Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Adventures With Eco-Friendly Deodorants

Years and years ago I found out that there was an ingredient in antiperspirants that had been directly linked to Alzheimer's. From then on out I stopped using them, because I mean really, Alzheimer's is *freakin'* scary shit. It wasn't until a few years ago that I jumped on the eco-friendly beauty product band wagon and started to try out new deodorants that were made out of healthy ingredients.

If you have tried this before you know where this was going. Let's just say for a few months I was a smelly, unhappy mess. I first started with some stick that didn't work. Then I tried the salt rock that you wet and put on and that lasted all of, I don't know, 2 hours. I was seriously unhappy until I found SoapWalla's deodorant cream. I have been a very loyal customer to her for about 3 years. Until recently.

I understand that everyone needs to make money and as something gets more and more popular, the price will normally go up. Well when I first started buying her cream it was about $7.50. Now the price is up to $15.00. I'm sorry but that is a huge increase. Adding on shipping and the inconvenience of having to order it weeks in advance (god forbid you forget and run out of your current stash) and I was fed up.

Now I am experimenting with other brands. Ones that are more accessible  so that I'm not always having to think about ordering new stuff when mine is getting low. Here is a list of products I have tried for about a week each and what I thought. Keep in mind that everyone is different and I'm sure there are people out there that love all of these products. Also, I paid for all of these myself and have not been contacted by any of these companies so this is not a sponsored post.

Soapwalla Deodorant Cream - This stuff is obviously what I have preferred for a long while. It took me some time to get used to putting it on my hands and then rubbing it on as it is not a stick but it really wasn't that big of a deal. It has a strong scent in the bottle but once applied it isn't that strong anymore. I found that it would last all day, through an evening yoga practice and I wouldn't smell until the next morning when I was showering anyways. Once it absorbed into my skin there wasn't any funkyness in my pit (ie, it wasn't sticky or wet). As I mentioned above, I love this stuff but it's getting to be pretty expensive including shipping and the inconvenience to use.

Tom's of Maine Naturally Dry -  When I first started experimenting with other brands I picked this one up. I love love loved it! That was until I remembered to read the ingredient list a few weeks later and found out this has aluminum in it. I didn't mention this above but aluminum is the ingredient in antiperspirant that has been linked to Alzheimer's. I will say that if you just cannot make the switch to deodorant, this is a good option.

Desert Essense - I bought this stuff right before Matt and I went camping in PEI for labour day weekend. I am so glad that Matt and I are comfortable around each other because for the rest of the weekend I pretty much smelled bad when you got too close. I found this stuff stopped working after about an hour or so. But it stayed on your skin creating this yucky sticky environment in your arm pits. Granted it was a humid weekend but I still don't think it should have had that type of reaction.

Tom's of Maine Long Lasting - On the way home from the above mentioned camping trip I was so fed up with smelling bad that I made an emergency stop into Lawtons and found this stuff. It was pretty much the only non-salt crystal deodorant in the whole store. It has a pleasant smell, only a teeny tiny bit of stickyness at the end of the day and after using it for a week I can say I actually liked it.

Nature's Gate Winter Clean - Why I tried a new one I honestly can't tell you. I guess I either like to torture myself or try every possibility. This stuff is unscented and honestly, it doesn't stand out to me. It was a while ago now that I tried it, and I switched back to Tom's of Maine Long Lasting after a week or two. Not much of a review but oh well!

This is where my stinky journey comes to an end. Although I loved the first two products, I stopped using them for their own reasons. I am still using the long lasting Tom's of Maine one. I'm sure when that one runs out I will try another new one and the adventure will continue. One can fantasize about an amazing, eco-friendly deodorant after-all :)

Friday, November 1, 2013

30 Days of Yoga and Tiny Tea Teatox

At this point most of you have probably clued into the fact that I like 30 day challenges. If you didn't know this about me, now you know! Ha ha ha. Anyways, I really like them because I find that 30 days is a good amount of time to test something out without feeling like you just completely wasted your time. It is also a great start at building a habit.

Therefore, I have done a few 30 day challenges here on the blog like the 30 day abs and squat challenge and the 24 day fall cleanse.

For the month of November I have decided to take on a double challenge. The yoga studio I am a member of is doing a 30 day yoga challenge. I think they do it pretty much every November. If you're interested in the studio it's called Shanti Hot Yoga. They truly are fantastic. Go check them out hint hint wink wink ;) This will be my second time participating in their 30 day challenge so I decided to pair something else with it that I've been wanting to try for a few months now.

I stumbled upon Yourtea on instagram originally. After seeing countless before and after photos and customer testimonials I decided to look into it a bit further. Yourtea makes a few different tea "series" if you will. The one that most interests me at this point is the tiny tea teatox. All of their tea is based off of chinese herbal medicine and each series has a particular "benefit" if you will. The tinyteatox is a 14 or 28 day digestive cleanse. It has been known to help reduce sugar cravings, reduce bloating, clear acne, provide more energy during the day and the list of benefits go on.

Have you done a cleanse before? Or have you done a 30 day challenge before? Tell me about it in the comments section!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Two Months Without Shampoo or Conditioner

I have made the jump to "no 'poo" and I can officially say that I will never go back.

I had heard bits and pieces about stopping using shampoo and conditioner a few years ago but never really looked into it. Then last summer I stumbled upon Amanda's amazing blog, Living In Another Language, where she talked about stopping using shampoo and conditioner in this post, this post, this post, and this post. Once I was done a little bit of blog stalking reading I decided I finally had to give this a try. Amanda answered any questions I could think of in one of her above posts so why not? If I don't get the results I want then I stop. Easy peasy.

This is what people look like when I tell them I don't use shampoo. This is a day I would have washed my hair. It's a bit messy because I was out in the wind all day.
I won't get into the exact details of how it works since Amanda covers all of it over on her blog (you should go check out her blog if you haven't gotten the hint yet ;)) but I'll tell you the basics. Pretty much, I "wash" my hair every 5 or so days. When I wash it I use a solution of baking soda and water on my roots and vinegar and water on the ends of my hair. The baking soda solution absorbs excess oil in your roots and helps to get rid of any product in your hair. The vinegar solution moisturizers your ends and adds lots of awesome shine.

That's it. It really is easy. I did experience a bit of a transition phase when I first started where my hair was still trying to figure out how much oil it should be producing now that I wasn't stripping it of it's natural oils anymore. But I took some of Amanda's tips and just changed the ratios I was using in my solution to accommodate for the oilyness that I was experiencing.

This is my go to look on days where my hair has gotten a little too oily to wear down. Just throw some dry shampoo in it and up it goes.
It has officially been just over two months since I stopped using shampoo and conditioner and I can say that I will never go back to using it again. One of the biggest reasons for me is that I gain so much time in the mornings not having to wash, blow dry, straighten/style my hair. I do that one to two times a week now and on the mornings that I don't do it I can be ready to go in about 15 minutes. I mean, who doesn't want to be ready that quickly?!

I digress.

Some people I have talked to about this seem interested, some people immediately shut it down. If you're interested I highly recommend going to read more about it at Living In Another Language and then giving it a shot. If you have any questions about it feel free to reach out and I'll do my best to answer them.

Could you stop using shampoo and conditioner?

>>>This post was written and a Halifax Blogger meet up. If you are in the HRM or close by feel free to check us out on Facebook here<<<

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

October 2013 Desktop Calendar

Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Book Review: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

When I've gotten on the topic of family with people the general consensus is usually "my family is crazy". Sometimes I even get a "my family is bat shit crazy". Even in my own family, there are certain members that have very obvious quirks. Doesn't everyone have a crazy Aunt?

Until I read The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls I don't think I truly understood what crazy meant for a family. I mean, serious bat shit crazy kind of crazy. The Glass Castle is a memoir of Jeannette's childhood and early adult years. She tells riveting stories about how for months herself, her brother, her sister and her parents would live out of their car. Nights sleeping under the stars, days spent roaming the desert and her unique home schooling experience

What I loved the most about this book (besides just the way Jeannette writes) is that as a reader you had no idea what was going to happen. There were so many surprises and twists and turns that it kept me wanting more the entire time I was reading. There were moments that made me weep and moments that left me in tears from laughing so hard. And I have always believed that if a book can make me cry and laugh, it is a fantastic book.

I will continue to call my family crazy in their own way but I know that they are nothing in comparison to Jeanette's. Her childhood was an adventure unlike any other and I think that no matter your reading preference, you will find this book highly entertaining.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Lately [02]

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Pretty simple one this week. Not much has been on the go lately. 

1 + 2. Birthday celebrations with my family after we got back from camping. I really don't have enough photos of myself with them. Although this is something I am changing slowly.
3. First run of the year outdoors. A little late in the season but better late than never. These Vibrams are amazing for running. No problems with shin splints at all. Tight calves are a completely different story though. If you try this out then I recommend stretching a bunch before and after as well as foam rolling is you have a roller.
4. Now that I'm doing "no poo" I absolutely love the days I wash my hair. This week I'll be posting a little bit more about this experience. I can say now though that I definitely plan on continuing to not use shampoo. Now I just need to find a really good dry shampoo.
5. Trying out some Crossfit body weight style workouts at the gym at my work. Not much equipment but a little creativity can go a really long way.
6. Beautiful view on the Second Lake trail in Sackville. It's pretty obvious that fall is coming though. Even if I can't stop denying it. Does anyone else feel like we should have more summer left or is it just me?

What have you been up to lately?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Book Review: The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Love my worn out copy.
I am a firm believer in fixing things before they are broken. That's why I get oil changes and maintain my health. But one area that most people don't think about being proactive in is their love life. I have started reading relationship advice books so that I have more tools in my basket to prevent future troubles. So when I watched a video by Rachel Talbott on youtube talking about The 5 Love Languages I immediately bought it.

And let me tell you, it has probably been the best investment in my relationship I have ever made. If you are in a relationship you need to buy this book and read it ASAP. Even if you are not in a relationship you should buy this book and read it ASAP. The 5 Love Languages will teach you to understand your partner better but it will also teach you how to understand people better. Therefore it will help with every relationship you have in your life.

The general idea of this book is that we all have "love tanks". When our tanks are full we feel appreciated, loved, cared for, happy. When our tanks are empty we feel depressed, lonely, disconnected, neglected. Each person expresses love in one of the 5 love languages (acts of service, physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time and receiving gifts). As an example I speak the love language of quality time. Therefore when I want to show someone that I love them I spend a lot of time with them. And not just watching TV, but doing something interactive. I love planning date nights, having good conversations and going for walks. This is really good for my partner to know because he will then have the tools to keep my love tank full.

The problem arises in relationships when two people "speak" different love languages. One person will try to show their love to their partner in the way they want it back but because their partner doesn't speak the same love language they still end up feeling neglected or lonely. This book helps you to identify what your love language is and your partners so that you can make each other feel loved. When you feel loved by your partner you are less likely to fight with them. Confrontations, passive aggressive behavior and being nit picky usually come from not being fulfilled.

I digress. Get the book. It is worth every penny.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

5 Ways To Lose That Fat

I am always hearing people around me talk about how they can't lose weight or their body is too stubborn to burn fat. Then I see them eating sweets or overhear them talking about how they haven't gone to the gym in weeks. So I figured I'd write a post about the guidelines to losing weight.

1. Eat REAL food - Throw out the "low fat" or "diet" foods. They are so over processed there is barely any nutritional value left in them so essentially, all you're doing is feeding your body cardboard. The more something is processed the less good it is going to do for your body. Know what this means? You've got it - start cooking. Go out, buy some vegetables, fruit, spices and start experimenting in the kitchen. This is going to be a big lifestyle change if you're not used to it so I won't overwhelm you with much else in this category except this: when we cook our foods we start the break down process before it even gets into our bodies. Some foods will even lose vital nutrients during the cooking process. As much as you can try to eat fruits and vegetables (specifically vegetables) raw. It takes some getting used to so you don't need to do this right away but keep it in mind for the future. When eating raw food it's also putting the responsibility of breaking it down completely on your body which means your body needs to do more work which results in burning more calories too! My favorite source of recipes online has to be OhSheGlows. She makes vegan meals but you can always use cows milk or real cheese instead of her substitutes or add meat into the meal.

2. Eat more often - A great rule of thumb for how often to eat is the 5 meals a day theory. Your meals should be breakfast, snack, lunch, snack and dinner. To make each of these a meal I want you to make sure you're having complex carbohydrates (vegetables and some grains/legumes), protein and fat. This seems to be a lot easier to do for breakfast, lunch and dinner but how do you do this for snacks you ask? How about a protein smoothy? Mixed berries, banana, spinach, coconut milk, chia seeds and protein powder tastes amazing! If you make too much you can also just throw it in the fridge for your second snack. You could also do cherry tomatoes, carrots and hummus. Or an apple cut up with nut butter. There are so many options. The reason it is so important to eat more often throughout the day is that your body goes into what's called "starvation mode" when it doesn't get nutrients after a certain amount of time. So let's say you eat breakfast at 6am but you don't eat anything else until 1pm. Your body has gone into starvation mode which means it thinks it's going to have another long period of time before eating so it's going to try to store as much of your 1pm meal as possible. To get around this start eating at 2-4 hour intervals.

3. Portion control - I blame this one on most restaurants. I went to Boston Pizza last week and my pasta dinner was about 3 servings of pasta. That is WAY TOO MUCH. Our body doesn't need all of that food in one sitting! The easy way to think of portions is to compare sizes to something common like the below chart.
Photo Source
Print this out. Make multiple copies. Put it on your fridge, in your car, in your purse or wallet. I have also found that for myself using smaller dishes when eating helps. I was raised in a "finish your plate" kind of family and this mentality has stuck into my adult years. So I will use smaller plates and bowls when eating my meals. Sounds silly but you just have to find little habits like this that will work for you.

4. Drink more water - This one is huge. Like BIG BIG BIG. I also find it one of the most difficult to a) track and b) improve on. According to the Mayo Clinic women need to drink about 2.2L of fluids and men about 3L of fluids a day to stay properly hydrated. For our purposes I'm going to substitute that with water instead of fluids. The reason is that water has zero calories and we're trying to lose weight. Please, please, please don't drink your calories away unless it's a daily smoothy. Just like "starvation mode", your body will hold on to more water if it's not getting enough per day. Want to lose that excess water? Drink more water then. Over time (days to a week) that will signal to your body that you will be giving it the amount of water it needs and it doesn't need to hold on to so much. Why else should you drink water? Good question! Water helps to lubricate your joints, regulates body temperature, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, helps prevent constipation, protects body organs and tissues and lessens the burden on your kidneys and liver by helping to flush out toxins (Source). And that's just the start.

Before we move on to my last tip (exercise) I want to really drive this point home by saying "drink as much water as you can possibly stand". The reason is that we will be exercising which means sweating so we will need even more than the guidelines above. Plus, it's very very rare that someone drinks too much water. So women, if you can get 3L a day, awesome! Men, if you can get 3.5L a day, wicked! Keep it up :)

5. Challenge your body - Our bodies aim to maintain what is called homeostasis. Wikipedia says homeostasis is the property of a system that regulates its internal environment and tends to maintain a stable, relatively constant condition of properties such as temperature or pH. Your body also does this when it comes to challenges placed upon it. When we were young our body adapted to being able to walk. Most of us walk during our day to day life and our body has become accustomed to this. Therefore walking will not challenge your body enough to force it to adapt. This is also what happens during a plateau. You start some new routine, get amazing results and then all of a sudden you get stuck. That's because your body has adapted to whatever it is your doing. To really challenge your body to make adaptations (burning fat included) we have to do something different that pushes us to our limits. If you're used to running on the treadmill try doing some hill runs outdoors. If you're used to going on the elliptical, try the stairmaster instead. Do something outside of your comfort zone and your body will be forced to adapt.

Couldn't find original source.
 I plan on expanding on this one in future posts a bit more but for now I just want to mention that we also need to do weight/resistance training. It forces our body (muscles, joints and bones) to become stronger as well as burns more calories and gives us that lean, defined look most people are going for. The key when it comes to resistance training is going to be doing big movements. For example, if you want toned arms don't do bicep curls or tricep extensions. You're burning so few calories it will be very hard to get the results you want. Instead, for your triceps do pushups or chest dips (or any other pushing motion). You're using more muscles which means you're burning more calories and you're working your target muscle. For biceps do chin ups, pull ups, or rows (any kind of pulling movement). Again, using your target muscle but it's a bigger movement which means more muscle activation and burning more calories. Want to know the king of all exercises? Squats. They work pretty much every muscle in your lower body (glutes are the biggest in your whole body btw), they work your core and even your upper body if you put your arms straight overhead, in front of you or if you're holding onto a weight. Give it a try!

Wow... this post took on a life of it's own! Lots of information here. Start with making one of the changes above. Once you're used to that one take on another. If you tackle a lot at once it's usually harder to keep it up over the long run. If you have any questions feel free to reach out in the comments section, on twitter or email me!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

September 2013 Desktop Calendar

Oops! I completely forgot about the calendar for this month until my friend Jaymie mentioned it to me this morning. Sorry guys! Guess I just got carried away with all of the activities last week that it slipped my mind.

I digress. Here is one I whipped together this morning from when Matt and I went hiking on Cape Split. If you haven't done the hike, you should go do it while the weather is still nice. It's breath taking :)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Lately [01]

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Found this new little series through Amanda @ LivingInAnotherLanguage and Laurie @ TheBrotherton's. What have you been up to lately?
 1. Recently upgraded to the BlackBerry Z10 which means obviously that I have side loaded the Android Instagram app!! First selfie I posted to test out the new app.

2. Matt and I hiked the beautiful Cape Split. Seriously stunning trail and the end is totally worth the walk. If you haven't been out to it and you're in the Wolfville area definitely check it out.

3. Went to the breathtaking Matchbox Twenty and Goo Goo Dolls concert in Halifax. The last stop of their tour and they really didn't hold anything back. I have to say we were both so impressed with both of these bands. I can't wait to see Matchbox Twenty again. Go see them if you get the chance!!

4. For my birthday dinner Matt and I went to this little seafood place in PEI called Sou' West. We shared the mussels and both had fish and chips. I have been addicted to fish and chips since we got back. Trying to find the best in Halifax. Any recommendations?

5. Impromptu lunch at the Kitchen Witch after go karting. We just had to check this place out since I've always loved anything to do with the mystical/witchcraft. And I'm glad we did. This place was very impressive. About 70% of their menu is Celiac friendly (gluten free options) and almost everything had a vegetarian or vegan option available. Can't wait to go back again next year.

6. Our set up around the camp fire for our last night in PEI. Wine, vegan s'mores, fire, hubbie and a good book. Couldn't ask for anything more except for the rain to have held off a little longer.
7. Watched the entire Orange Is The New Black series on Netflix in about 1 week. When I found out it was a book it went to the top of my to read list and now I'm about half way through. I love memoirs.
8. The beautiful sunrise at Twin Shores Campground on my birthday. What a beautiful scene to wake up to.
Do you like this post? Should I keep doing them? Let me know what you think in the comments below :)

You can also follow me on Instagram here.

Friday, August 30, 2013

September 30 Day Challenge

I heard once that it takes about 10,000 repetitions to make an action second nature and about 21 consecutive days to make something a habit. With this in mind I have decided to start taking on more 30 day (or 29 or 31) challenges each month. It gives me enough time to really try something out and build a habit if I like it. On the flip side, if I don't like the end results I won't feel as though I have wasted a lot of time.
Originally posted on Living In Another Language

Originally posted on Living In Another Language
I have decided to tackle the 30 day squat and abs challenge that has been posted all over Pinterest lately for the month of September. I will be taking before and after photos and revealing them at the end of the month to see if there has been any noticeable progress. Feel free to join me on this challenge and if you do I'd love to hear from you about it! Use the comments section below, make your own blog post or even email me!

Good luck :)

Edit: tempo is everything so for the exercises I will be using a 4-1-2-0 tempo.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Why I Like Being Naked In Public

Disclaimer: There are images containing nudity in this post. If that isn't for you please leave now. And remember, bodies come in all shapes and sizes, so no mean comments about the individuals in these photos.

Throughout my life I have struggled with body image issues. Most people (yes, women AND men) have had issues with their bodies at some point in their lives. I'm too big, I'm too small, too dark, too light, I have a funny birth mark on my butt that kind of looks like PEI. One boob is bigger than the other. I have belly rolls when I sit down. Cellulite. Jiggly parts. I should look like the women in magazines and on billboards and movies. If I hate my body how can anyone else love it?

Most of us have had at least one of the above thoughts at some point. And like a lot of others, I succumbed to the pressure and had my own struggles with anorexia. Thankfully, mine never got to a dangerous point but it was still really difficult to deal with. For those wondering, I am ok now. It has been years since I recovered from my eating disorder and I have no plans of ever turning back to it.

During the strongest moments of struggling with my body image I also did something very uncharacteristic of someone with body image issues, I got naked in public and had photos taken. It was at first something that I did as a big "F U" to all of the pressure I felt to be perfect. It then slowly molded into a way of expressing myself and being comfortable in my own skin. And who knew, I ended up liking my body the more and more I did it. Now to clarify, it wasn't about sex. It was about becoming ok with my own body and showing others that it's ok to not be perfect. You don't have to be skinny like a runway model to be beautiful.

Photographer: Doug Winsor


I don't do much with nude photography anymore and have felt the need to be nude still. So when I heard about the World Naked Bike Ride I thought why not? The purpose of the Naked Bike Ride is to show people exactly how vulnerable cyclists are on the roads. And to get some fun reactions :P Surprisingly, Matt came with me and we had an absolute blast. We ended up keeping our bottoms on but decided about half way through the ride that we would do this again next year and go completely in the buff! Here are some photos of the ride.

Both of us about to start the ride.
A FB appropriate selfie.
Body painted and ready to roll.

My sexy hubby all ready.

The group heading down Robie.
At the end of the ride Matt and I felt like we were on cloud nine. It was so liberating. No joke, it felt 110% natural to be naked. There was nothing sexual about the event. Just a bunch of people enjoying the feeling of being in their own skin and having an awesome bike ride.

Here is the route we did if you are interested.

The next day we felt adventurous again and decided to go to our local clothing optional beach, Crystal Crescent. We did find that people there were very friendly but we had no problems and have been back a few times since.

Everyone should try taking their clothes off for a little bit outside of regular daily activities (showering, dressing, etc). Even if it's just around your bedroom or your home. It is a liberating experience and it will help you become more comfortable in your own skin. You are beautiful. You are perfect the way you are, cellulite and all.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

August 2013 Desktop Calendar

I honor the Place in You in which the entire universe dwells. I honor the Place in You which is of love, of truth, of light, and of Peace. When You are in that Place in You and I am in that Place in me, we are one. - Gandhi

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Happy Birthday Mom

I am the way I am today because of how I was raised. From as long back as I can remember my parents have always been there to support me in all of my endeavours. And trust me, that wasn't easy since I've always been interested in so many things. Regardless, they were always my biggest cheerleaders. I'll never be able to repay them or thank them enough for moulding me into the person I am.

One of the biggest things I remember from my childhood was my mother always pushing me to be me. Of course she always wanted what was best for me but she let me get there in my own way. I was 100% accepted as who I am and never told that I should fit a certain mould. I was free to fly as high as my mind could imagine. Never stifled and only scolded when I pushed in a destructive direction.

Being such a strong woman herself, Mom taught me to stand up for what I believe in (even if it meant standing up to her) and to do what I feel is right. She really lived/s the saying "Dance like no one is watching, Love like you'll never be hurt, Sing like no one is listening, Live like it's heaven on earth." and it is because of that that I have become the type of person that jumps in with both feet. I go for what I want with everything I have because Mom showed me what life can offer and always told me I could achieve anything I want to.

51 years ago one of the most influential people in my life was born. Through life's ups and downs she has stayed true to herself and has been an unreal inspiration to her two daughters. If it wasn't for her I wouldn't be here today.

Mom, I love you so much. Words will never be able to express how much you mean to me. Thank you for teaching me to fly and for always being there when I've fallen. Happy Birthday <3 br="">

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Crossfit: The Beginnings

Photo Source

A quick Wikipedia search defines Crossfit as "a strength and conditioning program designed to help people gain a broad and general fitness. CrossFit programming concentrates on constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity to achieve overall physical fitness, so people are prepared for any physical challenge." I heard of Crossfit from a friend I worked with at GoodLife when I first started.

I remember my first reaction was "woah, that's intense". Since then the idea of it has simmered in my psyche and it has finally peaked my interest enough to give it a go. After doing a lot of research on how to actually perform some of the movements I decided to do a baseline testing of sorts to give me a benchmark to measure progress against.

I found this baseline test at LearnCrossfit's website. It sounded pretty simple and I figured it would be no problem. Wow was I wrong. So here's the details of the work out:

Complete all rounds back to back as fast as you can for time.

Round 1
Run 400m
21 pushups (women from knees, men from toes)
21 squats (As to grass aka A2G if possible)
5 burpees (chest has to touch floor at bottom)

Round 2
Run 400m
15 pushups
15 squats
5 burpees

Round 3
Run 400m
9 pushups
9 squats
5 burpees

My time was 17:10.25. I don't have anyone to compare against so I have no idea how good that is but I can tell you right now my face was bright red at the end of it and I had to lay down on the floor for about 10 minutes to recover. Talk about intense!

It took me 10 days to get the courage (and time) to do my second workout. Not knowing how to do clean and jerks, snatches, etc I had to find a WOD (workout of the day) that suited my skill level. This past Saturday I finally found one called "Fight Gone Bad" that Tannaya had posted on the Crossfit Halifax website and figured I might as well give it a go. Because I wasn't in a Crossfit gym I had to make some modifications but here is the outline that I did:

3 rounds - 1 minute per exercise plus 1 minute rest between rounds

                                                       Round 1     Round 2     Round 3
Wall ball (15lbs)                                20               18               17
Sumo deadlift high-pull (20kg)         14               12               12
Box jump (5 risers)                            13               14               15
Push press (15kg)                               12               10               11
Jog (length of groupex room)              7                 7                 7

Crossfit is a sport so you do get a score for each WOD. Since I couldn't do rowing (measured in calories burned) as per the original WOD I decided to just use the distance I ran. My score would be 189. According to WodHub this is a pretty low score. Plus I had to take extra breaks when my breathing got too heavy. Needless to say, Crossfit has the two times I've tried it. I plan on keeping it up as much as I can now that I don't have a gym membership and I'll be updating here as I go along.

If you have any questions about Crossfit just leave a comment and I'll answer to the best of my ability. It isn't a normal work out and it's not super duper popular yet so I'm trying to spread the word about it as much as I can.

Oh, and if you want to get an idea of what the fight gone bad workout is like just watch the below video.

Monday, June 3, 2013

June 2013 Desktop Calendar

There are moments, above all on June evenings, when the lakes that hold our moons are sucked into the earth, and nothing is left but wine and the touch of a hand. - Charles Morgan

Start of a new series! I'll be posting a calendar every month of a photo I've taken. Feel free to download the original to your computer and use it as your background for the month :) To download, click on the image to open in full screen, right click on image and select save as. Easy peasy!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Struggling With a Diva

Most of the time I love being a woman. We get to be girly and dress up and then be chill and wear our boyfriends clothes. But there is one time every month that I really struggle with being a woman and sometimes even wish I were a man. The dreaded period.

Now for those of you that don't like reading about "women problems" or just have no interest in hearing about my menstrual woahs, close the window now. Go ahead, close it. This is just going to get worse.

I was fortunate enough in my youth to start my monthly visit from Aunt Flow later in my teen years (around 14 I think). Since then it's been an almost constant battle. I am unfortunate enough to experience really bad cramping the first two days of my period. So bad that I have even had to stay home from work and sometimes, double the recommended dose of naproxen (Aleve) still doesn't help. On top of that I always break out the week before hand and it doesn't normally clear up until my period has been over for 4-5 days. Fist pump for being a girl!

Photo source.

The worst part of it all though is using tampons. I have never been much of a pad girl. I hate how they feel and how you can hear them move around when you walk. Or at least I hear them when I walk. People who like using them probably don't. I digress. I have almost always used tampons.

Then a few years ago I decided to go the eco friendly route and try a Diva Cup. If you don't know what a Diva Cup is, it's a small, cup made out of medical grade silicon. You insert it instead of a tampon and it literally catches your flow. You take it out (very carefully!) every 8-12 hours to empty, clean and reinsert. I tried this for a few months and it was working great. I finally didn't have to wear tampons. Then it started to leak. I had no idea what I was doing wrong but it wouldn't stop. I got fed up and switched back to using tampons.

Photo source.

Photo source.

What's so wrong with tampons you ask? There are a few things:

          1. They bleach the cotton in tampons. THEY BLEACH THE COTTON IN TAMPONS. How wrong is that? On average, women have their period for 5-7 days once a month. So from the age of 14 to 50 a woman would spend roughly 2,160-3,024 days on her period. That's a lot of time with bleached cotton inside your woo haa. No thank you.

          2. Tampons are seriously wasteful. If you were to go through 2 tampons a day, that's 4,320-6,048 tampons in a life time that end up in the landfill, or worse, in our waterways. I learned from my friend Lisa's post on Diva Cups that over 7 billions tampons a year end up in America's landfills. That's horrendous.

          3. They dry you out. This is probably TMI but after talking with some girlfriend's I have found that I'm not the only one. Towards the end of my period I find tampons SUPER uncomfortable. It's like they dry out my insides and then I can never place them right or something so I always feel them inside me.

          4. They put you at risk for toxic shock syndrome. According to the McKinley Health Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, toxic shock syndrome is "... a rare bacteria caused illness occurring mostly in menstruating women who use high absorbency tampons. Non-menstrual TSS risk is increased for women who use vaginal barrier contraceptive methods (such as the diaphragm), although the incidence is much lower." And it's fatal...

So, this is going to be round two with the Diva Cup. I have tried turning the cup in a circular direction after insertion to help make a seal and it seems to be working. I'm just about finished my first period using it again and it has gone pretty well. In a couple of months I'll give you an update as to how it's working for me. If you want to learn more about Diva Cups I highly recommend looking around their website or Lisa's posts on it. She's done lots of research and has some really informative information on her blog.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Happy Birthday to my Man


About a year and a half ago we started to get to know each other. There was something mysterious that kept attracting me back to you. It took a while but you finally let me in and I couldn't have designed a better person if I tried. That Christmas I asked you to be my boyfriend because you are the best man I know.

Looking into our future I know we can handle anything that gets thrown our way because not only are we lovers and dedicated partners, but we are best friends. Today you turned 31 years young. I hope you had an amazing birthday and I can't wait to spend every future birthday with you for the rest of our lives.

Yours forever,


Monday, May 20, 2013

Mini Elephant, Kinky Sex and Relationships

Mini elephant.

No, this isn't a post about oxymorons. Mini elephant would be an excellent safe word. What is a safe word you ask? It's a word or short phrase that wouldn't naturally come up in conversation or during moments of intimacy.

Safe words got their moment in the spotlight with the popularity of the book 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James. Traditionally, safe words are used when two people are in an intimate situation and one person isn't ok with what's going down (pun intended). The reason "no" or "stop" shouldn't be used is because sometimes people are pretending or acting out intimate scenes and they may not actually mean "no" or "stop". Hence, establishing a safe word. I recommend that any two people that are going to engage in intimate relations establish a safe word beforehand. Even if you aren't going to get into doing anything kinky, it's still something that either of you can use that should immediately stop whatever is happening.

Photo credit.

Matt and I have a safe word for outside of the bedroom as well. In our past relationships there were many times our partners have not taken something we have said seriously enough for our liking. Which usually resulted in some kind of fight or simmering resentment. Our fix for that? A safe word. Although we haven't actually had to use it in our relationship it has been a great "just in case" tool to have in our bag. If one of us is ever feeling under appreciated or don't think the other has taken a concern seriously enough, our safe word is in our arsenal to use. It's our big, red, flashing light that says "Hello, you need to listen to me right now, even if you don't think this is important." Just having it there makes me feel so much more secure because I know that there is something definite to get his attention and vice versa. One of the biggest reasons for fights in relationships is a miscommunication or lack of communication in general. This is what we will use to fight that if we need to.

I have even found myself wishing I could have safe words for my relationships with friends and family because I'm sure a lot of fights would have been resolved quicker had we had one.

So right now, I want you to go to your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, or lover and establish a safe word with them. Something that either of you can use inside or outside the bedroom to grab the others attention. Even if you never have to use it, it's still great to have, just in case.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

On Grey Hairs and Being Proud

My mother thinks I'm crazy and that I will think differently when I am older, but I have always said that I don't want to do the things women typically do when they start to age. Things like "dress for my age", cut my hair short, dye over my greys, etc. Although I have fallen prey to the media/society when it comes to physical insecurities about my body, I have always felt that growing old is a blessing. It's something that we should celebrate. I never really understood the whole never wanting to age thing.
Disclaimer: I am 25. So yes, I know many of you are thinking "just wait until you're 35, 50, 65" but hear me out.

The last couple of generations have been some of the longest living generations in the history of the world. There was a time when aboriginals in Canada were wed when they were 13-14 years old and 35-50 was considered old age. I feel like we should be proud of the fact that we are living so much longer (hopefully) instead of trying to stay young forever. It is a testament to how technology and medicine have grown and progressed. We have become so much smarter and therefore have found ways to continue to enjoy this wonderful home we call Earth for many years more than we have previously. If living a longer life isn't worth celebrating, then what is? I feel like when we are stripped of our titles, our possessions and all of our money, all we have left are the relationships we have built and our experiences we have lived through.

I strive to live in the moment, do what I love and surround myself with the people I love every single day and I believe that is the key to living a happy and fulfilling life. *knock on wood* If something happened tomorrow and I passed on, obviously I would be upset about not being able to continue to live but I wouldn't regret not living my life because I am happy with where I am and what I am doing. That is what living in the moment means to me.

My mother always said that I gave her grey hairs. And I 100% believe her. When I have kids and they give me grey hairs I will stand proudly and say "Hey! I got this grey hair because my kid just fell off their bike for the first time and it scared me to death. But I lived through it and I'm ok." Grey hairs and lines around our eyes and mouths represent stories, experiences. Why would we ever want to cover them up?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Partners in Crime

“The ego is the false self-born out of fear and defensiveness.” ― John O'Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
 As of late Matt and I have spent many a nights listening to our neighbours yell and scream at each other. Not just the regular bickering, but the whole "f*** you!" and "I'm leaving!" kind of screaming matches that normally would end a relationship. But yet we keep hearing them go at it.

I used to be a fighter. I loved arguing with people and coming out as the winner. I would even go as far to say that I fed off of conflict. The adrenaline rush from a good fight was almost like a high and as any fighter can relate, I'd do anything to be right.

But in relationships their are no winners. I've realized that when you win, you are forcing your partner to lose. You are knowingly hurting the person you love and hopefully want to spend the rest of your life with. More often than not, this is because people bring their egos to their fights. Instead of thinking about what is best for the unit, you end up thinking about how you want to be right and you'll do anything it takes to achieve that outcome.

If you have found yourself in the above scenario I want you to take a step back and think about what you actually achieved. Instead of wanting to be right, why not leave your ego at the door and shift your focus to how to resolve the issue and have both people be happy with the result? Why not work together as a team so that you can stop fighting and start enjoying each others company?

In our relationship, not everything is sunshine and rainbows. I don't want you thinking this will remove all conflict, because it won't. There are lots of instances where we disagree, offend each other or are just in a bad mood and it causes conflict. But by keeping our eyes on the end game they usually get resolved pretty quickly without feelings getting hurt. Instead of our egos going to war, we act as a team to get to a resolution as quickly as possible. After all, Matt is my partner in crime. It's him and I against the world. That is the attitude you should have in a relationship.

So next time your partner says something that makes you mad or you two disagree on something, think about what you want to achieve in the end, leave your ego at the door and just focus on getting back to a conflict free state.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Nutrition Resources

My first post on nutrition! Like I said in my last post, March is nutrition month and I have some posts planned for each Monday. Unfortunately last Monday I didn't post because I was so exhausted from training all weekend so this is a little late. Oh well, better late then never! :)

Today I wanted to share resources with you all on nutrition. My own knowledge on the topic is mediocre at best so I feel like it's important to have good resources to go to. It seems like every day I'm hearing about a new type of diet or superfood or supernutrient and it all just gets to be overwhelming. What should you believe?

So here is a list of the resources I go to on a regular to semi-regular basis:

Charles Poliquin: According to his website.. "Charles Poliquin is one of the most accomplished strength coaches in the world. He has designed workouts for  Olympic medalists in 17 different sports,  world record holders in 10 different sports, and professional athletes in the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, and UK Premier League. He has lectured or consulted for a variety of high-profile organizations such as the US Secret Service, Walt Disney Corporation and the World Swimming Congress." He has fantastic articles and blog posts on all health and fitness topics but I particularly enjoy his nutrition articles. Nutrition Articles | Supplements Articles

Precision Nutrition: I absolutely love Precision Nutrition. I hope to one day get certified by them but for now I have been using their free tools online. They also write lots of articles and have different mini courses you can take for free. They break things down very well so that it is easy to make the changes you need to make. I particularly like that they promote making small habitual changes slowly that way you don't become overwhelmed with a whole new diet. It's about taking baby steps.

Dietitians of Canada: I only recently stumbled on this website when looking for this month's theme but after doing some looking around, this is another one I will be going to frequently. For nutrition month alone they have a bunch of great tools. Fact sheet 1 | Fact sheet 2 | Fact sheet 3 | Videos

Everything You Need To Know About Fat Loss: I just started reading this book at the recommendation of my mentor at work and I can already say it's going to be a goody. I actually got a pdf copy of it since it is really hard to find a hard copy to buy and I am not a digital book kind of girl. It has started off with just breaking down what carbs, fats and protein are and why they are essential in our diet. I have a feeling this is going to be a very, very "regular person" friendly book and would highly recommend it to anyone that is seriously interested in making changes in their life.

OhSheGlows: And last but not least there is OhSheGlows. This site is run a Canadian girl, Angela Liddon. She is a food guru that also happens to be vegan. I am constantly referring my clients to her website because not only are here recipes amazing but you can always make them non-vegan by using regular eggs, cow dairy, and adding meat if that's how you roll. Some of my all time favs are blueberry banana pie overnight oats, lightened-up sundried tomato and basil pesto pasta, and red lentil and squash curry stew.

Well that's it for my regular tools and resources. If you have any nutrition related questions please post them in the comments section as I will be doing a Q&A for the last Monday of the month.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

March is Nutrition Month!

I have been putting some more effort and thought into my blog and decided I wanted to come up with some kind of monthly theme. Something healthy and fitness related that I can talk about one time a week. I'm also hoping that this will help me get into the routine of blogging more regularly since as you can tell, I'm currently pretty sporadic.

After a quick google search I found out that March is considered nutrition month by the Dieticians of Canada. So why not have that as our first theme? For the next 4 Mondays I will be blogging about anything nutrition related that I can get my hands on. I am not a nutritionist or dietician so please take my advice with a grain of salt and consult with your doctor before making any major changes in your diet. I will make an effort to back up anything I talk about with sources online though.

Here's to a month filled with nutrition tips, recipes, diet plans and hopefully some great conversation in the comments section! :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Managing Commitments

It seems that I have a tendency to take on too many things at once. Probably won't ever change but I'm finally straddling down and figuring out what I can and cannot handle. Unfortunately, the bikini/fitness competition is one of those things that I cannot handle right now for a few (I think really good) reasons.

1. Matt and I are searching for an apartment for March or April. Everything that is involved with moving is becoming quite a bit to deal with. And since we go back and forth from my parent's house to his parent's house every two weeks we don't exactly have a stable lifestyle or our own kitchen. Which makes it very, very hard to diet for the competition.

2. I am studying to become a level 2 trainer at work. Currently I am a level 1. Along with this promotion comes reading a very large and dry fitness book and about 12-15 fitness related articles, an exam and a practical exam with my boss's boss. Definitely want to impress him here so I'm putting a lot of my spare time into preparing.

3. I got accepted to the Les Mills Instructor program for Bodyflow. If you haven't heard of Bodyflow it is a Les Mills group exercise class that combines yoga, pilates and tai chi. And the certification process is pretty intense. I already completed and passed my try outs for the program. Now I am awaiting my materials to study for the 2 day course (first weekend in March). After that weekend I get paired up with a certified instructor and I shadow/teach classes with them for 3 months. At the end of the 3 months I have to video tape myself teaching a full class, send it to head office and they determine whether or not I am ready to be an instructor and take on my own classes.

So, as you can see, the next 3-4 months is going to be busy, busy, busy. I have all of this plus training my clients, finding a few new ones once I become level 2, spending time with Matt and try to be a bit social with friends and family. I do intend to do a lot more research and talk about competitions in the future (even plan on going to the NSABBA one) but for now I'll be chatting about all of the above and whatever else comes to mind. I do plan on competing next year though. :)