Thinking Out Loud: I’m Possessed

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I had the best meal of my life last weekend. A beet burger from Communitea, which is one of my favourite lunch spots in Canmore. Their menu is centred on healthy, plant based dishes and I’m currently on a mission to try everything.  Generally, veggie burgers aren’t worth getting excited about – they usually taste like nothing! I’d yet to try a one that didn’t leave me saying, “Well  for a veggie burger, it’s allright… I guess?”… as a single tear slowly trickled down my cheek.

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NOT THIS ONE. Oh no…  The Upbeet burger is fantastic.  Since it was such a beautiful day, I opted for take out so I could enjoy my lunch in the sun.  As I was about to take my first bite, a little old lady sat down next to me and said, “My goodness! What is THAT? It looks delicious. Do you mind if I sit with you?”

“I’d love it if you sat with me!”

She pulled a bag of cookies out of her purse and offered one to me, then asked what I was “doing with my life in Canmore”. I quickly briefed her: “Well, I landed a dream job in one of my dream locations, so I guess you could say I’m building something amazing here.”  She patted my arm and said, “Good for you sweetheart, good for you.”

What a sweet soul. Don’t you love that?

Back to my burger. I miss it, and really want another one but I can’t. Not until I’ve tried everything on the menu. I’ve already decided I’m ordering pad thai next time.

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I bought new  kicks to use on the trails. They’re not technically trail shoes, but I think they’ll do.  Truthfully, I don’t really buy into all of the ‘bells and whistles’ running shoes claim to offer. I find that I’m able to avoid a lot of common running injuries by wearing a minimalist shoe. If I can feel the connection with the ground, it doesn’t affect my natural gait. But I need something with a bit more shock absorption for when I’m running up mountains and dodging tree roots and boulders with a cougar on my back.

I discovered my feet are small enough to fit into a size US Youth 6, which saved me about $60. Yay!

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I wore them to the gym the other day. You know what’s awesome? A man entered the gym while I was working out and I could tell just by his choice of footwear that he was going to start WOD’ing. And he did. He was wearing those Crossfit Reebok booty things. Whatever they’re called. I don’t know, I’m not Rich Froning.

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You know what else is awesome? I failed to notice that the (squiggly!!) barbell I was using didn’t have clamps securing the plates in place, and when hoisted it onto my back, plates flew in either direction. I’m amazing.  I seem to cause a path of destruction everywhere I go. It’s a gift, really.

Lately, one of my favourite pastimes is chillin’ at the Bow River near my house. It’s a quick two minute walk from my backdoor, through the trees, to a small sandy beach. I sat out there for two hours on Sunday afternoon daydreaming, collecting rocks and wandering around. I’d like to have a picnic down there soon. With a non-tree, non-cake, real life friend. Maybe this weekend. My Easter plans are all up in the air right now.

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AHHH it’s so beautiful. Heart can’t handle it. Even if I don’t have a friend to picnic with, I plan on spending Easter Sunday there walking around barefoot and eating Mini Eggs.

Remember how I was saying I gained some weight because I was eating too much sugar? I was doing really well with eating ‘mostly’ clean, but then Easter week arrived  with PMS and I’m out of control again. It seems like every time I turn around one of my favourite desserts is taunting me. Chocolate cake, brownies, butter tarts, blondies… SIGH. And I have zero willpower, nor do I really want to.  Seriously though – it needs to stop. I mean it this time! (Not really.)  I’ve been getting raging headaches and what feels like an ulcer in my stomach.

Look what sugar made me say:

Me: “Hey your PO is signed! Come get it! Bring mini eggs!”
Coworker: “But I thought you hate having candy in the office?”
Me: “I do, but it’s Easter week and I love chocolate!”

Ten minutes later, these were in my greedy little hands:

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I’m possessed by a sugar demon. See those boxes in the background? They’re filled with TRUFFLES.

An Easter miracle occurred. The WIFI at my condo is working again and now I can catch up on everything I’ve missed for the past couple months.  I’m binge watching Vanderpump Rules. New weekend plan: catch up on my stories.

There is a Jax lookalike who works at crazy weed here in Canmore. Yep. Jen and I looked at each other and at the same time said, “Do you watch Vanderpump Rules?”

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Thanks to Amanda for hosting the Thinking Out Loud linkup/party/random ramblings!  I can’t believe she’s on TOL #74. I lost count after 5. 

How should I exorcise the demon? Please don’t say a juice cleanse. That’ll make it worse. I’m certain I’ve already given myself type-2 diabetes. I’m thinking a raw-vegan-paleo life cleanse would be ideal?

What are you doing for Easter? I need to make a quick overnight trip home to visit my family – Luke Skywalker has arrived and I want to squish him!  Plus I gotta pick up my bikes, bird, spring clothes and a box of goodies North Coast Naturals sent me! (I don’t have a real address yet – I live in the woods.)

 What TV shows do you binge watch? Do you like Vanderpump Rules? 

Why Are We Even Alive

I’m having a dance party at my table in Starbucks right now. I love this track so much! Play it, then proceed with reading this blog post, please.

I’m sure you’ve seen the Buzzfeed article, “75 Thought Every Runner Has While Out For A Run“, hey?

What a beautiful day for a run!
This sucks.
Honestly, I don’t even like running. 
Why do I even run? 
Why does anyone even run?
Why are we even alive?

That happened to me on Friday! It was one of the worst running experiences I’ve endured. The first mistake I made was wearing shorts. In the Rockies. During spring. I keep forgetting how dramatically the weather can change in such a short period of time. Five minutes into my run, a bunch of dark stormy clouds rolled in and the wind began picking up. My gut said, “You should turn back”, but my ego said, “Keep going, bitch!” So I did. Haha. That was my second mistake. By the time I made it to the bottom of a steep hill, my legs were numb, calf was cramping and I was in the midst of a full on blizzard. Wearing shorts. I am such an idiot. I had to jog/walk/limp back to the top with my tail between my legs. I was so angry! Mostly because as soon as I pulled out of the parking garage to head home, the snow had stopped and the sun was coming back out. WHY UNIVERSE, WHY.

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So yeah. That was my Friday night. How was yours? Aside from that little incident, mine was pretty good. I was in the mood for some alone-quiet time and decided to go grocery shopping. Save On Foods just opened in Canmore and I couldn’t be more excited!  I went straight to the grocery store in my soggy running gear, covered in kale chip dust and I fit right in with the crowd. Nearly everyone I saw was wearing fit gear and they were all crowding around the produce and tofu.

I love everyone here so much. The friends I’ve been making are hilarious and super random/all over the place – just like me!

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HAHAHA. “I like berries.”

Anyways. My grocery haul:

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Nothing interesting. Mostly veg, fruit and Dave’s Killer Bread. (!!!)

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I had a slice on Saturday morning with my coffee and it was gooooood. Buy some! I’d heard about this stuff before and was excited to find it here in my little rocky mountain town.  Omg, I know – gluten poisoning, right? Should I call the poison control centre?

Over the years, I’ve realized that whenever I’ve dealt with gut health issues or food intolerances, it was due to:

-Lack of variety. I’d eat the same things day after day and then wonder why I had a headache and sad intestines. Eating 3-4 eggs a day, bread, pasta and jars of peanut butter will do that! (Man, I am such a dumb ass sometimes!)

-STRESS: feeling unfilled, unhappy and scared. I’ve talked a little bit about battling IBS in the past, but to give a quick recap: everything I ate upset my stomach, I lost a lot of weight, my hair was falling out (even my eyelashes), my teeth hurt and mouth was filled with canker sores, and I was so exhausted I could hardly function. I now believe (and accept) the source of it was deep emotional and spiritual pain. I had gotten myself into situations I knew weren’t for me and I was functioning from a place of denial and fear.

At a Dr’s appointment, I remember saying, “I don’t know why this is happening – I’m doing everything right in terms of healthy eating.” My Dr. responded with, “Yeah, but are you happy?” And then I burst into tears because I knew I had put an end to my bullshit. Salad wasn’t going to save me – I was my only redemption.

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This pains me to reflect on and talk about, but I feel as though it’s necessary. Our stories and lessons are meant to be shared! By doing so, we strengthen ourselves and each other. I know this is true because once I started practicing it, I began attracting all sorts of unique people into my life and witnessed us uniting and strengthening each other. We learn by teaching.
Honesty and transparency isn’t frightening. On the surface, it can appear that way, but once you’re in it, this radical shift happens and you begin operating from a place of authenticity and joy.

That being said, I still get freaked out from time to time. But it no longer paralyzes me because I’m able to detach myself from it. All of those weird, seemingly scary, peripheral distractions don’t exist. It’s just my brain trying to protect me. Poor little thing!

I was totally planning on talking about which foods make me bloated and then THAT happened. (Eggplant and bell peppers, by the way.)

I watched Wolf of Wall Street over the weekend and died several times from laughing. Have you seen it?! It’s so good. I hate most movies, so that says a lot. Plus…. Leo. I once dated a guy who looked nearly identical to him.

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“Who the !@$% thinks they can just call here on a Tuesday night?!” <– New favourite line. Stealing it. Adding it to my vocabulary.

Sunday’s run was much better. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and I had the path to myself. No other runners got in my way. Just semi trucks and Range Rovers.  I did an easy 6 miles.

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Yep. I was also singing along to CLMD. Serenading oncoming traffic.   “Wonder if you miss me, just like I’ve been missing you…I got the Stockholm Syndrome… everywhere I turn I see places where we fell in love.. I got the Stockholm Syndrome!!!”  That song always gets me fired up. You’re welcome, Kananaskis.

I have more to talk about but I’m bored and I’m sure you’re bored too so I’ll save the rest for later in the week.

What are your top 3 POWER songs? …. Or just songs you like.

What’s the best movie you’ve seen recently? 

Have you tried Happy Planet soup? Which one is your fav? I’m loving the new-to-me pea flavour. It has mint in it and tastes like spring!

A Day in the Life

Now that I’m all settled into my new life routine I thought it would be extremely boring fun to do a ‘day in the life’ post based on a typical work day. I know I make it seem as though I spend my days wrangling herds of elk and grizzlies, but no.

5:00 – 5:30am: Alarm goes off, COFFEE, change into gym gear, lay out my work clothes. Chug a glass of water and take some vitamins.

5:30-6: I spend 20 minutes doing some light, mindless cardio on an elliptical. I like incorporating a bit of of exercise before sitting at a desk all day. Otherwise I become ragey.  I finished off with weighted squats and lunges, then sprinted a couple laps around my parkade as a metabolic finisher. Don’t you just love that term? I  want to say it all day. METABOLIC FINISHER. Rawr!

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6:00-7:30 am: Shower, do all of my lady things (hair, makeup, write in my diary, sing a song, cry) pack up my laptop, purse and blend a smoothie.

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7:35am – Leave my condo and walk up the road to meet my coworkers (we carpool). During my walk, I’m in a state of pure bliss and can’t stop smiling. Robins are singing, the sun is beaming on my face and I try absorb every little detail.

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7:45-8:20 – Driving. I usually listen to a podcast (Fat Burning Man or Tiesto’s Club Life) on the way to work.

8:30am – Turn on my computer, start checking emails. Have you noticed how I don’t talk about my job? It’s because I don’t want to be murdered by an internet psychopath. But, I will say that I work in the tourism/hospitality industry… as most of us do in the Rockies.

9:00 – 9:30 – Meeting

9:30-12pm – Back at my desk planning out my day, responding to emails and other work-related stuff. Fuelled by an Americano.

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12:00-12:20- Eat a really quick lunch. An ancestral health salad topped with fries. Yeah I did.

12:20-2:45 – Emails, a meeting and fighting with a fax machine. Why do fax machines still exist. 

2:45-3:00 – Break time. I usually meet up with a friend for an afternoon walk.  I passed them my phone and said, “I’m going to awkwardly stand here on this bridge and you’re going to take a photo of me, okay?!”  I almost told them I was writing a day in the life post, but decided against it because they already think I’m a lunatic.

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I don’t know how to pose for photos. I never know what to do with my hands. Or my legs. Or my face. 

3:00-5:00pm – I spend the rest of the day building a content calendar and organizing corporate donation requests.

5:05pm: HOME TIME

6:00 – Pitstop at Safeway for a few essentials: Greek yogurt, Marys jalapeño crackers  (which taste exactly like the regular ones. Is it just me or are they weird tasting? I don’t think I like ‘em but feel as though I should eat them because they’re somewhat “healthy”) frozen mango, hummus, kale, avocados.

I eat so much hummus.

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6:45pm – Arrive home, feeling cranky and tired. It was warm, calm and drizzling outside and I decide to go for a run to re-energize myself. I absolutely ADORE running in the rain AND I wore a tank top! Wahoo!!! It snowed the next day.

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I found a really great multi-lane running path. I think it’s called the Trans Canada highway. MORE HILLS. Baby ones, though. I keep reminding myself hills are speed work in disguise. Soon my precious legs, soon.

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7:30- Turn on the Mindy Project, contemplate what to make for dinner. I probably “should” make some vegetables and fish, but what I really want is cereal, peanut butter and yogurt, so I go with that. I already ate a french fry salad earlier, so that’s good enough. Ha!

I hate digesting complex foods after a hard run and prefer to keep things simple – like yogurt bowls or smoothies. Or wine.

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8:30-9- Shower, get into bed and resume reading Sarah Jio’s latest book. Pass out 10 minutes later – I fall asleep with a book in my hand almost every night.

There you have it. My life. I’m boring. Send help.

What does a typical weekday look like for you?

What are your plans for this weekend?! Anything in particular you’re looking forward to?  I’m just gonna wing it – I have running gear and wine packed in my gym bag. Always prepared.

 

WIAW: Gluttony. Pure Gluttony

Hiya friends! Happy Wednesday.  How’s your week going? I’ve been awake since 4am and I’m not even tired. Kill me, please.

As promised, here’s my What I Ate Wednesday contribution with a recap of my VIP feast from last weekend.


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It’s been five days and I think I’m still full. I was warned that after a night out at this particular restaurant, I’d need three months to recover and I believe it.

Let’s get to it!

We started out with tequila martinis with a splash of pineapple.   I love tequila! I’m on a mission to change peoples minds about it. Everyone “thinks” they hate it and they’re wrong. They’ve just had bad tequila.

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Next up, appetizers:

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- Seared foie gras with huckleberry syrup, brioche toast, port glaze, fig dressing and mache
- Dungeness crab bisque: west coast crab and scallop mousse, finished with lemon oil
- Heirloom tomato soup: vine ripe tomatoes, fireweed honey, cheddar toast and truffle oil

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The tomato soup was by far, my favourite of the three. The cheese toast was the best part!

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- Venison chop with local berry glaze, potato, asparagus and carrots

I should mention that we started off with bread, too. Then opened a bottle of wine. And champagne.

Oh, the champagne!!  The best part/highlight of my life.  I GOT TO SABER THE BOTTLE. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited for anything before.

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It was so awesome.

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Cheers to Friday!

By the time our entrees arrived, we were already full. Remind me to starve myself for six weeks prior to my next visit.

Our server Ashley said the lamb was her favourite, so that was my selection.

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- Innisfail rack of lamb with birch syrup glaze, roasted cipolinni, potato. I couldn’t finish it because my face was all up in a truffle mac and cheese side dish.

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It’s made with blue cheese, cheddar, parmesan and truffle oil and was SO incredibly rich that I needed a five minute break between bites. Whipped herbed potatoes accompanied it. This was my favourite dish of the night. I think. No wait, the soup. I can’t decide. MAC AND CHEESE, final answer.

By this point, we were all moaning and groaning. The restaurant even had the nerve to serve us macarons AFTER we passed on dessert. Thank God I wore stretchy pants.

And then the liquor cart arrived at our table.

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So yes, it’s safe to say I’m still full.

Now I’m back to strictly eating this:

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And this:

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Just kidding. I totally ate M&Ms and fries yesterday. The heart wants what the heart wants.

When’s the last time you went all out at a restaurant?

What’s one of your most memorable dining experiences?  I’d have to say Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion in Poipu, Kauai was mind-blowing. Green curry scallops, melting hot chocolate soufflé… it’s been four years and I’m still dreaming about it!  Or that time I went to Dick’s in Las Vegas where they’re intentionally rude to you.

Lately: Squats, Lunges & Cake

I made a new running frenemy. The hills on this one weren’t too bad – a few rollers, and to my dismay, the descent was at the beginning. At least it gave me enough time to warm up so I didn’t completely die on the way back up.

Check out this altitude. 5000 feet, homies.

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Adjusting to this elevation is extremely difficult.  I’m so slow! But… I keep reminding myself that in order to run faster you initially have to run slower.  I’ve also noticed mountain running makes my feet, legs and hands swell. It’s the strangest thing. I should probably look at getting some compression sleeves.

The view during my run…

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To make it official, I took a sweaty car selfie afterwards. DISCLAIMER/TWO THINGS:

-I love how my yoga mat made it in there (#HealthyLivingProps)

-The filter wasn’t intentional and now I’m a lovely shade of yellowish-green.  I don’t know what happened? Since when does iPhone have built in Instagram filters. And why didn’t the filter give me Instagram muscles.

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Moving along… funny story story time. In my last post I mentioned I’m proud of my butt. The same day it was published, a few lady coworkers asked me for some advice: “Hey. You have an ass. How’d you get it?”

“Squats, lunges and cake.” There’s my #HealthyTip of the day. You’re welcome.  That was also the day I learned KananASSkis is a real thing.

Later on, I sent a message to a coworker asking how they were doing and received this response:

I’m experiencing #HRFury
#HRage
#JOANNA
Jana
I’m just going to call you Jana from now on
Jobanana
Jerana
Jergana 
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I don’t know what it means, but I approve!  Please tell me you and your coworkers behave on a similar level. Or do I just attract weirdness wherever I go?

To balance out all of the running and bicep curls I’ve been doing, I went for a full out FEAST on Friday night. And I don’t mean I went wild and ordered extra guacamole on a salad (#LivingOnTheEdge) I’m talking a five hour multi-course EVENT. We opened and closed the restaurant?

Guys. I cannot even begin to describe how amazing it was.   I’ll recap it later this week for What I Ate Wednesday. Do you like how I got us all fired up for a fantastic food story, only to disappoint?

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I had an 8 miler planned for Saturday morning but things went sideways 2.5 miles in when a friend invited me to go hiking.

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As much as I love running, hiking has always been my #1 true love, so I ditched it.  To the back country at once!

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My afternoon was filled with walking, swapping stories, Ted Talks, vodka, nachos and new friends. I’ve been meeting so many unique, interesting, FUN people here in Kananaskis. It’s a perfect fit for my wild spirit.

Tell me about your weekend! What did you get up to? 

What’s the best restaurant meal you’ve recently enjoyed? 

What’s the last stereotypical HLB thing you did? (I’m writing this at Starbucks right now)

Thinking Out Loud #… I don’t know

I intended on publishing this post yesterday, but once again, my condo’s WIFI is ruining my life. Oh well. At least I get to participate in Amanada’s Thinking Out Loud linkup today. It’s the best blogger linkup in all of the land.

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One of my favourite wellness books is Journey to the Heart by Melodie Beatty.

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It’s a collection of {daily} thoughtful insights on spirituality, personal growth and resilience. It’s one of those books that speaks to you differently each time you read it.  I can’t stop thinking about something that jumped out at me a few days ago:

“All persons are free to have the experiences their souls lead them to. Many of us started our journey by having the experiences others thought we should. Some of us tried to dictate the lessons and adventures of others too. This caused pain and confusion for all. Learning those lessons, the lessons of setting each other free become an important part of our journey. 

Pack your bags. Get out your map. Don’t worry about where you’ll go or what you’ll see. Go where your heart leads. Your soul knows the way. It will speak quietly through the voice of your heart, your wisdom, your intuition. You will meet and learn from everyone you need to along the way…”

Huh. That’s something, isn’t it? This really clicked with me because I’m still holding onto some guilty feelings for pursuing the life I wanted. Feelings that I’m not completely deserving, or that “I’m a bad person” because I’ve caused some broken hearts along the way.  It seems like if we’re  willing to being open, honest and fearlessly standing in our truth, it should be relatively painless, right? I’ve tried to rationalize it many, many times and it doesn’t make sense. This leaves me no other choice to but let it go and continue trusting my instincts.

Wanna know something? I’m really proud of my rounded shoulders and strong back. I’m sure you’ve noticed I rarely post photos of myself, and it’s because I don’t want to come across as conceited or completely self-absorbed. (Even though I am. KIDDING.)  Does that make sense?
But, today I’m flaunting it!

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I’m proud of my butt too, and don’t expect to see that on LMG anytime soon.  Ps. All of the cake I’ve been eating lives on my hips.

Yesterday was 20% off at the grocery stores and I stocked up on a few items at Safeway and the health food place. The stores here seem to cater to all of us crazy health nuts.  Case in point: I’m in Starbucks right now, and the middle aged couple at the table next to me are eating Quest bars.

Here’s what I picked up at Safeway:

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Udi’s frozen pizza x2, raw cheese, lemon hummus, Kicking Horse coffee x2, acai juice, Happy Planet coconut pineapple smoothie  (both of those are for my smoothies), Cholula, frozen fruit blend, salmon and butternut squash soup.

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Spinach, kale, bananas, avocados and tomatos. It is definitely not hard to come by organic produce in Canmore.

My health food store goodies:


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One of each flavour of Rise kombucha, apple cider vinegar, eggs, green leaf lettuce, Miracle Noodles, tempeh burgers and almond grain burgers.

There was a lineup at the kombucha fridge! I think I’ve found my tribe? 

Can I just say how nice it is to walk out of the store and be greeted by this view? Oh man. I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of it. 

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Or this sunset from your bedroom?

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I just realized that I can’t remember the last time I heard a car alarm. If I get woken up in the middle of the night, it’s due to a pack of coyotes or an owl.

I’ve been in the gym every morning this week at 5:15am and I feel like I have a much more productive day because of it. I can’t wait until summer when I can get up and go trail running with a pack of wolves at 5am.  Is that Paleo?  Yesterday I walked through my neighbourhood eating a piece of tenderloin with my bare hands. Was that Paleo, too?

Arman. Remember that time I messaged you asking if the mould in my peanut butter jar was Paleo? And you said yes, so I ate it?

What’s one of your favourite ‘soul food’ books?

What body part(s) are you most proud of?

What’s your favourite grocery store? Whole Foods doesn’t count.


Loving Lately: Food Edition

Hey hey,

This post is coming to you from Starbucks! God, I’ve always wanted to say that. And to write a blog post from Starbucks like all of the other healthy-living bloggers.  I didn’t order a fancy latte,  Naked juice or an egg white wrap, though. Am I still in the club?

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Zen green tea! I don’t know what it is about Starbucks coffee, but it makes me feel awful. Erodes my stomach and gives me a headache.

I’m in the mood to talk about food today. I feel a “spring” shift happening in my diet and what I’m craving. Lately, I’ve been gravitating towards cake pops lighter, raw meals. Lots of fresh fruit, veggies, salads and weird smoothie combos.  During the winter, I ate so many heavy, warming foods such as beef, elk, bison, dark meat poultry, potatoes, squash and I’m sick of it!

Some recent eats in rotation/making my heart sing:

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The ‘Mega Bowl’ salad from Communitea. Spinach, kale, sprouts, cucumber, bell pepper, shredded beets and carrots, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, hummus, quinoa, avocado and smoked salmon with garlicky tahini dressing. I love meals filled with lots of colour, flavour and textures. High vibrational food. Yes I just said that.

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Fruit, coconut milk and Nature’s Path Qia cereal (chia, buckwheat & hemp)

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Happy Planet extreme green juice and coconut water (instead of almond milk) in my green smoothies. I never buy juice, but this stuff was on sale at Safeway last week so I picked up a bottle. It’ll probably last me a year.

It has all kinds of fun green stuff in it:

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It’s waaaaaay too sweet to drink on it’s own (major sugar burn) but I add about 1/4 cup of it to my green blends to take the edge off all the kale.

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This interesting blend had carrot in it. I started with a base of spinach and kale, then added 1/4 of a Haas avocado, a large carrot, frozen mango & cherries, Happy Planet juice, chia seeds and ice. I thought it would taste awful, but loved it. Tart and sweet.

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Snack plates. One of my favourite ways to bond with friends is over food and wine. This spread featured cucumbers, carrots, pickles, marinated artichokes and mushrooms, stuffed grape leaves (MY FAV), cheese, crackers, pita bread, hummus and chicken. And wine! So much wine. Ummm… and a few cigarillos here and there.

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{I don’t know why my friends hate me?} #GlutenFree #Vegan muffins using a bunch of overripe bananas. I didn’t follow a recipe. I mixed Bob’s all purpose GF flour with rolled oats, pureed bananas, ‘chia eggs’, coconut milk, peanut butter, cinnamon, baking soda/powder and salt.

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#GrainFree #Vegan cookie dough bites made by one of my coworkers. I ate three before 8am the other day.  I feel like I’m among great company knowing I’m not the only one making desserts out of chickpeas, almond butter and raw chocolate. :D

Speaking of coworkers, I made someone vow to kill me if they see me jumping back into the latte and cake pop black hole again. I said something along the lines of, “I’m eating too many cake pops and now I’m getting fat. It needs to stop. Halp.”

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Ha. But seriously. I’m always up for a challenge.

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Rise kombucha. AHHHH. I don’t know why I waited so long to make the switch to this brand. I’m obsessed. Don’t let me forget the health food store is having a 20% off sale on Tuesday.

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I’m finally in the mood to stock my fridge with food and start cooking again. Veggies, hummus, eggs and kombucha. All the essentials, right?  The door of the fridge is primarily alcohol. ;) When I’m done at Starbucks, I’m going home to chop veggies and cook up batches of quinoa and lentils so I can eat a huge Communitea-inspired salad for dinner every night.

What kinds of foods have you been craving lately? Does your diet change with the seasons? 

Have you/do you blog from Starbucks?

Is it spring where you live yet? Here, it keeps snowing every 10 mins and I might die.

How To Motivate Yourself to Workout…. or not….

Ahh! It’s Friday and I couldn’t be more excited! I set my alarm for 5am this morning so I could workout, but decided to drink coffee and chat with you guys instead. My excuses are:

  • My lower back is incredibly sore from doing deadlifts on Wednesday night. A month without Bodypump will do that do you.
  • I’m lazy
  • It’s Friday

I even slept in my sports bra and running shorts so that I could basically get up and go. Instead? I changed into my flannel pajamas as soon as I got up. Hahaha. This is the worst “healthy living” blog in all of the land.

Here’s what’s happening this weekend:

My best friend Ryan is coming up from my hometown to stay with me.  I foresee a weekend of lounging in our PJ’s, going for walks with our arms linked together, drinking green juice from Mountain Juice Bar, girl chats and… wine.

I’m making friends!  Arman was so kind to check up on me the other day…

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Trees, cake and Starbucks staff aside, YES. I’ve been bonding with some other young professionals from work. We’re getting together tonight for drinks and food.  This is the first weekend I’ve able to join in on the fun… I’ve been too busy getting settled.   I’m delighted to finally be making local friends, though.  It feels good.

I joined a group for a walk in the forest a few days ago.  We should’ve worn snowshoes. I fell into some waist deep snowbanks and was laughing so hard I struggled to get out. It wasn’t pretty. I was flailing around like a drunken rag doll.

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Okay, one more!

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I love it here. The mountains have always been a source of power and healing to me.  I’ve noticed that my new friends are a lot like me too. (I think certain places attract specific types of people.) We’re dedicated to our careers, but it’s equally important to love the environment we’re in and to get outside and play as much as possible.  There are two types of ‘young’ people I’ve met: those who are temporarily working before they move onto their next adventure, and some of us who are creating a life  in the Rockies. I’m definitely in the latter group.    (I’d pack up and move to Hawaii in a heartbeat, though. I like the heat!)

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I need some chapstick. And a tan. And a haircut.

Earlier this week, I learned how to fend off a cougar should one attack me. The learning session was mostly about how to prevent such occurrences from happening (ie. don’t go hiking alone) but I kind of perceived it as a challenge. I mean, it would be such a great workout. Cougar wrestling in the forest? How can I make this happen.   Remember that time I used Lex (my cat) to do shoulder presses?

What’s on your agenda for the weekend? 

As you get older, do you find it increasingly difficult to make friends? I think it’s easy to meet people, but I only want to be friends with people that I can establish meaningful connections with.

What was the last workout you did? 

I Might Die.

UUUGGGGH. Let me introduce you to my newest frienemy: THE DEATH HILL.

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This, my friends, is the pre-training run I’ve been doing 3-4 times a week before I start logging distance miles in preparation for race season.  My plan is to ease back into endurance running for a couple weeks using this route – to build stamina and speed work and then I should be all set for an actual training plan. I actually have no idea what I’m talking about and definitely made that last sentence up. Seems legit though, hey?

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It’s a steady climb to the top with my slowest pace clocked at an astounding 14:26/mile (I was probably walking) and my fastest pace at 6:42. I’m insanely proud of the 14:26 pace – I didn’t think it was possible to be THAT bad.  As much as the incline kills me and I want to destroy Earth in the process, coming back down is exhilarating.

(I don’t know why, but I prefer to track my training in miles instead of kms. What about you?)

I need to get new trail running shoes. Do you have any suggestions? For pavement running I prefer minimalist kicks (Nike Free Runs are my go-to) but now that I’m not running on flat, prairie city streets, I need something with a bit more traction and shock absorption.  I’ve been wearing Asics during my mountain outdoor runs, but they’re inflicting huge water blisters on the balls of my feet.

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What about these?

More importantly, I NEED the world to know I’m a dedicated athlete, so I’m going to embark on a daily Instagram photo shoot featuring pictures of my feet and legs before and after each run. As #Proof. Obviously.    I just remembered the time I sent a photo of my feet to a friend captioned, “I’m training for a 1k”. Hahahaha.

I ate a cupcake! (Small things amuse small minds) A new  bakery opened in Canmore and I accidentally stumbled in there during a walk. It was difficult choosing a flavour, but settled on a vanilla cupcake with burnt caramel buttercream and smoked sea salt.

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I’ve gained a little weight since moving here. For a couple weeks, I was overly excited about the staff caf buffet, cake pops, muffins, fries, pizza and sugary lattes and gained a few lbs. My pants are getting a little tight so I’m making myself ease up on the dessert consumption. Sigh. It was fun while it lasted, though.   A few days ago, someone stopped by my office with a cake pop and said, “This is for you! I heard you like these or something?”  How embarrassing. Now everyone knows about my dirty little secret.

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I feel like I should talk about something healthy now. Lets take a look at a recent Community Natural Foods salad:

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Mixed greens, marinated beets, shredded carrots, curried broccoli & chickpea mix, dolmades & artichokes.

#BALANCE

Cake pops. What do you think of them? Genius or stupid?  

What sweet treat controls your life?

 Name your top 3 salad ingredients (besides lettuce): avocado, beets and  hummus

Observations & Perceptions

Hey! I hope you had a good weekend. I thought today seemed like a good time to update ya’ll on how I’m adjusting to life in the Rockies.

I feel really at home here –  always have. I’ve been saying I want to live in Canmore for years! This didn’t just happen out of nowhere, nor was it an impulsive decision. Something that sets me apart from most is that I don’t openly talk about my goals and dreams… or even myself. I’ve been told that I can be difficult to get to know and understand.  So, I can definitely see why people are shocked when I seemingly come out of nowhere with a huge announcement.  That’s why I appreciate this blog, because it allows me to open up on my terms.

“Who are YOU and where did you come from?!”  - what a coworker said to me the other day. Oh friend, I don’t know if you can handle me.

I don’t need much to thrive. I used to be really focused on eating healthy food and exercising, but I’ve learned nourishing your soul is most important. Nature is essential for my health and wellbeing and this quiet soul of mine needs a sanctuary of trees, mountains, water and fresh air to flourish. I love the hustle and bustle of the city, but THIS is what feels right. At this point in time, anyway. Canmore, Kelowna and Vancouver are my top three Canadian places I could definitely call home.

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The reality that I’m completely  alone has sunk in and I’ve been experiencing mixed emotions.  I don’t have any friends, family (or cats!) to keep me company and I’d be lying if I said this transition was a walk in the park.  Sometimes, waves of panic and uncertainty hit me like a tidal wave and I wonder if I’ve isolated myself ‘too much.’  Or if I’ll be alone forever. I know it’s not true, but that’s how it feels in the moment.  

I’m happy and that frightens me.  I wonder “if” or “when” the rug will pulled out from underneath me. I feel extremely vulnerable. 

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Despite the flood of emotions, I’m confident I’m on the right track to creating the life I’ve always envisioned.  I keep reminding myself that confronting my fears is the only way to take back the control it has over me.  It’s all that icky surface stuff that seems scary, but once you’re in it, you start to realize the “thing” you’re afraid of doesn’t actually exist. It never did.

There aren’t very many fellow young professionals living in the Bow Valley.  Because tourism and hospitality are the primary industries, most youth are here on working visas at the resorts and ski hills.  I’d say most of them are within the 18-25 age bracket.  I’m hoping to connect with people in the 25-35 year old range.  Or even 70-85, because we’d probably have more in common.

My life here isn’t particularly “exciting” or glamorous.  At least not yet. All I do is work. By the time I get home (which is around 7-8pm) I’m so tired that all I want to do is eat dinner, take a hot shower and sleep.  At least I’m finally sleeping! Once my head hits the pillow, I’m out cold.  It’s the mountain air! Nature’s anesthesia.

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When I’m not completely exhausted from the work day, I “try” to sneak in a bit of fitness to boost my energy. I mentioned this last week, but I’m getting back into running. It snowed 20cm the day after my last long run. THIS WINTER HAS BEEN RELENTLESS! Enough already!!!

Before I moved here, I spent so much time in the gym. For a period of time, it was my lifeline…and now?    I’m happy to wander around in the trees.  Wrestle with a cougar. Ride an elk.  Pour myself a cup of coffee and sit in front of my fireplace… which I’m not sure is real.  Don’t laugh!  It gives off heat, but I can’t tell if it’s a real gas flame or some bizarre illusion. (Or I’m an idiot.)

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Rice cakes are $6.

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Almond butter is $93. Even the gross almond butter! (This particular brand is $15 at the health food store.)

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All I can say is, THANK GOD my work feeds me otherwise I’d be bankrupt.

The local Shoppers Drug Mart is THE BEST one I’ve ever set foot in. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much, but my goodness – it was like shopping in Sephora.  (I bought Vaseline and Qtips, don’t get too excited.)

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There are a lot of fancy people who vacation here. As in, celebrity fancy. I hear the grocery store is a good place to spot them, but haven’t seen anyone yet.  Sometimes when I’m in Safeway, I feel as though everyone’s watching me, but it’s because I’m in work clothes and stick out like a sore thumb. The key to blending in is to wear snowboarding gear while you’re running errands.

The local newspaper headlines and stories kill me. I don’t think I can ever go back to reading The Globe & Mail.

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The WIFI at my condo is terrible and that’s why I haven’t been commenting on your blogs. I’m still reading, but your photos and comment section usually don’t load. Don’t be mad at me! Next Saturday, I’m going to set up shop in Starbucks and blog comment bomb all of your blogs. Even more devastating – I can’t stream Netflix and I miss Harvey Specter (from Suits!) SO MUCH. UGH.

What did you do this weekend? 

Have you ever moved away from home? By yourself? Did you feel anxious and panicky at times? How did you cope?