My Favourite Blogs

My Favourite Blogs October 27 2014

Everyone has their favourite blogs. If you’re anything like me they slowly change over time. My interests shift or the blogs change, and before you know it I’ve deleted a few from my reader and added a bunch of new ones. I thought I’d share some of my favourite blogs that I’m loving right now.

Tina Reale Yoga Although she took some time away from blogging, she’s back and with all kinds of great yoga content to boot. I especially like her posts where she breaks down different postures. Who knew there was so much to think about in down dog or cobra? I also like reading about her journey towards becoming a yoga teacher. I find she’s down to earth and honest about her yoga practice. There’s no pretentious, “must have the right yoga mat” stuff here.

By Regina I ended up finding her blog through Pinterest. I was looking for information on how to make a blogging business plan (if you’re curious, it’s here). Little did I know that when I clicked on the link I would find so much awesome information. She explains things clearly and in a way my non-business oriented mind can understand. I’ve participated in a webinar with her and she was great at answering questions that we had. If you’re interested in blogging/creative entrepreneurship/being your own boss, this blog is a must read.

Budget Bytes This is another blog that I found on Pinterest. I was looking for a salad recipe to take to a friend’s place, and I ended up deciding on her summer vegetable pasta salad. I was expecting to bring home leftovers because the recipe made a pretty big salad, but it ended up being popular and I only brought home an empty bowl. She creates recipes that are budget friendly and made with ingredients I can easily find at the grocery store. I’ve made everything from chilli to pasta dishes from her blog and they’ve all turned out delicious.

Leave me a comment telling me about one of your favourite blogs.

Fortune Cookies, Wine, and Food Trucks

Even though it’s felt like this week flew by, it also feels like lots has happened. Maybe that’s why it’s felt so fast?

Fortune Cookie October 17 2014

I had Chinese food and at the end of the meal when I opened my fortune cookie, I got a pretty cool fortune. Lucky for me November starts in just a few days.

Birthday Wine and Cheese October 21 2014

Mom mom’s birthday was this week. My gift to her was wine and cheese. I got her a couple of her favourite cheeses, as well as some new to her to try. Her favourites were brie, cranberry goat cheese, and wine cheese. In addition there were a couple other cheeses and some delicious wine (it was on the sweet side).

Birthday Sushi October 21 2014

Sushi is one of her favourite meals, so we got sushi take out. We got her favourites, which was all really tasty. Besides the rolls, we also got tempura yams, gyoza, and spring rolls. All in all I think she had a great birthday. It was really nice to spend some time together as a family.

Taiko Taco Food Truck October 24 2014

Friday night was date night. The boyfriend and I headed downtown to check out some food trucks. A new bridge was just opened that crosses the river that goes across the river just north of downtown. The food trucks were on either end of the bridge to celebrate it’s new opening.

There was quite a selection of food trucks – everything from fish to salads to curry. We decided in Taiko Taco. I ordered the ginger beef tacos. They were absolutely amazing. My boyfriend had the pork belly ones and said that were really good too. I think I’ll try them next time. By the time we were done eating and walking back it was getting pretty cold. It definitely feels like winter is on the way.

Leave me a comment telling me about the highlight of your week.

Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts

My workouts were a lifesaver for me this week. Between school and work I’ve been pretty stressed out lately. Giving myself some time to focus on myself and do something good for me made all the difference.

Monday – I decided to go for a walk. The weather is still relatively nice (no snow), even though it’s cooling down, so I thought I’d take advantage of it. I know the snow will be here before I know it. I was out for 45 minutes and had a great pace going the whole time.

Wednesday – I’d been wanting to get back to a yin yoga class with a really great teacher on Wednesday afternoons, but it just hadn’t worked out the last few weeks. Luckily I managed to get there this week, and I even brought my dad with me. It ended up being a great class like I was expecting. I even made some progress with my tight shoulders. Woohoo!

Friday – I did the Standing Slim Barre 3 class. I’m loving the online classes. I can pick what length of class I want, so I can pick something a little shorter if I pressed the snooze button one too many times. I was really feeling it in my butt by the time I finished this class. I’d like to get in at least two barre workouts each week, so hopefully next week it’ll happen.

Bowmont October 25 2014

Saturday – I went for another walk this morning. The forecast has snow this coming week, so I knew I wanted to get outside. It was definitely cooler than earlier in the week, so I ended up turning back before I was planning to. Even with my jacket hood up my cheeks and ears were pretty cold.

What was your toughest workout this week? Leave me a comment telling me about it.

What I Ate Wednesday

WIAW Fall 2012

Thanks again to Jen at Peas and Crayons for hosting What I Ate Wednesday

WIAW Breakfast October 22 2014

I’ve been really bad at taking photos of my breakfasts lately, so this is another recycled one, but is essentially what I had for breakfast. I went with my usual cereal, yogurt and fruit – in this case an orange. The oranges were on sale at the grocery store and they’ve been really tasty so far.

WIAW Lunch October 22 2014

For lunch I made a sandwich on ciabatta bread with salami, hummus, lettuce, and honey mustard. I had a side of tzatziki and carrots. I hadn’t had tzatziki in what felt like forever, so it tasted extra good with my lunch.

WIAW Dinner October 22 2014

Dinner was pork chops, Spanish rice (it’s my mom’s recipe that has tomatoes and a little cheese in it – it’s so delicious), and peas. The pork chops were first browned and then the rice and tomatoes were added and left to cook. Just before it was done cheese was sprinkled on top so it would melt.

What’s your favourite kind of dip? I’d go with hummus or tzatziki.

Yin/Yang Yoga

Yin Yang Yoga October 20 2014

The Basics

Although I’ve only been to a few yin/yang yoga classes, they’re quickly becoming one of my favourites. The class is divided in half, the first being a hard working yang practice, and then the second is a yin style of yoga, focusing on stretching. I think it’s a great combination. I always feel like I got a great workout in as well as feeling relaxed when I leave the studio.

Format

Yin/yang classes are divided in half. All the classes I’ve gone to have the yang section first, and then the yin second, but I’ve heard of classes that reverse it. I kind of like having the yin second, so I get to stretch out the muscles I’ve just worked in the yang portion of the class. The yang part is typically like a vinyasa class. You’re constantly moving and before long you’re sweaty. To get an idea of what the yin section is like, check out my post on yin yoga here.

Props

I have yet to use any props for the yang section of the class, but they’re much needed in the yin part. Because you’re in the poses for minutes at a time, it’s important to make sure that you’re properly supported. It makes all the difference, and you’ll know pretty quick if you need an extra block or blanket to make yourself comfortable.

Breathing

In the yang, your breathing basically follows your movements. Each breath has a movement associated with it. For the yin, the goal is to slow down your breath and make sure it’s nice and deep. It also gives you something to focus on while you’re in your pose since you’re not moving nearly as much.

Drishti

The drishti, or gaze, varies depending on what part of the class I’m in. For the yang part, each pose has a gazing point (fingers, toes, belly button). As for the yin section, I typically keep my eyes closed. I find it helps me to stay focused on my pose and make sure I’m giving it all I’ve got.

If you haven’t tried a yin/yang class yet, I’d like to really encourage you to give it a go. I find I get the most out of both worlds. It’s a great combination and if I’m not sure what kind of class I want to take, it’s a great option.

Have you ever taken a yin/yang class? What do you like about it?

Thai Chicken Flatbread, Inspiring Posts, and Fixing my Blog

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If you follow me on Instagram you know I had this amazing Thai chicken flatbread at Ceili’s this week. I’m not a huge fan of spicy food, but our server said it wasn’t too spicy, so I thought I’d try it. I was so glad I did cause it was amazing. And the best part was that it was more sweet than spicy.

I’ve been trying to figure out where I’m headed education and career wise. It’s tough and completely overwhelming. I’ve been discovering some awesome bloggers the last few weeks. And this post from By Regina really made sense to me. I don’t have to narrow what I want to do down to the “One Thing”, but maybe I can figure out a way to make a living doing the things that I’m passionate about. I’m still trying to figure out if and how it would be possible to do that, but reading about Regina’s journey really inspired me to keep thinking about it.

Tomorrow I’m spending the day learning about PHP for WordPress. I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty excited about it. Last night I was trying to fix something on my blog. I knew I had a few lines of code duplicated on the blog, but I had no idea how to go about finding where they were. After trying a few things I remembered that I was shown how to use the “view page source” at a workshop a couple weeks ago, and I was able to find the second piece of code and delete it. I was pretty excited that I was able to figure it out on my own. Being able to do stuff like that makes these workshops so worth it.

Once this post is published the weekend officially starts for me. I don’t have plans tonight or Sunday and I’m thinking I’m going to take advantage of that. This week has been busy, so I’m going to take advantage of some down time.

What was the last delicious thing you ordered at a restaurant?

What I Ate Wednesday and PHP for WordPress

WIAW Fall 2012

Good morning! Since it’s Wednesday, I’ll be posting What I Ate Wednesday as usual. I’ll also be talking about an upcoming PHP workshop at the end of this post as well. Once again, thanks to Jen at Peas and Crayons for hosting What I Ate Wednesday.

WIAW Breakfast October 14 2014

Breakfast was my usual cereal/yogurt/fruit combination. I haven’t been very good at taking photos of my food lately, so this one is recycled. It’s not very exciting but it was super easy to put together and it held me over until lunch time. I usually end up taking more time to “make” a breakfast on the weekends when my mornings aren’t quite as busy.

Lunch WIAW October 15 2014

Lunch was a salad. It included romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and carrots with poppy seed dressing. I needed a little something more after I was done eating the salad, so I ate a handful of crackers as well. Sometimes you just know you need something extra and you need to go with it.

WIAW Dinner October 15 2014

Dinner was fajitas! It’s been quite awhile since I last had them, though they’re one of my favourite Mexican dishes. They were pretty easy to put together and really good if I do say so myself. I need to remember to have them more often. I think it was the strips of bell pepper that made them so good. You also can’t go wrong with sour cream on fajitas either. Yum!

PHP for WordPress Workshop

I also wanted to let any interested readers know about a workshop that’s happening on Saturday. It’s about PHP for WordPress and is put on by the Chic Geek and Ladies Learning Code. I’ve been to a few of their events and I’ve had a lot of fun at them, not to mention I also learned a ton. So if you’re in the Calgary area and interested in learning more about the behind the scenes stuff of WordPress, I’d definitely recommend taking a look at it.

Tia Mowry’s Core Yoga with Tara Stiles DVD Review

Core Yoga October 14 2014

Source

I’ve done this DVD a few times now and I thought I’d review it. Tia Mowry’s Core Yoga with Tara Stiles is a great overall yoga practice. Although it specifies core in the title, I don’t think my abs felt specifically worked – or more than in any other yoga practice.

I thought it was great overall. Some of the poses are held for longer, which lets you really get into the pose. There are a lot of down dog’s in this DVD. I find them a tougher pose than others. For that reason I think it would be useful if you have at least a little bit of yoga experience before doing Core Yoga. Proper alignment is so important for yoga, and you don’t want to injure yourself because you don’t know what a pose is supposed to feel like. So while I agree that it’s suitable for beginners, I think you should have gone to at least a few classes before trying this on your own.

I will say that I thought the cuing was great. There were reminders about where hands and feet should be positioned and where you should feel stretches in your body. In addition, I liked that there were also modifications given. Not every pose will be suitable for everyone’s body. Especially as Core Yoga is advertised for beginners, I was glad to see that different variations for poses were given.

The practice was 45 minutes long, which I thought was a great length. In my head an hour long workout out sounds so long, and I worry about if I can fit it into my day, but for some reason 45 minutes sounds so much more doable.

The one thing that I found annoying about Core Yoga was how much talking there was. While I thought there was great instruction on how to get into and out of poses, I found the chatter between Tia Mowry and Tara Stiles unnecessary and annoying after you’ve done the DVD a few times. Maybe it’s because I like my yoga practices to be more on the quiet side (I don’t like music playing most of the time), but I found the talking distracting.

Have you tried Tia Mowry’s Core Yoga with Tara Stiles DVD? What’s your favourite yoga DVD to do at home?

How to Use Windows Live Writer

Windows Live Writer Pinterest October 13 2014

I have to admit, I was blogging awhile quite awhile until I finally started to use Windows Live Writer. I’d heard about it a lot, but for some reason I didn’t think it would be very useful. Boy was I wrong! It makes posting so much easier and streamlined. I have no idea what I was waiting for.

Windows Live Writer October 13 2014

As far as writing the post, it’s very similar to a word processor. It’s pretty straightforward. I find the word count in the lower right hand corner handy as I’m writing a post. It keeps me on track to make sure I have at least the minimum 300 words that most SEO looks for.

Windows Live Writer Left Toolbar October 13 2014

The disk in the upper left hand corner saves a post. I find that Windows Live Writer is pretty good at automatically saving posts while I’m writing, but I always save right before I hit publish just in case something happens. The blue curvy arrow is undo.

The publish button (the globe with the arrow) uploads your post to your blog. With one click the post goes from my computer to my blog, it’s as easy as that. It takes a few minutes to connect your blog to Windows Live Writer before you post for the first time, but it’s pretty straight forward. I was able to do it on my own pretty quickly, even though I’m not technically inclined.

The WordPress icon next to Get Fit Fiona allows me to pick which blog I want to upload the post to. I also have a book blog (Geeky Reads that I really need to update more often), that I have connected to Windows Live Writer as well as Get Fit Fiona. I really like that you can have multiple blogs connected at the same time.

I honestly don’t use the Post draft to blog function. If a post isn’t finished I simply save it and leave it on my computer until I find some time to finish it, and then upload it once it’s complete. I guess if you’re blogging from more than one computer it would be handy to upload a draft to WordPress from one computer and then finish it from another computer.

As with your typical word processor, you can change the font, font size, bold, italic, underline, centre, and align text left or right. That’s what I really liked about Windows Live Writer when I started – it was familiar and therefore easy to use right off the bat.

That long blank bar at the bottom is the set categories input. A list of categories that I have on my blog is in the drop down menu and I check the ones I want for the post. It’s nice to be able to do that on Windows Live Writer instead of WordPress after I’ve uploaded the post.

Windows Live Writer Right Toolber October 13 2014

Adding links, photos, and videos is really easy too. For links, simply highlight the text you want to be the link and then click on hyperlink. You type or paste in the web address you want it to link to, check open in a new window, insert, and you’re done.

To add a photo you click on picture, where the photo is you want to add (your computer, the web, etc.), and click open. I have all my blog photos saved on my computer so it’s just a matter of finding the right folder that the photo is in.

Adding a video is very similar to adding a photo. Once you’ve clicked on video you pick to find the video you want to add from either your computer or the web, click insert, and it appears in your post.

I don’t actually use the spell check function, because as you type misspelled words are automatically underlined. I fix my typos as I go. I also don’t use the word count because as I mentioned before it shows up in the bottom corner as I’m typing away.

I really like that Windows Live Writer has a set post date option. I usually like to have my posts ready to go before the date that they’re published on. This function allows me to do that in Windows Live Writer instead of WordPress. That means once I’ve uploaded a post to my blog I don’t have to worry about going back to change the date I want it to post on. Scheduling posts in advance has saved me more times than I can count.

Hopefully I’ve convinced you to have Windows Live Writer a try. While there’s a small learning curve when you first start using it, I think it’s worth sticking with it. It makes things so much easier for me, I can’t imagine going back to using the post editor in WordPress. You can download Windows Live Writer for free here.

Do you use Windows Life Writer? What’s your favourite feature?

Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts

It’s Saturday, so that means it’s time for my Weekly Workouts post. This past week has been pretty laid back in terms of workouts. It’s my second week of doing Barre 3. I’m still really enjoying it a lot. I also went to my first restorative yoga class in almost a year.

Monday – I did the Standing Slim II Barre 3 video. It was a 30 minute full body workout. A ball and weights were optional (I decided not to use them), and all I needed was something to hang on to. I used a piece of furniture. I was pretty sweaty by the time I was done. I keep finding it surprising how much of a workout it is even when it doesn’t feel like I’m doing much.

Wednesday – Barre 3 Re-energize was the plan. It was also a 30 minute workout, and didn’t require any equipment other than something waist high to grab on to. I liked this one because each of the three people in the video lead part of it. The other two in the background also showed modifications (easier and harder) when they weren’t leading, so no matter what your fitness level, there was something for you.

Friday – I finally went to a restorative yoga class. There’s two studios that I usually go to, and they have restorative classes Wednesday and Friday nights. I’ve been meaning to go to one for weeks (possibly a month or two), but it just hasn’t happened. Until yesterday that is.

While I’ve taken quite a few restorative classes before, this class was a new experience for me. The teacher liked to talk a lot, while I’m used to teachers who only say as much to get you into the pose and then have silence until it’s time to come out of it. While he had a lot of great information to share, I kind of wanted more quiet time. I definitely left feeling more relaxed though, so it was a success.

Have you ever tried barre classes? What’s your favourite kind of yoga class?