December 29, 2012

My Favorite Jeggings

I first commented of my love of the Bay in The Bay: How I Love Thee. After a visit yesterday to my favourite department store, my love has been yet again re-affirmed. 

I had made a "contract" with myself back in October that I would not buy any new clothes until Christmas time. While shopping for Christmas gifts I purposely avoided all of my favourite shops so that I could not be tempted, and I am pleased to report that I was successful! Yesterday I finally decided that I needed to visit the Bay. I took 2 hrs washing my hair, shaving my legs, applying my make-up and picking out an outfit that would be easy to change in and out of, while still be light-weight. There is nothing worse than shopping while having to carry about a heavy coat, or having a fussy shirt that takes 5 minutes to put back on. 

I left for Les Promenades de l'Outaouais around 2pm, and was in the store 15 minutes later. I was really going for one item. New Jessica Simpson jeggings. I was introduced to these jeggings back in 2010, and after hundreds of wearings, mine had become a little thin and faded in the knee area. They were currently on sale for only $39.99 so I decided to get a second pair.

I went straight for the Jessica Simpson section upon my arrival. They had lots of dark rinse jeggings, some black ones, and tons of Forever Skinny jeans. They had my size in everything, and I thought for a change I would try the jeans as well. I grabbed about 6 different styles and sizes, and headed to the change room. I was pleasantly surprised that the Forever Skinny jeans fit even better than the jeggings, and I needed them one size smaller!! #score. The only real differences between the two are that the jeggings are tighter, have a slightly smaller ankle width, and have no fading on them. 

I took the leap of faith, and traded in my favourite pants for something new. I wore them last night, and although they are a little shorter, they fit my hips better. They also have lot less spandex in them so I am hoping that they don't stretch out too much. 

If you don't have a pair of either I highly recommend them because of their higher, curved waist. This is amazing for the following reasons:

1. When you bend over at work you're not showing off your crack to anyone
2. No muffin top
3. No gap between my back and the pants, therefore no need to wear a belt
4. You are never pulling up your pants. They are already in the right spot
5. They are sexy and make your legs look super long. 
Forever Skinny Jean in Abyss

I struggled in university trying to find a pair of jeans that fit both my hips and my waist. I would avoid jean shopping like the plaque and never found a pair that didn't feel like they were pulling the skin off of my hips. In my late twenties I have finally found jeans that fit comfortably. I love them so much, that my Twitter profile picture is a pair of Jessica Simpson Jeggings! 

If I've convinced you at all, run to your closest Bay store or the and get some Jessica Simpson jeggings or Forever Skinny jeans while they are hot and up to $30 cheaper. Your thighs will thank you. 

December 20, 2012

Online Dating: How to Select the Perfect Picture

With the colder weather and the holiday season approaching, there comes an increase of online dating profiles. Everyone is looking for someone to cuddle up with on a cold winter night, and for someone to bring to those amazing chalet parties. 

First impressions online are key, therefore your profile picture is a very important fixture of your profile; It is the #1 factor in having your profile selected. Every picture you post should be well thought out. 
You should have at least three pictures on your profile, but no more than five or six. Leave some things for your actually meeting. 

Picture #1: A close-up of your whole face. Try to find a good picture of yourself smiling and making eye contact with the viewer, then crop out everything else. For woman, a webcam shot photo is more successful than the average straight-on shot, but I only buy this for the under 25 scene. 

 Picture #2: A full body shot. It's important for who ever you are dating to know what they are getting in to. If you have big hips or long spider legs then show them off. There is nothing worse than you date being disappointed by their first visual impression. Be honest and upfront.

Picture #3 (-#5 if necessary): Wild card. Any other picture of you doing something you like, or with a different hair style. If you switch between straight and curly hair, have a picture of each on your profile. Again, honesty is what you're going for. 

  • Avoid having the arm or side of the face of your previous lover in your shots. This is a turn off for everyone involved.
  • Don't post pictures from 10, 5 years ago or even 3 years ago.
  • Movember stache pics are a questionable choice (unless you looked amazing!)
  • If you've only ever travelled once in your life, posting all your pictures from this trip paints an incorrect picture of your life. 
  • Be diverse with your selections. 
  • Blurry pictures are not going to help your cause
The Huffington Post's tip for successful profile pics is an interesting read as well. For both genders the top contexts are 1. Doing something interesting 2. Posing with an animal, and 3. A travel photo.

Whatever you do not post pictures where you are:
  • Posing in a sexual nature, or with little clothing. This sends out the wrong idea to other serious daters. Slight cleavage will give you an edge though. 

  • You are obviously under the influence, or where it's not clear who you are in the picture. Look a little bit responsible.

  • Taking the picture in your mirror. Show some effort and be less creepy. Yikes! 

  • Okay maybe not this much effort!

Take some time over the holidays and search for some great pictures on your hard drive. If there is nothing good in sight, take advantage of holiday parties and get togethers to have someone take a picture for you. Look Better Online has some great additional tips and resources to take a profile picture for you. 

Don't throw away a good first impression!

December 17, 2012

How To Have The Perfect Nap

I've never been a good sleeper on the move. Each year my parents and three brothers would pack into our station wagon and head off for a two day car ride to P.E.I. I was often crammed in the backseat of our Safari wagon between a car seat, the door and a seat belt that slowly constricted into my stomach. These are not my favourite memories of my childhood. Ideally, if I had been able to sleep in a moving car, I could have bypassed hours of our trip in a soft slumber. If only!

This problem has haunted me for life. Every plane ride, train ride and car ride I've ever taken has ended with me wishing I could just close my eyes and sleep off the duration of trip. I was never entirely sure why I wasn't capable of sleeping on the go, but since my Mother also didn't sleep in the car I've assumed it was genetics. 

Last year, my friend Sarah told me that she never goes to bed without wearing an eye mask. The thought of totally blacking out the world seemed a little intense to me, and I didn't like the idea of having something touching my eye lashes as I slept. Never-the-less, I added an eye mask to my Christmas list and my Mom bought me one which read, "Sleep-In Beauty" on it. I thought the line was pretty perfect considering that my favourite Disney movie as a child was Sleeping Beauty. The mask was meant for me!

Within one use, I knew what she was talking about. I'll be totally frank: Everyone needs a sleeping mask. Night-to-night I don't always use it, but the second I want to have a good sleep-in on the weekend, I have my mask on. It's amazing how not having any direct light on your closed eyes can be so soothing and make sleeping during the day or late morning feel like it's the middle of the night. 

When you go sleep at someone's house, you never know what the blind situation will be or whether you'll be sleeping in a sunroom or living room. With my eye mask it doesn't matter! I can throw it on, and even if the sun starts shining in at 6 a.m. I can blissfully sleep unaware in the dark cave under the mask. It's also perfect if your partner wants to read or watch t.v. after you've gone to bed. Lights out = sleepy time!

I prefer a very light, silk eye mask lined with fleece which can apparently be purchased at the Dollar Store (who knew!) over an official vinyl travel mask from Walmart. There are many fancy kinds of masks that look like padded bras as well. These are for people who really hate the feeling of anything on their eyes, but seem a tad intense for me. 

With my new mask I was able to sleep almost the entire flight from Montreal to Rome (with the help of some Gravol). This was a HUGE obstacle for me to overcome. I am now usually the driver on long car rides, but there is no doubt in my mind that blocking out the sunshine, and curling up in the backseat would do the trick for me. 

The holidays are soon to be here, and with it comes lots of eating and drinking, visiting with relatives and sleeping too little. Do yourself a favour and treat yourself to an eye mask for the holidays. It doesn't matter where you are sleeping, or what time a day, you'll be able to have a restful sleep with your eye mask on!

December 13, 2012

I'm Not Really A Waitress but Red Baroness

When I was in my final year of high school, all we girls seemed to talk about was our Grad Trip to Acapulco and Prom 2002. I had set my eyes on a red dress made by Jessica McClintock. I printed the picture off from their website, taped it to the fridge and prayed I would find something similar. I didn't know where they sold her dresses, so I figured it was a very long shot that I would find the dress in Canada.  You can imagine my surprise, when my Mom and I spotted the dress in Melanie Lyne. The dress fit almost perfectly, and although it was borderline short on my 5'9" frame, we bought it anyways. I loved that dress so much that I actually slept in it that night, then wore the top of it to brunch the next day. It still hangs in my Mom's basement and I've been known to try it on from time to time. 

What I didn't know was that that dress would set the tone for my nail polish choices for the next 10 years!!

Once I had the dress, I went to Trade Secrets and did my best to pick out a nail polish that matched the dress. I settled with the OPI polish, I'm Not Really a Waitress. It was a rich red with a little bit of a shimmer in it. It was a classic colour. I painted my toes that morning sitting on the counter in my bathroom and never looked back. 

For the next 5 years, I think it was the only colour I wore on my toes. Since then, I've mixed it up in the summer, but in the winter you'll only find my favourite red on my toes. I will confess that I've never lasted more than a day, since my Prom, where I haven't had polish on my toes. It's an addiction. I can't even remember what my toenails even looked like in their natural state and I find it looks odd when I see other people's bare toe nails. A problem, I know. 

You can imagine my excitement when I discovered last month that CND shellac is making my favourite OPI colour in shellac form!!! They call their version Red Baroness, and it is fabulous! I can now paint my fingers nails with my favourite colour and have chip free nails for up to 2 weeks. The universe just sometimes has a way of being amazing. 

With the Christmas season approaching do yourself a favour and get a bottle of either colour. Your Christmas Party self will thank you! 

You know what, I am thinking maybe I can break out the top of my Prom dress for the Christmas season this year, thoughts?

December 10, 2012

Want Cheap Shipping? Try Kinek!

As Christmas approaches, I am very busy online ordering all of the amazing gifts I am going to give my friends and family. Don't get me wrong, I love a good mall visit, but there is something about ordering a book from at 10pm at night from my bed that is addicting!

Some webpages are great to order from, and often have free shipping to Canada. My favourites sites are Banana Republic,, Chapters and Indigo, Kiwi Sheepskins, and Locale Shoes. I have never paid for shipping from any of these sites, and they seen to arrive in a matter of days.  I often have packages shipped to my work so that someone is there to sign for them (if necessary), and for some reason they just seem to arrive there faster than shipping them to my house. 

Recently Pottery Barn decided to ship some of their items to Canada. This is a VERY exciting development, but it comes with one hitch: The shipping costs are ridiculous. A friend of mine recently tried to order a few items and the shipping was listed at over $400! This is absolutely insane in my opinion and is basically robbery. 

Then I remembered that my girlfriend Rochelle had almost all of the goodies for her wedding (including tuxedos, and her wedding dress) shipped to Ogdensburg, New York for a fraction of the cost of having them shipped to Canada. The great thing is that Ogdenburg (if you can remember how to spell it), is only 45 minutes from Ottawa and an easy drive on Hwy. 416 towards Prescott. 

How does this work? Just set up an account with Kinek, and you'll be given an American address in Ogdensburg, NY!

1. Register for a free Kinek account at
2.Complete your profile
3. Select NAC Logistics in Ogdensburg (or any other border city) as your KinekPoint
4. You will now be presented with your new KinekPoint shipping address. Use this address when ordering online. That is all!!! 
5. Go online and shop to your hearts content! When the package arrives you'll receive a call or text to come and pick it up. You then have 15 days to collect it. 
Pottery Barn only charges $40 to ship to the US. That's a $360 difference from shipping it to Canada!!! Always check to see what the shipping costs directly to your front door, and if it's insane then see how much it would cost to ship to Ogdensburg. If you're saving a lot of cash, then they 45 minute drive will be totally worth it. 
While you're in the States you can pick up a turkey, a case of beer, and some sugary cereal to make the trip that all more memorable. Sometime it really pays off to do a little shopping around (even for shipping costs!). 

November 30, 2012

How to remove Shellac (and not your nail)

Once I discovered CND Shellac polish, I knew there was no turning back. As someone who washes the clay and paint of her hands about 30 times a day, regular nail polish would rarely last me until lunch hour. 

The first time I had shellac applied I was at a salon for my friend's wedding. My nails were very short at the time and I didn't think a french manicure was possible. This new salon didn't carry shellac in any colours, so I opted for a clear shellac and they painted regular nail polish on top. 

As the shellac grew out, the nail polish chipped off and I spent two more week applying various colours of polish on top. Since my nails were so strong the colour would last for at least a week and the only downfall was the awkward, thick grow-out line forming in front of my cuticle. Eventually, I knew the gig was up and I would have to remove the shellac. I tried to peel it off, but it wouldn't budge so I decided to splurge on a second shellac manicure and to have the esthetician remove it for me. 

At Lovely Nails, I washed carefully as the lady soaked a cotton ball in acetone, wrapped it around each of my fingers and covered them individually in tinfoil. It looks pretty silly and you will look slightly like an alien, but it seems to do the trick. After about 5 minutes she removed the tinfoil, and using a metal cuticle pusher she scraped the shellac off of my nails into tiny pieces, then sanded away any stubborn pieces. The entire process was at least 15 minutes and made my little stop in an hour long affair, but Shellac is was worth it. 
Sanding Block

At home I tried the tinfoil trick, but once my left hand was done, I wasn't coordinated enough to use my left hand covered in foil to cover my right hand. I didn't have the time to wait up to 10 minutes a hand before removing the foil either. Fortunately, a friend was coming over and I had her cover my right hand for me, but this isn't always the case!

I much prefer the dipping method. This blog gives a great step by step of how to remove the Shellac, except I prefer a metal pusher over a wooden. The trick is to use pure acetone and not using nail polish remover. I was able to find acetone at Walmart and Shoppers Drug Mart, or you can go industrial and get a large jug of it at Canadian Tire in the automotive section. I even file down the top of the shellac before I dip by fingers into the acetone, just to help with the removal down the center. Then I finish everything off with the sanding block to make sure that my nails are smooth again. 

I went to my Mom's last week to help her remove her shellac. My Dad had brought up a bottle of what he thought was pure acetone. There was definitely some acetone in it as well as several other chemicals (including turpentine) that made my Mom's skin burn. Turns out it was paint thinner. I highly discourage you from using this!!! Pure acetone only! It will dry out your skin, but that's about it. 

Whatever you do, don't be tempted to pick off the Shellac (or to use paint thinner). I have sadly removed many  layers of my precious nails in the process and do not wish this upon anyone!

Don't bother spending an extra $10 every time you want to get your Shellac removed. Even if you're still going into the salon to have your shellac applied you can save yourself a lot of money by removing it by yourself before you go in. Then go to Starbucks and spend all the money you saved on an overpriced Latte! Delicious!

Things you need to remove Shellac:

1. 100% Pure Acetone ($3)
2. A good nail file ($1-2 at Sally's)
3. A sanding block in medium/course ($1-2 at Sally's)
4. A glass bowl, or teacup you're never going to put food in again
5. Cuticle Pusher ($5-25 at most pharmacys)

For how to apply your own Shellac click here

November 28, 2012

The Perfect Black Tight

Sadly when I saw the snow on the ground this week, I knew it was officially the end of bare leg season. Each year I try to stretch out the viewing period of my pale legs as long as possible, but there always comes a day when its just simply inappropriate to have my bare knees poking out. 

I've always been extremely picky about socks and tights, and I still am. I can remember sitting with my Mother in our family room before Saturday ballet class crying as she put my pink ballet tights on. I really, really hated them but would wear them to class as long as I could get them off as soon as I got home. There was nothing worse than having to go to the hockey rink wearing a snow suit and ballet tights. I still get goose bumps when I think about it. 

There was a very awkward stage of my childhood when I refused to wear tighst anywhere but ballet class which meant that my Mom couldn't put me into cute little dresses during the winter months. It came to me wearing a bright purple, crushed velvet pant suit with a "bubble leg". They were not quite an MC Hammer pant since they had much more volume down around the ankle. I also had a pair of the pants in black which I would wear with a white top with gold polka dots. These outfits were my only chance of attending Christmas dinner "tight free" and it was not a pretty sight. 

When I was in Grade 7, I was invited to a ballet at the Canadian History Museum (formerly the Canadian Museum of Civilization) with a ballet friend of mine and her Mother. I threw on my crushed velvet suit and eagerly followed along. During the intermission my friend was complimented by our ballet teacher on her cute little outfit which consisted of brown ankle boots, with pink socks, brown tights, a tweed skirt and a little sweater. I'll admit even now that the outfit was flawless. I stood there so ashamed of my pantsuit and vowed to never wear it again!!

Around the same time a new type of ballet tight had just come on the market, The Mondor 310. These microfiber tights where soft, thin, comfortable and didn't itch my skin like the other ones I'd been wearing. The second I put them on it felt like I was wearing a second skin. Not only did I not hate wearing tights to ballet anymore, but I was willing to wear the tights elsewhere, even to a a holiday event. 

Fortunately the tights came in ballet pink, "jazz class" beige,  and "special event" black. I could buy them fully footed, or with a hole in the bottom to sneak my foot out of when my blisters required tending. I used to have a weird thing where I only liked tights once they'd be worn a couple of times, but with the 310's, the fresher they came out of the dryer the better!

Slowly, I built up a stock of about 8 pairs of the Mondor 310's. Unfortunately they were about 15 dollars a pair so my Mom wasn't too eager to give me money every time one got a hole in the toe. Practically every single pair I owed had a toe that was sewn up, but it didn't matter, they were perfect to me. I still own several pairs of ballet tights and I haven't danced since I was 18. My friend Lauren still has her black 310's from high school. These things last!

Now as an adult I am still very picky about my tights. I refuse to wear any kind of nylon or pantyhose and always will. I can handle a fashion tight for short periods of time, but after a while that sagging crotch drives me bonkers.  

Over the years the 310 tights have gotten even better with a knitted waistband, 3D technology to support the leg (and crotch) and they never seem to get any runs. They've even come out they a fish net tight which is bound to be flawless. I always buy mine at Malabar's in Ottawa but any dance or figure skating store will carry them. 

Do your self a favour this holiday season and buy yourself some black Mondor tights. Not only will you be in fashion, but your legs will look long and lean. The days will be long, especially when a work day becomes a holiday party so buy a pair of good black tights where the crotch will stay in place, the waistband will reach your bra and your legs will never, ever feel the slightest itch. You deserve it!

November 23, 2012

Rid Yourself of Blisters Forever!

Blisters and my toes go together like Spencer and Heidi. I can't remember one without the other and they are really a pain in the ass. 

As a dancer growing up, my feet were often being squished into new tap shoes and pointe shoes. I am sure you've all seen what can happen to a ballerina's feet after a couple of hours in a pointe shoe from movies like Centre Stage and Black Swan. The foot gets sweaty, it cannot breathe, its rubbing back and forth, back and forth and then BAM! There is a nice big blister exactly where you need to put the shoe the next day. 

I actually seemed to get the worst blisters from a new pair of tap shoes during summer school. My feet would be used to relaxing in a flip flop all summer long and were now being confined into a tight space without any hosiery (which I immaturely refused to wear), in 25 degree weather. It was a recipe for disaster. I do not need to go into detail of how I used to continue to dance each day on these dying feet, but the damage was done. I know had blister scars that would plague me for the rest of my adult life. 

What's a blister scar? Well I have nice big bumps on my toes and on the back of my heel which are the first part of the foot that a new shoe attacks. I cannot even begin to count the numbers of blisters I have incurred when trying to break in a new shoe, and wearing an old shoe again after a long absence. I was starting to think I was the only one. 

Recently on a trip to the Bay I spotted a great pair of faux suede black pumps. I love the way a suede shoe looks with a pair of black tights. Its seamless really. I tried on my size, and although they were a smidgen tight I figured that they would stretch out just a little. They were a great deal, so I paid up and wore them to school the next day. 

What came next? A right toe blister. I used a trick that my Mom had taught me to try and solve the problem. I took a broom, and put the toe of my shoe into its handle. Next I pushed the shoe down as far as I could into the handle to try to stretch out the toe area as much as possible to give my piggies a little more room. 

A few days later I tried the shoe again and the same problem and blister persisted. No matter what I did, this shoe was going to blister my right foot. I could have told this exact same story for the flats I bought later that summer. 

After complaining to my Mom about my problem, she told me something that I had never quite realized before. The broom trick only worked with LEATHER shoes, not synthetic fabrics. Only leathers (ie animal skins) can stretch out under warm conditions and create a perfect mold of your foot. Once the shoe has set, it will never give you a blister again because it won't rub on your toes bumps, it will gently surround them. 

Was real leather the simple solution I had never considered?

Since that fateful day, I have gone out a re-purchased a pair of real suede black pumps (they still look awesome with tights). I have no had one blister from these shoes and I have worn with with and without hosiery. Of course, real leather is more expensive, but isn't it better to have a pair of comfortable shoes you'll wear over and over again instead of a pair you cringe at every time you see them in your closet? Leather also lasts a long time and can be repaired. I bought a pair of black leather high heel boots in London, England over 6 years ago. I've had the heel re-tipped and the sole replaced, but those buggers will not quit! They are just as comfortable now as they ever were and I couldn't picture a sweater dress without 

So what are you waiting for? Keep your toes and heels the break that they need. I know cheap shoes are tempting, but are they worth the blisters?

November 19, 2012

What Kind of Bobby Pin Are You Using?

Did you even know there were different types of bobby pins? Or as the British say "kirby grips"? The bobby pins got their name in the 1920's when they were used to keep the bobbed hair styles in place. Now we use them to pull back bangs, keep an up-d0 in place to secure those little baby fly-aways. 

I love this blog, Hairdo How-to and how it really breaks down what makes a good bobby pin. Who knew it could be so complicated?

I was recently complimenting a co-worker of mine Erin, on her great big bun. She is always looking for a new way to wear her hair, which I really admire. She mentioned that she liked the bun, but that little pieces keep falling out. I asked her what kind of bobby pin she was using and she took out one of the typical flat bobby pins like this:
These pins are great for securing hair, but not for a big bun. What she really needed was a hairpin like this:
Hairpins are not very common, but once you start using them, you'll wonder how you ever lived with out them! Instead of just pushing in a bobby pin (wavy side down of course), the hairpin collects a larger amount of hair and tucks them under the bun. Ask any former ballet dancer and I am sure they have a collection of these pins in all corners of their bathroom drawers. 

Fortunately, I keep a little zipper pouch in my wallet with bobby pins, hairpins, elastics and clips for such emergencies. I gave Erin a hairpin, tucked it into the bottom of her bun and the escaping hairs were re-joined with their peers. I gave her an extra hairpin for good measure and sent her on her way. 

This is an awesome tutorial of how to use a hairpin properly.

Hairpins are available in any pharmacy and usually come in a little plastic box. Why not make a little hair emergency kit of your own? You never know what madness Mother Nature can throw at you during the day!

November 16, 2012

Happy Birthday Lauren!

A little shout today to one of Amelia's Girlfriends Lauren on her 28th Birthday!!

We first started sharing tips, trick and life stories the summer of 2003 when we were both unemployed and took to tanning in my parent's backyard for hours on end each day. This is when life was simple, and we had the darkest tans of anyone in Barrhaven (sorry Lindz!).

Since then our friendship has flourished and Lauren has always been there with a new trick of the trade, a hair problem, and lots of relationship advice. I'll never forget when she called me every single morning for a month after a break-up. What a friend. 

Love you Lauren! Have an another amazing weekend!!!

The Bubba Adventure

All I  wanted was a Bubba mug for my trip to Cuba last March.

I was over at St. Pius high school for the day, and got out at 2:30pm. Loving the warm weather, I decided I would swing by the Walmart on Baseline Road to pick one up. I found the travel mug aisle, but there was nothing of the Bubba brand. I picked up a random 400mL travel mug and started to walk around hoping that I would find something bigger or more Bubba like. There were none. I did get some spray sunscreen and sewing needles though #score.

1.5 L Bubba
I texted my girlfriends Meaghan and Rochelle about where they got their Bubbas the year before and Meaghan recommended Canadian Tire. I then went to Canadian Tire on Carling since I was picking up the seating chart for Rochelle's wedding nearby. After trying to go up the escalator the wrong way, I made my way upstairs and found the travel mug aisle. They had only the huge 1.5L (52oz) jugs, or the little 20 oz ones. I wanted the 34 oz one! (side note: Bubba makes about 10 different sizes of travel mugs)

The big ones were only in black as well and I wanted something prettier to match my beach outfits. I thought about it for 10 minutes: Did I really need a mug this big? How much would it weigh when full? Would it fit in my new beach bag? I decided I would continue my search for the 34oz Bubba and to try the other Canadian Tire in Hull. 

I braved the rush hour traffic, took a detour when Eddy street was block and arrived at Canadian Tire by 3:45pm. I had really wasted a lot of time at Walmart.  I found the travel mug aisle, and again, only the 52oz and 20oz mugs. This time there were purple mugs, so I figured I go for the big one.

At this point I shared my dilemma through text with Erik; was a 52oz Bubba just too big for Cuba?  He went online to check what's going on and to see if 34oz Bubbas even existed anymore.

In the mean time, Rochelle responded that I should check at Walmart and that she needs one too. My phone rings, its Erik! The 34oz Bubbas are on sale at Canadian Tire #scoreagain! They are not available at the Carling, or Bells Corner locations, but there should be some in Hull. I search again, and only the big ones which were a ridiculous $20.

34 oz Bubba = Just right
I grab a sales man, he grabs a flyer, and he says that they are not on sale. I go to the flyer thing at the front of the store and show him that they are. He says that those ones are in the the automotive section in aisle 8. I say "Thank you", and go to aisle 8. There are 2, 34oz Bubba's left on sale for $6.72, and one is in purple!!! #winning.

I swoop them up, happily pay my $20 bill, and share my good news with Erik, Rochelle and Meaghan. Unfortunately, the other Bubba was black, but I promised not to charge her for it. 

Two hours later, I finally arrive at home.  As soon as I got in I put together the seating chart and start packing. At this point I remember how much I love ALL of my summer dresses. The bubba goes straight into my suitcase!

Erik was going to be working late, so I curled up and finish the Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's nest. I start writing this note of my journey then Erik says he is coming home, I suggest McDonalds and he says it coupon season! WooHoo!

Cuba here we come! (Note to the reader: Read Is Your Passport Expired? For what happened next..)

November 14, 2012

Is Your Passport Expired? No? Then Book with

As the weather begins to chill, I am already dreaming about walking down a warm beach down south. Last year my trip down south started out a little rough. My boyfriend Erik and I booked a really cheap trip to Cayo Largo, Cuba from Sunday to Sunday during the March Break. We woke up Sunday morning, recovered one of our cars from the night before, and proceeded to pack in the one hour we had left before we had to drive to Montreal to catch our flight later than night. 

Just as we were about to walk out the door, Erik opened up both of our passports to make sure that he had the correct ones, and not our old expired passports. He opened mine and asked, "Where is your new passport?", to which I replied, "That is my new passport". 
He promptly let me know that my passport has expired two months before. 

My immediate reaction was to cry and scream repeatedly "What do I do?!". After a few calls to the travel agent we discovered that there were only flights to our resort on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and if I didn't get on the flight that night, then I would have to wait until the following Friday (therefore spending only two nights in Cuba). I couldn't get on the flight that night. Eeek!

Erik and I made the quick decision for him to drive to Montreal and grab the flight, and I would do everything I could the next day to get a passport and try to join him in a night or two. We didn't know how much this oversight was going to cost me, and figured it was better to only have to buy one new ticket instead of two. 

Erik's loving, caring and thoughtful parents took me in in his absence, drove me to Costco to get my passport picture, called friends to get more information about flights, gave me lots of wine, and finally a bed to sleep in that night at their house. The next morning (Monday), we got up and drove straight to the passport office. They issued me a passport in about 15 minutes (what what!), and from there I booked a flight to Havana, Cuba. We knew there was a flight to Cayo Largo Island, but not with any major airline and nothing we could book it over the phone with a credit card. 

I arrived in Havana late Monday night and tried my best to find some kind of confirmation on a flight to Cayo Largo, but all I got was a tip that there MAY be spaces on a plane at another airport the next morning at 7am. Erik's Mom Cindy booked me into a hotel in Havana for the night, so I ventured into a cab, and with no more cell phone reception travelled in the pitch black into the streets of Havana. Well, I saw the streets from the cab at least while the Beatles played over the radio. It felt like I was filming a scene for a movie. A very lonely, scary scene. 

The next morning I awoke at 4am, called a cab and headed for this mysterious airport. Upon arrival there was a huge line-up from a tour group, so I butted to the front and in frantic Spanish attempted to buy myself a ticket. They said they had space, and to my excitement40 hrs after I was supposed to leave, I was only a 45 minute flight away! There was just one catch. They only accepted cash (hence why we couldn't book over the phone), and I was 20 CUC (Cuban convertible pesos) short! I could have cried, well I actually did cry. Then this amazing Spanish woman stepped up and traded me $20 Canadian for 20 CUC.  I cried some more, shook her hand, and thanked her over and over again. I am still soooo grateful to this wonderful stranger. 

I boarded the plane, and finally relaxed for the first time in two days. When I arrived at the island, I had no cash, but a van was waiting for me, and when we pulled up to the resort Erik was sitting on the front steps of the hotel. It was the most beautiful sight I've ever seen. 

In the end, the two extra flights and a night of accommodations in Havana cost more than the entire initial trip. The only redeeming factor in all of this, is that the initial trip was super cheap and that I still got a good tan. I also had a sweet, purple Bubba with me (stayed tuned for the Bubba Adventure on Friday). 

What I learned:
1. Always check the expiring date on your passport when you book your trip
2. When booking an All Inclusive, book a hotel that has flights every day of the week. If something should happen, you can make it out there any day you choose.
3. Get an emergency passport where they actually print the passports. 
4. Book your vacations through is the only good site I have ever found for booking an All Inclusive. Once you pick your departure destination, all of the other information is laid out on a grid. You can search by month if you have a specific time in mind, or you can search by destination to see when you can get the lowest price. Every location can be divided into weeks, then by hotel. It is so easy to search and to compare prices. It also has a link to tripadvisor so that you can get the real story on the resorts. 

I'm already in the process of booking for this year, and know my passport is good until 2017!