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Welcome to the life of a 6 foot tall runner living in Saskatchewan, Canada. This is where I document my adventures in food, fitness, and my life in general. My sarcasm hand is always raised and 90% of my iPhone photos are of my dog.

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DISCLAIMER

Please consult your medical professional before making any fitness and/or nutritional changes.

ALWAYS honour your body.

 

Friday
Jan302015

Things I'm Loving {Jan 2015}

You guys, we are ALMOST at the end of January. Doesn’t it feel like Christmas was just last weekend?! I swear I blinked and woosh…an entire month went by.

We’ve got a fun weekend coming up! One of our good friends and former landlord is getting married Saturday. Yes, this banana man is tying the knot. Lord, give his wife strength! I can’t wait to get all dressed up, celebrate love, and have a blast. Plus, the bride has said I can take any of her décor that I want for our wedding so it’s going to be half wedding half shopping ;)

Things I’m Loving Friday

Since it is Friday and I have a whack of amazing things to share with you guys, let’s do another installment of Things I’m Loving.

Bath & Body Works Wild Vanilla Madagascar body wash

I love heading into Bath & Body Works to smell, well, basically everything. This beauty of a scent showed up in the Regina store about a month ago and I fell in love. The lotion was a little too strong for me but the body wash leaves behind just a hint of the lovely vanilla/sandalwood/pear/jasmine smell. Plus, my sister picked this bottle up for me as one of her free items during a B&BW “buy 3 get 2” sale. Free is always great :)

Run Class

Mike and I signed up for a run class that’s held once a week from January to April and so far, it’s been fantastic! It’s offered through the U of R fitness program (same one I teach Zumba through) at an indoor track. We do lots of drills – lunges, squats, stairs, wall sits, and obviously tons of running. We’ve been doing a ton of different variations of speed drills that have really tested my legs. Plus, I’ve been getting awesome feedback on my running form from the running coach who leads the class. Apparently, I’m a big over pronator and need to stop running heel-toe so much. I’ve been incorporating her tips into my runs and already feel a little bit better. It’s no surprise that I’m gunning for a 2 hour half marathon and I’m hoping this is the first step down that path!

Polar M400

Speaking of run class, this little tool has helped me tremendously. I’ve never used a heart rate monitor with a watch before but can already see the benefit. The run coach has us take our heart rate at various times during class and since I can never find my own pulse, the Polar M400 has really come in handy. Plus, it’s so convenient to have when I’m running speed drills and need to track my laps! I’ll do a post later on in February once I’ve had the chance to test this bad boy out with different types of exercise. I am BEYOND pumped to see how many calories and steps a full Zumba class tracks.

Tiny Devotions Newsletter

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Like I mentioned in my Intentions and Goals post, I get lots of inspiration from the weekly Tiny Devotions newsletter that hits my inbox every Sunday night. It’s always full of beautiful images, mantras, and a ton of inspiration stories. Take this past Sunday’s newsletter for example. It included a cute “How to be a Mermaid” poem, information about amethyst (the gemstone of the week), and links to Boho Daily articles on disconnecting from your phone and a workout playlist among others. I look forward to that little time I spend Sunday nights lost in the newsletter and the gorgeous images. If all newsletter were like this one, I would probably sign up for a lot more ;)

The Worst Idea of All Time Podcast

I’m on a huge podcast bender lately. First Gilmore Guys, then Serial, and now The Worst Idea of All Time. Basic premise of this podcast: two New Zealand comedians and friends are watching Grown Ups 2 once a week for an entire year and podcasting about it. If you’ve ever seen Grown Ups 2 (and lord I hope you haven’t), you’ll know why this is particularly hilarious. Mike and I tried to watch this movie because in all honesty, we didn’t mind the first movie. But the sequel….good god. We turned it off after about 30 minutes. It was that bad. But this podcast isn’t- it’s fantastic and hilarious! Check it out if you’re a fan of podcast. They’re great to run to!

The Good Wife

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Ever since we canceled the cable, I’ve been relying on Netflix for my TV fix. Enter The Good Wife. This is a show I never watched live but I’m absolutely addicted to it now. Chalk one up to the no-commercials and on-demand format. I’ve cruised through season 1 and am so enthralled with characters, episode cases, and the bigger over-arching storyline. Plus – Logan Huntzberger is now a lawyer!

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Come on…Cary Agos is basically a tougher Logan Huntzberger.

 

Your turn – what’s one thing you’re loving this week!

 

 

Previous Things I'm Loving posts

July 2012

October 2012

February 2013

May 2013

September 2013

December 2013

March 2014

November 2014

Wednesday
Jan282015

Chocolate Peanut Butter Avocado Pudding

Good morning from an unusually warm Saskatchewan!

On my way to teach Zumba this past Monday night - no jacket, no mitts, and no toque - in freaking JANUARY. I can barely believe it myself.

Sorry to all you East coasters currently experiencing the effects of that nasty blizzard. I hope you're staying hunkered down and cozy!

Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter Avocado Pudding

Let’s get into this beauty of a recipe, shall we?

First off – don’t let “avocado” in the title scare you off. Trust me, the only part of this lovely little fruit* that comes through in the pudding is its amazing creaminess.

*yeah, I had to google the offish classification of avocado too

Chocolate and peanut butter are two super obvious combos. It’s one of my all time favorites – see my love affair with these beautiful PB cups. But chocolate, peanut butter, and avocado? Well that’s just a whole new combo of creamy deliciousness for me to obsess over as I try and satisfy my sweet tooth without demolishing my health.

Bonus: avocado has a whole whack of health benefits.

Healthy fats galore. Monosaturated fats, if you want to get real technical about it. AKA the “good fat” that helps lowers bad cholesterol levels. Embrace the good fats!

Lots of vitamins and minerals. Avocados contain more potassium than bananas, plus a handful of vitamins (A, B9, B6, B5, C, and E2). AKA vitamins that are great for your eyesight, skin, blood production, energy, and immune system.

Fiber city. Specifically, 11 grams of dietary fiber per avocado. Good news for you GI health.

Alright, so chocolate + PB goodness mixed with avocado’s nutrient punch? Let’s get down to the important part – the recipe.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Avocado Pudding

Makes 4-6 servings

2 avocados

1 banana, sliced

½ cup cocoa powder (I use Hersey’s Special Dark since I tend to side on the dark side of the chocolate spectrum)

¼ honey

½ cup peanut butter

½ cup unsweetened almond milk

Handful of chocolate chips

1. Combine flesh of both avocados, banana, cocoa powder, honey, peanut butter, and ¼ cup almond milk in a food processor or high-power blender. Blend while slowly adding remaining ¼ cup almond milk (or however much you want depending on your consistency preference). Blend until completely smooth.

2. Stir in chocolate chips.

3. Distribute evenly into 4-6 bowls, cover, and chill in refrigerator (this is best served cold).

4. Serve and enjoy! Store in refrigerator and consume within a few days of making for best taste.

I like to top this pudding with a generous dollop of coconut whipped cream and a little bit of chocolate-y garnish. Trust me, it’s the perfect topping.

 

Tell me – what’s your favorite flavor combo? Chocolate and PB is my absolute fave, although chocolate and more chocolate is a close contender ;)

 

Monday
Jan262015

Intentions and Goals for 2015

 

Every January, I make a list of things I want to accomplish in a year. They usually follow the “SMART” goal setting acronym – Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Time. This year, I’ve changed it up a bit. I still have my SMART goals for things that are solid, concrete goals – mainly fitness related – but I have some new type of goals that I’m calling “intentions”. I was inspired by a Tiny Devotions’ newsletter article that was published at the end of 2014 aka resolution time. It proposed the idea of having a core list of intentions rooted in kindness to help guide you through the upcoming year instead of a long list of resolutions that focus on solving “I’m not good enough at X” problems.

This way of thinking really spoke to me. I’ve been slowly shifting towards new ways of thinking in the name of self-improvement and rooting my thinking from a place of love instead of criticism and fear.

Don’t worry, I’m not about to sell all my possessions and go live in a desert commune somewhere trading good vibes for food. I’m still the same person, just shifting towards a new light of self-acceptance and confidence.

So for 2015, I’m splitting my list into two categories – intentions and goals.

INTENTIONS

Strive for self-acceptance, love, and confidence

I’ve never quite opened up about this on the blog before or even publically in my real life, but I’ve struggled with acceptance and confidence issues for quite some time now. If I’m being completely honest, having low self and body confidence was one of the main drivers when I started getting really involved in health and fitness in university. It wasn’t until I started being inspired by women like Gabrielle Bernstein, Amanda de Cadenet, Rachel Brathen, and Bex and really listening and connecting to their messages that I began to feel a strong internal desire to change my thinking patterns. I feel a need to work on myself as a person with feelings instead of picking apart my body and saying “I was to have a flat stomach” and hoping that will give me more confidence and somehow change the way I feel. This year, I intend to continue to improve myself and work through a lot of blockages I’ve put in place that are stopping me from becoming the person I want to be.

Break promises that no longer make sense

As soon as I read this on the Tiny Devotions newsletter, it made perfect sense. I have no problem committing to promises and intentions but I do have problems accepting that they may have shifted over the course of time and feel shame when I can’t complete it. Some things sound great at conception but during the execution phase, it’s clear that the commitment is no longer serving me or its intended purpose. This year, I will acknowledge when something isn’t working and allow myself forgiveness for when I need to change or break promises.

GOALS

PR the QCM half marathon and get as close to a 2 hour finish time as possible.

I’m taking running seriously this spring/summer. My body won’t always be this young and I want to take advantage of my abilities and free time while I can to achieve my running goals! The running class I’m taking this winter is serving as a foundational layer for my half marathon training and I’m already seeing benefits of having a running coach once a week. Other things I plan to do to achieve this goal: join a run group for QCM training, continue with this running class into the spring and summer, and make running a priority workout during training.

Dedicate myself to getting in the best shape that I can

This is along the same vein of reasoning as PRing the QCM half goal. I’m in my late twenties and want to take advantage of my young body, abilities, and free time that I have now to see how I can improve my health and get in the best shape of my life. In the name of transparency, this goal is also motivated by the fact that our wedding will be in May 2016 and I’d love to be in better shape for everything that surrounds that event – photos, handling stress, staying energized, etc.

Obtain my fitness instructor certification

This is something that I’ve been meaning to do for a year now and it will get done this year! I want to start teaching more than Zumba and that requires some type of fitness instructor certification. I’ve gotten hints that I would be given more classes to teach at the establishment where I’m currently teaching Zumba if only I would get my fitness instructor certification! There are a few options but Canfitpro and SPRA are the top contenders.

Create a business plan/proposal

I have a dream. A BIG dream.

I want to own my own business.

I’ve had a few business models kicking around in my head for a while and I think I’ve settled on one. This year is the time to put pen to paper and figure out if this idea has legs and could actually work.

Complete all or the majority of our wedding planning

May 2015 is sneaking up on me and once it’s here, there’s only a year until the Big Day! It’s time to get serious about planning and crafting all the DIY things ;)

Focus on this blog more and create more thoughtful and useful topics

I love a good, out-of-the-blue blog post as much as the next person. But I also love writing and creating well thought out pieces of work. I took all of my electives in university in the social science area mainly because I loved researching topics and writing papers. Freak of nature, I know. This year, I plan to dedicate 2-4 posts a month to well researched and informative posts, obviously surrounding the topic of health and fitness. I love reading and learning about fitness research and social commentary on the fitness industry so this year I plan on contributing to that conversation. Please feel free to email me any great topics you wish were covered!

Make time for restorative and body healing practices

It’s the age old fitness trope – you focus on cardio and weights and put restorative practices on the back burner. I tend to fall into this habit and I’m now feeling the repercussions! My muscles are tight and knotted and have limited my ROM (range of motion) in my shoulders and hips and I get constant headaches from stiff neck and shoulder muscles due to office work. I’m now seeing a massage therapist once a month to work on those problem areas but I plan to dedicate a lot more of my time to restorative practices – mainly stretching and yoga.

 

What are you intentions and/or resolutions for 2015?

 

Tuesday
Jan132015

It's Time for Zumba! {Playlist}

It’s been all tea, soup, and Netflix over here lately.

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Mike and I have been struggling through a not so fun cold for the past couple days. I feel like I’ve been zapped of all energy and am insanely surprised that I still have a voice considering how much coughing I’ve been doing. I’m slowly on the mend and that’s a good thing considering Zumba starts this week! It’s been almost a month since I’ve last dance my ass off in a class and I NEED it.

I finalized my playlist this week and it’s 90% new stuff from last semester’s set of classes. I LOVE seeing other instructors post their class playlist since it exposes me to new jams I’ve never heard of. Discovering Make It Shake was thanks to Gina posting her Zumba playlist and I get requested to bring it back almost every session!

Here’s my starting playlist for this semester’s classes. I will typically leave it set like this for the first 2-3 classes so people can get a handle on the choreo and then change out 1 or 2 songs for new stuff to keep it fresh.

Time of Our Lives - Pitbull & Ne-Yo

Uptown Funk - Mark Ronson feat Bruno Mars

Piensas (Dile la Verdad) - Pitbull feat Gente De Zona

Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) - Shakira

Adios - Ricky Martin

Lengua - Beatriz Luengo feat Shaggy & Toy Selectah

Baby Danger - Wisin

Wine It Up - Lucenzo feat Sean Paul

7/11 - Beyonce

Darte un Beso - Prince Royce 

I’m SO excited to do some of these songs. A few of them have been on my “to-do” Zumba list for a while now. Monday’s class had a sub since I was too sick to teach (sad face) but I’m on track for Wednesday’s class! So happy to get back out there and shake it ;)

 

Comment Question

Any new songs you’re loving for working out?

 

On deck for this week

2015 goal declarations!

 

Wednesday
Jan072015

2014 Goal Report Card

We woke up to a lovely little Saskatchewan surprise this morning

SERIOUSLY why did people ever decide to settle this part of Canada?! I wouldn’t have lasted an entire winter here in the settler times.

Yes, I’m a big weak baby when it comes to winter and extreme cold. I blame it on being born in California and raised in BC....my body isn’t made for this type of cold!

Snuggled up at my desk with a big warm sweater, blanket, and tea. Crank the heat, yo!

New Year’s Resolutions

It’s officially a week into 2015! How are we doing on our New Year’s Resolutions? I’m happy to say I’m sticking to mine and already planning and working for my more long term intentions. I’ll do a post outlining my goals like I do every year but before that, let’s see how well I did with last year’s goals.

Fitness Goals

Do one half marathon this year and go for a PR – 50% complete. I did do one half marathon (QCM baby!) and tried to work for that PR but I kind of fell apart in the second half of my training. Sad face. However, it was my second fastest half to date so it wasn’t a complete disaster!


Do two or more triathlons – 50% complete since I only did one tri (man, I’m really off to a great start here). I completed See Jane Tri - with a new PR to boot – and then focused on running and training for the QCM. I would love to do more triathlons in the future but I don’t think I can swing multiple races in our short race season here in Sask.

Build more muscle – 75% complete! I definitely hit the weights more this year that I had in 2013 and I could tell. My abs actually started to come out a few months ago thanks to FIT CHICKS which is something I’ve NEVER had.

Get a group fitness instructor certification – 0% complete. Womp womp. Still on my radar but going back to university in pursuit of my Bachelor of Kinesiology kind of took priority over this.

Studying like crazy for my anatomy final. 

 

Health Goals 

Keep trying to figure out how to fuel my body – 80% complete! This year was when I felt like I had a real handle on what meshes with my body and what doesn’t. I still get stomach issues sometimes after eating and I have no clue why but I do feel like I’ve gotten better at meal planning and choosing foods that are good for me. Another positive – I got my race nutrition sorted out! I know what types of energy I like to take and when I should take it. YAS.


Figure out how to control my hormone insanity – 0% complete unless you count my adult acne. After multiple trips to the doctor to try and get a referral to a dermatologist, she said I couldn’t get a referral unless I tried this skin cream first. That cream has been working really well and my face is SO much better, but I would still like a more long term solution. When I tried explaining to her that I thought my acne was a result of hormone issues since I get crazy bad menstrual symptoms, she just brushed me off. Yay insensitive medical people. I would like to go back to a naturopath to explore this further, but at $200 a visit plus $100 for monthly supplements they recommend, it’s not in the budget right now.

 

Personal Goals

Explore starting a side business – 50% complete. I’ve come up with a few business ideas and researched them to see if they would be worthwhile pursuing. I’ve narrowed it down to starting a small side business potentially this year (!!) and to keep working on a bigger business plan for my own establishment in the future.

Stop caring so much about what others think – 65% complete. I’ve made leaps and strides this year with my confidence, self-assurance, and generally not putting so much stock in what other people will think of my actions. May Cause Miracles and meditation get a lot of the credit for this. PS: I think I’m slowly turning into one of those new age hippies and I’m totally cool with that :) I still have a long ways to go with taking more risks and being less cautious but I’m working on it!


This year was a big growing year for me. I finally feel like I’m discovering and becoming settled into who I want to be and how I want to live my life. My fitness goals were a little slack this past year but that’s okay. Not every year can be a banner year. I love the progression I’m making (be it ever so slowly) with my future career goals and I’m excited every day at what opportunities the future holds.

 

See you later with my 2015 goals! I’ve got some doozies.