Extreme Air Park!

Do you have an inexplicable abundance of energy?

Neither do I! But chances are, your kid(s) do! Enter: Extreme Air Park!!!

I had originally discovered this magical locale on one of those pesky facebook spam ads, but when I mentioned it to my son on one of our special nights out, he was intent on checking it out. Extreme Air Park is a giant indoor insane asylum, ahem, trampoline park! It boasts over 42,000 square feet of trampolines! This has got to be every kids dream. If only it contained clouds and unicorns I would actually believe I was in Fantasia or maybe even Heaven (maybe thats pushing it??)

Extreme Air Park, located in Richmond, BC has to be one of the coolest new attractions that I’ve seen. Not only will you get an amazing workout, but your kids will burn off a whole whack of energy. After signing a waiver, and receiving some safety instructions and pair of socks you will enter the jump area. Extreme Air park offers dodgeball, basketball, a foam pit and a trampoline half pipe. Half way through our one hour jump session they turned on all the black lights and a disco ball which had all the kids going even crazier and I have to admit, I thought it was pretty cool as well.

So, if its a typical, rainy Vancouver day, or you’re just looking for something new to do, check out Extreme Air Park in Richomnd. Apparently they have a location opening soon in Langley as well!

http://extremeairpark.com/

Talk to you soon,

Heidi

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Parenting, pedicures and promises

 

My boys. Can you guess which one talks back and slams the door?

My boys. Can you guess which one talks back and slams the door?

If this blog was a child, it would have been taken from me months ago, on grounds of chronic neglect. However, it is not a child and if it was, it would have just spent the last 3 days arguing with me about why it couldn’t clean its room.

Yes, I am referring to my real life son, Warren. He is 9 and the most bullheaded, strong-willed Taurus you could imagine. Which is why I am back here, on my blog. Maybe its the celebratory glass of wine that has my creative juices flowing (please excuse any bad grammar that may result) or maybe it was the fits of crying/hysterical laughing/crying that I found myself perpetually ambushed by today. I’m sure that when stumbled into the nail salon, clad in Lululemon pants and a pajama shirt the esthetician thought I was an escapee from the loonie bin. She had a worried look on her face as she did my pedicure and watched me go from sobbing uncontrollably to shaking the whole chair with laughter. Yes, this is what motherhood will do to you.

So anyways, room cleaned and peace in the home restored, here I am. Feeling relieved and ready to write. I am committing (under the influence of a few glasses of wine) to be more devoted to this blog. With summer vacation just around the corner and a two week trip to my favorite US states I should certainly have enough to write about!

Talk to you soon,

Heidi

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How do sunglasses prevent wrinkles?

I think its safe to say that no one likes wrinkles. However, we all all love the sunshine and unfortunately sun does cause wrinkles! All the wrinkle creams and botox in the world will not prevent you from the inevitable (and for some, dreaded) aging process. There is one simple rule you can follow when going out in the sun to help at least slow down the formation of wrinkles… Sunglasses.

Every time we squint our eyes in the sun the skin around the corners of our eyes creases. As we get older and after continual sun exposure the elasticity and collagen in our skin breaks down, which is natural. But after continued squinting the skin can’t bounce back like it used to which causes the permanent formation of lines. If you wear sunglasses then you aren’t as likely to squint causing those unsightly lines!

Here are a few other tips to help maintain a youthful look:

  • Sunscreen is your best friend! Use it religiously
  • Invest in a good eye cream and use it morning and night – eye cream helps moisturize the extremely delicate eye area. There are no pores under our eyes or on our eyelids so an eye cream can help keep the area from drying out and slow the process of elasticity breakdown.
  • Always wear sunglasses! Even in the winter the reflection of the sun off the snow can be bright enough to cause you to squint.

Enjoy the summer and don’t forget to bring your shades!

Heidi

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Orange Beach Alabama: My vacation from a vacation

The view from my hotel

Recovering from another uninhibited night in the French Quarter I lay in my hotel bed catching up on old episodes of swamp people. Normally commercials irritate me but what came on next was an ad for Orange Beach Alabama, illustrating a fun filled utopia with crystal waters and soft sand. After four nights on Bourbon Street, relaxing seaside couldn’t have sounded better.

Being geographically challenged, it had never dawned on me that southern Alabama is right along the gulf coast. After a bit of research on google maps I found that this tropical oasis was little more than a three hour drive from where I was staying in New Orleans.

After a beautiful drive through Mississippi and on to scenic Alabama I reached my destination. Towering resorts and quaint beach homes line the main strip which at one end takes you right to the state line of Florida. After quickly finding a room at the Hilton Garden Inn I was upstairs with my swimsuit on and down to the beach. Orange beach is truly a hidden gem. The beach stretched as far as I could see and with sand like sugar and gentle waves I was glad I had decided to take this spontaneous road trip. After you’ve soaked up all the sun you can handle I highly recommend heading down to one of the many boardwalks along the shoreline and enjoying a picnic dinner while you take in a stunning pink sunset.

What to see along the way:

Take the scenic route through Fairhope and Foley once you reach Alabama, the elegant homes and yards lined with picturesque old oak trees provide breathtaking views and plenty of photo ops for all you avid photographers.

Stop in at Dannys Fried Chicken as you pass through Fairhope for a buffet of some of the best chicken you will ever have! For under $10 and including biscuits, gravy, salads and a drink you cant go wrong.

Links to websites:

http://www.gulfshores.com

www.thebeachiscalling.org

www.hiltongardeninn.com

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New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 2012

Dubbed the “Big Easy” New Orleans is a city rich in history and musical talent which can be heard in every corner of the city. The annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is an assemblage of some of todays finest and most diverse musicians. The first weekend of Jazzfest for 2012 is April 27-29 and the second weekend is May 3-6.

Who:

No matter what your musical preference, Jazzfest has it all. From homegrown Trombone Shorty, the Neville Brothers and Tab Benoit to rock n’ roll veterans like Bruce Springsteen, The Eagles and Tom Petty and the heartbreakers.

Location:

Just a short bus ride from the famous French Quarter, Jazzfest takes place at the New Orleans Fairgrounds Race Course. With 12 stages and tents and a variety of vendors and artists on site there is something for everyone.

What to bring:

The weather in Louisiana in late April – early May is typically very hot and humid. With the sun shining down on you all day a hat, sunscreen and bottled water are all necessities. Wear light loose fitting clothes because you will be doing lots of walking (and probably some dancing too!)

Where to stay:

New Orleans has a ton of great hotels and B&B’s all conveniently located in the French Quarter. Check out St. Pierres on Burgundy for charming lodgings in a section of the quarter that’s just a short jaunt from the excitement of Bourbon Street.

For more info call: 504-524-4401 or visit www.frenchquarterinns.com/hotelstpierre

Just outside the French Quarter on Esplanade Avenue is Melrose Mansion. Boasting large, romantic room and a stunning courtyard pool the Melrose is olde world New Orleans accommodations at its finest.

For more info call: 504-944-2255 or visit www.frenchquarterhotelgroup.com

What to do:

With haunted house and cemetery tours, Bayou tours or carriage rides through the quarter, Jazzfest is just one of the many things to see and do in the city. Visiting Cafe du Monde on Decatur street for a morning coffee and beignet is also an absolute must, or if you had a few too many hurricanes and slept in, head over to Dumaine Street and take in the mystery and history of the Voodoo Museum.

For more info and to start planning your New Orleans trip go to www.neworleansonline.com or www.nojazzfest.com

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Safety tips for travel

Yesterday I posted an article on the Pros and cons of traveling solo, if you have decided to brave your journey alone then keep reading for a few safety tips!

  •  Always be aware of your surroundings – take mental note when you walk down the street or enter an establishment of who is around you, if the area is dark or well lit and what type of neighborhood you are in.
  •  No matter where you go its always important to dress appropriately – you don’t want to attract the wrong kind of attention.
  •  Monitor your alcohol intake – in the event of an emergency you need to have your wits about you and alcohol will certainly not help that! It’s great to have fun, just know your limit and don’t go overboard.
  •  Keep your room key out of view – This will help safeguard from anyone who may have bad intentions from finding out where you are staying and/or what hotel room.
  •  Try to book a hotel room that is on the second floor or above – you don’t want anyone climbing through your sliding door/window while you sleep.
  •  When you do check into your hotel room scan it over and make sure the room is secure – Telephone in working order, main door lock working and windows and any other entrances secure.
  •  Stay organized – if you know where all of your belongings are and aren’t fumbling around looking for a ticket or passport this will mean your attention and awareness is undivided.
  •  When you arrive at your destination try to familiarize yourself with the area as soon as possible – should you arrive in the evening wait till the next day to do this so you aren’t walking around at night.
  •  Do any shopping that you may need to during the day – If you need to stock up on some toiletries that you may have forgotten, phone cards, snacks etc. do it early on so that you wont have to go back out alone after dark.
  •  Avoid telling people that you don’t completely trust that you are traveling alone – if you are single and it makes you feel more comfortable you could carry a picture of your “husband or boyfriend,” wear a fake wedding ring and tell anyone who asks that you are accompanying him on business.
  •  Pack light – Juggling bags, purses and passports is just asking to be the victim of thieves as it is hard to keep track of everything at once.
  •  Always follow your instincts – they are usually right, and even if they aren’t it’s better to be safe than sorry!

I hope these help along your travels, I’d love to hear any that I haven’t thought of so feel free to leave yours in the comments below! Talk to you soon 🙂

 

Heidi

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George C. Reifel Bird Sanctuary

My son and I just returned home from a day at the George C. Reifel Bird Sanctuary. It may sound boring unless you are an avid bird lover, but for the girl who has been traumatized of birds since about age 3, it was an interesting day to say the least. I’m not sure what I was expecting as, after all, it is a BIRD sanctuary. My son came home from school with a notice about the Snowy Owls that live at the Estuary during this time of year and considering that he’s studying arctic animals it seemed like an educational way to fill a boring saturday (and an opportunity to do some photography homework.)

So, after about a half hour drive from our house out to the Estuary we were welcomed by a flock of about a hundred ducks. Admission is quite inexpensive and you can purchase bags of bird seed at the main entrance for $1.00 each. After a vision of being swarmed and pecked to death by ravenous birds of all shapes and sizes I opted out on the bird seed – my son was not impressed.

With free map and new camera in hand we made our way down the trail followed by a pack of cute but nevertheless feathered little ducks that had hoped we had some yummy snacks for them. Planning ahead I had wore my knee high rubber boots so I didn’t mind them waddling alongside me so long as they weren’t touching me. We were on the hunt for the first stop which was called “bird blinds.” I expected some sort of blinds like the ones in peoples living room but instead of spying on the neighbors we would be spying on owls, however, when we reached the “blinds” it turned out to be something of a small cabin with wooden shutters that you can pull up and peek through for an open view of Burns Bog. I soon learned that the lens my camera came stock with (18-55mm on a Nikon D3100) was insufficient for taking pictures of birds, unless we are talking about the ducks. Unfortunately Bald Eagles and Snowy Owls don’t follow behind you on the trail posing for pictures. The lenses the majority of our fellow bird watchers were toting were, well, the size of my leg. These people mean business. I’m talking laying down in the mud on the side of a pond with a giant lens housed in a camouflage material trying to get a picture.

With my ears starting to feel numb and my lips going through chapstick withdrawal we finally reached the second attraction which was an observation tower at the west end of the park. We climbed to the very top where a small black bird with red and yellow on his wings sat on the wooden rail as if waiting for his photo shoot. I took full advantage of the opportunity and followed him as he hopped all the way around the top of the circular tower, even as the wind almost blew him away he kept bouncing around showcasing his different poses. I sang a bird-ified version of Right said Freds “I’m too sexy” to entertain my son and he thought that was hilarious.

On our way back to the car a small family of cranes came up to a couple that had some bird seed and my son who fortunately does not have an irrational fear of birds was able to feed them right from his hand.

I would definitely recommend checking out this park if you don’t live too far away or if you will be visiting the Vancouver area and love birds and nature, or just want to get out and see something new!

You can find more info about the George C. Reifel Bird Sanctuary at www.reifelbirdsanctuary.com/

Enjoy!

Heidi

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