Archive for October, 2011

written by LaWeez

In my travels around the interwebz, I’ve come across a multitude of things that are just plain spiffy. One of spiffiest was a site/product called Birchbox. Described as a smart, streamlined, and fun way to try and buy high-end beauty products, Birchbox is essentially a subscription that allows you to try out beauty products before shelling out the big bucks that they tend to cost.

Imagine my delight! But, alas, it was a short-lived thrill as, with many things online, it was only available in the U.S. Because, apparently, shipping north of the border is a hugely taxing ordeal. But I digress.

Instead of lamenting my misfortune, I instead turned to my good friend, Google. The simple phrase “Canadian version of Birchbox” brought me to the most wondrous of websites: Luxe Box by Loose Button.

Luxe Box is a monthly subscription service that allows you to try out high-end beauty products – in actual useable trial sizes. I think we can all agree that there is nothing more irritating that receiving one of the so-called trial samples from online offers or department stores that – if you’re extremely lucky – will do you one application. And the perfume samples that amount to the equivalent of a scented wet-nap are particularly charming.

I mean, we all want the high-end beauty products. But who can afford to dish out that kind of cash on something without knowing if it’s even suited to our body chemistry? Luxe Box has created something that I think most women will agree – has been a long time in the works.

Luxe Box offers monthly ($12), quarterly ($36) and yearly ($120 – which actually gives you two free boxes if you do the math) subscription plans; I signed up for the quarterly as I wanted to really get a feel for the program… but I wasn’t quite ready to commit to an entire year. Oh yeah, shipping is included. How often does that happen?

My first Luxe Box arrived this week and, I think it’s safe to say, they’ve acquired a new fan.

Behold the shiny goodness!

Yes, that IS a full-sized bottle of nail polish.

Included was:

Oh – if you sign up, tell  ’em I sent you; for every three people who do so, they’ll extend my subscription for a month… for free!

written by LaWeez

That’s how many kilometres I ran! I didn’t do it swiftly. And I didn’t do it elegantly. But I did it! I set my mind to it, did my research & training… and finished a FREAKIN’ Half Marathon; the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon, to be precise (which, incidentally, raised more than $3.5 million for 164 local charities – suck on that, Rob Ford.)

Yes, it's on a fuzzy robe background. Yes, I wore both for the entire day.

If you had told me, 10 years ago, that I  would ever accomplish that lofty a goal, I’m almost certain my response would have been colourful and would have involved inviting you to attempt some variation of sexual relation with yourself. I know – classy. But I’m a Martimer and an army brat;  it’s who I am.

But I did it. And I’m proud.  I won’t lie, though.  It wasn’t easy.

There’s an epithet that gets bandied about on fitness and running websites: Respect the Distance.

I’m here to  tell you that it’s not just a clichéd expression for Nike or New Balance to sell more shoes and running gear. 5K is a challenge. 10K even more so. But once you start logging past that distance, it’s no longer a matter of simple math. Each additional kilometre gets exponentially harder (especially if you’re packing more junk in your trunk than recommended.)

And self-imposed dry Saturdays are not my most favourite thing ever. But I learned the hard way that, if you have a 10k training run on a Sunday morning, wine the night before (even if it is to celebrate your first wedding anniversary) is not the wisest of decisions.

But, in the end, all the blood, sweat and jacked up toenails were completely worth it.

The folks at CNW had a MUCH better vantage point, not to mention camera (I only had my phone) than I did at starting time.

I’d run the risk (no pun intended) of sounding like a Hipster Emo Poet if I were to try describing the rush of being in a crowd of 22,000 people — everyone from Olympic qualifiers and World Record breakers to average shmoes like me — all with the same goal in their sights. So I won’t try. But I will say that the high experienced while running right down the middle of Lakeshore Blvd., rather than along the Martin Goodman Trail (which is my usual route) was a surreal and astoundingly profound experience. And one I’ll hold onto for a long time to come.

So many people take on the challenge of a Marathon or Half Marathon and it’s always incredible to hear all of the various reasons why. Some do it for glory. Some do it for charity. Some do it in memory of lost loved ones. Some do it in celebration of overcoming adversity. Some do it in honour of their own reclamation of health.

I did it for that girl right there with the bad blonde dye job and the drink in her hand. She was a helluva chick. But she didn’t love herself very much.  I did, though. So I changed her. I gave her back her health. And yesterday, I gave her a giant helping of pride.

Also? I wasn’t last. But you know what? I hope whomever was, is feeling as proud as I am right now.


written by LaWeez

Hooray for long weekends! Hooray for mid-summer weather in mid-October! And hooray for tasty, tasty feasts of far too much food after a far-too-long run. Okay, not really. But it was the farthest this girl’s ever run; and it did have the bonus of pre-emptively burning off a whole dinner’s worth of calories (ish).

We had our Fiesta of Yums yesterday with LX’s family. And for my contribution, I brought dessert. It was a creation of my own based a couple of different recipes I’d found. But mine was better (feigning modesty in your own blog just seems gauche.)  And had half the calories & fat. I know. I think I’m pretty awesome, too.

Caramel Pecan Apple Crisp

Apple Filling
5 large Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1/2 cup Splenda
1 tbsp. whole wheat all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1 cup Smuckers No Sugar Added Caramel Sundae Sauce
2 tbsp. chopped pecans

1 1/2 cups whole wheat all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Irresistibles brown sugar blend
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup applesauce


  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • In a medium bowl, toss apples with Splenda, flour, cinnamon, lemon juice, and water
  • Spread apple mixture evenly into a 9 x 13″ pan
  • Drizzle caramel sauce, then sprinkle pecans over apple mixture
  • In another bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar blend, oats, and applesauce
  • Spoon mixture evenly over apples
  • Bake in preheated oven for about 45 minutes (apple mixture will bubble and topping will be golden brown)
  • Breyer’s Smooth & Dreamy Half-Fat Vanilla Bean ice cream is a PERFECT topper (in case you were at all curious)

A snap to whip up & it tastes FAR more decadent than it actually is.

I made this the night before and popped it back into the oven at around 300°, so it was re-heated thoroughly by dessert time 🙂

written by LaWeez

While I’m the furthest thing from an Apple fan, I think it’s important to give credit where it’s due.

And whether your preference lies with Apple, Microsoft or Linux, you have to agree that Steve Jobs truly was a trailblazer of technology. He didn’t just change the way we think about technology, he changed the way in which we interact with it; the way in which we consume media has changed forever because of his forward thinking. He made technology a part of pop culture. He made it cool. He made little kids and grandmothers want to get involved and learn.

In the ’70s, he designed, developed, and marketed the Apple II – the world’s first successful line of PCs. We all know where his career went from there. And when you consider that the co-founder, chairman and CEO of Apple, Inc. was a college drop-out, I think it’s fair to say that there’s something to be said for determination and ingenuity over degrees and internships.

I could go on and on about Jobs’ accomplishments and successes, but I’ll leave it up to you to use your Google prowess. Besides, there are a lot of people out there who will say it a lot better than I could.

Instead, I’ll simply leave this:

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Steve Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011)