Monthly Archives: May 2012

Balmy in the Baltics

Go figure. I go to Australia for summer and it’s unseasonably cold and rainy. Meanwhile I miss a comparably warm winter in Toronto. Call me annoyed.

Planning to head off on a Baltic cruise vacation everyone warned me about the fickle and cold weather I should expect. Not only has it not been cold, it’s been blindingly sunny and gorgeous – and I packed cool weather attire.

I guess sweating in my tshirts is better than shivering in a dress!

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Filed under Events in Review, Negative Nancy, Pictures Tell a Thousand Words

24 Hours in Belgium

Not a bad first day of vacation:

  • Great family reunion!
  • At least 5 kinds of Belgian Beer
  • Lots of Cats and Dogs
  • Impromptu, but necessary, afternoon nap in the sun
  • Enjoying breakfast at our little B&B then off to the train station to head back to Brussels and catch our flight to Copenhagen!

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    Sleeping Arrangements

    After being awoken by Prince William head butting me this morning, as an indication that he was in need of some attention, I was happy that he settled down quickly. Blessed to enjoy a good cuddle with him and Potato (my plush Sow Bug) before jetting off to Europe with the rest of the Francis family!

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    Review: The Fresh Diet

     

    I’m a bit of an obsessive person, which may be considered an understatement to some.  So when the whole ‘group buying’ trend popped up a few years ago I dove in head first and started buying deals all over the city.  I was even interviewed by the Globe and Mail for being an early adopter.  Unfortunately I never ended up using all of my purchases as so many expired around the same time, you can only get manicure and waxes a limited number of times in a given week, you know? But I definitely scored some awesome deals, and am still a fan of the idea.

    overindulged in Shopping, who me?

    Anywho, I used to periodically sort through my outstanding deals and figure out what was coming up on expiry soon – and try to do something about it.  One such deal was expiring last summer, for the The Fresh Diet.  The deal was (I believe) $25 for a full day of food (3 meals and two snacks) delivered fresh to your front door.  Not being one to love the act of either Grocery shopping, or the prepping and time consuming effort of cooking things, this seemed right up my alley.  Not sure when I made the purchase, but I called sometime last June to try to figure out how to set up the day.  It turned out that since I was in an apartment without a 24hour concierge, the only other option would be to give a spare key to the company, which seemed excessive for a one night service.  The company was very understanding (this was right in the middle of my packing craze and I probably sounded a bit manic) and offered to put my order on hold until I was set up in my new house.

    Cue 10 months later – late April.  As I was now home from Oz and caught up at work, I did a quick scan to see what deals I still had and remembered the ‘on hold’ status of my Fresh Diet.   A quick email later made my account active again, and I was able to select a date for my meals.  Being that I plan things months in advance, I decided on a Thursday about 4 weeks in the future.  The website is incredibly easy to navigate, and you even get to pick your meals and snacks from a generous list provided on a daily basis.  I made my choices, verified that my address was updated correctly and signed off.

    Flash-forward to yesterday, as I’m scurrying out the door at the crack of 7am planning to walk to the office, I happen to notice a blue bag sitting on the porch. Ooooohhh… right! My Fresh Diet delivery!  Apparently they deliver between 7pm and 5am, so I really have no idea how long it was sitting there.  I brought the bag inside and unpacked it:

    • 3 meals and 2 snacks, packed in separate containers
    • A freezer pack to help keep the food fresh
    • A menu card that also listed reheating instructions

    Now seeing as I had forgotten about the magical food delivery elf that was going to be visiting me overnight and already had both lunch and dinner plans for the day, I decided to split the meals up over two days.  I enjoyed the Omelet yesterday for breakfast and the Crab cake as a snack.  Both were delicious!  The portions are definitely small (its supposed to be healthy, so this makes sense), but not miniscule and they were easy to heat up and enjoy.  For today, I had the Chicken Cesar wrap for lunch, the Spanikopita as a snack and will be dining on the final meal for dinner shortly.

    I have to admit, its a pretty slick service  – maybe not terribly environmentally friendly however, considering the individually packaged (and non-reusable) containers and the daily delivery by car to Fresh Dieters around the city.  While I only tried this service for one day, the choices available for a single day alone tell me that this meal plan would be both tasty and varied.  One mega downside is the cost – for a 31 day program of the same service I described above works out to almost $1400 (and I haven’t yet determined if that’s in CAD or USD.. but I’m thinking US) while a week will only set you back about $420.  They do provide a slightly cheaper service, where your meals are selected for you and you are allowed a minimum number of ‘dislikes’ that won’t be included, but that will still set you back over a grand for the 31 days.

    While I don’t think this is something I will carry on with, due to the cost prohibitive nature alone, I can definitely see how it would be appealing to some people.  I’ll be keeping my eye on the group buying websites for more Fresh Diet deals in the future!

    Happy May 2-4 to my Canadian friends, enjoy the best weather I think I’ve ever seen for this particular long weekend.  Too bad I’ll be missing out on it, I’ll be in Europe.  My life rules.

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    Happy Belated Birthday Nancy!

    Whoops. My little blog turned one almost two weeks ago – and I didn’t even get her a card.

    After a year of blogging, I have come to a few conclusions:

    • There is no hiding my crazy on here – in fact I think my crazy is much more apparent in written form (maybe that’s just because I speak to quickly in person so people miss half of the garbage I dole out on a daily basis)
    • I’ve always considered myself as someone with less than zero percent creativity, but maybe writing is a good outlet for me. While the subject matter I yammer on about is either true or my opinion of the truth, Its likely the most creative I’ve ever been
    • I think images are half the fun of blogging, and having a Smart phone is the perfect device for blogging
    • Ya’ll are crazy

    I base my last point on the sincerly random search engine refferals I’ve been getting recently along with the fact that if you are a return visitor, I have passed some of my crazy onto you – fact. Some of my favourite search engine terms are:

    • Executive men in sheer socks – I can’t figure out which blog this directed traffic too, and more importantly… What? Was someone looking for sock porn? Or maybe fashion advice?
    • Poor pregnant little waitress – again, unsure as to what of my source material google thought applied here, and I have to wonder if this was someone maybe looking for a very niche dating site, or possibly a costume idea
    • Loser – much like at my 13th birthday party when my friends made me pick the nickname ‘reject’ for laser tag, this one feels like a cruel joke. The post was about losing phones, but by far the most search engine traffic I get is just the one simple word –  and if it were not for the legions of fan girls that jumped on my Jared Padalecki post, it would definitely be the most viewed!

      Searched more than 5 times more often than the next most popular!

    Without the Fan Girls, Loser would be #1!

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    False Advertising

    Have you noticed the frequency with which things are described as “renaissance”, “vintage” or “antique” when they are really just worn out and old?

    For example, I am currently riding the Canadian Rails to Ottawa on board a Via “Renaissance” train:

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    Lovely modern seat right? I’m also fairly certain I’ve contracted some sort of Black Lung from the mildew on the accordion blinds. Not pictured: arm rests so worn out you can see inside the chair.

    I guess I can see the charm in calling something Renaissance, instead of the “old model” though.

    HOWEVER, what I completely don’t understand is using these terms in the wrong setting – say a lingerie store.

    I was out purchasing some undies at lunch (not because I need them, but because I forgot to pack them) and I saw an ad in the store for “Neon Vintage Lace” bras. I’m sorry, what??

    I’m pretty sure there is a limit on the amount of truly Vintage items available in neon. Also, what do they mean by “vintage lace”? Is it old lace? Would I want that on my bra? Or does it just look old? Who would want that either.

    Clearly, I’m over analyzing – but it bugs me when people use a thesaurus just to avoid using accurate terms:

    Renaissance Train = Shitty Old and Likely Pulled Back From Retirement

    Neon Vintage Lace = Cheap Cotton in Various Shades of Pink

    Premature Curmudgeon = Nancy Francis

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    Happy Birthday Prince William!

    No, not that Prince William.

    My little baby boy turned SEVEN this week! Well.. More like sometime this year. I must have arbitrarily picked a date at somepoint, because I got a happy birthday ecard for him from the humane society. The email made me feel terrible for forgetting – but I think he’s forgiven me

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    Little Billie (he’s not really aware of his formal title) was a down and out street cat before my friend Bianca rescued him and brought him to me. He was clearly terrible at the independent life, as he was scrawny, scabby and curiously greasy when he was brought into my life. He has most definitely embraced his position as house cat though, and has become pretty much the best cat ever.

    So a very Happy Birthday to my Little Prince. May you always find a comfortable nook on my face to rest your head 🙂

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    Filed under Funny Ha-Ha, Pictures Tell a Thousand Words