Hello friends! I hope everyone had wonderful weekends! Mine was pretty good actually! The highlights:
- Meeting everyone doing the Santa Shuffle at the running store this weekend
- Doing my first sub-freezing run of the season (it was slow)
- Drinking whiskey and watching a game of beer pong
- Going to my first Bikram yoga class! (review coming in a couple weeks once I get the full experience – promise!)
You will have to bare with me today, as I will not be yammering about nutrition for the Food For Thought Sundays series. It will continue next week – double promise!
Today, December 5th, is actually a bit of an anniversary for me and I wanted to take pause to acknowledge it.
Exactly one year ago today, I worked my last shift at the radio station. It’s an important day for me because it was the beginning of so many changes and wonderful things that started happening in my life.
For those of you catching up, it’s good to know that I wasn’t always a personal trainer living in Toronto!
After getting a Journalism and Communications degree in the spring of ‘09, I accepted a full-time position as a radio reporter. I loved working at that radio station throughout university, loved the people, and in theory was the best job for me. But once I was there permanently, I got that gut feeling I was in the wrong place. My heart was pulling me in another direction and I quickly became miserable in the city I once loved as a college student.
After crying to my mother one night, she convinced to just set a date already and stick to it. That date was December 5th. I left the station’s doors with almost three years of great memories and learned experiences. I left what had defined me for so long. I had no idea what lied ahead. No clue what my future “career” would be or how I would make enough money to live.
I worked at a Starbucks for three weeks until I got offered an amazing job out of the blue at my old university.
Not even a week after I started this new job, my four-year relationship ended. I never blogged about it much, but it was another huge adjustment.
My university job was only a four-month contract. I loved it and it was the type of environment I could see myself being in for a long time. But I was still getting that pull. I knew I needed to get out of my small city and experience life elsewhere.
I made a decision I never thought possible, to move away from my home and family and come to Canada’s biggest city.
When my contract was up in April, I packed up my car and moved home for a month.
I’m not sure if my family knows it, but that month spent at home was hands down the best I’ve had in recent memory. A psychic once told my mom that her and I could grow old together, so it was imperative she get me out of the house or else I’d never leave!
So even though we both sobbed when I left, my mom and I knew I was off to live the life I was meant to. To experience, adventure, and act my age again.
That included a life-changing week in Banff, Alberta.
Followed by two weeks in Ottawa with my sister. We’ve now lived more years apart than together, but I feel like I left that trip with a much deeper sisterly bond.
Then, in July, I arrived to a Toronto heat wave.
Got a full-time job as a personal trainer where I am honestly blessed with the most amazing clients and space to work in.
Got a part-time job in a running store where I spend all day talking about running with runners. And eating candy.
I re-connected with university friends and met new friends through blogging.
I’m in a city that never sleeps. A constant hub of activity with never a dull moment.
I went to Chicago to meet 200 other healthy living bloggers.
I went to San Francisco to meet 400 other food bloggers.
In short, I’ve done things I never imagined possible from my little Fredericton bachelor apartment.
Leaving the radio station was one of the hardest decisions I ever made. It was more than a job to me. After so many years of hard work, it felt bizarre to just throw journalism away.
But I learned something very valuable that day, one year ago.
If you want something to change, you have to initiate it.
Happiness wasn’t going to fall into my lap. I had to make a lot of tough choices in order to find it. I just had the best year of my life, and none of it would have happened had I never had the guts to take that first step. Once I set that date, it put everything else into motion. It got the ball rolling. My life has been nothing but rich, fulfilling, and amazing ever since.
The best part is, a year into this adventure, and I know I still have more left :)
Pssst! This is your last chance! I’m doing a special giveaway tomorrow open ONLY to Facebook friends. Are you one yet?
Listen. I’ve had enough.
I know y’all love your pumpkin. But my head is going to explode if I see one more pumpkin recipe.
I’m just being real yo!
Truth of the matter is, the mushy orange stuff makes me a little squeamish. I love me some cinnamon and nutmeg, but tasteless baby food from a can makes me gag a little. Just a little.
When it comes to fall flavours, I am all about the apples.
I’ve been dreaming about homemade apple sauce ever since I made a batch around this time last year. When walking past a fruit stand on Saturday, I saw Ontario empire apples on sale for 99 cents a pound. I knew the time had come.
I bought four pounds for four bucks. Last year, I went McIntosh, and the empires reminded me of a slightly crispier and less grainy version of them.
Cored and chopped the apples until my pot was overflowing. No bother peeling them. The peels are the best part!
I tossed in a cup of water and let the pot simmer for around half an hour. Until I noticed the apples getting mushy. That’s when I added one tablespoon cinnamon and got to mashing.
I like my applesauce chunky, so I didn’t bother blending. No sugar either, these puppies are sweet enough as is!
Learn from my mistakes and do not taste the sauce immediately. You will burn your tongue.
Instead, I incorporated some of the warm sauce into supper!
Yup. Waffles for supper :) The usual protein waffle batter:
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup unflavoured soy protein powder
- pinch cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger
- 2 stevia packets
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup egg whites
- 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Along with the apple sauce, I added molasses and maple syrup.
My oh my. That is fall flavours at their best ;)
Okay. Confession time. I’m not 100% against all things pumpkin.
I’ll make exceptions when chocolate is involved ;) Like my roommie’s pumpkin brownies!
How do you find the time to write such creative posts and still live life (and work/volunteer so much)? How do you balance everything in your life without ‘burnout’?
This is a great question, because sometimes my biggest “balancing act” is finding time to write The Great Balancing Act!
First things first, I started my blog during my last year of an undergraduate degree. I was doing school full-time, working two part-time jobs and one unpaid internship. Apparently, I didn’t think I had enough on my plate ;)
Since then, I’ve continued my blog through working wonky hours as a broadcast journalist and the mind-numbing hours of an 8-5 desk drone. These days my hours are all over the place. I’m at the gym by 6:30am every day to train clients. I have anywhere from 4-6 clients a day, but don’t usually wrap up until 7pm. Because I live so far away from the gym, popping home in between isn’t really an option. So I’m away from my house at least 12 hours a day. I also have a retail job in a running store that will sometimes keep me working until 10pm, and of course every Saturday and Sunday. 7 days a week, 12+ hours a day. And yup, I do volunteering on top of that!
My number one trick recently has been bringing my laptop with me to work so when I get an hour or two of spare time, I can scoot to the nearest Starbucks to work on my blog. Blogging time (usually takes an hour) often gets pencilled into my day so it never gets put to the back burner. I often pre-write posts, which is the biggest benefit to not doing a “daily diary” type blog. For example, my Fitness Friday posts are rarely actually written on Friday, which gives me Friday off from writing!
Right now, I think what is keeping me from burning out is knowing that this is what I came to Toronto to do. In my old life back in Fredericton, my desk job was my only commitment over the course of the day. It was kind of soul crushing. Now I thrive off the zillion projects I have on the go and actually find energy in participating in so much!
With that said, I do carve out downtime as well. I make sure there is one day a week where I can stay in my pajamas until 3pm doing absolutely nothing. It’s what works for me to “recharge.”
Finally, blogging is how I prefer to spend my time! Writing is second nature to me and has never felt like work. On days I don’t feel like blogging, I don’t. But that doesn’t happen often because I always want to blog. Even after all this time! Some people watch TV or or play video games with whatever spare time they have. I blog :)
Question of the Day: What are your feelings on pumpkin? It’s like buying canned mashed potatoes.
I shouldn’t have waited so long to try banana soft serve. It really does taste just like banana ice cream.
“Do what you love and you’ll never work another day in your life.” Something my mom told me when I quit my radio job. Something I only just learned can actually happen. Even with the crazy hours, my job never feels like work to me.
I really, really just can’t get into buffalo wings. I tried!
Calories burned during a workout shouldn’t matter if I’m not counting calories to begin with. Ditching my gadgets and going zen has shifted the way I look at fitness while increasing my enjoyment of it.
Moving to Toronto was the best decision I’ve ever made, even if it was also the scariest.
I don’t have to be embarrassed by the label “blogger.” Especially when there are so many opportunities that come with it.
Jager bombs do not give you the ability to defy gravity.
It’s not about the quantity of sleep I’m getting, but the quality. What’s the point in obsessing over getting 8 hours every night when they’re of poor quality?
Vegemite is really good on toast with butter. Those Aussies are onto something!
After my Nutrition & Wellness Course, I’d like to go on and do my group instructor training.
I am really happy spending time all by myself. Which makes it imperative that I take the initiative to socialize with other people sometimes too.
My only long-term life goal is to have a dog and a yard it can run in. Preferably with a house attached.
When all else fails, there’s always curry.
As much as I pretend to be a grown up, I still don’t have that many responsibilities. I need to take advantage of this more often.
Question of the Day: What did you learn in September?