Friday Favorites September 22 2017

Happy Friday! This week has felt extra long so I’m looking forward to the weekend ahead.

This morning I’m going to Social Media Breakfast. This month it’s being held at Bank and Baron, an upscale up in the heart of downtown Calgary. My boyfriend and I had eaten there outside on the patio a few summers ago, so I’m excited to actually go inside this time. Then tonight I bought a ticket for sneak peak night at Etsy Made in Calgary. I went last year with a friend and had a ton of fun. I found a few Christmas gifts and then we had dinner together at one of the food trucks that came to the event. This time I’ll be going on my own, but I’m still hoping to find some Christmas gifts. There’s so many cool and unique things there that I know I won’t be able to find anywhere else.

The rest of my weekend is pretty open, which I’m definitely going to enjoy. While I know that there will be some time spent doing some work around the house and with my boyfriend, I’m looking forward to a laid back could days.

And now onto my Friday Favorites!

Friday Favorites

Documentaries on Netflix // Apparently I’ve been in a documentary mood when I’ve been watching Netflix – I think it’s been just about the only thing I’ve been watching. I recommend Heroin(e) and Banking on Bitcoin. Heroin(e) was an easy one to decide to watch because I used to work in the mental health/addictions field. Banking on Bitcoin was just an interesting topic. I definitely learned a lot – everything from the beginnings of Bitcoin to where it is now.


Beautiful sunsets // On Wednesday morning I was treated to the gorgeous sunset. It’s so worth getting up early to see the shows like this that mother nature puts on.

Space heater // We’ve had a few colder days her in Calgary this week – both yesterday and today we’ve even had snow. I came home from work yesterday (I work outside and it was cold and wet) and just couldn’t warm up. I ended up pulling my space heater out of storage and fired it up. After half an hour I was feeling finally feeling warm. I have a feeling that I’ll be using it more as the fall turns into winter.

Fitbit Charge 2 Strap

Replacement FitBit strap // Over the last month or so the strap on my FitBit Charge 2 (check out my reveiw here) has been slowly but surely going. The strap that was attached to the bottom of it eventually completely broke earlier this week. As a result, I haven’t been wearing my FitFit for the last few days. Thankfully my replacement straps arrived yesterday and I’ve been wearing it again. It actually felt kind of strange not having it. I’m so used to always having it on and checking my steps throughout the day. I’m very glad that I have it back now.

What was a favorite of yours from the last week? 

Upper Body Strength Training Workout

Today I’m sharing an upper body strength training workout – perfect fro those trips to the gym when you’re not sure what to do or you’re feeling unmotivated. 

For each exercise you’ll perform 12 reps for 3 sets. Do all three sets in a row before moving onto the next exercise. Rest for one full minute between sets – you need to give your muscles some time to recover between sets.

All of the exercises below besides the push ups require dumbbells or weight on a cable machine. I get the “how much weight should I be lifting?” question a lot. Pick a weight that makes the last 2 or 3 reps hard to do, but you can still do with good form.

This means that it might take all three sets to figure out the right weight. That’s perfectly okay! Just make sure that you’re keeping of each exercises weight/reps/sets, so you can use that information for future workouts and not have to keep guessing.

Upper Body Strength Training Workout

Side shoulder raise // With your arms down at your sides with a dumbbell in each hand, slowly raise your hands away from your body to the side, keeping your arm straight at the elbow. Once your hands reach shoulder level, slowly lower them back down to your sides.

Bicep curl // Start with the feet hip width apart, and back in a neutral position. With a dumbbell in each hand, keep your elbows in close to your side and raise the dumbbell upwards. Movement should be at the elbow, not the wrist. Lower the dumbbell with a controlled movement, not allowing gravity to take over.

Lat pulldown // Sitting at a lat pulldown, adjust the leg pads to make sure it’s at the appropriate height. Stand up to grasp the bar with both hands and then sit back down, sliding your legs under the leg pads. Start with your arms fully extended and leaning back just slightly. Bring your hands down to your collar bone slowly and then entend them back out to the starting position.

Push up // Starting on your toes and hands, make sure your body is a straight line from your heels to your knees, hips, shoulders, and neck. Your hands should be a bit wider than your shoulders. Slowly bend at the elbows, lowering yourself to the ground. Try to get at low as possible, and then push yourself back up, all the while maintaining that straight line. An easier modification is instead of being on your toes, lower to your knees.

Military press // Stand with your feet hip width apart with a dumbbell in each hand. With your upper arms in a 90 degree angle to your torso and your hands directly above your elbows, lift your hands straight up so that your arms are straight above your head. Slowly lower your hands back down to the starting position.

Tricep kickback // With a dumbbell in each hand, flex at the ankles, knees, and hips so that your torso is leaning forward slightly. Bring your arms close to your body with your elbows back slightly. Start with your forearm in a 90 degree angle to your upper arm and slowly extend your forearm until your entire arm is straight and your triceps muscles are contracted. Slowly reverse the movement so that your arm is once again at a 90 degree angle.

Front shoulder raise // With a dumbbell in each hand, stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart. Slowly lift your hands in front of you so that they’re at shoulder height, with a micro bend in your elbows. Slowly lower your hands back to your sides.

Upright row // Stand with your feet hip width apart, a dumbbell in each hand just in front of your thigh, palm facing your thigh. With a neutral spine slide your hands up your body until your hands are almost at your armpit. Slowly lower your hands back down to the starting position.

Looking for more workouts? Check out my workouts page for lots more to try.

As always, be sure to check with your doctor before beginning to workout. Honor your body and modify this workout as needed for you. 

What’s your favorite upper body exercise?

How To Make The Most Of Your Gym Membership

Today I’m sharing a recap of my weekend as well as how to make the most of your gym membership.

Weekend Recap

My weekend started out pretty good with a date night with my boyfriend on Friday. We spent the night watching the latest episode of Rick and Morty (he got me hooked on it – it’s not typically something I would watch) and we also watched a movie. It felt great to relax and do absolutely nothing other than sit on the couch for a few hours.

Babes Who Brunch

Saturday morning I had attended Babes Who Brunch – a networking event for women who are entrepreneurs or interested in entrepreneurship. It was held at Market, so the food was absolutely delicious. It was a lot of fun networking and getting to know the other ladies sitting at my table with me. The speaker, Hannah Cree, co-founder of CMNGD (common good) had some great ideas to share. I’m not the best at making small talk and going into unfamiliar social events, but this one was fun even for me as an introvert. I’ll definitely be going to Babes Who Brunch again.

Sweet Relief Bakery

Walking back to my car after brunch, I stopped at my favorite little bakery to pick up a couple cookies. Everything they offer – from cakes to cookies – is delicious. They always have a cute side outside their store too.

Chicken Sausage and Peppers

Sunday was spent doing laundry, getting some stuff done around the house, and blogging. I cooked up lunches for the week, which included chicken apple sausages, a couple bell peppers, half a sweet potato, and some spices. It turned out delicious, so I’m looking forward to eating it this coming week.

How To Make The Most Of Your Gym Membership

A gym membership is an investment in your health and well being. I was telling someone this week that the time I spend at the gym is my “me time”. I put my earphones on and I don’t think about anything other than my workout. I don’t worry about work, family, or finances. Today I thought I’d share a few ways to get the most bang for your gym membership buck.

Ask for an orientation // If you’re new to the gym, ask the front desk for an orientation. They’ll show you around the gym, point out the different rooms for group fitness classes, and even show you how to use pieces of equipment if you’re unfamiliar with them. It’s always handy to know where they keep the foam rollers or bands, as they might be kept in a cabinet or behind the front desk. It’s also a great opportunity to ask any questions about the services that are offered by your gym.

Go to the gym // First off, and most important, you have to actually go to the gym. There’s no point to having a membership if you’re only going to go once a week. You’d be better off just paying for a drop in pass if that’s the case. I find that having a workout planned for my next trip to the gym helps in getting myself there. If I don’t know what I’m going to do when I get to the gym, it’s harder for me to get up when my alarm goes off.

Take advantage of the services offered at your gym // A lot of gyms (though not all) will also have registered dietitians, massage therapists, and physiotherapists. These people are great resources for you, along with personal trainers. Although you’ll most likely have to pay extra for these services over and above your gym membership, you’ll also probably get a discount for being a gym member.

Group Fitness Classes // Most gyms will include admission to drop in group fitness classes in your gym membership. I know that I’m much more likely to get to the gym if I know that there’s a a group fitness class happening that I enjoy. Classes include everything from Zumba to Spin to Step, so there’s something for everyone, no matter what you’re into. Fitness classes are also great for when I don’t have a planned workout. Having someone else do all the planning for me is just what I need sometimes.

Go during off times // My favorite times to go to the gym are when it’s slow. First thing in the morning when the gym opens (5:30 am), around 10:30 am, and then again around 7:30 to close are slower times at the gym that I go to. Peak times are typically right before and after work, as well as when the high school right next to the gym lets out for the day around 3 pm. I find that I’m able to get in and out faster if I go when fewer people are there – I don’t have to wait for machines, plus the change room is less crowded.

Use the equipment that you don’t have access to outside of the gym // I doubt most people have ellipticals, squat racks, cable machines, or 50 pound dumbbells in their homes. Most of the equipment like that is only available in gyms. Although you may have some equipment at home (I have a treadmill, exercise ball, foam roller, DVD workouts, and some dumbbells), if you want to get in a great strength training workout, that will most likely involve a trip to the gym.

Leave a comment below with how you make the most of your gym membership. 

Friday Favorites September 15 2017

Happy Friday! I’m glad that another week is done and the weekend is here. I’m looking forward to tomorrow when I’ll be going to my first Babes Who Brunch. Along with 50 other women, I’ll be networking, eating brunch, and drinking mimosas at Market. Although it’s my first time going (and I’ll be going by myself), I’ve heard lots of good things about it, so I’m pretty excited. I bought my tickets a month ago, so I’m glad that it’s finally here.

Friday Favorites

The fall weather has arrived // We’ve had a hot, dry summer here in Calgary this year. This week has started to feel like fall though, even though it doesn’t officially begin until next week. It’s been cooler and rainy and I have to admit that I love it. Fall is definitely my favorite season so I’m looking forward to falling leaves, cozy sweaters, and warm blankets. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and Canadian Thanksgiving is less than a month away. I made my first hot chocolate of fall this week and it was delicious. I’m looking forward to many more the next couple months.

Beans from the Garden

Beans from the garden // Since I knew that the temperature was going to get down to 0 C or 32 F Thursday night, I decided to pick everything that was left in the garden. While that meant that I now have a lot of green tomatoes waiting to ripen in the kitchen, I also picked the zucchinis and beans. Aren’t these beans the coolest colors? They must have been that color when I planted them in the spring, but I’ve obviously forgotten. I shucked all the beans in the garden, and I now have about 3 cups to use. I’m thinking that they’d be good in chili.

Fila Royalty 2 Shoes

New Fila Royalty 2 shoes // I ordered some new shoes a few weeks ago from Zulily, where I got a really great deal on them. I’ve worn them to the gym a few times now, and so far I’m pretty happy with them. Once I wear them some more I’ll share a review on the Fila Women’s Royalty 2 (affiliate link).

Mini family reunions // On Sunday a cousin of my mom’s (that makes her my first cousin once removed) and her husband from North Carolina were in Calgary for the beginning of a trip through western Canada and the west coast of both Canada and the US. I met them as a kid at  family reunions, but I was too little at the time to remember them. Most of my family on my maternal grandmother’s side is from North Carolina. I’ve been there a few times to visit when I was little, but like I mentioned, I was pretty small the last time we were there.

My family met them at their hotel in downtown Calgary and we went out for dinner at Saltlik. I’d never eaten there before, but the Chicken Pasta I ordered was so good. It was great to spend some time with them and catch up. Hearing stories about my mom, and aunt spending their summers in North Carolina with their aunts, uncles, and cousins was a lot of fun (my mom and aunt grew up in New Jersey). My cousin once removed and her husband had some serious southern accents and it was actually kind of funny that there were a few words that I didn’t understand the first time around.

I’d love to spend some time in North Carolina some time soon and meet (or re-meet since I’ve already met) some of my relatives. Even getting to see where my grandmother, her siblings, and my great grandparents lived would be pretty cool. Apparently the house and some of the land that my great grandparents owned is now a highway.

Village Ice Cream

Village Ice Cream // Village Ice Cream Calgary has the most amazing ice cream shop. Village has the most amazing ice cream that I’ve ever tasted. The downtown location is always busy. I stopped by with my dad and brother on Sunday at 9:30, and as you can see it was the place to be. Thankfully the line moved quickly and within 10 minutes we had out ice cream. I went with salty malty pretzel – think vanilla ice cream with pretzels in it – so delicious!

One more thing before I end this – Saturday is National Guacamole Day! I hope you’ll be able to celebrate with some delicious guacamole tomorrow.

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Burt’s Bee’s Facial Cleansing Towelettes and EOS Lip Balm

Today I thought I’d do a couple mini reviews of a few beauty products that I’ve been using lately – Burt’s Bee’s Facial Cleansing Towelettes and EOS Lip Balm.

Burt's Bee's Facial Cleansing Towelettes and EOS Lip Balm

Since it’s been awhile since I last wrote a beauty post, I wanted to write about two products that I’ve been using lately.

I typically only wash my face once a day at night. I find that my skin gets really dry if I try to wash it more than once a day (usually on my chin, around my nose, and my lips). As a teen I hard oily skin that needed to be washed twice a day, but by the time I reached my mid twenties my skin changed and it became more dry than oily. I’m very grateful, because I’d rather deal with the occasional dry skin than breakouts.

On days that I’m at the gym sweating like crazy, I need to use something on my face in the mornings. It grosses me out just thinking about all that sweat sitting there. I keep the Burt’s Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes (affiliate link) in my gym bag to use after workouts. As soon as I hit the locker room once my workout is done, I use the cleansing towelettes on my face. I don’t have to worry about using them on my usual dry spots either because they don’t dry them out like using my usual cleanser does.

Burt's Bees Facial Wipes

They’re the perfect size to get my entire face clean. In addition, there’s a sticker over the opening that makes sure that the moisture doesn’t evaporate from the unused ones inside. I’ve had that problem with other wipes in the past, but I’m happy to say that after using the same package for over a month, they’re not dried out at all.

EOS Lip Balm


To be fully transparent, I got those of these EOS lip balms (in both sweet mint and strawberry sorbet) a few weeks ago to review on I get products from them every couple of months. I liked these so much though that I wanted to share them here on the blog as well as reviewing them on

Honestly, this was my first time trying EOS. I usually have a few lip balms on the go (I have one on my night stand, another one in my bad, and a third on my desk). As you can tell, I like to keep my lips feeling moisturized. As I mentioned above, my lips tend to get dry if I don’t apply lip balm on a regular basis. I’ve tried lots of different kinds, as as a result I’ve come to learn that not all lip balms are created equal. Some are too waxy, others don’t moisturize as much as I’d like, and others cause a reaction on my sensitive skin. I have to admit though that I’ve really liked these two EOS lip balms.

 EOS Lip Balm strawberry sorbet

Out of the two flavors, the EOS lip balm in strawberry sorbet (affiliate link) was definitely my favorite, though the mint one wasn’t bad either. I usually choose fruity gum over minty, so it makes sense that I’d made the same decision with the lip balms.Unlike some lip balms, these ones aren’t tinted with any color, so they go on clear. leaving just a bit of shine behind.

The only thing that I don’t like about them (and this is relatively minor), is that the shape makes it hard to put into my pocket. The usual lip balms that are in a tube are definitely easier than these spherical shaped ones to put in pants pocket.

I will definitely be buying EOS lip balms again after trying these two.

For more beauty posts check out my beauty page.

What’s your favorite recent beauty find?

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