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

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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.

Freedom: Not All It’s Cracked Up to Be

vpi07wI recently ventured out on my own and am renting my very own grown-up apartment. With this venture into fierce independant living, I have discovered the meaning behind what the late George Michael so eloquently sang about, “freedom”.

Freedom is…

  1. Washing dishes by hand…a lot of dishes…because you thought it would be a good idea to wait until you ran out of mugs before doing the dishes. P.S. Dear Dishwasher, come back to me!
  2. Coming home and not discovering that someone surprise washed your dishes…because you live alone/are fiercely independant.
  3. Defending the fact that scrambled eggs and toast for dinner counts as cooking.
  4. Realizing that maybe you should learn how to cook something that’s not a form of eggs.
  5. Waking up to your car buried in snow… because you live in Canada and no longer have a garage.
  6. Having to wake up early so you have time to dig your car out of the winter tundra before work.
  7. Dropping a pen and realizing that no one’s cleaned back there…ever.
  8. Not being able to blame the hair in the shower on someone else.
  9. Endless loads of laundry.
  10. Being reminded that you started a load of laundry before you went to bed…because you were awoken by the crazy loud buzzer you can’t figure out how to disable.

Be Like Cory

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As the cycle of fashion dives deeper into the 90s, I thought I would make a suggestion. We should all dress more like Cory Matthews. Now, I’m not talking about present day “Girl Meets World” Cory Matthews. I’m talking about Boy Meets World, Season 1 Cory. As the seasons progress, his look loses its edge and gets too mainstream.

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Invest in statement pieces. Try a vest.

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Want to wear a t-shirt, but it’s not quite hot enough? No problem. Just layer it over your hoodie. Still too cold? Throw on a vest, preferably one with another hood so you can double that up.

cory-yellow

The more bright colours the better. Try a pop of yellow.

core-double-flannel

How to Drink Wine Like You’re Fancy

konzelmannwinery4I recently attended a wine tour/tasting. I highly recommend it! Apparently I’ve been drinking wine incorrectly my whole (legal drinking-age) life. Here I thought you simply pour it into a glass and drink it. Wrong. There are way more steps involved than I ever realized. Don’t worry, I’m here to share them with you so you don’t continue to make the same mistakes.

Step 1: Balance Your Wine

If you’re one of the many who hold your wine glass in order to keep it from falling over when you drink, you’d be wrong. Apparently, if you’re cupping your wine glass in your hands, this warms the temperature of the wine to that of your hands. This is wrong, according to the experts. Hold the glass by the stem as though you’re trying to balance a basketball on a pencil. Your wine-drinking experience is already more exciting, right? This balancing act can be increasingly difficult with those large, (it’s been a long week) glasses.

Step 2: Tip to See Film (Check for poison)

Lesson #1: Trust no one, even your waiter. Tip your glass ever so slightly to see the layer of film on the top. Yeah, I didn’t realize my wine had a film on top either. Apparently that’s a good thing. Are there any floaties on top or beneath the film? If not, excellent. You can proceed to step 3.

Step 3: Smell (Again, check for poison, or wine gone bad)

I’ve learned that being a wine connoisseur includes being increasingly paranoid. Don’t just slightly waft the aroma to your nose. Really get your nose in the glass so you can get super close to the wine. If your nose is actually touching the wine, you’ve gone too far. Back up a smidge. Do you smell that rich bouquet of flavours? Me neither. Just nod and agree with the wine snobs around you.

Step 4: Swirl

Now don’t get carried away. It’s not an aggressive swirl that can spin your wine right out of the glass and splash on your neighbour. Ever so gently, until you’re a real pro, swirl the wine around in the bottom of the glass. Your friends should be really impressed with you by now. Apparently, this helps to release the flavours.

Step 5: Swish It Around

Take a sip and swish it around in your mouth. Now, you don’t want to gargle it like mouthwash. You’re supposed to swish it around to get rid of whatever tastes already exist in your mouth. Now, you don’t have to spit the first sip out (although that’s what the “experts” suggest). Just don’t judge the whole glass by this sip. Cleanse that pallet so you can taste your wine from a blank mouth slate.

Step 6: Slurp It

This doesn’t involve slurping it from the glass. Sip the wine and then slurp it from within your mouth for about 30 seconds before swallowing. Yeah, I don’t really understand how this is supposed to work. I just pretended I was doing it and moved on to the next step.

Step 7: Smell it Again

I know what you’re thinking. You already smelled the wine. However, you just swirled the wine around and now it smells completely different. Again, nod and agree with the wine snobs.

Step 8: Drink Away

Yes, finally, if you’re not completely exhausted, you can drink your wine. Now, I’m not entirely sure on this, but I think you can just drink your wine normally from here on out. At least the wine that’s already in your glass. Pour another glass and you’ll have to start at step 1 all over again.

My Personal Take on Ice Wine: It’s not worth it. It’s crazy expensive, comes in a small bottle, and tastes like syrup (not the good kind). Save your money.