Achy abs

I woke up today feeling totally off-kilter. My alarm didn’t go off, so I woke up later than normal. Then, I wasn’t able to make my typical breakfast so I ended up opting for a grapefruit and some of the grossest coffee ever that I found in the school’s staffroom.. I barely even had time to do anything to my appearance today. Needless to say, I am not feeling like my best self but I’m going to try to make the most of it to get through this day!

I’m still looking forward to this afternoon when I get a chance to do a presentation for junior high regarding pink shirt day.

If you are unaware, Pink Shirt Day is celebrated in order to raise awareness about bullying and it’s effects on others. It promotes the creation of a positive school and community! It all started when a new boy came to school in Nova Scotia and was teased for wearing a pink shirt. The following day, 2 others in the school handed out 50 pink shirts to the other boys in the grade and they all wore them together! I thought it was such an awesome story when first hearing about it. I love when younger generations work together to promote positive changes in order to ensure the happiness of others. 🙂

I also woke up with my abs feeling achy today – but that’s a great thing in my opinion! Before heading to the gym, I sketched out a little cardio ab circuit to try out while there (having a plan makes life so much easier when at the gym). It looked like this:

ab circuit

It will get you good and sweaty and act as an awesome boredom buster! The final cardio push says 10 minutes, but you can go for however long you wish to finish up for.. But make sure to push yourself!! 🙂

It’s a good thing that later on today I’ll be heading to power yoga and get a little stretched out. 🙂

Reaching goals

Reaching goals. This is such a simple thing in life but means so much to the individual. Honestly, I haven’t pushed myself enough until quite recently. I’ve practiced yoga for some time now but have really been taking the time lately to try and go a little further, and had set out to accomplish some of the harder poses and balances that I’d thought I’d never be able to do with my lack of strength in the past. Last week during my power yoga class, I was FINALLY able to do the crane/crow pose. I had done soo many pushups, core workouts, everything, and it all lead up to this moment! I felt like I was on cloud nine, seriously. I know for some people this may seem pretty simple and easy, but it had been hard for me, and to get to this point makes me feel absolutely amazing and keeps me motivated!

Reaching goals also makes me a lot more appreciative of some of the other little things in life. Like these things:

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Spaghetti squash

It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed this root vegetable. I made it in the typical way, frying it in the pan and saunteing it with mushrooms, grape tomatoes and broccoli in tomato sauce. With a bit of sprinkled mozzarella, this made for an amazing dinner! I mainly chose to make it because Colt was working late and I know this is one of those foods that I love but he really dislikes! So yayyy there was a silver lining of being at home alone during dinner time.

Curling

This is a weekly activity of mine. Every Wednesday night I play in a women’s league and I absolutely love my teammates! I really noticed this week how much I look forward to getting out and seeing the girls and moving. Sometimes you just need to stop and appreciate all those little things! For those of you who have never tried the sport of curling before, I highly recommend it! It’s so fun and easy to catch on and understand how the game works. However, I will say it can get fairly cold in the rink!

HIIT treadmill workout – I loves me some hill work!

Hip hop dancing class

YES! I actually had the opportunity to do this while working, and actually getting paid to do so.. It was so so fun. Funny enough, I used to take hip hop dance lessons when I was younger and it was a bit nostalgic for me. You can’t help but dance and then have a massive grin on your face for the rest of the day! (Unfortunately could not document this as per the students requests, but trust me it was hilariously fun!)

Trying new things

For someone who doesn’t often like to stray from my typical recipes and food choices, I have seemed to be on the adventurous side lately! You will never guess what I tried….

MOOSE MEAT!

This shouldn’t surprise many of those who live in Alberta, it seems to be a very common food choice in these parts. I don’t typically enjoy much red meat, but a friend of ours who also hunts his own meat actually butchered it himself and gave us enough meat to fill an entire freezer. First recipe that Colt and I opted to try were the moose ribs.

It was a pretty standard recipe and just had them cooking in the crock pot with a container of beef stock, basil, thyme, pepper and salt and a little cayenne and BBQ seasoning for roughly 10 hours. I have to say, they were very tender and tasted better than I had anticipated, but I’m still not the biggest fan. But hey – food is food!

For my breakfasts, I usually turn to a smoothie. It’s always the most standard banana, strawberry and orange, or peanut butter and chocolate! But since I’ve felt as though I needed to add some more protein into my diet, I purchased a sample pack of the vega protein smoothie berry mix too give it a try.

I mixed this in with a handful of frozen mixed berries and some vanilla yogurt. While it does taste fairly good, there is still a little bit of a chalky taste that is left over. This was to be expected because the powder is completely vegan and natural. But what I loved the most was the staying power. One package has 15 grams of protein which kept my hunger at bay and keeps me content!

Food aside, I also tried out a new upper body and cardio mix workout! Ohhhh baby I feel it in my muscles already today!

This is my workout from this morning:

It’s a great heart pumping workout and switches up enough so that you don’t get bored.

ipolkadot-background-2012wsAnd now it’s back to work for me, chat soon!

Tips to improve your running

I’m lately really starting to get back into my running groove. For a while there, I had been running but mainly sticking to lower impact forms of cardio because I’ve been trying to take it easier on my knees the past few months. Man oh man, does it ever feel great to be doing the thing that I love so much so regularly again!

With the more consistent runs, I have also been trying to remind myself of the tips I’ve learned over the course of many years of being in this sport. I have gone to running clinics and had running coaches, as well as learned a lot from myself just from pure experience.

I’d love to take some time now to share with you some of the best running tips that I can give you to improve your speed, endurance and to lower the chances of injury!

tips to improve running

With each step, land your foot directly underneath your body. Over-striding or landing your foot in front of your body adds extra stress and impact to the body. With each step, your foot should land underneath your hips!

Get your cadence to about 180 steps per minute. To go along with the previous tip, try to get your cadence to about 180 steps or 90 strikes per foot per minute. Runners with a cadence of about 180 are more likely to have short, quick strides, which means we are having a mid foot strike rather than over-striding!

Run light on your feet! Try to avoid pounding! I made this mistake for the longest time. By the end of a long run, the bottoms of my feet would feel as though they were burning, bad sign!

Lean slightly forward from your ankles, not your waist. Lean forward and use gravity to help make some forward momentum! This will help you to propel your body forward. It is especially helping to do this when going downhill as well during races.

Avoid swinging your hands cross your midline. Keep your arms going forward and backward, not side to side. Drive your elbows back while keeping your arms at about a 90 degree angle. This technique will also help you with the following tip…

Run TALL! When I feel like I am starting to hunch over, I love to reach my arms up high above my head. This resets my body and helps me to elongate my spine! The more core work that I do outside of running, the easier it is for me to keep great posture and to avoid hunching over throughout my run!

Get rid of the bounce. Bouncing as you run wastes extra energy! Move forward instead of up and down.

Relax your shoulders! I tend to tense them up towards my ears as I am running. You’ll feel the pain in your upper back when you start to do this during longer runs.That is a waste of energy, and it causes extra unneeded tension!  Relax your shoulders and let them enjoy the ride!

Relax your hands. Don’t clench them tightly. Gently cup your hands as you run.

Keep your eyes looking ahead of you about 10 to 20 feet.

I like to spend each mile of my ‘form runs’ (the runs where I really focus in on my form each week) on a different aspect. For example, on your next run, you could spend mile 1 warming up, mile 2 working on leaning forward from your ankles, mile 3 on your arm swing, mile 4 on your posture and mile 5 on combining all of them together for some good looking running.

Music This one is a personal, but can be helpful to many! I have noticed that my speed and endurance actually increases when I’m listening to some upbeat tunes that I love, not to mention it adds some entertainment to the run and can make it seem less daunting and more enjoyable!

Weekend highlights

Tomorrow I’ll be heading back to work after the long weekend, it has been a much needed amount of time off, but for now I will enjoy what’s left of this night before heading to bed.

I’ll share with you some of my favourite moments of this weekend!

Beauty and the Beast play

For Christmas Colt had gotten us tickets to see the traveling Broadway play beauty and the beast, needless to say I was beyond excited! It made for a nice reason to travel to Edmonton together and get a little dressed up. And since I’m an absolute Disney fanatic, it pretty much summed up a dream date for me!


The play itself was so entertaining and I enjoyed how they mixed in some good humour. The dancing, acting and singing were so well performed and they had some great effects mixed in! My favourite song of the evening was ‘be our guest’ where they shot confetti out into the crowd!

Visiting my sister to bead

Since we were going to be in Edmonton for 2 days, I had to make sure I made some time to see my sister! We got a little crafty and sag down together, had a glass of wine, and make some beading bracelets just as a little activity to chat over. It’s so fun every time we catch up with each other!

David’s tea purchases

I gotta say, I don’t often go to the malls on weekends because they are soooo hectic – the parking lots, stores and lineups always seem to have me waiting for ridiculous amounts of time! But this weekend it was unavoidable as I had a list of things I was desperately needing to purchase. I ended up passing David’s tea while I was in there, and it didn’t look too crazy, so I opted to check it out and see if any teas caught my senses!

I happily left David’s tea with a couple of yummy smelling purchases and teas I am in love with! I am addicted to sweeter dessert teas, so when I saw birthday cake and smelt it I just had to purchase some! So thankful I did because it is absolutely delectable and will surely be the thing I need at night time to meet my sweet tooth needs! And how cute is it that it actually has sprinkles in it?

Lobster tail feast with my love

Image result for lobster tails and asparagus and bruschetta

On Sunday night, when we returned home, colt and I were looking to make a delicious and romantic meal together at home. Immediately we thought if lobster tAils because they’ve always been a favourite and are so savoury but also sweet and delicious. We roasted them in the oven and paired it with some home made bruschetta on a French loaf and asparagus simmered in balsamic! With a glass of wine, this has been my most favourite meal that I have had in a significantly long time. So so good!

Fitness:

I’ve managed to keep on track this weekend despite all the bouncing around! I woke up early on Saturday morning and put 6 miles in, practicing some splits and getting ready to get back into official training mode soon enough! Gosh I cannot wait for that day to come again. I NEED the goal to keep my motivation!

Then yesterday I did about a half hour cardio, trying not to keep track of the clock and just base it around how I felt. I did manage to push myself! I notice that sometimes when I base it around a distance, I might take a little longer and just keep to a steady pace easy cardio which isn’t the best for improvements but good for endurance.

Keep checking the blog because I’ll be posting some good workouts this week!

My house survey

I received this ‘challenge’ via e-mail! It’s just some cute little questions that you might not think to ask others about otherwise. And it’ll give you a little insight to the rest of my life! After reading through, I’d love for you all to take the time to fill it out as well. You can reply through a comment or even post it on your own blog to share with the world wide web!

Household chore I actually enjoy…

The thing with me is, I LOVE when things are clean and in order to my house. If there are dirty dishes, laundry lying about, or even really dusty counter tops, there is something in me that wants to cringe. The conflict here is that I actually don’t enjoy one bit of cleaning…. However I know it’s just something that has to get done for my sanity. Luckily, Colt’s feelings are similar and he helps out a lot! But, if I absolutely had to pick, I would say that I enjoy vacuuming! Mainly because it’s easy enough to turn up the tunes and dance all over while doing it. 🙂

Before company arrives I…

Hide the doggy toys and put my dishes away! The dog toys in my home are quite plentiful, especially now that we have 2. Some times there are even socks lying around that the dogs are weirdly obsessed with playing with! It’s my quick-tidy method so that the house looks half decent.

I hate to shop for….

BRAS! Ughhh, don’t get me wrong. I love getting new bras, it’s just the act of having to actually try them on that bugs me. It doesn’t help that I seem to always struggle with the sizing and need assistance!

I have a style crush on…

I have to say either Emma Watson because she is so elegant and timeless and sophisticated. Or Blake Lively, who always seems to effortlessly rock any sort of trend and always so well put together. I have to say I also follow Jessica Alba on instagram and I love her style as I feel like I can relate to it the most! It consists of a lot of trendy clothing but also many comfortable pieces mixed in, like leggings and tights and flowy tops. I live for comfy clothes! Yoga leggings every day.

How did I ever live without….

My dog. My friends (although that wasn’t for long as my closest friends have been in my life since our kinder years), my boyfriend. All have significantly changed my life and shaped me into being the person I am today. I never thought that I would even be as much of a dog person as I am today, I love my puppy so unconditionally and it shows a whole other side to living life more selflessly.

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Now your turn 🙂

Complete one (or all!) of the following:

  • Household chore I actually enjoy…
  • Before company arrives, I hide…
  • I hate to shop for…
  • I have a style crush on…
  • How did I ever live without…

Getting into a new groove

This weekend was enjoyable and relaxing. Something that I think I’ve certainly been in need of. On Saturday, Colt and I headed to our neighbours house, who is also a co-worker and friend for a birthday! I ended up being in charge of a dessert, so I opted to use all the spare time that I had during the day on Saturday to bake a cake and put my decorating skills to the test.

It’s the most simple cake recipe ever! Just your typical vanilla cake, but the decorating took me a little bit of time. I frosted it with some homemade chocolate icing and purchased some choco/vanilla wafer sticks which I cut into haves and icing-ed all around the circumference of the cake! Then I just cut some strawberries in half and placed them on top, with some crushed white chocolate in the middle. I then got the idea from Pinterest to wrap a pretty red ribbon (that I had leftover from Christmas) around it with a bow which is what made it look that much better! I’ll admit I was fairly proud about this as I don’t normally have such decorating ability.

Fitness

I’m feeling like my workouts have been a little half-efforted lately. I honestly don’t know what it is! It’s like my motivation is dwindling and I’m looking for a new goal or routine to get into in order to know what I’m concentrating my efforts on. If you have any great methods to stay motivated please let me know !!

I am continuing to utilize the Nike Training Camp App which has helped me however!

Today I did a tabata workout! It was a 30 minute mix-up of cardio, strength and even a little bit of pilates.

I wanted to copy and paste it onto my blog for you but my phone has been acting up lately and did not coorperate – sorry!

I have to cut it short today as I have ALOT of programming to do for school!

Things I’m Loving Friday (Saturday)

Aaaand after a long week, it’s time for my things I’m loving Friday segment, where I inform you all of the things that I’ve found to be a little special and memorable throughout this week:

I realize this is actually going up on a Saturday, however I was sadly consumed by sickness last night and was unable to do so then 😦

Getting things in the mail – NATUREBOX

I don’t know if anyone remembers, but a while back I won a subscription to Naturebox via the wonderful Julie Fagan over at the blog pbfingers.com. Since then, I’ve finally started receiving these goodies in the mail!

My first one arrived in January and was a ‘surprise box’, so I didn’t know exactly what I’d be getting. In it was: honey dijon pretzels, dark coco nom noms, strawberry figgy bars, cashew power clusters and masa crisps.

coco

I was pleasantly surprised by the honey dijon pretzels- they sounded so gross to me but ended up being DELICIOUS. I also really have been enjoying the coco nom noms and cashew clusters, however I wasn’t the biggest fan of the figgy bars (which didn’t surprise me because I’ve never liked figs much) nor the masa crisps – which were handed over to my boyfriend whom loved them.

For my next box, I’m going to try out picking the items which I receive. I will let you know how it goes when I get them in the mail and review what’s inside!

Another item I’ve been receiving in the mail is my wonderful ipsy bag. A co worker introduced me to these things. They are amazing and give you 5 beauty products and a little travel bag in accordance to a beauty quiz you do online. It matches you up with some awesome little products that you might never try! It’s great too because you will get atleast 1 item that is full size and is definitely worth wayyyy  more than the 10$ a month price tag that it has!!

ipsy

I would recommend this to any girl that is a beauty lover. And who doesn’t like getting packages like this in the mail? It’s so fun!

My puppies

As I mentioned before, we have a new member in the family!! Her name is Neeko.

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She was found walking astray in town here with no collar and was not claimed by anyone. She was not spayed or groomed. She had been living in the dog pound and then was taken over to the Animal Rescue Committee, a group of amazing animal lovers, who then take care of the animals who are abandoned. A couple months ago, Colt and I had signed up for pet fostering of the ARC animals. where you take one in and give it a home and love and what not. And well, it turned out that little Neeko, a husky mix, would be coming to our home and has been with us the past couple of months!

While it has been wonderful with this little cutie. She has definitely gotten into some trouble! She tore up some of our carpet and wasn’t very well house trained. But it’s a work in progress and we are getting there 🙂

Superbowl parties

I’ve already mentioned the Superbowl party that we had last weekend, but it’s not to be forgotten! Any chance that we have to get together with special people in our lives is a great time to me.

This workout

kettle

My favourite workout of the week. It’ll make you work hard, so get ready for this one! I especially enjoyed the fact that the next day my muscles were aching, a serious feeling of accomplishment. And it’s a nice switch up with the kettle bell!

Getting back into old hobbies.. sketching!

This one is slightly random. But on Tuesday I stayed home sick from work and found myself pulling out my old sketch book and just drawing at random. I am no professional artist, albeit I did forget how soothing it is to just take a pencil and sketch out whatever comes to mind! Get stress relief to boot!

Training and I’m feeling a little dippy

Wow the past 2 days have almost been an entire blur! I’ve been in ASIST training at work and it’s consisted of a lot of information jam-packed into 48 hours of intense hands on group work!

asist

For those who don’t know about ASIST, it stands for Assisted Suicide Intervention Skills Training. As I work in a school board as a wellness coach, a big part of my job has actually been counselling with students and that includes cases that unfortunately can reach this point where they are in need of serious supports.

I’m definitely happy that I completed the course and know that it will be 100% helpful to me in the future within my job. For anyone debating whether or not to complete this workshop, I would definitely recommend it! It included a lot of experiential hands-on group work and open discussion and role playing. The role playing can obviously be a tad bit awkward but you get past that!

For lunch we opted for a timmies run! Can never go wrong with that. I tried the new spicy thai chicken soup, and yuuum! I loved it. I found it so amazing because I absolutely adore coconut and it had just enough of coconut-y flavour! I will definitely be getting that again the next time that I need a quick lunch.

delicious coconuty thai goodness
delicious coconuty thai goodness

I didn’t end up doing my usual morning gym session before the workshop today because I’m heading to hot yoga in about half an hour, but yesterday I tried yet another new workout!

Have you heard of the Nike Training App?

nike-training-club-app

My friend recently introduced it to me and I’m giving it a rave review! I gave it a go yesterday because as we all know, I need to constantly switch up my gym routine otherwise I get bored as heck and just end up dreading going. This app is amazing because the amount of workouts is extensive! Soo many choices and variations. And it’s in a video format with step by step talking directions so you can put your phone down and just listen to them tell you what to do!

There’s workouts that target particular areas of the body, whole body, cardio-based, strength based, even marathon training specific workouts!!! Not only that, but it offers either a beginners, intermediate or advanced workouts sections. like JEEZE I can not express how much I am loving this app!!!!

Yesterday I did a core-targeted workout called ‘to the core’. It was all strength based moves to really get at those abs and my abs are actually HURTING today! I’m not even kidding you. And that has not happened to me in a while, so yes, I am thoroughly impressed.

Oh, did I mention it’s free?

Anyway, enough of that. Now on to fooooood.

I love food, yes this is no secret. And lately I’ve been really into dips. Dip with everything! Veggies, crackers, bread, fruit, anything. Two dips that I’ve been loving lately: cookie dough dessert dip (amazing) and my lightened up taco-dip (amazing x2). Both were a hit with my gal pals when we had our ladies night this week while we also consumed wine and made fun of the bachelor.

It’s a weekly ritual that I look thoroughly forward to!

So here are the recipes for you to try out (trust me you want to try these out).

Cookie dough dessert dip aka the easiest dip in the history of life

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Ingredients:

1 cup light coolwhip
1 cup cookie mix
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Blend together and TADAH! I told you, the world’s easiest dip. Serve this with apple slices, graham crackers, pear slices and grapes.

Lighted up taco dip

taco-dip

Ingredients

2 tablespoons light cream cheese
1 cup 0% sour cream
1 tsp taco seasoning
2 tablespoons light mayo
1/2 cup mild chunky salsa
shredded low fat cheddar cheese to spread over top

Directions:

1. Blend together softened cream cheese, sour cream and mayo until well mixed.
2. Mix in taco seasoning until fully blended.
3. Layer this mixture onto the bottom of a bowl or dip dish.
4. Spread the salsa over top of the mix as a second layer.
5. Sprinkle cheddar cheese over top

Then you’re all done. Easy peasy yet again 🙂 I love these with any classic veggies and pita or tostitos ofcourse.

Bring either of these dips to a gathering and they’ll be a big hit!

Fitness Watch Comparisons

I need some serious assistance!

I’ve been looking into the benefits of wearing a fitness/health tracker for a while now. I know I have definitely reached the point where I want to purchase one because I’ve heard so many great reviews! I’m an avid runner and gym-goer, so I’m definitely looking to purchase a product which will track my steps, HR, and calories burned. I really would like it to have the ability to track my sleep as well so that I am able to link this all to my iPad or computer and look at the comparisons from day to day. I think this will definitely push me even further into the right direction with my fitness – any sort of added motivation to be healthy everyday is good with me!

I’m at a loss and can’t seem to decide exactly which fitness band/watch I want to purchase. It seems like there are sooo many on the market today!

The bands that I have been hearing the most about are: FitBit charge or flex, Polar, and nikefit band

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What are your reviews if you have or have tried these watches? Any other kinds that I’m unaware of that you might recommend??