Monday, March 28, 2016

My Justin Bieber Purpose Tour Experience

Since I don't write a journal anymore, this blog post is going to serve as my own detailed reminder of my Justin Bieber concert experience. This might be a (way) lengthy of a read for some of you... is it too late now to say sorry?

It all started in November, when the Purpose tour ticket dates were announced. I was certain I'd be going to see Justin, but thought I'd be going to Toronto or Montreal in May. R and I had decided a few weeks before that we were going to take a week off in March and go "somewhere". When we realized that Justin was playing in LA the week we were off, we decided to go to the concert there. R loves LA and rather than going on vacation and then flying somewhere again for the concert, it made sense to combine the concert with vacation.

We ended up getting tickets via the Ellen pre-sale on-line. We decided to do the second LA show, which gave us a bit of a buffer in getting to LA in case there was a storm that affected our flights. There ended up being a third LA show added later in the tour planning stages.

Then there was four months of waiting and learning all of the words to all of the songs on the Purpose album. I've been a big fan of Justin's since he started. I've always loved his voice, but his new album is so so so good and very different from his older songs.

Once the tour began on March 9, I couldn't resist watching fan videos of clips of the concert, so I pretty much knew what the set list would be and the basics of the show. I was happy that most of the show was going to be songs from Purpose.

The day of the concert, we decided to eat at LA Live, which is a restaurant complex across the street from the Staples Centre. We took the subway downtown - about 1/2 hour ride from where we were staying in Hollywood. The atmosphere outside the Staples Centre was really great. The had the street closed and they were pumping Bieber songs for everyone who was hanging out.

R went and waited for our table at the Yardhouse. I went and stood in line for merchandise. I thought I was going to buy a hat, but then when I saw them up close, I didn't really like them for the price. I ended up with a white long sleeve shirt that has the Purpose album art and "Bieber" on the front, all the songs on the album on the back, and World Tour down both arms.

The merch line was about 45 minutes. Then R and I ate. I use the term "ate" loosely as I was feeling a bit nauseated (which I mistakenly thought was just excitement). I literally ate three bites of food and a glass of wine which I thought might help calm my nerves.

Shirt: Zara
Jeans: Madewell
Cardigan: Wilfred by Aritzia
Shoes: Tory Burch
Bag: 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target

I was sensible when it came to picking what to wear. Yes, I was tempted to wear my new booties with  the peep toes, but I knew my I'd be on my feet for hours and would be walking to and from the subway.

I hoarded this shirt for MONTHS. 

Then we went over to the show around 7:15 PM. We didn't know that our seats had a separate entrance so we stood in line with everyone else to enter.There were metal detectors and a bag search. There was also a much shorter merch line inside (wish I had've known that!) Our seats were in PR2, which is a priority seating area. We had a nice lounge area, separate bathrooms and food stalls, and it was generally quieter than the main area. We kind of half-watched the opening acts (Moxie Raia and Post Malone) and then went to get some water. I still wasn't feeling well at all.

We went back to our seats around 8:30 as I knew Justin would be on stage shortly before 9:00. We heard a big roar from the crowd at about 8:45 and a bunch of camera flashes towards the front and centre lower bowl. I got on Twitter #purposetourLA and saw it was Kanye and Kim who'd just walked in. We were too far away to get a photo.

The atmosphere was really great - and no, it was not all teen girls. I saw LOTS of couples there together, and lots of people in their 30's and 40's.

Shortly before 9 PM, Scooter Braun came onstage and reminded us that $1 from each of our tickets was being donated to Pencils of Promise, a charity that supports education in low income areas and builds schools. From our side stage seats, we could see some stuff backstage - mostly dancers and crew. Once I thought I caught a glimpse of Justin, but it's hard to tell.

Lights dimmed, audience freaked out, Justin emerged from the bottom of the stage in a glass box that lifted high into the air for his first song, "Mark my Words". He was writing stuff on the walls with a dry erase marker while singing. His first outfit was my favorite of the night - lots of layers.

Not my photo - from Just Jared.

I won't go into detail about every single song, but the vast majority were from Purpose.  My favorite, "Where Are U Now", was the second song. A few of the older ones he played were "Baby" (a more grown-up version I really liked), "Boyfriend", and "As Long as You Love Me". I was hoping for "Beauty and a Beat", but he didn't play it. He interacted with the audience quite a bit and paid SO MUCH attention to the fans in the pit - constantly touching their hands, getting down on the stage and sitting by them, and he even grabbed a fan's phone and took a selfie. Not going to lie, it made me wish I'd forked over the $$$ for the meet and greet package to score pit access.

The visual effects and dancing were really good. We didn't have a great view of the screens from our angle, but we did have a good view of Justin and the dancers. Justin tends to sing to the centre of the room rather than the sides, so we didn't a ton of face time, but the side screens were helpful for that. One of the more original things he did was sing "Company" while on a giant trampoline suspended above the audience (four backflips included!) I managed to forget all about my nausea for the duration of the show - distraction helps.

"Sorry" was the last song, done in the "rain" as he did on the AMAs if you saw that performance.

Overall, I had an amazing experience, despite feeling ill. I was actually super fortunate that I made it through the show, as a stomach bug hit full force about four hours after the show ended (so no, I wasn't just nauseous because I was excited). It was totally worth the money (our tickets were about $145 US each after fees and taxes) and I really liked being in LA for it. I'd go to another show for sure if he were playing closer to home.

I hope you enjoyed my concert recap!

Glitterary Girl

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Arbonne 30 Days to Healthy Living and Beyond: Week Four (Done!)

I made it! Four weeks later and I'm done the program. I'll admit, it was a struggle at times. Not with sticking to the shakes and food restrictions, but with the slow progress I made. Now that it's over, I can say that I AM GLAD I did it - mentally and physically.

Week four was honestly quite easy. I was done with the 7 Day Cleanse, I knew what I was doing when it came to shakes and food, and the end was in sight. My breakfasts all week were smoothie bowls which I'm now obsessed with. I will definatley share some recipes on the blog next month. My lunches were the same (chocolate shake with almond/coconut milk blend) and my suppers were basically the same as previous weeks, with the exception of a recipe I loosely based on my friend's Facebook post (thanks Sara!). It included chicken breast, asparagus, broccoli, black beans, garlic, onion, and Keg steak spice. Yum!

Looking in the mirror, I do see significant changes. My muffin top is all but gone (so nice to be more comfortable in my clothes), I have a waistline again, and my face looks slimmer too. Week 4 saw a dip in the scale again (2.5 lbs) bringing my total weight loss for the program to five pounds. To me, it looks like more than five pounds, and I've probably got five or six more pounds to go before I'm back to my ideal maintainable size.

My SI joints were still bugging me a bit (no burpees or early morning workouts) but I was able to get some exercise in most evenings.  I did lots of stability ball wall squats, push ups, planks, abs, treadmill walking, and lunges.

What I think is most important is the way it seems to have changed my relationship with food.  For the past few years, I've been eating more and making poor food choices because I was any combination of bored, cranky, craving a sugar rush, lazy, or ill-prepared. I was mindlessly snacking, having no clue of how many calories I was actually taking in. Now I find I'm asking myself questions like, "Is this going to give me energy/fill me up/contribute to my health?" and "Am I eating this because it's in front of me and I'll feel like I'm missing out if I don't?" I have no plans on denying myself of foods I like to eat, but I'll be eating small amounts of empty calories instead of big amounts.

My first day off the program looked like this:
Breakfast: Greek yogurt with strawberries and a clementine
Lunch: Tomato soup and leftover ground chicken and rice
Supper (At the Five Fisherman): House salad (so good!) with grilled chicken on top and a small banana nutella crepe for dessert.
Evening snack: Small glass of white wine (oh how I missed you)

I was thrilled that my stomach handled the variety of food - no issues at all.

My parents made a veggie side dish that was delicious and almost fit with the program with the exception of white potatoes.

You can see the rest of my weekly updates here:
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3

Glitterary Girl

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Arbonne 30 Days to Healthy Living and Beyond: Week Three

Friday marked the end of my third week on the Arbonne Healthy Living program and I'm officially on the home stretch!

After feeling fabulous going into Week 3, I did hit a snag this week when I hurt my SI joints. Turns out, burpees are really hard on the old back, especially first thing in the morning when perhaps you'd forgotten to do a proper warm-up. I'm feeling a lot better today, but Tuesday and Wednesday were not fun. I was considering calling for help when I suddenly seized up with one leg in a skirt in the fitting room at Banana Republic. I had a massage Tuesday night, which worked out some of the tightness. My workouts this week were pretty tame, with a lot of treadmill walking. I love having the TV and the treadmill in the same room now. I caught up on PLL and Girls while burning calories!

Food this week has been much the same as the previous weeks - chicken, brown rice, chicken, broccoli, chicken, LEAN BEEF, more chicken. Shake, shake, shake. One day when I was feeling really creative, I decided to do a smoothie bowl. I was actually sent a nice recipe book for smoothie bowls, however the recipes contain things I'm not allowed to eat right now, so I will do a little recipe/book review after I'm done the cleanse.

Arbonne vanilla shake blended with almond/coconut milk and blueberries.
Topped with raspberries, pepitas, strawberries, almonds, and gogi berries

Something different for me in Week 3 was the 7 day Body Cleanse. It consists of a liquid packet of what looks like swamp water that you mix in with water and drink in the evening. It didn't taste bad to me at all - kind of like unsweetened freshly juiced apples. It was NOT a "rough cleanse". I'll admit my belly felt a little unsettled on the fourth to seventh days, but it really wasn't bad.

The scale did budge this week a tiny bit, even though I had to curb my workouts. I'm down 0.6 lbs this week and 3.0 lbs total. I'm still shocked at this because I look (to myself) and feel like I'm down more than that.

My cleanse officially ends when I wake up in the morning on March 12. I'm finishing a day early because next weekend is birthday weekend for me, and I want to be able to relax my restrictions. The great thing is, I can't even IMAGINE eating most unhealthy things right now, so I think this cleanse has definitely fixed my bad habits. I do think I'll be able to manage a glass or two of wine and a small piece of birthday cake though!

Glitterary Girl

Friday, March 04, 2016

My Monthly Purchases: February 2016

Every month, I break down my clothing expenses and share them. My quarterly budget is $500. This amount can be rolled into the next quarter if it's not all spent. My goal is to keep my out of pocket expenses within $2000 a year. Gifts and gift cards don't count towards my budget. Since I've been keeping a budget, I'm much more careful with what I buy, and I will return stuff at the end of the month if I'm not crazy about it after hanging it in my closet.

Watch: Michael Kors via Winners
Reg $300, Winners price $170
I've been on the hunt for a gold watch for about two years. I finally found one that doesn't look humongous on my little wrist. Many links need to be taken out before I can wear it. I love the tortoise shell band!

Sorry about the shadows. I promise it's pretty!

Sweater: TNA from Aritzia
Reg: $125, on sale for $62.50. I paid $12.50 because I had a $50 gift card.
The warmest sweater ever! I bought this just before a cold snap and wanted to wear it 24/7. It's a great length (below the bum!) and I'm sure I'll be wearing it for years and years.

Reg $35, on sale for 17.50
Back I went to the Aritzia sale a few days after buying the above sweater. I couldn't get my mind off another TNA shirt. My color is no longer available - it's a muted red. I have the same one in grey as well. So comfy!

Wrong color. 

Jeans: American Eagle Outfitters
Reg $80 on sale for $25
I wear my distressed Diesel boyfriend jeans so much. This pair is a legging fit and high rise, which is all sorts of awesome. I like how there's fabric under the rips so I don't freeze my legs off! I wouldn't have paid full price for these, but I'll get my wear out of them for the price.

Do you like my half made bed?

Sneakers: Joe Fresh
Reg $40, on sale for $7
I'd been eyeing these for months, waiting for them to go on sale for dirt cheap. They are incredibly lightweight, and I'll be bringing them on vacation for sure. I love working beside Joe Fresh!

Original value of items: $580
Price I paid: $232
I saved 60%

That leaves me with $199 to spend in March. I've got some on-line orders on the way which I may or may not keep. I'm obsessed with sale boots and shoes at the end of winter.  The CDN $ is not good right now! If I do any shopping in LA, it'll likely be at Uniqlo, Madewell, and Zara.

Glitterary Girl