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When You’re Smiling

Hellohello! How is everyone’s work week chugging along? Or are you like me and unemployed? ;) I do have a job interview lined up for when I get to Toronto in a couple weeks… but I’ll spill the beans on that when the time comes. Of course, I also have to drop off a few resumes at Lululemon. Livin’ the dreeeeam people!! ;)

Moving on!

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I was sonothappy to be awake this morning. Ask my sister, I was a grump. Best way to cure a case of the grumps?

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Chocolate. Cooked up a pot of rolled oats with soy protein powder, cocoa powder, stevia, banana and almond butter. Paired with a french press of coffee, the world suddenly becomes a better place :)

I got some interesting comments on my last post about my 20-minute meditation challenge, and my use of an alarm to signal when it’s time to come-to. I decided to set the alarm because I had a feeling that 5 minutes would pass, it would feel like 20, and then I’d start opening my eyes and obsessively checking the clock. I told Leah that maybe next week I’ll try just meditating with no time goal and seeing how it goes.

Well today, something interesting happened.

Instead of doing a body scan during my meditation, I instead focused on showing love towards various family members. You see, someone close in our family is going for a serious medical procedure, and there’s been a lot of stress, worry and sadness surrounding it. As I was sitting there, I began to feel very anxious and unsettled. My breath got shallow and I felt like I just needed out. I decided to screw the alarm, opened my eyes and grabbed the phone. The second I picked up the phone, the 20 minute alarm went off. Weird, eh?

Hopefully tomorrow I won’t get so anxious. I thought it was supposed to have the opposite effect!

I eventually made it to the gym for a full-body workout. My sister lives about 15-20 minutes walking from the gym. Since I ran yesterday, I just walked briskly for my warm-up, then went straight to the weight room at the gym.

 

Exercise Load Reps Sets Target
One arm dumbbell snatch  20 lbs 8-12 3 Quads, Glutes, Shoulders
Wide-grip lat pulldown  60 lbs 8-12 3 Back
Single leg squat  10 lbs 8-12 3 Glutes, Thighs
Dumbbell bench press  20 ea 8-12 3 Chest, Front shoulders
Single leg romanian deadlift  10 ea 8-12 3 Hamstrings, Glutes, Hips
Dumbbell upright row 12.5 ea 8-12 3 Top shoulder
Curtsy lunge  12.5 ea 8-12 3 Quads
Dumbbell one arm extension 10 lbs 8-12 3 Triceps
Twisting dumbbell curl 10 lbs 8-12 3 Biceps
Cable horizontal woodchop  25 lbs 8-12 3 Obliques
Cable crunch 85 lbs 8-12 3 Abs

Colour coded!! Matching colours are alternating sets. I like to alternate upper body with lower body stuff so I can blast through it with little rest. Tis me! I can already tell you my triceps are going to be sore tomorrow…

Lunch featured another fabulous fridge find.

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Contemporary Cuisine is a wholesale food company based out of Ottawa. I will tell you straight up – this stuff is fabulous. Wonderful flavour, but it’s all in the texture. It’s fluffy. How do they get hummus to go fluffy??

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Paired with pita chips that I made by sticking pita bread in the toaster oven.

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Pipsi
(dried arctic char) and baby carrots.

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T’was a fun dippy lunch!!

Another difference between my sister and I is that she’s a “natural vegetarian.” What I mean by this is she’s drawn to meat-free foods, and functions best on plants. While I initially planned bison burgers for dinner, I thought Sara may appreciate a homemade black bean patty instead.

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I made up the recipe as I went along, and I am really impressed by how they turned out!

  • 1 can no-salt added black beans
  • 1 scoop (30g) unflavoured soy protein powder
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 a small red onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 a small green pepper finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp cayenne

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They were a little goopy, so I fried them in olive oil like savoury pancakes ;)

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You couldn’t taste the soy protein powder at all! Impressive!!

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Eaten with baked sweet potato crisps (aka cheetahs).

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…and kale chips.

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Solid meal!! I mixed up mayo and dijon mustard for our dipping sauce. I feel like I must specify that I exclusively use Hellman’s Olive Oil mayonnaise now. I used to buy that light crap, but my mother got me hooked on the good stuff while I was living at home. Now Sara is hooked too. Once you have the Olive Oil, you never go back. You’ve been warned.

After this lovely dinner, Sara and I went to an Intro Ashtanga class at the nearby yoga studio. Third yoga class in three days!! LOVE it. The intro class was really helpful too. The instructor went through and explained all the modified options for many of the more advanced postures in the Ashtanga series. I also learned how much farther I can fold forward when I engage my legs. The workings of the body never ceases to amaze me.

We came back feeling calm and refreshed. I had a hankering for the greek yogurt I splurged on today.

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Paired with crunchy almond butter. Nut butter in regular yogurt is gross. But in greek yogurt it gets really rich and creamy.

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Also added a packet of stevia, vanilla extract and cinnamon.

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Heavenly!!

 

Goal for June

Remember my goal for June?? I set out wanting to accomplish only one thing this month…

to smile.

Clearly there were plenty smiles in Banff, although we’ll forget the tears shed when I left home. I’ll be spending the rest of the month here in Ottawa, and I think I need a reminder to spread my lips wide and show off those gums of mine!!

 

Question of the Day: How are you doing on your goals for this month??

Mountain WoMan

*peers in*

Hiya!

Well, Holly and I are back after a weekend of camping in the Canadian Rockies. We haven’t showered in a while and reek of campfire. But we both agreed that blogging would come first ;) LOVE travelling with fellow bloggers!

Saturday started off with another one of our now famous maple-y oatmeal concoctions.

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I believe this was Nature’s Path cinnamon raisin oatmeal cooked with soy protein powder and a banana. Topped with maple fudge, cinnamon peanut butter and maple jelly. Every bowl of oatmeal now must be topped with fudge. I’m ruined.

Saturday was our first legitimately beautiful day weather-wise. Around 23 C and not a cloud in the sky.

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We couldn’t see the mountains very well when we first arrived, but they popped in the sunshine. Here’s another shot of the main strip in Banff with Cascade Mountain in the back. Never gets old!!

We hit up Evelyn’s Coffee Bar for our morning coffee. Holly and I are a little useless without that one (big) cuppa joe in the a.m.

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The heat called for an iced latte with skim milk, an extra shot of espresso and sugar-free vanilla syrup. Hit the spot, fine work Evelyn ;)

Somehow, after coffee, we ended up wandering into this tea shop called the Banff Tea Co.

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There were probably a hundred different kinds of loose teas lining the walls. Every sort of flavour you can imagine. The little canisters in the front were for smelling – I whiffed on a lot!

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I’m not a big-time tea person, but I definitely appreciate a spot like this. It was so cute!!

Karen is a huge soccer fan and was excited about Saturday’s US-England World Cup match. So we all agreed to watch some of the game at a local pub/restaurant.

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Navigating menus on this trip has been so hard. Everything looks absolutely delicious. We haven’t been doing much snacking – mostly just three big meals a day to keep us fuelled for long spurts of activity. Saturday’s lunch was chosen with just that in mind ;)

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Manitoba Bison Bruger? Yesplease!

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I haven’t been overly concerned with choosing low-cal or super healthy foods on this trip – but doing things like asking for the mayo on the side, or getting the bun un-buttered at least helps the cause a little.

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Omg. This burger was spectacular. Second favourite meal of the trip thus far (elk stew still sitting at number one) Bison is a really lean meat, so it can sometimes end up on the dry side. But this burger was thick, juicy, and perfectly seasoned with spices reminiscent of a sausage. YUM.

And let’s not forget our vegetables ;)

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Sweet potato fries count… right??

Dessert were goodies we spied with our little eyes at the Wild Flour Bakery.

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Raw desserts have always intrigued me, and cinnamon rolls are one of my fave treats!

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It came with a soy frosting. Unfortunately, this was not great. A little bland from being made with ground flax, and waaaay lacking on the cinnamon.

Karen got an almond square that was a little better.

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I think the chocolate coating was made partially with dates? And the base was coconut based. Oddly enough, after all the meat I’ve been eating, the raw desserts have so far been the most disappointing!

A guy working at the hostel recommended we go up and check out Lake Minnewanka just a short drive up the road from the town Banff. Karen had her car with her… so why not?

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My travel buds Holly and Karen:

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Moi et Karen:

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Minnewanka Lake is a glacial lake fed by the Cascade River.The water here is the most gorgeous shade of turquoise. I’ve been trying desperately to capture it properly on film, but it just won’t work.

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Even the gorgeous shimmers in the water are dulled on film.

We also checked out Two Jack Lake just a hop skip and a jump away. Everywhere you turn here, there is something more beautiful from the last!

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There were also an unusual amount of goats in the area.

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I think we saw around 30 altogether? Don’t be fooled by these creatures. They may look cute from afar, but their eyes are bright orange. Creepy.

After much wandering, we eventually hit the road for Tunnel Mountain.

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The Tunnel Mountain Campground is also very close to the town of Banff. Many of the trails in the area lead straight through the town.

However, we were more concerned about setting up camp.

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But we’re pros and got the tent up in no time!

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This is where I conveniently leave out the part that the folks at the mountain equipment store gave us a tutorial on how to set it up ;)

We also learned that coolers are not bear proof.

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No worries here though, for coolers are much too classy for gals like us ;)

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Holly claims she’s a dolt when it comes to campfires, but the old camp counsellor had one flaring immediately.

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My only experience in lighting fires is doing it in my kitchen :P

Between the three of us, we pretty much had enough snacks to forage together a meal.

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I opted for a sandwich – campfire style.

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One half consisted of gouda cheese and sundried tomato tuna.

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The other half was almond butter + gouda.

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Amazing combo you guys!!!! The unsweetened almond butter paired perfectly with the melty cheese. Don’t just take my word for it – try it!!

Karen also had the brilliant idea of pairing smoked salmon pate with Mary’s Herb Crackers.

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And of course – what’s camping without a brew??

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We opted for the Big Rock Pale Ale as a pale seemed perfect for some fireside drinking. Big Rock is an Alberta beer too – thumbs up!

Honourable mention goes to the seedy bread we enjoyed with dinner.

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Silver Hills Bakery sent me some coupons to try their bread a while back, but I couldn’t find any in New Brunswick. We found a wide array of their breads at Nester’s Food Market here in Banff. I immediately remembered those coupons and Silver Hills came to the rescue!!

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All of their breads are sprouted grain, but not frozen like your more popular ezekiel brand. The Hardy Hearty Harvest seemed like the perfect choice for hiking and camping, you can check out the stats and ingredients here. The bread is Susan, Holly and Karen approved! Can’t wait to try out some of the other varieties!

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A tired Susan, but a happy Susan :)

This is where this post ends… but I’ll be back with Part 2 of our Camping Adventure – Lake Louise!

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See you soon!!

Question of the Day: What’s your favourite camping food? Mine is beer by the fire. Beer totally counts as food.

P.S. For more trip pictures, check out Holly’s blog and Karen’s blog! We all ended up with a variety of shots!

A Waffleless Wednesday

Hello friends!! Another Waffle Wednesday without waffles! Boo! My Belgian waffle maker is actually in Ottawa right now with my sister. Long story, but I will be reunited with it once again in two weeks time :)

This time next Wednesday I’ll be landing in Calgary! Eeeee!!

Anyways, as always, I am getting ahead of myself again.

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This morning I brought back an old favourite – Oatmeal & Yogurt Parfait.

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I started with a base of rolled oats cooked with egg whites. Then topped with frozen berries.

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The layers continue with yogurt, fibre cereal and sliced almonds.

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First time having yogurt in over a month!!! It hasn’t changed much in a month ;) My belly digested it just fine!

I must also report that my family completely wrecked and demolished the pan of chocolate chip blondies in less than 24 hours.

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I played my part by having one as the pre-workout snack of champions. Blondie + apple. It was the perfect fuel!!

I dragged my mom to the gym with me today. We both wanted to do plyometrics and knew we’d need the moral support to get through it ;)

We started with 15 minutes on the elliptical to warm-up. The recommended warm-up time is only 3-5 minutes to get oxygen to your muscles. If you don’t warm-up, you demand too much of your body too quickly and you will tire out sooner. Obviously, my usual 15 minutes is above and beyond my muscular needs, but it’s just long enough to get my heart rate into a working zone. Personally, once it reaches that level through straight-up cardio, I can keep it pretty elevated during strength training. However, it doesn’t get that high with strength training alone. I just don’t have the muscular power yet to make my heart pump that much. Make sense? There’s a method to my madness!

Today’s workout had one upper-body move alternated with one plyometric move. It was brutal.

Back set:

Exercise Sets Reps Load
Two arm dumbbell row 3 12 20 lbs each
Squat jumps 3 24 bodyweight

Chest set:

Exercise Sets Reps Load
Push-up  3 10 bodyweight
Lunge kicks 3 30 sec each bodyweight

Shoulder set:

Exercise Sets Reps Load
Prone cuban snatch (on ball) 3 10 5 lbs each
Weighted jumping jacks 3 60 sec 5 lbs each

Ab set:

Exercise Sets Reps Load
Plank on bosu ball 3 45 sec bodyweight
Bosu ball russian twist  3 30 8 lbs

Triceps/Biceps:

Exercise Sets Reps Load
Cable pushdown  2 15 45 lbs
Cable curl 2 15 25 lbs

 

And then we collapsed into a sweaty mess :P No, it was an awesome workout and I’m glad I had my mommy to suffer through the squat jumps with me!

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I came home with images of meltycheesy pitas dancing in my head.

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Pepperoni + cheddar. Halfway through I remembered I forgot to put the mayo on and didn’t even miss it! Just goes to show that condiments aren’t always required.

Chocolate however is always a necessity.

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My mom and Nana are going to Newfoundland the day after I leave for Banff, so my mother gave me permission to polish off this box.

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I only just noticed today that it says “Newfoundland Wild Berries” on the box – no wonder they all had a hint of fruit!

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Apparently each box is different. I have no clue what kind this was or what kind of berry was in it. But I can tell you it was delicious ;)

I spent aaallll afternoon applying for jobs and getting life details sorted out. I found out yesterday that my subtenant in my old place isn’t moving in after all. She had some sort of falling out with my landlord, but still agreed to pay the remainder of my lease. Jeeze louise, what a headache!

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I took a break for a Honeybar Sweet & Salty bar. I lovelovelove this bar. It reminds me of those Nature Valley Sweet n’ Salty bars – but BETTER!

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Ingredients: Peanuts, honey, peanut butter, almonds, almond butter, crisp brown rice, kosher salt. Nutritional info here!

I had a special dinner date today – I got to see one of my best friends!!

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Meghan and I have been friends since the first grade and even lived together during part of our undergrad (oddly enough, one of my new TO roommies is named Megan too!) She’s living back at home doing fun things like working with monkeys and lemurs. 

Meghan is also a fabulous cook. I arrived to a beautifully set table.

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I want those placemats please.

Meg whipped up some General Tso’s chicken. I can’t remember all what was in the pan, but I recall garlic, ginger, soy sauce, chicken broth, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and probably magical fairy dust because it was freakin’ good.

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Paired with coconut lime rice.

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And a salad dressed with Newman’s Own sesame ginger dressing.

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SO delicious!! I miss living with Meghan!!! I miss our Lost nights and MSN-ing each other when we’re too lazy to get out of bed and speak face to face ;)

I was lucky enough to have a dining companion by the name of Simon.

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Simon’s name is pronounced in a British accent ;) Meg also works at an animal shelter, and this is one face she couldn’t let go. I don’t blame her!!

Dessert was the perfect end to the perfect meal.

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It went with the rice!
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With chamomile tea. It made me sleepy :)

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Check out Meghan’s Mom’s mug – Supernatural!!

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The other bestie Erika got me hooked on this show and I squealed like a schoolgirl when I saw this.

I regret typing that. These are some things I should just not admit to on the internet.

Simon is not the only cute kitty face I came across tonight.

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Meet Peter. His proper name pronunciation however is “Pedro.” Don’t forget to roll the R… Pedrrrroo.

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Simon suffered brain damage from smoke inhalation in the house fire he was rescued from. He’s a little slow, but in the most endearing of ways :)

 

Gosh, I have turned into a crazy cat and dog lady. But I need to get my fill – I’ll be without pets soon :(

 

Question of the day: What’s your favourite kind of Chinese food? I don’t have a lot of experience in either traditional or North American Chinese food. All I know is that I genuinely love the taste of fortune cookies ;)

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