sometimes being a responsible adult sucks

I get how cliché this is. War on Drugs is pretty much everyone’s new favourite band right now. But rightfully so! Their latest album Lost in the Dream is totally unreal and if you haven’t listened to it yet you should listen to it immediately. After  looking into their touring schedule and seeing only a couple of mid-week shows in Vancouver and knowing Kurt had already seen them a bunch of times I just didn’t think seeing them live was in the cards this year.

Then I gave War on Drugs’ 2008 album Wagonwheel Blues a re-listen and Katie told me that she and Trevor were going to go and the thought of missing that show broke me.

If I do a no spend work week I’ll be able to afford it, right?
I can postpone a long overdue and important work meeting just so I can go to the show, right?
I can skip an industry networking event that happens once a year and my boss specifically asked me to go to, right?
It totally wouldn’t be too much travel to come home from Vancouver on Monday night, then go back again on Wednesday for the show, return to Victoria Thursday AM, only to leave again for the Okanagan that afternoon, right?

Right?

Ahhhh. Maybe not.

How can I not feel nostalgic for the days when I didn’t care at all about missing work and didn’t think about how many vacation days I would have left in 6 months and didn’t worry about going into a bit of debt just to see an awesome rock show. Sometimes being a responsible adult sucks.

I’ll just listen to this song on repeat for the next week and wish I was there.

If it isn’t broke, you can’t fix it

When I heard this song for the first time back in 2005, I thought it was the most romantic thing I had ever heard. I didn’t even care that it was a top 40 pop song, it took my breath away. It made me want to be broken, want to find someone who would fix me, find someone who could make me whole.

And it took me almost 8 years to realise how stupid that was.

Chuck Klosterman, an author whom I enjoy, describes Coldplay as a British pop group whose success derives from their ability to write melodramatic alt-rock songs about fake love. What matters is that Coldplay manufactures fake love as frenetically as the Ford Motor Company manufactures Mustangs. 

Still is a pretty song though.

 

Happy Saturday…Vancouver Island Edition

It’s summer and I’ve been outside. I’ve been busy with activities. I’m sick of screens. I’ve been hormonal and moody. I just haven’t felt like it. All reasons why I haven’t been writing on this blog.

But done with that. On to some things that have made me happy over the past week or so…

…Bootcamp. Here is a sad fact: when you get to be 32, body parts start to shift and the long runs and hikes from your 20′s just don’t cut it any more. Unless you live under a rock, you probably know that bootcamp is a great way to both prevent and reverse said shifting. Well, until last Monday I had never tried bootcamp. I was always too afraid. But my friend Elexa convinced me and miraculously I didn’t die, I didn’t even puke. I did get a great workout and feel sore in all the best places. I’ll definitely be going back. If you live in Victoria you should come join me one of these days. We’ll have fun. 

…Friends. Friends are the family you chose for yourself and I have done just that. Throughout my life I’ve grown a nice little circle of supportive, hilarious, gregarious, and intelligent people who I love like they’re my blood. Many of them live here in Victoria, and many of them do not. And of those that do not, I’ve had face time with an awful lot of them so far this summer and that rules.

Pickle Pub Crawl. I’ve lived in Victoria for 9 years and I’ve never even heard of this, how is it possible? Fortunately for me, my friends Chelsea and Matt suggested we hit this up while they were in town on vacation. $15 for an evening of harbour cruises and more free appies than you can eat? Yes please.

Reuben and the Dark. So excited to see these guys play at Rifflandia this year.

How We End Up Marrying the Wrong People Everyone is mad, but is the one you love the right kind of mad for you? An interesting argument for a psychological relationship over a romantic one, and why some fail despite all the fireworks and sparks.

…Vancouver Island. Last weekend Kurt and I grabbed some coffees and cronuts and took to the road to visit my friends Tara and Courtney in the Comox Valley. We stopped at the top of the Malahat, at Rathtrevor Beach, and in Qualicum. We played in Nymph Falls and watched the sunset from Quadra Island over some curried muscles. Man, what a beautiful place we live.

Island Savings Waves of Kindness.  Yesterday I won $100 for me and $100 for a charity of my choice just by sharing an act of kindness on this site. If you live on Vancouver Island you should share too! What a great way to encourage kindness in the community. Kudos to you Island Savings.

Where to eat in Seattle and Portland

Or at least where I ate when I was in Seattle and Portland a couple of weeks ago.

Seattle

Chandler’s Crabhouse
Right on Lake Union, this place is near to the hotel that Kurt and I often stay in when visiting Seattle.  I’ll be honest, the décor, clientèle and overall vibe are not my cup of tea, but sometimes quality (and convenience) trumps all that. If you like seafood, their happy hour is to die for–the ceviche is some of the best I’ve ever had and the calamari, which all too often goes wrong, is delicious.

Bimbo’s Cantina
Feels like a punk rock dive bar that also serves Mexican. If I was 22 I would have been all over this place, though at 32 I still had a lot of fun. I had a beer, Kurt had the nachos, we were both satisfied.

Barrio Mexican Kitchen and Bar
Barrio was amazing. A little bit of a bougie vibe, but let’s not kid ourselves, Kurt and I are a little bit bougie. Whatever. The food was amazing, as was the service. I had a cazuela and ate until I thought I was going to explode and still left tons on my plate. Kurt had the Barrio Chopped Salad with chicken and it renewed my faith in restaurant salads and even restaurants themselves.

Americana
We met our friends Adam and Dana here for brunch, who had driven to Seattle from Vancouver (we took the Clipper ferry the day before). I had the french toast and knew I could die happy because it was the best thing I’ve ever tasted.

Portland

The Lamp
We stumbled upon this place totally by accident. We had tickets to see Hayes Carll at the Aladdin Theatre next door and were running behind just enough that we didn’t have time to explore the neighbourhood for a great restaurant. When we first sat down our expectations were low, but everything was great. My fish tacos were as good as any I’ve ever had and the other three raved about their burgers the whole weekend. Plus the service was the best of the entire trip.

Blue Star Donuts
I’m a Voo Doo Donuts fan, personally. Those honey cruellers. But on this trip I was outnumbered 3:1 by people who just weren’t willing to wait in line for an hour and a half for a donut. Fair enough. Blue Star had been recommended and it didn’t disappoint. We shared 5 donuts between the 4 of us and the clear winner was the old-fashioned buttermilk. Kurt says it’s the best donut he’s ever had in his life. Still bummed I didn’t get a crueller though.

Bridgetown Beerhouse
My favourite part of the trip. After having a great lunch at some nearby food trucks we walked past this place and stopped to check it out. This is basically a beer store that also has a small bar with a few local brews on tap and some indoor seating. If you wanted a bottle or can you just added $1 to the price and you could enjoy inside, or out on the sidewalk where we chose to sit. Plus they had games! We spent an hour or two in the sun sipping our drinks and playing crib and euchre. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Clyde Common
If you’re planning a trip to Portland and ask people where to go, this place will be suggested to you about a million times. And it should be, the food is great, the room is great, the service is great.

Tilt
Thanks to my newly restored faith in salads, I ordered the cobb and I’m glad I did because it was so good. It was also so large that the four us could have split it and walked out the place satisfied. However, instead of sharing I greedily ate as much as my body could handle, only to regret it as I put on my bikini an hour later. Oh well. Tilt also had some incredible looking desserts that they would probably sell more of if their meals weren’t enough to feed a family of 6.

Porque No?
On our last night in town Dana and I wanted Mexican, and lucky for us this was the place we landed on. Word to the wise: lots of places are closed on Mondays, so check the website before you make the trip. Chips and guacamole, fish tacos, margaritas and an outdoor seat. Amazing.

Pine State Biscuits
I never really got the appeal of biscuits, but everyone I was travelling with wanted to stop here for breakfast on our way out of town. I had my fresh biscuit with strawberries and cream. Now I get the appeal. 100%.

 

 

Three things to remember about this no tip thing

A restaurateur on Vancouver Island recently announced that he would be opening the first no tip restaurant in British Columbia, and it seems as though everyone and their mother has an opinion about this no tip concept. Including me. And guess what? This is my blog, so here’s my two cents on what you should know.

1. The food and drink prices at a no tip restaurant will be higher than at a restaurant where a tip is expected. Why don’t people understand this? Unfortunately, the people that seem the most excited about not having to tip the waitress are the same people who lambaste her when pints of beer go up $.35 at their local. I’m sure they’ll totally be willing to pay and extra 15-20% for their burger and fries so they can avoid that generous 8% tip. Just kidding. They totally won’t be.

2. The service won’t be as good. Have you ever wondered why the service at Zambri’s (or a fine-dining restaurant in your area) is generally better than the service at the Old Spaghetti Factory? It’s because the servers at the fancier restaurant make more money. They’re more invested. They know their guests will treat them right if they treat them right first. In a no tip restaurant this isn’t an option. The servers at the new restaurant in Parksville will make $11/hour or (hopefully) $15/hour after profit sharing. Do you know what other servers make $11-$15 an hour? Servers in family chain restaurants and divey pubs. Servers that are used to and capable of giving quality service are used to making $20-$30 an hour, and I’ll wager a bet that they won’t be willing to take the pay cut.

3. There is a hike likelihood that the next restaurant you go to will not be a no tip restaurant. So don’t be a jerk and complain to the server that you have to tip her. It’s awkward and you look like a fool. Just because you don’t like the dominant tip-expected system doesn’t mean you exist outside of it. Your server will still have to tip out 5% of your bill to the kitchen and support staff, even if you leave her nothing. Don’t be that guy that makes her pay to serve you. That guy is the worst.

 

Happy Monday…the busiest week of the year

Some things that make me happy…

…Beach days. Since being diagnosed with basil cell carcinoma last year, I’ve seriously cut down my beach time. Like, I’ve pretty much eliminated it completely, as I probably should. But last Monday I threw on a long summer dress, a big floppy hat, and half a bottle SPF50 and made my way to Sauvie Island, just outside Portland. Kurt, Dana and I spent a few hours swimming in the Columbia River and just lying on the sandy beach reading. It was blissful and relaxing in a way that few things are.

…Modern love. Last Tuesday Kurt and I took the Clipper ferry from Seattle back to Victoria. Towards the end of the journey we got to talking to the young guy sitting behind us. He was heading to Victoria to spend a month with a girl he had met online. It was his first time to Canada. His first time on a boat. His first time on a plane when he left Tennessee that morning. And his first time hugging his girlfriend. When we waved goodbye we could tell by the smile on his face which first he was most excited about.

This article.  “Stop interrupting me.”  “I just said that.”  “No explanation needed.” Learn these phrases ladies.

…Lacrosse season. For existing and for being over. On Thursday I cheered on Kurt as his team won their second consecutive lacrosse championship. He was so happy. They were all so happy. Things that make people happy are awesome. And now, with the season over, I get my boyfriend back on Tuesday and Thursday nights and my tiny little deck free of stinky gear. That makes me happy.

…Rock and roll. We went to see these guys on Friday night. They aren’t my normal genre of choice, but whatevs, the show was great.

…True love. Two of my friends made it official on Saturday with an intimate backyard wedding. You know when two people are just so glaringly perfect for one another? That’s these guys. Locking love down with marriage, if that’s your thing, is so beautiful to witness.

…Summer BBQs. Have I mentioned how much I love summer BBQs? On Sunday we celebrated the rapidly ageing Jojo and Simon with good beer, old friends and way too much delicious food. The perfectly summer way to wrap up a perfectly summer week.

June Money; Hey Summer

Want to hear something not cool? In June I spent about $1100 more than I earned. For someone who only so recently crawled her way out of debt, this is terrifying. I’m thankful for the financial padding I’ve been able to line my bank account with over the last few months (for the first time in years) and for my tendency to over-plan and over-prepare for everything, including future purchases. Without these two factors I’d have been back in the red. And probably totally panicking because we all know that the summer months aren’t cheap.

Here is a breakdown of what I spent. 

june

“Fixed Expenses” 46%
This is too much. However it is (hopefully) a one time thing. To save you the boring details, there was a miscommunication with the bank and I ended up paying my portion of the mortgage twice this month. Like I mentioned above, thank goodness for financial cushion. If it wasn’t there all of my cheques and automatic payments for the first of the month would have bounced.

Travel 22% 
Hey summer, nice to see you again. Most of this is accounted for in the 5 day trip I took to Seattle and Portland at the end of June (it was awesome). But I also spent a weekend in Vancouver for a family reunion and bought a hotel Groupon for trip I’m taking in July. Here is where the advantages to being a planner come in, I could not have afforded these two trips and the hotel booking on my monthly salary alone. But I know summer costs more. And I know I don’t want to miss out on summer activities or stress about going into debt. So for the last few months I’ve been putting some money aside each month in preparation for these expensive fun times. It’s these savings that funded all of the above and kept me in the black.
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Entertainment 7%
Once again, hey summer. So many friends in town on vacation. And I don’t blame them, Victoria is a magical place, if I didn’t live here I’d want to come and visit too. But what that means for me is dinners and drinks out, larger grocery bills and other costs associated with entertaining. It’s awesome to see my friends and worth every penny, but it is a lot. June was a big month for this and I’m expecting July to be more of the same.
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Other 7%
Parking, charity, gifts, health and fitness, etc.
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Looking Good 6%
I bought the usual odds and ends. And then I bought a flawlessly beautiful pair of nude Swedish Hasbeen sandals that I’ve had my eye on for awhile now. I could afford them, but only because I had money set aside. The only downside to my beautiful new shoes is that my “shopping fund” now sits at $0. Sigh.
d
Food and Drink 6%
I actually did really well here this month.
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Savings 6%
This percentage looks better when I don’t spend way more than I bring in. Oh well. It was still a dollar amount that I’m happy with.
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And now it’s July. The month of 2 weddings, 2 birthdays, 6 out of town guests, and 2 trips away. Wish me luck guys.