Mid-Week Tangent: Wine Wednesdays Returns!

It’s been a while since a good, old-fashioned wine Wednesday hasn’t it? I’m really going back in the memory bank here, because it’s been a while since we actually visited any wineries, but nonetheless here we go.

p.s. If you missed previous Wine Wednesday posts, you can find them here, here, here, and here.

Region: Kelowna

Winery: Rollingdale 

Varietal: Cabernet Franc

Price Point: $39 (very pricey, I know)

Brief and non-technical Tasting Notes: To me, cab franc is one of those wines that can be either absolutely brilliant or completely abysmal. Thankfully this cab franc falls is the former. It’s smooth, rich and smells divine.  The only challenge with this one is its price tag. I’ve talked about this before, and I know our local wineries are often small producers that have to invest a ton just to create a few hundred cases,  yet 40 bucks still seems really steep to me. I mean, I bought a bottle because it was delicious, but still…

Although not the highlighted wine today, it’s also worth trying their Paint the Town Red, an everyday red blend, which is light, fruity and super drinkable. Their blanc de merlot is super unique and ultra refreshing for summer. It’s a merlot but pressed without the skins so just has the faintest pink hue.

Winery Vibes:  Winery vibes are super important yet underrated. This is the feeling that you get when you walk into a space, and is influenced by things such as: aesthetics, decor, set up, staff friendliness and knowledge, sampling protocol (free vs. fees, sampling variety, etc.), snobbiness vs. accessibility, etc.

I’m not going to lie to you: from the outside, the Rollingdale wine tasting room looks like a Dexter kill room, the kind of space where you might enter and never exit again alive.  It’s a metal shed, windowless and completely terrifying. I promise you that once you enter you’ll know that everything is going to be ok.

The interior boasts barrels of wine, palates of wine for shipment, and a very, very casual and un-pretentious set up. I used to work in the tech sector and it reminds me of those stories of tech startups operating out of someone’s garage. It looks like they’ve set up a temporary space to make, store and sell wine until they make it big.

I’m really not selling this experience, am I?

Let me assure you, you can have a good tasting experience. It just won’t be accompanied by all the aesthetic bells and whistles that you get at some of the larger wineries.  What you will get is casual, straightforward service. One of the tasting room staff is a bit of a gruff, older gentleman, but he is friendly enough especially once you get into the tasting. We’ve also been hosted by his wife, who was infinitely more gregarious and very into the wine tasting experience. In other words, no matter who you get you’re in good hands.

We tasted at least eight wines, and could have had more if we’d been interested in sampling whites. They do make a marechal foch, which is rarer in our neck of the woods, but I found it to be a bit too young and sharp on the palate right now. In a couple years, it may be great. The same goes for their merlot, which smelled heavenly but just didn’t have the flavour to back it up yet. What I appreciated was their willingness to tell you when some of the wines are young and can benefit from laying down for a while. Many wineries act as though that’s not the case when it clearly is.

All in all, Rollingdale is a fun stop on day of wine touring. I wouldn’t suggest it as the crowning winery of a tour, but you’ll get lots of generous pours, friendly service, fewer crowds, and a couple of varietals that are definitely worth taking home.

*It probably goes without saying, but I have received no compensation for writing this. Rollingdale has no idea who I am, nor do I have a followership on this blog that would inspire anyway to pay me for writing nice things about them.

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TWIR #113: is this week over yet?

The thing about going a mile a minute for a couple weeks straight is that you’re bound to crash. And this week I crashed. This was the week I lost my energy, motivation and desire to do anything other than lay on the couch mindlessly watching TV. The only unfortunate part is that I’m still working on three jobs, writing this blog, and trying not to lose the fitness I’m starting to gain. In other words, laying around mindlessly all day hasn’t been an option. Also in other words, this week has been really long and tiring.

Let’s see what my body got up to to try to keep the old mind focused, shall we?

Saturday
Activity: hike!
Relevant Stats: 10-11 km, 400ish m elevation gain
Observations: We hit the road and drove out to a local trail that was supposedly very challenging and that supposedly featured great views. The trail turned out to be far easier than expected, though it was considerably longer than what I’ve hiked lately, but we never made it right to the end so I can neither confirm nor deny the views. My better half hit a part of the trail he did not like, and I did try to quickly get to the end on my own, but I realized that it was still a lot farther to the end, and I couldn’t leave him standing on the trail alone forever. Especially with the mosquitoes.  Good lord, the mosquitoes. I hadn’t experienced swarms of mosquitoes so terrible since the summit of Mount Allan on Centennial Ridge (a stunning hike, by the way, aside from the bugs).  They were fearless vultures, landing on us en masse whether we were moving or not. Ugh. Aside from the bugs, it was a great outing and definitively proved hiking is getting easier again.

Sunday 
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: cozy rain day
Observations: Sunday was supposed to be gross, which hasn’t happened here in a while and which seemingly justified a day of doing nothing. I luxuriated in laziness, making waffles, baking a cake, meal planning, and watching hours of golf. It was a lovely day of rest for this tired body and mind.

Monday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 50 min.
Observations: I was feeling good about my strength and fitness on Monday so I decided to up my weights on step ups and single leg squats, and also combine them with split lunges, back squats, dead lifts, and single leg dead lifts. My poor glutes. They didn’t hurt so badly in the moment, but man were they tender by the end of the day!  I was sort of proud of myself, but also sort of annoyed because it hurt to do basic things like, you know, sitting down. I suppose this is where that stupid expression ‘no pain no gain’ comes from, right?

Tuesday
Activity: spin
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations: My glutes were still sore as hell for this workout, but I thought spin would be just the ticket to loosen them up. Spoiler alert: spin does not loosen your glutes, especially if you do a ton of standing hovers and epic hill climbs.  In keeping with my gym wifi woes, my Apple Music failed to function yet again, which left me super irritated and robbed of spin music variety. I really, really need to update my playlists on my phone so that my workout vibes aren’t hampered by spotty wifi, and yet I’ve been thinking that for months and I’ve made no progress so I’m not holding my breath.

Wednesday
Activity: personal training session
Relevant Stats: 55 min.
Observations: Well, I got my money’s worth in this workout. For one, it was inexplicably 10 minutes longer than usual. On top of that, I asked last week for lower body in our next session and my trainer certainly delivered. Unfortunately, she chose to listen to me during a week when I’d absolutely slayed my glutes already. They were even more tender going into this workout then they’d been the day before. She started me off pulling the sled loaded with way more weight than usual (though she claimed that it wasn’t that much heavier), incorporated some heinous resistance band forward and backward low squat walking, and then also kettle bell lifts, kettle bell squats and glute bridges. My hamstrings and glutes were toast by the end of this one.  Let this be a lesson to us all: be careful what you wish for.

Thursday
Activity: spin
Relevant Stats: 35 min.
Observations: I didn’t have time to do a full workout, so I gave my all to this 35 minutes. Sometimes when I know that my time is limited, I am able to push myself 100 times harder than I would with extra time.  This was that workout. I finally (!!!!) got my Apple Music reliably working and I used some of the longest and most epic Guns n’ Roses tunes to fuel some seriously tough progressive hill climbs. I’m talking 14 minute progressive hill climbs.  I tried to switch up my musical choices at the end to fit in some sprints but my legs legitimately had nothing left in them. On the plus side, my glutes finally relaxed a bit, so I considered this workout a success on many fronts.

Friday
Activity: hike!
Relevant Stats: 8.5 km!
Observations:  Fridays are my new favourite workout day. We’ve gotten into a good rhythm of hitting the trails together and, depending on my workload, our hikes vary in length, but we got in a good one today. It’ll probably mean working a bit this weekend but it was worth it to get out there for a good chunk of trail before the rain descends this weekend.  And, if I must say, we really hauled ass…well, once my tired hamstrings and glutes woke up, that is. Hiking success!

The weekend is now upon us and, here at least, it’s looking like a total rain fest. At first, I was quite upset by this, but I suddenly see the potential to be lazy yet again, to perhaps completely finish one of my projects so that I can go back to having a reasonable two jobs, run stairs again (because rain = not too hot) and maybe even to find a new guilty pleasure on Netflix.  Yes, I lead a wild life. Happy weekend y’all! Get out there (or stay in) and do what you love.

Mid-Week Tangent: national donut day fail

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last year, it’s that there is a day for every damn thing on this planet.For those of you who didn’t know, last Friday was national donut day. National Donut Day is apparently so worthy of celebration that it gets two days. That’s right. When this past donut day rolled around, I thought to myself ‘I’m fairly sure we’ve already had one of these this year.’ Sure enough, Google revealed that June and November feature National Donut Days (if you’re curious as to why, check out this article).

That’s all a bit of an aside, though. I had no idea it was actually national donut day when we opted to check out the donuts at a local coffee shop. Every Friday is donut day at this coffee shop, and we just happened to remember that as we were driving home from our Friday morning hike (balance, y’all).  When I found out later that it was National Donut Day, I convinced myself that our buying donuts by pure chance might somehow mean that we’d  stumbled upon a mecca for amazing donuts. You see, ever since leaving Vancouver, I have missed my beloved apple fritters from Breka so very much.  And the dulce de leche donuts from Breka. And the occasional glazed old fashioned from Lucky’s Donuts. The Okanagan is wonderful in many ways, but so far it is not so wonderful when it comes to bakeries.

Alas, despite our high hopes, unfortunately, we were wrong. We had not stumbled upon a donut mecca.

Looks so promising doesn’t it?

Where: Ratio Coffee

What we Had: lemon thyme for me, cinnamon sugar for my partner in crime

The Verdict:  I didn’t try the cinnamon sugar because, to me, a donut without some form of glaze isn’t even worth eating. According to my better half it wasn’t that great.

My lemon thyme donut was a big disappointment in the actual donut department. The dough was tough. If I’m going to eat a yeast donut (my preference is always cake donuts), I want it to be light as air, fluffy, ultra pillowy soft, but with a slight crunch to the outer edges. This donut was all chew. It had an odd stretch to it when I tried to tear it apart, as though the dough had been overworked, and the outer edges had no delightful deep fried crust. It was the kind of donut that made me regret wasting calories on it (i.e. the worst kind of donut).

The one saving grace for this donut was the glaze, which was quite heavenly. It was supremely tart from the lemon and had the essence of thyme without being overwhelming. I’m usually not one to go with herbs in my baked goods because if they are overdone it’s just a big old mess, but this glaze got it right. I am not going to lie: I basically ripped the bottom of the donut off this bad boy and ate a thin layer of the donut with the glaze. Had this been my entire donut experience, I would have been a happy camper. But alas, it was not.

And so our national donut day chance experiment with Ratio Coffee donuts was a big old fail. I’m not tempted to try their donuts again, but I am willing to give them a chance on their sticky bun Saturdays because, well, sticky buns are life.  But as far as winning donuts in the Okanagan go, I’m still on the hunt.

TWIR #111: the overwhelm

It has been a long time since I felt like I am in over my head with work, like more than two years. I had forgotten what it feels like. It hasn’t been the crippling kind of overwhelm where you just want to curl in a fetal ball under the covers and hide from your responsibilities. It’s just been the kind that’s required intense focus. And some extra coffee. And some extra sugar. Yes, I soothe my stress with food and drink. It’s not actually helpful to anything but my emotions, but my emotional health could use a good hug right about now. Suffice it to say that it’s been a busy week and my workouts have been enormously helpful in keeping me relatively sane and functional.

Let’s see what I got up to.

Saturday
Activity: mini hike
Relevant Stats: 6.5 km
Observations: My mini hike wasn’t meant to be my workout. I actually planned Saturday as a possible rest day, with the chance that I’d be motivated to hit the gym after our short hike. I was not motivated to hit the gym by the time we got home, and I also ended up counting this as a workout even though it was only about 30 minutes of legitimate trail requiring any significant exertion. I broke a sweat and thus I consider it good enough to qualify as a legit workout.

Sunday
Activity: cardio warmup + strength training
Relevant Stats: 10 min. spin + 35 min. strength
Observations: Amidst a day of errands, chores (hallelujah, we hung all our artwork and pictures at last!!!) and work (yup, on a long weekend no less), I escaped the house for a trip to the gym. I spun for 10 minutes just to get the heart and legs going, then switched to a total body strength workout including some weighted single leg squats, lots of annoying tricep work, and some core work for good measure (and to attempt to combat the additional jiggly-ness from Portland and overall increased sugar consumption…it did not work. Sigh.).

Monday
Activity: mini hike #2 (!!) + golf
Relevant Stats: 6 km hike + 9-hole round
Observations: We hit the trails early to avoid the heat and knocked off a 6km loop hike before 9:30 am. It was very enjoyable with a morning breeze and without the sun’s intensity. We also fit in a 9 hole round of golf. Look, I know that golf isn’t really exercise, but we do at least carry our golf bags around the course and, when it’s hot out, that feels like a legitimate burden to the body.  We finished both our day’s activities before 1 pm and were like ‘uh, now what’. Getting up early sometimes backfires, because ‘now what’ turned into afternoon drinks on our patio.  We try to be good, but sometimes early season patio weather and drinks are irresistible.

Tuesday
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: travel day
Observations: I was up and at ’em early to hop down to Vancouver for a quick overnight work trip. Getting up at 5am is absolutely never my cup of tea, but I will say that morning light and the sunrise did make it somewhat more palatable. Aside from walking in airports and walking around downtown, there was little to no activity. The day’s highlights were seeing all my bestest friends for dinner, and then having a moment of panic when I didn’t think there were blinds in my hotel bathroom, which featured a full glass wall looking directly into an office building. Never fear, I found the blinds eventually and was relieved that I wouldn’t have to avoid the bathroom for 24 hours.

Wednesday
Activity: personal training session
Relevant Stats: 60 min.
Observations: I was reunited with my old personal trainer! I was so happy that she was able to fit me in for a session, even though it meant yet another 5am wake up call.  We got right back into it with lots of dead lifts and front squats and all sorts of strange exercises she thinks up that I have no idea how to describe let alone do (seriously, there was this one exercise where I was supposed to be engaging my hamstrings and core at the same time and I could NOT wrap my head around her instructions so much so that we gave up and did a modified version…which I also really don’t think I did right). The session reminded me just how much I miss my old trainer. She is the best.

Thursday
Activity: spin
Relevant Stats: 25 min.
Observations: A 25 minute workout wasn’t my intention but when my parents showed up about four hours earlier than anticipated, the stress of knowing I wasn’t there to greet them (even though my partner was) got the better of me and I left the gym with the full intention of doing a quick at home workout once we got my parents settled. Best laid plans. Of course getting them settled took longer than expected, and then, you know, work needed to happen and so there’s my really long-winded excuse for why I only worked out for 25 minutes. Sigh.

Friday
Activity: cardio + strength training
Relevant Stats: 30 min. spin + 3o min. strength training
Observations: After Thursday’s workout fail, I was determined to get in a good workout to round out the week. My favourite spin bike (i.e. the only one that isn’t inside the black spin studio of doom aka the spin studio that has no real lights in it) is missing the piece that holds your foot to the pedal, so it wasn’t the world’s best spin workout. I feared my foot flying off the pedal and the pedal slicing into the back of my leg. My anxiety about random things is real. Nonetheless, it was decent and I rounded out the day with lots of arm, leg and core work. I felt accomplished when I left the gym, which is about all I can ask for.

With that, another week comes to an end.  This weekend we are entertaining my parents, which should include a diverse range of activities like hiking, cider tasting, wine tasting, and patio drinking. Come to think of it, those are not diverse activities at all, are they? Regardless, the weekend is here. Let’s celebrate! Happy Friday!

TWIR #109: Short Work Week for the Win!

I like my job. I really do. But even when I like my job, I am still excited by a short work week. This week is a three-day work week which makes everything just a little more tolerable, and even made me more motivated to fit in lots of decent workouts before we skip town for a mini-getaway. Let’s see what I got up to!

Saturday
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: golf + roller shade shopping
Observations: I thought I would want to hike in the sunshine, but honestly I wanted to do nothing at all. That said, it was a gorgeous, sunny day so I had to get out there and do something. We opted for 9 holes of golf, and then spent several frustrating hours trying to track down roller shades for our patio, only to find everywhere had sold out already. Ugh.  We then drowned our sorrows in the sunshine (unfiltered by a screen, I might add) with lots and lots of chilled beverages.

Sunday
Activity: stairs!
Relevant Stats: 36 minutes
Observations: I claimed that extra minute beyond 35 minutes, because holy hell stairs suck. I remember a time when I used to run stairs weekly, when I used to drag my coworkers along and try to get them excited about running up and down stairs until we couldn’t feel our legs. What was wrong with me? I did not enjoy these stairs, but as you saw earlier this week, I’m trying to get back into them so I pushed myself as hard as I could for as long as I could. I also think I should get bonus points for doing stairs in the blazing sun.

Monday
Activity: cardio warm up + strength training
Relevant Stats: 10 min. spin + 40 min. strength training
Observations: You know when you totally feel like listening to certain songs and you can envision spinning to them? No? That’s just me? Well, whatever. I had 10 minutes worth of songs I just had to spin to, but then my legs were so tired from the stairs on Sunday that they had no more cardio in them. I switched to strength and hammered my legs with weight instead.

Tuesday
Activity: spin!
Relevant Stats: 42 min. (I think)
Observations: I said “I think” it was 42 minutes  because I stopped the timer on the bike when my Apple music was randomly pausing itself (and completely pissing me off in the process), and then I forgot to start the timer up again. Sometimes technology is more trouble than it’s worth. At any rate, it was a solid spin despite my legs being incredibly tired from weekend stairs and Monday’s leg and glute work.

Wednesday
Activity: personal training session
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations: OMG, my arms. I firmly believe that trainers have been taught to pay attention to what you hate and throw 100 times more of it at you. I told my new trainer that I hate arm exercises, and sure enough she built an entire workout around my arms. Actually, that’s not true. The start of this workout was all glutes and legs, and holding weighted positions, which made my legs want to fall off, and I was just starting to wish for my poor legs to get a break. So really, I got what I wished for, but instantly realized that the grass is not always greener. I was certain I wouldn’t be able to move my arms by the end of the day.

Thursday
Activity: dog’s breakfast
Relevant Stats: 10 min. spin + 20 min. legs and arms + 10 min abs
Observations: This was one of those days where I felt like I was wandering aimlessly around the gym with no purpose, as sometimes happens when I have to work out first thing in the morning.  Nothing felt great, my SI was a bit tight and I was feeling pressured to fit in a good workout before leaving town. All in all it was a bad combo of mindset and tiredness, but any workout is better than no workout I suppose .

Friday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 35 min.
Observations: Ugh, bench hogs at the hotel gym. Okay, to be fair they were actually using them and they were there first.  But still…it messed up my plan. Regardless, I fit in a decent set of random exercises and I always consider any workout while on holidays a major win.  Especially when the rest of my day may or may not revolve around donuts and ice cream…

With that, the weekend is here (for all of you suckers…mine, on the other hand, started Wednesday night!). As you read this, I’m probably sampling donuts, or craft beer, or small-batch ice cream, or maybe all three at the same time, because why not when you’re on a mini vacay. Happy weekend! May you find fun and sun and whatever activities get you jazzed. Yeah, I said jazzed and I’m sorry for that. But still, have a great weekend!

TWIR #105: Mexico!

As the post title suggests, I was in Mexico this week (for work, not fun…although our villa had a private pool so it’s not like there was no fun). I expected to do zero exercise so I consider it a major win that I managed to fit some legitimate exercise in, although I’d like to note that applying zinc-based SPF 50 to my entire body is also quite the workout.  Let’s see what I got up to.

Saturday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 40 min.
Observations: Determined to work out one last time before I was forced to wear a bathing suit in front of coworkers, something I am still 100% uncomfortable with, I hit the gym for a solid strength training workout. Cold or not, I had to push myself. I mixed in lots of glute work, some box jumps, a few arm moves for good measure, and then a ton of ab work, as though it would somehow transform my flabby mid-section into something…less flabby. Sigh. And then I proceeded to eat the world’s largest plate of nachos while watching the Masters. And then some gelato. And by some gelato, I mean the equivalent of half a pint. This is why I can’t handle wearing a bathing suit in front of others. In my defense, Patrick Reed was in the lead at the Masters and that’s pretty much my worst case scenario, especially knowing I’d be stuck on a place while my dear Rory tried to kick his ass on Sunday. Totally uncool and even more unfair.

Sunday
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: travel, travel, travel
Observations: It sometimes amazes me how long it takes to travel. I don’t mean the flight parts. I get that it takes to time to fly. I mean all the other crap–the arriving at the airport early, the waiting around at the airport because you arrived early, the layovers in between flights, the waiting around at the airport after you’ve arrived for your ground transport.  It was about a 12-hour trip for 6 hours of flying time. Ugh. Needless to say, I didn’t work out and I was okay with that.

Monday
Activity: semi-planned rest day
Relevant Stats: does a beach walk count?
Observations: I thought I’d do a workout, I really did. A few people from my work were getting up to do one, but I could not sleep on Sunday night. By the time I drifted off to sleep, I knew that there was no way I was getting up in time to work out.  I did stand in a pool…and walk on the beach. That’s gotta count for something, right?

Tuesday
Activity: body-weight strength session
Relevant Stats: 25 min.
Observations: Can I blame humidity or the fact that I didn’t sleep well for the fact that I could not even do a full set of 15 tricep dips? I should have known better than to join in on arms day. I mean, seriously, 25 minutes straight of arm exercises, even when they only used my own body weight, was about 23 minutes too long for me. Still, I was proud to have dragged my butt out of bed to actually do it.

Wednesday
Activity: body-weight strength training
Relevant Stats: 28 min.
Observations: Thank God this workout didn’t involve all arms. I wasn’t sure I could do any more tricep dips. Instead, this workout was a mix of step ups, squat presses (with an industrial-sized bottle of pine sol for a weight, thankyouverymuch), some arm work, and lots of sit up variations. Though short, it felt like a legit workout.

Thursday
Activity: body-weight strength training
Relevant Stats: 25 min.
Observations: Ugh, more arms. It was supposed to be an all leg day, the one workout I was most pumped for, but our usual workout ringleader slept through her alarm so we had to use a different workout app, which sadly meant an all-body workout. I don’t think I’ve done this many pushups ever and I know with certainty that I don’t want to do more pushups for a very long time.

Friday
Activity: semi-planned rest day
Relevant Stats: sleeping in > everything
Observations: Once again, I couldn’t fall asleep and, since I didn’t have to get up for work stuff, I opted to sleep in instead of work out. I had no regrets, even though I spent the rest of the day on planes.  YOLO, right?

At long last, I am on my way home just in time to pack up and leave for a weekend in wine country. This week has felt like a whirlwind and utterly exhausting, so a weekend of wine sampling seems like the perfect way to unwind. Happy weekend y’all. May your weekends involve a lot of whatever you love.

Real Talk Thursdays: when quitting is okay

I am a quitter. In fact, I just quit another job, the third job I’ve quit in fifteen months. I quit running and hiking this year. I quit committing to social activities that I didn’t want to go to. I even quit wearing mascara every day. That’s a lot of quitting. And you know what? Today, I’m here to say that quitting is not always a bad thing.

There’s a lot of negative connotation around being a quitter. Quitters are lazy and lack perseverance. Quitters don’t get as far. Quitters have a fixed mindset. As humans we like to categorize things.  Something can’t be both good and bad, and therefore we’ve determined quitting is bad.  I’m not saying quitting is always a good thing, but I do believe there are times when quitting might just be the best possible thing for you to do.

Here’s my incomplete and rough-around-the-edges list of when quitting might actually be the best thing you’ve ever done:

1. When what you’re doing is getting in the way of what you really want to do (this applies at work and outside of work)

2. When the only reason you’re not doing what you really want to do is because you’re afraid

3. When the only reason you’re doing what you’re doing is because you feel like you have to, are supposed to or should be.

4. When sticking with whatever you’re doing is causing you more harm or good

5. When your heart is telling you that quitting is 100% the right choice…even if some people around you don’t understand it.

Join me in proudly declaring that you are also sometimes a quitter. Join me in being compassionate with yourself when you’re a quitter in a situation  where it’s truly the best option. Quitting isn’t (always) synonymous with giving up, with lacking perseverance, or with being a good-for-nothing bum.  Also, join me in agreeing that sometimes, when it’s the right thing to do, quitting just feels pretty f’ing fantastic.

Three cheers for being the occasional quitter!