Friday, February 28, 2014

Feature Friday!

Hi! So, I wanted to start doing a Feature Friday to feature some of my favorite posts for the week that I read an wrote!

What I Read:

My good real life friends over at Food For Your Cell wrote a great article on 15 Minutes to Better Health. These are easy things that you can do everyday to improve your health. Go read it, what will you start implementing today?

The other thing I was reading this week was up on Cheerfully Imperfect ; her post about the 30 day fermented foods challenge she is doing. I am always looking for new and different ways to improve my health and learn about new types of food and improve my palette. I don't usually go for fermented foods but her list of fermented foods really got me thinking. So I've gone out and bought some keifer, some coconut yogurt, and kombucha. The recipes I am going to try making are the pickles, applesauce, and ranch dressing for my salads.

What I Wrote: 

This week I had a couple of great articles I feel! The first was a post about how each week I focus on one room/area of my home to deep clean. I assign a task to each day and do those, they take usually no more than 15 minutes. Here is the article.

The other post I want to talk about is an awesome keepsake I created for my daughter and her cousins. It is an ornament I made with a picture of the 3 of them in it with some sand from our favorite beach and some baby shells we all found together. Go check it out as it is a great thing to have in mind if you are going on a big vacation this year, it is something you can gather most of the supplies while on vacation! 

So, that is for my weekly wrap up! I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

DIY Beach Ornament

Good Afternoon! 

Today I have a great little craft project. I am talking ornaments today. I know, ornaments?! What the heck?! Well, these are actually ornaments that you could display all year long. They make a great keepsake and the supplies can be gathered while you are on vacation!

This is what you will be making:

  • Sand (can be gathered when on vacation)
  • Glitter (optional)
  • Small Shells (can be gathered when on vacation)
  • Small picture
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Small funnel
  • Glass ornament bulb
  • Hanger for your ornament

First, choose the picture you want in your ornament. Have it printed, then shrink it-a lot! I shrunk mine by 50% on to regular printer paper. I wound up being 2" by 2". Seems small, but those bulbs are tiny.
I chose this picture of my daughter with my niece and my nephew on the beach at my parent's beach house in Florida. It's so wonderful the way they were standing holding hands with the oldest in the middle. The picture just makes me smile and lets me remember the fun times we had that summer. Not only does this photo hold great memories, but it is simple. There isn't a ton to look at. The children are the focus and it clearly shows where we are.

Next, take the bulb and remove the top. 

Then, putting the small funnel in the top pour in the desired amount of sand. One very, very, very important thing to remember here is sand is very heavy. So this will add quite a bit of weight to the ornaments, so add it sparingly. I then added a tiny bit of glitter to give the sand some color. Once you have that in there place your finger over the top of the ornament and shake a bit to mix it up.

Now, this part coming up was the most difficult for me, personally.

Take the picture and trim it to desired size. Then, roll it up and put it in the ornament. If you are a perfectionist this is where I apologize to you. Using the tweezers manipulate the photo so it is in the position you would like. At some point you will have to accept that the photo looks good enough positioned a certain way, remember it looks better than you think it does most likely. Once you have it to that point of this looks awesome, using the tweezers gently push the picture into the sand to stabilize it.

Toss in a few tiny shells for some ornamentation.

On the front or back write the year using a sharpie. I sent the final product to a couple of friends (who all live in different places and I sent the messages separately so as not to "taint" the answers) and they unanimously agreed the year actually looked best written across the can see it below.

 You can also add a tag at the top marking the place along with a nice ribbon to hang it from!

This makes a great keepsake for a beach vacation or to give as a gift at-don't kill me for saying it-Christmas!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday: Treat Edition

Hey, hey, hey!

Who remembers that?! Fat Albert was my favorite as a kid! I also thought it quite appropriate since he eats a lollipop during that song and I am basically bringing you a treat edition of 

This past week was not a great week for me nutrition wise, but I am still posting because guess what...I am human and those weeks happen. I don't punish myself for it because that is counterproductive. I won't be gaining anything from it and I can't change it. Instead, I shall embrace it!


Nutella pizza...this was amazing. To read more about this dish click here

Great end of dinner treat...Americano!

Hot cocoa with lots of marshmallows on a snowy winter's day...we barely moved from the bed that day.

This is an award winning Kiwi Martini. Made with a delicious kiwi puree...Had a be careful though because it was just so good!

I suppose it wasn't all bad...these were our breakfast on Tuesday. Fruit parfaits (& a little X3).

As you can see I am still on track with X3. I just entered the second transition week. I love this week because it is all total body work. Nothing super high cardio, just deep down muscle work, then lots of stretching. I think these weeks are where I see the most improvement in my body.

So, here's what I've looked like this last week:
Wednesday: X3 Yoga (my fave!)
Thursday: MMX
Friday: CVX
Saturday: Incinerator
Post workout Saturday. This was an accomplishment because it was the workout I almost didn't do. I was so busy Saturday morning I didn't workout first thing. Usually if it doesn't get done early, I don't do it. But, it was snowing and there was nothing to distract me so I focused and pressed play!
Sunday: Rest day...and rest we did! It was snowing all day, the teenagers cheer was cancelled so we literally laid in bed, watched TV (Guy's grocery games is my new favorite show), and napped.
Monday: Isometrix
Held crow for 10 seconds, but was able to hold
the position almost the whole time!
Some sort of dancer something. This stretches the hips

Tuesday: Dynamix
Breathing hard through left banana. My core is
becoming so strong!
Me pre-workout, I was doing a bit of photography,
so decided to snap a pic of myself...don't let that smile
fool you, my feet were really numb!!! Our balcony
was super icy.

Tell me, what did you do for yourself this week?

Garnier Fructis Damage Eraser

I know you all have been waiting in serious anticipation since my last post about the Mystery Brand Voxbox I received from Influenster.

Well, it has arrived...the big reveal is....

This stuff really is great. It makes your hair smell amazing. The split end serum has really helped to soften my ends that tend to get frizzy this time of year due to blow drying, curling iron, hot rollers, flat iron, etc. The small jar is a "butter" it feels like whipped butter and makes my hair super silky. I just use it once a week when I take my nice long soak in a bubble bath, almost like going to a spa. ;)

Here is the video reveal I did: 

Have you tried Damage Eraser? How do you like it? 

Organization: Deep Clean: Bedrooms

Wow, first off how many colons do you think I could have used in that title...I was trying to see if I could fit anymore, but they didn't make sense, sadly. 

Anyway...I am talking more Organization today. Who would have thought one little stock app like "Reminders" would become such a great tool in my household organization. 

I started this series with my cleaning power hour and added to it with my morning and evening routines. I have had these two written down for years but often forget to do them because a written planner doesn't buzz for me. I need something that makes a noise and physically reminds me to do a task. So, in comes Reminders.

Today I begin breaking down the deep down cleaning I focus on each week. Years ago when I was a new homemaker I found Flylady. This woman really helped me get my butt in gear and figure out how to break household tasks down into manageable lists and get productive with them. So, I am going to share with you those tasks I perform each week to keep my house in what I call move out shape.

What is move out shape? Well, since we are renters and tend to be a bit nomadic, moving every 1-3 years if I were to box up our stuff and move it out tomorrow our house would be ready for an inspection and pass. Over the years I have found that 15-20 minutes everyday saves me hours upon hours in the future. 

Last week I was focusing on the bedrooms in the house. This list can be done for both bedrooms, at the beginning of each day I check the list and add whatever chore on to the kiddo's list of chores for the day for her room. She is old enough now that she can complete these tasks, plus they will help give her an idea of what will need to be done to keep her home clean someday.

I picked week 3 of the month to do my bedroom. Here is what is on my list:
  • Monday: Dust Baseboards, moving furniture when possible
  • Tuesday:
    • Clean mattress
      • Using a mixture of baking soda and lavender sprinkle over mattress and let sit for half an hour. Using vacuum attachment, vacuum up.
    • Fluff pillows
      • Put pillows, one at a time, in dryer on high heat with a dryer sheet to fluff and disinfect. After, spray with water/lavender mixture or tantra spritz from Saje.
    • Fluff comforter
      • Put comforter, with dryer sheet, in dryer on high for 20-30 minutes. 
  • Wendesday: Dust ceiling
    • Using a broom with a microfiber cloth around the bristles, held in place with a large rubber band, dust around the corners and edges of where the ceiling meets the wall.
  • Thursday: Deep down vacuum, steam clean if necessary
    • Vacuum at the edges of the baseboards, get in the corners, under the bed. If needed spot clean stains or drag out the steam cleaner for well worn areas of carpet.
  • Friday: Project planning 
    • Look around, what needs to be improved or worked on? 
  • Saturday & Sunday: Project execution
    • Declutter closets if needed, take clothes to donation, fix worn clothing, do any other organization type projects at this time.
Tuesday is a very busy day. I do all that stuff for the bedroom on Tuesday as that is the same day I wash all the sheets as part of my weekly "power hour" that I do a day late. Weird I know, but it works for me. 

It took me a long time to come up with this system and really figure out the best way to keep our small space spic & span all the time. It's still a work in progress but this keeps me a little more sane and focused. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Menu Plan Monday #40

Happy Monday y'all!

I can not believe the weekend flew by so fast! It was a super fun, relaxing weekend though. 

Friday we had our New Restaurant Friday at Pizzeria Ludica. Afterword we came home and had a riveting game of Mario Party! It was a lot of fun.

Saturday hubster & I hit the town looking awesome...the only person caught on camera though was me...

The top right is early in the day...the flakes turned from small and light to large and fairly heavy-the picture captures it perfectly. None of it stuck luckily. I was fairly unmotivated to do my last workout for the week-Warrior-but, I managed and was super happy after I did it. I mean who wouldn't be happy with that shoulder?! Last, hubs and I were board after a day of cleaning and purging while it snowed so after the teenager left for her sleepover we got dressed up and had a nice dinner down at the Tap & Barrel at Canada Place...Tap Greens with grilled chicken breast is the best thing on the menu!

Sunday, was a seriously lazy day. 

We were woken up at 7 am to the cheering and hollering of many happy Canadians as Team Canada won the Gold in Men's you can see that was not our plan, but we rolled with it so we had some coffee, some cuddle time, some nap time. Cheerleading was mercifully canceled for the day due to snowfall warnings. Later in the day we whipped up some delicious cocoa and pretty much stayed in bed all day long. 
It was glorious.

Moving on though...through all that relaxation Sunday I still managed to get my meal plan done! YAY!

I'm linking up over at Organizing Junkie so stop by & check out all the menu's!

Breakfast Options
Cinnamon raisin bagels with coconut oil/peanut butter & fresh fruit
Green apple, pb, and half serving shakeology
Yogurt parfait

Lunch Options
Leftovers: paella, calzone, or soup
Tuna/chicken salad

Monday: Kiddo will have pizza at girl guides, I will have whatever is left of the paella
Tuesday: Stuffed sweet potatoes and broccoli meatballs
Wednesday: Crockpot pulled pork with Italian coleslaw, carrots, and corn
Friday: New Restaurant Friday-Calabash Bistro in Gastown. Was suggested to me on Twitter by another Vancouverite so can't wait to try it!
Saturday: Freezer meal for the little one while she babysits here at home; we are headed to game night at our friends house...hopefully if we all cook together will do some sort of kebab & sweet potato fries...(hint hint if you're reading this).
Sunday: Steak with sweet potato biscuits and peas

I am really looking forward to cooking my Sunday meal. I didn't get to it this last week because I was out of sweet potatoes and I was not going out in the snow to get them! But, this week it is happening those biscuits sound amazing. They are from my William Sonoma Steak & Chops book. 

What meal are you looking forward to cooking this week?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

New Restaurant Friday: Pizzaria Ludica

Hello! This weekend we did our regularly scheduled New Restaurant Friday. We tried a restaurant I had found thanks to a FB "suggested pages" ad! Normally I ignore those things but it was marketed as a "board game restaurant". There is nothing more the teenager & I love more than board games...the husband, well, he's in games for a living so he's always up for a fun new experience that involves games.

We ate at Pizzeria Ludica. I'm a terrible blogger & didn't take a picture of a logo, or the outside because. well, I'm terrible.
I made a reservation on their website. Super easy and fast, and we were guaranteed a table this way.

This place was very welcoming when we walked in. Lots of long tables, great for groups. The entire back wall was games.

Teenager selecting a game. They had everything there from super easy family games like mousetrap & yahtzee to more complicated, intricate games like Settlers of Catan.

She chose Munchkin. It was one she had been wanting to try so it was the perfect time!

Hubby had to actually look something up as the game in the restaurant had no tokens so we wanted to make sure we could play without the tokens! We could, it was no problem.

At one point I was a half-breed halfling elf! There are treasure cards & battle cards. You never know what you will get and if it will be a blessing or a curse-quite literally!

So this picture looks super sweet right?! He's "helping" her through a battle, great father/daughter time...right after this he got to choose two cards from her & won the whole game! We have to get more savvy when playing games with this would think after 15 years I would have figured it out...

So, the game was super fun but the food was amazing as well. My expectations were pretty low because many times at restaurants like this you go for the atmosphere, not the food. Here though, you can rest assured you will go for atmosphere & food!

Four cheese calzone! For a dollar you can turn any of their pizza's into a fave!

This was the meat pizza. The crust was delicious, very fresh. The meat on it was ham, pepperoni, and bacon. A perfect combo for my meat lover husband! He is still talking about it two days later.

Since it was New Restaurant Friday we could not pass up dessert. This is a nutella pizza. It had nutella, walnuts, and a caramel drizzle, and was sprinkled with cocoa powder. It was amazing. 

Then we each got an Americano. Very good espresso and they served with fresh cream.

This was a fantastic experience and I cannot rave about them enough! Great place for groups, families, or just to shake up the regular ole date night. They are just steps off the Chinatown Skytrain station in Vancouver, BC. Very convenient location for any one using transit!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Weekly Meal Plan

Happy Wednesday y'all!

Where in the heck did the week go?! My weekly menu is coming to you a bit late due to a long weekend in Seattle that involved a cheer competition. The ride home I planned on doing a menu plan but I was in a serious funk. I was just not feeling the planning. So I avoided it Monday and just used what I had in the cabinet to create some mac & cheese. Then, Tuesday I was tired and didn't feel like cooking so I went down to our local deli & picked up some chicken and potatoes.

So, to get me over my slump of not knowing what to cook I turned to a couple of trusty books...

This is one I received from my best friend for Christmas one year. It was the first all purpose cook book I ever got. Honestly, I wish I would have gotten a book like this for our wedding as I had no clue how to cook and there is so much useful information in this bad boy! Not to mention great recipes. I sometimes swap out ingredients to make the dishes a bit healthier, but the recipes use all around basic ingredients that most people enjoy.

This is one hubby & I picked up at Williams-Sonoma one year after Christmas. I think we got it for like six dollars or something ridiculously cheap! It has so many yummy recipes. The book is divided into categories such as, "Weekday Favorites", "Summer Grilling", "Holiday Feasts" and other ones. The ones that are seasonal use seasonal ingredients. It has great side dishes in the back to. Everything in the book uses whole food ingredients so that is one reason why I love it, no substitutions have to be made!

Well, without further ado here is my weekly menu!

Breakfast choices:
English muffin breakfast sandwiches with fruit salad
Cream of Wheat
Donut Holes

Lunch Choices:
Leftovers or
Subs and soup/salad/chips (Th & Saturday)
English muffin mini pizzas and salad (Friday, kiddo is home from school)
Omelettes with bacon and fruit salad and avocado (Sunday)

Wednesday: Tacos and salad
Thursday: Chicken and Sausage Paella (crock pot meal from the Better homes & garden cookbook)
Friday: New Restaurant Friday
Saturday: Creamy garlic pasta with grilled chicken breast and salad
Sunday: Chicken fried steak with cream gravy, sweet potato biscuits, carrots/salad, and corn and a baked potato (for the hubby) This is from the steak & chops book. I was feeling like a nice big dinner was needed today.

Well, that is my meal for this week. What have you made so far this week...any must try recipes?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentine's Day Manicure Tutorial

I don't usually post beauty tutorials. Not sure why, I guess I'm just not huge on the beauty blogger side of blogging so I don't post much in way of that. But, after writing my review of the awesome Complete Salon Manicure polishes last week, my nails were looking awesome so I decided to add to it just a little bit more and create this super cute Valentine's manicure!

Now, when you sit down to do your manicure you may want to whip up these quick little products to help you out and clean up the skin around your nail beds: Cuticle Exfoliator and Cuticle Oil.

This is super cute and super simple:

  • Red my lips nail color
  • White glitter polish, I used "frost" from MAC
  • Nail polish remover
  • Q-tip for clean up
Step one: paint your nails the base color, red my lips. Let dry approximately 5 minutes, if you needed two coats of the red you may need to let them dry for 10 minutes.

Step two: Using the q-tip and a bit of nail polish remover clean up any nail polish that may have gotten on your skin. 

Step three: Using frost, or other white glitter polish of your choice paint over the red base coat. Allow to dry 5-10 minutes.

Super simple, yet super cute! 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Mystery VoxBox


Today I am sharing with you my mystery brand voxbox I received from Influenster

I will let my pictures and video do the talking!

On Thursday, February 6th, 2014 I opened my mailbox to this...Squee!!!!

Looking forward to taking this #mysterybrand voxbox with me to London!

I know the company is L'Oreal, but I have no idea what the actual brand is. It came with sample sizes of shampoo, condition, and split end serum. 

So far the split end serum has been amazing for keeping the winter frizz at bay on my ends! The shampoo and condition are my favorite! I have a feeling these are probably Garnier products. Judging by the smell and how they make my hair feel that is my prediction...within the week the full size, fully branded products should be here! Squee!!! So excited!

Here is the unboxing of my mystery brand voxbox...

What I Ate Wednesday +my workout week in review

Happy Wednesday y'all! I am back in Canada and so happy to be back with my little one. However, I miss my husband terribly. It is awful being not even close to in the same time zone. It was hard with the little one and it's hard with him. It's tough being away from those we love, but Friday will be here before we know it!

So this past week I actually took a few rest days due to my trip to England. I didn't work out while there honestly out of pure laziness. I knew we would have enough electronics to keep charged without adding my laptop to that heap. I also knew I would want o be out exploring as much as possible so for the sake of life experience I used my walks each day as my exercise. I did make sure to get in a bit of stretching each day though.

Wednesday: X3 Yoga

Thursday: MMX- this is sort of similar to Kenpo X...there is a lot of kicking and punching. I woke up the next day to my arms and obliques and back being 100% worked over! It felt so good, but really was a huge surprise because I honestly felt like I could have been working a bit harder!

Friday: CVX-last workout before leaving for our short holiday.

Saturday: rest day with some stretching, took a much needed nap and then a nice evening walk through Cambridge.

Sunday: London in a day. This was a whirlwind of a day whipping around the city and seeing all the sites. Did a bit if yoga when I got back to the room before a nice nap and a good walk through Cambridge that evening.

Monday: walk all through Cambridge exploring the city. Did a bit more stretching when I got home and took a much needed nap.

Tuesday: rest day. I was so exhausted when I got home I fell asleep from at about 9:30. 

Wednesday (today): X3 Yoga. Originally I was going to do a double, but my body is super fatigued so I think just this one will do me good. Pick up where I should be & when I'm feeling better I will add in some doubles! This is easily my most favorite workout. It's challenging yet fast and relaxing.

Now for what I ate! This past week has been a super fun week of trying new things Some are old favorites of course, but once we got to the UK I made sure to try some things it hadn't had before, always good to keep the tastebuds on their toes, after all!

Drinking my shakeology and packing for England!

Doesn't that coffee look amazing?! Breka in downtown Van is the best!

Dates with coconut manna and raw cacao powder.

Last meal before we left off England: BBQ chicken thighs, peas, and corn....tasty!

Had this bit of deliciousness out first evening in Cambridge. It was from a place called Revolution. It is the "skinny burger".85 comes with no bun, on just a small bed of lettuce and it came with three nice sized sweet potato fries. It was fantastic! I highly recommend the place if you are ever in Cambridge!

I had this breakfast nearly every morning we were in England. It is just a bit of back bacon, baked beans, and scrambled eggs! The baked beans and scrambled eggs together are delicious! I never would have thought to combine those two so glad I kept and open mind and did! The portions were huge too, I couldn't even come close to eating all of that!

On Monday I had planned to have a much grander lunch at a pub in town! but I jumped on the wrong bus from our hotel and wound up 45 minutes out of my way from Cambridge. By the time I made it back it was 2:30 in the afternoon and too late I felt for a proper lunch. So, having my nerves a tiny bit frayed I figured I deserved some organic carbs and an americano. The pastry was a very soft almost doughy bread. I got an americano because the coffee shop didn't really serve drip coffee to my knowledge and I still wasn't quite sure what a flat white was but the one time I got it my coffee was a bit on the cool side.

Dinner Monday night. This is just from the hotel bar. It was a burger with back bacon and rarebit, which is a type of cheese. It was creamy, likes a Brie. I wound up cutting the burger in half, taking a. Few bites and then just eating the bun with toppings lol getting a bit tired of meat these days. This is how I know I couldn't be 100% paleo lol

I don't usually eat dessert, but Sunday night I wanted something super sweet and found this in our hotel. It was super fudgy, warm, and covered in chocolate sauce. I opted for whipped cream instead of ice cream ;) I also had this Monday night, I couldn't help myself and knew I'd never be staying there again.

Breakfast this morning was a couple of crumpets and a sausage (not pictured lol). I am absolutely obsessed with crumpets after this trip, they are amazing and super soft! Much different in texture than an English Muffin.

Snack before boarding the plane back home: organic 5 berry parfait (Greek yogurt, berries, and granola) and some yoghurt covered cranberries. It was amazing. I handmt had any fruit other than green tipped bananas and green apples since doing the 21 day sugar detox and forgot how much I loved fruit!

That wraps up my week in food and workouts. What was your favorite food you ate this last week? How about your favorite workout? I think my favorite things I ate this past week were the eggs & beans, that's as such a fun combo, and that heavenly brownie! For workouts, my favorite one was London in a day. It was so exhilarating and I got to do it with my husband so that was definitely a treat!