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:

A really great {and fun!} week of workouts.

Upon waking on Monday morning, my first thought was, “No. I can’t. I simply cannot.” It wasn’t that I was dreading going to work, but was  completely exhausted. This tends to be a recurring Monday theme for me. I can’t sleep well the night before and I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I’m wound up from the weekend, but I seem to toss and turn all night. WHAT IS IT ABOUT SUNDAYS? Does that ever happen to you?

I attempted to remedy the fatigue situation with several cups of coffee but all that I achieved was an elevated heart rate, the jitters, a spastic bladder and several trips to the bathroom. :(

Wanna know what my favourite part of visiting the city is? Well, aside from seeing my love, that is.

It’s my return to the mountains and taking my first inhale of fresh, clean mountain air. Sweet, smokey, delicious pine. There’s nothing better.

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How was your weekend? Are you having a fantastic summer so far?

I spent a good chunk of my weekend rounding up back country camping supplies for my upcoming adventures. I’ve never back country camped before and the boy has never camped so needless to say, I’m a little nervous. I just don’t want things to get all Blair Witch Project-y. 

This weekend, we’re off to BC for a 21km return camping trip, and the following  weekend, we’re planning on a 30km round trip in Kananaskis. If you have any suggestions or tips for us first-timers, leave me a note! :)  We’ve been referencing this MEC checklist to make sure we’re adequately prepared.

I just realized I haven’t talked about my workouts lately!  As if you care or have been anxiously awaiting an update, right? 😉   I’m not training for anything specific (other than life) right now, so it kind of fell by the wayside.

My current fitness goals are fairly simple: I’m happy doing something active everyday – no matter what it is and especially if it’s outdoors.

Last week was a fun mix of all of my favorite things: hiking, running, strength and yoga.

Monday

12km hike in Banff with Sam

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Tuesday

TRX & Bosu Ball Outdoor ‘Bootcamp’

This class was a blast! The hour of interval training flew by in no time and my triceps and upper back were so sore I couldn’t lift my arms without wincing for two days.

Because TRX is strictly bodyweight and stability, you’re forced to use muscle groups you didn’t even know existed. Good lord.

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Wednesday

4 mile run

I died a little on this run.  It was blazing hot and smokey outside, I forgot my water and so much sweat was dripping into my eyes I had to run with one eye open.  I didn’t wash my makeup off beforehand so I couldn’t wipe my eyes. Never again/Lesson learned.

Thursday

Super set circuit via Peanut Butter Runner

+ 90 minute Yin yoga @ Canmore Hot Yoga

Okay, so the latter wasn’t really a workout or “typical yoga”. This deeply restorative stretching class is perfect for athletes and tense, achey bodies. I can’t remember a time when my hip flexors weren’t trying to debilitate me –  it’s exactly what my body needs!

I’m going through a phase where I dislike doing sun salutations or standing postures and would rather lay on the floor to hold deep, therapeutic stretches instead. This particular class emphasized holding foot, ankle and hip opening postures for several minutes at a time. Laying in pigeon for at least  five minutes on each side made me want to cry happiness tears of relief.

Friday

Off

Saturday

Bodypump @ GoodLife Fitness

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Brunch at the Bow Valley Ranche – a beautiful historical home built in 1896 that now operates as a restaurant. I hope my BF takes me on a date here one evening. (Hi!!)

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+ a post-brunch walk in Fish Creek Park

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with ice cream cones, of course.

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Sunday

Restorative yoga @ Breathe Hot Yoga

I’m hoping this week is just as fun! I’m planning a hike, trail run and yoga – for sure.

Tell me about your workouts last week!

Do you do the weekend brunch thing? I feel like you can’t be in the city and NOT do brunch.

How do you prevent workout boredom? What would your ideal fitness week look like?

 

This post is being written as part of the GoodLife Fitness Blogger Ambassador Program.

Road Trips, Stampede, Eating

I don’t even know where to begin with today’s post! I want to tell you guys more about my trip to Edmonton, a grilled cheese donut,  a hike with Sam and more. I always feel like my blog posts are one big cluster of random.

I went to Elk Island National Park and it wasn’t as nice I remember. Have I ever mentioned  I spent a good chunk of my childhood living near Edmonton?  Yep. My childhood memories fondly recall field trips to explore the lakes and parkland trails at Elk Island. But this trip? Was…. swampy, smelly and very mosquito-y.

Maybe it’s a combination of bad timing mixed with  hot weather and lack of rainfall, but we didn’t stick around for long.  You couldn’t get close to the water without gagging from the smell of stagnant water.

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Our plans to kayak or paddle board were a bust, so we tried our luck at a 5km nature walk in the trees which quickly turned into a run because there were so many mosquitos and horseflies ripping chunks of flesh off of us.

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Despite the disappointing outdoor adventure (or lack thereof) at least we got a good workout in and a few nice photo ops! Silver lining, right?

In downtown Edmonton, we ate lunch at Craft, checked out the Street Performers Festival and ate the best guacamole and chips at El Cortez (an amazing ghetto fabulous Mexican restaurant – we felt like we were in South Central LA. It was complete with a souped up El Camino and a colourful graffiti adorned patio and 90s gangsta rap music.)

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-The best thing I ate at the Calgary Stampede was pineapple Dole whip. If you’ve ever been to Hawaii, you know how famous it is. You don’t go to Hawaii and NOT eat Dole whip.

(The Dole pineapple plantation makes frozen pineapple ‘whip’ and it’s pure HEAVEN. It’s like a cross between soft serve ice cream and sorbet.)

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Something that I thought would be awesome but ended up being pretty ‘meh’ was a donut grilled cheese sandwich. So much potential, yet so lackluster. :(

I LOVE DONUTS.

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-Sam and I hiked to the Ink Pots at Johnston Canyon in Banff on Monday! It’s funny, because almost anytime I message her with a last-minute invitation to do something fitness related, she’s usually available. My messages usually start with, “So I know this is super last minute but…”

Johnston Canyon is incredibly beautiful.  I don’t even mind the gazillion tourists! I really need to get out there super early in the morning before everyone arrives so I can run to the upper falls and back.
Most visitors stop and turn around at the upper falls, but we continued to a sprawling mountain meadow and explored a set of turquoise pools known as ‘the ink pots’.

My bf gave me a new lens for my birthday and I’ve been having a blast photo-documenting my outdoor adventures. I sort of wish I had patience and extra time to edit them, but then I remember I’m an amateur hobbyist Instagram “photographer” and there’s not much of a point.

Some scenes from our mountain trek:

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^^^ the biggest Raven I’ve ever encountered. It just sat there quietly observing (and judging) us as we walked by.

Sam: “What the heck is that giant black thing?”

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Round trip, our adventure was about 12km and we refuelled with beer and pizza afterwards. Oh! I need to tell you about Sport Chek’s current social media campaign. Tag your fitness photos with #SweatForThis and they just might surprise you with a gift. They sent me a gift card and I bought a Nike running tank (pictured in the above photo).

It’s mint green and says “Free Your Soul”. So perfect for me!

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Have you ever won anything through social media?

What’s the last blogger adventure/meet-up you went on? Ps. If you’re an Alberta-based blogger, join our private Facebook group. Just find/friend one of us on FB and we’ll add you!

Tell me something random!  What have you been doing after work this week? What are you reading right now? Have you taken any fitness classes lately? How many times have you ate ice cream this week? 

Continuing with my summer adventures

Before we dive into today’s post, LOOK AT THIS PLATE the boy just delivered to me on the couch.  Great guy.

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Banana, mango, passionfruit, almond butter stuffed dates, melon and… CINNAMON CHEX. OMG. Have you guys tried this stuff yet? It’s like Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

At the end of a vacation, you’re supposed to feel refreshed and relaxed, right? I sure don’t! After ten days of road trips, social gatherings, my birthday and Stampede: I’m ready to sleep for an eternity.

When we last talked, I was in southern Alberta visiting my family. I spent a few days floating around a kiddie pool on an inflatable popsicle, getting some good workouts in and catching up with friends.

Last Monday, my Dad and I spent the afternoon in Waterton – a place that is so very near and dear to my spirit. It’s difficult to describe, but the mountain energy in Waterton feels ‘extra’ vibrant or magnetic than say, Banff. (If that makes sense.)

I spent an hour paddling around the Upper Waterton bay and marvelling at my surroundings.  Weather permitting, I’m planning on heading back the weekend of July 17/18 for a potential group hike if anyone wants to join.

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On Tuesday, I met up with Kaella for lunch. We crammed as much girl/blogger chat into an hour as possible. Aside from blogging and running, we share a ton of similarities and perceptions on life.  It’s comforting to have a friend who “gets it”.  I only wish we lived closer so we could hang out more often!

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Later on in the afternoon, I packed my bags and headed to Calgary to meet up with the boy.  We went out for a late sushi dinner then called it an early night as we had a busy (Canada) day ahead of us.

Our original Canada Day plan was to summit a mountain, but intermittent thunderstorms caused us to abort that adventure.  Instead, we took a Bodypump class at GoodLife together. (Bless him!) After class, I asked him which tracks he liked/disliked the most and his response was:

“I hated biceps, triceps, shoulders, back and legs. What’s left?” :)  As payback, he made me do a ‘bro workout’ with him the next day. UGGGHHH.  I hate bro workouts.  (Where you do 3 reps, grunt, sip BCAA’s and protein shakes then sit there for 45 minutes after each set. I’m sort of exaggerating.)

Even though we weren’t able to hike, we went for a relaxing and easy wilderness walk near my house. We tried to explore Heart Creek canyon but our feet died from hypothermia after 3 seconds.

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The following morning, we road tripped to Edmonton to visit my good friend David where we stayed at his hotel, the Renaissance. It was an entire experience all on it’s own!

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What I like about the Renaissance brand is it’s attention to details and overall ‘local art & design’ atmosphere. It didn’t feel like a hotel, but rather a massive art gallery inside a home.  The boy and I agreed that we didn’t feel like we were in Edmonton – interpret that comment as you see fit. 😉

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The lobby ‘library’ 

Shortly after checking in, we joined David and his team in the lobby bar for their 5:15pm weekday ritual – in celebration of the end of the workday. (All Renaissance hotels do this.)

They made one of their signature cocktails using Boreal forest botanicals and local spirits then handed them out to  guests. This particular drink was spiked lemonade with gin and lavender. I need to recreate this soon!

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We caught up with David for a while before settling into our room and getting ready for  dinner. I really respect him – not only as an influential leader, but (more importantly) as the friend who once made me laugh so hard I threw up. (Remember that story?!) Um.. he’s made me lose  slight bladder control on a few occasions, too. We used to work together in the Rockies and I was devastated when he left me last fall. Our friendship has that special dynamic where we picked up  right where we left off.

Our room was pretty awesome. We stayed in a one bedroom suite with a separate living room/dining area, massive bathroom and walk in rain shower, plus the comfiest cloud bed in all of the land.

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We toured the Royalty Suite – it’s for fancy people who can afford $2000/night. 

A hotel isn’t always just a place to sleep, but an experience. What stood out the most (to me) were fine details such as:

-Decent toiletries that you actually want to use (and take home with you!) instead of being used as a last resort.  Is there anything worse than crappy hotel shampoo and skin-drying soap?  They provide full sized bars of soap in the shower, too!

-Complimentary ear buds in the gym

-Soft, fitted robes

-Salon quality hair dryer (with power!)

-Sound proof rooms – I have never experienced a room as quiet as this. I didn’t hear luggage carts, other guests or general noise. I’m a light sleeper and always struggle to have a good night’s sleep in a hotel.

I also realized that this is the first time I’ve stayed in a room where I took my shoes off at the door because I felt like I was in an apartment.

I’ll talk about what we did in Edmonton later in the week. For now, I’m packing up and heading back to the mountains for a hike in Banff before it’s time to get my life back in order.

Friends, how was your Canada Day/July 4th?

Have you gone to Stampede yet? Are you going to?

Are you loyal to any hotel brands? What’s the nicest hotel you’ve stayed in?

 

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?