Epic Books, Teriyaki Chicken, and a Birthday Cake

Cranberry Orange Loaf January 2015

As I’ve mentioned once or a million times lately, I’ve been enjoying a lot of oranges. As soon as I saw that there was orange, I knew I had to made this delicious cranberry orange loaf this week. It was pretty easy to make and turned out really tasty. The cranberries balanced out the sweet of the orange zest perfectly. You can find the recipe here from The Brown Eyed baker. This recipe is a keeper that I know that I’ll be making again.

Edge of Eternity Book January 2015

I feel like I’ve been reading this book forever. The reader in me cringes when I say it’s been two months since I started it. Edge of Eternity is the last book in the century trilogy by Ken Follett. The historical fiction series follows several different families from Wales, Germany, the US, and Russia over the course of 100 years. I love reading big long epic books. This one came in at 1100 pages, which was right up my alley. As much as I enjoyed reading this book, it’s always kind of sad when a series comes to an end. If you like historical fiction I’d really recommend this series.

Tuesday night I attended another Chic Geek Hack Night. There were a lot more people there than the last time I went, which was kind of nice. There was a short presentation on how to get started learning to code (so much great advice), and then we were free to work on whatever we wanted to. I learned a lot from the person sitting next to me (I feel bad I can’t remember your name!), as we discussed everything from plugins to SEO.

Teriyaki Chicken January 2015

I was feeling inspired this week when it came to cooking. I created a goat cheese pasta – not from a recipe, just from my head – something that I never do. I need a recipe when I make something new. I also made the above teriyaki chicken. Once the chicken was done cooking in the snow cooker I shredded it. I put it on some rice I sprinkled some sesame seeds and chopped up green onion on top. It was delicious and still great the next day as leftovers.

Old Navy New Clothes January 2015

I got a package in the mail this week! I did some online shopping and I knew it was coming, but it’s always kind of exciting to get something in the mail. I ended up getting a pair of jeans, black pants (how do I not have any in my closet?), and two pairs of liner socks. I’ve never tried the liner socks before, but the idea behind them is to be able to wear socks with flats without them showing. I only just realized that something like this existed a couple months ago. Apparently I live under a rock.

Today is my brother’s birthday! I offered to make his birthday cake, so I asked him what kind of birthday cake he wanted (rainbow bits), frosting (vanilla), and any toppings (sour gummies of some sort and gummy bears). I went shopping on Monday to get all the ingredients, and yesterday I made the cake. I’m hoping he’ll enjoy it tonight after his birthday dinner.

Tell me about something fun that you did this week in the comments.

5 Reasons to try Yoga

5 Reasons to Try Yoga January 29 2015

You don’t have to be flexible. I’m always surprised at how many people think they have to be able to bend themselves into a pretzel before coming to yoga. Yoga is all about going as far as your body can take you. Forcing yourself further than you can safely go is about as far from yoga as you can get. I’ve been doing yoga for a few years now and I’m still not all that flexible. My heels don’t touch the ground when I’m in downward dog. They might never get there, but I’m okay with that. No matter what, there’s always a modified pose you can do.

You’ll slow down. It took me awhile to realize that yoga, unlike a lot of things in life, isn’t about being fast or being the best. Every time I step into my favourite studio I know I’m in for a treat. The next hour and fifteen minutes will be spent being in the moment. I’ll only be going as fast as my yoga teacher goes. If she or he decides to hold downward dogs a bit longer today, then that’s what I’m going to do too. I’m not going to rush through it, get it over with, and move on with the next thing on my to do list.

It’s a welcoming community. Walking into a yoga studio can be intimidating. Trust me, I was there before I attended my first yoga class. But within a few classes I found out that the staff and teachers were awesome. Teachers were open to questions both before and after class if I was having a challenging time with a pose. There’s a pretty cool energy that comes when everyone in the class is giving it their all. It may look different for different people, but they’re all putting in their best effort.

It will calm your mind. When I first started doing yoga I had a million things running through my head. “Am I doing this pose right? Did I send that email? Can I touch my toes like the person next to me can?” Eventually I listened to my teachers and realized that yoga is a moving meditation. The more I focus on my breath and the pose I’m doing, the less I worry about distractions or the things that are going on around me. I look forward to classes because I know I’ll have a chunk of time when the only thing I’m focusing on is myself in the present moment.

Savasana is such a treat. It might sound funny, but being still in the present moment and not thinking about anything feels incredible. From the moment I wake up in the morning until the moment I drift off to sleep at night, my mind is constantly going. I’m thinking about what I need to get ready for work the next day or what I’m going to make for dinner – the constant stream of thoughts is endless.  Savasana at the end of class is the best break in my day. I get to relax and appreciate my body for what it’s just done for me, while at the same time letting all the things I worry about on a daily basis leave my head.

What’s your favourite reason to try yoga?

What I Ate Wednesday Family Recipe Edition

WIAW 2015

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

WIAW Breakfast January 28 2015

The day started off how it usually does for me when it comes to breakfast. I enjoyed some Oatmeal Crunch cereal, vanilla yogurt, and an orange. The cereal/yogurt/fruit combination does a great job of keeping me full until lunch time, which is why I keep coming back to it.

WIAW Lunch 2 January 28 2015

Lunch was a two parter. I started off my making some homemade tortilla chips in the oven. I used a brush to add some olive oil to one side of the whole wheat tortilla and added some salt. I then used a pizza cutter to cut it into triangles. I put it into the oven on a baking sheet on some parchment paper so it wouldn’t stick. Halfway through the baking time I flipped them over to make sure they got browned on both sides. It was great to have something crunchy to eat while also being healthy.

WIAW Lunch January 28 2015

The second part of my lunch was a spinach salad. I started with the spinach and added carrots, cherry tomatoes, shredded cheddar cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette. It was pretty basic and easy to put together. Unfortunately I was hungry a few hours later. Looking back I probably should have added some protein to it. I ended up having a snack of a Clif bar mid afternoon.

WIAW Dinner January 28 2015

Dinner was one of my favourites! I had pasta with my mom’s amazingly delicious meat sauce. She ends up simmering it for a few hours, so by the time it’s ready the whole house smells delicious. It has a little sweetness to it which is different from a lot of pasta sauces out there. Luckily there’s always leftover so I’ll be enjoying this more than once.

What’s your favourite family recipe? Leave me a comment telling me about it.

Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 DVD Review

Since I’ve finally done all the workouts on Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 DVD (affiliate link), I thought I’d review it and share my thoughts about what I thought about it. In short I really liked it.

Ripped in 30 DVD Review Pinterest

First off, just like a lot of her workout DVD’s, Ripped in 30 follows her three minutes of strength training, two minutes of cardio, and one minute of core work circuit. Although you’d think it would get boring, I kind of like knowing what’s coming up. She also varies what moves she does so they don’t repeat, which is nice. With this DVD, the idea is that you do one workout of the four for a week before continuing on the next, harder one. So by the end of the month you’ve progressed through all four workouts from easiest to hardest. Jillian also has both easier and harder modifications demonstrated for each move, which is pretty handy.

Workout One While this was supposed to be the “easy” workout, I didn’t think it was too easy. By the end of the 35 minutes I was a sweaty mess. My favourite move from this workout was the squat press. When squatting and coming up to straight legs, you press up with weights in your hands. I like that Jillian is constantly working more than one body part in most of the exercises.

Workout Two Personally I didn’t think that this workout was much harder than the first one. I was a little disappointed in that. It’s not that it was a bad workout, I was just expecting a step above the first one. I really liked the creative core work in this 35 minute workout.

Workout Three The only slightly shorter workout on this DVD, this one clocked in at 30 minutes. I definitely felt like this one was tougher than the first two. This is nice because if you’re doing Ripped in 30 as Jillian as designed it, I’m sure you’ll be seeing some progress by now, three weeks in. the single leg squats with bicep curls were my favourite move from this workout, while the toughest exercise for me were the bear crawls.

Workout Four Since this is the final workout on this DVD, it’s also meant to be the toughest. It doesn’t disappoint in that regard. This is probably the hardest Jillian Michaels workout I’ve done so far. I really liked the chest fly with bridge on the floor. I felt like I was working my entire body. This one left my arms and legs sore for a few days, so I know I got in an intense workout. At the end Jillian gives a pep talk. Most of the time these can be pretty cheesy, but I actually liked this one.

All in all I really liked Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 DVD (affiliate link). I’ve actually owned it for about a year now but it took me this long to do all the workouts on it. I’d definitely recommend this one if you’re looking for a more structured series of workouts. You don’t have to really think about which one to do, and because each workout is only done for a week, I don’t think you’d get too bored with them.

Have you tried Ripped in 30? What’s your favourite Jillian Michaels workout?

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

The Blogger Imposter Lesson

The Blogger Imposter Lesson January 26 2015

I’ve been blogging at Get Fit Fiona for just about three and a half years now. I love it. It’s fun to have a creative outlet. My writing has improved a lot since I started, as has my photography and my ability to make graphics for posts. I’ve learned so much about everything from WordPress to HTML and CSS. It’s also kind of cool to look back at older posts and have a sort of journal of my life at the time. It’s amazing how much things change.

All in all I’m pretty proud of my little corner of the internet. I put a lot of work and effort into it to make it the best it can be. There’s quite a bit of behind the scenes stuff that a lot of readers aren’t aware of. When something goes wrong with the blog it’s always stressful, but in the end I always figure out a way to fix it or get some advice from someone who knows more than me.

Despite how much I enjoy blogging and am proud of my blog, I get sort of embarrassed about it when I talk to people about it face to face. If I’m talking to someone who’s a web designer I’m sure they’ll think my blog is ugly. If I’m talking to someone who’s into yoga and I mention that I write about it on my blog, I’m sure they’ll think I’m not a very good yogi. If I talk to someone else who likes to bake I’m sure they’ll think that the recipes I write about on the blog weren’t done with the right techniques or the best equipment.

All in all I’m worried that people will judge me and think that I’m not good enough to be writing about the things that I write about. It’s weird that I don’t have that same reaction online. I’m more than willing to talk about my blog to people on the internet, but for some reason when I get face to face with someone I get awkward and I try to change the topic literally as fast as I can.

I think part of it is that I feel like an imposter. I’m not the best at making my blog look pretty, at yoga, or baking. I don’t have the “authority” that I need to write about the things that I write about. Sometimes I need to remind myself that I don’t need to be perfect at everything. As long as I’m passionate about the topics I write about, that’s all that matters.

It’s ironic that I love reading about other people’s journeys. I find it interesting to learn how they decided to start making healthy lifestyle changes, or took the plunge and tried a new sport, or started cooking healthier. I like to know that other people’s live aren’t perfect and things don’t always turn out as planned, but they persevere and continue. For some reason I feel like I need to be perfect.

A few weeks ago I went to a WordPress meetup. It’s a pretty great group of people that range from full time web designers to people like me who still have a lot to learn. It’s great meeting new people and networking. I’ve always been open to saying that I’m a blogger, but I never offer the name of my blog. I give people a generic description of my blog, but never any details.

Well I finally decided to be brave and get out of my comfort zone. I was talking to someone during the break. She was asking me about my blog, why I started blogging, and seemed genuinely interested in it. I thought I’d take a chance and I gave her the name of my blog. I even gave her one a business card that I had made for the blog. I’ve had these business cards for months, yet it was the very first one I’d given someone. The first!

And you know what? She didn’t laugh in my face. She didn’t tell me my business card looked stupid. She said she was going to check out my blog cause it sounded interesting. She even went as far as to give me a compliment on the business card!

It’s amazing how different I had pictured it in my head compared to how it actually happened. I stressed myself out so much over something I never should have been worried about in the first place.

Now that I really think about, I don’t think anyone expects a blogger to be perfect, or know everything there is to know about yoga or some obscure recipe ingredient. If I only get in three workouts in a week, the world isn’t going to end. There’s no blogger police out there that are going to track me down.

It took my quite awhile, but I think I’ve learned my lesson. If I put in the effort and I’m passionate about what I’m blogging about, people will be interested in reading my blog. It doesn’t mean I have to be perfect. I don’t have to be an authority on everything I write about, and my blog layout doesn’t have to be the best.

Do you have anything in your life that you feel like you’re an “imposter” with?

Weekly Workouts January 18 to 24, 2015

Weekly Workouts 2

Sunday January 18 I started off the week with Jillian Michaels Beginner Shred workout 3 (affiliate link). I really ended up enjoying this DVD. While it was accessible to beginners, I also got in a great workout. She keeps you moving every single second!

Wednesday January 21 I decided to try some yoga, so I went with Kathryn Budig’s Aim True Yoga (affiliate link). I did the beginners practice. It was a quick 25 minutes that got me into the vinyasa flow. While this was a great practice for beginners, I still think it’s a good idea to go to a few classes if you’re completely new to yoga. Once you know you’re doing the poses correctly, you can practice on your own.

Saturday January 24 This morning I did the Authentic Flow practice from Aim True Yoga. I did quite a few modifications to the planks and downward dogs because my wrists are still bothering me and I don’t want to make them worse. It was still a fun practice though. This one was definitely a step up from the first workout on the DVD. It feels so good to bet back to yoga, even if I have to modify some things.

For the next couple weeks I’ll be participating in Gina (The Fitnessista) and Anne’s (Fannetastic Food)  Winter Shape Up. You can get the details on the Winter Shape Up here. Gina does the workout part while Anne provides the meal plan. While I won’t be following the meal plan, there are a few recipes that look pretty good that I’ll probably be trying. I also won’t be doing 100% of the workouts because I also want to add in a few of my own.

What was your toughest workout this week? Are you participating in the Winter Shape Up too?

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

Cookies, School Applications, Reading, and Samosas

Chocolate Chip Cookies Collage January 2015

Let me start off this post by sharing something delicious that I made today. I was in the baking mood so I thought I’d make some chocolate chip cookies. I made these ones (< includes a link to the recipe). They turned out just as delicious as they always do. Because the recipe makes so many (about six dozen), I put half of them in the freezer for later. You can’t go wrong with baking once and getting two batches out of it.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it on the blog before now, but the first week of December I applied for school. I had to request my transcripts, write an essay, and fill out an application. It was a lot of work. I honestly don’t remember doing anything other than filling out the application for my undergrad degree. Anyways, I got an email this week that they’d finally received all my transcripts and will now be looking at my application. It feels like it’s taken forever to get to this point, and I still have more waiting to do. At least I know they have all the documents they need to make a decision, and I should be hearing back within the next couple weeks about whether I get in or not. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I get accepted cause it sounds like a great program.

The $100 Startup January 19 2015

I’ve been on a good book roll so far in 2015. The last book I finished was The $100 Startup. I read it because I thought I’d get some good ideas for how to build my blog, even though it’s not specifically about blogging, it was full of great info and would recommend it to anyone who interested in working for yourself, either on the side or full time. I think the biggest thing I came away from it with was that having any sort of business takes a lot of hard work and time. Of course you hear about people who have crazy success in a matter of weeks, but I think those are the exceptions to the rule.

Vegetable Samosas January 18 2015

I picked up some frozen veggie samosas at the farmer’s market last weekend. I decided to make them this week and they were really good. They were spicier than I was expecting (it also kind of sneaks up on you), but I would definitely get them again. I spent some time talking to the guy who was selling them. He was telling me about all the great food he’s found that’s made locally – from vegan Thai food (which I’ve had before and is delicious) to fresh pasta. It’s pretty cool to find out how much stuff is made in and around Calgary.

Have you read anything good lately? What’s your favourite locally made food?

7 Snacks to Eat on the Go

7 Snacks to Eat on the Go January 22 2015

During the day I’m usually at either one of my two jobs or at school. That means that when I get hungry between meals I’m rarely at home and don’t have access to my the pantry or the fridge in my kitchen. Luckily I’ve managed to find some snacks that are portable enough to take with me. I thought I’d share some of them with you today.

Cliff Bars July 27 2014

Clif Bars These are my go to snacks when I’m at my early morning job. I have to be there at five am, so I eat breakfast at 4:15. Mid way through the morning, around ten I get hungry. I always stash a Clif bar in my bag before I leave in the morning. I’ve figured out my favourite flavours (Chocolate Chip and Crunchy Peanut Butter (affiliate links)) so I always buy boxes of those ones so I always have some when I need them. They’re not the cheapest, but I like that they’re able to fend off my hunger until lunch time.

Lunch November 21 2012 (1)

Veggies and hummus Hummus is another one of my go to snacks. When I have access to a fridge I’ll take this combo with me. Hummus is full of protein and fibre that helps fill me up between meals. I also like eating veggies at snack times to add to my daily total of veggies. I like all sorts of vegetables with hummus, everything from peppers that are pictured above to carrots or celery.

Granny Smith apples I love to take apples with me to school in my backpack. Granny Smith ones in particular are harder than other varieties and I think they travel a little better. I really like the crunch and sour flavour of them, so Granny Smith are always my first pick at the grocery store when I’m doing my shopping. They’re also not very messy (no pealing and they’re not too juicy like oranges).

Trail Mix April 14 2013

Trail Mix When I’m feeling hungry between meals sometimes it’s because I didn’t have enough proteins and fats at my last meal. Having a small bag of trail mix in my backpack helps with that problem. I like making my own, as the store bought ones usually have a lot of salt in them. Making it myself also means that I can put in my favourite nuts. I like to portion the tail mix out into individual servings, or else I end up eating more than I should. You can check out my trail mix recipe here.

Dried Fruit This is a great option when I don’t have access to a fridge and I need something calorie dense. I usually always take raisins, cranberries, or apricots with me on hikes. They’re quick and easy to eat without a lot of wrappers or packaging.

Kind Granola Bar May 23 2013

Kind Bars In addition to Clif Bars, I also like Kind Bars. Although I don’t buy them nearly as often (mostly because the couple grocery stores that I usually go to don’t carry them). Whenever I do find them I usually pick up a couple though. My favourite flavours are almond and apricot and nut delight. I like that with Kind Bars you can recognize everything in the bar, whereas with some others ones you can’t.

Granola The best granola recipe I’ve found is from Simply Great Food: 250 Quick, Easy & Delicious Recipes (affiliate link). There’s a great combination of grains, nuts, and seeds, with a hint of sweetness. I add dried cranberries instead of raisins. Once again, it’s quick and easy to eat on the go. Sometimes I’ll even buy a container of yogurt and add the granola to it.

Now that you know what my favourite snacks on the go are, leave me a comment telling me about one of yours.

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

What I Ate Wednesday: Pasta Creation

WIAW 2015

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

WIAW Breakfast January 21 2015

Breakfast was my usual, consisting of Oatmeal Crisp cereal, vanilla yogurt, and an orange for my fruit. I’ve been having a couple oranges a day lately cause they’re just so good at this time of year. They also remind me of California. My grandma who lived in Sacramento had one in her backyard.

WIAW Lunch January 21 2015

For lunch I made an egg, ham, and cheese sandwich on an English muffin. For some reason I was really craving eggs. You’d think the craving would have hit me at breakfast, but apparently not.  I had some carrots and (unpictured) hummus to go with it. For some reason it took me forever to get up the nerve to try hummus, but since then I’ve loved it. It might not look all that appetizing but it’s delicious.

WIAW Dinner January 21 2015

I experimented a little with my dinner. I was checking out the pantry and the fridge to figure out what I could make cause I didn’t have a plan. I discovered some goat cheese that I’d forgotten was in the fridge, so I thought I’d use it to make a sauce for some pasta. I wanted to add some veggies to the pasta so I threw in some spinach and cherry tomatoes. The last thing I added to it once it was on my plate was some freshly ground pepper. For whipping up something that I wasn’t sure would work, it turned out really good. Once I perfect the recipe I’m going to post it on the blog so be on the lookout for it in the next couple weeks.

I’ve really been making an effort to get in more fruits and vegetables everyday. I’m happy to say that it’s been a few weeks now and I’m really happy with how I’ve been doing. Once I got into the habit of eating them more it wasn’t as tough as it was in the beginning.

What was the last craving you had? Do you ever create dishes without a recipe?

Pop Pilates DVD Review

Pop Pilates DVD Review Pinterest January 20 2015

By now I’m sure you’ve all heard about the Blogilates by Cassey Ho. She’s a Pilates teacher who shares workout videos and calendars on her blog. I’ve been on her email list for awhile and done some of her video workouts that she posts on her blog. She comes across as such a bubbly and cheerful person in videos and through her writing.

First off, a little experience on my Pilates background. Spoiler: there’s not much.

I bought a Pilates book when I was in university, about ten years ago (that makes me feel so old). I remember doing the exercises for a few weeks but ended up getting bored with it and stopped doing them. I finally had the chance to try out Pop Pilates Total Body Workout with Cassey Ho (affiliate link), and I’m happy to say that it’s a lot more fun and interesting than the book I had bought.

Before the workout began, she gave a little introduction and talked about herself. She shared how she first started Pilates and how much it’s changed her. It was pretty cool to see how she’s created such a big following based on something that she’s so passionate about.

Being an absolute beginner when it comes to Pilates, I was really happy that she gave modifications for people like me who didn’t have any experience. Let me say that I got in an absolutely intense workout in, even though I was doing the easier modifications. I can’t imagine how much tougher it gets without the modifications. Pilates is no joke.

Cassey had great cuing as well. I was surprised how easy it was for me to forget one body part while I was focusing on another. Her reminders were great for making sure I had correct form too.

By the time I finished Pop Pilates I was exhausted. Seriously. My abs were probably the most tired they’ve ever been and were sore for a few days afterwards. My shoulders and arms were burning by the end too. Even though Pilates might not look like much of a workout at first glance, it’s definitely a tough one.

If you’re looking for something a little different from your typical cardio or strength training, I think Pop Pilates by Cassey Ho is just the thing to spice things up a bit. You get a great workout in a little over an hour.

Have you tried Pop Pilates? How often do you do Pilates?

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