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New Year, New Job

Hi blog friends!! I just got off the phone with my mom blabbing about my first day on the new job. I hope you don’t mind I spilled the beans to her first ;)

For those of you who may not know, I got offered a job in the communications department at my old university right before Christmas. I left my job as radio reporter a month ago, and majored in journalism/communications, so the position makes a lot of sense for me. It’s a four-month contract, and will fill the gap perfectly from now until I get my personal training certification!

My work day now starts at 8:30 am. I decided to skip a morning workout so I could have a relaxing morning before I had to be there. I slept okay, but was feeling a little nervous! Mostly about meeting all my new coworkers. I know I can do the actual work, but getting to know all the new faces always makes me feel anxious!

Breakfast was served the most comforting way possible – in a big mug.

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  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 whole egg (whisked into pot at start)
  • cinnamon
  • vanilla extract
  • chopped dates
  • cashew butter
  • unsweetened coconut

One great thing about working on a university campus is that I’ll be close to a couple decent cafeterias. I’ll have access to some pretty healthy options on days I don’t feel like packing a lunch.

In the bag today…
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  • Tofurkey, hummus and swiss cheese sandwich
  • Cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and baby carrots with more hummus
  • Three carrot cake protein squares
  • One cheese string
  • Apple
  • Yogurt/muesli cup

I had the apple and cheese around 10:30, the sandwich and veggies + hummus around 12:15 and two of the carrot squares with the yogurt close to 4pm. My appetite has been off all day, I think my nerves suppressed it a little!

The day itself went really well. I met with my new boss first thing and went over some of the basics. The girl I’m taking over for spent the morning showing me the key things I’ll need to know. Then this afternoon was spent puttering away on some small projects.

Remember how I said in 2009 I learned to follow my gut? Well my gut feels good after today! First and foremost, I think I’ll really enjoy doing the work. I’ll be doing a lot of writing for the school’s website and various publications. My boss is really good about assigning tasks, so I’ll always have something to work on (I can’t stand being bored at work!).

All the people there seem really nice. It’s a small liberal arts university, so the “community” feel spills over into the staff and faculty side of things as well. I ate lunch today with the girl I’m taking over for (who took a job in recruiting), my new office-mate, and another girl who works in alumni affairs. It was nice to be accepted into their group so quickly, and made my day of transition that much easier :)

Oh! And speaking of my office – I have one!! It’s shared with a really nice girl close to my age. I have my very own desk, which is kinda big for me. Newsrooms are notorious for playing musical desks (ie, I’ve never had one to call my own). After work today, I stopped to pick up some office-y things.

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  • Small clock radio. Office-mate says she has no problem with listening to the radio quietly, I need background noise! (Canadians – I am in love with the CBC’s Jian Ghomeshi)
  • Hand cream
  • Post-its
  • Pens
  • Notebook (I’m an obsessive note-taker & list-maker)

I skipped my planned spin class today, well, because I didn’t feel like it! I’m mega sore from my living room workout yesterday, and really craving some down time tonight after my long day. Yeah, first day of my new workout schedule and I’m already switching it up. Ahh well. I’m going to try getting up at 5am tomorrow to do 40 minutes treadmill, shoulders + abs before work. I feel like I function much better when I get my workout in before the start of my day.

Anyways, I spent a lot of time wandering around the store and didn’t sit down for dinner until 7pm. So unlike me!

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Real hamburger with lots of mustard + pickles, and ketchup, onions, tomatoes, spinach. Sweet potato cheetahs seasoned with salt, chili and cajun for my fries. Love my simple dinners :)

Now I’m off to do some chores and catch up on a few blogs. Got an early day tomorrow. And oddly, I’m excited that I already have a list of things to do when I get to work tomorrow!

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Here’s to the start of a new adventure! :D

 

Question of the Day: What’s the thing you dislike the most about starting new jobs? Anything you love about it? As I mentioned, I get really nervous about meeting and working alongside new people. It takes me a long time to warm up to people I don’t know. If anything though, I find I’m always just anxious to settle into a routine at my new job.

Flashing Back to Christmases of Past

Woooo!!! It’s the weekend!!! I just realized I’ve only had one day off over the past 22 days. So these next two days off will be glorious :D Well, actually, I have a lot of catching up to do. But crossing things off my to-do list feels pretty glorious anyways.

Loved hearing all the other career paths y’all would like to pursue!! Seems like jobs involving animals, travel and food were the most popular :)

I had custard oats on the brain again this a.m. Well, that and mollases. And coconut chia granola.

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There’s almond butter hiding under there too. Dare I say this was better than the first time around? Yum!!!

Worked 8-4:30 today. I’ve taken to not working out when I do this shift. The days are pretty  busy and I need to be on my “A” game!! Also, I’m still sore from Tuesday’s weight lifting workout. That’s some persistent DOMS!!

Packed the usual lunch for today (we don’t have a microwave at the Bucks).

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Smoked tofurkey slices, mustard, swiss + veggies on lavash bread. And a melt-in your mouth ripe pear!

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Janetha posted an apple-pear comparison the other day. Did you know pears are lower in calories, carbs and sugar than apples, and also have more fibre and potassium?? They’re also cheaper these days. The price of apples has for some reason skyrocketed this month!

Oh, and I’ve been studying my personal training textbook on my breaks. Hence all the words in the background ;)

On my afternoon break, I had my first Vega Vibrancy Bar in the wholesome original flavour.

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To be honest, i did not have high hopes for this bar. It just looked too “healthy!”

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Can’t really argue with those stats or ingredients.

Of course, it’s how the thing tastes that’s reeeally important ;)

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It’s a date-based bar, much like a Larabar. But it tastes so different – I loved it!! You can taste the dates, but dates are one of my favourite foods, so that’s always a bonus for me. The little specks you see in there aren’t all nut pieces, but grains. It made for a wonderful texture. And the flavour was really “mellow” with nothing in particular standing out. It’s small, but still managed to hold me over for the last couple hours of work until I made it home for dinner. This gets a thumbs up!

That dinner I made was some standard Friday Night Fare. Burger and fries.

101_1304Real hamburger with sweet potato fries (spiced in cumin & chili powder). I’m still kinda hungry though!! I’m thinking a protein-yogurt dessert may be in order…

 

Friday Flashbacks… Christmas Edition!!!

Last Flashback Friday before Christmas!! Actually, Christmas is technically on a Flashback Friday this year. How fitting :)

Here are some random family photos from over the past four years (as far back as I can find). I stole some off my sister and mother’s Facebooks, so I can’t take credit for all of them.

My wonderful mom in her Christmas morning apparel, drinking coffee and awaiting the Queen’s Message…

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My Dad, looking very studious and lawyer-like. Actually, I think that’s a Stuart Maclean book I bought him one year.

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Sara, Jane and I, three sheets to the wind on Christmas Eve, re-enacting childhood games.

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Archie, napping under the piano, exhausted from all the Christmas excitement.

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Me and Nana (my mom’s mom)

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After the unwrapping frenzy on Christmas morning. I can’t believe my mother actually allowed her home looking like this get caught on film :P

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Last year’s dead bird, courtesy my mom’s new favourite Oprah recipe.

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Last year’s Christmas dinner! This is sister Sara’s plate. I think someone is a budding food blogger ;)

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My three favourite girls, two of which are in the most hideous winter coats I’ve ever seen. How can people who live in and near Quebec not remember to pack warm coats!? And why is my mom still holding on to these!?

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Girls, I will not be letting this happen again this year. :P

 

I’m starting to get really excited to go home! I leave Wednesday afternoon and I’m counting down the days. Almost all my gifts are taken care of. Hopefully I’ll get the rest this weekend. It’s been a while since I’ve been in the same room as my mom and two sisters at once (last Christmas maybe?). Life has been such a rollercoaster lately, it will be nice to be in familiar surroundings with the people I love most :)

 

Question of the Day: What are you hoping to get for Christmas? Yup, I want a completely selfish, material answer for this one!! I think my mommy got me an SLR camera. Not sure what kind yet, but anything will be a step up from my current camera!

Tips for Working Out in the Morning

Hey everyone!! Well, as promised, here are my morning workout tips! Most of you know I’m a big fan of getting up mega early and doing my workout before my day’s commitments. I assure you, I haven’t always been a morning person. But these are some of the things that helped me acclimatize. Read on!


The day before:

  • Don’t workout after work Tuesday, then expect to wake up before work on Wednesday for another tough workout. Two workouts within 12 hours is hard, and tiring. Try to allow 24 hours between your workouts.
  • Mentally prepare yourself for your routine the next day. Keep reminding yourself that you’ll be up a little earlier to work out the next day, instead of ignoring it or putting it out of your mind.

The night before:

  • Prepare every last detail. Get your pre-workout snack ready, any coffee you need/want to drink beforehand. I even fill up the water jug in my fridge so there’s lots to hydrate with.
  • Get your clothes/gear ready. I put my workout clothes, down to my underwear and socks, at the end of my bed. On days I’m especially tight on time, I’ll even sleep in my workout clothes. I pack a bag with my wallet, iPod, water bottle, sweat rag and sneakers to grab on my way out the door.
  • I don’t wash my mascara off the night before so I still have a little bit on when I go to the gym in the morning. This way I’m not technically putting make-up on to go to the gym. But at the same time, it keeps me from looking like death at 5am. I have no shame in admitting to this technique.
  • If I know I’ll be tight on time in the morning, I’ll prepare my breakfast and food for work the night before too. (I live close enough to my gym that I can come back home and shower before going to work).

The morning of:

  • Don’t waste time laying in bed!!! I keep my alarm clock on the other end of my bed, so I have to sit up and crawl to turn it off. Do not lay back down at this point!!! That grogginess feeling wears off after 15 minutes or so. Do not let it fool you into thinking you’re too tired (unless you actually slept for 4 hours. Then go back to bed).
  • The first thing I do is put my gym clothes on. It’s hard to talk myself out of it once I’m up and in those clothes.
  • Drink at least 16 oz of water. I always wake up feeling super dehydrated, so this one is easy for me. I chug a glass every morning anyways. But if there’s one thing you should remember in your morning routine, it’s this one. Working out in a dehydrated state is not cool.
  • Have a small snack and caffeine (if you swing that way). This is the difference between a stellar workout and a “meh.” workout for me.

My pre-workout snack is usually around 100-150 calories consisting of nut butter + simple sugar and sometimes a complex carb. Since I start activity about 15 minutes after this snack, the sugar is more effective for energy than the complex carb, but that complex carb can be important for sustained energy. Examples:

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Dates + PB

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1/2 Banana + PB 

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1/2 Banana + PB + toast

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 Smooshed dates + PB + wasa bread.

I don’t vary a lot from these combos because it they always sit well in my tummy and give me lots of energy! Doesn’t mean it will work for you, so I encourage lots of experimenting on your part to find that magic combo :)

The real magic though, is my iced coffee.

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This is my secret weapon to morning workouts. I make a french press the night before and stick it in the fridge. In the morning, I mix half of the french press with almond milk and stevia (in my Jamaican frosty mug, of course). The coffee and snack is downed in about 5 minutes flat, and that’s when my energy soars. I practically bound out the door at that point! (the other half of the french press is consumed with breakfast)

 

So there you have it! I assure you, I never used to be a morning person. In fact, I have old blog entries to prove that fact. But the good of working out first thing far outweighs the negative!

  1. I get the luxury of coming straight home after work and have the time to prepare a nice dinner
  2. I don’t have to spend a good chunk of my day battling mentally whether or not I should go to the gym after work like planned
  3. Working late, or other unexpected reasons don’t get in the way
  4. I have the whole day to replenish my hunger, instead of an evening workout where I spend the rest of the night starving
  5. I get to strut around all day knowing I ran 5 miles while most of my coworkers were still asleep ;)

As a side note, I find my best workouts are often in the morning. Personally, my body performs best when there’s less food and stress from the day to wear me down.

 

And because I can’t leave you without any fun food from the day – I tried a lamb burger! Chris and I went to our favourite restaurant, Isaac’s Way.

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Curried lamb burgerGround lamb seasoned with curry, grilled, and topped with out roasted red pepper pecan spread, spinach, goat cheese and fresh red peppers.”

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I almost went for a “lighter option” on the menu. But this burger is what I really wanted, and I knew I wouldn’t be satisfied without! So I opted for a side salad and got the burger in all its glory. It was delicious. The pecan spread was amazing with the goat cheese. I couldn’t detect a huge difference with the lamb though. The bun overpowered the meat a little.

Chris got one of his standbys.

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Nachos bathed in horrible flash photography.

We were hungry.

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After dinner, we went Christmas shopping – for me!!

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I upgraded from my old Motorola Razr to an LG Xenon :D Phone cost me $10 with a rebate, and I get the browser on it for only an extra $5 a month. HOLY DEAL! I can also e-mail and Twitter from it. I’m in nerdy heaven :)

 

Lastly, I just gotta tell y’all that I brought my own ingredients to make a banana Chocolate Amazing Meal smoothie at work today. Pretty sure it was the healthiest smoothie I’ve ever had out of a Starbucks cup ;) My co-workers already think I’m crazy.

Hope you all enjoy your Friday!!!

 

Question of the Day: When is your favourite time of the day to work out? If I’m running, I do it best as soon as I wake up. But other activities I prefer to do a couple hours after a hearty breakfast. Come afternoon, I just start to drag.

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