Sunday, July 08, 2012

Stampeding it Up: 100 Years of the Calgary Stampede

Calgary's Centennial Celebration of the Calgary Stampede was an excuse to take a few days off to visit Julie, eat and drink, and dress up to enjoy some Western fun (yes, button up shirts and hats from Banana Republic is as close as we city girls get to cowgirls).

I arrived late Thursday night, ready to rise super early Friday morning to stand outside for 2 hours and wait for the 100th Annual Parade. We got great seats though (well, standing places I mean). Seats in the bleachers are sold out way in advance! Bands, cowboys, First Nations groups and dancers made the parade fun to watch. It was surprising though, that the parade did not really have anything spectacular to celebrate a century of Stampede. I must say, the best part of the parade was definitely the horses! I didn't realize how beautiful those animals are - especially the chocolate brown ones. Julie used to barrel race, but I know very little about horses - except that they are vegetarians and quite expensive! Who knows - perhaps I will be trying out some riding lessons in the English countryside (in the summer, maybe). Lunch and a drink with Joanne at an organic restaurant/patio downtown  quinoa salad and a chickpea fritter on ciabatta) made my afternoon even better!

 West Bar --Canada's Largest Rooftop Patio

Friday night was a great time with Julie, Kyle and their friends at Canada's largest rooftop patio, West. Gorgeous weather, delicious drinks, outlandish outfits and a perfect party. 
Julie & Sapna @ West patio
Mmm..fresh mojitos!
S&J  - Happy (Faux) "Cowgirls!"

Kyle, Katherine, Krystal, Kelly
K& J - A cowboy and his girl

We spent the rest of the weekend chatting, shopping (a beautiful navy Modalu London leather purse was the highlight and will be my staple in London), catching a movie (Savages - a thrilling, gripping Oliver Stone film), going for dinner and hanging out at Julie and Kyle's beautiful downtown condo.

What a beautiful break! I really think I want to live my life eating super healthy and then cheating once every 6 weeks with a weekend full of food and fun. Summer is nearly halfway through, but the second half is on its way. Stay tuned for more adventures, including an August long weekend with Julie visiting Edmonton!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy Canada Day - Week: Fireworks, Roots & Wine with Friends!

Meghan and Sapna on Canada Day 
Happy Canada Day - Week! 
Canada Day this year was low-key and a lot of fun, especially since it marked the beginning of my work free weekends! It's such an amazing feeling to not teach all weekend (though I love tutoring). Surrounded by my best friends and my beautiful black Labrador all week made me feel like a very lucky Canadian girl.

Janice and I spent the day shopping with Sean at many stores, Banana Republic in particular. Sean's clothing expertise really helped me choose three pairs of excellent quality "trousers" and a couple of shirts for Britain (no yoga pants at grocery stores there!). Although I'll take credit for pre-selecting the Roots Leather Prince Satchel, Sean and Janice did convince  me that the rustic brown leather was a much better choice than black.  It was a bit pricey, but definitely great quality and a  beautiful bag for my upcoming classes at Oxford. Made in Canada, of course!

My Roots Satchel!
Meghan and I spent Canada Day evening watching the fireworks from her condo and drinking wine (Naked Grape white and a rose I bought in San Francisco at the Vinansa Winery - click here for blog posts). Hours of conversation and catching up - as well as a plan for a blog re-vamp - made it a fun time! I'm sure, loyal readers, you've noticed a few changes on this site, but be prepared for an incredible facelift, and SingaporeLizard business cards, coming soon! (Thanks, mdesign).

Kiara @ Pets in the Park last weekend

Barkbusters, an international, award-winning dog training company really made my week even better. They have a written, lifetime guarantee that they can fix any problem your dog has, and keep coming back to fix it until you are satisfied. Well, Barkbusters was up for the challenge. Last Thursday, I learned how to act more like a "canine mother" than a human. While freaking out at the doorbell is still an issue we are working to resolve, I'm quite sure that Kiara will be on her best, polite, high class behaviour by the time September rolls around. After spending three months looking for a place, I cannot be kicked out of our rental home in Marston, Oxford!

 Tuesday night was an amazing dining experience at the Cactus Club with Camille. Camille had the Jack Daniels Ribs and I, the Portabello Mushroom Fajitas. Camille and I only end up seeing each other a few hours per year, as we often live in different countries - but even a few hours made my week incredible. Catching up, wine, cheesecake, conversation, and memories of our two week trip together in Vienna and Prague in 2008 (click here and here for the blog posts, respectively) made our dinner together unforgettable.

Now, it's off to Calgary to visit Julie for a few days, and celebrate the Calgary Stampede Centennial. Happy Canada Day - Week ---and happy summer, everyone!