On this page:
  • Travel updates: GPS, Pearl Street, Vibram toe shoes
  • On stores and surroundings
  • Grocery round-up: Toronto

Travel updates: GPS, Pearl Street, Vibram toe shoes

From Thursday evening: Success! I spent late afternoon and evening wandering around Pearl Street Mall and thereabouts in Boulder, Colorado.

I walked around a bit more, checking out Buffalo Exchange and Goldmine Vintage. I like browsing through second-hand stores. You get a more eclectic, more comprehensive feel for a place’s style, and you can often pick up some great deals. Both stores had smaller selections than Goodwill, but they had interesting items. I didn’t buy anything, though. Looking at clothes in general makes me want to get back to my fabric stash and my sewing machine. =) I did look around for inspiration, and I experimented with some colour combinations and silhouettes.

From Phone

While walking along the Pearl Street Mall, I came across Outdoor Divas, a store focused on women’s sports clothing and accessories. I found some travel things I liked. Outdoor Divas also stocked Vibram, the toe shoes I remember reading about on a productivity blog. I’d been curious about Vibram for a while. It’s supposed to be a more natural way to walk, because your toes can go where they’re supposed to go instead of being confined and deformed by a narrow toe box. I have wide feet and I avoid shoes that squeeze my toes, but Vibram shoes would be taking that one logical step further. MEC occasionally stocks them in Canada, but it was somewhat cheaper to get them in the US considering currency values, foreign exchange fees, and taxes. Being able to fit them to find the right size for me was certainly helpful, and it was great having better shoes to walk through the rain with! I also picked up a pair of performance toe socks – wicking, fast-drying, and with a colorful pattern for extra fun. (Performance toe socks! By golly.)

For dinner, I had udon topped with tofu at Hapa Restaurant. It was so delicious and so filling! The soup was delicately flavoured and the tofu was just right. They’re justifiably proud of their udon, and it was the perfect way to round off a cold, rainy day.

I made it back to the Boulder Transit Center with plenty of time to spare. The BOLT bus (Boulder-Longmont; the city has cute names for bus routes, such as HOP, SKIP, and JUMP) took me to the Twin Peaks mall (fare: $4), and I walked to the hotel. Being able to review my route using the GPS made me worry much less about missing my stop or walking around the outside of the mall.

Thoughts:

Neither a bike nor a push scooter would’ve been of much use for that excursion. It was all about walking – but then again, I stuck pretty closely to the pedestrian mall downtown. For pedestrian-oriented places, I might just need GPS and possibly 3G. For places that are spread further apart or that lack sidewalks, a bike might come in handy.

CoPilot Live rocks. I set it to turn the backlight on near turns and to warn me of upcoming turns. This was great for walking around and for making sense of my bus ride while minimizing battery use. I also really liked the local search for points of interest, which is how I found my way back to Hapa. Sweet!

I can save battery for GPS by skipping WiFi on my Android. With some discipline, I managed to avoid using my Android for WiFi browsing until I was safely back in my hotel room. WiFi drains the battery surprisingly quickly. I had run out of battery on Wednesday, when I had used my Android for lots of browsing before leaving for my adventure. With WiFi off, my phone battery lasted through a few hours of GPS navigation, and it still had about 50% left when I reached the hotel.

Hey, this Vibram thing looks promising. I’ve just started wearing this funny-shaped shoe, but I think it’s more comfortable than my other flat shoes. I’m already plotting when I’m going to be able to wear them next. Unfortunately, not to the office, but I might head downtown again tomorrow to check out the Goodwill in Boulder. Besides, it’ll be raining. No sense puddle-wading with my leather shoes. I know the Vibrams can deal with puddles. I may buy gloves and legwarmers, though!

On stores and surroundings

Fascinator

When I went to the UK for a client workshop in Reading, my schedule didn’t permit much sightseeing. I had an evening free, though, so I walked through the shop-lined streets and the local malls.

Stores tell interesting stories about a place. What struck me most about the shops in Reading was that hats and fascinators were more popular than they were in Toronto, and much more than in Manila. Feathered combs and flowered headbands hung in racks. Suits were displayed with color-coordinated hats. Although I hadn’t seen anyone wearing a fascinator (perhaps this was saved for cocktail receptions, weddings, and other events), it tickled me pink that millinery was alive and well.

Stores also have a way of telling people what “normal” is. As in Toronto, Reading’s stores stocked clothes with cool spring colours that go well with paler skin. With my brown skin and warm tones, it’s hard for me to find anything that makes me feel comfortable – hence the preponderance of black and white in my closet. Size is often an issue, too. It’s hard to find petite clothes in small sizes. It’s hard to find wide office-ready shoes with low heels (or none at all). Shopping often frustrates me and makes me feel alien.

I’ll just have to learn how to make things myself, and stock up on clothes whenever I’m in Asia. =)

In the meantime, I can explore the local quirks: fascinators in the UK, racks of winterwear in Toronto, and other interesting things. (I didn’t actually buy a fascinator, as my social calendar typically does not involve many opportunities to wear one, but I had fun browsing!)

Grocery round-up: Toronto

We shop according to what’s on sale at the supermarket so that we can stock up on staples and fill our freezer. =)

Here are the sales for the week:

Metro

  • Extra lean ground beef, $2.99/lb – lasagna
  • Clementines, $4.99

No Frills – 1/2 price event

  • Chicken breast (skinless, bone-in club pack), $1.87/lb – Chicken Maryland

Loblaws – $1, $2, $3

  • Italpasta, $1
  • Chicken drumsticks or thighs, $2/lb – curry
  • Lean ground beef, $2.99/lb – lasagna (see Metro)
  • Marc Angelo dinner sausage, $2.99 – pasta
  • Clementines, $4.99/lb (same as Metro)
  • Schneiders Lunchmate Stackers, $2

Sobeys

  • Lean ground beef, $1.99/lb – lasagna (see Loblaws and Metro)
  • Maple Leaf bacon $2.99
  • Live mussels $3.99 – mussels marinara

Price Chopper, $1 sale

  • Campbell’s soup: chunky / ready to enjoy, $1
  • 5kglb bag of carrots or onions $1

So it looks like we’re going to do lasagna today, and Chicken Maryland and lots of curry tomorrow, plus restocking Campbells. That means passing by Loblaws and picking up everything from there on my way back from improv, assuming that their price for chicken breasts isn’t exorbitant. And if it is, we’ll just cook something else. =)