Fun Facts Friday

I’m so glad today is Friday! Everyday feels jam packed, but by the time the weekend rolls around it feels like the week went by so fast. Tell me I’m not the only one that that happens to.

Paris by Edward Rutherfurd April 17 2015

 

I finally finished reading Paris by Edward Rutherfurd this week. I feel like it took me forever to finish it, even though I really enjoyed reading it. If you’re at all into historical fiction I’d really recommend it. Not only is it set in one of my favorite cities, but there’s all kinds of excitement, scandal, and lying that happens in it.

As of today there’s only 26 days until I see U2 in Vancouver! I seriously can’t wait. I think it’s finally starting to sink in that I’m going. Whenever I hear U2 now I get goosebumps. They’re a band that I’ve been wanting to see live forever. The last time they came close I decided it was too much money. Since then I’ve regretted not going.

I’m also pretty excited about getting to spend a few days in Vancouver. I’m planning on spending as much time as I can outside – on beaches, Stanley Park, anywhere I can take in the natural beauty. I’ve started planning and figuring what I want to see while I’m there.

Rock Creek Apple Cider April 17 2015

I drank my last Rock Creek cherry apple cider. These things are amazing, so I’ll have to be on the lookout for the next time that they go on sale so I can get some more. This one was the cherry flavor, but the apple and pear ones are just as good. They’re on the sweet side, so if dry ciders are more your thing you’re better off skipping these. I also love that Big Rock is an Alberta brewery.

By Regina Workbook Picmonkey April 17 2015

If you’re a fellow blogger you have to check out By Regina. She has the most amazing resources. If you sign up for her mailing list you’ll get all kinds of cool freebies. The best part is that she genuinely wants to see people grow their blogs/businesses and see them succeed. She’s pretty awesome. Plus she has a wicked sense of humor that’s made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion.

On a related blogging note, Wordcamp Calgary is coming up May 23rd. It will be held at SAIT again this year. I went last year and learned so much. At $25 it’s more than worth it, so if you’re in the Calgary area you should check it out. You can see my recap from last year here. I heard tickets will be going on sale today, so keep an eye on the website to get yours.

Leave me a comment with where you’re going on vacation this summer. 

 

 

Yoga Terms for Beginners

Yoga Terms for Beginners April 16 2015

 

When I started doing yoga consistently a few years ago I was overwhelmed. Not only was I asking my body to do things it had never done before, but there were so many new words. What was a practice? Drishti? You want to me to do a vin-what? I thought I’d write a post with some of the terms and words that are used in ashtanga yoga classes.

Practice This is what yogis call their yoga routine. Not only does it mean a single yoga session, but also how your sessions combine into a longer term pattern.

Asana Each yoga pose is called an asana. For example, Upward dog and chaturanga are both asanas.

Drishti The gazing point in a yoga asana is called the drishti in ashtanga yoga. There are a few of them, and each post has a specific one. For example, in warrior 2 the drishti is your finger tips. In downward dog it’s your bellybutton. You’re not so much staring at these points, but giving your eyes a place to rest while you’re in the pose.

Sun Salutation These are a specific set of poses in a specific order that are done starting and ending in a standing position. Sun salutations are typically done in vinyasa and ashtanga classes (check out this post to find out more about ashtanga).

Vinyasa Similar to sun salutations, vinyasas are also a set of poses in a specific order, but they start and end in a sitting position. Ashtanga classes do both sun salutations (for the standing asanas) and vinyasas (for the sitting asanas).

Ujayyi This is a specific kind of yogic breathing for ashtanga yoga. The back of the throat constricts slightly so that each breath creates a bit of noise. Think of Darth Vader but not as pronounced. The inhale should be the same length as the exhale. Throughout your practice the breath should be smooth and steady and not rushed.

If you walk into an ashtanga yoga class, hopefully you’ll know know at least a bit about what the teacher is talking about. Every asana has a Sanskrit and English name. I didn’t go into those because with a little googling you can find all kinds of information about them. If you’re looking for a book that gives the basics on ashtanga yoga I’d really recommend The Power of Ashtanga Yoga by Kino MacGregor (affiliate link). It’s easy to read and thoroughly goes through every asana in the primary series as well as the philosophy behind ashtanga yoga.

This post contains an affiliate link. Thank you for supporting my blog, I appreciate it! 

What I Ate Wednesday: Curry and Taco Edition

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As always, a big thanks to Jenn at Peas and Crayons for hosting What I Ate Wednesday.

WIAW Breakfast April 15 2015

 

For breakfast I ate a toasted sesame seed bagel with cream cheese along with an orange. I’m not sure why, but it’s been FOREVER since I last had cream cheese on a bagel. Let me tell you, it was delicious! I’ll definitely have to have that combination more often. I’m clearly still not over the orange kick I had this winter. I’m still buying a bag of them most weeks at the grocery store.

WIAW Lunch April 15 2015

 

Lunch was a red vegetable curry with brown rice. There were big chinks of zucchini, red pepper, cauliflower, and peas in it. So, so delicious! This curry is a step up in the spicy category from the one I usually get, but luckily it’s not too spicy for me. I buy it at the farmer’s market, and it’s gotten to the point where the vendor remembers me and knows exactly which curries I like. I clearly buy too much curry from him.

WIAW Dinner April 15 2015

 

I was craving tacos so I decided to make a taco salad for dinner. I started with a base of broken taco shells and then added black beans, ground beef taco meat, black olives, diced tomatoes, shredded cheddar cheese, and mild salsa. The only thing missing was a dollop of sour cream right on top.

On a related Mexican food note, I recently discovered a new-to-me Mexican restaurant. I want to Costa Vida last week and really enjoyed it. Since we’d never been there before they gave us a few samples to try before we ordered. I’m so glad they did because the sweet pulled pork was amazing! I ended up ordering a quesadilla with it in it. As we were on our way out of the restaurant one of the employees stopped us to give us a key lime pie to take home on the house. I’m jealous of all you American readers who’ve had them around for longer. This one opened up just recently.

What’s your favorite thing to put on a bagel?

My Favorite Beauty Products

Favorite Beauty Products April 6 2015 Pinterst

Since I’ve shared my favorite hair products and skincare products, I thought that today I’d share my favorite beauty products. I have to start off by saying that I’m a minimalist when it comes to makeup. For one of my jobs I work outside with plants, so I get dirty working with the soil and sweaty when it’s hot during the summer. I never wear makeup to that job. The rest of the time I’m usually just a mascara, blush, and lip gloss kind of person.

Favorite Beauty Products April 6 2015 (3)

I have a hard time committing to one brand of mascara, but I keep coming back to this one, CoverGirl Lashblast Mascara (affiliate link). I find that I can put more than one coat on without it getting clumpy. I know some people don’t like the big brush, but I think it coats my lashes better than some of the smaller brushes out there.

When I was a teen someone told me that blonde haired people should always go with brown black and not just black mascara. I can’t remember if I saw it on TV or read it in a magazine, but it’s stuck. I’ve always done that until now. The brown black wasn’t available when I ordered it from Amazon, so I went with black. I have to say that I think I like the black better. While it’s not a huge difference (and I doubt anyone but me would notice it), I think I’ll be sticking with black from now on.

Favorite Beauty Products April 6 2015 (5)

I’ve been using this Physicians Formula Powder Palette Blush (affiliate link) for years now, as it’s become a favorite of mine. The color is blushing peach. Even though I’m not a peach fan when it comes to eating them, peach is the perfect color when it comes to applying it to my cheeks. I use a fairly large brush to apply it so I don’t get any obvious lines when I apply it so it blends better.

Favorite Beauty Products April 6 2015 (4)

 

As you can see, I have a problem with lip glosses. Personally, I don’t think you can ever have enough. At the moment I have two favorite brands – Bath and Body Works and Sephora.

I’ve been a big Bath and Body Works lip gloss fan for awhile now. The color at the top is watermelon sorbet, second from the top is whipped vanilla, and third from the top is toffee caramel (which doesn’t seem to be on their site). I usually stock up when they have sales on, which seems to happen pretty often.

The first time I bought anything Sephora is was on my last trip to Europe. I’m pretty sure I was in Paris when I walked in and was in awe of all things beauty. At that time we didn’t have Sephora stores in Canada, so I was intrigued with all the things they had in the store. I ended up leaving that store with my very first tube of Sephora brand lip gloss. I’ve been buying it ever since. I like that these lip glosses don’t leave lots of color behind, just a hint of it. The color in the above photo is pink ballerina. I tried to fins the same one on their website, but it looks like this one is the closest they have.

Leave me a comment with your favorite beauty product. 

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog, I appreciate it! 

Weekly Workouts: April 5 to 11 2015

Weekly Workouts 2

 

Sunday I decided to go with Lee’s sexy arms dumbbell circuit workout. You can find the workout on her blog Fit Foodie Finds here. By the time I was done my shoulders and triceps were burning. It was a pretty intense but short workout, which is exactly what I like. You can find more workouts that I’ve pinned on my Pinterest board here.

Monday I ended up cutting my 4 day weekend short and went into work. While I missed out on a workout, my bank account is thanking me.

Tuesday This was another super early day for work, so I took a rest day.

Wednesday Once I was done work I went home to change and then went for a walk. It was beautiful out and I didn’t want to miss out on it. It’s been a long winter, so I’m all about soaking up as much sunshine as I can right now.

Thursday Although I had my alarm set to workout, I just couldn’t get myself to wake up. By the time I finally got out of bed I didn’t have enough time left for a workout, so I took another rest day.

Friday By the time I was done work for the week I knew I wanted to get outside again. Even though I work outside for one of my jobs (and I really love it), it’s not quite the same as going for a walk or a hike and enjoying myself. I went down my the river to take advantage of the pathways for walk. It felt like half of Calgary had the same idea because it was pretty busy.

Saturday I didn’t have a workout planned, and it took me a little while to figure out what I wanted to do. I finally decided on a Barre 3 online workout. I did the 30 minute Total Body Tone and really liked it. Since I know I’ll be spending more time outside over the spring and summer, I decided to cancel on Barre 3 online workouts. I’ll still have access to them until the end of the month, so I’ll be trying to fit as many in as I can.

Do your workouts change with the seasons? 

Fun Facts Friday: Easter Candy and Curry Edition

Cadbury Creme Egg April 10 2015

 

I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of Easter candy eating happening over the next few weeks. Wednesday I ate my Cadbury Creme Egg. It’s been driving me crazy, knowing it’s there just waiting for me to eat it. They changed the packaging this year. I wonder if it’s just in Canada or all over. I kind of like this plastic instead of the foil because no matter how careful you are when you peel the foil off, there’s always some foil that sticks to the chocolate (or filling that leaks out) which takes forever to get off.

Easter Flowers April 10 2015

 

Speaking of Easter, we got some beautiful flowers for the table. The best part about them is that they’re potted, not cut, so I’ll be planting them in the garden once it gets warm enough and the danger of frost passes. The flowers are so big and pretty, they make me smile whenever I walk past them.

Green Apple Beer April 10 2015

 

A couple weekends ago I discovered a delicious new to me beer – green apple pilsener by Nickel Brook. At first I wasn’t sure if I’d like it, but it ended up being pretty good. It’s more beer and less cider tasting. It’s an interesting combination. I’d definitely get it again. Nickel Brook is a brewery out of Ontario, so it’s always fun to find another Canadian beer that I enjoy.

Red Curry Farmer's Market April 10 2015

 

I stocked up on some more curry while I was at the farmer’s market last time. It has big chunks of veggies in it (zucchini, cauliflower, bell pepper and peas), which makes it extra delicious. It comes frozen so I just heat it up and add it to a bed of brown rice. It’s super easy to make it after I get home from work.

What’s the last great beer you had? 

New Seeds for 2015

Seeds April 9 2015 12

 

I have to admit that I meant to write this post when my seeds arrived back in January. Whoops. Later is better than never though, right? I figure if you live somewhere warm where the danger of frost is already over, you’ll be planting outside right now. And if you live somewhere (like me) where the last frost isn’t over until the end of May, you’ll still be starting seeds indoors. Either way seeds will still be used, so this post is relevant, even though it’s late.

Seeds April 9 2015 (1)

 

Once I’ve ordered my seeds online (in the dead of winter when it’s hard to imagine it ever getting warm again), I’m always impatient for them to arrive in the mail. The wait seems like forever even though it’s only a week or two. I order 99% of the seeds I use in my garden from Baker Creek. They only sell heirloom seeds.

Heirloom means that they’re cultivars that were used years and years ago, but aren’t used today in modern agriculture. For example, I’ve grown peas that were used in backyard gardens 40 years ago and eggplant seeds from Italy that were used 60 years ago. I think it’s pretty cool to think that I’ve growing the same types of veggies that people did half a century ago.

I buy my tomato seeds from Casey’s Heirloom Tomatoes. He grows his tomatoes just outside of Calgary, which means they’re used to the short growing season here as well as the weather. He grows the tomatoes, cleans the seeds, and packages them up all by himself, so I know exactly where the seed is coming from.

Seeds April 9 2015 (2)

 

Since I still have so many seeds leftover for the last few years, I only had to order a few this year. You don’t have to buy new seeds each and every year. Older seeds will still germinate, though a little fewer the older they get. Don’t buy into the seeds companies telling you you need to start over every year! This year I only had to order peas from Baker Creek. They always sends a fun ‘surprise’ envelope of seeds with every order. This time it was some strawberries. I’ve never tried growing them from seed, so we’ll see how they go.

Seeds April 9 2015 (3)

 

Apparently when I ordered the seeds I was all about the tomatoes. I decided to get five different kinds! The ones I picked I picked because they’re either early or mid season producers. I’m always worried about things growing in Calgary’s short growing season, so I like it play it on the safe side. I had a mix between full sized and cherry tomatoes. From the looks of it, a large part of our garden this year is going to be tomatoes.

Seeds April 9 2015 (4)

 

Last week we got some more snow and cold temperatures. Every time this happens during spring it’s kind of depressing, and spring seems further and further off. But having my little tomato seedlings in the window helps. It’s a small sign that spring will eventually get here.

What’s your favorite thing to grow in your garden? 

What I Ate Wednesday

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Thanks as always to Jenn from Peas and Crayons and Arman from The Big Man’s World for hosting What I Ate Wednesday.

WIAW Breakfast April 8 2015

 

Breakfast was a variation on my usual. Instead of cereal I had a homemade apple muffin. It was so good, which chunks of apples in it. I put it in the microwave for about 20 seconds to warm it up. Some mornings you just need something warm to eat. Along with the muffin I also had some vanilla yogurt with frozen berries on top. I love when the berries make the yogurt a little thicker because they’re so cold. It’s almost like eating Greek yogurt without all the sugar. I also had a Granny Smith apple to round out the meal.

WIAW Lunch April 8 2015

 

Although this is a recycled photo, this is essentially what my salad looked like that I ate for lunch. Instead of Caesar dressing I used poppy seed though. Spinach + poppy seed dressing = delicious. There’s something so great about having something crunchy in salads. This time it was cucumber. I think it’s mixing up the texture that I enjoy. I also had a piece of multi grain bread on the side (not pictured).

WIAW Dinner April 8 2015

 

Dinner was my favorite vegan ginger “chicken”. It’s actually made from soy beans. I cooked the ginger “chicken” up with some frozen veggies and brown rice. There’s an amazing Thai vegan restaurant in Calgary (Heart’s Choices). They also sell their frozen food at the Calgary farmer’s market. I’ve had the chance to talk to both of the owners and they’re so helpful and willing to share how to cook things if I’m not sure how to do it myself.

Leave me a comment with your favorite salad ingredient. 

Jessica Smith’s 10 lbs Down DVD Review

Jessica Smith's 10 lbs down DVD Review April 7 2015

 

Jessica Smith’s 10 Lbs Down DVD contains three twenty minute workouts. Each workout focuses on a different area of the body. Don’t be fooled, even though they’re only 20 minutes long I was pretty sweaty after I finished each one. They reminded me of Jillian Michaels workouts. They might be short but you’re working hard every single second.

Workout #1 focused on the upper body. Each workout is composed of several circuits that are each done twice. I like that Jessica starts with the easiest way to do each move, and then gradually shows two harder modifications. I think that’s a great way to do it, as you can make sure your form is on point before you make it tougher if you want to. My favorite move from this workout was a variation on tricep kickbacks. Dumbbells and a yoga mat were the needed for this one.

Workout #2 was all about the lower body. There was lots of variety in moves (it wasn’t just the usual squats and lunges), as well as little twists on them to make it more interesting. My favorite exercise from this workout were the skaters. Since there’s no required equipment (dumbbells are optional), I thought this would be an ideal workout to do while travelling. The only complaint I have about this one is that I wished there was more of cool down. It was definitely a tough workout as I was sore the next day.

Workout #3 was a hard abs focused workout. My core were on fire the entire time. I even had to take a break or two. Twice throughout the workout Jessica added a cardio section, which was kind of nice. The only equipment needed for this workout was a yoga mat. My favorite move from this workout was a variation on mountain climbers. Not only did they work my abs, but also my shoulders and legs.

I thought Jessica Smith’s 10 Lbs Down DVD was great. If you’re short on time you can pick just one, or if you want a full body workout combine all three together for a sweaty workout session. Whether you’re a beginner or advanced when it comes to fitness, I think you’ll find something to challenge you in these workouts.

Have you tried any of Jessica Smith’s DVD’s?

Weekly Workouts: March 29 to April 4 2015

Weekly Workouts 2

 

Sunday I took advantage of the nice weather and went for a walk in one of my favorite parks. I’m not quite sure what it is about going for walks, but they’re good for me when I want to think about things. I was out there for a about an hour and I was walking at a pretty good pace the entire time. There’s such pretty views of the river and even the mountains (if it’s not cloudy).

Bowmont March 29 2015

Monday I did the upper body workout from Jessica Smith’s 10 Lbs Down DVD (affiliate link).Even though it was only 20 minutes long I felt like I got in a great workout. Jessica is a tough trainer. To make such short workouts she keeps you moving every single second. It reminded me of a Jillian Michaels style workout. My shoulders were sore the day after.

Bowmont Crocus March 31 2015

Tuesday I went for another beautiful walk. I was pretty excited because I saw my first crocus blooming! As I got more into the area where they grow I was seeing them everywhere. While not all of them were blooming yet, I’m sure they will be in another week or two. It’s going to be beautiful to see all the purple and yellow everywhere. It finally feels like spring is coming as crocus are the first things that bloom here.

Wednesday I took a rest day.

Thursday I also took Thursday as a rest day as well.

Friday I did another workout from Jessica Smith’s 10 Lbs Down DVD, but this time the lower body one. There were the usual squats and lunges, but she also added some other creative moves that I appreciated. Sometimes leg workouts can start to all look the same, but this one was different which I appreciated.

Saturday I decided to do the last workout on the Jessica Smith’s 10 Lbs Down DVD, which was the abs workout. I’m not going to lie, it was hard. My abs were on fire within minutes, and it didn’t let up until the workout was over. Jessica managed to keep the core work interesting by changing things up a bit. She also added in some cardio, so that broke it up as well. Before I knew it I was done and pretty sweaty.

Now that you know what my workouts looked like this week, leave me a comment with one of your favorites. 

This post contains an affiliate link. Thank you for supporting my blog, I appreciate it!