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Making the most of summer weekends

photoDespite the up-and-down weather, this past weekend was a lot of fun.

Friday evening was pretty quiet. BF and I went for a walk along the seawall in Stanley Park, and then went back to his place to try out some new beers that were recommended to us. We’ve been on a bit of a fruit beer kick, so we shared a peach cream ale, as well as a blood orange. (On a side note, if anyone has any fruit beer suggestions, I’d love to hear them! Am currently loving Pyramid Apricot Ale.) We also watched Enough Said on Netflix, which I was skeptical about, but actually turned out to be an ok movie.

Saturday we waited out the rain, and then spent the afternoon at the tennis club that BF joined recently. My tennis skills aren’t good enough to play in a match yet, but it was really nice just to watch others play, read my book, and just relax outside.

photo 1After tennis was over, we took the SkyTrain out to the Richmond Night Market. It was a lot of fun people watching, looking at the fun things that were on sale, sampling the different food, and spending an evening out of the city. It was really hard not to get tempted by all of the delicious meats and seafoods around. Even though I’m happy being a vegetarian, I still definitely find myself craving certain things that I no longer eat – like takoyaki, ramen, or shrimp dumplings. :) But we were able to satisfy our cravings with a tofu noodle dish ($6), a couple of taiyaki ($3.50), and an ice cane ($3.50) – which tasted exactly like a Dairy Queen soft serve ice cream cone.

Once we were done with the Night Market, we naturally headed over to the River Rock Casino. Ever since I played roulette for the first time in Vegas, I’ve been a bit obsessed with playing the game again. But the $10 minimum was too rich for our blood, so we stuck with the penny slots. I ended up with $10 extra in my pocket once the evening was over, so can’t complain about that. :)

photo 3On Sunday, my friend Nic and I attempted to go hiking. Our objective was St. Mark’s Summit, but once we got to the top of Cypress, we realized it was too foggy to even attempt it. So, a bit defeated, we headed back down the mountain and decided to head over to Squamish and do The Chief instead.

The view from the top was… foggy. And even though we were both craving a hard hike, it was the best we could have done with the weather the way it was. It was also kinda nice to do The Chief without the trail as crowded as it usually is. We then went to the pub for a post-hike burger and beer to celebrate Nic’s 30th birthday.

The next two weekends will be great because of the Celebration of Lights fireworks and the Pride Parade! Fingers crossed the weather gets nice enough for a couple more beach days before the summer is over.

How was your weekend?

Heading to the Oregon Coast!

oregoncoastI mentioned briefly in my post about postponing big travel plans that we are headed to the Oregon Coast on Friday. :) I’m really excited for this trip because work has been pretty busy, and I feel like it’s been forever since the last vacation. But, since everything is a bit up in the air with expenses this year and how much I can really expect to make with scaled back freelancing and my new job, I thought it would be a good idea to map out the expenses.

Here is an estimate of what I think my portion of the spending will be for the 5 days we’ll be gone:

Hotel – $205 (4 nights)
Food – $200
Entertainment – $150
Gas – $80
Miscellaneous – $50

ESTIMATED TOTAL: $685

A short, but sweet trip. And the cost isn’t too bad. I mean, it definitely could have been cheaper if we wanted to spend less on accommodation. None of the places we are staying at are fancy, but they’re all right on the beach, so that means the prices fall about mid-range at about $100/night. The estimated gas cost I got from plugging our mileage into the trip planner on GasBuddy.com, so I think it will be pretty accurate.

Based on the way we’ve traveled in the past, we’re both pretty good at eating simply. We are going to bring a cooler for veggies (bringing the juicer along), as well as food for lunches, etc. I do anticipate going out to eat for dinners, and I think our only splurge meal will be when we go out with my friends.

As for entertainment, we plan on hanging out in Oregon Dunes National Park (and renting dune buggies!), as well as checking out the Tillamook Cheese Factory. :)  Other than that, it’ll just be spending time at the beach, and relaxing.

The countdown is on. Now, my fingers are crossed the rain holds off and we get a bit of sunshine on our trip. :)

P.S. Has anyone gone to Sea Lion Caves before? Is it worth it? I’m having a hard time convicing BF that it’s worthy of a stop on our trip.

An update on life

It’s been a crazy few months, and I know I’ve been neglecting this blog a little bit. But I’ve still been able to keep up with reading all of the other PF blogs I follow, and I appreciate all of the comments you’ve left on the posts that I have managed to get out. :)

Here’s an update on what’s going on in my world…

On fitness:

photo(4)Three days ago, I was supposed to be running in my 4th half marathon – the BMO Half Marathon. I shelled out $132.17 on my registration back in February with the hopes of training hard through the spring and breaking the 1:50 mark.

But instead, I watched from the sidelines. It was really tough. Especially because I was already registered and really looking forward to this race. Injuries are frustrating, and mine keeps flaring up. I ran a pain-free 6km last month (which was really promising), but during a recent field hockey game, I stepped the wrong way, and the pain was back again for a few hours. My foot feels fine now (averaging > 10km of walking per day), but I’m really aware of how easy it will be to reinjure myself.

Related: Why running is not a frugal activity

Seeing those runners sprint by was really motivating, and even BF admitted that he wanted to start running too. I need to remember that feeling as I head into the summer and start training for the Goodlife Half Marathon in Victoria. :)

Oh, and after one full month of using my FitBit, I’m still extremely pleased. BF and I have switched up our diets slightly, and as a result of eating healthier and walking a lot more, I’ve lost 5 pounds since the beginning of April. Not bad! Part of June’s monthly challange will likely be about running and yoga.

On travel:

I was thinking this would be a quiet year for travel, but so far I’ve already gone to Portland, and to Las Vegas. Here’s what else is on the radar:

  • Edmonton (June) – Just a short trip for 3 days. We are staying with people there, so I’ll have to budget for a flight and spending money. Approx. cost: $450
  • Okanagan (July – tentative) – We’ve been invited by good friends of mine to spend the July long weekend in the Okanagan for some sun, swimming, and wineries. I’m not sure if we’ll be able to get the extra day off work, but my fingers are crossed. Approx. cost: $400
  • Seattle (August) – This is my (annual?) family trip to Seattle to watch the Blue Jays play the Mariners. It’s the third year taking my dad to a ball game, and I know he really enjoys it. Approx. cost: $300
  • Europe (September) – Besides going to Paris, we have no real plans. I’m letting BF plan this one out for the most part because I’ve been to the majority of the big cities in Europe already. We’ve tossed around all sorts of ideas (Paris-Amsterdam-Copenhagen, all the way to Athens-Santorini-Istanbul). Approx. cost: $3,000

On life:

Life is really good right now. A few days ago, my aunt commented about how “soul happy” I seem to be these days, and I think she’s right. Despite losing my job earlier this year, I think I was able to rebound relatively quickly. I feel settled and comfortable, which is something I haven’t felt in a really long time … and while I don’t have a lot of friends here in Vancouver, I think I have really good friends. BF always says that you get to choose who you spend your time with, and I think I’m spending them with the right people. :)

Work has been busy as well. I’m still really enjoying my new job, and appreciate how much the company values work-life balance. This industry is unfamiliar to me, but I’m glad that I broke into it, because I feel like this is where I belong. I’ve always been interested in real estate, architecture, urban planning, etc. and to be a part of a company that touches those industries… that’s really fun and exciting for me.

On money:

Back in March, I made a point to stop stressing about money. Sure, sometimes I stare at my RRSP numbers (currently saving 21% of my net income towards retirement), and sometimes I worry that I’m not doing as much as other people my own age, but I try to stop those thoughts as soon as I get them. Because I’m doing the best that I can to live a balanced life, and I can’t continue to compare myself to other people.

I’m also paid twice a month here at work, instead of bi-weekly. So I’ll have to adjust my mortgage schedule to reflect that. And I want to start tracking and reading up on a few companies so I can figure out what my next stock purchase will be.

Anyway, that’s my update! I hope you’re all doing well. :)

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