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Home is where the workout is

Hello friends! Hope everyone had a good weekend, or long weekend if you had one of those too ;)

So today was my last shift at Starbucks. I had high hopes of getting up early, shovelling the wall of snow at the end of my driveway, and heading to the gym for a treadmill date before work. Yeah. Looked outside and it was still dark and raining. Tackling the snow boulders the plow leaves behind didn’t sound too appealing at that hour. Luckily, Chris and I turned my apartment into a workout friendly place last night! Check it…

This is what my bachelor apartment looked like before…

There was a lot of debate about how to set up my small space when I moved in. My mom and sis were adamant on having my dinner table in the living room. But it didn’t leave me much space in there, and left my sleeping area open to the rest of the apartment.

After a little rearranging, here’s what I’m now working with…

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The coffee table is pushed to the side in that photo, but it still provides much more open space than before. My bed is now behind the couch, so my sleeping area is sort of “cut off” from the living room. It’s how I originally wanted the couch, and as soon as Chris and I moved it, I immediately felt a sense of comfort in my own home. Something I haven’t really had yet. My mom believes in all that Feng Shui stuff, and I can see why now. I feel so much better in my space already!

The kitchen table is also where I originally wanted it…

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The microwave stand that was there is a little awkward in it’s new spot, but I’ve only got so much space to work with.

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My first living room workout turned out to be a stellar one!! I started with 40 minutes speed intervals on the trainer. I originally planned on 20 minutes, but then figured and extra 10 wouldn’t hurt, then pushed out another 10! It helped that I was being entertained by the television (watching one of my old classmates do live hits on a national news network!!!!).

The trainer itself is kinda fun. It was nice to be on my own bike. Unlike spin bikes, mine is set up to fit me perfectly. It was weird having the back wheel spin though! I was a sweaty mess. I’ll have to put a mat underneath it. The lack of fancy air system in my apartment made a big difference.

As you probably spied in the above photos – I tried Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred for the first time!

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I did Level 1 which consists of three circuits. Each circuit has 3 minutes strength, 2 minutes cardio, 1 minute abs. I’ve heard Level 1 is easy – but I found it quite challenging! Albeit, I was kinda wiped from my bike sesh. But the quality of a workout is always the quality of the work you put in ;)

Oh, and the best part? I burned 500+ calories in 67 minutes! In my living room. Love it :D

 

Now how about some random eats? Some highlights if you will ;)

Last night I tried a new-to-me product – quark!!

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I remembered Ellie telling me about this stuff she can buy in Scotland that resembles Greek yogurt (which I can’t buy here). Pretty sure my eyes bulged out of my head when I spotted it in the grocery store.

Apparently, quark is a cheese. The nutritionals are awesome.

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Ellie said it’s quite thick, but this stuff was more just like a thick yogurt. But with a slight cheesy taste underneath the typical yogurt “tang.” I ate it the usual way…

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With stevia, vanilla extract, strawberries, ground flax and unsweetened coconut. Messed up, of course ;)

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I really, really liked it! If it wasn’t so dang expensive, I’d add it to my regular rotation. Alas, it will have to remain a special treat.

Other random eats include a new-to-me Simply Bar flavour – Lemon Coconut.

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It was “meh.” Too much lemon, not enough coconut. The lemon flavour reminded me of the Lemon Zest Luna a little, but not nearly as sweet. If anything, it was a little too plain.

 

I got sent home from work early today because the mall was d-e-a-d. Apparently, no one else wanted to attack their driveway snow boulders. It was pretty sweet, as I was definitely not feeling my last shift at the Bucks today. Plus, I got to come home and bake!

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Carrot Cake Protein Bars 

I found this recipe here but I can’t find the original on Jamie Eason’s website. Here’s what I used:

  • 1 cup oat flour (made by putting rolled oats in my coffee grinder)
  • 2 tsp 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp allspice 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup 1/2 cup Splenda
  • 1/2 cup fat free low-fat Ricotta cheese
  • 24oz 7oz baby food carrots
  • 2 scoops vanilla whey protein
  • 1 cup quick cooking rolled oats

Mix up dry ingredients, add the wet stuff. Pour in a 9×9 pan and bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes.

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I cut it into 16 squares, each having 74 calories, 1g fat, 5g carbs, 1g sugar, 1g fibre, 10g protein. Not too shabby! The best part is that they actually taste good!!! Yes Deb, even with the protein powder! :P Next time I’ll add a little shredded carrot, golden raisins and walnuts, but like this they are quite edible.

 

I tried out another random recipe for dinner: Indian Cauliflower Stew.

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Ingredients

1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 med. carrots, chopped
1 med. onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. curry powder
Salt
2 1/2 C vegetable broth
1 med. head cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 (15 oz.) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 C chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 C plain lowfat yogurt

Directions
In a dutch oven, heat oil and add carrots and onion. Cook 10-12 mins or until tender. Stir in ginger, curry, and 3/4 tsp. salt into mixture, cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add broth, cover and heat to boiling. Stir in cauliflower and chickpeas. Cover and cook on medium 15-20 minutes longer, gently stirring until cauliflower is tender. Stir in chopped cilantro and yogurt. Serve over rice.

I pretty much followed the recipe to a tee. Only changes were that I added 1/2 tsp ground ginger instead of the fresh stuff, 1 tsp ground cumin, and ate it over top a bed of shredded chicken ;) I loved this. I don’t make a lot of Indian food at home, I should!

 

Last but not least, here’s a photo I swiped from the New Year’s party – better late than never!

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There’s obviously a lot more, but I don’t really want to post pics of Chris’ friends without their permission! I was a little overdressed for the party, but I didn’t give a damn. It was New Year’s – I wanted to feel pretty!

 

Hm. This post was kinda all over the place. Keeping ya on your toes ;)

 

Question of the Day: What’s your favourite “ethnic” food to make at home? I guess I use the term ethnic lightly here, perhaps “regional” would be more appropriate. Mine’s mostly North American, but I like making Greek-inspired stuff. I also much prefer my homemade Chinese-inspired dishes to the stuff I buy in restaurants.

 

See ya tomorrow for a recap on my first day at my new job!! Eeeee!!!

Things I Learned – 2009 Edition!

Happppeeee New Year!!! Are we all excited for January? I am! It’s my birthday month :D I’ll be 24 in three weeks. I’m at that point in my twenties where it’s all starting to blend together. I’m also in denial that I’m a grown up, but I’ve heard that lasts well past your forties? :P

Anyways, I realized I never did a Things I Learned This Month for December. Those are usually my favourite posts to write, and I didn’t want to let it pass me by! But I thought, since I did a Year In Review yesterday, it would only be fitting to expand it to a Things I Learned This Year.  Or, erm, last year. Whatever, I’m late at doing this, you get it.

 

Things I Learned in 2009

1. Listen to my gut. There are a few things I could have avoided in 2009 had I just listened to my instincts. I probably would not have ended up in the wrong job for me after graduation. In fact, I would not have tried to work in journalism at all.

2. Don’t do things just because others expect you to. Along the same lines. I made choices in 2009 because I knew it’s what my family, professors and friends would like. Unfortunately, they don’t always know what’s best for me!

3. Be honest. Don’t say things just to please others. I could have avoided a lot of messes had I just been upfront with people about how I was feeling. Even something as simple as saying “I’m fine” when I’m really not can be detrimental. This is one thing I am still very conscious of and find myself working on daily.

4. I wasn’t born athletic, I have to go at my own pace. During my numerous training attempts this past year, I would get disappointed that I wasn’t as fast or strong as those around me. I have to constantly remind myself that I’m am still very new to this athletic lifestyle. Running 8-minute miles, or doing pull-ups, just aren’t achievable for me – yet. Maybe I’ll get there someday, but I just have to accept it will take time.

5. I have to give up on who I used to be and accept who I now am. This is a newer lesson for me, having really only learned it this past month. I’m not a boozer anymore, I don’t want to party at the bars till close anymore. I don’t have many of the same interests, I think my sense of humour has even changed. Part of this is getting older, part of it is that I’ve just changed a lot over the past couple years. It’s time I start embracing who I now am. I think doing that will help a lot in my goal of living life too ;)

 

Obviously, there were many other little things learned over the past year. But sitting here today, these five things really jump out at me. They are five things I’m going to continue to reflect on as I move into this new year. For once, I don’t have it all mapped out, I have no idea what this year will bring. To be honest, I’m completely excited about the prospects!! It will hopefully be a whole new learning adventure for me :)

 

I must also say that 2009 has been a year of new friends. I started blogging in January 2009, and I cannot believe the scores of wonderful bloggers and readers I’ve “met” since then! I had no idea when I started blogging that I would stumble across this smart, kind, passionate, supportive, funny and entertaining community. Case and point, I came home today to Christmas cards from two of my fave blogettes.

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Yes, everything takes forever to get here because I live in the armpit of Canada :P Thank you soooo much Janetha and Sophia!! Your cards will be proudly displayed on my fridge that is slowly being taken over by bloggie notes and cards. Gah! I love you ALL!! <3

 

Don’t hate, but I’m skipping the monthly goals this month. I want my main focus to be settling into my new job, and completing the course requirements for my personal training certification (exam is in beginning of February). However, I’m thinking of hammering out a legitimate strength training plan for myself now that I’ll be on a regular work schedule. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll be sure to share :)

 

Aaaand, last but not least, I had a great New Year’s Eve, why thank you for asking ;)  I noshed on some sketchy deep-fried chicken balls and only drank two cups of champagne. I feel like crap today after getting to bed so late (3:30am!!). Only reinforces Lesson #5 – that I’m just not into partying like I used to. There are pictures on someone else’s camera that I will try to track down. As if brought my new baby Rebel XS to the party with me!!

 

Question of the Day: What did you learn in 2009?

Goals for the New Year

Hello blog friends!! Wow, wonderful feedback on my last post about a poster at the gym that rubbed me the wrong way. It showed a woman standing on a scale, with the word “happy” displayed where the numbers normally are. Many of you agreed it was inappropriate, but I was surprised by how many saw it as reflecting a woman’s “happy weight.” That never occurred to me! Several others mentioned their weight (or “body size”) is one of the many factors in their personal happiness. Mish put it wonderfully by referring to happiness as an “onion.” Being happy is made up of many layers, and a person’s body-size can be one of those contributing layers. All very interesting stuff!! I encourage you to check it out :)

In other news, I’ve finally made it back to my apartment. I white knuckled it through the very windy drive home, but made it in one piece. Coming back to a snowed-over driveway was not fun though. Shovelling a car IN is much worse that shovelling it out :P

After four days in a row of getting up and going straight to the gym, my legs were telling me it was a rest day. I worked out five of the six days I was home – not bad! Makes up for all the meat pie and shortbread I ate… right…?

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Breakfast was a toasted blueberry bagel with cream cheese. I usually eat laughing cow cheese in place of the regular stuff. And you know what? I like laughing cow better!

And my fat/protein…

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A boiled egg.

I stopped by the grocery store before hitting the road as it was my only open window to do so until Saturday. So glad I did. Allowed me to throw together a rushed, yet delicious lunch before work this afternoon.

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Sandwich with Italian Tofurkey slices, spinach dip, tomatoes and spinach with a side of black grapes.

Fuelled me through a busy shift at Starbucks. Found out today that my last shift is on Sunday! In fact, I only work tomorrow and Sunday, and that’s it!! Start my new job at the university bright and early Monday. Crazy.

I had Subway for supper. Don’t hate. But my evening snack involved probably the best trail mix ever.

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This package from Emily was waiting for me when I got home. Thank you so much Emily!!!! Besides yummy almonds, seeds, chocolate chips and cranberries, it has homemade dried apples. Not just any apples, but ones from her own backyard!! LOVE it :D

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I sprinkled it atop some yogurt + vanilla protein powder + cinnamon. Positively splendid :)

 

So my next few posts are going to be wrapping-up the past year while looking ahead to the new one. I decided to start with my “resolutions,” for no real reason whatsoever. Y’all know I’m big on setting goals for myself. Last year, my only two goals were to do a triathlon and get a job after graduating university. Both of which I did! :) This year I have five big ones I want to accomplish, all which I think are totally doable provided nothing big goes wrong.

 

Goals for the New Year

 

1. Run a half marathon

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I tentatively have one planned for May 9th. But I don’t really care when it is – I just wanna do one this summer!! Also, let it be formally recorded that I will not set a time goal for this race. Finishing it is what matters.

 

2. Complete a duathlon.

 

Last year was “The Year of the Triathlon.” But to be honest, I don’t wanna swim in the lake again. There’s a small duathlon Moncton does every year that’s 5k run, 20k bike, 2.5k run. Stress-less and fun, just what I love ;)

 

3. Complete a metric century.

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This past summer I got up to 65 km on my bike, and I just know I can push out 100k!! Not sure if I’ll do this in an event, with Chris/family, or on my own, but my bike will see 100 kilometres in one day this summer!

 

4. Get my first client as a personal trainer.

Okay, ideally I’d like to have more than one client. But I’m trying to be reasonable here ;) Basically, I just want to move forward with this personal training thing. Doesn’t matter if I get hired full-time at a gym, or just start doing it on the side, so long as I can help someone as a personal trainer!

 

5. LIVE life.

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I feel like I spent 12 years in school “waiting” to graduate. Then spent four years “waiting” to finish university. Now I have nothing to wait for. I can do whatever I want! This year I want to experience life instead of watching it pass me by. I want to LIVE each day to the fullest. That doesn’t mean I’m taking off to trot the globe. I just don’t want to “survive” my days anymore. I want be an active character in them.

Question of the Day: Do you have any goals for the coming year??

Sooo tomorrow I’m doing a special "group exercise class medley.” It’s going to be 30 min spin, 30 min Body Attack, 30 min Body Pump, 30 min yoga. So two hours total!! I don’t actually expect it to be that gruelling, as the last two are pretty low intensity. But it will be a fun way to kick off the New Year!

I’ll also be scheduling a post tomorrow with my year in review. It will be scheduled, because I’m going to a house party to drink my arse off. But I’ll be sure it includes the awesome cookies I’m bringing to the part-ay with me! (Emily, you know that ones I’m talking about!) See ya then!!

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