Neighbours: They’re Not Just to Complain About

Gladys_KravitzI  grew up in the country where neighbours are few and far between. Now that I live in the big city (suburbs), I’m learning that there’s something to having people closeby. They’re good for more than just a cup of sugar, which is helpful because I rarely (never) bake and the chances of me needing a cup of sugar are pretty slim. However, there’s a much larger chance I’ll need advice from someone familiar with the neighborhood (gossip) or who knows more about cars than I do. 

What your neighbours can do for you

1. Protection from thieves/intruders

Gladys Kravitz is way handier than people gave her credit for. If you don’t know who Gladyz Kravitz is, she’s from Betwitched…and we’re no longer friends.

2. Protection from (potential) murderers

See #1

3. They can keep you from blowing up your car and/or face

I’ve learned to appreciate the inquisitive neighbour who, after seeing me attempt to change a taillight, asks if I know what I’m doing. I did not…

4. Part-time dog friends

This is especially nice when your apartment does not allow pets.

5. Free entertainment

i.e. street peewee hockey, pool parties, etc.

6. Drama.

Just when you think it’s going to be another ordinary evening, you come home to find three cops parked on your street, in front of the house next door. 

7. Music

Before you can wish you can hear Twist and Shout blasting from your stereo, there it is, coming from the obnoxiously loud party next door.

8. Free swimming

Now, I haven’t actually figured out how to swing this one, but I’m working on it. Suggestions welcome. 

I suppose this also means that you should be willing, if able, to do the following for your neighbours as well… Also, this list is not all inclusive. If you have experienced other benefits from your neigbours, please, do share!

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I Hurt Myself at the Gym So You Don’t Have To

safety-first-1

You’re at the gym. You’re in the zone. The last thing you want to do is ruin your workout by falling off of a machine. Yeah, it can happen. Fortunately for you, although unfortunately for me, I’ve already experienced a number of gym-related injuries. I’m here to share my misfortunes in the hopes that you can avoid an embarrassing gym moment or a nasty bonk to the head.

My Top 8 Gym Safety Tips

1. Watch where you’re going.

You may not think that this one belongs on the list. It does. Sometimes you’re in the zone and you’ve just finished an extremely difficult exercise and are moving onto the next. Before you know it, you bend down to pick up a weight and forget that the squat bar jets out further out than you remember. Bonk. Right in the face.

2. Don’t touch gym equipment and then touch your eye.

I don’t care how itchy your eye is. I don’t care if you think you’ve rubbed your finger clean on your shirt. Don’t do it. Your eye will get so much worse.

3. Don’t be dramatic when putting your weights away.

No matter how tired you are, place your weights down carefully. Remember, your fingers are very close by. It might look cool, but you know what doesn’t look cool? Blue finger nails…

4. Don’t kick gym equipment.

No matter how light a piece of equipment looks, don’t try to kick it out of your way. It’s gym equipment. You will hurt yourself.

5. Ensure the locker doors around you are closed before you tie your shoe.

You cannot imagine the pain that ensues when you stand up from tying your shoes and bonk yourself on an open locker door. Yes, it’s unpleasant.

6. The Internet is not the same as a personal trainer.

Exercise caution when trying a new exercise you learned on the internet. I don’t want to tell you that everything on the internet is bad. However, if you see a video and think, “Huh, that’s a creative use of that machine,” don’t do it! There’s a reason why that machine was not intended for that type of use.

7. Take Notes.

When working out with your trainer (assuming you read my previous post and got one), take accurate notes. If not, you could put the machine at an extremely low weight and fall off. I wish this didn’t happen to me. I also wish that I didn’t end up with a giant bruise on my leg from the fall.

8. Don’t challenge your trainer.

Yes, you want your trainer to push you to your limit, but exercise caution. He will rise to that challenge and you’ll be unable to walk for two days.

Hipsters in The Park

9138614929_adc3430b99_hDowntown parks have way more variety than parks in the suburbs. Sure, you have the typical runners and Frisbee enthusiasts, but there are so many more groups of people that you just don’t find in the suburbs.

Who You’ll Find at a Hipster Park

  1. The Ill Prepared

    It’s 30 degrees Celsius and sunny. Maybe don’t wear black slacks and a black polo shirt.

  2. The Well Prepared

    Why sit on the ground when you have a chair that folds away into our backpack?

  3. The Over Prepared

    It’s the park. It’s not a 10 day trek across the Andes.

  4. Stoners Learning to Hula Hoop

    Pretty self-explanatory.

  5. Old Hippies

    The hippie just pulled out his iPad. I don’t know how i feel about this. Aren’t hippies supposed to be against “the man”? I guess technology isn’t so bad? Although, his attention seems to be more drawn to the stoner hula hoopers.

  6. Hipsters That Think They Can Throw a Football

    Again, pretty self-explanatory.

  7. The Newlyweds That Think a Busy Park is the Perfect Wedding Photo Backdrop

    I’m sure they’ll look back at their photos for years to come with fondness…

Hipster Garage Sale

Another thing that can often be found in a hipster park is a garage sale. Hipster garage sales are not like ordinary garage sales. I grew up in a place where a garage sale meant collecting all of your old toys and clothes and hoping someone else wanted them. If someone was willing to pay you $10 for your “vintage” friendship making kit, that was a steal! I recently ventured downtown and learned that garage sales mean something very different here.

I don’t understand how all of these people just “happen” to have antique glassware and (overpriced) records they’re trying to unload. It would also appear that used hats are all the rage (Head lice risk? No, thank you).

Fan Clubs

Of course fan clubs meet in hipster parks. Now I’ve never seen Orphan Black, but from the fan club, it would appear to have something to do with clones and pencils. Black clothes and yellow hair also seem to play a role. Oh, they have press-on tattoos…I wonder if they have any that aren’t Orphan Black related.

Bonus Fun Fact: There’s never a fear of being the palest/least tanned person at a hipster park. At a hipster park, if you’re tanned, you stand out.

Tips for The Realistic Cooker: Frozen Olive Oil

Olive oilDon’t Store Your Olive Oil Where It Can Freeze Into a Solid Mass

Now, you probably didn’t know this could be a problem, until it happens to you. I didn’t realize this was a thing. The conundrum was thrown at me when I opened my cabinet to find a frozen bottle of olive oil. Apparently the cabinet I keep my oil in is very cold because my olive oil was frozen solid. Faced with the problem of having a salad with just balsamic vinegar, I needed to act quickly.

How to Thaw Your Olive Oil

1. Boil Water

You might think this is the first logical solution, but who has time for that? Plus, it would create more dishes. You have a salad waiting and you’re starving! However, if you’re looking for a fancy solution, this is the one for you.

2. Body Heat

Why boil water when you have a natural source of heat at your fingertips. Take your bottle of frozen olive oil and hold it close like it’s your child, your frozen child who’s on the verge of hypothermia.

3. Warm Running Water

Still frozen, eh? Take that bottle and run it under some very hot water. That should release enough for you to enjoy your salad. Wala! A salad is born.

My Personal Trainer is Trying to Kill Me (and Yours Should Too)

personal_trainer_pain

Apparently it’s considered a win when you have trouble walking back to your car after a session with your personal trainer.

Personal trainers are clever. They push you to the point where you start wishing physical harm upon them. Yet, they’ve also rendered you immobile and unable to carry out any of your sinister plans.

Then you think to yourself, “Today’s rough, but tomorrow will be better.” Wrong. Apparently things will  get worse before they  get better. And you decided to wear heels to work. That was a mistake. Once you start getting that carefree feeling back in your legs, BAM! It’s leg day again… What’s the point of having nice legs if you can’t even use them? I’m currently working on a way to sit down without using my leg muscles. It’s not going well…

I Got a Personal Trainer (Cue Panic)

pain-gain-arnoldI decided to try this new thing where I start my Saturday off with the feeling of impending doom. No, I’m not running away from a murderer (although sometimes it feels like I am).

As I venture further down the road to better health and wellness, I decided it was time I sign up for a personal trainer. I was convinced (yes, by said personal trainer) that in order to improve my workout and step up my game, I needed to take drastic measures. Personal trainer it is.

Now, along with the physical journey, there’s also a mental component. I’ve discovered there are 10 stages to mentally coming to grips with the fact that I now have a personal trainer (and might die). Allow me to share this roller coaster of emotions.

The 10 Stages of Having a Personal Trainer

1. Regret

After you sign up for your first personal training session, you may second guess your decision. You may start thinking you made a huge mistake and you’ll start making excuses. For example, the expense is more than your budget can handle, your schedule is full enough as it is, etc.

2. Pride

Next comes pride. You may think to yourself, “I don’t need a personal trainer. I’m fine. There’s no need for anyone else to push me. I’ve been doing a basically fine job for years. Yes, I look the same, but still…”

3. Justification

With pride comes justification. I mean, the internet is basically like a personal trainer and it’s free. The people on the internet never tell me I’m doing anything wrong. I realize they can’t see what I’m doing (or if I’m even exercising at all). However, they’re very encouraging. We’ve never met, but I’m sure we’d be best friends.

4. Panic

Once you come to grips with the fact that you indeed have a personal trainer, the panic starts to set in. You realize that impending doom is approaching. There’s no escape. Crap.

5. Increased Heart Rate / Sweat (Not the Exercise Kind)

After you’ve moved past the panic and stress, you want to dive right in. You don’t have to sit around and stress about the what-ifs anymore. Let’s rip this bandaid off already!

6. Impatience

Why hasn’t my personal trainer gotten back to me with a scheduled session?! Doesn’t he realize I’m trying to fix myself?!

7. Relief

You make it through day one and totally nail it. You can totally handle this. Piece of cake!

8. Anxiety

Wait…that was just the assessment?! More anxiety…

9. Pain

Everything hurts. You’ll drop a pencil and take a significant amount of time contemplating whether bending over to pick it up is worth the inevitable pain which will ensue. I think my personal trainer is trying to kill me. This better be worth it. Can’t there be gain without the pain??

10. Acceptance

This is the stage where you fully come to terms with the fact that you’re one of those people who has a personal trainer. I mean, celebrities have them and you wouldn’t say that they’re not smart enough to work out by themselves. Now, I haven’t actually reached this stage myself, but I’m pretty sure I’ll get there…eventually.

What To Do With Your Day Off (When You Have No Money)

1004331.pngStaycations aren’t nearly as rejuvenating as far-away-cations. A change of scenery can do wonders. Throw in a beach and an endless supply of beverages in carved out pineapples, and I’m set! Now, how do you explore a change of scenery if your vacation time and budget leave much to be desired? Continue reading.

Pretend You Work Downtown

Got a couple days off and you’re not sure what to do with them? Head downtown. Now, this one really only works if you don’t already work downtown. Explore the joys of commuting into the exciting downtown financial district without worrying about being late for an important meeting. However, if you walk with purpose, those around you will think you’re heading to an important appointment. For those of you who already work downtown or don’t live near a booming metropolis, pick a nearby suburb (or the closest thing you have to a booming metropolis).

Where Do You Go?

Now, seeing as you don’t have an actual downtown job to head towards, where do you go? Find a trendy hipster coffee shop and plunk yourself down. Pull out your computer and pretend like you’re working on an up and coming screenplay or blog of some kind (Bonus points if you actually have a blog to work on). No one needs to know you’re actually catching up on your online shopping.

Take Yourself Out to Lunch

Find a trendy lunch spot (yes, trendy is key) and enjoy a meal for one. I understand that many are hesitant (including myself) to sit alone in a restaurant. However, the best time to try this is during lunch on a weekday, especially near office buildings. Lots of people grab quick sit down lunches by themselves. Still hesitant? Pull out that handy laptop and enjoy a (fake) working lunch. Books and news publications can also be utilized to create the illusion of a productive lunch (extra bonus points if you actually learn something from your Time Magazine).