Summer Vacation Adventures: In the south!

Hello from the sunny south!

After hitting publish this post, I’m heading off to a Bodypump class followed by a road trip to Waterton with my Dad. We’re going to rent a couple SUPs and spend the afternoon paddling around the lake. CAN’T WAIT. My Dad is worried he’s not coordinated enough to paddle board and I assured him it’s not as wobbly or unstable as one would think.  If *I* can do it, anyone can. As someone who regularly trips over their own shadow… he’s got this.

Let’s catch up!

My sister, Page, brother in law Brendan and the baby arrived in Kananaskis on Friday afternoon. For Christmas, I bought them a hotel getaway and they picked the perfect weekend (weather wise) to visit. I’m confident  K-Country left a great first impression as they’re already planning their next visit. Sunshine, fresh mountain air, 30C and world class views for miles. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Sadly, I wasn’t able to hang out with them for long because I was working and they were heading to Banff for dinner.  We met up for a quick walk and I showed them around the resort property. And took this awkward photo.

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At the end of the workday, I began heading south to Lethbridge to visit my parents. First, I made a brief stop in Calgary to say hello to my love. We walked to Brewsters for dinner, held hands, laughed and made googley eyes at each other.  And I wore a coral shirt. (Coral, white, turquoise and gold are my all time favourite summer colour combos!)

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My drive to Lethbridge went by fairly quickly. I listened to the First Aid Kit and The xx albums on the way.  I rolled into town around 9:30pm, visited with my parents and went to bed. I was so tired!

On Saturday morning, I woke up in the mood for a good workout. I went to Bodypump at my old GoodLife gym (sweet memories), did some shopping with my Mom and spent the rest of the day in my parents backyard doing a whole lotta nothing.

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My sister bought a pop up pool for the baby to splash around in but I think the adults are getting more pleasure out of it.

My Dad and I have been drinking Stanley Park ‘Sunsetter’ ale – it’s infused with peaches. I’m not much of a beer drinker (it gives me a headache and a stomachache) but there’s something about a cold one on a hot day that I LOVE. My go-to’s are Rickards White (with several orange slices) Grizzly Paw’s raspberry ale and Stiegl’s grapefruit radler or ginger beer. So basically anything that doesn’t taste like beer.

In the evening, I met up with my squad. We made sangria and ate bacon wrapped dates, chips, crackers, cheese and guacamole.

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I honestly don’t know what to do in photos.

First thing Sunday morning, I laced up my running shoes and headed out for a quick run. I wanted to beat the heat, but by 9:30am, it was already 28C and incredibly humid. I knocked out 3 sweaty miles at an 8:03 pace then walked a mile back to my parents house.

I changed my clothes, rehydrated, grabbed a snack then headed down to the river bottom  to meet up with Jan and Ryan for a walk.

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Later on, I regrouped with the family and we spent the afternoon splashing around in the pool, drinking white wine spritzers, barbecuing  and relaxing.

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The heat really took it out of me and I went to bed at 9pm. Hahaha. I hope you have a great week!

What are you doing for summer vacation this year?

What have you been up to lately?

What I ate for breakfast last week

I wrote this blog post in my head last night while trail running in Banff.  I did two laps around Johnson Lake, covering 6km in total. At the end of my run, I was covered in sweat, bugs and dirt. Those are the best kinds of adventures, don’t ya think?

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Summer magic. <3

Story time: Long ago, Living Mint Green was primarily comprised of  recipes. When I began exploring the healthy living blog world, I wanted a creative space to store and share my (mostly) healthy creations.  At my core, I knew I had more than ‘gluten free brownies’ to contribute to the world, but I needed to find my authentic writing voice first. Food seemed like the appropriate and “safe” entry level topic while I figured myself (and the internet) out.

I prefer juicy life topics though. I’ve always loved sharing stories about personal development, growth, lessons, love, spirituality, etc. I was a little worried to share personal stuff online because… well you know, fear of judgement and all. My New Years resolution and intention for 2013 was to “become fearless”  and boy, did I have my work cut out for me.  Spoiler alert: I didn’t become fearless. Instead, the universe presented me with opportunities (aka. everything that scared me) to rise to the challenge.  I learned  fear doesn’t mean we should  deny what our heart wants. In reality, it points us where we need to go and tells us what we need to do. THAT’S the sign we’re looking for.

I know all too well just how scary the unknown is. We feel like we need to know what’s going to happen so we can “plan accordingly”. We worry about what others will think or if they’ll abandon us.  We wonder if we can trust the simple, quiet wisdom of our heart or if we should listen to our thoughts that yell, “Danger! It’s risky!”

Even when times are scary and we’re facing big changes, there’s still a part of us that  speaks the truth. It knows what’s right for us, even if it contradicts our current logic or doesn’t make sense in the moment. The great news is, moving towards *OUR* truth always reveals the another layer of our authentic self.  It’s an empowering way to live and allows us to be of service to the world. Is there anything more inspiring and joyful than seeing someone being themselves?

*Our truth belongs to us and only us.  Not everyone is going to agree or understand and that’s okay! Sometimes people (mostly family- no offense, Mom. Hi!) will try to tell us we’re crazy but it’s usually a projection of their own fears and desires. Parents have a tendency to encourage the path of least resistance to avoid perceieved pain, risk, failure, disappointment. It’s bullshit.  Our only real obligation is to be happy and truthful. 

Okay. Lets’d dive into today’s blog post. I challenged myself to eat something different for breakfast everyday last week because:

1. I was in a breakfast rut of yogurt bowls
2. I wanted to incorporate a new-to-me brand of  Liquid  Nutrition almond milk into each meal and share a quick review and FYI on it.

Liquid Nutrition is a Canadian brand of organic and carageenan free almond milk. Over the past few years, there’s been rising concern around the the effects of carageenan consumption in humans and correlation between colitis-like symptoms in animal studies (ulcers, intestinal bleeding, etc.)   Carageenan is a common thickening ingredient used in non-dairy products, yogurt, ice cream, deli meat, jam, cottage cheese, etc. Now, I’m not one to go off the deep end and swear off carageenan-containing ingredients all together. However, awareness and mindfulness is a good thing and can help us determine how to make better food choices. The quality of our health is the result of the cumulative effect of our best efforts: what we eat and how we live.  My personal food philosophy is to buy organic versions of the foods I consume the most of (leafy greens, bananas, apples, berries, chicken, etc) and not worry so much about the rest.

Onto the food!

Power Green Smoothie Bowl

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3-4 cups baby spinach & baby kale
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 heaping tbsp natural peanut butter (or nut/seed butter of choice)
dash of cinnamon
3 ice cubes

Toppings: fresh seasonal berries, dried goji berries & granola (I’m obsessed with Nature’s Path Love Crunch granola)

Tropical Chia Breakfast Bowl

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The night before, mix 2 tbsp chia seeds, 1 tsp raw honey and 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk in a bowl and place in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, stir in a splash of almond milk and top with pineapple, mango and granola

For extra protein and staying power, whisk in a scoop of high quality plain whey protein

Chocolate Chia Breakfast Bowl

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The night before, mix 2 tbsp chia seeds, 1 tsp maple syrup and 1/4 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk in a bowl and place in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, add  a splash of almond milk and top with banana slices and a drizzle of peanut butter

Optional: for extra protein and staying power, whisk in a scoop of high quality plain whey protein

Dairy-Free Mango Lassi

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2 cups fresh or frozen mango
1/4 cup almond or coconut milk yogurt (preferably unsweetened)
1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 tsp raw honey
tiny pinch of cardamom

Optional: scoop of plain protein powder of choice

Protein Cereal

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Whisk a scoop of whey protein in milk of choice and combine with a ‘healthy’ cereal like Love Grown Foods Power O’s. They’re made with lentils and beans! Top with fresh seasonal fruit and maybe some chia and hemp seeds, just for fun.

What have you been eating for breakfast lately?

What’s been the scariest thing you’ve had to confront? How did it turn out?

Summer {Food} Favorites

Why hello!

I was out for a walk last night when this guy popped out of the bushes and briefly joined me on my trek. (Along with some strange butterfly/bird/bat/UFO thingy above the mountain- what in the heck is that?!)

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“Hello, friend!” I called out to the coyote, which caused it to run away from me. :(

Coyotes are so beautiful.  It reminded me of the time Lauren and I spotted one lounging in a backyard and I thought it was someone’s pet. “Hey look at that cute dog!” I said. Lauren: “THAT IS NOT A DOG!” I’m an idiot.

How was your weekend? I did nothing. Well, almost nothing.  I turned the my SUV into a bed and hung out by the lake reading on Friday night. I’m okay with being a quiet bookworm. 😀

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Other than that, it was pretty chill. I took a Bodypump class, watched the Entourage movie (I liked it!) and discovered almost everything in H&M was on sale. I picked up a pair of ‘man-repellant pants’ (ha!!), a romper, two tanks and a tee – each for $7! Don’t you love it when that happens?  I needed a few summer pieces since I gave all of my clothes away last week.

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I ate frozen yogurt for the first time in, oh, three years? I prefer real, full fat ice cream but since there’s a Yogurty’s in my bf’s neighbourhood,  I felt it was my due diligence to check it out before the self-serve fro-yo trend implodes under the weight of it’s own success.

2012 was an exciting time in Canada: a free for all yogurt buffet with ALL THE toppings. However, the initial novelty wore off pretty quickly for me – especially when I realized fro-yo isn’t actually that good – I just liked the idea of it.

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After sampling each flavour, I settled on a combo of  plain and chocolate yogurt topped with cheesecake bites, peanut butter cups,  frosted animal crackers, sprinkles and a cherry.

The boy and I did some summer grilling, too! I love cooking together. He grilled hot dogs while I assembled buns with romaine, mustard relish, sauerkraut, finely diced onion and cheese. Plain and dill pickle potato chips on the side (with some boring veggies and ginger kombucha).

LIFE HACK: adding a romaine leaf keeps all of the toppings contained and adds a little crunchy texture. (I added crushed potato chips after this photo was taken)

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I’m not one for sugary coffee drinks… or even sweetened coffee- yuck (and, hello sugar migraine) but I must say, the espresso frappe from Second Cup (half sweet) is pretty okay.  Iced or blended coffee is so refreshing in the summertime.

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Speaking of summer beverages: Do you shop at Costco? Hasn’t Costco been AWESOME lately? The one I shop at has kombucha and Pressed Juicery! WUUUT.

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The bottle I picked up is a blend of beet, apple, lemon and ginger and carries a nice spicy kick without being too ‘earthy’ tasting.  It’s a little too sweet for me so I dilute it with water because I’m a wimp.

I’m off to the gym! Talk to you later this week. In the meantime, tell me:

What are your favourite:


Frozen yogurt toppings: (or do you prefer ice cream?)

Things to buy from Costco:

Summer meal?

My Summer 2015 Bucket List

My first vacation of the summer is quickly approaching and to say I’m excited is an understatement. I’m looking forward to 10 days of freedom and a break from adulting.  Have you taken any summer holidays yet?

After work next Friday, I’ll be heading to Lethbridge to visit my family and friends for a few days.  I don’t have any definitive plans during my time in the windy city, so if anyone is up for a Bodypump class, a run in the river bottom or a trip to Crazy Cakes for a cupcake – send me a note!

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I’m so excited to see my homies! 

For the most part, I plan on lounging in my parents backyard with a stack of books, meeting up with my best friends for a girls night and an early birthday celebration with my family. Is there anything new or exciting in Lethbridge that I should know about?

From there, I’ll be heading back to Calgary or Canmore to meet up with my love for Canada Day. THEN… Kelowna for the remainder of the week.  It’s going to be fun. :)

That being said, I’ve created a summer adventure/goal  list for 2015. My fingers are crossed I’ll be able to make it through everything.

-Go wine tasting in the Okanagan Valley (BC friends: which winery? Something within Kelowna preferably. Mission Hill?)

-Hiking/outdoor adventuring around Kelowna. (I need suggestions for day hikes please!)

-Hike the Lakeshore Trail in Waterton with a group of my best friends

-Join Banff’s Lululemon run club for a weekly or bi-weekly run (it’s free – meeting place is Lululemon @ 5:30pm in Banff in case you’re around and want to join.)

-Explore my favorite Canadian Rockies lakes via kayak:  Lake Minnewanka, Two Jack, Upper Kananaskis, Moraine, Maligne, etc  (I want a kayak.)

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Moraine Lakephoto credit

-Do one post-work hike during the weekdays – I’m aiming for shorter 3-4 hour hikes such as Ha Ling, EEOR, Little Kidd, etc

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Lake Louise 2014

-Learn to play disc golf – Lauren and Nik’s new hobby. It looks like such a fun group activity!

-Spend a night at the historic (haunted) Rosedeer hotel in Wayne, Alberta in addition to exploring the surrounding Badlands.

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-Focus on outdoor workouts: I’ve been utilizing a trail system near the Nordic Centre on weeknights. After a long day in the office, it feels so good to get outside and run wild in the trees.

My latest running routine looks like this: ascend a set of winding stairs, come down half way, run a 1km loop on a trail, then descend the remaining stairs. Repeat 5 times. It’s a burner, that’s for sure. I’d compare it to borderline cardiac arrest. Haha!

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I love how mentally engaging trail running is. When you’re pounding out city miles, it’s easy to go into an auto pilot state. That in itself can be therapeutic – your mind zones out and you’re just going through the motions. It’s a completely different experience in the forest: carefully planning each footstep, adapting to sudden changes in elevation or turns, making sure a cougar isn’t stalking you…. (kidding, Mom. Kind of.)

-Backcountry camping in Kananaskis

-Visit a berry picking farm

-Road trip the Kananaskis Trail (highway 40) to Longview for dinner at Longview Steakhouse

-Visit Abraham Lake and Nordegg

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-Riverboarding. When I first heard about this new-to-me sport, I thought it was a variation of stand up paddle boarding. This looks much more thrilling!

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-Go on a canvas painting + wine date in Calgary. Jen recently did this with her husband and it seems like it would be a lot of fun! (And a lot of laughs – you should see the mess my BF made in my adult colouring book.)

-Check out MacKays Ice Cream in Cochrane (I hate that I haven’t been here yet! Any must-try flavour recommendations?)

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… as long as I get TONS of hiking and some road trips in, I’ll be happy. Oh summer, I love ya.

Do you  have a bucket list going? I’d love to hear what’s on yours.

What are some of your favourite outdoor workouts? 

Weekend Recap: Lazy but productive

I must say, this weekend was the first one in… forever(?) that I did next to nothing, yet managed to be extremely productive at the same time.

On Friday night, I made a quick trip to the city to visit my love and was back in the mountains by 9am on Sunday. I’d been awake since 3:30-4am with a stomach ache, then I drove the boy to the airport at 6am. So yeah, my initial plans for hitting the gym bright and early followed by long walk in the woods were replaced with “I need my bed and PJs immediately.”

After unloading my car, I took a bubble bath then got back into bed for a couple hours with a few of my latest library reads.

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The rest of my day was spent doing a bit of food prep, cleaning, unpacking and organizing my closet. I’ve discovered that I’m very much a minimalist now. I despise clutter, messes and the feeling of having “too much stuff” – especially when it comes to clothes.
I made myself get rid of anything I haven’t worn in a year and I feel so much better!  Vintage Joanna from 5 years ago used to have a separate bedroom and closet dedicated to an overflow of clothing, shoes and accessories that didn’t fit in my master bedroom. Current me has everything neatly organized into one small closet space and jewelry box.

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Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about my supplement cupboard. I think I have a NUUN tablet hoarding problem?  Nester’s Market in Banff happens to be THE place to buy it. They carry at least 10 different flavours.  Who would’ve thought a grocery store in a resort town would turn out to be quite the haven for electrolyte supplements.

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I’m going through a berry phase right now. Blueberries, strawbs, raspberries. Do you find yourself craving tons of fruit in the summertime?

Especially when there’s french toast and maple syrup involved.

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Weird story time: my BF doesn’t like maple syrup or cheese. Isn’t that the weirdest thing you’ve ever heard? In his words, “I’m just not a cheese person.”

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That’s not supposed to happen. I mean, he likes melty cheese on pizza or a grilled cheese sandwich, but “doesn’t get the appeal of a wheel of brie”. <—- LIKE WHAT IS THERE TO GET.

Liquid Nutrition, a new Canadian brand of organic carageenan-free almond milk just hit the shelves and they sent me some cartons of unsweetened vanilla orchid and chocolate treasure to try. I’ll let you guys know what I think soon, plus I’ll be giving away some free cartons so stay tuned!

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What do you think of the adult colouring book trend? I have no shame in admitting I picked one up from Chapters a few weeks ago. It’s such a fun way to zone out, decompress and unleash your inner child.  It seems like our society doesn’t grant ourselves permission to let loose and have fun. Everyone is so damn serious. I think it’s because we have a tendency to become so focused on trying to survive the work week that we forget to leave room for pleasure or adventure.

One night after I went to bed, the boy and his boyfriends spent the evening passing the book around and taking turns colouring. So cute! I want more pencil crayons.

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I hope you have a great week!

What was the highlight of your weekend? 

What are some of your favourite ways to unwind or decompress?

Which foods do you dislike? Raw onions & garlic (they’re so offensive!!!)

I’m feeling lazy + an awesome #FitCanadian contest!

Happy almost Friday – YAY!!!!

What are you up to this weekend? It’s supposed to be chilly and rainy here so I’ll be indoors for the most part. After work, I’m heading to the city for dinner and plan on spending the rest of the weekend doing errands and hitting the gym. Taking care of business that I can’t do in Canmore.

People often ask me if I feel isolated or too far removed from society or “real life” and I don’t. Not in the slightest. This feels like real life – being close to nature and completely in my element.    Besides, Canmore is only 45 minutes away and even though it’s a small tourist town,  it’s bursting with positive mountain vibes, outdoor enthusiasts, athletes and (mostly) cheerful tourists. Of course, there are downsides to living in paradise. It’s crazy expensive to live here – the average price of a single home in 2014 was close to 1 million dollars.  So there’s that.
You can also buy designer clothes, kombucha and kale chips here but not simple necessities like underwear or socks.  (Whaaa?)

I haven’t felt overly motivated to work out lately and I’ve literally had to force myself to lift weights 1-2 x a week. Once summer rolls around, after being cooped up in an office all day, the LAST place I want to go is the gym. I want fresh air, sunshine and… no work outs. Haha! That being said, I LOVE being active – but fun stuff like walking, hiking and cycling.  I also lack the ability to challenge myself in the gym. I need someone to yell at me or tell me what to do otherwise I just end up taking selfies in the mirror and texting them to my BF saying, “I’m at the gym”.  Sigh.

To keep things interesting, I’ve been running/walking stairs and trails in the evenings.

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Mountain magic.

My whole “I’m lazy and don’t want to work out” story ties into a new summer GoodLife Fitness contest that I’m confident you’ll like.  But first, let’s recap their 24 hr Mount Royal Village launch party from a few nights ago.

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I met up with Sam, Ange and Jen and after getting a tour (and wishing I’d packed gym clothes so I could participate in their demo classes), we made Jen’s husband Tom take several pictures of us. Poor guy. :(

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Then, we hit the snack tables which were catered by The Main Dish.

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I’m sorry I ate all the pineapple, guys. It’s my weakness.

On Sunday after I drop my BF off at the airport,  I’m going to head back  to this GoodLife  location to take advantage of a virtual Bodypump or RPM class. Since they’re a 24 hour club,  you can take Les Mills classes at your convenience. Any day, any time.  After selecting the class you want,  a magical drop down screen appears and a virtual trainer guides you through your workout. How can I get one of these in my house?  Who wants to go for a 3am Bodypump date just because we can?

This summer, GoodLife Fitness is challenging Canadians to stay active with a nation-wide campaign and contest called Random Acts of Fitness. With the warmer weather upon us, most people are taking their fitness outdoors and they want to capture the enthusiasm on social media. As an added incentive (I will do almost anything if it involves a prize!) they’ve created a contest element that could land you and a friend an awesome prize pack.

All you have to do is take a photo of yourself doing something active outdoors, tag it on Instagram or Twitter with #FitCanadian and you’re entered.

Up for grabs: 

– One year GoodLife Fitness Membership and a LifeChanger lifestyle assessment for you and a friend
– Team Training at GoodLife for you and a friend
– $500 Reebok gift card (!!!)

How cool is that? Oh, and there’s still a few more days left to enter my contest to win one of TWO GoodLife memberships. Enter here!

Tell me how you keep your workouts interesting when you start feeling bored:

Do you take your workouts outdoors in the summer?

Do you like where you live? What’s a high and low about your community?

This post was written as part of the GoodLife Fitness Blogger Ambassador Program, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

The love of my life + GIVEAWAY: GoodLife Fitness Membership

I have an important announcement to make!

I met the love of my life a few weeks ago and we’re incredibly happy together.

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Oreo ice cream sandwiches.  I wish they’d release ALL of the Oreo cookie flavours as ice cream sandwiches. Canada has plain, birthday cake and mint. Are there other varieties in existence? Do I need to plan a trip to the US to get my hands on them? Sigh. I love ice cream. 

How was your weekend? This might sound like crazy talk, but by Sunday evening I was grateful the weekend was over so I could catch up on my sleep. 😀

Week days are dedicated to work, gym workouts, reading and going to bed early, but once the weekend rolls around, I don’t stop moving from sunrise to sundown. I was in bed by 8pm on Sunday evening after treating myself to a warm salt bath and it felt AMAZING.

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Friday night began with a sunset hike up Ha Ling peak with out-of-town friends. One of them had never hiked before so Ha Ling seemed like a great introduction to the Canadian Rockies.  (When I told my coworkers this story they stared at me like I had two heads. “Your friends are probably glad to be back in the city and away from you” they said.)  Whatever. I love this hike because of it’s close proximity to Canmore and it only takes 3 hours return. On the other hand, it’s tough, even for the fittest human beings. I always tell first timers, “You’re going to feel discouraged and like you’re out of shape, but you’re not. The heart gargling and swearing are all normal side effects”

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Sunset summit. It was cold, windy and I wanted to die a little. I always forget to bring a hat and gloves!

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Saturday was dedicated to exploring glacial lakes and capturing postcard moments. First on the list: Moraine Lake!

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Doesn’t it look like I’m sitting in front of a green-screen? Our group couldn’t stop marvelling at what we were witnessing.  “How is this real?!” we remarked.

Our next stop was Lake Louise. After maneuvering around the crowds at the lake shore, we decided to walk to Mirror Lake and back while waiting for more friends to meet us at Chateau Lake Louise for patio beers.

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It’s crazy to think that Lake Louise just finished thawing only two short weeks ago. As summer progresses and more glacial sediment rushes into the lake, the colour becomes even more vibrant. (The glacier is behind me!)

From there, we continued to Peyto Lake, my favourite of all the jewel-hued lakes in the Canadian Rockies.

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It’s a true paradise. I’m so happy places like this exist. <3

Sunday’s excursion is the reason why my butt is extremely sore.   Our adventure group spent the day mountain biking the Goat Creek trail at the base of Mount Rundle.

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We cycled  from Canmore to Banff, where we ate lunch and drank beer at a great new restaurant, Park. I don’t really like beer, but on a hot day, I crave it. (And chug it. Haha)

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Round trip, our bike tour was about 50km. Mountain biking is tough! I like to think my legs are fairly strong, but I really struggled with climbing hills. I had to walk my bike up quite a few of them. (Um. All of them.)

And now, it’s back to real life! After work tonight, I’m heading to Calgary to meet up with Ange, Sam and Jen for a party at the new 24/7 GoodLife Fitness in Mount Royal Village.  I’m so excited to check out the new facility and take a future Bodypump class. What does one wear to a party at a gym, anyway? (I definitely sent the girls a text asking if we’re supposed to wear regular clothes.)

I’m thrilled so many GoodLife gyms are opening across western Canada – it definitely makes my life easier since I’m not committed to working out at one specific location. I can drop in for a Bodypump class or cardio session at my convenience during my travels.

Tonight’s GoodLife launch party is open to the public and we’d love it if you join us for food, drinks and Instagram photo opps. They’re also giving away a trip to Mexico!

Details: 

Tuesday, June 9  5-8pm
880 16 Ave SW, Calgary (second floor)
6:30pm official ribbon cutting ceremony + draw for the Mexico trip

To add to the festivities, I’m giving away two one month gym memberships.  Contest closes June 16 and is open to Canadian residents. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you could travel ANYWHERE right now, where would you go?  I’d love to go backpacking through Central/South America. Or surfing in Tahiti.

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Our best efforts (and bad habits).

Good Day, Friends! :)

My legs were  incredibly stiff after Sunday’s half marathon.  I went for a massage at a sports medicine clinic on Monday night and have bruises along my IT bands to show for it. The whole foam rolling thing isn’t effective enough – I’m too much of a wimp to apply enough pressure and quit after 3 seconds.

I’m wondering if I didn’t hydrate enough after my race. Or maybe the two mimosas with breakfast, several servings of salty tortilla chips and two beers with dinner dehydrated me a bit? 😉   Overall, I am a horrifically sweaty person when my heart rate becomes remotely elevated, so re-hydration is something I’m mindful of. But I guess it wasn’t enough.

(Fyi: Rocky Mountain Rehab & Sports Medicine  in Canmore is a fantastic clinic. They primarily treat athletes and really know how to get into all of those nooks, crannies, trigger points and sweet spots. It’s equal parts pain and pleasure.)

An action shot from the Calgary Marathon:

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I wasn’t smiling in ANY of my race photos! And I lost one of the pins from my bib.

I’ve been feeling extra hungry with very specific cravings for the following:

-Powdered donut with raspberry jelly filling
-Vanilla milkshake
-McDonalds cheeseburger
-Avocado toast with chili flakes
-Pizza with anchovies and black olives
-Caramilk bar
-Dates + peanut butter (this has been my after dinner ‘dessert’ all week)

I think my body just wants extra calories right now – I don’t really get sugar/carby cravings unless I’m operating at a deficit. I’ve basically been a bottomless pit all week. When I got to work on Monday morning, I ate a plate of bacon and hashbrowns for breakfast. Spaghetti and meatballs for lunch. Tuesday was filled with lots of vegetables.  I think it all balances out in the end. Our overall health is  the cumulative effect of our best efforts (and bad habits) and as long as we don’t consistently go to extremes in either direction, we’ll be fine. I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of balance and the nature of Yin Yang lately. Our modern day eating habits and behaviors are  good examples of extremes. Concerned with eating too clean. Not caring at all and consuming junk. Neither are healthy.

Summer calls for light beach reads, wouldn’t you agree? Elin Hildebrand and Sarah Jio are some of my favorite authors for satisfying my craving for ‘fluffy’ stories. I have eclectic taste when it comes to books – I appreciate almost everything except stories about wizards or sappy romance.  I finished ‘Nantucket Nights’ last night and can’t wait to dive into another summer-themed story.

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Okay, I’m a little ashamed to admit this, but my latest guilty tv pleasure is Rich Kids of Beverly Hills.

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I made my bf watch an episode with me and it didn’t go over so well. He was very ‘unimpressed Kanye’ with me afterwards. Sorry, lovey.

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How do we feel about overalls making a comeback? I tried a pair on at Topshop last weekend – I think they’re so cute and fun for summer!  Oh man, I felt like I was 10 years old again.

I didn’t like the price tag so I’m going to wait for a sale or find a less expensive pair. Please disregard my questionable choice of footwear in this shot. The germaphobe in me tries to avoid taking my shoes off in change rooms.

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That’s all for today. Temperatures are hitting 30*C in the Rockies this weekend and I won’t be spending a moment indoors.

What’s your food philosophy? How do you balance healthy eating vs treating yourself?

What are some of your current guilty pleasures?

What are you doing this weekend?

Calgary Half Marathon Recap!

“I need tortilla chips and watermelon” – some of the first words out of my mouth after waking up from a post half-marathon nap.

Going into the race, I wasn’t sure how well I was going to do. I know I’ve mentioned it 800 times, but in case you missed it, I didn’t run for three weeks leading up to the Calgary Marathon. I was in a bit of pain, then I got really sick. Once I recovered from my illness, my body was still holding onto some tightness and tension on my right side. Three weeks ago, it started out as an annoying knot in my glute. By early last week, I developed a nagging, radiating ache in my low back, entire butt cheek and back of the leg. I’ve had a desk job for 6 years and every once in a while, my low back/SI joint flares up. Perfect timing this time around!  Sometimes life makes me want to be an atheist. Hahaha

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Race pick-up package on Saturday

Over the years, I’ve managed it pretty well through strength training and occasional chiropractic adjustments, so I went to the chiropractor on Thursday. After doing  full body ROM tests and giving my skeleton a feel (haha) he was confident my sacrum was slightly twisted and rubbing against my pelvis. Hence the radiating butt/low back/leg ache.  After my adjustment, I felt immediate relief – not 100% but better, nonetheless. So that definitely boosted my confidence for Sunday’s race.  The point of this story is that I didn’t go into it with a ‘mind over matter’ mentality.  I knew I was facing some challenges and there was no point in pretending like everything was fine. I tried to stay neutral.

Running is probably at least 80% mental – it takes a lot of self encouragement and silencing the voice that doesn’t want you to get out of bed in the morning. But, at the same time, you have to take your physical capability into account. Even though I was worried I was entering the race by not feeling 100%, I told myself that I wasn’t going to push myself to the point of injury just to prove a point.  Mind over matter, but within reason.

A month ago, I was confident I could knock out the race in 1:45:xx – 1:50. That was my Plan A. Plan B was to finish under two hours and Plan C was just to finish. On Sunday morning, I wasn’t really sure what would happen, I just knew I wanted to get through the race (mostly) pain-free.

My alarm went off at 4am but I was already awake. The night before a race is always like Christmas Eve. Tossing, turning, waking up every couple hours and wondering if you’ve even slept yet. I took some Advil, drank a glass of water and made coffee and my usual running breakfast – rice cakes + almond butter + banana.

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After going to the bathroom 73 times, I put my gear on and went outside to warm up. I jogged up and down the street, doing butt kicks, high knees, walking side lunges and jumping jacks. It was nice to move around and shake off some nervous energy.

At the Stampede grounds, I met up with our Alberta Bloggers group for a quick photo op before our 6:30 am start time.  Kaella and I lined up in the 1:45 pace group where we met up with Jordan – one of the Biggest Loser contestants! I really wanted to ask him what being on the show was like, but figured he must be so annoyed with answering the same questions repeatedly, so I refrained.

{My bf also decided to jump in and knock out a few miles with us. <3 }

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#Blends Why are my eyes closed.

I honestly have no idea how bloggers are able to remember their races mile by mile – it’s such a blur for me. I only recall a few key race points!  Here’s what I remember:

-The first 7km were a breeze – I was averaging a comfortable 8:30 pace and feeling strong. Just after the 7km marker,  the boy decided he was done, and I’d lost Kaella, so I continued on. I caught up with Jordan around the 9km mark and we chatted for a few minutes.

-When I passed the 10km marker at 51:xx and thought, if I can keep this pace up and pick it up at the end, I think I can reach my Plan A goal!

-At 12km I realized I should’ve already started a sugar trickle. I don’t do gels/GUs because I’m afraid they’ll make me throw up or lose bowel control so I keep 5 cent candies or Honey Stinger energy bites on hand.  I know you’re not supposed to wait until your tank is nearly empty, but I’d been feeling so great that it didn’t cross my mind. That’s when my legs started to feel heavy, and soon after that,  my back muscles and IT band started tightening up.  “Please don’t fail me now, legs!” I pleaded.
My blood sugar also felt low,  so I ate an energy bite along with a few sips of electrolyte water. It made me feel a little better, but it’s around that point that my pace started to slow. I was angry with myself for waiting too long to take in some fuel.

-I took another energy bite at 15km and 19km and threw the bag away.  The bite piece of my Camelback broke off and at first I thought I was peeing my pants but was (beyond) relieved to see it was just my water supply.  Can you imagine? (I’m going to keep this one in my back pocket in case I ever lose bladder function during a race)

-The last 5km were rough! All I could think about was finishing and how close I was, yet it still felt SO far away! Somewhere in between those final km’s, my mind stared becoming negative.  I felt nauseas, dizzy and almost like I was in a dream. My entire body felt numb. I took a few walking breaks, sipped some water and pulled myself together for the home stretch. That’s when I dug deep and pulled out my old mental encouragement tricks:

-Counting down the kilometres I’d done and how far I’ve come, instead of how far I had to go
-Reminding myself it wasn’t the hardest thing I’ve done, or the hardest thing I’ll have to do; that I can do challenging things, even though it’s scary in the moment
-Telling other runners they were doing great and we were almost there
-Thanking the spectators for their words of encouragement
-I even attempted to think about all of the food I planned on eating afterwards, but that made me feel sicker, haha!

I crossed the finish line at 1:58:48. Plan A didn’t happen, and I thought I’d be upset about it, but I really wasn’t. I thought, “Thank God it’s over. I’m never doing that again…Yes I am.” 😀

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After finding the boy, we went in search of breakfast. To start, a green juice:

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Followed by crepes

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We walked around Calgary’s Lilac Festival for a couple hours, but by lunchtime, was fading fast and wanted to get into bed.

Why you shouldn’t (or should?) go grocery shopping after running a race:

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All in all, I really liked the Calgary Marathon course and culture – I’d do it again.  My only complaint was that they gave me a green banana in my post-race food bag. (Insert the side eyes emoji)
There wasn’t much excitement in the swag bags, either. A shirt, Kind bar… and that’s it? It’s probably because the medals are super fancy. I also have high standards after being spoiled at the Rocky Mountain Soap half marathon. <– best swag bags EVER!!!

What did you eat as your post-race meal? Or, what is your favourite post-race meal?

What’s the worst thing that’s happened to you during a race?

Tell me about your weekend!

The final days: How I’m preparing for my half marathon

Hiyah!

How’s the week going? Thanks for your vote of confidence after confessing I don’t feel ready for this weekend’s half marathon. My lungs and sinuses have finally cleared and now my body just needs a little extra push.  I’m pulling out all the stops!

I had a gloriously painful 90 minute massage/fascia release at a sports medicine clinic last night and I’m on my way to a chiropractor appointment this morning. Yoga tonight.  I’m probably going to feel like a noodle tomorrow!

Nutrition wise: Lots of water, plants, healthy fats, protein and  staying far away from refined sugars, processed food and alcohol.  I’ll start reducing my ‘planty fibre’ intake on Friday, and incorporate easy to digest stuff on Saturday.

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Haha!!

Speaking of juice, I’ve been making raw beet juice or shredding raw beets onto my salads. I’ve heard of elite athletes incorporating beets into their diets as the high nitrate content is thought to improve blood flow, stamina and lower blood pressure. It can’t hurt to try!

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I don’t have a juicer, but the Blendtec + a strainer gets the job done nicely. I’ve been tossing in 4 large, peeled, raw beets + 2 apples + 1 cup of water and giving it a whirl. (It makes 2-3 servings)

Lastly, I’m making a new playlist just in case I decide to run with my iPod. Sometimes music does wonders for boosting my energy.

The End – Seven Lions

You Know – Zeds Dead

^^^ my current jams

I made the best mistake of my life by downloading the podcast, Serial.

Thanks a lot, Ange and Jen! Now  everything and everyone in my life needs to be put on hold so I can get through it. I  considered listening to it while getting a massage last night. It’s THAT captivating (and seriously addicting).

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Here’s what it’s about:

“On January 13, 1999, a girl named Hae Min Lee, a senior at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County, Maryland, disappeared. A month later, her body turned up in a city park. She’d been strangled. Her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime, and within a year, he was convicted and sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison. The case against him was largely based on the story of one witness, Adnan’s friend Jay, who testified that he helped Adnan bury Hae’s body. But Adnan has always maintained he had nothing to do with Hae’s death. Some people believe he’s telling the truth. Many others don’t.”

In some episodes I think he’s innocent and in others, guilty. The anticipation is killing me and I NEED TO FIND OUT! Please don’t give me any spoilers.

My best friend/coworker Cam and I cleaned up highway garbage together yesterday. He works in human resources and introduces me to new employees as his best friend.  He’s the only person I can call and say, “I have something to tell you!” and he’ll respond with, “TO THE BATMOBILE!”
… and then we meet up and laugh hysterically about nonsense for 5 minutes straight and go back to work as though nothing happened.

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My latest white-girl obsession:

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I’m so happy to see Kevita is finally in Canada! Granted, the health food store I shop at only has three flavours, but at least it’s a start. Have you tried it?

In the final days, how do you prepare for a race? Are you more mindful of what you eat?

Do you run/workout with or without music? If I’m in the gym, I NEED music.

What songs are you playing on repeat?