Casual Fun Date Ideas!

Date are fun, be it in the day or night! Its Saturday and some of you might be heading out for a little fun time with your companion (or even friends). I have friend dates all the time too. I have dates with my girl friends. Of course, I also have dates with my husband. Living in Montreal (or metropolitan) has tons of great ideas because we are pampered with access to lots of cool locations and new stuff to try out.

With that said, let us talk dates.

Movie and Restaurant

An oldie but a goodie because if its not broke, why change it, right? Being a movie blogger, movies are the constant fall back and many reasons of why we’d go  out for a date. A lovely date night doesn’t fail with a movie of our choice. 2017 looks like the year of guilty pleasure sequels, by the way. Before the movies (or after), its always great to choose a restaurants. Normally, we go to our normal favorites but there are also times when we grab a discount voucher online that peaks our interest to try out some restaurants we’ve never been to before. These vouchers have opened our eyes to many cool ideas.

A budget friendly way, and one we’ve been doing frequently, is just having our meal out, or making our own pizza/hot dogs/burgers and fries (or perhaps ordering in if we’re feeling particularly in the mood to take it easy), and pop in a movie from the trusty movie collection, rent a movie from Play store or pick out a movie from Netflix!

Checking out Local or Nearby Events

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Every big city or small town has stuff going on, no matter big or small. There’s always something happening. Or at least a lot of times there will be and these events are perfect ways to go out on a date night. It gives a nice change to the weekly routine and gives a chance to go out and reconnect with the outside world together. Its exploring and trying out something new. Even an event that you’ve been to the year before will most probably have something new to offer, even if its just the weather being colder or warmer. It can be a date to a wine festival or food festival or film festival. In the walking around and waiting in lines, its a time to chat and see new things. The point is the experience and the change in pace. Its memorable and fun and refreshing. Sometimes, if the city doesn’t have something going on, perhaps a nearby city or suburban area will have something to offer and it’ll be even a nice road trip.

Hiking

Parc Regional des Sept Chutes

We’re outdoorsy people. Maybe less than most because of crazy schedules but one of our favorite dates is getting up on an early morning, grabbing our car and heading out take a hike. Sure, its all frantic and crazy in the packing phase but the preparation of it is also fun as we look through the area for what national parks have hiking trails and what locations are feasible and worth the hike. The one thing in hiking that really kills is spending all that effort and the payoff is a lackluster scenery. Luckily we’ve never had that experience, except for one time. However, its nice to add a little twist to this formula and try something new, like renting an SUV or Jeep from Turo, a peer to peer car rental company in their “Backroad-Ready Cars” selection. You can find more info on their rentals page here. It could make the trip up the off-road/steep gravel paths more durable. We learned that after a recent experience where our hatchback had to inch up the mountain to where the trail started in the most painful way. Its hard to find a balance between city life and our leisure activities but for these special occasions, it could open up a lot more areas and authentic natural hiking trails.

Leave it to Spontaneity

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One of my first projects when we bought the house was to make sure that our lives were never going to be boring. I soon realized that we really do love our routines incredibly a lot however once in a while, we like to let things go its course, and that is why I made this easy little DIY craft. Its our spontaneous date/activity ideas glass. Different color popsicle sticks will have a different category of something different or new to do. There are some generic choices but as we think of things, we pull out a popsicle stick on the side and add it in if we have something to add, that way we both have our ideas in there and on the nights when we can’t decide, we just pull one (or two) out and choose from what destiny has set for us.

This post is inspired by Turo, a peer to peer car rental company that helps you connect with others to find what you need in whichever area you are in and can also be a source of income if you have a vehicle that you can rent out as well.

These are a few of our date ideas for whenever you like: day, evening, night.
What do you like to do for your dates?

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Hiking: Owl’s Head

More hiking was set for us on that week of staycation we had. With a little research, we found our second location which is rather nearby to Montreal also at a offseason ski resort, Owl’s Head. I’ve only ever heard of it before. Owl’s Head, just like most ski locations but hiking spots in the summer/fall, are really another type of beast. They have some designated paths but mostly, its a free walk uphill. Owl’s Head was no different. In fact, the trek up was pretty intense. it was incredibly steep and pretty tiring for such a short walk. We didn’t make it all the way but we did get almost there except for a winding path that went up to a booth or ski station or something. However, the view along the way opened up over a lake and with the leaves changing colors, it was really breathtaking.

Here are some shots of what we saw. It gives an idea of how steep it was and also the views we saw. On our way down, we actually encountered a cute little fellow and I took a little video of it.

Owl's Head

Owl's Head

Owl's Head

And for our little porcupine encounter. This porcupine is definitely not full grown but then I’m not a porcupine expert. It was adorable as heck as it walked around forward and in circles and forward more and then went up the hill. It was a slightly windy day so sorry about all the windy  noises.

A lovely  little location for a short but challenging hike. It was getting cooler that day and on the hills near where we saw the porcupine, there was frost forming on the grass. Still, we enjoyed it a lot. Sometimes, hiking can really get to us and we want to give up but when we turn around and see all the natural beauty around us, it gets us all pumped up again to go higher and makes it all worth it!

Hiking: Parc Regionale des Sept-Chutes

It has become a tradition to go for a hike on Thanksgiving Day to hopefully catch the last bit of fall colors that October has to offer. This year’s prolonged summer helped the leaves change colors later and stay on the leaves longer. This year, we also took a beautiful staycation to just relax and take care of stuff and spend some time together while also celebrating our first year wedding anniversary. We particularly wanted to do more hiking to bask in the quiet time. Last year this time was tons of fun but it was also crazy busy for last minute wedding preparation. This year is much different and one that we enjoyed a lot. Regardless, the first little trip out was perhaps two hours out of Montreal. It turned out to be quite the hot spot because we almost didn’t have anywhere to park and had to turn around. Luckily, things worked out in the end and after registering at the office, we set off for the hike.

This is actually a pretty challenging trail because its part of climbing up rocks and lots of up and down slopes. There are waterfalls along the way to see and the view at the top is absolutely worth it as you will see. Here is a few shots I thought turned out really nice!

Parc Regional des Sept Chutes

Parc Regional des Sept Chutes

Parc Regional des Sept Chutes

Parc Regional des Sept Chutes

Parc Regional des Sept Chutes

Parc Regional des Sept Chutes

Parc Regional des Sept Chutes

Parc Regional des Sept Chutes

The trail was pretty long. It took us about 3 to 4 hours to go through the entire hike. It actually was a lot of fun as well to have to climb up and down. There are various trails here and we took a little shortcut to make it back down a little faster as we started out on the hike only in early afternoon and we needed to make it back before it got dark. The summit is the shot with all the trees and the road going through it. In the other side, you see the lake from up top. As we go down, we hit another waterfall and lots of water pictures which are my personal faves. Plus, there was that whole area with the yellow trees that was captivating to walk through.

This is really something and definitely a trail I’d want to go back to explore eventually! If you are in the area and enjoy some fun and challenging hikes, this one is a great choice! 🙂

Vancouver & Kelowna: Vancouver Aquarium & Lynn Canyon Park

We’re finally here! The recap of the final day of vacation over on the Canadian West Coast. For this one, we took up our courage and headed to the Vancouver city central towards Stanley Park to go to Vancouver Aquarium and get an indoor activity before heading out to Lynn Canyon Park & Suspension Bridge. We talked with some of the locals there (my mom’s friends) and they told us that Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is almost as pretty as Capilano Suspension Bridge which charges more and is higher. This is a great choice for it being free and having just a lower canyon but still really  nice to walk through.

Vancouver Aquarium

As you can see, Vancouver Aquarium has all sorts of stuff, its not just fishes and rays and giant turtles and sharks. It also has monkeys and birds, etc. It is a pretty cool experience. Something else I like is that they don’t do a lot of shows with the animals. Only the dolphins are in these shows. The porpoises and belugas up top are actually in a training session which is like the trainer talks about these animals and how they came here and their story while giving them a little workout explaining why certain moves helps them to make sure they are healthy. In other cases, they also talk about the wildlife preservation centre that people can call if they ever believe that a marine animal is in danger and needs their assistance so that they can get them healthy and send them back to the wild. While I haven’t seen the documentary on Blackfish, I like the fact that it may be because of things like that documentary which make aquariums more aware about their transparency on how they are treating the animals with them.

Regardless of that, I like going to aquariums quite a bit and Vancouver Aquarium isn’t exceptionally different but they have their forte and is a rather educational process. They have a few different species of animals. My favorite is always the jellyfish tank and also seeing the porpoises and also going to the touch tank and getting to touch rays.

Lynn Canyon Park

Lynn Canyon Park

Lynn Canyon Park

Lynn Canyon Park

As I mentioned above, we indeed skipped the really well known Capilano suspension bridge. I have been there before when I was around eight years old. However, in my mind, Lynn Canyon Park was really beautiful. It was a rainy day but everything was absolutely lovely just with the rainforest and the tall trees towering over us. It was a great place to go. And a nice way to round up our vacation with a nice light hike around. It didn’t  take too long but was good enough to give us time and energy to head back to the hotel and pack up for our trip home the next day.

Overall, the Vancouver and Kelowna trip was a lot of fun. We had some fantastic scenery and we had an enjoyable time seeing all the relatives. We got to hike and eat some great food and even fangirl over Storybrooke. There are still a ton of activities we didn’t get to do because of time and hopefully we will return again eventually.

This vacation’s post is done now but as we speak I just got back to work this week after a week off for a lovely staycation where did also went out to do some hiking so that will follow for what seems like Vacation Tuesdays here. 😉 We do have some day trips planned before winter hits so hopefully this segment will go on for at least another few weeks.

Vancouver & Kelowna: Hiking in Whistler & Squamish!

How fast does vacation go by, right? We’re looking back at Day 6 of vacation over at Kelowna and Vancouver this year. It is funny because I am on a staycation as this post goes up and just taking it easy. Still, looking back  at this vacation still makes my heart flutter with joy. We went to some amazing places especially Kelowna having some incredible scenery. Day 6 of vacation that we are recapping today is also one of our most emotional and awesome days of the trip. We headed out to Whistler and Squamish but not before forgetting my coat at the breakfast place we went to and realizing an hour or so into the trip. Luckily, we were heading to Whistler village so at least there would be a possibly of finding something to wear if it got chilly and man, did it get chilly!

Whistler Village

After the shopping priority and picking up a North Face Sweater and Eddie Bauer cap to fight the rain and cold, we walked a little more around Whistler Village.

Whister Village

Whistler Village

Whistler Village reminded us heavily of Mont Tremblant village near Montreal.

Lost Lake Park

With that done, we headed off for a hike. Actually Lost Lake Park was more of a walking trail with a little bit of hills here and there. A part of the path was blocked off to preserve wildlife, aka toad migration. So we took a detour, got a little turned around, the rain got heavier and then we finally figured it all out and went back to our car for the next spot.

Lost Lake Park

Lost Lake Park

Sea to Sky Gondola, Squamish

Next stop is heading back towards Vancouver where we pass through Squamish and took the Sea to Sky Gondola. Note to all of you is that my husband is REALLY not comfortable with heights. I am also and gondolas make a little nervous especially at the steepness of this one at the beginning portion so we both picked up all our courage to do this and let us just say that it was extremely worth it even with some heavy rain and fog. Plus, we somewhat got stranded there as they investigated a potential issue which turned out all good thankfully. I like these companies being safe so it didn’t bother me too much when they told us they had to stop it for a while.

Sea to Sky Gondola

Sea to Sky Gondola

Sea to Sky Gondola

Sea to Sky Gondola

Sea to Sky Gondola

Sea to Sky Gondola

Sea to Sky Gondola

Sea to Sky Gondola is so worth it. I didn’t really put a lot of the trail but it is really fun to walk through it and the plants and trees are cool. Plus, there are a few lookout points. We encountered a lot of fog as you saw that came in really thick and dispersed later on but it was still fantastic scenery. I totally recommend it. Its a little pricey but really worth it.

That’s it for Day 6 of vacation!
Check back next week for the last day of vacation in Vancouver! 🙂 

Vancouver + Kelowna: Trails, Winery & Family BBQ!

Kelowna is located in the Okanagan Valley area in Canada. It is beautiful and stunning and just absolutely breathtaking to explore. The day after my cousin’s wedding, we only had a late afternoon gathering at my cousin’s home for a barbecue with the family. We decided to head out for some hiking/walking trails to see capture some lovely scenery and get some exercise. We went out to a winery for lunch and then rounded up the day with the barbecue. That is the quick runthrough.

Kuiper’s Peak Mountain Park

Kuiper's Peak Mountain Park

Kuiper's Peak Mountain Park

Kuiper's Peak Mountain Park

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Kuiper’s Peak Mountain Park is a short 5 to 10 minute trail. There are mountain bike trails as well. This park’s wildlife is still recovering after a forest fire in 2003.

Bertram Creek Regional Park

Bertram Creek Regional Park

Bertram Creek Regional Park

Bertram Creek Regional Park

Bertram Creek Regional Park also suffered from the forest fire in 2003. It is a casual walking trail along the Okanagan Lake. There’s a beach and a little area to walk out to take pictures.

Cedar Creek Winery Estate

Cedar Creek Winery Estate

Cedar Creek Winery Estate

Cedar Creek Winery Estate

We went to Cedar Creek Winery Estate to have a quick lunch and then went out to walk around. Suffice to say, it was absolutely gorgeous. I’ll be talking about the lunch portion in a separate post.

Family Barbecue

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The family gathering was fun and grand. My cousin’s home is beautiful. They had food catered there and they made burgers for everyone as well. There was this cool sparking wine or cider (local) called Bling. It tasted really good.

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The view from my cousin’s place is absolutely breathtaking. It kind of makes its a life goal to try to move out to Kelowna eventually just to live in this quiet little city.

That’s it for Day 3!
Drop by again to check out the Cedar Creek Winery Estate Restaurant post later this week!

My Weekly Adventures: Another Month Went by so Fast!!

I’ve been a tad on radio silence about my own life after the whole getting sick ordeal.  I already don’t have great health so when I get sick, it takes time to get better.  And then, work gets busy and I hurt my toe so things have been interesting. Suffice to say, I had to change up my routine that I had worked on in the last month to build but that’s okay.  Although not a whole lot went on, there was still a few memorable moments to share.

Of course, there were some frustrations.  For one, I mentioned this on Twitter about Netflix changing their whole setup structure.  I’m feeling a little conned because I now cannot see what movies will expire. At least they fixed whatever stopped me from seeing my entire list on Netflix. I’m still a little angry at it but they’ve been updating some stuff I like so its made me feel a little less bothered by the whole thing. Not that I’m not displeased. Then I had a Paypal issue that probably was from a phishing email pretending to be from Netflix and that caused some scam on my Paypal account.  Thankfully, it will be reversed.  Finally, its the whole roof business that my mom’s place has. I’m just not understanding how that company had defected shingles so its ruined before the warranty period and there’s a whole settlement thing but to get it, I need to climb on my roof and walk all over it and take pictures.  There was one part that said to count the shingles that were done.  Excuse me…I’m not counting every shingle on my roof.  Plus, after I send it in, they will still send someone to check it.  Then just send the dude in the first place, no? I just don’t understand…

Done with my rant, moving onto the actual Weekly Adventures from the past month! I’m giving you mostly highlights so buckle up and have some fun!! 🙂

1) Running/Training

Being sick and hurting my foot meant that I was off running for 2 weeks.  My idea is to not further the injury so that I couldn’t even walk.  I think that’s pretty fair 😉 I did do upper body workouts to keep in line with training a little so I didn’t just sit around.  And had to put some foam roller and yoga after the first week of recovering when I could. Sitting around all day just meant a lot of hip pain so it helped.

Fortunately 2 weeks ago, I got back into running again with a little 4 mile run which felt tons of good, especially after being on the road to Toronto and then eating a lot so that night I headed to the treadmill at the hotel.  It felt pretty great. Then this past week, I went out with one of my girl friends and her husband for a jog/bike thing and did a nice 10km run. My time isn’t great and it was baking hot even at 8:30-9am in the morning. But point is, its the first time I ran my whole run instead of taking brisk walking breaks.

2) Garden update

Some win and losses this month.  We had a little issue with the cucumber plant but I soon realized it was because of the heat and not watering it enough.  I’ve gone back to the wine bottle watering system to keep it moist while I’m away at work so that when I get home, I get take care of it. Same goes for the raspberry plant. Strawberry plant is extremely abundant BUT the little bunny has a really nice eating schedule and just nibble them away whenever they get anything close to ripe. And its just cute as a button that I don’t really get that mad anymore…

Second round of romaine lettuce is coming out.  The iceberg ones aren’t quite growing again.  I think we need to figure out the way to harvest it properly.  Two out of six regrew a second round while 5 out of 6 is growing again for romaine.

My pink and white flowers are growing but thats really just a guideline when they did the seeds because there’s yellow and purple flowers also.  I don’t really mind.  They are super nice.

Aside from that, I spent Quebec’s birthday gardening like a crazy lady and the weekend before last pulling weeds and trimming ferns and fixing up the garden beds and they are ALL DONE! Sure, its just maintenance now but its a whole lot nicer than before.

How are your gardens doing?

3) Toronto/Gatineau Weekend Getaway

On the last weekend of June, the fiance and I went off for our weekend getaway to Toronto.  It wasn’t exactly super planned and we just did a lot of practical shopping like we needed to get him new glasses.  I had already gotten mine last month and I don’t even think I had posted a picture of it. I mean, we went to Canadian Tire to get car parts.  Like I said, practical.  We did make a little trip to Vaughan Mills to do a little shopping.

Minions

Make your own Minions at the Build a Bear Workshop in Vaughan Mills

Other than stocking up on Teavana and getting some yellow tea, which I have yet to try, the best buy was going to Disney outlet and finding the last Miss Bunny plush toy to add to my collection and on sale!! You should’ve seen me! I was this short girl frantically waving my fiance over to grab it from the shelf because I couldn’t reach it. It was pretty funny…and probably embarrassing, but I didn’t really care 😉

Casino Lac-Leamy

Casino Lac-Leamy

Aside from that, we took a little ending thing to redeem our voucher that was going to expire at the Casino Lac-Leamy in Gatineau for one of the restaurants called Banco Bistro. I’m going to do a recap on the 3 restaurants we tried on this trip.  Probably in one post.  Since I still have a ton of Seattle and Alaska ones to do.

4) Starting Zumba classes

One of the reasons my running has somewhat slowed down is also that, I started Zumba classes with my girl friend (that I did the run with).  We got a sweet Groupon deal for $30 for 10 classes within a month.  Its pretty close to home and so far, after these two weeks, we’ve tried out 3 instructors and we’re having a lot of fun.

Zumba is really feel-good, full of cardio and dynamic body weights of some sort.  Its energetic and can get pretty intense.  My only issue is that my body doesn’t function that way in like the whole shaking your chest and moving my hips…questions marks float around my head.  Haha! Still, I’m slowly picking up these routines and its a ton of fun! We’re definitely thinking of continuing to do this.

Have you done Zumba?

5) Our first hike this year: Mont St-Hilaire

The weekend before last, we took an afternoon and went to do our first hike. We were supposed to go off to Quebec City area to visit a garden but other priorities took over in the morning and we ended up heading out in the afternoon to Mont St-Hilaire and catching a nice hike up one of the trails.

Mont St-Hilaire

Mont St-Hilaire

The view was awesome and while there was a good bit of people going, it was pretty spaced out so there was never a lot of traffic and we got to enjoy the peace and quiet in the nature.

Mont St-Hilaire

Chipmunks and toads were our main companions 😉

6) Festival season in Montreal!

Francofolies and Jazz Festival both came and left the city.  We just stepped into Just For Laughs Festival and the last weekend was the Percussions Festival.

Percussions Festival

Percussions Festival

We met up with some friends and checked out both of these events.  The main highlight for us in Just For Laughs Festival was the food trucks.

I’ve only tried one before so we were down to try some delicious food and we definitely did.  There wasn’t a lot of food trucks, at least not much I could eat from because of food allergies but the ones I tried were great.

Any festivals hitting where you are?

7) Fantasia Festival 2015 begins TODAY!

Fantasia Festival 2015

Following right along that topic up there, Fantasia International Film Festival starts today! I’m not heading over for any movies today but the advanced screening of Ant-man is probably the highlight to kick off the festival. I didn’t even want to bother with getting tickets since last year’s Guardians of the Galaxy ran out in a second.

I posted up my list on Saturday after getting the tickets.  If you missed it, check out the run down HERE! I’m still on the fence about two movies which show at the same time (Synchronicity and Momentum) so I might just take a day off in general for that one. I’m pretty pleased with the line up.  Head over there and tell me what you think. There’s a ton of horror and I’m sure all of you have better insight than I do for that genre 🙂 I do have to head over to pick up my tickets today so I’ll see how everything is.

As for posts, I hope to get reviews up within 2 days after I see it.  It might change since some are late showings and I’d get home late especially on week nights when I need to prepare for work the next morning.  If you aren’t here for movies, I’ll try to keep a good bit of variety going on here.  I’ve gotten back in cooking and baking so hopefully more recipes and all those backlogged posts need to go up.

Anyone else going to Fantasia?

8) Upcoming….

  • Seattle Day 2
  • Fantasia Film reviews
  • Toronto/Gatineau food
  • Baking and Foods (recipes)

And to wrap it all up, a song that I’m totally obsessed with.  Its just so happy!! 🙂

Have an awesome Tuesday! 🙂