Birthday Reflections

Today I’m sharing some thoughts on being another year older.

Happy birthday to me! I’m officially a whole year older today – I’ve been on this planet for 37 years now. I’m definitely experiencing the aches and pains of getting older. I have a tight hip, one of my ankles gets stiff, it’s those little things that I didn’t have to deal with in my 20’s that I’m noticing now. On the other hand I’m pretty healthy otherwise so I’m very grateful for that.

In terms of birthday celebrations, I celebrated earlier this week with some friends who also include two people who also have birthdays this month. It was a lot of fun to combine our birthdays and get to see everyone all at once. They’re actually a group of friends that I’ve had the longest – we did the math on Monday night and we’ve known each other for nearly 25 years. Now that made me feel old.

I’ll be celebrating with my family on Monday. The plan is to order food (I’m thinking either Indian or shawarma – they’re both favorites of mine and I’m having a hard time choosing) and then have birthday cupcakes.

Looking back over the last year makes me realize how many highs and lows there have been.

Grief

The last year has been a tough one to be completely honest. I lost a family member in December. It was a really tough winter last year because of that and I feel like I was in a fog of grief for a few months. Losing someone you love and has always been there for you is hard – really hard.

It wasn’t all bad though. My family and I had so many people reach out afterwards and it made me realize how many people cared and did the nicest things for us – everything from bringing food over in the following days to checking up on us to see if we needed anything.

Becoming a yoga teacher

Some exciting things happened on the fitness professional side of things for me. I completed my 200 yoga teacher training in March and I officially became a Yoga Alliance certified teacher. I’m planning some yoga classes that I’ll be teaching starting in January, so be sure to check out my yoga page to see my schedule and where I’ll be teaching.

I went into teacher training thinking that I would learn more about anatomy and the poses, but I ended up learning so much more about myself. I wasn’t expecting the journey to become a yoga teacher to be an inward one, but it definitely was for me.

I shared recaps of my yoga teacher training weekends here if you’re interested in finding out what we covered each week. I also shared my final thoughts about teacher training a few weeks after I finished. I’m so glad that I ended up deciding to do a training that spanned months instead of just a few weeks. I’m one of those people who likes to take their time to really understand and let the knowledge sink in, and I knew that it wouldn’t have worked for me if I did an intensive, full time training instead.

Starting my own business

I started my own business this year! It’s been a slow process – slower than I was expecting it to be. There’s so many things that I didn’t realize I would have to do and of course they all take time to do. Like I mentioned above, I’ll be sharing my teaching schedule shortly once I have everything ironed out. My plan is to offer 6 week registered classes starting in January. Classes will include intro to yoga, restorative yoga, yoga for bigger bodies, and flow yoga.

Make sure to sign up for my mailing list if you’re at all interested in learning more about taking classes. That’s where I’ll be sharing all about my teaching offerings.

Winston

Although this thing isn’t technically mine, it’s been so much fun to get to know my boyfriend’s English Bulldog dog, Winston.

His gotcha day was last week. It’s hard to believe that he’s been in my life for a year already. I had no idea how attached I would get to him and how much personality would be in that little puppy body when my boyfriend first brought him home.

He’s grown so much in the past year. It’s hard to believe that he was ever so little like in that first picture of him. He’s grown so much, learned a lot (he knows quite a few commands), and has gotten to know the entire neighborhood. The liquor store gives him (and all the other dogs) in the neighborhood treats, the servers at a pub always come out to give him a pet when they see him go by during his walk, he’s a hit with the employees at the tattoo place, and one of the people at the consignment store said that he’s practically the neighborhood’s mascot. Yep, he gets a lot of love and attention on his walks.

It’s been one of those years that has felt like it’s simultaneously gone by so fast and also really slow at the same time. So much as changed – both good and bad – and it’s sometimes still hard to believe that those changes have happened. I’m hoping that the next year will be full of lots of good things for me though. I’ll be growing my business, spending lots of time with my favorite people (family, boyfriend, and friends), and just enjoying life.

When is your birthday? Do you have a favorite birthday meal?

Remembrance Day Long Weekend Highlights

It was a snowy long weekend here in Calgary. Saturday and into Sunday the city was under a heavy snowfall warning. Not the kind of weather you want for a long weekend, but thankfully it didn’t start really coming down until Saturday afternoon.

Backing up a bit, I started my weekend off with a Group Power workout at my gym. We’re still doing the October 2019 release so I feel like I have a good handle on it and I know what I’m putting on my barbell in terms of weight.

For the biceps track we use drop sets. It’s not something that I typically use, so it’s been great to get me out of my comfort zone a bit. This is why I love group fitness – it gets me doing things that I usually wouldn’t do!

Friday was a quiet night at home. I watched some Netflix and scrolled through Instagram while I was on the couch. It wasn’t very exciting but it was exactly the kind of night that I needed.

Saturday morning I headed over to my boyfriend’s place. We were celebrating my birthday a few days early, so when he asked what I felt like eating, I said breakfast food or shawarma. I know, quite the combination, but my favorite meal to have a restaurant is breakfast and shawarma is one of my favorites, so I knew I wanted to have one of those.

We ended up walking over to Gruman’s for breakfast food. Gruman’s is a Jewish deli that’s only open for breakfast and lunch. They serve breakfast til late on the weekends, so it was the perfect choice. I went with their breakfast poutine. It had a base of breakfast potatoes and was topped with two poached eggs, smoked meat, hollandaise sauce, and cheese curds.

Poutine is a uniquely Canadian dish, and I loved the breakfast spin that Gruman’s put on it. It was a ton of food (I ate about half of it), but it was so good! I highly recommend giving it a try.

After lunch we went back to my boyfriend’s place to play with this little guy. I’d just given him this new rope toy and he was really enjoying chewing on it. Within a few hours he had chewed right through one end of it.

My boyfriend had gotten me this fancy bottle of apple cider for my birthday. We had seen it a few weeks ago and it looked really interesting. It’s made from apples that are only grown on a couple trees in Ontario. The trees only produce fruit every other year.

I ended up enjoying it with my dad and brother on Sunday night. It was a bit higher in alcohol than I’m used to (6.8%), so I was more than happy to share it with them.

I headed home on Saturday afternoon just as the snow was starting to fall. Snowy weather and icy road conditions aren’t my favorite (they cause me major anxiety), so I was happy to get home before the roads got too bad. Surprisingly it was more snowy downtown than in the suburbs where I live. Usually it’s the other way around.

I started reading The Mother-In-Law (affiliate link) by Sally Hepworth on Saturday night. I’m not very far into it yet but I already have a feeling that it’s going to be a great book. Has anyone else read it? Did you like it?

Sunday was a pretty laid back day. I got a bunch of work done around the house (cleaning bathrooms, dusting, and vacuming) as well as some behind the scenes blogging. It was pretty snowy and cold out so I didn’t even leave the house. I’m so not ready for winter to arrive yet. I want to skip right through to spring.

I spent Monday night with some friends of mine who were in from out of town. There’s a couple of us who have November birthdays so we were able to get together to celebrate them all together. It was a lot of fun catching up and playing card games.

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Friday Favorites: An EBook + Pretty Sunrises

In the usual Friday fashion I’m sharing some of my favorite things today.

The weekend is just about here! I’m pretty excited about that fact. It’s been another busy week for me. It’s a long weekend here in Canada due to Remembrance Day on Monday. While I don’t have any exciting plans for the weekend, I’ll definitely be enjoying the extra day off.

Before I get into my favorite things today, I want to share my gym workout from yesterday morning.

I had a cardio session on the calendar so I spent 35 minutes on the elliptical for some steady state cardio. I finished off my time at the gym with a quick 10 minute cool down on the track. I was in and out of the gym in an hour. I love quick workouts like that.

And now onto some of my favorite things!

I started reading Mrs Everything (affiliate link) by Jennifer Weiner a few days ago. I was drawn into the book from the first few pages when one of the main characters gets a phone call from her doctor with some bad news.

I’ve read a few books by Jennifer Weiner now – Good in Bed (affiliate link) was the last one – and I’ve really enjoyed all of them. She manages to write about some pretty heavy topics without being preachy and keeping the characters relate-able.

Here’s the synopsis from Amazon:

Do we change or does the world change us?

Jo and Bethie Kaufman were born into a world full of promise.

Growing up in 1950s Detroit, they live in a perfect “Dick and Jane” house, where their roles in the family are clearly defined. Jo is the tomboy, the bookish rebel with a passion to make the world more fair; Bethie is the pretty, feminine good girl, a would-be star who enjoys the power her beauty confers and dreams of a traditional life.

But the truth ends up looking different from what the girls imagined. Jo and Bethie survive traumas and tragedies. As their lives unfold against the background of free love and Vietnam, Woodstock and women’s lib, Bethie becomes an adventure-loving wild child who dives headlong into the counterculture and is up for anything (except settling down). Meanwhile, Jo becomes a proper young mother in Connecticut, a witness to the changing world instead of a participant. Neither woman inhabits the world she dreams of, nor has a life that feels authentic or brings her joy. Is it too late for the women to finally stake a claim on happily ever after?

In her most ambitious novel yet, Jennifer Weiner tells a story of two sisters who, with their different dreams and different paths, offer answers to the question: How should a woman be in the world?

Another favorite of mine from this week was tacos! I made them one night for dinner and they tasted extra good. I browned some ground beef on the stove, added some taco seasoning, and then topped it with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, and tomatoes.

I ended up breaking the hard taco shells into smaller pieces and scooping up bites of the taco meat. I don’t know why they tasted so good – I used the same recipe that I usually do – but they were just really really good.

Yesterday as I was doing my cool down at the gym I got a peak of a gorgeous sunrise out of one of the windows. I figured I wouldn’t be done in time to really take it in, but I was pleasantly surprised when I made it to my car.

The last little bit of the sunrise lit up the sky in pink. I’m sure it looked really pretty on the other side of the building (that’s where the window was where I saw the pretty sky a few minutes earlier), but I thought it was still beautiful with the view that I got.

The days are definitely feeling shorter these days, which means that it’s dark when I leave the house for the gym in the mornings and it’s usually dark by the time I’m eating dinner at night. Being able to take in the tail end of pretty sunrise was just what I needed.

What’s a favorite thing of yours from the past week? Leave a comment below telling me about it.

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Cute Clothes: November 2019

Today I’m sharing some cute clothes that I’ve found online.

When it starts to get colder and the days get shorter I’m all about the warm cozy layers and darker colors – which is definitely reflected in the pieces I’m sharing today. I’m all about layering. I’m always cold (especially my hands and feet), so I’d rather have to take a layer or two off rather than wishing I had a sweater to put on.

I love the look of this sweater (affiliate link) from Banana Republic – not only would it keep me warm but I love the look of the stripes. I think they make it look a bit more put together.

Speaking of sweaters, I love the cables and buttons on this one (affiliate link) from the Gap.

It would look cute with a pair of jeans and like in the photo above and some booties. I can see it being the perfect outfit for a cold winter day.

On the work front, I’m really liking the look of this blue velvet blazer (affiliate link). It’s professional but still adds a little bit of style and interest. It would be super cute with a button down shirt and a skirt.

Green is one of my favorite colors to wear (it looks really good on me with my dirty blonde hair and fair skin), so when I saw this shirt (affiliate link), I instantly knew that I wanted to include it in today’s post.

I love the pleats in the front, the gathers at the wrists, the open collar, and of course the color. It would be really cute with an a line black skirt and a blazer.

Because not everything can be dark during the fall, I wanted to add a bit of color to the clothes I included in this post with this shirt.

This top (affiliate link) from Loft would be really cute with a pair of skinny jeans. Top if off with a pair of booties and a barbour jacket and that would be a super cute outfit.

I’m usually not one to like animal prints all that much, but this sweater (affiliate link) would be so perfect for a cozy day at home on the couch or a laid back Sunday morning at the coffee shop with the newspaper.

On those cooler fall days when you just want to be cozy, this vest (affiliate link) from Patagonia would do the trick. As with anything from Patagonia, it’s definitely an investment, but I could see myself getting a lot of wear out of it with all the cold weather we get here in the fall and winter.

I have a very similar pullover to this one (affiliate link) and I absolutely love it. You can see the one that I have here. This blue/green one is actually on sale right now so if you’ve been thinking of getting something similar, take advantage of the lower price.

I’m all about the warm winter coats (we have a lot of winter here in Calgary), so I’m always attracted to the longer coats will keep me extra warm with it’s windy and snowy outside.

This one (affiliate link) from Banana Republic has that classic look to it that I really like. Plus it’s a navy blue instead of black which helps to add a little bit of color to my winter wardrobe.

I’m one of those people who prefers comfort over looks when it comes to shoes, and these booties (affiliate link) look like they’d be both comfy and cute with that low heel. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a pair of uncomfortable shoes for an entire day when I’m out.

They’re another thing that’s on sale right now, so if you’re looking for a pair of water resistant booties, it would definitely be worth it to have a look at them.

Do you have any go to fall/winter pieces that you love? I’m all about the layering pieces that I can add warmth to my outfits if I need it.

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HIIT Workout

Today I’m sharing a full body HIIT workout.

Yesterday was a rest day for me, so I won’t be sharing how I spent my time at the gym because I wasn’t there! It felt really good to be able to sleep in and I felt more rested than I have in a couple weeks. I must have needed the sleep.

Today’s workout is perfect for when you get to the gym and aren’t sure what you feel like doing. It combines strength training and cardio and works your entire body.

If you’re not into a HIIT workout today, you can find all of the workouts that I’ve shared on Get Fit Fiona on my workouts page. They’re all categorized so that it’s easy to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Starting with the push ups at the top of the list, you’ll do each exercise for 30 seconds and then rest for 30 seconds before moving onto the next exercise. Rest as much as you need once you get to the bottom of the list of exercises. Start again at the top doing the same thing. Complete a total of 4 times through for a full workout. I’ve added descriptions for all of the exercises just in case you need a refresher on any of them.

This workout can also be done at home of you’re not able to make it to the gym or don’t have access to a gym. All you need are a few pieces of equipment like dumbbells (affiliate link), something sturdy to hold onto for the bench hops, and a yoga mat (affiliate link) is nice to have for the planks and crunches.

Push ups

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.

Bench hops

With your hands on top of a bench, stand on one side of it. Hop your feet to the other side while keeping your hands on the bench for support. Repeat by hopping to the other side of the bench and returning to the original position.

Bicycle crunches

Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. With your hands behind your head and elbows out to the side, bring your feet off the floor so that your shins are parallel to the floor and your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle. Bring your shoulder blades off the floor and alternate bringing your left elbow towards your right knee, and your right elbow towards your left knee. Your feet should look like they’re pedaling a bike.

Overhead 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. 

Dumbbell squat

With feet hip width apart and dumbbells in your hands at your sides, use the glutes to lower your hips back and down while bending at the knees and ankles. Once you’ve reached the lowest position you can without leaning forward too much or letting the knees collapse in, return to a standing position, again using your glutes to propel yourself.

Plank

The plank is very similar to the starting position of a pushup. Your hands are slightly wider than shoulder width, and your body is a straight line from your head, through your shoulders, hips, and knees, to your heels. Just like with the pushup, if you need an easier modification, use your knees instead of your toes.

Bicep curls

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.

Alternating lunges

Stand with feet hip width apart. Step forward with one foot so that the front leg’s thigh is parallel to the ground, and the back leg’s shin is parallel to the ground. The back knee shouldn’t touch the floor. Use your quads and glutes to step the front foot back towards your back foot and end by standing straight up with feet hip width apart again. For the second lunge step forward with the other foot. Continue alternating legs for the entire 30 seconds.

Crunches

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feel flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head. Slowly lift your shoulder blades off the floor. Make sure your neck stays in a neutral position. The upper back should be moving, not the neck. Slowly lay back down on the floor.

Tricep extensions

Laying on your back on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand, move your arms so that they are straight up above your shoulders. Bending at the elbow, bring the dumbbells towards each side of your head and then return to the starting position.

Skaters

With your knees slightly bent, jump to the right and land on your right leg with your left leg bent behind you with your foot just off the ground. Keep your left foot off the ground. Pushing off with your right foot, jump to the left and land on your left foot, keeping your right leg bent and right foot off the ground behind you.

Side plank

To perform a side plank, lay on your side with your elbow beneath your shoulder and your forearm on the ground. With your top foot stacked on top of your bottom foot, lift your hips off the floor so that your shoulders, hips, knees, and feet are in a straight line.

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

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