Super late to the party: I Mustache You Some Questions

THIS THING. I was tagged by Sam, Robyn (<– life idol) and Amanda to partake in this little old survey floating around the HLB world so here goes! Just when I thought I couldn’t talk about myself any more…

1. Four names that people call me, other than my real name:

  • Jo Jo – childhood nickname
  • Jo
  • GREGSON! (said in a WHAT HAVE YOU DONE NOW voice)
  • My coworkers have come up with a million ridiculous nicknames for me too: Peanut, Sunshine, The Girl, Hey You, Ding Dong, Spike (wtf?),  Smiley, Jergana, Jobanana… I could go on and on…
2. Four jobs I have had: – I’m going to share all the  gigs from high school through university
  • Kennel tech & then a manager at a pet store
  • Sales & marketing + admin (ex-family business)
  • Client Services Specialist at a financial company
  • Freelance travel/tourism writer & bloggerI know… all over the place. I went to school for tourism management and marketing and then later, holistic nutrition. My #1 passion has always been tourism/travel but my old life in my previous city wasn’t the place for me to develop a career.

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    Old friends/coworkers, December 2013.

3. Four movies I have watched more than once:
  • Almost Famous (my favorite!)
  • Blow
  • Lost in Translation
  • Home Alone & Home Alone 2 (I watch these every Christmas. The second one the best!)
4. Four Books I recommend:
5. Four places I have lived:
  • Lethbridge, AB – hometown
  • Viking, AB – moved there when I was 5
  • Vermilion, AB
  • Canmore, AB (current place of residence)
6. Four Places I have been: I’m gonna go with a city theme, mmkay?
  • Montreal
  • San Francisco
  • Puerto Vallarta
  • Kailua-Kona
7. Four places I would rather be right now:
  • At the beach: surfing, SUP’ing, sunning, reading, drinking margs
  • Hiking or running on a mountain trail
  • Getting a massage
  • In my bed, wearing flannel PJs & reading
8. Four things I don’t eat:
  • Raw onions
  • Tilapia (so, so dirty)
  • BBQ Sauce
  • RIPE, SPECKLY BANANAS! Ugh, I hate them so much.
9. Four of my favourite foods:
  • Burritos, tacos, enchiladas… anything Mexican
  • Guacamole + tortilla chips
  • Sandwiches
  • Dates + almond butter

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10. Four TV Shows I watch:
  • Vanderpump Rules
  • Homeland
  • Real Housewives of OC
  • Girls
11. Four things I am looking forward to next year: (There are so many things on my to-do list I don’t know where to start!)
  • Hiking/back country camping trips throughout Banff & Kananaskis
  • The Banff Marathon (I’ll do a half)
  • *Hopefully* traveling to Central America for a surf/yoga trip, which has been on my travel bucket list for years. My ultimate dream is to take several weeks off to backpack around Central & South America.
  • Weekends filled with snowshoeing adventures & snowboarding
12. Four things I am always saying:
  • I know, right?
  • I’m so grossed out right now
  • OH HEY!
  • How’s your day going?
13. Tag 4 people
If you’ve read this consider yourself tagged, too.

What are you looking forward to about next year? 

Great things always begin from the inside

Look what happened on Sunday!

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Sam met Lauren. Yay! I knew they’d hit it off:  Not only did they both travel west on solo missions, they’re Ontarians (is that the right word?) and went the to the same university. EVERYONE in the Rockies is either from Ontario, Australia or the Philippines. There’s a handful of other countries mixed in there too, but I’d say that’s the majority.  When meeting new people, conversations usually begin with, “Where are you from?”   (It seems as though I’m the only  Albertan, ha!)

I was eating a sandwich at work the other day when I stopped, looked around, began listening to my colleagues and realized I’m no longer phased by hearing multiple conversations occurring in a variety of languages.  It’s such a cool experience.

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Back to our friend date. We fuelled up at Communitea before heading out to do a bit of Christmas shopping and walking. It was nice to reminisce over the summer Lauren and I shared – I sure miss those days!

Lauren: “I loved how we were always planning our next adventure. It was so cool to wake up in the morning and say, what should we do today? Go to Banff?  Hike? Hang out at the lake?”

It was an incredible summer, indeed. The best summer of my life.

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Look at all of those rainbow plant colours! And my latte! Since cutting way back on coffee, I’ve been on an unsweetened almond milk matcha green tea latte kick. What a douche-y mouthful. I hate that so many words were required to describe it.

I really need to pick up some matcha so I can start making my own lattes. At $5 a pop, this is not financially sustainable.

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We spent the remainder of the afternoon walking and chatting about life: everything from who we used to be,  things we’re afraid of, where we’re headed, etc. We tried to describe the effect the mountains have on people.  It’s hard to put the experience into words unless you’ve lived here.  Lauren once said to me, “No matter what happens, as least you have the mountains. They have your back.”  It’s something I remind myself of when faced with a challenging situation or emotions.  The Rockies allow me to feel EVERYTHING: secure, supported, calm, powerful, driven, free, loved, curious, excited…they’re awakening all sorts of things inside me.

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In other news, my weekend travels took me to Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park. It was my first time visiting the canyon and I LOVED it! It’s one of the most popular attractions in Banff and I can see why.

Round trip, the walk to the upper waterfalls took us about an hour. The great thing about visiting in the winter is there’s a lot less people to navigate around and even with the snow, it’s a nice, easy, relaxing walk for all ages and fitness levels.

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We witnessed climbers getting ready to scale the frozen waterfalls. It reminded me that I forgot to add ice climbing to my winter bucket list.  For some reason, rock climbing scares me, but ice climbing doesn’t. Maybe it’s because the idea of tossing a pick into a frozen waterfall excites me. Although, the thought of me in possession with an ice pick is slightly terrifying. I’m sure there is already a law against it.

Around Halloween, I had to carve a pumpkin at work and my boss said, “I heard you’re in possession of a knife. So I’m leaving. Let me know when you’re done and I’ll come back”
There was a lot of uncertainty and legitimate concerns at the time. ‘Is Joanna going to accidentally injure or kill herself?”  “Is she a threat to the people around her?” “Is she an overall threat to society?” “Is this a good idea?” Yes, yes, yes and no.

What was the best part of your weekend?

Have you ever gone rock or ice climbing? Would you?

Holiday Gift Guide for Adventurous/Active Girls!

I’m thoroughly enjoying seeing everyone’s gift guides this holiday season and I want to play along! I don’t have much shopping to do, but I love learning about new-to-me products and brands, particularly when it comes to fitness and health.

Today I’m sharing a wish list/gift idea guide for adventurous, active {mountain} girls!


north face gloves

North Face Etip Gloves ($45)  I need a pair of good quality, WARM, multi-functional gloves. I tried a pair of these on at an outfitters store and they fit like… a glove. (You don’t say…)

womens tremblant boot

Sorel Tremblant Boots. ($120)  Don’t these look amazingly comfy? Very mountain-chic. I’d like a ‘dressier’ boot that actually has some grip. #CanadianProbs

sorel exploreer boot

Sorel Glacy Explorer Boot (On sale $120) Okay, not the most attractive, but these would be great for snowshoeing, hiking through deep snow and generally just preventing frostbite. HI, SANTA I AM A SIZE 6.5.

borealis

North Face Womens Borealis backpack ($100). For mountain hiking adventures, of course.

run swiftly shirt

Lululemon Run Swifty Tech long sleeved crew. ($68)

iphoto

iPhone telephoto & polarizing lens. ($100) I’m CONSTANTLY using my iphone for mountain landscape shots (for work and personal).

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10 Class Pass ($120) to a hot yoga studio. Because a hot retreat does WONDERS for the mind, body and spirit during these long Canadian winters!  My parents gave me one last year and it was by far, my favorite gift. Thanks again, Ma!

 

 

tea

A non-plastic, preferably glass electric  tea kettle ($130, Breville).

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An adult-onesie. DON’T JUDGE ME.

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Yoga mat sling, $32, Manduka I’ve held off on buying a yoga mat carrier because a strap seemed too basic and a duffel bag is too much. This is the perfect balance and I love the storage pocket for things like car keys, debit card, hair elastics, candy….

Stocking Stuffers

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1. NUUN electrolyte tablets, $10
2. Golden Mountain Necklace, $22, etsy
3. White Chocolate Peppermint rooibos tea, $9, Teavana
4. Legendary Coffee Mug, $22, Pendleton

Did you enjoy this? Yes you did.

What’s on your wish list this year? 

I never thought I’d admit this…

I never thought I’d say (or admit!) this, but I’ve been eating oatmeal for breakfast and actually enjoying it.

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Remember back in the day when I used to rant about how much I hated oatmeal? Well, times have changed, my friends. I’m trying to stick to bland foods to prevent my stomach from turning into Dante’s inferno.

I cook 1/4 cup of rolled oats, then stir in a scoop of protein powder (I like Vega Sport or North Coast Naturals whey), unsweetened almond milk, cinnamon, chia seeds and maybe a little fruit or almond butter.  This  bowl packs over 30g of protein and keeps me feeling full and satisfied until lunchtime (most mornings).  I just need to start Instagramming my oatmeal and then my #BasicBitch transformation will be complete.

My new favorite healthy grocery store in Calgary is Mrs. Greens Natural Market. It’s like a smaller Whole Foods, complete with salad bar, deli, bakery, juice & smoothie bar.  I tried a Green Detox juice that was filled with kale, cucumber, parsley, lemon, turmeric… actually, I can’t remember what all was in this. Just veggies. No fruit. It tasted verrrrry plant-y.

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Have you ever tried these? Don’t! I took one bite and screamed bloody murder afterwards. Maybe a slight exaggeration, but it is so, so gross. It tasted like bitter dust.

Apparently I’m a glutton for punishment, because I tried to eat the Banana Cream  bar as a mid-morning work snack and this was the result:

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Bleh. What nightmares are made of. I’m always so confused when horrible tasting things end up on the food market. I have so many questions. How and why did this happen? Who approved this? Why is it so gross?

On a sweeter note, I’m currently in possession of homemade dark chocolate peanut butter cups. HOLLA. (If I’m  being honest, I still like Reese’s PB cups better.)

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Moving on. Do you ever create seasonal bucket lists? After an action-packed summer and fall, I’m compiling a collection of winter-based activities to keep me busy and in shape!

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  • Snowboard once a week (I need to outfit myself with ALL the gear. Insert the crying emoji)
  • Continue attending (at least) one yoga class per week
  • Focus on strength training and building muscle mass
  • Get a membership at Elevation Place in Canmore to use the rock climbing walls and fitness facilities
  • Experience Zoo Lights at the Calgary Zoo
  • Take a weekend trip to Jasper for snowshoeing/snowboarding/R&R
  • Nighttime ice skating under the stars
  • Nighttime snowshoeing during a full moon
  • Bake Christmas cookies
  • Dog sledding (!!!)
  • Enjoy an outdoor bonfire in the forest
  • Tobogganing (I have a particular hill in mind that is notorious for inflicting minor injuries on people. Hey, did you ever have a GT snowracer?)
  • Board game nights with friends + seasonal cocktails and spiked hot chocolate
  • Overnight trips to visit the closest hot springs in BC: Radium & Golden
  • Read at least two books per month
  • Check out Bikram Yoga studios in Calgary (YYC friends – recommendations?)
  • Take a Barre class, run a 5 or 10k and wine & dine with my Alberta BLENDS! (Jen, Ange, Kaella, Sam, Amanda… who else am I missing?)

I think this is enough to keep me busy well into January. If you have a winter to-do list, I’d love to hear what’s on it!

Taking my weekend to new heights

Hey there, Happy Monday!

Remember that time I went on a heli-tour of the Rockies? I did it again this past weekend, but this time I flew with Rockies Heli Canada!

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As someone who lives and works within a tourism industry, I’ve been exposed to a lot of sights and activities within Canmore-Kananaskis-Banff and I’m convinced a heli-tour is THE ultimate adventure.  The only downside is, it’s expensive. But  so worth it.   (Groupon is a great way to save on Rocky Mountain tours!)

Our thirty minute flight path took us soaring into the heart of Kananaskis Country, along the Continental Divide and through various mountain ranges before looping  through Canmore and tracing the Kananaskis River back to the heliport.   Our pilot was a wealth of information, providing us with history and stories about the area, in addition to pointing out some of the best hiking trails and access points in the Rockies.

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It’s difficult to describe just how awe-inspiring Kananaskis Country is from a birds eye view.
Experiencing the mountains from a significantly elevated perspective (ha!) takes my love for the Rockies to an entirely different level.     I don’t think it’s possible for the #mountainmagic to EVER wear off. Depending on the time of year, or even the time of day, there’s always something new to see and explore.

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Mount Allen + Nakiska Ski Resort, which was host to the 1988 Winter Olympics!

 

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What a day!  I’m going to file this one under, ‘I wish I could be friends with me’.

Last week, I mentioned I was going to a ‘yoga-thing’ with Glenn. I’m slightly disappointed to report that it wasn’t as wild as I thought it would be. Basically, everyone sat in a circle reciting Hindu mantras while I observed. I had no idea what was happening or what anyone was saying. Not that it mattered, or like anyone was judging, but I felt out of place and weird.   Afterwards, everyone branched off into their own little groups for spiritual discussions on life, love, the universe, etc. and I felt even more awkward so I left. Haha. #yogafail

Another ‘yoga thing’ I did last week was a class focused on inversions. So fun! Look at Glenn.

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Laughing headstands. Yoga with friends is the best.

I’ll leave you with this. Love love.

adventure

 What is the funnest/touristy thing you’ve ever done? I’d say ziplining in Mexico is pretty high on my list. Helicoptering around the Rockies is still #1.

What is your favorite yoga pose? I love anything hip-opening.

Lately: Yoga Philosophy, Stomach Woes & Christmas Gift Ideas

So this is what my Friday night is going to look like:

“Hello Beautiful Branches of the Tree,

I trust this email finds you all well on this gorgeous November afternoon. I want to invite you all to a Havan (fire ceremony) on *Friday, November 14*. Good friend and teacher, Shivani will be leading this ceremony and will have just gotten off a plane from two weeks in India.  She will be stoked with Shakti and most certainly will have lots to share.  We will be outside for about an hour chanting and making offerings to the fire, collectively raising our vibrations.

Namaste.”

Yogis, fire and burning stuff? How could I possibly decline an invitation like this?! I can’t wait to report back on my experience and perspective.  I’ve been in the process of deepening my yoga practice by learning more about the philosophy and spiritual aspect, rather than *just* the physical. Glenn is taking me to meet his yogi friends since I have none. Yet.

I feel like I should be mad that it’s -50C (or something like that) right now, but it’s so beautiful I can’t wipe the smile off my face. It also helps that I bought a Canadian winter jacket to keep me toasty. Now I just need to find myself some warm yet reasonably priced boots and I’ll be set! Canadian friends: Do you have any brand recommendations for me? I’m leaning towards Columbia or  Sorel. {They’ll be used primarily for snowshoeing and walking around town.}

winter

Have you ever tried to quit coffee? Or at least scale back your consumption as I’m currently doing? OH MAN. I don’t have an addictive personality in the slightest, but I must say, this is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done.  I’ve been experiencing stomach issues for a little while (primarily heartburn, a sense of fullness, decreased appetite) and I’m confident some simple dietary changes will reign things in fairly quickly.

In the mornings, I’ve been drinking warm lemon water to stimulate digestive enzyme and HCL production in addition to promoting alkalinity within my body. It’s definitely helping, but  the problem is, I’ve been missing the sense of mental clarity and focus that comes with a morning caffeine buzz. I tried to band-aid it by drinking a Starbucks green tea almond milk latte and now I have heartburn AND Type 2 diabetes.

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I’ve noticed sugar is probably THE worst trigger for my stomach woes. Never again!  Have I ever told you I’m a huge wimp when it comes to sugar? It literally makes me start bouncing off the walls, then I get a headache and want to sleep.

I hope my sister doesn’t get mad at me for posting our family online, but I cannot stop laughing at  my nephew’s reaction to eating carrots for the first time.  I do the exact same thing when I accidentally eat raw onion. “HOLD UP. AH WHAT IS IT! GET IT OUT OF MY MOUTH IMMEDIATELY.”

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In case you’re wondering what I’d like for Christmas, behold:

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Buy Me Brunch. Tacos. Did I design this?

If you’re looking for a great hostess/Christmas gift idea:   Thymes Frasier Fir candles.  I don’t know how they’ve managed to make a product that smells exactly like the forest, but oh wow. Whoa. Mind is blown.   And I would know. Wait. Why am I not just opening a window?

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How was your week? What are you up to this weekend?

Have you had to deal with stomach/GI issues? Any natural remedies to share?

Have you started Christmas shopping? 

I’m in love!

Hi, friends!

How ya doin?  I hope you had a nice day off in lieu of Remembrance/Veterans Day.   It’s basically winter in the Rockies now and I don’t hate it.  (?!)

The snow-capped peaks and pine trees dusted with fresh powder make it seem as though I’m in a magical winter wonderland, so I can’t complain. (I’m sure I’ll retract that statement in a couple months, haha.)

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You know it’s going to be a good day when it begins with  toasted spelt bread + Justin’s maple almond butter.

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OH GOD YES. How can something so simple be so freakin good? Ah!

I used my day off to hit the gym, complete errands, go to a Drs appointment…

…..and order two lunch entrees for myself  at Communitea.  (I was hungry from my morning workout!)

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1. The Mega Fresh Bowl (I’m head over heels in love with this salad!): spinach, sprouts, beets, carrots, cabbage, cucumbers, peppers, quinoa, hummus, pumpkin seeds, smoked salmon and garlic avocado dressing. I am such a delight to be around right now – I stink. Why do I always tell you I’m garlicky after eating garlic? <— Best ever.

2. Minestrone soup with rice crackers

3. Matcha almond milk latte + this awesome book

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If you like travel & adventure with a side of spirituality books, I highly recommend this one. It’s essentially the man version of Eat Pray Love. Have you read Eat Pray Love? Of course you have!   I think it’s pretty cool the author of Through Dust and Darkness resides in Canmore and I’m thisclose to cyber-stalking  him to ask if we can be friends.  Is that weird? Probably, but I don’t mind.

I have a new addition to add to the  self-timer mishaps collection. Except this time I wanted to see what I looked like doing a pull-up.   First, I sat there wondering why the self-timer countdown wasn’t starting. It was because I was taking several manual shots of myself in this flattering pose. Amazing.

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Next up, a burst of me doing absolutely nothing. You’re welcome.

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Is this a pull up? Please say yes.

Last but not least, I’M IN LOVE AND I DON’T CARE WHO KNOWS: Choklat. Calgary. Custom made to order truffles, fudgey brownies, cookies, hot chocolate…

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Just go. You can thank me later.  That brownie though. We shared some good times together. I need to go back this weekend and order 43 truffles for myself.

Which strength moves do you love and hate? Love: anything that isn’t a pull up.

Are you more of a chocolatey or fruity dessert person?  (Don’t say fruit)

 

Blogger Q&A: I Wish I Had More Time For…

Happy, happy (almost) Friday! How was your week?

I’m switching things up on LMG today with a fun survey I found in a magazine recently. When it comes to the healthy-living blog community, I feel like we all know each others eating and exercise habits but rarely get into the soul-centered stuff.  I hope this serves as a way to get to know me better. Beyond the green smoothies, running and mountain-climbing.

Here we go!

My proudest moment…

Is happening right now! Watching my dreams come to fruition is indescribable.  Everything is unfolding beautifully and I couldn’t be happier.

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I wish I had more time for…

Travel, adventures, cooking, running, yoga, hiking, writing and working on my blog. My life is already filled with the things I love, but I want more, more, MORE. I’m insatiable.

When Amanda visited, she asked, “Why do you call it adventures?!”
My explanation was, “THIS IS HOW WE TALK IN THE MOUNTAINS. Everything is an adventure!” Real talk.  Case in point:  as I was writing this, I got a message from a friend describing his Saturday plans… “Well, she wanted to go on adventure, but I’m working”.

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The last time I laughed really hard was…

I’m usually always laughing about something, but on Sam’s birthday, we spotted a sign in our neighborhood implementing a  “Quiet Zone from 11pm – 7am” to which her friend Troy started calling about to people, “Shh! This is a quiet zone!” HAHAHA. Why am I the only one laughing about this.

My favorite quotes…

I have so many!

  • “Only illusions need defense because of their weakness” & “Illusions are investments. They will last as long as you value them.” – A Course in Miracles
  • “The Universe always responds. Especially when it’s a deep ask from your heart” – Mastin Kipp
  • “Your desires are a vortex of truth” – Danielle LaPorte
  • “If you are to retain guilt, as the ego insists, you cannot be you. You cannot escape from what you are. Can God learn how to not be God?” – A Course in Miracles

I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about…

“I have to pee”
“Omg I’m hungry!” <– this usually only happens if I’ve run the evening before. #RUNGER

I wish I was better at…

Verbally articulating my thoughts, opinions and emotions. I get so worried about ‘saying the right thing’ that I have a tendency to shut down and say nothing. Unless it’s something light-hearted or funny, I don’t hold back at all.

My favorite moment of the day…

When I crawl into bed with a book. Or when I get home from work and take my pants off.  <– YES. I HATE WEARING PANTS.

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My perfect day would be… 

Waking up in a tropical paradise to the sound of the shore break. I’d run a few barefoot miles along the beach as the sun rose, then grab a surfboard and paddle out to catch a few waves before breakfast. Afterwards, I’d assemble a plate of local fruit and coffee to enjoy on the beach. The rest of the afternoon would be spent napping, eating snacks and reading on the beach while taking periodic dips in the ocean to cool off.   My perfect day would be rounded out by sharing a fantastic home-cooked meal, wine and great conversation with a very nice looking man. (HAHA) Underneath a galaxy of stars and coconut palms and amidst lush jungle.   Perfect, right?

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(source)

Your turn! Pick any of the above and answer ‘em in the comments. I love getting to know all of you better!

I hope you have a great weekend! <3

WIAW: Lately!

I made it! To the WIAW party, that is. I’ve accepted the fact that I’m never going to remember to photograph an entire days worth of eats, so I’m featuring an overview of my favourite meals and snacks from the past few days. Sound good? Good! (Like you have a choice.)

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But first – let’s talk fitness. I haven’t discussed running or lady muscle things lately. That’s because I only ran once last week (1 mile warm up + 3 miles at an 8:01 average- yay!). Afterwards, I took the pug for a walk/bonding sesh. Sam, I’m sorry I didn’t put his harness on but it was too confusing and he was squirming.

Self-timer fail.

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Puglet. I think we had a nice time together! His leash matches my compression sleeves. I have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that I was able to wear shorts at the end of October.

In other fitness  news, I’ve been hitting the gym 3x a week to do weights… kind of. When this moment was captured, I was “supposed” to be working on my arms and shoulders, but decided sitting in a squat position and stretching my hips to be more fulfilling. Oh man, it felt good and I need to sit like that more often. Like right now, BRB.

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Onto the food!

I ate so many delightful things last weekend.

On Halloween morning, Sam made us pumpkin pancakes + maple syrup. This is what living with a fellow healthy living blogger is like. #pumpkin

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Pre-Banff lunch: a mega bowl from Communitea. Mixed greens, cabbage, bean sprouts, beets, carrots, peppers, sprouts, smoked salmon, avocado, nuts & seeds with a garlicky tahini dressing. I absolutely adore this healthy-option cafe in Canmore!

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This meal at Grapes in the Fairmont Banff Springs was so fun –  THE ULTIMATE snack plate. They offer a sharing-style menu and we selected sourdough bread, venison & duck pate, two types of cheese, pumpkin soup, warmed olives and venison salami.

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Late night room-service nachos. Oh yes I did. Because… nachos. For the record, nachos at 1am and then trying to sleep after is NOT a good idea. But it is. I don’t know, I’m so confused! #FatFluential

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An enhanced continental breakfast was included with the room. I felt extremely full and five months pregnant after the previous nights nacho feast so I stuck with fruit and smoked salmon since I knew I wouldn’t be eating for a while.

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Falafel Salad from Nourish Bistro – my favourite Banff restaurant!

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420 Burger, Yam & Leek soup

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Ginger, lemon & apple shot

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Vegan breakfast wrap + breakfast dessert cupcakes – another Communitea favorite!

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BIG salads featuring mixed greens, shredded beets, cucumber, strawberries, pomegranate, avocado, nuts & seeds and chicken.

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Pre-Doctor’s appointment snack. Kombucha + NUD ‘cookies’ they’re made with banana, coconut, sesame and spirulina. Amanda, you could eat these because they’re nut-free!

And lastly, a small grocery haul from the health food store.

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Local spelt bread, vegenaise, beet dip, tempeh burgers, bananas, rice crackers, black beans & swiss chard.

That’s all I have for today.

What have you been eating lately? Top 3 current favs?

Favorite kombucha flavour? Gingerberry!

Weekending in the Rockies

Hi, Happy Monday! How was your Halloween weekend?

I couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate than at a castle in the Rockies, the Fairmont Banff Springs.

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After checking into the resort, I kicked back and enjoyed a glass of wine accompanied by a world-class view of the Bow Valley.  We were upgraded to a Fairmont Gold experience which gave us access to a private check in, concierge, lounge with complimentary snacks, evening appetizers, breakfast and beverages.

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{Now, before you go thinking I’m all fancy or living a life of luxury, let me explain: I work within the hospitality industry and have access to discounted rates. Holla.}

For Halloween, the hotel featured a haunted house – they did a fantastic job! I was legit terrified and hid behind my friend the entire time.  I’ve developed post-traumatic stress disorder as a result, so I’d say it was a success.

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After a light dinner, we headed to the Willow Streams Spa  to enjoy the hot mineral and plunge pools. It was an incredibly blissful evening! FYI: A regular day pass to the spa is $70, but is reduced to $30 after 7pm.  Three days later, my skin still feels soft and renewed from the mineral therapy.

The remainder of the weekend was comprised of:

-The Banff Mountain Film & Book Festival. Presenting a collection of world-wide adventure-based films and lectures, the films we took in featured night-skiing, rock climbing, Arctic surfing, ultra trail running and Yellowstone National Park bison. (The bison film made me sad!)  If I have some free time this week, I’d like to go check out more films in the evening as it’s a nine day event.

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-A gondola ride up Sulfur Mountain in Banff.  I haven’t done anything overly ‘touristy’ since living here. I prefer avoiding the crowds and creating my own adventures, but this was absolutely worth it. I didn’t mind sharing the view of the Bow Valley with dozens of people.

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I bought a peppermint tea to keep me warm on the way up. Check this out:

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Neat!

-A trip to the Book Cafe in Canmore. Some new titles ended up coming home with us. Fall and winter is the season for hibernating in bed with a stack of books, yes?  I started Adultery last night and I’m already halfway through it. Paulo Coelho is one of my favorite authors – his work feeds my soul.

I’m currently in the midst of reading four books. I prefer to have some brain food, soul food and a garbage, mindless read on the go at all times.

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I’m looking forward to diving into Through Dust and Darkness and Lost & Found – both are by Canmore authors!

What are you currently reading? Or what’s the last ‘good read’ you’d recommend? I’m working through the Steve Jobs bio, When God Was a Rabbit, The Dark Witch (lol) and Adultery.

Tell me about your Halloween weekend! Did you develop a sugar-induced high/coma? What did you dress up as?  I ate a lot of cheese, bread, nachos and wine. Does that count? I also dressed up as my friend, but it’s only funny to us, so I’m not going to elaborate.

What’s the nicest hotel you’ve stayed in?   Koa Kea Hotel & Resort in Kauai -It’s a spectacular boutique luxury resort on the sunny south shore of the island.