Monthly Archives: August 2010

Things I Learned The Month I Let Go

I have a very serious chocolate addiction. I am looking into rehabilitation programs where they wean me off with carob.

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I have to start dressing better in public. Blog readers can be anywhere!! :P

The best way to see a city is through its grocery stores.

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Meditation is just not for me. Yet.

Mint is a fantastic addition to yogurt messes.

Happiness is not defined by situation or location. It’s a matter of opening your eyes and letting yourself be happy in the moment.

Green figs are superior to black figs.

Sometimes it’s best not to over-think things. I should have been to scared and nervous to attend a conference with 200 bloggers I don’t know very well. I should have been concerned about how I would get there and afford it all. Instead, I just went for it. I don’t regret a thing.

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Blogging has changed my life. I can’t even begin to imagine the life path I would be on now if it weren’t for this little piece of the internet.

For too long I’ve been focusing my energies on maintaining a significant weight loss. When instead I should have been trying to maintain a healthy mind and body. The two are very different and don’t always deem the same results. The latter is all I care about now.

Trader Joe’s Sunflower Seed Butter is CRACK. In terms of smooth nut/seed butter, I think it’s one of the best I’ve had!

Toronto would not be the same without some of the wonderful bloggers I’ve connected with here.

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I am never allowed to do karaoke ever again.

I need to cut myself more slack. The life changes I’ve experienced over these last several weeks aren’t exactly small potatoes.

Races are SO much more fun when you’re not one of the people running!

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…and volunteering your time is always worth it :)

Bacon covered in chocolate is not all it’s cracked up to be.

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I am officially two months into my Toronto adventure and only now do I feel like I’m finally in the swing of things. I’ve got a feeling I still have a lot of learning to do ;) Starting with Tina’s 30 Days of Self Love in September. Go click!

 

Question of the Day: What did you learn in August?

Sweet Gifts and A New Routine

Reason #592 why I love blogger friends.

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Because even when I can’t have lunch with some of them, we can still share food :)

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A ginormous THANK YOU to Lori who thought of me after making homemade buckwheat honey marshmallow fluff. She immediately popped a jar in the mail to spread the fluff love.

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If you know anything about me, you know that I immediately popped the lid off and scooped it out with my finger.

Ohmygoooood SO good! I love the honey flavour in the fluff. I must try making this now that I’m finally all settled in a kitchen!

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As a bonus, she included a jar of homemade pear cranberry jam. I’m not going to beat around the bush here. This jam is uh-mazing. Love the combo of these two fruits, juuuust sweet enough, and the chunky texture is fabulous.

Lori, that coffee shop we’re opening can’t come soon enough! ;)

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I picked up the goods last Thursday night and had to try them all on my oatmeal Friday morning. A trifecta!

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Too bad I ate this at 6am before natural sunlight made it through my windows. These kitchen photos don’t quite to it justice.

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And because I neeeeed nut butter on my oatmeal – almond butter.

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The pear cranberry jam made a reappearance for breakfast this morning.

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Made protein pancakes by mixing:

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup unflavoured soy protein powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 stevia packet
  • cinnamon, lots of it
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1/2 cup almond milk

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I thinned out a tablespoon of almond butter with almond milk to get more out of it.

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PB&J pancakes on a Monday morning?? I’ll take it! ;)

 

My mid-morning snack had been waiting patiently for me in the cupboard since yesterday.

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I heated it up in the microwave first before unravelling to the gooey centre.

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That right there is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Hands down.

 

Fret not, I haven’t just been eating sweet things.

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On Friday, I “healthified” a meal I used to love – beans and wieners. Oddly, this is not a dish I grew up eating like most people, but introduced to me by a boyfriend when I was 18. Same boy who introduced me to fluffernutter sandwiches as well. His childhood was apparently a lot tastier than mine.

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For this, I mixed together:

  • 1 can soy beans in a tomato sauce
  • 3 veggie hot dogs
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1/4 onion, carmelized with a clove of garlic
  • few handfuls spinach, cooked
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 can herbed tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp ketchup

I ate it plain on Friday, then re-heated on top of spinach with cheddar cheese tonight. Such comfort food!

 

Finally, I want to talk a little bit about my own personal exercise schedule. I’ve gotten so much into the habit of talking about exercise for other people that I forget some people like to hear what I am doing myself!

As mentioned in this post, I took a little break from exercise. This is something I do quite often. Every three months or so I take several consecutive days off all intense activity such as weight lifting, running, spinning, etc. It’s a welcome physical break for my body, which gets put through quite the beating with my workouts everyday. But it’s an even better break for my mind. Working out all the time can really drain you mentally.

This summer has obviously been a little hard on my workout schedule what with moving, getting a job in a gym, then giving up my old gym membership. Even worse is that I like to rely on the outdoors in the summer months for my exercise. But I only do it when it’s enjoyable – and running in the heat is not enjoyable. We’re on track for being the hottest summer on record here. I have been without a working bike since the spring. I eventually got bored of my same ole’ gym routine snuck in between clients. I burned out.

After 5 days of complete rest, I hopped on the elliptical last Friday for 50 minutes. Nothing too hard, but I still found it exhausting. I took Saturday off again, then did some yoga and a lot of walking yesterday.

I’m happy to report that I’m finally feeling recharged and enthusiastic about starting a new chapter of fitness for myself. After perhaps too much thought, I’ve decided to start a split weight lifting routine. The only split I’ve ever done before is upper/lower body. My new split will have me working these muscle groups on separate days:

  • Back/Biceps
  • Chest/Triceps
  • Shoulders/Abs
  • Legs

I’ll be throwing a lot of cardio intervals into the mix, with a few fitness classes, yoga classes and hopefully running outdoors again if the heat ever stops. This is just my “starter split” and I expect to be experimenting a lot more as time goes on :)

Also – I’m leaving my heart rate monitor at home on lifting days. Of all the exercises in the world,  I love weight lifting the most. I’m seeing this as just staying at the gym to do an activity I love. No pressure of burning calories.

I won’t be posting every single one of my workouts in the main blog posts anymore because it’s just too time consuming for me. But I am going to work harder at constantly and consistently updating my fitness page with workouts y’all can try out for yourself :) I’ll also get better about including workout tidbits and new moves I learn in the regular posts because I am learning SO MUCH now as a working personal trainer.

 

So thurrr ya go!

Questions of the Day:

1. Weight lifting or cardio? I find most people are either or. I’m sure it says something about you!

2. Favourite kind of jam? Mine is blueberry! Or plain strawberry. Nothing with crunchy seeds please.

Another Fabulous Sunday in the City + Those Goals

Ahhh, another weekend, another two days of amazing adventures in Toronto!!

I was a good girl and in bed sober and early last night. Set my alarm for 8am and was up and ready before it even went off!

I was excited for what I had planned this morning – free yoga at Lululemon!

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Most Lululemon locations offer free yoga classes on Sunday mornings. Something I’ve never been to as New Brunswick doesn’t have a Lululemon retail location yet.

I was a little nervous about what I would be walking into. I went to the Eaton Centre, expecting to be surrounded by yoga experts dressed to the nines in Lululemon gear. So not the case! There were about 15 of us in the cleared-out showroom. The instructor led us through 50 minutes of Baptiste Power Yoga. A style I’ve been apprehensive to try, but it really wasn’t that hard! I’m strong enough now that vinyasa doesn’t tire me out like it used to and I’m starting to move through it more quickly.

After two months of no yoga is was SO nice to do it again. My body absolutely loves it. I’m realizing it’s an important activity to include in my workout mix, so I suspect I will take advantage of many more free classes until I get the funds to join a studio :)

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I had some time to kill afterwards before a very important date downtown. I decided to wander up to Yonge/Dundas Square. The great thing about Toronto is that it’s guaranteed something will be happening there on any given weekend.

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Today I happened to stumble across the Live Green Toronto Festival. How ‘bout that!

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There wasn’t much going on though. I poked around at some of the vendors then wandered across the street to something that was a lot more eye catching:

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Forever 21. A clothing store I’ve heard manymany people rave about but have never been to. It was pretty cheap! I was thisclose to buying a dress I probably don’t need, until I looked at my watch and realized I was about to be late for my very important date!

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With a food blogger of course! ;) Jessica was in town visiting her family this weekend. Always on the lookout for a dining partner, I told her we had to get together to eat.

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We opted for The Queen Mother, a cute place on Queen West  known for good vegetarian fare (although not a vegetarian restaurant).

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Both Jessica and I took a quick look at the menu and decided on the same thing right away. I’m typically a fast decision maker (maybe sometimes too fast!) and appreciate eating out with people who are too!

We went for The Q.M. Burger: a high protein vegetarian patty of grains, nuts, herbs and mushrooms, covered in melted cheese and served in a whole wheat pita with our own special sauce, romaine lettuce and tomato.

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You had me at “pita.”

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What I wasn’t expecting was for the burger to be delicious. Dare I say… the second best veggie burger I’ve ever had?? Yes, I think so. I loved the combination seedy and soft texture, with chunks of whole peanuts. It was spiced perfectly. Their sauce of ketchup + something creamy paired with it wonderfully.

If you’re wondering, my favourite veggie burger still comes from Calactus in Moncton, New Brunswick. That will be hard to trump. I’ve got that burger on a pedestal.

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Me and Jessica! I had a lot of fun chatting and enjoying good food with her today. I have yet to meet a fellow food/healthy living blogger I don’t click with. What is it about us that makes us all so friendly and easy to get along with each other? Anyways, she totally convinced me that I need to take the train to Montreal some time. Soon!!

Just as I started getting settled back at home, this tweet happened :

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Don’t need to tell me twice.

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The bake sale was going on outside the Ceili Cottage, a wonderful Irish restaurant/pub in my neighbourhood. I originally went for the sticky toffee pudding, which I hear is amazing.

Then I saw this.

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It was love at first sight.

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I’m not sure if y’all know how much  I love cinnamon buns. Cinnamon rolls are great. But the white, doughy, fluffy, sweet n’ sticky bun is where it’s at. Perhaps Holly can tell you about how I drool at the mere sight of them. She watched me do this in every bakery we visited in Alberta :P

The above heavenly treat comes from a Leslieville bakery I’ve been meaning to try – Sweet Bliss Baking Company. Just another reason to snatch one up. They’re what Toronto Life calls the “best cinnamon buns in the city.” Fret not, in the spirit of moderation, I only ate the outer layer. The sticky center is now wrapped up and hiding in the cupboard. I can hear its muffled cries from here.

 

After missing a couple weeks, I do believe it is time for the second and final check-in on my Monthly Goals For August.  

1. Eat out twice a week, at no more than $15 a meal. Surprisingly, I did pretty good with this one!! I know I typically only blog about my meals out, but I brought all my food to work with me and often ate at home before going out. Even in Chicago, I only ate out once!

2. Read more. Finished The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which was good. Slow to start but turned out pretty scandalous. Love the main characters in it, which is the number one thing I look for in a book. Currently half-way through Generation A by Douglas Coupland. It’s a look into the not-so-distant future where bees are extinct. Until five different people around the world are stung. Told through the eyes of each of the sting-ees. In typical Coupland style, the unusual and impossible occasionally happens out of nowhere, but a good criticism on how we treat our planet.

3. Do at least one outdoor activity a week. Walkwalkwalk. Walking to the next subway stop instead of the closest one, getting off the streetcar early to walk the rest of the way home, choosing a part of the city to explore on foot… I did a lot of walking this month because that’s the only outdoor activity I can think of that doesn’t cost money and won’t kill me in the heat.

4. Look for part-time work and volunteer work. Spent some time with Simply Bar yesterday and paperwork is out for another volunteer opportunity! I may or may not have a really cool part-time job interview lined up for this week, but I’m not talking about any of that until I get a job offer. No jinxing!!

5. Update my blog pages. Changed the page names, including a new “The Girl Behind The Blog” section. Not the overhaul I wanted to do, but something is better than nothing.

6. Lose weight. Ugh. I’m tired of devoting mental energy to this. I was doing well, then went to Chicago and now feel unchanged. I’m playing around with my eating patterns and exercise schedule. As I wrote about in this post, I’m having difficulty adjusting to certain areas of my new life. I don’t want losing weight to top my list of priorities anymore. It’s tough when I’m looked to for fitness and nutrition inspiration and feel like I don’t look the part. I just want to eat well, be active, and enjoy doing all of it. It seems I’m happiest in my body when I’m not thinking about it too much. So this goal was not achieved, nor will I be setting it again.

 

And with that, I’m back to the Emmys!

Question of the Day: How did you do on your August goals?

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