Alaska Cruise on Norwegian Jewel [Day 3]: Ketchikan, Alaska

Day 3 on the Alaskan Cruise was our first stop.  After a day of being at sea and exploring the boat thoroughly, this first stop was a welcome time. We had an early wake-up time to meet up for the bus to go to where our tour start.  Right off the boat, it was full of the city and by the shore was tons of souvenir shopping.

Ketchikan, Alaska

Good morning, Ketchikan! 🙂

Rainforest Canoe Trail

Let me just start by saying that my mom and her friends did not know what they were getting themselves into, so they didn’t quite enjoy it as much as I did.  If you’ve followed here for a while, you know that I LOVE water.  I mean, like cruise feels great but I used to do dragonboat so canoeing felt great.  They thought someone would paddle the canoe but nope, it was all about us doing the work to get there.  There wasn’t a lot of people doing the tour on top of that so it was kind of funny how it was the guide, one of the cruise employees and me doing most of the paddling. Still, it was fun.  Plus, the view was beautiful!

Ketchikan

Ketchikan

We did a tour of the lake and then made our first around the river bend where there was a chef lady who had prepared some clam chowder, smoked salmon, coffee, etc for our snacks.

Ketchikan

Smoked Salmon

Ketchikan

Chef and Clam Chowder

Rainforest Canoe Trail

The view of the lake from where we parked the canoe

Then, we got to do a tour of the rainforest on that island to learn a bit of the vegetation.  The guide was young and energetic and he seemed genuinely in love with nature making him rather enthusiastic so it was even more engaging to listen to. 🙂

Ketchikan

A Berry plant..I think its salmonberry

Ketchikan

Fallen logs that nuture the growth of other plants

Ketchikan

Skunk Cabbage

Ketchikan

Can’t remember the name but these things grow in 90% non-polluted air, making Alaska one of the most non-polluted places

Dinner at Tsar’s Palace

We got back to the boat for the sailing away at 3pm or something after doing some souvenir shopping and hopping back on the boat for lunch.  I did go on the deck and take a nice picture of the Ketchikan harbor/city from there.

Ketchikan

Ketchikan

I can’t remember the schedule exactly.  Its somewhere in my stack of papers.  From my notes, we did sit in the sun a little. There was the Sail Away Party in the lounge where I did go for a little while.  I think we just sat and walked around until dinner time. I might have gone to workout (since I did that everyday).

The details aren’t so important since this is freestyling cruising.  Seeing that’s Norwegian Cruise Line’s tagline, it works out, right? 😉 Tsar’s Palace is the other main dining palace.  A part of the menu is the same as Azura but there is some dishes that vary on a daily basis.  It is a bigger restaurant and has a more grand decor.

Here’s what we had.  I’m sorry that I can’t remember any of the dishes specifically anymore.  I should’ve taken a picture of the menu but apparently I didn’t…so there’s no going back from that.

Evening: Shows, Games and Country Hoe-Down

Alaskan Cruise

I don’t have a whole lot of pictures from evenings but that evening, we went to the show at the Stardust Theatre.  I walked around (resulting in the shot above of the sunset) and caught the Guess The Tune game, which was pretty fun.  That night it was called the Country Hoe-Down.  I had a ton of fun learning how to line dance.  I think I still remember some moves.  It was super fun because this old couple was owning the dance floor, aside from the staff of course.  They were right there next to me and when I got tired, I remembered that I couldn’t get owned by some elderly folks so I tried to learn it even better. It was really fun.  That’s all I’m saying 🙂

Events like this and I started making acquaintances, not bad, right? Only took 3 days 😉

That’s it for Day 3! The beautiful Ketchikan graced us with no rain until we were sailing away.  It was really some nice awesome weather we had the whole way, you’ll see…  That canoe trail though, man, I have to find some of those here and sign up for one of those.  You want to feel like being one with nature? That was totally how I felt about it.

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What Fuels You?

It seems a little weird to be posting about workouts and the like since I’ve really dropped off the map in that direction, even though I am still working hard to train towards running that 10K next year. I have been pretty quiet in talking and updating about it.

ETB Fit reached out to me and inspired this post regarding nutritional lifestyles and how we fuel ourselves before, during and after a workout. That sounds rather fun to do.  Its a good way to help me look at what I do now.

So, what does fuel me?

What I eat pre-workout?

Before working out, or in general, while I’m in the training phase, I try to be more aware of what I eat.  For one, I’m horrible at hydration so I work hard to make sure that I have lots of liquids from water to tea.  When I  used to do Dragonboat, I would sometimes bring diluted energy drink to keep the energy flowing.  Usually, if I know that I’m going to run or Zumba class (which is more like my current workout focus), I choose better snacks during the work day. Something like fruit energy bars or nuts (natural non-flavored almonds) and the best is when I can bring fruits, simply like clementines, bananas or apples. I also make sure to have protein like chicken or peanut butter sandwich(when I’m in a hurry). My pre-workout foods vary quite a bit.

Although I don’t take any pre-workout supplements, perhaps you do and you could always hop over to ETB Fit and check out their line here*.

What music do I listen to during workout?

If I’m at Zumba class, they have their own latin music so that’s not something I need to think about.  I normally run without music.  Partially because I don’t have a holder and my hand is already busy holding my phone that has the running app tracking my route, distance and time. However, when I do weights, I pop on some electronic music to rev things up a little. Plus, its very rhythmic so the beat helps me stay constant when I do reps and not rush through my moves.

For the kicks, here is my Youtube playlist for workouts that I go to.  I haven’t updated it in a while but you get the idea 😉

How do you switch up routines daily/weekly to stay motivated?

What are you talking about? I’m always motivated!  Just joking! 😉

Actually, I usually try to follow challenges or pre-set routines.  When I do runs, I’ll use the Nike Running App to set the coach to make sure I stay on track. I like it a lot because it sets an 8 week program that helps you prepare for a certain mileage that you want to aim for. If I do workout/strength training (more so in winter), I follow Nike Training Club workouts one or two months out of the winter.  It helps vary the workouts a little more while keeping a steady routine whether its toning, slimming down or building strength.  These are in 4 week programs so its very effective.  However, when I do make my own workouts, I tend to like to flip the days I’m working out around and also try to rotate around doing yoga, circuit training and full body training.  I also do change around and do more focussed training whether its abs, legs or arms.  One thing I do need to work on more is definitely adding in is do back strengthening to balance things out a little.

This reminds me that I need to be heading back to do some 30 day challenges 😉 Setting continuous goals and challenging myself is how I stay motivated.

What do I eat or do after the workout to make sure I get the most out of my workout?

For one, I rest, rehydrate and make sure to stretch lots for the next day or two, depending when I have the next workout.  I always believe (so I try to do it the best I can) that eating good and clean and healthy is the way to go.  After strength training, I usually grab some protein shake depending on what time it is.  Although I don’t drink it as much as I should, I do it because it does help my body recover.  If not, I go for fruits and veggies.  In general, just trying to stay eat as clean and healthy as possible 🙂

What fuels you? Do you take protein powder or other supplements before, during, or after workouts? What eating habits do you have to help promote healthy living? 

**Please note that this is my sharing of what fuels me.  ETB Fit inspired this post however I am not being compensated.  As I’m not very knowledgeable in these forms of supplements, I did ask my fiancé to take a look at it.  Paraphrasing what he said: A good line of products that covers all basics from vitamins to protein powders and pre-workouts, etc.  What stood out [for him] was the natural whey protein which has a decent amount of protein per serving and sweetened with stevia along with it being from grass-fed cows (hormone-free).  These are just our opinions. **

Dinner: Sausage & Asparagus Quiche

I’ve finally gotten back to the whole cooking thing. Hopefully that baking motivation is going to come back soon because I really want that Baking Through Disney Project to move on.  I’m seriously done with Snow White.  I just have one more movie adaptation to go up and then its the final baking concept and that has seriously lessened in difficulty but I know what I want to do.

Last weekend, we went to Costco (and its dangerous in there). We have a new goal now that whatever we get, we need to eat in a fast and efficient manner before it rots and goes to waste.  Its one of the reasons I try to avoid buying vegetables and fruits there because its just me and my boyfriend and he knows this is a fact but he willingly eats like 4 types of veggies and 3 types of fruits (I’m not even exaggerating) so a lot of times, whatever I get, I have to eat all by myself.  So Costco size isn’t exactly practical.  Our buy this time was asparagus.  On Monday night, I made a super late night decision and pulled out soon to expire pie shells and decided that I’d try my hand on making my first quiche.

Late at night also means I needed to use what was on hand. And the result…

Sausage and Asparagus Quiche

Sausage and Asparagus Quiche

 Ingredients: 

1 9 inch pie shell
5 sausages, sliced/chopped
6 stalks asparagus, chopped
3 large eggs, beaten
Thyme, oregano & garlic salt (optional)

How to make it:

1. Follow the instructions on how to prepare the baking shells. Usually its baking 8-10 minutes at 425F.
2. Fill the shell with beaten eggs.
3. Add in the asparagus and sausage.
4. Season as desired. I used garlic salt, thyme and oregano.
5. Put in oven at 375F and bake for 50-60 mins.

This is an extremely simplified version of making a quiche. I was reading recipes afters that add milk or cream or whatnot. I can understand how it would make it thicker and more fluffy perhaps. However, on a whim and being time efficient, the preparation work for this is very minimal so its a great choice.

The combination of asparagus and sausage was pretty good. Only thing to beware of is to not use the asparagus ends that are too old then it becomes really chewy or simply a chore to eat. However, the taste was great. I was happy with the choice of spices that we chose.

Do you like quiches? What is your choice of ingredients?

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! 🙂

Drinks: Strawberry-Basil Infused Water

Summer is finally here!

Its actually feeling like summer in here as the rain has pushed out of the picture this weekend and we were in the low 30s Celsius.  I finally wore my shorts, tank top and flip flops and did a ton of garden work and started working on harvesting stuff.  I’ll give a garden update very soon with My Weekly Adventures. However, my basil has grown a lot while being indoors and it was time to do a harvest for it.  Then our little visit to Costco reaped a big package of strawberries. Then I found my pitcher for infused water so everything worked out perfectly great to make another infused water to help with a little refreshing detox.

STRAWBERRY-BASIL INFUSED WATER

Strawberry Basil Infused Water

Ingredients:

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
Water

Depending on how your pitcher is or whether you use it in those infusion bottles, the quantity will vary.  It’ll also depend whether your ingredients will float all together.  My pitcher here is pretty cool because it has a tube to put ice, another netted layer where I put my herbs and then directly in the pitcher (as you see) are the sliced strawberries.

I kept it in the fridge to infuse for more than 4 hours before I tasted it at night. The strawberry and basil both came out very well.  And the mix was rather delicious.  What I worried about initially was that the basil was such a strong herb that it would mask the taste of the strawberries but I was wrong.  While you could taste the basil, it balanced really well with the strawberries.  What’s nice is that you can adjust the amount of each ingredient to your liking.  If you like basil more, then go for it. You can add more to make it taste more of basil than strawberries.

I’m pretty happy that this time’s infused water was a lot more successful than last year’s try at blueberry and lemon mix.  I think a huge part is in choosing the right combo and also slicing the fruits so that it infuses better. Now, onwards to try out a few more blends over the summer.  I’ve been thinking of putting more drinks (cocktails included) section.  It sounds like a fun idea, don’t you think?

Here you go! A nice simple summer drink to help refresh and stay healthy! 🙂 

Seattle (Day 1): An Extreme Walking Tour [Part 3]

Its taken me a little more than a week but I finally got together the final part of Day 1 in Seattle to wrap up the Extreme Walking Tour.

To give you an idea of time, we started with Part 1 at around 9am or so.  The bus ride to the Museum of Flight took quite a bit of time. By the time, we wrapped up Part 2 after the Seattle Aquarium, we were in the 4-5pm range, I’d say.

1) Pike Place Market

Our first stop was to make a little pit stop at Pike Place Market which was just across and up the stairs/slope depending which way you chose to go.

Pike Place Market

Up there, the market was cool with lots of beautiful fresh flowers and fruits/meats, etc.  It was really awesome.  I didn’t have a whole lot of time because my mom’s friend really wanted to go see The First Starbucks!

Pike Place Market

The First Starbucks!

She was a brave lady, I tel you that. The line up was out the door.  We stood around for 20-30 minutes waiting for her as she went in to buy a cup as a souvenir for her friend.   Now that, my friends, is dedication.  I wanted to get a tea but no tea is worth waiting in line for that long crowded in a tiny space.

2) Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour

I talked about this one before in a photo challenge and I’m not exactly sure what else I can say.

Bill Speidel's Underground Tour

Underground Tour

Underground Tour

Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour is pretty entertaining if you’re into a little sarcastic humor about the whole underground city under that area as you walk among the ruins. How the city was burnt down and then rebuilt and all the crazy history behind that. Informative and fun and just the type of humor I liked.  I really enjoyed it and would totally recommend it if you are into this sort of thing.

3) Pier 66 and the Waterfront

Our next stop was straight back to the harbor waterfront to check out where we would be boarding the next day and scope out the area.

Pier 66

Seattle Waterfront

I love waterfronts in general but Seattle’s waterfront is definitely very pretty.  Its just really calm (despite the construction area next to the Seattle Aquarium).  We walked along pretty much the whole waterfront all the way to our next stop…

4) Olympic Sculpture Park

Our last stop for Day 1 is Olympic Sculpture Park.  I think that there’s a different path at the bottom of the route that we took which is uphill and working downwards.  I didn’t do any research on this but the way we went upwards, we went through some gardens with sculptures along the way.  Its pretty abstract art in my opinion so I wasn’t totally into it but the garden itself had some nice flowers.  I didn’t put any flowers since I can show those any time but these should be the highlight.

olympic sculpture park

olympic sculpture park

olympic sculpture park

olympic sculpture park

The last sculpture here is the coolest feature here.  At least I thought it was.  This is a metallic tree.  I mean its all metal and it blends right into the environment except when the sun hits it at a certain angle and there’s a reflection.  Now that is impressive, right?

After 3 parts, we’re finally done Day 1 of Seattle.  Man, only one day of my vacation done but I wanted to get together some good posts together while I sifted through my photos.  While Alaska was the highlight, Seattle was extremely pretty as well so we’ll take our time with this vacation’s post 🙂 I’ll be back with Day 2 in Seattle soon.

If you missed Part 1 & 2, you can find them Here and Here.

Baking: Nutella Cookies

I’m finally back in the kitchen and baking. Nothing brings me back quite like baking some goods for events.  This time around its for Father’s Day and for my boyfriend’s dad. I may not know a lot of stuff but I do know that he loves chocolate.  After looking through my Pinterest boards for a long time and thinking thinking and thinking some more, I finally decided on this Nutella Cookies.

Nutella Cookies

I love simple, quick and efficient recipes, especially when my indecisiveness causes me to have a lack of time and I need to do this quickly.  These “One Bowl Nutella Cookies” are from Chew Out Loud.  You can find the recipe HERE!

Whats better than a recipe with 6 ingredients, right? You probably have most of the items at home.  Plus, 8 minutes in the oven ONLY!! Nothing like a simple recipe to boost my motivation and confidence in the kitchen!

Nutella Cookies

However, I did make slight changes:

  • Replace all-purpose flour with (Cloud 9) Gluten-Free Flour
  • Chocolate chips are semi-sweet

Another success for this one is that I managed to control dividing the dough to be a smaller portion so that it would not expand and merge into one big cookie while it baked.  I’m usually really bad with that but I’m quite proud of being able to take the extra time to get that right.

Nutella Cookies

I can’t eat Nutella due to dietary restrictions but the feedback from my boyfriend and his parents were great.  They really liked it and I could actually see them enjoy it.  That’s what its all about 🙂 Plus, they didn’t taste the gluten-free flour which is great.  I’m still the happiest with my baking experience with Cloud 9.

Easy, efficient, Nutella, chocolate, quick and delicious! This one is a definite winner 🙂

Do you like Nutella? Chocolate? All of the above?

Rhubarb season is officially upon us so expect some recipes coming up.  I’ll be baking up a storm this week (hopefully)!

Happy Monday!! 🙂