Pam
  • In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda & pumpkin pie spice
  • Add Egg Beaters, applesauce  & bananas (mash with a fork in a separate bowl first); stir just until combined
  • Fold in chocolate chips
  • Pour batter into prepared pan
  • Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into centre of loaf comes out clean
  • Turn out onto wire rack and allow to cool before slicing

When I baked this, I took it out of the oven at 30 minutes, but I’m thinking that leaving it in for the full 40 minutes would have worked a wee bit better. The very centre was a bit on the too-moist side. But it was DAMN tasty, if I do say so myself. And, as I may have mentioned before… it’s my blog, so I figure there’s no rule against patting myself on the back.

Also? One of my guineau pigs, upon being offered a piece, responded with, “Oh, yes please! But I’ll just take a small piece cuz banana bread’s dry (inhale piece) OH HEY! That IS damn good. Not even a little bit dry at all.”

Cue additional inhalations.

So I guess it’s safe to say that it passes muster; I’ll go ahead and add it to the To-Be-Repeated recipe pile.

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You Can Check Out Anytime You Like

To my friends & family who witnessed my gleeful boasting during my week-long sojourn in the sun… here’s a wee bit of Schadenfreude in which you can happily bask.

No vacation would be perfect without, at least, one minor hiccup in the proceedings. And ours was no exception to that rule.

The day had been perfect. We’d just spent six-plus hours trekking around the Kennedy Space Center, witnessing some of mankind’s most exciting moments in history and we were looking forward to relaxing in what we had been led to believe would be a charmingly, lovely resort-type hotel on Cocoa Beach.

Missing PhotoSmash gallery: 3

We’d taken a chance and used Hotwire. We’d heard, first-hand, from others who’d done likewise and had great results. So, we figured we’d give it a whirl ourselves. We selected the amenities that were important. We chose the location we thought would be fun. And we made sure to select nothing below a 3-star option.

But something went wrong. So very wrong.

We’re not sure if it was the excitement of knowing that we were going to get to personally witness history the next day in the 39th & final launching of the Space Shuttle: Discovery. Or maybe it was simply the thought of sipping Mai Tais at a balmy beach bar that caused us to lose our usual attention to detail. Either way, we clearly missed the fact that Hotwire had insidiously decided to somewhat alter our search parameters. Because of the shortage of the room calibre we’d selected (due, likely, to the fact that about a kajillion others were also going to be in town that night for the shuttle launch the next day), the Hotwire search engine unilaterally decided to throw in a few 2-star choices to our results page. I know.

Welcome to The International Palms Resort Cocoa Beach. The name drums up some pretty swanky, luxurious mental pictures doesn’t it? Yeah. Not so much.

We stayed in, bar none, the ugliest, tiniest hotel room either of us had ever seen. In fairness, the last hotel we stayed at was on our honeymoon. And it was the Bellagio in Las Vegas. But, whatever. So not the point.

Despite our having been checked into a double room (I guess they figured we wanted separate beds), this place was so small that the bathroom sink… wasn’t even in the bathroom. The vanity & sink were, for some reason, located in the room proper. Lovely.

And the tiny wee (broken) coffee pot was also proudly situated on that very same vanity. Oh, but you couldn’t actually turn it on and brew that half pot of rank Maxwell House java. No, you see the only electrical outlet available in this room was in such a position that, in order to use said (broken) coffee pot you had to sit it on the floor & balance the broken basket on top of the carafe. Oh, how I wish I were kidding.

Oh! Did I mention that when we turned off the AC (that had been set to stun), the room affected a charmingly musty smell by morning? Yep. Pretty awesome.

Despite it’s charming Eau de Basement scent, the place was clean. I’ll give them that. And it did come with free reading material (courtesy the Gideons) in the bedside stand. Singular. There was one; two (wobbly & uncomfortable) beds – but only one bedside stand. Oy vey.

The International Palms Resort was just… sad. Oh, so sad. So very, very sad.  Oddly, though? Free Wi-Fi. I know.  I don’t get it, either.

We were determined, nevertheless, to salvage the rest of the night and make the most of it. And, just when we thought all was lost, a light shone out. A bright beacon from within a dark & dingy window glimmered out to greet us.  It wasn’t quite a choir of angels we heard, but it was enough to take our dreary night and turn it right around – all thanks to three magical little words…
 
#1. Cheap.
 
#2. Beer.
 
#3. Karaoke.
 

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Basking in a Post-Vacation Glow

After a week in sun-soaked Daytona Beach, you’d think coming home to this dreary Toronto weather would have me in a serious funk. But, honestly? It doesn’t. I don’t know if I’m still riding a high from such a fab vacation (the perfect combination of running around, doing touristy things & lazing around doing S.F.A.) that I just can’t bother to be annoyed with the crap weather and the fact that I’m back at work. Whatever it is, I’ll take it.

But, seriously, how can you be uptight & irritated when you were able to witness THIS for an entire week?

I even (for the very first time EVER, I might add) got off my arse & worked out 3 times during my week away. I’ve packed gym clothes in the past (such adorably misguided intentions),  but never actually took them out of my suitcase once firmly ensconced in vacation mode. This time, though? I TOTALLY took advantage of the fact that I could run along the beach at 8:30am, wearing my summer running gear. How could I not? Would I ever have been kicking myself now, if I’d let that opportunity pass me by (especially since my 10k training begins on Monday… in all this sloppy mess.)

How can you not smile when THIS is your running course?

 
…and this is where you get to dip your tootsies afterward?

 
Or, when you’ve decided you’d like to give another form of exercise a go, you can swim laps… OUTSIDE.

 
Or you get to witness once-in-a-lifetime events like THIS? (I’m pretty sure a surgical procedure will be the only way to remove LX’s smile after this day.)

Not a horrible way to spend a week, right? Here’s hoping Spring gets here before the shine wears off.

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