Sunday, March 23, 2014

New Blog

Hey everyone!!

Finally got up the new design on a self hosted domain!! Please go check it out HERE :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Regular Programming Will Be Back On The Weekend

As you may have noticed already, I have been a bit absent as of late. I have been letting the creative juices flow and will be letting you in on the results this weekend. Please bare with me through this little blogging absence, I promise it will be worth the wait :)

photo credit: suttonhoo via photopin cc

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sunday Smart Eats: Smoothie Edition

Lately it has been smoothie madness in our house! Almost every morning since Christmas we have had smoothies for breakfast.. I confess, might be a weeeee bit addicted over here. It's all good though. Smoothies are yummy, nutrient filled breakfast that doesn't leave you feeling sluggish afterwards. Because really, no one wants to start the day sluggish.

I've tried experimenting with a few different fruit combinations and thought I would share them with you today for this edition of Sunday Smart Eats :)

This one I call Cherry Goodness. More like goddess! I have always loved maraschino cherries and this summer I finally tried fresh cherries and fell in love. They add a very unique and yummy flavour to smoothies. Combined with some blueberries and you get an awesome punch of antioxidants.

Cherry Goodness

Serves 1
+ 1/2 medium sized banana
+ 3-5 chunks frozen mango
+ 3-5 chunks frozen pineapple
+ 1/2 cup frozen cherries
+ small handful frozen blueberries
+ splash of oj
+ scoop of your fav protein powder
+ enough coconut milk to blend all ingredients

This little concoction is a pretty basic smoothie. Matt loves strawberries so I make this for him in the mornings when I'm feeling nice. ;)

Strawberry Time

Serves 2
+ 1 medium sized banana
+ 1/2 cup frozen mango
+ 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
+ 4-5 frozen strawberries (depending on the size)
+ splash of oj
+ scoop of your fav protein powder
+ enough coconut milk to blend all ingredients

And last but not least, what I call Mean Green. This is the first green smoothie I tried to make on my own. I think I drank this 4-5x a week for about a year. Can you tell I get obsessed with things I like?

Mean Green

Serves 1
+ 1/2 medium banana
+ 1/2 cup frozen mango
+ handful of spinach
+ scoop of your fav protein powder
+ splash of oj
+ enough coconut milk to blend all ingredients

Now, a couple of warnings notes... I'm not much for following recipes. Which results in it being surprisingly difficult to write recipes. When I actually make these smoothies I don't do any measuring. I just kind of eye ball it and make adjustments as I go. One day I might use more cherries than the last or less pineapple than the last. These are ever evolving.

I have also been known to add other random ingredients in the kitchen like milled flax seeds (during blending) or chia seeds (after blending, I hate the texture once they are all cut up) or even some avocado. Avocados add some to-die-for creamyness if that's you're kinda thing.

I also thought I'd share with you my current protein powder of choice. We have been loving Allmax Nutrition's isoNatural unflavoured whey protein. It really is flavourless which we prefer as most flavoured protein powders have an artificial flavoured, yucky after taste. And the whey protein doesn't upset our stomaches. I would love to find a vegetable based protein powder that I like but I find them more expensive and yucky tasting.

And finally, the nutribullet. This thing is an absolute wizard when it comes to smoothie making. When I had to use a blender my smoothie kicks would last a few weeks to a month. With this little nugget of goodness, I don't know if I'll ever stop having smoothies for breakfast on a consistent basis. It's easy clean up, it's powerful and the to go cup options make it easy to take to work.

Have you tried smoothies for breakfast? What did you think?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Acadia University's Annual Orchid Display

 I think my camera and I have officially made up. I was never really mad at my camera but I felt like I was all out of creativity and inspiration. So to the camera bag for storage my beloved friend went. Sure, for the last 2 years I have brought it out every now and again but we never really got along all the best. But now, we've officially made up and have been making some crazy beautiful love babies. Check out what we came up with a few weeks ago at Acadia University's orchid display.

The orchid display happens annually so keep your eye out for next years event! And isn't Acadia beautiful?! This is only a small part of the campus but it's an utterly beautiful university. Makes me wish I had applied here!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

March Monthly Wishes

I can't believe it is March already. How did this happen? I think February being a shorter month made it fly by more quickly. That being said, March can fly by too if it wants to because I am ready for some warmer weather!!

February's Wishes

1. Post 3x/week - I think I did pretty good with this goal last month. I ended up with 11 posts for the month which is an average of 3 per week. I'm definitely getting into the habit of blogging more so I should be able to maintain this for the next while. Then jumping up to 4/week!
2. Practice yoga 3x/week - This was a total bust this month. My wrist was actually the worst it has been this month so I didn't want to aggravate it any more than necessary. One of my goals for this month though should help to strengthen it. Hopefully a regular yoga practice is in my not too distant future :)
3. Spend more time reading - I think I did a fantastic job with this one! I ended up finishing The Fault In Our Stars by John Green and I'm about 2/3 of the way through Think Like A Man, Act Like A Lady by Steve Harvey. I watched the movie for this book and trust me, the book is just as good as the movie. Reviews for these books are on the way :)

March Wishes

1. Get back to the gym - As you may know, I used to be a personal trainer at a local gym. When I stopped personal training I had gotten so sick of that environment that I didn't get a gym membership when I left. Since then I have gained almost 20lbs!! I guess I'm carrying it well because no one has really noticed but it has been making me very self conscious. Since I can't go to yoga classes and Matt gets a great gym membership deal through work, we have decided to get back to the gym together.
2. Launch the new blog design - Now that this is becoming more a part of my life, I really want an online space I can be proud of. Therefore, I have been browsing the templates available online and have found one I absolutely adore! I will be making some modifications to it and then launching the new design before the end of the month! Stay tuned :)
3. Dedicate time each week to calligraphy/art projects - I have been getting the creativity bug like crazy the past few weeks. So my mom and I signed up for an online calligraphy course. I haven't gotten my supplies yet in the mail but as soon as I do, I will be carving out time in my daily schedule to start learning the techniques. Until then I will be working on the other craft projects that always seem to be on the go in our house. ;)
4. Plant my seeds for spring - I like to think I have a green finger but the truth is, I kind of just stumble my way through with gardening. This year Matt and I will be focusing on having our own little sanctuary on our tiny balcony and I would like to have some plants on display there.  So far I have lavender, cherry tomatoes and basil to plant. Do you have any gardening tips to share? I could definitely use them!

The Nectar Collective

What are you going to be focusing on accomplishing this month??

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sunday Smart Eats - Tips for Healthy Eating

Did you know that March is nutrition month? I didn't until a couple of days ago and decided then that I would do something special here in honor of nutrition month. Each Sunday during the month of March I will be talking about something food related. Recipes, facts, tips, etc.

To start it off, I want to introduce you to some of the habits I have picked up that have helped me to eat healthier.

A recent grocery haul.

 1. Meal Planning. This is something I have done on and off for years and find it has so many benefits. The first, and most important recently, is that you end up saving a lot of money. When Matt and I plan out our meals for the week we end up using up all of the fresh fruits and veggies we buy (big yay!!!) which means we end up spending less money. We use up our leftovers and in general, end up buying less food when we do our groceries. This is something that I find tough to keep up when I'm feeling lazy but it's definitely worthwhile.

 2. Easy Snacks. I am a snacker. Well, I am an eater really, but I enjoy my snacks. I find when I get home at night after a long day at work, snacks are my go to craving. Therefore, having healthier options around makes it a lot more forgiving for the waistline. I like to keep a variety of nuts/dried fruits around the house. I've been especially hooked on pistachios as of late. We also keep things handy like clementines, crackers with cheese, popcorn, melons, etc.

3. Weekend Prep. Which brings me to my final tip, prepping your food. One of the things I hate most about cooking meals and eating healthy is the amount of prep work that goes into it. Therefore, I try to do as much of it in advance as possible. Usually, after we get our groceries on the weekend, I'll do as much prep as I can for our snacks/meals. I'll cut up our watermelon or cantaloupe so it's easier to snack on during the week. I'll make a big batch of chili, corn chowder or soup for quick lunches. Sometimes I'll even chop up my veggies ahead of time. That way when I get home from work I just need to cook. I find it makes cooking a healthy meal less of a daunting task if at least some of my prep work is already done.

Have you had any success with one of the above tips? Do you have any good ones of your own? Share with us below in the comments section :)

Friday, February 28, 2014

March Desktop Calendar

Be in love with your life. Every minute of it. - Jack Kerouac

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Link Lovin' - Blogging Edition

The blogging community is one that thrives off of spreading the love. I have found that most people that have read my blog have their own blog. This is how I have found some amazing blogs to follow. And this is what I would like to share with you during my Link Lovin' series.

This will be a once a month series, posted on the last Wednesday of each month. I will be sharing with you, my lovely readers, some of my favorite blog posts over the last few weeks. Sometimes there will be a theme (like this week), sometimes there won't be. I just hope to introduce you to some fabulous writing and even more fabulous bloggers.

So far this year I have been making changes with my blog. My posts have been more consistent then they have ever been in the past and I have been working a lot to polish up this little corner of the web (more details coming soon). Therefore, I wanted to share with you some helpful posts I have read about blogging. How to organize ideas, get more readers, and be creative. I hope you enjoy them and find them as helpful as I have.

1. 3 things that will kill your creativity via Chasing Happy. I have succumbed to all 3 of these at some point in the past. You probably have too.

2. Time management via Living In Another Language. This post was one that inspired me to start writing blogs ahead of time. I haven't actually gotten into a steady routine of doing this but I am getting better.

3. Are you creating an experience for your readers? via Chasing Happy. After reading this post I have thought a lot more about what experience I want to create for my readers. How do I want them to feel when reading my work and what do I want to stay with them when they go about there day afterward.

4. How to create a successful blog linkup via The Nectar Collective. I'm hoping this series will turn into a linkup now ;)

5. The sponsor game via Living In Another Language. I don't have the guts to start having sponsors on my own blog but I am hoping to sponger some other blogs in the not too distant future.

6. How to kick ass at sponsorships via The Nectar Collective. Another super useful resource for hosting and being a sponsor.

7. How I grew my blog via The Nectar Collective. Some very, very helpful tips on expanding your readership.

8. Web-writing tips to improve your blog posts via Chasing Happy. I never would have thought of some of these on my own. Thankfully, Kenzie thought of them and shared them with us :)

9. Wordpress plugins via Living In Another Language. I can't wait to switch to a Wordpress platform now. There are so many useful tools that you can use when your blog is on this platform.

10.  Guest posting 101 via Chasing Happy. Who wants to guest post here? Leave a comment below and we can set it up!

Have you found any great posts about blogging? Share them below!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Domincan Republic Circa 2010

Recently I have come down with a serious condition, Wanderlust. It is something I was diagnosed with a long, long time ago but as I have not done any traveling in the last few years it has gotten worse and worse. Therefore, in an attempt to ease a bit of the symptoms, I have gone through photos I took on previous trips and have decided to share some with you.

Our eye and our style is forever changing and growing so going back to take a look at previous work can result in new gems being found. Ready for you to save, polish off and share with the world.

These are my little, rediscovered gems from my trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic with my family for Christmas of 2010.

Am I the only one experiencing Wanderlust this time of year? If money wasn't a problem, where would you travel to?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Creative Collective: Anything Goes Art

 The Creative Collective is a link up in the blogging community with the intent of encouraging creativity and trying out new activities. I am in love with this link up. I have already met some pretty amazing bloggers through it and I'm excited to participate in it for the rest of the year.

This week's activity is called Anything Goes Art. Pretty much, you grab whatever you have in your house and whip it together into a piece of art. Now, I'm a very analytical, organized thinker so just whipping stuff up doesn't happen for me unless I'm in the kitchen. Therefore when I was digging through my art box and found fabric Sharpies I had bought some time ago I was reminded of this pin and decided I had to give it a go.

Then it was just trying to find out what I wanted to put on my pillow case. This is quite a large pillow case, as you can see from the above photo, so since I was feeling lazy I didn't want to cover the entire thing in words. I found this Harry Potter quote on my quotes board on pinterest and figured it suited a pillow case very well. The rest is history!

I have to say, now I'm thinking of re-reading my Harry Potter books to find more awesome quotes and maybe try to come up with a way to make art out of them in our apartment. If I come up with an interesting way of displaying them, I'll make sure to share it with you all :)

The Creative Collective

What's your favorite quote?

[edit: I unfortunately did not do this by hand. I based it off of this print I found online. I will be attempting other quotes in a similar style by hand in the near future though :) ]

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

HIIT + Tabata: The Basics of Interval Training

HIIT and Tabata. When I first asked a friend what this made her think of this was her response:
She was frantically scrambling her mind, trying to find a solution. The craving, the urge was almost overwhelming... all consuming. Tabata had never felt so on edge. Glancing around she tried to take it all in, wondering where her feet had taken her while her mind was otherwise occupied. Where would it come from? When? And from whom? The next hit would take her out. She'd never survive.
When I first read that I was shocked because [1] I did not know she was this creative! and [2] although I'm not sure what she thought HIIT and Tabata are, she kind of got it right without knowing it.

HIIT and Tabata are two of the most popular forms of interval training. Pretty much that means that you work for a predetermined amount of time and rest for a predetermined amount of time (usually rest period is shorter than working period).

HIIT stands for high intensity interval training. This method is pretty simple whereas you work for longer than you rest for but it's up to you how long the work/rest periods are. A common ratio is 50s of work and 10s of rest.

Tabata was originally designed for figure skaters by Professor Izumi Tabata. Pretty much, you work as hard as you can with good form for 20s and then rest for 10s and repeat for a total of 8 rounds/4 minutes.

The great thing about interval training is that it is a very effective way of getting your heart rate up, pushing your body physically and the work out will be a lot quicker than the average workout. Some studies have even shown that switching from steady state training to interval training increases resting metabolic rate (ie. improves fat burning) and lowers insulin resistance.

So, now that you really, really want to try out interval training, what are your next steps? I recommend trying Tabata first. It's fast and very simple. There are lots of apps out there for interval timers but if you're working out at home there is a free, handy Tabata timer available online here. Once you have your timer ready, pick an exercise. You can sprint/run, do jumping jacks, burpees or big resistance movements like squats, lunges or pushups. Make sure to use proper form for whatever exercise you're doing and you're good to go!

My at-home work outs are usually done Tabata style and over the coming weeks I will be sharing some of the routines with you to help give you ideas for your own workouts.

If you've done some type of interval training in the past what did you think? And if you go try it out on your next workout make sure to come back and leave me a comment with your thoughts on it!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Happy Birthday Lil' Sis

To my lil' sis, Jessica,

I remember one time when we were growing up, mom pulled me aside and showed me a report you had written for school. You were told by your teacher to write about your hero, and you wrote about me. I remember being so floored that you had picked me as your hero since I was a teenager at the time and having been the moody teenager I was, I remember us not getting along the best. I don't think I ever told you how much that truly touched me or how I look up to you too.

Even though you've always been the quiet one, you have always stuck to your guns when people challenged your ideas or you didn't get a long with kids in school. I've always admired that about you since I can be very head strong but my opinions can waiver so much. It always seemed like you just knew the right thing to do and you never waivered.

And it has gotten you so far in life. I'm so proud of you I don't think I could put it into words even if I tried. Congratulations on getting into your internship, they are lucky to have you.

Happy birthday lil' sis.

Love always,
Your big sis

Monday, February 10, 2014

Lately [03]

1>> I have recently decided to give the tv show the American Horror Story a shot and I'm addicted!! I'm not usually a scary movie/show kind of person but this isn't really scary, it's more of a thriller. Which is super exciting and it hooks me into watching 7 episodes in one evening! hahaha.. oh well.

2>> I got a NutriBullet for Christmas and almost every morning since I have had a smoothie for breakfast. My body is so used to it at this point that anything heavier, honestly, makes my body cringe. I love it because it satisfies any hunger I have in the morning and sustains me for at least 3 hours without feeling heavy in my stomach.

3>> Halifax has had the most bizarre weather this winter. It seems like we are stuck in a loop of super cold weather, a big snow storm and then it warms up and almost all of the snow goes away. I'm hoping to get at least one or two more big snow falls where I can go out and take photos during the day. Anyone else find the day after a big snow fall to be so beautiful it's almost magical?

4>> Matt's fro was recently cut but right before hand I took this photo. It was so long we could almost fit all of it in a ponytail!

5>> We've been really good over the past few weeks at getting fresh, healthy food for groceries. Not only is it nutritious but fresh fruits and veggies make for great props in photos!

6>> I was strolling around Chapters last week looking for the next book club book and stumbled upon this. Who knew that Nicholas Flamel was an actual person? Not me! Can't wait to read this :)

What have you been up to lately?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Creative Collective: Playlist

I am officially loving link ups. Even though I have only participated officially in one (Monthly Wishes), it was a huge success! I read through lots of other bloggers posts about their goals for the month/week, commented on their posts to help support and motivate them and even got some blogger love in return! I find this very exciting.. is that lame? I don't care even if it is, it's my blog anyways :P

The Nectar Collective is hosting a year long link up called The Creative Collective. It's 23 posts that will help to inspire creativity in the bloggers and readers and encourages us to connect in the big, ol' blogosphere. Sounds pretty awesome right? Well it is. You should go check it out if you want to participate.

The Creative Collective

This week's Creative Collective post is to create a playlist with new music. Most of the time when I listen to music I throw on a local radio station Radio 96.5. The play all different genres of music, new and old. Which is why I like this station so much. I want to start jogging again in the spring which means I am definitely going to need some new play lists. And here's the first one of the season!

It's short and sweet since I'm currently only doing interval workouts at home that are less than a half hour. Expect some longer playlists in the not too distant future ;)

Here's a little sneak peak of the playlist too:

What are you listening to??

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

February Monthly Wishes


Keeping on track with my 2014 resolution of setting goals each month and melding it with the Weekly Wishes linkups over @ The Nectar Collective, we have February's installment of Monthly Wishes.

Last Month's Wishes
1. Workout 3 times/week - This went well over all. Some weeks I did more, some less. I think it averaged out for the month though.
2. Eat out only once/week - This was great until the last week of the month. Matt got a new job so we got lazy we may have celebrated a bit more than planned.
3. Post 3 times/week. This was great for the first two weeks. Then because of poor planning it fell to the wayside. 

February's Wishes
1. Rolling over #3 from last month. I have planned it a little bit better this month so here's hoping more success!
2. Practice yoga 3 times a week. This can be either at the studio or at home. Doesn't matter. I'm just a much happier person when I practice yoga regularly. Therefore I will be committing to this plus some regular work outs throughout the weeks too.
3. Spend more time reading. I tend to go through on again, off again phases with reading. I'll get addicted to books for a few months and then get bored and move on to something else. I read Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and the Hollow City follow up this month for book club and I'm now craving more books. Have any recommendations?

What are you focusing on accomplishing this month? If you would like to share it with us link up to The Nectar Collective below.
The Nectar Collective