3 Ways to Put Life Into Living (Part 1)

… When you’re totally confused and don’t know what to do.

Hi hi! I hope your week is going well.

I’ve had this ‘life chat’ post burning a hole in my drafts for two months.    If reading Brene Brown’s ‘Daring Greatly’ has taught me anything, it’s that vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Remember Brene’s famous TedTalk on the Power of Vulnerability? It is, undoubtedly,  one of the most influential TedTalks out there (and if you haven’t watched it – get on it!)  In Daring Greatly, Brene confesses that she was terrified no one would show up to her Power of Vulnerability lecture.  She didn’t think her speech would resonate with anyone. (What??!!) The main reason why I haven’t published this post was because of my own fear of vulnerability; but it’s something I’m learning to change my mind about.

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Now, I am definitely no Brene Brown, but I am a human being who experiences the same challenges as everyone else. Our circumstances may vary, but our emotions and struggles are very much the same.

Have you ever taken inventory of your life and wondered, “Is this as good as it gets? Have I reached the pinnacle of my existence?”  … and then felt scared, anxious or disappointed because you thought life would turn out to be completely different than the place you’re at now? Your friends seem to  have it all together (well, most days, anyways): they’ve graduated from university, are settling into relationships, marriages and careers, having kids. Following the seemingly natural progression that most twenty and thirty-somethings do. Maybe you’ve already traveled down the same path, or part of it.  But something feels off and you can’t pinpoint why. Or where you went wrong. If you went wrong.  You feel like you’re simply existing, instead of living. Questioning who you are. What you should do with this little old life of yours.

I hear ya.

If any of this resonates with you, let’s chat.

It’s common knowledge (I think?) that in order to create a life filled with a sense of purpose, we need to develop soul-centered goals and take action. But what if you’re feeling lost, uncertain and don’t even know what your goals are? Or maybe your goals and beliefs have changed over the years. You’ve simply outgrown them.

I’m breaking today’s post down into three key reminders that will help!  Based on societal observations, trends within my circles of friends and acquaintances, in addition to my own personal experiences, these tips can be used as a starting point to launching  and living a life you’re proud of.

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1. Discover your passions.

Don’t you hate it when experts tell us to create a life or career centered around our passions and strengths?  Yeah thanks, as if we didn’t have half a brain to figure out that concept on our own.  The problem is, most of us aren’t sure what our passions are.  Where do we find them? Where should we start? That’s where we get stuck and quit.  It’s easy to become apathetic and numb.

The most simple answer is: try something new. Anything at all! The best time to start is now. It doesn’t matter what it is: a yoga class, nature photography,  a solo vacation, a blind date, running, learning a second language, getting a part time ‘fun job’ at Lululemon. The ‘what’ isn’t important at this stage, it’s truly about stepping out of your comfort zone and opening yourself up to Life.

Who cares if you haven’t done it before – that’s the beauty of it. Trying something different opens your mind to new ways of thinking and develops a new sense of confidence.  The biggest takeaway you’ll notice:

-You’ll always figure out what you want by knowing what you DON’T WANT.  Let’s think back to a time when a relationship we thought we wanted went sideways. After the relationship ended,  in hindsight, we knew we wouldn’t want to be in that situation again.  Negative experiences (yes, even a-holes) are our greatest teachers: albeit terrible in the moment, it teaches us to recognize when someone fantastic comes along.

2. Let go of the need for external circumstances or people to “BE” a specific way. I am definitely guilty of thinking, “When __ happens, or I get __, THEN I’ll truly be happy and fulfilled” This constant state of striving creates a false mentality of ‘never having enough”. It’s our own worst enemy and isn’t conducive for personal growth!  If you ever  find yourself becoming frustrated when  someone isn’t showing up for you the way you want them to, or you’re not getting the things you want, it’s because you’re asking yourself the wrong questions.  The easiest and quickest way remedy it is to re-frame the question with something like, “What is it that I need to experience or learn from this person or situation?”

-More often than not, life is trying to work it’s way  into our consciousness but we can’t see it because we’re too busy focusing on the things we don’t have (and probably don’t need). We just think we do. Our thoughts can be totally crazy sometimes. We have these false identities and ideas about ourselves. (And that’s okay! Irrational thoughts are totally part of the human experience. But we can learn to dial it back, recognize it as false and regain control.) So, instead of us telling the universe how WE need things to be in order to be safe and happy, we’re simply shifting our perception and allowing the universe to show US what we need. Spoiler alert: it’s usually way better, too. It’s like praying for a Ford then receiving a Benz.

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3. You get more than once chance. Life doesn’t end because you made a “perceived” mistake. Don’t worry about ‘getting it right the first time’. You’re going to F*$K up. A lot. Like a lot a lot. And really, is there such thing as a mistake? Or even ‘getting it right’? I really don’t think there is!

In those moments, remember this: Be patient, be kind and practice forgiving yourself.  The people who cruise through life trying to avoid making mistakes or upsetting others endure the most  suffering.  Why? Because they’re trying to create and live inside a false reality that dictates  they can make life fair and orderly. That they can control the outcome.  Remember what I said earlier about needing to experience crappy things in order to recognize what’s real?  The same logic applies. The biggest mistake I’ve ever made was getting married way too young to a guy I didn’t truly want to be with.    One of my best friends attempted to deny the fact he was gay by marrying a woman. What we both had in common is that we denied our personal pain in an attempt to lessen everyone else’s suffering. We ended up making ourselves small so we wouldn’t ruffle anyone’s feathers.  When we made the choice to be vulnerable and honest with everyone, a painful death of the false self and rebirth of the authentic Self occurred.   You can’t run or hide from the truth. You just can’t.

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One of my favourite lessons from Daring Greatly teaches us that owning our story can be hard. But not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities can be risky, but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy – the experiences that make us most vulnerable.  Soooo gooooood. SO GOOD!!! Ahhh.

Last but not least, if all else fails, remember this:

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Set that quote as your phone wallpaper if need be.

Over to you, friends. What are some bittersweet life lessons you’ve learned over the years? How did you learn what and who you wanted in your life (by knowing what you definitely did NOT want)?

High Vibe Places: Weekend Recap

It’s crazy to think that in a week, I’ll be waking up in a different house and a different neighborhood. (I’m moving)  It feels like a fresh start and the timing of my upcoming move couldn’t be better.

The end of summer is always filled with goodbyes. I have a lot of “seasonal friends” here in the Rockies.  They come west to work and make a lot of money during the summer months, then head home to ‘their real lives’ in the fall.   Lauren and her boyfriend Nik are leaving the mountains and I met up with them for one last Summer 2015 adventure on Saturday morning. Their plan was to do the Plain of Six Glaciers hike at Lake Louise and I gladly tagged along. I didn’t care where we went, I just wanted to be outside and move my body.

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Lake Louise is an energetic hot spot in Alberta. It’s magnetism is apparent by how many people flock to the area. Of all the places to explore in the mountains, they gravitate towards Lake Louise and I don’t think it’s *just* the turquoise lake that draws people in. In a physical sense, the area has a lot of geothermal activity, electromagnetic fields, moving glaciers, and more happening. Earth energy…. earth medicine.  It is a place where time feels like it stands still.  A presence of deep awareness. I didn’t realize how much I needed to be there until I was perched on a rock at the base of a glacier and the tears started to flow.

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I like that nature has a way of understanding us. It’s the best therapy (and it’s free!). One of my friends once confided in me that when he was going through a really difficult and painful time in his life, he healed himself with hiking. He noticed that with each step, each breath, each summit he conquered, he felt himself getting stronger again. I remind myself of that when I’m in hiking or healing mode (or both). Just focus on your breath. One step at a time. Keep moving forward. You can do hard things. Feel what you’re feeling.

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We ate lunch at a tea house surrounded by SNOW. Yes, snow in August! The weather is all over the place at this time of year.  I was chilly, craving comfort food and ordered veggie soup, half a tuna sandwich on homemade oat bread and apple pie. :)

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On Sunday morning, I joined some friends for a legit, grueling hike in Kananaskis. We did Mount Lorette and I didn’t really take any pictures because I was too focused on my safety. We accidentally took a wrong turn and ended up on the wrong side of the mountain. I won’t tell you the story because my Mom reads my blog  and will yell at me. But lets just say it was a 10 hour day and that I left the mountain with a ton of scrapes, cuts, bruises, whiplash and blisters.

Here is a photo from our walk back to the car once we were back on flat ground.  I’ve never been so happy to finish a hike before!

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I hope the photos and stories of my mountain adventures inspire people to get outdoors and explore. If you haven’t already entered, I’m giving away a trip/wellness retreat to the Alberta Rockies in this post. It’s going to be a wonderful high-vibe weekend filled with good food, great friends, yoga, group exercise classes and more.

What was the best part of your weekend?

What’s the sketchiest adventure you’ve been on?

GIVEAWAY: Kananaskis Womens Wellness Retreat

Chances are, if you read my blog it’s because we share similar interests such as:

-Running
-Bodypump
-Yoga
-Eating  healthy food
-Eating not-so healthy food (especially if it’s donuts, pizza and ice cream)
-Adventures
-Hiking
-Self development, spirituality
-Travel
-Workout gear
-Mountains and beaches
-Not wearing pants (unless they’re sweatpants)
-The color green
-Going to bed at 7pm
-Watching Real Housewives and Vanderpump Rules
-Goats

During this weeks internet travels, I came across a fantastic article on the science of why we should spend our money on experiences, not things.  They say, “Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than material goods. You can really like your stuff, and you can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum of our total experiences.”   Don’t you love that? Let that one sink in for a moment.

Yeah, I really like my lululemon shorts and Mizuno running shoes, but what I *actually* treasure are the moments in which I’m wearing them.

When I think about my happiness and what makes me feel fulfilled it doesn’t have anything to do with my clothes, house, car, food.  I’m happiest when I’m outdoors exploring and being active – like running or hiking. Being with my best friends who make me laugh hysterically or spending time with my love. My life is rich with experience.  The only thing that I feel is “lacking” is travel – I wish I could explore the globe but my work and financial commitments don’t allow for it at this point in my life.  It’s okay though. Living in the mountains is the next best thing and I truly love living here. It satisfies the wanderlust craving!

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On the topic of experiences,  I was recently invited to attend an upcoming wellness weekend as part of the annual Kananaskis Womens Series via Tourism Canmore and Delta Kananaskis.    Last year, the retreat sold out in record time – before I had the chance to get tickets. It was so sad! One thing I know for sure is that women love pampering themselves in paradise. Because the event maxes out at 100 attendees, this mountain retreat is going to sell out quickly.

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Each weekend features the following all-inclusive components:

-Two nights of shared or single accommodation
-Five healthy meals
-Keynote sessions on the respective themes of Mind, Body, Soul: the discussions taking place over this particular weekend will be centered on nutrition, mindful habits, self empowerment and manifestation
-Yoga and meditation classes
-Fitness classes (BooTy by Tara Newbigging)
-Creative workshops (journaling, Yantra creations)
-Pajama party and movie night with wine, chocolate & popcorn (!!)
-Free time to enjoy the spa & outdoors

Okay fine, twist my rubber arm, will ya?  It took me 0.0002 seconds to decide yes.  The best part? All we have to do is pack our sweatpants and show up – the event organizers and hotel are taking care of all the fine details. We don’t even have to pre-register for workshops ahead of time.

Dates: September 25, 26, 27
Theme: MIND
Where: Delta Kananaskis

Registration info and reservations can be found HERE.

If you’re feeling lucky, I’m giving away an entry to a Living Mint Green reader.  Contest closes September 16. GOOD LUCK!!!

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Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary ticket and accommodations for the event, but all opinions are my own. 

7 Things That Made My Life Better

Hello there, friends!

I apologize for the sporadic blog posts lately. I wouldn’t say my life is hectic right now, but it’s busy.  Between working full time, maintaining my health and fitness, a social life and packing up my condo, any free minutes are dedicated to disconnecting from the noise of social media and relaxing in the evening. Either in the yoga studio, outside, or in bed with a book. When life gets a little crazy, it’s even more important to make time for exercise, healthy food and sleep.

Oddly enough, I don’t have much to report from this past weekend. On Saturday morning, I skipped my usual city-routine of Bodypump at GoodLife Fitness in favor of sleeping in. I knew if I went to the gym, I’d be too tired to put in my usual effort so I went back to sleep with absolutely no regrets.
It was a gloomy, rainy day so I spent the majority of it doing errands – Costco, the farmers market, baking cookies, stalking all of you Seawheeze attendees on Insagram, trying to find something to watch on Netflix.  The boyfran and I went on a date to a $5 movie theatre in Canyon Meadows. (We saw Mad Max and liked it!)

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M&M and chocolate chip cookies

Sunday was slightly more productive. I woke up in the mood for a killer workout. I paired a 30 min Bodypump class (squat, chest and back tracks) with a 30 min CXWORKS class at Goodlife.  I’m loving this fitness combo lately. Knowing that I only have 30 mins to make my workout count, I definitely don’t hold back on upping my weights in Bodypump. I am so sore today. My abs, back, shoulders, hair, EVERYTHING hurts. I love it!

I had a fantastic breakfast this morning that I need to share with you:

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Last night, I made yogurt parfaits for the boy and I  to enjoy this morning. I pureed a peach in the blender and poured it into the bottom of a mason jar, followed by layers of greek yogurt, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, buckwheat, chia and hemp seeds. YUM!!! {Do you follow me on snapchat? What is up with me only posting yogurt bowls on there?}

Currnetly, I’m reading and enjoying this book:

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Brene Brown is a rockstar. Thumbs up. You should read it!

Danielle LaPorte totally inspired today’s post. Since reading her piece on ’28 of the best things I ever did – from my bedroom to my business’ I’ve been thinking about the ways I’ve improved my health, happiness and overall sense of well being over the years.

1. Ditching calorie counting and focusing on food quality instead. In my early 20’s, I thought counting calories was how you ‘became healthy’. I didn’t know that our bodies don’t really comprehend math equations. They’re more like complex chemistry labs and the type of food we consume tells our cells, organs, hormones etc to do certain processes and behave in a certain way: like using food for energy or storing it as energy. That being said, calories dooooo matter, but it’s not as simple as diet food industry marketing/programs would have us to believe.

2. Drinking a big glass of lemon or diluted apple cider vinegar water upon waking (instead of going straight for the coffee).  I’m especially prone to indigestion and heartburn – particularly when I eat too fast, mix too many types of food in one sitting, or consume coffee, sugar and alcohol. I know, I know, #WIMP. I started doing the lemon-water thing daily, instead of when I had symptoms, and it’s done a pretty good job of improving my overall digestion and making my skin glowy.

3. Doing something physically active everyday (especially if it’s outdoors!) Some days I like to push my physical limits with a hard run. Other times I prefer passive activity, like deep stretching or walking. Either way, it’s the same medicine. Movement flushes out stagnant, lingering ‘dead energy’ from the day. I feel so much better equipped at handling Life when I make my health and well being a priority.

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4. Praying and meditation.  I don’t talk about my faith openly on the blog but if you know me well in real life, spirituality is one of my favorite juicy topics. My faith runs incredibly deep and it’s a very important component of my wellness regime. I don’t identify with any particular religion or follow one primary spiritual teacher, but I guess you could say they’re all correct in their own way.  I am attracted to anything that is loving, empowering and inspiring. And really, it’s all the same message anyway: Chill out & don’t be a dick.  :)

5. Removing the tv from my bedroom. It doesn’t need to be there.

6. THIS ONE.

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As a natural people pleaser, this was a HUUUUGE life changing revelation for me. Like, how did that never cross my mind before?

7. Investing in a skin exfoliating brush and ditching chemical-y skin scrubs (which don’t even work that well in comparison).

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(I have this one)

I’m going to stop here for now. I have more to add to my list, but I’m thinking I’ll break this up into a blog mini-series.

I’d love to hear from you:

What are some simple ways you’ve improved your quality of life?

What is your favorite thing to bake?

What did you eat for breakfast this morning? 

Farmers Market + An Unexpected 5k Race!

I really wish the summer months wouldn’t fly by so quickly. Slow down, will ya?!  I’m not ready!  Do you find time flies in the summer and seems to slow to a snails pace in the colder months?

One day, I’d like to live in the tropics or desert where I can enjoy endless summers. <– the 1284th time I’ve stated this in a blog post. Canada is great and all, but… palm trees, warm, salty ocean air, cacti and sand? Gimme.

How are you doing? What’s new? I accidentally ran a really great 5k race in Calgary over the weekend. When Ange invited me to join her at the annual Pure Protein Night Race (in partnership with the Running Room, Brooks and Molson Canadian) I jumped at the chance to decorate myself with glow sticks, neon paint, a headlamp and run wild in the night!

I couldn’t decide if I should do the 10k or 5k and ended up choosing the shorter distance because I’ve never raced a 5k. (And I was feeling lazy, haha)

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What I liked around the race:

-Fun party atmosphere (music, glow sticks, body painting)
-It’s a smaller race (2500 people)
-Easy course – there was a gradual incline for the first 1.5 miles or so, then a steady downhill to the finish. Hello, 7:04 finishing mile!
-Free beer at the end!!!! (and Pure Protein bars, chips, pretzels, bananas and water)
-Running in the dark was FANTASTIC! It made for a much more calming experience and kept you in the present moment since you couldn’t see too far ahead
-Encouraging volunteers offering lots of high fives and plenty of positive vibes along the way

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The course at North Glenmore Park along the reservoir. I’m definitely going to come here again for my city-runs when I’m in town.

What I didn’t like about the race:

-There wasn’t a clear marker or someone directing you at the turn around point.  It was confusing to several people, including myself. I stopped on the course and watched where everyone else was going before following suit. (Or maybe there was a marker, but we couldn’t see it because it was dark, hahaha)
-Intersecting and almost colliding with 10k racers at their second loop starting point and the finish line (not a huge deal but slightly dangerous, nonetheless)

As with all races, it was congested at the beginning. I placed myself at the front of the pack so I wouldn’t lose too much time trying to dodge and weave around slower runners/walkers. Even then, it took a few minutes for me to find my way to a clearing. We were running on a narrow bike path though, so it was inevitable.   I hope I don’t sound rude for saying this, but I wish people would take running etiquette more seriously. It’s just like driving: stay on the right unless you’re passing. If you’re a slower runner, start near the middle or back of the pack.  If you’re running with a friend, don’t run side by side unless you’re on a wide course with lots of space.

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Pre-race warm up

I  didn’t have any time goals for this race other than to do my best and have fun. I tried the new Bodypump release at GoodLife Fitness earlier in the day and walked around downtown Calgary all afternoon so I went into it with tired legs. I definitely made the mistake of eating fried halloumi cheese, pita bread and hummus beforehand which made my stomach feel all !*$*%(#%(@). <– I don’t recommend eating this as a pre-race snack. I was so bloated and uncomfortable!

Needless to say, I was a little taken back when I crossed the finish line at 23:38 (Garmin time) and didn’t see many finishers yet. A few minutes later, my BF crossed the finish line and we headed to the beer gardens for our complimentary beverages.

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“Um, lovey…” I said, “I think I might have placed and will be getting an award?” We hung around for a while, met up with Ange after she crossed the finish (she was crazy and ran 3 miles before race THEN did the 10k) and waited for the race organizers to post the results.

My official chip time was 23:34 which resulted in 16th place overall (out of 510 runners), 6th female overall, and 1st place in my age group. Yay!!

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To celebrate, we went over to a friends house for Prosecco then stopped downtown for 1am hot dogs at Tubby Dog. I was so wound up after my run that I didn’t end up going to bed until after 2am. I had to take melatonin to calm down and slept until 10:30am on Sunday morning.

Other than meeting Sam at the farmers market on Sunday afternoon, I did absolutely nothing. It’s crazy how one late night throws your whole system out of whack! My usual bedtime is 9:30pm on weeknights and 11pm on weekends.

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I refilled by Truebuch bottles with ginger kombucha and picked up BC peaches, blueberries, cherries, Taber corn, carrots and unpictured carrot cake and a raspberry mousse tart.  For dinner, we grilled baby potatoes, garlic cloves and carrots + chicken. I also made game-changer corn: boiling the cobs in a pot of half water/half milk, a stick of butter and salt. It was SO GOOD! You absolutely have to try it! (I used this tutorial.)

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And now it’s back to another work week! My fitness goals for this week are a hike, a short run, strength train circuit, yoga and of course, a weekend Bodypump class. Plus starting to pack. I’m moving out of my condo and into a real house at the end of the month. So much to do, so little time.

What is the last race you ran? What’s your next race going to be? 

Have you ever surprised yourself on a run/race and ended up doing way better than you thought you would?

Do you enjoy farmers markets? What do you usually buy? 

Weekend Recap: I did everything.

Hi!

What day/week/year is it? After four days off, I’m feeling a little confused and out of touch with reality. And slightly dehydrated.   Since this past weekend was a long one, I tacked a vacation day onto it so I could squeeze in an extra day of adventures. With a never ending bucket list, I’ve quickly learned how to effectively manage my precious spare time!

I suggest grabbing a coffee or snack since this post might be a little lengthy.

Let’s rewind back to Thursday night. After work, I headed into the city for a date: Moroccan food at The Casbah – one of my favorite Calgary restaurants. There is SO MUCH LOVE in their food and the atmosphere is super chill, cozy and romantic.  Our evening ended with Village Ice Cream and a walk near the river.

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snapchat: livingmintgreen

^^^ Strange but good combo. Who would have thought cardamom + ice cream would create such a perfect, magical synergy?  They just work together! The fat and sugar content does a fantastic job of toning down the cardamom. When it comes to ice cream, I typically gravitate towards salted caramel, peanut butter or mint flavours, but I think this one might be the new #1 in my heart.

On Friday morning, I went to Bodypump and an afternoon hot yoga Power Flow that felt like it was going to end my existence. I am NOT used to doing anything remotely difficult in yoga these days. (Crying emoji)

Eating at Longview Steakhouse in Longview, AB has been on my food bucket list since last summer. So that’s where we went for dinner on Friday night! I now understand why Calgarians make the 50 minute drive out of the city to dine there. Conde Nast recently named them one of the world’s best steakhouses and wow, it did not disappoint. Hands down, it was the best steak I’ve had in a very, very long time.

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After our dinner date wrapped up, we took the scenic Kananaskis Trail/Highway 40 back to my house. We enjoyed plenty of stops along the way – savoring the sights and sounds of the front range of the Rockies while soaking up the remaining rays of the day.

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Saturday’s adventure: hiking and exploring alpine lakes in a basin behind Castle mountain in Banff.

We did the Rockbound Lake trail: 18km+ return, with a slight detour to experience a rare triple waterfall.

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If you’re reading this and thinking about going, you should know it’s just an okay hike. I wouldn’t do it again and I’m not sure if I would recommend it.  Tower Lake and Rockbound Lake at the end of the trail are nice and you get to view the backside of Castle mountain, but it’s not worth the time and effort to get there.  It’s a really boring trail with no views. The first 5km are along an old gravel road in the trees, with the final 3km on an actual trail in the forest. However, it would be a good trail to run since the elevation gain is gradual with even terrain. So at least there’s that! And the color of Tower Lake is just… wow.

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On Sunday morning, we rented  SUPs at Barrier Lake and spent a couple hours paddling to the south end of the lake and back. The water was like glass which made it so much easier to paddle on! We had inflatable boards which I’m not a fan of (they’re slow and hard to stabilize), but they got the job done. It was lovey’s first time on a SUP and we spent the majority of our time trying to push each other off our boards. Actually, it was more like him trying to flip me and while I attempted to hit him with my paddle.

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In the evening, we turned my SUV into a bed, packed some food and drove into the wilderness in search of our own private piece of paradise to call home (for a night).

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Friends, it was AWESOME. We enjoyed a private beach and the lake to ourselves. We beach combed for rocks and watched the setting sun turn the mountains brilliant fiery hues. We played cards and ate a late dinner illuminated by headlamps. Fell asleep in the most uncomfortable car-bed EVER (my skeleton felt like it was crumbling at various points in the night). Bundled ourselves up in our sleeping bags to drink our morning coffee.

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To round out our weekend of mountain-fun, we met up with Lauren and Nik for a hike turned scramble-traverse. Our “plan” was to summit Mount Rundle and, as per usual, we couldn’t find trail head instructions that made any freaking sense.  They literally said something to the effect of, “Park in this general area and look for a power line on the right side” Okay. (WHICH POWER LINE.) We noticed a cairn and a trail, figured it must be it *the* trailhead and began our ascent. Until we hit a vertical rock wall realized we accidentally took a climbers route. Instead of turning around, we traversed the face of Mount Rundle for a while in hopes we’d find a connecting path to the backside and summit. (Which we didn’t find.  But apparently one DOES exist!)

Ah well, it was still a lot of fun. Sketchy and nerve racking at times, but fun nonetheless.

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Uh… we could free climb to the top?

My new life goal is to create a hiking app with exact coordinates and detailed instructions on how to access trails.

I hope you had a lovely long weekend, too. What did you get up to?

Have you tried  SUP? Where is your favorite place to go?

What is your favorite summertime meal? Mine is ice cream! And barbecued corn on the cob with lots of butter and salt. OMG. Remember how I told you guys the boy doesn’t like cheese? He doesn’t “get” butter either. !!!???!!! (Should I euthanize him? I get the sense that if you don’t like cheese or butter, there isn’t much to live for.)

As if you didn’t know enough about me….

….Here’s a running survey to add to the mix. Hi there!  Have you seen this floating around the blogosphere?

Before we jump into today’s post, I need to confess my latest addiction to you:

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BC fruit! I can’t get enough. Is there anything better than taking a bite into a sweet, ripe, juicy peach and having it burst all over your hands and face? (NO)

Also – I’m currently in possession of 4L of locally brewed kombucha. They make the best ginger kombucha I’ve ever had – it’s light, crisp and tastes just like ginger ale. You have to try it, Calgary friends!

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1. Would you rather run along a beach path or along a mountain trail?

Ahhhh – that’s such a tough choice. I have so much love for both – can I go with a mountain trail in Hawaii so I can still experience the ocean?

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2. If you could choose the flavour of Gatorade at your next race’s aid station, what would it be?

I’ve never tried Gatorade- I use NUUN tablets instead – they’re concentrated and probably less radioactive? Haha

3. If I gave you a $100 gift card to a running store, what would be the first thing that you would purchase with it?

SHOES!!! (Nike or Mizuno)

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4. Do you prefer to follow a training plan or wake up and then decide how far and fast you want to run?

I prefer winging it.

5. Would you rather start your run with an uphill and end on the downhill or start your run with a downhill and end with an uphill?

I’d rather get the worst over and done with so that I don’t hold back on my run.

6. When you can’t run, what kind of cross-training do you do?

Bodypump or hiking. With some healing yoga thrown in there, too!

7. What is your preference – out and back, point to point or loop runs?

It doesn’t matter – I’m happy as long as the course I’m on isn’t boring. I don’t fare well in the city streets… I need trails or parks!

8. If you could recommend ANY running related item to a new runner, it would be…?

-The book Chi Running (it teaches  physical form and technique, in addition to a proper mental mindset)
-Lululemon Run Speed shorts (love the built-in undies, they don’t ride up or fall down)
-Calf compression sleeves (minimizes and prevents calf swelling during and after training)
-STRENGTH TRAIN, STRETCH/YOGA(!!!)… and do something fun other than running.  Not just for preventing and treating injuries or muscle imbalances, but as a mental break from boring monotony.

9. Do you ever see wild animals while out for a run?

All the time! I’ve encountered deer, moose, elk, coyotes, bald eagles, bighorn sheep and mountain goats.  Thankfully no bears or cougars.  I don’t feel comfortable running in the deep, dark woods by myself and stick to populated trails. Even then, I carry bear spray with me just to be safe.

10. Ever gotten lost while out on a run?

Nope

11. If you could have one meal ready and waiting for you each time you got home for a run for the next 30 days, what would that be?

Protein pancakes or french toast topped with lots of fruit, nut butter and maple syrup

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12. Capris or shorts…what do you run in most often?

Shorts. Thankfully my legs don’t seem chafe.

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13. At what mile (or how many minutes) into your run does your body start feeling like it’s warmed up and ready to go?

About 3 miles. It usually takes a little while for my nervous system to calm down and settle into my breath and stride. The bargain plea I make with myself is, “Just make it to 5k and if you STILL feel like death, you can stop”

14. What do you do with your key when you run?

I put them in my SCAT belt or the back pocket of my shorts. I had my car keys in my bra in this photo:

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15. If you could relive any race you’ve done in the past, which would it be?

Call me crazy, but I feel apathetic when it comes to races… nothing really stands out to me. However, some of my nearest and dearest running memories occurred in Hawaii. I miss the feeling of warm, salty ocean air on my skin. Some days, I’d run to the Kilauea volcano. Or pound out mile after mile along the Pacific ocean; exploring winding roads lined with thick tropical jungle and coconut groves.

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SIGH. Mountain life is pretty rad though, so no complaints. Just feeling a little nostalgic right now. :)

Over to you:

What are some of your all-time favorite running memories?

If you could have one meal ready and waiting for you each time you got home for a run for the next 30 days, what would that be?

Would you rather run along a beach path or along a mountain trail?

How I’d spend my lottery winnings + Blogger Tips

A couple of great tips and life-hacks I’ve learned through our (AWESOME) blogger tribe recently:

-Using Snapchat is actually pretty useful for bloggers – Ange wrote a great tutorial called, “What the Eff is Snapchat” if you’re still on the fence about signing up.  Initially, I didn’t see the point – I’m already on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and felt like I’d reached my social media limit. I had a change of heart once I realized  Snapchat is a great way to ‘fill the gaps’ in my brand/blog  with content I don’t necessarily want to share on Instagram.

For example, I prefer keeping my Instagram content relevant to my mountain photography and adventures with one or two *higher quality* pictures per day.   Snapchat is better suited at sharing life updates without annoying people:  what I’m cooking and eating, workouts, products and brands I love,  random scenes from throughout my day, etc. Plus it’s cool to get a peek into my friends lives and see what they’re up to!  (I need to fix my Snapchat selfie – why does it take 500 pics, btw?)

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Rachel nails her running shots by taking a video THEN a screen shot. Genius! It’s saved me so much time and frustration while trying to perfectly time my ‘action shots’… that are actually pretend action shots, unless someone happens to be running with me. This is also a good way to analyze your running form, too!

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-By utilizing social media, it’s a lot easier to make new friends and connections than ever before.  On the surface, it seems a little strange and I’m confident older generations are rolling their eyes and thinking, “Unreal! Back in my day, we didn’t have smartphones and met people face to face! What’s wrong with society?”

Of course, social media isn’t intended to replace genuine, in-person connections, but rather as a way to bridge the gap and make it EASIER to find your true love homies.

Examples of cool people I’ve met:

-My good friend/mountain soul sister, Lauren

-A boy that I love very much

-Alberta/BC blends and readers. Brianne and I have been “Insta-friends” for a few years and we finally met up on Friday night for a hike. My coworker-friend, Carlos joined us too!

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Hiking is my favorite activity in the world.

-Have you ever thought about what you’d buy if you won the lottery? Without hesitation, one of the first things I’d do is build myself a fitness closet like Khloe Kardashian’s. OH MY GOODNESS. This is what my dreams are made of.

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Screw designer shoes, give me 200 pairs of Mizunos and Nikes.  That fridge would be stocked with green juice, kombucha and Kevita, too!

– I stepped out of my group-exercise comfort zone by trying a new-to-me workout at GoodLife FitnessCXWORKS (and loved it!)

On Sunday morning, I took a compressed 30 minute Bodypump class. We did squat, chest and back tracks, but I was still in the mood to keep going so I stuck around for CXWORKS, a 30 minute core-training workout. I am TERRIBLE at incorporating core strength into my at-home/unsupervised workouts.   It’s something I should do a better job of prioritizing, but figure all of the hiking and running I do is “enough”. Oh, and I’ve been doing a weekly TRX/Bosu Ball bootcamp. Forgot about that one. We did these crazy suspended oblique crunches at last week’s class that made me feel like my guts were exploding.

I’m not sure why I’ve shied away from trying other classes offered by GoodLife. I suppose it’s easy to fall into the habit out of sticking with what you know and like.   I’m already looking forward to my next CXWORKS class next time I’m in the city – BLOGGER DATE, ANYONE?  I especially loved that the class flew by in no time (it seriously felt like 10 minutes) and although it was challenging, didn’t leave me feeling completely dead or rigormortis-y. <– Don’t you love making up new words?

I hope you have a great week, friends! :)

What is your favorite fitness class? When is the last time you stepped out of your exercise comfort zone? I really want to try Orange Theory next!

If you won the lottery, what kinds of cool stuff would you put in your house? 

Tell me your latest life-hack/game-changer:

This post was written as part of the GoodLife Fitness Blogger Ambassador Program

Don’t forget to participate in this summer’s #FitCanadian contest! A ton of great prizes are up for grabs: one year gym memberships, team training for you and a friend and Reebok gift cards. 

The best gift I’ve given myself

So it turns out backcountry camping is physically exhausting.  But SO relaxing, rewarding and entirely worth the effort. It’s funny, because in some ways, it’s easier than car camping due to it’s simplicity. Knowing that every ounce of weight counts, it’s easy to determine necessities vs. perks.

To put it in perspective, the last time I went car camping, I brought the most random and pointless things with me “just in case”.  As in: a wine decanter, Windex (yeah, I don’t know) an entire roll of paper towels, several books, a king-sized faux fur blanket, etc.  I’m laughing right now. The heck was wrong with me? #GLAMPING

This time around, I needed to figure out how to pack my gear into a 70 litre backpack as ergonomically and efficiently as possible. I will start by saying the only “girly”  non-necessity item  I brought with me was travel sized dry-shampoo. Yay me.

“LET ME HAVE THIS ONE THING! My hair is fine and greasy!” I argued with the boy, when he tried to tell me I didn’t need it.

“You don’t need 25 tampons either” he pointed out.

Fair enough.

Into my pack went:

-My Marmot sleeping bag
-Inflatable sleeping mat
-Base layers  (warm socks, touque, lululemon insulated running tights, a tank and a sweater that I hate because it makes me itchy)
-Jacket
-Shorts and a tank top
-Sandals
-First aid/toiletry kit (band aids, tape, gauze, Swiss Army knife, lighter, Advil, tampons, sunscreen, NUUN tablets, deodorant, hand sanitizer, wipes, toilet paper, garbage bag)
-Water bottle
Life Straw  <– to filter sediment and pathogens out of the water
-Small axe
-Food
-My DSLR
-Book
Monopoly Deal (the card game version of Monopoly)
-Bear spray & bug spray
-Dry bags to store food in and double as a pillow (that I stuffed with my clothes)

When it came to food, we chose light supplies that would pack well: Clif bars, ramen noodles, instant rice & beans, beef jerky, oats mixed with protein powder, goji berries, seeds, cinnamon and dates, instant coffee and hot chocolate.

I made typical trail-lunches to eat on the way: chicken sandwiches on sourdough, veggies and apples. I took a picture of our lunch but the sandwiches were squished and soggy and no one needs to see that. 

Pre-hike, I fueled up with one of my favorite breakfast bowls: greek yogurt, banana, blueberries, chia and Love Crunch granola. <– you gotta try this stuff! I’m convinced it’s the food equivalent of cocaine.

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We left my house around 7am and were on the trail  an hour later. As I hoisted my pack onto my back, I took a deep breath of crisp, clean mountain air and observed the paradise awaiting me: the sun rising from behind the eastern peaks and cascading a warm glow onto my face; the forest blanketed in fresh dew. Mother Nature always provides the best gifts – I have so much gratitude for this beautiful, wild Rocky Mountain lifestyle.

Our destination: Tumbling Creek in Kootenay National Park, BC. A a nice, moderate 21km round trip adventure for us first time backpackers!

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Our first photo op was at the Paint Pots, a place of cultural significance to past Kootenay tribes. The earth is rich in iron turning the soil  vibrant shades of orange and yellow. Trickling steams and crystal clear pools of water encompass the area.

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We hiked for a little over three hours, crossing various bridges, waterfalls and valleys adorned with colorful wildflowers. The majority of our trek was adjacent to Tumbling Creek, which was brimming with so much glacial sediment it took on the appearance of frothy milk.

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Along the journey, and unbeknownst to me, the boy stuffed random flowers into my pack so I’d discover a full bouquet once I took my backpack off. It was so sweet! I didn’t have the heart to tell him you’re not permitted to pick wildflowers. But now he knows. Cause he reads my blog. And now you’re going to get arrested.

After setting up our campsite and eating lunch, we took a nap. It was AWESOME, mainly because I can’t nap… ever. I want to, but midday sleep doesn’t come easy to me. Before drifting off, my last thoughts were, “I’m so warm in my sleeping bag cocoon. The sun feels nice. Is that a cool breeze?” And then I died.

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I have declared coffee and Clif bars to be the official camping snack.

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We spent the remainder of the day playing cards, reading and exploring the area. We shared quiet moments inside the basin of a glacier while we looked around in amazement. It was surreal.

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Once bedtime arrived, I worried I wouldn’t be able to sleep well – I wondered if strange forest noises would have me tossing and turning all night. Instead, the complete opposite occurred: I experienced the most deeply restorative sleep I’ve had in months. It must have been the darkness, cool nighttime temperatures and white noise from the rushing creek. Not to mention total disconnection from society.  Earth medicine at it’s finest! Nature is THE sanctuary for healing, self development, transformation, awareness, and so much more. Spending time in the outdoors has been the greatest gift I’ve given myself. It’s opened my heart and mind to new ways of being and I’m going to carry these lessons with me wherever life takes me.

We left the backcountry feeling happy, refreshed and excited for future camping adventures. On the way home, we stopped in Banff for beer, food and ice cream then called it an early night.

I love my summer weekends!

Do you like camping? Car camping vs. back country?

What’s the best gift you’ve given yourself?

What I’m Loving Lately

ROAR!

Good day and happy Monday to you, friends. For today’s post, I decided to switch things up with a round-up of my latest loves.

1. The Senator’s Wife by Sue Miller

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Don’t you love getting lost inside a great book?  I’m deeply engrossed in this particular novel and I’m going to be so sad when it’s finished!

“Meri is newly married, pregnant, and standing on the cusp of her life as a wife and mother, recognizing with some terror the gap between reality and expectation. Delia—wife of the two-term liberal senator Tom Naughton—is Meri’s new neighbor in the adjacent New England town house. Tom’s chronic infidelity has been an open secret in Washington circles, but despite the complexity of their relationship, the bond between them remains strong. Soon Delia and Meri find themselves leading strangely parallel lives, as they both reckon with the contours and mysteries of marriage: one refined and abraded by years of complicated intimacy, the other barely begun. With precision and a rich vitality, Sue Miller—beloved and bestselling author of While I Was Gone—brings us a highly charged, superlative novel about marriage and forgiveness.”

2. Love Crunch Dark Chocolate Macaroon granola.  Should I be ashamed that I polished off the bag in three servings? I REGRET NOTHING! (White chocolate pineapple is my second fave.)

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I had every intention of using it as a yogurt bowl topping, but mostly consumed it straight from the bag. Old me used to avoid  refined/sugary food, but now I don’t really care.  It seems like once I took food off  the healthy living pedestal and started viewing it as neutral, or “just food” instead of “good” or “bad” I achieved a pretty good balance of eating healthfully, but still enjoying my favourite (granola-y) treats.

A few years ago, I’d rarely bring ‘junk food’ into the house because I was convinced I’d send myself into a downward spiral of junk food oblivion and ruin my healthy efforts. As long as I told myself I ‘shouldn’t’ eat things (like ice cream, chips, etc) it made me want them even more! I also noticed myself eating around  said treats and probably consuming way more energy and less satisfaction as a result. “Well since I’m not eating cake, I guess I’ll eat a block of cheese and a bottle of wine.” Hahaha. Nowadays, I’m regularly stocked with ice cream, chips, cereal, etc and because I know I can eat treats (and the world won’t end) when I truly want them, the appeal to go crazy all day, everyday doesn’t exist. Hmm.

(Sam has a really great post that echoes my thoughts and opinions on the matter. I also love that last week, after our hike,  we refueled with mugs of beer, ordered two pizzas and planned to visit McDonalds for Nanaimo Bar sundaes if we were still hungry afterwards.)

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3. David’s Tea Milk Bottles (and their Just Peachy tea)

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I keep one at home for smoothies, fresh juice and fruit-infused water, and another at work for plain water and iced tea. I just find it easier to stay hydrated when I drink out of a straw… I don’t know why.

4.  Rosewater spray

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When it comes to cosmetics, personal care and cleaning products, I gravitate towards earth-friendly products for a few reasons:

-Reduced toxic burden on our bodies and the environment
-I hate spending money on things that are literally getting rinsed down the drain
-I’m not convinced high end products promising huge benefits actually work  (their marketing works, but as for the product? ehhhh…)
-Sleep, exercise,  healthy food and lots of clean, filtered water makes you feel and look healthy from the inside out

Rosewater is my all-in-one facial toner, skin refresher, linen spray, perfume and aromatherapy. You can find it at health food stores (the most expensive option) Alternatively, you can make your own using rose essential oil in this DIY. I buy a big bottle of rosewater for under $5 from the ethnic foods (Middle Eastern) section of the grocery store and pour it into a small spray bottle. I  love spritzing

5. Yin Yoga

This type of practice focuses on fascia release (tissue that encases our muscle and connective tissue) and joints – particularly in the hips, pelvis and lumbar spine. Postures are held for around around five minutes on each side – but don’t let that bore you. As someone who has the attention span of a puppy and zero patience for boring stuff it’s NBD. If *I* can endure and enjoy it, anyone can!

My hips carry a tremendous amount of tension and these deep, hip opening stretches are such a welcome treat for my body.   Yin looks a lot like this:

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If your favorite stretches include pigeon, low lungessupine butterfly, wide legged child’s pose… you gotta try it. It’s the ultimate in deep tissue therapy and relaxation. Ps. If anyone is interested in  a weeknight yoga date – I go every Thursday in Canmore!

6. Weeknight hikes

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One of the goals on my Summer 2015 bucket list was to do a weekly post-work hike. Last week’s trek took me up ‘Little Kidd’ aka. the green Super Mario Bros ‘hill’ next to Mount Kidd.  The trail head for this hike was tough (and super annoying) to find so we  forged our own path through the forest in the general direction of the mountain until we found the clearly established trail.

From there, it was literally a straight climb with about 10 feet of switchback to the top. The consensus was it was harder than Ha Ling. (The distance, elevation gain and time is about the same.)

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I got home around 9:45pm, ate several spoonfuls of peanut butter, face planted into bed, then discovered globs of peanut butter all over my face. :)

7. Kevita sparkling probiotic drinks

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I think Canada only has four flavours, but so far, this one is my favorite. It tastes like a mojito! Have you tried Kevita?

I’d love to hear what you’re loving lately! 

Book:

Snacks:

Weeknight workout: