Roomba vs Hoover

Roomba and Hoover

The Roomba I bought 2 years ago is one of the best luxury purchases I’ve ever made. It does such a great job keeping our floors clean and picking up cat hair. But I was concerned with how much power it uses, so I plugged it into a power meter for a week.

Turns out, it uses hardly any energy. After a week of daily cleaning, it only used 0.65 kWh (which works out to less than $3/year). I plugged in our old Hoover and did some vacuuming for comparison, and it uses a lot more power. One hour of vacuuming with the Hoover used more energy than the Roomba did in a week. Although there’s no way I would be vacuuming for an hour a week, especially since we only have carpet in the bedrooms. I guess sweeping is still the most energy efficient option, but I’m more than happy to pay a few dollars a year in energy bills for the robot to do the sweeping and vacuuming for me.

Roomba 770 Hoover S1361
0.65 kWh per week 0.78 kwh per hour
28 W max demand 857 W max demand
$2.81/year ¹ $1.68/year ²

1. Using BC Hydro’s residential rate of 8.3 cents / kWh (which is very cheap)
2. Assuming 30 minutes of vacuuming a week.

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Happy Earth Day

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Easter in Kamloops

A few pictures from our Easter weekend in Kamloops with my sister’s family.

We had fun making Ukrainian Easter Eggs (pysanky).

Pysanky 2016

And of course there was a hunt for eggs filled with chocolates, candies, and cryptogram clues.

Easter Cryptogram

My nephew was the big winner.

Easter Boy

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Sparkling Surprise in the Okanagan

Relaxation Room with a View

Last week my lovely wife surprised me with a Okanagan birthday adventure. We spent the day hiking in Kelowna and then retired to the luxurious Sparkling Hill Resort in Vernon.

I knew it was going to be a good day when a rainbow lit up the mountainside as we drove through Abbotsford. I was a bit slow snapping a picture, but it was perfectly formed on both sides.

Birthday Rainbow

In Kelowna, we hiked along the Myra Canyon trail, formerly part of the Kettle Valley Railway. Half of the trail was still covered in snow, but it was still an easy hike with some epic scenery. The trail has some huge trestle bridges, most of them rebuilt after the devastating forest fire in 2003.

Myra Canyon

Myra Canyon Trestles

After our hike, we checked in at the luxurious Sparkling Hill Resort. I never knew this place existed before, but it’s damn fancy. Designed by the Swarovski family, the resort is packed with crystals everywhere, including the washroom signs.

What!?

Lobby

The spa was the highlight, with so many little touches elevating it above the usual. The outdoor pool had fabulous views of the mountains and Okanagan Lake. The indoor pool played classical music underwater. There was a walking path with knee deep water that alternated between hot and cold to help improve circulation (it felt like torture). The steam/sauna area had a number of unique rooms, including the experience showers that simulated thunderstorms and tropical downpours, a rose scented steam room, a sauna with a bucket of rocks that were repeatedly heated and then dunked into cold water, and the igloo with ice to rub on your body. There were also some quiet areas to relax and enjoy the view.

Tea Time

Pool with a View

It was a decadent birthday experience and a step beyond anywhere we’ve stayed before.

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Wet Weekend in San Francisco

Castro

We spent the first weekend of March visiting San Francisco. We didn’t have much planned, except reconnecting with friends and eating good vegan food. It’s probably our last chance at child-free travel for a long time.

Old School Cable Car

We didn’t do anything overly touristy, just explored some of the funkier neighbourhoods (like Castro and Mission), walked around Golden Gate Park, and hung out.

Friends

It was one of San Francisco’s rainiest weekends in the past few years, which was unfortunate for us but good for the drought-stricken state.

Rainstorm
Rain Francisco

When the sun did come out, it was glorious. Perfect weather for running around the park.

Running Trail

Or hiking in Berkeley.

View from Berkeley

We got a tour of Google’s San Francisco office, which is a nerd fantasyland. I left with a serious case of office envy.

Pinball Time

All-in-all, a very good weekend.

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Eating Vegan in San Francisco

Before we even booked our flights to San Francisco we were planning where to eat. Our vegetarian friends have raved about the deliciousness the city has to offer. By the time we arrived we had 4 reservations booked for our 4 days in San Francisco. Three of the restaurants were totally vegan and one was vegetarian.

Here are our favourites:

Millennium Oakland – 5/5
Millenium Oakland
We were really impressed by the inventive vegan food in this nice, cozy restaurant. It was easy to get to on the BART with an interesting looking neighbourhood around it (which we didn’t have time to explore). Everything was good, although the main courses outshone the appetizer and desserts.
Millennium Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Greens – 5/5
Greens San Francisco
The first thing you notice about Greens is the beautiful dining room with giant wood sculptures and a stunning view of the Golden Gate Bridge. But the food alone makes it worth the visit. Everything has so many elements to it and yet somehow it was simple and delicious. We had to trudge through the rain and dark to get there. I’d recommend trying to go when it’s lighter out and you can see the bridge better.
Greens Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Citizen Fox – 4.5/5
Citizen Fox Brunch
Currently only in a temporary location in the Mission with limited hours, it seemed like a fully-formed restaurant with great food, nice decor, and professional staff. We went for brunch and got to enjoy many breakfast classics that vegans usually don’t get to eat like eggs benedict, a reuben sandwich, and waffles with fried ‘chicken’. They even had a live band playing quietly in the corner.
Citizen Fox Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Vik’s Chaat Corner – 4/5

This one wasn’t planned. Our Berkeley friend brought us here knowing we were nostalgic for our time in India. It was the most authentic Indian chaat house we’ve been to since being back. There was a simple menu with all the classic Indian snack options (like cholle bhature, bhel puri, and dosas) cooked up at different stations where you picked up your food. It’s located off-the-beaten path in an industrial part of Berkeley, but worth the visit at lunch if you’re nearby.
Viks Chaat Corner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Gracias Madre – 3.5/5
Gracias Madre
We cook a lot of vegan Mexican food at home, so we were excited to try somewhere that actually served up cashew cream and vegan tamales. The food was good, but none of the flavours or dishes really stood out. It was the only place we went where none of us finished our meals (because of the quantity not the quality).
Gracias Madre Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Vancouver’s Zero Waste Market

Zero Waste Market

Here’s a new business that I’m really excited about – Vancouver’s Zero Waste Market. The idea is a grocery store that completely avoids packaging. You have to bring your own containers and fill them from their bulk bins.

They don’t have a store front yet (they said they’re considering locations in Kitsilano, Olympic Village, and Main). In the meantime, they’ve been operating monthly pop-up shops in the Patagonia store on 4th Avenue and advertising on it Facebook.

I didn’t know what to expect, so I grabbed a bunch of empty jars from our cupboards and a few cloth bags.
Empty Jars

I was able to fill them with quinoa, dried mango, dried pineapple, walnuts, chocolate, cranberries, hemp seeds, mushrooms, and a red onion.
Zero Waste Market Purchases

Most of the waste we generate at home is food packaging. If we were able to eliminate that, we would be close to a zero-waste family.

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