Friday, March 19, 2010

Oh, Canada

Well I took my first trip to Canada this week. For those of you who know me really well you know that I truly like the Canadian National Anthem…probably a sick obsession from attending the National High School Rodeo Finals and having the catchy tune stuck in my head, it doesn’t help that my mom and Christy will sing it too… anyway of all my travels, this is my first trip to Canada and have had quite the experience. We flew into Regina, Saskatchewan which might be one of the smallest airports I have ever flown in and out of with maybe Sun Valley, ID being the smallest. Needless to say, the customs line wasn’t an issue. Our first editor meeting took us to Lumsden, Saskatchewan to The Brickhouse Bistro. Lumsden is a very, very quaint town…especially since our company’s President and CEO couldn’t get a town car to take them from Regina to Lumsden so they had to rent a stretch limo…needless to say the locals were very intrigued who was in the Brickhouse especially since their driver was in a full tuxedo. We grabbed a quick lunch and a piece of the local favorite Saskatoon Berry Pie. It was good, but it wasn’t anything like my mom’s wild raspberry pie so I think I’ll stick to that from now on (plus getting Saskatoon Berries in KC might be difficult). Saskatchewan has a great agricultural history, on the prairie they have a climate that varies from top to bottom and east to west allowing them to produce many types of crops many of them being cereal and pulse crops. We then drove to Saskatoon. I’m sure that in the summer the drive is wonderful but driving 110 in 5 degree temperatures just isn’t that much fun…ok so it is 110 kilometers/hour and 5 degrees Celsius so it wasn’t that bad…it was very interesting to see how the prairie terrain changes and the farmsteads across the countryside.
In Saskatoon, we are staying at a lovely hotel which is referred to as ‘The Castle on the River’ (The Delta Bessborough Hotel, est 1931 - and it looks very castle like so much so that I honestly had a haunted feeling last night after dinner walking to my room, but luckily was tired enough to fall asleep quickly before I had too much time to think about what was lurking in the walls. The beds are very comfortable and the ghosts, if there were very nice to me.
For dinner our first night in Canada we headed to Earls ( Earls is a brewery and a fine dining restaurant which had great atmosphere and excellent food. I had a pint of their Ginger Beer which was very refreshing. The food in Saskatoon has a big Greek influence and that was evident in the meal we had at Earls. We started the meal with Baby Calamari and the Feta Spinach Artichoke dip, both were awesome. The calamari was served with a Greek yogurt dip with cucumber and onion which was an interesting combination. I had a wonderful Prawn and Scallop Linguini with pine nuts, basil, tomatoes and a lemon herb sauce. The cool thing about Earls is there are locations in both the US and Canada so check out the website and there might be a location near you or where you are traveling. For lunch on St. Paddy’s day we were suggest to try The Ivy ( ), not quite like what I imagine The Ivy in Hollywood is like, but this place was much more of my style. It was a very eclectic place with a unique blend of decorations and food items, but it being St. Paddy’s day I settled for the Ruben which was good. I would suggest it for the evening, they had a great bar area with an indoor fire pit that I am sure is wonderful in the middle of winter. The people in Canada have been completely lovely and so very polite and very much remind me of my Canadian friends, even though I realize you all are from Alberta. Much like the US agriculture is very, very prominent in Canada and many people we met out and about were one or two generations from the farm which was neat to talk about with them. If you are ever driving from Regina to Saskatoon, stop in Lumsden, you will be happy you did. Check out Earls for dinner and The Ivy for post or pre-dinner drinks.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Anaheim, Cali

So the annual Commodity Classic show took us out to Anaheim, California for a few days of cool weather and grey skies, but hey it was nicer than the 40 degrees and mud that awaited me back in Graham when I returned. We flew into LAX because of a direct flight. There are many ways to get into Los Angeles from Kansas City and if you don’t mind the shuttle or rental car drive LAX is the way to go…it is a direct flight and on Southwest AND they have Pinkberry ( at the airport. For those of you who have not had Pinkberry, you have not lived. I have to thank Jared Spader for introducing me to Pinkberry when we were out there over New Years. Disclaimer: Jared may have introduced me to Pinkberry, but I still think adding Fruitty Pebbles to your Pinkberry of any flavor is just wrong. Pinkberry is a frozen yogurt in 4 flavors with 50+ mix in items. It may have been 10:00 a.m. when we landed but it was noon at home so we grabbed some on our way to the baggage claim. Our show was at the Anaheim Convention Center so we stayed at the host Marriott hotel, my room had a great view of Anaheim and early in the mornings (which I saw because going to the west coast I’m up wide awake at 4-5 a.m., needless to say so was half the hotel so my thought of working out while no one was there didn’t pan out) I could see the mountains. We didn’t have a lot of free time, but we were able to take in an Anaheim Ducks game, my annual hockey game as I called it because I only make it to one hockey game a year, which was a lot of fun. Unfortunately they broke their 11 game home winning streak in their loss to the Colorado Avalanche, but we were able to celebrate the Olympic victories with all of the medalists which there were on the two teams representing gold, silver and bronze. This was a nice stadium to get in and out of, we got great seats 30 minutes before the game started. We were able to get out of the hotel for dinner, one night we ate at McCormick’s and Schmick’s which is a national chain, probably not the best I’ve eaten at either, but the night before we visited a local brewery that was across from the Duck’s Stadium. J.T. Schmids ( was a great little brewery that had a wonderful menu and a small home brewed list. Their wine list needed some work but we found what we needed. I started my meal with the Cheese & Ale soup, it was warm and filling, then my meal came and the special was a rich and buttery Seabass which was just divine. In Anaheim, if you are there trying to avoid the Disney crowd then head west and you’ll find a wonderful shopping area and restaurants that cater to those not with children. J.T. Schmids was a great recommendation by the hotel and reservations weren’t even needed during a busy week. I’d highly recommend grabbing dinner there only after you have picked up some Pinkberry, if you don’t fly into LAX check out the store locator on their website it would be worth the drive.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dallas/Fort Worth Shopping Musts

If you haven’t spent a lot of time in the Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) area then you probably don’t know or haven’t even heard of the two shopping musts I am going to tell you about. There are two jewelry/accessory stores that have multiple locations to satisfy your accessory fix. I am an accessory whore that loves scarves, rings, necklaces, big earrings and purses/bags that are all CHEAP and I find just that at Sam Moon and Charming Charlie. Sam Moon - Yes ladies, there is a website, but the website really doesn’t do the store justice. There is row after row of purses and small suitcases and two full walls of necklaces, earrings, etc. Not to mention, scarves, belts, hair accessories, wallets, cell phone cases, wigs (if your into that sort of thing) and hats of all kinds. Pack your patience because I have never been in the store without being there with 100+ of my closest friends and plan ahead and bring cash if you want to limit your spending because I’ve never left there without spending more than $100. Prices vary, but you can find great earrings for $2-3 and bling purses for $25-50, but some extend into the $100’s as well. Charming Charlie's - I would consider Charming Charlie’s a sophisticated aunt of Sam Moon, it is way more organized and elegant when you walk in with some of the same great deals but including some apparel thrown in the mix. This is a great place to go to find something specific because they have organized their store by color pallet so you can find what you are looking for quickly. It would be a great place to find costume jewelry or jewelry for a special occasion that you want to look nice but don’t want to spend a lot of money. I realize there is so much more to DFW and many other things to entertain yourself with, but these are two must-have stops for a girl’s weekend.