Sunday, April 29, 2012

Janice's Birthday at Padmanadi's

Sean and Janice
 Janice's 28th Birthday Bash was a small but fun event, with Sean, Janice and I enjoying a delightful vegan meal. Padmanadi's Vegetarian Restaurant, which only two years ago was one of those hole-in-a-wall restaurants in Edmonton's Chinatown, has expanded to a beautiful dining place downtown, well-decorated with a Thai flair and the same, delectable, Asian cuisine. The Kasim family, from Jakarta, Indonesia moved their restaurant from Jakarta to Edmonton in 2002 --so it's definitely authentic, and wow, so tasty!

We ordered three dishes to share-  Ginger "beef", curried tofu and vegetables, and bok choy with jasmine and coconut rice. Reminiscient of our days in Asia (Sean and I  were in Singapore the same year Janice was teaching English in Taiwan), we talked of travels, past and future, masters' programs, and the exciting year to come. Not to mention, the beautiful summer ahead (I LOVE summer!). We'll be travelling Alberta and BC for sure, taking in the mountain fresh air this summer. 

To top off our meal, our waiter ordered a mini sorbet for Janice, complete with a candle on top and a birthday song. Of course, I had to try their coffee (delicious Fair Trade blend), with almond 

Happy  28th Birthday, Janice! To an amazing year ahead (and you visiting me at Oxford, I hope =)

Stay tuned for awesome book reviews and summer fun updates (as I will have more time in my busy schedule in about 7 weeks). Ready, set, SUMMER!

Monday, April 09, 2012

Calgary and Canmore Girls' Weekend 2012 - Part 2

Early Sunday morning, Julie and I headed west to the mountains - the beautiful town of Canmore. Both of us had our first facials at Bodhi Tree Spa. In fact, I've only been to a spa once before, three years ago in Banff with Sean  (blog post here). That hot stone massage was great; Bodhi Tree's facial was also an interesting experience. Thank goodness they allowed you to choose the scents though - vanilla and lavender, yum - the spicy scent - ick!

The hot pools outdoors were also an enjoyable way to start off our morning. However, the one part we were really looking forward to --all the free amenities and tens of types of lotions and creams most spas have for you to play around with while you wait, magazines to read, and hair products to style with once you're done at the pool --were all missing!!! Quite the expensive experience and definitely needs an upgrade. Bodhi Tree, we probably won't be back - maybe hotel spas are the way to go?

A late breakfast afterwards at The Wood grill was amazing. Definitely a major cheat meal (as was the entire weekend), but YUM, what an amazing juevo rancheros breakfast plate. A quick stroll in the mountain air, and a Good Earth coffee afterwards was definitely exactly what we needed. To make the day even more exciting, Julie and Kyle's offer they made when we went condo shopping Saturday afternoon (in between Crossiron Mills 
shopping and UNA pizzeria) was accepted!! 

They will soon be the proud owners of an amazing condo in the heart of downtown Calgary. So, between food, conversation, and text messages to a real estate agent, we had the most amazing day. No matter which city we are in, or what the weather is, Julie and I always have the best time. Julie and I have similar personalities and she is definitely what Anne of Green Gables would call a "kindred spirit". Julie put it best - "I feel normal around you!"  Me too - I love our insane, intense adventures :)

To top everything off, Julie's company sent her to Edmonton Monday morning for a short business trip - so after working the entire day, Julie and I both went running with the Kinsmen Running Room Club  - with Kiara of course (making that my second 5km run of the day). We'll
definitely be prepared for our races in April and June. Oh, and of course, Wild Earth Bakery was our final stop for a delectable cafe latte and Buckingham Palace twisted London Fog. Yum! I can't wait for the summer - I'll likely have a lot of time off in July, and Julie and I have plans for the Calgary Stampede, a British Columbia Road trip, and, of course, better shopping than Cross Iron Mills. Stay tuned for an amazing summer ahead!

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Calgary & Canmore Girls' Weekend 2012 - Part 1

This Easter weekend is a welcome break from the norm, with time in Calgary and Canmore with Julie and Joanne. Despite the horrible winter weather Thursday morning, Spring did show its true colours for most of the weekend.  I arrived Friday afternoon, and Julie and I started the weekend off with an amazing workout at the Talisman centre. Running on the track is definitely not the same as the 5km 3 times per week I've been running outside. Wow, talk about shocking your body!

Saturday started off with Starbucks, of course, and then some shopping at Cross Iron Mills. What a disappointment! I cannot BELIEVE they call it an outlet mall. Has no one been to the States? This is NOT an outlet. Driving to the edge of the city for a glorified, large, mall, with only one real outlet store (Coach)? Totally not worth it. I ended up with one shirt and a pair of shorts, easily purchased just about anywhere. Bleh. Normally Julie and my shopping trips are SO successful! (but I guess they've been in California, so that explains it). Joanne used the perfect word to describe it - anticlimactic! 

The Birthday Girl!
Meeting Joanne for dinner at UNA Pizzeria was absolutely amazing. Wow - Italy! Amazing wine, pizza and dessert to die for. YUMMY!  After dinner, I hung out with Joanne at a bar called Craft Beer Market, and then met up with Julie for her friend Rachael's birthday at Hudsons. A popular Edmonton chain, of course, has apparently expanded to Calgary. My first time out in a LONG time - so it was a blast. Sorry for the AWFUL photo quality - I detest my blackberry and cannot wait to get a new phone in the fall!

Now, it's early Sunday morning and we're off to the mountains for an early morning spa treatment (I LOVE that the mountains are only 1.5 hours away!) at Bodhi Tree Spa, and some time wandering around Canmore. I can't wait for fresh, mountain air.Stay tuned for Part 2 of this amazing weekend - coming tonight!