Better With Sprinkles

The Colourful Side to Healthy Living.


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New Header + Travel Bucket List.

1. The obvious: OHMYGOD look at my new header! I played around with Photoshop for a while before determining that I was hopeless, so I got one designed by Jenny at peanutbutterjenny.com. She’s awesome – she figured out exactly what I was looking for and had it to me faster than I ever could have imagined. I will definitely be using her for any future blog design needs.

2. The pumpkin problem: While I got a lot of suggestions for bread or muffins, a few people suggested pumpkin chili. Umm, why haven’t I tried this before?! This needs to happen as soon as possible. Anyone have any favourite recipes they can direct me too?

3. Apparently I jinxed myself with all my oatmeal-and-eggs talk. When I woke up yesterday, all I could think about was cereal and milk.

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Enter Nature’s Path Flax Plus Red Berry Crunch, Peanut Butter Panda Puffs, and a sliced banana. I used vanilla almond milk mixed with a half scoop protein powder to avoid the ‘hungry-in-20-minutes’ syndrome (I didn’t have any regular milk on hand). Of course, there was a bit of milk left in the bowl. So I had to get another handful of cereal. That’s how it works, right?

Yes, we’re in the middle of a hideous cold snap and I want cold cereal and milk. I’m an odd one.

Travel Bucket List

So, my mom is a travel agent. While I haven’t done a lot of travelling myself, I grew up seeing pictures and hearing stories of all the places she’s been to over the years. A few times, I’ve been lucky enough to go with her – to the Bahamas when I was ten, and to Mexico when I was eighteen.

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(clearly, this is from the beginning of the ED time period. Ignore that part).

So, it’s pretty much been instilled in me that I want to travel throughout my life. I have a list of cities, countries and landmarks that I would love to see in my lifetime. I am absolutely a tourist at heart – I love exploring and learning about the history of the places I visit. So, to make sure I keep myself accountable for all of it, here’s my travel bucket list!

Canada:

  • Vancouver (check! Went when I was about 13, it was beautiful)
  • Edmonton (12. I miss that mall. Best waterpark ever).
  • Montreal (but I want to go back now that I’m legal)
  • PEI
  • Nova Scotia
  • cities in Ontario don’t really count, considering that I think I’ve been almost everywhere between Windsor and Ottawa

 

The US:

  • California – I actually want to see the entire state. I went when I was three months old, which totally doesn’t count.
  • Hawaii
  • Chicago – check! I need to go back. Such a great city.
  • Boston
  • Pittsburgh
  • Washington, D.C.
  • New Orleans
  • New York City
  • Miami
  • Las Vegas
  • Salt Lake City

Central/South America/the Carribean

  • Mexico – twice!

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(I went again with friends last May – such a fun trip!)

  • Peru
  • Brazil
  • the Bahamas (done!)
  • Cuba
  • Costa Rica

 

Europe

  • England
  • France (Paris!)
  • Italy
  • Ireland
  • Scotland
  • Switzerland (for the chocolate, obviously)
  • Croatia
  • Greece
  • Spain
  • Vatican City
  • Belgium

 

Africa

  • Egypt (I had such an obsession with Egyptian history growing up. I’m pretty sure I’ve written about 3 different reports on Cleopatra throughout my life)

 

Asia

  • India
  • Israel (I’m not religious, but it’s one of those things I think everyone needs to see)
  • Japan (so I can eat sushi like it’s my job)
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • Hong Kong
  • Laos

 

Australia

  • Australia
  • New Zealand

Slowly but surely, I’ll check them all off.

<—Are you a big traveller? What was your favourite trip?

<—Where are you hoping to go next?


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Chicago Recap: Fish, Planets and Deep Dish.

(Chicago Recap Day 1, Day 2, Day 3)

And this rounds out the final day of Chicago recaps!

Last Friday, we decided to take the final day off from the conference to do tourist-y things. I had no idea when I was going to be back in Chicago, so I was 100% for this decision. I headed to the gym as soon as I woke up to fit my workout in, then I headed down to breakfast.

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Oatmeal with blueberries, a sliced banana and walnuts with a side of scrambled eggs. It’s the sort of breakfast I would eat at home, so it was extra appealing to me that morning. Although once you have “your way” of making oatmeal, no one else can really make it the way you like it. This was a bit mushy for my taste, but it still did the job.

Before we went to Chicago, a few of us each bought a Chicago CityPASS. Basically, it’s a pass to all the tourist-y things in the area (Willis Tower, the Field Museum, Shedd Aqarium, either the Hancock Observatory or the Museum of Science and Industry, and either the Planetarium or the Chicago Institute of Art) for a discounted price, and the only one we had done up until Friday was the Field Museum. So, we decided to try to squish in a few more to get our money’s worth.

We jumped in the car and headed over to museum campus. We definitely picked the perfect day for it – I was walking around all day in a light sweater and I was fine.

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So beautiful.

For our first stop, we headed over to the Shedd Aquarium.

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Like the Field Museum, I had absolutely no idea they had an aquarium in Chicago. I’m extra glad we found this one though – they had some fascinating stuff.

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When we first walked in, we looked around at the different stuff they had on the first floor.

Aquarium

  • 1. Some sort of eel.
  • 2. Piranhas…those things are damn scary! They were absolutely still in the tank, just watching people go by. I was a little afraid they were going to break through the glass and we’d have a Piranha situation on our hands.
  • 3. Massive, massive bullfrog.
  • 4. Massive, massive iguana
  • 5. I have no idea what they were called, but they were some really odd fish. It looks like they all just has bumped their head too many times.
  • 6. Another odd sort of fish
  • 7. Seahorses!
  • 8. A giant crab.
  • 9. Moray eel. I swear, those things just look like cartoons in themselves.

We wandered around a bit more and found the tank with sharks.

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And it is really, really hard to get a good shot of a shark.

Although I’m not a swimmer at all (I will never do a triathlon, mainly because I can barely doggy paddle) but I find sharks fascinating. It’s actually on my bucket list to do a shark cave dive some day.

We saw some jellyfish…

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And we watched an aquatic show complete with Belugas, dolphins and a sea lion.

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Wouldn’t being a trainer at one of these places be such an epic job?

We looked around downstairs for a bit and saw some penguins…

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and Belugas.

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By then it was about 2:00, so we decided to move on. Seriously, Shedd Aquarium was amazing – I could have spent all day there.

Stop two was the Adler Planetarium.

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And first stop: cafeteria.

I had had a Luna Bar in the Aquarium, so I kept lunch on the lighter side.

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I grabbed a container of tomato-basil soup with crackers and two hard boiled eggs. Weird combo, but it worked for me – the soup was delicious! It was thick and heart – it was almost like eating a marinara sauce soup.

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I grabbed this on a whim – chocolate pudding with whipped cream and oreo crumbles. Gotta have lunch dessert once in a while!

We wandered around the Planetarium for a while – I’m not a huge science-y/space person, but it was pretty interesting. Was anyone else really disappointed when it was announced that Pluto wasn’t a planet anymore? I still refuse to believe that.

They had an exhibit about the history of astronomy, complete with a Middle-Age classrom set up and costumes.

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Just some Middle Ages astronomy students here. Smile with tongue out

Unfortunately, after the Planetarium, we didn’t have enough time to hit up Skydeck at Willis Tower of the Museum of Science and Industry, which is what we had planned on to round out the CityPASS. But 3/5 is acceptable.

Chicago, we know you’re beautiful, just stop it.

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After the Planetarium, we headed back to the hotel for a bit (which is when I ran out to Trader Joe’s and got some fabulous stuff), and Nicole and I headed over to Magnificent Mile. While I love looking at $600 trench coats from Nordstrom’s, I bought a dress from Forever 21 and considered myself covered. Smile with tongue out

For dinner, we decided a trip to Chicago would not be complete without…

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Chicago style-deep dish pizza.

Apparently, there is real deep dish and there is cheese-stuffed, which masquerades as deep dish but isn’t the same thing. We were informed that Pizzeria Uno or Pizzeria Due were the places to go for real deep dish, so of course, we headed over there.

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Low lighting, deep, tons of stuff on the walls…look like an authentic pizzeria to me!

Nicole and I decided to do the sharing thing again for dinner. We started with the Caesar salad with homemade dressing.

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So good! Usually when I order a Caesar salad there’s so much dressing that it’s sloppy and limp, but this was perfect! I let Nicole have the croutons though, I have an inherent dislike for croutons.

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Nicole and I decided to split two individual pizzas for dinner, the spinoccoli and the BBQ chicken.

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The spinoccoli was pretty good, although I still have no idea where the broccoli was. I didn’t see it or taste it at all.

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The BBQ Chicken was definitely my favourite of the two. The BBQ flavour really came out – nice and tangy!

Overall, I can see why people love Chicago deep dish so much. I was expecting it to be a greasy, cheesy mess, but not at all! The crust was light and fluffy – it reminded me of focaccia bread. Overall, it was a lot lighter than I expected. I’d definitely eat it again, it was fabulous!

We ordered some cheesecake with strawberries and whipped cream to round out the meal.

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I love how it’s absolutely surrounded by whipped cream! You could tell it had been frozen previously (the middle was still a tad frozen on one of the pieces) but overall, it was yummy.

We all definitely agreed that it was a fabulous dinner to mark our last night in town! Overall, Chicago was an amazing city and I’m definitely going to be back someday. I had an amazing time with a great group of people!

Chicago, I will see you again. Smile

<— Would you ever cage dive with sharks?

<— Whipped cream on pie or cheesecake? Really, I could eat it with everything. Smile with tongue out


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Chicago Recap: Suzie the T-Rex.

(Chicago Recap Day 1, Day 2).

Hi friends! Happy Thanksgiving to my American buds…and happy Thursday to everyone else!

So continuing on with my recap week, day 3 in Chicago.

Breakfast

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In the morning, I went straight for the breakfast buffet. Scrambled eggs, bacon, melon and french toast. I ended up going back for my bacon – one of those foods that I don’t eat as often as I should, considering that I do really enjoy it!

Another morning at the conference – more interesting presentations! Because I plan on focusing a lot of media for my MA thesis next year, I stuck with media-related presentations for the most part. One of the presentations I attended was a round-table discussion focusing on crime representations in the media. I’m really critical when it comes to media/news, so it was interesting to hear the opinions of people who actually work in it. They have a lot of the same issues with it as I do, so I enjoyed being able to listen to their discussion.

Lunch

so…any SNL fans out there?

You remember the Cheezeborger, no fries, chips, no Pepsi, coke skit with John Belushi?

Well…I ate there for lunch.

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Also happens to be the same area where the chase scenes in Blues Brothers and The Dark Knight were filmed!

So, I had to do John Belushi proud and get the “cheezeborger, double cheeze”.

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And, while watching the season 2 premiere of Anthony Boudain’s The Layover on Chicago, I couldn’t help but notice we ate our Billy Goat Tavern burgers the same way – added ketchup and pickles. Weird things make me happy. Open-mouthed smile

Really, the cheeseburger wasn’t anything special, but the story behind it made it pretty awesome.

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I didn’t try it, but I was intrigued!

After some more walking, we headed up to the Field Museum.  The Field Museum is a museum of natural history that first opened in 1893. I had no idea they had such an impressive museum in Chicago.

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The museum is also home to Suzie, the most complete t-rex skeleton in the world.

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Impressive! When I showed Eric this picture, he told me that scientists have recently discovered that t-rex’s were actually covered in feathers, not scales as we assumed. So basically, Suzie would have looked more like a giant chicken than anything else.

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That’s one hell of a chicken.

Unfortunately, we got to the museum too close to closing time to be able to see all the exhibits, but we were able to see two of the three special exhibits. The Maharaja exhibit, which focused on Indian history, and the Extreme Animals exhibit, which was awesome. I’m definitely an animal lover (I wanted to be a veterinarian as a kid) so it was cool to find out more about them. Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed in the special exhibits, so I can’t show you guys any of the cool things in there.

But they were allowed in the rest of the museum – we made sure to hit up the Egyptian exhibit. Being an archeologist was also on the list of things I wanted to be at some point in my life (seriously, I did – and continue to – change my mind every 7.5 seconds about my future career) because I found Egyptian history so fascinating. I’ve done at least 5 projects throughout my life on Cleopatra – she was one impressive woman!

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Mummies are interesting, but a little creepy to look at. There’s a dead person wrapped up in there!

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Egyptians sure loved their cats, didn’t they?

After closing, we made the walk back to the hotel (a good 2.5 miles) just in time for the Manager’s Reception (I told you we took advantage!)

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Sangria is one of my absolute favourites!

We didn’t feel like wandering too far for dinner, so we headed to Volare, an Italian place up the road.

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(pictures are a bit blurry…might have something to do with that sangria Winking smile)

We got an appetizer of calamari for the table.

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I swear, you can always judge a restaurant by it’s calamari. It’s so easy to overcook and have it go all rubbery on you, so if the calamari’s good you know you’re in for a good meal.

This definitely passed the test! I adore calamari, and Volare’s version was perfectly crispy and tender. So, so good.

Because I had filled up on calamari (and apps at the hotel) Nicole and I decided to split a few dishes.

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We ordered the Insalata di Fagiolini – green beans, roasted tomatoes, crab meat, toasted almonds and pecorino cheese with a garlic dressing. Definitely unlike any salad I’ve had before, but I enjoyed it.

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You can never go wrong with a shrimp cocktail, can you? These shrimp were almost as big as my fist – ridiculous.

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And meatballs are absolutely necessary in an Italian restaurant, right?

Overall, this was a fabulous meal!

We talked about going out that night to check out the Chicago club scene, but I’m pretty sure we were all passed out by 11. Party animals, clearly. Smile with tongue out

Italian food, a famous burger and a giant t-rex…definitely a great day!

<— What dish do you judge a restaurant by?

<— Do you like museums? Any favourite exhibits?