Friday Favorites: Garden Harvest + Vote By Mail

I’m sharing a few of my favorite things in this blog post.

Happy Friday! Another week is just about done and I’m looking forward to the weekend. I don’t have much planned for the weekend, but I do know that I’ll be working on getting some more products listed in my Etsy store. I’ll be sure to share on the blog once everything is up!

Garden harvest

This week I picked the last of what was left in the garden. The forecasted overnight lights were supposed to get close to freezing, so I figured I would pick everything (even if it wasn’t quite ripe yet) than risk it freezing and ruined. I picked a couple pounds of potatoes, a bunch of tomatoes (the green ones will ripen nicely inside), a couple small peppers and even two teeny tiny broccolis.

When I was picking the tomatoes I was shocked at how many there were. I kept thinking I had gotten them all off a plant and then I’d find another bunch or two on it. My dad has already made pasta sauce with a bunch of the tomatoes. It was so good! You could definitely tell that it was made from tomatoes that had only been picked 24 hours ahead of time. It just tasted so fresh. I’m looking forward to lots of tomatoes on sandwiches, salads, and even pasta sauce as the green ones ripen.

Voting by mail

Back in August a federal election was called by the Prime Minister. Election day is Monday, September 20th (it must be seem like such a super short process compared to federal elections in the United States). I’ve been doing my best to keep my risk of getting Covid as low as I can, so I was feeling hesitant about going to vote in person on election day. I decided to vote by mail for the first time. I’m happy to say that it was super easy and definitely something that I would do again. You’re instructed to seal your ballot in a couple different envelopes. One of them has your voter info on it so that they can verify that I’m an eligible voter. That envelope is then removed and the inner envelope that holds my ballot is unmarked, so it’s cast anonymously just like if I were to vote in person.

On Wednesday I dropped my ballot off at the post office. I’m glad that it’s done and I don’t have to worry about waiting in line or going into a polling place on Monday. My brother decided to try voting in advance. He went on the first day that it was offered and was happy that there was no one else there voting while he was there. My dad also decided to vote by mail. I would definitely vote by mail again. It was super easy to do, and I was able to do it on my own time. The only think you have to make sure you do is request a mail in ballot ahead of time.

If you’re a Canadian who hasn’t voted yet, make sure to get out and vote in advance or go to your polling place on Monday. It’s so important that your voice is heard. You deserve to have a say in how things are done in Canada.

Do you have anything fun planned for the weekend? Let me know in the comments below.

My Favorite Peloton Instructors

In today’s post I’m sharing some of my favorite instructors on the Peloton app.

I haven’t been to the gym since February or March 2020. It’s hard to believe that it’s been so long already. As much as I’m missing it, I don’t feel comfortable going back yet. Cases are rising here in Calgary and additional restrictions were put in place on Friday due to the increase in Covid hospital admissions. I decided to sign up for the Peloton app (check out my review of it here) because at home workouts are a lot easier for me if I have someone else telling me exactly what to do. It’s funny because if I’m working out at the gym I don’t have a problem with motivation. But at home it feels like there’s way more distractions. In this post I’ll be sharing my favorite instructors.

One of the very first classes on the app was with Andy Speer. Since that class I’ve been hooked on his workouts. I’ve done more of his workouts than anyone else on the Peloton app. He does all kinds of classes – from strength to treadmill to cycling.

Kristin McGee is my favorite yoga teacher on Peloton. I’ve been a fan of hers for 20ish years. The fact that she had classes on the app was a big reason that I decided to take the plunge and sign up. She’s well known in the yoga community. I really enjoy her classes and she has a great presence when she’s teaching.

Chase Tucker is a down to earth instructor, which draws me to his classes. He’s really good at being encouraging without being annoying. I think just about everyone has taken a fitness class with someone who’s just over the top peppy and it just annoys you. That’s definitely not the case with Chase.

As for treadmill workouts, I really like Matty Maggiacomo’s workouts. I don’t have a Peloton treadmill, but I do have a treadmill. With the app I’m able to do the treadmill workouts just as good.

In terms of the mediations that Peloton offers on their app, my favorite instructors are Ross Rayburn and Chelsea Jackson Roberts. They both have soothing voices, which makes them easy to listen to. The meditations vary in length from just a few minutes to longer ones. I think they’re a great introduction to meditation if you’re new to it.

Who’s your favorite instructor on the Peloton app? Tell me in the comments below.

What I Read: August 2021

In today’s post I’m sharing what I’ve been reading lately.

The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate

I found The Book of Lost Friends (affiliate link) to be heartbreaking, yet also a book that I just couldn’t put down. It’s set in the time and place that I haven’t read many books about before. Lisa does a great job of weaving the two timelines together.

Here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:

Louisiana, 1875 In the tumultuous aftermath of Reconstruction, three young women set off as unwilling companions on a perilous quest: Lavinia, the pampered heir to a now-destitute plantation; Juneau Jane, her illegitimate free-born Creole half-sister; and Hannie, Lavinia’s former slave. Each carries private wounds and powerful secrets as they head for Texas, following dangerous roads rife with ruthless vigilantes and soldiers still fighting a war lost a decade before. For Lavinia and Juneau Jane, the journey is one of inheritance and financial desperation, but for Hannie, torn from her mother and eight siblings before slavery’s end, the pilgrimage westward reignites an agonizing question: Could her long-lost family still be out there? Beyond the swamps lie the seemingly limitless frontiers of Texas and, improbably, hope.

Louisiana, 1987 For first-year teacher Benedetta Silva, a subsidized job at a poor rural school seems like the ticket to canceling her hefty student debt–until she lands in a tiny, out-of-step Mississippi River town. Augustine, Louisiana, seems suspicious of new ideas and new people, and Benny can scarcely comprehend the lives of her poverty-stricken students. But amid the gnarled oaks and run-down plantation homes lies the century-old history of three young women, a long-ago journey, and a hidden book that could change everything.

Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand

I read two Elin Hilderbrand books back to back. Silver Girl (affiliate link) is inspired by the story of Ruth Madoff, who was married to Bernie Madoff. He’s known for orchestrating a Ponzi scheme that stole billions of dollars. I can only imagine what it would feel like to be ostracized by not only by people who knew you, but also strangers because the Ponzi scheme had obviously been in the news.

Here’s what Goodreads had to say about it:

Meredith Martin Delinn just lost everything: her friends, her homes, her social standing – because her husband Freddy cheated rich investors out of billions of dollars.

Desperate and facing homelessness, Meredith receives a call from her old best friend, Constance Flute. Connie’s had recent worries of her own, and the two depart for a summer on Nantucket in an attempt to heal. But the island can’t offer complete escape, and they’re plagued by new and old troubles alike. When Connie’s brother Toby – Meredith’s high school boyfriend – arrives, Meredith must reconcile the differences between the life she is leading and the life she could have had.

The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand

The second Elin Hilderbrand book I read was The Identicals (affiliate link). I don’t know what it was exactly about this book, but I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I usually do with Elin’s books. Maybe it’s because I read it right after Silver Girl which I really liked? It’s definitely not a bad book, I just wasn’t drawn into it like I normally am with her books.

The Indenticals follows the lives of four women – two twin sisters, their mother, and one of the twin’s daughter. It was interesting to read each person’s perspective. It made it easy to empathize with all four characters.

Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella

If you’re looking for something fun and easy to read, Wedding Night (affiliate link) is the book for you. The characters make silly decisions (that at the same time are completely understandable) which leads to quite a few funny and weird situations. I think that’s what I like the most about Sophie Kinsella’s books. Even though the characters get themselves into trouble you can understand how they got there.

Here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:

Lottie just knows that her boyfriend is going to propose, but then his big question involves a trip abroad — not a trip down the aisle. Completely crushed, Lottie reconnects with an old flame, and they decide to take drastic action. No dates, no moving in together, they’ll just get married . . . right now. Her sister, Fliss, thinks Lottie is making a terrible mistake, and will do anything to stop her. But Lottie is determined to say “I do,” for better, or for worse.

Sheltering Rain by Jojo Moyes

I really liked reading Sheltering Rain (affiliate link). I’m a huge fan of Jojo Moyes so when I saw this one on a shelf at the library I knew that I wanted to borrow it.

It’s set in Ireland and focuses on the relationships between a mom, grandmother, and daughter. Families can be tricky and get complicated fast, and this one is no different. All three of the main characters felt very believable to me, and I could relate a bit to all of them.

Share a book that you’ve read lately in the comments below.

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Date Night + Baking a Crabapple Cake

I haven’t written a post like this in awhile, so I thought it would be fun to share a few of my weekend highlights.

I’ve been reading Sheltering Rain (affiliate link) by Jojo Moyes lately. Although it’s been taking me longer than normal to finish it, I’m really enjoying it. It’s been cooler (almost fall like) weather here in Calgary, which feels appropriate since the book is set in Ireland with lots of fog and rain.

It feels like it’s taken forever, but the tomatoes that I started from seeds back in February or March are finally starting to ripen! I went with a bunch of plants that produce cherry tomatoes since they take less time to grow that full sized ones. We have a short growing season here so I wasn’t able to plant them outside until the first week of June. There’s something about tomatoes fresh from the garden that makes them taste 10 times better than any tomatoes you can get in a grocery store.

Saturday I headed over to my boyfriend’s place. His dog Winston had gone to daycare on Friday, which always exhausts him in the best possible way. He loves playing with his dog friends and running around. The next day he’s in recovery mode and especially cuddly and takes lots of naps. He seemed to think that whenever I sat on the floor with him meant that it was an invitation to sit on me. It always surprises me that it looks so uncomfortable but he’s perfectly happy sitting on me.

He has a monkey toy that he’s had since he was a puppy that he likes to suck on. Apparently it’s a bulldog thing. He typically does it before bed, but he was sucking on it on and off for most of the afternoon. Winston was so tired that he didn’t even come to say goodbye to me when I left. He just laid down at the end of the hall and couldn’t even lift his head up off the floor. My boyfriend definitely got his money’s worth out of daycare on Friday.

We ended up watching The 13th Warrior together. It was kind of a mix between Indiana Jones and The Lord of the Rings without the Nazis and elves. It’s an older movie (late 90’s I think) and stars Antonio Banderas.

I got a text from a friend asking if I would be interested in some crabapples. She had gotten a bunch from a friend and didn’t think she’d be able to eat or use them all up. Of course I said I’d be happy to take some off her hands! I spent some time googling recipes – I didn’t want to have to go out and get any additional ingredients. I did have all of the basics for baking in the pantry though, things like flour, sugar, baking powder, and spices. Finally, I decided to go with this recipe and I’m really happy with how it turned out.

The cake was dense which was perfect because it meant that the apple slices didn’t all sink to the bottom of the cake. It smelled amazing while it was baking in the oven. You definitely knew that there were some spices in it (cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, and ginger). It was also perfectly moist too, but not so much that it was mushy. The above photo are all of the crabapples I still have left after making the cake, so I’ll have to figure out something else to do with them. If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them. The recipe included optional walnuts and a glaze, but I decided to skip them because I didn’t have the walnuts or the apple cider for the glaze. I think I may even prefer it without the glaze, as it’s not too sweet.

I don’t have much exciting on the agenda for the upcoming week. I have a therapy appointment and that’s about it other than the usual day to day stuff. It’ll be kind of nice to have a low key week though. Do you have any fun plans for the week? Let me know in the comments below.

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30 Minute Home Workout

In today’s post I’m sharing a new workout that you can do at home in just 30 minutes.

Happy Tuesday! I hope your week has started off well. We had a really hot weekend here in Calgary. It’s cooled off the last two days which I’m very grateful for. It’s been a record breaking summer in terms of heat in Alberta. I’m hoping that we don’t have anymore heatwaves this year. It’s very nice to be able to not be sweating even when I’m sitting and not doing anything!

Today I’m sharing a 30 minute home workout. If you’re looking for a different kind of workout, check out my workout page. All of the workouts that I’ve shared on my blog are listed there and categorized so that it’s easy to find just what you want.

The only equipment you’ll need for this workout is a pair of dumbbells which you’ll need for the squats, overhead press, lunches, lateral raises, bent over rows, and chest press. If you’re looking to get some dumbbells, I like these ones (affiliate link) from Amazon. In terms of weight, you’ll want to pick a dumbbell size that challenges you but also allows you to get proper form from all reps, including the last one. If you have to switch to a lighter weight later on in the workout, that’s totally fine. It’s more important to keep your form good rather than lift heavier. A yoga mat is also handy for the core work and chest press. I love my Manduka mat (affiliate link).

You’ll be performing 30 seconds of work followed by 30 seconds or rest/transition to the next exercise. Cycle through this 10 exercise list three times for a full workout. If you have any questions about the workout leave them in the comments below. If you do it be sure to take me on Instagram.

  • Dumbbell squats
  • Overhead press
  • Glute bridge
  • Plank
  • Lateral raises
  • Alternating lunges
  • Chest press
  • Skaters
  • Bent over rows
  • Crunches

What’s your favorite exercise to include in home workouts?

As always, check with your doctor before beginning to workout. Honor your body and make any modifications needed to this workout to make it work for you.

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

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